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Gay Austin, Vol. 3, No. 1, September 1978
File 004
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Gay Austin, Vol. 3, No. 1, September 1978 - File 004. 1978-09. University of Houston Libraries. University of Houston Digital Library. Web. May 31, 2020. https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/gcam/item/584/show/570.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

(1978-09). Gay Austin, Vol. 3, No. 1, September 1978 - File 004. Gulf Coast Archive and Museum (GCAM) Digital Archive. University of Houston Libraries. Retrieved from https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/gcam/item/584/show/570

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

Gay Austin, Vol. 3, No. 1, September 1978 - File 004, 1978-09, Gulf Coast Archive and Museum (GCAM) Digital Archive, University of Houston Libraries, accessed May 31, 2020, https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/gcam/item/584/show/570.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

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Title Gay Austin, Vol. 3, No. 1, September 1978
Contributor
  • Kay, Kelly
Publisher Gay Community Services
Date September 1978
Language English
Subject
  • LGBTQ community
  • LGBTQ people
Place
  • Austin, Texas
Genre
  • newspapers
Type
  • Text
Identifier OCLC: 5962538
Collection
  • University of Houston Libraries Special Collections
  • LGBT Research Collection
  • Gulf Coast Archive and Museum (GCAM) Digital Archive
Rights No Copyright - United States
Note This item was digitized from materials loaned by the Gulf Coast Archive and Museum (GCAM).
Item Description
Title File 004
Transcript viewpoint September 1978 GAY AUSTIN The Future of Gay Radicalism BY GREG CALVERT EDITORS NOTE: this article is a copy of a speech made at the Gay Freedom Rally in Austin's Wool- ridge Park on June 24, 1978. Today I want to address myself to the question: Where is the gay movement at and where is 1t going? And to ask what is our relationship to other movements for change in America? Then finally, I want to ask the question: Will there ever be a broad movement for change that has the kind of spirit and unity and willingness to work together that will make fundamental changes possible in this country? Let me say that if we are to find the answers to those questions we need to understand what happened to that movement of the 1960's which called itself the New Left and which seemed for almost a decade to offer such hope for changing America before it tore itself apart. I want to focus on an important aspect of those problems by telling a story: In late 1970, after a year of watching what we had called the movement tear itself apart, I was living in Chicago and. suffering from a very bad depression and thinking about going to work as a psychotherapist (at least partially because! couldn't afford to see one). One morning I read an article 1n a Chicago newspaper about a psychiatrist in Boston who was working with Vietnam vets who'd come home from the war and freaked out or cracked up. And he recounted some of the stories told by those men about their experiances in Vietnam. One of those stories made an indelible imprint on my consciousness. It was the story of a GI who had been driving a truck down highway 1 in South Vietnam. There was an ARVN soldier along the side of the road on crutches with one leg missing from battle wounds. And this Vietnamese soldier-- this"ally"— was trying to flag a ride. So the truck stopped and they picked up the Vietnamese soldier and drove on down the road. And the Vietnamese soldier was so grateful that he reached over with his hand and squeezed the leg of one of the GI's 1n a gesture of thanks. And then the soldier, the one who later cracked up and was in treatment with the Boston psychiatrist, became enraged and started yelling "You fucking queer" and with the help of his buddies pitched the Vietnamese amputee out of the truck and killed him. WHEN I READ that story, I was overwhelmed with a sense of grief and despair and my depression got much worse. Because what that story did was trigger a lot of feeling inside me about what 1t meant to grow up in America where men were taught to be afraid of their tenderness toward each other and where that conditioned fear was then manipulated to make men into obedient soldiers, willing to fight and kill in wars that were not 1n their interest, to maintain a system of domination and power which reassured their shacky ego's that they were part of a manly enterprise of which they could be proud. I was also 1ncreas1nglydepressed because I had to face the fact that the very movement of American young people, who struggled to stop that war and of which I had been a part and to which I had given the best I knew how to give, had embodied many of the same sexist values which warped the minds of those soldiers 1n Vietnam-—s0 much so that I got trashed for being gay by both male and female com- rads in the very organization (SDS) where I had spent several years of my life as a full-time organizer. So much so that women left the movement en masse to avoid the psychological damage inflicted by macho leadership. That story about the Vietnam soldier, together with the experience of betrayal in the American New Left, symbolized for me a situation of apparent hopelessness in which the possibility of breaking out of the vicious cycle of what America had become seemed completely unrealizable. And I'm sure that my feelings were shared by many activists, especialy women and gays who had suffered from both the casual day- to-day sexism or the more calculated, occasional brutalities of that movement of the 1960's, were also shared by many sensitive straight people. Just as the movement of the 60's was falling apart, two newly vitalized forces for change werebeginning to emerge in a powerful way. Feminism and gay liberation werebeginninq to raise in the arenas of culture and politics the very issues which their predecessors had failed to face and which challenged the very foundations of macho dominated sexist movements. Out of these new movements was emerging a vision of personal, cultural, and political change that promised a fudamentally different direction for society and suggested the possibility of a truly holistic politics, infused with a truly revolutionary culture. THUS, JUST as the new left of the 60's was dying, something new was being born which contained the seeds of a vision of human liberation which could only arise when the issues of feminism and gay freedom were adressed. It has taken most of the decade of the 1970's for us to absorb and elaborate the impact of the transformation. And although we sometimes feel that too little has been accomplished, we need also to appreciate the immensity of the progress which has been made. Once again in 1978 there are winds of change blowing 1n this country. Once again 1n Austin and elsewhere people are talking together and finding ways to work together where that hasn't been possible for six or eight years. Once again, after the bankruptcy of the Nixon conservatives has been followed by the Impotence of the Carter liberals, Americans are starting to ask basic questions and point to answers that suggest fundamental solutions. What's more, this time around we're part of 1t. As we try to understand what lies ahead of us—the challenges and the tasks—there are pitfalls we might be wary of. In the newness of the moment, we must go beyond the temptation to hide in new ghettos or to erect new walls. We must not live on the comfortable edge of the village where we were once sent as outcasts, but make our home in the center of the city—in the open center of public. Let us not turn the discovery of ourselves as gay people into a new trap. continued on page 7
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