Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2017-01-18
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


  WINDY CITY TIMES

VIEWPOINTS Belting out 'Faggots' at Independence Hall
by Tommy Avicolu Mecca
2012-07-03

facebook twitter google +1 reddit email


Once upon a time and long ago in a place not far away, pride used to be called "Gay Pride" and it wasn't a whole month—it was a day, a very special day to commemorate a riot that happened during the last weekend of June in a city called New York.

Queens and fags and dykes rebelled on that long hot night. When the cops didn't get their regular payoff from the Stonewall Inn in the West Village, they raided the place. However, the queens and their friends pelted them with coins and stones and stuff and made them know that business-as-usual was coming to an end.

It wasn't the first time queens had acted up and caused a scene. They did it a decade before in Los Angeles (Cooper's Donuts), then in Philly (Dewey's, 1965) and San Francisco (Compton's, 1966). But that night in June a revolution was born—a queer revolution that spread throughout the country like wildfire. Its name was Gay Liberation and its first manifestation was Gay Liberation Front.

It wasn't surprising. Oppressed groups had already begun their own revolutions. Blacks, Latinos, women, hippies, farmworkers, students and others were chanting a line from a movie that hadn't been made yet: We're mad as hell and we're not going to take it anymore.

A few months after the Stonewall Riot, folks from various gay and homophile groups gathered, as they occasionally did (after all, there was a movement before Stonewall), and decided to replace their annual Fourth of July picket around Independence Hall in Philly (men in suits and ties, women in dresses, no transgender folks allowed) with a march to commemorate this monumental event. Thus began what we now call pride.

That first march was a rowdy affair, with no dress or gender restrictions. It was nothing like the slick production that happens these days, especially in places such as San Francisco where I live. No top name entertainers (they were all in the closet or afraid to admit they had gay fans), no glad-handing politicians (they were too busy running from their own shadows), no million-dollar budgets (only the $150 collected at that drag benefit).

There were no corporate sponsors. No liquors companies or banks or real estate companies put their names in the pride guide. There was no pride guide.

No cops, firefighters or church congregations joined us in those first marches. Just a lot of queens and fags and dykes with long hair, jeans and sneakers and makeup and feather boas and such. Folk songs (played by genuine folk singers) and poetry was featured on the stage, along with fiery speeches from activists who knew how to kick oppressor butts (invading the offices of publications that printed anti-gay articles, zapping homophobic politicians, even disrupting the CBS news broadcast with Walter Cronkite).

How can I ever forget my friend Saj, an amazing African-American singer/songwriter, belting out "Faggots"—his anthem of our new generation—across the street from Independence Hall at Philly's first pride march, which I helped organize in 1972. How that word "faggot" echoed in the acoustics of the square.

We weren't asking for marriage or military service. Our demands were fierce, though sometimes a bit unrealistic, such as an end to the Vietnam War, capitalism and the oppression of all oppressed groups. Hey, we were out to change the world, not the decor at the White House.

How I miss those marches.


facebook twitter 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

GUEST COLUMN The Embodied Power of Standing Rock 2017-01-18 - I remember the last evening at Oceti Sakowin so clearly. I had begun the day with a plan, but like the few days ...


Gay News

Most have all-gender restrooms at home. Why not everywhere? 2017-01-18 - Most people have all-gender restrooms at home. Why not have them everywhere? Just in time for holiday shopping last month, the retail ...


Gay News

GUEST COLUMN Last Call at Irene's Cabaret 2017-01-11 - My heart broke a little when I read in Windy City Times that Irene's Cabaret in Quincy, Illinois, had closed late in 2016 ...


Gay News

VIEWS Kim Burrell shows how Black church abuses gay Christians 2017-01-11 - Gospel music undeniably has a queerness at its roots that has not only shaped the genre but it has continued to give gospel ...


Gay News

THE AMAZON TRAIL The mightiest of books 2017-01-11 - As an adult, I've had no interest in children's books. I left them behind half a century ago. Or did I? Chicken Little, ...


Gay News

Open letter to LGBTQIA, wider community calling for resistance to fascism, Trump 2017-01-08 - We are writing to you and your organization as members of the national LGBTQIA communities and HIV/AIDS treatment and advocacy communities in order ...


Gay News

It's Time: Direct Election of Our President 2017-01-04 - A funny thing happened to me as I was preparing to write this op-ed. I went looking for this thing called 'the electoral ...


Gay News

VIEWS Pope Francis needs his gay priests 2017-01-04 - Many LGBTQ people of faith were shocked by the Vatican's recent decision in the document "The Gift of Priestly Vocation," which bans gay ...


Gay News

LETTER Security issues 2017-01-04 - TRUST Collective-Chicago—Chicago's emerging community and intersectional voice for justice, peace, support, creativity and collaboration—adamantly condemns all forms of targeted hatred toward American Muslims. ...


Gay News

MOMBIAN LGBTQ families: Preparing for the year ahead 2016-12-28 - My family parties from Thanksgiving through New Year's. I'm Jewish, my spouse is Protestant ( though neither of us is particularly observant ), ...


 



Copyright © 2017 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
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Sponsor

About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos 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      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.