North Carolina Newspapers

    Expose Yourself!
The only thing wrong with being gay or lesbian is that we are the objects of prejudice
and discrimination. The question here is not whether or not its OK to be gay or lesbian
(forthwith referred to, for brevity, simply as "gay"), for most of us know that it is, and
furthermore, we are aware of the alternative(s). The question is. How do we rid ourselves
of this negative and unjustified burden? The answer, my brothers and sisters, is through
exposure and education. People are afraid of what they do not understand; through
increased gay public exposure will come education of the masses, and through education
will come enlightenment, and enlightenment will ultimately signal the disintegration of
our stereotyped, ill-conceived and misconstrued chains of oppression.
Since there is nothing intrinsically evil about homosexuality, our problems are
largely ones of image. The natural progression would seem to be that as exposure
unfolded, acceptance would increase. Unfortunately though, as Voltaire said, "Prejudice
is the reason of fools" and prejudice increases as people become threatened by a minor
ity’s increasing numbers and obvious social presence and potency. Hence, we cannot merely
expose ourselves; we must teach our audience simultaneously and be conscious of what we
project.
Regrettably, in the past, the undiscerning eye of society has seen only the very
decadent, very criminal, or very androgynous side of gay life. I do not condemn gays who
are "on the fringe," but WE all know that all lesbians don't wear flannel shirts and drive
pick-ups and that all gay men don’t do drag and drugs and that we all certainly don’t have
AIDS. Not that I condemn anyone who hs AIDS or who cross dresses or who drives a pick-up,
but it is important for the general public to become cognizant of the diversity among gays
and for us to assert that as for a single, all-encompassing gay lifestyle, that is some
thing people adopt when they have no style of their own.
I maintain that if the Republicans can sell Ronald Reagan, one can sell anything.
Unfortunately a national ad campaign is beyond the resources of gay rights organizations.
Thus, it is up to YOU to sell youselves. Now I’m not saying that you men all have to put
splints on your wrists or that you women must all adorn yourself with eyeshadow and
acrylic nails to facilitate the appearance of normality. Just be yourself and let people
know that you take pride in who and what you are! If you internalize your oppression and
don’t counter it, not only will society at large feel and appear justified, but you your
self will come to believe that your sexuality is wrong.
Gays deserve to be taken more seriously than as a bunch of deviates running around
engaging in clandestine "crimes against nature." As cliche or hackneyed as it may sound,
people are people, and there are good gays and bad gays just as there are good and bad
heterosexuals, good and bad Christians, or good and bag Caucasians. We all know that, but
as a minority trying to gain social acceptance, we must illustrate our diversity and
OPENLY promote ourselves with a positive image. Furthermore we must never apologize for
our respective sexual orientations. "You are a child of the universe, no less than the
trees and stars; you have a right to be here.... Therefore be at peace with God, whatever
you conceive Him [or Her -ed] to be, and keep peace with your soul" [from the
"Desiderata"] Show society this inherent right and this internal peace. Drag them
kicking and screaming into the 1980s. Expose yourself!
—Arthur Goodman, III
Political Homophobia: What can we do?
A recent news feature reported on the
difficulties that the new Democratic
National Chairman Paul Kirk is having in
reaching an accommodation with conserva
tive Southern Democrats. Alabama governor
George Wallace was quoted as saying. The
Party’s got to get away from some of the
ultra-liberal positions that they [have]
advocated."
In the event that you, like I, were
wondering just what these "ultra—liberal
positions" might be, the article provided
a chilling illustration from the Alabama
state party chairman, "We in Alabama
reserve the right to discriminate against
homosexuals."
Make no mistake about it, we are the
lightning rod, the hated and feared minor
ity as "morally depraved" as abortionists,
as "unnatural" as womens’ "libbers, as
misguided as "godless atheists. Compared
to us, labor unions, the general Black
population, and "Mondale liberals" seem
almost redeemable.
Various articles in The New Republic
and other neo-liberal publications are
making more moderate calls for the aban
donment of "special Interest politics" by
the national Democratic party and for
efforts to reach an accommodation with
conservative, local Democrats, especially
in the south. Will the party concede the
"right to discrimninate?" If it enter
tains the notion, what can we as "the
minority it is perfectly legal to hate" do
to forestall it and the more general
challenges we face these days to our
rights and personal dignity?
For starter’s I’d suggest contributing
to the Human Rights Campaign Fund, a
dependable "gay PAC" which has used cam-
(see page 4)
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