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Excerpts from the RC journal SIDE BY SIDE

It's Time to Move Beyond Feeling Safe

What is the state of Gay and Lesbian liberation? In Western countries, we are now visible in the media, books, television, and newspapers. We're part of the common culture. There are more (Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual) organizations than ever before, more of our own newspapers and businesses, and a bigger subculture. The subcultures are no longer organized solely around sex, but are rather complex and sophisticated at this point. Some very interesting and strange things are happening. Historically, the approach in Lesbian and Gay liberation in the recent period has been that of coming out. A common attitude is that "visibility is enough." We seem to settle for adequate numbers of us being present in a place. This is a naïve and dangerous attitude, because it makes us more visible and less aware of the trouble that still exists. In Co-Counseling it makes us feel a "pretend" safety. We perceive that we are present and welcome, and we stop there. "Present an welcome" has very little to do with genuine liberation. It's the same in the wide world. Attitudes need to change. The only permanent change is when people's minds are changed. ...

From a talk by Jeanne D'Arc, July 1986
Side by Side, No. 3, Page 50

The Re-Emergence of Gay Men

This morning I'm going to give a brief overview of Gay men's liberation in Co-Counseling. ... During the last seven or eight [... years], we have been doing effective work of Gay liberation. The first challenge we faced was the first challenge that any counselor faces: paying enough attention to the client to see clearly what the distresses are. This meant identifying and then contradicting the internalized oppression that Gay men wear.

... The central point is that we are good. Of course we have our distresses, our sexual inhibitions and compulsions, and the rigidities that come from the way we've been hurt. We need to clean these up fully. We must not let the work on goodness become an excuse for avoiding the hard reality that some of our distresses create real problems for those around us and must be eliminated. But Gay oppression seizes on these as the excuse for our mistreatment, and labels us as bad because of them. It is crucial to our re-emergence that we fully reclaim our sense of our own goodness and that we remove any and all internal obstacles to knowing we are good all the time...

[Later] Moving towards closeness with someone we love and respect can function as a powerful contradiction to the isolation and badness we feel as a result of the internalized oppression. ... I want to be very clear about what I mean by closeness. Closeness is a decision we make in our heads. The closeness I'm talking about is not the same a physical closeness and, in fact, for many of us, physical closeness will actually interfere with the process of getting close. Most of us are afraid of each other most of the time. Getting close to each other physically feels like the quickest way to get throught this fear, but it is not. When we get within a certain distance of each other physically, most of us simply shut down our feelings. The quickest way through the isolation we feel is to discharge it at a great enough distance away from each other that we can actually feel it. ...

Talks by David Nijinsky, July 1986
Side by Side, No. 3, Page 11

Lists of the Components of Internalized Oppression

Following are three lists that appear in Side By Side No. 3 of the key components of Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual internalized oppression. These lists are extremely useful in understanding the distresses that affect the functioning of the GLB individuals and groups, whether in co-counseling or wide world settings. They are also a superb tool for use by GLB support group leaders and clients in planning topics for sessions.

"Some Components of Gay/Lesbian Internalized Oppression," Side by Side No. 3, Page 69
"Some Thoughts on Internalized Oppression," Side by Side No. 3, Page 63
"Bisexual Internalized Oppression," Side by Side No. 3, Page 82

Last modified: 2021-06-01 12:29:59+00