Revisiting A Past – The Boys In The Band

Last night being the end of the second day of new year 2012, it was ironic that when one is normally anticipating or at least, speculating on events potentially to occur on the days and months of the coming year, I found myself experiencing a flash from the past namely, watching a movie titled: The Boys In The Band.

Briefly stated, the story situated in 1970‘s contemporary New York City is centered upon a small band of homosexual males coming together as friends, to celebrate the 30th birthday of Harold characterized as an aging, ugly, Jewish homosexual. The broad-spectrum, stereo-typical characterization of the male homosexual was clearly and well represented not to mention the Gay milieu of the day, given that it was the start of the socio-sexual revolution that began in the late 1960’s and for all intents and purposes, continues to the present day.

The brash and dramatic portrayal of this relatively unknown slice of contemporary American society by its strident poignancy garnered much controversy with the movie’s release. I personally recall as a closeted gay man at the time, that though the sexual revolution well in the process of erupting; the topic of homosexuality was definitely still taboo and faced much criticism in the public forum

It was interesting to experience the movie again, now in 2012. The retrospective conjured not only recollection of my auditioning for the McGill University’s 1971 presentation of the play but too, many emotional and intellectual reflections given how far the sexual and specifically; the gay social movement has evolved. Here too it would seem quite ironically, it’s not been without some negative consequences for the LGBT community.

Approximately one decade later, the start of the 1980‘s, the first cases of A.I.D.’s began to be diagnosed and homosexual men clearly identified as principle carrier of the H.I.V. virus. Of course it is widely know today that the advent of this now substantively understood and managed, though still potentially fatal disease, profoundly eroded much of the progress in garnering political and broader public acceptance of what is now the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bi,Transgender/ Transexual) community .

Beyond reliving the many memories of my own personal coming-out and all that I experienced as a young gay man during this tumultuous, ground-breaking and socio-politically changing era, my thoughts turned to the current generation of young LGBT men and women. I question how aware they are of the trials, hardships, struggles and, public persecution so effectively dramatized by the characterization of homosexual men that are the cast of The Boys In The Band. Too, what is their perception regarding the hefty personal price paid by many of their fore-generation of LGBT men and women in the fight to attain the legally-bound freedoms they so readily enjoy today. Though it is recognized that many LGBT individuals still endure some degree of sexual discrimination and hardship, it can be said of the LGBT community that they have the general acceptance and support of the broader, general public today.

In closing, I highly recommend seeking out and watching The Boys In The Band to all whether LBGT or not if for no other reason; it’s definitely entertaining and provides quite an insightful reflection of how progressive society (at least in some respects) has been in the last forty-years.

(Follow this link to an online presentation: http://www.movie2k.to/movie-1070021-The-Boys-in-the-Band-film.html)

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