Putnam's Paradox by Lewis

By Lewis

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Lesbianism-feminism (misogyny) and homosexuality-masculinity (homophobia) The purpose of this next section is to explore and examine the implications of the various tensions previously outlined in practice, primarily for lesbians and gay men. 12 It is SEXUAL POLITICS AND THE POLITICS OF SEXUALITY 41 particularly important to point out that these are still tensions in operation and not simply positions. As a consequence, activists and theorists alike are unlikely to consistently ‘fit’ uniformly into any one category, yet struggle to gain equilibrium whether as lesbians or gay men.

This tripartite approach to coming out developed into a similarly triple-tiered approach to oppression perceived as practised on three levels: first, in discrimination in relation to inequality at home or at work in terms of rights, opportunities and protection; second, in coercion or hostility including raids and assaults; and third, most controversially, the notion of tolerance as a form of oppression as opposed to an acceptance of difference. This factor was partly rooted in radicalism and an opposition to the liberalism of the 1960s and partly in the tension of reform and revolution.

D’Emilio, 1983:231) The Stonewall Inn, a backstreet, unlicensed centre for blacks, ‘scantily clad go-go boys’, drag queens, and drug trafficking, was a regular target for police raids. Police raids of homosexual premises were not uncommon and, in fact, they had been increasing in frequency and vociferousness since the second world war. The difference was that this time the blacks, go-go boys, and drag queens fought back. Quite literally, limp wrists turned into fists. Graffiti, fighting, raiding, vandalism, and looting followed and the Stonewall Inn on Christopher Street was soon burned to the ground in defiance of the police and in a grand and glorious, riotous assertion of gay power.

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