Monday, December 23, 2013

Combining our cause with other causes

The Windy City Times has had articles/columns discussing what our movement has done this year.  Since it seems successful and with Illinois having marriage equality there is the question of what other causes to take on while we are on a roll. The latest example of having our voice joined with others in the joint letter of HRC and the NAACP about the views of the Duck Dynasty family.

It is a good debate to have, it seems to me, as to how much good we do our cause and another cause by joining the two. We did not have many offers from others when this movement started. Even Virginia Prince/Transvestia objected to being included in a list the Homosexual Information Center made of resources.There were good examples of those who could have worked from several causes, and a few examples show that the attempt backfired.  Bayard Rustin being only one.  I remember in theory a woman who could not do it all-a black lesbian and maybe working o get the right to vote for women.

I hope the movement is big enough now to handle different choices, but we would not want to harm our cause by devoting our time to another cause, no matter how good. 

Best wishes to you and all LGBT journalists/media for a good new year.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Letter from Don Slater, from Dec. 1990

Historians are talking on C-SPAN about how much harder learning history will be now that people no longer write letters.  So I thought I would share one, not important, letter Don Slater wrote to me here in LA while he was working in L. A.  It may be interesting if someone wants to know what he thought at the time of Stuart Timmons’ book on Harry Hay. (Or Troy Perry.) This letter was received on Dec. 3, 1990

Yes.  I wrote some time ago that Stuart Timmons' book about Harry, The Trouble With Harry Hay, had been published by Alyson. We got 2 review copies: 1 from Alyson via Timmons, and 1 from Dale Jennings who had been given a copy by Timmons here in the house when I had them over to meet. Martin, of course, is keeping the review copy we have given him, but I haven't seen the review yet. The book in my opinion is quite good. But unfortunately loaded with unimportant errors—all the result of Timmons’ relying almost exclusively on Kepner for his peripheral information. He had interviewed me a couple of times, but always for confirmation of what others had told him. I explained that I wasn’t going to second-guess, Jim or anyone else. If he wanted information about me or you, or the work we did, etc. I would have talked more to him. For instance, although it is not bad, most of the small bit about our break-up with ONE came from either Bill or Jim-or maybe both. And I said, okay, if those are your sources let it be. Everybody is mentioned including Tony (incorrectly),  me (incorrectly), no mention of our Committee to Fight Exclusion of Homosexuals from the Armed Forces, at least by name (which is strange considering that Harry was our head), no mention of you, and Dale wants to sue because he feels he’s been misrepresented. He has even consulted Herb Selwyn. But I say a suit would be the best thing that could happen to the book; I say this even thought I am basically in favor of it.  I can assure you, it was not easy for Stuart to deal with a living Harry Hay and all of the rest of the prima donnas still living. With all its errors the book is the best thing yet, and it should be allowed to die it own death; it doesn't need to be prodded. 
My fight at the moment is trying to get a review copy of the new biography of Troy Perry.  Jim and everyone else has it, but Troy sent me a formal note saying I would have to contact St. Martin’s Press if I wanted a copy. The whole tone of the note was distant. I want Chas. to review it in the same issue of the newsletter with Martin’s review of Harry, but I have a feeling that Troy may be afraid Charles will trash it since he ghosted the first biography as you know, and is not too happy with Troy who refused to give him any royalty. 
I will be writing to Karyn Schacter. But I can’t imagine a high school student is doing any serious “research,” as you call it.  She’s probably doing a school paper that’s all. You are wrong about Lambda Legal Defense & Education Fund. They send us things all the time, and always addressed to you. In fact, a lot of material coming to the box is in your name so it is likely that some directory or other lists us there with you as secretary. This is fine except large packages I can’t get if I go on Sundays, and United Parcel will not deliver to a PO Box so some things get sent back, I imagine because I never get them even when I phone, and ask that they be forwarded to the house. 
Yes, we get the Gay & Les. Hist. Co. Newsletter from SF. But I like the old cumbersome name better than the new one, and I haven’t seen your letter. However, I’m glad you are getting printed because despite the length of time you’ve been in the movm’t you're still generally unknown. 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Passion of Dan Choi article

I think this article, in Prospect Magazine, is very important, for the LGBT community but generically for anyone thinking that celebrity lasts forever and everyone will love you-especially those working for the same cause.  Each person has to be able to work for the cause and still like him/herself after his time in work is past. That seems to be  generic problem with many people-they feel worthless without a job and title.

It confirms most of what Don Slater and Dorr Legg and others warned activists about from 1950s on.  The writer, Gabriel Arana, has done a good job and his article does what I have often asked GLBT journalists/historians to do: follow up and tell us what happened to those who were active and then disappeared.

Perhaps I found it interesting because he seemed to do what I did, reach a point where you said to hell with it and acted badly and not in the best interests of the service—which he chose to join.

In a strange world, he both found out you can not depend on those who should be supporting you AND he became a bad example of why letting one person be the speaker, is not good.  What even the article fails to point out, and is relevant, is what had been done BEFORE Choi, on the problem/issue.  He should have known of the early efforts.  It seems to me a copout to call DADT a bad idea—it was the best for that time.  And his efforts to get ahead of others working more silently and even for a longer time, is not honorable and shows he is not a good co-worker/soldier.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Nov. 2013 issue of the Gay & Lesbian Review

As I read Will Roscoe's article on Harry Hay, (in the November/December issue of G&LR) it reminded me of what I think of The Gay & Lesbian Review.  While I find the first half of his article very good, he lost me from then on. And, I think he never even had most young LGBT people.  

Not only do they seem uninterested in the pioneers of the movement that has made it possible for them to live comfortably open lives as homosexuals, but they seem uninterested in any discussion of homosexuality—certainly not the Hay versus Foucault thinking.  

The issue of if we are a minority is not settled, yet Don Slater’s view seems to have been agreed to in the CO decision of the U. S. Supreme Court—we are  minority ONLY because society and laws make us one. Otherwise we have nothing in common, not even the language, etc., Harry thought made us one.

I also thought of that as I read the letter—I always like letters to the editor—pointing out the misuse of Harvey Milk’s “writings.” (Sort of like the current issue over Rand Paul’s speeches—questioning authorship.) What some people have “seen” in Harry, Radical Faeries, Communist, subject-subject thinking, etc., I did NOT see. What I did see is what the letter writer points out which is that (as also seems possible in the questions raised in the new book on Matthew Shepard) some writers or closet queens feel the need to find some person or event to put forward as evidence we are good people. As the writer, who was his editor and has some of the original writings of Milk, says, “he has become the vehicle for any enterprising aspirant, including restless academics, in search of a personality to immortalize.  Harvey Milk apparently fits the bill, but this does not make him a ‘philosophe.’” What should be asked is why Harry does not fit that need.

I do not like the idea of Roscoe that it was “assimilationists” who kicked Harry, et al., out of leadership—thus ending early Mattachine.  It is clear from history that it took Harry and cohorts to start the movement. As Roscoe says, “He held a meeting,” which all the talkers and closeted writers did not.  That made all the difference. But as I worked in the movement, with him and the others, it was clear that there had to be a change of focus to make the movement grow. Secret meetings would not do it, and having communists lead the movement publicly would have stopped it. Our movement and those of blacks and women were constantly accused of being part of a communist plot (mentioned in another letter to the editor, forgiving Liberace for being a closet queen).

I’m not sure how this fits the discussion, but Roscoe is right when he says Harry said—I assume regarding all the nonsense of experts and the idea of how we became a minority— “We built it.”  We did it—not some theory, not in an ivory tower. We created the movement that has changed our lives-with no help from academia, religion, law, rich people, etc.

I am not sure how to feel about the idea that some dilettantes can go to Fire Island/CherryGrove and make a life for part of the year. But it sure does NOT fit the book review about a man who was into rodeos. Nor are many glbt people interested in the Bloomsbury thing, or Proust. Are all books about English musicians or writers?  I see a listing for meetings by such movement/community people as LGBT leaders. Why are there no books or articles about such people?

The first part of G&LR is always interesting, but the last half goes into people/subjects I have no interest in. I acknowledge that my interest has always been limited to working for civil rights—that is what ONE and HIC did/do. But I think, even with or especially with the internet, twitter, etc, and with so many issues of homosexuality on the tv and front pages of newspapers, most LGBT people will not spend their time on obscure people-artistic types. But I also think even young people are not as interested in gay plays as most LGBT newspapers seem to think—considering how much space they give to the week’s newest celebrity who has come out and is in a play. I suspect that interest is covered by the general media and by Billy Masters. I, of course, think ONE Magazine gave the community a balanced view of people, places and events.  I guess what I want is an up-to-date ONE. And that makes me guilty—as are too many people who review books—of wanting the publication to do what I want it to, not what the publisher/writer/editor intended and chose to do.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving Gratitude

As I hear of those celebrating Thanksgiving, I go into my non-conformist thinking. I have most of my life NOT celebrated holidays. But as I think of being thankful, what worries me is that I might be "thankful" for reasons others can NOT be thankful for-reasonably good health, a home, food, friends, that my geographical area has NOT had a tornado, etc.

So as I am thankful that friends helped me fix a housing problem, a car problem, will feed me tomorrow, and that—thanks to Medicare—I am reasonably healthy and get cheap medicine. I know others live in constant pain, barely have enough income to pay the rent, much less the electric or gas bill in cold weather times. So how do I say I am thankful? I have no resources to help others. I can only say the silly phrase: I feel their pain.

And act as a good citizen and try to know what our government is doing and vote for those who will do what I think is best. And do what I can for the cause I feel is most important to me, even though there are so many other causes I want to support too. And think of how those friends and coworkers that are no longer with us would be thankful that our nation is better today than in the past, and hopefully will continue to get even better, for everyone.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Gay Marriage and Political Correctness

It may not help to know that people who worked to gain equal/civil rights for homosexual Americans, starting in the early 1950s, were aware that the effort to educate people on sexuality could go too far in the other direction—and have unintended consequences. But the problem was discussed in the first national/public homosexual publication, ONE Magazine. 

While the organization behind it had to go to the U. S. Supreme Court (1954-58) to protect its right to publish such material/views, the editors always worried that someday fanatics could go too far in trying to force everyone to agree on the “correct” view.

The perfect example, currently in the news today, is that if we got marriage equality, then some people would then say all homosexuals had to marry, ignoring the very rights to privacy that we were pushing for.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Book by Dick Hewetson: History of the Gay Movement in Minnesota and the Role of the Minnesota Civil Liberties Union

This is a wonderful history of Minnesota LGBT history [click for the PDF] , but it covers the national history too-and should be in every library.

I do think it is important to ask the question that will anger many people.  How is it possible that all of the people and resources in this book did what they did and apparently never heard of or had contact with ONE—the first public national publication, which for a decade covered the news and views for the nation?

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Author rejects archive for material/casino website/telephone system crashes from too many calls

I think two bits of news I heard recently are interesting.  

On C-SPAN's BookTV InDepth show author Kitty Kelley was asked where her material would go (taped interviews with friend of Sinatra, Jackie O., Oprah, et al. (for her own memory AND to use in some of the people interviewed later denied being interviewed)) and she said, NOT to an archive where it will be stored in a basement and never seen or heard again—she said this is true of the Library of Congress, etc.

On a (GAC) tv show on Garth Brooks’ three years at Wynn’s Casino in Las Vegas, among the ‘revelations’ of how he finally came out of retirement, it was mentioned said that when it became known that Garth would actually start doing the show and tickets would be available—the website and telephone lines of the casino CRASHED.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Regarding a Mormon with 10 kids who votes to stop medicaid while he is on it...

If I heard right, on the O'Donnell show on MSNBC last night (in ReWrite?), he said that a representative, maybe from Utah, a Mormon, with 10 kids, votes to end Medicaid and all government, including help to the poor etc, BUT his 10 kids are on welfare—they are on Medicaid.  (He claims to be a conservative and Libertarian. I think he is opposed to driver licenses, etc.)

I think the name is Greg Collette. I wonder if others have heard of this hypocrite. AND, it is a slam against the Mormon church since their selling point is that, if you are a member, the church will take care of you and your family and you don't need government support.

I am thinking that this makes one of our “problems” a generic one, as one of the main hindrances to our gaining support and our full civil rights is closet queens, people who secretly have homosexual acts, but for some reason, self-hate, political gain, keeping a job, etc, work AGAINST the effort. This man says and votes to stop everyone from getting help from the government, except him and his family—do the voters know he is on the welfare that he preachers against?

That was one of the reasons some people in the movement supported “outing.”

It is one thing to be in the closet and not support our efforts.  It is something else to be secretly enjoying homosexuality and then work to keep us from having our rights. Being on welfare and voting against it for others is the same thing.

While this man and family are a disgrace, as is the Mormon Church, the blame goes to the voters of his district.  And that is true of LGBT people who either don't vote or vote and support a politician or business that is anti-gay.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

GLBT news in 1959 that the media ignored/life happened BEFORE Stonewall

I have been rereading the issues of 1959—since it seems interesting to know how much had gone on in the movement BEFORE Stonewall.

Most issues had articles or news about aspects of homosexuality we discuss today, but how different the times! We were criminals, sick and sinful. Our bars were raided in every major city. The media only covered the subject negatively. And, no surprise, readers complained that all the news was negative.  Few celebrities could be covered, even if we knew they were gay. As the film on HBO showed, Liberace sued an English newspaper and won—denying he was gay.

In the January 1959 issue, they (I didn't come on till about 1961) had Dr. Blanche Baker discussing issues of homosexuality and an editorial about how we needed to support young people. In February, Dr. Baker discussed the idea of us marrying to hide. In March it was pointed out that much of the work for the cause was done by non-gay people, as most of us were closeted. And, the “Stonewall” type raids on the Black Cat, etc., in San Francisco and the legal battle were discussed, giving credit to the legal work of Morris Lowenthal and the fight back of Stoumen, the owner.

And the article by Vivian Messetti was the first discussion of Intersex issues.

April discussed the downfall of all marriages, discussed mental health issues.  Some of the marriage issues were why and type, such as creative with two people, and procreation but mainly for love. The idea of overpopulation meaning no need to procreate was mentioned-not a very good argument it seemed then and now to me. Children are in the discussion today, so a change. The ide of us settling down has always been there.

May saw an attempt to show positive thinking, with an interview with a successful homosexual (teacher)—which some thought was a fake. That type of negative thinking is covered in another marriage column of Dr. Baker’s (in the December issue). She said that the FIRST need to have a successful life and marriage is to like and accept yourself—since if you feel sinful, etc., you will not be able to live freely.

The July issue had an article on beatniks. Not that great for our cause. Del Martin discussed men who like lesbians in the august issue. There is mention of ONE in Pageant Magazine—one example of a little bit of media coverage. There is mention of a French magazine (I don’t recall or know what happened to it), Juventus.  And Dr. Baker has mention of Intersex issues.

In September they covered the continuing problem of the people who wanted a pen pal resource—an issue Frank Kameny argued with us about years later when we rejected computer dating. Although meeting people in person, bars, etc. could be dangerous, examples of how bad meetings through pen pal places had been.

There was a brief mention of Fire Island, which in a later issue got a letter saying that there had been a backlash—the article had been in the New York Post  And there is the ad for the Mattachine convention in Denver, coming in September.

The failure of the media—except in Denver—to cover this major event is proof of either incompetent or unethical journalists / editors.  Why is discussed in the November issue.

In October (Dune people) Cherry Grove is covered. And a Canadian Report that was anti-gay, with stupid remarks from the police chief of Toronto. And in another article there is the first mention of the fact that the NINTH AMENDMENT is important in any discussion of our civil rights. Remember that the ACLU did NOT consider us a civil rights issue until 1965.

The November issue is mainly coverage of what the Mattachine Denver Convention brought to politics in San Francisco and how the local media handled it well but the national media ignored it—which had to be deliberate. A candidate (Wolden) running against the current mayor (Christopher) had a “plant” to get a resolution thanking Christopher for being so gay-friendly, assuming this would harm him. It backfired and got Hal Call and Mattachine great publicity, got Christopher reelected, and thus was great win for him and Mattachine. Dr. Baker discussed need for college courses on homosexuality and issues of bisexuality.

The December issue again discussed marriage, and benefits of permanent relationships, giving examples of several longtime couples. The advice was generic: what makes a good homo relationship is same as a hetero one. I would quarrel with the third example of types of gay marriages. I doubt seriously that a good marriage means the two people go to a bar and ignore everyone and only talk to each other. Why would they leave home if they only wanted to be with each other? Ignoring others is rude, and to be only with each other could be smothering.

A bit of science, if true, was that snakes on an island off Brazil were intersex—and it speculates they would end up dying off. There is coverage of Bergler’s latest book (1000 Homosexuals) and how the media (Time, etc.) give it good reviews, showing their bigotry.

AND there is Norman Mailer’s latest book which says he was nuts to do the article for ONE, yet reprints it (Advertisement of myself). One interesting aspect of Mailer’s thinking/claim is that a “secretary of ONE told him that 10% of the population is homosexual and the community was growing and soon would be supporting politicians, and he would benefit if he was seen as a friend to the community.” At the time, this seemed unbelievable—though today it seems that is true—but of course no one did tell him that as far as we knew.

On the issue of marriage, it is interesting, considering the idea that today we are more supportive of marriage than many heterosexuals, is a quote Dr. Baker uses from a professional, Dr. Paul Popenoe, of the Family Counsel:

It seems that there are not that many people happily married and it may be more accurate that there are just lots of people who are not divorced.

There is also a review, by Jim Kepner, of The Gospel of St. Thomas. We seldom hear of that view of the Bible today, or how it differs from the usual text, or of The Peshitta Bible, the translation from the Aramaic by Lamsa. I wonder how many religious fanatics have ever heard of these two versions of the history of Christianity?

The Norman Mailer discussion of book and how he wrote for ONE, the wild race for mayor in San Francisco, the legal battle of the Black Cat in San Francisco, and other events in the movement in 1959 show how the media failed to cover our efforts then, and were so “surprised and eager” to cover the “revolt” at Stonewall—10 years later.  Better late than never I guess.  BUT the record shows ONE, Incorporated, and others were acting and the media was ignoring us and even now can't seem to admit its failure—so constantly, incestuously keep saying we didn’t exist until they “discovered” us in 1969.  

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Public Nudity

In regards to the recent story about the man, Will Walters, who was arrested for public nudity at gay pride San Diego in 2011:

There are two issues here, the first being is nudity legal—an issue San Francisco is having to deal with.

The second, I am confused about. Is he saying the sponsors of the Pride event had him arrested? If so, he is wrong—people in control and having responsibility for an event have a duty, morally, and legally, to control it and they have a right to decide who and what is included in the event. If they said no nudity, and he tried to skirt the rule, he is wrong.

He has no right to harm an event for others just to satisfy his ego.  Let him plan his own event.

Monday, September 16, 2013

On turning 81...

Yes, I was born 9-16-32, here in Shreveport/Bossier, where I live again. It is cheaper than Los Angeles as I had old family home, overhead costs are low (Driver license for seniors is $12.50 for 4 years, car license is $28 (2001 Impala), and life is much better racially (and sexually) than it was when I grew up here in the 1940s.) I left for college/army and then to move to L.A. in Sept. of 1956.

Ann Bannon’s birthday was last Sunday, as it turns out, and Jeanne Barney, who wrote “Smoke from Jeanne's Lamp” for The Advocate through the 1970s, celebrated on Friday. In some ways she, as straight, has had a more “interesting” life than I did as a worker at ONE/HIC. Aristide Laurent, who also wrote for Advocate as "P Nutz," would have been 72 yesterday.

We have good memories but need to continue interest in a cause and how the world is going—and have a little fun with it all.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Elton John's kids...

Regarding the recent article in the London Evening Standard: “I was a monster...”

I’m not sure about this.  BUT, it is interesting that some of the entertainers who have unpleasant, unhealthy lives—not always their fault—still entertain the public so much. I liked hearing Elvis, etc. even though I know he had health problems, And I just heard Tina Turner say that she did not really enjoy her singing—but we sure did.  I’m sad that she no longer is singing, but she says she is happy in retirement—has enough—and she got married.

I know other people, not just entertainers, work when they don’t feel good. And we benefit from them too, as parents do the necessary even when they are not well too. So Elton benefits from having a spouse and kids and thankfully can still entertain us. 

But some of us can do good work even without children or a spouse.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Todd's book explains most of the history/even those who were actors might have lousy memories

Continuing Stephanie Donald’s discussion from Aug. 29:

ONE Archives is safe if the USC library is safe.  There is no problem there.  

If I am right and ONE Archives and HIC both have the material of the original ONE, inc. (and both parts built up their own collection of material after the separation)  then I would even say we both should be sending copies to other community libraries/archives.  But if the material in made available online, that ends the whole issue.  Neither archives makes money or gains power in that case.  (There is much ONE material online at I think Online California Archives—I forget the name.)

I know nothing of ONE Archives anymore. They wasted their effort trying to cause HIC legal trouble, obviously based on lies they were told.  John was wrong legally and morally, but if he put the material at ONE and did not keep it for himself, then that makes a difference to me.

Hawkins is head of ONE Archives, and if Brandon is right, they applied and got the use legally of the name ONE, Inc.  BUT that is as if I got your name if you let it go.  The point, with implications good and bad, is that no one at ONE Archives was there when ONE existed, or when the founders were around, as far as I know, so they have no personal knowledge of the legal decisions.  Like Dorr's poor attorney, Hillel Chodos, they only heard Dorr's version of the truth.

But in a sense they have our historical material—we both do, often duplicated, and if they and we do our job, and preserve and build on it and make it useful and used, then we all deserve support.  There can not be too many lgbt archive—-we do not compete, and if for some sad reason one dies, then others will have some of the lost material since they will have shared it..

Thursday, August 29, 2013

A little bit of religion is better than a lot, especially to "A Christian Coming Out"

It might be bad “religion,” but my experience in life has been that the people who are most “Christian” are those with little “religion.” It might be said that was true of Jesus, and St Paul—one kicked the money changers out of the temple and fussed at the fanatics (Sadducees and pharisees?) and the other rejected the laws and codes some were trying to force on converts.

At this moment in time, if we accept that most churches now are NOT racial bigots—as was true when they supported slavery (quoting the Bible) and fought to keep racial segregation, the major issue THEY (churches/preachers) have on their agenda is preaching hatred of homosexuals.  Out of a long list of rules, this is the one issue they concentrate on, even if they claim they are only saying what Jesus said—considering that he said NOTHING on the issue.

So many, if not most, homosexual/glbt Americans have rejected All churches that are anti-gay, much less the ones that preach that we should be killed.

Many of us just ignored some teachings, as in fact do ALL “Christians,” especially the ones that claim the Bible is inerrant, worshipping the book more than the Man.

So how do we “read” a book describing the journey of one homosexual person from the dark times under the control of the sexual bigotry of her church/religion?

Some of us wonder why it took her so long.  That may be an issue, since she had allowed herself to be led into a heterosexual marriage, settled for less than the best, and brought forth children. Then she faces the old issues of do I do what is best for me, or sacrifice to do what is “best” for my partner and children?

She is proof that faking it does not work. And indirectly she thus harms others she loves. How many books have been written about such a situation? Who wants to read about such a “journey?”

An irony is that most homosexuals today do not share her problem, or even understand it. They wonder why, with all the literature, resources, “out” famous people, end of DADT, DOMA, etc., any person could NOT know that we are not sick, sinful or criminal?

She tells us the answer: If you are told you are bad, you try not to think about it, you are afraid, and do not seek information that might say otherwise.  Until, finally, you have to change or become a zombie.

The problem is that she still considers what members of the church and members of her family will think of her. She has to end a marriage that has not been fulfilling for her or her spouse.

She gives us pages of exchanges of emails with people, family, preachers, etc. She does finally understand the issues of religion and sexuality. For the most part, she gets support, even in a Southern Baptist setting.

But what I get from this is what I have always gotten from people who go to church, ask few questions and manage NOT to become fanatics. The sad fact is that it is mediocre Christians who are the most Christlike. It is the fanatics, there every time the door opens, debating every word of the text or that the preacher said, that cause more harm than pagans. That may be true of Muslims and of people of other religious groups.

People who have a life, who have a family to support, who enjoy living, do not spend all of their time, energy and money on a church. And they do NOT support a church or preacher that uses hatred for a racial or sexual group to raise money and gain power.

The author of the biography, A Christian Coming Out, was lucky, but made her own luck.  She finally found resources, PFLAG, etc,did the thinking and understood herself, then she was able to tell others what she felt and thought, and she found a partner.

But will other women, and men, still in the dark place, the church/religion of hate rather than love, find her story, learn from her journey?  It is there if they seek it. She is proof that you can change and have a better life, and not harm others in the process. And that is the best answer to the bigots who falsely say you can “change” and be other than your true sexual nature.

How ironic that it is those outside the church who are changing the world for the better, making individual's lives better, and it is “religious” people who lie, use their pulpits to preach hate and use their power for evil.

More on Walter L. Williams....

Here is a perfect example of Dorr Legg’s way of telling facts.  The article says—or says Walter claims—he is the founder of ONE National Archives. Now is there anyone in the movement who does  not know the truth?

We have spent time since 1965 telling the history of ONE Archives. Walter helped get the building for the archives. But “founder?”  ONE Archives is mainly IGLA, Jim Kepner’s material.  And while I guess Walter supported Dorr’s part of ONE, and Todd can tell more as he was not only a student of Walter’s, but was there at the start of founding the combined archives (which we later, for a short time, sadly, joined).

I never heard of the last book mentioned. And we did wonder why Walter suddenly stopped his emails.  But the few times I saw him, I had no idea of his interest in boys. Since he did not work with our part, I never got a chance to know him enough to think about him.  I did think he promised more than he delivered.

The record has to show that without our rejoining ONE/IGLA and Jim Schneider taking over, it could be that there would never have been the use of the building at 909 W. Adams, which is Walter’s accomplishment.  Or at least it would not have happened for years as USC had gotten so mad at John O’Brien they had cut off funding and any communication.  That of course, Dorr-like even though he  was not there, is not on record in any meeting minutes, etc., and the “board” later attacked Schneider when he asked to be repaid  the money he had personally spent in addition to the funding he got USC to restart.  For once, we do have pictures, of the building before and after and Gus on the platform fixing the building, etc.

Guest Blogger Stephanie Donald

Stephanie Donald writes:

Let me cast your minds back a year and a half when John O’Brien and I were mixing it up on your “Heavy Hitter’s List,” Billy. I never liked the man and never will.

O’Brien maneuvered himself into a position of being elected Director of One, Inc. by the Board of Directors through phony credentials backed up by an award winning scholar from the University of California by the name of Dr. Walter Williams. The Board could hardly be faulted, could they…or could they?

Williams had his eye on getting hold of ONE for a song and a dance and O’Brien was “sent in” for that express reason. Once the reign of O’Brien began, materials began disappearing and money evaporated from the accounts and while the expenses were highly questionable and O’Brien didn’t keep receipts (that alone should have earned him a one-way ticket to the Grey Bar Hotel) and by the time the Board realized they were broke and fired O’Brien, he had set a perfect stage for Dr. Williams to come in and purchase ONE, Inc.

Williams already owned something called the International LGBT Archives so he called the purchase of ONE a “merger” when in fact it was an acquisition. Williams has made sure than any and all subjective archive material research in his possession cost researchers through the nose even though he had no way of claiming copyright on the old ONE magazine or the Homophile Quarterly and John O’Brien, in the last few months of reign as Director of the old ONE, destroyed all duplicate collections of ONE and the Homophile Quarterly by dumping boxes and boxes into the dumpster behind ONE’s offices.

Now we find out years later that Williams and someone named Richard Arlington were using grant money to arrange sexual adventures with underage boys around the Asian and Eurasian areas of the world…and this is justified through the grants how…?

I didn’t know about this until I read this email but it was funny that I had a conversation with Todd White a little while ago involving Williams just a little while ago. I guess I’m the dumb one in all this because I’m sure he knew and assumed I already knew.

Considering the good intentions with which all the gay pioneers such as Dorr Legg, Jim Kepner, Don Slater and Billy Glover along with all those people who worked to start and maintain the original ONE, Inc., this gross capitalistic manipulation of such an important historical resource that makes me mad enough but when people like Williams and Richard Arlington (a longtime associate of Williams and who also got arrested in this international sexual predator case), who acted as a third party procurer of young boys for Williams and himself.

Considering John O’Brien’s connection to Williams and Arlington should make any rational adult wonder whether O’Brien himself had any involvement, but as a person with an advanced education, I have to say that I don’t convict people based on associations even if the rest of our once great nation seems so eager to charge ahead on those assumptions.

The one matter I can say is that the ONE, Inc. files, transcripts, history and archives will die with the life sentence of Dr. Walter Lee Williams and Dr. Richard Arlington and John O’Brien will go down in LGBT history as the man who fired the shot that killed it.

As far as the claim of Williams being the founder of the “ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives”, that is not a false statement since the original name of ONE was ONE, Inc. Williams first portrayed his acquisition of ONE, Inc. as a “merger” when it was nothing more than a means to raise more money for his international travels and since he’s presently under a RICO writ of forfeiture, ONE becomes the property of the United States government and will likely be auctioned off. It does give us good reason to attempt to get a grant to reacquire ONE from the government auction but it will probably be purchased by some rich gay or lesbian asshole who wants to hold it hostage for big bucks like Williams did.

I’d love to hear John O’Brien’s defense of all this but I deleted his email some time back due to his “I was everywhere” yarns regarding LGBT history that were obviously 20 lbs. of bullshit in an 8 oz. can.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

A Question About One Magazine

David Williams of the Williams-Nichols Collection at the University of Louisville asks:
From May to at least August 1965 there were two different versions of One Magazine.  One was edited by Don Slater and the other by Richard Conger. We have both versions of the magazine during that time. My question is, how long were the two different versions published? Did it end in August 1965, or were there different editions in  September, October, and perhaps November 1965?
Our reply:

Hello David!

Thank you so much for contacting us on this question.

When ONE, Inc. divided in the spring of 1965, Don Slater and company moved the entire operation to a new location. Even though Slater had emptied ONE’s office completely, Dorr Legg (as “Richard Conger”) was still able to continue to produce and distribute ONE Magazine (much, of course, to Slater’s dismay). Legg said that he had committed ONE’s mailing list to memory, but that's just silly. My best guess is that Legg anticipated some sort of brash act by Slater (Legg, it seems, was moving to kill ONE magazine entirely in order to grow his Institute) and had managed to have a copy of the list secured off site. (ONE’s mailing list was a highly coveted and much protected, so this is actually a very big deal, a confession Legg could never publicly make).

Soon after the division, a judge determined that Legg would keep the office and rights to the name ONE, Inc. Slater retained his materials but had to stop doing business as or representing himself as ONE. This was to be a tentative arrangement, but even after Legg continued his fruitless and expensive lawsuit against Slater for two more years, this is how things remained. 

You will find that the content of the two first dual issues is similar to identical. Some of the work was by Joe Hansen, who was devoted to Slater and would never have consented to have his work printed in Legg’s magazine, yet there it was. How Legg obtained that content remains a total mystery to me.

You can see the four covers of Slater’s magazine (clearly subtitled “The Homosexual Viewpoint” here.

I have started to post content, but work is proceeding slowly since I can only do this on a voluntary basis at the moment. As you can see, the magazine changed its name to Tangents in October, 1965. This, in a way, makes Tangents the “true” continuation of ONE magazine, with a great majority of ONE’s editorial and writing staff continuing on in this new venue. The July issue of ONE features a play on the male/female symbols that was designed by Joe Hansen's wife, Jane, and remains HIC’s logo to this day.

I have been talking to several people about bringing Tangents back as a biannual newsletter, I hope becoming quarterly in time. I will keep you posted on the progress there as this could be happening very soon.

I hope this helps to clarify. The details of this can be found in my book, Pre-Gay L.A.: A Social History of the Movement for Homosexual Rights, published by the University of Illinois Press, if you are interested in learning more about this history. 

Best wishes,


C. Todd White, Ph.D.

Homosexual Information Center

Monday, August 19, 2013

Discussions in Box Turtle

Regarding today’s agenda on Box Turtle Bulletin

I wonder what articles, issues your readers find more interesting. I glanced at your website today and found the duplicity of Stoli the best example of exploitation—but if men are stupid enough to want to “compete” to be their spokesperson, that says more about their self image than Stoli’s  I have no idea of how to deal with the issue of Russia and the Olympics. I do think the Hitler reference is valid.

Once again, you discuss historical events in our movement, and I like it, and that applies to the discussion of the NACHO Conference in Chicago and Frank Kameny’s “Gay is Good” proposal. You say the vote for it was unanimous, but if I did vote for it, I did not like it then, or now, as it is a copy of “Black is Beautiful,” and I would think thinking people would find it silly. We know we are equal, and I doubt Kameny’s slogan convinced many bigots to change their thinking.

Some LGBT people first entered into civil rights through the black movement

I always like to hear what others are thinking on issues that may affect our community. I am not sure what I would do, for instance, if I could make the decision on what to do about the Russian laws, the Olympics, etc.

In regard to the “issue” in Bay Windows, if I even understand it, there can be misunderstanding between male and female homosexuals and black and white homosexuals. It is time to stop allowing bigots, even those who are not anti-gay, to make a distinction among civil rights groups/fights.

I  got involved in a small way over the issue of racial segregation in Lousiana in the late 1940s as a teenager—long before I was aware of civil rights issues for homosexuals. Many of us had not even heard the terms or thought of us as a community.

This is example of how no issue is simple.  I, like most LGBT people, consider religion as our greatest enemy—Christian, much less Islam, etc. But, it was religious groups that formed my view of why discrimination is wrong.  The YMCA had student organizations in high schools (H-Y) clubs, and students, boys, who went to their summer camp worked and lived in an interracial place for the first time.

Then, starting in 1950, LSU dealt with the issue when it started integration under court order. To help students start dealing with the end of racial segregation, the YM/YWCA and, in my case, the Methodist Church/Wesley Foundation, started hosting meetings between students of LSU and Southern. We did small things such as writing letters to businesses urging them to not discriminate. This is the same time when the first bus boycott took place, in Baton Rouge.

Most of us now know of the problem black homosexuals faced, Bayard Rustin being a great example.  But many of us who had to choose, decided to work in the effort to gain civil/equal rights for homosexual Americans.  We supported womens’ rights, black Americans’ rights, etc. Our main movement co-founder, Harry Hay, found time to work for the rights of American Indians/Native Americans/tribal rights.

With millions of us working for the cause, there is now no problem with specializing: lesbian issues, religious issues, legal issues, health issues, which we could not do when there were only two or three groups in our movement. What we can never afford is for one LGBT group to fight the work of another, or to undercut one effort, such as marriage equality, fearing that it gets more publicity and support than another issue, such as equal employment, etc.  And there is no excuse for us to fight over gender issues.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

A "marriage/relationship" issue I had not known

The article in the current issue of Windy City Times about how others view relationships of trans/lesbian/hetero couples is a “problem of terms and judgements” and confusion I had not heard. We spend so much time fussing about which term to use for homosexual people, much less bi and trans, that this is a silly issue, but one that is hurtful when some of the people in our own community/movement seem to find it objectionable that, for instance, a former lesbian couple stays “gay” when one partner becomes trans and in a sense it is a hetero couple.

And it seems so wasteful to spend time arguing over who is welcome at a “gay” event, such as who is really a woman, as at  women’s music festival. To be successful it probably is necessary for events to be public, but it does seem fair for some groups, even based on gender, to hold private events.

I hear some restaurants are trying a policy of not allowing families with children to be guests after a certain time, as kids usually get cranky and disturb other guests, etc. Diversity does not mean that everyone is welcome at some events or places, and  if someone doesn't like such a rule, then they are free to start their own event, or cafe, etc. There seems to have been a time when a few gay bars were so entertaining that heterosexuals started coming. While at first that was good, sooner or later some anti-gay heteros seem to have started coming and ironically, objected to the bar being “so gay.” Wasn't there a similar problem with hetero women coming as a group to gay bars having semi-nude male contests?  This disturbed the gay men and made the “scene” uncomfortable.

This is not the same issue as some bars, even gay bars, not welcoming some racial group or only welcoming members of a racial group—a bar for Asians may be unwelcoming to non-Asians who come for wrong reasons.  There have been jokes in movies of some unpleasant person going to a Chinese restaurant and wanting non-chinese food.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Transgender Archives Conference

Dallas Denny writes:

There’s a conference on transgender archives next year in Victoria, British Columbia—the first ever. I'll be speaking there. I hope one thing that will come out of it will be some sort of alliance or group so the various libraries and archives can communicate with one another and share duplicate copies. There are more gay/lesbian/bisexual archives than trans conferences. I hope something similar will happen. 
I’m trying to visit the trans archives as I can. Last year I visited the LGBT community center in New York. I hope to make trips to Houston, San Francisco, and Los Angeles in the next few years, as I can afford it.

That is great good news—and glad you are speaking and visiting our community archives.  I think some rich LGBT people should set up a fund to fund someone to get groups connected—such as archives, centers.  I hope the meeting gts coverage and our media gives us the results.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Equality Circle ad in current issue of Equality: "From Stonewall..."???

I only say this for the record, as it in a practical sense is irrelevant, since those you who want to leave HRC funds in their wills will not even be of an age that would think of those BEFORE Stonewall.

BUT, this movement started before Stonewall, in 1950 in fact, in Los Angeles, with the founders of early Mattachine, and continued with the members who moved on to ONE, Inc, etc.

So I think for accuracy it is important to say that your ad misleads information on just whose “shoulders of the pioneers of our movement” you mean.  Apparently you ignore those who worked before the New York media discovered the movement at Stonewall.  I would hope serious people (LGBT and non-LGBT) would know that this movement did not suddenly start that night.

 It is irresponsible to ignore the pioneers who worked before Stonewall, just as it is nonsense to ignore people who served this nation in the military BEFORE WWII and in some cases after—I think of the silence on those who were in the Korean War.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Library of Congress’s acquisition of the papers of Lilli Vincenz...

Regarding this article in the Advocate regarding the archives of Lilli Vincenz:

Good.  I wonder if there is a list of LGBT people/organizations whose material is at the library of Congress?

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Guest blogger Lee Mentley, remembering Coretta Scott King

In my last conversation with Coretta Scott King, she told me that all of her husband’s worst fears had come true in Florida when the people did not take to the streets the night they stole the election from Al Gore. 

I can’t help but wonder what she would say now that a Florida jury of six women have said it is okay to kill Treyvon Martin thus all of our children...? I wonder what she would say about the a War on Women, War on Workers Rights,War on the Unemployed, War on Renters, War on the Poor, War on Immigrants, War on Education, War on Science, War on The Bill of Rights, War on Veterans, War on the Environment, War on Voting Rights & the Democratic Process, that food is being taken away from the poor, and that there are Endless Wars across the globe by a Black President...? 

What would she say to a President who has ordered spying not only on our enemies but all U.S. Citizens... and indeed killing innocent civilians around the world with drones from his perch in the White House?

President Obama has declared War on Peace Makers, Journalists, and Truth Tellers arresting and hunting down anyone who dares to blow the whistle on War Crimes in the Bush/Cheney Administration and his own. Banksters, Corporate Raiders, War Criminals, and racists go free while Bradley Manning is on trial for his life. Edward Snowden and Julian Assange are in hiding while our children are incarcerated for small infractions in grade school introducing them to a Private Prison system bent on profit filled with the poor who used small amounts of marijuana...?

So many people have told me they are too busy for politics, to busy to pick up a phone or write a letter, or go to a demonstration..., that there is nothing they can do but hold good thoughts, because they have their own life to live...? Last night all of your children were placed in the crosshairs...! 

Do you have the time now or are we already over it...?

What we need is a Bastille Day...!

DSM discussed on C-SPAN- based on The Book of Woe, by Gary Greenberg

I was impressed with what the author, Gary Greenberg, said about the psychiatrists’ bible, as he writes about in Book of Woe.  

As was charged by bigots, and thanks to work of many in our movement/community, the APA had dropped homosexuality as a mental disorder—as I understand it-and they charge that it IS and was dropped by politics. But of course that was how it got listed. AND he said the same thing happened with…I think it was Aspergers Syndrome(??)  It was adopted and became sort of an identity by some people, and they were angry when it was later dropped—they were cured overnight. They had used it, as had the therapists and pharmaceutical companies. They had almost become part of a community.

Equally interesting is his thought that the DSM’s main use-even by those who don’t believe it is good—is so they can list something and charge for the services of the therapist. BUT they use ruse terms as most therapists do not want to say a patient is mentally ill, as it will harm his life, work, etc.

He says we need to stop trying to excuse/explain criminals by calling them mentally ill when they are simply evil.  And the only “growing” psychiatric segment are/is children and it is a mistake to put them on medication in most cases.  He tried a pill prescribed for his son, and it made even him ill. The son is grown now and did ok without it.

Friday, July 12, 2013

LGBT elders and suicide

Matthew S. Bajko has written an excellent, though sad, article in the latest Bay Area Reporter: LGBT seniors struggle with suicide.”

But many heterosexual elders feel these same problems. It is worse, in a way, having lived with someone for years and then suddenly being alone.

Some of this goes back to the old issue of “better to have loved and lost than never have loved at all.”

Is the bubble so strong, or what makes them believe they can continue to win?/RE: Rick Perry and GOP Gay-Bashing in 2016

Regarding Michelangelo Signorile’s commentary on the Huffington Post titled “Rick Perry and GOP Gay-Bashing in 2016, Rick Perry and GOP Gay-Bashing in 2016”:

We now and historians in the future need to try to understand the “thinking” of this man and most leaders of the Republican Party. Do they really think they can continue to win elections without the support of any minorities—how can women, even those who oppose abortion, respect a man who uses the very tactics he claims to oppose?

Are there still, and in 2016, that many white bigots? They must, even in their ignorance and blind devotion to their ideology/religion have some reasons/evidence that the way to win is to preach hatred and fear of homosexuals.

But if LGBT people, Hispanics, et al, do not VOTE, then perhaps they can win. But can even gerrymandering and voter suppression actually stop those who want to vote for their own well-being?

In 1950 there were no organizations, publications, resources for the hidden LGBT person. Today every major city and every state has an organization, publication informing us of the issues and those who are gay-friendly and those who are anti-gay bigots. There is no excuse for people to not know who is the lest bad persons to vote for. AND, if the rightwing nuts and leftwing nuts of our movement are more interested in punishing the few politicians who work for our issues but are not 100% in their view, and thus let the politicians who are gleefully/gayly preaching that for us, then they will be proudly but not gayly responsible for our cause losing progress, and undoing what we have done to get us this far, without, mostly, their help.

In case there is any one who can’t understand this, I suggest they read the vile letters and attacks on every homosexual publication in the early days, by closet queens. We were not high-class enough, we had a picture of a nude sailor, we didn't have pictures,we should take pen pal ads, we should not have such ads, we had fiction, or should not have fiction, we had too many women articles, we didn't have enough on drag queens, we should not support the service of homosexuals in the military, we are seeking special rights and the public will hate and fear us-as if they did not already, etc.

The only explanation for these people is that they then, and now, do not like themselves. And fear LGBT people who assume we have equal/civil rights and are working to make that a reality. So these people must find some excuse for not supporting our work. I suggest people read the words of Henry Gerber, when he tried to help homosexuals, a long, long time ago, and found no support, only the fear of those who only had time, energy and money for their drag balls.  Today they go on gay cruises, buy expensive homes in gay subdivisions and closet themselves off from the rest of the community—but of course they don't think they are a part of the community. They don’t need help. They can buy it.

In a sense it is like what some of the nation’s founders said, the danger to our nation and way of life is not from without, but from within. As Pogo said, we have met the enemy and it is us. (“I’m not going to vote it is all a waste of time, it is rigged, none of the candidates support MY interests,” etc.)

Mark Segal, Mitchell Halberstadt, and the evolution of Pride

Mark Segal, of Philadelphia Gay News posted this, titled “Back to Christopher Street”:

Each year when I march in the New York Gay Pride parade — and that has become somewhat rare — I always say at the end, “Think this just might be my last one.” I said that four years ago, but there we were this past Sunday once again. But for us, it was somewhat special.

You see, the group that I marched with are the ones who created that march. It was our vision. Actually, Gay Pride was our idea, and this year we celebrated creating that march 44 years ago.

We used the march as an excuse to have a Gay Liberation Front reunion the night before. Very few know LGBT history, but GLF NY 1969-71 literally was the foundation that what we have today was built on.

There were homophile activists before us, but their agenda was equality for homosexuals. They wanted nondiscrimination. But GLF, which was created out of Stonewall, with many of us partaking in that monumental event itself, saw something different, and here is where we changed the world. Overstatement? I don’t think so, since we believed not just in simple equality, but in an actual gay and lesbian community.

In that first year, we created the first organization to help solve problems of gay youth. We created the world’s first gay community center. We issued heath alerts, created community-wide media, issued the first gay history book, dealt with sexism and racism in our community and, way back in 1969, we even had a transgender arm, called Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries. We were LGBT people taking care of our own, and we did all of it openly.

That might sound strange to you, but in 1969, the Mattachine Society, a homophile organization, would not allow anyone under 18 into their offices, afraid that the police would raid them. We organized our youth, welcomed them to our meetings, set up a suicide hot line, a speakers bureau that went to schools, and, when the Village Voice would not publish the word “gay,” we marched on them. The laws were wrong, we were not!

We wanted to celebrate Stonewall and our achievements in June 1970. So we organized what today is known as the Gay Pride parade.

Well, the reality is that doing so 44 years ago means that many of us are getting up in years. While about 40 came to the Saturday night reunion, only about 14 of us marched.

The crowd roared when they saw these 14 old women and men marching with a simple banner that read “Original Marchers June 28, 1970.” When we arrived on Christopher Street, the hub of GLF organizing 44 years ago, it was our street. As we made our way down, the crowd went wild, and then something very touching: The police officer in charge of that area came over to our contingent with his officers in toe, stopped, took his cap off and bowed before us, followed by his officers. The crowed erupted ... 44 years ago, these were the guys who were fighting us at Stonewall.

Mitchell Halberstadt adds:
[This is a] fascinating article  — and in an unintended way, perhaps one with highly melancholy (or at least bittersweet) implications.

Except as an annual spectacle along the lines of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, this year may actually spell the end of these marches as we've come to know them. However sadly, that’s a trend that's been in the works for quite some time. This year’s events are merely the final nail in the coffin.

One can forever be nostalgic for the days of GLF, but as I (reluctantly) see it, this year’s march (no — perish the thought! — parade) represents a sort of symbolic victory lap for the “equality” agenda, both within the movement or community, and in a larger societal context. Lots of work remains, but (again, however unfortunately) it will quickly take on the character of a mopping-up operation — especially in comparison with everything that’s gone on between Stonewall and the present. Much as I might fear to say it (or even resent having to acknowledge it), that truth is likely to prevail — and wishing otherwise amounts to just that: wishful thinking.

The episode Mark describes, in which the cops bow to the marchers, makes for an all-too-perfect denouement — a final closing-out of that very narrative!


PS: The perspective I've suggested above has been developing for some time; the transition I describe (as a shift in the center-of-gravity) began to be decisive at least by the early 1980s, with the outset of the AIDS epidemic.

For more on my view of this phenomenon, and on how it occurred, please see the concluding section of my article, “In Retrospect.”

Southern California Beaches: How Harry Hay's seeking names is interestng today

In Stuart Timmons’ biography of Harry Hay, The Trouble With Harry Hay, (p. 142 last two lines), there is proof of where Harry and Rudi went with their “Stockholm Peace Petition,” a rues to get names of people who might be interested in a discussion on homosexuality:

“We set about discovering new adherents on the two slices of beach Gays had quietly made their own,” he wrote later.  “The section of beach below the Palisades just west of Marion Davies’s huge waterfront estate, and that slice of Malibu between the pier and the spit—which would be taken over by the surfers in the 1960s.”

I still wonder what gay bars were there then and now. But it is interesting to read parts of this book today and see how things were then compared to now.

One important point is made about how many “causes” Harry got involved in (p. 291): “In the 1980s, he marched against the contras, the pope, apartheid, the spraying of insecticide on urban areas, the death penalty…nuclear disarmament, a national policy to fight AIDS…all-purpose protest sign…No U.S. intervention in Central anywhere!”

Considering the “issue” of his thoughts on homosexuals versus the view of ONE magazine (which in editorial after editorial said we had had ghetto life and wanted to integrate) it is interesting to read his first idea for an organization “need be no deterrent in integrating 10% of the world’s population towards the constructive social progress of mankind” (p. 137).

It is also interesting to once again be reminded of just how much the “industry” knew about the movement, and refused to help in any way—read of Rudi’s contacts on Page 142.  And to see how anti-gay the Communist Party was, and even though Harry never lost his idealism, he did admit that it would not have been a good idea to go to live in such a country. The irony of course is that he said/believed that they just had not really tried true communism—an argument used by fanatic Christians when they say we need to get back to olden times and follow the Bible. While many black Americans know how terrible those times were, they still seem to have no problem when the Bible is quoted to justify hatred for homosexual Americans.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

New Resource from Bet Power and the Sexual Minorities Archive


Today a page created by the Sexual Minorities Archives (SMA) about Black Lesbian Feminist activist Ernestine Eckstein went live on Wikipedia. Here is the link:

We have also posted a cross-reference page for “Ernestine D. Eppenger,” Eckstein’s given name. 

Research and text for the page were done by SMA summer 2012 intern Ollie Schwartz and copyedited  by myself and by SMA summer 2013 intern Anne Fontaine, who also programmed and posted the page.

This page is an important contribution to historical research about pre-Stonewall Lesbian and Gay activism, and it breaks the silence about Eckstein and her instrumental role of helping to bring street protest tactics from the Black Civil Rights Movement to the nascent Gay and Lesbian Movement in the mid 1960s in the United States.

Please share news of this page with others who may be interested.


Bet Power

Executive Director & Curator
Sexual Minorities Archives
National collection of TLGBIQ literature, history, and art since 1974

Monday, July 8, 2013

Jim Levin's interesting booklet

I accidentally found a paperback booklet, from The Scholarship Committee of the Gay Academic Union, New York City, 1983, by Jim Levin, “Reflections On The American Homosexual Rights Movement.”

I will try to glance at it, but hope that CSUN has a copy too. I don't know Jim Levin, and little about GAC.

 To this, Stephanie Donald wrote:

 I found a little background on Jim Levin. He was a gay, Jewish historian from New York City. He was apparently part of Act-Up. You can find the reference here: You need to scroll down the page and look under the list of names that do not have pictures next to them.

Then I found an article in The Bilerico Project that refers to the same Jim Levin being part of a current organization called Americans for Democratic Action (click on the organization name on the left to visit their website). The Bilerico article can be found here.

I found a reference to a Dr. James Levin of City College in New York City (not sure if this is the same person but it is doubtful there would be two LGBT historians in NYC with the same name!

Levin is listed as a 1993 honoree of the Light Bar Legal Award for Greater New York here.

There are plenty more references to him on the net but I could spend all day listing them. I believe I remember Jack Nichols mentioning that Levin and George Weinberg (the originator of the theory of “homophobia”) were colleagues and friends and Jack knew him as well. I could get in touch with Randy Wicker who might know a good deal more about him than I do, as Randy lives in Hoboken, New Jersey, so I included him on the thread. He might take a few weeks to a month to answer (if he doesn’t just click “Trash”, which he’s also known to do!), LOL!

I hope this helps some, Billy.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

San Antonio’s LGBT-media past being digitized

According to an article in Press Pass Q by Chuck Colbert, the university’s Libraries Special Collections at the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) has been digitizing The Digital GLBTQ Publications collection’s “queer periodicals.”

The holdings include those the school had as well as those from the HAPPY Foundation Archives.

Dear Chuck Colbert:

Thank you so much for writing this article.  I agree that this is a great help in saving our history. I am not sure it is relevant, but there has been some question as to the legality of putting material from a collection online regarding copyright. I vaguely recall Google or some website being challenged about the right to put up old books, etc.

Let's hope other universities will follow UTSA.  The University of Minnesota has The Tretter Collection which they should be proud of and want students, etc to know about and use..

I think it would be difficult to find who owns some material.  For instance, who owns back issues of such publications  as Mattachine Review, The Ladder, Drum, etc.  But if they are part of a library collection isn't there a right to digitize them in that connection?

I do worry about having to do the whole issue of  large newspapers—I am just looking at one of the few community papers I see, Windy City Times, and the annual Pride issue—that is a lot of print. I know some people will read it online, but it seems hard to me. But then people are reading a book online.

I would think perhaps doing only the important parts, BUT, looking back at old publications, I find the ads, etc, as interesting and perhaps as important as the articles. Seeing old cars advertised in Saturday Evening Post is a reminder of how things/life were as much as the people and topics of the articles.  And it would be interesting a few years from now to know how the young people pictured on the cover of WCT are doing.

But that might be easier to find online, since few people can go to the nearest LGBT archives/libraries.  And it seems to me that only scholars or serious students would even know what LGBT topics to look up to learn the historical context and how it changed over the decades.

I find it hard to be negative and fuss when some source does cover a topic, but I want the whole picture.  The latest example is the good job C-SPAN did Sunday giving an hour to (BookTV) previous shows on the marriage debate-books and discussions.  But why is it they have never done that for an overall “picture” of homosexuality?  And did they do a review of Gay Press, Gay Power? that covers the media which they are a part of.  

I would like to see more coverage of some of the books on our early history: the books on founders; Before Stonewall, edited by Vern Bullough, The Trouble With Harry Hay (Stuart Timmons), Mask of the Mattachine (Sears), Different Daughters, etc?

They did halfway cover C. Todd White’s Pre-Gay L. A.  And there are several books that cover the media of the movement that could be discussed together.

Will these books be digitized?

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Update from Aaron H. Devor and the Transgender Archives

Dear Friends,

The Transgender Archives at the University of Victoria is about to get a lot bigger! Our movers have packed up the equivalent of more than 125 bankers’ boxes (158 linear ft) of transgender books, magazines, articles, audio tapes, video tapes, photographs, artifacts, etc. in Northern Ireland, and we expect them to arrive in Victoria sometime around the end of July.

Richard Ekins, Professor Emeritus of Sociology and Cultural Studies at the University of Ulster, Northern Ireland, UK, has most generously entrusted his extensive collection of transgender materials to the University of Victoria Transgender Archives. Originally called the Trans-Gender Archive, the collection was founded by Professor Ekins in January 1986 with the collaboration of the President and the Librarian of the UK-based Self Help Association of Transsexuals (SHAFT). The ground-breaking University of Ulster Trans-Gender Archive collection ceased its connection with the University of Ulster in July 2010, upon the retirement of Professor Ekins, and it is now on its way to the University of Victoria.

The collection is focused on understanding how attitudes and representations of transgender people  have developed and changed over time. It looks at three broad aspects of transgender--biology and the body, gender expression, and erotic expression and representation--through the lenses of expert knowledge, as recorded by scientists and social scientists; transgender community member knowledge, as recorded by and for transgender people themselves; and common-sense knowledge, as recorded by and for members of the general public. It is truly a treasure and we are honoured to become its guardians.

If you would like to talk about donating your personal collection to the Transgender Archives, please contact me at

Click here to make a financial contribution to the Transgender Archives.

Best wishes,

Aaron H. Devore

Friday, June 28, 2013

Bronski’s History: queer, indeed.

My review of Michael Bronski’s book Queer History of the United States has just been published on the Tangent’s website. Tracy Baim’s book, Gay Press, Gay Power: The Growth of LGBT Community Newspapers in America, does a much better job of covering the important details Bronski leaves out. 

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Jonathan Ned Katz writes:

It is the responsibility of LGBT leaders and scholars to criticize the LOSS for black and Hispanic equality and GAIN for gay equality represented by the recent Supreme Court decisions.

A story in the New York Times on Sunday, June 23, warned that the upcoming Supreme Court rulings might support gay equality and hamper the equality of Hispanics and blacks (once again disappearing those who are black and Hispanic and gay).

THIS REALLY HORRIBLE POSSIBILITY has now come true. There’s a long history of the dominant society pitting various groups’ interests against each other, and I hope that LGBT leaders and scholars will  publicly criticize this aspect of the Supreme Court’s decisions.

The Times story says that if the Court’s decisions “require only [formal] equal treatment from the government,” as opposed to taking into consideration historical and still existing discrimination, “same-sex couples who want to marry would be better off at the end of the term, while blacks and Hispanics could find it harder to get into college and to vote.”

Committee on LGBT History's statement regarding today's DOMA and Proposition 8 Supreme Court rulings

For LGBT rights, only a handful of Supreme Court cases have been as truly historic as today’s DOMA and Prop 8 decisions. We are proud that historians helped make them possible. Through amicus briefs and testimony at lower court levels, members of the Committee on LGBT History produced a rigorous understanding of marriage as an institution that has consistently changed over time. As historians of sexuality and gender, we also view the marriage decisions within the context of the Court’s other rulings this week, particularly those about the Voting Rights Act, affirmative action, and adoption. The Committee on LGBT History urges scholars and the media to explore the ways in which these cases and the issues they address mutually inform each other. While collectively they seem to define equality in this moment as a kind of “difference-blind” sameness, the history of intersections between sexuality and race suggests that their implications will be more complex. For same-sex families in the South, for example, many of which are headed by African American women, changes to the Voting Rights Act could have deeper ramifications than the overturning of DOMA. Members of the Committee on LGBT History will continue to contribute thorough and nuanced scholarship to the ongoing work for justice.

Don Romesburg
Co-Chair, Committee on LGBT History

Guest Blogger: Toby Grace

Toby Grace, editor of Out in Jersey Magazine, writes:

To everyone who sent congratulations and notes of happiness regarding the Supreme Court decision that overturned DOMA, or who intended to—thank you for joining the celebration. 

It has been a very long road, marched by a very small army. It has been almost 50 years since I stood on Christopher Street the morning after the riots, surveying a scene that looked is if a small war had been fought and wondering if my friends who had been in the fight were OK. 

The only other person on the street at dawn was a young boy sweeping up broken glass in front of a shop. He was singing to himself—softly—a song from West Side Story: “There's a place for us, somewhere a place for us, hold my hand and I'll take you there—some place, some time, some where.”

For me that was a galvanizing moment. I swore that THIS would be the place and the time was NOW! I became an activist in that moment. That was a long time ago and a great deal has happened. Often the exigencies of life interfered with commitment to the movement but the dream was always in my heart. I have been greatly blessed by being permitted to live long enough to see this day—to see the day when the young people who are so very dear to me can live openly and love the person of their choice without fear and in an environment that, when I was their age, I could not have conceived as possible. 

I will spend a little quiet time today by myself, remembering all the ones who, but for the terrible plague of AIDS, would be here today, ecstatically celebrating this victory that they contributed so much to, in laying the foundations of our liberty. 

The voices of hate are still heard, but they have become as the croaking of frogs—a chorus of meaningless noise that fades into the night. When one has lived as long as I have, one begins to see a certain repetition in the unfolding of history. I noted the protest signs held up by the religious fanatics opposing this decision outside the Supreme Court yesterday bore slogans identical to the ones the same sort of people used in opposing the court’s 1967 decision in Loving vs. Virginia—the decision that struck down laws against interracial marriage. In ’67, they claimed marrying the person one loves was against God’s law just as they did yesterday. Evidently God was not impressed with their twisted logic or their primitive theology. 

However, the millenium has not yet dawned. Thirty-seven states still outlaw marriage equality. That will change. Gays are still executed in some medieval foreign lands. That must stop. We are not at the end of the road but we have at least arrived a beautiful rest stop and we can celebrate with real joy. 
Have a wonderful day, because it IS a wonderful day and today, life is very sweet.

Toby Grace

Monday, June 24, 2013

Reaching the Places Equality Hasn’t, by Mark Segal

Mark Segal of the Philadelphia Gay News writes:

The Supreme Court will be ruling on marriage equality in the next few days. Whatever the outcome — and it would surprise most court watchers if it were not at least somewhat supportive — the case for marriage equality has already taken center stage as the civil-rights issue of the day. 
Unless the Supreme Court rules that marriage is an outright civil right for LGBT people, and the chances of that are slim, this battle will go state by state, and therefore will go on for possibly decades. Decades, you say? Think Mississippi and Alabama, think Ohio and Pennsylvania, which still don’t have statewide nondiscrimination laws. 
So a victory of any sort at the Supreme Court is not the end of the fight; it’s just one battle that was started over 40 years ago when the Rev. Troy Perry and Metropolitan Community Church applied for “same-sex marriage licenses around the nation.” Take a look at how much work still will need to be done by just looking at Perry’s actions. 
Two of the states where his church members applied for marriage licenses were California and Utah. We all know that California will shortly have marriage, with or without the Supreme Court, but Utah? That is a place that will need lots of work — read: education. 
And that is where we sometimes miss our lobby opportunities. Using Utah as an example, the strongest group in that state are the followers of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Mormons. They control the political system, and are viewed by many as antigay. They certainly were the major funders of Proposition 8 and other ballot initiatives. The question is, like with some other religions, can they be educated to change their position and, thereby, if not support marriage equality, at least not fight against it? We’re not asking them to change, but to accept our civil rights. 
That change might have already happened. The Mormons were one of the first religious organizations to announce they’d accept the new Boy Scouts’ rule on nondiscrimination. It’s time to start to support LGBT Mormons, Catholics and others who are trying to educate their religious orders, rather than making them feel as though they are outcasts. 
Our job as activists is to advance progress, even in the religions that have oppressed us for thousands of years. That is how change happens. And those LGBT fighters in the Mormon, Catholic and other churches are heroes who should be supported by the rest of the community.

Amen  BUT, I truly do not understand Scalia, who apparently has again just said that the Constitution does not guarantee the right to (homosexual) sex. I wonder how he reads the Ninth Amendment?

Article: 20 Years Ago, Knox County Commission Unleashed a Wave of Vitriol Against the Gay Community

Ed White writes:

Besides the main article, there's also a sidebar about me.  Many thanks to Betty Bean and Coury Turczyn at Metro Pulse for exploring the 20th anniversary with this coverage!  It’s a pretty lengthy exploration that really brings out the drama of what happened in a way I couldn’t on my website, trying to be the sober historian.  It was interesting to read voices of people like our mayor Madeline Rogero as they remember it today.

You can find my historical website here.

 This is a good example of how the media could educate on issues of homosexuality.  It may seem mainly of local interest—it tells citizens today of what the citizens 20 years ago said and did on our civil rights—but it also is an example of how brave and exploring people like you came to be a part of a successful movement/cause.  I am glad they covered you and your work. 

AND, reread this and even you will feel strange, in this time of everyday bringing “out” a new person, and the “not quite-end” of Exodus, and the coming marriage decisions, and Obama talking about our rights in Germany, this IS a different world, but one young people will need to support and work to keep.

From Mary Ann in Los Angeles:

Mary Ann, from Los Angeles, writes:

Scroll down for a nice photo of Don Slater at the Barney's Beanery picket. 
I was surprised to see him there (well, to see a photo of him there) as my understanding was that he wasn't opposed to Irwin Held's constitutional right to have a sign in his establishment (you know, the Libertarian stand). Decent article, even if the facts are a little mixed up.

I hate you.  You confused me to my core.  I think I know how the Exodus man feels—if he is sincere.  To have what you believed for over 50 years challenged by a picture is NOT a gay feeling.

BUT, the fact was and is that Don Slater opposed the picketing.  He believed, as a conservative Republican and based on his personal faith and beliefs that the owner (of a private business) had a right to be wrong.  The answer was to educate him and NOT support his business.  (If taxpayers were involved, that was different.)

If that is truly a sign of him at the picketing, I can assure you his sign was not like the rest. I did not know he went there. I did not. We had enough work to do with the magazine and organization so did not take on every project, no matter how worthy. He did like—even though he worried about the idea of a ghetto church—Troy Perry and Morris Kight, even though we also did not agree with Morris’ EARLY idea that anyone showing up for a meeting had a right to vote.  That was one of Harry Hay’s ideas too as I recall.

What this article, I gather based on the death of one of the owners, does is force us to think about what the media and historians are finding of “importance” in our movement's history.  There is a new film about the fire at the gay bar in New Orleans.

Why, I ask, is it not just as important to have covered the picketing of the Los Angeles Times, by these same pioneers/activists?  It was successful in more ways than one.  Morris, Troy, Joe, Don, Melvin, I and others picketed, peacefully, at the newspaper when it refused an ad for a forgotten (I gather) play, The Geese, by a man later honored as a Louisiana celebrity, because it hadthe word homosexual in it.  There had first been a meeting with the paper’s representatives and ours.

The religion person at the paper (John Dart) came down and talked to Melvin and Troy.  He did not interview Melvin (Cain) as his church was not a “gay” church, but the writer decided Troy’s was, and his interview/ article went “viral” as it did in the old days-other papers reprinted it, and the MCC got publicity.

And the paper changed its policy. And later had the same problem with gay and lesbian.

I welcome any facts that differ from my history.  I have no contact with Troy or others still living, and have NO faith in what is said or claimed by people who were not there or got in the movement, say at ONE Archives, years later and have  only taken the time to learn/hear one biased version of “history.”

Sadly, that includes most “media” people.