Securing Sexuality is the podcast and conference promoting sex positive, science based, and secure interpersonal relationships. We give people tips for safer sex in a digital age. We help sextech innovators and toy designers produce safer products. And we educate mental health and medical professionals on these topics so they can better advise their clients. Securing Sexuality provides sex therapists with continuing education (CEs) for AASECT, SSTAR, and SASH around cyber sexuality and social media, and more.
Links from this week’s episode:
Intergenerational Dialogue in Activism: Bridging the Gap
The fight for LGBTQ+ rights has been a long and difficult one, and it is thanks to the tireless efforts of activists throughout history that we have achieved the progress that we have today. However, it is important to remember that this progress was not achieved overnight, and it was not achieved by any one person or group alone.
Instead, it was the result of a collective effort, spanning generations, and fueled by a deep commitment to justice and equality. One of the most important aspects of this collective effort is the preservation and celebration of LGBTQ+ history. By documenting our past struggles and triumphs, we are able to learn from our mistakes, build on our successes, and ensure that future generations continue the fight for equality.
LGBTQ+ history is rich and varied, and it includes everything from the Stonewall riots of 1969 to the AIDS crisis of the 1980s and 1990s and so much happened before these times as well. It is a history that is both inspiring and sobering, and it reminds us of the incredible resilience and strength of our community. Perhaps even more important than simply preserving our history, however, is the need for intergenerational dialogue in activism.
This means bringing together people of different ages and experiences to share their perspectives, learn from one another, and work together towards common goals. Intergenerational dialogue is essential for several reasons. First, it allows us to bridge the gap between younger and older LGBTQ+ activists.
While younger activists may have a different set of concerns and priorities than their older counterparts, they can benefit greatly from the wisdom and experience of those who came before them. Conversely, older activists can learn from the energy and enthusiasm of younger activists, and they can gain new insights into the challenges facing the LGBTQ+ community today. Second, intergenerational dialogue helps to ensure that we do not become complacent in our activism.
It is easy to become so focused on our own concerns that we lose sight of the bigger picture. By engaging in dialogue with others who have different perspectives, we are able to stay grounded and focused on our shared goals. Finally, intergenerational dialogue helps to build a sense of community and belonging within the LGBTQ+ community.
When we come together to share our stories, our struggles, and our triumphs, we are reminded that we are not alone in our fight for equality. We are part of a larger movement, and we have the power to effect real change. In conclusion, the importance of LGBTQ+ history and intergenerational dialogue in activism cannot be overstated.
By preserving our past, sharing our stories, and working together towards a common goal, we can ensure that the fight for equality continues for generations to come. We owe it to ourselves, and to future generations, to build a better, more inclusive world.
Stefani Goerlich: Hello and welcome to securing sexuality. The podcast where we discuss the intersection of intimacy-
Wolf Goerlich: -and information security. I'm Wolf Goerlich.
Stefani: He's a hacker. And I'm Stefani Goerlich.
Wolf: She's a sex therapist. And together, we're going to discuss what safe sex looks like in a digital age. And together we're coming to you live-recorded, but live from AASECT, so what’s AASECT?
Stefani: The American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counsellors, and Therapists. It is, Jane and my sort of annual convention, our professional organization, our alumni weekend…
Jane Fleishman: Our find-our-peeps place.
Wolf: And people are probably going. Jane? Who's Jane? So that's it. We're joined by Jane Fleishman, host of the Our Better Half podcast, author of The Stonewall Generation, and my favorite thing that I found out about you was that you've been called an “angelic troublemaker”.
Jane: That's a great name, isn't it? I want to keep that one, Wolf.
Stefani: So thank you so much, Jane, I know we are pulling you away from conference family-friend time, but I so appreciate you being here. Wolf and I did a recording last year. We did a live interview at SASH, um, about sex and robots. And so it makes perfect sense to book into that with a and talking about the Stonewall generation.
Jane: Fantastic. Thanks, Stefani. Thanks, Wolf. It's so cool to be with you guys. You know, I love your podcast. I really love the work you're doing.
Wolf: Oh, thank you.
Jane: I'm really excited to be here.
Stefani: So when you and I were talking, we specifically wanted to record this episode in June to air in Pride Month. Uh, tell me a little bit more about why tell me why doing this now is so important.
Jane: This is a pivotal moment for a lot of LGBTQ folks, particularly elders. And as somebody who's reached the great age of 69 which I think is a good age for a sex educator.
Stefani: That's where you stop counting.
Jane: Exactly. I'm an elder now, and I started writing this book after I did my doctoral research on same-sex relationships and sexual satisfaction. It was a quantitative study. It was a really good study to do for a doctorate because I got it done. That was very important. And I got some really interesting results, which you don't have to get in order to get your PhD. But what I found was I was really longing for the stories, the stories behind the numbers and the people who would tell those stories. So I started crisscrossing the country, interviewing people like me who had been affected by the Stonewall Rebellion, which I'll tell you about in a moment. And so when you ask me this question about why is it so important to talk about this this month? Because pride marks really the nascent beginnings of people standing up and saying, I am not going to be defeated by you, by police violence, by racial violence, by sexual violence. And so I wanted to be with you all this month because I wanted to say to my peers, but also to younger people that this generation is dying. One of the people in my book, I interviewed 10 people. Well, I interviewed lots of people, but the 10 people who made it into the book the first one just died this year at the age of 91. So I'm on a mission now to say these stories have to get told, and I'm so glad you're recording it because I want people to hear this and particularly, I didn't realize this when I was writing the book, I thought I was writing it for old people like me who were longing to hear stories about us. But what I've learned is a lot of young queers are like, Give me more. I want this. I don't know anything about this. My nephew came to one of my book readings. He's about 30. He's a lovely young gay guy and he said I didn't know any of this stuff And I go to pride, you know, And I go to drag shows and you know, I'm on a gay bowling league and I'm in a gay volleyball team, You know what I'm saying? Like he has reaped all these great fruits of the work that the people of this book did. And so because I was involved in a lot of early prides, like the first one I was involved in was in 1982 in Northampton, Mass. Where I live. It's also been dubbed Lesbian Girl, which is a cute name. But I have to say doing this work helped me see that young people really want to understand and learn about their own history. The history that's been made invisible to them.
Stefani: This makes me think of a conversation that Wolf and I were having last night because, uh, yesterday I was looking super cute in a little black like knee-length dress and my tattoo showed. I promise it's relevant, guys, but I have Wolf and I both have. Wolf and I both have Magnus Hirschfeld tattoos.
Jane: Oh, Magnus Hirschfeld, one of my great mentors!
Stefani: And we are here at AASECT. You would think people would be like, Oh, my God, that's amazing. And Wolf ended up having a very lengthy conversation, talking to somebody about who Magnus was and when we say Queer, Jewish, poly, activist, and scholar, in the 1890s and 1920s, people's minds were blown, and it's so much easier to stay grounded in your activism, especially in such like scary, tumultuous times. Now, if you know that you're building on a foundation of people that came before you and when you know your history, it is so much easier to be brave about the future.
Jane: Thank you. I'm so glad you mentioned Magnus. You know another thing about Hirschfeld that many people don't realize. Maybe you guys know this, but the Nazis didn't just kill Jews and gypsies and homosexuals. The Nazis burned 30,000 volumes in Hirschfeld's library, and that organization was like, AASECT is now. But way more radical, right? I mean, because they were doing stuff that nobody was conceiving as possible and the Nazi regime just couldn't abide by that. So I want to see the tattoo. Any possibility I have? Oh, yeah, that is amazing.
Stefani: And you’ve gotta see Wolf’s. Mine is Art Nouveau, Wolf’s is Berlin Street art.
Jane: Those are great, and he's a little older in that one.
Stefani: And listeners, we will put pictures in the show notes, because if Jane's excited, I know you will be too.
Jane: Well, a little extra visual. Thank you. I like the visual on the podcast.
Wolf: But I think what is intriguing to me is, and this gets right back to Stonewall because all that information was lost. It's very easy for the narrative on social media or on, you know, any of the online spaces to be like, Oh, this trans movement is all new and it's just kids trying to-
Jane: Totally right. You're so right.
Stefani: Clear social contagion. Nobody's really gay. They're just catching it from their friends.
Jane: Totally. Or what just went on in Uganda that, you know, I mean, we have a don't say gay bill in Florida and other places, but in Uganda they want to kill you for being gay. And that idea came from a really rightwing minister in this country, Scott Lively, who was proselytizing to the Ugandans by saying that homosexuality was a colonizing force. It was the Imperialists bringing homosexuality to your very heteronormative country, which never existed. It doesn't make sense, Right? So you're so right on with what you're saying.
Wolf: Yes, with stonewall. I mean, you say that I'm talking about Magnus Hirschfeld. So now it sounds like I know way more than I ever do, but lay the groundwork for anyone who perhaps only knows the high-level sketch or hasn't heard the story.
Jane: Maybe I can just give you a little background first. And I'd love to read something from the book about that night in 1969. It's a pretty interesting background too. Like when I first started writing this book, I thought Stonewall was the birth of what we used to call the gay rights movement. OK, that was not exactly true, because there had been other demonstrations. There were trans women who were demonstrating in L. A. Before that, in the fifties, there were people. The blackhead tavern here in San Francisco, actually in the sixties. But those didn't get the same kind of press. And one of the reasons it didn't is because the Stonewall Rebellion, which started on June 28th, 1969 happened in this sea of a hotbed of radicalism in the West Village in Greenwich Village in New York City. And if you think about what was going on in the city in 1969 now, I was in high school and I used to take the Long Island Railroad into the city and go to St. Mark's Place and, you know, go to Christopher Street. And that's where I would see people engaged in the anti-war movement, the early women's movement. There was a black power movement that was really important. There was the Young Lords, which was a Puerto Rican nationalist liberation movement. There was an environmental movement, you know, we were about to have Earth Day one year later, in 1970. You know what I'm saying? There was this whole hot out of tonnes of radicals who were involved in rallies. We used to have 1-800 numbers that you could call that were dial a demonstration. And so I pick up my parents' phone on Long Island and I pick up the phone, and this is how I was able to get out of school a lot. Um, the good thing is, my dad is no longer with us. He'd be pissed if he heard this. My mom won't be listening, I hope. But the thing that was great about it was you could always find something to do. We didn't have the technology like you guys have now with recorders and my cell phone. But we had these free numbers that we could call and find where the activism was so I could go into the city and know what rally to go to. And it was pretty cool, right? And know I would know which t-shirt to wear. So what I'm trying to say is Stonewall happened at a time when there was other stuff going on. But of course. And when I say gay people, I'm using gay as kind of an umbrella term for what we used in the sixties. But gay people had not really begun to, uh, like, pick up our own flag. Yeah, we didn't even have a flag. Right now we have so many rainbow flags, right? So it's incredible
Stefani: And variations on Rainbow Flags.
Jane: Yes! You didn't even have a flag. So it was the beginning of a time where people said, I've had enough. This is my time now, But it wasn't a planned riot. That's what I'm trying to say here it was something that just emerged. It was organic. There's lots of theories about why it happened that night. You know, Judy Garland had just died. Lots of gay people had gone uptown to the Upper East Side in the eighties to Campbell's funeral home, and maybe gay people saw each other on the street because there was so many people they couldn't help it, and maybe they looked around and saw each other in the light of day. That's just a theory. Nobody really believes that that's why Stonewall happened. But who knows? Right? Sometimes these coinciding events occur, and they cause some new ideas. But Stonewall also happened in this kind of historical way because a village voice for Porter got inside the tavern when the cops came. And so the Voice, which was also a radical newspaper in the village, was able to bring this story forward. The New York Times may have carried it later, but Stonewall the rebellion went on for 3-4, maybe six nights. We don't really know again because we don't have really good, clear journalistic historical footage. So what we know is a little bit about that. And so when I was writing the book, I thought, Oh, I'm going to write about people who were at the tavern that night and they're going to tell me their story. Well, out of 10 people in this book, only two were there that night. Miss Major Gryphon Gracie, who I'll tell you about in a moment a very cool, black trans woman who's been a leader for incarcerated women of color who are Trans, and another guy who was a Puerto Rican guy who just was kind of there hanging out with his friends. Neither of them had been activists, but their lives were changed, and so were all the other people in the book who weren't there, but because of the significance of that night for them. It changed their lives, so I'd love to read a little bit about that. It was illegal, by the way, before I started reading stuff. It was illegal to sell beer or any alcohol to homosexuals in New York City in that day, and the cops used that as a way to raid the bars. It was a very cozy relationship that they had with a lot of the bar owners. In fact, a lot of the bar owners were mafia, and then they had somebody running it. And so there was always a payoff and the lights would go on and somebody would hand a cop a little envelope and then they'd split or they would arrest people and mostly people got arrested and they'd go into the paddy wagons very meekly and very quietly because it was scary shit and people could lose their jobs. They could lose their homes, they could lose their apartments, they could lose their kids, they could lose their lives. And so that was sort of for when you went to a gay bar. In those days, you knew something could happen, And you face that consequence for the right to dance with someone, have sex with someone, maybe even just kiss someone.
Stefani: Fall in love.
Jane: Fall in love And so I'm gonna read to you from the introduction to the book. So something different happened on June 28th, 1969. On that night, two cops raided the bar at first and the bar was called the Stonewall Tavern. Deputy Inspector Seymour Pine was trying to end the cooperation between the mob and the police. Which is why there was no forewarning that a whole unit of cops raided the bar. Why so many? The plan was to take all the alcohol from the premises and make arrests which required police vans. Once the raid started, a crowd gathered in the little park across the street from the Stonewall. Someone threw a bottle. Someone else started shouting The events of a chaotic late-night raid, an event that was all too common at that time will always be hard to pinpoint exactly even more so when records at that time were not kept. We may never know the full truth of what happened that night. But according to a Village Voice reporter who was there, the real turning point was when the police dragged a butch mixed-race lesbian, Stormy, outside because the van was already full. They pushed her into one of the squad cars, but she got out three times and tried to run back into the bar. Finally, one of the police pushed her back into the van and she yelled out, Why do you guys do something? It was as if her question ignited the crowd. Gay men, lesbians, and bisexual people fighting back, drag queens and butch lesbians leading the charge, proclaiming their identity not what anyone would have expected. At one point, the police were barricaded inside and couldn't get out because there was no rear exit and the front door was blocked by the crowd. From the street. Hours passed and more and more people piled into the street. Fortunately, no shots were fired. The police never took out their revolvers or casualties would have been rampant. When the drag queens got into the vans, some of them created a kick line, Others chanted for their rights, and activists from other parts of New York joined in solidarity. The riot lasted for a few nights in a row, died down, and then flared up a few days later. Stonewall was not just a riot in the streets. Stonewall marked for many the bold beginnings of a militant resistance after years of criminalization, stigma, cruelty, and hiding for anyone who is coming of age in the late 19 sixties or seventies, people like me Stonewall represented an opening of a door, a new beginning, a way out of the closet. That first night of Stonewall. It wasn't a pre-planned event. It was one of those spontaneous moments where all the pieces just fit the next day, those who had been there on the first night organized to get people out for the second night. And as I noted earlier, the Stonewall Rebellion occurred at the height of the anti-war movement, the Black Liberation Movement, the Women's Liberation Movement, and a whole bunch of other civil rights movements. Organizing was going on all around that little tavern in the West Village. People who were there that night talk about it being their time, time to take their movement to a new level. It was a spark at the right moment and created a new way to fight.
Stefani: I love that.
Jane: And that's where I begin all my interviews, Stefani. I begin each interview by saying, Where were you the night of Stonewall? And it was incredible just to begin that way. So I hope that helped a bit to give you a flavor of what it was like. It was pretty incredible.
Stefani: It brought for me something that I've been thinking about that happened here yesterday. I don't want to center the straight allies in this conversation, but you know, you spoke to the allies coming in and supporting, and last night in our plenary here, we had a very powerful statement of fuck allies. We don't need allies. We need accomplices. And this was an act of a complex. This was a violent uprising. Bricks were thrown, bottles were thrown and the people that were not invested chose to put their bodies in with queer people in order to make this huge impact. And that makes me think of something else that happened here yesterday, where one of the talks was disrupted by a local activist. I don't know if did you hear about this.
Jane: I did not.
Stefani: But one of our talks yesterday was disrupted by a local activist who said, I'm not a part of as a I'm not a part of your community. I just worked on the street, he goes, But I live in Oakland and we're looking for our missing girls. And you are here talking about sexuality and sex work and sexual exploitation and sexual pleasure and sexual consent. And we need your help finding our girls. And I was surprised at how uncomfortable that made our peers and how Wolf and I were talking about this over breakfast. How easy it would have been for that speaker to say “You're not a part of us, but I want to hear more. I'll give you five minutes”
Jane: Or what a great opportunity for us to put our theory into practise.
Stefani: Exactly. And so I've been because we're here and because I have people that were in that room. I don't know that it's a story that's going to spread a lot, and that's why I don't want to give a lot of details here. But I think it's really pivotal for us as sexuality professionals who are wearing our pride flags and are advocating for queer clients who are doing gender-affirming care. We had a split-second moment yesterday, and we asked for him to be removed.
Jane: That hurts. So there was a point in the early what I call the gay liberation Movement, where there was a rift and one part of the movement wanted to do exactly what you and I think I would agree on, which is they wanted the gay rights movement to be situated as part of other left movements, so that if people were talking about Nicaragua that there was also people in the room who were gay, who were talking about gay rights. If people were talking about ending the war in Cambodia, that there were people talking about gay rights, you know what I'm saying? That we were part of an umbrella on the left wing of politics. Then there were other people who only wanted to be situated around gay rights. We were gay, and that's it. And I remember when I was living in Hartford, Connecticut, and we had a statewide coalition in those days lesbian and gay rights because we squeezed the L in there it was. It was a big fight. We weren't even getting the B there or the T or the Q. But we got the L there, and there were some folks from a very wealthy part of Connecticut. I don't know if you're familiar with it. It was we called it the Gold Coast. It's the part closest to New York City, and there were two gay guys who were Republicans. What!? First of all, I had never known that there were gay Republicans. But in any case, and these guys said and we were having the same exact fight in our coalition about wanting to be either part of a bigger movement or just be our own movement and these guys really were opposed to that because, you see it really was anti to the other side of their politics. They were conservatives on a lot of levels except for their sexuality. And so, as sexuality professionals, I feel like it's my work, really, and it's our work to ally ourselves with as many other liberation movements. And that's why. And if we talk a little bit later, I'd love to talk a little about where I see the movement going today because I'm still a liberationist and there are people who are assimilationist, like people who are working on gay marriage. There's nothing wrong with gay marriage. I have a gay marriage. In fact, I've been gay marriaged. That's not a word. I've been married to my wife, which I can't call her my wife because neither of us really want to be a wife. We want to have a wife, but we don't want to be a wife.
Stefani: I think that is a powerful statement that all women of all orientations can relate to. I have straight friends who have said, I wish I could have a wife.
Jane: A wife would be really helpful for us. She could make a lot more, you know? I mean, it would have made raising our kids a lot easier, but anyway, I have been gay, married three times because I like a good really good party, and I'm a big extrovert. But I've been married to her three times because we knew it would be really good for our Children, and it would be really good for us just to, you know, be secure. In some ways, However, I don't really believe in the whole tradition of marriage and marriage for gay people. As our speaker said yesterday, Is that Homo normative right? It's that allowing ourselves to sort of assimilate in it's the Pete Buttigieg and his husband in front of the white picket fence image, and I think I never wanted to have a white picket fence. I don't even like fences like that, But I wanted somehow to say to people I'm a gay liberationist. That's really who I am, you know. When we were fighting the AIDS crisis in the eighties, we were fighting for our fucking lives, and there was no Internet that was helping us. Back then. It was nascent, but it wasn't really helping us. We were just doing it with leaflets and phone calls and going to memorial services. That's what we did, and we were fighting as much as we could.
Stefani: Can you imagine if act up had had social media?
Jane: Oh my God, those act up folks would have just killed the Internet. It would have been great. It would have been amazing
Wolf: On that through line, like where we are today, right? Because You know, oftentimes we think about technology. We don't think about high tech, but a 900 number for
Jane: Yeah, I like that a lot.
Wolf: Um, you mentioned, you know, having, uh, the voice that radical paper. Right? So those the flyers, right? These are all ways that we get messaged out and coordinate and create culture and community. How has that transitioned into the past decade?
Jane: That's such a great question, Wolf. So, first of all, Wolf, if we had flyers. So, folks who are listening, I'm just picking up a piece paper our table. I'm going to hand it to you, and I'm going to tell you about this demonstration. But before I let go, I'm going to look you in the eye and say, Would you want to join us? See, the flyer was only a way of me meeting you, right? The flyer was just sort of a what would you call it, Like a prop? Yeah, it was just a prop. But if I just handed you a flyer and walked away and I never made any eye contact with you, I wasn't a very good organizer. Before I became a sex educator, I was an organizer. I worked for the union, I worked for the health care workers union, and I did a lot of work in the labor movement as an educator and did a lot of good work for 20 years. I did that stuff and we would say to our members, our rank and file members, if you want to just pass out flyers, fine. But that's not going to get anybody there. We want you to have your clipboard and your and your checklist and say OK, I just spoke to Wolf Check. He's coming. Steffie check. She's coming, I'm in and I got two more people, and that's how we built our movement person by person. So now it's completely different. I love flyers. I kind of miss them. I love a good newsletter-stuffing party. On Friday afternoons, when my brain is fried, I miss it. We would sing and we would say shit to each other. It was fun. So now we have something different, and what's really different about it is that folks like me are pretty lame at a lot of the tech that is useful for organizing. Have I ever been on Tiktok? Yes, because a high school kid made a TikTok of me helping her one day and it got a lot of hits and I was very proud of myself. But the truth is, I don't know how to do that stuff, and I need to step aside. I need to become an advocate for other young people who are going to be the new leaders because my time has passed in a lot of ways. I loved being a leader. I love standing in front of the crowd and a microphone and, you know, exhorting them to do something. But the last time I was asked to be a speaker in front of a crowd, we had a thing where we had our cell phones and we had people text a number and I got really excited. I thought, Wow, that is really cool. And last time I was watching TV in the hotel and I saw Wow ads now have QR codes right on the screen. So you got to be able to run up to the screen really fast with your phone and get it. That's not easy for old people like me. I'm going to take a while to get up to my screen. So what I'm saying Wolf is I've got to make room for younger people who are more adept and fast and really able to navigate some of the stuff that is a little bit new for me. And that's I have to say, hard to do. There's a loss there. I'm sad about that. I wish I knew that stuff, but I'm also really sure. I'm certain that my loss is the movement's game.
Stefani: But I think that's where bringing the generations together is, because, like you are the you are the one that has the historical stories, and they are the ones that have the technology. And the thing is like there's this, like, corporate thing called strengths finder that a lot of the business world does. And Wolf and I have both been in roles where they've had us do strength finder. And it turns out we are complimentary opposites because my strength is history specifically like archival history, and Wolf's number one strength is futurism. So we look at the timeline.
Jane: Of course, you have opposite strengths. You guys, I can feel it right here.
Stefani: But that sort of. We're like a mini paradigm of what you're describing. And if you only have online activism acting in this vacuum without the delight of sitting around and hearing the elders tell stories while you stuff newsletters, you lose that foundational piece. Forget who Magnus is, and you feel like you're reinventing the wheel and you feel like you're alone. But then the flip side is you have people that no longer get invited to newspapers or newsletter stuffing parties, and they feel disconnected from the community and they feel alone. So how do we bring generations of activists and allies and accomplices together to make sure that this happens?
Jane: Well, here's one of my ideas. There's a guy in my book who isn't old, but he works with old. He works with LGBTQ elders. He works with a group called Sage. Sage is a really great group. It's been around almost since Stonewall since the beginning of this movement. His name is Joey Wasserman. He was brought up in Philadelphia. His parents owned a gay bar.
Stefani: Oh, I love that.
Jane: And he came out as gay himself later on. He's a very cool guy, and he works at sage because he's interested in LGBTQ elders stories. He goes to some of the old delicatessens in the Lower East Side to hang out with the old Jewish guys and hear their stories. What he's telling me when I interview him is that he's a young man who's interested in old people's stories, and he's trying to get his generation to also take that on, because he's taken on this mantle of helping us create that intergenerational dialogue. And I would say that here at AASECT, I mean we're here. One of the things we could use is an intergenerational dialogue. I think that I'm in an interesting position here because I'm new to the field because, you know, I just got my at age 62 became a sex- Thank you, thank you, you guys. That was hard. And I became a sex educator after a 30-year career in a different world. But I'm old, so I'm new to the field. But I'm old and I feel like I could say things that maybe other people can't say so. One thing I want to say is some of our old leaders need to make room for the new folks. And the new folks need to listen and listen hard and respect and honor the old folks. Because otherwise there isn't going to be a dialogue. Then there's no listening. Then it's going to be a fuck you. Fuck you. You're taking my turf. And that's not what we need to do. I know as is not a movement, but we're part of a pretty maligned component of the United States right now. Like we are on the cutting board edge of every conservative social policy maker in this country. And so we need to see ourselves as part of the organization
Stefani: The organization isn't political, but the work of every individual member is absolutely politicizing. Thank you, Jane. Can I proposition you?
Jane: Well, you know, it's early in the morning loving this. I'm like I'm sidling over to you.
Stefani: Yes, I'm gonna cozy in the chain. What if this time next year you and I pitched the idea of a storytelling panel - A generational storytelling panel? And what if we just sat together with some of our friends and let other people whoever might be interested? Assuming we get chosen? What if you taught them some of the songs, and we told some of the history and we listen to some of the young people. Would you do that with me?
Jane: Oh my God, I would love that. It would be so cool and we could do it around Queer history, Yes, and really kind of bring some of the young ones into some excitement. I think it would be really great, and some of the old guard would feel good that somebody was listening to us because that's the other thing I learned when I was doing the book that a lot of people said No one's ever asked me these stories because I asked about sex. I asked about aging, and I asked about their activism. All the people in my book were activists and still are really. But nobody asked them these stories, so they told their stories about coming out what it was like to have hidden lives, what it was like to have to hide their lovers. And it was amazing that I was able to hear them and then get it into a book. And it was a real, you know, iterative kind of wonderful process where I would send the draught back and say, Is this right? They'd say, No, you really fucked it up and they'd slash it to pieces and I'd be like, Fuck you And then I'd rewrite it and I'd say, Is it right now? Not almost. But you had a few things wrong. And so in that process, I got to meet these people at a very different level. And I developed friendships, beautiful friendships. And, you know, some of the people in here, like there's a guy in here Hardy Haberman that I think you both would love. He's a kinky leather guy and he made a wonderful film called Leather and that's what I'm showing. Maybe we can put the picture. I'm showing you guys link to Leather, too. I'll find I'll find you'll find it from 96. So there's a photo of Hardy with the cast and the crew, and they're all leather guys and it's beautiful. And I feel like one thing that Hardy taught me and other people did is that the work goes on. It continues to say he's now the co-chair of the Woodhall Sexual Freedom Coalition, and he's an amazing guy and he's my age. He's late sixties and he's still kicking, kicking butt and doing good work. And that's what I That's the other thing. I guess I want your listeners to know that when you get old, you don't necessarily get more conservative. In fact, a lot of us get more radical because we feel like fuck it, Who cares? I don't need to please anybody anymore, sexually, financially, legally, and politically.
Stefani: So as we start to move towards wrapping it up because you made it very clear that 45-50 minutes was too much
Jane: I talk way too much. I like to talk, but nobody likes to listen.
Stefani: What is one thing you think our younger listeners can do to bring elders into a conversation that has moved online? And what's one thing maybe elders could do to insert themselves into that conversation?
Jane: Um, all the Pride committees are going through a revolutionary change this year. You've probably noticed in a number of cities, like in near where I live in Boston. The whole Pride committee basically disbanded, and a whole new group took over same thing in Hartford and Northampton, where I lived most of that was around racism and classism. And the old folks who had been in charge of pride in those places for a long time were mostly white, mostly middle class, and the new folks were not, and they wanted to be more expansive. And the term that people have been using since Kimberly Crenshaw talked about it a long time ago is Intersectionality again. It's not a new term like Trans is not a new term, and there are old trans people as well as young people. And there are people who have been talking about anti-racism for years as well as sex and homophobia, biphobia transphobia. But what I'm learning is that the new folks have brought a real - to their essence, a real intersectionality to what pride has become. And it's no longer just a white middle-class parade and festival. It's more of a liberation, which I love. Which brings me back to the very first pride I worked on in 1981. I guess that's my hope, and that's where technology has really helped, because I think a lot of the new folks have used their social media networks to really be amazing. Organizers in a way that I think has surpassed a lot of the other organizing that could have been done. They still need to do the hand-to-hand, face-to-face, knee-to-knee, you know, shoulder-to-shoulder stuff.
Stefani: I want more singing, Jane.
Jane: All right, I'll bring it to you. I'll bring it to you. So maybe that's the other side, the other, the the sort of the other side of the hand of what you're asking is I would love, love, love. There's a guy here who lives in Sydney, Australia. He went to Widener like I went to for graduate school and he came over to me and he said, I love your book. I said Cool. He said, I want to create the same book in Sydney For all of the people who started the movement there, I said, You got it. He says, I want to sit down and talk to you about it and I guess that's my hope. My hope is that more people do archival research. They do academic research, but they also do this kind of oral history research, where they speak face to face, knee to knee, shoulder to shoulder, with somebody else who's older than them and find their stories and bring it in. I mean, here's the woman who died. Her name was Jackie Merkin. She was an amazing woman, a real activist, and she met her lover, Edie Daley, at age 60. And she said she had never had sex like that before in her life. Now these are two old lesbians, and I don't know about you. But most people think that old lesbians and, you know, women in my generation who call ourselves lesbians don't have much sex. They said the best sex they ever had was in their sixties. Right on, girl.
Jane: So what I'm hearing is a point of activism can be. Ask our elders about their sex life and don't be afraid of it, right, because they want to answer. And you know, my work as a sex educator is around old people, and it's like turning on the faucet when I say, Let's talk about sex. They're like there. And if I play a little Olivia Newton-John, they're happy. So yes, I think that's a really important question, and I love that old people and young people could really speak to each other in a way that might really change the world.
Stefani: I'm so excited. We got to sit down. I am so thrilled that we didn't have to do this on Zoom. But I got to sit down. You got to meet me. And this has been wonderful. This has worked out beautifully. And I am so excited to learn from you. Thank you.
Jane: Same here. I've learned so much from you.
Wolf: The one thing that just keeps running through my head for your reading Is that phrase like, “Why don't you guys do something?”
Jane: And it's such a power. I know. And she had to tell the guys Oh, that's the other thing. The Trans woman in my book, Wolf. Major said, Why is it LGBT? Why isn’t it TLGB? you get what I'm saying? She said there's a hierarchy. Here she goes. We started this fucking movement. Where are we? And so this butch stud, Stormy was saying this and she was exhorting the gay man to do something. And yet the history was written with gay men on top. The gay men were running and white gay men and I hoped. And I hope today in this podcast episode that your listeners get it, that there were people of all races, all orientations, and all gender identities who are at the forefront of this very important movement and that we need to honor them as well.
Wolf: That's absolutely correct. They were there. I can't wait to dig deeper into your book.
Jane: I hope so.
Wolf: They're here now. I think there's a lot we can do. I'm so glad you joined us. Thank you so much for your time.
Jane: Thanks. Thanks for having me. It was great.
Wolf: And to our listeners, thank you for tuning in to securing sexuality. Your source of information you need to protect yourself and your relationships.
Stefani: Securing sexuality is brought to you by the Bound Together Foundation, a 501c3 nonprofit. This episode in partnership with our conference sponsor, Adam and Eve. Thank you, Adam and Eve, from the bedroom to the cloud, we're here to help you navigate safe sex in a digital age.
Wolf: Speaking of our conference, please visit securingsexuality.com for more information about that as well as our show notes.
Stefani: But let's have Jane do the flyer question. Jane, when you put a flyer in somebody's hand, what do you ask them? What do you teach us to say?
Jane: You look in their eye and you say, Can I count on you to be there?
Stefani: So, listeners, we can't see your eyes? But can we count on you to be there?
Jane: I hope so. Thanks.
Stefani: Thank you so much, everyone. We will see you again soon, Jane and tune in next week for more fascinating conversations about the intersection of sexuality and technology. Have a great week.