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236                                     Jack Fritscher, Ph.D.
              advertisements. By June 1970, thousands of gay militants — veterans of
            civil rights, women’s lib, and peace movements — marched past news-
            media cameras with signs reading “Gay Pride” and “Gay Power” at the
            Christopher Street Liberation Day in Central Park. In my journal, I
            noted: gay character changed. That years-long journal grew into my love-
            letter book about the first Gay Renaissance, Some Dance to Remember: A
            Memoir-Novel of San Francisco 1970-1982.
                           “Bliss was it that dawn to be alive,
                             but to be young was heaven.”
                         — William Wordsworth, “The Prelude”
               These events, outing gay speak, began the teach-in to make straight
            pop-culture bilingual. Just as in the early 1960s the Peace Movement and
            Civil Rights Movement debated their differences, then joined together
            for political strength, the best drag that queers ever did was cloaking
            gay liberation in the keywords of the civil rights movement. Revolution-
            ary change drove the mood-swings during that “Stonewall summer” of
            America landing a man on the moon, of Charles Manson, of Easy Rider,
            of the Tet counteroffensive in Vietnam, and of Woodstock.
               Five years before Stonewall, at the same instant that Sontag unleashed
            “Camp,” Life magazine (June 26, 1964) framed the lifestyle of masculine-
            identified gay liberation in the feature article, “Homosexuality in Amer-
            ica,” with the lead lines: “A secret world grows open and bolder. Society
            is forced to look at it — and try to understand it.” It was like sending an
            engraved invitation to San Francisco and started the migration of the
            gay nation west to the Left Coast. When Judy Garland, the ventrilo-
            quist of gay code whose funeral ignited the passions of Stonewall, sang
            “San Francisco” for the live concert Judy at Carnegie Hall, there can be
            heard — recorded for the first time, April 23, 1961 — the group-cheering
            of gay men’s voices. Like baby’s first word, there was something so thrill-
            ing and uncloseted in that out-shout “finding the gay voice” that the
            quintessential framing poet of gay synonyms, Walt Whitman, would have
            recognized the united gay roar as part of his glorious “barbaric yawp.”
               “Coming out of the closet” is an act of immigration. First, the person
            coming out is forced to learn a new language of sex and identity. Second,
            coming out is fraught with all the framing and keying problems com-
            mon to every other “immigrant versus host society” trying to establish
            a discourse. Both immigrant and host require path-breaking keywords
            each can accept. In a way, the acid-inflected morning after Stonewall
            was like the first visionary dawn in Eden when Adam’s task was to name
            everything in sight.

          ©Jack Fritscher, Ph.D., All Rights Reserved—posted 05-05-2017
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