I suppose the "client-side" of TruCorps may send a more traditional Independence Day message. Given that Gay Pride Month ended yesterday, though, I want to talk about freedom in a slightly different context. 


This image originated in the the LA-Hollywood punk scene in the mid 1970s. Mostly overlooked, forgotten or dismissed by NYC and London punk chroniclers, Hollywood is where the heart of the genre-movement took shape: a DIY work ethic and real inclusiveness.  

The spikey-haired guy is Tomata du Plenty. In 1975, he was the openly gay lead singer of The Screamers.  With Tomata, Darby Crash (The Germs), Phranc (self-described "All-American Jewish Lesbian Folksinger") and the denizens of the original Masque club, punks built a community in which very young gay men and women could feel free -- and safe. Not long after, before the more well known logo arrived, pre-ACT-UP and ACT-UP activists adopted Tomata's image for DIY posters. 


IMHO, ACT-UP was at the core of the greatest organizing achievements in my lifetime. Organizing, acting and paving the way for freedom. So this weekend, especially in light of Orlando and The Stonewall Inn anniversary, I'd like to think about these special freedom fighters. 

I won't think about gun rights. I won't think about ISIS. I will think about Orlando in the precise context of what it was: mass murder based solely on sexual orientation or gender identity. Every day in this world, people are killed or harmed for the same reason dozens died on June 12: unchecked and latent hate for members of the LGBTQ community. Cumulatively or in horrific periodic bursts, homicide or genocide? Gendercide for sure.

Like punk music, nothing lasts forever. But silence still equals death.




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