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Huey Newton

[ 27 ] May 17, 2012 |

Given the times we live in, it’s worth recognizing those who believed that gay rights was the next phase of the rights struggle when many did not. Such as Huey Newton. From an August 15, 1970 speech:

Remember, we have not established a revolutionary value system; we are only in the process of establishing it. I do not remember our ever constituting any value that said that a revolutionary must say
offensive things towards homosexuals, or that a revolutionary should make sure that women do not speak out about their own particular kind of oppression. As a matter of fact, it is just the opposite: we say that we recognize the women’s right to be free. We have not said much about the homosexual at all, but we must relate to the homosexual movement because it is a real thing. And I know through reading, and through my life experience and observations that homosexuals are not given freedom and liberty by anyone in the society. They might be the most oppressed people in the society.

And what made them homosexual? Perhaps it’s a phenomenon that I don’t understand entirely. Some people say that it is the decadence of capitalism. I don’t know if that is the case; I rather doubt it. But whatever the case is, we know that homosexuality is a fact that exists, and we must understand it in its purest form: that is, a person should have the freedom to use his body in whatever way he wants.

That is not endorsing things in homosexuality that we wouldn’t view as revolutionary. But there is nothing to say that a homosexual cannot also be a revolutionary. And maybe I’m now injecting some of my prejudice by saying that “even a homosexual can be a revolutionary.” Quite the contrary, maybe a homosexual could be the most
revolutionary.

We should be willing to discuss the insecurities that many people have about homosexuality. When I say “insecurities,” I mean the fear that they are some kind of threat to our manhood. I can understand this fear. Because of the long conditioning process which builds insecurity in the American male, homosexuality might produce certain hang-ups in us. I have hang-ups myself about male homosexuality. But on the other hand, I have no hang-up about female homosexuality. And that is a phenomenon in itself. I think it is probably because male homosexuality is a threat to me and female homosexuality is not.

We should be careful about using those terms that might turn our friends off. The terms “faggot” and “punk” should be deleted from our vocabulary, and especially we should not attach names normally
designed for homosexuals to men who are enemies of the people, such as Nixon or Mitchell. Homosexuals are not enemies of the people.

Couldn’t ask for much more from a straight male in 1970.

Comments (27)

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  1. joe from Lowell says:

    Beautiful. Amazing.

    So aware, and self-aware.

    • bradp says:

      self-aware

      This.

      A statement like this:

      When I say “insecurities,” I mean the fear that they are some kind of threat to our manhood. I can understand this fear. Because of the long conditioning process which builds insecurity in the American male, homosexuality might produce certain hang-ups in us. I have hang-ups myself about male homosexuality.

      especially coming from someone in that time and environment, requires rare strength of character.

      • bradp says:

        I think it is probably because male homosexuality is a threat to me and female homosexuality is not.

        I meant to include this, as it is the real kicker.

  2. Bill Murray says:

    As it turned out punk was OK to keep in one’s vocabulary, although I assume Dr. Newton’s use was different from mine

  3. Jameson Quinn says:

    I don’t think you could ask much more from a straight male in 2012. I mean, sure, there are a number of people today who actually don’t have hang-ups about this, but I don’t think that makes them any better than Mr. Newton.

  4. DrDick says:

    Totally awesome and only increases my respect for him. An echo from a period in our history when some people actually believed in civil rights for everyone and not just for themselves.

  5. JoyfulA says:

    I, too, am very impressed. This is not the sort of thing that was said in 1970.

  6. Barry Freed says:

    Great find. Huey was so great.

    • Anonymous says:

      Except for the fact that he was a crack head and a murderer (although I certainly agree that his statement about homosexuality is great)

  7. pete says:

    That is excellent, and part of why so many of us revered the Panthers; the berets & leather jackets helped, they were so cool. Later, however (1977 or 78) I waited on Newton at a restaurant in Santa Cruz and he acted like a jerk — full of himself, surrounded by acolytes, demanding of the waitresses (not me) and generally unpleasant. He may have been drunk, though it was early, and he was certainly under enormous stress, not to mention indictment, but it was disappointing.

    Angela Davis, however, whom I have seen in seminars, is cool to this day.

    • Anonymous says:

      Newton acting like a jerk was not limited to this one time at the restaurant you were working at.

  8. Joey Maloney says:

    Not for nothing, but isn’t Newton also the guy who said something about the proper position for women in the revolution was “prone”?

  9. hells littlest angel says:

    Wow. Thank you for posting that.

  10. Halloween Jack says:

    I’m impressed.

  11. DrDick says:

    It would seem that Newton is not the only one (at least now).

  12. [...] It allows a person to begin from doubt and move toward something.Huey Newton, August 15, 1970 (via)We must gain security in ourselves and therefore have respect and feelings for all oppressed [...]

  13. [...] expect military spending to keep growing. •Black power activist Huey Newton spoke out for gay rights 40 years ago. I’m frankly impressed. •The House GOP blocks a proposal that would prevent [...]

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