Looking Back at Huey Newton’s Thoughts on Gay Rights…In the Wake of Obama’s Endorsement

This was a speech given August 15 1970 by Huey Newton co-founder of the Black Panther Party..here he addresses the issue of Gay Rights… Its serious food for thought coming in the aftermath of President Obama endorsing Same-sex Message…

Huey Newton

During the past few years strong movements have developed among women and among homosexuals seeking their liberation. There has been some
uncertainty about how to relate to these movements.

Whatever your personal opinions and your insecurities about
homosexuality and the various liberation movements among homosexuals
and women (and I speak of the homosexuals and women as oppressed
groups), we should try to unite with them in a revolutionary fashion.
I say ” whatever your insecurities are” because as we very well know,
sometimes our first instinct is to want to hit a homosexual in the
mouth, and want a woman to be quiet. We want to hit a homosexual in
the mouth because we are afraid that we might be homosexual; and we
want to hit the women or shut her up because we are afraid that she
might castrate us, or take the nuts that we might not have to start
with.

We must gain security in ourselves and therefore have respect and
feelings for all oppressed people. We must not use the racist attitude
that the White racists use against our people because they are Black
and poor. Many times the poorest White person is the most racist
because he is afraid that he might lose something, or discover
something that he does not have. So you’re some kind of a threat to
him. This kind of psychology is in operation when we view oppressed
people and we are angry with them because of their particular kind of
behavior, or their particular kind of deviation from the established
norm.

Remember, we have not established a revolutionary value system; we are
only in the process of establishing it. I do not remember our ever
constituting any value that said that a revolutionary must say
offensive things towards homosexuals, or that a revolutionary should
make sure that women do not speak out about their own particular kind
of oppression. As a matter of fact, it is just the opposite: we say
that we recognize the women’s right to be free. We have not said much
about the homosexual at all, but we must relate to the homosexual
movement because it is a real thing. And I know through reading, and
through my life experience and observations that homosexuals are not
given freedom and liberty by anyone in the society. They might be the
most oppresed people in the society.

And what made them homosexual? Perhaps it’s a phenomenon that I don’t
understand entirely. Some people say that it is the decadence of
capitalism. I don’t know if that is the case; I rather doubt it. But
whatever the case is, we know that homosexuality is a fact that
exists, and we must understand it in its purest form: that is, a
person should have the freedom to use his body in whatever way he
wants.

That is not endorsing things in homosexuality that we wouldn’t view as
revolutionary. But there is nothing to say that a homosexual cannot
also be a revolutionary. And maybe I’m now injecting some of my
prejudice by saying that “even a homosexual can be a revolutionary.”
Quite the contrary, maybe a homosexual could be the most
revolutionary.

When we have revolutionary conferences, rallies, and demonstrations,
there should be full participation of the gay liberation movement and
the women’s liberation movement. Some groups might be more
revolutionary than others. We should not use the actions of a few to
say that they are all reactionary or counterrevolutionary, because
they are not.

We should deal with the factions just as we deal with any other group
or party that claims to be revolutionary. We should try to judge,
somehow, whether they are operating in a sincere revolutionary fashion
and from a really oppressed situation. (And we will grant that if they
are women they are probably oppressed.) If they do things that are
unrevolutionary or counterrevolutionary, then criticize that action.
If we feel that the group in spirit means to be revolutionary in
practice, but they make mistakes in interpretation of the
revolutionary philosophy, or they do not understand the dialectics of
the social forces in operation, we should criticize that and not
criticize them because they are women trying to be free. And the same
is true for homosexuals. We should never say a whole movement is
dishonest when in fact they are trying to be honest. They are just
making honest mistakes. Friends are allowed to make mistakes. The
enemy is not allowed to make mistakes because his whole existence is a
mistake, and we suffer from it. But the women’s liberation front and
gay liberation front are our friends, they are our potential allies,
and we need as many allies as possible.

We should be willing to discuss the insecurities that many people have
about homosexuality. When I say “insecurities,” I mean the fear that
they are some kind of threat to our manhood. I can understand this
fear. Because of the long conditioning process which builds insecurity
in the American male, homosexuality might produce certain hang-ups in
us. I have hang-ups myself about male homosexuality. But on the other
hand, I have no hang-up about female homosexuality. And that is a
phenomenon in itself. I think it is probably because male
homosexuality is a threat to me and female homosexuality is not.

We should be careful about using those terms that might turn our
friends off. The terms “faggot” and “punk” should be deleted from our
vocabulary, and especially we should not attach names normally
designed for homosexuals to men who are enemies of the people, such as
Nixon or Mitchell. Homosexuals are not enemies of the people.

We should try to form a working coalition with the gay liberation and
women’s liberation groups. We must always handle social forces in the
most appropriate manner.

For the Love of Marriage and the Hatred of Gays

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 For the Love of Marriage and the Hatred of Gays

By Davey D

daveyd-raider2I am always amazed at the type of excuses one makes and the type of reverting to hate that one takes when it comes to the issue of homosexuality and in recent days Gay Marriage.

Over the past year since Prop 8 was introduced on the California ballot, outlawing Gay Marriage, but worded in such a way as to let people think they were ‘protecting marriage’   I have had more than my fair share of spirited discussions that have resulted in one too many people screaming and shouting  and really getting bent out of shape.

 The usual argument that’s put forth is one steeped in religion. People wanna quote Leviticus , Mark,  Romans  and every other book as if a few quotes  from the Bible should suddenly be the final word when they themselves have ignored the demands of those quotesthat apply specifically to them and their own behavior  before and after the passages that referred to man sleeping with man. I tell you its funny when you think about it..

It wasn’t to long ago that I ran into a brother who went on and on about how immoral it was for gay marriage to take place and that it was an affront to God.  He talked about the sancty of marriage  and all that good stuff. Dude was on a roll until I quielty reminded him that he was living in sin. At the time dude was living with his girlfriend.  I reminded him that his ‘choice of behavior’ (him playing house) was doing very little to promote marriage he held in such high esteem. What made it even worse was that homeboy is a bit of player -he wasn’t the most faithful crayon on the box. It was no big deal for him to get alittle on the side here and there, yet he felt compelled to stand before me  and talk about the evils of gay marriage.  I was like; ‘Son shouldn’t you clean your own house first?’

As  I often have to remind folks-here in California, amongst a younger generation of people marriages end in divorce to a whooping  70% of the time. What are these self righteous people that hate gay marriage and want to keep the so called sancty intact doing to to lower that rate?

Thehuxtables-225Are they writing the ABCs, NBCs and CBS’ of the world demanding that they put out more programming that nurtures values that would lead to longer marriages?  Are they demanding more Bill Cosby– ‘Huxtable type shows?  Are they demanding that these multimedia corporations cease doing reality shows that routinely mock marriage by making it a shallow commodity that is won and lost in a ‘reality TV contest?  The answer?  Nope they’re pretty silent.

Are these folks going to local school board meetings demanding that we have classes that teach people how to communicate and have ‘healthy’ wholesome relationships? Are they out there petitioning the governor or the legislature to demand that those seeking a marriage license take some sort of class or orientation to help lower the divorce rate?  The answer? Nope, again folks are pretty damn silent.

Are they putting forth their own youtube videos and going directly into the places and spaces where relationships are most troubled and offering guidance?  The answer? Hardly. But talk about gay marriage and all the stops are pulled out.. All the troops are called. People are up in arms carry signs and acting all appauled.

Last year I saw an entire family complete with kids come out in full force to another part of town to protest Gay Marriage. They were out everynight for two weeks leading up to the election come rain or shine . They were outraged that gays wanted to get married.

I went out to interview them, cause I was curious and awestruck by their commitment to be outb there everyday grinding away against gay citizens.  I went to interview them and they hit the roof. They got pretty upset and demanded I oput my camera awy. they covered their faces with placards admonishing gay marriage.

One of the family members bragged how she was from the ‘Murder Dubs’ (the 20s) in East Oakland so that somehow gave her street cred when debating this issue. They were loud and proud that they werre people of color who were standing up to Gay marriage, but didn’t wanna be filmed.  I thought it was ironic that they would leave their own troubled community where you have large numbers of unmarried people with kids and broken homes to protest gay marriage.

TheBachelor-275 I was just in the murder dubs the other week and didn’t see that family out and about protesting fathers who weren’t paying child support or protesting young people fornicating without protection and then having kids. Didn’t see them before, didn’t see them then and I don’t see them now.  But like I said, talk about Gay marriage and the entire family comes out-How laughable is that?  It was even more laughable when  one of the family members of  this Christ fearing church going family called me a ‘faggot’.

Here I am a proud member of Allen Temple Baptist church who is heterosexual, but when having discussion amongst these so called fellow Christians… well lets just say the convo and the names they called me weren’t very Christ-like-What would Jesus do if he there to witness that?  I prayed for them and kept it moving. I also resisted the temptation to be vindictive and put them on blast by showing their ugliness in the video I shot.

The other argument that is often put forth is ‘These gays want to have sex and its wrong, wrong ,wrong’. I have to again remind people, that gays do not need permission or laws on the books to have sex. The sodomy laws of this country have been struck down years ago.  You can sleep with who ever you want.

I also have to remind people that its pretty shallow and ass backwards to get married just to have sex. I know I wouldn’t go out like that?  Why would Gays?  The last point to this argument is that very rarely-in fact I have never walked down the street and saw a couple engaged in passionate sex.  Last I checked its against the law. You would be charged with lewd behavior. Hence I think just as common sense applies to me it would apply to two gay adults. No lewd and lascivious behavior or go to jail.  Memo to those opposed to Gay Marriage : It Is Not About Sex. Personally I oftyen wonder why the folks so opposed to gay marriage always bring up the sex thing.  Makes me wonder whats up with that?  Are they repressing something? mmmm

The third argument we often hear is people claiming being Gay is choice not something that comes from birth.. For the moment lets agree to disagree and follow this twisted logic. We allow marriage license to those who have in the past and presently make all sorts of choices that challenge ‘sociatel norms’   Case in point, there was a point in time where interracial marriage was not allowed. If my grandfather wanted to marry a white woman as a youing man in South carolina, not only would he not get the license he might’ve gotten his as hung on a tree by some funny guys wearing hoods and white sheets carrying and quoting from the Bible.

 There were all sorts of well meaning people who put forth a variety of social reasons and concerns that justified the laws on the books preventing  Blacks, Browns and Asians to marry whites people.  There was concern about the kids. There was concern about diluting the race. There was concern about sparking racial unrest. In some communities there were religious implications.. i.e. One did not marry outside the religion.  Jews and Catholics come to mind. In spite of those supposedly compelling social concerns and the desire to keep societal norms in tact  those laws were struck down. 

So in 2009 if I want to leave a Afrocentric Church where we talk about re-building the Black family, I can be sporting dredlocks, quoting Malcolm  and wearing all sorts of kente cloth  and go out and marry blonde haired, blue eyed  Pamela Anderson and there’s not damn thing anyone can do except scowl, get mad and shun me. They can do all that and maybe they won’t agree to grant me a marriage ceremony at their church,  but I sure as hell can get that marriage license. Why so?   

gaymarriagechild-225For starters we live in a country where one has a right to assemble and associate. We also live in a country where I am free to choose my religion. So in other words if Jewish people feel that they should marry other Jews for whatever social or religious reasons, that’stheir prerogative if I wanna marry someone from a Jewsish background as did my mother I have that right. Sure, I might be able to go to Temple and partake in their particular marriage ceremonies, Churches have a right to uphold their traditions, but as a tax payer I sure has hell should be allowed to go down to city hall and pick up a marriage license. My tax dollars pay for it. Gays pay taxes and should have a right to that legal document. Why is that child molesters, rapists, serial murders can all get marriage license but a hard working, law abiding tax paying gay adult cannot?

And really folks that’s the bottom line here. All this other talk is mute.  All citizens who pay taxes have a right to go to public school. We have right to have the potholes repaired in our neighborhood. We have right to be protected by the police and fire departments. We have a right to address our grievances at city hall. We have right to pick up land deeds. We all our required to pay taxes. And we all have a right to be married by the justice of the peace in city hall.  It don’t matter if I’m a Black man wanting to marry a devout white Catholic. It don’t matter if I’m a dog killer like Michael Vick who who himself is set to get married.-No one is holding back his license. It don’t matter if I’m a atheist or agnostic or even a devil worshipper. I am under the laws of this country allowed to obtain a marriage license-Why can’t gays? Why are people so afraid?

 mmmm thats a few words to ponder..

Below are a couple of videos from the discussions that ensued during the May 26  supreme court decision in San Francisco.

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