Saturday, October 02, 2010

"We Need Each Other"

I found these flyers from the first specifically gay political event I ever attended while digging out materials for my recent post on the 1984 gay march on the UN I helped organize. They were from a protest of police raids on Bughouse Square in Chicago, a popular cruising ground/meeting place for gay men, back in 1979. There's something quaint about the content of these flyers: "One Chicago for Gays & Lesbians, Also!" "Peaceful March" and "We Need Each Other." They're such plaintive calls for decency and solidarity, it's interesting to me that such simple, basic human rights level pleas should have been the political discourse a mere five years before the complicated sloganeering and copywrighting of that 1984 effort.

I don't remember too much about this event, or who "Gays & Lesbians for Action" were. The paragraph on the front of the event's actual program read, "In recent months several of our Bars, Business, and Meeting Places have subjected to unusual police action -- Bar Raids, excessive use of force, entrapement, and selective arrest. To adress this proverbal 'The straw that broke the camel's back', we have organized ourselves here tonight to prove that we, too, are enfranchised, viable, and visible citizens of the City of Chicago, and State of Illinois." (spelling and punctuation all as it appears. --ish)

This was not an event organized by a sophisticated political machine. The inside of the program appears above, with suggestions for chants and songs to be performed along the march and rally. Click on it to embiggen; it's worth a read. "Two four six eight, Gay is just as good as straight; Three five seven nine, Lesbians are might fine." I actually remember that chant.

In some ways we've come a long long way.

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