GLR Forum

General Forum => Open Forum => Topic started by: Sage on Thu, Aug 08, 2013, 06:42

Title: Assessing How the Idea and Word Gets Around
Post by: Sage on Thu, Aug 08, 2013, 06:42
I have a two part question. First, when did you begin to conceive of the idea of the possibility of a Gay nation? Secondly, how did you first learn of the Gay Homeland Foundation?

I ask this question in part to help determine what works in terms of promoting the idea and raising awareness of the Foundation.
Title: Re: Assessing How the Idea and Word Gets Around
Post by: Feral on Thu, Aug 08, 2013, 12:20
Late in 1980, while at university, I began to haunt the offices of a moribund chapter of the Gay Liberation Front. One of their more pleasant services to the community was the maintenance of a small library, since books on any subject touching upon anything Gay were rare and hardly positive. It wasn't that they didn't exist, it was that neither the public libraries nor the bookstores would stock them. That chapter of Gay Liberation spent the lion's share of their meager funds purchasing and replacing books. In one of those books, I read about the Alpine County project. I would have sworn it was The Gay Militants by Donn Teal, but I find that that book was not published until 1994. It must have been some other book, but I cannot rule out the possibility of a much earlier edition. Such issues were energetically discussed by the visitors to the office, and when the adventures of the followers of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh in Antelope, Oregon began unfolding in the popular press in 1984, the conversations became more thoughtful. Unlike the Alpine County project, which was never actually attempted, the town of Antelope did, for a time, have its name changed to Rajneesh through the ordinary democratic processes.

The offices of the Gay Liberation Front were more of a social gateway than a political headquarters of any kind. At that time, it was one of a few places within an eighty mile radius where young men and women could go and 'come out.' Gays were completely invisible in those days, to a degree that is quite impossible to explain to anyone under twenty today. We were as invisible as fairies, unless you managed to rub magical fairy ointment on your eyes. The Gay Liberation Front had a handy jar of that ointment (we kept it in the third drawer from the top in the filing cabinet). People came and went. There was a continuous stream of people who came and went. Those who had any interest in radical politics stayed; those who had no interest read our books, accepted our introductions, and happily made use of the magical power to see the invisible Gay Kingdom that had always existed in the shadows around them. While they were in attendance, however, they did discuss Alpine County ("they would have killed us all," they said) and Antelope, Oregon ("Those were Rajneeshis--had they been Gay, there would have been open warfare.") That was before AIDS. The newcomers also said, "I didn't know there were any Gay people over fifty" when they were instructed to behave themselves around the older gentlemen (who were over seventy) they had the occasion to meet inside our magic circle. When people were less defeatist, they eventually came around to the idea of a nation, especially if they stuck around long enough to see the outlines of the invisible kingdom they were being initiated into.

We were separatists in those days. The idea of a Gay nation was an intellectual puzzle. The more pressing concern was how to maintain what little integration the community already had. In that corner of the world, at least, AIDS destroyed it all. Invisible networks do not tolerate removed nodes well, and cannot survive the extinction of vast swaths of contacts. I settled for being a good husband (which was my initial goal anyway) and getting on with my life.

Much later in life, the Spousal-Unit and I encountered the strange tale of Dale Anderson and the Gay and Lesbian Kingdom of the Coral Sea Islands. For some reason, the idea was electrifying. Cato Island is, of course, no place to set up a country. My interest in that project was more in the idea behind it than the Real Estate. Land is an essential element of any 'proper' nation, though. The peculiar circumstances of the Gay Kingdom led me to enter into discussions here. Unfortunately, my experience will be of little help to you. The Foundation was more or less created before my eyes; I cannot say that I ever learned of it.
Title: Re: Assessing How the Idea and Word Gets Around
Post by: Mogul on Thu, Aug 08, 2013, 21:31
I guess that I was leaning to Gay separatism starting from 1997 -1998, when I realized that straight people are, on average, indifferent to our existential issues. I was in a relationship with a boy from Poland, and there was absolutely no country on this planet where we could settle down and live together. That was a time when I was thinking of a Gay country, too, but that was clearly on a level of "dreaming" and "wishful thinking".

In 2005, I found my way to this project via initial involvement with the Gay & Lesbian Kingdom discussion group. The GLK endeavour was reported in Gay media (both online and print) and caught my attention in 2004. That was a big story, with bold claims and lots of positive energy. After some initial scepticism, I had my "big conversion" and found the idea to be not only greate, but also feasible.

Had the GLK leadership at that time been serious about occupying Cato, I would have sold my few possessions to buy a ticket to Australia. Would we possess a significant portion of arable land now, I would move as well.
Title: Re: Assessing How the Idea and Word Gets Around
Post by: Sage on Mon, Aug 12, 2013, 03:01
Thank you for your stories. My experience parallels the stage by stage processes you have both described. I first became aware of separatism as a formal concept from source material I reviewed while researching an undergraduate thesis on the Stonewall riots in 2002. During the same timeframe, I was made aware that the concept was a reoccurring theme in the literature of Williams S. Burroughs by a heterosexual male friend with countercultural ties. I was intrigued by the idea but considered it part of a by-gone era. Nonetheless, I allowed myself to day dream about the possibility and ponder plenty of “what if” questions while making an effort to maintain objectivity regarding the pros and cons.

Though the idea of some sort of Gay centered society continued to enter my thoughts and fantasies for the next several years, it was not until I did some early graduate research on the Gay Liberation movement that I started to re-examine the concept in a serious way. I was aware of the Alpine project and decided to further investigate the topic which eventually became my graduate thesis. Also, while researching Gay Liberation I learned of more recent separatist movements that curiously all seemed to be omitted from history.

After several months of critical analysis, I concluded that the goal would be theoretically possible if a collective political will to achieve it existed. However, I had and still have some uncertainty with regards to whether any collective political will in the U.S. would ever reach the critical mass needed to make the possibility a reality. My specific mention of the U.S. is based on consideration of the nation’s population and resources rather than national centrism.   

I eventually concluded two things. One is that the rise of transnationalism may neutralize any essential need for substantial support within the U.S. for a nation building movement to reach the needed critical mass. Secondly, that even if the goal of an independent Gay nation is not achieved, there is potential that significant cultural, social, and political gains will nonetheless result from the process. Thus the goal is valuable either way regardless of the outcome and should therefore be pursued.