The Queer Issue
The worst year ever in queer history wasn't 1974. I mean, it's not like there was a holocaust or an Anita Bryant concert at the Orange Bowl. The year started with Richard Fucking Nixon hunkered under his desk in the White House and ended with Gerald Goddamned Ford tripping over his shoelaces. If all the years were grade-school kids on the playground, 1974 would have been the last kid picked. Really, you're better off reading about A.D. 1692 or 54 or a week ago Thursday.
Not that there weren't a few notable queer things that happened in 1974. Rubyfruit Jungle and The Front Runner, a couple of then-daring, now-dated novels of lesbian and gay love, enjoyed brisk sales after their debuts. A lesbian whose name I can neither spell nor pronounce was elected to the city council of Ann Arbor, Michigan, which is righteous, but kind of a footnote. Ed "Closet Case" Koch and Bella "Believe It or Not, She Actually Isn't a Dyke" Abzug were in the U.S. House together and cosponsored the first gay-civil-rights bill in Congress, which, of course, didn't get passed. But really, that's about it for the good stuff.
Even the bad gay news was mediocre. The only bit worth getting your knickers in a twist about was the founding of the American Christian Cause, a now-defunct group you've never heard of, started by Robert Grant, a crazy-ass right-wing preacher who you've also never heard of. Grant's ACC was the first political organization of conservative American evangelical Christians in modern times. Prior to its founding, the hyperconservative Christians pretty much rendered unto Caesar that which was Caesar's and called it a day. But all of the Roe-v.-Wade-ing, hey-hey-ho-hoing, and Summer-of-Loving finally boiled their juices enough that they could no longer contain their separation of church and state.
The ACC itself didn't have a tremendous impact—and Grant has since made common cause with the even creepier loon Reverend Sun Myung Moon and his Unification Church. But Grant gave the Jerry Falwells, Pat Robertsons, and James Dobsons of the world the idea to go off and launch their own little wingnut fiefdoms over the decades since, giving peace-loving queers regular migraines and Fox News an endless supply of spittle-producing punditry. Thanks for that, Bob!
Kaley Davis has been a sporadic contributor to The Stranger since the late 1730s.