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Eric and Eugene Get Married by Rick Beck

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Like Eric and Eugene, when I was kid the war in Vietnam was being fought by the French and homosexuality was illegal... not it's not-legal illegal but years in jail illegal.

Eric and Eugene's love is set against that background, and is beautifully portrayed.

Now times are different, but not different enough... So, if you live in a country dominated by religious fundamentalism and ultra-right politicians, then this story is a call to arms!

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A great story, Rick.

I think most guys my age don't realize what it was like before. Before when? "Well, duh, now of course!" my gay friends would say. Lots of gay guys my age say how frustrated they are by how long it takes to get things done. Like Utah. But compared to the 1950's and 1960's this is warp speed compared to what it was then. Without everything that was done back then there would be no now now. I think I understand that, and appreciate everything that gay boys, girls, teens, men, and women had to go through back then. A big "THANK YOU" to everyone before now. You've helped make my life so much better.

Colin :icon_geek:

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I think most guys my age don't realize what it was like before. Before when? "Well, duh, now of course!"

I think it's the same for all of us, no matter our age. Unless you are actually caught up in a specific moment in time that makes history - like Stonewall - or are an activist, then it's just part and parcel of your life. Some days good; other days, not so much. In some places you can happily get married ... in others you get the death penalty.

Rick's piece is a worthy addition to the canon of LGBT history.

This is an interesting read.

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I have considered writing a history, a tale of what it was like to grow up in a city that was in many ways an outpost colony of the British Empire, here in South Australia. It's probably true to say I didn't know how difficult life was until the law that made me a criminal was repealed.

However I'm moved to try to work actively to try to keep the gains we have made; to extend them and to even provide a measure of practical alertness to the dangers we face from those who would have no qualms against incarcerating us, or worse, again.

Until we have global freedom from such laws as in Russia and Uganda, just to mention two places, we are not protected, our liberty and freedom to express our love for each other are not safe.

Just because we have a few places where we can marry does not mean we should abandon fighting for the rights of all humans to express their affection and love for each other without threats or condemnation.

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Thanks Colin, I'm not sure that I could convey the history with any degree of accuracy. What I mean is, that my own history is crazy mixed up with the times and events which accompanied my life.

I think there is much to be gained from examining the past, though we must be careful to not dwell on it to the exclusion of the here and now. Time itself maybe an illusion or a stream of our consciousness, or even both.

You can get glimpses of my experiences from my poems and stories. I guess that is where the difficulty arises; trying to sort out the actual history of the times and my interpretation of them. My story Definitions is an example of fact and fiction being mixed together to reveal a moment of awakening in reality. (I actually did go to the library as described in the text, but everything outside the library comes from my imagination.)

Objectivity is hampered by the personal assessment of who we think we are. I used to be just me, but now I know I am a little of everything and everyone I have ever known, or heard about.

In light of that, I think I would claim that truth is evidenced in the fiction we create, but sometimes fiction is just that...fiction. On the other hand, some of my life experiences would most certainly seem to be fictional even if they were real.

Sorting it all out with a view to objective honesty to evidence truth and historical accuracy is not easy.

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  • 2 weeks later...

A wise man would have responded to this story sooner, Rick...I have been remiss.

The gay scene always seemed to be hijacked by the younger people in the community. Just view the images of any gay pride event, and I have. Now I have to dig in my attic for the photos I took years ago which included just as many middle aged men back when I was one of them. The parades, the marches, the protests...we were there and still are, only now we are gray.

But this story is a touching look at what growing older means in the gay community. The gay marriage option is opening up so many new thoughts and ideas about us as a part of society. But new things engender fear among the ignorant and that is where we are today. Civil rights for black people and voting rights for women were issues that spread irrational thought for decades.

Gay marriage makes sense for business and government so things will slowly change. For most of the young it isn't happening fast enough but they have no memory of what a long protracted battle it takes to obtain the freedom Rick speaks about. Thank you for the history lesson and the warm spirit and sense of family these two men provide.

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I know you didn't intend it this way, but it's somewhat offensive to say we younger people hijack the gay scene. All we did is filll a void. Many older gays have remained closeted because that's so standard and unthreatening for them. Perhaps it's the visibility of younger gays and the acceptance of gay marriage in more and more states that's helping older gays come out of their closets. They should be saluted, and acclaimed for being able to put up with lack of acceptance for so myan years.

Colin :icon_geek:

Written at 5:15 p.m. in Perth, Australia
where I'm currently on a business trip

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Young people didn't hijack the gay scene as much as they were visible as part of the youth culture from the 1960s onwards.

Older guys, born in the first half of the 20th Century had been closeted from fear of being exposed as homosexual or a paedophile. The two were thought of as being the same back then.

By 1960, when I was 16, it was possible to declare that you didn't want a family, or to marry. The youth culture of those times was quite visible...we were in revolt against war, and greed, and we believed in peace, love and harmony.

The Beatles came and sang to us, songs of holding hands and all we needed was love, love. love.

We questioned our existence as part of the culture that had misjudged youth. We were the counter culture that believed the age of Aquarius was upon us and peace would "guide the planets and Love would steer the stars." Unisex was fashionable and you made love with whomever wanted to make love with you.

Many books and articles have been written about what went wrong, but basically, "The Establishment" (the old guys who controlled society) did everything they could to seduce youth with money, drugs, and the promise of fame and fortune...or even just a job in the work force. They were the counter revolution and they conscripted the minds of youth to maintain their authority through fear and as we know now, they corrupted minds with hatred.

Most remarkable, perhaps, were the older men and women who had acted as mentors for the young. They told us of our heritage in Classical Greece. They instructed us in the ways of same sex love as distinct from just being sex addicts.

I think the world was down to a few good and noble men and women who understood the value of love between humans, regardless of sexuality or gender.

We very nearly lost it all to the draconian laws that put Oscar Wilde and Alan Turing to death. I'd say we were, as a social force of love, gay love, same sex love, very nearly extinct by the end of the 1950s. But then the sixties prepared the way for Stonewall, aided by people who were actively creating the groundwork for the freedom of sexual expression.

Of course, we celebrate our youth. We should never let those years of our discovering young hearts be concealed, and we who are older should revel in the knowledge that at last we are becoming accepted, and moreover, that our ability to express our love for each other can be celebrated without threat.

We have much work to do, for there are too many places and minds still unable to understand that we are human. That being human is being able to love each other. It is entirely possible if we look at those ancient cultures such as in Greece, that freedom of sexual expression between consenting adults is what life is all about. It certainly would explain why so many people live in fear of loving someone of the same gender. They are the ones in the closet.

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Yes, that's true James, but there is no need to envy those who come after us if we realise that they could be our reincarnation in the sense of evolving from the efforts we have put into our lives.

We may not have been perfect, but we can offer youth the knowledge that exuberance for life need not end when we get old.

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How interesting that the word hijack became the focus of those responding to this thread. I used it in reference to the images of gay people portrayed in the media when all we saw of gay pride events in the news were half naked young leather men riding on floats in the parade.

Perhaps it was that image, one that amused most of us, which inspired the hate campaign by the right wing. Those nasty gay people flaunting their bodies were certainly a part of the new generation out having a bit of fun. In some ways we handed that propaganda material to our enemies without a thought to the depth of the combustibility fermenting in the minds of the Christian haters. The media seemed to gobble it up...they still do.

It would be hard to say now that we envied all the young men on those floats as the AIDS crisis raised it's head in the community. By the end of the eighties too many of them were sick or already gone. But even a deadly disease made the haters spew more of their mindless drivel on the community. Government ignored our problems until wiser men prevailed.

The likes of Frank Kameny and Barney Frank brought the gay community back to it's feet and rallied the troops. We owe them a lot because of the sanity they brought to the table. But the haters will never go away, they just change the music in their ignorant dance. Perhaps this is proof to those who remain closeted that coming out poses too many risks, and yet so many are stepping forward these days.

The risk to job and sanity for those who come out is lessened by organizations and laws. I ask myself what the right wing will do for ammunition once the gay marriage issue is moot. They tried the pedophile attack only to have the embarrassing specter of Catholic priests molesting altar boys preempt that venue.

We have to be comforted by the statistics and reports of the positive aspects of gay marriage on families with children. Organized religion is still our worst enemy and will be until their belief system is purged from the laws which govern us all. And those who will inherit the benefit of positive change are the young. Now that is something to envy.

(Rick you should be proud, look at the discussion you have created.)

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