July 16, 1969

Today marks the 50th anniversary of the launch of Apollo 11.

With Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on board, Apollo 11 would land man on the surface of Earth’s only moon 4 days later on July 20, 1969. This first ever lunar landing is one of my very first memories.

The Apollo mission occurred during one of our country’s most turbulent times some 9 years after one of our greatest presidents set a simple, yet difficult, clear goal with a time limit. Good leaders challenge us to grow, great leaders bring us together. It is only together that we can achieve great things.

In honor of yet another 50th anniversary of history, I post my favorite musical memory of 1969.

 

🎵Harmony and understanding🎶                                                                                                                 🎵Sympathy and trust abounding🎶

Worthy goals for a society. May the lyrics of this 50 year old tune inspire and enlighten our society toward better.

The 5th Dimension – Aquarius / Let the Sunshine – 1969

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I Believe

Congrats to US Women’s National Soccer Team.

They have something to say. Nike is helping them be heard. We here at Fearsomebeard wish to help them be heard as well.

Gay Anthems!

Dance parties often start with an easy intro. You know, a tune that starts a crescendo that will serve as a foundation on which an incredible dance party experience builds.

I’ve posted this tune more than once before. By now Fearsome Beard regulars will realize it is one of my all time favorites. I post it today specifically in honor of all of those before me who dared to love the love they deeply understood, the true love they felt, even though society told them that dare not.

I dedicate this incredibly beautiful anthem those who inspire us today to be who we are and to stand not only for ourselves but those who will follow us. I dedicate it to them because they were never Being Boring, they were just finally being themselves.

Pet Shop Boys – Being Boring – 1990

To those courageous people who finally said “Oh, Hell No!” …Thank you!

50 Years

My human memory does not start when I was born. My memory starts sometime after that in small fuzzy flashes. From what I gather from family photos, conversations and history, my memory probably dates back to sometime about 1969.

I can honestly say that the most significant thing I remember from 1969 was the moon landing we watched on our color console TV. I can also honestly say I do not remember the Stonewall riots in New York City that same year. I grew up in a small city in Southwest Virginia. Happenings in the metropolis of New York didn’t really make headlines there, especially happenings that involved police raiding a gay bar.

Tonight marks the 50th anniversary of that raid of The Stonewall Inn. A raid that was the spark that started a movement. A movement that I would call an uprising. An uprising that is still underway. An uprising that must continue.

May we see Stonewall for what it is. It is an inspiration. An inspiration worth continuing.

Happy Pride Y’all!

XO

Beyond Stonewall

All of us are part of history.

We each have our own story.

Our stories affect others, thus we affect a greater society.

Sometimes the smallest action creates massive change.

What’s your story?

I came out in high school. As a young freshman in 1979 after having been beaten by a group of bullies, this “queer faggot” was suspended from school. The rules were that no matter who or what caused a fight, if you were involved you were suspended. After a trip to the hospital and many facial stitches I faced a choice. Move to a private school or return and face my oppressors.

I chose to return and face my oppressors. After walking back into school with the swelling and bruises still apparent, I walked past them. This time when I was called faggot instead of denying it, ignoring it or hiding from it I took it as my own and replied “So what if I am?”

The bullying changed. I won’t say it stopped completely, but I will say it stopped having power over me.

I found that some started to accept me and over time the bullying practically disappeared. Yeah there was a comment now and then from an insecure asshole, but it was no longer aggressively oppressing. I had the power now because I took my power back by accepting and saying “I am gay, I am a faggot, queer or whatever.” High school turned out pretty good after all. Not perfect, but pretty damn good.

The change I see is this:

I changed my world by accepting who and what I was. I changed other’s worlds by allowing them to see, know and be friends with an out gay man. I also allowed others who were gay to follow me into their own truth.

Leaders

Many attribute the uprising of Stonewall to the drag queens and transgender present the night of the raid 50 years ago. Today much of our leadership is inspired by those same members of our diverse community.

Diversity and acceptance are character qualities I support, admire and strive toward. I applaud those who step up and out, to lead us through living their own truth. It is through their vulnerability that courage and strength are born.

Thank you to Peppermint, Lady Bunny and Sasha Velour for your inspiration and leadership.

Harvey Milk

Trailblazer.

Harvey’s foray into politics followed closely after Stonewall yet it took him several tries to finally get elected into office. However as he did, he blazed a trail. Like those who took a stand the night of Stonewall and into the days that followed, Harvey took a stand and he persevered.

Neither the rioters nor Harvey knew where their new paths would lead, yet look where we are today. Let us make all of them proud and continue our march forward. America and the whole world can only be great if we keep moving forward toward better horizons of understanding, respect and equality. It’s up to us as there is much left to do.

Christopher Street West

While Stonewall is commemorated as the flash point into LGBTQI activism and equality, LGBTQI history is diverse and lengthy.

This short documentary gives a glimpse into the life and movement out here on the west coast prior to, during and after Stonewall.

We have come a long way, yet we have a long way ahead of us as well.

Lifting us all up

This is a wonderful video of someone sharing their own story about the experience of being there at the Stonewall uprising.

Fearsome highly recommends everyone clicking play.

Jay, Thank You for sharing your story and for walking the path leading us all to better and lifting us as a community. You are an inspiration.

Stonewall

The accuracy of many varying accounts of exactly what happened at the Stonewall Inn the night of June 28, 1969 are often debated. The story below offers several first hand recollections laying to rest several myths as well as confirming other truths.

What we do know is that it was a chaotic scene which resulted in a movement. A movement which simply asked for respect.

 

Be true to yourself, be who you are

It was late June 1969, a few pissed off queens had finally had enough.

This is a transcript of the above article below:

Homo Nest Raided, Queen Bees Are Stinging Mad

The New York Daily News, July 6, 1969
By JERRY LISKER

She sat there with her legs crossed, the lashes of her mascara-coated eyes beating like the wings of a hummingbird. She was angry. She was so upset she hadn’t bothered to shave. A day old stubble was beginning to push through the pancake makeup. She was a he. A queen of Christopher Street.

Last weekend the queens had turned commandos and stood bra strap to bra strap against an invasion of the helmeted Tactical Patrol Force. The elite police squad had shut down one of their private gay clubs, the Stonewall Inn at 57 Christopher St., in the heart of a three-block homosexual community in Greenwich Village. Queen Power reared its bleached blonde head in revolt. New York City experienced its first homosexual riot. “We may have lost the battle, sweets, but the war is far from over,” lisped an unofficial lady-in-waiting from the court of the Queens.

“We’ve had all we can take from the Gestapo,” the spokesman, or spokeswoman, continued. “We’re putting our foot down once and for all.” The foot wore a spiked heel. According to reports, the Stonewall Inn, a two-story structure with a sand painted brick and opaque glass facade, was a mecca for the homosexual element in the village who wanted nothing but a private little place where they could congregate, drink, dance and do whatever little girls do when they get together.

The thick glass shut out the outside world of the street. Inside, the Stonewall bathed in wild, bright psychedelic lights, while the patrons writhed to the sounds of a juke box on a square dance floor surrounded by booths and tables. The bar did a good business and the waiters, or waitresses, were always kept busy, as they snaked their way around the dancing customers to the booths and tables. For nearly two years, peace and tranquility reigned supreme for the Alice in Wonderland clientele.

The Raid Last Friday

Last Friday the privacy of the Stonewall was invaded by police from the First Division. It was a raid. They had a warrant. After two years, police said they had been informed that liquor was being served on the premises. Since the Stonewall was without a license, the place was being closed. It was the law.

All hell broke loose when the police entered the Stonewall. The girls instinctively reached for each other. Others stood frozen, locked in an embrace of fear.

Only a handful of police were on hand for the initial landing in the homosexual beachhead. They ushered the patrons out onto Christopher Street, just off Sheridan Square. A crowd had formed in front of the Stonewall and the customers were greeted with cheers of encouragement from the gallery.

The whole proceeding took on the aura of a homosexual Academy Awards Night. The Queens pranced out to the street blowing kisses and waving to the crowd. A beauty of a specimen named Stella wailed uncontrollably while being led to the sidewalk in front of the Stonewall by a cop. She later confessed that she didn’t protest the manhandling by the officer, it was just that her hair was in curlers and she was afraid her new beau might be in the crowd and spot her. She didn’t want him to see her this way, she wept.

Queen Power

The crowd began to get out of hand, eye witnesses said. Then, without warning, Queen Power exploded with all the fury of a gay atomic bomb. Queens, princesses and ladies-in-waiting began hurling anything they could get their polished, manicured fingernails on. Bobby pins, compacts, curlers, lipstick tubes and other femme fatale missiles were flying in the direction of the cops. The war was on. The lilies of the valley had become carnivorous jungle plants.

Urged on by cries of “C’mon girls, lets go get’em,” the defenders of Stonewall launched an attack. The cops called for assistance. To the rescue came the Tactical Patrol Force.

Flushed with the excitement of battle, a fellow called Gloria pranced around like Wonder Woman, while several Florence Nightingales administered first aid to the fallen warriors. There were some assorted scratches and bruises, but nothing serious was suffered by the honeys turned Madwoman of Chaillot.

Official reports listed four injured policemen with 13 arrests. The War of the Roses lasted about 2 hours from about midnight to 2 a.m. There was a return bout Wednesday night.

Two veterans recently recalled the battle and issued a warning to the cops. “If they close up all the gay joints in this area, there is going to be all out war.”

Bruce and Nan

Both said they were refugees from Indiana and had come to New York where they could live together happily ever after. They were in their early 20’s. They preferred to be called by their married names, Bruce and Nan.

“I don’t like your paper,” Nan lisped matter-of-factly. “It’s anti-fag and pro-cop.”

“I’ll bet you didn’t see what they did to the Stonewall. Did the pigs tell you that they smashed everything in sight? Did you ask them why they stole money out of the cash register and then smashed it with a sledge hammer? Did you ask them why it took them two years to discover that the Stonewall didn’t have a liquor license.”

Bruce nodded in agreement and reached over for Nan’s trembling hands.

“Calm down, doll,” he said. “Your face is getting all flushed.”

Nan wiped her face with a tissue.

“This would have to happen right before the wedding. The reception was going to be held at the Stonewall, too,” Nan said, tossing her ashen-tinted hair over her shoulder.

“What wedding?,” the bystander asked.

Nan frowned with a how-could-anybody-be-so-stupid look. “Eric and Jack’s wedding, of course. They’re finally tieing the knot. I thought they’d never get together.”

Meet Shirley

“We’ll have to find another place, that’s all there is to it,” Bruce sighed. “But every time we start a place, the cops break it up sooner or later.”

“They let us operate just as long as the payoff is regular,” Nan said bitterly. “I believe they closed up the Stonewall because there was some trouble with the payoff to the cops. I think that’s the real reason. It’s a shame. It was such a lovely place. We never bothered anybody. Why couldn’t they leave us alone?”

Shirley Evans, a neighbor with two children, agrees that the Stonewall was not a rowdy place and the persons who frequented the club were never troublesome. She lives at 45 Christopher St.

“Up until the night of the police raid there was never any trouble there,” she said. “The homosexuals minded their own business and never bothered a soul. There were never any fights or hollering, or anything like that. They just wanted to be left alone. I don’t know what they did inside, but that’s their business. I was never in there myself. It was just awful when the police came. It was like a swarm of hornets attacking a bunch of butterflies.”

A reporter visited the now closed Stonewall and it indeed looked like a cyclone had struck the premisses.

Police said there were over 200 people in the Stonewall when they entered with a warrant. The crowd outside was estimated at 500 to 1,000. According to police, the Stonewall had been under observation for some time. Being a private club, plain clothesmen were refused entrance to the inside when they periodically tried to check the place. “They had the tightest security in the Village,” a First Division officer said, “We could never get near the place without a warrant.”

Police Talk

The men of the First Division were unable to find any humor in the situation, despite the comical overtones of the raid.

“They were throwing more than lace hankies,” one inspector said. “I was almost decapitated by a slab of thick glass. It was thrown like a discus and just missed my throat by inches. The beer can didn’t miss, though, “it hit me right above the temple.”

Police also believe the club was operated by Mafia connected owners. The police did confiscate the Stonewall’s cash register as proceeds from an illegal operation. The receipts were counted and are on file at the division headquarters. The warrant was served and the establishment closed on the grounds it was an illegal membership club with no license, and no license to serve liquor.

The police are sure of one thing. They haven’t heard the last from the Girls of Christopher Street.

“We May have lost the battle, but the war is far from over”.

Fifty years later, thanks to some courageous individuals, the world is a better place. I salute them with deep gratitude. Today, because of their lead, many battles have been won …but the war is far from over.

Learn to Fly

Connection:

Life:

Connection enriches life. Life connects us. We are sharing a common experience right now. We learn, love, teach, understand, support, share, laugh, cry, hold, grow and feel.

We…

Feel.

I pause to feel. I pause to experience. I pause to connect. I pause to…

Wow, just beautifully fucking powerful wow.

May I learn to fly today, today right where I am.

…and may I have a sense of humor that I might not take myself too seriously…

Life, let’s live it …and together may we have a fabulous day.