Saturday, January 31, 2009

Creating Change Meets in Denver 50 years after Mattachine's public conference

Hundreds of people are meeting in Denver this week for The Task Force's Creating Change Conference. It has been well publicized. And it will be well received, before and after it does its educational work. That will be important for the homosexual community/movement to understand and think about. For that is far from the results of the first public homosexual meeting in Denver that Mattachine held there in 1959. What a differnece 50 years can make.

While the Mattachine conference was covered by the local media and at first was thought to be a breakthrough for homosexual events, the result was a disaster for the Mattachine members who hosted the event. Their names in the paper led to their loss of jobs and some had to move out of Denver.

A side affect of the conference was a “congratulation” proposal suggested by a stranger and voted on to the mayor of San Francisco (the headquarters of the Mattachine Society) for his being what is now called gay-friendly. This was a trick by an opponent of Mayor Christopher. As a first indication that politics can be used by both sides, the media in San Francisco as well as the public, though not gay-friendly, were furious at this attack, and supported the mayor who won reelection. The problem is that they were furious that the city had been called gay-friendly. Think about San Francisco today. Think about the movie Milk.

So how do we view the Mattachine conference today. It was both a success and a warning of how much work had to be done to change people's attitudes toward homosexuality.

Now, fifth years later it is doubtful that Creating Change's event will be anything but successful and the results will be helpful for homosexuals and the cause of civil rights for all Americans.

So best wishes to those in Denver today, from someone who was there, fifty years ago this year when a few dozen men and women met openly and the citizens of Denver heard of our cause for the first time.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Important point covered in article in Windy City Times of 1-21-09

To Editor Tracy Baim:

I hope your readers understand the importance of the article in the current issue of Windy City Times (1-21-09) by Paul Marinkovich, about Sex and the Seminary.

The article discusses a recent report, Sex and the Seminary: preparing ministers for sexual health and justice, (from Connecticut's Religious Institute on Sexual Morality,Justice and Healing and New York’s Union Theological Seminary) that points out the almost total failure of religious schools to discuss issues of homosexuality. The survey covered 36 seminaries, Protestant and Jewish.

This is a generic issue, the academic community, and professional schools do not give students the needed information to deal with homosexual issues. An some universities still are afraid to hire professors who are homosexual, giving the old lie that they might push a gay agenda, as if the hetero agenda is not being pushed. So physicians, lawyers, etc come out with no preparation to understand even the issues of sexuality, much less homosexuality.

A step in the right direction is the mention on the same page that the Archdiocesan Gay and Lesbian Outreach of Chicago has completed a social justice challenge
people giving time to agencies working for change (Center on Halsted, etc).

I liked the viewpoint on the Obama inauguration of (Rev) Irene Monroe. Her thinking of the Watch Night of Dec 31, 1862, with black slaves waiting to hear of Lincoln’s, Emancipation Proclamation and Obama taking the oath puts things in perspective. And the issue of Warren, and others who rightly want to let Obama know of our community’s needs is good, but I'm sure that most of us have now heard, what we expected—as I’m sure the Obama people expected—the backlash from right-wing religious people totally, generically disliking Obama and anything he says or does, but especially furious that Obama mentioned non-believers in his speech, and mentioning the need to talk with Muslims. And it is significant that many of these haters are black heterosexual male preachers. How strange to hear them call his new administration a “dark” time in our nation’s history. So there is a push from those, who did not vote for him of course, including not only, hopefully, only a few racists who will hate him no matter what he does, but those who will dislike him if he is not “conservative” enough and just want a Republican to take over as soon as possible-hard to understand since no one could have done more damage to our nation than the last 8 years, and no one could be more “socialist” than the last months of Bush 43.

I also liked coverage by Lawrence Ferber of the Lifetime movie Prayers for Bobby. In another gay/lesbian publication (Seattle Gay News) there is discussion of whether or not TV can change people’s views, and if it can, this is a good effort toward ending parents’ hatred and fear of their child’s homosexuality. And the interview with Sigourney Weaver is very good, right questions, right answers—but then we do have our agenda so I don’t claim to be objective.

Religion and Morals, and other good articles, Seattle Gay News 1 & 9-09

I know editor don't need their inboxes filled, but I do feel the need to say how much I like some aspects of the Seattle Gay News, which has articles and view I don't see elsewhere, partly, of course, because other g/l publications aim at different aspects of homosexuality.

But I believe, as a good example, that several columns by Wayne Besen say things that a lot of us believe, and say them in words that, although perhaps said elsewhere that I don't know about and usually in such theological and legalistic language that most of us would not grasp, that his words need to be heard by everyone-gay and non-gay.

The issue of some right-wingers claiming/believing that you need a religious background to have morals-usually of course meaning Christian religious basics-is answered by much of what is said in the columns. And with timely examples of how “religious” people are often more un-Christian and un-American than people who do not claim to be religious. Many people who lost money in the Ponzi scheme of Bernard Madoff were misled by his claims of being religious-in his case Jewish. That made people, who hopefully have now learned better, know that just claiming to be religious does not mean someone IS, or that they would thus be more trustworhy than someone who does not talk religion when asking for others to trust him, either when asking for money for investment, politics, or to “protect them from the gay agenda,” etc.

So Besen is right when he says that 2008 taught wise people that religious people are not morally superior to those who are non-religious. And in fact to be doubly cautious when someone sanctimoniously asks you to trust them.

But the issue is a generic one, and certainly has been used to attack not only communists (and those falsely accused of being communist, such as early black and gay civil rights leaders) but Democrats who questioned President Bush' policies in Iraq, etc. Even Christian ministers have been accused of being traitors if they asked questions or spoke against some of the policies. But usually the argument is that you can't be "good" if you don't have religion-meaning the religion of the person making the assertion.

This is hard for homosexuals to deal with, as we try to support g/l organizations formed to change the policies in various churches, yet have to point out that those churches have been wrong not only on homosexual issues, but were violently wrong on supporting slavery, etc. The example Besen gives should be read by every black, hetero, male preacher: “As escaped slave turned abolitionist Frederick Douglass noted in his tome, Autobiography, the most devout Christians made tghe most brutal slave owners.” That is devastating to anyone who seeks to say “religion” is what ended slavery.

I also think it is true when Jim Toevs says. “We have changed the world forever” (same issue, l-2-09). He quotes (LA native, as I am) Tony Kushner as saying much of what Wayne Besen said recently, “Gay perestroika: a movement succeeds when so much has changed that there’s no going back.” When most people do NOT approve of anti-gay speech and actions, the religious bigots have lost and when people stop giving them money and approval, they will suddenly find a new pro-gay interpretation in whatever translation of the Bible they are currently using-as the Mormons have done with their book and chief twice, first giving up overnight polygamy and then suddenly accepting black priests as ok. And as even the Southern Baptists had to do when confessing their error when they supported slavery and racial segregation, quoting the Bible.

He rightly points out also that “Racism still exists, but the African-American civil rights movement changed the world forever. Sexism still exists, but feminism changed the world forever. Homophobia still exists, but we have changed the world forever....A movement succeeds not when everything is perfect but when so much has changed that there’s no going back.”

But to remind us of what we still need to do, you give us Diane Silver (Political IQ) with her list of things still needing to be done, such as gay marirage, and will members of our community/movement keep working for change or will “Stonewall 2.0” just slowly die of apathy?

But the next example, of dealing with personal issues of sexuality, shows that SGN covers issues few other publications do. I refer to Dave Tangent’s article talking about how to deal with ourselves (and others) when we do what we think is wrong-cheat on our spouse/partner/mate.

And next is the old issue of words/terms. Gerald Libonati wants to know why we call heteros “straight.” I would point out, by the way, that while Toevs is good, he has done what PC people do, changed the term for black Americans, since obviously when the civil rights movement was going full speed African-American was NOT the term most people used. It is almost disrespectful to those brave men and women, of all races, who risked their lives and didn’t spend a moment’s time arguing over the right term, negro or colored was irrelevant to the demand that all Americans have equal rights.

And I wonder how your readers think about the sad coverage given to a sick person threatening some gay bars in Seattle (with ricin). The generic question is, do we give “him/her” publicity, which may be what they seek, by covering the threat, and maybe keep people from bars, or do we NOT cover it and risk people complain later that they had no warning? But it seems that today the law enforcement people are trying to protect the community where in years past they would have ignored the threat and even made fun of us asking for protection.

Along that same thought, should the gay leaders having a meeting to prepare for future projects keep their meeting secret, as Rex Wockner discusses (these are articles from the l-9-09 issue)? I assume the thought was to keep our enemies from knowing the plans. Sadly, it seems, for our nation too, that enemies spend more time thinking about us that we do ourselves, so they will probably learn before we do what ideas are talked about. It seems some gays have a need to pump themselves up-like many politicians-by leaking the news and getting on the nightly tv news, etc.

And it is good to mention that Campbell Soup deserves our support for not backing away from ads in gay publications because of right-wing religious nuts attacking them.

And another generic issue is Gerald Libonti’s question about if “Hollywood shapes public opinion.” Psychologist and media experts have been asking this question for years. The hope is that “good” characters and story lines will lead the public to accept a black president and gay equality, but then what if “bad” characters will lead our youth to be criminals, if they see glamorous stars portray bad people.

But on a personal note, probably one I'm not alone in discussing, I understand Leslie Robinson’s pain when she says she doesn't know how to do a website, and perhaps use the internet to full advantage, yet may get some help from some 7 year old, who seem to know the system very well.

Then there’s another article/column that touches on a sort of hidden side of our community, the people who seek dangerous sex, with hustlers, as discussed by Simon Sheppard.

Then Madelyn Arnold again reminds us of how painful some religious people can be when she remembers her 15th year and Bible Camp and hatred coming from the preacher against homosexuality. It is somewhat less painful today as she sees the general good will coming at Obama’s presidency.

And hopefully some people are still interested in reading books, so will find Richard Labonte and Jesse Monteagudo's columns of interest.

Are there such discussion of all of these topics on gay TV, such as LOGO?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Portland's Gay Mayor....

I'm up early, couldn't sleep. And what do I hear on NPR but the Portland is being asked to resign, by the gay community. Even if winning you can lose, so you have to be careful in your planning-and as in Clinton, et al cases, the main thing is just don't lie about it.

That is my point about Obama. There was no guarantee that he would win, but the effort was made, intelligently, with good advisers, it was not just a sudden decision a year or so ago. Our cause of educating people about sex has to be planned, coordinated, careful not to make false claims, or hide unpleasant people or ideas, but constantly pushing our information.

We need to reach people who are never going to come to a PFLAG meeting,or even see a glbt publication. That is why articles like the one on reliigion in Newseek hels us. And Playboy helps us. And I see a link on Daily Queer News where black civil rights pioneer John Lewis says, again, that all civil rights movements are the same. What a difference with people like him, and even Sharpton and Jesse who have walked the walk (and in Jesse's case talked a lot) and these well-dressed, nonentity black hetero male black preachers who don't even practice what they preach, and sure have failed at the issue of marriage-worrying, and as Al (and Obama) says, about our marriage desire, opposing it, and failing to get young black women, over 60% of them, to marry, or at least stop having kids they dont' want and can't take care of, with men who sing songs calling them whores, etc.

When our movement started in 1950 there were a dozen men and women at most, it slowly and secretly started learning and slowly started dealing with various aspects, such as publishing (ONE Magazine), religion (with the Church of ONE Broherhood), legal (starting with Dale Jenning's arrest and then the lawsuit against the post office than was won only at the U S Supreme Court level), and then social service and education (ONE Institute, classes, and counseling people coming in to the office, the first public one in the nation). They had no advertising people willng to help, no landlords willing to help, no gay publishers willing to help, so they relied on heterosexuals, who saved us and gave us time to get started and slowly get some homosexuals to actually help.

Now there is no excuse for homosexuals who are politically wise, in religion, in advertising, journalists, in medicine, etc not using their knowledge and ability to promote our cause. Those who don't should be exposed for their failure as good citizens. They should not be honored. They should be shamed.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Current issue (1-15-09) on Obama and the gay community and gay Tucson

To the Editor of WeHo News:

I think your article on Obama and his appointments and homosexuals and the military (DADT) issue is about right. It has balance, which many media places do not -expecting change overnight from one view and fearing the end of the world if homosexuals are "open" in another view-sounding much like that "segment" did when Truman integrated the military in 1948 (and just as that "segment" did when the U S Supreme Court killed laws against interracial marriage (Loving v Va?) not many years ago.

And the article on "gay" Tucson was good, but I do wonder why there was no mention of any gay center, or the gay newspaper-which is usually the first resource visitors should get when in a new town so that they will know of current events and businesses. And a visit to a glbt library/archive will give history of the area, which helps to appreciate how the area is today. And some homosexual tourists will want to know where a local gay-friendly church is. Some people may even plan a visit during Pride events if they know the dates in advance, which they can find if the newspaper is online. Or a when a gay film festival is, etc. These are the things that make a gay traveler different from a non-gay one, otherwise we only need the travel guides found in any book store for all tourists.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Trans laws in each state/RE: Daily Queer News Jan 7, 2009

Over the year I have seen a dozen or more Trans groups and I would like to know what efforts they are making, other than fussing at gay/lesbian publications and groups, to get laws changed and the public educated. I see no effort from the New Orleans group, which is too afraid to even be seen at the gay center. But the g/l communitythere was also slow in getting on our movement's work. They were satisfied with how they were "dealing" with the problems. Yet we see that New orleans, with the bet possible background has not solved its racial issues.

We have eased the path for other sexual communities. And we need to support them, but we have to focus on our issues that still need to be accomplished. I argue with a friend in CA who is handicapped,or he fusses if I use the wrong term, but I keep pointing out to him that it is not the g/l community's job to do their work-even though there is obviously an overlap, as there is with the black or women's movements. I would like to support a lot of causes, but I am realistic. I chose one. And will stay with it, even though most of what we actually wanted has been achieved.

As to the constant harping from some sections of our community about Obama, I wonder what they were doing when Bush 43 got elected. And I just happened to find a book by George Stephanopolus, or however you spell it and you will not be surprised to read the same issues with Clinton, which means that every issue we have today was faced with each previous administration. And the same people, for instance he describes the meeting with Jesse Jackson. But it is really very ignorant of all these new "gays" to keep fussing about the order of when some gay is involved with the Inauguration. Or Warren vs Robinson. Obama's one blessing is that he owes NO ONE anything, for no one group got him elected. And in fact Clinto made an error listenking to the "professional "gays." Obama can find very good homosexuals in Chicago who can give him good counsel. The ones who helped lose Prop 8 are sure not the ones he needs to guide him.

I'm hoping I can get to PFLAG tomorrow, to visit with oy et al and hear Rodney. But it would also be nice to "hear" from other people and groups in LA. The time is past when New Orleans can do whatever and ignore the rest of the state. And to have been involved with and then oppose a campaign of a Shreveport man (D.A.) for Representative, and not tell anhyone, is nonsense. This constant fear and contuining need for secrecy is what these "gays" thought was silly when Mattachine started, but it they who are wasting our energy by worryhing about what the rightwingers already know. How queer that our enemies-and this applies to our nation's work-that the terrorists know more about what we are doing than the American citizens. And several times we hear of some gay issue from the bigots' publications before we hear from our won media. Apparently some eliteist gays think we average queers need to be protected from the real world. So what we get in Prop 8. Will we ever learn?

White Knot Activism

To the founder of White Knot:

It is great to see the creativilty in our community/movement.

I am the type who hates "academics" but in a sense am in that I immediately wondered, as I implied,how you got started and where your work has been mentioned-how did you get publicity, and where the response has come from. It is the type information we need to know so that we don't make the same mistakes we did in dealing with Prop 8.

But I have been around a long time (see website: so think it is sometimes true that there is a time for things, and what we tried a few years ago and got no acceptance or publicity, may work today. And the more the merrier, or gayer. The poor rightwing haters have to stay up nights trying to hit back at all the work coming from the homosexual community/movement,from all geographical areas, all views—political, religious, etc. And history seems to be on our side, either just "because" or because we have done the work and been patiently working since Harry Hay, et al in 1950. And,by the way, most of our success came without a lot of gays being paid high salaries or lots of money coming from rich queers. It seems lost to the media, gay and non-gay, but a major part of our success had started before Stonewall.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Obama may be a 21st Century Lincoln; Lincoln pushed equality for black Americans, so will Obama push equality for homosexual Americans?

 Obama’s handling of the Warren issue could be the same as Lincoln’s handling of the slavery issue. He tried to dodge it, and worked up to the emancipation. History judges hijm by what he did, not by the journey he took on the way.

It is possible, not just because of all the fussing from the gay community and allies, but because the issue of homosexuals in the military is on the table, the denial of the right to marry, etc., that Obama will have to make a choice on the legal and moral basic rights of homosexual citizens. If he is truly the person a slight majority of voters believe and hope he is, including a majority of homosexual voters, but, sadly, a minority of black voters, he will sooner or later beforced, as other presidents have been on other civil rights issues, to support equal civil rights for all Americans, including homosexuals.

After adequate time, if he has not done what our Constitution and Bill of Rights direct him to do, then will be the time to find someone else who will do the right thing. (The first major step and evidence will be his appointments to the U S Supreme Court and to the Justice Department. AND, it is also the responsibility of the House and Senate to do what they should do, with or without the president.)

A startling thought would be if Obama fails the test of history, as Lincoln did not, it could be that the next president will be a Republican who WILL follow Lincoln’s journey.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

You are a danger to the rightwingers, more so than the big city papers

To the Editor of Liberty Press:

I think you should be aware of what you are doing there in Kansas. The “enemy” (rightwing religious nuts) know that there are queers working in big cities and “have an agenda” to change the world that they have controlled all these years. But it will really freak them out if they find out, despite your Phelps family there already, that in the heartland of America there are people and a publication that is spreading hope for homosexuals that the world may be changing and they may get equal rights.

Two good gay churches are really a threat: MCC in Topeka and Wichita. They are a growing threat to the “approved” version of the Bible and religious thought.

A good group of people that get together and sing, sort of like those Mormons, (Heart of America Men’s Chorus), young people may get confused by such normal things.

And a university in Kansas (KU no less) with a professor publishing books on how to help social workers deal with gay issues (Dr. Lori Messinger, Director of the Bachelor of Social Work Program): Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in Social Work Practice, and Case Studies on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in Social Work Practice.

And here is an attorney (Pedro Luis Irigonegary) there talking at a discussion on Trans issues at Washburn University (Transgender Issues in the Workplace, in the Diversity Matters Seminar Series). Again, this could be understood at a San Francisco college, but in Kansas!

And even worse, a professor at KU (Dr. Robert Minor) writing intelligent thoughts on how homosexuals should deal with the world and work to change it. Encouraging those queers!

And to get back to the MCC churches, they are even now having preachers who are trained to go from town to town to promote and support local gay churches.

And there is a long list of social service groups supporting a homosexual community, including one for older homosexuals (Prime Timers of Wichita).

And you list books that entertain and educate homosexuals. And give names of professionals that will support homosexuals in their legal, etc. needs.

OH, how horrible, even “red” America is now in the sight on those gay people. And you are letting this community news get out so that even the closet queens will know about it-they may even go see how the gay bars are.

“They” would ask, How can you sleep at night? I say, I hope you are sleeping well! You are doing a great service to your readers and our community/movement. And that you are doing as good a job as those in the big cities on the coasts is the best evidence that we will win in the long run.

Best wishes for another good year-I like that large “15” on the cover.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

More East Coast, meet the West Coast: The Guide Magazine meet Gay L.A.

Perhaps some rich queer will someday give money for a national history of the movement, bringing in a timeline the work done all over, most of which people in other areas did not know about. NACHO was an attempt at communication and cooperation but it failed.

But it does seem aat a glance that Gay New York and the start of Gay L.A. show that the same things were happening at the same time, wiht I asusme no communication, just doing naturally, such as drag queen and balls. And I think the book from Chicago (Out and Proud in Chicago) shows the same timeline. I know of no coverage of New Orleans, but it is clear that it has similar history and did not join the movement till very late.

I think it is clear that even in the same area, some people and groups were working without knowledge or coordination with others. And the most uninteresting part of Gay L. A. is the mere listing of all the specialized groups that now have started since the ’90s. How strange that one group, such as Pacific Islands/Asians have broken into 3 or 4 different groups. Can specialization go too far???

I think history will seek to find out how Obama got where he is, who backed him, the tactics, etc. I believe it is equally important to know how our movement got where it is, and I believe that soon marriage will also be achieved, even though many of us have no interest in it as we likewise have no interest in religious groups or even gay bars, etc. But it must be explained how the first hope, Hawaii, turned out to be a false start, etc. There is much to learn. As many have said, it probably takes all of the above tactics (marching, education, working with others, etc.) to get us our civil rights. Just a new law, without society really liking it, will not get us a very good comfort level. And I still believe that Don Slater’s and other pioneers’ view is right, that the first item should be the right to privacy—no government should be allowed to ask us about our private life, sexual procilivity, religious beliefs, race even.

And I do continue to hope that homosexuals traveling to a new place are interested not only in the gay bar or hotel but would want to go to a church, if they are religious, or see the gay center, or know of a gay playhouse, and visit the archives showing the history of how, for instgnace, L. A., or New York got from the terrible places they were for us then to where they are today.

And if you are going to list non-gay places such as museums, why not good non-gay eating places, such as Philippes in L.A. and even though I find them less than good, the local papers in L.A., such as Frontiers and IN should be used as a resource for current events. And certainly a gay bookstore should get mentioned as they need our support.

And on the other hand why are we not fussing at such resources aimed at our community, as LOGO, which are doing nothing for our movement but exploit us as consumers.

Friday, January 9, 2009

East Coast, meet the West Coast: The Guide Magazine meet Gay L.A.

I feel I should point out a few things about the failure, then and perhaps now, of people in the movement for civil rights for homosexuals to fail to communicate and know what we are doing.

A good example, if not very important since in a sense it is history, is the conflict in two sources I happen to read the same day. First I read the January issue of The Guide, coming from Boston and Canada, then I reread Gay L.A. with a view of history of the West Coast-mainly L. A. although most people assume it is San Francisco that is gay heaven.

In an article called Discovering the Undiscoverable, Michael Bronski makes several statements that can only be said if you only know of the "history" you were involved in. First, to repeat what has been said plenty of times, the homosexual/gay or whatever movement that continued till today started in Los Angeles in 1950. It did not start with Stonewall. Perhaps we can excuse the lazy, incompetent and unethical media for thinking that something started when it discovered it, but that is not reality. But no one can write about history and contunally say that this movement started in 1969 with Stonewall. There had obviously been other such "riots" in Los Angeles and San Francisco years before. The difference is that the media ignored them. That does not mean that they did not have an affect. So who is this "we" that "often think of gay history starting at Stonewall?"

And again we have the discussion on the terms we use. Again, who is it that decided that in "the intra-community "gay" became commonly accepted"? There is NOT only one community preferable term, just as there is, no matter what the media or some politicians say, only one term for black Americans. Or those who question the existence of a god. All you can say is that the community uses several words, none of which is the only "correct" one.

And who says that the "Boston-based Fag Rag, started in 1970, was the first national gay male publication"? What was Drum? And for that matter there were women who said ONE was male-oriented, and do we ignore Grecian Guild/Bob Mizer publications?

I may finally figure out what Bronski is saying if I can even figure out even his final paragraph, which sounds "new-age" nonsense.

"It is at that point, when queer history can become history, when the drag queen shows his masculinity through his feminity, that the visible becomes invisible and the invisible visible that we will finally begin to understand from where we come and, logically and illogically, where we might be going."

I suggest Bronski read Gay L. A., which tells us where we came from and where we are going. It starts off like Gay New York, but manages to get beyond draq queens and balls. Not many of us are going to seek guidance in our community's needs or "culture" from Plato, Joan of Arc or Emily Dickinson. And wise ones will spend no time arguing over whether we are going to get rights faster if we use a certain term, even though Karl Rove seems to have been successful in the short term by giving terms a different meaning.

I see that ciruclation of The Guide has grown, but if this issue is an example of why I would sure like to know the thinking of the people finding it worth reading. The only cities covered for gay readers are foreign, in a time of financial troubles for most people. Otherwise all we get are maps of major cities, with a few listings of bars and lodgings, which may be gay, but there are few mentions of major gay resources-for instance why no mention in Los Angeles of the gay center in Hollywood, or of local g/l papers, or churches? Nor mention of gay archives?

At least there is a small mention of the issues brought about by the passage of Prop 8 in California. Bill Andriette is right when he says there is blame for everyone. And that the organizations being blamed the most have other obligations than gay marriage. And lets see how much good bloggers do in the long run. It can be claimed that ACTUP changed lots, but it didn't do it alone. Homosexuals rioting in L.A. in the years before Stonewall did not get much success because the time was not right. So while Andriette is right that "in-the-street protestors are targeting their anger at the real enemies, like the Mormon Churches..." it is historically correct to say that it takes legal, political, religious and community work to actually change things.

Now to the West Coast, and a reminder that it is time for the world to give credit to the Southern California people who started this movement and did everything first because they were first. It is nonsense to claim that all the drag queens and balls in New York means that that was a gay movement. One of the flaws in Gay New York and Gay L. A. is the space devoted to draq queens and balls. It takes a close reading of either book to understand that that was a small per cent of the community, and actually NOT the gay part. It is irresponsible to pretend that homosexual Americans were out of the closet before the 80s. The few in bars were those who had nothing to lose, the ones with no job, no family, etc. That means that the vast majority were hidden, and in fact were not "gay" that the movement was starting to get the public to think about who might be homosexual.

And to "honor" the Hollywood celebrities, then and now, as if they then or now were doing much to change things for homosexuals is a slap in the face of those who DID do something, that did take risks, and did change things. To devote chapters and space to Hollywood stars who had parties is dishonest. We are letting the media decide our history.

While I'm thinking about Gay L.A. I should say two things that are related to the way we understand history and the part the media plays. Two examples are covered in the book.

I know about the division of ONE, Inc into two parts-I was not only there, I was the immediate cause. (See Before Stonewall, edited by Vern Bullough) So I know that the book gives/gets it wrong even if the facts it gives are not wrong. Constantly history has tried to write Don Slater out of ONE. He was an editor and the editor of the magazine from start to finish. He was an equal co-founder, all the others left, disagreeing with Dorr Legg or policies. So to give only Dorr's view of the separation is dishonest, as is the fact that nowhere in the book is the legal decision quoted correctly. The decision did NOT give all the material of ONE back to Dorr Legg and his coworkers. And in fact when Dorr violated the agreement, by sending out a claim that he had won and we were declared thiefs, that ENDED the agreement and Tangents continued to operate as ONE, Inc as long as we needed to to cover taxes, etc. The city, county and state were well aware of the legal situation, and we kept our license in the name of ONE, Inc. (We had to pay taxes for the Bookservice, etc.)

We separated ONE in 1965, we incorporated in the honest name, Homosexual Information Center (with the dba The Tangent Group) in 1968, and were the first homosexual organization to get tax-exemption as such. No other organization had it before we did (Herb Selwyn was the attorney.) Not even ISHR was openly gay. And that is another point, it is not clear anywhere that we had formed the Institute for the Study of Human Resources, to be the funding, tax-exempt arm of ONE, before the separation and that Don Slater and I were the first employees of ISHR, which is why Dorr kept misleading people by saying Don was no longer a ONE employee.

A personal issue, the book credits Harry Hay and John Burnside and Don of appearing on tv and radio shows, such as Regis Philbins. It does not say that I also appeared on Regis' show, and on the talk show of Louis Lomax, etc. Nor that Don co-hosted a week of talk shows on KHJ as guest host of Stan Bohrman and Maria Cole. If one show is worth mentioning, why not others? The book certainly lists every known bar they could find, etc, as well as every possible local person or group but finds no space for a picture of Dorr or Don or Jim Kepner.
And Kepner was not perfect, although he of course left ONE twice and yet wrongly told a board member not to support Don because Dorr would win fast and easily.

And the other issue I find I personally have a different take on is the Troy Perry church's growth. It is not mentioned that Tangents picketed the Los Angeles Times, to get them to use the word homosexual, mainly in an ad we placed for the play Geese. Yet it is mentioned that gay lib picketed them to force them to use the word gay instead of homosexual. Someone has and had an agenda.

But the reason our picket is relevant to Troy is that he was one of those who picketed, as was Melvin Cain, who also was involved in religious work. While we were picketing the religious writer for the paper came down and talked to Melvin and Troy. He ignored Melvin when told that the church was not a gay church. He then interviewed Troy and wrote a good article, picked up by many newspapers and that is one of the major reason the MCC got so much publicity. That does not mean any other view or claim as to why the church has grown so much was wrong, but it sure adds an element that could be a major lucky break at the early period of the church. And that means 'History" should be given from all views.

One other gay comment/issue is that of the value of protesting. Some on the East Coast have said that the West Coast did not do that much. Yet here in the book is a quote from Jeanne Cordova who says "A little theory may have gotten whipped up in Boston, but in Los Angeles we put it into effect. Lesbians and gays did a lot of marching and demonstrating in the streets of L. A. because here you can do it all year round, like you can't in the East with their long cold winters."

But my feelings about Cordova are colored by her behavior in the early days. I had spoken to the L. A. Daughters of Bilitis in one of their meetings. So when I spoke to a psychology class at UCLA, I suggested they have other speakers, such as DOB. Later I heard that she spoke to the class and told either them or the professor that they should not ever contact HIC again as we were out of the main stream and didn't represent the gay view. That type of back-biting and attempt at censorship of what the public hears from our movement/community was wrong then and is today. Also she has never mentioned HIC in her publications, as is true of the Advocate. So much for community cooperation.

One final thought about what is not in the book, no coverage of how gay authors might have affected out movement. No mention of such writers as ONE/Tangents/HIC's Joseph Hansen. And only a glancing mention of Patricia Nell Warren. None of Dale Jennings' work on The Cowboys which HIC gets income from since it own's Jennings' estate. That's show business, I guess.

To get the real story, the rest of the story, see Todd White's forthcoming book, Pre-Gay L.A. Don Slater would really be gay to see how things have turned out.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Early newspaper article on same sex "marriage" (OutSmart, 1-09)

The small article in the current issue of OutSmart is very interesting to people interested in understanding history and thinking about same sex marriage.

It is ironic that apparently The Transgender Foundation of America's Transgender Archive, in Houston, has a copy of a pre-Civil War newspaper that has an article on two women who fell in live and entered into a domestic co-partnership. (The article is from the Newark Daily Advertiser, 1846.)

Also of interest is the fact that these two women were "Millerites," Millerism being a fore-runner of the Seventh Day Adventist Church.

And to add to the "story" we have one woman trying to have the other one arrested when she left, showing the need for legal remedies for domestic disputes.

Thank goodness for the Archive preserving this material, available at its location-713 Fargo, Houston. And thank yo for letting us know about it.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Article Don Slater would love, in Daily Queer News Dec 29, 2008

There is an article reprinted from England's Telegraph in today's Daily Queer News, "Why is sexuality the government's business?" about an retirement home having to ask about people's sexuality—sort of a method of being sure—so the government told them when they made it a rule that they/we are not discriminated against. But the home is for older Christian workers.

This is just "grist for my mill" Don Slater would say. It is the eternal dilemma of do we hide or do we just protect our privacy, and what are the consequences of speaking out proudly about our sexuality, hoping by all of us being out it will help change everyone's mind about us.

It is probable that today there is some person or several persons who are doing good thinking on issues of homosexuality. I am sorry I don't know about them. But I can say for surethat if so, they must be discussing this issue, and I have not met another person who has thought about this subject as much and as well as Don Slater. Dorr Legg did a good, but largely ignored, job of teaching material on aspects already available, in subjects such as sociology, religion, law, etc.

And ONE Magazine- I doubt the quarterly was taken seriously although it was a start-published viewpoints better than any publication today, and I see no points today that were not covered in the magazine or Confi/newsletter/book reviews.

And the most basic one for Don was this issue of why do we want to "tell" everyone we are homosexual. And this article is the perfect example of why it could be wrong-why should the government, no matter what the excuse, know what type of sex we have (or prefer if we can have sex)?

As I understand him and others, probably including our next president, Tiger Woods has said, he will not "check" a box saying what race he is. He is several races. Why should he choose one over the other, and what difference does it make. the reason in the past was to prove that the government was including people of all races, but certainly now, there is no reason to categorize us by race, religion, sexuality, and perhaps even sex/gender.

I think all other areas we work on are secondary to this basic issue. That is why Don Slater's writing (since he refused to do a book—at least Dorr did the text book which again is largely ignored, even by ONE Archives) in the magazine and newsletter is so important to get out, even to people like Warren but especially to young people seeking to understand themselves or a friend, or relative.