GA Voice - - Black Gay Pride -

Some­body got you started. That’s the hard part, and of­ten, that’s all you need: a for­ward-think­ing per­son to lay the frame­work so you can roll with a pro­ject, adding, sub­tract­ing, shap­ing, re­fin­ing. Some­body just needed to get you started; you can take it from there, as you’ll see in “The Right Side of History” by Adrian Brooks.

As in most years, this sum­mer’s Pride pa­rades were rau­cous events. And why not? There’s plenty to celebrate: new laws, old friends, and a sense of things be­ing bet­ter—which can make it hard to re­mem­ber that, “Such gains didn’t oc­cur in a vac­uum ...” ac­cord­ing to Brooks. This book, “a cho­rus of voices un­tamed,” is a col­lec­tion of ex­pla­na­tions.

To be­gin, Brooks writes of Isadora Dun­can, a “free spirit” who, when ladies were ex­pected to be proper, danced on stage with aban­don, bared her breasts in public, and slept with whomever she pleased—male or fe­male.

Hay­den L. Mora writes of gay life in the early twen­ti­eth cen­tury, when clubs for “same­sex at­trac­tion” be­gan to ap­pear in larger cities, even though be­ing caught in a com­pro­mis­ing sit­u­a­tion could re­sult in a loss of cit­i­zen­ship. For Henry Ger­ber, the choice was a men­tal in­sti­tu­tion or the U.S. Army; he picked the lat­ter and came back from World War I “de­ter­mined to be­gin or­ga­niz­ing gay men.”

The “fa­ther of the gay lib­er­a­tion move­ment” and founder of the Mat­ta­chine So­ci­ety got his fire from another or­ga­ni­za­tion’s strike. A well-liked gay African-Amer­i­can boy, lov­ingly called “Pin­head” as a child, grew up to be Martin Luther King Jr.’s “right­hand man,” while a nerdy white doc­tor (who hap­pened to sleep with men) changed our no­tions of male sex­u­al­ity. Ac­tivists to­day fight for in­ter­sex in­fants, ask­ing doc­tors to de­lay sex-as­sign­ment surgery. Con­ver­sa­tion launched a les­bian or­ga­ni­za­tion, and peo­ple have stepped into ac­tivist roles be­cause of Anita Bryant, out-of-the-closet writ­ers, pol­i­tics, per­sonal dis­cov­er­ies, and a 54-ton quilt.

And that pa­rade you marched in? If you live in San Fran­cisco, you might like to know that the Pride pa­rade route is ex­actly the

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