Having witnessed the aftermath of London’s PRIDE event, rinsed of any LGBT suggestion in it’s title, many Stonewallers will echo Cameron’s mantra ‘We’re all in this together’ as a badge of progress. Str8 actings on gaydar, str8 acting marriages at the altar and straight men ( who have sex with men ) indicate that the gay sensibility is no longer in vogue. Thank God for drag queens I say, and twinks like Harry on The Only Way Is Essex, to carry the fierce flag of gay individuality. I fear waking up to find a gay scene styled by NEXT, but thanks to those fashionistas in the East End who certainly know how to cause a stir : geeks are now in, muscle mary’s certainly are out. Thin is in. Before dress code clones in the 70’s, styled by America, London swinging sixties gayer’s had their own stylist hero. Not many realise as they do the cottage in Carnaby Street, that the street’s fame was started by outrageous John Stephen, a scottish queer who created the swinging sixties peacock revolution for men. He sold women’s knickers and created see-through lace and chiffon shirts for males to strut in, and high stacked collars to wear in clubs like La Duce, a gay mod club in ’67. How many of those ‘marchers’ blowing whistles down Regent Street were even aware there IS a gay history? Thanks to Thatcher’s Clause 28 & Minister Gove it’s not taught in schools so much.
However, current gay shame was alive and well in the streets of Soho over the weekend as vomit and pinned pupils were common markers of FREEDOM to be who you are. Many on Facebook updated, that PRIDE is now just an excuse for a piss-up and that Compton Street was beyond sanity by dusk. We have been soaked in shame for centuries, and each same-sexer is still tainted by this genetic lineage. Check the history boys. Sodomy became an English civil crime in 1533 and then became a criminal offence in in 1592, although it had been a capital crime under ecclesiastical law long before this. Cases could be tried through the Assize Courts or the Quarter Sessions and, if convicted, the accused was hanged. In order to prove sodomy, however, several elements had to be demonstrated and both penetration and ejaculation had to occur – one in itself was insufficient and there needed to be two witnesses who could attest to both factors being present. Legal jargon meant that if one man grassed on the other, both would be hung, (not what you think) so 16th Century gayers played the game of silence. However, courts usually passed a pillory sentence if intent had occurred, bummers were placed in stocks on public view (in London: on the Strand outside The Royal Courts of Justice) where the throwing of rotten fish, mouldy fruit, doggy doo and stale piss from piss pots were thrown our way. This became standard public humiliation for the likes of us, way before we were called homosexuals in the Victorian age. Blacks were treated as slaves and we were treated as shit, black history reclaimed the past with pride and we need to go back way before Stonewall to quell the shame.The genetic shame of these events remains tightly inside every English gay arse. So giving yourself the GIFT OF HISTORY can assist you in recognizing that you are a small knot in a trail of collective energy, but joined together the rope is strong enough to hang ourselves. The rope we can hang ourselves with today is internalized homophobia and apathy.
Not many are aware that Oscar Wilde went down ( to the cells ) because of shit on the sheets, evidence of sodomy provided by his housekeeper, soldiers during the wars were accused of “taking it up the Marmite” if emotional boundaries were crossed and fondness occurred. Now str8s have gone gay on the anal front, it’s all the rage apparently boy on girl. Twenty years ago in America ACT-UP speared homophobia by reclaiming the word QUEER within the shamed shadow of AIDS. In the UK the queer movement started just before LOVE MUSCLE hit the Fridge in ’92 and ended up dissolving itself with New Labour promises for equality. GAY PRIDE was everywhere so we started ‘parading, not complaining’. Now the new UK Queer Resistance Movement : Queers & Allies Against the Cuts and fighting hate stickers in East London has created our own ‘2011 Gay uprising” bringing politics and social network ‘complaining’ back to the community.
About time too.