I want to ask a friendly New Yorker a favor, but first here’s the back-story. My friend Charles Coe, poet and mensch extraordinaire, called today to ask if I knew that something I had written was featured at the Stonewall anniversary exhibition at the New York Public Library. He said he heard that the piece was under glass, accompanied by a plaque with my name. I actually knew a bit about it because my Google self-alert had picked up a mention of me on a rather cool gay blog called Band of Thebes.
The writer was describing the exhibition called 1969: The Year of Gay Liberation. He said:
Other artifacts on display include issues of The Ladder, copies of the newspaper Gay (featuring a movie review called "The Bores in the Band"), and Sue Katz's mimeographed essay "Smash Phallic Tyranny."
In fact, the published piece was ultimately titled “Smash Phallic Imperialism” and was illustrated by a drawing I had done of a stars-and-stripes dick, upside down in a trash can. Ahh, those were the days. It first appeared (1970?) in a queer newspaper that was the collaboration of two Boston groups: our Stick It In The Wall MotherFucker Collective of revolutionary, working-class feminist lesbians, and a collective of radical faeries, some lovely gender-bending guys who mixed mustaches with tutus and ball gowns with beards. If you held the newspaper in one direction, it was a dyke front page; if you flipped it over and turned it around, it was a gay boy front page.
We named our rag “Lavender Vision” after Betty Friedan’s homo-terrified assertion, on the eve of International Women’s Day, that, “We will not be cowed by the lavender menace.” She had heard the (accurate) rumor that for the first time lesbians were going to be “out” at the march in NY, Boston and LA. Perhaps in other places that I can’t recall. Our newspaper lasted all of two issues, I believe. (Disclaimer: All of the above are shards of memory I’m dredging up and I cannot personally swear by any of it.)
I’m not sure how a mimeograph ended up in this prestigious exhibition, but I suspect that the venerable Allen Young – who included me in the early (first?) queer anthology, Out of the Closets: Voices of Gay Liberation, which he edited with Karla Jay – is behind it. I’m sure Allen will weigh in when he reads this.
In any event, the exhibition ends on June 30th and I’d be ever so grateful to any New York friend who can make it over to the library and take a couple of photos of me under glass.