Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Los Angeles Magazine does not cover all of L, A. and ignores serious history for camp, so I'm not renewing my subscription

I want to put on the record why I am not going to continue my subscription to Los Angeles Magazine.

I lived and worked in Los Angeles most of my adult life and know a little about its history in the 60s to 90s. And so I can tell you that you have not covered my part of the history, then or now. I am a co-founder of the Homosexual Information Center, which came out of ONE Inc (publisher of the first public homosexual magazine, in 1953) which came out of the first continuing homosexual organization in America, Mattachine.

This history is in the entertainment news as a play in New York is about the founders of Mattachine, The Temperamentals. Yet you have ignored the recent book by C. Todd White, that covered this Los Angeles history, a serious history about a major sociological aspect of your city. While you covered the gossipy book Gay L. A., you did not cover Pre-Gay L.A.

Monday, March 29, 2010

The Gay & Lesbian Review/March-April 2010/content

To Editor Richard Schneider:

Your issue (Gay Rights in the Age of Obama) is good. I liked the colorful cover picture of the flag being waled around D.C. at the Equality March 09. In answer to the question "Where are we now?" I would say much better off than ever before.

Whether or not this is reflected in interest in our community/movement organizations and publications, I don't know. But for sure there has never been more of these available, and more activity and coverage on TV and in print. Just the "news" seen on Comedy Central's shows, especially Jon Stewart's Daily Show and Stephen Colbert's show is amazing. And the coverage, since you published, on the Don't Ask Don't Tell changes is extremely good and mostly balanced-CBS's "Sunday" show did a good job this past Sunday. Better than any of the talk shows that compete with it on Sunday mornings. And Rachel Maddow on MSNBC, plus Ellen, etc, is certainly more than the wildest dreamer could have asked for when those early people gathered at Mattachine secret meetings in Los Angeles.

And I jotted down some reactions to thoughts in the issue. As to judging Obama, how do we judge previous presidents? My main argument with all these Republicans fussing about the new health care bill is obviously-then why didn't YOU do something in all the past 8 years you were in charge?

I thought it very interesting in Letters, for Larry Karmer to come up with the final thought, about words/terms-"homosexual sounds good." I am not sure now what I actually thought in reading Marshall Yaeger's letter (on Kramer's article in a previous issue) but I do know that Don Slater and ONE/HIC emphasized the "issue" that if everyone can be homosexual or have an act, that is really what scares the poor heterosexuals. They love that we are all drag queens, etc, as they don't have any desire to do be "like them." Of course that is not true of a few who are transvestites, but they aren't homosexual-they just dress like women.

As to the article earlier by Patricia Warren, I think it was, knowing others' views helps us to examine ours. I think Barbara Hoffman is right-follow the money. Bigots exist, but it is "religious" leaders who make money from pushing fear of homosexuals, as do right-wing politicians. And John Eilers reminds me of my thought that people who are given the basic needs of life don't always use there free time, energy or money for cultural things, but as i do now-watch TV and only a few get so bored they actually try being creative, much less getting out and mowing the yard or cleaning up their house.

But a few of us DID use the fact that we had the basic needs (thanks to our family or partners) and used our ability to work for change, instead of just buying larger houses, taking more cruises or buying expensive clothes, or spending money following the various "Party' events, where you don't even need clothing.

As to whether we need "gay writers," they do have to have an income, but how many of those in the past or present who did/do have income, contribute to "their" cause? The good publications, and now resources on the web/Internet do is shown by the short update letter from Ken Furtado who says he got an answer to his request for information (on Victor Garcia.)

In the BTW section, I am glad you (Martha Stone) cover our community/movement workers we lost in 2009. The diversity of their place and work shows that we are everywhere. But GOProud got noticed-in answer to if they are doing any good for the cause. Being ignored hurts us. And the comment on an "Irish 'Mrs. Robinson'" of the movie type is funny,except that the woman, a Member of Parliament, not only took a young male lover, but used public funds to help him, all the while attacking homosexuality as an abomination.

And the thought that some people might find the new airport "full body scanners sexy" is interesting-if those who oppose them would use this thought they might get the religious nuts to support them as a way of keeping a few people from getting a little "sexy" pleasure from the thought of the scanners. And you do make life interesting pointing out that some religious nuts are saying they will ignore laws they don't like, they sure didn't think Dr. King had that right. As you say, homosexuals have ignored the anti-gay laws for centuries.

I'm not sure how many GLBT people still are concerned with Oscar Wilde, and other literary figures from England. Or for fake celebrities like Andy Warhol, although there are 2 TV shows on him I saw this week. But I did find John Lauritsen's coverage of the book Manly Love: Romantic Friendship in American Fiction of interest because I had never heard of what is called the first gay American novel, Joseph and His Friend (1870) by Bayard Taylor, and I had not thought much about The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn in our context.

And I do think few people still know much about the French magazine Arcadie, covered in the book Living in Arcadia: Homosexuality, Politics and Morality in France from the Liberation to AIDS. Probably the only reason I found My Red Blood: A Memoir of Growing Up Communist, Coming Onto the Greenwich Village Folk Scene and Coming Out in the Feminist Movement of interest is that I saw at the same time a documentary on Los Angeles' Boye Heights, which was a Jewish area in the 1920s and 30s and slowly died by the late 50s. The issue of Communism and support of labor unions was covered. What was not covered was homosexuality-and I think that should be looked into, as this book shows.

I have not seen life (homosexual in this case) in Turkey discussed anywhere else, so was glad to have the information. Although it is not good news, it could be worse, considering what we hear and see in the daily news. Does the GLBT organization mentioned, Lambda Istanbul, get any outside support? The problem for such groups is that if the government knows outsiders are helping they use that fact against them, although most governments get outside help from the U. S.

Subjects for future G&LR issues sound interesting. They may be discussed in some online blogs, etc, but i see few places that actually discuss current problems such as how to judge what LGBT groups are doing what, and in fact few publications even mention the hundreds of groups serving the community/movement. How about an article on where to find such resources, such as Gayellow Pages. The arrest of Lt. Choi after what was supposed to be a HRC discussion of DADT brings up a need to discuss the several good organizations serving each aspect of the movement, in this case homosexuals and the military, it would be Human Rights campaign, but mainly SLDN, Servicemembers Legal Defense Fund, and The Palm Center (at UCSB), etc. For other legal issues there would be Lamda Legal, NCLR National center for Lesbian Rights, GLAD, etc. And there are the various groups in religion, such as Dignity, Affirmation (Methodist and Mormon), Integrity, Kinship, etc.

So you have a lot to keep you busy, and readers entertained an informed. Thanks in advance, as the saying goes.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Sex in church/political news, in Africa, etc, and do we hide sexual part of our community/movement

There has been lots of “sex” in the news, especially about the Catholic Church, in several nations, including a prostitution ring in the Vatican. And Protestant bigots from the U. S. going to Africa to “teach” the blacks there about the evils of homosexuality-showing films of acts most of us never thought of. It is interesting how much these preachers know about homosexual sex. Some of us might say, well, if we are going to have the name, we might as well play the game. But most of our community/movement is talking about gaining our civil/equal rights, and holding meetings, writing emails, etc.

Several of the movement pioneers might want us to think about having some sex, or talking about it, reading about it or seeing it on videos, etc. After all that is the point of gaining our right to privacy. So I glanced at the latest catalog from one distributor of sex material— I have heard that there is a possibility that such print and film might disappear as most people now use the Internet for their sexual interests. But I would tell the religious bigots that it seems that real homosexuals are interested in love as much as sex, judging by the many films offered, such as the wonderful Latter Days. There are several pages of such romance offerings. There are also, of course, films with a little sex in them,of various types and involving several ethnic groups, etc. And there are sex toys available. But it seems heterosexuals use them as much as homosexuals. And I imagine more heterosexuals use sex films than homosexuals.
One of the reasons ONE/HIC has spoken out in favor of legalizing prostitution is that a famous therapist pointed out the obvious,some of us are not cute, sexy and find it hard to find sexual partners. Life is not fair. And yet we need sex as much as the pretty and cute people. And those who are handicapped, or old, don't lose their sexual desires, and can get some satisfaction from books and films.

It is doubtful that books or films create a sexual desire, but in fact exist to satisfy that desire, and there have been examples of this throughout history.

So we make no apologizes to the true perverts, who use sex to gain money and power/control. The hope is that people who are happy will not be harming others, and the only sexual problems are preventing health risks and unwanted pregancies. Those are what true religious people should be working to prevent.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Pittsburgh's historic new glbt center and its Jim Fischerkeller Library

Congratulations on your new Gay & Lesbian Community Center of Pittsburgh, and its library. This resource is not just for the local community/movement, but for all LGBT people and allies everywhere. Such events as your Grand Opening should be news in all LGBT publications, especially guides such as the  Gayellow Pages, so that anyone visiting Pittsburgh will know about your work and visit it as well as getting the local publications with news of events.

The Jim Fischerkeller Library at the Center, like other groups holding meetings there, such as GLSEN, GLENDA, etc., will serve to educate people and hopefully will be used by members, students, journalists, and others today and will be there for future generations.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Cal Thomas' column on the Phelps Family "free speech" legal case heard by the u. S. Supreme Court (The Times, 3-18-10)

It would be helpful to readers to hear what local legal people think about the right of a “church” (really only one family) to picket public and private events on unrelated issues and where the public has no way to avoid the invasion of their rights to NOT hear the opinions of the people picketing. Cal Thomas' views in the column are good-no one has a right to force others to hear their views. But this, like most issues, is not simple.

Thomas rightly says the “church” is “preaching a false doctrine that basically claims American soldiers are dying in combat because of this country's increasngly tolerant attitude towards homosexuals” and relates this to how some “religious” people preached segregation and barred blacks from their “churches” at one time and both (preachings) have brought ridicule to be directed at believers in God.

One opinion offered is that speech that might be construed as leading a person to act “is a clear disturbance of the peace at a religious or any kind of event.” And this why some bigots fear a decision, as they claim it could say preachers can not preach homosexuality as a sin, thus violating their “freedom of speech.” But that might depend on the “intent” of the preacher, since if there is no intent to cause harm it might be ok. But at one time it was claimed by Southern bigoted politicians that any meetings in favor of desegregation, much less promoting homosexuality, would cause a disturbance, and thus would be illegal. And it took the U. S. Supreme Court to stop the Post Office from violating “freedom of speech” by refusing to mail a magazine discussing homosexuality.

Would common sense say that picketing on public property is ok, unless causing violence, but that there is no right to preach on private property? But loud speakers should not be allowed as it invades our right to NOT hear the views/noise.

Obviously homosexuality is not an issue in this case, and Phelps only uses it to gain attention, as do many religious bigots, who make money by putting fear of some minority in the minds of ignorant people. But intelligent citizens of all political persusions are aware of being distracted from real issues by such tactics. Cal Thomas is a good example that it is not just “liberal” to be against bigotry, but it helps when the “victims” are brave military people who lost their lives trying to keep our nation free.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

America's oldest glbt organization is now Houston's Diana Foundation and Houston has the South's oldest LGBT political organization

The March 2010 issue of OutSmart magazine shows how rich in GLBT resources Houston is, starting with the oldest organization still going in America, The Diana Foundation. It also shows how even electing a lesbian mayor of the city can cause internal problems in the community/movement’s political organization.

Brandon Wolf has done a great job of research in writing about The Diana Foundation, which started in 1954 as a social group mainly as a private gathering to watch the yearly Academy Awards, the catalyst for their own awards. As in all cities, the police in Houston were anti-gay and harassed patrons at gay bars, often calling employers after checking the license plates on cars near bars. So there were often private parties, and from this grew an organization that worked for the cause in the opposite way the first glbt organizations did. The Diana Foundation worked from a social organization to become a supporter of glbt services. In Los Angeles both Mattachine and then ONE worked as cause organizations and publications which then had social events to help raise money or to give a place for people to meet and discuss issues or to be entertained-such as the Homosexual Information Center's production of the play The Women, as a fund-raiser, and entertainment was a part of ONE's yearly Winter meeting.

Tribute is paid to the founders, who slowly built up a small gathering, to a large event which raised money for resource services. The first event, in 1954, was held at the home of David Moncrief. Each year more people came, and more entertainment was offered. Material of the organization history is saved at the Charles Botts Collection Archive. There are similar organizations in other cities, such as the Krewe of Apollo in cities like Shreveport/Bossier.

The article-(which will be continued in the April issue of the magazine) covers the organizations’ history by decades, which show not only its growing history, but gives a valuable history of the gay bars over the years in which some of the events were held after it grew too large for private homes.

The group incorporated in 1976, after getting aware of the changes in society and possibilities for service when Stonewall happened in 1969.

OutSmart covers another organization, which also seems to maybe have a similar internal problem that Mattachine and ONE had, disagreements on purpose and questioning the control of one individual who wants to promote his own agenda. This is covered in the article, “New Blood,” by Josef Molnar, about the internal disagreements in Houston's GLBT Political Caucus. Ray Hill, who has been active for years, takes a long view of the issues, but some members find the leadership of Kris Banks to be too dictatorial. But one of his main projects, which took away support for some other good candidates for other offices, was to concentrate on supporting what turned out to be the successful effort to elect now Mayor Parker.

And while not the Academy Awards, there is also a good article by Lawrence Ferber covering films at Sundance, including The Kids Are All Right.

So OutSmart offers a great variety of information and entertainment to the Houston area readers and shows how large the community/movement is, in its list of organization meetings, and services and events. One of several geat community/movement publications carrying on the journalism started by ONE Magazine in 1953.