Sunday, 15 June 2014

colour by numbers

There was a radio special on the air driving this afternoon that paid tribute to gay musicians and featured a great canon of songs and genres. I had tuned to it after the introduction but I believe the programme—Queer Sounds was aired this day to acknowledge the anniversary in June 1969 (45 years ago) when East Germany, in a frank move that was not reciprocated by the West, struck down one of the old laws (the so-called infamous § 175 in the German Criminal Code) had inherited outlawing homosexual relationships.
Though West Germany had the same explicit laws on the books to, symbolically at least, repeal, it did not happen in reunited Germany until 1994, and the host pointed out that Germany does indeed lag behind most of the rest of Europe when it comes to legislation for equal rights and equal recognition, though society gladly does not need the mandate of government. Spain, France, the UK, the low countries and the Nordic nations allow gay marriage, although that decision did not come without without growing pains and a high cost, but have had icons and champions for years. The show segued into a into a number from String: An Englishman in New York (I'm an alien, I'm a legal alien) that was dedicated to an individual named Quentin Crisp, who then was then an eighty year old gay activist (and to some an anti-hero at times who'd taken his lumps and was the subject of much bullying—this was still only 1987) whom had moved to Manhattan a few years prior. I had no idea—but listening to the lyrics—“If manners maketh the man as someone said/Then he is the hero of the day/It takes a man to ignore ignorance and smile/Be yourself no matter what they say,” one realises what a fine and unhailed tribute it is.