THE LIBERATION ANTHOLOGY
Tales From The Revolution
No one understood a revolution had begun …
And not everything changed immediately
But things did change; sometimes for better, sometimes for worse
As the image above suggests, the place is quieter now, peaceful, an iconic shrine. With the passage of time the Inn became tamer and more civilized, a place where people came to pay tribute.
But that wasn’t always the case, of course.
There was a time when things were angrier, nastier, far less polite and civilized; a time when newspapers could make fun of those who were angry and decided to stand up and fight back.
Hard as it may be to realize, there was a time when people were beaten and bashed for being gay; arrested for being different by cops who looked all the same, with their mustaches, billy clubs and hatred for anyone different from them.
It still happens today for some in America.
And so the question.
How did we get from there to here?
The Liberation Anthology is intended to be a collection of stories that focus on different aspects of gay life in America from the pre-Stonewall nineteen-sixties up to the present time. The stories will be fictional, but fiction informed by history.
They won’t be stories about the gay liberation movement or its history, however. They’ll just be small tales from the revolution, stories about everyday people struggling to grow up in a country that despised them, made fun of them, and persecuted them for being different.
There are no restrictions on the types of stories that could be included in the anthology. Some may focus on universal themes that every gay person experiences in life and how that was made harder or perhaps even impossible just by the fact of being gay.
Long before there was gay pride, for example, there was a first love and a first time for all of us. Sometimes the two coincided, but other times they were entirely different. That some people were able to persevere and experience such things in the face of adversity and hatred was liberating. But it’s sad that still others never could and ended up settling for furtive sex in the shadows.
Whether they succeeded or failed in finding love, all of them struggled; and just by struggling they made things easier for generations to come. It’s a topic I address in one of the stories featured in this anthology, First Love, First Time.
Other stories may focus on different aspects of gay life that emerged or became more visible in the wake of Stonewall. There are all kinds of gay people: cubs and bears, drag queens and leather men, exhibitionists, hedonists, masters and slaves; too many types to recount here. Some could be be the focus of a story and how they contributed to our liberation.
Still other stories could be focused on events that shaped gay life in America like the AIDS pandemic that swept through the community beginning in the 1980s; the don’t ask, don’t tell effort by the U.S. military to acknowledge gay life while sweeping it under the rug in the 1990s and beyond; or the marriage equality struggle of more recent vintage.
I’m not putting any restrictions on the topics that could be covered. Indeed, I would welcome suggestions for the anthology. But the individual stories will stand or fall on their own merits. As in real life, there’s no grand design that will produce some inevitable outcome.
Unlike First Love, First Time, which was an experimental story and remains unfinished for now, Homo is a much longer story that takes us from the beginning of the 1970s into the 1980s. It’s one of my more important stories because it tries to keep alive the memory of that crucial decade.
Consider the version featured here an initial draft. If I can find the time, I plan to rewrite it in order to tighten it up and make it even more compelling. Of the two stories, I would suggest you begin with Homo.
Read Chapter 1 of Homo
Read Chapter 1 of First Love, First Time