Friday, November 23, 2012

From John Lauritsen...

In 1974 I wrote a monograph entitled Religious Roots of the Taboo on Homosexuality: A Materialist View. I printed it myself on an AB Dick offset press at Come! Unity Press, a quasi-anarchist collective that insisted that every publication printed there be free to anyone who could not afford the cover price.

All of us who used the press had to learn how to make plates, run the press, and bind our publications. Although never advertised or distributed commercially, Religious Roots sold several thousand copies. It was translated and published as a pamphlet in German.

I’ve now re-published Religious Roots as a newly typeset PDF pamphlet, with scans of the original covers, and have added images of 12th century Sicilian mosaics depicting the Destruction of Sodom. 

Destruction of Sodom
In re-reading the pamphlet, I was a little embarrassed by some of the rhetoric (“class struggle,” “bourgeoisie,” etc.) but decided not to change anything.  Religious Roots has historical importance in that it helped bridge the new Gay Liberation movement and the older Freethought and Atheist movements. 

On the basis of this pamphlet, I was asked in 1974 to write an article for the venerable British monthly, The Freethinker, which since then has published many of my writings.

Links to the Religious Roots PDF pamphlet are the first bulleted item on my Gay Liberation and Freethought pages.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Saving issues of the first national publication discussing homosexuality from and by and homosexuals

Written by Billy Glover on 11-17-2012:

What seems to not have been understood is that, except for a few nuts who would find something wrong today even with the good newspapers and magazines in the movement/community, from the first issue, ONE magazine was professional, something even closeted men and women could be proud of.  They didn’t have anything else.  Early Mattachine had been secret except for the front group formed to support Dale Jennings’ court case which he, in a sense, won due to a hung jury—probably the first time someone had said they were homosexual but did not publicly solicit sex with this man.  (He covered this in the first issues and was the first editor as well as a co-founder of Mattachine and ONE. Later he was famous for writing The Cowboys, the movie John Wayne was in.)

The editors asked famous homosexual authors to contribute but none would except Norman Mailer. So no author/writer/media person could later say they did not know there was, at last, a homosexual publication, telling people what was being said and done about homosexuality. And with no apology.

Jim Kepner had a hard job searching for news, since few places—except for printing names of those arrested—would mention or use the word “homosexual.”  As I have pointed out, a search of the Readers Guide to Periodical Index over the decades will show just how little news, articles, etc., there was in the 1950s and 1960s.  Slowly but surely the coverage grew, until today, you would need a whole book to list all the articles.

The most-read parts of ONE and later Tangents were the Tangents news section and the letters to the editor.  The letters were real.  It is still interesting to see/hear people from all over the nation were writing to ONE in those years, saying what they write to Ellen and celebrities today—saying, to new people each year, “You are an inspiration. I did not know anyone else was like me. You give me courage, etc.”  I wonder why editors today do not think readers would like to see the letters they get?

The movement / community has to know that there was a doubt that you could publish such a magazine promoting acceptance of homosexuality—and obviously they were right since ONE had to go to court to protect that right. That court case (when the Post Office stopped an issue, at the urging of a politician) is covered well in the book Courting Justice.

Some young writers and media types were able to test the waters by writing for ONEJoseph Hansen is an example. Some fiction was good.  The different views on homosexuality were educational.  There was no other place this discussion was taking place.  We did not censor.  We let the readers hear the opinion and decide for themselves.  I do not think there is an idea or view heard today that was not covered in ONE—such as the early discussion about marriage.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Harry Hay and Radical Fairies in Oregon Commune in the 1970s

Nice historical photo of Harry Hay with Radical Fairies at a commune in Oregon in the late 1970s.
Email exchange between Billy Glover, Paul Cain and Dr. Don Kilhefner on 11-2-2012 regarding Harry Hay
and John Burnside, whether they participated in nudism in their various communes.

Dear Billy and Paul:
Greetings.  I hope you are both well.
As far as I know, Harry and John
were not into nudism or it was very
marginal to their lives.  Harry talked
a liberationist line when it came to
sex and nudism in public but was
rather prudish in that regard in
I lived at the La Cresta Court commune in Los
Angeles with Harry and John for over two
years (1979-82) and there was no nudism
there but also there was no anti-nudism
either--there was mutuality and reciprocity
and we respected each others boundaries
and proclivities.  From time to time a guest
might be nude but it was no big deal to us.
Harry, John, Michael Fleming and I tended
to be clothed even though scantily clothed
sometimes--it was our home.
From the very beginning of the Radical Fairies
(1979) to the last gathering I attended (1985)
in Southern California, clothing optional took
many forms including being nude with bells,
glitter, feathers and so forth being used
imaginatively.  But nudism as such was not
an ideology that was practiced.  It was more
liberation in whatever form we personally needed
to be liberated rather than nudism as such.  Nudism
always had a little 19th century and early 20th century
smell to it by 1969--once daring but by the late
20th century somewhat ho-hum to Gay Liberation Revolution.
Nudism was never was never on the agenda of Gay
Liberation in any significant way--Sexual Liberation,
however, was.
It is late for me and now I'm off to bed.
I'm moving nicely forward on a book tentatively
called You'll Never Be Alone Again: Gay Liberation,
Self-Identity and Community Creation in Los Angeles,
1969-79 in which some of this gets fuller treatment.
Thanks for thinking of me.
Pacem In Terris.
Donald Kilhefner, Ph.D.