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?