‘Out Of The Closet And Into The Streets’ – Gay Liberation 1972 – Past Daily Reference Room
. . . or click on the link here for Audio Player – NET – The Gay Way – 1972 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection
With all the news in recent months regarding Gay Marriage, the move in some states to legalize discrimination of LGBT persons, the upsurge in Hate crimes and gay-bashing, you may not realize the case for Gay Rights has been an uphill struggle for decades – human rights, regardless of gender-preference has been hard-fought, violently opposed and actively suppressed for a very long time.
And like the Civil Rights struggle of the 1950s and 60s, the passage of time for the Gay Community hasn’t done much in the way of healing or getting past prejudices. In fact, as has been evidenced in recent years, the move toward erasing those advances in human rights has been very much at the forefront of our society’s maladies these days.
You can lay blame to a lot of elements – the increased bitterness of a disenfranchised society and the need to find a scapegoat. The presence of Social Media and the ease with which Hate Speech finds a forum and a following – the fact that racism and homophobia have never really gone away, but went “underground” for a few years. The abandonment of common sense and rational thought. The new Ignorance.
All those elements have no doubt fed this current state of affairs. And the majority of people; the rational, open-minded and tolerant, look at it with a goodly degree of perplexity and wonder just where the bus took the wrong turn.
Especially if you were around in the 1970s and were present for the social upheavals at the time. In the 70s it wasn’t just about being Gay; it was also about being Black or a Woman – or all three.
As a reminder of just how hard-fought the issue of Gay Rights was, here is a program produced for NET (the forerunner of PBS) in 1972, called The Gay Way. It features a discussion program, with background, on the Gay Liberation Movement of the 1970s and offers some insights as to what the issues were about. Issues that seem, in 2015, to be drifting back to the Dark Ages.
I guess the old adage about not learning from history and being doomed to repeat it is true.
More true than ever.