It certainly troubled me more than it did them. They found out very quickly that I was a homosexual. But not once did they make a remark, an allusion or a joke. It wasn’t by tactfulness. Quite simply, I think they were just short on time and they couldn’t have cared less what I am. When a Panther named Zayd came to meet me in Montreal, he had in his hands the first copies of Funeral Rites to come out as a paperback in America. He said to me laughing: “I read it on the plane.” That’s all he said. Period.
A month later, after public demonstrations by groups of American homosexuals and women’s liberation people, the Black Panthers wrote to me, asking for an article on homosexuality because it was a subject they didn’t understand very well and one in which I was better qualified to speak than they. Quite simply, I sent David a letter in which I explained to him that, like the colour of one’s skin, homosexuality was a matter of faith; that it did not depend on us to be or not to be homosexuals.
By chance, or more likely by intent, Huey Newton, who had just got out of prison, published an article in the party newspaper in which he urged the Panthers to try to understand all minorities, to learn to distinguish between minorities and individuals and to distinguish among individuals who were revolutionaries and those who were not. Newton explained that the important thing was not whether to be or not to be a homosexual, but rather whether to be or not be a revolutionary, for by being revolutionaries, homosexuals could prove themselves potential friends.
When asked whether his homosexuality helped him to become a revolutionary, Genet replied:
One is not a revolutionary just because one is a homosexual. What I mean to say is that there are some homosexuals who wish to affirm their difference and their special quality, and this need leads them to unmask the arbitrary character of the system in which they live. But there are others who wish to pass unnoticed and to blend into the system, therefore strengthening the system.
Let us say that homosexuality should lead the homosexual to indict the system; but, in reality, the system is a source of so much humiliation, fear and panic, and is often far stronger, that it forces a homosexual to dissemble and to bow down. When a pederast dyes his hair blue, he is able to launch a revolutionary programme by himself; but when, after dyeing his hair blue, he beefs up his breasts with hormones and goes to live with a man, he is merely parodying the system. He is keeping up appearances and not challenging anything at all. Society is amused. He becomes a kind of curiosity, which the system is quick to digest.
Ok, so I have an auto-reblog rule for anything I see from educationforliberation, and I realize this is from another era, but I can’t let this go without comment.
Look how even this early, trans women are posited as the reactionary supporters of the system, placed as the natural and needed opposite to support “radical” cis gay men.
Keep on rocking it EFL. You do wonderful work.
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