Thursday, February 2, 2017
Part 3: Gay L.A.
What stood out to me in the third section of Gay L.A, --- A History of Sexual Outlaws, Power Politics, and Lipstick Lesbians, was the making of what is now West Hollywood, peoples experiences in East LA, and the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
West Hollywood was granted cityhood in 1984 and with the help of its first mayor, who happened to be a lesbian, Valerie Terrigno, made discrimination illegal and the town was seen as a “gay Camelot.” Reading through this chapter made me reflect on my time through West Hollywood and I can see why it is as open as it is today.
Reading through the struggles with Gay Latinos and lesbians in the past, to me, it resembles how things are today. Although there are gay clubs and bars, for example in West Hollywood, there is not much representation unless it is a “Latin night.” I have also observed there are less lesbian bars or clubs compared to the counterparts. Even in West Hollywood, although not exclusively male, it is very male dominant. However I can see why it is, considering the backstory to how West Hollywood came to be. In addition, I can definitely relate in part the idea of going somewhere outside of your hometown to be your(gay)self. Living in South East LA, if I were seen with another girl, we would get uncomfortable remarks as opposed to when I lived at UCLA and changed where I socialized.
The Aids epidemic was a fearful time for the LGBTQ+ community. It did however unite the community in an effort to be heard, be helped, and survive. The start of ACT UP/LA was powerful to the cause and brought light how bad things were and how urgent it was to get help. The way they protested and got their message across amazes me and it confuses me that older generations criticize younger generations today for the way we protest, when the ACT UP did many public, heavy protesting.