It Was 25 Years Ago Today

Selections from the Village Voice's annual Queer Issue

The Color Line
By Hilton Als

And what do we see now, here in the land of no vision? Open your eyes. Stand on the corner of Seventh Avenue and Christopher Street. The ghosts of the dead remain undead in your head. The ghosts of the living pass before you. Some of them look like you, others not. Here, identity is predicated on race. If you are black or Something Other Than, this is where your seventh circle begins: at Two Potato, Sneakers—whatever. If you are white you proceed east, to places like Uncle Charlie's or Tunnel Bar, or further west and uptown, to J's, or Meat—whatever. The point is, Christopher Street has become a microcosm for the old New York story: once we move in you move out. (1991)


The 25th Annual Queer Issue

  • Beyond the Stepford Queers
    Welcome to the age of do-it-yourself identity
  • I Ruck, Therefore I Am
    Rugby and the gay male body
    Christopher Stahl
  • My Big Fat Funky Queer Marriage
    Forget the rice. (We're on Atkins.) No his-and-his towels. (Nothing matches in our house.) Just give us Viagra—and wish us well
    by Richard Goldstein
  • Transmale Nation
    Remaking manhood in the genderqueer generation
    by Elizabeth Cline
  • The Great Gay Way
    A brief history of Christopher Street
    by Wayne Hoffman
  • Elements Of Style: Chasing Rainbows
    Peace tees, platform shoes, and big pussies get ready for Pride day
    by Lynn Yaeger
  • Listings: There She Is, Miss L.E.S.
    She'll Take the Town by Storm
    by Keisha Franklin
  • Pride Events

  • Heartsick:
    Fear and Loving in the Gay Community

    By Richard Goldstein

    "The poor homosexuals," [Pat] Buchanan writes. "They have declared war upon nature and now nature is extracting an awful retribution." In the guise of warning that gay men pose a danger to the public-even dentists may be contaminated by their spittle-this journalist lays the clinical groundwork for a shunning process that more candid moralists have long regarded as the appropriate way to deal with sin....

    In the dream, I am lying on a bed draped entirely in white. Through the gauzy light, I can make out my lover, in a white gown and rubber gloves, his face apparent only in the hair and eyes. Then I see my mother sitting in a straight-backed chair, swaying as she did when she kept watch on my brother who was sick. Then I see a rabbi, his black coat and beard against the whiteness of the chamber. He looks at my body, tethered in tubes; he reaches over as if to touch me; he shuts the resuscitator off. (1983)

    Death In The Family
    By C. Carr

    One of the myths about us is that dykes and faggots can't love each other. We have about as many man-haters and woman-haters as straight people do-which is a few. But very often gay men and women think of each other as family. AIDS is a crisis of family. As much as gay men may need our help, we need for them not to leave us. That's why so many lesbians are redirecting their fabled "energy" from feminist projects to AIDS. It's our crisis too.

    A gay woman was telling me just the other day about her friend, this man who won't stop fucking around, and how angry she gets, and she keeps telling him, "Stop fucking around! You know who's going to take care of you when you're sick. I'm the one who loves you!" Lesbians are in the peculiar position of being like wives left home from the war. We can tend the wounded and follow the battle reports and try to raise money, but we're really just biding our time till we find out who'll come home from the front. (1987)

    I Was the Queer at a Christian Theme Park
    By Darrell Yates Rist

    Ever since I've gotten back from Jim and Tammy Bakker's wonderland, I've had nightmares. Faces with pained smiles and happy tears and "Jesus!" on their lips are taking things away from me. Sex, love, friends, my lover, curiosity and independent thoughts, my intellect-all suffocated in a vertigo of faith, as they were when I was still a Pentecostal cultist. Back then—in the '40s, '50s, '60s—people who were overwhelmed by God, heard His voice, concocted sudden languages to answer Him, fell shaking on the floor, or ran across the backs of church pews "blessed" were thought to be a folksy, dying breed, poor or lower middle-class and badly educated. Lunatics. (1986)

    What Is This Thing Called?
    By Blanche McCrary Boyd

    Counting Deborah, I've been in love six times. The first time I felt a tremendous innocence, I even felt cleansed. I was more sexually aroused than I'd ever been, and I spent several weeks wandering through an erotic haze...

    The second time I fell in love I was braced for it. Like the flu, I knew I'd catch it again.

    ...As the years passed, I met a couple of other women I couldn't live without. With one of them I lived happily for a long time. I'll never leave you, I kept telling her. Now I know when I say forever, I mean about five years. My breakup with R was extremely painful, but I was not suicidal. After all, I wrote to a former professor, how many names can you cry in the night?" (1979)

    Oh My Papi
    By Vince Aletti

    Currently, the porn ideal is the same cartoon (actually, a Tom of Finland drawing) of masculinity found at most gay gyms, dance clubs, and go-go bars: He's broad-shouldered and bubble-butted, with a chest like shiny armor plate and no sign of body hair; he's clean-shaven, thick-lipped, straight-acting, and white. He's the '90s clone, and we're over him . . .

    The relationship of gay white men and Latinos, whether mutual attraction or mutual exploitation, has its lore, its literature, and plenty of anecdotal evidence. (You could start with the personals in any gay rag, the ones that read "GWM seeks PR homeboy, 18-28, beefy hung, uncut. Bi a plus.") And for the past nine years it's had its own porn auteur, the pseudonymous Brian Brennan, whose Barrio-based outfit, Latino Fan Club, has turned out 60 exhilaratingly cheesy, way hardcore extravaganzas. The LFC motto: "Celebrating the beauty of the Latin male." Right-all nine and a half inches of it. (1994)

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