Emotions from 1979
I still have several gay newspapers from my past. They're turned yellow and tattered but I still like to pull them out occasionally and read what was going on in gay America way back then.
One is the Gay Community News out of Boston. The newspaper went national in the mid Seventies but eventually went out of business in 1992.
Here's some stuff from the June, 23rd, 1979 issue of Gay Community News exactly as it was printed thirty years ago. It gives an example of some of the anger within the national community during that period in LGBT history:
Letter to the Editor:
I have no fancy education in law, but a person certainly doesn't need such to be convinced that Dan White got away with MURDER because he's a heterosexual, and the man that killed a homosexual! Had it happened the other way around the verdict would have not been so slight I feel sure.
Who is responsible for the KANGAROO COURT FRACUS? The judge? The jury? The lawyers? I believe the lesbians and gay of California should get together and DEMAND a retrial! Preparing to do anything under the sun, including violence until they get it. (What I suspect that really happened is that White [PIG, that he is] had "friends" among the cops, lawyers, judges, and others of the San Francisco judicial system - and they LET HIM OFF!
What's all this CRAP I'm hearing about it not being premeditated? Certainly it was PREMEDITATED! He was carrying a loaded gun wasn't he? People usually don't walk around with loaded guns unless they intend to shoot someone...do they? Even in the redneck, bigoted deep south whites can't get away with murdering blacks and then say, "I'm sorry, but it was premeditated..."
It's obvious that our latest tactic of desiring to appear liberal, but with prejudice-against-gays supremacist male system is to let the more fanatical among themselves murder us, and then let them get away with it. (A more subtle method of queer-bashing no doubt, but hardly new, and hardly different) Their idea is to pick us off one by one, and particular those of us who dare to hold office openly as radical-identified gays or lesbians...
I'm GLAD we had the riot in San Francisco...let them see we can be unified and strong, a force to be contended with rather than a bunch of scared rabbits to be pushed around.
We will not be "given" our rights, or our freedom...we will have to take it the same as other peoples of newly liberated countries have had to do. And we'll have casualties, and "martyrs" such as Milk....but if we stop fighting we'll be undeserving of our rights.
*note from Rick- As many already know, Dan White served five years of his seven-year sentence and was paroled in January 1984. On October 21, 1985, less than two years after his release from prison, White committed suicide by carbon monoxide poisoning.
Here's an ad in the Gay Community News for the 1979 March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay rights exactly as it appeared on June 23, 1979:
A DECADE OF GAY DEFIANCE
Such as the world has never before imagined (from New York's Stonewall Riots to California's stunning defeat of the Briggs Initiative) will be marked by the gathering of Lesbians and Gay Men at the nation's Capital in numbers unprecedented in history.
It's not been easy. We've sustained many painful defeats - most recently the murder of San Francisco's much loved Gay Supervisor Harvey Milk - and always the spectre of Anita Bryant's hate campaign and the "New" Right. But our opponents and our defeats must be seen as a tribute to our successes;
OCTOBER 14, 1979 / GAY MARCH ON WASHINGTON
ON OCTOBER 14, 1979 BRING ALL YOUR GAY LOVE, PRIDE AND ANGER TO WASHINGTON AND LET 'EM KNOW WHAT THE NEXT DECADE WILL BE LIKE!
Out of the closet and into the streets!