by Tommi Avicolli Mecca

Tommi Avicolli Mecca

Tommi Avicolli Mecca
San Francisco, California, US
July 25
I am a writer, performer and activist, editor of Smash the Church, Smash the State: the early years of gay liberation (City Lights), and co-editor of Avanti Popolo: Italian-American Writers Sail Beyond Columbus and Hey Paesan: Writings by Italian American Lesbians and Gay Men. To view my creative stuff:


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NOVEMBER 18, 2013 11:20AM

"the president is dead"

It’s re-running in my brain again, as it always does this time of year, only more vividly, having just watched a PBS special that brought it all back to life. 

Establishing shot: that classroom in that certain Catholic grade school in a working-class neighborhood in South Philly. Six days… Read full post »

One of the many reasons I love being an atheist is that I don’t have to go to Sunday Mass or some other service and listen to all that dribble from the bible, so-called words of wisdom from an age in which incest was best for some patriarchs and stoning aRead full post »

NOVEMBER 2, 2013 12:12PM

Why do cats have to die?

It wasn’t a surprise. I knew time was running out for my little Peaches, the eighteen-and-a-half year old cat I inherited from a former roommate when she was a mere kitten.


A little over three years ago, Peaches was diagnosed with chronic renal failure, something common in older cats. AsRead full post »

OCTOBER 7, 2013 9:40AM

tax breaks = evictions


Some of us saw this one coming when tax breaks were proposed by the mayor and some members of the board of supervisors for dot-com companies to relocate in the mid-Market section of San Francisco, an area that is home to lots of poor and low-income people. 

The SF Chronicle repo/Read full post »

SEPTEMBER 20, 2013 11:34AM

to the tech workers from silicon valley

You must realize that your presence in San Francisco has caused the most devastating housing crisis we’ve experienced since the great earthquake of 1906. 

Not only is the vacancy rate extremely low, but unknown numbers of people are being evicted from their rent-controlled apartments to cr… Read full post »

AUGUST 28, 2013 10:06AM

Unsung hero of the March on Washington

As we commemorate the anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom today, let us not forget an important person, a gay man, who helped make that march happen.


Held five decades years ago on August 28, 1963, the march featured Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I haveRead full post »

AUGUST 24, 2013 11:45AM

I am Chelsea Manning



“I am Chelsea Manning. I am a female.”


With these words, Army Pfc. Bradley Manning has confirmed what for some time has been speculated about her gender identity. Manning was recently sentenced by a military court to 35 years in jail for releasing more than 700,000 paRead full post »

Editor’s Pick
AUGUST 20, 2013 11:11AM

God save us nelly queens


José Sarria is dead. 


A giant in LGBT history, he left us yesterday, August 19, at the amazing age of 90. If you don’t know who Sarria was, then read on and learn about the meaning of the word courage.


Sarria, who was born in San Francisco inRead full post »

AUGUST 13, 2013 9:35AM

no place like home

Dorothy had been trapped in Oz for a long time, running around with a heartless tin man, a cowardly lion and a brainless scarecrow in search of a wizard who’s nothing more than smoke and mirrors. But the moment she had waited for all these years finally arrives. She clickes herRead full post »

AUGUST 6, 2013 1:49PM

When mere words are not enough

She was passionate about her work helping the underdog. That’s an understatement. The truth is that she came alive when she was fighting the good fight against injustice.

Cris Gutierrez arrived several years ago at the Housing Rights Committee of San Francisco, where I work, as a volunteer inteRead full post »

JULY 22, 2013 11:15AM

Another royal baby? No thanks!

The top story on Google News and no doubt throughout the world this morning: there may soon be another little royal person running around England, this one the first child of Prince William and Duchess Kate, the couple officially known as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. 


After months oRead full post »

JUNE 28, 2013 10:54AM

What Snowden really exposed

Back when I was a kid, telephones had a party line, that is, you shared the connection with another customer, usually someone in the same neighborhood. It was how residential phone service was provided back then.

What a pain in the ass it was. Anytime you picked up the phone, night… Read full post »


I approached the table in drag. Radical drag, that is. I wasn’t trying to pass as a woman. I was being a gender outlaw. Like a lot of gay liberationists, I didn’t believe in the binary gender system. 

I was wearing a halter top, tight, hot pink pants and platformRead full post »

JUNE 20, 2013 10:12AM

No Atheist Need Apply

A hundred years ago, you might have seen NINA (No Italian Need Apply) signs in store windows. In Houston these days, it might well read, "No Atheist Need Apply." At least if U.S. immigration officials in that Texas city have their way. 


They apparently believe you can only be aRead full post »


Spying has come a very long way since I was a kid.

Back then, we had Bella who lived a few doors down from us. All of five-foot tall with a mouth the size of the Grand Canyon, she knew everything about everybody in our South Philly Italian neighborhood. NotRead full post »

MAY 22, 2013 10:54AM

The biggest gay riot in history

“Harvey Milk's people do not have anything to apologize for. Now the society is going to have to deal with us not as nice little fairies who have hairdressing salons, but as people capable of violence. We're not going to put up with Dan Whites anymore.”


With those words (quotedRead full post »

I’ll never forget the look on his angelic face, that dark, curly-haired Italian/American guy who came to our Gay Liberation Front (GLF) meeting in Philadelphia in the Fall of 1971 to tell us of the ordeal he endured after going for help at Temple University’s student counseling program.&nRead full post »

You who came screaming into the room to find my limp five-year-old body that had fallen while I was swinging from the marble mantle, pounding on my chest with your fists to force air back into my lungs, then bolting out of the house and into the middle of the streetRead full post »

MAY 8, 2013 10:27AM

SF Pride: It doesn't get better!

It’s really difficult to believe that SF Pride could make a tense situation even worse, but they managed it with flying colors last night, and not the colors of the rainbow flag. 


For those who may be out of the loop, a quick recap: For two weeks now, the boardRead full post »


Queer apple pie and motherhood are safe once more: Bradley Manning is no longer a grand marshall of the San Francisco Pride Parade that gets underway on the last Sunday of June. 


Manning, the person accused of giving classified military documents to WikiLeaks, a site that publishesRead full post »

APRIL 22, 2013 10:53AM

ten reasons why earth day is a joke

In no special order, here are ten reasons I will not be celebrating Earth Day because it is a complete waste of time:

The amount of money corporations spend to convince us they are “green” when the only “green” they understand is the green of hard cold cash, their bottom line.… Read full post »

It was hard holding back tears when Tim Redmond from the SF Bay Guardian told me Ron Lanza had died. He wanted to get a quote, but it was difficult to talk, something rare for me, as any reporter who has ever interviewed me will tell you. Finally, after fumbling through some rambling/… Read full post »

MARCH 29, 2013 11:20AM

saving the environment seems hopeless

If I had my way, the trailer for Chris Jordan’s documentary Midway would be pumped into every computer in this nation so that people have no choice but to see it. They would have no way to stop or even to pause it.  


It would be shown in everyRead full post »


There’s nothing original about the Jesus story. By the time the Christians came along (and they were latecomers, by Mediterranean standards, to the business of pushing a new religion), the virgin birth and the death and resurrection routine had, as they say, been done before. Ad nauseam,… Read full post »

NOVEMBER 27, 2012 11:04AM

Selling out: one of life's tough choices

Being a writer is dangerous. That’s the impression I got from Papa. He didn’t like the idea that I wanted to be a writer. He thought that all literature was somehow subversive. Not to mention pointless. 


Everything I needed to know in life, he informed me, was contained in traRead full post »