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Forgotten Gay History: August 1971 Newsweek Magazine Publishes “The Militant Homosexual”
By Will Kohler Published August 30, 2016
Just two years following the Stonewall riots in NYC’s Greenwich Village on August 23rd, 1971, Newsweek magazine published“The Militant Homosexual” where it devoted four pages trying to explain it all to its readers where suddenly all these homosexuals came from.
The entire four-page article dealt with the sudden visibility of the gay community — a visibility which had personal, psychological, familial and political aspects, according to Newsweek. As one measure of the surprise this new openness must have engendered, the word “militant” appeared in the four-page article fifteen times. And what the authors regarded “militant” is revealing: they described “militants” coming out to their friends, families and employers; “militants” wanting acceptance; “militants” refusing to accept the APA’s verdict that they were mentally ill (the APA would set aside that verdict two years later); “militants” demanding an end to the ban on federal employment; “militants” starting gay churches and “militants” getting married in them, and “militants” saying it’s great to be gay.
That last point, according to Newsweek was especially dangerous:
To supporters of gay liberation, marching in the streets and holding hands in public are only minor gestures of assertion. They are picketing the Pentagon, testifying at government hearings on discrimination, appearing on TV talk shows, lecturing to Rotary Clubs, organizing their own churches and social organizations and, perhaps most important of all, using their real names. “Two or three years ago, a homosexual who tried to explain what he and the gay movement were all about would have been ridiculed,” says Troy Perry, a homosexual minister who established Los Angeles’s Metropolitan Community Church in 1968 and has been a movement hero ever since.
From the “No Pride for Some of Us Without Liberation for All of Us” series by Micah Bazant