The Lambda: A Symbol of Liberation

Gay in its most far-reaching sense does not mean homosexual but sexually, intellectually and emotionally free.

Allan Young , 1972

The Lambda is the 11th letter of the Greek alphabet and in its lower case form is the Greek letter L.

The Lambda as a symbol of gay liberation
The Lambda

The early members of Gay Liberation chose the Lambda as our symbol.

 L for Liberation.

In ‘More Man Than You’ll Ever Be’ Joseph P. Goodwin writes:

The lowercase Greek letter lambda carries several meanings. First of all, it represents scales, and thus balance. The Greeks considered balance to be the constant adjustment necessary to keep opposing forces from overcoming each other. The hook at the bottom of the right leg of the lambda represents the action required to reach and maintain a balance. To the Spartans, the lambda meant unity. They felt that society should never infringe on anyone’s individuality and freedom. The Romans adopted the letter to represent “the light of knowledge shed into the darkness of ignorance.”

Finally, in physics the symbol designates and energy change. Thus the lambda, with all its meanings, is an especially apt symbol for the gay liberation movement, which energetically seeks a balance in society and which strives through enlightenment to secure equal rights for homosexual people.

The Lambda as a symbol of gay liberation

 

Art by Rob Goldstein

This is the birth of Gay Liberation as described by Allan Young in the 1972,  Out of the Closets: Voices of Gay Liberation:

“The birthday of Gay Liberation is June 1969, when gay people fought back against a police raid at the Stonewall Inn. The Police invaded the bar, forcing people onto the street. But instead of running away, the gay people, led by transvestites locked the police inside the bar, set the place afire, and then threw coins and bottles when the police worked their way out. Participants in the incident along with others in the community got together to plan an ongoing political group for gay people. They chose the name, Gay Liberation Front.”

The Gay Liberation Front is based on the idea of liberating the human spirit and the human mind from all forms of racial and sexual oppression.

Gay in its most far-reaching sense, does not mean homosexual but sexually, intellectually and emotionally free.

This includes a vision of equality as a basis for sexual relationships regardless of gender.

From the Gay Liberation Front: Manifesto: 

“We do not intend to ask for anything. We intend to stand firm and assert our basic rights. If this involves violence, it will not be we who initiate this, but those who attempt to stand in our way to freedom.”

I used to say it like this:  “We don’t want your tolerance. We just want you out of our way.”

Art by Rob Goldstein
Gay Liberation 1970

 

 

 

Rob Goldstein 2016-2018

 

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Pride: We Are Family


If you live in San Francisco, June 24 is Pride Day.

I will be out all weekend loving life and taking pictures.

I dedicate this video to the men and women of the American Civil
Rights Movements
.

We are all religions, races and nationalities. We are gay, straight and transgender.

We will never return to our closets.

We are everywhere and we will never give up.

I chose “We are Family” by Sister Sledge because it’s a happy and
hopeful song.

I first made this video for Pride Month 2016.

We are always stronger together!

Now get up everybody and sing!

If I turned around every time somebody called me a faggot, I’d be walking backward – and I don’t want to walk backward.”
– Harvey Milk

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Heroes of the Revolution: Patrick Cowley

Art by Rob Goldstein
The Rainbow Flag

Patrick Cowley was a gay liberationist who died as his brilliance was reaching its peak.

He is sometimes called the father of electronic dance music.

His influence is still clear in contemporary house music and techno.

Cowley played synthesizer on Sylvester’s 1978 hits “You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)” and “Dance (Disco Heat)” and he collaborated with Sylvester on his 1982 hit, “Do Ya Wanna Funk”

At 32, Patrick Cowley was among the first to die from the AIDS Epidemic.

Going Home is on the last track of Mind Warp, Cowley’s last album.
Cowley released Mind Warp in October of 1982, a month before he died from AIDS, which was still called GRID.

Cowley’s music embodies the energy and defiance that sparked and sustained the early Gay Liberation Movement.

“The rights of every man are diminished when the rights of one man are threatened.”
John F. Kennedy

Liberating the human mind and human sexuality from the constraints of fear, bigotry, hate, and superstition is what gay liberation was about.

The revolution is never over!

Happy Pride Month!

‘The City” (c) Rob Goldstein 2016

PATRICK COWLEY
Going Home 1982
by DISCOS BOLICHEROS
Internet Archive

Sylvester
“Do You Wanna Funk” 1982
by DISCOS BOLICHEROS
Internet Archive

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Heroes of the Revolution: Elaine Noble

Art by Rob Goldstein
Elaine Noble

 

Elaine Noble served in the Massachusetts House of Representatives for two terms and is the first openly LGBT candidate elected to a state legislature.

She was sworn into office on New Year’s Day 1975 by governor Michael Dukakis.

She states that the campaign was “ugly” and marked by violence.  

Her windows were shot, her car was destroyed, and her supporters suffered threats and intimidation.

In March 1977 she was part of the first delegation of gay men and lesbians invited to the White House under President Jimmy Carter to discuss issues important to the LGBT community.

In 2015, she was named by Equality Forum as one of their 31 Icons of the 2015 LGBT History Month

Data source Wikipedia
Image source unknown