It’s NYC Pride Month and I got the pleasure to interview the writer and long time LGBTQ activist Michael Musto, we got to talk about the past, present, and future, go ahead and check it out…
Hello Michael, to start I want to say it’s a pleasure to have you here on the launch of CityLifeOrg.com
1- You’re one of the most influential voices for the LGBTQ Community in New York, how do you think the community is being treated during the pandemic?
It’s Pride month and it’s important for the LGBTQ community to be noticed and seen in the midst of the pandemic. We are doing everything possible to stay connected, stay visible, be vigilant about our health, and to fight for our rights, as the Trump administration removes them one by one. We also had to protest the homophobically evangelical Samaritan’s Purse setting up a hatey hospital in Central Park. That being said, me and most of my LGBTQ friends are most concerned right now with supporting Black Lives Matter, for obvious reasons.
2- Let’s go back in time, you’ve been an LGBTQ activist for many years, when a lot of people were still on the closet you were already out and about, what are the big differences between the ’80s / ’90s in New York and right now?
In the early ‘80s, AIDS reared its ugly head and started growing in horrifying ways. The President (Ronald Reagan) turned a blind eye to it and Mayor Ed Koch, a closeted gay, also wasn’t exactly stellar on the subject. But strangely, the downtown nightlife was bigger than ever—maybe as an escape, but also a way to stay connected and vital and cling to what was left of life. In ’87, the activist group ACT UP helped channel our grief and anger and we took the streets with protests by day, then went to clubs to connect at night. Jump ahead to now and it’s hard to believe there’s a whole other plague that’s being mishandled by the government. But as for the LGBTQ community, we’ve been through a lot and have a tough skin as a result, and the best thing about being gay in NYC is that the closet is pretty obsolete and gays are out and proud. I just hope they don’t go out of the HOUSE without a mask and distancing.
3- We’re living one of the Biggest Moments in Civil Rights History in the US right now, with the Protests, the Black Live Matters movement, the Elections coming up, what’s your thoughts about everything that is happening?
It’s an explosive time, when oppressed Americans have been pushed down so hard that the uprisings were inevitable. Police have routinely killed so many black people (including transgender ones) and gay people, and now that a lot of these murders are captured on video, the public won’t take excuses anymore. We have the documentation! It’s exhausting having to constantly fight for civil rights, but there is power in numbers, and protestors are all aligned in forcing police to change their behavior—and ousting Trump, whose racism has poured kerosene on the problem.
4- You’ve been very active on Twitter these days, what do you think about the fact-check warnings they’re adding right now?
I think fact checking is very important on all social networks, so that people—especially those in power—can’t get away with extremely damaging propaganda and other trickery. Anyone who violates the rules should be in “jail” for a while, and then, if they do it again, they should be banned. Ironically, people on social networks have been reprimanded for reposting some of Trump’s tweets; it’s regarded as hate speech and fake news. So why should he get away with it?
5- New Yorkers are known to be very tough, we’ve been going through a lot these days with the Covid19 Coronavirus Pandemic, how do you think the city will bounce back, and what’s the future of the LGBTQ Night Life Scene in New York?
NYC’s nightlife already faced a lot of challenges—the Internet, the rise of hookup apps, the predominance of new ways to hear music, the increased power of community boards, and the great expense involved in running a club. And now the (necessary) lockdowns have forced clubs to shutter, in some cases forever. But when some of them eventually come back (after a vaccine is released), people will be itching to party again and I bet the rents will be way lower, so opening a nightclub will be much more cost effective than before. Maybe I’ll even open a club! As for the city in general, it bounced back after 9/11 and it will bounce back after covid. When Oshkosh comes back, it’ll still be Oshkosh, but when NYC comes back, it’ll be NYC.
6- Please send a message to our readers around the world on the Pride month…
Don’t listen to anyone about what kind of LGBTQ you need to be. Just be your best version of yourself. That will do us—and you—proud.
Follow Michael Musto on Twitter @mikeymusto
Follow Jean Ferreira JF on Twitter @jeanferreirajf
“I talked about the pandemic, Pride month, civil rights, and the future of NYC in this interview for CityLife. Thank you, @JeanFerreiraJF.”
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