Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor
About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor


  WINDY CITY TIMES

BOOKS Legendary Chicago 'lesbian of conscience' tells her story
by Frank Pizzoli
2020-04-01

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


In Emily L. Quint Freeman's no-holds-barred 262-page memoir, Failure to Appear: Resistance, Identity and Loss, she provides a gripping true-life story of a lesbian of conscience who became a fugitive, on the run for over nineteen years using several aliases. Through the lens of nonstop activism, Freeman describes finding her true self and her sexual truth during the turbulent late 1960s through the late '80s.

In a big-picture way, Freeman's story takes place against a backdrop of the Vietnam War, the Nixon and Reagan years, the Women's and Gay Liberation movements, and the AIDS crisis. In a more personal way, she delves into family rejection, the price of ideals, lost love, the agony of an underground existence, and personal renewal.

One May night in 1969, Freeman and 17 others hauled approximately 40,000 records of draft-eligible men from the draft board office on the South Side of Chicago. They burned them as an act of non-violent civil disobedience against the Vietnam War and racism. The group waited at the scene, singing "We Shall Overcome," and were arrested. She takes readers on her journey, living underground for many long years, before finally voluntarily surrendering.

Windy City Times: When did the political bug bite?

Emily L. Quint Freeman: I first got into politics in high school. By the time I reached the [University of California]-Berkeley campus, the 1964 Free Speech Movement was already underway. I went full swing into anti-Vietnam War protests and the civil rights movement. I never looked back.

WCT: How did your values form?

EF: I always felt like an outsider even as a child. I think that helped me develop a sense of empathy for other people.

WCT: And other people helped, too?

EF: My involvement in Chicago with a Puerto Rican welfare rights organization and the American Friends Service Committee, the social action arm of the Quakers, as a draft counselor helped to shape me, too.

WCT: In 1969, you and 17 others hauled about 40,000 records of draft-eligible men from the complex of draft board offices on Chicago's South Side. Any regrets?

EF: It was an act of conscience and remains so. My hope is that this act, prior to the emergence of computers, spared 40,000+ poor and minority men from fighting and dying in Vietnam.

WCT: This action led to 19 years underground with the help of a radical group. It's your defining moment.

EF: I separated myself from that group very quickly, as I do not believe or support violence for social change, however laudable. I spent my years underground on my own.

WCT: Tell readers what it was like to be on the run for all those years.

EF: I described it best to the probation officer who asked me what regrets I had for fleeing: "I regret fleeing to an invisible prison. I regret living a false, aloof life. I regret lying to those I care about the most. No matter what happens next, my life is stamped by these years as a fugitive." However, I never disavowed the draft action or walked back my belief in social justice and peace.

WCT: Did the fact that you are a lesbian affect your social-justice work in the '60s? Were you "out?"

EF: The social justice and peace movement of the '60s was blatantly straight. So-called "free love" was heterosexual. Activists like me were generally in the closet. Even James Baldwin fled to France to be himself.

WCT: And this affected you?

EF: After an incredible but tragic first love in college, I wasn't active as a lesbian until much later—in the early 1970s, after Stonewall. I came to an understanding that my sexual truth required honesty and acceptance, first from me.

WCT: When did you emerge from hiding?

EF: In 1989, I engaged a very sympathetic therapist who sensed the turmoil going on inside me. I confessed who I really was to her and realized that I had been living in an invisible prison and my life as an alias, lying to those closest to me, was acceptable no longer.

WCT: What was it like being a lesbian during the early women's movement?

EF: Amazing! Daring, creative, a new movement of lesbian-feminist separatism expressed in music, poetry, theatre, prose, social scene, an ideological vanguard distinct from the mainstream National Organization of Women. Still quite relevant today...

WCT: What was it like being a lesbian during the early gay-liberation movement?

EF: Bars with no windows; fear of being rousted by the local police or outed; a double life outside of work; a sexual outlaw with a unique jargon, nightlife and culture. My eventual emergence from the shadows was both exhilarating and dangerous.

WCT: What was it like being a lesbian during the AIDS crisis?

EF: I had a number of close male friends who died during the AIDS crisis. The book describes those relationships and what many lesbians like myself did to support their gay brothers. At first, it was a disease with no name, a plague with no name, a cruel joke that happened right at the time we could be freer with our sexual life. So, we were sisters, we were friends. Who could forget that the Reagan government responded so slowly and inadequately to the AIDS crisis?

WCT: You've said, "In a mad country, it's sane to be insane."

EF: At the height of the carnage in Vietnam, violence and murder of protestors and civil rights leaders in America, it was really our government who was insane. At our trial, we attempted to make that point by pleading insanity so that our motives for striking at the death-dealing system of the draft could be made in court. It still rings true today: same shit, different century.


facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

SHOWBIZ Viola Davis, Tyler Posey, Elton John, Tegan and Sara
2020-10-26
...


Gay News

WORLD Church leaders, Amnesty International, students
2020-10-26
...


Gay News

BOOKS Former Warner Brothers head Alan Shayne reflects on a pivotal summer
2020-10-24
...


Gay News

Booksellers launch "Boxed Out" campaign, a look at consumer choices
2020-10-22
--From a press release - ...


Gay News

BOOK REVIEW Gay Like Me: A Father Writes to His Son
2020-10-22
...


Gay News

MOVIES Ruby Rose talks new film 'The Doorman,' LGBTQ actors
2020-10-18
...


Gay News

LGBT HISTORY: Surviving the Silence, The Unexpected Story of Col. Pat Thompson
2020-10-17
...


Gay News

Jeannie Tanner releases inspirational song, art-inclusive video
2020-10-17
...


Gay News

Women's pro soccer draft Nov. 12
2020-10-15
...


Gay News

WGN-TV features the life and times of Windy City Times
2020-10-11
Video link below - ...


Gay News

Red Stars add new player, lose finale and are part of national camp
2020-10-11
...


Gay News

BOOKS Max Fox takes on late friend's work, 'Sexual Hegemony'
2020-10-11
...


Gay News

Chicago Sky's Courtney Vandersloot named to All-WNBA First Team
2020-10-11
...


Gay News

2020 LGBTQ Candidate Diversity Report released; 1,006+ LGBTQs running
2020-10-08
--From a press release - ...


Gay News

Affinity celebrating 25 years virtually Oct. 9-11
2020-10-06
...


 



Copyright © 2020 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor
Sponsor


 



About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs     
Privacy Policy      Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.