Page 394 - Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999
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376      Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999

            Chicago. Evans’ dissertation was not approved for, he said, anti-gay reasons,
            and he withdrew from his doctoral program where his radical and polariz-
            ing political stances made him somewhat of a pesky persona non grata. My
            own dissertation, Love and Death in Tennessee Williams, about ritual, race,
            and gender, was published in 1967 when I received my doctorate. From the
            early 1960s, Evans and I led parallel lives as activists in black civil rights,
            the peace movement, and then as gay activists theorizing on the nature of
            homosexuality. Evans was one of the founders of the Gay Activists Alliance,
            1969. Representing gay inclusion, I was one of the founders of the American
            Popular Culture Association, 1968.
               Inside our lateral lives, Evans was helping invent the “Radical Gay Faerie
            Movement” and working toward writing his nonfiction book, based on his
            doctoral work, Critique of Patriarchal Reason, while I was championing mas-
            culine-identified queers in Drummer and writing my reflexive fiction book
            Some Dance to Remember which, while dramatizing the immense disaster of
            masculinist patriarchy, eschews both “bully patriarchy” (masculinism) and
            “bully matriarchy” (feminism) for something grander—humanism–which
            was also perhaps Evans’ goal. In some ways, Patriarchal Reason and Some
            Dance to Remember are complementary reading.
               In the mid-1970s while Evans was working with the faerie magazine
            Fag Rag, I was editing and writing the leathery Drummer. Both gender
            magazines might be studied together as might our two books in which we
            both wrote about magic and wicca, ritual and culture, and sex and gender
            identity. At the same time as I published him in Drummer 25, Evans pub-
            lished his Witchcraft and the Gay Counterculture. His Witchcraft book imme-
            diately caught my attention, coming, in 1978, six years after Bowling Green
            University Press published my own occult history book, Popular Witchcraft:
            Straight from the Witch’s Mouth (1972).
               No scholar has yet written a cohesive literary analysis of the gay books
            written during the pioneering 1970s, particularly those written outside the
            literary bunker of New York. These books, as art objects floating to the
            surface after the Titanic 1970s hit the iceberg of HIV, are particularly valu-
            able, because like Drummer itself, they are intellectual and esthetic time
            capsules, authentically in and of the time when gay culture first came queen-
            ing, queering, butching, and bitching out of the closet. They show modern
            gay culture self-consciously inventing itself. These pioneering books’ texts
            are not inauthentic revisionist or condescending peeks looking back at the
            1970s. They were written during the 1970s. In such a literary and histori-
            cal project lies, perhaps, for next-generation scholars a grant, or a doctoral
            dissertation of value.

              ©Jack Fritscher, Ph.D., All Rights Reserved—posted 03-16-2017
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