Thursday, March 17, 2011

RE: the death of Jim Gruber

I am doing ok, living back in LA the state after most of my life in L.A. (the city). That is why it is “interesting” that I have heard of more movies being made here—one scene right around the corner from my house. For instance, the film Battle: Los Angeles was made partly here in Shreveport/Bossier and Baton Rouge.  (The offices of ONE/HIC at the time of the separation were at 3473 1/2 Cahuenga Blvd West, across the freeway from Universal and down the street from Hanna Barbera.  That is where Harry and John, Don Slater, et al, did the Motorcade on the military and homosexuals in 1966.)

From Jerry Berbiar:

I’m not sure if you know me—Jon Sugar sometimes forwards me your emails about the history of ONE, Inc.
I was a close friend of Harry Hay and John Burnside and was one of the Circle of Loving Companions who brought Harry and John to San Francisco from Los Angeles in 1999 to care for them.I'm in SF and am guessing your probably in LA.
I thought you would want to know that the last living founder of Mattachine, John (Jim) Gruber recently passed away at the age of 82. You can see his obituary in the Bay Area Reporter of 3/10/11, online at They have an archive link to past issues. Hope you are doing well.  
Jerry Berbiar, aka “Jerry the Faerie”

Mary Alice's visit/I've said most of what I want to say

It is a beautiful day and I have had a great visit with Mary Alice. Tell Lynn she is visiting here, and now it is his time. I just realized I didn't hug her as we ate and then drove to see Buddy and they were talking and I left to come on to the library.

I'm thinking, partly to save gas, that I will start going less to the library, and in a sense I have said all I feel the urge to say about my/our history. As Don said, it is on record, and his part is in the magazine and newsletters, etc, so let history decide on its own.

But it is strange to find a book at the library on the discard rack that is about Don & Tony's area, called The Madonnas of Echo Park. It is of course interesting to see mention of all the areas we have walked in, and it would be nice to share this with Tony, but he doesn't do computer and in a sense seems not to care to remember those long years they lived there.

It is doubly interesting as the author is Mexican American and shows a side of L. A. I would not have experienced, and doubt Tony did. But mention of Pioneer Market-for some reason he changes the name to Pilgrim- and other local places and streets brings back memories I have forgotten. Above the lake is where the picture of Melvin and me was taken that is on the cover of ONE. I don't know if the area has changed much-the book is 2000. The houses on Carroll St are still on a tour route I think. But who lives in that house across the street where the author of the book/movie Love Story lived-next to Rudi, and a few other famous people. I think the houses are still expensive. And he talks about it being Angelino Heights, remember Don insisted on calling it that even though everyone else calls it all Echo Park.

AND he of course echos one of the many "concerns" of Don that made him so special. That is that he, and the book, never forgave L. A. for stealing Chavez Ravine from the owners to give it to the Brooklyn Dodgers. That is the Don that others can't seem to know or that would help them understand him.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Why Don Slater, and thus the Homosexual Infomation Center, is either ignored or misunderstood

The first point to make is that no one else talking about the subject knew Don Slater or ONE in the days before the division in 1965. Some came after and ONLY talked to Dorr Legg and his co-workers or Jim Kepner, who took Dorr's side/view even though he had quit ONE twice over Dorr's deceitfulness, which is why Don Slater acted as he did. (I became a staff member to replace Jim when he quit the second time.) As far as I know, there are only three people still living that were at ONE at the time of the separation. Tony and Melvin are no longer active. And that leaves me. I have no ego to protect, but have a moral duty to see that the facts are on the record. Apparently either most people did not read Todd White's book on the subject (Pre-Gay L. A.) or refuse to accept facts that don't support their agenda.

Historians and journalists who have written or spoken on this subject have been incompetent and unethical since they never heard our side of the history. That includes an editor of a West Hollywood newspaper who calls our archives a "rump" part of ONE. And it includes those who only listen to the lies of those who now have what remains of Dorr's (and Jim Kepner's) part of ONE, especially John O'Brien, who keeps sayng we stole Dorr's library and he "saved' it later when Don died. You have to wonder about the person who will ignore legal documents and listen to the version of history by someone who was not there and has a personal agenda to promote.

The most outrageous claim is that Don Slater, and even Dorr and others at ONE were not "gay" enough, and were not "out" enough. That is hard to say of course when you consider the facts-THEY were the first public voice of this movement. Not many people had their picture in a major magazine, LIFE, in 1964 as editor of a homosexual publication, As Don and Hal Call did. Usually this nonsense is said by those who have a different view of the movement than ONE/HIC has. While in a sense the great work of ONE is now mainly two libraries/archives a few of us continue to speak on issues based on the work started in 1950. And serious people will find good information and history in the issues of ONE Magazine. Reference is made to Don's views in articles published in general newspapers as well as a week of tv discussion in 1966 by Don as co-host on a L. A. tv station, with Maria Cole.

I have thought of some of Don's words/views as him being the devil's advocate and others say Don never said anything he didn't mean. That is too easy a black and white assertion.. For instance it is not easy to deal with what were and are the two most difficult aspects of pr for this movement-children and politics-usually communism. Bigots gleefully connect homosexuality and communism, and they are helped by the fact that this continuing movement ws started by communists-or more correctly ex-communists, as they were kicked out of the party because of their sexuality and the correct fear that the political effort would be attacked because of homosexuality. So how then do we think of Don's words about the (CSW) Pride parade? He accused the founders of being hypocrites since they were going to exclude two groups, NAMBLA and the "gay nazis.," while bragging of their diversity and unity of the cause. Now we had no connection to youth issues and we always thought that the "gay' nazis were FBI or some undercover people. We also thought that two nice young men who showed up to help with the Motorcade, and were never heard from again, were FBI. It didn't matter, they helped and we were happy to have them there. I don't think Don wanted them in the parade, but he wanted to point out the false claims of the parade people. I think Joe Hansen worked on the parade.

But now I am going to show you, in case even you have not read some of Don's thinking, what scares these current "gays." The quote is from Homosexual Information Center Newsletter #47, of December, 1992. Devoted to book reviews, the newsletter shocks the reader first with the negative review of a play/book, Queer Edward II , screenplay and commentary by Derek Jarman, British Film Institute, distributed in the U. S. by Indiana University. For those closet cases who fear the honesty of Don Slater, they will really be ungay with the words of Mattachine and ONE co-founder (and author of The Cowboys), Dale Jennings. But what is apparently still shocking to most glbt people today are the following words of Don Slater (while reviewing Eric Marcus' book, Making History: the struggle for gay ad lesbian equal rights, 1945-1990, an oral history ):

"This tiny, California-based magazine (Lisa Ben's Vice Versa) was a beginning. But like the early Mattachine Society (ed. note, it seems it should be Foundation) that followed, neither was the start of the homosexual movement in this country. They were forerunners. The late Chuck Rowland tells us that from 1950 and into 1953, the Mattachine Society held numerous discussion groups in Southern California. Topics dealt with how to come out and how to deal with the law and one's family and job. No printed advice was available; there was no one qualified to write as an authority on a subject hitherto unexplored by unbiased scholars. Just as Vice Versa was published for a chosen few, the Mattachine also aimed at a special band of followers. The meetings were often large but closed to the public. Those who gathered talked to one another in private.

The idea of educating the public began with the publication of ONE Magazine in January, 1953. ONE was the start of the homosexual movement and the start of the gay press as well. The Magazine aimed at a readership that included the general public. It was sold on newsstands beside the leading periodicals of the day. Professionally printed and having two-dozen pages of a 6x7 format, ONE sold for 25 cents. Boldly on the cover were the unequivocal words: ONE, The Homosexual Viewpoint, a matter of much contention among editors and readers. Its much criticized lack of subtlety and taste was ONE's chief selling point. It said: "We are! There is movement." Homosexuals were no longer whispering among themselves under obnoxious euphemisms such as "homophile," "lambda," and the insanely misleading term "gay."

The secrecy and fear of those times runs through many of the stories in the Marcus collection. There was the personal anguish over "coming out." The concern of these sexual emancipators with what society will think about their homosexuality borders on the paranoiac. They were hung up over homosexual urges most farm boys take for granted. One young man in New York City named Morty Manford was so mortified about his homosexuality during the Stonewall riots that he ran to his mother for comfort and support. At the city's christopher St. Liberation Day Parade in June 1972, Mrs. Manford carried a sign that read: "Parents of Gays: United in Support of Our Children." This is how the Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays groups got started. And the parents in PFLAG still console their young today.

With the opening of politics in the early 1970s the movement became ripe for exploitation, and the usual army of profiteers moved in. Bruce Voeller, Howard Brown, Jean O'Leary, Virginia Apuzzo, Charles Brydon, Troy Perry, David Mixner, Torie Osborn began to steer the elected bureaucracy and the "gay community" into the right, "safe and correct" causes that could be endorsed by politically savvy politicians. Brydon describes how he took a job at the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force that paid $17,000 a year in 1979. It was "a totally impossible salary" according to him. Since that time lesbians and gay advocacy has become the fastest growing industry in the nation. Executives of the larger organizations now command $75,000 to $100,000 a year. And they would all go back into their closets tomorrow if the salaries wsere cut off.

Through Marcus's histories we come to see that the level of commitment today is dramatically different from that of the pioneering activists of the 1940s and 1950s. The pioneers saw themselves as ordinary individuals, homosexual activity as something personal. They wanted equal protection, assimilation, privacy. The politicized gays see homosexuality as the sum total of what they are. They want position, rank, and public recognition on the basis of this one most intimate aspect of their lives. As such, they are part of a failed revolution which seems to be plunging back into prejudice and opprobrium, making it necessary to start all over from the beginning as human beings, not as clowns and sexual performers."

(Charles Lucas did give a favorable review of The Dreyfus Affair, a love story by Peter Lefcourt.)

The average person may not agree with much of Don's thinking, and know that he and others got salaries of perhaps $50 a week which may help explain his thinking on someone complaining about a salary of $17,000. And a few people who disagreed with personality issues ignored that because of the great work Don (and Dorr, et al.) did. They were conservative, I am a liberal Democrat. And Troy and others did work with Don (such as picketing the Los Angeles Times) and ignore his irascible nature-or perhaps they would use other adjectives. It was not money or politics that separated Don and Dorr, it was what effort deserved the higher priority. But I think it is politics that separates others then and now-such as John O'Brien. As in generic politics, I don't understand why John, et al, can't disagree with Don (and thus Dorr) without telling lies and making false claims.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

From Madeline Davis

Hi Billy,

Your list may be interested in a recent film: Swimming With Lesbians, filmed & directed by David Marshall. It gives the history of the Buffalo, NY gay community going back into the 30s but predominantly dealing with the social history from 1970 on. I had the privilege of narrating the film which has been shown at numerous gay film festivals, including the Frameline FF at the Castro Theater in SF. It is available from Frameline distributors. It deals a lot with the drag and trans communities in Bflo as well as the history of gay politics, essential kicked off by a speech here by Frank Kameny. It’s really a look at how the communities that were not on the coasts evolved into centers for gay activism.

Best, Madeline

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Book Review of Interest

Review of Martin Duberman's Dual Bio of Deming and McReynolds by Doug Ireland, The Rag Blog. 

From Allen Young:

Doug reviews Martin Duberman’s recently released A Saving Remnant: The Radical Lives of Barbara Deming and David McReynolds. Historian Duberman is known as the father of gay studies, and Deming and McReynolds are “two openly queer Americans who devoted their lives to the struggles for peace and social justice.” Ireland tells us that A Saving Remant is “radiant with an emboldening and unquenchable humanity.”

Perhaps we should check it out?

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Stinson Carter article in current issue of The Forum News (Shreveport/Bossier)

It was a pleasant surprise to be glancing through the free local “alternative” newspaper, Forum News, and see an article, with picture, of Stinson on his book, False River.

And, talk about a small world, it points out that one of the writers he likes is Walker Percy, and of course my friend in Boston is history prof William (Bill) Percy, Walker’s relative (another Percy wrote a famous book, I think it is Lanterns on the Levee). 
Bill has a paper/dissertation on him by a former student at UTX. I found it very interesting not only about Wm. Percy but about the times, race relations, and he knew famous people, etc. This was a good reflection on life in Greenville MS and also in Europe.

A Vintage Montage Of Guys Together

Thanks for this group of pictures of early homosexual men-the men look great but what is interesting is the question of -who took the pictures!
_ _ _ _

RE: Subject: "Secretly" - A Vintage Montage Of Guys Together on Vimeo

We have been around forever, many folks just didn't seem to see us (for whatever reason).
This is nice. Turn on your sound for the music.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Discussion in Letters Section of new issue of The Gay & Lesbian Review- March/April 2011

The new issue of The Gay & Lesbian Review has a letter from me with a reply from the editor concerning articles on closeted gay authors from earlier eras. I wonder if other people are frustrated when authors of the 1950s and ’60s, who were out, such as Joseph Hansen, have been ignored, while many literary publications keep having “tributes” to closeted English authors, who did nothing to change things but merely hid and enjoyed life as hidden homosexuals—thus making lots of money and giving none of it to our cause.?

The other issue is that the “artistic” community keeps pushing movies and articles on a few hippy-era people who were homosexual and out but were “special” since they were weird and did outrageous things, personally and artistically. I find it hard to believe that Allen Ginsberg and such people did more to make life better from our community than did those who worked in movement publications, such as Don Slater, Barbara Gittings, Barbara Grier, et al., who managed to affect the world without writing pornography or needing drugs to be creative.

And it is time to tell the world that the LGBT community is not limited to drag queens, which is apparently what sells, since LOGO, the supposed LGBT network can’t seem to find anything else of value in our community. I suggest they look up resources listed in Gayellow Pages and give some balance to their coverage, or else we should tell the advertisers they are wasting their money as no one watches 24 hours of repeat RuPaul.

Friday, February 25, 2011

How the media handled the government's marriage issue this week.

Jon Stewart, last night, and will be repeated 2 more times today on Comedy Central, did a great fast job of attacking MSNBC, and indirectly much of the media, on how it covered what may be a very important change in the legal battle over DOMA/marriage. The woman anchor is listening to a reporter breaking the news of how the Attorney General of the US is no longer going to defend the Constitutionality of the act. And suddenly she cuts off the reporter to switch to another reporter who has "breaking news" that Lindsey Lohan is in court.

Now at first you see what stupid journalists they are, if they claim to be journalists. Who thinks it is news that Lohan is in court and may go to jail? BUT, the change of legal attitude toward DOMA is new. And so it should be the prime news.

BUT, is it possible that our cause is better off if the "news" is handled as not that important? History may show that some "progress" is made easier if it is not well publicized.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Remembering Joseph Hansen, etc.

We know some of our editors and co-workers should get covered on the Tangents Web site.  I was talking with Bill Percy and mentioned Joe Hansen. Percy said he would put up something on Joe, provide a list of the books, etc.  But I am not sure even I know all the books, etc, but I may try a short thing for Percy, but hope someday we can better cover Joe Hansen.  Also we never mention Morgan Farley, yet he was sort of famous in his day.

Is there a list of former ONE and HIC members—such s Susan Howe, Rodney Riggall, David Kennedy, Melvin Cain, Peter Blume, Rudi Steinert, etc.?

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Awarning to young homosexual Americans: 2 current events show that religions are the source of most of our problems, no matter what issue you are con

The catalyst for covering this subject is the two events discussed on this week's edition of the HBO tv series hosted by a modern day "Mattachine": Real Time with Bill Maher.

He first covered the fact that while the world celebrates the events in Egypt in which citizens kicked out a corrupt dictator of 30 years, Fox New may in fact have a point-the fact is that Muslim men raped a foreign journalist supposedly because she wore clothing that did not follow their religious dictates and a large majority of citizens have said they approve of such religious control of the nation. It is not just a small group of extremists who want to force everyone to follow Islamic dictates. Maher said correctly, there will still be no true democracy there until there is sexual equality. That is true of the Islamic attitude toward homosexuals-they want us dead.

The second event he covered are current celebrations in southern states of the anniversary of the Civil War-which they lost. That war was to keep slavery. And it was supported by most citizens, including those who did not own slaves, and worse it was endorsed by churches. A hundred years later those churches, Methodists and Southern Baptists, etc, have apologized to black Americans for their violation of human rights. They have repented-but to make the point relative still, members of the local Methodist Church enter the building under the proof that they approved of slavery, written in stone over the entrance-Methodist Episcopal Church, South. The church divided and both parts used the same book, the Bible, to prove that their god did or did not approve of slavery. Today they use that some resource to attack homosexual Americans. They changed racially-they must be forced-educated-to change on sexuality.

Is it possible that young glbt people think the battle/movement to gain equal/civil rights for homosexual Americans has been won or progress will continue automatically, with them having to do nothing? We live in a world that others worked to make better. It could be reversed if future generations don't continue the work we have done.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Local versus national, and the media may be to blame-/RE: Not so much personal issues as different priorities

I wonder if, again, the media might have a part. Even though I think our work did not get coverage, from the start it did in a way locally. The first notice was the Mattachine letter to school board people-who in their right minds would start a movement and aim at the children first, instead of laws, etc.? But, as we know and forget when dealing with the bigots, just the attack by Paul Coates, et al, against Mattachine-and they sure learned of the communist part right away-got the organization known, by people who had not heard of it by word of mouth yet. So his attack actually got new people involved. Dale Jenning's arrest/entrapment and the effort to fight the cops got notice in the community but not the media. And ONE"s magazine victory got very little notice. But by the 60s we were picketing the Los Angeles Times, having a Motorcade through L. A., on 5 or 6 tv talk shows, and radio talk shows, so it would have been hard for closet queens to NOT know of our work.

If no media coverage was head in Houston until later, then maybe there was no new groups started, etc. And the publicity in L. A. got new people started- many we didn't like too much, as they exploited the movement, got paid jobs with politicians, etc. And of course MCC started, and got lots of publicity when Troy Perry got interviewed by John Dart, the religion person at the Los Angeles Times when we were picketing-and the article was carried in many newspapers around the country-a gay church!!!

There was no competition between Mattachine and its offspring ONE since Mattachine in L. A. died and Hal Call restarted it in San Francisco. And the "proof" that the magazine was the essential part of the early effort was the fact that he and then the DOB immediately started a magazine too. It was national, not just local, and for a while they were the only way to get movement news. And the only news of books, etc.

Even though I had never heard of any book or the idea, apparently most people think the Kinsey book and Cory's book prepared the nation for a discussion on homosexuality. And so the timing was right. World War II sure moved people away from their old homes and small communities-and apparently even today people are still leaving the rural/small town areas.

As to conflict, it seems not so much internal as external-we now have 2 glbt Republican groups, 2 or 3 military groups, and I see no conflict among the several lgbt legal service organizations. I do wonder if the media covering DADT ever heard of Randy Shilts' book, Conduct Unbecoming. Even glbt journalists don't seem to know history and the path this and other parts of the movement have taken.

Mattachine was a great 'brand.' No doubt about it—ONE is strange, not exotic. And as to our history—only 3 people I know of still exist who were ONE: co-founder Tony Reyes, who is not active in the movement, Jim Schneider who was on the board of both ONE Inc before the division and on ONE Institute after the division. I am the only actual paid staff member living that I know of. And now ONE is lives on as 2 archives/libraries, preserving our history, which is now a small part leading up to Stonewall, Lawrence vs Texas, DADT, marriage, and all the great groups working today.

Why are LGBT history books ignored by the media, including the LGBT media?

ONE example—here is a view by William Percy:
From one of Walter William’s finest students, C. Todd White’s Pre-Gay L.A. probably ranks as the best work on homosexuality yet published (University of Illinois Press). An anthropologist by training, White meticulously integrates individual biographies with institutional and social history in a charming and gripping narrative. The book is hard to put the book down because the splits and various movements in L. A. and beyond were so dramatic that one would not think it was published by a university press. It describes facts and personalities that scholars and young glbt people should want to find out about. It adheres to the finest traditions of objective scholarship; White excitingly describes how all of the major issues confronting the movement since Stonewall were discussed in depth and intelligently before that riot.  
White focused more institutional history rather than the broad-ranging sensationalized Gay L.A: A History of Sexual Outlaws, Power Politics and Lipstick Lesbians (2006). It began with the Indian village on which the Spanish built, emphasizing movie stars and celebrities. White also downsized the exaggerated role assigned to Harry Hay in Gay L.A and corrected its misuse of the term gay for the ’30s and ’40s.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

How to deal with sperm donor and the child/and how to write a good book about Molly Ivins (Windy City Times, 2-9-11)

I only accidentally read the very good article by Mary Bowers because the heading was not "interesting." (And Baby Makes More) But I dont think I've read any better discussion on how to deal with the sperm donor who-despite signing away rights to the child-becomes involved in the child's life-often at the urging of the child. It seems to me that it is anothe rexample, as the writer says very well, that the real world is not the same as the theories. No matter what the man or woman thinks, it often doesn't work out that way, and the only real issue is what is best for the child. The article is done with a great sense of humor, which helps us get through life.

It is an issue not dealt with in most discussions of marriage, but ironically is in the issue of adoption. In this case the donor is known, but it could become an issue even if the donor is not known, in theory. In the case here the worry is that the man will want visitation rights. The writer says that if the women worry about the man getting time with the child-and the women don't want that- send the man to her as she has kids she would love to let someone handle for a weekend. That is reality. And even more is the fact that many kids later seek to know the donor/father.

So I hope a better heading will let readers know the subject of future articles.

And another issue I think of as being in the real world is two fold. It does seem to me that most people no longer actually read books, and that there is a need for a modern-day Readers Digest. Too many books seem to be "over-written." And that seems to be what Tracy Baim is saying in her review of the new book on Molly Ivins. (Molly Ivins: A Rebel Life; by Bill Minutaglio and W. Michael Smith, published by Public Affairs) Solid research, put into print can often be a bad thing if it drags the book down, making it slow reading. Too much information is worse than too little. And good editors should eliminate any duplication. As good an "entertainer" as Molly was, in writing and speeches, it is lousy that the authors don't get this across. Maybe this book will at least get people who want to know of her life to read her books. Your readers deserve an honest review of books-it is not fair to promote a book just because it is about some good person or cause, if the book is of no real value. For those who do buy books, many don't have that much money to spend, so need to know what books actually are worth reading.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Gay Veterans Gallery

Thanks for sharing this Web page on Gay Veterans.  It is good and needed-evidence of LGBT people who served our nation well.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

The National Resource Center on LGBT Aging

Thanks to Marilyn for passing this info on:

The National Resource Center on LGBT Aging is a nationwide program of Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE) and ten partner organizations :American Society on Aging; Brookdale Center for Healthy Aging and Longevity, Hunter College; CenterLink; FORGE Transgender Aging Network; GRIOT Circle; The LGBT Aging Project; National Association of Area Agencies on Aging; National Council on Aging’s National Institute of Senior Centers; Openhouse; and PHI.

P.A.C.E. statement on the Jan. 26th Shreveport hate crime based on sexual orientation

Worth repeating:

P.A.C.E. statement on the Jan. 26th [2011] Shreveport hate crime based on sexual orientation

At the end of 2010, the FBI released statistics on hate crimes reported during 2009, and fortunately, fewer incidents were reported than in previous years in every category.  However, when considering just violent crimes, anti-gay hate crimes had increased.  In addition, anti-gay hate crimes included physical violence significantly more often than crimes against other reported groups.

This increased anti-gay violence in our country hit home on Wednesday in Shreveport when a regular patron of a downtown bar was, without any provocation, brutally attacked, based only on his sexual orientation. Witnesses say before the attack there was no interaction between the victim and his alleged attacker, William Payne.  The Shreveport Police Department has charged Payne with 2nd degree attempted murder and the commission of a hate crime.  The victim was hospitalized and will require major reconstructive surgery to his face.

All violent crimes are reprehensible.  But hate crimes that target groups are directed not just at an individual but are intended to terrorize entire communities, to let them know that they should constantly live in fear for their personal safety.  P.A.C.E. applauds the witnesses at the bar who came forward to testify, the security personnel at the bar who detained the attacker, and the Shreveport Police Department for treating this brutal act as the hate crime it is.  

Friday, January 14, 2011

First GLBT History Museum in the United States Announces Grand Opening for January 13

SAN FRANCISCO—Internationally renowned as a center for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender culture, San Francisco soon will welcome yet another groundbreaking queer institution: The GLBT History Museum. A project of the GLBT Historical Society, an archives and research center established in 1985, the new museum will be the first of its kind in the United States. The formal grand opening is set for Jan. 13, 2011.

“A quarter century after the founding of the GLBT Historical Society, we’re proud to open a museum to showcase our community’s history,” said Paul Boneberg, executive director of the Historical Society. “The GLBT History Museum is in the heart of the Castro, a neighborhood visited not only by locals, but also by tens of thousands of tourists every year who come in search of queer culture. At our museum, they’ll discover treasures from our archives that reflect fascinating stories spanning nearly a century of GLBT life. We have gone all out to create a museum as rich, diverse and surprising as the GLBT community itself. Whether they are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or straight, visitors are sure to be moved, enlightened and entertained.”

Located at 4127 18th St., the museum includes 1,600 square feet of gallery and program space built to the specifications of the Historical Society, with custom fixtures, lighting and multimedia installations reflecting professional standards. Funding has come from Levi’s, the City of San Francisco, Castro district merchants, and numerous other spon sors and individual donors.

The museum will feature two debut exhibitions: In the main gallery, “Our Vast Queer Past: Celebrating GLBT History,” curated by historians Gerard Koskovich, Don Romesburg and Amy Sueyoshi; and in the front gallery, “Great Collections of the GLBT Historical Society Archives.”

The grand opening on Jan. 13, 2011, will include a preview for sponsors, donors and special guests, followed by a ribbon-cutting and reception open to the public from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Regular hours for The GLBT History Museum will be Wednesday through Saturday, 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., and Sundays, noon to 5:00 p.m. Admission: $5.00; free for members. For more information, call 415-621-1107 or visit

Monday, January 3, 2011

Thoughts on Frank Kameny's Role in Stonewall, etc.

Someone wrote an article asking why Frank Kameny is not treated as a “rock star” for the homosexual movement. He has been an activist since th 1960s. Then someone else, who says they were at Stonewall, said he does not deserve any credit at all, especially for Stonewall, as the NY Mattachine types did not support Stonewall.

Actually I should be happy, or gay, to hear this second opinion as it says the same thing I have been saying, not because I like it, but because it is the real world. It says that it was not the Mattachine types who were responsible for Stonewall. In fact, many had to rush back from Fire Island when they heard the news. It was young outsiders from New Jersey, etc., who were not welcome at the other bars. They were no part of a movement, and I would say they had not only never read any book on the subject but had never even discussed the subject of homosexuality in a public forum.

I’m not sure either version/view has to say that those who did or did not support Stonewall were seeking “assimilation,” since that is a separate issue. The issue was having a bar that they could go to, and they probably didn't care if heteros went there too as long as everyone got along.

Where the second view falls apart is the nonsense that the people at Stonewall were more “brave” than Kameny and the other Mattachine activists. Part of this is my opinion, but the kids at 1969 have no way of knowing how brave it was for Frank, Barbara Gittings, Jack Nichols, et al., to picket at Liberty Hall and induction centers in 1965. What did the kids have to lose? Jobs?

I still think I am right. What both Frank did and what the kids at Stonewall did was good. While Frank got a little publicity when he took legal action aganst the federal government and argued with and taunted Congress, the reason the kids got lots of media coverage is because they were sexier and the media had—largely because of the movement—finally discovered the homophile movement and issues (and they covered it much like Fox News discovers or invents an issue and pushes it night and day for ratings and to excite the right-wing base.)

The most important element in any case may be timing. But as the old saying goes: When the time comes, you have to be ready to take advantage of it. We still need to push the lazy media to cover more than the back and forth on gay marriage. And we are long past the time when any coverage of homosexuality is thought to need a comment from the bigots. You don’t need an alternative opinion from someone to argue wether 2 + 2 = 4, or an ignorant religious leader’s opinion on if the earth is more than 6,000 years old.

So welcome to the new year. Now let’s get back to work.