[undocumented photo from the 2002 exhibition at the London club Queer Nation]

"QUEERS READ THIS!" was anonymously distributed during New York's "Pride" weekend in 1990 as a tabloid piece with wonderful bold graphics. It became a manifesto. It reads as well today.

This is just one section of many:


Being queer is not about a right to privacy; it is about the freedom to be public, to just be who we are. It means everyday fighting oppression; homophobia, racism, misogyny, the bigotry of religious hypocrites and our own self-hatred. (We have been carefully taught to hate ourselves.) And now of course it means fighting a virus as well, and all those homo-haters who are using AIDS to wipe us off the face of the earth. Being queer means leading a different sort of life. It's not about the mainstream, profit-margins, patriotism, patriarchy or being assimilated. It's not about executive directors, privilege and elitism. It's about being on the margins, defining ourselves; it's about gender- fuck and secrets, what's beneath the belt and deep inside the heart; it's about the night. Being queer is "grass roots" because we know that everyone of us, every body, every cunt, every heart and ass and dick is a world of pleasure waiting to be explored. Everyone of us is a world of infinite possibility. We are an army because we have to be. We are an army because we are so powerful. (We have so much to fight for; we are the most precious of endangered species.) And we are an army of lovers because it is we who know what love is. Desire and lust, too. We invented them. We come out of the closet, face the rejection of society, face firing squads, just to love each other! Every time we fuck, we win. We must fight for ourselves (no one else is going to do it) and if in that process we bring greater freedom to the world at large then great. (We've given so much to that world: democracy, all the arts, the concepts of love, philosophy and the soul, to name just a few gifts from our ancient Greek Dykes, Fags.) Let's make every space a Lesbian and Gay space. Every street a part of our sexual geography. A city of yearning and then total satisfaction. A city and a country where we can be safe and free and more. We must look at our lives and see what's best in them, see what is queer and what is straight and let that straight chaff fall away! Remember there is so, so little time. And I want to be a lover of each and every one of you. Next year, we march naked.

[Butch Femme Couples, circa 1920, donated to the New York Lesbian & Gay Community Services Center by Barbara Warren and Stephanie Grant]

thanks to james and ACTUP/ny for irreversibly changing my life at gay pride 1990. that same summer 5,000 copies of 'queers read this' were fedex'd to my home in boston (do you remember this james?). years later i've met two people who recall the document: 1 stunning beauty i met in hawaii 10 yeas ago and my current best friend who was a law student at harvard at the time. he was so moved by it that he published a piece mimicking it (purposefully) in a harvard law newspaper - it caused an uproar and touched many people. cheers to the anonymous writers and artist who had the brains to make such an amazing broad sheet.

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Published on July 1, 2003 2:07 PM.

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