Chuck Myers and I were the guests on the July 2 WAMO radio program, “Community lceling, Community Talk”, a phone-in talk show. The interviewer, Ruth McClain, was an intelligent, friendly and very open, honest woman who made the show a real pleasure to be on. The first half of the hour long program was spent in conversation with Ms. McClain in which gay liberation and oppression, both general and in Pittsburgh, were discussed. The second half consisted of telephone calls from listeners, who raised many interesting and some troubling questions. Many positive comments were made and greatly appreciated, but perhaps of more interest were some of the negative ones. The issue of racism within the gay community was raised. What can be said? It exists in the gay community to about the same degree as in our society at large, and this is very discouraging. We, as gay people, really know the meaning of oppression at all levels of our lives. Shouldn’t this experience give us a real understanding and sensitivity to the plight of all oppressed people?If gay liberation is to blossom into total human liberation, as our most idealistic goal, we must fight the evils and injustices within ourselves, as well as those perpetrated against us by straight society.
Another troubling point was the matter of inclusiveness, or lack of it in GAP. While it is our clearly stated objective to serve the whole gay community and not any special group within it, how well are we accomplishing this goal? Perhaps we have unintentionally followed the path of least resistance and not worked hard enough at reaching certain groups within our community. The fact is we are not reaching as well as we should some very important segments of our community, particularly Gays below college age, older Gays, non-white Gays. (The question of GAP and the needs of gay women is too large a topic to be included here, and should be written by a gay woman). We definitely need to work harder to reach out to these people, many of whom may find it difficult to feel comfortable in a predominantly white, college age group. On the other hand, 1 can think of individuals from each of these groups who have gotten a lot out of GAP and contributed enormously as well. Also, it was very encouraging to see a large number of people at Gay Pride Week events who haven’t been involved in GAP in the past. There is no easy solution to these problems, and probably those affected most will play a major role in making themselves included. We must all help each other.