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Editorial:

APPROACHING LAVENDER

By ROY EDDEY

and

MICHAEL FERRI

T

his issue is for you and us, Gay men, knowing that

in our strength we are proud and glad to be Gay,

to be able

to

love other men, both emotionally

and sexually, and knowing that this is beautiful even

though our anti-Lesbian/anti-Faggot society denies our

existence by dismissing us as "sick," as "misfits." We know

we exist. We are

gay

and we are proud.

motive,

even with

its long history and affiliation with the United Methodist

Church, has

come out!

And gay people have brought it out. Virtually every

aspect of both the Lesbian/Feminist and the Gay men's

issues have been produced by and for Gay people. Lesbians

and gay men have written all the articles and poetry in our

respective issues, have created the art work, and done all of

the editing and technical layout and production; a lesbian

collective has printed both issues. As Gay men, we see this

issue as a beginning in our struggle to explain how we feel

about gayness. We hope it will reach you at some point in

your life and say that you as a Gay man are not alone.

We have tried to bring together in this issue a collection

of articles that reflect part of our personal history and

future direction as Gay men. We have included come-out

experiences, examples of specific society oppression, gay

poetry, and finally some analysis and suggestions for the

eventual direction of our liberation movement. We have

included the come-out experiences because we want to

show the commonality of feelings - fear, guilt, aloneness,

isolation - that Gay men have had when they begin to

react physically and emotionally to other men. We feel that

these negative feelings arise not from honest, innate

experiences but from a societal value system based on a

straight phobia of homosexuality. This fear of homosexu–

ality permeates all American cultural institutions : young

people growing up in nuclear families, attending schools

and churches, being exposed to medical and therapeutic

models. All are inundated with anti-homosexual male–

supremacist values. From our efforts to

understand

these

experiences, we have begun to see the true source of our

oppression. And from that understanding, we can move

toward a truly

Gay

analysis that will enable us to

successfully fight for our freedom.

W

e want to share some of our personal background

and experiences to give you some idea of who we,

Roy and Michael, are and where we're going. Our

methods of dealing with our emerging gay feelings

contained many similarities and differences, and, even

though our come-out environments were not the same, our

2

accompanying feelings were essentially positive. Roy came

out through the bar scene in Kansas City and Nashville,

while Michael came out at the founding meeting of the

District of Columbia Gay Liberation Front. Both of us

experienced a sense of breaking through - a sense of relief

that was tremendously uplifting. For Michael, the feeling of

group support ended his isolation much more than did

Roy's bar experiences. Even though the bars were for Roy

- and still are in many cities - the only place where gay

men can meet, he feels that his more recent involvement

with radical gay people, has given him an important sense

of openness that the bar scene didn't provide.

Our coming out was a time when we fully admitted to

ourselves and to others, both gay and straight, that we

really were gay. Roy felt this after he first slept with

another man; Michael's gay identity emerged after a year of

closeted, dishonest bisexuality. One week's honest, support–

ive struggle with GLF men enabled him to break through

that final barrier and admit to himself and others that he

was homosexual. Before coming out, our lives were patterns

of denial and escape from dealing with our gayness. Each

time those feelings surfaced, straight society provided us

with an easy out, a role or substitute image that diffused

the tension and pressure that might have enabled us to

break through. For both of us, however, our flight

culminated in relationships with women in which we felt

we "fucked them over," mostly because we were dishonest–

ly dealing with our own gay feelings. We tried to escape

into all of those straight, male-oriented images and

institutions we had been taught: man/woman relationships

(man on top, woman on bottom), marriage and the nuclear

family. Coming out removed those false masks. The

following lines of a poem Michael wrote when he was

coming out express what we both felt after we stopped

trying to be straight males:

I see myself as I am,

God, what a gift

...

But yet, what should I do?

Behind the masks I was one of them.

Accepted.

Secure?

But now I am different,

I am no longer of them;

I cannot be.

"But what should I do?" was the question in both our

minds. And as we were trying to find some direction, other

oppressed gay people were taking to the streets in

self-defense in the Stonewall Riots of '69; then the Gay

Liberation Front- with all the energy and excitement it