Gay & Lesbian Review May-June 2019

nJnP collective, they work to provide d.c.’s trans and activist community with safe housing. nJnP continues to push for the removal of police and corporate sponsors from the capital Pride parade, while also training a new generation of grassroots trans organizers through their trans Justice program. C OMING TO N EW Y ORK : A P RIDE A LTERNATIVE the Reclaim Pride coalition (RPc) began organizing in early 2018 as a contingent of the gigantic mainstream parade, her- itage of Pride (hoP). after making several ongoing demands to hoP that were never met, the coalition has since decided to break off and organize its own march. Some of these demands included restoring the historic march route, dropping wristband requirements to participate in the march, and receiving an apol- ogy from the new york Police department for its raid of the M ichael S chwaRtz “I N 1620 Provincetown was a bar- ren strip of land. What would a group of wayfarers, seasick and starving after a two month voyage to es- cape from what they considered to be a per- verse England, have thought if they had known that the sandy cove they were setting foot on would someday feature drag bingo? ... What would have happened if they had foreseen that their religious commune, known for its draconian anti-sodomy laws, would become part of a state (Massachu- setts) that would be the first to legalize same-sex marriage? ... Could these settlers have dreamed that the Charles Street Meet- ing House ... would house the first national LGBTQ newspaper?” So begins the hub of the gay universe: an l gBtq history of Boston, Provincetown, and Beyond , by Russ Lopez, due out from Shawmut Peninsula Press in May 2019. From the Maypole of Merrymount in 1627 to the defeat of an anti-trans rights ballot question in 2018, the history, in Lopez’ words, “includes lavish nightlife and night- mare repression.” It has biographies of leading LGBT figures such as Ned Warren, who contributed his antique gay artifacts to the Museum of Fine Arts, and Blanche Lazzell and the other gays and lesbians who supported the Provincetown Theatre. It chronicles events like the secret Harvard tri- bunals of 1920 and the push for the anti-dis- crimination law that passed in 1989. Lopez has studied, taught, and written about the urban environment, and has two previous books specifically about Boston, including Boston’s South end: the clash of ideas in a historic neighborhood . He has worked in Boston City Hall and the Massachusetts State House and has been active in politics and in LGBT issues. He is obviously the right person to have under- taken this history. I conducted the interview with Russ, who is a friend, by e-mail. Michael Schwartz: a central problem with writing lgBt history of earlier periods is documentation—finding and correctly inter- preting the little evidence that has survived. what is the earliest lgBt evidence you found where we have details like names, dates, and places? Russ Lopez: Shortly before europeans began settling in Massachusetts, a horrible epidemic killed ninety percent of the native population. it is unlikely we will ever know that much about their pre-contact society. the Pilgrims settled Plymouth in 1620. the first mention of same-sex activity is in 1629, and the first prosecutions were in 1636. the evidence presented in these first trials strongly suggest that there was a substantial underground of what we would call lgBt people by that time and most likely earlier. MS: another documentation problem is that most of what we have in earlier periods comes from white upper-class men and to a lesser extent women. we know about har- vard and wellesley, but what evidence have you found relating to other lgBt commu- nities in Boston? RL: i was angered and saddened by the class, race, gender, and religion inequities in the evidence left by lgBt people, which don’t really begin to lessen until the 1960s. arrest records are some of the best sources for the non-elite, as are tabloids. yet we also see glimpses of their humanity: two african-american men living together in the 1790s, men arrested on the streets around Scollay Square in a police crack- down in 1918, and people challenging gen- der norms in every era. there is some evidence, but the lack of it is a sign of the depth of inequality. MS: the material about harvard men and wellesley women is wonderful in its detail, with tons of name-dropping. For example, in 1906, abram Piatt andrew, Jr., a harvard professor, met henry Sleeper, who designed for Joan crawford and Frederick March. they were intimates of isabella Stewart gardner, while henry James was welcome to stay at andrew’s gloucester estate. do you have a favorite well-connected couple from your research? RL: the intellectual side of me wishes to have been a guest of annie Fields and Sarah orne Jewett. the dinner conversation about Russ Lopez on the Long History of Boston Pride AUTHOR’S PROFILE Stonewall inn. also demanded was an acknowledgement of on- going oppressive tactics against marginalized communities and the need for systemic change. however, RPc received little to no feedback from hoP organizers. the queer liberation March and Rally, which is to take place on Sunday, June 30th, pledges to be an “activist march, free of corporations, politicians, and police presence” to com- memorate the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall rebellion. States its website: “the queer liberation March is a people’s political march—no corporate floats, and no police in our march. our 2019 march is a truly grassroots action that will mo- bilize the community to address the many social and political battles that continue to be fought locally, nationally, and glob- ally.” RPc is made up of over eighty organizations and has re- ceived support from activists—like Masha gessen, Jennicet 24 The G & LR