The Daily Agenda for Thursday, August 29

Jim Burroway

August 29th, 2013

TODAY’S AGENDA:
Pride Celebrations This Weekend: Atlanta, GA (Black Pride); Calgary, AB; Cardiff, UK; Duluth, MN; Grimsby, UK; Leicester, UK; Oakland, CA; Québec, QCReading, UK; Sunderland, UK.

Other Events This Weekend: Splash Days, Austin, TX; Burning Man, Black Rock City, NV; Show-Me State Rodeo, Cleveland, MO; AIDS Walk, Ft. McMurray AB; Three Cities Cycle for Terrence Higgins Trust, London/Amsterdam/Brussels; Southern Decadence, New Orleans, LA; Queenstown Gay Ski Week, Queenstown, NZ.

TODAY IN HISTORY:
Protest March in Greenwich Village Against Police Harassment: 1970. Since the very first Christopher Street Day celebration in June (see Jun 28), gay residents in New York’s Greenwich Village began to notice increased police harassment, particularly during the last three weeks of August. Local activists had had enough, so on the last Saturday of August, the Gay Liberation Front and the Gay Activists’ Alliance organized a demonstration that night. About 250 people showing up at 8th Avenue and West 42nd Street near Times Square, and marched down 7th Avenue to Sheridan Square in Greenwich Village.

The demonstration broke up around midnight, but the frustrations were still there. Some went on to march around the Women’s House of Detention at Greenwich Avenue and 6th Avenue. Police arrived to break it up, and the crowd ran toward Christopher Street, setting trash can fires, overturning two cars and looting a record shop. Eight were injured and about a dozen were arrested.

The next day, the GLA and GAA held a news at the gay-friendly Episcopal Church of the Holy Apostles, charging the police with harassment. They also denounced police inaction against a series of gay bashings and anti-gay harassment in the neighborhood. A police spokesman denied that there were any increased actions against the gay community, but refused further comment.

[Sources: Frank J. Brial. “Protest march by homosexuals sparks disturbance in ‘Village’.” The New York Times (August 30, 1970): 49.

C. Gerald Frasier. “‘Gay ghettos’ seen as police targets: but homosexuals’ charge of harassment denied.” The New York Times (August 31, 1970): 28.]

Edward Carpenter and George Merrill

TODAY’S BIRTHDAY:
Edward Carpenter: 1844. Britain would be a very different place without him, and so would the LGBT world. Carpenter was a very influential poet, philosopher, anthologist, nudist, feminist, pacifist, and early gay activist. He was as leading proponent of socialism, and he helped to found Britain’s Labour Party. Reading Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass in the 1860’s was a huge revelation for him, with Whitman’s dreams of “a brotherhood of manly love.” Carpenter’s 1889 book Civilisation, Its Cause and Cure argued that civilization is a form of disease from which no society ever survived more than a thousand years before collapsing. His cure involved a closer relationship with the land and a greater sense of our own development as individuals. He very much practiced what he preached, living among tenant farmers and other working class workers.

Carpenter was relatively open about his homosexuality, which itself was a remarkable accomplishment. Unlike Oscar Wilde, who was arrested and imprisoned for his “vice,” Carpenter escaped scandal and arrest, even though he had moved in with the man who would be his partner for the rest of his life, George Merrill, in Millthorpe.  Carpenter befriended Walt Whitman, E.M. Forster, Havelock Ellis, John Addington Symonds, and several other early pioneers in the nascent gay community. Carpenter and Merrill’s relationship would serve as the model for Forster’s homoerotic novel, Maurice and, hetersexualized, for D.H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover. Carpenter’s groundbreaking 1908 book, The Intermediate Sex: A Study of Some Transitional Types of Men and Women, would become a foundational English-language text for future LGBT movements. He wrote that because “intermediate types” (his preferred term for gay people; he hated “homosexual” because of what he called its “bastardization” of the Latin and Greek) were free of gender limitations, they were uniquely qualified for bringing about greater gender equality and equal rights for women. More than forty years later, Carpenter’s writings would inspire Harry Hay to found the Mattachine Foundation in Los Angeles (the Mattachine Society’s predecessor), and thus spark a new gay rights movement half a world away.

If you know of something that belongs on the agenda, please send it here. Don’t forget to include the basics: who, what, when, where, and URL (if available).

And feel free to consider this your open thread for the day. What’s happening in your world?

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