A Noble Recognition
BY Michelle Garcia
April 30 2010 5:00 PM ET
If you can remember were any major political or social protests on behalf of gay rights or fighting AIDS in the early 1990s, Richard Noble was probably there. After a tumultuous time in high school and at home, Noble fled as a teenager for West Hollywood in the 1980s. Eventually he befriended Harry Hay, a legend in the gay rights movement, and through him decided it was time to make waves. In his years as an activist, he's staged hunger strikes, confronted the likes of Arsenio Hall and Dodger icon Tommy Lasorda, and marched hand in hand with Larry Kramer and David Mixner at the 1993 March on Washington. Noble says Hay is one of the most important influences in his career, along with the teachings of Gandhi, and Martin Luther King Jr., all spiritual men who led movements and revolutions.
Because of his active time with Queer Nation in Los Angeles, Noble will be honored Monday with an official proclamation from the city of West Hollywood from his old friend from the front lines, city council member John Duran.
The Advocate: So, congratulations on your West Hollywood proclamation.
Richard Noble: You know, John Duran usually doesn't give out declarations, but because of the impact that Queer Nation had in the Hollywood industry and breaking through our wall of denial with our militant, extravagant, in-your-face, loud persistence and demonstrations, starting with Basic Instinct and going through the Catholic Church and AB 101 [a gay rights bill vetoed by California governor Pete Wilson in 1991] and going to Washington and Sacramento. So Queer Nation has never been put in an esteemful, prideful situation. We've always been criticized by the mainstream gay movement as being too militant. Our tactics were understood by many but misunderstood by a lot as well. So we talked a little bit, and I said, "Why don't we do something?" Originally I got a letter from letter from [West Hollywood mayor] Jeffrey Prang.
I told John that if you're going to use the LGBT acronym in the proclamation, that you please also use the letter Q.
He invited me to the city council meeting on May 3. There were a lot of dates we could have picked, but we just wanted to do something before Gay Pride. So he invited me to receive the proclamation. There will be a certain date acknowledged as a day to honor and acknowledge people who were out in the streets and were activists, many of whom are dead now. So many people are gone now.
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