Sunday, October 12, 2014

Twilight of the Gay-Rights Movement (?)

Here is my controversial thought of the day. 
The American gay-rights movement began with the bold initiative of Harry Hay and his friends in Los Angeles in 1950. Today, as we look forward with some confidence to the securing of same-sex marriage in all 50 states, the work of this movement is pretty much done. When I joined the effort in 1968 it speedily became clear that two things were required. 1) Information in print form was needed that could supplant the homophobic rubbish that inquiring young people were certain to find in libraries and bookstores in those days. And so with my colleagues I created the Research Guide and the Encyclopedia of Homosexuality. These books, together with much other valuable material, are still available. 2) The sodomy laws, which then prevailed in almost every state, were the linchpin of everything that was holding us back. So, even though I am not a lawyer, I joined the National Committee for Sexual Civil Liberties, eventually supplemented and surpassed by other organizations with the goal of dismantling the sodomy laws and other adverse statutes and legislation. This task too has been largely accomplished.
I have not stopped thinking and writing, but now I am concentrating on other topics. It is time for the gay-rights movement to declare success - and for the rest of us to move on - at least on the political front as we know it.
There is still a need to preserve gay culture in archives and libraries Gay museums have appeared in several cities.  Above all community centers help many people.
There is also need for international effort, as seen in countries like Uganda, Russia and much of the Arab world.  
Yet the work of the US-centered movement seems to be complete.  Only some careerists in Washington and a few other places think otherwise.