Wednesday, June 27, 2012



ON JUNE 27 the Religion of Antinous commemorates the Stonewall Riots and Judy Garland, Saint of Antinous.

It is the day our Liturgical Calendar sets aside for remembrance of that sultry summer evening in Greenwich Village in the summer of 1969 when a bunch of drag queens and assorted other gay men decided they weren't in the mood to put up with yet another raid by the corrupt and brutal NYPD.

Gays had had enough and they had just suffered a terrible shock Judy Garland's tragic death on June 22 had rocked the gay world. It was said that 13 twisters raged through Kansas the day Judy died.

Judy had died in London, and amid much news media hype, her body was flown back to New York for a memorial service which drew a huge crowd of grief-stricken gay men who gathered outside Campbell's Funeral Chapel in Manhattan on June 27, 1969.

Afterwards, the bars were jammed with gay men drowning their sorrows in booze and drugs while listening to Judy Garland songs full blast on every jukebox.

The mood was electrified by a sense of solidarity in grieving for a fallen idol. Gay men had surprised themselves by turning out enmasse for Judy's funeral. They had experienced strength in numbers for the first time. 
They had been on national TV news. In an unprecedented move by primetime national news anchormen, Walter Cronkite and Huntley-Brinkley had talked about Judy Garland's "tremendous appeal among male homosexual fans" at supper time when whole families were watching the evening news!

Blacks were standing up for their rights. Women were burning their bras. The Chicano Movement was gathering steam. And now "ho-mo-sexuals" (the announcers were unaccustomed to speaking the word aloud) had the audacity to congregate outside a sacred chapel in broad daylight and even allowed themselves to be shown on the evening news!

Straight people had been confronted with homosexuals right there on television beamed into their homes. And
more importantly homosexuals had seen themselves and their brothers/sisters on national television news.

The mood was electrified.

It was a Friday night. Late June. Hot and steamy. The bars were filled to bursting. Gay men were sharing a rare moment of solidarity in powerful emotions. There was a feeling, not only in New York, but around the world, that a paradigm shift had taken place. A gay icon had died suddenly and tragically (shades of Antinous) and gay people everywhere found themselves in a catharsis of identity change.

And THAT moment was when the Manhattan police happened to stage one of their periodic raids on queers. Basically it was a routine raid on an average gay bar. Nobody had reckoned with what would happen next. Even gay men were surprised by what happened next.

Especially gay men.

Grief turned to outrage. It was a spontaneous uprising fuelled by rage. The vice squad was overwhelmed. Reinforcements had to be sent in. Gay men stood their ground and advanced on the police, pushing them back.

It was the turning point for us. Gay men throughout America, and later in London, Berlin, Sydney and elsewhere began standing up for themselves under the banner "Remember Stonewall".

That was over 40 years ago. This year an estimated five million people marched and danced through the streets of Sao Paulo, Brazil, in this year's Gay Pride Parade.

It is a fitting continuance of that spirit of solidarity which was ignited on that humid Friday evening after Judy's funeral.

In a sense, Judy Garland died for us. Had it not been for her tragic death
strangling on vomit over a toilet bowl in a London hotel suite there might not have been any Stonewall Riots.

Flamen Antinoalis Antonyus Subia puts the Stonewall Riots into a spiritual context:
"It was the first resistance by homosexuals against the repression of two thousand years, and the beginning of the Gay Liberation movement. The importance of the Stonewall Riots is the awakening of gay consciousness, the throwing off of the coils of the python that had for so many centuries enveloped our divine form of Love. This sacred revolt is holy to Apollo, Dionysus, and Diana combined as the guardian spirits of Homosexuality. Our modern Gay society was born on this occasion, and all of the peace and freedom that we have obtained in the these short decades are due to the courage that erupted on that Sacred Night in front of the Stonewall Bar."

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