On Wednesday, September third, I was interviewed by an associate of the About Face Theater, here in Chicago. The interview went wonderfully. I had two hours to talk about MYSELF! And if I do say so myself, I AM a fascinating creature (loud razz berry).
I misunderstood Ms. Larson, the Halsted Center Directer, who set the interview up. Originally, I understood the interview was for a proposed article; The material wasn’t for an article, it was part of research for a play the theater associate wants to write. The play is meant to deal with the journeys, travails, and victories of gay persons of my generation. The contact came out of a comment I’d made to Ms. Larson, at the last parade, that someone should write a history of our generation so that younger generations understand that what they enjoy comes out of the emotional, psychological and sometimes physical gulag that the forties, fifties and sixties was for gay people. They should know the sacrifices that were made, the lives that were half-lived, even destroyed, by fear and ignorance. They should know, too, of the forthrightness and courage of some who lived openly, even in those times.
Please know that when I use the term gulag, I do not mean to diminish Jews’, gypsies’ and homosexuals’ experience in the Hitler era. That was a sight of evil’s face beyond description, but the gay experience in America, to single out a specific face, was not much less, just quieter in its execution. And like the afflicted people of Hitler’s era, we need to keep our story alive so the future does not become complacent and clueless about how the privilege they will live, then, came to be. Our history is an extension of, a companion to, The great Civil Rights struggle. Black people have already forgotten, or ignore, that Bayard Rustin, a Black, gay man, helped initiate a Freedom Ride, in 1947, to challenge segregation on Interstate buses, . Martin Luther King Jr. was eighteen, his Montgomery, Alabama Bus Boycott would not be until 1955. Mr. Rustin became his ally. Historically, however, he got moved to the back of the bus, so to speak.
However, it’s time to get off the soapbox before I bore.