And this week ABC published an interview, not embeddable, with Paul Kuntzler, 73, another participant in the picket march, which you can see here.
It's hard now to recall, and for the young'uns amongst us, nearly impossible to comprehend, the overwhelming homophobia of society in those days, and the unceasing, sweaty-palmed fear of being found out - or merely suspected - as a homosexual. Here in the Deep South, at any rate, it was the Worst Thing in the World, worse than being a Communist, even: a traitor not merely to your country, but to God and the entire human race. Seriously - that was how people viewed gayness back then - the unmentionable, unforgiveable sin. Even when I came out at the end of the 1970's, all my good church friends who were "just like family" promptly dropped me like a hot potato, and shunned me ever afterwards.
And it truly boggles your Head Trucker's mind to look around and observe the vast difference in public acceptance that has occurred in just one lifetime - mine. We have lived through a slow-motion revolution these fifty years, with results like gay marriage that were merely daydreams, flights of fantasy, when your Head Trucker came out. It's been quite a journey; I'm glad I have lived to see this day.
Of course many others followed in the footsteps of Kameny and Gittings to lead the onward march for equality, justice, and dignity, and we owe everyone who has lent a hand to the struggle a continuing debt of gratitude for the rights and freedoms we now enjoy - and, we hope, will be enjoyed by many generations of LGBT people in years to come.
Here is Frank Kameny, the loud, proud, grand old man of the gay-rights movement, discussing how he came to be an activist after he was summarily fired from his civil-service job in 1957 for being gay, and took his case all the way to the Supreme Court a few years later:
After Kameny's death in 2011 at the age of 86, CBS's Mark Irvine commemorated his lfie and work with this report, which includes a clip of the White House picket line in 1965:
And here is the full 1984 documentary Before Stonewall, narrated by author and activist Rita Mae Brown, tracing the evolution of gay life and gay activism from the 1920's onward: a fascinating look at our people's recent past, the once-unspeakable history which ought to be required viewing for all the young folks before they get issued their pink cards:
As the film makes clear, where once to be gay and be yourself, it was necessary to be a disreputable denizen of the so-called underworld, now we can be happy, ordinary, boring middle-class folks just like our straight moms and dads and brothers and sisters, or for the politically ambitious, even Senators, Ambassadors, and perhaps one day soon, President - a refreshing and long-overdue change in my view.
One of your Head Trucker's favorite railroad films: a well-produced profile of the Nickel Plate Road, one of the smaller Class I railroads, providing a nice overview of freight operations at the end of the steam era, along with charming glimpses of American life sixty years ago - a time of unbounded optimism and limitless resources, or so it seemed.
The sublime neoclassical architecture of the White House never fails to inspire and delight your Head Trucker. National Geographic takes us behind the scenes at the Executive Mansion in this 1995 documentary, narrated by Morgan Freeman:
CAUTION: For mature audiences only beyond this point. Some posts and links may not be suitable for children or the unco guid. You have been warned.
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Howdy guys . . .
and welcome to the Blue Truck, a blog for mature gay men with news and views on gay rights, history, art, humor, and whatever comes to mind. Plus a few hot men. The truck's all washed and gassed up, so hop in buddy, let's go.
Not much to tell. A quiet, obscure life in a small Texas town. Where steers are protected and respected. Queers aren't.
Email is bluetruckredstate at gmail.com, always glad to hear from readers.
Original text and images of this blog copyright 2008-2015 by Russ Manley. All rights reserved.
Churches say that the expression of love in a heterosexual monogamous relationship includes the physical, the touching, embracing, kissing, the genital act - the totality of our love makes each of us grow to become increasingly godlike and compassionate. If this is so for the heterosexual, what earthly reason have we to say that it is not the case with the homosexual?
It is a perversion if you say to me that a person chooses to be homosexual. You must be crazy to choose a way of life that exposes you to a kind of hatred. It's like saying you choose to be black in a race-infected society.
If God, as they say, is homophobic, I wouldn't worship that God.
"I think that it is no secret that I am a fierce advocate for equality for gay and lesbian Americans. It is something that I have been consistent on, and I intend to continue to be consistent on during my presidency."--Barack Obama, 12/18/08