Sunday, October 31, 2010

Harry Hay and Don Slater: Two Views on Homosexuality from Pioneer Friends and Parallels with the Tea Party and the Founders of America

If it is worthwhile and even important to try to learn how this nation was founded and who the founders were and how they thought about the government they were establishing (Constitution/Bill of Rights) then it is equally important for citizens to know how and why a movement was started go gain civil/equal rights for homosexual Americans, and who the founders were and what they thought about homosexuality.

This civil rights movement is easy to document, and primary sources still exist with a few of the founders and historical material of their work and ideas. 

Each year there are more books written about the founding of America and the founders.  But there has been no such historical interest in the founders of this movement, even though issues of homosexuality are in the pages of most newspapers, and on tv talk shows and in the halls of Congress.

Why is there no interest in knowing the people who started a movement that was successful in about 50 years and continues to add success each year, despite opposition from bigots?  In a few cases, people working in this movement also worked in the black or women’s civil rights movements, including Dr. King’s co-worker, Bayard Rustin.  It should be worth knowing how Harry Hay, Dale Jennings, et al., started, in secret, the first organization, Mattachine (the foundation) in 1950, during the worst of times, the McCarthy anti-communist era when homosexuality was “joined” with communism to gain political power.  The irony is that most of the founders had been Communists but were kicked out of the party because of their sexuality—and thus they started this movement which has thrived while the Communist Party has essentially died.  But it is important to know that after early Mattachine was so wildly successful, with meetings all over Los Angeles and then California, it was “killed” and was reborn (the Society)  by Hal Call, et al., in San Francisco, by conservatives.

But before this happened in 1953, part of the organization had separated in 1952 to become the public voice, and publish a magazine, and thus under conservatives (Don Slater, Dorr Legg, et al) was born the first homosexual magazine, ONE, social service organization, educational work-with classes (and ONE Institute and Quarterly), some of the first homosexual books (Homosexuals Today, Game of Fools) and public lectures and legal efforts (a lawsuit against the Post Office that went to, and was barely won in, the U. S. Supreme Court (1958).

Like a new current book on America’s founders,  Madison and Jefferson, in which we again learn how the founders were able to work together while having different views on how america should be governed, a book should be written about how the pioneers of this movement also worked together, while having different views on homosexuality, how to change society, etc.

The two major views were important because they were so different.  The first was that of Harry Hay, covered in an article in one of the major glbt publications trying to discuss serious issues, The Gay & Lesbian Review, of January/February, 2008).  The author, Douglas Sadownich (and Chris Kilbourne) make the point perfectly before writing a word, by quoting Harry himself:  “We are a separate people, with, in several measurable respects, a rather different window, a different consciousness which may be triggered into being by our sexuality.”  There can be no exaggeration of the importance of Harry, and his views still exist, and his work is added to in the current issue of the Review by a co-worker, Don Kilhefner, discussing another organization/work harry co-founded, the Radical Faeries.

This view was welcomed by closet cases and bigots since it fit the stereotype that we are different, exotic and not like the majority.  

The second view was that of the ONE founders, mainly Don Slater and Dorr Legg.  Their view was based partly on the work of Dr. Kinsey and Dr. Hooker.  They took the view that this is not a lifestyle but a sex act, and all we needed was the right to privacy and we didn’t care what others thought but they should not be allowed to vote about our civil rights, especially if they based their views on some religious doctrine.  And further, we did not want to be separate—it was only society that forced us to be a minority by passing laws against us.  (This is also the view taken by a decision of the U. S. Supreme Court in a Colorado case.)  We sought integration, not ghettos.

This is relevant to issues of the Tea Party people. What authority the government has over our personal lives is what the Constitution and Bill of Rights say.  Don Slater said the legal people should re-read the Ninth Amendment.

The one point that has to be made, to newly “out” people and young homosexual men and women, is that, whether or not  they know it or like it, how they live today is based on the work and views of both Harry Hay and Don Slater.  Even though they disagreed on what they both considered basic issues, they always worked together on the major efforts, and from the start to the day they died, they loved and admired each other.  And they worked; they didn’t sit in meetings talking about terminology and making up academic words and phrases such as “gay identity,” “deconstructionism,” “gay essentialism,” “social construction,” etc.

Our rights do not depend on why we are or if we could change; they are granted to us as individual citizens. It is time for Americans to stop trying to “understand” us but to understand why some people seem to hate us and have a personal interest in denying us our rights.

And our cause will continue to become even more successful if young people and citizens interested in all citizens having equal right join us.  It is strange to hear some young people be so skeptical of politics and the ability to gain our goals.  Some even think we have gotten everything we needed—full (or close enough) equality.  The facts don’t support this—as suicides and bar raids in 2010 prove.  And to those who think we have not made positive changes over the years, I suggest they get in a time machine and go back and live in 1950.  

I say the same thing to some Tea Party people who want to go back to yesterday, when their kind were so happy and gay.  That is because they were in control, a clear majority, and thus benefitted from the way things were.  Let them try living in 1950 as a black or a homosexual citizen—and to do without the technology we have today.

Homosexual citizens and Tea Party citizens actually have the same problem with government: it is too involved in our personal lives.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

A Letter to the Botts Collection in Houston

Dear Larry Criscione:

I am happy, even gay, to hear from you and that you are working to save that material.  That you say some was harmed in the storm is an example of  what we have worried about all these years—as there have been at least a dozen (not all glbt) archives harmed by weather, fire, etc, or just general falling apart.

And your work is an example of why most of our lgbt archives/libraries have little time to communicate with each other.  We are working with the few volunteers we have.

In the discussion with other people, including those in Houston, we have for years tried to decide what the best answer is to how to preserve and USE the material we have that documents this civil rights movement, which since it only started in 1950 makes it easier than those of the women’s or black Americans’.

We at ONE/HIC, before the separation and after, were at first a magazine and educational organization but knew that while we were making history the library would be valuable long after we were gone.  And we hoped that other people and groups would join the work, which history shows they have done more than could have been dreamed.

We knew the best way would be to have control of our material, but that needed an endowment which we never got.  There was a tax-exempt part formed (ISHR) but its  money was, sadly, wasted over legal fighting.

After the deaths of the three main people at ONE, Dorr Legg, Don Slater, and Jim Kepner, there was an effort made to rejoin all the material that had  been saved by the then three separate parts of the original ONE.  Two, ONE (Legg) and IGLA (Kepner) joined and now still exist as ONE Archives which this month were donated to the USC Library.  We at the HIC (Slater) tried to rejoin but had again disagreements and have now placed our material at the library at Cal State Northridge, where it is safe-the library was rebuilt after an earthquake so is partly underground.

Another example of a collection that chose the same answer is the Tretter Collection at the University of Minnesota—which is hosting an exhibit of the collection this November, thus showing that one fear we had did not happen-that a library would not want to use the material.

Others have been able to get space from local glbt centers—such as in Philadelphia, (William Way) or have separate housing, such as in Chicago (Gerber Hart) or Fort Lauderdale (Stonewall) or Quatrefoil (Minneapolis/St Paul).  A Few own their own building—obviously needing much income—such as Lesbian Herstory in New York.

So we chose the middle way: the material is housed at a university, but we have some control and keep adding and can host events, etc.

The obvious problem you know well is that we still need community/movement support from the local glbt media and organizations to not only donate their material but urge support of their members.  Young people have to learn why our history is important.  That is why we need to reach lgbt organizations at the universities.  It is interesting that people will not donate to a library if they have to give through a church.  I would think MCC needs an archive itself.

Your work is important and is not done by any other part of our community/movement.  Supporting our work is no competition to the work of their groups, such as legal, religious, social service, etc.  We need to get people to understand this.  Hopefully college students will learn and join the work.  And people can give time when they retire.  So I think we will just have to work in the meantime.  So best wises and we can keep exchanging ideas and news.

I have a colorful card with pictures of material in the collection (from the Libraries at the University of Minnesota, Archives and Special Collections) announcing an exhibition of the Tretter Colletion November 5th.  It will be on display till February 5, 2011.

It seems, if I understand it, there will also be a community open house that includes music by the minnesota Philharmonic Orchestra Chamber Group (November 13th).  that is great.

there will be guided tours of archival caverns.  There will be a time capsule-not sure new or old.

It is the 10th Anniversary of the kcollection coming to the university.

Jean-nickolaus Tretter Collection in Gay, lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Studies

Events are at elmer L. Andersen library, 222 21st Avenue South, Minneapolis.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Visit the State Fair before you decide what you think about America

(An Editorial to the Shreveport Opinion)

People seem to think about their country by what it is like the moment they go to vote.  Young people can be excused for this ignorance.  Old people can not.  Anyone who says that we need to “take our country back” or want to go back to the good old days must be  WASP—White Anglo-Saxon Protestant.  And a moment spent thinking about what it was like in the 1940s and what it is like today will show any intelligent person why that “view” is stupid and unAmerican.

To prove this, go visit your State Fair.  Perhaps yours may not be like mine was (and is), but here is what should make any American proud—by being at the Fair in the those good old days and now.

Then we did have a parade downtown, high school bands from all over the area came, marched and then spent the day enjoying the fair—meeting members of the other bands.  The food was good, as it is now.  And there was a college football game, which we couldn't have seen otherwise.  But the exhibits were more “interesting” then, the rides more exciting.  Why?  Because then we didn’t have TV and constant entertainment.  We see football games, and all sports 24 hours a day.  Then it was fun to make the trip to the Fair, which took hours for some of us.  Today it takes an hour at most to get there, on 4 lane highways.  And downtown is dead.  No bands.

And all those exhibits are on tv 24 hours a day, selling products you order online.

But the most important change from those days to today is in people.  There was a day when if a black American had shown up at the gate of the Fair, they could hve caused a riot—white people would have been shocked that a black person would not know that there was a day set aside for the Colored people to enjoy the fair, just as the balcony of theaters were set aside for black moveigoers.  Today most people don't go to theaters; they watch movies on TV, etc.

As I walked around the Fair yesterday, with all sorts of people, I thought about how different they were from their grandparents who walked that Fair in the 1940s.  How do you explain the fact that today black Americans, and all Americans, are walking and eating and riding together and  no one gives a second thought about that fact?  How did such a drastic change in society happen?

Politicians could wonder how to “reach” all those possible voters.  And I doubt any of those thousands of people thought about the fact that they were all there, without regard to religious beliefs, political views, just as we drive the highways of America and don’t worry about the sex or race or sexual proclivities of the other millions driving next to us—only that they know how to drive and obey the laws.

But we should think about it, and be proud of it.  We changed, for the better, and each decade the nation is getting more just and more like the nation the founders dreamed of.  Our greatness is based on our diversity.  We don't have ghettos now.  We don't make a certain race or religious group have to come to the Fair at a certain time.

But we have no problem with any race or religion if they agree to follow the same rules everyone else does.  They can dress “funny,” as some think Pentecostal women, or the Amish do.  But any “cultural” choice can not harm our nation—so no dress can hide a person so that they can not be identified.  We think of that about Muslims, but we also thought about that about Elvis.  Some thought he was a threat to our way of life.  

And as I left the Fair I passed a large group of Indians, from India, dressed as they do in India, and I think of how the other thousands of Fairgoers were dressed, mostly in blue jeans and shorts—and I think that, without losing their cultural diversity, America is better today because of blue jeans.  But I also thought about the fact that the mayor of the town is a black man, as is the President of the United States, AND the governor the state is an Indian—as in, from India.  

It is common sense to dress according to our climate, not the climate in some other nation, and with washing machines we don’t have to worry about getting food on us as we walk around the fair with all other Americans, enjoying the Fair today, and we should be proud that is is NOT like the Fair of the 1940s.

We as  nation are better than we were in the 1940s.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Letter in current issue of Lesbian Connection

I thought of you and your work with kinship when I read some thoughts in the Nov/Dec 10 issue of Lesbian Connection—sent for our library/movement work/info—and hope I understood it correctly.  (I read too fast sometimes, and too many different things each day and worry about the things I am not seeing and hearing about.)

If I understand it a lesbian couple met first years ago at church camp when they were about 16. They met again years later  when one was a student minister (1987) in rural Alberta CA at a conference, and the other was there as a social justice worker with youth.

Now they have been parents and have won a trip to the Grand Caymans for an article on how they met (in Homemakers Magazine, online essay).  The problem is that there is a sexual question about the Islands, but they have been assured it is okay, and they will not have trouble for their sexuality.  (Kim McKellar, of Lions Head, ON, CA doesn't say what church involved.)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Religion in America: History Relevant to Today

If someone is really interested in understanding the relationship of religion and government, there are two current resources that seem to be objective in giving information that helps citizens learn what the nation's founders thought and what is thought today.  And the issue is relevant to the discussion of slavery and how black Americans today feel about homosexuality and how homosexuality and slavery are covered in the Bible—and indirectly how the issue of separation of church and state is something some churches don't understand until they oppose the church which might be supported by the government, in this case Islam.

Radical Christians keep saying that this is a Christian nation and we need to “return” to having religion control the government.  Yet according to two current resources this is not true.  And it is complicated, which is why bigots don't take the time to understand the facts but just “want” something to be true, like Stephen Colbert’s “truthiness.”

The first resource, discussed recently on C-SPAN’s BookTV, is a book by Thomas Kidd, religion professor at Baylor University, discussed at Indiana Wesleyan University. The book is God of Liberty, Religious History of the American Revolution, if I remember it correctly.  The issue is “civil religion.”  Many early settlers brought religion with them but were just as narrow minded about it as others were in the nations they left.  And some states had an established church, mostly Anglican.

The terrible fact is that early “Christians” killed Native American Indians, trying to force them to become Christian.  And in a state where one religion dominated, other religions were persecuted, much as Islam persecutes other religions today.  An example is how the Iroquois were killed when they refused to become Christian.

In both resources we learn much about Thomas Jefferson that we did not understand.  He was not anti-religion and helped Baptists gained equal rights, which led to his proclaiming the wall of separation of church and state (Danbury Baptists).  But he did reject much of the Bible and made his own version of it.  In the election of 1800 he was accused of being anti-god and an atheist.  The goal was no coercion to a religion but no hostility to religions.  Often religious terms were thrown about by politicians but did not reflect their true feelings-most were Deists.

When the effort was made to reject an established church-which meant everyone had to pay taxes to support the one “established” the leaders opposed this and said that if no force, people would soon not be “religious.”  The irony is that today, in this nation that supports NO religion, all religions thrive and it is a great example of free enterprise and competition and capitalism.

Religion was thought to give stability to society, but too often divided citizens.  And it could be said that people began to “worship” the nation and it was civil spirituality that gave the nation the support it needed to become strong.  Some have said that efforts like the event sponsored by Glenn Beck is proof that today we have a civil religion.  That is the background of 4th of July celebrations, etc.

It is interesting that religion affected how people thought about the idea of the new nation becoming independent.  John Wesley and others did not favor this.  Some quoted the Bible to say citizens owed allegiance to the government, in this case England.  Divine right of kings, etc.  Each side thought “God was on their side,” as became true later in the Civil War.  Both sides had preachers quoting the Bible to prove their cause was just.

But the fact is that we have a godless constitution.  Deliberately.  And to pretend the founders were evangelical is nonsense.  See Benjamin Franklin, for instance. But people with all views were able to work together to get the Constitution and start the Revolution.  It was something like classical republican Greece.  The fact is that the founders were politicians, like politicians today.  They preached equality of all men, but the only “equal” citizens were male property owners.  The majority of citizens were second class—poor men, women, slaves, etc.

The question of where equality comes from was not settled then, nor has it been settled now—does it come from a creator or from all citizens?

The second resource is a documentary currently showing on PBS, titled God In America, giving the history of how religion has been thought of in America.  It covers such issues as how each new wave of immigrants brought their own religions and beliefs with them and usually had problems with the prevailing citizens.  Examples were when many Catholics started coming, as they are today from Mexico, and then Jews from Europe.  Most integrated and made essential changes to survive in America.  The basic question then and now is how much essential beliefs had to be kept and how cultural additions to the religion had to change.  Jews came from nations that forced them into ghettos, controlling their civil lives.  They adjusted to America where they were free and equal, and no longer lived in ghettos.  An issue relevant to homosexual citizens.

As to how black Americans have been treated, based on religion, is a sad situation.  While the Abolitionists were religious, the major religions supported slavery and at the time of the Civil War they separated and churches in the south supported slavery.  It is sad and strange to hear sermons from white preachers and politicians in the south of that time quoting scripture from the Bible to prove that slavery was their god's will.  Today, the same preachers, joined by now free black preachers quote scripture  to 'prove" their god disapproves of homosexuality.

Common sense tells us that in all our nation's life politicians have been the same,and they say what they think will get them elected and power.  Too often the more a politician or preacher talks against something, he or she is guilty of that “sin.”  The more a politician talks about their religious beliefs, the less godly they are. And when some “religious” voters say that their god ordained the president they like, they then say the devil gave them the president they don’t like.  Preachers said their god ordained the Civil War.  The problems is that both the north and south said this, and it was hard for the south to explain when they lost the war—why their god had failed them.

The one important issue that neither resource seems to answer is the eternal question of how a “true” religious person acts in a nation where they are able to help guide the government.  It doesn't matter in a nation where the citizen has no voice-such was probably the time of Jesus, and in most of history.  So, even as such people as Billy Graham said in this time, the effort is made to spread the gospel and save people, and they in turn can make the nation/society better.  But the rule was, give unto Caesar what is his and to God what is His.  So the question is, can a religious person then support a politician or law they object to on religious grounds—when they are one and the same?  That is where religion and America have a problem.

A sincere person may kill a physician who does abortions, or someone they think is homosexual, because their religion tells them both are wrong.  But can a nation survive when each religion says different things and can any citizen kill any other that they think are sinful?  That is what our nation still faces.  There are citizens who simply don't believe a black person should be president and will do and say anything to prevent it.  There are citizens who believe they have a right to use drugs and will defy laws that prevent it.  And during the civil rights efforts of black Americans, laws were violated because they were unjust and unconstitutional. You can have no respect for a law or law’s agent when the law takes away your civil rights, and the enforcers join others and kill you for trying to gain that guaranteed equality. 

So there are no answers in these resources or most religious spokespersons or politicians. The answer is that the founders dreamed of and tried to set us on the path to: a nation of laws, not men or religions.  Through laws based on common sense, such as the Bill of Rights, citizens demanded of the government, a government of their consent.  I truly hope that we are getting closer to that goal every generation.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Why a homosexual graduate does not support LSU

I wonder how many glbt graduates of LSU have contacted you and the various disciplines there offering to help give resources to the coverage of homosexuality.

I over the years have made such offers, to the library, sociology department, psychology, etc.  I find it makes me have doubts about the education students get when the professors reject serious offers from people who have first-hand knowledge of subjects.  I am, to quote a professor at Centenary College, a primary source on the history of the movement to gain equal rights for homosexual Americans.  I have been discussed in two major books, Before Stonewall, edited by Dr. Vern Bullough, and Pre-Gay L. A. by Dr. C. Todd White.  I have worked with the founders of the movement, most  no longer with us.  One of my co-workers did the first book on how to cover the issue in the various disciplines (Dorr Legg, Homophile Studies) based on his work, the first in the world on developing courses on aspects of homosexuality.

Yet to my knowledge the library, and the professors in these departments, have never heard of any of this history.  That means LSU is not a first-rate university.  The material saved from our work in is two universities now, at USC  and Cal State Northridge in Southern California, where this movement began in 1950-something too many “academics” don't know—they have only heard of Stonewall, because that is what the popular media has heard about.  So students will not know the most important information about the best documented of the three major civil rights movements in America.

And since I have a personal interest in supporting education that is competent and ethical, I see nothing to suggest that LSU fits that category.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

How GLBT media covers issues/RE: Press Pass Q, October 2010

Thanks for the good report on the 20th anniversary meeting of NLGJA.

Sarah Blazukie is right—and she hits the issue from the start of our movement when she says that lgbt journalists present a view of news that the general media does not.  Harry Hay said that we have a different view, which may not be better but sure does spot [a devil] sooner than most lazy general reporters, etc. This does not mean we should not seek full integration into the national society, but that doesn't mean we will not be viewing life from a different perspective, until we gain full equality.

As to communication, I don't even see some publications and resources listed in Gayellow Pages—I don’t have an email for Here-Tv or Madison's paper or The Rage Monthly.

And it is hard for people who have worked in this cause for decades to "hear" a journalist/paper say that it was essentially sparked by Stonewall, in 1969 and then list various names which do not include the very founders of the movement or founders of lgbt journalism—such as harry Hay, Don Slater, etc. (current editorial in Gay & Lesbian news of San Diego)

And I also can’t understand any responsible journalist who did NOT see Karen Ocamb’s point, valid, that the newspaper played an active part, directed news, and thus helped pass Prop 8.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

San Francisco, meet Kansas: Diversity in the glbt community movement; a vast difference from when there was only ONE

Perhaps I don’t need to worry, but I do, that the people in our community/movement are unaware of all the great diversity of people, ideas, services we have.  I sure don't see all the newspapers, or know of what is going on at all the centers or what the lgbt journalists are doing or the glbt medical doctors, etc.  And even with the internet and Gayellow Pages, do young people know what is there for them?

And do the leftist glbt people in San Francisco know about the middle-of-the road glbt people in Kansas?  Who among us reads both Liberty Press and Ultraviolet?  Many people see the major city newspapers, such as Washington Blade, Philadelphia Gay News, Windy City Times, but what about small town and narrow interest publications and resources?

I think it is interesting to know what is in Kansas right now—it sure wasn’t there a few years ago, and this is a a sign of how well our community/movement is doing.  The two universities are very active in lgbt issues, several have resource centers, and Wichita State University now has queer courses.  There is a lgbt archive at KU.  And a professor at KSU has written a book exploring Two-Spirit literature in northwest native groups.  (Lisa Tatonetti,  Queering American Indian Literature: The Rise of contemporary Two-Spirit Texts and Criticism)  She co-edited Sovereign Erotics:  A Collection of Contemporary Two-Spirit Literature, which the University of Arizona Press will publish Spring of 2011.

And Wichita has the Tallgrass Film Festival, and  other cities, such as Shreveport, now have such events.  And I have never heard of a comic strip mentioned in Liberty Press, “Little Scottie” by Scott Winer and Todd Pickrell.  It is reported that now the Wichita Eagle publishes same-sex wedding announcements-poor Fred Phelps.   But good for him, not so good for us, (Prof) Bob Minor, of Minor Details, is retiring at KU.  (Dr. Minor is a Professor Emeritus of Religious Studies at the University of Kansas, after 33 years.) But will continue his good work.

Meanwhile, in San Francisco, LAGAI_QI's UltraViolet says that an organization called Against Equality is hitting the road to talk bout the over emphasis in the community/movement on marriage.  They have an anthology, Against Equality:  Queer Critiques of Gay Marriage, has articles by such people as Jon D'Emilio, Kate Bornstein,Yasmin Nair and others.  The “tour” began in Portland ME, October 2.  They are going to Washington D. C. and Chicago (October 9th) and will cover the West coast this winter.  There is discussion of why burning the Koran is not  new thing to “Christians.”  And another “alternate view” is in the review of the movie, The Children Are All Right, saying it is too stereotyped and not a valid portrait and those making it should have done a better job.  They seem to think Palestine is being mistreated by Israel.  In “Pink Summer” they say 150 queers and allies protested the opening night of the San Francisco LGBT Film Festival (Frameline) because the Israeli consulate was a sponsor.  There was also a “Brass Liberation Orchestra” to liven things up.  Sounds like a Phelps production.  There was also a Queers Against Israeli Apartheid in Toronto.  I think they also oppose the military, I think—hard to tell.

There is also an article on the AIDS issue about vaginal gel-I think based on trails in South Africa.  It does cover the issue reported earlier in OutSmart, that a study found that commonly used lube products damaged rectal cells, possibly making users more vulnerable to HIV infection.  Dry sex is not good, so look for a lube that is isotonic or silicon based and is compatible with condom use.

While we all have limited time, it would help us psychologically maybe to glance at all these good publications around the nation.  We are truly everywhere.  And have many views on sex, politics, solutions, etc.  By communicating, we all will be better prepared to deal with our enemies.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

We are individuals, perhaps more so than most heterosexuals-and a minority because society has made us all "one."

Regarding: John Duran on the De-’Outlawing’ of West Hollywood  (to Bill Kelly and Karen Ocamb):

Where did you find this wonderful letter?  It is perfect Don Slater thinking.  We have always had the extremes in the community/movement, but we must say no to the glbt Taliban that wants to make us like everhyone else.  And the idea that hetero families want to moved to a glbt area and then change it is no different from Muslims moving to America and then trying to force us to change to their Sharia law.

The more I think of the letter and the “issue,” the more complicated it gets with the two views of  founders—Harry Hay and Don Slater.  It seems to me that they would have the same view on this.  Yet their disagreed on the issue of integration versus being different-outsiders, the “canary in the mine”—seeing things first and differently because of our not being like heteros on the basic issue of sex.

You were right that it is a national-generic problem. To get people to like us, we are told to conform-which defeats the very purpose of the movement—according to Don Slater, the right of any American to his/her privacy.  It is no one else's business what we think or who we have sex with.  But it is interesting that in a sense “we” have taken over some parts of a city and made it a good place to live and then non-homosexuals see how good it is and move in and then try to force us to change to fit their views, which views didn't seem to make where they lived before as good as the way we made the area.  (Not sure how to say this better.)

But this is not a bigoted problem. The same thing, I was told long ago in some class—I think it was a sociology class on housing around Baton Rouge while we toured to see some of them—we tend to take our errors with us.  The example was many people being told, for medical reasons, to move to dry areas, especially Phoenix where the growth that gave them problems would not exist.  The people moved and soon started thinking the place would be “better” if it had a little greenery and started planting things like the place they came from.  Soon they had destroyed the very atmosphere they had moved to, making it as bad as the place they had moved from.

It is one thing for the community/movement to support those who seek the benefits of marriage.  But it wrong for those people to then use religion and societal approval (or disapproval) to say that ALL homosexuals should marry and conform.  That makes them like the Taliban—deciding what rules are best for everyone.  And killing those who disagree.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Putting in words how someone has felt working for a cause/25th celebration of the Windy City Times

I have often tried to put in words how it has fet working for a cause and with people who had the same vision. I think one of the best efforts I have seen is by Jorjet Harper in this week's issue of Windy City Times. While Tracy Baim covers well the history of the paper and the movement in the Chicago area, Harper tells how she feels, looking back at the life she led. She like many of us has material from the old days and looking through it brings back memories, of faces and names and events often forgotten but which make up your history.

As is said, it is difficult to convey how exciting it was to be in the movement a quarter of a century ago, to be in the midst of the gay and lesbian renaissance, or as is said, naissance, since nothing like it had ever happened. Memories include working on a publication, the buildings they were in, strangely similar for the Windy City Times and ONE Magazine, rundown, etc. And who today can experience the fun of clunky typesetting machines, and even the early computers. No email.

But meeting the other people working for the cause was always fun. And sometimes it was frustrating, such as the coverage of the ongoing struggle of people such as, in Harper's case, Karen Thompson's efforts on behalf of her lover, Sharon Kowalski, whose parents kept them apart after the car crash that disabled her. You wonder where all these people are today.

"Most of us who worked at WCT and Outlines lived and breathed gay and lesbian community; gay activism; and gay and lesbian culture. When we weren't actually working on specific newspaper tasks, we'd sit around the office and discuss the waves and waves of controversies that were always swirling around in the community and, in one way or another, making news."

And a point well made, this history month, "The Wikipedia article on LGBT history dismisses the 1980s as "a dismal period for homosexuals." 'Dismal' is not how I'd describe it at all." Even with AIDS the 80s were a time of enormous expansion, as had been each decade since the movement's founding in 1950. And again, something we've all felt but historians still don't get in trying to learn how this movement has worked-"But the mainstream press was still loathe to report anything about gays and lesbians except AIDS-related news." An example is the failure to cover the 1987 March on Washington. Another example given is the failure to cover the Olivia Records 15th anniversary concert at Carnegie Hall in 1988. And the pleasure of writing about the importance on James Baldwin, the most important black gay author of the 1950s and 1960s. Sitting alone in the office reviewing his history for the article, trying to tell his importance to people who might not know or be too young to remember how groundbreaking his books had been in the 960s.

"I look back almost in awe on the hope and exquisite moments of those times amid the poignancy of our great losses. It was a rare opportunity to combine activism and culture, and feel like I was contributing something tangible to the movement for LGBT rights. We felt, and we knew, that we were fighting for something that really mattered, and that we were going to win, because we had to. I feel privileged to have been not only a part of that, but one of the people to document those times as they unfolded."


Saturday, October 2, 2010

Religion, personal and the basis of the founding of our nation

In yesterday's issue of The Shreveport Times there are two columns saying that it is religion that created America and our problems are that there are people and organizations trying to take away religion, which is the basis of our success. Both columns are nonsense.

How many times do people, who seem to need to support their religious beliefs, try to find quotes, from the founders or their Bible, to 'prove" what is not true. This nation was founded by Christians, but not based on religion. For every quote someone can give us on the 'religious" beliefs of the founders, common sense can tell you two things-first that there as many quots that prove they were NOT pushing religion as the basis of the constitution, etc, AND why would someone think the politicians then were "more better, honest, etc" than politicians today. They said then, as now, what they thought the voters wanted to hear. And, like parents, they told kids to be good "or Santa Claus" wouldn't come." (Actually in some parts, they passes laws AGAINST Christmas obsevance, as being pagan oriented, but that is another story.) Religion, they were saying, is good for the masses, but they knew what it took to make a nation that would last, and the very first thing was to be sure that what they left in the old country, religious conflict and domination, did NOT happen here.

But it might be interesting to think about what Jesus would think, say and do if He were here today. For instance, would he join the Tea Party? He sure fought the establishment, he was attacking the religious leaders of his day, even using violence against the money changers in the temple. So he would probably not be happy with the bureaucrats in any political party or the leaders of religious churches. He would not be trying to save the world, he did not fight Rome or slavery only the "church." He offered salvation to individuals, hoping thus that they would inturn be better citizens and this would make a better nation. So there is no basis for wsaying Christians should force their beliefs on others. But that means that Muslims can not force Islamic laws on us either. That is why sparation of church and state is the greatest gift the founders gave us.

Religion, personal and the basis of the founding of our nation

In yesterday’s issue of The Times there are two columns saying that it is religion that created America and our problems are that there are people and organizations trying to take away religion, which is the basis of our success.  Both columns are nonsense.

How many times do people, who seem to need to support their religious beliefs, try to find quotes, from the founders or their Bible, to “prove” what is not true.  This nation was founded by Christians but not based on religion.  For every quote someone can give us on the religious beliefs of the founders, common sense can tell you two things-first that there as many quotes that prove they were NOT pushing religion as the basis of the constitution, etc, AND why would someone think the politicians then were “more better, honest, etc.” than politicians today.  They said then, as now, what they thought the voters wanted to hear.  And, like parents, they told kids to be good or Santa Claus wouldn’t come.  (Actually in some parts, they passes laws AGAINST Christmas observance, as being pagan oriented, but that is another story.)  Religion, they were saying, is good for the masses, but they knew what it took to make a nation that would last, and the very first thing was to be sure that what they left in the old country, religious conflict and domination, did NOT happen here.

But it might be interesting to think about what Jesus would think, say and do if He were here today.  For instance, would he join the Tea Party?  He sure fought the establishment, he was attacking the religious leaders of his day, even using violence against the money changers in the temple.  So he would probably not be happy with the bureaucrats in any political party or the leaders of religious churches.  He would not be trying to save the world, he did not fight Rome or slavery only the “church.”  He offered salvation to individuals, hoping thus that they would int urn be better citizens and this would make a better nation.  So there is no basis for saying Christians should force their beliefs on others.  But that means that Muslims can not force Islamic laws on us either.  That is why separation of church and state is the greatest gift the founders gave us.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Suicide

by Kevin Caruso

"I always knew that I was gay. I also remember seeing heterosexual couples and knowing that I wasn't like them. I would get very depressed about not being like other kids. Many times I would take a kitchen knife and press it against my chest, wondering if I should push it all the way in," said Alex, a 14-year-old gay youth.

And innumerable lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trangender (LGBT) youths have similar feelings.
Many do not feel safe to "come out" with their orientation because countless LGBT youths have been rejected by their families or friends, verbally abused, phsysically abused, or bullied as a result.
This intolerance against the LGBT community is rooted in ignorance.
Ignorant people cannot accept others that are not like them. And they do not understand that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trangender people do not "choose" their orientation -- they are born lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender, just like some people are born with white skin and others are born with black skin.

Adolescence is a very difficult stage for anyone to go through. But lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgenders have the added difficulty of coping with this ignorance -- and the intolerance, discrimination, hate and rejection that often accompanies it.

It is difficult difficult to fully research LGBT youth suicide because many young lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgenders have not "come out." But studies indicate that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning youth are up to four times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers. And those who are rejected by their family are up to nine times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers.

And the discrimination, ignorance, and intolerance that members of the LGBT community experience when they are young continue into adulthood.

If you are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender, and need help, please reach out. There are many resources available.

And please remember that the people who are ignorant and insensitive are the ones with the problems -- not you! Stay away from them, and surround yourself with caring and supportive people. But take steps to protect yourself, your rights, your feelings, and your physical and mental health.

If you are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender, and are suffering from depression or are suicidal, please go to the Home Page of this website and get help immediately.
Or call The Trevor Hotline, which is a 24-hour toll-free suicide prevention line aimed at lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning youths:

And please read the following articles for more infromation on gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered suicide:
Suicide Note of a Gay Teen
Joshua Melo Memorial -- Joshua, 15, Died by Suicide After Being Incessantly Bullied Because Some Cowards Believed That He Was Gay
Hate Against Gays and Lesbians can Lead to Murder and Suicide -- Remembering Matthew Sheppard and John French
I Want to Kill Myself: A Suicide Survivor Shares Her Suicidal Feelings and Suicide Attempt

Take care of yourself,
Kevin Caruso

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Some LSU football supporters are like some Obama supporters

Sometimes our friends can do us more harm than our enemies-as some LSU footbal players learned when their own fans were more unhappy with them than the West Virginia supporters-who are supposed to oppose them. That is what is reported by Glenn Guilbeau in The Times Monday (LSU bites back at ferocious fans). And the way Coach Miles thought about those booing fans, when the team is winning, could apply to some Obama supporters: "Those are the type people who go to work and complain abut the coffee when they didn't make it."

And Guilbeau goes even further into what could be said about "supporters" in a separate column (Good passing games don't always add up to victories) when he talks about how even a maybe Heisman Trophy quarterback (Arkansas' Ryan Mallett) may not be passing right. And this also relates not only to LSU's Patrick Peterson's playing, but to how everyone thinks they know better how to get Obama more liked and successful.

Maybe fans of football and politics should talk, sociologically and psychologically.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Articles in current issue of Montrose Gem

To the Editor of the Montrose Gem:

I glanced online at your current issue of Montrose Gem and thought I'd say I found your donation of books to the (glbt) Resource Center at the University of Houston a good idea even if you miss the books. Do I understand that there is also a Resource Center at Rice University too? That is good for students. I hope all new students learn of these and the lgbt groups there. Is the Gem distributed on campuses? I do wonder how many people read books today. Many say they don't have time, with required reading etc. I think there should be a short list of important books, such as for History month. Of course some will read fiction for pleasure. I must admit I did not read books on the subject of homosexuality until I was already "out."

I also found the article on meanings of Montrose (History at a Glance, by Craig Farrel) interesting. It is curious, sociologically, how some area of a city becomes more "gay-friendly" than others. My only contact with the area was years ago when a cousin, Lanny Brown, lived there—he died later—and worked for a florist there.

I think we need to make history sexy, apparently. With all the good current mention of homosexuality it may not be interesting for young homosexual men and women to get past watching Ellen, Real World, and gay/lesbian characters on many tv shows, to learn that life was not always so "gay." Just as someone had to work to make America as good as it is, someone had to actually work to make America more gay-friendly. And it started, in 1950, in the worst of times, the McCarthy era of making someone scapegoats—communists—and making homosexuals sound bad by accusing us of being communists. That was not so wild, since the founders of this movement were communists-but had been kicked out of the party because they were homosexual. And immediately the movement was taken over by conservatives. Today we all all types, politically, religiously, socially, etc. (The current issue of The Gay & Lesbian Review is devoted to showing such diversity, with articles, ironically, on the Radical Faeries, also founded by the movement's main-co-founder, Harry Hay, and then the male bears, and a certain type of lesbian-out of the mainstream.)

That is why another article is so important for young people to try to understand, and that is that, while it was Republicans that blocked the ending of DADT, there are two glbt Republican groups working to change the views in the party. An even harder problem to deal with is the religious bigotry about sexuality, ironically in the black churches of using the same Bible that approved of slavery to say homosexuality is wrong. And proof that the ones preaching this nonsense the most are closet queen black preachers-see Bishop Long of Georgia. It takes a little perspective to learn who our enemies are, and how to deal with them. But it is much easier today than in 1950—long before Stonewall—when the founders started to educate themselves and others about the truth about sexuality, especially homosexuality. We are still making progress. And it is good to have Montrose Gem keeping us informed, and entertained.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Why the Tea Party "cause" is and is not like the homosexual "cause"

The media is obsessed with the Tea Party and members call it a "cause." But there is no one "party." The same is and was true of the homosexual cause.

The first and most important element in both causes is the enthusiasm of the people. TV talkers keep saying that there is vitality in the Republican Party, but don't say it is in fact the Tea Party people who have the momentum, not the 'professional" party members. And that members/voters have lost interest in the Democratic Party-probably for the same reason there is no excitement in the mainstream Republican Party. Year after year there seems to be no change, no matter which party is in power or who is leading the party. Some people seem to think our nation needs a third party-but the only effort is with those in the Tea Party events and candidates.

It seems the cause/purposes of the people supporting the Tea Party efforts, appeared about the time of the 2008 election-and it is doubtful that the media created the "party." Fox News does not deserve credit or criticism for covering what was already happening.

The homosexual cause did not start so suddenly, it was created slowly from secret meetings in 1950 and spread and new joiners had enthusiasm for what the effort was doing-gaining equal/civil rights, which had been denied in 3 areas, religious, legal and medical. It had to work with NO support from the media until about 1969 and Stonewall.

There is another difference between the two causes. It seems the tea party members merely seek to regain what special rights they had, often at the expense of people of color and other minorities. But they blame the present situation on professional, "experienced' politicians, and media "experts."

Such people don't have any doubts that they deserve their rights, and their cause is "just.' That was not true of homosexual Americans in 1950. Most of those members had believed the experts/professions who had said they were sick, sinful and criminal and did not deserve to be accepted as equal citizens, unless they changed their basic nature. So they too had to realize that the 'experts' and professionals were all wrong.

Can these two causes work together in areas where they both seek to make the government and society responsive to their needs and make politicians accountable for what they do?

One other news item of the day shows one possibility, and why the bureaucrats should worry about the members of both causes-and some people are members of both causes-and that is the report that once again voting machines broke down in several states-meaning that the bureaucrats have made no progress in protecting the integrity of one of the most important aspects of citizenship. And this lack of competence continues under all administrations, federal and state and local. Let us find some new citizens to put in office who can function.

Monday, September 13, 2010

My contact with/RE: Mattachine Society

In response to a query by Greg Jeu, Publisher, OutSmart Magazine:

I was never a member of Mattachine, the first-early (Foundation), started in 1950 and essentially killed by 1952/3 when Hal Call and cohorts kicked the founders out at an annual meeting. I think this is not important to most people, but is sociologically and historically since as usual both sides were good people and had good reasons for how they acted and thought. I also was not a member of the Mattachine (Society) which Hal, and then Don Lucas, et al restarted in San Francisco. The early meetings of Mattachine were at secret, sort of like some communist groups and earlier secret societies. From one small group meeting, it slowly grew to dozens, and spread from Los Angeles over the south and then up north.

Harry Hay, Dale Jennings, et al were either Communists or leftwingers. They were then kicked out of the party for being homosexual-remember Harry had actually married to be a good party member, although I don't think his family background explains this. I think some material is good in Stuart Timmon's book, The Trouble with Harry Hay (Stuart has recovered from a stroke and is working with others to honor Harry this year I think, although I have had no contact and don't get response from what was, nor his . I think a friend, Lee Mentley of Stuart's, could get more info if you want ( . I don't have contact with James Sears whose book on Mattachine covered most of this, Behind the Mask of the Mattachines.

My connection to Mattachine was short. It started in September, 1959 when I finally decided to go to ONE's offices-having had the magazine from newsstand. I met Jim Kepner first, and we went down to a drugstore-Thrifty's across from Pershing Square at 6th St., a few blocks from ONE's offices at 232 S Hill/233 S. Broadway-upstairs from (I actually forget if it was Goodwill or Salvation Army) a used clothing store. But I remember it was a block from Grand Central Market, a great place and a block from a large Mexican-American movie theater and near the Bradbury Building, The Los Angeles Times and City Hall and across the street from a Cooper's Donut place, where we would go after evening meetings.

I had forgotten the reason Jim told me about the coming Mattachine convention in Denver and it was I think that he was going to speak. I did not go with him, and honestly can't remember if i drove or took a bus, but assume I drove, went to the meeting, my first active participation in a homosexual activity. It was "historic" for two reasons, actually getting large local media coverage, which backfired and the local people suffered. The second was getting "coverage" in San Francisco, because they had let some unknown person propose the group send a "thank you" to the San Francisco mayor for being 'gay-friendly"- not the right term but what it meant. The stooge was doing this for another man seeking the office-Wolper I think, and it was used in his ads against Christopher. Not for a really good reason, but the local press/media and public got unhappy with this-even though they were still not "friendly" and so the attempt backfired and Christopher won re-election. And Mattachine got some publicity-this was before SIR, etc.

After the convention I went to San Francisco-again I don't think I went with Hal, but when I got there I stayed a week or so with him and worked at the office on Mission St. They were also PanGraphic Press, which supported them, and so I helped put small books together and some on the Mattachine Review. I had read a book, Advise and Consent and said it was worth talking about so they told me to do a book review which I did but don't think it was used until a year or so later-61. Then I returned to Los Angeles and started volunteering at ONE. Jim Kepner got mad at dorr Legg for misleading them over the issue of tax-exemption etc, same type thing Don Slater finally got tired of a forced the separation in 1965. (Ironically it was only when we finally got a tax-exempt part -ISHR- that Dorr felt safe enough to really push his agenda (education) and tried to stop Don's part (the magazine mainly.)

When Jim quit, Dorr got them to offer me the job, paid, as a staff member-the pay was a joke of course; both Don and Dorr had partners supporting them-Tony Reyes danced at a night club on Olvera St. I had income from my family. (Most of this is covered in Todd White's book on all three early organizations, Mattachine, ONE and then the Homosexual Information Center-Pre-Gay L. A. I don't think you ever reviewed gthe book. You did print a chapter of an earlier book on Kepner-I forget which book.

We moved to the Venice Blvd address, at Western, in 1962 and then the separation came in April-Easter-1965. Ironically at that time Harry Hay had met John Burnside (I believe first at a ONE meeting) and John eventually left his wife and they started living together and he moved his business-making teleidoscopes- to a building around the corner from us at Washington Blvd at Western. Later, when Don & Tony bought a small house in the Four Corners area of Colorado, John and Harry spent a few years living in a cottage at San Juan Pueblo Indian Reservation in NW New Mexico.

Harry had dropped out as did Dale Jennings, for a while, but kept contact with the movement and also worked, while in NM with stopping a dam that would have harmed the Indians/Native Americans. Dale went on to write a little-including the movie, The Cowboys, which starred John Wayne, and a book The Ronin, both of which bring in a little money each year-HIC owns his estate. And harry did the Gay Faeries thing. Harry's views did not agree with those of ONE people but they always loved each other and worked together.

I should point out that the reason Hal Call et al kicked Harry et al out was that while their work had started a great movement, they would have killed it soon as they had the communist background during that era, McCarthy, etc. Harry even appeared before the House Un-American Activities Committee-one of the few who made them look foolish. Hal, a veteran, as in a lesser way was Don Slater, was a conservative, as were by then most of the founders of ONE, Inc when it came out of early Mattachine to be the public voice, before early Mattachine essentially died.

Soon after Hal, et al started in San Francisco, Del Martin, Phyllis Lyon, et al started DOB-Daughters of Bilitis, and then The Ladder. ONE published this history of the movement in the first book-Homosexuals Today, which also covered most European groups/publications.

I thought I'd put this in context, sorry it goes so long. Over the years we always had contact with Hal Call and he left money to ISHR-he sided with Dorr and helped him rebuild the information before the legal issue was settled-we gave him back a copy of the membership. I could not keep contact iwth Don Lucas. We also had good relations with SIR and Guy Strait, early San Francisco people and groups.

Hope your article goes well.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Examples of abuse of the Freedom of the Press by journalists

Two current examples of how journalists, either because they are incompetent and/or unethical, have caused harm to the nation should worry any journalists who are (competent and ethical).

The popular one, that even a few tv talkers have tried to deal with, is wild coverage of a small-time preacher in Florida, who sought fame and fortune by announcing he was going to burn the Koran. While many journalists and media types excuse coverage of some person or "news" by saying it has been covered on the internet, on some website or blog, there is no excuse for giving further coverage and most people ask how the mention on some obscure website jumps to discussion on every major tv and news program. How did the public know what was on a website? Does someone spend all day searching every possible website for some sexy news?

It is queer that journalists/media persons can ignore lots of real news and yet constantly repeat every new word from this preacher. And never ask if the preacher, and their pimping/exploiting his claims, might be causing harm to the young men and women in the military, serving to protect our nation from harm. Is "freedom of the press" so sacred it must prevail even if it leads to harm of our nation?

The second questionable actions by a journalist is more specific and possibly made the difference in the success or failure of a proposed passage of a legal attempt to stop same sex marriage, the Proposition 8 in California. If I understand the claim, found in an article on The Bilerico Report explaining why one person did not attend the recent convention of the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association in San Francisco.

The reason is that a host was a journalist who acted strangely in the handling of coverage of an event. The first question is why a glbt journalist with common sense did not find the problem with some nutty lesbian school teacher inviting her students to witness her wedding in a time when such a marriage was being voted on-Prop 8. Why support such a stupid, selfish person? But if you are going to cover the event, why would you deliberately make it more controversial, but make the story more sexy so that it would sell more papers, by contacting the people who opposed such a marriage?

The question for journalist ethics has been asked before. If you are going to cover an event by an atheist, for instance, why is it a journalist rule that you must then contact someone or some organization that hates atheists to give their view? Do you invite an atheist to give an opinion every time you report some religious event or discussion?

There is a possibility that this lgbt journalist helped Prop 8 pass, since the claim had been made by the Mormon church ads that if such marriages were allowed it would lead to support of homosexuality in the schools, indoctrinating children. And here was the glbt journalist providing the bigots with "proof."

Perhaps this report is wrong, that the journalist did not put himself into the news instead of reporting it. But the issue has to be dealt with in a generic discussion and the profession needs to tell the public if it approves of journalists, like the entertainers on Fox News, making news, rather than reporting it.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Some thoughts for and about Muslim Americans by ONE homosexual American

If you were told a religion or "faith" tells its followers that you are evil and should be killed, it should be logical to fear and hate that religion.

I believe that Islam says that and therefore my common sense guides me to only one action-to demand that all religions in America follow the U.S. Constitution and to support separation of church and state, which was the intent of the founders.

Other religious groups have faced the same issues Muslims are now facing, currently forced on them by the proposed mosque in New York City. Catholics faced such issues, no matter what their nationality, when first coming to America. And the issue in a sense was settled when President Kennedy sought the office and explained how he viewed the issue of following the laws of the nation—not changing them—rather than the dictates of a foreign power (the Pope).

Intelligent Americans, no matter their views on religion, know that too often religion is a dividing force rather than a uniting one, and that fanatics in religions need to be controlled by the rest of followers when they misuse the religion and misinterpret the 'sacred" books to do harm to others. An example in America is how Protestants in the southern part, mainly, used the Bible to support white people owning black people/slaves, leading to a Civil War, and then again using their Bible to support harm to black Americans by joining the KKK. The sin was not only commission, but omission, since other Christians did not speak out against this evil.

America is not fighting a religious war in the Middle East-it is fighting a cultural war, in which fanatic Muslims have attacked us. the issue of the mosque in New York has led charlatans, in the name of Christianity, to exploit the issue of religion-and it is necessary for true Christians to speak out against such fanatics, who would, for instance, burn books, including the Koran.

In America, the majority does not decide civil/equal rights. But it has taken all these years to come close to living this ideal, and Muslims need to understand this as well as Mormons, who seek their rights but want to deny these rights to homosexual Americans. At the start, the nation's founders had to compromise, such as allowing slavery in the Constitution, but it was clear to them and everyone since-except those who personally benefitted from slavery—that it would have to go if we were to live up to the ideal of all men being created equal. And Christians have to admit that the Bible does allow for slavery but that does not make it right and the ideal promoted by the Bible leads to the end of slavery.

It is not asking too much of Americans today, living in the greatest nation on earth-and free to leave if they don't agree—to work to preserve and defend our values and to make this a more perfect nation-one that we have because millions of Americans since the founding have given their lives to defend.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Why the Homosexual Information Center, like ONE Magazine, is Don Slater's gift to the community/movement

The main reason to get our material online is that it is the work and thinking of Don Slater. Anyone who doesn't care to hear what those who founded this civil rights movement thought and did in the early days -that actually set the course it has taken- can ignore us, but our job is to at least put the material there for the few who seek to understand something that changed the course of their lives and the nation. They will not get it anywhere else.

It may not seem relevant, since in a few of the Newsletters I am going to mention the people and events are not well known-then or now, but the issue and thinking was relevant then and now.

It is interesting to see what co-workers thought of some of the founders. Such as Dale Jennings' thoughts, on the Stuart Timmons' book on Harry Hay (The Trouble With harry Hay). Actually what Dale thought was bad, is good from my view and the view of history. He says Stuart missed the most important single element of Harry. "That is Harry's complete inability to bend, adapt, and change." Yet he then immediately answers his own charge. "It is a flaw that always marks the end of an evolutionary strain." That is not true, Harry kept going and affecting us till the day he died. Dale is thinking about Radical Faeries, and thinks they were/are silly. I don't think history has said that yet.

What Harry could say is that Dale, after leaving ONE, Inc and the magazine, after co-founding it as he did early Mattachine, dropped out of the movement for years. He did, as HIC now benefits from, write The Cowboys, the movie John Wayne acted in. But anyone studying Harry needs to read the Newsletter that has Dale's views of harry and the book.

Waht many young eager "gays" did not like in the hippie generation was don's rejection of the efforts of Gay lib. He thought they were too leftist politically and thus harmed the movement. then add his thoughts on the misuse of the word gay, "Although homosexual is not a dirty word gay was substituted in its place. this made those who didn't like the sex in homosexual a lot more comfortable with themselves. But using gay as a euphemism for homosexual deprives us not only of two honest words, but what they stand for too....In going from an adjective describing a merry mood enjoyed by everyone to a noun labeling a people separated sexually from the rest of the population the word gay produced a new social order."

This was relevant to Don's thinking of homosexuals in the military. He discussed the Perry Watkins case. He says what we say today, "What Watkins really needed to say is that none of this in anybody's business....But he was proud to be gay. It didn't occur to him that his right to privacy had been compromised. Like the army, he was convinced that his homosexuality was significant."...In the first place, sexual orientation has no constitutional status. It is anomalous, and, at bottom, impossible to protect people on the basis of something of which the legal and psychological relevance is yet to be determined. Sexual orientation is too amorphous, too flexible and diverse -if it has any meaning or bearing at all-to prescribe as a judicial cure. If the minority of persons who submit to the homosexual stereotype are given constitutional protection on this basis, what happens to the rights of the majority of persons who enjoy the exact same sexual outlets but do not recognize, identify with, or live by its limitations?" Who has heard such thinking?

But what did Don say about Stonewall? (Newsletter #21, 1/72) He refers t the movement as a movement of free minds, diverse and the sexaul revolution of which the homosexual movement was the catalyst and still is the vanguard has made astonishing progress in two decades.

"In June of 1969, there occurred the event of the Stonewall Uprising. It was a defensive reaction by a group of jaded, role-playing bar queens who had rejected society in favor of visions of their own private gay world. The struggle at the Stonewall was a momentary, unplanned confrontation between the emotionally immature, self-ashamed patrons of a gay club, on Christopher Street in New York City, and the police. for those homosexuals who live and act out a gay role, reason and logic have always been the devil's instruments, inhibiting their total, spontaneous, unstructured response to what is happening. The action of this bizarre element of New york's gay population was held up to glorification by latent liberationists as the first attempt of homosexuals to wage heroic struggle against police oppression. It was the signal for other guilt-ridden homosexuals to come out of their closets. They could finally relate. The incident came to symbolize gay power, gay militancy,and ironically, gay liberation. The anniversary of the Uprising has been twice celebrated when the followers of gay revivalism on both coasts gathered to conduct elaborate rites of self-deliverance.

"To the 'children of christopher Street' the actions of earlier homosexual groups looked like efforts at quiet accommodation with a fundamentally hostile society. They blamed the government and the law for their personal unhappiness. Their frame of mind was easily made a political tool. They were especially susceptible to the ideology of the New left. The main thing the New left has been saying is that the United States is intrinsically evil, and repressive in its treatment of Negroes and Mexicans and other minorities, and that the Indochina war is an immoral imperialistic aggression. The ideas And attitudes of the New left were absorbed into the mainstream of gay liberation thought. The Gay liberation Front became the left insurgency of the national homosexual movement."

"Homosexuals who had been in hiding and who for one reason or another despised themselves-like a stream of pentecostal witnesses-appeared to confess their guilt and affirm their salvation-and then to excoriate the 'pre-revolutionary' homosexual leaders who persisted in contending that homosexuals should not be organized into an anabaptist sect and that the 'concern of the movement' as the Mattachine founders had perceived, 'is the problems of sexual variation.'

There are plenty of sexual revolutionaries (maybe the majority) who firmly believe that the United States is one of the least repressive societies in human history, that the war in Indochina is not immoral and imperialistic, and that war related research is not necessarily wicked. Differing views on these questions need have no quarrel with each other as far as the homosexual movement is concerned. They are issues utterly irrelevant to sexual freedom. What is important is that the individual should be able to survive in the movement, and retain his own mind, manners and political beliefs and not be drawn off into the visionary gay world of the 'Children of Christopher Street.

(This last line explains my thinking about dealing with Wayne and russell, et al.)

I will not quote Number 26 (9/73) but thoughts on the fire in the gay bar in New Orleans was not that of the majority, to put it mildly.

How about his view of the Advocate (newsletter #29 (5/75) Steve Ginsberg (where is he) sold the remains of PRIDE to Dick Michaels for about $300, who ran it like a banker, covering Troy Perry and exploiting gay bar fires (Don says that most of the money raised for victims of the fire did NOT get to them but was spent by those raising the funds) and having lucrative personal ads. He carefully excluded those items he thought would not sell papers and also people he didn't like.

He then sold it to David Goldstein for a lot more money, who did not change much. Not a good thing.

Then Don takes on Dave Glascock, again, were is he. He questioned his qualifications to speak for the community as staff member for Supervisor Ed Edelman. "When Glascock first drifted into L A., like most ideological hustlers he started looking around for a little honest graft. The unstructured homosexual movement was like a sitting duck, and as an opportunity to enhance his personal fortunes it beat selling corn salve." He got coverage with his picture in the Advocate by marrying a Selma St hustler, performed by Troy.

(Is Obama making any wiser choices in deciding who can give info on our community/movement?)

We put out a newsletter explain why we didn't work with the county on vd issues-we didnt' trust them, but the new Gay & Lesbian Center did, got lots of money.

We reviewed books-Newsletter #31 said the book by Howard Brown (Familiar Faces, hidden Lives) was nonsense merely saying Dr. Brown thought he was the most famous queer in America because he was a professional and came out, finally. "After i came out publicly, I became the most prominent self-confessed homosexual in America, partly because i was a member of a profession regarded as a citadel of respectability."

Newsletter #41 (Spring 1990) was a symposium on outing, with Martin Block, John Burnside, Harry Hay, Morris Kight, Stuart Timmons and Don Slater.

And we put out an announcement when we hosted discussions after performances of the play The Geese, at the Coronet Theater. (This was the cause of picketing the Los Angeles Times (over refusal of an ad), where Troy Perry got lucky and his interview by John Dart went nationwide.) Co-hosts included Dr. Irene Kassorla, Joe Hansen (as James Colton), Gale Whittington (Committee for Homosexual Freedom, S. f.), Dr. Fred Goldstein, Morris Kight, Herb Selwyn, and Don Slater.

None of this would have happened without Don, and Los Angeles heard him, on tv, radio and in newspaper articles. It is hard to say how many people heard, saw and read him, but it would be foolish to deny that his views were heard and are alive today. The magazines need to be seen and read. The glbt journalists, historians, professionals today should know this person and what he said, even if they reject his thinking.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Link to Alternet article saying early Christians accepted same sex marriage in today's post

I find the best argument for getting same sex marriage in the comments added to the linked-article saying that there are "pictures' of two maile saints getting married (in St. Catherine's Monastery, wherever it is).

A man says he told his son he didn't need to get a marriage license to live with the girl, it didn't prove love, etc (I had just seen a terrible film, Jude The Obscure, which said the same thing after an eternity of talk and tragedy.) The wise son said yes, BUT if I get the license, I get cheaper car and other insurance rates, etc.

Either we ALL (who drive safely) get those discounts or they are "special rights." and while it is a compromise, until we get the law changed, we deserve same sex marriage to at least get what heterosexuals get.

And that's another thing, some businesses give discounts to people who prove they went to church. As long as they are private businesses, fine, BUT if they are taking taxpayers money that too is "special rights" and should be against the law.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Troy Perry, Barry Obama—It IS "our time" and you/we minorities have the same problems

This is a sermon to Rev. Perry and President Obama about the religious bigots who attack both men and their supporters over their religious beliefs: Both are viewed by "religious leaders of the dominant religions as "other."

Rightwingers are questioning the religion of Obama, as they have questioned the "religion" of homosexuals, especially those who form separate churches, mainly the Metropolitan Community Church, and founder Perry.

Obama can't win, even more so than Christian homosexual Americans. If he is a Christian, as he is, it is said to not be the "right" church, and what is his church, etc. If he is accused of secretly being a Muslim, which he is not, then he is surely considered to be a "different" American. The same people pushing this agenda say the same thing about homosexual/glbt Christians. They find quotes, out of context, thus misusing their Bible or Koran, to condemn those whose sexuality or religion differs from theirs—just as those falsely "accused" of being homosexual or Muslim, are in a position of being wrong no matter how they answer—since even if they 'deny" being either, they then seem to be agreeing that being either is "bad."

The "issue" of the proposed mosque at "ground zero" in New York has confused the issue even more. But it is important to say that those who have compared the objection to building where the mosque/center would be to how "Christians" handled the KKK are right. The point is that those objecting (including this writer, but for obviously other reasons—I am homosexual and the Islamic people want to kill me). But we must never forget that, if we want "moderate" Muslims to speak out against the radical ones who want to destroy our nation and civilization, then we need to have "moderate' Christians speak out against extremists who want to take away the civil rights of minorities, including homosexual Americans. And the issue of the KKK is the best proof that in most of history "Christians did NOT do "What Jesus would do." The vast majority of "Christians" did not only NOT speak out against the KKK and White Citizens Councils, most of the members were "Christian" including preachers, cops, and politicians-some were all three. And moderate religious people have not spoken against the violence—verbal and physical—against homosexual Americans.

And the issue of same-sex marriage is the same as the issue of inter-racial marriage-which has to be admitted by Obama. The lies bigots used to oppose inter-racial marriage (protecting children of such marriages being a major point) are the same lies used to oppose same-sex marriage. It goes without saying that President Obama is proof that children of such marriages can do ok.

And the same arguments against homosexjuals serving openly in the Armed Forces were used to try to stop the racial integration of the military.

So I urge the two men to get together and answer the lies of bigots and show the vast majority of good American citizens that facts of the matter—truthiness—despite Stephen Colbert's fun with it—is NOT something a great nation can use as a guide.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Windy City Times article on the history of gay marriage

Windy City Times has done a great service to its readers by being, as far as I know, the first of the lgbt media to actually try to give a short history of the community/movement attitudes on same sex marriage.

It has been ignored by most of the general press and the glbt press that there has been controversy about how to view marriage from the very start of the movement to gain equal rights for homosexuals-in 1950 with early/first Mattachine.

And when members of Mattachine realized that, despite the tremendous expansion of the organization from one to dozens of meetings each week, they were only reaching local people, some members moved to become public and publish a magazine to educate everyone,-homosexual and non-homosexual- on the issues. Thus, despite the wording in the article, ONE was THE first public publication, not "among" the first. And although the magazine was the reason/impetus, from the start it was realized that if successful, there would be a need for educational efforts and social service efforts and work to push research on the subject, so in each of these fields ONE was first.

And, from the start, founders being human, there was tension over which of the parts was the more important, and that led to a separation of the organization in 1965. Windy City Times published a review of the only book/record (Pre-Gay L. A., by C. Todd White) of the history of this organization, which published these articles on marriage, and held discussions about it. So it is misleading for the unknown author of this article to fail to mention that although ONE archives deserves all the credit given in the article, it is only a part of the original ONE Inc archives/library. There is no way an article about ONE Archives can be covered without covering the other part of the collection, that of the Homosexual Information Center.

If the article merely limited itself to the issue of marriage and referred to the ONE Magazine articles, perhaps it would not be valid or relevant to point this historic fact out. But you and the people at ONE Archives open the issue when they claim to be founded in 1952—which they were NOT. ONE Inc was and they are not and have never been ONE, Inc. They were given the collection that the Dorr Legg faction of ONE had and they were in a sense taken over by the third part of the collection, that of major ONE person Jim Kepner who left ONE and formed his own archives, which after Dorr's death was joined by the ONE part-that is why at first it was called the ONE/IGLA Collection and for a short time the ONE/ILGA/HIC collection, reuniting all parts of the ONE Inc collection.

ONE Archives was not incorporated in 1952, ONE, Inc was and in about 1965 ONE Inc formed a tax-exempt part, ISHR-the Institute for the Study of Human Resources, which eventually took over ONE, Inc. Today neither exist, except for probable errors in the state of California records. But those records show when ONE Archives was incorporated and that was not in 1952. It was after the Homosexual Information Center was incorporated and after ILGA (International Gay & Lesbian Archives) was.

It is strange that there is no mention of the editor of ONE Magazine, Don Slater, ONE co-founder and main co-founder of the Homosexual Information Center along with Jim Schneider, who was kicked out as board member of ONE Inc for his efforts to keep the organization whole, and then became a board member of the ONE Archives and probably is the main reason ONE Archives was able to actually get the building housing ONE Archives available for occupation before he was kicked out again, and this writer.

In a sense, both parts of the archives can claim to be founded in 1952, as that is when the collection began. Not the organizations controlling them today, but the material-material which all three men get credit or, yet are not mentioned in the article, yet it is they who got these articles published.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Review of Stonewall Uprising in Windy City times (8-4-10)

To Tracy Baim:

I must once again register my complaint about people and publications giving false information about the history of the movement to gain equal/civil rights for homosexual Americans. Your article by Richard Knight, Jr. (Knight at the Movies does this in the reviews of Stonewall Uprising. No excuse/reason will not allow the words "The Stonewall riots, the beginning of the gayrights movement in this country..." This is not just semantics. This is faking history—sort of lie Fox News and bigots do.

It is not "similar to other singular moments in history in that many of the details of what exactly happened-when and how it happened, as well as who was involved-have become buried within the momentousness of the incident itself." Nonsense. The history of the total movement is well documented, since the start in 1950, and in Windy City Times, for instance. There have been many instances in this movement's history, and it is not a proven fact that this one incident is more important in the struggle than many other incidents. Who makes such decisions? Are court cases not important / the educatinal work much earlier, such as Frank Kameny's efforts and the picketing of historic places, suchas in phiadelphia? Is something more important because lazy media people report it more than other incidents?
What type of "overview" of the 1950s and 60s ignores all the work done by men and women since 1950? And to quote Eric Marcus again, after he has already apologized for being misquoted is lazy journalism.

It is pleasant to hear views of films/fiction, but it is not acceptible in a lgbt pulication to repeat lies and false history in a documentary that claims to be presenting the truth that others have ignored.
Regarding Ron Tate:

Obama handed the Republicans a wonderful gift by supporting the building of the mosque near Ground Zero. 70 per cent of Americans oppose it. This will ensure a landslide Republican victory come November although that was almost a guarantee. Obama has eroded much of his liberal base including gays, where he has stalled in fulfilling major promises. He also ran on a platform to end the middle East wars. He continues to spend us into an insurmountable debt. November is not going to be pretty!

I'm reading about 'Republicans attack Obama over Muslim center comments' on Fluent News. Here is the link:

Maybe I am "playing games," and becoming a Karl Rove, but I have been thinking about this issue-he had so many Americans excited, and now they are either no longer excited or are questioning his work/administration.

He, with a majority of Americans, proved that a man named Barak could be elected to the highest office of this nation, and probably the world. But its not just Michele's trip to Spain, or his slow reaction to the Gulf spill, or that he has failed to do what every other president has failed to do, solve minor problems that build up enough anger in various people to make a majority-such as not paying Black farmers (farming income they are owed that was paid to white farmers), or Native Americans (oil royalties owed for a decade or more and kept in courts and congress for lousy reasons, unethical and incompetent) or that we still have kids' names on travel ban lists, etc.

But it is time that he stop trying to prove what he already has, as a black Barak. It is time he is Barry, a bi-racial human, man, white AND black, and mainly raised by the white part of his family. He has to lead, even if it means he is a one-term president. His specific words, for instance, about the issue of the msoque in new York are accurate-but tone-deaf. This is not an issue of religious freedo-the First Amendment. Most Americans, even those of us who afre not "religious" knwo full well the vils that are done to noln-Muslims in Muslim controlloed nations. Why should we be asked to give special rights to Muslims here when they kill non-Muslism, and they kill homosexsuals?

I can personally give proof that not all American hate Muslims. Two blocks from my home is a mosque. As far as I know, no one has made any complaints in the years it has been there. It took over a closed Presbyterian church. It violated no local laws, and has cAused no parking complaints/problems. The same can not be said of the largest Baptist (southern) church in Shreveport, when it tried to take over nearby land and expand. It got stopped by neighbors and politicians and changed its plans.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Another, older book aimed at teenage homosexual boys: Independence Day

I again wonder what happened to the book and author of Independence Day, written by B. A. Eker, in 1983 (published by Avon/flare). At the time she lived in Venice, CA.

The book is about a teenage boy who realized he was homosexual, and to learn about it and also to find someone to talk to about it. His main problem, a generic one, was that he loved his best friend, heterosexual. The title refers to the decision, after almost a year of distress about what to do, who to tell, etc, to tell his buddy on the 4th of July.

The book, like several published about the same time, handles the issue well, almost too well, since everyone turns out to be comfortable with the "coming out."

I wonder how many boys read this book and were helped by it, as well as parents, etc. And where is the author today-the book said she was working on another novel.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Lt Choi and the jealous people who destroy a movement by contstanly trying to find fault with those actually doing the work

Box Turtle Bulletin has a discussion about Lt Choi and his work and finances:

As someone who has worked in the movement to gain civil rights for homosexuals in America since 1959, I wonder how many younger people have yet had to deal in the constant attacks from people who do nothing, but spend their time looking for excuses to NOT do anything and to question the competence and ethics of others, the few, who have actually tried to change things?

As has been said, for other reasons, but that doesn't change the fact that it is true, a cause has more problems with its "friends" than with its enemies. And Lt. Choi is finding this out.

Who has the right or "need' to question what he is doing, if he is being paid? Do the "questioners' also question the same thing about rightwingers? And what have THEY done for the cause?

I could. I have done what he is doing, without pay. But where are the thousands of others, who like us, were kicked out of the military? What have they done since? Or the dozens in Los Angeles alone who were kept out of the military, even though they were drafted, because, of the work, without pay, of Don Slater and the Homosexual Information Center, based on our work in early Mattachine and ONE, Inc, with help from free attorneys like Herb Selwyn, and experts like Dr. Evelyn Hooker, and the support of movement founders Harry Hay, et al.

The people to ask questions of, their motive, competence and ethics, are the media, back then and now. Who has heard of the national effort of NACHO in May, 1966 to force the Armed Forces to deal honestly with this issue of homosexuals in the military? To be fair while the Los Angeles Times ignored, deliberately, our Motorcade though Los Angeles, saying they would cover it only if some harm came, the New York Times,did cover it, with an article by Peter Bart. But the vast majority of media ignored it, as they did until they found a cute guy and thus thought it sexy enough to cover. And that is sadly true of the vast majority of glbt people, who also ignored the issue until it was covered as entertainment by the media.

Where is the coverage of not only our Committee to Fight Exclusion of Homosexuals From the Armed Forces in 1966, but of the Servicemembers Legal defense Network today? Or the Palm Center at the University of California Santa Barbara? Have you seen those names in even the lgbt media?

But what discussion has there been, in 1966 and now? A little from, guess where, those who disapprove of the current war-then it was Vietnam and now Iraq or Afghanistan. Are glbt people are so stupid they can't deal with one issue without confusing it by adding another issue? There is a difference between opposing a war and whether or not homosexuals who choose to should be allowed to serve openly and honorably in the military.

The same nonsense is heard about same sex marriage. Do you oppose same sex marriage just because you oppose marriage? That is a different issue. Until we change the legal nature of marriage and get rid of the special rights, there is legitimate reason to get those rights for everyone-including same sex people, even those who are not homosexual.

It is time for us to enjoy the entertainment we get now, in movies and on Comedy Central-that is great and educational. But it is not education we must have to know what the real issues are. And an example is why we of all people are not speaking out against Islamists who kill us. It is not acceptable to just say we need to respect all religions-we are stupid if we don't see that some religions-even though all harm us-are worse than others.

The people spending their time worrying about Lt Choi, should be spending their time, energy and money on the important issues-but of course that means they have to do something besides sitting on the sidelines and finding something to complain about. Those people were writing letters to us at ONE Magazine years ago. And were the ones saying Mattachine would never work-while the founders were dreaming of marching down Hollywood Blvd someday. I ask those negative losers, how has that worked for you? Or did you grow up and join the march when it happened in 1970?