Tuesday, October 30, 2007

You can't do everything, but you can do something

I think we need to remind ourselves of the facts of life in regard to the generic issue of who our cause/community/movement spends time supporting.
I am sometimes remembering my early life, which I mostly have forgotten. For instance, I had forgotten that as a teenager I for a time thought about trying to be a Methodist minister. My church in Sunday School was telling me that the church had been wrong to support slavery. The subject  of homosexuality never came up as far as I can remember. But at no time did I have a “problem” about my sexuality, and I have no doubt that everyone knew I was homosexual—one of the oldest sayings in our community is that other people knew we were gay before we did.
I don’t think there was any connection with my sexuality, which I did not read about, hear about, had no other person tell me or talk to me about, and my clear thinking that I should learn more about the race issue. I saw how wrong it was for our white high school—the only one at the time—to have good band instruments, books etc. and the black high school to only have what we handed down to them.  And as I say, my church confirmed this. And so did the YMCA in that its Hi-Y clubs while not talking about race sent some of us to summer camps that WERE racially integrated, in the south, in the late ’40s—I graduated in 1950. So in a sense I was involved in the black civil rights movement. I also supported the black bus boycott in Baton Rouge in the early ’50s, we picked up people needing a ride, and the boycott was successful. LSU started racial integration with graduate school people in 1950.  There were mixed emotions about this as the people at Southern University feared it would destroy the successful black colleges. But the Methodist Church and the LSU and Southern YM/YWCA clubs held joint meetings to get black students and white students to get some understanding of each other. By the way, it was always rumoured that LSU had a policy of trying to get students from No LA, mostly Protestant, as roommates with students from So LA, mostly Catholic, as we really were from two different worlds culturally.
My point is that Iwas thinking about the black civil rights movement. I, for instance, took it upon myself to write letters to advertisers in the Negro Digest thanking them for supporting Negro publications. The Dean of Men at LSU called me into his office finally and told me my grades were lousy and I should spend less time on such work and more on studying. I knew I was not going to be able to get better grades studying—I just was lousy at Latin, chemistry, and even biological science after repeating them in summer school. I graduated barely because the moment I got into sociology I knew I understood it, and even though I ended up with equal hours in psychology and education, since I spent so much longer in school, it was sociology that gave me grades to graduate. It was common sense. And it was in a psycholo0gy class that I said to the professor after some class that based on what they were teaching, I must be homosexual—I had had sex acts since 6 but never thought about it intellectually.
And after finishing midterm February 1955, I went into the army—I had already had the exam while in college, and left from Shreveport on a bus to Camp Chaffee AR. That was probably the most interesting act of my life it was going to be a total mystery to me. I had known something of college but had no idea of military life. It turned out to be ok, and of course the military was already racially integratd that was never an issue. I then went to Ft. Riley KS, a brief time at Ft. Benjamin Harris (Indianapolis) at Finance School. Then I was kicked out back in Ft. Riley and drove home to Bossier City, left the great Pontiac convertible, got on the train and went to L. A. And after two “regular” jobs over the next years, I started in the movement, taking the first step in 9/59 at the Mattachine Convention in Denver, and with Hal Call, then back to L. A. and ONE.
I say all of this to show that I had already had an interest in two civil rights movements. But I chose the one that hit me personally. I could not have done much for either cause but did what I could, as I still do, for the one I chose.
This is what we generically have to face when we have our organizations and publications under attack for not supporting a lot of other causes. We started an organization to work for civil rights for homosexuals. We don’t oppose other civil rights efforts, and if possible will work with them. But it’s truly ignorant people who think that is easy, and that other causes even want our help. Look at Bayard Rustin. He tried to promote both causes and got no help even from Dr. King. I think King was right: you have enemies for racial bigotry already, so why add enemies for sexual or religious or other reasons? Certainly bigots already accused the movements of being communist controlled, even of being un-Christian and to add queers would not help Dr. King’s cause.
Now we have the issue of slowing the movement for homosexual equal/civil rights so we can add the trans rights. As I’ve said before, listen to the tran leaders, who now want to be added to our “parade” even though for 30 or more years they have rejected any cooperation. For a few trans people to say that they have worked for years does not change the fact that their “leaders” and publications often have NOT wanted to work with homosexuals.
Part of the problem is that there are several types of trans—we even have had internal problems with male and female homosexuals not wanting to work together—and transvestites (see Virginia Prince et al.) rejected any effort to join the two in the fight for rights as they were/aren’t homosexual and their issue is not the same as ours. Then there are the transexuals who are not homosexual and just are seeking to change their sex and still be able to earn a living etc. Their problem is that in both cases, they can NOT be “out.”  Even if the laws are changed that will do them no good as they are hidden from their own families—spouses, children, employers, etc. Now that was true earlier of homosexuals, but it is no longer true, and thanks to allies such as PFLAG it becomes less true every month.
There are those who say that even if we get all laws changed, we will still face discrimination until we educate ourselves and the public about sexuality. That is what has been the effort of all organizations, from early Mattachine; ONE, Incorporated; DOB on. Today we are diverse yet a community/cause. We need all parts of our issue covered, legal, religious, psychological, etc. There is no conflict with supporting the organization or publication that is most important to each of us. They are all good and none should fear another. The Lesbian Connection serves, for instance, certainly women in our movement/community. They deserve support. But the National Council for Lesbian Rights also does great work and deserves support. Perhaps some women can support both efforts, but if not, they should choose one rather than giving up and not supporting either. No one should judge someone for which choice they make. Supporting one does not mean you oppose the other.
Hopefully we can read more than one magazine or newspaper. But we can’t read them all. If you or I can’t read a publication that may have a homosexual article, then hopefully some one in our commuity WILL read it and let us know about it. The Advocategives us more current news and about celebrities.  Our local gay/lesbian newspapers give us local news.  But if we are serious, we need to think about our issues, and that is why we need such publications as The Gay & Lesbian Review.  For information as we travel we can read gay travel publications, hopefully ones that will give us GAY information and not just general information we can get from AAA or other general publications.  And for an overview of our community and the services available all over the nation, we should use and support Gayellow Pages.
Some of us are religious and we thus want such groups and publications for our faith as Connection, the publication of Kinship, the (homosexual) Seventh Day Adventists. Even those of us who are not religious should understand that we should not give the bigots control of religion. And the same with political parties. Why should we let the bigots have the Republican party? If you believe in most of their thinking, join and fight to guide the party to be in favor of equality for all Americans. That does not mean you have to call Democrats bad.
I may just have missed the discussion of these issues in our media. If so I hope others will guide me to the places that are covering serious discussions. But even if there is little support for this type of discussion, and few advertisers, our media owes it to our cause to try. And we owe it to ourselves and future homosexual men and women to understand the issues and know what we need to do and know what resourees are available and even if we need new resources.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Articles in current issue of Gay & Lesbian Review

I want to talk about the good things in the current issue of the Gay and Lesbian Review Worldwide.
I hate to start with a negative, but that ad from the Hanns Ebensen travel thing says they had the first organized gay travel and of course ONE, Incorporated did.  In fact when we separated in 1965, Jim Kepner was on the 2nd or 3rd such trip to Europe.
I liked the articles on Isherwood, and this is relevant since as we know, things seemed good for homosexuals in Germany, then things went terribly wrong, as Harry Hay pointed out.
I liked the thoughts on Lauritsen’s book on Frankenstein, and how we sometimes internalize hate from society. Jesus didn’t mention homosexuality as the article points out, in the next article (from religion to eros). And black men being castrated as one article discusses is like the scene in Brokeback Mountain where the young boy is shown the castrated gay man. Strange fruit indeed.
As I said, I liked Percy’s letter and book review. But I didn't like Mississippi Sissy. Nothing like my experience in early Louisiana.
And the articles on Japan and China keep us reminded of homosexuals in other countries. And the book on theories of homosexual (Before Stonewall) is interesting. 
Anyway, thanks to Richard Schneider for another good issue.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Editors and publishers in our community need to communicate with each other and readers

I do not understand why men and women who are able to become editors and publishers of gay/lesbian publications do not seem to want to communicate with each other nor with their readers. I suggest that they all glance at an issue of Lesbian Connections and see what I believe our community needs.
Here is a well done publication that actually serves its readers/supporters. Even though it is aimed only at lesbians, the point is generic.
It has readers who write in and let other readers know about what is going on in their area of the country, share news of some book or event they know about, and even share pictures of their animals.  This is true community.
First, why has no national publication that I know of ever mentioned this publication?  The Advocate, OUT, etc. should be ashamed of themselves for their constant pictures and pages devoted to celebrities, most of whom are not gay, yet find no time to cover others in our community.  And along that line, why is it they ignore probably the best national source of groups and publications serving our community, the Gayellow Pages, the book and the online website?

Why do the readers of Lesbian Connection tell others of places in their community while the well paid writers and publications that cover “gay” travel ignore the resources in the different areas and instead give us only the same coverage we can get from any non-gay publication or writer?
It is time for homosexuals to support the few publications that DO give us information we need, that treat us as friends, not as consumers, giving us only material that helps their advertisers sell us their car or liquor, etc.  The fact that most publications give space to the people who pay for ads is understandable, but that does not mean the editors do not have an obligation to give the readers information, not just pictures of cars and clothes no sensible person would waste money on or be seen wearing.
This is the time for us to ask more than we could get in the ’50s and ’60s.  If we don't, we deserve the non-gay way we are treated.

Cell Phone contact...

For those of you who have tried to contact me by cell phone, I have cancelled the service because it was not working right. I may try another one later.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Comments in recent Seattle Gay News issues

I want to say, again, how much I enjoy reading not only he paper but the columns in it. I can recall recent ones, for instance, by Leslie Robinson, such as telling that MA law student who failed the bar exam how he could have handled it (Raising the Bar, 9/14).
And Beau Burriola’s columns of 9-21 on his cat that was killed while at his sister’s and how he came to like the cat and missed it, even though he is a dog man. And even more did I personally find his thoughts in the 9/28 issue of interest about how he would feel when he is old. I thought like that when I was young too, as I walked the LSU campus for the last time, knowing I was going into (drafted) the army right away and not knowing the future or what I would do in life or where.  And now I am looking back at that 20-something person from that person at 75 and find it all very interesting.  I know know the answers. I got kicked out of the army, went to L. A. and after 2 “regular” jobs, started working in the movement/cause at ONE (after spending some time with Mattachine in San Francisco) and later co-founded the Homosexual Information Center.  I obviously had no idea this is what I would do in life.
I could do this, as I had the financial and emotional support of my family and friends in LA and could not suffer loss of jobs or friends in L. A. That made a difference in how much in those ’60s and ’70s people could be “out” supporting the civil rights of homosexuals.  How good it is now to have homosexual professional groups supporting our community-medical doctors, lawyers, educators, psychologists, politicians, etc. And we have good newspapers, like yours, magazines, and lots of books as well as courses on most major university campuses helping everyone understand as much as we know about homosexuality.
I just hope that the young homosexual men and women of today don’t lose what we have given them.
(I have mixed emotions about the Chris Crain and Lisa Keen columns. I, for instance, liked what he said about gay sex police, but I think he is guilty of trying to force us to use only such terms as gay, that he thinks is best. Same with Lisa. But they at least keep us readers thinking.)

Senator Craig on NBC last night...

Even though I watched Larry Craig and wife on NBC (and immediately repeated on CNN) last night, I have no idea what to think of him.  What I do know, as we have all said, is that his arrest is a classic example of entrapment.  I don’t think it matters if he is gay or not.  What is obvious is that he still will be anti-gay and so he doesn’t deserve any sympathy. 

But it is pure evidence that many of us plead guilty even if we aren't, to avoid publicity and further costs, etc.  And that our “friends” often abandon us, many assuming we are guilty even if we weren’t.  So I hope he continues his fight, and if he really is an intelligent person, and wife and kids, he should sooner or later realize that his actions as a politician have hurt innocent people as well as the “gays” he doesn’t like or want to be.

See what another blogger has said about Craig:

Larry Criag is a Nasty Boy

I agree, mostly.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

GLBTQI Taliban is as evil as the religious fanatics of Islam and Christianity

Did anyone hear (Rep) Barney Frank speaking (on C-SPAN) on the floor of Congress yesterday?  Defending his support for a bill to help get equal rights to homosexual citizens? 
Who are the ones fighting the bill? Homosexuals and trans people, all “gays” who make lots of money and get lots of celebrity and benefits from doing what is popular. Appearing to be “pure” makes them look and feel good. Despite the obvious fact that in America not many “perfect” bills get through Congress, much less get signed by the President.
Who are these “experts” who want only a bill that is pure, including every possible person? It is as if they are saying that if one of their brothers or sisters has a chance to get some benefit, and they don’t, they will try to prevent that brother or sister from getting the benefit. And who made them the politically correct cops to decide what everyone should believe? They have also spent most of their efforts trying to force us to use only terms “they” approve of. As if they are experts on not only homosexuality, but also on politically or religiously correct beliefs. Which makes them like the Islamic taliban that destroys the statutes of other religions. As did Christians also.
I was there when Virginia Prince, in the ’60s told Don Slater and the others at the Hollywood Bowl concert we were enjoying, that Transvestia should NOT be listed in a homosexual guide, as they were NOT homosexual. They did not work for homosexual issues. NOW they are eager to use the clout gotten for the homosexual movement by the pioneers of the community, a brave few, and without putting much effort into the political and educational work, they want the benefits without the work.  What is that old saying, “they have not paid their dues.”
If homosexual Americans and our allies do not have enough common sense to ignore these fanatics, we deserve to suffer longer under discrimination. As it is, very few homosexuals have ever given any time, energy and money to help their cause, so it makes little difference to them anyway. They, like those early people in America who did nothing to support the efforts to free us from England, will benefit without paying their dues. And in many cases the few who do seek to help will support “celebrity” gays who do little but talk lots, usually nonsense, but manage to get on the TV talk shows and have movie stars come to their benefits. As is the case here when they work to stop our progress. They deserve to be exposed as the traitors they are. And let the trans people fight their battle, we will help, as we could with the bis, who also have done little for the homosexual cause. But as the civil rights fights of women, blacks, hispanics, atheists, etc. are not the same, who has the time, energy and money to work for all of them? The answer is that most people do nothing for any of them.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

On some frustrated Democrats wanting to move to France...

Perhaps things have changed since the ’60s when we told people that no where else was any better than the U.S. for homosexuals. I doubt it. As they pointed out to us when they visited from Holland etc., if you LIVE some place you are not any more free. It is only if you are a tourist who is willing to take risk you would not take at home that you think it is better. As I recall housing was a major problem. I think the same was and is true until Katrina of New Orleans and any major tourist place. People who would never risk sex in public in their home town do so there and seem upset that they are arrested. “But the gay guide said this was a great place for sex!”

At 75, I will not be going much anywhere, but I believe that, considering what has happened in and to our community since the ’60s, as it started in the ’50s, there is a major change for the better. If  things seem better, in even Germany, for example, Harry Hay and others would ask us to THINK. Going from one extreme to the other is not progress. And if it is not a result of general public education, it could go in the other direction tomorrow-and to blame Democrats is nonsense. They sure are not handling the Muslims very well.

And what’s more important, why would anyone want to leave their homes to run to a “safer” place? That is what the nation’s founders had to do since their governments didn’t allow them a voice. That has not been true here as if proven by how much we have changed things since the ’50s. Work to change things, don’t run away. And stop killing ourselves—suicide is nonsense, do something against those who harm us, not ourselves.