Wednesday, February 15, 2017
When We Were Outlaws - Week 6
Jeanne Cordova’s memoir is an incredibly reflective work, that integrates her two worlds: personal and political. What stood out overall in her book, was the internal conflict she faced between her feminism and her emotional self. The struggle between her love of the revolution and her love for Rachel. She struggled between this emotion and maintaining her feminism, which so strongly believed in non-monogamy. Monogamy was seen as a construct created by men to overpower women, and women should embrace their sexual freedom whenever possible.
In reference to specific situations or events that stood out within the book, a striking event was that of the unexpected firing of practically all the women at the GCSC. This divide between gay men and lesbian women is indicative of the deeper internal struggles at play during the gay rights movement. This lack of unity led to the dilution of resources from fighting a common enemy, toward fighting those who shared a common enemy. This “misguided opposition,” as Jeanne calls it, takes away from the fight against the real enemy. This leads into a second notable situation within her memoir: meeting Nazi Joe Tomassi. Jeanne’s bravery and dedication to journalism served as a reminder not only to us, but also to herself, in that LGBTQI identifying individuals face hate and fear every day, and to face an enemy such as Tomassi is not too out of the normal for LGBTQI individuals. Her interview with Tomassi shed light on interesting introspection for Jeanne, wondering how his political passion paralleled hers in certain ways. Was her resentment toward the heterosexual community, and her resentment towards her father, similar to that of his towards any non-white individual?
A third striking moment in this memoir was that of decision to strike against the GCSC. This is yet another moment in which the internal divide grows, and deepens, and struck slight fear within Jeanne that the gay rights movement would lose traction, and lose the fight in the eyes of the hetero community. Ultimately, Jeanne gained perspective from being wrongfully fired, in that despite the injustice or reasoning behind the firing, the response would need to be thoughtful, and guerilla tactics against their brothers would only be detrimental to their overall cause.