Tuesday, January 31, 2017
Part 3 of Gay LA
The final part of Gay L.A. – A History of Sexual Outlaws, Power Politics, and Lipstick Lesbians, focusses on the more recent history of the gay community in LA.
What stood out for me in this section was the amount of attention that was given to the ‘minorities’ of the gay community in Los Angeles. LA is the most diverse city I have ever lived in and throughout the book it had seemed strange to me that only limited time had been spent talking about people of color in the gay community. The first couple of sections talk about the Latinx community in LA, African Americans, etc. It was about time more than one page was dedicated to those topics. It is very important for any movement to be aware of any racial divide that happens within the community. Books such as Gay LA, which give an overview of a community or movement, can often overlook exclusions of race, because it is already focussed on one oppression (that of sexual orientation). It is very important the community is being looked at from different axis, including from a racial perspective. What is also interesting is the struggle all the groups went through accommodating everyone’s identities. Diversity can certainly be an asset to any liberation movement. Groups splintering and new, more specialized groups forming can be an amazing process where people find their identity. It can empower the most vulnerable of a movement, if done correctly.
Secondly, the description of the outbreak of the AIDS epidemic really stood out to me. The first time I was confronted with the realities of AIDS was when reading one of my all time favorite books – The Hours, by Michael Cunningham. The book centres around the Virginia Woolf novel Mrs. Dalloway. One of the characters is a gay man dying of AIDS. The book centres around three women who are all in some way affected by Mrs. Dalloway, however, Richard, the gay man, still made a huge impression of me. The book was also impressive because it could be read that all three of the main characters show signs of queerness. For some this is more clear than for others. Anyway, the description of the AIDS epidemic brought my mind to this book again, and I would recommend everyone read it.