In years following the New York Stonewall Riots, there was little pro-affirming LGBT literature available to the public. Enter The Gay Liberation Book, edited by Gary Noguera and Len Richmond, who decided early in 1972 to approach celebrities and noteworthy personalities of the day to solicit content for a book, which quickly evolved into an anthology of pro-gay affirming essays, commentary, poetry, etc. Much original material was created and submitted for publication by these contributors that at that time included: John Lennon, Allen Ginsberg, Gore Vidal, and William Burroughs, among a host of others.
The Gay Liberation Book, is a seminal work of importance of its day, as well as an important part of gay history worthy of acknowledgement and preservation. It was first published in 1973, and has been out of print for many years. Included here on this website are some of the original published works, including supplemental content not available elsewhere. The battle for LGBT rights continues to this day, For example in Uganda, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and Sudan death can be the punishment for LGBT people.
This non-profit Web site is intended to preserve the original content of The Gay Liberation Book, so that it is not lost to time.
Introduction - Dennis Altman, New York City, 1972
I first met Len and Gary at the Mill Valley bus depot across the bay from San Francisco. We had corresponded about the book; they had invited me to stay with them while I was revisiting the States. The warmth and affection that they so spontaneously showed me represents in some ways the real essence of gay liberation.
For as well as the marches, the demonstrations, the "zaps" described in the book, gay liberation is also an attempt by gay people, both men and women, to create a new sense of community made possible by our rejection of the socially defined concepts of what being a homosexual means.
In the simplest terms gay liberation means a realization by gay people that we have been not so much fucked up as fucked over. As the social stigma of homosexuals as sick, evil, maladjusted, etc., ad nauseam, is replaced by an affirmation by gay people that homosexuality is as valid and valuable a form of sexual expression as is heterosexuality -- and that both are ultimately part of the same potential for real sexual liberation -- so, too, gay people feel the need to come together in the search for a genuine form of community.
As so many of the articles in this anthology make clear, one of the worst aspects of gay oppression has been the creation among homosexuals of a schizophrenic outlook. The traditional homosexual -- the stereotype the media so loves to portray, as in The Boys in the Band -- lives two lives, seeking to divorce as completely as possible his sexual/emotional nature from his career/family commitments. Of course, there have always been exceptions to this pattern, individuals prepared to risk persecution and ostracism in order to live in the open. But it is only with the emergence of gay liberation that homosexuals in large numbers have had the confidence and the pride to come out, to declare ourselves publicly and to act out our love for each other, not just in the privacy of the ghetto bars and baths but also on the streets and in public places.
The emergence of the Gay Liberation Movement in the late 1960s has been documented elsewhere; this book represents not so much a history as a collage, a collection of the anger, the pride, the joy that gay liberation has unleashed among homosexuals, not only in America but through much of the Western world. For Gary and Len have included material from other countries, in all of which, with local variations and facing somewhat different sorts of oppression, gay movements have spring up. (There are, too, movements from which no material seems available, as well as many societies -- such as the USSR and South Africa -- where the organization of homosexuals, as well as other oppressed groups, is totally prohibited.
Like the women's movement, the gay movement is directed both internally and externally; that is, it seeks to attack social oppression while also altering the consciousness of gay people themselves. It is a mistake, and one that extreme proponents of revolution by consciousness are prone to make, to assume away the real oppressive nature of social institutions -- schools, churches, the law, even (perhaps especially) the nuclear family as we know it. Their role in homosexual oppression needs to be understood and combated. So too must the self-image that so many homosexuals have of ourselves, the guilt and self-doubt and inability to related to our brothers that social oppression has laid on us. Ultimately, gay liberation implies a reappraisal of society at large and of human relationships, and in a society that brands homosexuality as perverse and antisocial, the very way in which we live our lives becomes a fact political.
Copyright ©2022 - The Gay Liberation Book . All rights reserved under national and international copyright, registered trademark, and trademark laws.
Powered by GoDaddy