LGBT Civil War Explained
By Bob Small
It’s hard to believe now, but for many years, male and female homosexuality was considered to be “the love that dare not speak its name”.
Then, in 1950, the Mattachine Society was established, founded exclusively by gay males.
Five years later, the Daughters of Bilitis was established as a lesbian rights organization.
For many years, these two organizations, singly and occasionally in concert, worked for gay civil rights. Unless you were involved “in the struggle”, you probably never heard of them.
In 1969, Stonewall happened. The Stonewall Riots changed the equation — now gays and lesbians began working together and “coming out”. They banded together in various groups, holding demonstrations and expressing their demands in other ways.
At some point many of these organizations began to embrace bisexuals as well, although not without some opposition.
In the 1970’s, “pride events” began occurring on a regular basis, in Philly and elsewhere, and June was designated as “Pride Month”. In Philly, The William Way Community Center began in 1974, and is now at 1315 Spruce St. Various media reflecting gay culture began to appear, such as the radio programs “Amazon Country” and “Gaydreams” on WXPN, and the gay newspapers “Au Courrant” and “Philadelphia Gay News” (PGN, which still publishes.
Poets and Prophets, the Philadelphia poetry reading series that I helped coordinate, was the first, to my knowledge, to present Pride Month readings.
There was much opposition, both religious and secular, from members of society who thought gays and lesbians would destroy the American family. Now, given that many of us believe that gays and lesbians should have certain human and civil rights, we also need to understand how and why others feel threatened by this idea, and by gay marriage. This understanding would require that both sides of the issue listen to each other, rather than making the assumption that each one has “God on their side”.
For historical context, let us consider the case of Christine Jorgenson
In 1952, Jorgenson became the first American that most of us had ever heard of to have had “sex reassignment surgery”. Somewhere in the 1970’s, transexuality went from being very rare to being a regular occurrence. And somewhere over the decades, the age limit for the right to undergo this operation seems to have been removed. Then transexual rights groups began to emerge. The addition of the letter “T” to the letters “LBG” is where this war begins.
The war is not between gays and straights, or between church and state, or between tradition and modernity, but one within the gay community. I am including bisexuals and lesbians.
To some, including transexual rights to the list of gay rights to be championed seemed to be a logical extension, but to others, this became a bridge too far.
The Lesbian Gay Bisexual (LGB) Alliance was founded in the United Kingdom (UK) in 2019.
The LGB does not include transexuals (TS) and sees TS as a separate group. Thie Alliance has spread to Australia, Canada, and, recently, the US, though not in state groups.
Recently the Alliance became a cause celebre in Vermont, and that is how I became aware of it. My long-term agitator friend, Scott Norman Rosenthal, sends me too many e-mails daily to even review, but occasionally, an e-mail piques my interest. The following all relate to the alleged attack on Fred Sargeant, a co-founder of the NYC Gay Pride Month and, more importantly, a verified participant in Stonewall.
Below are two of Fred Sargeant’s statements and a rebuttal.
Fred Sargeant is 73 and a retired police lieutenant from Stamford, Connecticut. Our local gay newspaper, the Philadelphia Gay News (PGN) has their take on it.
The current story on Sargeant involves the ever popular issue of “trans men” using women’s locker rooms.
Victoria A. Brownworth, a poet and writer whom I’ve known for at least 40 years, who currently writes for PGN, has been accused of being a lesbian transphobe.
To be clear, the LGB Alliance recently opened a chapter in New York called LGB NYC, although an LGB Philadelphia has not yet been established.
Since we all need to have a position on every question, mine would be to support the rights of gays and lesbians as one group, and those of transexuals as another. I believe that any man who has not made the final cut (that is, has not had transgender surgery) should be allowed only in the men’s locker room.
Scott, I beg of you, please go back to sending me only non-controversial topics, such as supporting the Palestinians or not supporting Antifa.