Queer History Establishment dumps Randy Wicker
by Carl Cole Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2004 at 9:28 PM
Queer historians delete gay man who organized first known U.S. picket on a queer issue.
On October 12, 2004, a distinguished panel of queer historians
spoke at the San Francisco Public Library, downtown.
After their presentations, an audience member stood up and said:
"This question is about the 'homophile' period on the East Coast.
Randy Wicker claims that the first queer U.S. picket was
in September 1964,
in New York, at the Army induction center;
several months before the well-known 1965 picket at the White House.
Is Wicker correct?"
At least two panelists replied that Wicker was first;
BUT that his 1964 picket
was just a bunch of individuals, not an organization.
The questioner then asserted that there were
two organizations sponsoring the picket:
the Homosexual League of New York,
and the New York City League for Sexual Freedom.
Panelists again dismissed Wicker's role;
because HLNY was very small;
and because LSF wasn't exclusively (nor even primarily) gay.
Thus the panelists implied that the 1965 picket was historic,
but that the 1964 picket wasn't.
This attitude justifies the Establishment's practice of honoring
Franklin Kameny, Ph.D.,
leader of Washington D.C. Mattachine,
as organizer of the first queer picket line;
while dismissing Wicker's earlier picket.
The underlying assumptions seem to be:
(1) If Wicker, a gay man, individually organizes a picket on a queer issue
(military discrimination against queers), that just doesn't count.
(2) If non-queer allies participate in a queer-led picket on a queer issue,
then the picket isn't legitimately part of queer history.
Do those assumptions seem logical?
Does the queer history Establishment have some other motivation
for denying or minimizing Wicker's pioneering role?
Do they simply dislike Wicker as a person?
Or do they delete his 1964 picket because Wicker disgraced
himself, several years later,
by opposing the Stonewall Riots of 1969?
For that stance, he certainly merits harsh criticism --
but does Wicker really deserve to be erased from queer history?
In George Orwell's novel 1984, the protagonist's government job
includes erasing disfavored persons from official publications.
Orwell thus parodies a well-known Soviet practice.
Plus ca change,
plus ca meme chose.....
Well, I am glad to see some are willing to stand up to the Orwellian rewriting of gay history.
There were three prominent members of The NY Mattachine Society included in our first demonstration: Craig Rodwell, founder of the Oscar Wilde Bookstore, and Renai Cafiero, one of the first gay delegates to the Democratic Presidential Convention in 1972 as a McGovern delegate; and myself.
The Homosexual League of New York did exist. I have a picture of about six of us working together on a mailing in the early 1960s.
The "progressive" members of Mattachine (like myself) used this organizational name so that we could participate in activities like picketing that the NY Mattachine Society would not agree to do or opposed doing.
The League for Sexual Freedom was quite a real organization with meetings that sometimes drew between fifty and a hundred members.
I am proud of the fact that at least half of those demonstrating were heterosexuals. Whether homosexuals or heterosexuals predominated really depends on how you count open bisexuals like Jeff Poland.
I laugh at the petty squabbling among gay activists. They have adopted "queer" as a badge of courage. Thank goodness African Americans were not so dimwitted as to "rehabilitate" the "N" word.
We always said we were fighting for "civil rights for homosexuals". That wasn't catchy enough for the post Stonewall "queer" crowd. They coined the term "Gay Rights". This was a linguistic error because it enabled the Religious Right to come up with the slogan "Gay Rights are Special Rights!"
Could anyone name one so-called "gay right" that is not also a civil right? Ask 100 passers-by on a street if they would "support" -or "like to have"- "gay rights".
Only openly gay people would reply positively to the "like to have" question. Most straight people would probably "pass". Of course, what use are "gay rights" to the general heterosexual public?
I laugh when I read the picketing rules in the documentary "Gay Pioneers". The producers of that show edited out my next comment, which was: "Now, I remember why I left the gay movement."
I left the narrow politics of the gay ghetto behind in the mid 1960s. I went on to be the main sloganeer for anti-war buttons. I helped found LEMAR (legalize marijuana) with Allen Ginsburg and Jeff Poland.
I got Screw Magazine busted by giving detailed instructions on "how to get maximum satisfaction out of sodomy" in an article entitled: "Up The Ass Is A Gas".
I exposed the corrupt ex-cons who used to control and exploit the annual Christopher Street Festival in NYC in 1990 and won control of that back for the community.
In 1997, I became the World's first human cloning activist and have been the leading champion of reproductive human cloning in the United States since that time. Check out www.clonerights.com
I am now an advisor at The Immortality Institute.(www.imminst.org) They are working "to conquer the blight of involuntary death". Darlings, I have always known how to pick a good fight. Now, I've joined the "ultimate" one.
The tired old queens who can only see the world through their narrow lavender glasses don't need to "dump" me. I was light years ahead of them in the 1960s. I'm still light years ahead of them.
My love to all--especially to lovely feminine gay men who are so often blind to their own beauty and too taken with the supposed handsomeness of gym boys!
Randolfe (Randy) Wicker
Transgender Fashion Activist
Founder, Clone Rights United Front, www.clonerigths.com
Advisor, The Immortality Institute, www.imminst.org