Smash the Church, Smash the State!: The Early Years of Gay Liberation

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Tommi Avicolli Mecca
City Lights Publishers, Jun 5, 2009 - 256 pages
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Smash the Church, Smash the State! is a finalist for this year's Lambda Awards in the category of LGBT Anthologies.

Nominated for the American Library Association's 2010 Stonewall Book Award, the oldest book award given for outstanding achievement in Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgendered Literature

From the first high heel thrown at Stonewall to the last performance of the drag burlesque group the Cockettes, enter the wild days of the late '60s and early '70s with the individuals who lived them! Celebrating 40 years since the June 1969 Stonewall Riots, the essays, manifestos, artwork and photos in this anthology represent a group of radical activists who together formed the ranks of the Gay Liberation Movement.

"2, 4, 6, 8, Smash the Church, Smash the State!" was a rallying cry for many in those days, and the lesbians, gay men and transgenders whose stories are collected here were frequently involved in battling oppression on many fronts. For the first time together in one volume, these writers share unique perspectives, occasional regrets and changes of ideology, personal memories, and a celebration of the revolutionary spirit that shaped and guided the movement.

Praise for Smash the Church, Smash the State!:

"Smash the Church, Smash the State! offers an intoxicating glimpse into that time before 'pride' replaced liberation, when 'gay' was still a fiery threat to the violence of the status quo, and revolution was right around the corner from the corner store. Full of brash, contradictory, intoxicating dreams, the essays in this anthology invoke the sexual flamboyance, intellectual rigor, activist troublemaking and communal possibilities of a different era while simultaneously offering bracing critiques."
—Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore, author of So Many Ways to Sleep Badly and editor of That's Revolting! Queer Strategies for Resisting Assimilation

"The personal is riotously political and the history is tangibly personal in these diverse, down-to-earth reflections on the early days of Gay Liberation, that heady era of Stonewall, getting stoned, and lobbing metaphorical (and actual) stones at our oppressors. Avicolli Mecca has woven a colorful tapestry of first-person accounts that is reflective and emotional, joyous and poignant – and ever defiant."
—Richard Labonte, Book Marks, Q Syndicate

"This book vividly recreates the thrilling and euphoric moments of gay liberation in the wake of Stonewall, with the added wisdom and grace of 40 years of hindsight."
—Jeffrey Escoffier, author of American Homo: Community and Perversity and editor of Sexual Revolution

"A proud testimony to the brave people who stood up to be counted for our right to love and live any way we pleased. Their spirit and struggle will resonate forever, inspiring, I hope, many others."
—Carla Trujillo, editor of Chicana Lesbians: The Girls Our Mothers Warned Us About and author of What Night Brings

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Eighth Grade Epiphany
Banned No More in Boston
My Memories as a Gay Militant in NYC

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About the author (2009)

Tommi Avicolli Mecca, a member of GLF at Temple University and a co-founder of Radicalqueens, is author of Between Little Rock and a Hard Place and co-editor of Hey Paesan: Writings by Lesbians and Gay Men of Italian Descent and Avanti Popolo: Sailing beyond Columbus. He lives in San Francisco, where he is a housing rights activist and a regular contributor to, SF Bay Guardian, Bay Area Reporter and Bay Times.

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