Martin Duberman: Why LGBT Activism Needs to Return to Its Radical RootsHistorians in the News
tags: LGBT, LGBT Activism
Renowned LGBT historian Martin Duberman, who turns 88 this August, says he has no nostalgia for the early, pre-Stonewall days of the gay movement.
Growing up in what he now ironically refers to as “liberated Manhattan,” and entering young adulthood in the 1950s, he remembers the extreme risks of being gay in public.
“I lived through it,” Duberman tells The Daily Beast. “When we went out at night to cruise or whatever, we would carry in our wallets the names of the one or two lawyers in New York who could get us out of jail if we were entrapped by a plainclothes cop.”
And yet, if this venerated scholar and author has a message for the current mainstream of the LGBT movement, it’s this: They need to look backwards for inspiration—back to the radical gay politics of the early 1970s that were, in turn, a direct response to the suffocating mid-century oppression that queer people of his generation bore.
Duberman, a pioneering gay activist and one of the original founders of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, has written over two dozen books and several plays over the last five decades. He has been especially concerned with cataloging queer and radical history, from the abolitionist movement to the Stonewall riots to the AIDS crisis.
His new book Has the Gay Movement Failed? (University of California Press)makes the provocative but compelling case that the fight for same-sex marriage marked a costly detour away from the radical politics at the root of the LGBT rights movement.
In the book, Duberman remembers fondly the “boisterous, uncompromising, hell-raising” politics of the Gay Liberation Front, an activist group that was active after the Stonewall riots of 1969, and wonders where the LGBT rights movement lost its way. ...
comments powered by Disqus
- The Debt Ceiling Law is now a Tool of Partisan Political Power; Abolish It
- Amitai Etzioni, Theorist of Communitarianism, Dies at 94
- Kagan, Sotomayor Join SCOTUS Cons in Sticking it to Unions
- New Evidence: Rehnquist Pretty Much OK with Plessy v. Ferguson
- Ohio Unions Link Academic Freedom and the Freedom to Strike
- First Round of Obama Administration Oral Histories Focus on Political Fault Lines and Policy Tradeoffs
- The Tulsa Race Massacre was an Attack on Black People; Rebuilding Policies were an Attack on Black Wealth
- British Universities are Researching Ties to Slavery. Conservative Alumni Say "Enough"
- Martha Hodes Reconstructs Her Memory of a 1970 Hijacking
- Jeremi Suri: Texas Higher Ed Conflict "Doesn't Have to Be This Way"