32 Gay Men Burned To Death; New Orleans, 6/24/1973

32 Gay Men were Burned To Death; New Orleans, 6/24/1973 — who will say something? Who will speak up? Who will say enough? What public figure will call for mollycoddling gay folks instead of harassing, hounding and haranguing us all our days? Who?

And let us now remember that 32 gay men were burned to death in a firebombing at the Upstairs Lounge in New Orleans on June 24th, 1973. A bar which doubled as our church, for we were not welcome in any other. The massacre remains unsolved. And pretty much unremembered, for it was just a bunch of “queers” and no one gave a damn. And that’s just the way it was reported, the one or two articles which appeared in the local press at the time said, “queers.” The police investigation was all of a question or two, and no one saw a thing, they said, and then the police got back to their corrupt ways and raided a few more gay bars.

The smell of gasoline was reported to have been very strong. Several of the families wouldn’t even claim their own sons from the morgue. Only one preacher in the entire city would even say a word to the bereaved; he was chastised by his superiors for having done so. The cops left the burned body of one man hanging out of the window for far longer than decency for the dead would allow for another other sort of person. Not even covered up with a blanket or his eyes closed, so strong was, and in some quarters still is, the hate against us.

No politician in New Orleans or at the state level in Louisiana will say a word, and back then, it was dismissed as “just a bunch of queers, no big deal.” Nor will either one of our senators issue a statement in remembrance or call for an renewed investigation. No one in the federal government will call for a renewed effort to solve the crime, either. And very few people in this nation, gay or straight, will talk about it, for it is the “unknown massacre.” Yet, it is also the largest unsolved massacre of Americans in our nation’s history. Sad, isn’t it – 32 men burned to death in horror. Despicable even, that gay men are considered such trash that no one gives a damn, then or today.

Sadder still, that there are still people so hateful, so fearful, so driven by scorn, that there are still people calling us “intrinsically evil,” “sick,” “dysfunctional,” “child molesters,” demented,” “depraved,” “disgusting,” and worse, far far worse. People like Democrat Ruben Diaz who held a rally where “gays are worthy of death” was uttered to the cheers of several thousands. And people like Tony Perkins and Maggie Gallagher hellbent on destroying our lives so they think they can solve the “problem” which exists in their own minds. People like Bryan Fischer of “American Family Association” which can’t find a gay guy in a family to save his life. And the Catholic Francis Cardinal George of Chicago hellbent on some bizarre “ex-gay” insistence that we join his religion against every principle of the First Amendment’s right to Freedom of, for and from Religion.

So many people still so dead set against the reality of gay people, and especially gay men, that they will just lie and make things up, like “gay men die at the age of 41” as Peter Sprigg of “export the homosexuals” says. Yes, an American calling for the forced expulsion of other American citizens, in a Medieval pogrom of horrific proportions, and it’s his “right,” it’s said, and people get upset when I defend my people. No one calls these horrible people out on their excess of hate, except of course, us “whiny fags” who are just not going to put up with this nonsense anymore. No, not me, no more.

I have had it up to here listening to the demented demands for compliance with these people’s measures against me, as if they had any right or morality to tell me whom to be, and worse, to tell me whom I am. Yes, just fed up. Frankly, we all are; I’m just more vocal.

This alleged “debate” about “gay rights” is not a debate – it is a calculated mean spirited nasty attack hellbent on destroying the spirit of American citizens, and which treats us as trash. I’m so very tired of it. It is unholy, unChristian and unAmerican and inhuman, as bad as burning men to death – and this must cease. I don’t want to hear from the president that he’s “evolving” on the “issue.” For there is no “issue” and there is nothing to be “debated.” Gay men exist, and we are not going anywhere. And short of just jailing us or slaughtering us we will never relent in our quest to be treated with decency and respect, and as Jesus taught, “treat others as you wish to be treated.” Other than that, you are a heathen.

No other American has to listen to politicians and religious figures, and plain people on the street, spew the nastiness and invective, the mind numbing mush and illogical crap that we gay men have to listen to. And we do so with an aplomb and rectitude that people should marvel at. But no, we get denigrated for even daring to defend ourselves. We do indeed follow the words of Jesus – and we treat each and every cretin whom attacks us with nothing but decency and ask for nothing more or less in return. And they return more of the same insolent obnoxious rude inconsiderate words that wound us horribly, as if burning us alive in spirit and not in body. It must cease.

Yes, 32 men, firebombed to death in an American city, and the news covered it for all of a minute or so. And then never said another word. Yes, the supposed “gay friendly” media and “gay friendly” Hollywood haven’t gone near the story since the beginning. And even our erstwhile gay leadership seeks to ignore it, or is too stupid of our own history to even know about it. It is infuriating, and disheartening, and yet, we shall overcome this too. And one day, and I can see this now within my lifetime, we will be accepted, and even mollycoddled, and loved, for whom we are – as my family does – but by the entire nation.

And every time I hear “homosexuals are anti-family” my 60 aunts, uncles, cousins and more get angry. And yet we are just a family, with “one of those.” And that’s just reality. And this nation will face this reality, and this American people will deal with its gay citizens in the fine way it does everyone else. But the unholy assault – psychologically, emotionally, legally, religiously, and in every other way – this must cease. And it must cease in the memory of those 32 men whom were massacred because some depraved nutjobs think we are the “evil” ones – when the evil lies square in the hands of those whom attack the sons and daughters of many millions of mothers and fathers with gay children. We are not going anywhere, and we are not going to much longer just sit here and listen to this mush. Cease, and be decent, finally, for once in your lives.

Here are the only few links with information about the massacre.

http://www.gayworld.net/memorial

http://www.outandaboutnewspaper.com/article/2022

http://www.davidmixner.com/2010/05/lgbt-history-the-new-orleans-upstairs-lounge-fire-in-1973.html

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cvvRJNQolYM

http://www.soulforce.org/forums/archive/index.php/t-5070.html

http://blog.nola.com/anguslind/2008/11/prospect1_exhibit_about_the_19.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/erik-ose/gay-weddings-and-32-funer_b_110084.html

http://www.motherboard.tv/2009/11/2/the-upstairs-lounge–2

Go, seek, learn – and ponder – 32 American slaughtered and no one gave a damn. And no one gives a damn, but us few whom remember. We shall never forget. And I know survivors of the massacre, personally.

What a sick country, to hate one of the most peaceful productive bunch among you, children of some parents somewhere, and even some parents joining in the hate against their own children. Despicable people whom attack innocent people whom don’t kiss whom you want us to kiss. Freedom for all, but us – that’s the motto of this nation. And the hell with it. Lies spread and hate and bile spewed, daily, from bully pulpit and church pulpit, and as evil as the people who threw that gasoline and that firebomb and massacred 32 men trying to find peace with God and our fellow citizens, our country and our families, for that bar served as our church – for no church would let us in the doors, and then had the audacity to say we were against them. The heathens. Heathens today, who say we are anti-family, anti-children, anti-church, anti-country and anti-God – ye are heathens. No, this nonsense must stop. Now. Today. In memory of the 32 gone to their higher reward in the hands of God Himself.

When will the National Historic Marker to commemorate the lives those brave men gave so we young gays have our rights guaranteed to us by the Declaration of Independence — All Men Are Created Equal — be put up — rights we still don’t have. Complete with the laying of a wreath by the president and governor, and Taps played, and the flag flown, and a benediction by an ecumenical crowd of preachers given, to beseech the hard hearts of this nation against its gay citizens to lay down the sword, and pick up the plowshare, and let us live together in peace, e pluribus unum? When?

Tell me, for I am asking.

And now I shall rest again for a few days from my labors for my people, to go down to NYC and join the tens of thousands at the NYC Gay Pride Parade — not pride I’m gay, but pride that I survived the onslaught against me.

Again, tell me, when will it cease? I am asking.

11 Comments

  1. J

    One can only gather, from this terrible reminder of a tragedy so quickly forgotten – that whether one is speaking of the unborn child in the womb, the innocent victim of spousal abuse, the happenstance victim of gang violence or the victim of those who seek to destroy whatever is not like themselves – that evil never sleeps, although it may wear many different masks. We must all, I think, refuse to participate in the verbal propaganda wars and refuse to bow down tot he politicians who wish to use such things as emotion-laden stepping stones to election (or re-election) and realize that all change in societal perception must begin with the way that you or I interact with one another. If our personal conduct is honorable and respectful, then our society will become so as well.
    Hopefully.

  2. ted

    As I understand it, the man in the window was the pastor of the MCC in New Orleans, who got stuck.

  3. One of the victims was a woman. She was there with her two gay sons. It is also possible one or more of the others were also accepting heterosexuals. Even back then there were good people. To get the whole story you have to read every thing that comes up under a Google search. That does give conflicting accounts but you can piece it together little by little to get a real feel for the even even if the actual facts aren’t there. This really needs a proper investigation by historians or someone to document it before the survivors are gone.

  4. Wes

    There is now a book out, “Let the Faggots Burn”, all about this fire, can be found on Amazon and is an e-book as well.

  5. Alvin

    I am for the Natural Birth Rights of all humanity. Nevertheless, this faggot shit is nothing to be sympathic about. Clildren being molested and Women getting raped.Grown men screwing eace other is a disgrace.

    • Alvin, you are not making any sense. People are people. No one is worth less compassion than another one.

      • I’ve never heard of this arson murder case and I’d like to read the original investigation files but my ignorance of the story is probably typical, I’ve never seen it in the media.

  6. Dave

    Horrible tragedy,,,,,, the cold, uncaring treatment that this received is inconceivable. I think what is worse is that some families never claimed their dead. I say “loved ones” as they should be regardless of their orientation.

  7. There is an article about this in the latest issue of time. I am going to read it right now

  8. NATALIE DAVIS

    I have posted on facebook this article. I hope that we can educate those who still have hate in their hearts. my heart goes out to the family’s of all the people that were lost and all the ones that were unclaimed!

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