Page 263 - Gay San Francisco_Eyewitness Drummer
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Gay San Francisco: Eyewitness Drummer                243
               well-intentioned people did things differently, and war did not give them
             a grace period.
                Gay literature has always been as flammable as faggots themselves.
             Up to the night of Stonewall, gay erotic fiction was often essentially a
             samizdat genre typed on feathery light onion-skin paper with one or two
             carbons beneath so that the one-handed typist, who also interpreted and
             changed the story (the way medieval monks “scratched out” the Bible),
             might send the copies (two to eight pages posted for three cents) on to
             friends who would themselves in a heightened sexual state retype, interpo-
             late, and mail this chain of secret literature where gay plot, gay character,
             and especially primal gay language evolved in the hands and imaginations
             of its primary users. The “Tijuana Bibles” of these onion-skin samizdat
             stories are in a sense collective gay journals that are the roots of the public
             autobiography of gay men which first broke from the demimonde in the
             hectographed kitchen-table ’zines of the mid-twentieth century and then
             in the liberated gay magazines of the 1970s.4
                The parallel to gay literature is the literature of witchcraft existing
             subrosa from ancient pre-pagan times. Sexual outlaws, like witches, tend
             not to publish their ideas and identities. In 1978, Mexican-American John
             Rechy shape-shifted language with his Sexual Outlaw; however, thirty
             years before, when British expatriate Harry Hay was founding the occult-
             named Mattachine Society with its neologue newsletter in Los Angeles in
             November 1950, British activist Gerald Gardner, arguing that witchcraft
             itself was the Old Religion, persuaded Britain to legalize witchcraft on
             June 22, 1951. Even on the cusp of victory, Gardner, the keeper of the key-
             words of cult and incantation, advised that grimoires stay handwritten and
             hidden so their pages, words, and spells could be set afire by oneself — if
             need be — before the neighbors with pitchforks and torches reached one’s
                Hay, himself the brilliant resurrectionist of what I call the “Old Reli-
             gion of Gay Faerie,” was less cautious about brandishing words. He dared
             publish more boldly; so he personally suffered as a gay man in 1954 at
             the hand of Senator Joseph McCarthy’s House Un-American Activities’
             witch hunt run by the United States Senate. Thirty-five years later in a
             gay panic the same puritan Senate attacked photographer Robert Map-
             plethorpe as the synonymously deviant “homosexual, sadist, satanist, and
             child pornographer” whose guilt was proved by his portraits of liberated
             women like Susan Sarandon.
                In 1969, gay pressure brought in a civil court suit from two very mas-
             culine-identified publishers, Chuck Renslow of Kris Studio in Chicago
             with support from Bob Mizer of Athletic Model Guild in Los Angeles,
             caused the U. S. Post Office to legalize full-frontal nudity. This single

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