Wednesday, April 15, 2015

DER KREIS

Karl Meier, publisher of Der Kreis
 
Der Kreis (The Circle) was a gay magazine published in Switzerland from 1942 until 1967. The subscription to Der Kreis included membership in an organization of gay/lesbian people. That organization, which numbered nearly 2000 at its height, held occasional events for members, who could gather and be themselves in a safe space with entertainment and dancing.
 
Karl Meier, a.k.a. Rolf, who took over the decade-old publication in 1942 from previous publishers was an actor who had fled Germany in 1933 because of his fear of Nazi oppression of homosexuals under the infamous Paragraph 175. A 2014 Swiss docudrama, bearing the name of the publication, is very well done and is available on Netflix as The Circle.
 
I have recently experienced some disrespect from 20-something gay men. One man at my gym rolls his eyes and makes noises of disgust in passing in response to my open smile. Apparently, he feels molested by being smiled at. Peter recently got the finger from two 20-something gay men when he told them not to let their pit bulls crap in our front garden. These interactions do not occur often, but when they do, I wonder why I bothered to work for gay rights. I speculate many African-Americans feel the same about youth in their community who mimic gangsters and scorn education.
 
It is the fate of anyone who works to create positive social change. It is the role of those of us who have worked for and experienced positive social change to persist in reminding those who follow us of our history. Allowing young people to take advancement for granted encourages complacency, irresponsibility and a lack of respect for their own history.

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