Gay people : have we come this far only to leave behind some of us?

Title

Gay people : have we come this far only to leave behind some of us?

Subject

Gay bars--Washington (D.C.)--20th century
Discrimination against African Americans--Washington (D.C.)--20th century
Committee for Open Gay Bars (Organization)

Source

Bruce Pennington Papers

Date

Format

application/pdf
image/jpeg

Language

English

Type

Text

Coverage

Washington (D.C.)

Text

GAY PEOPLE: HAVE-WE COME THIS FAR ONLY TO LEAVE BEHIND SOME OF US?

As you know by now, Washington's gay organizations have begun a series •-- *#
of legal actions, including a weekend picket, against the new:Lost and Found on
L Street, Southeast. Why? Because of flagrant discrimination against gay
blacks and women.
L & F's racist policies were explicitly acknowledged by Bill Parry,
representing the Lost and Found management, in an October 15 meeting with Paul
Kuntzler of GAA, a 10-year veteran of the Washington gay movement. Parry
declared: "This is a Southern city." (A reference to when Washington had
legalized segregation twenty years ago.) He said that if possible, the Lost
and Found would bar all-black people, and clearly indicated that the principal -~
reason for L_&_F's I.D- was to exclude as many gay blacks as- possible.
This is how the Lost and Found game is played: Two pieces of I.D. are
required, Parry says. A driver's license and a "passport or a birth certificate."
Such conventional identification as a"draft card or a government
employee I.D. card are not acceptable." However, generally only black gays are
asked for identification—whites are not, except those who actually appear
under age.
What are the objectives of the L & F game? Parry intimated that the
Lost and Found is only interested in serving the most affluent gay crowd,
primarily white suburbia, (in a black ghetto!) Parry rationalizes that "black
people are generally poor and, besides, most of our patrons are bigots." In
any case, the Lost and Found does not want to cater to those gays, black or
white,"who spend only $2.25 a night in our bar."
Now, to answer two questions: It's true that some token blacks are seen
in the Lost and Found. The. bar has no choice but to admit those few blacks who
are willing to meet L & F's I.D. requirements. It is also true that the I.D.s
of many whites are now being checked—as a temporary response to the picket
line outside.
However, Washington gay organizations are not interested in momentary
pretenses at non-discrimination. We will accept only their uncompromising
agreement to end all discrimination against all gay people--a resolution that
provides the necessary guarantees.
In regard to women, the Lost, and Found's double-standard dress requirement
for women will not be tolerated. If men can wear blue jeans, so too can
women.
Many of you have said that you think it distressing that homosexuals are
fighting one another. We agree. Let's resolve this conflict. We ask the Lost
and Found management to begin discussions with us.
We, too, think the Lost and Found is beautiful. We congratulate them.
And when they change their oppressive policies, the club will be even more
beautiful.
In addition, we are fully cognizant of their substantial investments
and the need to make a return and a good one. However, we will not allow them
to realize extravagant profits at the expense of the human dignity and freedom
of certain gay people.
£5>&T5S,
- 2
We who represent you in our struggle to improve the quality of gay life
have come belately:to the recognition that we are not just the defender of
white, male homosexuals, but the representative of all gay people. The Lost
and Found management will have to recognize, too, that the year is 1971; those
days when Washington was a "Southern city" are gone.
All of us, finally, should understand that either we are all together
or none of us is together. As gay people we have advanced too far to now
leave behind some of us who are black or female.
*•*##-*-*•#•#•*
The following Washington gay organizations request that the Lost and
Found end their racist, sexist, immoral, and illegal policies and implement
the list of our 10 demands necessary to resolve this conflict:
The Mattachine Society of Washington
Evangelical Catholic Community •
The Black Caucus
Gay Activists Alliance*
Alabama Avenue Collective
Skyline Faggots
The Breadbox
Gay Women's Open House
Student Homophile Assn. of the Univ. of Maryland
Easter Day Collective
Hand-to-Hand Newspaper
1971 Kameny for Congress Campaign Committee
• • The Women's Film Festival
"Our House" Collective
Gay Liberation Front
Gay Men's Open House
Gay Campus Ministry of the Univ. of Maryland
Applecore Collective
Metropolitan Community Church
(Motion passed last Sunday by Church membership)

Original Format

Mimeographed flyer

Files

Citation

Committee for Open Gay Bars, “Gay people : have we come this far only to leave behind some of us?,” Rainbow History Project Digital Collections, accessed September 22, 2018, https://rainbowhistory.omeka.net/items/show/4937867.

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