READ: Carl Wittman's "Refugees from Amerika: A Gay Manifesto" (1970)

READ: Carl Wittman’s “Refugees from Amerika: A Gay Manifesto” (1970)

In 1969, Peace and Gay activist Carl Wittman wrote Refugees from Amerika: A Gay Manifesto published by The Red Butterfly cell of the Gay Liberation Front January 1970.[ It is considered one of the most influential gay liberation writings of the 1970s.

The document stemmed from a particular social and cultural background where aspirations toward equality and justice were constantly clashing with discrimination, marginalization, and harassment. This paper focuses on the historical context, through analyzing the coeval American society, highlighting the leading role played by the city of San Francisco and commenting on some of the key events that marked that epoch.

Wittmann offers a sharp criticism of the patriarchal and intrinsically intolerant society. He describes the oppression and the condition in the ghetto where they live, where mafia and corrupted law enforcement exploit gays and lesbians (Wittmann, 1970). The author discloses concepts about homosexuality, analyses the conditions of women, and opens new perspectives on how to live sexuality. Perhaps, the most significant contribution to the history of the LGBT movement is the invitation to come out and stop pretending to be straight sexually and socially 

“Exclusive heterosexuality is fucked up. It reflects a fear of people of the same sex, it’s anti-homosexual, and it is fraught with frustration. Heterosexual sex is fucked up too; ask women’s liberation about what straight guys are like in bed. Sex is aggression for the male chauvinist; sex is obligation for the traditional woman.” — Amerika: A Gay Manifesto

Wittmann’s Manifesto is an iconic text within the movement for LGBT liberation. The document, published in the heyday of the gay activism of the 1960s and 1970s, offers a 360° perspective on the homosexual world.

You can read the entire 10 page “Refugees from Amerika: A Gay Maifesto” by CLICKING HERE.



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1 thought on “READ: Carl Wittman’s “Refugees from Amerika: A Gay Manifesto” (1970)

  1. As one of those who composed, and distributed the Red Butterfly pamphlets and their other leaflets, I just want to mention they were written in a time of isolation (1969-1970) and not having the awareness now with access to knowledge. The sections and mention of transexuals was very wrong and I apologize for my being one of those writers who approved this bigoted part, written by another member who had prejudice and not caring in his thoughts. The pamphlets were considered “ahead of their time” when little then was written and available, for the public to access and read, that was favorable to Gay and Lesbian People.

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