Sunday, August 30, 2009

Gay of the Day - Sylvia Rae Rivera

So in an effort to educate myself on the Great History of the Queers of the world I have run across so many wonderful and inspiring stories. I often feel that most straight people think that Gay and Lesbian people should hang our heads in shame because of who we are. They don't know that outside of their very narrow knowledge of the world Gay peoples were the spiritual leaders and the revered artists and two spirited leaders of the world. We held the highest spiritual positions and the roles of leader and as the magical children with all the worlds mysteries wrapped into one being. The apex of what humans could be; not the ill treated minority of todays world. 
And even in this day under the bigotry of a hateful intolerant fear mongering society we have garnered some of the bravest people on the planet. Queers have been at the fore front of civil rights across the spectrum and yet we are the last minority to be given our own equal rights. We have endured mass slaughters in WW II, the ravishes of AIDS, lynching, and all the same kind of torture other minorities have and yet in large our cry's go unnoticed. It is blatantly acceptable to hate fags and dykes and Homosexual's and transgenders and all that is wrapped up in the "Queer Rainbow."
It is time to learn our history be shared so that these bigots realize that there is no shame in Gay. There is no need to hide our culture, ourselves, or our heros. Now I don't know if I can commit to actually doing this every day but I will be posting Queers who have paved the way from as far back as can be remembered. To help us remember why we are worth the same as everyone. To dispel the myths that Queer people are shameful. Instead to remind us just exactly why we are so special. Different isn't bad and should be celebrated. Our culture is one with a long glorious history; that until the Inquisition when history was rewritten to suit the Catholic Church; held the Homosexual as the corner stone to the glories of nature and beyond. We are the warriors and the lovers that have constantly been a source of awe and inspiration. Just like my first choice for Gay of the Day we have started revolutions, lived in closets and done more than survived.... We have and always will thrive. Thats what magic does.

Gay of the Day- Sylvia Rae Rivera (2 July 1951- 19 February 2002) She was of Puerto Rican and Venezuelen heritage and grew up in NY. Transgender activist and founding member of Gay Liberation Front and Gay Activists Alliance. This was during a time when "gay" was considered a mental illness and a very serious behavioral defect that could have you incarcerated in an asylum in some cases. Also it was illegal to dress as a woman if you were a man. A certain amount of mens clothing had to be on your person or you could be taken to prison and heavily fined as well as any extra beatings the police decided to inflict.
In the face of this 17 year old Sylvia Rae Rivera led the charge at the Stonewall Riots changing the face of the National Gay Rights front forever. Rivera refused to have the drag culture erased from the gay rights agenda by what she considered to be assimilationist gay leaders who were, in her mind, seeking to make the community look more attractive to the heterosexual majority. Thanks Sylvia for being a hero. You are certainly an inspiration to us all to show up and be counted when we are needed no matter who we are.
That's why she is my first Gay of the Day. Thanks Mutha Chucka for the knowledge that you share that brought me to this story. I am forever grateful to be lead to a new hero.