Sunday, February 17, 2013

Gay Press, Gay Power: Great History

While there have been several books and efforts to discuss the history of publications in the GLBT movement / community, at last there is one that contains the basic research and expertise needed to pull into one place the basic facts, names, and information of the magazines, newspapers, newsletters that recorded that history which they helped to make. This book, Gay Press, Gay Power, edited by Tracy Baim, covers many of our movement’s publications from the start in the early 1950s to 2012. It contains new information, corrects some misinformation, and provides us with rich biographical information on the pioneering journalists who worked on these publications.

To put the history in context, there is a discussion, with examples, of the horrible coverage the media gave homosexuality until about the late 1960s, when coverage exploded after Stonewall. The publications started with the movement to gain equal rights for homosexual Americans, and thus this civil rights movement is documented by the very people who were active in the effort. A historian or researcher trying to see how coverage changed from the 1950s on could see the evidence by looking through editions of the Readers Guide to Periodicals Index.  Baim has done this for the reader.

The first publications are discussed in full in an early chapter by C. Todd White. They started during the worst of times, the McCarthy era when homosexuals and Communists were considered to be allies and were labeled as threats to the nation’s security. The first publicly available publication (1953), ONE magazine,  suffered from the same problems all early ones did: little income, people afraid to have their names as subscribers to a homosexual publication, businesses afraid to place ads, and few authors or journalists of note willing to let their names appear in the publication. There was also a problem few other causes had: there were homosexual people in hiding who tried to keep their sexuality from being questioned or discovered by loudly protesting the existence of a publication discussing homosexuality. Many such people later were arrested for homosexual acts and still refused to support the effort to educate the public and change laws.

Issue #1, Jan. 1953
But ONE was successful, and was joined by the Mattachine Review and then The Ladder, aimed toward women. The editors of ONE, led by Don Slater and attorney Eric Julber, fought a legal battle with the Post Office to protect its right to publish and mail a magazine subtitled “The Homosexual Viewpoint” and won only at the U. S. Supreme Court level in 1958. These three magazines were slowly joined by others each few years, and together they planted the seeds that are the major media the lgbt movement/community has today. The early publications were supported by an organization. Today most are independent.

The book is loaded with pictures of most of the publications covered—a great help as it shows the progression from early publications to those of today. As White says, they are “time capsules of their era.”  One clue to how things have changed is in observing the terms used in the three eras. First they were called homophile publications, then homosexual, then gay and, now gay and lesbian or lgbt.

Gay Press / Gay Power includes short biographies of some LGBT journalists who helped make the publications successful.  The index catalogs the large number of people covered and names hundreds of current LGBT publications.

Many readers will gain a sense of pride knowing the history of the GLBT media’s growth from ONE to the hundreds of publications that exist today, currently giving the community news and views, entertainment and education, continuously revitalizing those who seek to make life better for everyone and to make this a more perfect nation, for all citizens.

No historian or journalist can write on the subject without knowing the contents of this book because the history of a movement is told through the history of its publications.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Gay Population Percentages

RE: Gallup Poll shows LGBT population highest in Washington DC and Hawaii

Thanks for this research report on where we live.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

What term do we want to use for the person we married?/RE: Daily Queer News February 14, 2013

Dear +Tracy Baim:

Regarding  the news that the Associated Press does not want to use the term husband or wife when referring to the married partner in a same sex marriage.

I think the first question should be: why this new rule?  What is the motive? Is it anti-gay or just semantics?

The next point should be a discussion in the LGBT media, even though this “issue” has been around since ONE magazine first talked about it in the 1950s and ’60s. What do your readers think?  What term(s) do they use?   Even the AP says that IF the two people have used the term then it may be used. 

Is this an issue in such efforts as how the military will cover their married LGBT members?  Or in dealing with adoptions?  Do we decide on how WE feel, or how the public feels?

It had been considered not as an issue of second-class citizenship but as a logical effort to defang the issue, that ALL married partners be called spouses.  There is no one appointed or qualified to decide such matters for all of us. And we do not want to appear to be anxious to copy heterosexuals. This is a minor issue when we consider that the legal and pr battles for marriage, employment, etc. have not been won.  Many of us have no interest n the whole issue, so those who do find this important can wage the battle.  But the AP, which has not always been a gay-friendly organization/service, is not the decider—any more than it can decide if the word homophobia is acceptable.

Manimal's Support of LGBT Rights

Regarding NBA star Manimal article in GayStar News:

While it is almost hard for people in our movement/community to deal with new victories, new people coming out or new allies supporting the cause, etc., it is a pleasure to make the “effort.”  But what can bigots be feeling, as every day brings on more support for our cause and more people and acts to oppose.

Apparently their prayers and threats that their god will destroy those who agree with us are no longer working. Perhaps they need some therapy to deal with their failures.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Aaron Swartz and Don Slater: Why They Weren't Gay

Thanks for this, duchamp. The last link about sexuality sounds a lot like Don Slater—it is an act, it is society and its attitudes and laws that make us a minority, and there was no minority before the Kinsey/Mattachine era starting in the 1950s.  Before there were drag balls, but no effort to change or educate society or even homosexuals.

_ _ _ _ 

Aaron Swartz committed suicide a few days ago; I’d never heard of him.  There’s plenty to learn, though, from a just-posted Wikipedia entry:  
Swartz was only 26 but he had taken on many fights including one against JSTOR, an online database of scholarly material. 

Federal prosecutors in Boston had brought an armload of charges against him for allegedly “hacking” JSTOR.  JSTOR, however, did not want to press the case but U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz barreled right ahead.  The trial was looming in just a few weeks. 

All too often the government quietly grinds people to dust in exercising its criminal justice prerogatives.  Here, Alex Stamos, a defense forensics expert has some very interesting things to say:

Swartz’s parents and partner have published a statement: 

There’s lots more online; FWIW here’s the NY Times obituary:

And, finally, a 2009 piece from Swartz’s blog about sexuality, Why I Am Not Gay: 

Monday, February 4, 2013

Research Query RE: Don Jackson, Alpine Liberation Front

Mr. Glover,

I am a graduate student at University of Massachusetts Boston doing research on gay separatism. I recently contacted Mary Ann Cherry with a question related to her work on Morris Kight’s biography. She consequently referred me to you on the matter. 

I am trying to get a better understanding of who “Don Jackson” of Alpine Liberation Front is or was as an individual. I am aware of his role as an activist and his writings for various publications during the early ’70s, but I have yet to encounter any source material that provides any insight into his background or character. 

If you happen to have any direct knowledge or know of specific source material relating to this matter that you would be willing to share it would be much appreciated.


Dear Jacob:

I apologize for not checking my other email addresses.  I am aware of Don Jackson and will try to find some mention in the few copies of ONE/Tangents Magazine I have here, as I am in LA the state, but our Homosexual Information Center files are in L.A. the city, at Cal State Northridge (library) and ONE Archives at USC (library).

As I gather you know, Jackson was involved with Morris Kight in that wonderful Alpine County invasion, which, as usual, found the media lazy and gullible. Morris was good at exploiting their stupidity. But it was a wonderful educational effort. I think Time magazine and others covered the cause, so it should be in some Web site archives—I think Time says all of its issues are now online.

I assume The Advocate covered this.  I hate to speculate but will give some things that may or may not be true.  I thought he wa in the San Francisco area, but he may have been involved with Morris in work in L.A., such as the PRIDE group from which The Advocate came. 

My version of the Alpine adventure is that Jackson or others came up with the idea of fooling the public by saying that since there were so few citizens in Alpine County, if only a few homosexuals moved there, they could control the government, get government money, etc.  

I never knew if the citizens there were really concerned, but there are bigots (a few thankfully) everywhere. BUT the idea was pure camp and was a truly gay thing. So they started telling the public about this, and the media fell for it.

Few of us thought many of us would go to the isolated, cold place—and we opposed ghettos. And considering the nuts who are still trying to isolate themselves from the world in Idaho, fearing the government is going to destroy us, that it is not a good idea today.

I checked a book of early pioneers/activists (Before Stonewall, edited by Vern Bullough) and three other books and none mention Alpine or Don Jackson.  (Not even the biography of Morris.) I am sending this on to a few others who might know more and i wil let you know if i find other mentions.  It is strange that the “event” is ignored in our movement/community but was so big in the media.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Some bigots sure do have some motivation for keeping them pushing the
same issue, over and over.  Sadly, too often those who are more
intelligent get tired...