Tuesday, March 25, 2014

It is the old scientific problem of not being able to predict, but to try to explain after it has been discovered

Regarding Doug Mainwaring’s article, “Same Sex Marriage: ‘Thoroughly Tiresome’ by Design”:

There is so much wrong about this thinking that it is not worth answering.

But people seriously interested in how our movement has been successful might want to know a little about the timeline.  And it sure didn’t start with the writers of this book in the 1980s. (Maybe, like most academics, they were in an ivory tower.) I wonder how many people read the book—I did not.  Where are these men today?  What other books and resources has Mainwaring used?

But a few minor points.  First, psychology did not even think of trying to change the views of religion—in that time it USED that religious thinking—check back at what psychiatrists testified in courts, think of how many people they said they could cure.  They never did a single scientific research effort, they based their “answers” on religious nonsense—that is why we said our enemy included mostly Jewish psychiatrists.  And why Dr. (Evelyn) Hooker’s research was not welcomed.

Fortunately there are still many LGBT pioneers/activists who can testify to how little support they got from the media—ask the publisher of the Philadelphia Gay News, et al.  Take a look at what the “media” was saying about us until the ’90s.  And that includes what were supposedly “liberal” and intellectual publications.  AND the ACLU did not think we had a valid issue until about 1965.  And did the writers miss Stonewall, 1969?

But that makes the point—by the ’80s we had already been successful.  I wonder how the people interested in abortion think of the claim that that issue is settled.

The article writer is against same-sex marriage?  Why?  I have no interest in it but would not take the time to oppose it while other members of the community want it.  And deserve it: either marriage benefits are for everyone or for NO  one.  That is the American way.  Equality of opportunity.  But, like many preachers, I wonder why he is so concerned about this one issue?  Is he active in other efforts to gain our civil rights?

Turn the issue of who is a victim around. Does he accept the religious nuts idea that they are victims if we gain equal rights?  As they once said black Americans made them—white people—when THEY sought marriage, including interracial marriage?  Has he studied the real history “marriage?”

It is not hard—it is easy, to learn the history of the movement to gain civil rights for homosexual Americans.  The lasting effort began, as is well recorded, in 1950 (early/original Mattachine).  I went public in 1952 (ONE magazine.).  It started in Los Angeles, San Francisco joined, then major cities, with organizations and publications.  It had NO support from the media, academia, rich people, celebrities,  liberals, religious groups—ONLY middle class Americans.  By the mid 1960s, the dozen or so main groups joined to form a national effort (NACHO) and held the first coordinated public demonstration in 1966—over the issue of homosexuals and the military.  It was covered NOT by the local press but by an article by Peter Bart in The New York Times. Two local TV stations did send reporters to interview us—Tom Brokaw for NBC and Connie Chung for CBS—both have for some reason forgotten this. 

There had been a few TV talk shows and LIFE magazine had done a decent article in 1964, but not much media coverage was given to our efforts until 1969. By that time they needed us more than we needed them.  The media does not try to give citizens news until it is no longer news—no  longer controversial—they do not want to upset the advertisers.  BUT, that is an interesting point—it has been the free enterprisers, capitalists that have welcomed the community and given us support—not the politicians, governments (that should be treating all citizens equally) and certainly not the religious people who claim to love everyone.  Major corporations supported us long before the politicians, and the religious do-gooders have still not seen the light.)

The Myth of Gay Affluence

Regarding the Atlantic article on the “Myth of Gay Affluence”:

I doubt that anyone else will “get” what this article says abut the view of homosexuality. It is not about income of LGBT people, but it is about what we did NOT have when this movement started—academics studying and giving support to us, no matter on what aspect.

It seems every week the Williams Institute is quoted as reliable voices on our issues.  Ask how many academics were speaking in the 1950s and ’60s.  But the few that did were were not believed by most self-hating homosexuals—who were still accepting the lies that said they were no good—they were criminals, sick and sinful.  They just could not believe the results of the research of Dr. Evelyn Hooker, who proved that “experts” could not tell, based on tests, who was and was not homosexual.

The media didn’t cover the issues much and if they did they quoted the bigots like Bergler, Bieber, et al., vice squad officers and charlatan preachers, all of whom had a personal interest, in keeping the status quo, something to gain if we were kept as people to arrest, cure, and save.

If ONE magazine writers said something positive about homosexuality, even our readers were skeptical—saying we were biased—as if the bigots were not.  But if we got an “expert” to say the same thing, many would believe it—although some still could not believe that an “objective,” “normal” person would say homosexuality was OK, or that we had civil rights. And that included even the liberals at the ACLU.

The fact is that we are consumers, and we should be loyal to the businesses that treat us fairly.  And most of the people in our community I know do travel, buy cars, eat well, and even go to Disneyland, with or without children. So we do not ONLY have sleazy, high-priced gay bars to accept us now.  Why is that a problem?  And we can-not to say we do-vote and support politicians who join our efforts to get and keep equal/civil rights.  It is common sense.

AND, we now have more biological family members, neighbors and friends who will also vote for those who are gay-friendly, and eat at the cafes we feel comfortable in, etc.  That is why so many people no longer support most churches, they don’t like preachers and members who preach and practice hate. 

The New York Times lets “experts” and PC police tell us that we can NOT use the word homosexual

A letter to the NY Times on the recent article decline of the use of the word “homosexual”:

The self righteous arrogance of these “experts” on who has a right to use what term is shameful for you to accept with no comment.  You and these people destroy their own words when they admit that the point is to remove sex from terms.  How religious can you get?  Are these people ashamed of their sexuality?

And we used homophile NOT because we didn’t like the honest word homosexual but because it included non-homosexuals who were not bigots and supported our efforts.  We always used gay, such as gay bars.  

But you might be writing another article a few years from now saying that the pc police say only queer or some other term is acceptable.  Sadly, you are always following experts who are not.  (I am a co-founder of the Homosexual Information Center, which came out of ONE, which came out of Mattachine.  Your “experts” might want to learn history.)

(end of letter)

Why are the “gays” so unsure of themselves that they can not just say that they prefer the term gay but instead have to make it a crime to use another word such as homosexual. 

And why would the paper of record publish an article and only give one view and use biased “experts,” and distort history.  For instance some of us who were there in Chicago at the NACHO conference in 1968 (referred to in the article) were not “eager” to support Frank’s idea of Gay is Good, since it was an obvious copy of Black is Beautiful.

Politicians have proved that changing a term to make it sound better or hide the truth works.  And last night on HBO’s Real Time, Bill Maher talked about this and gave a wonderful example.  He said, since we know Republicans don’t like giving food to the poor, why don’t the Democrats change the term from food stamps to “Jesus coupons.” Is this the type game we have to play to educate people? 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Brandon Wolf: Houston's Archive Scene and How it Got to Where it is and What Could be Done

There is more to the story, and having lived in Houston for 37 years, I know most of it.     

Charles Botts started collecting gay books back in the 1970’s.  By 1980, his house was full.  He was a member of RMCC, and asked them if they would let him create a gay/religious library.  At the time, they were quite willing.  I remember that it lined the walls of the board room, at one community meeting I attended, I kept looking at all the books. It was vast.   

People started asking if they could give archival materials to him, and he said yes. He was the closest thing to an archives at the time.  He inherited a Texas gay archives from someone who gave it to the owner of Wilde N Stein Books.  When he went out of business, he asked if the archives could go to RMCC, and Charles said yes.  

Even as early as 1992, Charles knew things were getting too big, and wanted to get an independent location.  RMCC was looking for a new facility, but took ten years to find one, so he was never ‘forced’ to find a new home.  In 1995, he died of AIDS.

He left all the books and archives and $50,000 from the sale of his townhouse to ‘the RMCC library’.   Probate court said there was no legal entity with that name.  So everyone agreed to change the will by court order to RMCC, with the understanding that it was just for the purpose of getting the money to the library/archives.    

Charles’ brother gave the money to the church, and said he wouldn’t put restrictions on it, but did ask they include protecting the archives in their mission statement, which they promptly did.  He indicated later that it had been his wish that RMCC would take the money, and hire a development person to build a donor base and find a permanent home.  Instead, the church shut the archive office door and it became a closet — no one kept up with things at all.  

Then in 2000, they wanted to move to a new facility.  The board wrote Ralph Lasher who had been pastor when Charles was there, about the whole thing.  Lasher wrote back and explained what I just did. All the board wanted was to know they ‘owned’ the archives, and they used the $50,000 for the downpayment for the new church.  They gutted the shower room (they bought a church campus) and stuck everything in there.  No a/c, no humidity control, no nothing.

Enter Larry Crisione and two volunteers.  Larry put up shelving and got things arranged — bought a portable a/c so the volunteers could work during the week — and started indexing everything.  He did have porn, but it was a minor part of the collection and under tight control.

Things hummed along until 2008, when I happened to visit there for the first time, researching the history of the Dianas.  I heard they had a Gay Monopoly game that had a Diana card. Sure enough, they did.  They dug out their Diana material, which I wasn’t impressed with at first — old programs I already had, etc.   Then my jaw dropped.  They had the working folder dating back to 1964 of Charles Hebert, the driving force behind the Dianas. It ended in 1987, when he was murdered.  I was stunned, reading the scripts from 1964 – on.    

Larry began to explain how badly the church treated him.  For example, a donor gave him money for a wireless Internet connection.  When the church found out he was going to install it, they said he had to put it in their main office and they would wifi it to him.  It didn’t pierce the wall, but they didn’t care.   So I asked the Dianas to give Botts a donation to put in the Internet, direct wiring.    

I did another history — of Legacy Health Services — and once again, Larry and crew provided me with files of papers back to the very beginning: 1978.  I felt they needed money to grow, so got a volunteer lawyer to help them with a 501(c)(3).   GCAM had become impossible — 10 storage rooms and nothing indexed — so Botts was a treasure trove to me.   

Then at the beginning of 2011, Larry said the board was hinting they might have to start charging him rent.  I kept thinking about that $50,000 they just appropriated for the downpayment.  In the summer of 2011, I got the news that the church was selling the archive. I couldn’t believe it. The letter of the law said the church owned it, but that was never the spirit of the law. So many people including me had donated to the archives believing it was a community archive. A group of five of us went to talk to the board.  They kept going on and on about how they wanted a ‘water ministry’ — showers for homeless.  When they had a priceless archive in their facility and never gave jack about it.    

One day, he came in and the archive was re-keyed.  After a couple months, they let the volunteers in, but Larry couldn’t be there without a staff member from the church present.  

They were shopping around to universities, but having no luck.  One night the board president came a meeting of ARCH (an umbrella group that all GLBT preservation efforts belong to). She was eaten alive, and never came back.  But Judy Reeves, of GCAM, was taking all this in.  

It was a stalemate until the summer of 2012.  Suddenly, an announcement is made that the archive had been sold to an anonymous buyer for an undisclosed amount of money, and that Judy Reeves would be the official representative. She predicted a research library would be open in early 2013.  Instead, it just disappeared, and I know of at least six researchers who tried to access the collection and were told no.   

It was pretty obvious to me that Judy had done a backroom deal with the board.  Jimmy Carper was his bosom buddy, and her rich lover had died and left Jimmy a house and money. I finally discovered he was the mystery buyer.    

The church had stipulations to whoever bought it: 1) retain it as a separate collection, 2) retain the name Botts, and 3) open it to public for research.    

But the old crew didn’t just walk away.  They started over with new donations of materials constantly coming in, and rented space over Grace Church.   

Judy send the crew a cease and desist order about the name, and they sort of told her to go to hell.     So now we have three archives.     

I’ve always seen a big difference — GCAM is massive but not indexed — Botts is small, but highly indexed.   

That folder of old Diana stuff went with the sale, so the Dianas stopped any further contributions to GCAM.  Even though they claim the Botts Research Library has nothing to do with them.  Although they did allow it to be stored in a facility that Jimmy was working on when he died — two apartments made into a large area for GCAM and Botts Research.  

I was so furious when the sale happened, I posted four things to Facebook which basically called the church, the pastor, and Judy Reeves thieves.  Also the lawyer who handled the sale.  He ended up suing me for a million dollars for slander.  I found a good attorney, who had him so scared he came begging.  He dropped the suit.  My attorney was just pissed that he was using the justice system to punish me for speaking out.

There was an uproar for a few days on Facebook, and that was it.  Short shelf life.    

So we went from two archives, to three.  And the church, in my estimation, were total thieves. They didn’t ‘own’ that collection – but they had the legal papers that said they did, and leveraged them to drain the archive, first of $50,000 and second of the selling price of community property.  Charles would be horrified if he knew what happened to his collection.    

After the lawsuit, I stopped barking.  Every ‘friend’ in the community I had deserted me. So I got bitter and thought fuck it.     

On the more positive side, this ad appeared in the February issue of OutSmart.  I don’t know any details except that the money will go into a trust.  Pride Houston will raise money, but have no intention of heading up the development.      

Just for the hell of it, I put together this Powerpoint.  Based simply on my blue-sky dreams of what a museum should be.   And hope that someday someone with great passion and the ability to develop will come forward and take it on.   I decided it was better to go for the gold, instead of a dinky storefront.   It may end up there, but I figure big donors will give to something professional before they will to a converted ramshackle old storefront somewhere.   The recent ‘banner project’ excited people about our history, so I thought this was a good time to toss an idea out there.  It at least gives people something to chew on. 

The Powerpoint is just my own independent thoughts, backed by no individual or organization.     Personally, I think the only way we will get a museum is to build one, and hopefully the archives will want to put their stuff there.  Sort of ‘our place, your material’.  It will take a skilled, seasoned development person to raise the kind of money needed for a museum.  And not just a museum — a museum designed with today’s world in mind — and also Houston’s location as a hurricane venue.   

And that’s the story of the archives.  None of what I wrote is personal opinion or hearsay. I have copies of legal documents and letters to back up every claim I’ve made.    

I still think RMCC deserves some sort of award for scrapping the bottom of the gutter. History isn’t for sale.   

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Williams Institute and Lambda Legal advances

When I see the work of Williams, and Lambda Legal, and the centers, I think obviously of what the early movement founders would think and how happily surprised at how good these resources are.

While I feel that the magazine then, and our community publications today, the media, are a great part of the success of the movement, and Don Slater and other early journalists deserve credit, it is clear that the other parts of the ONE effort, the educational, and their legal efforts such as to assure the right to publish the magazine, Dorr's part, is equally important. It gives the evidence to the media to combat the lies of the bigots.

Both efforts are necessary if the members of our community are to know what is going on and also to know the truth, and that means they need to know about themselves. It is good to say, “I’m here, I’m queer, get over it,” but when they hear lies, they need to know the truth to combat those lies. That was the first thing we had to accomplish to succeed-how did these people today GET to the “place” where they could say, I’m queer?  They were not saying it in 1950.

Monday, March 10, 2014

LSU Alumni Magazine news, current issue

I am not sure what parts of the LSU Alumni Magazine most people read,but, sadly at 81, most of us read what fellow students are no longer with us. But I also glance at what young ones are doing, and so want to say how good it is to read the news of Sehzad Sooklall, 2006 MCOM, who  is now at Yeshiva University’s Cardozo Law. I wonder if he was active in the LSU LGBT group, as he is at the Law School and that may be helpful to others who wonder if lgbt people are active in such organizations.

It would be interesting to see an article on what happened to graduates who were active in LGBT work at LSU and what they are doing today. Since I was at LSU from 1950 to 1955, there was no such group or resource, and I have found little help then and now at the library, etc.