Tuesday, June 25, 2019

More of our history

There are so many untold stories about the pre-Stonewall days, and these two videos present some more of them. There also plenty of stories about what happened after Stonewall. Most of those sorts of stories, both pre-Stonewall and post-Stonewall, still haven’t been told. It’s important to document what we can.

The video above is about the pre-Stonewall years, as well as a bit about the first few years afterward. It includes about some eyewitness testimony about things I’ve only heard about as reported history, not as lived experience.

The video below is about the larger picture, starting with Stonewall and the ripples that spread out form that event. It mentions that Chicago had the USA’s first Gay Pride Parade, and I knew the main guy who’d helped organise that. Another Chicago colleague of mine is pictured in one of the photos of Mattachine Society protests. This provides me with a very personal connection to events that happened when I was far too young to know about, or understand, any of it.

Taken together, the two videos talk about the history of of those who made my own later activism possible, the people whose bravery and bravado led inevitably to the freedom I later had—and could work to expand. It’s no understatement to say that I will forever be in their debt.

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it", as George Santayana put it. If we study our history we’ll not only avoid repeating it, we can also forge a better future. When I was young, most of my community's history was still well-hidden. One of the greatest changes over the past 50 years is that more and more that history is finally being revealed.

There are so many stories left to tell. We’d better get busy.

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