A Queer History of the United States by Michael Bronski- Quote Collection

But his ideas had other champions, such as free love advocate Victoria Woodhull, who in 1872 was the first women to run for president of the United States. Her arguments are sustained philosophical attacks against the state’s regulation of sexuality and affection. In 1871 speech cowritten with anarchist Stephen Pearl Andrews, “And the Truth Shall Make You Free: A Speech on Principles of Social Freedom,” she states:

Yes, I am a Free Lover. I have an inalienable, constitutional and natural right to love whom I may, to love as long or as short a period as I can; to change that love every day if I please, and with that right neither you nor any law you can frame have any right to interfere. And I have the further right to demand a free and unrestricted exercise of that right, and it is your duty not only to accord it, but as a community, to see I am protected in it. I trust that I am fully understood, for I mean just that, and nothing else.”

Victoria Woodhull & Michael Bronski, pg. 81-82

Benjamin Tucker wrote in his 1895 State Socialism and Anarchism that anarchist “acknowledge and defend the right of any man and woman, or men and women, to love each other for as long or as short a time as they can, will, or may. To them legal marriage and legal divorce are equal absurdities.”

Benjamin Tucker & Michael Bronski, pg. 93

I told the doctor of the indignation I had felt at the [1895] conviction of Oscar Wilde. I had pleaded his case against the miserable hypocrites who had sent him to his doom. “You!” the doctor exclaimed in astonishment, “why, you must have been a mere youngster then. How did you dare come out in public for Oscar Wilde in puritan America?” “Nonsense!” I replied; “no daring is required to protest against a great injustice.”

Emma Goldman, pg. 94

He also claimed that “female frigidity” did not exist; it was a male invention to control women. And in complete repudiation of a century of a conservative medical advice, he argued that it is “difficult to conceive of a more beneficial, harmless, tension-releasing act than masturbation”

Albert Ellis, pg 186

As early as 1949, in his essay “The Preservation of Innocence,” Baldwin directly connected heterosexual hostility toward homosexuals to white hostility towards African Americans. He saw both as a failure of the imagination to connect fully with one’s own humanity. He explores this idea in his 1963 The Fire Next Time:

“White people in this country will have quite enough to do in learning how to accept and love themselves and each other, and when they have achieved this- which will not be tomorrow and may very well be never- the Negro problem will no longer exist, for it will no longer be needed.”

James Baldwin & Michael Bronski, pg. 202-203

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