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By Chris Holmlund, Cynthia Fuchs
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Extra info for Between the Sheets, in the Streets: Queer, Lesbian, Gay Documentary (Visible Evidence, Vol 1)
To the extent that its polemic relies on an iconographic referencing of Southern geography ("March with Selma"), Tongues Untied presents the tradition of the civil rights struggle as a static history, a fully known and readable narrative against which the narratives of present-day black gay men can be understood. Further, in its eagerness to evoke a community of black gays, the documentary removes the history of Gay Men of African Descent from its metropolitan locality. To the extent that its referencing of the civil rights struggle evokes an imagined communion across historical eras, the documentary seems unable to imagine geographic specificity.
Given that the "mainstreaming" of gayness tends to hide gay and lesbian sexuality and to exclude queer "otherness" and that the Christian right has immediately responded to this mainstream gay image, gay and lesbian activists and political documentarists need to reconsider how to discuss and to represent queer differences in future political struggles. Activists and artists clearly need to work with more-complex representational strategies that honestly deal with differences of ideology, class, race, culture, and sexuality within queer communities while at the same time confronting the homophobia and propaganda of the religious right.
13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 1994. Bernstein is a Pacifica radio talk show host and Velazquez made the video Moving Mountains: The Story of the Yin Mien. Both expressed apprehension about the potential for marginalizing segments of the lesbian and gay community through this use of nonthreatening speakers, though both equally felt this was required given the political urgency of the moment and the time constraints. The information on the distribution and exhibition history of Fighting for Our Lives is taken from the Velazquez and Bernstein interview.
Between the Sheets, in the Streets: Queer, Lesbian, Gay Documentary (Visible Evidence, Vol 1) by Chris Holmlund, Cynthia Fuchs