Radical books - Feminist writings - Socialist theory - Race liberation - Queer activism
Gay Resistance: The Hidden History
An impassioned survey of the origins of homophobia and sexual oppression and the thousand-year struggle for lesbian/gay liberation.
July 2017 Small Press Distribution "Staff Picks" selection
$7.00, 56 pages, ISBN 0-932323-03-0
Both newcomers and veterans, students and teachers, will benefit from this pithy booklet -- a classic of the 1970s -- which reviews the legacy of queer defiance and proposes bold strategies for achieving the rights of lesbians/gays/bisexuals and transgender people.
The authors pinpoint the origins of homophobia and tell the story of those who fought back: from German organizers in the 1860s, to the homophile pioneers of the 1950s Mattachine Society; from the youth and drag queens of the 1969 Stonewall Rebellion, to the Gay Liberation Front and the eruption of lesbian feminism in the 1970s. The role of lesbians and gays of color is acknowledged and the work of groundbreaking lesbian writers is discussed. The weakness and strengths of various campaigns for sexual freedom are evaluated.
The book includes an introduction by University of Washington Associate Professor Roger Simpson, author of the history An Evening at the Garden of Allah. A wide-ranging bibliography points readers toward further information on the LGBT struggle.
July 2017 Small Press Distribution "Staff Picks" selection reviewed by Trisha Low:
It's a strange time to be alive in 2017. Late capitalism is a hybrid and deadly beast. In an age of alternative facts, and covfefe; at a time where Google has a 20 minute long float at the SF Pride Parade and the best trans healthcare plan in America, it's hard to know up from down. But there are some books that remind you that things are simpler than they appear. That pride was first a protest, that police brutality is never acceptable and yet ubiquitous and that what you are feeling, as you stand there on Folsom Street in pleather and glitter, watching the Google float pass, is in fact not pride but Gay Shame-something for which you should be proud.
GAY RESISTANCE: THE HIDDEN HISTORY, a backlist gem from Red Letter Press is a reprinting of a 1970 pamphlet first seen in Freedom Socialist. Delightfully brusque, it outlines a brief and truncated history of gay resistance-from homosexuality in antiquity, all the way through to a rejection of 1980 liberal reformism-all the while maintaining a firm anti-capitalist stance. Sure, like all revolutionary polemics, this text isn't perfect. Like all things from back in the day, it cursorily mentions intersectional politics without illustrating a true solidarity with other civil rights movements led by people of color, which, will, I'm sure, result in many a knowing eyeroll from us out here in the Bay Area. But the truth is that this is anticapitalist, queer propaganda at its best-and its clarity and polemic is, in this moment, less nostalgic than it is refreshing and necessary: "The gay movement is a small and vulnerable segment of a whole society in turmoil. But allied with other revolutionary warriors, it can majestically bear aloft the most powerful weapon of all-the banner of socialist feminist internationalism and permanent revolution for the human race."