Last night I was going to write a post to this blog, when I found that the whole blog had been erased. Simply not there. This morning, after a tense night, I went to Blogger, and to the help forums. A half-hour later, after one query from another user of the help forum, the whole blog—three and a half year’s worth of entries—was restored. I was deeply grateful.
In this blog, I usually write about what’s happening in national events—Supreme Court decisions, and about the President, Barack Obama—and what I read in the gay press, and about our visits to the houses of relatives, friends, and, once, my partner’s and my marriage last September on Race Point beach in Provincetown, events that affect gay people. I also write sometimes about movies and about books I’m reading that affect gay people. I also write about the books I’ve written. This blog is a casual record of my intellectual life, and of my contributions to the dialogue going on around all of us about us as gay people and about our place in this thing called America. It felt like a disaster when it was deleted.
What drove me to look at my blog last night was that I read an article on Towleroad by David Mixner. He says that the gay community is in danger of losing its past, as the older generation, the activists during the seventies and eighties, reaches advanced age and die. Records are being lost and oral histories go past retrieval. The history of the gay community is being lost.
What’s to be done? Publicize the need for gay men and women to give their records and papers to libraries and organizations. Make them available to the next generation of gay people. It is unnecessary for a person to decide whether he or she had an important role to play in fighting AIDS or in achieving marriage equality. It is unnecessary for him or her to say “I was important enough to preserve my papers.” Let the next person down the line make that decision.
Think of your “stuff”—whatever you’ve been saving since you came out and moved to Boston and now is in the basement or the attic or in the back of your closet—as the raw material of history, the data the historian will use to write the story of who we were and what we did.
We can’t control the future. But we’re a community that has regularly been lied about through most of the decades of the twentieth century, and we owe it to ourselves to save the material that can at least influence the men and women who tell the story of our generation’s time on this planet.