Putting together this issue has not been unlike Michael J. Fox getting launched into the past in a DeLorean “Back to the Future”-style. Moreover, it has been an all-consuming, sometimes scary, exhausting, sanity-testing experience that we somehow found worthwhile ... but may not want to do ever again if we have anything to say about it.
A scant few of us at PGN were here from the start. Some of us were born around the time the paper launched. And the rest were in diapers when PGN blew out the candles on its 10th birthday.
For most of us here at the paper, the 1970s and most of the ’80s were either a blur of cartoons, juice boxes and Happy Meals or something out of a documentary or VH1 talking-head show. In putting together this special issue of the paper, we have to tip our collective hats to anyone who was fighting the good fight back then, navigating the sexual, social and political revolutions without the benefit of the Internet, computers, cell phones and very little, if any, mainstream media coverage. How you survived those times and kept the train on the rails is amazing and inspiring.
We can only imagine what some of the trials and tribulations — and victories — were like.
Even with the wealth of knowledge available, many in the community today don’t know what it felt like to watch helplessly and fearfully as more and more obituaries piled up from a then-unknown disease — while the nation at large seemed, at best, indifferent. Many don’t know what it was like not to have a voice in the media or politics — to fight not to be invisible.
Society is far from perfect now. Frankly, the LGBT community has a long way to go to get to fair. Being able to stop for a moment and look back and glean what we can from the past almost seems like a luxury now, when people as a whole are always in a rush to push forward and onward.
For what it’s worth, we hope you find something of intellectual value in this issue. If you lived through those times, enjoy the trip down memory lane. If you didn’t, we wish we had more pages to give you a bigger taste of those days.
Actually, we don’t, because it’s been backbreaking work this week. We’ve consumed far too much caffeine and chocolate. We can’t spell or think coherently and the words and images are blurry. But you get the idea.