Queer Femmes Respond – Out of the Closets: Voices of Gay Liberation edited by Karla Jay and Allen Young

Look out, straights! Gay sisters and brothers are self-realizing, turning it out, turning away from the miserable, inactive liberal path, turning our backs on straight-fronting and that whole adjustment school! With homosexual self-assertion, we are going to wear our gowns all year round, and we are telling it like it is: we are not sick or depraved, we are integrating our personalities, rejecting the pig mentality and shouting, “Off the couches, into the streets!” We will no longer be your group freak and we are going to grab the Man by the crotch and make him howl! Better blatant than latent, baby; gay liberation is revolution for all people, by the people. RIGHT ON!!!

The above pastiche is from the 1972 book, Out of the Closets, a compilation of essays, poems, biographical pieces, interviews, and manifestos. Tonight, my Historical Queer Book Group will be discussing it, and that is one of the ways I’m honoring Juneteenth: paying attention to queer people’s radical history, discussing how things have changed, how things have stayed the same, what we can learn from the gay liberation movement of the 60s and 70s. I gain strength and joy from reading what the queer organizers and activists who came before me have to say, their wisdom, their mistakes, their hope and fervor. I am inspired by so much of what they did, can learn from the issues they were passionate about, some as relevant as always and still being addressed, some that are relevant but have been set aside, some no longer as pressing – all of it food for thought as well as very good and educational company in the current world strife.

May your Juneteenth be filled with inspiration and good company, also! There is no one way to show up and we need all of us with all of our various gifts and abilities. Do what you can, where you can. You are necessary and precious, and we are in this together, working and learning from where we are to add to the healing.

Every Friday, I showcase a queer femme goddess. I want to feature you! Write to me at thetotalfemme@gmail.com and let me shine a spotlight on your beautiful, unique, femme story! If you’ve written a femme story or poem or song, oh, please let me post it!

 New Femme Friday feature starting spring 2020: Queer Femmes Respond. Are you reading more poetry? Are you navigating various technologies in order to see your folx and not be so isolated? Are you still going out to work? Are you able to get out for walks? Who’s home with you? We queer femmes are meeting these unsettling times with queer femme panache, and I want to hear about it! Along the lines of the Corona Letters over at the Sewanee Review, please send in what you’re doing, how you’re staying centered and sane! Write me at thetotalfemme@gmail.com with questions or ideas or a full-on post (with bio, if possible)!

 At the Total Femme, my intention is to post three times a week: Meditations for Queer Femmes on Monday, Pingy-Dingy Wednesday on Wednesday and Femme Friday on Friday. Rather than play catch-up in a stressful fashion on those weeks when life prevents posting, I have decided to just move gaily forward: if I miss a Monday, the next post will be on Wednesday, and so on. Thank you, little bottle of antibiotics for inspiring me in this! (“…if it’s almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Don’t take a double dose to make up for a missed one.”) As I recover from treatment for breast cancer, however, I’m just going to post whenever I can manage.