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.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Walter L. Williams' legacy

Karen Ocamb has written a wonderful article here.

I am glad I sent out my (unspell checked it turns out) email before reading Karen's excellent report.  It covered most of my concern.  I should say that many times before I have admitted that I was "present" and knew people and events and paid little attention and so missed perhaps important, relevant points.  So I am not surprised that I knew little of Walter Williams.

And as is pointed out, my view was affected by the dispute still going on between the two factions of ONE.  I do not think anyone currently at ONE Archives knows of the valid issues, then or now.

I do not believe  Hawkins' account, reprinted by Ocamb, of what happened when Don Slater died.  I never heard of him until years later. The person who DID tell this tale was John O'Brien.  It was a lie from start to finish.  Jim Schneider was with Tony Reyes when Don died and much time after.  He is the one who boxed up the material for storage so that Tony could sell the house (and move to the house in Colorado). While most of this time I was back in Louisiana, I WAS there at the time covered and at the memorial service, who else was???

The first point is the fact that I sat with Vern Bullough—as I had sat with Dorr Legg for a moment, a brief one, after the legal settlement, to voluntarily divide books—to start placing part of our part of the ONE collection with the library at Cal State, Northridge.  Nothing else had been done before that action.  No John O'Brien, and certainly no Hawkins.

Partly due to the effort, as we understood it, of Walter Williams, USC was giving a place for the ONE collection, which was mainly Jim Kepner's ILGA material.  And Jim, et al., approached us again to join the other two parts at 909 W. Adams.  There had been a previous address, and that I think is when Harry Hay et al. had been involved, and that location didn't work out, and so 909 W Adams was the place we were offered a separate room for our collection.

Once we moved in (and prior to that O'Brien had helped, but he then "helped himself" to, stole part of our material—he made a moral rather than a legal decision to take what he wanted) we discovered other workers at ONE were stealing our material. As they had refused to honor their pledge of a private room, we removed our materials. Some ONE people lied and tried to stop us moving our own material, which is now mainly at CSUN.

I never understood where Willliams was in this manipulation of HIC. I do not recall Harry Hay telling us not to move in, but Dale Jennings and Don Slater had told us not to.  But when Don died—and with the promise of our material being kept separate and under our control—we felt it was a good choice, as both Don and Dale (and now Todd White) had been USC graduates.

I do know for a fact that the 909 W. Adams facility would NOT have been ready for years, if ever, if John O'Brien had not left and Jim Schneider placed in charge.  He got USC to fulfill its promise to donate money and material to refinish the former fraternity building, and that is why I was in favor of placing the material there and we were there at the opening.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Looking for information on Don Lucas

When I put in the name Donald Stewart Lucas, I got five or six links, including EBSCOHOST which gives links—which I can't get—from back issues of Advocate, including HIC (which I had never known of) AND even one item from “Jeannie's Lamp.”  One on our picketing  of the L.A. Times  (10-13-71), and on our Directory of Publications (8-77). (The main link is to SFGATE and it is obituary but good.  Then link to even FIBLibrary but not much and link to Archies Unbound Collection, ok, and LGBTran  which lists him, and Hal's being in Council on Religion and the Homosexual.  And main link to GLBTHistorical Society.  Notes written by Martin Meeker, and Paul Gabriel (oral history),  Online Archive of CA also has him but not much on us.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Philadelphia's Gay History Wiki

Regarding the (Philadelphia) Gay History Wiki: 

Thanks to Don Kelly for sending this link. Very interesting. I'm not sure the purpose and who is doing it.  I only "know" several names, obviously Mark Segal (PGNews) BUT in the list of out of towners is the name of a local "hero" Chuck Selber, whom I knew slightly, and I knew  a friend and co-ACT-UP person and friend of his and mine, Billy Smith.

The listing is very short, and I forget but assume he died in 1992 and it is an obituary.  He was a co-founder of the first attempt at a gay group in the ArkLaTex, GLAD, which met at the Episcopal Center at Centenary College.  It should be said that another co-founder, the main one, was David Dement, who has also died, a son of a later mayor of Bossier City.  The founding meetng was held at the Holidome which David's father managed at the time, and the visitor was Houston activist, Ray Hill.
Internal disagreement in a sense killed GLAD, BUT from its ashes came what is the still very active AIDS service organization here, the Philadelphia Center (a strange name it seems to mention on a website for Philadelphia activists).

As to the list of organizations, I think they missed Janus Society which was the name of Clark Polak's group. He, of course, published Drum Magazine, the first attempt to combine physique magazines with serious ones like ONE.

Thoughts on article on Manning/military, etc.

Regarding the Summer 2013 issue of UltraViolet/LAGAI-Queer Insurrection:

It is interesting to see/hear the experiences of others in the movement/cause, and thus their views on issues, such as the Manning San Francisco Pride March conflict.

I have never been involved in a Pride event—although representatives of the orgaization did.  I think of writer Joe Hansen who represented Tangents/HIC in the first (1970) one in L.A. (Christopher Street West) and the fact that Don Slater argued with the organizers over their rejection of some people/groups.  Specifically I think of the Gay Nazis.  Don of course felt a homosexual archive/library had to have material on all aspects of a movement.  He did think the organizers of an event had a right and legal/moral duty to control who and what was done under their control.   But being truly gay, and playing devil's advocate, he had  fun fussing that these people—whom we thought were FBI—were being “discriminated” against.  We believed that the FBI also showed up when we (and other groups) did the military/homosexual events in 1966, our Motorcade.  We used them and there was no trouble.

So you see Manning is old news to us.  He combines the issues you are concerned with then-how to view the military, national security, who represents our community in public event, etc.

By the way, I think  RFD is the only other community publication that is concerned with prisoners.

Best wishes in your work.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

A magazine is NOT a newsletter--and it is strange that Lisa Keen would make that mistake

Lisa Keen’s (Keen News Service) article on "Top Five LGBT Supreme Court Cases" in the 6-2-13 issue of Windy City Times is a good idea, but it is incompetent and unethical for her to refer to ONE magazine as a “newsletter.”

While she also may want to be PC, we never referred to ONE as a gay & lesbian publication—it said boldly on the cover, “The Homosexual Viewpoint.”

A journalist/historian should understand what the founders did from the very start—knowing how closeted people would try to hide from even the only available publication speaking for and to the community, a professionally done magazine. I repeat, it was understood that an amateur publication would be rejected as unimportant—so the magazine had to be done professionally, and it was.

We had a newsletter, ONE Confidential, and the first academic publication, ONE Institute Quarterly, important even though most “academics” today seem to have never heard of ONE, Incorporated’s academic work.

There is of course a book available that would give basic information on the movement/community media, Gay Press, Gay Power, edited ironically by WCT publisher, Tracy Baim.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Old, but no clue how I got here

Speaking of being old, I have been trying to look back and see if there is/was a pattern in my life and how I would describe myself if I were someone else.  No clue.  I think I was cute, but not too masculine.  I had to make all the moves, but had at least three boys in high school so had sex and loved being in the band.

My sister, now dead, and I were “religious”—she played the piano and we sang in the choir (would you believe I actually took voice lessons?  I think an excuse to give money to lady in church who was a widow.). I don't know if my personality changed.  I do know I once thought that it would be better to be bi—(more chances).   I think there is no doubt that I would be the same if i were hetero.  Lazy.  Drifted through life but lucked out.

I had hard time learning to do pushups, And to learn to “play” the flute—I could not blow across the thing.

I did not make friends at LSU, in the Army, and lucked out when I found ONE and liked them and felt at home and was lucky enough to have family support and could serve the cause.  Dorr would say, yes, when you found time away from the Marines you kept looking for—I found a few and fresh from the Navy Melvin.

My few streaks of independence were sort of strange. I first ignored orders not to open and close the curtain at the theater I worked for because I had thought that was a sophisticated big town thing—and should have been fired.  I just did not show up for an added KP in the Army was willing to take the risk as didn't think I deserved the punishment, so didn't and went to library and nothing ever happened.

When I got kicked out of the Army I didn’t think much of it for myself—was only in for two years anyway.  Today I think that i was a lousy soldier.  I got upset when what I wanted didn't happen—had no thought of what was good for the Army. 

I drove my lovely Pontiac convertible home to Bossier City, left it and a note saying I was ok and not to worry, walked over the bridge to the T&P train station on N Market (later a temporary library, Noel memorial) and got on the train with about $200 and went to L. A.

I loved it the moment I saw it on a family vacation—I didn't want my family to hurt for my sexuality, but I had no problem with it.  Like the Army I didn’t think they would suffer wondering about me.  Later I joined the church and that meant the B.C. church knew where I was and my father visited me.

It had to be luck. I got a paper found an ad for a dormintory bed, and then found a job, got it and didn’t get invovled with ONE till after going to the Mattachine convention in Denver, 1959.

Job didn’t ask much about discharge.  Did get my LSU record, which was terrible, Same for 2nd job—first was (Anderson Clayton) Cotton Co., doing cables, And 2nd was what is still Retail Credit, and should have checked discharge as, like current questions about man who exposed NSA, they didn’t bother to check even though I had access to personal files of people with credit.

When house here burned in ’89, I moved back. We thought of building a library—not a good idea, even now, no demand, and now internet is important and I stayed here as cheap and had house, etc.  Do not see any old fellow students, only neighbors, not even glbt people. I traveled in early days, Dallas every month, etc.  Not strong enough to do much now, but still want to see Hot Springs, and Cajun 

Enjoying internet and TV and eating too much—but not expensive.  So I am where I started. 

So now let’s see how things go for our issues.  That keeps me young.

Friday, June 14, 2013

I can retire-The Daily Show says all that needs saying on the subject

While each decade has seen more and more people (mostly friendly) discuss homosexuality and being glbt in America (sorry Canada & Mexico), I feel confident in saying that last night, The Daily Show, with John Oliver, in the Gay Watch section of the news, said all that needs saying on  current issues: the Boy Scouts, the Vatican’s Gay Lobby—except for the picture of Anderson Cooper and a gay pope.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Russia and “sexual propaganda”

According to The Independent,  Russia is set to pass a  strict anti-gay law that could see foreigners deported for “sexual propoganda.”

I don’t think most people want to really discuss this issue.  It is a generic issue—important in the glbt community due to “Christianists” from America going to African nations, etc, and telling them that homosexuality, etc, is bad and how they need to follow OUR example—America is what all other nations should become.  It is the excuse given for the radical Islamists attacking America: that we have come into “their” part of the world and tried to not only convert them to Christianity but to western ways, etc.

In the opposite direction, we do not want Muslims, or any other group, coming to America—which means they acknowledge is the best place to live—and then try to change it to fit the place they ran away from, Sharia law being only one example.

It reminds me of what I was told about Arizona and that part of the nation. Years ago many people with medical problems were told by their physicians that they could breathe and feel better if they went to a dry area, such as Arizona.  So many moved there and immediately started trying to make it like the place they came from, planting  the very plants that they were told to get away from, etc.

So while we take offense at Russia rejecting our people who come there and try to tell them what to do, we should take care of our own problems and stop trying to run the rest of the world.  It is arrogance, extreme, to think that other people/nations need US to tell them how to think and act.

This may not seem “right” when we think about the black civil rights movement in America.  There were people, influential, in the south that were never going to end slavery so people from other areas had to come and enforce the law and shame the “Christians” who were racists.  Such people were attacked as outsiders but that was nonsense, they were Americans.  (Although of course my relatives lied and called anyone attempting to end racial injustice an “outsider” and that included other southerners born and raised here.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Why many people do not watch talk TV shows...

Having watched over three hours of TV talk shows, almost all on politics, almost all with the same guests and issues, I think it is logical that more and more people no longer watch them. I include the ones I watched, Fox News, MSNBC, and CNN.

There are three problems that frustrate me, not just the constant repetition/ the content but the “presentation” and one claim by a journalist today about journalists in the past that is simply not true.

First, can anyone explain to me why MSNBC especially, has incestuous  talkers?  There are three or four talkers with hour shows.  Yet I often see one talker have as “guests” other MSNBC talkers who then go to their own hour show and just repeat their views. Another frustration is the fact that most talkers ask a question and answer it before the guest can.  The host talks over the guests.  To complete the frustration, they waste time thanking the guest and repeating the identity and then wait for what seems forever for the guest to say, thank you or whatever.

And as was shown by the Rice issue: every show has the same guests. Do they think a guest will actually say something different on each show? And are the three or four usual guests the only people in the country who can speak on an issue? I could go a year without hearing again from certain “guests” such as ones from Huffington Report and The Nation.

Finally, I can tell the talkers of today and their “journalist/historian” guests that they are wrong when they say that there were better journalists/papers/shows in “the good ole days.” Ask any one who has worked in a cause, or better yet, read Gay Press, Gay Power (edited by Tracy Baim) and see proof that in those days the “journalists,” including those at major newspapers, magazines, etc., were ignorant, bigoted, and refused to allow any input on the issue of homosexuality from anyone in the movement.  Same was true of college professors, and other “professionals.”

The cover of the June issue of OutSmart Magazine

While most media and people are waiting and worrying about what the Supreme Court is going to say about same-sex/equal marriage, intelligent (if that is not an oxymoron?) bigots should be afraid of the real world that is already here-they can see that in the faces of young glbt Americans such as are pictured in many of our community publications—such as on the COVER of (Houston’s) OutSmart Magazine’s June Pride issue.

And they can read about the people working for the cause, such as three Pride marshals, reported on inside the issue, as well as the many listings of ride events in Houston alone.

And for me, the many great ads for gay-friendly businesses proves that early movement co-founder and editor/journalist Don Slater was right: if we do our job right, we will force the government to give us our rights, but probably private enterprise/true conservatives will be the first segments of society to deal honestly with issues the right to privacy (see the Ninth Amendment) including our sexuality and understanding that our having civil rights benefits everyone. 

Saturday, June 8, 2013


Paul Cain asks (referring to a comment in my last post):

“This the first time I’ve heard anyone say they DON'T want ENDA. Can you clarify?”

My reply:

Don Slater was doubtful of the very issues most movement people were working for: affirmative action, ENDA, etc.  He said that in the end the results would do more harm than good. Just passing a law does not change minds.  As we saw with Board of Education and Roe, in fact it might have delayed the results we wanted. Many black people said that due to affirmative action they were treated as if they didn’t really deserve the degree, or job, even though they could have been successful without affirmative action.  I am not sure the negative (you didn’t deserve getting into this college, you just got here because of your skin color, etc/) out did the positive (truly bigoted college bureaucrats could not let their bigotry keep deserving minorities out).

As I was told, LSU had refused black students—partly because Southern people had feared it would destroy it (the oldest and largest state black college in America, I think) but mainly because of bigoted state legislators.  Every white student graduate (I think) could go to LSU or a state university.  No black student could, no matter how qualified.  Didn’t some states actually pay for black students to go to colleges out-of-state?

Justice O’Conner said years ago that she voted to keep affirmative action, but it should not be needed 25 years after.  Colorado had affirmative action for businesses, which the Supreme Court ended. (We were in Dolores at the time of the decision, and Don said it was right—I think the company was nearby.)  In some cases where female or minority businesses were to get a certain amount of jobs, the companies would make a woman president, etc.  I think even in some cases companies that made a higher bid got the contract because they were able to do the job, and competitors were fake and could not.

As to ENDA, there is something to be said for making companies or any taxpayer-supported institution be truly equal.  But, as the court said in the Boy Scout case, a private entity should be allowed to decide for itself what it wanted to do. As we know, that was wrong in the case since many government agencies were supporting the scouts. (What ever happened to the San Diego case where they had use of a building?)

But forcing a bigot to hire someone or not fire them would not work, as they would simply fake a reason, as they now do in the case of the law supposedly protecting older workers. Now they refuse to hire anyone who might get older on the job as they could not then fire them if they had a valid reason for fear of being falsely accused of discrimination. And insurance companies, which businesses need, refuse to cover older workers, or charge them higher premiums, so that companies can’t afford to have older workers.

How laws help women (or not) I am not sure about. And it has always been a part of the anti-marriage special rights argument about benefits that married people, especially those with children, get benefits single workers do not.

It seems to me that businesses have been glbt supporters without laws. And if we can expose and hold anti-gay businesses accountable for bigotry, that will make them change more than a law.  We can’t seem to get  to Exxon, but that is what we need to do.

It could be that today Don Slater would not have the same concerns. But I am not sure, and we certainly should have this discussion in the community.

Stephen F. Austin, the Father of Texas, and Saint Anthony of Padua, San Antonio's patron saint (A Note from Gene Elder)

From guest blogger Gene Elder:

It is time to just go ahead and say it. Why hasn't it been done sooner? St. Anthony was gay, and so was the Father of Texas, Stephen F. Austin.
Now, this is a tricky subject because (as far as we know, here in Texas) there is no recorded account if St. Anthony de Padua had a male lover. But lets just get our gaydar going. Looking at his life and his sermons he certainly was in step with a gay male community. We have to ask what gay men were really like at that time. There are plenty of gay men who do not have sex. We will give St. Anthony due respect. He believed in his mission as a servant of God and he lived his life as best as he knew how. BUT THIS DOES NOT MEAN HE WASN'T GAY, as we gay men and women know. Having a sexual relationship with the same sex is not what REALLY makes us gay. We want to bond with someone of the same sex more than the opposite sex. And, as fate would have it, his feast day is June 13. So just make plans to celebrate our gay patron saint during GayBLT Pride Month this year and from now on.

Stephen F. Austin, The Father of Texas, never married, never had children and there does not seem to be a female interest in his life. It is known that he had a close attachment to a gentleman who paid for him to go through law school and while he was busy helping settlers come to Texas he maintained a correspondence with a close male friend in New Orleans. There may still be letters that have not been published in the Austin family archives and in the Texas Archives in Austin. I have not had time to go to Austin and do the necessary research. And as you can imagine this would not have been the aspect of his life that Texas would be promoting. I have just maintained a healthy curiosity about him over the years and I think his life fits the gay profile. The question still has to be asked: What was a gay man like during the 1830s in Texas? Well for one thing these people rarely took baths so I wonder about their sex life.

What I do know is this: If Stephen F. Austin and Saint Anthony were alive today, they would be a part of the gay community and would be in support of gay marriage and part of the regular crowd at the Bonham Exchange, the popular gay disco next to the Alamo.

Monday, June 3, 2013

A great use of texting, mixed blessings of going to reunions, Liberty Press is not just for Kansas

Reading your article in the current issue of Liberty Press: In all the discussion of the positives and negatives of texting, I had never heard how much good it does for people like your Jack.  As you say, it is a good way to communicate with kids with autism.

And I suspect many of us, gay and non-gay have had less than pleasurable experiences in going to reunions, but perhaps a few of those who ask us personal questions are really trying to understand.  Maybe they should see a copy of Liberty Press—but I must admit I am not sure of the “meaning” of the wild cover of the June issue.  I think it means that pride is both a heart-felt thing and a whole body thing.

I think Stephanie Mott’s experience with the young boy fits that thought too: when he asked her if she is a boy or girl, she wisely asked him what he thought—because she had already asked herself that question at the start of her long journey, and she’d not had reason to ask that question much since that first time.

Bob Minor asks—as have many others—what do we mean about our Pride events?  Apparently when we act normally—have a picture of our spouse or even friend, many heterosexuals still can’t see that this is what THEY do and don’t think it is “pushing” their sexuality.  It is a “double standard,” as many black Americans, or women also face. Again, I think he is right, when we celebrate ourselves, we “free” non-gay people from having to worry about their own sexuality, just as when members of other minorities are equal, we all feel freer. While not many white people actually were afraid of being thought black—although a few (such as Dinah Shore) were, most were just accused of being n...lovers, I do think some gay-friendly people worry that they might be accused of being gay (as if the only reason to support our civil rights is if someone IS gay).

Time will answer Danny Cooper’s (and lots of others’) questions about how the Supreme Court will rule on the marriage cases. I think we all know that just changing a law does not end the problem-“Board of Education” sure took decades to get results and “Roe” has not done much good to change people’s minds.  It seems that the end of sodomy laws (“Lawrence”) has not had any bad results, and the same seems true of the end of DADT. So the odds are in our favor, and history will show the bigots, even those on the Supreme Court, are losers and the ignorant ones.

(I just watched a movie on Charlie Chaplin and it seems relevant to point out that the court refused to honor a paternity test proving Chaplin was NOT the father of a child, strange considering how easy such a test is to get today,and courts honor it today—so things can and do change, mostly for the better.)

Saturday, June 1, 2013

San Francisco Pride board and Bradley Manning

Regarding Members of the San Francisco Pride board of directors and Bradley Manning:

Why aren’t they “honoring” the GetEqual woman who harassed Michele Obama? Does this woman think she is the first one to be concerned with the issue? And: many of us do not necessarily want ENDA. It has caused more harm than good for older people seeking work.