Friday, May 12, 2006

Freedom [II, 26]

The demand for freedom voiced by minorities derives in large measure from the African American experience, where it was found that escape from slavery was only the first stage of a complex process of liberation by stages.

The civil rights and women’s movements offered important models for the turn to gay liberation at the end of the 1960s. These sources were joined by the national liberation movements, as in Algeria and Vietnam. After the Stonewall Rebellion a number of organizations took the name Gay Liberation Front. While these groups proved ephemeral the basic idea of liberation proved more durable, ramifying into many realms. The 1978 San Francisco Gay and Lesbian Freedom Day Parade was the occasion for introducing the Rainbow Flag. The idea of gay freedom was closely allied with the affirmation of gay pride.

Of course the term freedom has many meanings. As the appeal of the gay left faded, some gay people gravitated to the political movement known as Libertarianism, which stressed both economic and personal freedom.

It is said that one person’s freedom is another person’s license. Hence the critique by some individuals of what they perceive as exhibitionism and self-indulgence engendered by the gay-freedom approach—-or as some would say, its exaggeration.


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