Today in My History
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19 June 2019
Tonight I watched a PBS documentary called The Lavender Scare, which details the witch hunt of lesbians and gays started by Eisenhower and McCarthy in the 1950s. McCarthy convinced the president that homosexuals were a security threat and that they should be banished from any government position. More than 10,000 people were fired or forced to resign. In addition to losing their income, they were branded forever and many became unemployable because of the hatred of gays.
This was in the 1950s. I was in high school at the time and round-ups of gay men in bars were taking place in San Francisco, but the news was never discussed in my house, so it didn't faze me. Besides, my grandparents lived in an apartment where there was a gay couple, who were good friends of theirs and we partied with them occasionally, so it never occurred to me that there was such a discrimination against homosexuals.
When my sister came out it was before PFLAG and my parents went through the "where did I go wrong?" phase but came to accept her and her group of friends and while not her first partner, definitely her second partner (well, until that partner killed her, of course...).
While I have been aware of the attacks on the gay community, this documentary really opened my eyes to what was going on in my own back yard for so many years.
I look around at how far we have come from the 1950s and the hard-won freedoms that the gay community has achieved in housing and employment....and the right to marry. I think of all those demonstrations I attended with Ellen and Shelly, and remember when I baked a wedding cake when marriage was approved in Massachusetts and they had a reception in downtown Davis. I baked them another wedding cake when then-mayor Gavin Newsom in San Francisco decided to go ahead and marry same sex couples and Ellen and Shelly were among the first in line to get married, only to have their marriage annulled shortly afterwards.
When the Supreme Court finally approved gay marriage in 2015, they were the very first couple on Yolo County to be married, a few minutes after it became legal. I told them that was the LAST wedding cake I was going to bake for them!
Slowly gay couples are becoming mainstream. There are gay couples on TV shows--or one character talks about her wife or his husband. There are gay couples in commercials. The world has not come to an end and children are not being rushed into therapy because of it.
But there's a new sheriff in town and slowly all those hard-won rights are being rolled back. It's now OK to refuse housing to gay couples again, to fire someone for being gay, and to refuse to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple or allow a gay person to serve in the military. And today I read that Clarence Thomas wants to re-open the subject of gay marriage again. Can you imagine what it's like to have your marriage annulled more than once???
Trump even sent out an order that embassies around the world can't fly the gay pride flag on the flagpole with the American flag in June, gay pride month, as they have done for years. I am pleased to see how people are getting around that order.
In South Korea, for example....
and in Chile
and I don't know where this is...
It pleased me when I read yesterday that now-Governor Gavin Newsom decided the hell with it, and the rainbow flag flies over the California state capitol.
For the life of me I can't understand why homosexuals
are so hated. But then I have never been able to understand the hatred
of Jews either, so maybe I'm just too dumb to understand.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
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This is entry #7027