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PRINT November 2018

PROJECT: KYLE VU-DUNN

GEORGE SEGAL’S Gay Liberation, 1980, is a public sculpture in Greenwich Village that commemorates the site of the 1969 Stonewall Riots, an event many consider to have been the beginning of the modern LGBTQ-rights movement in the United States. Segal’s work shows two same-sex couples—male and female, in bronze and painted white—being gently affectionate with one another. Over the years, I’ve heard the monument referred to as ugly, racist, banal, and stupid, frequently by other gays. (“Why are they white people?” “Why was this made by a heterosexual?”) It is far from perfect. But it’s quietly profound for the way it depicts queers going about their lives in an everyday setting, doing everyday things, and looking like everyday people. It also emphasizes that a queer person, like anyone else, is entitled to a life full of ordinary moments—free of shame, persecution, or violence.

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