Award-win­ning au­thors Baim, Se­gal to make dual ap­pear­ance

GA Voice - - Arts & Entertainment -

The sig­nif­i­cance of the Amer­i­can gay rights move­ment and its many in­flu­en­tial lead­ers and or­ga­ni­za­tions will not be for­got­ten as long as au­thors Tracy Baim and Mark Se­gal can help it. The pair are sched­uled to ap­pear in a dual book sign­ing and dis­cus­sion at Charis Books at the end of the month in sup­port of their lat­est works; “Bar­bara Git­tings: Gay Pi­o­neer,” a bi­og­ra­phy on the life and ac­tivism of the pi­o­neer­ing les­bian ac­tivist by Baim; “And Then I Danced: Trav­el­ing The Road To LGBT Equal­ity,” Se­gal’s crit­i­cally-ac­claimed mem­oir chron­i­cling his jour­ney from mea­ger be­gin­nings in Philadel­phia to his in­volve­ment in New York’s his­toric gay equal­ity move­ment.

In a world where LGBT Mil­len­ni­als reap the re­wards of decades of ac­tivism by count­less in­di­vid­u­als, many of whom re­main name­less and their ac­com­plish­ments of­ten un­ac­knowl­edged, Baim and Se­gal’s books are both timely and nec­es­sary.

“The shame of it all is that our move­ment, like the civil rights move­ment and the women’s move­ment isn’t taught to the next gen­er­a­tions,” Baim tells Ge­or­gia Voice.

“If you were to ask the av­er­age gay per­son in a bar tonight ‘who are the top five gay he­roes?,’ they’re most likely gonna be mod­ern gay celebri­ties or sports fig­ures.”

It can al­most be guar­an­teed that their re­sponse wouldn’t be Bar­bara Git­tings, de­spite be­ing known as the mother of the LGBT civil rights move­ment or her will­ing­ness to “take on whole sys­tems that needed to be changed, like the Amer­i­can Psy­chi­atric As­so­ci­a­tion or the Amer­i­can Li­brary As­so­ci­a­tion,” says Baim who in ad­di­tion to pen­ning Git­tings’ bi­og­ra­phy is also the pub­lisher and ex­ec­u­tive editor of Chicago’s Windy City Times.

As for Se­gal, whose mem­oir re­flects his con­tri­bu­tions to the bur­geon­ing mod­ern gay rights move­ment of the late ‘60s that be­gan with ground­break­ing groups like Gay Lib­er­a­tion Front and his in­volve­ment in the Stonewall Up­ris­ing, the ac­tivist and pub­lisher of Philadel­phia Gay News re­mains fiercely out­spo­ken and com­mit­ted to preserving and shar­ing LGBT his­tory.

“Be­fore Stonewall, there were lit­er­ally only 100 hun­dred ac­tivists na­tion­wide who were out. We took a move­ment of 100 peo­ple and cre­ated 15,000 in one year,” says Se­gal.”

Known for his in­fa­mous “zaps” tar­get­ing main­stream me­dia out­lets and political fig­ures for their in­ac­cu­rate por­trayal of LGBT peo­ple, Se­gal tells Ge­or­gia Voice that to­day’s ac­tivist have “be­come so com­pla­cent that we just ex­pect our rights to be de­liv­ered to us on a plat­ter.” So whom would Se­gal “zap” to­day? “If I lived in Wash­ing­ton D.C. to­day, I would be zap­ping the Repub­li­cans more than you can imag­ine; Paul Ryan wouldn’t have a night’s sleep and nei­ther would (Mitch) McCon­nell.”

By DAR­IAN AARON

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