Today’s Agenda Is Brought To You By…

Jim Burroway

August 28th, 2016

From David, a Jacksonville-based gay photography and lifestyle magazine, May 1972, page 51.

From David, a Jacksonville-based gay photography and lifestyle magazine, May 1972, page 51.

The address in this tiny strip mall appears to be vacant.

Today In History, 1951: California Gay Bars Given Very Brief Reprieve

Jim Burroway

August 28th, 2016

San Francisco’s Black Cat Cafe at 710 Montgomery St.

65 YEARS AGO: The Black Cat Cafe was one of San Francisco’s more enduring institutions. Opened originally after the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, the dance hall and host of raunchy vaudeville-style acts came under police scrutiny as it earned a reputation as a center of prostitution. It closed during the Prohibition era, but was re-opened again in 1933 by the same owners when the booze started flowing again. After World War II, the Black Cat became a watering hole for the Beat crowd and for a growing gay clientele, and by the 1950s, the bar was placed on the Armed Forces Disciplinary Control Board’s list of forbidden establishments for military personnel. The bar had also been the target of a steady stream of police harassment. In 1951, the cafe’s owner, Sol Stoumen, was charged with “keeping a disorderly house” and the State Board of Equalization, which was then responsible for regulating the sale of alcohol, suspended the Black Cat’s liquor license indefinitely. Stouman sued, and on August 28, 1951, the California Supreme Court ruled in Stoumen v. Reilly that “something more must be shown that many of his patrons were homosexuals” before the bar could be closed down.

The Black Cat Cafe is now an upscale tapas bar.

The case is one of the earliest legal affirmations of gay rights, but there was a clause in that ruling that made it an extraordinarily limited one. The court added that the bar could be closed with “proof of the commission of illegal or immoral acts on the premises.” Because homosexuality was illegal in California (along with every other state and territory), the state still had broad powers to act against gay establishments. It just needed the proper legislation to do so. Three years later, the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (CABC) was established via a constitutional amendment, and the California Assembly passed legislation authorizing it to shut down any “resort [for] sexual perverts.”

The Black Cat continued to be the target of raids and mass arrests until 1963, when the CABC revoked its liquor license right before its annual Halloween party. Stouman was already in debt from past legal battles and could no longer afford to keep fighting. The Black Cat limped along a few months more as a non-alcoholic venue before closing down permanently in February of 1964.

Today In History, 1965: Gay Rights Advocates Picket the State Department

Jim Burroway

August 28th, 2016

The historic year of organized gay rights protests continued as the Mattachine Society of Washington, D.C., organized another of its pickets, this time in front of the State Department. Earlier pickets that year had targeted the White House (Apr 17, May 29), the U.N. (Apr 18), the Civil Service Commission (Jun 26), Philadelphia’s Independence Hall (Jul 4), and the Pentagon (Jul 31). This time, fourteen people turned out to picket the State Department in protest over the department’s prohibition on hiring gay people or granting them security clearances. Some of the signs they carried read, “Sexual Conduct is Irrelevant to State Department Employees” and “Governor Wallace Met with Negroes, Our Government Won’t Meet with Us.”

The Mattachine Society circulated a press release two days earlier to announce the protest, explaining that “the State Department remains the last resolute bastion of McCarthyism in our government.” The announcement also promised that “the demonstration is expected to be orderly, dignified, and fully lawful.” The day before the appointed day, reporters asked Secretary of State Dean Rusk about the upcoming picket during a news conference. Rusk explained department policy:

Secretary of State Dean Rusk, speaking at a news conference the night before the picket.

Secretary of State Dean Rusk, speaking at a news conference the night before the picket.

“I understand that we are being picketed by a group of homosexuals. The policy of the Department is that we do not employ homosexuals knowingly, and that if we discover homosexuals in our department we discharge them. This does not have to do with medical or humane considerations. It has to do with the fact that the Department of State is a department that is concerned with the security of the United States, and that we have to exact standards of conduct that are far higher than the conduct of the general society in which we operate. This has to do with problems of blackmail and problems of personal instability and all sorts of things. So that I don’t think that we can give any comfort to those who might be tempted to picket us tomorrow.”

Thanks to Rusk’s comments, there was somewhat greater press interest in this protest compared to the previous ones. Reporters from CBS, Agence France-Presse and the Kansas City Star were there, and a story ran the next day in the Washington Post.

[Sources: “Rusk Probed on Picketing.” The Ladder (October 1965): 18.

Marcia M. Gallo. Different Daughters: A History of the Daughters of Bilitis and the Rise of the Lesbian Rights Movement (Emeryville, CA: Seal Press, 2007): 105-108.]

Today In History, 1987: Arsonists Burn Florida Family Home of Three Brothers with AIDS

Jim Burroway

August 28th, 2016

TheRayHome

In 1986, doctors discovered that three Florida brothers with hemophilia — Ricky, 10, Robby, 9, and Randy, 8 — tested positive for HIV although none of them had developed AIDS. The school system in Arcadia barred the boys from attending school and provided tutors to instruct them at home. But the boys’ parents, Louise and Cliff Ray, decided that that boys would be better off in school. They sued the school district, and a judge ruled in their favor on August 5, 1987.

That ruling kicked off a vicious, hysterical campaign in the small community. A group formed, calling themselves Citizens Against AIDS in Schools, and announced a boycott of the Arcadia schools at a rally on August 21. The next day, the Ray family began receiving threatening phone calls, with one caller warning that their house would be torched. On August 25, bomb threats were phoned in to the DeSoto County Board of Education, and on the 26th, threats were made directly to Memorial Elementary, where the Ray children were enrolled.

Then on August 28, Danny Armond Tew, president of the citizens’ group, held a press conference to denounced Ray family by name. He laid out the group[s goal: “Our primary goal is to remove this tragic disease from our schools. This goal will be accomplished by mandatory testing and separate but equal education.” He also charged that officials at the CDC were lying about how easy it was to become infected with HIV though casual contact. “If a child gets up from his desk, he might trip over the leg of the desk and fall down and bust his nose or cut his arm. In that close proximity, no telling how many of those children around him could be accidentally exposed to his blood.” He also challenged the U.S. Surgeon General, C. Everett Koop, to a debate. “We’re saying the Surgeon General is wrong about AIDS.”

Three hours later, while the Rays were away visiting relatives and Cliff’s brother was sleeping in the house when he woke to discover the house was on fire. He escaped and was treated for smoke inhalation, but the house was left a smoldering ruin. Fire investigators determined that the fire was arson. The blaze had started in several places: the utility room, hallways, and living room. No one was ever arrested. Tew denied responsibility for the fire, or for stirring up passions in the community. As far as he was concerned, the Rays had brought all of the trouble onto themselves.

The Rays, who had lived in Arcadia for sixteen years, moved to Sarasota. Tew’s group followed, vowing to “inform” Sarasota residents about their conspiracy theories about AIDS. “We have a right to go wherever we want as long as we stay within the bounds of the law,” Tew said. “This concern is for the larger issue of AIDS, not the Ray children. There is more than the Ray children involved.” But cooler heads prevailed in Sarasota, and the Ray children were finally able to go to school just like any other kids.

Robert was diagnosed with AIDS in February 1990. Ricky was diagnosed in March 1991. Ricky died peacefully at home in his sleep in 1992 at the age of fifteen. He would be memorialized in the Ricky Ray Relief Fund Act, a federal law that compensated hemophiliacs were infected with HIV from 1982 to 1987 from tainted blood supplies. Robert died in 2000 at the age of 22. Shortly after, Cliff tried to commit suicide, but failed. Randy married in 2001, and continues to live with HIV. Candy, the Ray’s only daughter, was not hemophiliac and never contracted AIDS.

Born On This Day, 1825: Karl Heinrich Ulrichs

Jim Burroway

August 28th, 2016

(d. 1895) If anyone can claim the mantle of being the very first gay rights advocate of the modern age, the native of the Kingdom of Hanover, Karl Heinrich Ulrichs, has as good a claim as any. When he was very little, he remembered wanting to be a girl and preferring to play with girls, but as often happens (though not always) when a very young boy like him hits puberty, his leanings moved toward homosexuality rather than a transgender identity. He went on to study law and theology at Göttingen University and history at Berlin University. He became a legal adviser for a district court in Hanover, but was dismissed when his homosexuality became known. That led him to declare himself, openly, an Urning. A word he coined in the 1860’s, he described the Urning as a “male-bodied person with a female psyche” who is sexually attracted to men and not women. He also coined Urningin for a “female-bodied person with a male psyche,” and Urningthum came to mean homosexuality itself.

Ulrichs devised an entire system of classification based on different combinations of attractions and gender roles, and more importantly, he set about to develop a robust argument for the legalization of homosexuality. Between 1864 and 1880, he published a series of twelve tracts which he collectively called, Research on the Riddle of Man-Manly Love, and his writings kept him in trouble with the law. His books were banned and confiscated in Saxony, Prussia, and Berlin. In 1867 after the formation of a northern German confederation, he became the first homosexual to address the Association of German Jurists in Munich on the need to reform German laws against homosexuality. He was shouted down but remained undeterred. In 1870, he published Araxes: a Call to Free the Nature of the Urning from Penal Law, in which he wrote:

The Urning, too, is a person. He, too, therefore, has inalienable rights. His sexual orientation is a right established by nature. Legislators have no right to veto nature; no right to persecute nature in the course of its work; no right to torture living creatures who are subject to those drives nature gave them.

The Urning is also a citizen. He, too, has civil rights; and according to these rights, the state has certain duties to fulfill as well. The state does not have the right to act on whimsy or for the sheer love of persecution. The state is not authorized, as in the past, to treat Urnings as outside the pale of the law.

…. Uranian love is in any instance no real crime. All indications of such are lacking. It is not even shameful, decadent or wicked, simply because it is the fulfillment of a law of nature. It is reckoned as one of the many imagined crimes that have defaced Europe’s law books to the shame of civilized people. To criminalize it appears, therefore, to be an injustice officially perpetrated. Just because Urnings are unfortunate enough to be a small minority, no damage can be done to their inalienable rights and to their civil rights. The law of liberty in the constitutional state also has to consider its minorities.

By 1879, Ulrichs decided that he had done all he could do in Germany and went into self-imposed exile in Italy. He later wrote, “Until my dying day I will look back with pride that I found the courage to come face to face in battle against the spectre which for time immemorial has been injecting poison into me and into men of my nature. Many have been driven to suicide because all their happiness in life was tainted. Indeed, I am proud that I found the courage to deal the initial blow to the hydra of public contempt.”

Born On this Day, 1921: Nancy Kulp

Jim Burroway

August 28th, 2016

95 YEARS AGO: (d. 1991) Her name is not exactly a household name today, but her character from The Beverly Hillbillies, Miss Jane Hathaway, lives on in re-runs. Kulp began life as a journalist for The Miami Beach Tropics, writing celebrity profiles while studying English and French at the University of Miami. In 1944, she left academic life to enlist in the U.S. Naval Reserves and served in World War II as a member of the WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service), where she was highly decorated. She married relatively late for her time (at the age of thirty) and divorced ten years later.

Shortly after she married, she moved to Hollywood and began her career as an actress, appearing in several movies including Shane, A Star Is Born, The Three Faces of Eve, and The Parent Trap. Her characters were what we today would call a geek. On television, she inevitably played the spinster. One reviewer called her the homeliest girl in television and said she had the “face of a shriveled balloon, the figure of a string of spaghetti and the voice of a bullfrog in mating season.” But her straitlaced approach to comedy made her an ideal “straight man,” so to speak, for the other zanier characters around her.

In 1984, she went home to Port Royal, Pennsylvania and ran for Congress as a Democrat. To her great dismay, her opponent, Bud Shuster, picked up the endorsement of Beverly Hillbillies costar Buddy Ebsen, who recorded a radio commercial denouncing her as “too liberal.” Kulp lost, picking up only a third of the vote.

In a 1989 interview, Kulp finally came out as a lesbian in an interview: “As long as you reproduce my reply word for word, and the question, you may use it… I’d appreciate it if you’d let me phrase the question. There is more than one way. Here’s how I would ask it: ‘Do you think that opposites attract?’ My own reply would be that I’m the other sort – I find that birds of a feather flock together. That answers your question.” She died in 1991 of cancer.

Today’s Agenda Is Brought To You By…

Jim Burroway

August 27th, 2016

Shuckey'sBoise-NWFountain1979.05p17

From Northwest Fountain (Portland, OR), May 1979, page 17

Shuckey’s Tavern opened in 1975 in the old Mitchell Hotel at the corner of Tenth and Front Streets as Boise’s the first ever gay bar. It apparently became Shuckey’s Discovery Disco, according to this ad, by 1979, everyone just called it Shuckey’s. An intrepid reporter from the University of Idaho’s student paper in 1982 gave a brief overview of Shuckey’s history before describing the time he screwed up the courage to check it out:

The Mitchell Hotel as it appeared in 1979. Shuckey's was located next door to the Emerald Club at the far right of the photo.

The Mitchell Hotel as it appeared in 1979. Shuckey’s was located next door to the Emerald Club at the far right of the photo.

When it opened for business on July 24, 1976 [sic], Shuckey’s Bar became the first tangible evidence to the straight population that a gay community existed in Boise. Standing as an insult to the sensibilities of Boiseans who thought that gay culture existed only in places like liberal New York or flaky San Francisco, upon opening Shuckey’s came under attack from the Boise establishment through the city police force. Persons walking across the street to Shuckey’s on weekends were issued jay-walking tickets with the word “Homosexual” written across them, by an officer stationed near Shuckey’s just for that purpose. The Boise police also carried out clandestine surveillance on Shuckey’s, taking photographs of Shuckey’s customers from the back of an unmarked police van.

Eventually Boise either grew tired of harassing Shuckey’s or the novelty of the game wore off when people realized that the existence of Shuckey’s wasn’t going to bring about the collapse of civilization as Boise knew it. Shuckey’s continues to prosper today, and its customers — not all of whom are gay — point out that Shuckey’s has to call the police to handle problems much less frequently than, most straight bars in town. Except when it is the butt of a joke — as when some Idaho legislators swiped conservative Sen. Jim Risch’s legislative name tag and left it at Shuckey’s — the city’s only gay bar is essentially ignored by the majority of the straight population.

…Just before opening the door I grabbed my friend’s hand, holding her as a badge of warning to any of the perverts lurking inside that I, had not come to Shuckey’s to dance, to be kissed, or to be tied up in leather and beaten with live chickens. Inside the bar they were having New Wave Night, and it was the (at that time) novel New Wave costumes that struck me as the most unusual aspect of the place — it looked like a convention of the B-52’s fan club. Only after the weirdness of the cheap sunglasses and the houndstooth coats was absorbed, did I realize that the men were dancing with the men and the women with women. Other than the very few men in drag and the fact that people of the same gender were doing things together that people of different genders usually do together, there was nothing really unusual about Shuckey’s…

After I had time to assimilate what was going on, I released the death grip on my woman friend and began, like a nosey reporter, to talk to a few people and ask some questions. One young man said that he didn’t particularly like the idea of making contacts in a gay bar, but there was no other way for gays to recognize and meet each other. All the stuff that kids hear in school about how queers contact one another through signals (at my school it was green socks on Thursdays that signaled homosexuality) was just myth according to the young man. The bouncer at Shuckey’s said that gays and straights were all welcomed at Shuckey’s and that straights didn’t need to fear going there; like most people, gays just want to lead their lives as they wish without trying to force people into their lifestyle, the bouncer said.

We’ve all seen straight guys with that death grip, haven’t we? Shuckey’s was later renamed the Stoplight, which closed in 1988. The old hotel, which was listed on the National Register of Historic Places, appears to have suffered a fire in October, 1989. The location is now a parking lot.

Today In History, 2006: NARTH Official Recommends Peer Shaming for Gender-Variant Elementary School Children

Jim Burroway

August 27th, 2016

NARTH Scientific Advisory Board member Joseph Berger

NARTH Scientific Advisory Board member Joseph Berger

TEN YEARS AGO: Once upon a time, the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) thought it would be cool to jump on the cutting edge of social media in the pre-Facebook, pre-Twitter age: they started a blog, where they could remind everyone how odious their ideas were on a daily basis.

On August 27, NARTH’s resident blogger posted a brief synopsis of a story that appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle about a private elementary school in Oakland that had gained a reputation for its ability to work with very young children. “They now let boys play girls and girls play boys in skits,” the Chronicle reported. “And there’s a unisex bathroom.” It went on:

Park Day’s gender-neutral metamorphosis happened over the past few years, as applications trickled in for kindergartners who didn’t fit on either side of the gender line. One girl enrolled as a boy, and there were other children who didn’t dress or act in gender-typical ways. Last year the school hired a consultant to help the staff accommodate these new students.

“We had to ask ourselves, what is gender for young children?” Hodes said. “It’s coming up more and more.”

The NARTH blogger, known only by the handle “jjohnson,” posted a link to the article, copied the first two paragraphs, and left it at that. The blog’s first comment was left by Dr. Joseph Berger, a Toronto-based psychiatrist and a member of NARTH’s Scientific Advisory Committee. It went like this:

Dr. Berger reacted to the San Francisco Chronicle article by observing:

I think that a lot of this is nonsense and is being pushed by people who have an agenda to disrupt society in order to further some perverted goals such as the acceptance of pedophilia, and, of course, the attempted “normalization” of homosexuality.

From a medical/scientific perspective, the notion of a child of five being “transgendered” is absolute garbage. This is a child wanting attention and wanting to play “dress-up,” with an added layer of unhappiness.

That essentially is the issue for most of these children. They are unhappy. They don’t have a “biological” based “gender identity disorder.” They are unhappy; they have an envy of certain aspects of the opposite sex role – and wish to pursuit it for as long as they can.

Tolerant parents, tolerant schools, tolerant societies, might let them get away with it. No one should be surprised that avant-garde California or sun-drenched Florida should be places where the tolerance is highest.

His solution?

Here in cold Canada, I often talk with mothers of small children who routinely complain about how difficult it is to get their children dressed in the winter in the multiple layers of clothing they need to go off to school. I suggest to them that they make it clear to their children that they will leave home – or that the school bus will come – at such-and-such time, and they will go whether they are ready or not. I suggest that going just one day in their pajamas or underwear will be enough to “cure” them of their procrastination.

I suggest, indeed, letting children who wish go to school in clothes of the opposite sex – but not counseling other children to not tease them or hurt their feelings.

On the contrary, don’t interfere, and let the other children ridicule the child who has lost that clear boundary between play-acting at home and the reality needs of the outside world. Maybe, in this way, the child will re-establish that necessary boundary.

Berger closed his post with a parting shot directed toward the parents of gender-variant children: “I am sure that if we looked carefully, we could find some significant personal issues and aberrations in the parents of these children.” Berger’s comments soon attracted the attention of mental health professionals and gay rights groups. Jack Drescher, former chair of the American Psychiatric Association Committee on gay, lesbian and bisexual issues, responded:

NARTH has a long tradition of encouraging antigay social disapproval as a form of prevention, it should come as no surprise that in addition to supporting the criminalization of homosexuality and denying gay adults full civil rights, NARTH would support teasing by other children as a way to promote gender conformity. NARTH, have you no sense of decency?”

Daniel Gonzales, a writer at Ex-Gay Watch (and later for BTB), also weighed in: “Regardless if a child’s gender dysphoria persists into adulthood, allowing any child with a psychological condition to be harassed because of that condition is shameful. I’m most shocked and dismayed this position is being advocated from within a professional mental health association.”

Focus On the Family and Exodus International, who jointly staged a series of ex-gay conferences around the country called “Love Won Out,” expressed their support for NARTH and its president and co-founder, Joseph Nicolosi. But Exodus president Alan Chamber, who recalled being teased for being effeminate when he was a child, later told the Los Angeles Times that Berger’s advice that children should be ridiculed “wouldn’t be something we would tolerate from someone who was part of our board. We have to be very careful about what we say and how we say it. Peoples’ emotions, hearts and even lives are at stake.”

Nicolosi finally responded to the growing controversy with a short note on August 31: “Narth disagrees with Dr. Berger’s advice as we believe shaming, as distinct from correcting can only create greater harm. Too many of our clients experienced the often life long, harmful effects of peer shaming. We cannot encourage this.” The following day, NARTH quietly and without explanation edited Berger’s comments by deleting the three offending paragraphs. That did little to quiet the controversy. NARTH finally removed Berger’s comment, along with the entire blog thread with no further explanation. Berger remained on NARTH’s advisory committee.  NARTH now calls itself the Alliance for Therapeutic Choice and Scientific Integrity,

Today In History, 2007: Sen. Larry Craig’s Airport Mens Room Bust Revealed

Jim Burroway

August 27th, 2016

Minneapolis-Saint Paul's most famous men's restroom.

Minneapolis-Saint Paul’s most famous men’s restroom.

Just after noon on June 11, Sen. Larry Craig (R-ID) was arrested for trying to pick up an undercover police officer at a men’s restroom in the Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport. According to the police report by the arresting officer (PDF: 794KB/7 pages):

IAt 1213 hours, I could see an older white male with grey hair standing outside my stall. He was standing about three feet away and had a roller b with him. The male was later identified by Idaho driver’s license as Larry Edwin Craig… I could see Craig look through the crack in the door from his position. Craig would look own at his hands, ‘fidget’ with his fingers, and then look through the crack into my stall again. Craig would repeat this cycle for about two minutes. I was able to see Craig’s blue eyes as he looked into my stall.

At 1215 hours, the male in the stall to the left of me flushed the toilet and exited the stall. Craig entered the stall and placed his roller bag against the front of the stall door. My experience has shown that individuals engaging in lewd conduct use their bags to block the view from the front of their stall. From my seated position, I could observe the shoes and ankles of Craig seated to the left of me. He was wearing dress pants with black dress shoes. At 1216 hours, Craig tapped his right foot. I recognized this as a signal used by persons wishing to engage in lewd conduct. Craig tapped his toes several times and moved his foot closer to my foot. I moved my foot up and down slowly. While this was occurring, the male in the stall to my right was still present. I could hear several unknown persons in the restroom that appeared to use the restroom for its intended use. The presence of others did not seem to deter Craig as he moved his right foot so that it touched the side of my left foot which was within my stall area.

At 1217 hours, I saw Craig swipe his hand under the stall divider for a few seconds. The swipe went in the direction from the front (door side) of the stall back towards the back wall. His palm was facing towards the ceiling as he guided it all the stall divider. I was only able to see the tips of his fingers on my side of the stall divider. Craig swiped his hand again for a few seconds in the same motion to where I could see more of his fingers. Craig then swiped his hand in the same motion a third time for a few seconds. I could see that it was Craig’s left hand due to the position of his thumb. I could also see Craig had a gold ring on his ring finger as his hand was on my side of the stall divider.

CraigThe officer displayed his police identification under the stall divider and pointed his finger to the restroom exit. Craig said “no,” but eventually complied. At the airport police station, Craig tried to bluff his way out of trouble by handing over his business card identifying him as a U.S. Senator. “What do you think about that?” The officer wasn’t impressed, and the interview continued. According to the arrest report, “Craig stated … He has a wide stance when going to the bathroom and that his foot may have touched mine.” When asked if he had done anything with his feet, Craig replied that he “positioned them, I don’t know. I don’t know at the time. I’m a fairly wide guy.” Craig wound up pleading guilty to a misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct on August 1. He paid the $575 fine, and for the next month, it looked like the whole thing would end quietly without anyone from the press finding out.

The press found out. On August 27, Roll Call broke the story about the arrest and guilty plea. Craig’s spokesman downplayed the whole thing as a “he said/he said misunderstanding.” Craig had often positioned himself as a “values” politician. In 1989, he led a failed effort to censure and expel Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) over his roommate’s prostitution scandal. He voted against bills that would have extended the federal definition of hate crimes to include sexual orientation, and he supported an Idaho constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.

Then-Rep. Craig denying involvement in a male Capital page scandal in 1982.

Then-Rep. Craig denying involvement in a male Capital page scandal in 1982.

This wasn’t Craig’s first “misunderstanding” about his sexual interests. Nine months earlier, Mike Rogers had outed Craig on his web site at blogactive.com. “I have done extensive research into this case, including trips to the Pacific Northwest to meet with men who have say they have physical relations with the Senator,” Rogers wrote. “I have also met with a man here in Washington, D.C., who says the same — and that these incidents occurred in the bathrooms of Union Station. None of these men know each other, or knew that I was talking to others. They all reported similar personal characteristics about the Senator, which lead me to believe, beyond any doubt, that their stories are valid.” In 1982, Craig, while a congressman, pre-emptively denied involvement with a Congressional male page sex and drug scandal, a puzzling act given that his name hadn’t yet been publicly associated with the scandal (Jul 1).

And so it would only be natural for the press to have a field day with the latest news.  On August 28, the Idaho Statesman published a story that included three allegations of Craig’s homosexuality going back to 1967. One man said that Craig had cruised him at an REI store in Boise. Another reported to have had oral sex with Craig at a men’s room in Washington’s Union Station, just north of the Capital building. That same day that the Statesman article came out, Craig held a press conference in Boise, Idaho, with his wife by his side, to try to quell the growing calls for his resignation:

28craig-600I am not gay. I never have been gay…. In June, I overreacted and made a poor decision. I chose to plead guilty to a lesser charge in hopes of making it go away…. Please let me apologize to my family, friends and staff and fellow Idahoans for the cloud placed over Idaho. I did nothing wrong at the Minneapolis airport. I did nothing wrong, and I regret the decision to plead guilty and the sadness that decision has brought on my wife, on my family, friends, staff and fellow Idahoans.

Those denials didn’t go far. Mitt Romney dropped Craig as a Senate liaison for Romney’s 2008 campaign for the Republican presidential nomination, and several GOP Senators called on Craig to resign. On September 1, Craig announced that he would resign his Senate seat at the end of the month. He then fought to withdraw his guilty plea. That request was denied. Meanwhile, Craig reversed his decision to resign his Senate seat, although he didn’t seek re-election in 2008. He finally left office when the next Congress was sworn in in 2009.

Born On This Day, 1961: Tom Ford

Jim Burroway

August 27th, 2016

Tom Ford55 YEARS AGO: He definitely has a flair for making his own way. After studying architecture at Parsons The New School for Design, he got his first fashion design job in 1986 with American Designer Cathy Hardwick — through knowing what to say as well as what not to say. He told her that he attended The New School’s Parson division, but he didn’t bother to mention that he wasn’t an alumnus of its prestigious fashion design program. And he knew the right answer when she asked what designers he admired: Armani and Chanel. Hardwick recalled, “Months later I asked him why he said that, and he said, ‘Because you were wearing something Armani.’ Is it any wonder he got the job?”

Two years later, he moved to Perry Ellis, but he still wanted to get away from American design firms. Meanwhile, his partner, journalist Richard Buckley, had recently recovered from cancer, and the two were looking for for a drastic change of scenery. As luck would have it, Gucci was struggling and needed to overhaul its women’s ready-to-wear lines, but no major designer would come near the nearly-bankrupt firm. Ford and Buckley moved to Milan and Ford took over the women’s ready-to-wear line, and was quickly placed in charge of menswear and shoes. By 1992, he was also responsible for fragrances, image, advertising and store design, and the following year he was overseeing eleven product lines. Between 1995 and 1996, sales at Gucci nearly doubled and the company went public. When Gucci bought Yves Saint Laurent in 2000, Ford became its creative directer as well.

By 2004, Gucci was valued at $10 billion, but Ford and Gucci’s management fell into disagreements over artistic control of the group. That’s often the reason given for Ford to cash in his chips to leave Gucci. But it also marks a significant departure in Ford’s creative life as well. In March of 2005, he announced that he was opening his own film production company, and he made his directorial debut with 2009’s A Single Man, based on the novel by Christopher Isherwood. That same year, Ford re-entered the fashion world with the establishment of the TOM FORD brand, which opened his flagship store in New York City two years later. There are now dozens of TOM FORD stores around the world, and many of his products are available online. Ford and Buckley welcomed the arrival of their son, Alexander John Buckley Ford, in 2012. They currently split their time between homes in Los Angeles, London and Santa Fe. His next film, Nocturnal Animals, a thriller starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Amy Adams, Laura Linney, and Aaron Taylor-Johnson, is due out in November.

Today’s Agenda Is Brought To You By…

Jim Burroway

August 26th, 2016

From David, a Jacksonville-based gay photography and lifestyle magazine, May 1972, page 13.

From David, a Jacksonville-based gay photography and lifestyle magazine, May 1972, page 13.

Even as far back as 1954, Miami’s Cactus Lounge on Biscayne Blvd. was widely known around town as Miami’s oldest gay bar. Yet somehow it escaped being mentioned in the local newspapers whenever bars were raided along Miami’s “Powder Puff Lane.” The Carnival Bar, which is also mentioned in this ad, wasn’t so lucky. It was raided along with at least six other bars in an anti-gay sweep in 1954. But the Cactus Lounge survived all of that and latest all the way up until 2004, when development finally accomplished what Miami’s mayors couldn’t do: shutter the bar permanently. The bar was torn down and replaced with a row of upscale condos, which themselves are conveniently located across the street from a Bentley dealership.

Emphasis Mine

Jim Burroway

August 26th, 2016

Left: two women dressed in male attire. Right, two unidentified men. Both photos from the early 1900s.

Left: two women dressed in male attire. Right: two unidentified men. Both photos are from the early 1900s.

It’s very encouraging to see local efforts to preserve LGBT history in cities and towns all across the country. So much of the study of gay history seems to concentrate itself in the major urban areas. Finding a trove like this one in Lexington, Kentucky, is particularly special. Historian Jonathan Coleman and artist Robert Morgan have compiled more than 12,000 items and 100 hours of recorded interviews to create the Faulkner-Morgan Pagan Babies Archive of LGBTQ life in Kentucky, which is currently seeking a permanent home. Coleman will discuss LGBT history this Sunday at 2:00 p.m. at the University of Kentucky Central Library:

The project began in 2014, when Morgan, a well-known artist and figure in the gay community, told Coleman about material he had been collecting for decades. Much of it involved Faulkner (1924-1981), a renowned Lexington painter who was “out” long before it was socially acceptable.

Morgan, 66, who befriended Faulkner as a teenager, ended up with most of his photographs and memorabilia.

“Henry started giving me stuff, and he took me to all these houses,” Morgan said. “I would meet all these old gay men who were born in the 1800s, and they would tell stories.”

Members of the "Negro Review", a drag show held in the 1930s at the Woodland Auditorium.

Members of the “Negro Review,” a drag show held in the 1930s at the Woodland Auditorium.

When the AIDS epidemic hit in the 1980s, Morgan cared for many local victims.

“Sometimes I was taking care of people I didn’t really know, and their families would come when they would die and throw all of their stuff in the street,” he said. “I would go back that night and go through the boxes and save their personal stuff, because it upset me so much that the families just threw all that away. I ended up with scrapbooks and photographs and ephemera documenting people’s whole lives.”

When people heard that Morgan was collecting, they brought him more material. An elderly man in Louisville sold him dozens of photographs of unidentified gay couples and cross-dressers he found over the years at Kentucky yard sales and flea markets.

…The archive includes a lot of drag photographs, including black men in women’s clothing performing in 1930s shows at the old auditorium in Woodland Park.

“Sometimes the only history we have are naked men and drag queens, because they were not worried about people seeing them in photographs,” Morgan said. They’re not representative of the larger gay community, he said, but “sometimes you have to take your history where you find it.”

 

Today In History, 1954: Miami Mayor Calls for Anti-Gay Crackdown

Jim Burroway

August 26th, 2016

Miami Mayor Abe Aronovitz

Miami Mayor Abe Aronovitz

As pressure mounted in the press over the growing anti-gay hysteria that had swept the Miami area following the murder of an Eastern Airlines flight attendant (Aug 3, Aug 11, Aug 12, Aug 13 (twice), Aug 14, Aug 15, Aug 16), Mayor Abe Aronovitz seized the moment when city manager E.A. Evans and police chief Walter Headley were both out of town on vacation to blast them for “coddling homosexuals” in the city.

Headley had already been singled out by the city’s newspapers for his policy of allowing gay bars to operate in Miami proper “so police can watch them” (Aug 16). That policy earned the him the praises of ONE magazine, the nation’s first nationally-distributed magazine. ONE’s public endorsement of Headly’s policies was more proof to the city’s papers that Headley’s tolerance of “Powder Puff Lane” was a “civic disgrace.”

By mid August, the papers were calling for the firing of Evans and Headley, and Florida’s acting Governor Charley Johns was threatening to intervene personally. Aronovitz decided he needed to respond to the growing political crisis. He told the papers that he would give Evans just one week from the time he returns from vacation to “clean out certain pervert nests in Miami proper.” Criticizing the police chief’s more lenient policies, Aromovitz added, “I firmly believe it is a disgrace to have a place on Biscayne Boulevard whose business caters to the disturbed mind which enjoys seeing a bunch of fairies perform where the sky seems the limit.”

Today In History, 1995: GOP Presidential Candidate Sen. Bob Dole Returns Donation from Log Cabin Republicans

Jim Burroway

August 26th, 2016

Richard Tafel and Sen. Dole: He’s just not that into you.

Richard L. Tafel, president of LCR, received a letter from John A. Moran, the finance director for the presidential campaign of Sen. Bob Dole. The letter read: “Per our discussion, I am attaching a list of upcoming Dole for President fund-raising events. Senator Dole and I would appreciate any assistance you could give us in turning out your members at each event. I am looking forward to working with you. With all good wishes. Cordially, John.” The letter seemed to vindicate Tafel’s hard work in getting LCR recognized as a valuable partner in electing a Republican to unseat President Bill Clinton. With Dole, Tafel thought he had someone he could work with. Campaign officials were soliciting his support, and he prominently wore a Log Cabin lapel button as he discussed AIDS police with Sen. Dole during a fundraiser.

And so Tafel donated $1,000 to the Dole campaign to support his quest for the Republican nomination. But after a devastating showing at the Iowa Straw Poll — Dole was expected to win handily, but ended up tying with his arch-conservative rival Texas Sen. Phil Gramm — Dole’s front-runner status in the Republican field looked to be in jeopardy. And so in August, the Dole campaign decided to tack right, hard. And as part of that direction, they publicly returned LCR’s donation. Tafel was furious, and made Moran’s letter available to the New York Times. Nelson Warfield, Dole’s spokesman, said they the only reason they accepted the money in the first place was because of “a financial screw up.” He also accused the LCR of making the donation for publicity, saying, “They’re struggling for credibility.” Dole himself tried to appear insulated from his own campaign’s actions, telling ABC News, “I don’t agree with (LCR’s) agenda — I assume that’s why it was returned.” Campaign manager Scott Reed put the donation in a broader context: “We need to be seen as a consistent conservative — and we will be that.”

Dole captured the GOP nomination after his hard turn to the right, but this episode exposed the growing fissure between the party’s conservative and moderate wings. Critics asked why Dole’s campaign returned LCR’s donation “for ideological reasons” — the campaign had acknowledged that the action was the first take solely for that reason — but kept other donations from, for example, Hollywood producers who Dole sharply criticized three months earlier. Rep Steve Gunderson, (R-WI), then the only openly gay GOP Congressman, issued a letter to Dole asking, “Are you rejecting support of anyone who happens to be gay? If this is so, do you intend to now reject my support and request those on your staff who happen to be gay to resign?”

As the weeks wore on, the issue died in the press, but the internecine battles threatened to drive moderates from the party. On October 18, just as his campaign staff had hoped the furor was safely behind them, Dole reignited the controversy again when he publicly reversed the decision. One unnamed Republican said to be close to Dole told The New York Times that the campaign had acted without Dole’s knowledge in returning the check. “Dole absolutely opposed giving it back,” he said. “He was angry about it. The campaign did it without checking with him.” But now it was the conservative wing’s turn to be angry. Gary Bauer, president of the Family Research Council, warned, “When a politician takes money from a group, he or she legitimizes that group’s agenda.” His rivals for the GOP nomination said that the reversal showed that Dole “lacked conviction.” Dole ended up winning the GOP nomination, but his support from the conservative win was lackluster during the general election campaign and President Bill Clinton won his bid for a second term.

Today In History, 1998: Lawyer Suggests Abortion If a Test Could Prove Fetus Has “Gay Gene”

Jim Burroway

August 26th, 2016

That was the San Francisco Chronicle’s headline when Chicago attorney Aaron Greenberg, proposed this thought experiment on one possible consequence if science were to discover a genetic basis for homosexuality. Greenberg, who was set to present his argument before the 15th annual symposium of the San Francisco-based Gay and Lesbian Medical Association (GLMA), said he was “pro-gay, but also pro-freedom.” According to the Chronicle:

“All things being equal, I think a kid who is heterosexual would have an easier life, not for any good reason, but because people irrationally discriminate (against homosexuals),” he said, giving what he speculated would be the biggest reason parents would want a straight child.

He said parents who make such a decision also would probably relate better to a heterosexual child and might feel they would have a better chance of eventually becoming grandparents.

…”I don’t want to upset anyone,” Greenberg said. “But I don’t think, with certain conditions, that there’s anything morally objectionable with choosing a child’s sexual orientation.”

Even if hatred is the motive, he said there’s no harm in a homophobe choosing not to have a gay child.

San Francisco Supervisor Tom Ammiano denounced the suggestion. “I find it very frightening,” he said. “I think that in Germany during World War II there were some of the same rationales” for the elimination of Jews. Discrimination against gay people is fast eradicating, and certainly even if it’s still around, it wouldn’t justify that. I think this guy is grabbing for the spotlight, and also capitalizing on the campaign against gays that’s coming from the Republicans.”

San Francisco PFLAG chapter heads, Sam and Julia Thoron, who had a grown lesbian daughter, said the world was a better place with their daughter in it. Sam added, “All of this implies that there’s something wrong with being gay. There’s nothing wrong with being gay, underline and exclamation point.”

But others, while not supporting Greenberg’s suggestion, nevertheless felt that the debate needed to be aired. GLMA Executive Director Ben Schatz said, “Sure it’s going to upset people. But I think it forces us to come to terms with the fact that people hate us and there’s no magic bullet to make it go away. I think this underscores that we can’t look to science or technology as an antidote to bigotry.”

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