Wednesday, August 29, 2007

What can a thinking homosexual say about Senator Craig’s Arrest?

There may still be more information to come, but it is just too easy for homosexuals, who have suffered from the votes and words of Idaho's Sen. Craig, to jump for joy and have a "gay" old time with his fall, his hypocrisy having been exposed as has happened to several "conservative" Republicans.
But shouldn't we ask ourselves, if he should have been arrested? What have we been working to stop since the 1950s? Of course what we should ask Senator Craig is,"do you think the arrest would have been valid if the person arrested WAS gay?" And in a complete change from what happened in Idaho (Boise) years ago, the local newspaper seems to have been on "our" side. 
But has anyone looked into the person who made the arrest? What record does he have? How long had he spent in that restroom? What law was broken? What is "lewd" conduct, and if the individuals involved had not had a sex act there but had gone to a private room, again, what law would have been broken?
Sure it could not have happened to a more "deserving" person, but what if YOU had been the person arrested, or some one you loved? Since 1952 (remember the arrest of Dale Jennings that put early Mattachine on the map?) when the idea of a magazine about homosexuality got started the "news" in ONE Magazine was about every city that had constant raids on gay bars and cops making arrests of mostly male homosexuals seeking a sex partner, or sometimes even kissing in public. We put out a card telling people what to do when arrested, and had 24 hour answering services to help people arrestred, etc. Now that our cause had made such great progress, thanks to a minority of homosexuals and a growing minority of heterosexuals who believe in civil/equal rights, we can not now change our objection to such an arrest just because the person involved in a "bad" person.
What we must do is use this "discussion" to further educate sincere Americans who still do not understand how we have been misused by law enforcement agents, bigoted psychiatrists—who can testify against us in court and help parents send their homosexual children to a "camp" to "change them"—and the lazy media people who still have no clue as to the real issues of homosexuality and will never make the effort to find out if they only hear from "professional' gays who seek celebrity and lots of money for being gays.

Monday, August 27, 2007

The Death of Elvis and TV This Month

I wonder how many people, and of what age groups, have been hearing and seeing Elvis on many TV shows this month? I gather in memory of his death. And if the older people who grew up on his music and remember how he changed music have thought about this in relation to music and politics and religion today. And if they realize, as I believe, that Elvis and Mattachine/ONE and Playboy affected this nation in a major way.  Below are some mixed thoughts, in no order, but I believe are important for anyone trying to understand where America is today in viewing music, sexuality and even religion.
First, do people remember how much the religious nuts and politicians and in fact lots of "artists" attacked Elvis? Watching the upbeat shows made at the time, showing his concerts, and some personal life ignore the constant harassment in the early days he got from white people in the south over his singing black music, shaking his booty, etc. Some DJ's actually broke his records, as people still burn books, as if that will hold back the tide of history.
I think we can compare Elvis and his world wide popularity as a major event in history, but it is in a way the same as saying that he was rock and roll's Stonewall. Think about it. There were, we now know, major black artists/singers who did the same thing as Elvis, as he acknowledged and honored. But it took Elvis to get on tv and get the music to all groups of people, and the media was willing to support him where they had not supported earlier black artists. And again, not many tv shows show the terrible hardships black artists had to suffer, not only in the south, but even in las Vegas, to do what they wanted to do, just sing and entertain people.

And history has to give credit to ONE Magazine, and Playboy, for getting the legal right to publish about sexuality. There had been Kinsey before, and others, but perhaps it was just the time that was ready, but ONE's U.S. Supreme Court victory, as Playboy's, changed publishing forever. But it took Stonewall for the media to finally get to covering our movement/cause. (And don't forget the problems Playboy had with distribution, censorship, etc.)
So any history classes in any university that tries to cover America since the 50s has to give space to ON, Playboy and Elvis. And when we hear religious nuts still attacking homosexuals today, we must remember that their ignorance is the same as the ignorance of earlier "religious" people when they used the Bible to support slavery, racial segregation, hatred for Jews, hatred for homosexuals, prohibition, and most of the bad things that have happened in America on our way to being the nation envisioned by the founders of equal/ civil rights for everyone.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

On hearing of the Death of Yolanda Retter

To read more about Yolanda Retter, see her Rogues Gallery profile at

To Jim Schneider:

Thanks for this remembrance. You obviously knew her more than I did. I only saw her a few times when we were getting ready to move in at 909.  I had of course sent her emails and in a few cases she replied with a thought and in one case a name-that Bill Percy might want to think about donating to-I forget which one now but am sure I sent it on to Bill. But I never understood how such good people could get along with what we considered bad people, but then I'm sure Morgan Farley, and even Harry Hay & John Burnside, kept asking that question about Don Slater sticking so long with Dorr Legg.

In a way, I sometimes think, how did I get through life and Mattachine/ONE/HIC with so little or few problems.And life, in a way. Of course I took forever getting out of LSU (1955), with low grades of course, but I had fun and then went into the army and was kicked out of the army (Undesirable Discharge) but didn't suffer. I got on a train, came to L. A., got a job and place to live right away, in late 1956, handed out brochures for Stevenson for President, as I had at LSU in 1953 or ’54, and joined ONE after Mattachine's Denver convention and a short time with Hal Call. I would not have gotten any real benefits from the military even if I had an honorable discharge, as I already had a college degree and flunked out trying to get an MA at LSU, can't remember the year or summer though. And I have Medicare and have got Medicaid now—Donnie pointed out that I had such a low "income" that I qualified. So I have no medical costs and like LSU Medical (same as County-USC there) fine and it is close but think I could go anywhere with Medicaid, or at least to Emergency rooms as many people do since most doctors don't accept it. Anyway, I of course was unhappy with Dorr, and was unhappy that Jim Kepner told Chet Sampson to not support Don's move, thus thwarting your plan to save ONE as one.

I have had an eye operation-detached retina—and then my prostrate taken out and have short, thank goodness, flairups of arthritis, and otherwise, am quite of with a small house and car—thanks to my parents—who also supported HIC (a little) and me all those years. 

And now I have good co-workers/friends like you and Susan Howe and Todd White and friends like Jeanne Barney, and my non-gay friends/neighbors here, Donnie Underwood, and even Carolyn Smith and an older neighbor who gives me soup and her daily paper.  And now I am again in contact with Glenn and Lou and may find others from the good ole days.

I have one stray cat that sometimes comes in the house and a mother and 3 almost-grown cats that eat the food but are not friendly, which I think is best. But I have never wanted much more and to travel much.

I still have dear Melvin Cain and Peter and now Percy and Ron and Paul Harris, even thought I fuss at him. And I like many people in the movement, such as Paul Cain, Bill Kelley, and editors like Tracy Baim, Mark Segal, et al. So I have been to Boston, Pennsylvania, San Antonio and maybe to L. A. again someday and that is all I would do if I were rich.

So I feel I accidentally got through to 75 in good shape.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Review of Current Gay and Lesbian Review Worldwide

Letter to editor sent to Richard Schneider
Aug. 23, 2007

I spent a great evening reading the current (Se/Oct) issue of GLR and of course liked it very much.  I admit I read reviews and watch them on C-SAN more than I read books, but there are a few I learn about that I do seek to read.  I will skip over the articles, I am not interested in Tennessee Williams, or Trans issues, but did find Walter Williams’s article on the Buddhist conference good, and the discussion of ads in old ladies magazines, and agree with Edward White's thoughts on the pc gays censoring the Gendercator thing.
I liked very much the thoughts in the review of what I consider a very important "issue/book" David Pitts/ Jack & Lem.  The review by Ian Young is good, but it for the first time made me wonder something—we keep talking about how the Kennedy family thought of the relationship, what did the Billings family think????
The review of Marcia Gallo's book, Different Daughters, by Vernon Rosario is excellent—it does a good objective job but shows insight that many people would not have had. I would like to have his thoughts on the Sears book on Hal Call/Mattachine. I would hope he would be equally as objective when he/if he sees the Todd White book covering the other of the three major early homosexual organizations/publications. 
I have not seen the book on Jack Nichols, but the thoughts on it by Burr sound right and may be generic to most of our movement/cause's pioneers, as is seen in the Gallo book and Sears book.
I can't remember where in the issue something said reminded me of a distinction that Dorr Legg seems to have made that we ignored too long before the division of ONE.  He made a point about a question of why ONE was not worried about the government trying to get our mailing list-and I even now can't understand why he thought0 this way-but he said some organization's mailing list MAY be vulnerable, but ours was a publication list and was protected.  I wonder if Eric (Julber) had said this or why he thought it-there had been an attempt by the government I think to get a list of members of some group-maybe the NAACP.  But this sure made his later arguments about the priorities of ONE strange since he by this thinking said we WERE mainly a magazine, which of course we started out as, there was ONLY the magazine at first.  But reviewers of our history will not see all these perhaps small, but relevant issues that did cause internal differences even among even good people.
I might also point out, since I'm reading back issues of ONE and Tangents for another reason, that it seems to me that we got it right all those 40 or so years ago, and that is that the parts of ONE most people thought were the most important, were NOT, and the "news" and letters to the editor, and even the ads, now in 2007 seem to me to be of more importance to those seeking to learn how life was in the ’50s to ’70s when we published.
And finally I am encouraged by all the events listed on your "Bulleting Board."  You and your co-workers are doing a great service for our community and for non-homosexuals who seek to understand the issues and our community.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Warning to Democratic Politicians from One Homosexual

Saturday, Aug. 18, 11:30 AM

Watching parts of the "event" on LOGO in which some "representatives" for the gay/lesbian community asked questions of some Democratic presidential candidates, I was frustrated in 2007 as much as I was in the 1960s when the founders of our movement started to seek equal/civil rights.  That is a sad thought, that after all these years there is as much ignorance IN the community as there is out of it.  Such ignorance is as bad for pro-gay people as it is for anti-gay people.
But such ignorance can be deadly to some candidate hoping to win an election with the votes of homosexual citizens when the people that were "representing" us on that panel were as ignorant and unrepresentative of our community as apparently the politicians are.  The obvious question is, what criteria do politicians use in deciding who they decide speaks for the homosexual community.  That community  may differ from the left-wing "gay" community and from the views of a select few "leaders" who are paid lots of money to claim to know how all homosexual people think and vote.
You believe them at your peril.  While  Republicans just ignore all in our community, this question of who do you believe in the homosexual community may turn out to get them the White House again if the Democratic candidates trust the wrong people.
Only one example shows how ignorant and arrogant the people on that panel were.  Once again, after many days of time to check and be sure they are right, again Governor Richardson was attacked for using a word on the Imus show that these "experts" claim was a negative word for homosexuals: maricon.  I personally sent out an email to the media pointing out that while meanings vary not only in part of America, but within the Hispanic community on some words, no one is allowed to force their belief on everyone else.  Specifically, Richardson does not have to apologize or "explain" his use of the term maricon as meaning effeminate.  He is right for some Hispanics.  The evidence is in a place that certainly has not reason to have an agenda on this issue.  It is in a 1964 issue of ONE Magazine, at that time the first homosexual public publication in the nation and the primary one.  In an article on homosexuality in Latin America we reported, rightly or wrongly, that in Venezuela the term maricon meant effeminate.  The term used for gay/homosexual was puto—duck, and it was thought the reason was that we "walk like a duck."
Now that does not prove that all Hispanics use the word that way, but SOME did and or do. And a thinking person would thus not make an issue of the "correct" meaning of the word from now on.  A similar example in the early homosexual movement was with the research of Dr. Evelyn Hooker.  She set out to test the idea that all homosexuals are mentally ill, and her research proved that professional people could not determine who among 2 sets of people were or were not homosexual or mentally ill.  As I recall  she said, well, if someone tells you that all cows are brown, and you discover cows that are black, you have proven that not all cows are brown.
The question is why well-paid gay experts from HRC, GLAAD, etc., decide that they alone can say what term everyone in the community should use.  What research exists to "prove" that homosexuality does not have an element of choice?  Does this mean that queers go around asking for sympathy because they "can't help it because they  are this way," or "that their mommy made them this way? " That sure doesn't sound "gay" to me.  So who gave anyone the right to say the media can ONLY use the word gay, or orientation-as opposed to proclivity or preference?  Who would tell left-handed people how they must talk or feel or vote?
And who says that ALL homosexuals are in favor of marriage-I would urge the HRC and other "experts" to seek the information available to us since the ’50s and know that some are not interested and that included some of the founders, such as Don Slater, and today there exist organizations giving other views on marriage—have the ever even seen a copy of Gayellow Pages, much less ONE Magazine?  And some founders, again including Don Slater, opposed hate crime laws.  Don Slater was homosexual before it was cool.  He took risks and didn't make money being "gay."  And he didn't even use the word gay as a noun, much less "gays."
The fact is that from the time in America when politicians and the media refused to "hear" the voice of homosexuals when Mattachine and ONE started in 1950/52, and many "gays" were deep in the closet and even opposed starting an effort to change views on the subject and the laws against us, we slowly gained more people coming out and more and more politicians and family members who saw the discrimination against us and each decade has seen more and more such people.  But there still exist today closeted homosexuals who oppose reality and seek to find terms and excuses to hide their discomfort with being homosexual-a sad fact the bigoted ex-gay people and rightwing religious people exploit. 
 No president  can change this situation one way or the other.  But I warn you that from the ’60s on most homosexuals have tried to learn about sexuality, stopped believing that they are criminals, sick, or sinful, and they are not going to follow celebrity "gays" no matter how much publicity the media gives them, and they will vote as do most citizens, and that means that they do not seek special rights or laws, only equal/civil rights.  And any person listening to professional gays and leftwinger nuts will not be hearing the voice of the 10% of this nation that is homosexual and our families and friends and will lose more votes than they gain by going to extremes, right or left.
We are not "one issue" people, and you are able to honestly say you oppose same sex marriage, or as Don Slater says, look at it as a gender issue, or quote the Ninth Amendment saying the government was not given the right to control our private lives, and this not not make you anti-gay, if you support our efforts in other areas, such as: that no matter what your view on the war in Iraq is, homosexual Americans have the right to serve their nation in the military equally, as President Truman said about black Americans in 1948.  A good American, politician or average citizen has only to practice the fairness the nation's founders envisioned, even while making temporary compromises such as slavery, limiting who could vote, etc.  We need to arrive at a time when no  employer has to be forced by law to treat all employees fairly/equally.  And why is not a crime a crime, no matter who the victim is?  Your actions and life should be such that, as many religions say, you have thus told us what you believe.  If some "gays" are still so ignorant that they don't understand this, I am sure that most homosexual voters, like the majority of American voters do.