21 Aug 2009
Back in the day on August 21st, 1970, Huey P. Newton of the Black
Panther Party wrote an honest and powerful statement in favor of gay
and women's rights. Published in the pages of the party's newspaper,
"A Letter from Huey to the Revolutionary Brothers and Sisters About
the Women's Liberation and Gay Liberation Movements," argued for the
formation of coalitions over acknowledged insecurities. The passages
contained strong sentiments from the black power leader who wrote,
"We recognize the women's right to be free," and further cautioned
against the use of derogatory terms when he said, "The terms 'faggot'
and 'punk' should be deleted from our vocabulary." Newton advanced
from this premise to call for the inclusion of these movements in
rallies, demonstrations and revolutionary conferences.
The words of the influential Black Panther leader were hailed in
retrospect as a "major breakthrough," and "the first openly pro-gay
statement by a major heterosexual movement activist of any race," by
author Sherry Wolf in her new book "Sexuality and Socialism."