Page 127 - Gay San Francisco_Eyewitness Drummer
P. 127

Gay San Francisco: Eyewitness Drummer                107
                    In just such an endless stream of personalization of an his-
                torical moment, the writer Edmund White, like Woody Allen’s omni-
                present character in Zelig, claims he was part of the Stonewall
                Riots; so do hundreds, if not thousands, of others, who were also,
                of course, at Woodstock eight weeks later! The review-proof White
                and the others may have turned up on the second night but that’s
                not original-recipe Stonewall. It’s all wannabe sons of Christopher
                Isherwood screaming the mantra about 1930s Berlin: “I Am a
                Camera!” Of course, you are, darling; sit down and have a martini,
                so literary devices can be separated from reality.
                     Such fly-on-the-wall point-of-view coverage makes great
                copy; it makes human interest; it’s a chance for a post-factum
                photo op; it makes a movie; it builds careers; it wins GLBT awards.
                But it’s not truth. It’s worse: it’s not quite the truth, but it seems
                true enough until the sniff test.
                    Perhaps journalists over-characterize drag queens as “ultra-
                tough real men” because that definition is one way to rebut and
                deconstruct the straight homophobic prejudice that “all gay men
                want to be women” and thus, in the straight mind, are as deserv-
                ing of abuse as are “women who don’t fight back.”
                    In a GLBT society constantly bragging about inclusion, GLBT
                journalists, historians, and novelists might start liberating their
                perceptions of the reality-TV mise en scene before their very eyes.
                    It’s necessary for authors to correct and square off the lists
                of simpleminded threes: “The riot was fought by drag queens,
                hustlers, and transgenders.”
                    This may be true of some gay riot some place, but all gay riots
                everywhere forever had no gay male representation?

             FROM MARCH 1977 TO DECEMBER 31, 1979?

             Eyewitness historian Mark Thompson, one of the important former edi-
             tors of The Advocate, reminded me with a wonderful objective correlative
             of what kind of “hysteria” gay life in San Francisco was up against during
             the high time I was editor in chief of Drummer.
                Mark Thompson, separating facts and legends, is writing both a
             screenplay and an analytical biography of author and photographer Rob-
             ert Opel, the first “star” created by Drummer. Thompson is the author
             of several books including Gay Spirit: Myth and Meaning (1987) and the
             seminal anthology, Leatherfolk: Radical Sex, People, Politics, and Practice
             (1991). His article “Black Leather Wings: The Radical Faeries Host a
             Leather Gathering” appeared in Drummer 136 (January 1990), pages 6-8,
             with seven photographs by Thompson, pages 66-69.

           ©Jack Fritscher, Ph.D., All Rights Reserved—posted 05-05-2017
   122   123   124   125   126   127   128   129   130   131   132