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Appendix.2: Ten Texts to Know

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    HARRY HAY (1951)

    Formed in Los Angeles in 1951, the Mattachine Society was one of the earliest LGBTQ organizations in the U.S. Their aim was to have discussion groups and grow a cohesive identity and minority consciousness.

    While there are undoubtedly individual homosexuals who number many of their own people among their friends, thousands of homosexuals live out their lives bewildered, unhappy, alone—isolated from their own kind and unable to adjust to the dominant culture. Even those who may have many homosexual friends are still cut off from the deep satisfactions man’s gregarious nature can achieve only when he is consciously part of a larger unified whole. A major purpose of the Mattachine Society is to provide a consensus of principle around which all of our people can rally and from which they can derive a feeling of belonging.

    CARL WITTMAN (1969–1970)

    Wittman’s commitment to social justice, honed during his work with Students for a Democratic Society, led to a radical vision for gay liberation coupled with a more general sexual liberation agenda for all.

    Conclusion: An Outline of Imperatives for Gay Liberation
    1. Free ourselves: come out everywhere; initiate self defense and political activity; initiate counter community institutions.
    2. Turn other gay people on: talk all the time; understand; forgive, accept.
    3. Free the homosexual in everyone… be gentle, and keep talking and acting free.
    4. We’ve been playing an act for a long time, so we’re consummate actors. Now we can begin to be, and it’ll be a good show!


    Second-wave feminism was initially hostile to lesbians. At the Second Congress to Unite Women, a group calling itself Radicalesbians distributed a flyer demanding a discussion of lesbianism in the women’s movement.

    It is the primacy of women relating to women, of women creating a new consciousness of and with each other which is at the heart of the women’s liberation, and the basis for the cultural revolution. Together we must find, reinforce and validate our authentic selves. As we do this, we confirm in each other that struggling incipient sense of pride and strength, the divisive barriers begin to melt, we feel this growing solidarity with our sisters. We see ourselves as prime, find our centers inside of ourselves. We find receding the sense of alienation, of being cut off, of being behind a locked window, of being unable to get out what we know is inside. We feel a realness, feel at last we are coinciding with ourselves. With that real self, with that consciousness, we begin a revolution to end the imposition of all coercive identifications, and to achieve maximum autonomy in human expression.


    Black and Latino gay men came together in 1970 to form The Third World Gay Revolution. Written in English and Spanish, this manifesto speaks out against the oppression of gay people of color within their own communities.

    Sisters and Brothers of the Third World, you who call yourselves “revolutionaries” have failed to deal with your sexist attitudes. Instead you cling to male-supremacy and therefore to the conditioned role of oppressors. Brothers still fight for the privileged position of man-on-the-top. Sisters quickly fall in line behind-their-men. By your counterrevolutionary struggle to maintain and to force heterosexuality and the nuclear family, you perpetuate outmoded remnants of Capitalism. By your anti-homosexual stance you have used the weapons of the oppressor thereby becoming the agent of the oppressor.

    NOW RESolution

    Less than one year after the purge of lesbian members from NOW, this formal resolution won approval at the NOW national convention and brought lesbians and lesbian issues permanently into the feminist movement.

    THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED: That NOW recognizes the double oppression of women who are lesbians, and
    BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED: That a woman's right to her own person includes the right to define and express her own sexuality and to choose her own lifestyle, and
    BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED: That NOW acknowledge the oppression of lesbians as a legitimate concern of feminism.


    Belonging to the Civil Rights and women's movement's, but not fully represented in either, the Massachusetts- based Combahee River Collective articulated the black feminist lesbian perspective. This was an entirely new viewpoint and had to be created, a member said, from scratch.

    We believe that sexual politics under patriarchy is as pervasive in Black women's lives as are the politics of class and race. We also often find it difficult to separate race from class from sex oppression because in our lives they are most often experienced simultaneously. We know that there is such a thing as racial-sexual oppression which is neither solely racial nor solely sexual, e.g., the history of rape of Black women by white men as a weapon of political repression.

    Although we are feminists and Lesbians, we feel solidarity with progressive Black men and do not advocate the fractionalization that white women who are separatists demand. Our situation as Black people necessitates that we have solidarity around the fact of race, which white women of course do not need to have with white men, unless it is their negative solidarity as racial oppressors. We struggle together with Black men against racism, while we also struggle with Black men about sexism.”


    We condemn attempts to label us as “victims,” which implies defeat, and we are only occasionally “patients,” which implies passivity, helplessness, and dependence upon the care of others. We are “people with AIDS.”

    We recommend that all people:

    Support us in our struggle against those who would fire us from our jobs, evict us from our homes, refuse to touch us, separate us from our loved ones, our community, or our peers, since there is no evidence that AIDS can be spread by casual social contact. Do not scapegoat people with AIDS, blame us for the epidemic, or generalize about our lifestyles.

    1,112 AND COUNTING
    LARRY KRAMER (1983)

    In 1983, the new epidemic AIDS had generated a largely tepid response within the gay community. Author and playwright Kramer, who had already helped found the Gay Men’s Health Crisis, here used analysis and rhetoric to mobilize his community to political action in the pages of the New York Native.

    I am angry and frustrated almost beyond the bound my skin and bones and body and brain can encompass. My sleep is tormented by nightmares and visions of lost friends, and my days are flooded by the tears of funerals and memorial services and seeing my sick friends. How many of us must die before all of us living fight back?
    I know that unless I fight with every ounce of my energy I will hate myself. I hope, I pray, I implore you to feel the same.

    JAMES S. TINNEY (1986)

    Minister, journalist, speechwriter, and professor, Tinney’s passion for Black Pentecostalism and for political mobilization led to this article, which focuses on bridging gay liberation and worship.

    White gay churches have, within the past 10 years or more, come into existence under circum- stances related to the oppression of sexual identity that parallel the circumstances related to oppression of Black identity. Unfortunately, however, many Black lesbians and gays find the same racial oppressiveness in these white gay churches that Blacks generally experience in predominantly white churches of whatever label.

    Black gay churches should be supported because, on the one hand, they represent the pluralism that America and American Christianity are supposed to represent; and on the other hand, they represent the same desire for freedom, access, encouragement, understanding, and recognition that Blacks find impossible in most white churches, and that white gays find impossible in most “straight” churches.

    SANDY STONE (1988)

    A new and emboldened transgender movement emerged in the late 1980s and early 1990s. This essay, first presented in 1988 and then published in 1991, participated in the redefinition of the movement and the beginning of transgender scholarship.

    The essence of transsexualism is the act of passing… I could not ask a transsexual for anything more inconceivable than to forgo passing, to be consciously "read", to read oneself aloud--and by this troubling and productive reading, to begin to write oneself into the discourses by which one has been written--in effect, then, to become a [look out-- dare I say it again?] postranssexual. Still, transsexuals know that silence can be an extremely high price to pay for acceptance. I want to speak directly to the brothers and sisters who may read/"read" this and say: I ask all of us to use the strength which brought us through the effort of restructuring identity, and which has also helped us to live in silence and denial, for a re-visioning of our lives. I know you feel that most of the work is behind you and that the price of invisibility is not great. But, although individual change is the foundation of all things, it is not the end of all things. Perhaps it's time to begin laying the groundwork for the next transformation.

    This page titled Appendix.2: Ten Texts to Know is shared under a CC BY-NC 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Kyle Morgan and Meg Rodriguez (Humboldt State University Press) via source content that was edited to the style and standards of the LibreTexts platform; a detailed edit history is available upon request.