"Hold back the edges of your gowns, Ladies, we are going through Hell."
--Allen Ginsberg, preface to Howl
"The message I wished to propogate was that effeminacy existed in people who were in all other respects just like home. I went about the routine of daily living looking undeniably like a homosexual person."
"Abandoned by my family, I found it natural to aggravate the fact by the love of males... Thus I repudiated a world that had repudiated me."
With locks disheveled, flushed in a sweat of drunkenness,
His shirt torn open, a song on his lips and wine cup in his hand--
With eyes looking for trouble, lips softly complaining--
So at midnight last night he came and sat at my pillow.
He bent his head down to my ear, and in a voice full of sadness
He said: "Oh, my old lover, are you asleep?"
What lover, given such wine at midnight,
Would prove love's heretic, not worshiping wine?
Don't scold us, you puritan, for drinking down to the dregs.
This fate was dealt us in God's prime Covenant.
"I know my little 'dirty drawings' are never going to hang in the main salons of the Louvre, but it would be nice if... our world learns to accept all the different ways of loving. Then maybe I could have a place in one of the smaller side rooms."
--Tom of Finland
I am a black lesbian feminist... I cannot be categorized... I have a duty to speak the truth as I see it, and to share not just my triumphs, not just the things that felt good, but the pain, the intense, often unmitigating pain."
"If you ask the direct question, 'Are you gay?' the answer is yes. So what?.... I don't think I have anything to hide.... I don't think my sex life is relevant to my job, but on the other hand I don't want to leave the impression that I'm embarrassed about my life."
--U.S. Senator Barney Frank
"I don't need anyone's opinion. I've got my own."
--Christine Jorgensen, transexual
Lulled by the strange torpor of the place, I was just sinking into a state of semi-somnolence, when in the half-open doorway, there suddenly appeared a marvellous youth. He stood there for a time, leaning with his raised elbow against the door-jamb, and outlined on the dark background of the night. He seemed uncertain as to whether he would go, when he smiled at a sign made him by (Oscar) Wilde and came up and sat down opposite on a stool... He took a reed flute out of his Tunisian waistcoat and began to play it very exquisitely. Wilde told me a little later that he was called Mohammed.... Wilde said in a whisper, "Dear, would you like the little musician?"
...I thought my heart would fail me; and what a dreadful effort of courage it needed to answer: "Yes," and with what a choking voice!
--Andre Gide, If It Die...
"The great difficulty is to say Yes to life."
"I wrote it to make people cry: AIDS is the saddest thing I'll ever have to know. I also wrote it to be a love story, in honor of a man I loved who died. I wanted people to see on a stage two men who loved each other. I wanted people to see them kiss. I wanted people to see that gay men in love and gay men suffering and gay men dying are just like everyone else."
--Larry Kramer, co-founder of the Gay Men's Health Crisis
and ACT UP
(AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power), on his award-winning play, The Normal Heart
"It was marvellous to get your letter... I was so sad that you were depressed and cold--I wanted to hop into a plane and come over and comfort you at once, I would have kissed you all over & then blown all over you & then--- & --- ; and then you'd have been as warm as toast! .... Ich liebe dich, io t'amo, jeg elske dyg, je t'aime, in fact, my little white-thighed beauty, I'm terribly in love with you."
--Peter Pears, writing to Benjamin Britten
I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal."
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slaveowners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood.
I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a desert state, sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
I have a dream today.
I have a dream that one day the state of Alabama, whose governor's lips are presently dripping with the words of interposition and nullification, will be transformed into a situation where little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls and walk together as sisters and brothers.
I have a dream today.
I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.
This is our hope. This is the faith with which I return to the South. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.
--Martin Luther King, Jr., August 28, 1968
"This is not my victory, it is yours and yours and yours. If a gay can win, it means that there is hope that the system can work for all minorities if we fight. We've given them hope."
"If a bullet should enter my brain, let that bullet destroy every closet door."
--Harvey Milk, assassinated Nov. 27, 1978
Dream within a dream:
Our dream deferred.
Good morning, Daddy--
Ain't you heard?