The Herland Voice
Join Herland in Celebrating Pride and the 50th Anniversary of Stonewall
On Saturday, June 22 join Herland in the Pride Parade. We will be in a small pickup truck, waving and smiling. Join us and walk with us on this important day. The parade starts at noon and ends at 2 pm. If you want to join us in the lineup check out our FB and Meetup pages for information when it becomes available.
When you start to get hungry, head for the annual Herland Pride Picnic, starting at 5pm with food and entertainment at Herland, 2312 NW 39th St, OKC. Herland will provide hotdogs, hamburgers, chips, and drinks (water, tea, and soda) as well as some basic sides. A vegetarian option will be available. You are welcome to bring a side dish to share if you wish, however, it is not required. Do bring family, friends, and folding chairs.
This year’s entertainment features a diverse lineup of musicians, poets, and belly dancers. Enjoy the music of Peggy Johnson, Cuchla Fuller, Shades of Gray, Lee Gabriel, Marco Tello, and Three Harmonies and feel free to dance the night away – or at least until 9pm. Paula Sophia and Peg Malone will read their poetry, and Herland’s own Cindy Lasyone and the Deep Fried Sequins will belly dance for us!
A $10 suggested donation (per person) will be taken at the gate as you enter. We now accept credit cards.
June 8: Herland Supper Club, Armando’s Mexican Grill. 5:30 pm, 5900 N. May Ave 73112, Oklahoma City, OK
The Weekly LGBTQ Discussion Group is moving to its own Meetup page and will begin meeting again in September. Watch our FB page, Lesbian Meetup OKC page and the newsletter for further details.
Jun 10 (Monday): Herland Board Meeting: Board meetings are open to Herland members. Please join us and learn more about Herland and how things happen. HERLAND IS WHAT WE ALL MAKE IT. Got a great idea? Just want to see how it works? Want to create an event? Do a workshop? Bring your ideas to a board meeting and make it happen!
Jun 22 (Saturday): Pride Parade and Picnic. Parade: 12-2 pm. Herland will have a truck in the Pride Parade this year. Please join us at the parade and walk with Herland. The parade starts at noon and line-up usually takes place about a half-hour earlier. Find updates on our FB or Lesbian Meetup OKC pages.
Picnic: 5-9 pm. The annual Herland Pride picnic will start at 5 pm at Herland, 2312 NW 39th St, OKC. Herland will provide hotdogs, hamburgers, chips, and drinks (water and soda) as well as some basic sides. A vegetarian option will be available. You are welcome to bring a side dish to share if you wish, however, it is not required. Do bring family, friends, and folding chairs.
This years’ entertainment includes music by Peggy Johnson, Shades of Grey, Cuchla, and Marco Tello, among others. There will be belly dancing, poetry by Paula Sophia, and more!
Be sure to check us out on our Facebook and Meetup pages to stay current on events and other important news about Herland!
Feminist Blast from the Past
The Stonewall Riots and Their Aftermath: A Brief Overview
It all started a little after 1a.m. on June 28, 1969 at the Stonewall Inn on Christopher Street. The police made a routine of raiding gay clubs at the time, but this was different. Usually run by the mafia, gay clubs were raided often, and arrests were made, particularly of men dressed in drag or any woman who did not wear at least 3 items of “female clothing.” The majority of the other men were released after showing their identification cards. And the clubs usually were warned of the raid ahead of time. The police extorted money from the wealthier clients to keep their secrets and the police would leave. This raid was unusual in that there was no warning. Police surrounded the building so that no one could get out.
That night, when female officers began to escort customers dressed as women into a room where they would verify their sex, and any men found would be arrested, the men refused to go into the restroom to be checked. It was at that point that police determined they should take everyone into the station. However, on this night, those present refused to go gently. And when male officers began to fondle lesbians, things went further downhill. People had begun gathering on the streets outside the bar and when the first patrol car arrived, the police tried to shove arrested customers in. But a second car was late to the scene and they had to turn their attention to the angry, growing crowd, while those in the patrol car began to escape. Confusion reigned. Those arrested were encouraging those on the street to help them, to resist the police action. As police tried to restrain the crowd violence broke out. Greatly outnumbered, the Tactical Patrol Force was called in to quell the situation, but the protesters outsmarted the Patrol at every turn.
The following night protestors took to the street again with thousands joining in. The Stonewall Inn had reopened. The following two nights drew smaller protests due to rain.
The riots issued in a turn in the way gay issues were addressed. Rather than feeling weak, people were now feeling empowered. When the Mattachine Society (founded 1961) held its annual picketing in front of City Hall in Philadelphia, some of the women began to hold hands. Frank Kameny, one of the organizers, whose hopes had always leaned toward fitting in to straight society, was furious. Men were to wear suits and ties and women skirts and blouses to show gays were just like everyone else. The handholding drew more press than any previous picket. And it became evident that a new wind was blowing and the desire to fit in was out, while people moved to challenge the status quo. Craig Rodwell, another leader of the picketing, returned to NYC and began working to bring the community out in the open – making a Christopher Street Liberation Day his priority. The first Christopher Street Liberation Day Marches took place on June 28, 1970 with the cities of Los Angeles, and Chicago joining NYC in the remembrance. The following year parades were held in more cities and the Pride March was born – now spreading to small cities in Oklahoma and elsewhere. Frank Kameny continued to work for gay rights until his death in 2011. He is often referred to as the father of Gay activism.
Immediately following the Stonewall Riots the Gay Liberation Front was formed. With a more out front attitude toward political action. Unfortunately, the group broke up after only four months due to friction and differences. The Gay Alliance was formed soon after, and contributed to the spread of other activist organizations. The organization disbanded in 1981.
Although the Daughters of Bilitis formed in 1955, long before Stonewall, its founders, Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon, also felt threatened by the turn to a more radical politics, as, like the Mattachine Society, the organization was originally formed to provide social opportunities outside the bar scene. Members were encouraged to assimilate into the heterosexual culture. Barbara Gittings met with the lesbian group in 1956.Impressed by Gittings’ interest in literature, Martin and Lyon asked her to become the editor of The Ladder, a magazine for gay women. Gittings began to turn the magazine in a more political and radical direction. Lyon and Martin were not happy and in 1966, when Gittings was late with an issue, it was used as an excuse to get rid of her as editor.
Gittings attended the first picket in Washington, D.C. demanding homosexual rights in April, 1965. She befriended Frank Kameny and together they worked to get homosexuality removed as an illness by the APA’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, attending the groups’ conference in 1972. In 1973 the change was made. Gittings continued to work on lesbian and gay issues throughout her life and became known as the mother of gay activism. The last chapter of the DOB did not shut down until 1995.
While the DOB was formed before Stonewall, other lesbian groups, such as The Lavender Menace, were formed on its heels. The name “Lavender Menace” refers to a reference by Betty Friedan in 1969, claiming that lesbian women were a threat to the women’s movement and would hurt their cause at the First Congress to Unite Women. In an attempt to quell the reaction, Susan Brownmiller, wrote in a NYT magazine, that Friedan’s comment was out of place and that lesbians were, "A lavender herring, perhaps, but no clear and present danger," escalating the situation. Reclaiming the slight, a group of women, including Rita Mae Brown, Lois Hart, Barbara Love, Ellen Shumsky, Cynthia Funk, Karla Jay, and Artemis March, founded the Lavender Menace group in 1970 in New York, and they wrote a ten paragraph manifesto, The Woman Identified Woman. The group attended the opening session of The Second Congress to Unite Women on May 1, 1970. When the opening session began to start, the group turned off the lights and unplugged the microphone. When the lights went on lesbians removed their shirts to reveal Lavender Menace t-shirts underneath and holding signs. They began passing out mimeographed copies of their manifesto. Organizers tried to take back the stage but failed as the audience booed, while supporting the lesbian women. The following day workshops were scheduled to discuss homophobia and an all-women’s dance took place. Following the Congress, the Lavender Menace group changed its name to Lesbian Liberation, and then to Radicalesbians. However, their intolerance of gay men, bisexuals, hetero men and heterosexual women drove many women back to other organizations and by 1971 the organization disbanded. Although their short duration may make you think they are not worthy of notice, their actions at the Second Congress have left a mark in Lesbian history and their manifesto became a classic writing on lesbian and feminist history.
Happy Father’s Day Elliot and Matthew
Hiking across Eastern Europe, Matthew Eledge and Elliot Dougherty, enjoying the quiet of their hostel, talked about what they wanted in their life. Realizing they wanted to create a sanctuary in their own lives, they knew they wanted to be together, a family. And they wanted a child. They began making a plan. And that plan became a story of the love and support of family for a gay son, and for a gay brother.
The couple spent time exploring their options for adoption, and fostering but knew the fact that they were a gay couple in Nebraska would make it difficult. The couple decided on IVF because they wanted to have a genetic connection to the child as well as know of any health risks that might impact the child. When Matthew’s mother first heard about their plan she said she would be happy to act as a surrogate. They didn’t take the offer seriously at the time.
When the couple was ready to move forward, Matthew donated his sperm which had to be frozen for six months prior to being tested for diseases. Elliot’s sister, Lea agreed to donate eggs. Pregnant at the time, Lea began taking shots to stimulate her egg production a few months after the birth of her own child. Doctors were able to retrieve about two dozen eggs and injected 11 of them with Matthew’s sperm. Of the seven that were successfully fertilized, the couple decided to pay extra to have genetic testing of the embryos. The testing would determine which embryos had the best chance of living and being healthy. That took them down to three.
Now for the surrogate. Matthew’s mother Cecile had at this point been cleared by her doctor as being quite capable of carrying the child. She had always eaten a healthy diet, never smoked or drank and exercised daily. She was given multiple tests to determine blood pressure issues, endurance, etc. She was put on estrogen to restart her menstruation.
Cecile was then implanted with one embryo and the other two have been frozen for future possibilities. Cecile became pregnant on the first try. Each attempt would cost around $12,000 so the couple was excited that everything was working out so well. She carried the baby with few issues, only having some blood pressure spikes near the end of the pregnancy. At that time the decision was made to induce labor. Everyone packed up and headed for the hospital on the planned day, and Cecile was able to deliver her granddaughter vaginally on March 25, 2019. Little Uma Louise, will have quite the story to tell her friends when she gets a little older!
Come back, by Donna Bright
I wait patiently for the
return of my friend
We parted as lovers
It felt like the end
But a true friend is forever
We can start again
Leave behind the lover
Come back as my friend
The Angst of Oklahoma, by Shayla Dodge
Oklahoma only knows poetry of angst.
The vet springs on his own mind, his memories.
A girl rails at her incestuous and misogynist past.
The Trans spews hate at the political and military apparatus.
One cannot live an artful life where the dirt is red
and the sun bakes to crispy fried.
I used to contemplate on grander terms.
The towering facades carved with sculpture,
neat and tidy, with red tile roofs,
and low hanging ominous clouds,
pair well with nostalgia, an ashtray, and letters.
Simple sentences, words even,
placated the trained eye and ear.
Seemingly meaningless, yet tender and expressive,
like yellow and purple glass blown balloons.
Oklahoma knows no history.
Oklahoma survives without culture.
How can one draw upon the collective conscious
without the embrace of time?