Martha Shelley

American feminist

Martha Shelley (born December 27, 1943) is an activist, writer, and poet best known for her involvement in lesbian feminist activism in the USA.

Martha Shelley


"Gay Is Good"Edit

From Come Out! magazine. Anthologized in The Stonewall Reader (2019)

  • Look out, straights. Here comes the Gay Liberation Front, springing up like warts all over the bland face of Amerika, causing shudders of indigestion in the delicately balanced bowels of the movement. Here come the gays, marching with six-foot banners to Washington and embarrassing the liberals, taking over Mayor Alioto's office, staining the good names of War Resisters League and Women's Liberation by refusing to pass for straight anymore.
  • We're gonna make our own revolution because we're sick of revolutionary posters which depict straight he-man types and earth mothers, with guns and babies. We're sick of the Panthers lumping us together with the capitalists in their term of universal contempt-"faggot."
  • It's too late for liberalism. Because what I do outside of bed may have nothing to do with what I do inside-but my consciousness is branded, is permeated with homosexuality. For years I have been branded with your label for me. The result is that when I am among gays or in bed with another woman, I am a person, not a lesbian. When I am observable to the straight world, I become gay. You are my litmus paper.
  • We want something more now, something more than the tolerance you never gave us.
  • We are the extrusions of your unconscious mind-your worst fears made flesh.
  • We are the sort of people everyone was taught to despise-and now we are shaking off the chains of self-hatred and marching on your citadels of repression.
  • Liberalism isn't good enough for us. And we are just beginning to discover it. Your friendly smile of acceptance-from the safe position of heterosexuality-isn't enough. As long as you cherish that secret belief that you are a little bit better because you sleep with the opposite sex, you are still asleep in your cradle and we will be the nightmare that awakens you.
  • We exist outside the traditional structure-and our existence threatens it.
  • Understand this-that the worst part of being a homosexual is having to keep it secret. Not the occasional murders by police or teenage queer-beaters, not the loss of jobs or expulsion from schools or dishonorable discharges-but the daily knowledge that what you are is so awful that it cannot be revealed. The violence against us is sporadic. Most of us are not affected. But the internal violence of being made to carry-or choosing to carry-the load of your straight society's unconscious guilt-this is what tears us apart, what makes us want to stand up in the offices, in the factories and schools and shout out our true identities.
  • What is strange to you is natural to us.
  • True, some gays play the same role-games among themselves that straights do. Isn't every minority group fucked over by the values of the majority culture? But the really important thing about being gay is that you are forced to notice how much sex-role differentiation is pure artifice, is nothing but a game.
  • I will tell you what we want, we radical homosexuals: not for you to tolerate us, or to accept us, but to understand us. And this you can do only by becoming one of us. We want to reach the homosexuals entombed in you, to liberate our brothers and sisters, locked in the prisons of your skulls. We want you to understand what it is to be our kind of outcast-but also to understand our kind of love, to hunger for your own sex. Because unless you understand this, you will continue to look at us with uncomprehending eyes, fake liberal smiles; you will be incapable of loving us.
  • You will never be rid of us, because we reproduce ourselves out of your bodies-and out of your minds. We are one with you.

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