Saturday, August 01, 2009
Movement’s Pioneers Launch “Project History”
Gay Lib Began in S.F. in March ’69, Months Before Stonewall
PHOTO CAPTION: The photo that began it all: Gale Whittington and Leo Laurence get close on camera for a March 24, 1969 Berkeley Barb story called “Homo Revolt: Don’t Hide It.” The result: both Whittington and Laurence lost their jobs, and the Committee for Homosexual Freedom (CHF) they had organized mounted the first demonstration in U.S. history challenging a private employer’s discrimination based on sexual orientation. This and other stories will be told in Changing History. (Photo: Ron Hoffman. Courtesy Leo E. Laurence.)
We love our myths, including the story that George Washington chopped down a cherry tree (none were found in archeological digs).
Billions of marketing dollars are involved worldwide, based on the myth that our global, Gay Liberation movement began with the Stonewall Inn riots in New York in June 1969.
Dozens of so-called, Gay history books document it inaccurately. They are produced by authors using second-hand, and often incorrect, materials.
A new first-person history book is being produced by an international team of Gay pioneers, based in San Diego, called Project History.
Those involved include the co-founders of the first Gay Liberation Front, Leo E. Laurence, J.D. of Hillcrest and Gale Chester Whittington of Wetumka, Oklahoma. Another original Gay pioneer working on Project History is Pat Brown of La Jolla. Both Brown and Laurence were totally ignored during the recent Gay Pride events in San Diego.
Whittington, a semi-retired author and humorist, has already published his own autobiographical book, Beyond Normal: The Birth of Gay Pride.” His premier novel is The Happy Campers,” which was followed by a second novel, True Chameleon, a third book of Rod Serling-inspired short stories, Whirlwinds of the Mind; and a poetry anthology: Ode to Ricardo: Love in Other Words.
Whittington’s works can be found on his Web site: http://www.galechesterwhittington.com. He is now working closely on Project History.
“Gale was pretty-boy cute, blond, smooth and slim, and my real inspiration, as we worked together and formed the ‘militant’ Committee for Homosexual Freedom (CHF) in February 1969, four months before Stonewall,” says Laurence. “He was so hot, and smart!” (But he wasn’t Laurence’s lover, as some sources have reported.)
The Project History team is working on a first-person history book about Gays. The working title is Changing History.
While this history book is being written in an autobiographical style by Laurence, associate editor of Zenger’s Newsmagazine and a working credentialed journalist with an advanced law degree, it is really a massive community effort by Gay pioneers, long forgotten by the Gay Establishment in San Diego and nationwide.
Though Gay Liberation literally grew out of Gay journalism in the underground press in the late 1960’s, even the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association refuses to acknowledge it. Many NLGJA members may be shocked when they read Changing History.
Photos and documents of the pre-Stonewall Gay militancy in San Francisco in 1968-’69 have poured into the Project History headquarters in Hillcrest at 3907 Georgia St., Condo #15; San Diego, CA 92103-3548, phone: (619) 757-4909, fax: (619) 220-8686. Anyone with relevant materials from the period is strongly urged to contact the project at the above address and phone, or e-mail Laurence at firstname.lastname@example.org
Billy Glover is a Gay senior with a massive presence on the Internet. After Glover first revealed the news of the launching of Project History recently, other Gay pioneers began joining the international team.
Changing History will be different from the usual college-level history text. It is being written in a very raw, angry style. It will intentionally be very controversial. Changing History is going to make some people very mad, especially the professional Gays and Lesbians who run the Gay Establishment.
During the late 1960’s, the very tough and militant Black Panther Party provided training and pro-tection to the CHF on the streets of San Francisco.
When a carload of big, tough rednecks were discovered preparing to attack the nearby demonstra-tion/picket line of the Committee for Homosexual Freedom, they were confronted.
After being bluntly warned that the very tough Black Panther Party was providing protection to the Gay militants, and were right around the corner on the streets of San Francisco’s financial district; “and they will clean up the streets with your homophobic blood in seconds,” the rednecks quickly left.
A detailed report on that dramatic confrontation will be chapter one of Changing History.
The team working on Project History is currently producing a publisher’s package. It will include the completed first chapter, plus a synopsis of the rest of the history book, production budget, etc.
Before Labor Day in September, the publisher’s package will go to a literary agent, probably in San Francisco or New York, who will offer the history book to mainstream publishers.
There will be several editions, including: (1) the basic college-style history book, (2) a Spanish edition, translated by a team of Gay Mexicans, (3) an XXX-rated edition, and (4) an interactive Internet edition.
The history book’s cover tentatively will be an on-the-scene photo of co-flounder Whittington being interviewed by the San Francisco news media.
The photo by Gay activist “Mother Boats” was made in front of the ABC-KGO broadcasting studios, Laurence’s employers, who were threatening to fire him for writing Gay-themed articles for the underground Berkeley Barb newspaper. The radical homosexuals of the CHF were conducting a very loud and angry demonstration for employment rights, the core demand of the group’s militant actions.
In the film The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, a reporter discovers the truth about a legendary historical event and offers his editor the story. The editor turns it down, saying, “When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.” The members of Project History believe that for too long the Gay press has been printing the phony legend of Stonewall as the place where Gay activism began. Now, they feel, it is time to print the facts.