Discussion 7 And Responses

Discussion Question – Compare and contrast the “Student Homophile League Manifesto” in the Stonewall Documents with the statements of definition in Carl Wittman’s “A Gay Manifesto.” What strategies or tactics do each engage for change? Do you feel they are effective? Why or why not?

peer’s post 1:

Oppression, frustration and anger, are all commonly linked in the Student Homophile League  Manifesto and Wittman’s A Gay Manifesto. The writing style of each however are truly different. In the Stonewall Documents, they are fighting for their equal rights, to be let out as gay and not be persecuted by cops, mafias, and overall, society. In A Gay Manifesto, Wittman “instructs gay people to end self-oppression and begin self-determination.”(444). The Stonewall Documents administer demands for their rights. It is stated in the Stonewall Documents “We at the Homophile Youth Movement (HYMN) believe that the only way this monopoly can be broken is through the action of Homosexual men and women themselves.”(439). This yet emphasizes the nature of this document. It is blatantly clear that action was strongly suggested and taken when administering this document. From Refugees from Amerika, Wittman lists definitions, to further give meaning to their manifesto. It details what those terms meant to them, and displays those terms and definitions to Amerikas society. One was due with action while the other was due to explanations. Both were written to accomplish one thing, the freedom to be whomever they want to be, and to have the same rights as any heterosexual person would have. I believe that the Stonewall Documents held more actions, that needed to be done. They stated their demands, and what needed to happen. They were blunt and straight to the point. They wanted to get their voices heard and they wanted it now. They were tired of their treatment, so their demands stood firm. This document exemplified their treatment and they were giving actions that needed to be taken so their oppression would end. Wittman’s, A Gay Manifesto, also states their treatment, and how their needed to be change. As well as it were written, and knowing that it did curve history, the Stonewall Documents held more credibility to making action happen. 

Zoe Trodd.  American Protest Literature. Belknap Press Of Harvard University Press, 2008

peer 2 :

In both the Student Homophile league manifesto and A Gay manifesto, we see many strategies that are used to express the direction of the Gay Liberation Movement. In the student homophile League Manifesto, we see a shift from a passive to active pursuit of freedom and equality. The formal way in which this manifesto attempts to address its concerns enables the reader to view the different plights written in the manifesto in a new light.

 Format was an important part of this manifesto because it calls into mind the politics of memory. “We declare the homosexual as individuals and as members of the greater society” (Stowe Pg.440). The format this document uses is reminiscent of the way the Declaration of Independence was framed as a document that put to words the dissatisfaction of the American people, paralleling the Gay plight with that of the American people. This document also effectively tries to call on gay and other minority communities by declaring their support for each one of their agendas. We declare our support for as homosexuals to for the struggles of the black, the women’s, the Spanish American and the Indian movement”(Trodd Pg.440). This strategy is key in garnering support that is outside the gay community. In supporting other causes, they might become obliged to support your cause.

On the other hand, the strategy that Carl Wittman implores in his writing tackles this issue in a different way. The author chooses to define different aspects of the gay movement. “We are children of a straight society, we still think straight: that is part of our oppression” (Wittman Pg.446). This strategy is effective because it helps the reader understand more about not just the moment but the people behind the movement. I believe this strategy is more effective than that of Homophile league manifesto because it humanizes the movement by choosing to have people understand their point of view by explaining their plight. Both these passages point out different aspects of their oppression and are used to shed light on the difficulties faced during the gay liberation movement.

References: 

Zoe Trodd.  American Protest Literature. Belknap Press Of Harvard University Press, 2008

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