Roller-Arena: “How Dare You Presume I’m Heterosexual”, June 9, 1979

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The identity claim, “I’m Heterosexual”, as in the gay liberation slogan, “How Dare You Presume I’m Heterosexual,” appeared in The New York Times for the first time on June 9, 1979. The slogan was worn on a button by Roller-Arena, described as a “a transvestite who is is a regular-on-roller-skates on the Manhattan disc scene”.

Behind the slogan’s humor lay a serious political objection to heterosexual presumption, the idea that everyone is heterosexual until proven otherwise.

The report of a man spinning on roller-skates, in a “white chiffon dress billowing around his ankles”, warning viewers not to presume he was heterosexual, added an extra dollop of irony to the gay liberation message.[1]


  1. Judy Klemesrud, Discotheque Fanatics Mob Latest Addition to Scene; Rating the Discos 'Playpen' Areas, New York Times, June 9, 1979, in the Family/Style section, page 116.

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