The Work to Make Life Fair

So, We Were Right

I didn’t think I would live to see the 14th Amendment rights of #LGBTQ people affirmed by the Supreme Court of the United States.

In the rush to celebrate we also need to remember that this changes nothing for children born to poverty in the United States.

Laws can be reversed and rights taken away,
and nothing will ever silence or stop the haters.

We must to fight to keep what we have earned.

Perhaps the closeness of the ruling reflects the tenuousness of this fresh legal insight into the rights of same-sex couples to love and marry as they please.

But here it is; proof that we can change the world.

I should feel joy.

I should be on the phone and celebrating with friends.

It took over 40 years and the blackest night of the 1980’s, but I’ve lived to hear it said at last, “You are human.”

The Court also validated the right of the people to use their tax dollars to fund public access to healthcare.

The poor and out of work and elderly are also human beings, at least when it comes to healthcare.

We were right to open free clinics all those years ago, and to argue that access to medical care is a necessity and therefore a right.

We were right when we argued that the people have a right to use the government to create a program of Universal Health Care.

Violations of Human Rights are not limited to isolated moments and behaviors.

Slavery was not a single incident represented by its ugliest moment.

Slavery was a grinding day-to-day fact, woven into every second of the lives of everyone affected.

Slavery was built on a system of laws and privileges designed to crush rebellion.

Fugitive Slaves
Fugitive Slaves

Coming to terms with the magnitude of the wrong our white ancestors inflicted on the African people is still pending.

We didn’t come to terms with it after abolition.

Abolition was a necessary first step.

We didn’t fully come to terms with it after the passage of the Civil Rights Act.

But the Civil Rights Act was an essential agent of change.

There are other ways to dehumanize people.

(Welfare queen)

(Poverty Pimp)

Other ways to punish and kill.


Other ways to subjugate.

(Cuts to public education)

Gay Liberation linked racism and sexism to a class system that required an underclass as a scapegoat.

"At least I'm not one of them!"
“At least I’m not one of them!”

From ‘Out of the Closets: Voices of Gay Liberation, 1972

The word: Homosexual was an adjective before it was a noun. Those who desire today to kill homosexuals (and there are many) are the descendents of those who first killed the homosexual in themselves. The quest for a full life of today’s gay liberationists – if it is to be realized – will lift the penalty of death for the homosexual in all women and men.

Gay liberation, on the surface, is a struggle by homosexuals for dignity and respect.

Of course we want to “come out, : (that is, to end our hiding) to forbid such terms as “faggot,” and “dyke,” and “queer,” to hold down jobs without having to play straight, and to change and abolish laws which restrict and denigrate us.

“The goals of gay liberation, including the elimination of capitalism, imperialism, and racism, are premised on the termination of a system based on male privilege.”

I don’t agree with the idea of eliminating regulated Capitalism, but I’d welcome the departure of imperialism and racism.

To look at an isolated event within the context of a timeline is to find a foreshadowing of the present:

Here is what happened in the year leading to Stonewall:

June 5, 1968 – U.S. presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy is shot at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles by Sirhan Sirhan. Kennedy dies from his injuries the next day.

July 17, 1968 – Saddam Hussein becomes Vice Chairman of the Revolutionary Council in Iraq after a coup d’état.

July 23July 28 , 1968 – Black militants led by Fred (Ahmed) Evans engage in a fierce gunfight with police in the Glenville Shootout of Cleveland, Ohio, in the United States.

July 25, 1968 – Pope Paul VI publishes the encyclical entitled Humanae vitae, condemning birth control. (For the first time in human history sex was free of the risk of an unwanted pregnancy.)

July 20, 1968 – The first International Special Olympics Summer Games are held at Soldier Field in Chicago, Ill, with about 1,000 athletes with intellectual disabilities.

August 22August 30 , 1968 – Police clash with anti-war protesters in Chicago, Illinois, outside the 1968 Democratic National Convention, which nominates Hubert Humphrey for U.S. President, and Edmund Muskie for Vice President. The riots and subsequent trials were an essential part of the activism of the Youth International Party.

September 6 , 1968: 150 women (members of New York Radical Women) arrive in Atlantic City, New Jersey to protest against the Miss America Pageant, as exploitative of women. Led by activist and author Robin Morgan, (Wife of radical effeminist, Kenneth Pitchford) it is one of the first large demonstrations of Second Wave Feminism as Women’s Liberation begins to gather much media attention.

October 2, 1968 – Tlatelolco massacre: A student demonstration ends in bloodbath at La Plaza de las Tres Culturas in Tlatelolco, Mexico City, Mexico, 10 days before the inauguration of the 1968 Summer Olympics.

October 11, 1968 : Apollo program: NASA launches Apollo 7, the first manned Apollo mission (Wally Schirra, Donn Eisele, Walter Cunningham). Mission goals include the first live television broadcast from orbit and testing the lunar module docking maneuver.

October 14, 1968 – Vietnam War: The United States Department of Defense announces that the United States Army and United States Marines will send about 24,000 troops back to Vietnam for involuntary second tours. (Many of these men young men are Gay, anti-war, and living in the closet)

October 16, 1968 – In Mexico City, African-American athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos raise their arms in a black power salute after winning, respectively, the gold and bronze medals in the Olympic men’s 200 metres.

November 14, 1968 – Yale University announces it is going to admit women.

November 22 , 1968 Plato’s Stepchildren“, 12th episode of Star Trek 3rd season is aired, featuring the first-ever interracial kiss on U.S. national television between Lieutenant Uhura and Captain James T. Kirk.

(It is noteworthy that the United States Supreme Court declared laws against interracial marriage unconstitutional on June 12, 1967. The majority opinion is worth reading.)

November 27–30, 1968 – First National Women’s Liberation Conference in Lake Villa, Illinois.

December 24, 1968 – Apollo program: U.S. spacecraft Apollo 8 enters orbit around the Moon. Astronauts Frank Borman, Jim Lovell and William A. Anders become the first humans to see the far side of the Moon and planet Earth as a whole. The crew also reads from Genesis. (This first glimpse of Planet Earth from space is one of the greatest moments in human history.)

January 20, 1969 – Richard Milhous Nixon succeeds Lyndon Baines Johnson as the 37th President of the United States of America.

April 9, 1969 – The Harvard University Administration Building is seized by close to 300 students, mostly members of the Students for a Democratic Society. Before the takeover ends, 45 will be injured and 184 arrested.

May 25, 1969 – Midnight Cowboy, an X-rated, Oscar-winning John Schlesinger film, is released. (X-rated because of gay themes. This movie was thought of as a ‘sympathetic view’ of homosexuals)

May 26June 2, 1969 – John Lennon and Yoko Ono conduct their second Bed-In. The follow-up to the Amsterdam event is held at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel in Montreal, Quebec.

June 18June 22, 1969 – The National Convention of the Students for a Democratic Society, held in Chicago, collapses, and the Weatherman faction seizes control of the SDS National Office. Thereafter, any activity run from the National Office or bearing the name of SDS is Weatherman-controlled.

June 22, 1969 – Judy Garland dies of a drug overdose in her London home.

June 28, 1969 – The Stonewall riots in New York City mark the start of the modern gay rights movement in the U.S

Art By Rob Goldstein
Hella Gay

The events in this timeline come from Wikipedia from the entries for timelines for 196869.

I have selected events that are specific to the politics of the feminist, civil rights, and poor people’s movements.

Most of these events were media events at a time when everyone had access to media.

Music was the media of choice for the baby boomers, and most of us had access to television.

Even a 16-year-old in Charleston, South Carolina could get together with friends and giggle over the lyrics to ‘Sodomy’ from ‘Hair’.

“Father? Why do these words sound so nasty?”

We gave each other permission to question the unmentionable.

We were right when we said we are not perverts; but people like everyone else.

We were right when we said we are not sick; but made sick by a culture of legally sanctioned terror.

We were right when we said the Homosexual Panic Defense” made it legal to kill gays.

We were right when we said that denying employment to gays was wrong.

We were right when we said that arresting us, and prosecuting us and in some states, executing us was wrong.

In the United States, you can hate my guts but you no longer have the right to mark me as a criminal and deny me the right to vote, seek work, and marry.

You no longer have the right to terrorize me in my gathering places.

You no longer have the right to deprive me of medical care.

You no longer have the right to use the law to hate me to death.


-At least, not for being gay.

Rob Goldstein 2015

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