Our Own Faerie Way Harry Hay recalls the heady days when the modern Gay movement was born and the "Golden Dream of Brotherhood was enveloping us all." Eighteen years before the Stonewall Rebellion, Harry Hay formed the Mattachine Society -- the first continuously existing Gay political organization in the Unites States -- out of his organizing experience in the workers and communist movements. In 1994, the impossible was made possible, and Harry was able to reunite the many strands of his multifaceted identity as he "came home" at the annual awards dinner of the Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research. The Library, a treasurehouse of progressive resources and left history located in the heart of South Central Los Angeles, presented Harry with the Emil Freed Award, named after the Library's founder. The entire evening was dedicated to celebrating the Lesbian and Gay movement. Harry -- who has also been a Contributing Editor of CrossRoads since the magazine's inception -- gave this acceptance address at the dinner in March. When, in 1991, the shining, presumably monolithic, granite peaks of socialism, which had served for 80 percent of my almost 82 years as beacons of social change and political liberation, suddenly revealed new and heretofore unknown and so -- for now, at least -- unpredictably volcanic dimensions of themselves, it was heartening and comforting to know that Emil Freed's great Library and Workingclass Archives was still here in the city, still plugging along as that fine CP Organizer, Emil Freed, always had. There are, I imagine, a number of people here tonight who wonder -- not necessarily what woodwork the American 20th century Queers materialized out of...but maybe, at least, where did the Gay Movement come from? In the 1930s, and '40s, there were dozens of clusters of Homosexuals all over the country impassioned to get a group of some sort going. Brothers would meet, and spark up a storm of ideas: by the 2nd meeting word would get out that such doings were a novel way to cruise, and at the 3rd meeting attendance would double. But when the 4th meeting didn't produce any more new faces...the 5th meeting would only get the by-now burnt-out first meeting sparkers. FINI! And this pattern would repeat itself over and over...and year after year! Its and old but still useful cliche, amongst Progressive and Trade Union Activists, that -- socially or politically -- the Middle Class has never produced anything of significance...any movement or activity they do develop originates from the grass-roots below. The Mattachine Society was no exception...it equally had come out of the rough-and-tumble Trade Union Organizing experiences of one of us, and out of the outlaw underground Community- organizing experiences, with their subsequent disciplines, undertaken in the previous decade by the other three and sometimes four of us. We all knew how to invoke the U.S. Constitution's 5th Amendment to protect membership lists, or membership activities, from unwelcome scrutinies, when and if the local Police or the Feds got nosey. Like experienced Leftwing Fellow-travellers, we all automatically assumed we would be infiltrated by the FBI. And it turned out we weren't wrong. WE HAD TO ORGANIZE! The political climate in 1948 was ominous. Senator Joe McCarthy's scurrilous unAmerican Committee Witch-hunt, then into disgracing Hollywood Actors or Writers or Directors, who were Marxist-oriented activists or sympathizers, had dragged on for months terrifying decent people into becoming public Snitches fingering friends and former fellow- employees alike, and thereby demoralizing the entire Nation's cultural environment. "Loyalty Oaths" suddenly became -- everywhere -- a basic pre-requisite to public, and/or professional employment. America seemed to be moving rapidly toward that very type of POLICE STATE in which public scapegoating had already proven itself to be the most effective and inexpensive form of People control. With President Truman's rush to recognize the new State of Israel, with Truman's equal rush to integrate Negroes into the Armed Forces, with the further integration of Blacks in Organized Labor, with the political and legal outlawing of Lynching in the South, not to mention the several movements to get rid of the now-hated Poll Tax...it was obvious to me, as I wrote in my original CALL-to-organize in 1948, that the political scapegoat victim for POLICE STATE People control, this time round, would be us, the QUEERS! We had to begin finding out who we were! Where we had been! What we might be able to be for! WE HAD TO ORGANIZE! As it turned out, my prediction of us Queers being used as the scapegoat by which workers could be stampeded into acknowledging working potentials of otherwise Fascist-like conditions, as contained in the FAMILY PROTECTION ACT -- introduced by Jerry Falwell's Christian Fundamentalist Right into the Congresses of 1981-82 -- was 30 years early. But don't relax. The FAMILY PROTECTION ACT, now the property of Pat Robertson, Pat Buchanan, and Christian Fundamentalists everywhere in the Country, is still very much alive and well. You all are going to be hearing from it again shortly. It's a good thing You Progressives, and We Queers, are reaching out to one another now, to find ways to work together. Because this way we'll be able to point out to you, and you'll hear us -- this time, maybe -- the really dreadful Fascist dangers with which the FAMILY PROTECTION ACT threatens us all, dangers which Homophobic Trade Unionists insisted upon overlooking totally -- the first time round -- in 1981-82. Thank Goddess the ACT failed in 1982, in spite of the Trade Unions' stupid fumbling. GOLDEN DREAM OF BROTHERHOOD Meantime, back at the ranch -- in 1948 -- even with copies of my CALL-to organize, and a new book (an overnight best seller, when it was published in 1948), Alfred Kinsey's report on SEXUALITY AND THE AMERICAN MALE, which I also carried to give me credibility, it took me two long and scary years to find my first recruit. Forming a society of TWO, and determined to get a discussion group going, we went to an unmarked section of Santa Monica Beach we knew was frequented by Gay Brothers. Because the Media was already whumping up support for the Korean War started only two weeks earlier, we figured that asking Brothers to sign our Stockholm Peace petition would be so far-out scary radical, they'd be more interested in agreeing to come to a more conventional Kinsey Report Discussion Group, right? WRONG! By end of summer, we had gotten 500 signatures on our Stockholm Peace petitions, and had not found one person who would dare to come to our Discussion Group so overpowering were Homosexual men's terrors of possible police reprisals, or blackmail, to such Discussion Groups. The next three members came out of my 1950 Fall Historical Materialist music classes I had developed for PEOPLES SONGS at the Southern California Labor School. We, the first 5 of what our group would call the Mattachine Society five months later, all of us so long previously trained in underground struggle, for social and political justice, knew that we Brothers -- of a different consciousness than the Heterosexuals around us -- were not the degraded, degenerate monsters that Society's cruel oppressive laws and religious prejudices made us out to be. But we also knew -- equally -- that we didn't yet have the concepts, let alone the words, to say. At our first Discussion Group, in December 1950, 18 of us sat for two hours not really knowing what to say to one another, but sensing that nobody wanted to leave. At the second meeting, to break the ice, we five Steering Committee Members started the ball rolling by "coming out" to one another. After about two hours of this, it suddenly flashed on us all that just maybe we had more in common with each other in this room, friends and newcomers alike, than ever we had had with anybody before -- in all our lives! We five realized that -- inadvertently -- by our process, we'd turned a major corner in our perceptions of Gay Consciousness. People couldn't wait for the next meeting to learn more about each other, and so about themselves in each other -- and bring a friend. The Golden Dream of Brotherhood was enveloping us all. Twenty years later, in the 1970s, this process would be known as "consciousness-raising raps." But in 1951, we'd not yet developed such concepts, let alone the words. We just knew we'd invented the organizing tool we'd been looking for. This contagious fever for Brotherhood developed for First Mattachine a mailing list of about 5,000 people in the State of California alone, in 1952, in the teeth of Senator McCarthy's Witch-hunt. Of course, our luck didn't last: our very excitement attracted the first inundating wave of the opportunist Middle Class Assimilationists, the Negative-Imaging Homosexuals, rather than the joyous Positive-Imaging Gay Brotherhood, the Opportunists who would insist that we were all exactly the same as the Heteros, except in bed, and who would equally insist that Homosexuals had absolutely nothing in common with one another except their sexual inclinations. The Assimilationists ("A" Gays the Faeries call them) would waste First Mattachine's Golden Dream of Brotherhood, and totally scotch First Mattachine's notion that we might be a cultural Minority. Yet when STONEWALL burst upon the scene 16 years later, these new Brothers and Sisters assumed everybody had always known we were a cultural Minority since Day One! ONCE AND FUTURE FAERIES In those heady First Mattachine months prior to the Winter of 1952, we re-discovered within ourselves many deeply-preserved principles we continue to honor throughout the Movement today. Among the many, two are particularly prominent: 1. At our seasonal group initiations, we would stand in a circle connected to one another through crossed hands, and pledge in unison "Let us hereby resolve that no young person among us need ever take his first step out into the dark -- alone, and afraid, again." 2. After a long and comprehensive discussion of many months, wherein we collectively recognized that long before, as well as during, Western Europe's crusade by Organized Religions to obliterate us, we had elected to be our Brothers Keepers, we had determined to be one another's Protectors, and that my brother's silence was my only security, as, equally, my silence was his. and we had concluded that, even in the terrifying years of Senator Joe McCarthy's Witch Hunt, "When we finally have earned the right to integrate into Society's Mainstream, we shall integrate AS THE GROUP WE SEE AND ACCEPT OURSELVES TO BE...or not at all!" No one -- neither Heteros, or self- loathing Gays or Lesbians -- demanding censorship or expulsion of this Group or that -- shall be tolerated! I mention these two basic principles at this moment because -- at the International Gay and Lesbian Summit (ILGA) this Summer in New York City, of which STONEWALL-25 is a member, it is expected that Opportunist self-appointed Middle-Class leaders, for whom respectability is more important than self-respect or self-affirmation, will undertake to violate them. With the anxious and trembling eyes of young Gay and Lesbian Youth around the world watching to see if their older Brothers and Sisters still honor the ancient pledge to be each other's -- and so also their -- mentors, I am hoping that many of us will join me in New York to send those young Darlings a message of "Hope along the Wind"...and to oppose the Opportunists' betrayal of our ancient and beloved principles. (See "The Third Gender Vs. the Senate Circus," page xx) And to the handsome assemblage in this room here tonight, I would like to say -- that the spectacle of dear friends and comrades, of the powerful political first half of my life, reaching out in appreciation and respect to my beloved Queer Minority, whose re-discovery and re-invention has enriched and rewarded the political second half of my life, I feel at last that -- for the very first time ever -- I am being enabled to come home. Thank you all for having made this impossible -- possible.