As a young gay man in Charlotte of the 1980s, I managed to snag a fake ID that was realistic enough to convince bar owners I was five years older than I actually was. The fact that I was over six feet tall came in handy, too. There’s something about height that implies age.
At its most basic, it’s just a piece of cloth. A nice poly-blend, perhaps, or a hank of nylon in a fade-resistant color. There are holes in one end to fasten to a pole or rope, but it’s otherwise just a piece of cloth. Yet, people have died for it and, as in the new book “Rainbow Warrior” by Gilbert Baker, that flag could be the fabric of revolution.
If you are over age 55, you might have memories of the Stonewall Riots; vivid ones that may’ve become gauzy; or sketchy ones, perhaps, from the viewpoint of a child. If you’re under age 55, the Stonewall Riots are undoubtedly just a story to you, and there’s a lot for you to learn. To mark the anniversary of this event that altered so many lives, look for these new books…
Fifty years ago, I was a 16-year old high school student in Miami; and I did not learn about Stonewall until I read my first gay newspaper two years later. Today, almost every high school student in America knows about Stonewall. What was once unmentionable is now part of our country’s political and social history.
Astrologers are often consulted to give proper perspective and intelligent illumination to certain major events. For those of us who enjoy a little 20/20 hindsight, I modestly offer an astrological analysis of the events at Stonewall 50 years ago. I, for one, believe that the planets set the whole thing in motion.
In his autobiography “Before Night Falls” (Antes Que Anochezca), the late Cuban writer Reinaldo Arenas (1944-1990) wrote about his sexual encounters with nominally straight males in 1960s Havana: “These areas were full of recruits and students, single men who were locked up in barracks or schools and went out at night eager for sex.