Saturday, June 27, 2009

Stonewall means fight back!

This weekend is the 40th anniversary of the magnificent Stonewall Rebellion, the 1969 Christopher Street uprising against the NYPD led by gay and trans people of color that gave rise to the modern gay liberation movement. Tomorrow, Sunday, is the annual march. I'll be there as always, stepping down Fifth Avenue alongside my comrades and my community--proud of our many amazing victories, most of all in changing mass consciousness over the course of these four brief decades, angry at the continuing attacks on our bodies and our rights, determined as ever to keep fighting for our liberation. At least one member of our contingent will be a Stonewall veteran, a participant in that grand street battle and still, 40 years later, a fighter. He's a bit worse for the wear, having had both a heart attack and a hip replacement in the past year, but he'll be there, and I'll be happy to push his wheelchair if that's what he needs to make his way down the avenue. On second thought, let some of the youngbloods do that, because oh yes, they will outnumber us creaksters and this is what makes me happiest of all.

Let me also take this occasion to call to your attention two important books that provide a communist perspective on the LGBT struggle. One is The Roots of Lesbian and Gay Oppression by Bob McCubbin. Originally published as The Gay Question in 1976 and reissued in 1993 in an expanded, updated and retitled edition, this book was the first and to my knowledge remains unique as a full-fledged Marxist analysis of the causes, history and development of LGBT oppression. I recommend it highly (and not just because I wrote the preface and afterword).

And now, hot off the presses any day now, comes Rainbow Solidarity in Defense of Cuba by Leslie Feinberg. This book "offers a factual vista on the trajectory of progress of the Cuban Revolution," detailing how Cuba "has worked to overturn prejudice against same-sex love." I read an early draft of this book and I heartily agree with the promotional blurb crediting Leslie with offering up keen insight on "the revolutionary process required to uproot prejudice." Leslie Feinberg is of course the author of the beloved novel Stone Butch Blues and many other books and winner of multiple Lambda Literary Awards, most recently Lambda's Pioneer Award for her body of work and lifetime of leadership both literary and activist.

In this week's Workers World there's more about Rainbow Solidarity, and also excerpts from a talk I recently gave that includes more about both Bob McCubbin's and Leslie Feinberg's contributions.

Come march with us tomorrow to remind the world that Stonewall means fight back! I'll be in the Bail Out the People/International Action Center contingent, gathering on 54th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues at 12 noon. This is one march that steps off on time, so don't be late!