Seeks Wider Acceptance
By JOE GOLD and
Star Staff Writers
(Second of a Three-Part Series)
On Friday, June 27, 1969, there was a full moon. Judy Garland
was buried. And a police raid on the Stonewall, a Greenwich
Village gay bar, turned into a three-day riot in which angry
homosexuals first raised the cry of "Gay Power."
In Tucson, almost two years later, the cry was softer,
the results of bringing together gay liberationists from
"We need to enlighten the public that there are homosexuals
who are being harassed by people who do not understand.
We don't want to be violent or destructive, but the only
way to let people know about the oppression of the homosexual
is to bring it to the forefront," said Carol, a middle-aged
lesbian from California and one of the organizers of GLAD
II (Gay Liberation of the Arizona Desert).
To homosexuals across the country, June 27, 1969, was the
birthdate of gay militancy. The movement, like so many other
struggles for recognition of a minority, grew during that
summer, sparking demonstrations in New York City, San Francisco
and Los Angeles.
Tucson's June meeting attracted about 50 homosexuals. GLAD
meetings, held every Sunday at 3 p.m. at 838 N. 4th Ave.,
drew an average of about 25 persons.
The emphasis is on gay pride. A leaflet printed by GLAD
that "We accept ourselves with total self-respect,
and respect our associates as they are, not as society and
its arbitrators say they should be."
Emphasis on self-understanding and acceptance is one goal
of the weekly consciousness-raising sessions.
The sessions take the form of group therapy and discussions
of personal problems which may or may not be related to
Professional guidance counseling is also available, but
gay liberationists are quick to deny any idea that the availability
of counseling means that homosexuals are, by nature, maladjusted.
The purpose of GLAD is two-fold. Most apparent is the goal
of full acceptance of homosexuals by society at large.
Less apparent—but just as important as social acceptance—is
the goal of liberating homosexuals in their own minds, helping
one another to understand themselves as complete human beings,
including their own sexual values.
GLAD's statement of purpose commits its members to:
—Understand, accept and enjoy themselves.
—Inform and educate the public on the subject of homosexuality.
—Promote the repeal of laws prohibiting sexual acts
in private between consenting adults.
—Alter discriminatory policies and practices applied
The organization is a social and educational one. Political
action is contemplated only if the leaders of the Tucson
establishment will not listen to or compromise on the organizations
requests, particularly requests concerning discrimination.
GLAD also clearly states that "this organization was
not created to accomplish or accelerate sexual encounters"—lest,
one member says, it get the the image of a gay bar without
Carol, a student at Pima College, explains part of what
she sees as a widespread public misconception. "Most
people think a homosexual male is going to attack another
male in a men's room somewhere, or that a lesbian is a woman
who can't get a husband."
One educational goal, Carol continues, is to get information
on homosexuals into school libraries so that at least young
people can learn to understand how gay people are different—and
how they are alike.
Carol says that being gay involves an entire lifestyle.
But she adds that gays are still basically human beings—choosing
to live with different values than most of society.
There seems to be no great showing of public concern, either
for or against homosexuals. Chuck, a prime organizer of
Tucson's contingent, attributes the lack of concern to the
transient nature of Tucson's population.
With people coming in and out of Davis-Monthan AFB and
the University of Arizona, many don't stay long enough to
worry about dealing with gay people, he reasons, and the
people who do stay prefer not to get involved.
Chuck came to Tucson from the East to attend the university
a year ago.
"If you want to be gay and don't want anyone to know
it, Tucson is a good town. People don't get involved in
anything here. So there isn't much harassment, either,"
But that same apathy, he says, "oppresses us because
no one knows and no one cares about us" at a time when
gay liberationists want to be recognized and understood.
The effort to stimulate understanding includes a seminar
on homosexuality run through the Free University, which
operates around the university campus and Pima College.
Most GLAD members are students at one of the two schools.
Continue to Part
3, Challenging discrimination