"Gay History is Still in the Closet"

Richard Goldstein made it onto the NYTimes Op-Ed page again today, this time using Harry Hay's death to remind us all of the American blackout of queer history.

Why are the gay movement's roots so obscured? The reason is the invisibility of gay history. With rare exceptions, schools fail to acknowledge that there even is such a thing. Only university students who opt for elective courses — if they are offered — learn that, in the 1920's, gay liberation was an important part of Emma Goldman's radical agenda. You won't find that mentioned in the film "Reds," in which Goldman was a prominent character. Nor can you deduce from "Cabaret" (film or play) that gay people in the Weimar Republic did more than patronize kinky nightclubs. The gay community was a very visible part of Berlin's political landscape, and its leader Magnus Hirschfeld was an emblem of the liberal society that the Nazis smashed. The famous photo of storm troopers burning books is widely thought to have been taken at Mr. Hirschfeld's library.

About this Entry

Published on October 30, 2002 11:57 PM.

previous entry: Vatican extolls Vatican charity

next entry: Harry Hay and all the other queer outsiders