While reading for an essay I came across an anthology of articles from an early Canadian gay liberation movement called The Body Politic. This was one of the very first gay liberation publications in Canada, being first published in 1971. In sum, the last gay liberation wave began in Canada in the late 1960's, moreso in the early 1970's. This movement advocated for a positive public visibility of gays and lesbians and pushed for their legislative/political, social, occupational, and legal rights.
In the introduction one section stuck out at me. It's a quotation, which to me, gives a shining example of the modern western human's need, and thus their right, to have a legitimate history. Anthropology and the study of nationalism tell us that humans naturally form into groups. These groups form identities, and each individual within that group conforms, in some aspects, to that group identity. This identity, as personal though bound to a group, is the right, the right to personally belong to the group to which ones feels most suited, or to more than one groups that ones feels suited. This can only be done if such a group has some sort of historical foundation, for a group cannot define itself in the present, or its vision for the future with an historical background by which to relatively compare its present and future against.
Gerald Hannon here explains his reasoning for contributing to The Body Politic over a number of years:
"I got hooked, I guess, on empowerment, the transformation of The Helpless Queer with no history and an unlikely future into Someone, into a group of Someones, who uncovered a history, who found heroes, who grabbed today and shook it till tomorrow fell out of its pocket and there was a place in it for us."
This individual in being part of the gay liberation visible gay identity helped to pull back the layers of society to reveal a distinctly queer history ("who uncovered a history") and how that history aided in its present identity ("grabbed today") and helped to focus upon its future ("shook it till tomorrow fell out and...there was a place in it for us").
Peronsal history, group history....social history...is a human right...deny it to no one.
It was once denied to Women, Canadian Japanese (only examples of many) as it was denied to Homosexuals. It has been denied in gender, race, and sexuality. Though it is not the start, NOW is the day to uncover the histories of those to who it is denied.
Maybe ask yourself, who are we denying today?
Random Uni Student
Ps. It can be a worthwhile thing for a group to understand its history, only to be ashamed of it and use that shame to redirect their role in the future to be as positive of one that's possible within their present perspectives.
pps. The quotation can be found in Flaunting it!: A Decade of Gay Journalism from The Body Politic.