Saturday, 25 June 2011

We are not crumbs!

"As we know, historians do not include gay anything in their histories. Gays are never included in the history of anything."

Let's start off this countdown to the biggest date in the Gay Social Calendar - for a week today we celebrate Gay Pride! - with a "happy 76th birthday" today to one of the gay community's most outspoken critics and activists, the founder of ACT UP, Mr Larry Kramer.

Often criticized (quite rightly on occasions) for the vitriol and bile he expounds upon those (gay and straight) who take a different stance to him on matters of gay equality and political activism, he nevertheless provided a radical, loud, visible and irrascible thorn in the side of the Reagan-Bush administrations in America during the AIDS crisis of the 80s and 90s, for which he deserves high praise.

Here are some extracts from his speech on the occasion of ACT UP's twentieth anniversary in 2007, expressing his concerns at the general apathy of gay politics today:
It is difficult to celebrate when one has such potent, painful tragic memories. We held so many of each other in our arms. One never forgets love like that. Make no mistake, AIDS was and is a terrible tragedy that need not have escalated into a worldwide plague.

Then, we only had the present. We were freed of the responsibility of thinking of the future. So we were able to act up. Now we only have our future. Imagine thinking that way. Those who had no future now only have a future. That includes not only everyone in this room but gay people everywhere. We are back to worrying about what “they” think about us. It seems we are not so free, most of us, to act up now. Our fear had been turned into energy. We were able to cry out fuck you fuck you fuck you.

We must be heard! We must be. We are not crumbs! We should not accept crumbs! We must not accept crumbs!

There is not one single candidate running for public office anywhere that deserves our support. Not one. Every day they vote against us in increasingly brutal fashion. I will not vote for a one of them and neither should you. To vote for any one of them, to lend any one of them your support, is to collude with them in their utter disdain for us. And we must let every single one of them know that we will not support them. Perhaps it will win them more votes, that faggots won’t support them, but at least we will have our self-respect. And, I predict, the respect of many others who have long wondered why we allow ourselves to be treated so brutally year after year after year, as they take away our manhood, our womanhood, our personhood.
Strong stuff, indeed, and an apposite reminder of what Gay Pride should be all about! Are we really there yet? Are civil parnerships and Graham Norton really enough? Mr Kramer wouldn't think so.

As his drama The Normal Heart (which opened on Broadway recently) has plans for a London transfer, let's just have a little extract...

Larry Kramer on Wikipedia

1 comment:

  1. I agree! We should not accept crumbs and worse be expected to be grateful for them.

    anything less than equality is just that crumbs



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