Sunday, December 23, 2007

Pre-Christmas Thoughts

Oh, am I enjoying Christmas Day-even though I'm not religious. 

One of our recent e-mail dialogues made me think of a good former friend, co-worker, Rudi Steinert, who was also a former HIC board member, who passed away before Don Slater, though I can’t remember when.  He lived across the street on Calumet from Tony and Don, where Dale Jennings lived before he went into the nursing home. He had relatives killed in the holocaust and was a very practical person. He got on the bus everyday and rode to a stationery store in Beverly Hills, and hosted several ONE/HIC events in his apartment. 
He would pick up men on Main St. (Need I say more?) Then he would clean them up, feed them, have sex and return them to Main St.
The reason I bring him up, is that he would explain the reason behind this special ad as sent by Jeanne Barney.  He said, the older you get, the more choosy you get.  It is nature's way of saying, I know I can’t get the young cute ones, but fortunately, I don't want them if they have any defect-so I am more\ selective—I reject them before they can reject me.  Sour grapes or something.

The ad Jeanne brought to our attention, from Craig’s List or some similar place:

I can host in my Q-shaped apartment on 39th Street between Delancey Street and Ninth Avenue. Please, no weirdos, druggies, smokers, drunks, hippie-types, fems, fats or African American colored black Oriental Asians of color. Sincere only need apply.


Thursday, December 20, 2007

Architect published first Walt Whitman Work

I read an article by Eric Brock in a local paper (The Forum Newseekly, which is sort of the local L.A. Weekly) by a local historian on architects about one who designed octagon houses/building. Brock says that this man was also the person who paid for the publishing of the first Walt Whitman work. 
We need people to read all sorts of things and let the rest of us know about coverage on the subject.  We miss “Fenceberry,” both of whom are dead but were the modern version of Jim Kepner’s Tangents column. With so many articles and mentions of homosexuality, there needs to be volunteers who will let us know articles in publications or TV shows we should see.

On the Senate Caving in to Bush's War Funding plan

I realize most of you have not lived as long as I have, and been around to see politicians from Roosevelt on.
I can remember when it was the (Southern) Democrats who were racists and stopped any civil rights legislation, etc.  So it is short-sighted to blame Democrats for reality. As I said in my yearend email, my cause has made progress under every politician and “government” since the movement started in 1950, so it may be something to try to understand why—and I think this is true of the women’s and black’s civil rights movements.
But I, and those I have worked with, would still feel the same way even if we had not made progress yet.  It can be done, under our system.  The question is, how will the 10% of the population that is homosexual, plus our allies, friends, and families, vote in the coming elections?
We have as much voting power-assuming the voting machines are honest/accurate—as the “evangelicals.”  We have not made the progress we could have because rich queers have not supported our efforts all these years.  They of course think their money makes them safe and hidden—as if they are not called queer behind their backs, as are blacks, etc.
It is one thing to have been in the closet in the ’50s and ’60s, but money can be given to a cause anonymously, and the voting booth is secret. It is unforgivable for so many “gays” to keep waiting for a few cute celebrities to make “safe” for them to be open—they benefit already for the sacrifices others have made since 1950.

Our enemies support their cause; too many of us do not support ours. That is what makes the difference, and politicians have to be realistic.  It is the obviousness that we ARE making progress and our numbers are growing that has made the politicians work for us now, as much as they are.  If they are to lose the religious bigots’ votes, they might have to be able to replace them with gay votes.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

On Gay Retirement Centers

I would think our community would be interesting to us oldtimers if we could live where we could have meetings and share our experiences over the years.  And I would think college students would want to visit and hear these experiences to compare them with how life as a homosexual is today.  And it is even better if some of the people have lived in other places, not just good ole Southern California—although we have to pity them for not having been that lucky.  (I’m in LA, the state now, as I couldn’t afford to live in L. A. but of course loved it for the over 30 years I lived there and worked with ONE, Inc. and (also co-founded) the Homosexual Information Center.
We have lost the pioneers such as Harry Hay, Morris Kight, Don Slater, Jim Kepner, et al., but can you imagine what a pleasure living in a place with them and hearing them talk, even argue—maybe they are doing it in heaven of course.  But there are “pioneers” being made in our movement today and you may have some of them living there in the coming years and our community will be better off for having them safe and having time to share ideas as well as memories.  And the Center in Hollywood could have the benefit of these people.

For information, visit Gay & Lesbian Elder Housing in Hollywood, CA.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Homosexuality in the media just this week

I wonder what we could say if we decided to do a “report” to our community/movement pioneers, most of whom left us in the last decade.
I can tell them several things just this last week and they are all positive.
The Williams Institute (UCLA Law School) has issued several important reports on their research on who “we” are and where we are.  We are everywhere, and seem to be going into the “red” areas of the nation, including as families.
And there is new work at the Columbia University Law School’s Sexuality & Gender Law Clinic that helped get asylum for a Jamaican who feared harm if he returned  home.
Several gay/lesbian publications gave their readers Lisa keen’s  column on the Human Rights Campaign’s list of gay-friendly companies/businesses. The list has grown each year. This would make Don Slater and others happy since it means that private enterprise has been ahead of the government in giving us equal/civil rights even though many governments have also worked for domestic partner benefits and civil unions over the year.
Obviously the most important legal advance was the ending of the sodomy laws in the Lawrence Vs Texas close decision by the U S Supreme Court. Equally important an advance is legal same sex marriage in Massachusetts and in theory the equal “marital” rights in civil unions in New Jersey and other states.
I believe the media has slowly gotten better. And I believe that the entertainment “industry” has gotten much better—starting with the movie of the decade, Brokeback Mountain. And intelligent homosexual characters in major television shows such as Brothers and Sisters. These shows have discussed our issues better than some of us have.
When C-SPAN gives us coverage of a great speech by a homosexual preacher (in this case Episcopal bishop Gene Robinson) at a university (NOVA Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale FL) there can be no excuse for homosexuals and our allies to not know what resources are available to discuss religion and homosexuality.  And we can spread news of such shows by cell phones and the Internet, neither of which were available to our pioneers. 
The dropping of the “T” coverage in the ENDA bill in congress has gotten our movement/community to discuss not only the relationship among our various parts—although I seldom hear anything on bisexuality—but how we can work in politics for our cause?
We have a dozen or so gay/lesbian libraries/archives, all of which need support from our media and community, and at least that number of really good newspapers and magazines. There are queer courses at almost every major university, as well as g/l groups at the colleges.
Our causes seems to have NOT been slowed no matter who was president or who controlled congress.  That is an interesting sociological fact that needs to be investigated and explained.
So it seems to me that we have great reasons to feel gay and celebrate the past year and look forward to the coming decade, even though we will loose more pioneers, we will hopefully add new pioneers for this century.