Thoughts on Gay Liberation

By Bob Osborn

Taken from EC January, 1971

1 grew up in the “South”, and went to the deep south on civil rights projects. Ten years ago people were assuring me that the “Nigras” were happy in their place and didn’t want northern-style “liberation.”  They had jobs and schools and anyway there weren’t so many of them that people should worry about their economic problems or their selfrespect too.

I’m telling this because 1 see the Gay world in that light. The straight world thinks of the homosexual as a substandard person but a member of an insignificant minority group. There are two major differences, however.  First, it was not a crime to be black and to act the part.  The church has decreed that it is a crime to commit homosexual acts, and the state has written this discrimination into the legal system. Secondly, it was generally impossible for the Negro to conceal his minority membership-his black face gave him away. He had to accept the life the world planned for him or change it – there was no middle ground. The homosexual, on the other hand, can easily hide in the straight world and live a double life in secret. He or she actually has something to risk by working as part of an oppressed group for liberation,

The Gay Liberation Front exists to create a human world; a place where people are respected because they are human beings, not because they are indistinguishable from the majority or are a part of the “system.” In realizing this we realize that our struggle is no different from the struggle

other oppressed peoples, and that none shall be free until all are free.

To borrow another example from the black civil rights struggle; the laws must be changed, and they can be. But this is not enough; attitudes must also change, both inside and outside the oppressed group. A black faniilv may not be legally restricted from moving to a house in the white suburbs- but there are still things that prevent him.  Similarly, repeal of the sodomy statutes in Illinois and Connecticut has not turned Chicago and Hartford into gay sanctuaries.

I.ike Martin Luther King, I have

  • And in this dream I see a world where there are constitutional guarantees of protection against discrimination not only by race, creed, national origin, or sex, but also by sexual orientation. . .
  • I dream of a world of love in which it will be perfectly natural to see gay men and women holding hands and kissing on the main street of Rochester and dancing along with straight couples at public dances. . .
  • A world where a person may share love with a person of the same sex without fear that he is locked into homosexuality, or that his whole life may be ruined thereby. . ,
  • A world in which the words “queer” and “faggot” have disappeared from the language along with the other words of oppression like “nigger,” “’kike,” “broad,” and “gook.”
  • I have a dream that there will come a time when a person is judged by the content of his character rather than the color of his skin – or his sexual orientation.

The only thing we have to fear is fear itself. And freedom from fear is liberation.

The things in my dream are real – they do exist in parts of the world. Let us work together to make them happen here.

This is the revolution!


Reflections I

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