Huey P. Newton

During the past few years strong movements have developed among women and among homosexuals seeking their liberation. There has been some uncertainty about how to relate to these move­ments.

WH AT EVER YOUR PERSONAL opinions and your insecurities about homosexuality and the various liberation movements among homosexuals and women (and I speak of homosexuals and women as oppressed groups), we should try to unite with them in a revolution­ary fashion. I say "whatever your insecurities are" because as we very well know, sometimes our first instinct is to want to hit a homosexual in the mouth, and want a woman to be quiet. We want to hit a homo­sexual in the mouth because we are afraid we might be homosexual, and we want to hit the woman or shut her up because we are afraid that she might castrate us, or take the nuts that we might not have to start with.

We must gain security in ourselves and therefore have respect and feelings for all oppressed people. We must not use the racist atti­tude that the White racists use against our people because they are Black and poor. Many times, the poorest White person is the most racist. This is so because he is afraid that he might lose something, or discover something that he does not have. So you’re some kind of threat to him. This kind of psychology is in operation when we view oppressed people and become angry with them because of their par­ticular kind of behavior, or their particular kind of deviation from the established norm.

Remember, we have not established a revolutionary value sys­tem; we are only in the process of establishing it. I do not remember our ever constituting any value that said that a revolutionary must say offensive things toward homosexuals, or that a revolutionary should make sure that women do not speak out about their own par­ticular kind of oppression. As a matter of fact, it is just the opposite: we say that we recognize the woman’s right to be free. We have not said much about the homosexual at all, but we must relate to the ho­mosexual movement because it is a real thing. And I know through reading and through my life experience and observations that homo­sexuals are not given freedom and liberty by anyone in this society. They might be the most oppressed people in the society.

And what made them homosexual? Perhaps it’s a phenomenon that I don’t understand entirely. Some people say that it is the deca­dence of capitalism. I don’t know if that is the case; I rather doubt it. But whatever the case is, we know that homosexuality is a fact that exists, and we must understand it in its purest form: that is, a person should have the freedom to use his body in whatever way he wants.

That is not endorsing things in homosexuality that we wouldn’t view as revolutionary. But there is nothing to say that a homosexual cannot also be a revolutionary. And maybe I’m now injecting some of my prejudice by saying that "even a homosexual can be a revolution­ary." Quite the contrary, maybe a homosexual could be the most revo­lutionary.

When we have revolutionary conferences, rallies, and demonstra­tions, there should be full participation of the gay liberation move­ment and the women’s liberation movement. Some groups might be more revolutionary than others. We should not use the actions of a few to say that they are all reactionary or counterrevolutionary, be­cause they are not.

We should deal with the factions just as we deal with any other group or party that claims to be revolutionary. We should try to judge, somehow, whether they are operating in a sincere revolution­ary fashion and from a really oppressed situation. (And we will grant that if they are women they are probably oppressed.) If they do things that are unrevolutionary or counterrevolutionary, then criticize that action. If we feel that the group in spirit means to be revolutionary in practice, but they make mistakes in interpreting the revolutionary philosophy, or they do not understand the dialectics of the social forces in operation, we should criticize that and not criticize them be­cause they are women trying to be free. And the same is true for ho­mosexuals. We should never say a whole movement is dishonest when in fact it is trying to be honest. It is simply making honest mis­takes. Friends are allowed to make mistakes. The enemy is not al­lowed to make mistakes because his whole existence is a mistake, and we suffer from it. But the women’s liberation front and the gay libera­tion front are our friends, they are potential allies, and we need as many allies as possible.

We should be willing to discuss the insecurities that many people have about homosexuality. When I say "insecurities," I mean the fear that homosexuals are some kind of threat to our manhood. I can un­derstand this fear. Because of the long conditioning process, which builds insecurity in the American male, homosexuality might pro­duce certain hangups in us. I have hangups myself about male homo­sexuality. But, on the other hand, I have no hangup about female ho­mosexuality. And that is a phenomenon in itself. I think it is probably because male homosexuality is a threat to me and female homosexu­ality is not.

We should be careful about using those terms that might turn our friends off. The terms "faggot" and "punk" should be deleted from our vocabulary, and especially we should not attach names nor­mally designed for homosexuals to men who are enemies of the peo­ple, such as Nixon or Mitchell. Homosexuals are not enemies of the people.