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Box Turtle BulletinNews, analysis and fact-checking of anti-gay rhetoric
“Now you must raise your children up in a world where that union of man and box turtle is on the same legal footing as man and wife…”
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U.S. Supreme Court Stays Virginia Marriages

Jim Burroway

August 20th, 2014

Bostic Stay

The U.S. Supreme Court has stayed the Fourth Circuit Court’s decision upholding a lower court’s ruling which found Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. The Fourth Circuit’s ruling was due to go into effect tomorrow morning after it refused to issue a stay last week. The Supreme Court’s stay will remain in effect until it either rejects a request to hear the appeal of the Virginia case or it hands down a decision.

Lawyers from the Alliance Defending Freedom representing Michele McQuigg, a named defendant as county clerk for Prince William County had asked Chief Justice John Roberts to issue a stay. Roberts, who oversees the Fourth Circuit, referred the request to the full court. There’s no indication of whether there were any dissents to the request.

Ugandan Religious NGO Lays Off Staff After US Aid Cuts

Jim Burroway

August 18th, 2014

The Ugandan opposition magazine Observer reports that the Inter-Religious Council of Uganda (IRCU), which is composed of members from the Uganda Muslim Supreme Council, Roman Catholic, Anglican, Orthodox and Seventh Day Adventist churches, has had its funding withdrawn for its HIV/AIDS program by the U.S. Agency for International Development over the IRCU’s support for the Anti-Homosexuality Act. Funding from the European Union was also withdrawn, forcing the IRCU to lay off its entire paid staff.

The multi-denominational organization was this month forced to lay off all staff after USAID abruptly ended its financial support worth $34.5m (Shs 89.7bn). This funding accounted for about 90 per cent of IRCU’s resource envelope. The local organization says it is a victim of its anti-gay stance, which the donor finds unacceptable, although some sources claim IRCU failed to meet some of USAID’s rigorous accountability procedures. Suspension of funding was communicated to IRCU in a June 26 letter by USAID Country Director Lislie Reed. She told the religious body that their partnership was being terminated effective July 31. According to IRCU General Secretary Joshua Kitakule, the funding was supposed to end in December 2014, but USAID had agreed to fund another follow-on project.

…Disagreement between the Americans and IRCU started when the religious leaders came out publicly to support the December 20, 2013 passing of the now-annulled Anti-Homosexuality Act. Religious leaders were vocal in their support for the law that criminalises homosexuality, and even organized an event at Kololo to celebrate after President Museveni endorsed it. At the time, the NGO’s budget had a balance of $7m (Shs 18.2bn), which was to cover the one year remaining on the funding calendar. This was cut to $2.35m (Shs 6.1bn), forcing IRCU to lay off at least 30 of its 55-member workforce. That number has further been reduced to just five after USAID terminated the partnership. The remaining employees are now not salaried.

Thousands sign up for NOM’s Target boycott

Timothy Kincaid

August 15th, 2014

TargetLogoTarget, that fine purveyor of clothing and household goods, signed onto an amicus brief expressing their opposition to anti-gay marriage bans. And this has infuriated the National Organization for Marriage.

So much so that NOM is harnessing its tremendous power and influence to punish the monster-store for daring to “maligned millions of voters who support the traditional definition of marriage by effectively likening them to ‘haters’ or ‘bigots.’” Nom has called upon its supporters to stand in unison and let the corporate giant know just how strong they are and what threat Target faces for insulting anti-gay voters.

And thousands of NOM supporters have stood together to be counted. Yes, literally thousands; 2,756 to be exact. And that’s almost nearly reaching the goal that NOM set of 2,800 proud defenders of traditional marriage. Surely within the next month they’ll get there!

Because NOM fears for the safety of its petitioners, they disallow showing names of signers. Thus we cannot know whether those 2,756 principled buyers include those ubiquitous few who seem to sign every petition, such as Mickey Mouse, Mike Hunt, and You’re Haters. But, even if so, I am certain that there are many many good souls showing their shopping muscle and threatening the profitability of Target stores everywhere.

Granted, this is not exactly the most popular petition currently being circulated on electronic media. For example, 5,114 have signed to “Tell Dove to stop using Photoshop in their ads” and 69,791 people want the show Shark Hunters to be cancelled. Both of which pale next to 271,469 people who want Dunkin’ Donuts to stop using styrofoam cups.

But NOM can be proud. They’ve stood up and been counted.

And now Target can treat NOM’s boycott with all the seriousness that it deserves.

Support for Marriage Equality Accelerates

Jim Burroway

August 15th, 2014

America’s growing support for marriage equality is rapidly accelerating, with support in the latest McClatchy-Marist poll now at 54-38 percent. It’s 75-19 for those aged eighteen through twenty-nine, and solid majorities support marriage equality in all age groups up to age sixty. And even for those above sixty, opposition has now fallen to the fifty percent mark. What’s driving this huge shift from just a few years ago?

By 71-27 percent, American adults say they know someone who’s gay. That’s a dramatic change from a generation ago, when a 1999 Pew poll found that Americans said by 60-39 percent that they didn’t know anyone who was gay. … The personal experience makes a big difference. Those who know someone who’s gay support same-sex marriage by 61-31 percent. Those who say they don’t know anyone who’s gay oppose same-sex marriage by 57-36 percent.

One would think this news would be demoralizing for the National Organization for Marriage and other marriage equality opponents. These results also show the kind of dilemma the Republican Party will be facing the next several years:

There are still opponents. Republicans oppose same-sex marriage by better than 2-1. Tea party supporters oppose it by nearly 3-1.

…And while there’s been vocal opposition, the poll found that virtually any movement in public opinion has been in favor of same-sex marriage. Twelve percent of adults have switched from opposition to support; just 1 percent changed from support to opposition.


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The Daily Agenda for Friday, August 22

Jim Burroway

August 22nd, 2014

TODAY’S AGENDA:
Pride Celebrations This Weekend: Chico, CA; Columbia, MO; Cornwall, UK; Derry/Londonderry, UK; Erie, PA; Galway, Ireland; Kassel, Germany; Lansing, MI; Manchester, UK; Mocton, NB; Norfolk, VA; Salem, OR; Sligo, Ireland; Stockton, CA; Toledo, OH; Torquay, UK; Ventura, CA; Waterloo, IA.

Other Events This Weekend: Big Bear Adventure Weekend, Big Bear Lake, CA; Michigan March to the Capital, Lansing, MI; Camp Camp, Portland, ME; AIDS Red Ribbon Ride, Rochester, NY; Vancouver Queer Film Festival, Vancouver, BC.

TODAY’S AGENDA is brought to you by:

From The Fifth Freedom (Buffalo, NY), May 1975, page 16.

From The Fifth Freedom (Buffalo, NY), May 1975, page 16.

TODAY’S BIRTHDAY:
 90 YEARS AGO: James Kirkwood, Jr.: 1924-1989. With both parents as silent film stars and his father a director, it should surprise no one that the future author and Pulitzer prize-winning playwright would begin his career as an actor. In 1953, on the CBS soap opera Valiant Lady, Kirkwood played the title character’s son, Mickey Emerson. The fifteen minute program was a noontime fixture for four years, broadcast daily from New York. You can see one complete episode here, complete with organ music and commercials. (“Mickey” makes his appearance at 5:24, but you won’t want to miss the melodrama preceding that scene.)

That Kirkwood’s debut should be on Valiant Lady should also surprise no one, given that in his young life he had already experienced more twists and turns than could be portrayed on any soap opera. His parents’ careers were already fizzling by the time he was born, and the millionaire couple was soon flat broke. They divorced when he was seven after his mother left the family. Biographer Sean Egan, author of Ponies & Rainbows: The Life of James Kirkwood, writes that the younger Kirkwood stumbled upon the dead body of his divorced mother’s fiancée when he was twelve, endured kamikaze attacks when serving in the Coast Guard during World War II, and befriended Clay Shaw, the only man to be put on trial in connection with the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

With all of that going for him, it’s no wonder he decided to try his hand at comedy. His first semi-biographical novel, There Must Be A Pony! was based on the scandal surrounding his mother’s dead fiancée. Another novel, P.S. Your Cat Is Dead was turned into a stage play and a film by Steve Guttenberg. Kirkwood’s crowning achievement was the book he co-wrote with Nicholas Dante for A Chorus Line, which earned him a Tony Award, a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Book of a Musical, and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1976. He also wrote the comedy Legends! which toured the U.S. with Mary Martin and Carol Channing in 1987, and was revived in 2006 starring Joan Collins and Linda Evans. But for the most part, the fame from A Chorus Line proved to be more of a distraction than a boost, and the last fourteen years of his life were more notable for his unproduced screen plays, stage projects, and the epic novel about his father that he never finished. Kirkwood died of spinal cancer in 1989.

If you know of something that belongs on the agenda, please send it here. Don’t forget to include the basics: who, what, when, where, and URL (if available).

And feel free to consider this your open thread for the day. What’s happening in your world?

The Daily Agenda for Thursday, August 21

Jim Burroway

August 21st, 2014

TODAY’S AGENDA:
Pride Celebrations This Weekend: Chico, CA; Columbia, MO; Cornwall, UK; Derry/Londonderry, UK; Erie, PA; Galway, Ireland; Kassel, Germany; Lansing, MI; Manchester, UK; Mocton, NB; Norfolk, VA; Salem, OR; Sligo, Ireland; Stockton, CA; Toledo, OH; Torquay, UK; Ventura, CA; Waterloo, IA.

Other Events This Weekend: Big Bear Adventure Weekend, Big Bear Lake, CA; Michigan March to the Capital, Lansing, MI; Camp Camp, Portland, ME; AIDS Red Ribbon Ride, Rochester, NY; Vancouver Queer Film Festival, Vancouver, BC.

TODAY’S AGENDA is brought to you by:

From The Los Angeles Advocate, October 1968, page 7.

From The Los Angeles Advocate, October 1968, page 7.

The Sax Club in Burbank managed to find a way to bring the crowds in on what was typically would typically be a dead Monday night, by hosting a take-off on the game show “The Dating Game.” The Sax Club’s version, called the “Date-Me Game,” was so successful that when The Los Angeles Advocate reviewed the club in June of 1968, it noted that the game had been going on each Monday night “for the past 20 weeks. The game followed, more or less, like the television version, as a “mystery bachelor” would quiz three contestants and chose one for an all-expenses paid date. Judging by the elaborate prize, the “Date-Me Game” must have been popular and lucrative: “First, they were to be treated to dinner and cocktails at the exclusive Enchanted Castle in the Hollywood Hills. Then their “Date-Me Game” car will whisk them to the airport where they will jet to San Diego for a night of fun at the famous American speakeasy, Mickey Finn’s. Then after a full night of pleasure, they will be flown back to Los Angeles to leave future dates up to fate.”

The Advocate’s review of the Sax Club continued:

Kathy, the Sax’s jolly bar-miss and Frank, the manager, made the contestants and customers feel at home in the warm, friendly atmosphere which surrounded the dancing and laughter. David, the owner, told us that they had thought of doing a “camp” version of the “Newlywed Game,” but were having trouble finding a ‘gay married couple’ that stayed together long enough. By the way, if you wish to compete for a fabulous date in the “Date-Me Game” go in and sign up at the bar. The Sax also features jam sessions every Friday and Sunday … plus other entertainment.

[Source: "P-Nutz" (pseudonym). "Syncopation: The Sax Club." The Los Angeles Advocate (June 1968): 13, 16.]

Compton's

THIS MONTH IN HISTORY:
The Compton’s Cafeteria Riot: 1966. Stonewall gets all of the press. Lore has it that it is the very first time in modern history that the LGBT community physically fought back against police harassment. Lore is wrong.

Until some very recent development began to take hold in San Francisco’s Tenderloin district, it has always been an impoverished neighborhood, home to the transient and the marginalized. Polk Street, between Ellis and California Streets, was the heart of the gay community in the 1960s. Turk Street, to the south and east, was home to the transgender/transsexual community. Because cross-dressing was illegal in San Francisco, gay bars often didn’t welcome transgender and transsexual people out of fear of being raided by police. What’s more, and because it was extremely difficult for transwomen to hold a job, many of them turned to prostitution and drugs. Rounding out the Turk Street population was a host of homeless LGBT youth, drag queens, prostitutes and hustlers.

At the corner of Taylor and Turk streets stood Gene Compton’s Cafeteria, a twenty-four hour restaurant and one of the few places that the people of Turk Street could go to get out of the weather and the violence on the street, and get a cheap meal or grab a cup of coffee between tricks. It was also the meeting place for Vanguard, a radical queer youth group established by Glide Memorial Methodist Church.

In the Spring of 1966, new management arrived at Compton’s, and they began to make life difficult for the hustlers, transwomen and homeless youth who spent a lot of time there but very little money. By summertime, Compton’s hired security guards and began calling the police to clear out the restaurant. Vanguard responded with a picket on July 18, but Compton’s policy of harassment and discrimination continued.

Then one night sometime in August — nobody knows when, and disturbances in the Tenderloin were so common that newspapers rarely bothered to report them — Compton’s again called the police to clear out the restaurant. When police arrived, One of the officers grabbed a transgender customer who threw her coffee in his face. Immediately, about fifty other customers started rioting, overturning tables, throwing dishes and breaking the cafeteria’s plate glass windows. The rioting expanded out in the street as customers left the cafeteria only to find more police officers and waiting paddy wagons. The riot only grew from there. By the time the night was over, one police car was destroyed and a corner newsstand was set on fire.

While little is known about the Compton’s riot, it did manage to have a lasting impact. The transgender community began organizing and police started backing off from arresting anyone violating the city’s cross-dressing laws. Those laws were eventually discarded a few years later. In 1968, the National Transsexual Counseling Unit was formed which brought together a network of social, psychological and medical support services for the transgender community. The NTCU was headed by Sergeant Elliot Blackstone, who had acted as a San Francisco Police liaison to the LGBT community since 1962.

Compton’s, like Stonewall, not the first time LGBT people fought back against police harassment. There had been a similar riot in 1959 at Cooper’s Donuts in Los Angeles. But the Compton’s riot was an important turning point. And yet it was almost forgotten. The 2005 documentary Screaming Queens: The Riot at Compton’s Cafeteria revived attention to the Compton’s riot once more, and a memorial plaque was set in the sidewalk in front of where Compton’s once stood ni 2006. The location is now a free clinic for women. The plaque reads:

Here marks the site of Gene Compton’s Cafeteria where a riot took place one August night when transgender women and gay men stood up for their rights and fought against police brutality, poverty, oppression and discrimination in the Tenderloin: We, the transgender, gay, lesbian and bisexual community, are dedicating this plaque to these heroes of our civil rights movement.

Here is the trailer for Screaming Queens:

 

TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS:
Aubrey Beardsley: 1872-1898. He struggled with tuberculosis from the age of nine until his untimely death at the age of twenty-five. The nearly constant reminders of mortality may well have influenced his black ink sketches, which combined the then-popular whimsy of art nouveau stylings with grotesque themes (sometimes including depictions of enormous genitals and breasts) akin to what you might find in modern goth. “I have one aim —- the grotesque,” he once said. “If I am not grotesque I am nothing,” Beardlsey received his first commission in 1893, when he published 300 illustrations for an edition of Thomas Malory’s Morte D’Arthur. That same year, he was hired to create the illustrations for Oscar Wilde’s play Salome. Other notable works followed, for an edition of Alexander Pope’s The Rape of the Lock (1896), a private edition of Aristophanes’s Lysistrata (1896) and his own A Book of Fifty Drawings by Aubrey Beardsley (1897).

An illustration for a privately published edition of Aristophanes’s Lysistrata (1896).

He founded the magazine The Studio in 1893 and co-founded The Yellow Book in 1894. The Yellow Book quickly earned a reputation for being provocative and daring, despite publisher John Lane’s constant attempts to keep Beardsley under control. Before each publication, Lane would painstakingly examine each of Beardsley’s illustrations to make sure he didn’t hide any inappropriate details, as Beardsley was known to do. The two played this cat-and-mouse game throughout Beardsley’s tenure at The Yellow Book, which shocked critics for his open mocking of Victorian values. In response to those critics, Beardsley published two drawings in one issue of The Yellow Book which were stylistically different from his other work, under the pseudonyms of Phillip Broughton and Albert Foschter. A critic at The Saturday Review called “Broughton’s” illustration “a drawing of merit” and Foschter’s “a clever study”. But as for Beardsley’s, they were “as freakish as ever.”

Beardskey was fired due to his association with Oscar Wilde soon after Wilde’s arrest in 1895. The Yellow Book‘s quality and popularity suffered, and it folded in 1897. Beardsly then went to The Savoy, where he also served as editor, allowing him to pursue writing as well as illustration. The Savoy was published by Leonard Smithers, a friend of Wilde who also published a number of Beardsley’s works, as well as, among other things, pornographic books. The Savoy lasted only a year. In 1897, Beardsley’s health deteriorated. He moved to the French Riviera, converted to Roman Catholicism, and died at the age of twenty-five on March 16, 1898.

Don Slater: 1923-1997. Born the oldest twin, in Pasadena, California, Don Slater never did take to his father’s passion for team sports, but he did become an accomplished skier and swimmer and was passionate about nature and the outdoors. He also, early on, acquired an easiness among a variety of people, from street hustlers and cross-dressers to literature professors and librarians, which belied his conservatism — a “gentleman’s conservative,” friends called him.

While attending the University of Southern California in 1944 following his honorable discharge from the army, he quickly connected with the University’s “gay underground.” He met his partner, Tony Reyes, in 1945, and the two remained together for the next fifty-two years until Slater’s death. In the early 1950s, Slater and Reyes attended a Mattachine meeting in Los Angeles, but Slater found the whole thing silly. He was put off by the “mystic brotherhood” talk and dismissed the whole affair as “a sewing circle” and “the Stitch and Bitch club.”

But when he learned that Bill Lambert (a.k.a Dorr Legg, see Dec 15), Dale Jennings (see Oct 21); and others were about to found ONE Magazine as the first national publication for the emerging gay community (see Oct 15), Slater felt that he found his calling. The first meetings of the nascent magazine took place in 1952 just before Slater’s graduation from USC (a graduation delayed by a bout of rheumatic fever) and those meeting minutes were written in his spiral class notebook.

Slater saw ONE’s main mission as being an educational one. When ONE, Inc., established an Educational Division, he became an Assistant Professor for Literature. He also became the organization’s archivist, which he saw is ONE’s core strength. Those duties were in addition to his role as an editor for the magazine. As the organization grew, Slater took on leadership roles on the Board of Directors. By the mid-1960s, a bitter dispute divided the board, and Slater led a group that complained that the board had been illegally usurped by the rival faction. In April of 1965, Slater, Reyes and Billy Glover moved ONE’s library and office from Venice to a new location on Cahuenga Blvd “for the protection of the property of the corporation.” For four months, confused subscribers received two competing ONE Magazines in the mail, one published by ONE, Inc., and the other by Slater’s The Tangent Group, named for a regular column in ONE.

Slater soon changed the name of his magazine to Tangents, but the dispute continued. The remnant faction at ONE, Inc., demanded the return of the archives, which Slater believed would have been threatened if they were returned. “If ONE has any assets, this is it. Damn the future of its publications, but the fate of this material is important.” After a two year court battle, the two sides settled, with ONE, Inc., retaining the right to publish ONE magazine and The Tangent Group retaining ownership of Slater’s beloved archives. In 1968, the Tangent Group re-incorporated as the Homosexual Information Center (HIC).

The turmoil over ONE did little to slow Slater’s activism. He helped organize a motorcade protest in Los Angeles in 1966 on Armed Forces Day to protest the exclusion of gays in the military, and he was arrested by police in 1967 when they shut down a play sponsored by HIC. In 1968, he led a picket of the Los Angeles Times for refusing to publish an ad for another gay-themed play. He continued to publish Tangents until 1973. Slater passed away in 1997 from rheumatic heart valvular disease. His HIC archives of more than 4,000 books, periodicals and pamphlets are now housed at the Vern and Bonnie Bullough Collection at California State University at Northridge.

James “John” Gruber: 1928-2011. James Gruber was born on Des Moines, Iowa, but his father, a former vaudeville performer turned music teacher, moved the family to Los Angeles in 1936. In 1946, Gruber turned eighteen and enlisted in the Marines. He later remarked that being in such close proximity to men, he “went bananas in the sex department.” Despite the, ah, camaraderie, he continued to have affairs with women, and throughout his life he considered himself bisexual. After he was honorably discharged in 1949, he studied English Literature at Occidental College and met Christopher Isherwood, who would become a close friend and mentor.

In April 1951, Gruber and his boyfriend, photographer Konrad Stevens, became the last new members of a group of gay men who had begun gathering under the name of “Society of Fools,” which proved to be a turning point. “All of us had known a whole lifetime of not talking, or repression. Just the freedom to open up … really, that’s what it was all about. We had found a sense of belonging, of camaraderie, of openness in an atmosphere of tension and distrust. … Such a great deal of it was a social climate. A family feeling came out of it, a nonsexual emphasis. … It was a brand-new idea.”

An exceptionally rare photo of early members of the Mattachine Society. Pictured are Harry Hay (upper left, Apr 7), then (l-r) Konrad Stevens, Dale Jennings (Oct 21), Rudi Gernreich (see Aug 8), Stan Witt, Bob Hull (May 31), Chuck Rowland (in glasses, see Aug 24), Paul Bernard. Photo by James Gruber. (Click to enlarge.)

Gruber and Stevens brought a new sense of urgency into group, with Gruber suggesting the group rename itself the Mattachine Foundation, referring to the medieval masque troops known as “matachines” (spelled with one “t”). Gruber was also responsible for taking the only known photo of the early members of the highly secretive group when he snapped a quick snapshot during a gathering in 1951. Founder Harry Hay was furious that the members’ faces were photographed in violation of Mattachine’s strict policy of anonymity, and Gruber was nearly expelled. The only way he stayed in was by lying and saying there was no film in the camera.

Gruber was active in Mattachine’s early public push to address ongoing harassment the Los Angeles police department. He and other Mattachine members formed the Citizens Committee to Outlaw Entrapment to raise funds for Dale Jennings’s solicitation trial (see Jun 23). Gruber wrote and distributed much of Mattachine’s early literature to publicize the trial and solicit funds for legal fees. Not only did Jennings win his case, but Mattachine’s newfound public profile attracted a crop of new members. Ironically, those new members, having discovered Mattachine because of its publicity, demanded that Foundation pull back from the spotlight over fears of further harassment. Many of them just wanted was a social organization, not a political one. They also had misgivings over co-founder Harry Hay’s Communist connections. Frustrated over the looming takeover by the newer members, Gruber and the rest of the old guard resigned (see Apr 11).

Gruber moved to San Francisco, and then Palo Alto, where he changed his first name to John. “It was the most effective way I could find to escape Mom’s ceaseless calling for ‘Jimmy!’ inside my head,” he said. He became a high school and college teacher, and he loved working in his new profession. In the late 1990s, Gruber became involved with documenting the history of the gay community and was recognized as a pioneering organizer. Before he died peacefully in 2011 at his home in Santa Clara, he was the last living member of the original Mattachine Foundation.

If you know of something that belongs on the agenda, please send it here. Don’t forget to include the basics: who, what, when, where, and URL (if available).

And feel free to consider this your open thread for the day. What’s happening in your world?

Scott Lively Qualifies for Ballot in Massachusetts Governor’s Race

Jim Burroway

August 20th, 2014

Massachusetts voters will have an interesting lineup to chose their next governor from in November:

Scott D. Lively, a Christian pastor best known for his anti-gay activity, has submitted the necessary signatures and paperwork to qualify as an independent candidate for governor. He will appear on the November ballot, according to Brian S. McNiff, a spokesman for the Massachusetts secretary of state.

Ten thousand valid signatures were needed to qualify. Two other independents will also be on the November ballot. In addition, the state primary on September 9 will select the Democratic and Republican nominees for the race.

Lively ran for governor in 2010 as a write-in candidate with the backing of the Massachusetts extremist anti-gay group MassResistance. His current campaign website looks like it was hosted on Geocities in a previous life. His running mate, Shelly Saunders (“a Black Conservative Democrat”), is a member of his church.

Lively is currently being sued in Federal District Court brought by the Center for Constitutional Rights on behalf of Sexual Minorities UGanda, charging him with conspiring to commit crimes against humanity by denying the LGBT community of their rights under International Law. Lively is being sued under the Alien Tort Statute, which provides federal jurisdiction for “any civil action by an alien, for a tort only, committed in violation of the law of nations or a treaty of the United States.”

The Daily Agenda for Wednesday, August 20

Jim Burroway

August 20th, 2014

TODAY’S AGENDA:
Pride Celebrations This Weekend: Chico, CA; Columbia, MO; Cornwall, UK; Derry/Londonderry, UK; Erie, PA; Galway, Ireland; Kassel, Germany; Lansing, MI; Manchester, UK; Mocton, NB; Norfolk, VA; Salem, OR; Sligo, Ireland; Stockton, CA; Toledo, OH; Torquay, UK; Ventura, CA; Waterloo, IA.

Other Events This Weekend: Big Bear Adventure Weekend, Big Bear Lake, CA; Michigan March to the Capital, Lansing, MI; Camp Camp, Portland, ME; AIDS Red Ribbon Ride, Rochester, NY; Vancouver Queer Film Festival, Vancouver, BC.

TODAY’S AGENDA is brought to you by:

From Northwest Fountain, May 1979, page 12.

From Northwest Fountain, May 1979, page 12.

Rafters, at 739 S.W. Park Avenue in Portland was on the second floor of a larger gay entertainment complex that also included the Embers supper club/lounge downstairs and the adjoining Focal Point tavern on S.W. Ninth Avenue. The location today will soon become an office tower across the street from Nordstrom’s.

ONE magazine, August 1953.

ONE magazine, August 1953.

THIS MONTH IN HISTORY:
ONE Magazine Debates “Homosexual Marriage”: 1953. The push for marriage equality has often been measured in years. Some of the more amazingly short-sighted have asserted that “the revolution began” when Prop 8 was challenged in Federal District court in 2009. Others with somewhat longer memories can remember the excitement of Massachusetts becoming the first U.S. state to legalize same-sex marriage in 2004 (see May 17), or the Netherlands becoming the first country in the world to offer marriage equality in 2001 (see Apr 1), or Hawaii almost becoming the first jurisdiction to allow same-sex marriages in 1993 (see May 5). Those with longer memories may recall the battle Mike McConnell and Jack Baker waged to get a marriage license in 1970 (see May 18).

Discussions about same-sex marriage had taken place in the gay community long before all of that. But with gay relationships themselves still criminalized throughout much of the U.S. and the mental health professions considering homosexuality a mental illness, marriage was considered a much lesser priority. ONE magazine, the nation’s first nationally-distributed gay publication, had called for a push for “homophile marriage” in 1963 (see Jun 19). In 1959, ONE published “Homosexual Marriage: Fact or Fancy?” Its author had been in a relationship for eleven years which he very much likened to a marriage, and proceeded to offer advice on the ingredients that made for a successful  marriage.

Marriage License Or Just License?

But ONE‘s first discussion of gay marriage came in its very first year of existence, in 1953. Written by a ONE reader who signed his name “E.B. Saunders,” the article’s title, “Reformer’s Choice: Marriage License or Just License?”, predicted the tug-of-war between assimilationists and liberationists that would dominate the gay rights movement for the next half century. It also records some of the pre-pill/pre-sexual revolution/pre-women’s liberation-era assumptions about what was considered acceptable behavior. Overall, it’s a fascinating time capsule, left by of a group of people who were still trying to figure out who they were and what they wanted.

The activists in the early homophile movement believed they knew what they wanted. First and foremost, ONE and the Mattachine Society wanted the “reform” of anti-gay laws, which criminalized gay relationships in all fifty states. That word, reform, was carefully chosen so as not to draw the charge that they were encouraging people to adopt what was seen as an immoral lifestyle. To speak boldly of “repeal” during those years of the Lavender Scare would have been, politically, like touching a third rail. The backlash, it was feared, would have been devastating. But the reason ONE and Mattachine wanted those laws “reformed” was obvious: they wanted people to no longer face arrest for having homosexual sex. This made gay people among the earliest proponents of sexual liberation — or sexual “license,” depending on your viewpoint.

ONE and Mattachine also wanted the “acceptance” of gay people, a goal they sought to achieve by educating the broader society of the “homosexual’s problems.”  But Saunders wrote that if ONE and Mattachine really wanted society’s acceptance, then their efforts would be doomed unless they adopted an agenda that included the one thing that society found most worthy of acceptance: marriage.

…Then you sit back and try to visualize our society as these well-meaning enthusiasts would have it. And suddenly you realize that their plans are impossible! They have missed one of their most essential points and committed a basic and staggering error.”

…Image that the year were 2053 and homosexuality were accepted to the point of being of no importance. Now, is the deviate allowed to continue his pursuit of physical happiness without restraint as he attempts to do today? Or is he, in this Utopia, subject to marriage laws? It is a pertinent question. For why should he be permitted permiscuity (sic) when those heterosexuals who people the earth must be married to enjoy sexual intercourse? The answer does not lie in the fact that the deviate cannot reproduce: this is irrelevant to the effect upon society of his acceptance as a valuable citizen.

This effect would be one of immense consternation for it would be a legalizing of promiscuity for a special section of the population — which, incidentally, now begs for its rights on the very grounds that it desires the respectability and dignity of all other citizens. It is not likely that either of these would be attained by a lifting of legal sex constraints for this group alone. Actually such a change would loosen heterosexual marriage ties, too, and make even shallower the meaning of marriage as we know it… Heterosexual marriage must be protected. The acceptance of homosexuality without homosexual marriage ties would be an attack upon it.

Let’s pause a minute and let this amazing point sink in. Saunders is saying t — in 1953! — that acceptance of gay people without letting them marry (or, more to the point expecting them to marry; this is, after all, 1953) would be an attack on straight marriages!

Saunders obviously overstated the constraints marriage placed on people’s behavior, as the Kinsey Reports of 1948 and 1953 had already shown (see Jan 5 and Aug 14). A large number of married people were already findings ways to be promiscuous. Marriage did little to lessen the constraints of sex, legally or otherwise. But marriage did have one important value: society placed a very high value on it. If gay people really wanted to be accepted, then Saunders argued that they should be fighting for the one thing that would open the doors to acceptance:

Yet one would think that in a movement demanding acceptance, legalized marriage would be one of its primary issues. What a logical and convincing means of assuring society that they are sincere in wanting respect and dignity! But nowhere do we see this idea prominently displayed either in Society publications or the magazine ONE. It is dealt with in passing and dismissed as all-right-for-those-who-want-it. But it is not incorporated as a keystone in Society aims — which it must be before such a movement can hope for any success.

Saunders saw some practical problems that would need to be addressed if they were to press for gay marriage. Some of those problems were a reflection of the rigid gender roles that were still prevalent in the early 1950s. “For instance, should the Mr. And Mrs. idea be retained? If so, what legal developments would come of the objection by the ‘Mr.’ that ‘Mrs.’ doesn’t contribute equally?” He wondered how childrearing and adoption would work. Gay people marry would society come to expect them to perform childrearing duties like everyone else? “Would the time come when homosexuals would be forced to care for children as part of their social duties? How many homosexuals would actually want to bring up a child?”

A Philadelphia gay wedding, ca 1957. This photograph was part of a set that was deemed inappropriate by a photo shop in Philadelphia and never returned to the customer. From the ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives.

A Philadelphia gay wedding, ca 1957. This photograph was part of a set that was deemed inappropriate by a film processor in Philadelphia and never returned to the customer. From the ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives.

Saunders saw the idea of two men or two women vowing to remain together, monogamously, for the rest of their lives “a dubious proposition.” Here again, he apparently hadn’t absorbed some of the statistics from the Kinsey report that found those expectations a dubious proposition for large numbers of heterosexual couples But he acknowledged that social pressure made for an additional and significant obstacle for gay couples. Those in a visible same-sex relationships risked arrest, eviction and unemployment, factors which tended to dampen the enthusiasm for such arrangements.

That’s why many of the early homophile activists saw sexual liberation as the only viable option. But that would be inimicable to the monogamous expectations of a homosexual marriage. “The concept of homosexual marriage cannot come into being without a companion idea: homosexual adultery,” with all of its societal and legal sanctions. For the sexual outlaws of 1953, would such a price for acceptance be worth it?

[T]his acceptance will cause as great a change in homosexual thinking as in the heterosexual — perhaps greater. No more sexual abandon: imagine! Me, married? Yes, a great change in the deviate himself, yet nothing in the literature of the Mattachine Society and little of ONE is devoted to initiating and exploring this idea of necessary homosexual monogamy. The idea seems stuffy and hide-bound. We simply don’t join movements to limit ourselves! Rebels such as we, demand freedom! But actually we have a greater freedom now (sub rosa as it may be) than do heterosexuals and any change will be to lose some of it in return for respectability. Are we willing to make the trade? From the silence of the Society on the subject, perhaps not.

What a turn! After challenging the homophile movement to embrace gay marriage in order to advance the cause of  acceptance, he backtracks somewhat and indirectly questions whether gay people really knew what they wanted.

It is unfortunate that enthusiasm demands more action than thought, and that necessity often makes us run wildly before we’ve decided exactly where we’re running (although we may be quite sure of what we’re running from). Commendable as the Society is, it appears that there is yet to be conceived in its prospectus a concrete plan for the homosexual’s place in society. Until we know exactly where we’re going, and the stuffy and hide-bound — who can help us exceedingly — might not be willing to run along just for the exercise. When one digs, it must be to make a ditch, a well, a trench: something! Otherwise all of this energetic work merely produces a hole. Any bomb can do that.

The homophile movement did somehow manage to converge on a consensus, and that consensus leaned toward “just license” — or “liberation,” in the language of the next decade. Over the next several months, readers responded more or less that way in letters to ONE responding to Saunders. One questioned the either/or proposition between the marriage license and “just license” by pointing to Scandinavia where “sex laws are sane, (heterosexual) marriage still exists, home is sacred, and mother is honored.” Another wondered why Saunders seemed intent on imposing restrictions rather than expanding options. “In the year 2053, he asks, are we to be allowed to continue our pursuit of physical happiness without restraint as we attempt to do today? Well, why the hell not? What is this tendency on the part of some people to seek more and more restrictions?” Another scoffed: “It seems preposterous to me to use a sexual behavior yardstick for present and future generations of homosexuals which does not even meet the needs and actions of most present day heterosexuals, much less their probable future needs. … I would also be for the legalized marriage of homosexuals who desire this. And, I am one who desires this. But, E.B.S.’s naiveté regarding heterosexual chastity before marriage astounds me.”

The homophile movement didn’t adopt Saunders’ call for gay marriage. It also came to realize that its plaintive pleas for “acceptance” and “understanding” of the 1950s would never produce the kins of changes they were looking for. By the time the decade ended, the push was on for license — liberation, in the lingo of the following decade – among gay activists like Frank Kameny who demanded that the rights of gays and lesbians be respected solely because it was their birthright as citizens. By the time Stonewall came around, the lure of liberation made the idea of marriage seem irrelevant (although visionaries like Baker and McConnell saw things differently). But the AIDS tragedy of the 1980s had a way of injecting cold hard reality into the equation. There’s nothing like losing a partner to a terrible disease to focus one’s mind on all that was lost, and on all of the vulnerabilities — legal, financial, and social — that gay people were exposed to when they were denied access to marriage. The revolution may have picked up steam as the twentieth century began to draw to a close, but the seeds of discontent were already sown at least a half a century earlier.

[Sources: E.B. Saunders. "Reformers Choice: Marriage License or Just License?" ONE 1, no. 8 (August 1953): 10-12.

"Letters." ONE 1, 10 (October 1953): 10-15.

"Letters." ONE 1, 11 (November 1953): 18-24.]

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The Daily Agenda for Tuesday, August 19

Jim Burroway

August 19th, 2014

TODAY’S AGENDA is brought to you by:

From The Los Angeles Advocate, August 1968, page 28.

From The Los Angeles Advocate, August 1968, page 28.

Danny Combs, Groovy Guy 1968. (Photo by Pat Rocco, see Feb 9.)

Danny Combs, Groovy Guy 1968. (Photo by Pat Rocco, see Feb 9.)

Who’s the grooviest guy in L.A.? “It’s about time we all settled this question, so let’s join in and find him,” proclaimed Sam Winston in kicking off The GROOVY GUY contest. Sponsored by the ADVOCATE and the HAYLOFT, the area-wide contest seeks to find the all-round attractive male from the standpoint of looks, build, and whatever else it takes to make The GROOVY GUY.

The final choice will take place at a gala pageant at the Hayloft on August 19. Any bar or combination of bars that wants to enter a candidate for the title may do so. Each entering bar may run a contest of its own or choose its entrant by any other method. They must make their choice by July 20, however. Each contestant will make appearances during August before the night of the pageant at the Hayloft and at his sponsoring bar. At the finals, each aspiring GROOVY GUY will parade before the judge twice once in a bathing suit and once in blue jeans and tee shirt.

The first contest in 1968 drew seven contestants and about 150 people to the Hayloft’s parking lot. (The bar itself was too small to handle the crowd.) Danny Combs won that year.The Advocate gushed:

Winner Danny Combs, who lives in Long Beach. is a fairly muscular young man with a 28-inch waist. He stands five feet nine inches and weighs 160 pounds. Other assets include blue-green eyes, a warm ready smile, and other things.

Contestants Bill Harris from The Klondike, Jamie Miller from Le Tomcat, Danny Combs, and Terry Gaffigan from The River Club hold raffle tickets. The winner won a color TV.

Contestants Bill Harris from The Klondike, Jamie Miller from Le Tomcat, Danny Combs, and Terry Gaffigan from The River Club hold raffle tickets. A member of the audience won a color TV.

To get an idea of those “other things,” you can see some NSFW photos here. Combs was sponsored by The Patch, a bar that had undergone a bout of police harassment just two days earlier (see Aug 17) and lived to tell about it. The 23-year-old model won a Groovy Guy Trophy and prizes including a trip to San Francisco with a night at the Ramrod, and a $25 gift certificate from a Los Angeles clothing store.  The runner-up was Dave Waldor, who owned the Valli Haus restaurant. He won a Polaroid camera and a dinner for two at a competing restaurant, Keith’s in the Valley. Sponsoring bars included Blue Angel West, De Paul’s, Klondike, Le Tomcat, Ramm’s Head, Right Pocket, River Club, Sax Club, Seventh Keg, and the Tonky Honker.

In 1969, the Los Angeles Advocate was renamed simply The Advocate andbegan national distribution. That year’s Groovy Guy contest was much larger, attracting 18 contestants and an audience of 1,500. That year was notable because organizers allowed same-sex dancing, which was still illegal at the time. (A “late entry from the LAPD,” as portrayed by one of the contest’s organizers, “interrupted” the swimsuit competition.) Proceeds went to the recently-formed Metropolitan Community Church (see Oct 6). By 1971, the event was becoming so popular that other Groovy Guy contests started appearing in other cities across the U.S.  That same year, the Los Angeles contest was moved to the Sheraton Universal Hotel.

Souvenir program for the 1971 Groovy Guy contest.

Souvenir program for the 1971 Groovy Guy contest.

In 1972, the contest was moved to the Grand Ballroom of the International Hotel in Century City. Organizers tried to expand the contest to emphasis “the whole man” and not just the bodily attributes with the introduction of a Mr. Congeniality Award. It was about as successful as you would imagine it to be. By then, Groovy Guy had gotten so big that it had become too much of a distraction for the tiny Advocate staff. That was the last year for Los Angeles’ Groovy Guy, but not for the gay male pageant. Two other local gay publications took it over for 1973 and renamed it the Groovy Stud Contest (1973), then the California Groovy Guy Contest (1974-1977), then the Data Boy Pageant (1978, 1979), then the Super-Men Pageant (1980-1987).

[Other sources: "Where the Acton Is! The Groovy Guy Contest!!" The Los Angeles Advocate (July 1968): 2.

"Groovy Guy Pageant Scores." The Los Angeles Advocate (September 1968): 3.

"Not Just a Body: Groovy Guy Contest to Stress 'Whole Man'." The Advocate (May 24, 1972): 7.]

Frank Kameny

TODAY IN HISTORY:
45 YEARS AGO: Frank Kameny “Throws Down The Gauntlet” Over Security Clearance Denials: 1969.Benning Wentworth was an electronics technician for a private research contractor for the U.S. Air Force when, in the spring of 1966, he was accused of homosexuality and his eleven-year security clearance was revoked. Frank Kameny, co-founder of the Mattachine Society of Washington, D.C., and who himself had been fired by the Army Map Service in 1957 because of his homosexuality, worked as Wentworth’s counsel in an appeal before the Industrial Security Clearance Review Office in the Department of Defense. The Pentagon justified its blanket denial of security clearances to gay people by claiming gays were subject to blackmail. Kameny pointed out the obvious flaw in that logic: Wentworth was out — he even appeared in a press conference about his hearing — and it’s impossible to blackmail someone over their homosexuality if the whole world knows about it. In his opening remarks, Kameny described a different unnamed person, known only as OSD 66-44, who was allowed to keep his clearance as long as he spent the rest of his life in the closet and pretended to be straight. But for Wentworth and others, that was not longer an option. The logic behind the two cases made no sense whatseover. Kameny declared:

The Department got its satisfaction out of OSD 66-44, whoever he may be. We hope he sleeps soundly these days, poor man. OSD 66-44 may have compromised. He may have knuckled under. He may have crawled. He may have groveled. He may have submitted to Departmental blackmail of the most contemptible kind.

We will not. We stand our ground.

We throw down the gauntlet, clearly, unequivocally and unambiguously.

We state for the world, as we have stated for the public, we state for the record and, if the Department forces us to carry the case that far, we state for the courts that Mr. Wentworth, being a healthy, unmarried, homosexual male, 35 years old, has lived, and does live a suitable homosexual life, in parallel with the suitable active heterosexual sexual life lived by 75 percent of our healthy, unmarried, heterosexual males holding security clearances; and he intends to continue to do so indefinitely into the future. And please underline starting with the word “and intends to do so into the future”. Underline that, please, Mr. Stenographer.

Despite the obvious problems with the Pentagon’s reasonings for withdrawing Wentworth’s clearance, Kameny lost that case. Over the next three decades, the Pentagon and other agencies began to allow gay and lesbian Americans hold security clearances, but the policies were inconsistent and sometimes arbitrary. President Clinton signed Executive Order 12968 in 1995 (see Aug 4) finally prohibited all agencies from citing homosexuality as a reason for denying a security clearance once and for all.

You can read Kameny’s entire opening statement in the Wentworth case here,

Paul Cameron

Anti-gay Extremist Paul Cameron Hired As Congressional Adviser: 1985. This Associated Press Report appeared in newspapers nationwide:

A Psychologist who believes homosexuals should be quarantined has been hired as an expert on AIDS by a congressman who sits on the House subcommittee overseeing research on the disease, a newspaper reported Sunday. Paul Cameron of Lincoln, Neb., was hired for a $2,000, one-month tenure to advise Rep. William Dannemeyer, R-Calif., on homosexuality and acquired immune deficiency syndrome, the Register of Orange County reported. Cameron, who says the quarantine should be ordered to stop the spread of disease, has linked homosexuality to criminal behavior, including mass murder and child molestation. Dannemeyer, a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on health and environment, said he trust Camerin as an adviser even though the psychologist has been expelled from the American Psychological Association and repudiated by the Nebraska Psychological Association.

Not only was Cameron kicked out of the APA and censured by the NPA, he was also denounced by several other professional organizations for gross and unethical misrepresentations of legitimate scientific research. Cameron would go on to say that medical extermination of people with AIDS might be a legitimate consideration, and in 1999 he wrote admiringly of how the Nazi’s “dealt with” homosexuality. Dannemeyer’s record on LGBT issues was little better. In 1986, Dannemeyer was the only prominent politician to support Lyndon LaRouche’s Proposition 64 in California, which would have labeled AIDS a disease subject to quarantine. In 1989, Dannemeyer read into the Congressional Record Cameron’s graphic description of gay sex, “The Medical Consequences of What Homosexuals Do.” Dannemeyer left the House in 1992 to try to run for the Senate seat for California, but he lost in the primary.

1 YEAR AGO: Marriage Equality Arrives in New Zealand: 2013. Immediately after the New Zealand Parliament passed a bill granting marriage equality in a 77-44 vote, House members and visitors in the gallery sang “Pokarekare Ana,” a traditional Maori love song. Poking at the ever-present rivalry between the Aussies and the Kiwis, Green MP Kevin Hague told reporters, “Hopefully it will push the Aussies into doing something.” His hopes went unfulfilled, but in August New Zealand became the thirteenth nation to provide marriage equality for same-sex couples.

Renee Richards

TODAY’S BIRTHDAY:
80 YEARS AGO: Renée Richards: 1934. The Yale-trained eye surgeon, author and professional tennis player completed her transition to female in 1975. After transitioning, she moved to California and re-established a successful practice as an ophthalmologist while playing in amateur tennis tournaments. After a local reporter covering a tennis tournament revealed that she had transitioned, she decided to end her practice and become a tennis pro with the hopes of raising awareness for transgender people. When tried to enter 1976 U.S. Open, the United States Tennis Association suddenly came up with a previously unknown “born-women only” policy and demanded that Richard submit to chromosomal testing to confirm her eligibility to compete. She sued, and in 1977 she won the right to play as a woman.

1977 US Open Tennis ChampionshipThat year, she was a finalist in women’s doubles with Betty Ann Stuart at the U.S. Open, but lost in a close match to Martina Navratilova and Betty Stöve. Richards won the 35-and-over women’s singles. She continued playing until 1981, and she ranked as high as 20th overall in 1979. She later became Navratilova’s coach, but Richards would always be known more for her transitioning than for her tennis career.

But if transgender people were looking to Richards as an advocate for them, she would disappointed them again and again. In 1999, she told People magazine:

This route that I took was not easy. But the compulsion was so great, I couldn’t turn it off. You can’t turn it off by throwing away all of your women’s clothes or joining the Navy. I had to do it. I wish that there could have been an alternative way, but there wasn’t in 1975. If there was a drug that I could have taken that would have reduced the pressure, I would have been better off staying the way I was—as a totally intact person. Since there wasn’t, my alternative might have been suicide. …I get a lot of inquiries from would-be transsexuals, but I don’t want anyone to hold me out as an example to follow.

In her 2007 autobiography, No Way Renée: The Second Half of My Notorious Life, she describes the challenges and the freedom that came with her decision to transition, while expressing her frustration over the intense public scrutiny that concentrated so much attention on it. A New York Times profile revealed her to be “surprisingly conservative”: her idea of marriage “demands a man and a woman” (“It’s like a female plug and an electrical outlet,” she said), and she called the 2004 decision by the International Olympic Committee to allow transgender people to compete “a particularly stupid decision.” Her own lawsuit to play in the U.S. Open was different, she said, because at age forty, “I wasn’t going to overwhelm Chris Evert and Tracy Austin, who were 20 years old.” She reiterated those views in the 2011 documentary Renee,: “Transsexuals have every right to play, but maybe not on a professional level because it’s not a level playing field.” Having resumed her surgery practice after retiring from tennis, she continued practicing in Manhattan and Westchester County, N.Y., until her retirement in 2013.

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The Daily Agenda for Monday, August 18

Jim Burroway

August 18th, 2014

TODAY’S AGENDA is brought to you by:

From Where It's At, a New York City gay bar guide, July 24, 1978, page 63.

From Where It’s At, a New York City gay bar guide, July 24, 1978, page 63.

So, the Elmhurst area of Queens has the most unusual street addressing scheme I’ve come across in the U.S. After a bit of hunting, I was finally able to find the location, an old wedge-shaped building at the corner of Broadway and 77th Street across the street from Elmhurst Hospital.

mfAR Program Officer Terry Beirn urging President Bush to support the Ryan White CARE Act.

amfAR Program Officer Terry Beirn urging President Bush to support the Ryan White CARE Act.

TODAY IN HISTORY:
President George H.W. Bush Signs the Ryan White CARE Act: 1990. Since the earliest days of the AIDS epidemic, the nation’s response to the deadly disease was chronically and woefully underfunded. Much of the resistance to increased funding stemmed from open hostility to the diseases two of the main risk groups; gay men and intravenous drug users. If there was any sympathy toward the disease, it was reserved almost exclusively for hemophiliacs, who were infected by tainted blood products. They were deemed the only “innocent” victims of the disease, and Indiana teenager Ryan White was their most visible symbol. By 1990, the first of the most meaningful treatments, AZT, became available, but its cost of $10,000 per year (over $19,000 in today’s dollars) made it beyond the reach of all but the most wealthy patients.

In hearings held in early 1990, the House Budget Committee heard testimony in Los Angeles and San Francisco about the challenges in providing care. Mervyn Silverman of the American Foundation for AIDS Research, warned that up to one million HIV-positive Americans were at risk of becoming ill with full-blown AIDS. Others declared that it was finally time to treat AIDS like any other natural disaster. By the spring, members of the House and Senate were gearing up to prepare major legislation to help pay for treatment. The legislation would provide block grants to states to provide testing, counseling and early low-cost treatment to those with HIV who had no other ways to pay for it. It also would provide additional finds for urban centers where health care systems were already strained by the epidemic, and provide medical care for expectant mothers with HIV.

Ryan White and his mother, Jeanne, in 1985.

Ryan White and his mother, Jeanne, in 1985.

Different versions of the legislation passed the House and Senate, but they were far apart in the specifics. When the final version was hammered out in conference, it went back to both chambers for approval. During the House debate, the White House signaled its opposition to the bill, saying “The bill’s narrow approach, dealing with a specific disease, sets a dangerous precedent, inviting treatment of other diseases through similar arrangements.” By then, the bill had been named the Ryan White CARE Act after the teen died the previous April and his mother, Jeanne White, testified on Capital Hill.

North Carolina bigot Jesse Helms led the opposition in the Senate, but his filibuster threat was thwarted when the bill arrived on the Senate floor with sixty-six co-sponsors, more than enough to end debate. Both houses voted overwhelmingly for the bill’s final passage in voice votes between July 31 and August 4. Sensing that any White House veto would be quickly overridden, President Bush quietly signed it on Saturday, August 18, 1990.

TODAY’S BIRTHDAY:
Marcel Carné: 1906-1996. A major figure in poetic realism, French filmmaker Marcel Carné bgan working in silent film as a camera assistant. In the mid-1930s, he went to England to work on Alexander Korda’s Knight Without Armour (1937) while also directing Jenny (1936), which was the start of Carné longtime collaboration with surrealist poet and screenwriter Jacques Prévert. Carné had the misfortune of being in France during Germany’s invasion, where he continued working in Vichy.

Filmmaking is always a complicated enterprise, doing so in wartime under a repressive dictatorial regime added another set of difficulties when Carné began work on what became his most highly acclaimed film, Les Enfants du Paradis (Children of Paradise). He had to work around Vichy restrictions, shooting the film in two parts to comply with Vichy’s 90-minute limit. Starving extras made off with food before banquet scenes were shot. Some of those extras were Resistance fighters, who used the cover of daylight filming to allow them to meet together. Set designer Alexandre Trauner and music composer Joseph Kosma, both Jews, had to work in secrecy. The main quarter-lile long set was destroyed during a storm, electricity was as intermittent as the funding, film stock was rationed, key personnel were reassigned to other projects by authorities, and production was suspended following the Allied landing at Normandy. After Paris was liberated in 1944, production resumed, but one of the actors was sentenced to death by the Resistance for collaborating with the Nazis; all of his scenes had to be re-shot with a replacement. When Children of Paradise was finally released as a single three-hour film (and without an intermission), it became an instant success, remaining at the Madeleine Theater for the next 54 weeks.

Children of Paradise would be the pinnacle of Carné’s career. Riding on the success of Children of Paradise, Carné’s next film, Les Portes de la Nuit was given the largest budget in the history of French film. It flopped, and it would be Carné’s last collaboration with Prévert. In the 1950s, Carné was eclipsed by the French New Wave, and his films, except for 1958′s  Les Tricheurs were typically panned by critics. Openly gay, Carné often cast his partner, Roland Lesaffre, in many of his films. Carné made his last film in 1976. But Children of Paradise was never forgotten. It was voted “Best Film Ever” in a poll of 600 French critics and professionals in 1995, and was restored and re-released on Blu-ray in 2012. Carné died in 1996.

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The Daily Agenda for Sunday, August 17

Jim Burroway

August 17th, 2014

TODAY’S AGENDA:
Pride Celebrations This Weekend: Allentown, PACharlotte, NC; Fargo/Moorehead ND/MN; Madgeburg, Germany; Montréal, QC; New York, NY (Black Pride); Prague, Czech Republic; Pueblo, CO; San Jose, CA.

Other Events This Weekend: Ascension Beach Party, Fire Island, NY; Dunas Festival, Gran Canaria, Spain; Tropical Heat, Key West, FL; Vancouver Queer Film Festival, Vancouver, BC.

TODAY’S AGENDA is brought to you by:

From The Los Angeles Advocate, July 1968, page 19.

From The Los Angeles Advocate, July 1968, page 19.

Patch manager Lee "The Blond Darling" Glaze

The Patch’s manager, Lee “The Blond Darling” Glaze

The Patch opened on April 7, 1968 on the Pacific Coast Highway in the Wilmington area of southern Los Angeles next to Long Beach. It quickly became one of the more popular gay night spots in the Los Angeles area thanks to its live music and a policy that allowed men to dance together. Soon after, the police commission called the owners and set a series of demands: no minors, no drag, no groping, only one person at a time in the restrooms, and no male-male dancing. The Patch agreed, as a price for staying in business, but when that business quickly fell off, they resumed allowing dancing. When the police commission objected, the Patch vowed to take it all the way to the Supreme Court. The commission backed down, but LAPD found other ways to harasses the bar: arbitrarily ticketing parked cars, refusing to arrest area teens who threatened patrons. The local PTA got wind of the Patch’s existence and circulated a petition to close the bar down. Even the local musician’s union showed up to cause trouble, despite the bar’s hiring a union band and paying above scale. Manager Lee Glaze was undeterred:

“John Q. Public has to wake up to the fact that he has to accept us, he says, “We exist. Straights have to learn to live with it. We know that we’re not acceptable anywhere but in our own society. We have to have a place to go. If they close up our clubs, we’ll all have to take to the streets.”

[Source: "'Patch' Fights Three-Way Battle. The Los Angeles Advocate (August 1968): 3, 25.]

L.A. Police check ID's of more Patch patrons outside the bar.

L.A. Police check ID’s of more Patch patrons outside the bar.

TODAY IN HISTORY:
Flower Power Protest Against Los Angeles Police: 1968. From the day The Patch opened four months earlier, the popular Los Angeles Bar fought a series of battles just to stay open. The Los Angeles police tried to prohibit dancing to in the joint, the local musician’s union demanded the Patch put up a week’s worth of wages for any bands they hired, and the local PTA was trying to drive it out of town. If that weren’t enough, local youths who hung out at a nearby hamburger stand made a sport out of threatening and harassing bar patrons. Whenever anyone from the bar tried to call the police, the police would simply threaten to arrest the patron, while giving the local toughs a free reign.

Things came to a head on Saturday, August 17 when the Patch’s manager, Lee Glaze, noticed a couple of vice cops in the room. During a break in the music, Glaze got up on stage, pointed out the cops, and chided the LAPD for sending such “homely” vice officers. The vice cops left, but returned a little later at around midnight with five or six uniformed officers in tow. As the band kept playing, the officers fanned out and began checking I.D.’s as the band kept playing. They arrested two of the patrons and charged them with lewd conduct. Glaze was outraged at the accusation. The two had been competing for a third man’s attention and weren’t the least bit interested in each other. As Glaze remembered later, “How could you possible arrest two queens who hated each other?”

This wasn’t a full on police raid. The police understood that they didn’t need to conduct a full raid to close a bar down. Ordinarily all it would take would be for the police to show up and ask for a few I.D.’s and the bar’s patrons would go scrambling for the door. Make a few arrests, and the patrons would never return and the bar would be out of business. Glaze wasn’t about to let that happen at his bar. He jumped back onto the stage, and with the police looking on, he urged the audience not to be intimidated by the police. “It’s not against the law to be a homosexual,” he said, “and it’s not a crime to be in a gay bar.” He then announced that the Patch would provide bail money and a lawyer for the two who had been arrested. He stepped down from the stage, the band resumed playing, and a most remarkable thing happened: nobody left. The crowd of 250 kept dancing as though nothing happened.

Glaze left to find out more about the charges and bail amount at the police station. He then returned a short while later with a crazy idea. “Anyone here own a flower shop?” he asked from the stage. Of course, someone did. “Go clean it out,” he shouted, “I want to buy all your flowers.” He then invited everyone to go down to the Harbor Division station after the bar closed.

The Flower Power protesters later that morning after the two detainees were released.

The Flower Power protesters later that morning after the two detainees were released.

About twenty-five hardy souls took him up on the call, and the group camped out — in the best meaning of the word “camp” — all night in the station’s waiting room staging what has become known as the Flower Power Protest as a bewildered desk sergeant looked on. “One flower hits me, and you’re going to be charged with assault on a police officer,” the sergeant said, intimidating exactly no one in the room. Troy Perry (see Jul 27), who would later that year found the Metropolitan Community Church, happened to be there and later recalled what happened:

When we arrived at the police station, Lee told the officer at the desk, “We’re here to get our sisters out.” The officer asked, “What are your sisters’ names?” When Lee said, “Tony Valdez and Bill Hasting,” the officer had this surprised look on his face and called for backup. They didn’t know what to do with all the gay men waiting in the lobby. …Lee showed me you don’t have to be afraid of the police. Once that happened, it encouraged me to become a gay activist.

The bondsman soon arrived, posted bail, and left, saying that the two should be out in a few minutes. The police had other ideas, and held the two for several more hours before finally dropping the charges and releasing them at dawn.

It’s easy to under-appreciate the significance of the Flower Power protest.  For the first time in memory, a gay bar not only survived the aftermath of a police raid after so many failed before, but thrived, thanks to the bar manager’s taking on the police on their home turf. The protest inspired several others in the Long Beach area to form legal defense funds, gay community forums, and even the world’s first Christian denomination founded specifically to meet the needs of gay people. The Los Angeles Advocate, which later became the national gay newsmagazine The Advocate, called the courageous action “a remarkable sight.”

[Additional source: Dick Michaels. "Cops Join Hoods in Harassing Bar." The Los Angeles Advocate (September 1968): 5-6.]

Pat Buchanan

Pat Buchanan Declares “A Culture War” in America: 1992. Dissatisfied with President George H.W. Bush’s more moderate policies in pursuit of a “kinder, gentler America,” former Nixon speechwriter and Reagan communications director Pat Buchanan launched a primary challenge against Bush’s 1992 re-election campaign. Buchanan’s loud opposition to immigration, multiculturalism, abortion and gay rights earned him the nickname of “Pitchfork Pat.” It also got him a surprisingly strong New Hampshire primary showing with 38% of the vote against the incumbent’s 53%. Buchanan may have come in second, but by exceeding expectations by a large margin, many saw his showing as a win of sorts. Through the rest of the primary season, Buchanan collected three million votes and earned a spot as keynote speaker at the Republican National Convention in Houston.

A few weeks before the GOP gathered in the Astrodome, former Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton won the Democratic nomination, and with his wife Hillary, promised that voters would get two Clintons for the price of one. Clinton and his running mate, Tennessee Sen. Al Gore, were leading in the polls by a substantial margin, and the GOP needed to work hard at rallying its socially conservative base. Buchanan delivered the goods in his opening night prime-time speech, in which he brought “Culture War” into the political lexicon:

Yes, we disagreed with President Bush, but we stand with him for freedom to choice religious schools, and we stand with him against the amoral idea that gay and lesbian couples should have the same standing in law as married men and women.

We stand with President Bush for right-to-life, and for voluntary prayer in the public schools, and against putting American women in combat. And we stand with President Bush in favor of the right of small towns and communities to control the raw sewage of pornography that pollutes our popular culture.

We stand with President Bush in favor of federal judges who interpret the law as written, and against Supreme Court justices who think they have a mandate to rewrite our Constitution.

My friends, this election is about much more than who gets what. It is about who we are. It is about what we believe. It is about what we stand for as Americans. There is a religious war going on in our country for the soul of America. It is a cultural war, as critical to the kind of nation we will one day be as was the Cold War itself. And in that struggle for the soul of America, Clinton and Clinton are on the other side, and George Bush is on our side. And so, we have to come home, and stand beside him.

Buchanan ended his speech with a call to arms: “We must take back our cities, and take back our culture, and take back our country.” Televangelist Pat Robertson and Marilyn Quale, wife of Vice President Dan Quayle, gave similarly sharp speeches, but Buchanan’s stood out. It brought the GOP delegates to their feet, but outside the arena his speech wasn’t quite as well received. One TV commentator remarked, “The most significant delegate here in Houston this week is God.” Anthony Lewis wrote in the New York Times, “The sleaze was so thick on the ground in Houston, the attacks so far-fetched, that some people may be tempted to dismiss them as funny. Not I. I remember Joe McCarthy.” George Will was similarly dismayed. “The crazies are in charge,” he wrote. “The fringe has taken over. … No wonder the Republicans must beg people to come into their shrinking tent. The fringe on that tent’s entrance is forbidding.” But the most succinct reaction came from Texas political pundit Molly Ivins, who said, “It probably sounded better in the original German.”

[Additional source: Timothy Stanley. The Crusader: The Life and Tumultuous Times of Pat Buchanan (New York: Thomas Dunne, 2012): 2-6, 210-211.

TODAY'S BIRTHDAY:
Kurt Hiller: 1885-1972. The German essayist and political journalist was an early influential writer of the German gay rights movement in the first few decades of the twentieth century. In 1908, he joined the Scientific Humanitarian Committee, the world's first gay rights organization which had been founded in 1897 by Magnus Hirschfeld (see May 14 ). "In the final analysis, " he wrote in 1921, "justice for you will be the fruit only of your own efforts. The liberation of homosexuals can only be the work of homosexuals themselves."

§175: Die Schmach des Jahrhunderts! In 1922 he published §175: Die Schmach des Jahrhunderts! ("Paragraph 175: The disgrace of the century!"), the title of which referred to the German penal code which criminalized homosexual activity between men. It was widely distributed, including to members of the Reichstag, during the debates on the sexual penal code in the 1920s. In 1929, Hiller took over as chairman of the Scientific Humanitarian Committee, after Magnus Hirschfeld stepped down to focus his attention on the Institute for Sexual Research.

After the Nazis came to power, they banned both the Institute and Committee. Hiller, a gay pacifist socialist Jew, had more than enough reasons to land on the Gestapo's radar. He was arrested and spent time in various concentration camps before being released on the brink of death in April of 1934. He fled to Prague later that year to avoid another arrest, then to London in 1938 just ahead of the German armies. While in London, he continued to write for the German exile press. In 1955, he returned to Hamburg, and tried to resurrect the Scientific Humanitarian Committee in 1962. That idea didn't take root, but Hiller nevertheless continued to write on behalf of the gay rights movement. He published numerous articles and essays in the influential Swiss gay magazine Der Kreis. In 1965, Der Kreis returned the favor with a five-page commemoration for Hiller's 80th birthday. Hiller died in 1972.

Monty Woolley

Monty Woolley: 1888-1963. Born Edgar Montillion Woolley in New York to a wealthy family, Monty grew up among the crème de la crème of society. A Bachelor's degree from Yale (with Cole Porter as a very close friend and classmate, see Jun 9), Master's degrees from Yale and Harvard, he became an English professor at Yale with Thornton Wilder (see Apr 17) and Pulitzer honoree poet Stephen Vincent Benét among his students. Wooly began directing on Broadway in 1929, and his second career of acting in 1935 at the age of forty-eight.

His upper-crust background made him a natural for his most famous performance in the 1939 Kaufman and Hart comedy The Man who Came to Dinner. His portrayal of meddling and obnoxious prima donna radio star Sheridan Whiteside who visits a family in Ohio and winds up spending a month there, ran for 783 performances and rave reviews. Woolley signed with 20th Century Fox in the 1940s and appeared in the 1942 film adaption of The Man Who Came to Dinner with Bette Davis and Ann Sheridan. Bosley Crowther of the New York Times called the comedy the "most vicious but hilarious cat-clawing exhibition ever put on the screen, a deliciously wicked character portrait and a helter-skelter satire. (Woolley) spouts alliterations as though he were spitting out orange seeds ...A more entertaining buttinsky could hardly be conceived." Time said, "Woolley plays Sheridan Whiteside with such vast authority and competence that it is difficult to imagine anyone else attempting it."

“My great aunt Jennifer ate a whole box of candy every day of her life. She lived to be 102, and when she had been dead three days, she looked better than you do now.”

“My great aunt Jennifer ate a whole box of candy every day of her life. She lived to be 102, and when she had been dead three days, she looked better than you do now.”

Indeed, it is hard to imagine anyone else. It suited his personality perfectly. And one cannot talk about Woolley without mentioning an incident at a dinner party, when after dinner he suddenly belched. A woman seating nearby glared at him. He glared back: “And what did you expect, my good woman? Chimes?” Woolley liked that line so well that he made sure it was written into his next film role.

His character-defining beard and mustache were as much a star as he was; fans affectionately nicknamed him “The Beard.” His hand and beard prints were both cast in concrete at Grauman’s Chinese Theater. He went on to earn Academy Award nominations for his appearances in The Pied Piper and Since You Went Away, playing crusty but lovable curmudgeons. but his sharp-tongued portrayal of the acerbic Sheridan Whiteside would come to define the rest of his career. Off screen, Woolley insisted that he was easy to get along with. Friends agreed, saying he was unusually generous and the life of every party. Yet when people saw him in a restaurant, it seemed they wouldn’t leave him alone until he finally dispatched them with an acerbic insult. Only then would they walk away deliriously happy. But when he bought a home in Saratoga Springs, Florida, he got to know and love the townspeople, and they returned his affection by electing him mayor in a write-in vote. He declined the offer, but showed his appreciation by giving a special performance of The Man Who Came to Dinner. “My heart lies in Saratoga Springs,” Monty said. “In Saratoga, I’m not Monty. I’m Edgar and that makes me happy indeed.”

At about the same time, Woolley met Cary Abbott, and the two moved in together in Saratoga Springs. After about five years together, Abbott suddenly died in 1948, leaving Woolley bereft. The kind and generous Woolley soon began drinking and becoming the acerbic old man he portrayed on screen. Even his good friend Cole Porter abandoned him, although part Porter’s disapproval came from Woolley’s affair with an African-American handyman. Woolley continued to appear in small roles in the 1950s, including a life television performance of The Man Who Came to Dinner, in a production that was condensed into a miserable forty-five minutes. He hated the result and critics agreed. Woolley died of kidney and heart disease in 1963 at the age of seventy-five.

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The Daily Agenda for Saturday, August 16

Jim Burroway

August 16th, 2014

TODAY’S AGENDA:
Pride Celebrations This Weekend: Allentown, PA; Cardiff, UK; Charlotte, NC; Doncaster, UK; Fargo/Moorehead ND/MN; Kelowna, BC; Lübeck, Germany; Madgeburg, Germany; Montréal, QC; New Westminster, BC; New York, NY (Black Pride); Prague, Czech Republic; Pueblo, CO; Regensburg, Germany; Reno, NV; San Jose, CA; Taos, NM.

Other Events This Weekend: Gay Games 9, Cleveland, OH; AIDS Walk, Denver CO; Ascension Beach Party, Fire Island, NY; Dunas Festival, Gran Canaria, Spain; Tropical Heat, Key West, FL; Vancouver Queer Film Festival, Vancouver, BC.

TODAY’S AGENDA is brought to you by:

From This Week In Texas, July 2, 1977, page 29.

From This Week In Texas, July 2, 1977, page 29.

From the Austin Chronicle:

The windows were tinted, and everyday at 4 o’clock, the firemen at the No. 1 fire station would jog down to the river and come back up the street. You could set your watch by it. Four o’clock they’d come, jogging up in front of those windows. Big ol’ hunky men with no shirts, and you’d get your shots all ready, and as they went by, you’d toast them with your shots. They couldn’t see in the windows, but we could certainly see them as they went by. One of my fave memories there: I was there one afternoon, and a part of the bar, the drink rail, broke off. Well, here are a dozen big ol’ cowboys taking off their boots and trying to hammer it back in. There were two young lesbians sitting at the end of the bar watching this entire charade of these macho guys trying to put this bar back together gingerly … like it was a Ming vase. Without saying a word, they walk out to their truck; they come back in with an electric saw, a piece of lumber, nails, hammer, and said, “Get out of the way, boys!” And rebuilt the end of the bar. It is a stereotype come to life. – Rob Faubion.

The location is now the alternative night club Elysium.

TexasMedicalJournal1893.12

TODAY IN HISTORY:
Texas Doctor Proposes Castrating “Sexual Perverts”: 1893. Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species, which introduced his theory of evolution to the masses in 1859, also had a profound effect on biologists, medical doctors, psychiatrists and social theorists. The theory, in simplified form, held that species evolved through a process of natural selection which weeded out the weaker and less capable variations of the species. Darwin wasn’t the first to propose the theory; others proposed the theory as far back as the eighteenth century. But Darwin succeeded in providing a trove of evidence from his travels around the world to illustrate the theory in action.

The theory of evolution opened as many questions as it answered, and the main question on the minds of social theorists struggling to understand the impact of the industrial revolution was this: If nature selected out the weaker and defective members of a species, what happens when man’s technological advances intervenes in that natural process? The answer, they said, could be found in the cities throughout Europe and North America: poverty, disease, alcoholism, crime, family violence and moral depravity. They proposed an opposing theory, the theory of degeneration, which held that human beings, now that they were shielded from the natural course of evolution, were in danger of producing offspring who “de-generated” from their parents in an imperfect form — think of a xerox copy of a bad xerox copy. According to the theory, Alcoholics begat alcoholics, criminals begat worse criminals, rapists begat more violent rapists. And, of course, negroes begat negroes. Degeneracy theory was always, at its core, a highly racist one.

As pessimistic as the theory was, it did have its positive contributions: it spawned the hygiene movement which began mandating safe housing, clean food, proper sanitation, limitations in child labor and other protections, and universal education. In the glass-half-empty category, the theory of Degeneration was part of the shift from regarding homosexuality as a crime to be severely punished, to being a malady to be addressed “scientifically” — namely by the nation’s doctors and insane asylums (along with the brave few who countered that gay and gender-variant people harmed no one and should be left alone). But far more darkly, Degeneracy Theory would very quickly soon give rise to Eugenics, which provided a dark answer to the question of what to do with the unfortunate products of degeneration (from which the word “degenerates” first came).

Dr. F.E. Daniel

Dr. F.E. Daniel

Eugenics came in two forms: positive Eugenics (the hygiene movement was but one example), and negative Eugenics, which included sterilization programs aimed at severing the generational capabilities of the degenerate line. On August 16, 1893, Dr. F.E. Daniel of Austin, Texas, and editor of the Texas Medical Journal, delivered an address before the World’s Columbian Auxiliary Congress titled, “Should Insane Criminals or Sexual Perverts be Permitted to Procreate?” The main perversions that Daniel was worried about were rape and masturbation, the latter of which was believe to be the cause of insanity. For the case of sexual criminals judged to be insane, there had already been calls for castration in lieu of hanging, partly because it was believed that hanging someone who was insane constituted a breach of justice. Daniel also held that view, but, ever the humanitarian, he considered hanging to be an extreme, cruel, and ultimately ineffective form of punishment. And so he added an additional reason to consider castrating criminals who, despite their obvious degeneracy, were nevertheless judged to be sane:

In this country, and recently, several writers have advocated castration. Dr. W. A. Hammond’s paper on the subject will be recalled by all present. Dr. Frank Lydston (Va. Medical Monthly) in reply to a question from Dr. Hunter McGuire as to the cause of so much rape by negroes in the South, advises castration as a remedy for the evil; and there is much wisdom in the advice. He would castrate the rapist, thus rendering him incapable of repetition of the offense, and of propagating his kind, and turn him loose — on the principle of the singed rat — to be a warning to others. Dr. Lydston says, and very truly, that a hanging or even a burning is soon forgotten; but a negro buck at large amongst the ewes of his flock, minus the elements of manhood, would be a standing terror to those of similar propensities. Dr. Orpheus Everts (Lancet Clinic, March, 1888,) would castrate all convicted criminals, thus arresting the descent of their respective vices of constitution.

Daniel found Everts’s advice too extreme: “innocent persons are sometimes convicted of crime, and we might cut the wrong man.” But Daniel did believe that sexual crimes were in a special category because, he argued, it was almost impossible to draw a line between sanity and insanity where sexual crimes were concerned:

In light then of the very evident doubt as to the sanity of those who commit sexual crimes, and therefore, of their responsibility; and particularly as it is impossible in the present state of our knowledge to draw a line and say where, in mental alienation, unsoundness to the extent of irresponsibility for acts exists, I would substitute castration as a penalty for all sexual crimes or misdemeanors, including confirmed masturbation.

…The lower animals limit production, and eliminate the weaker by battles between the males for the possession of the female; and certain of the rodents, the squirrel I am told, castrate the young males. But with civilized man the procreative function, and the right to exercise it ad libitum seems to be something sacred; it is respected, even in those who have, by their misconduct, outraged society, and forfeited all other rights, civil, religious and political. Is it not a remarkable civilization that will break a criminal’s neck, but will respect his testacles? [sic]

A number of asylums were already beginning to sterilize both their male and female patients. Daniel argued that if those programs were extended to sexual criminals, it could usher in a new age of sexual continence within a generation:

While we can not hope ever to institute a Sanitary Utopia in our day and generation, it would seem within the legitimate scope and sphere of Preventive Medicine, aided by the enactment and enforcement of suitable laws, to eliminate much that is defective in human genesis, and to improve our race mentally, morally and physically; to bring to bear in the breeding of peoples the principles recognized and utilized by every intelligent stock-raiser in the improvement of his cattle; and in my humble judgment the substitution of castration, as advocated above, for the useless and cruel execution of criminals, is the first step in the reformation. I predict that in twenty years the beneficial results of castration for crimes committed in obedience to a perverted (diseased) sexual impulse will be established and appreciated.

Rape, sodomy, beastiality [sic], pederasty and habitual masturbation should be made crimes or misdemeanors, punishable by forfeit of all rights, including that of procreation; in short by castration, or castration plus other penalties, according to the gravity of the offense.

[Source: F.E. Daniel. "Castration of sexual perverts." Texas Medical Journal 9, no. 6 (December 1893): 255-271. Available online at Google Books here.]

MiamiDailyNews1954.08.16

60 YEARS AGO: “Great Civilizations Plagued by Deviates”: 1954. “It seems melodramatic to talk about the downfall of nations and homosexuals in the same breath. But historians are quick to point out that moral degeneracy and the destruction of some of the greatest civilizations in the world were tied hand in hand.” How many times have you heard that one before? Those words came from the opening paragraphs of The Miami Daily News’ final installement in a three part series that formed part of its overall campaign to whip up anti-gay hysteria in South Florida (see Aug 13 and Aug 15). The campaign began in earnest just two weeks earlier when William T. Simpson, a 27-year-old Eastern Airlines flight attendant, was murdered by two men in a rolling-the-queers robbery scam (see Aug 3). That murder led officials to the discovery of a “colony of some 500 male homosexuals, congregating mostly in the near-downtown northeast section and ruled by a ‘queen’.” Simpson may have been murdered, two straight men may have been arrested and charged with the crime, but as far as the local newspapers were concerned, it was the homosexuals who were guilty of the whole mess, and they promptly launched a media-driven campaign that resulted in more raids and arrests by area police departments (see Aug 13, Aug 14).

ONE, January 1954.

ONE, January 1954.

The papers had been itching for just such a campaign for a few years. There had been a round of raids on gay bars and beaches earlier in 1953, which got the attention of ONE magazine, which wrote about Miami’s brief anti-gay campaign in January 1954. Despite all the bad news, ONE managed to find a silver lining. In contrast to Miami Beach police chief Romeo Shepard and Dade County Sheriff Tom Kelly, Miami Police Chief Walter Headley had established a policy of letting gay bars operate more or less undisturbed when he became chief in 1948. By letting bars operate in an area that became known as “Powder Puff Lane,” he felt he could keep a better eye on the city’s gay population. Besides that, drag shows were popular with tourists and “If I ran all of the homosexuals out of town, members of some of the best families would lead the parade.”

Walter’s refusal to crack down earned ONE’s praises, which published an open letter, written by Dale Jennings (see Oct 21) to Chief Headly, applauding his “refusal to wholeheartedly support the current hysteria concerning homosexuality.” Jennings sent copies of the letter and the January issue to Shepard, Kelly, other Dade county officials and the two Miami newspapers. In July of 1954, three weeks before Simpson’s murder but soon after another media panic over the rape and murder of a young girl in southwest Miami, The Miami Herald, armed with a copy of ONE’s approval of Headley’s policies, went on the attack:

Police have erred in permitting perverts to assemble here — to corral them in places which are “on limits” to them. … Miami’s “powder puff lane” is a civic disgrace … [and] an invitation to all sex deviates in the United States to come here for sanctuary.. . . When large numbers of perverts are present in a community, the peril is multiplied. The example and temptation to our youth is vile.

A few weeks later, The Herald blasted Headley again for “setting-up a Powder-Puff Lane … The practice harks back to the days of red light districts, sordid political partnerships, and payoffs, and dark age police methods.” The Herald also referred to ONE’s article commending Headley’s policies: “Miami’s Powder-Puff Lane has made the city a concentration center of the gentry from all over the nation. They even have a national publication which applauds Miami and its police methods [and] condemns those cities which will not coddle them.”

Dr. Paul Kells

Dr. Paul Kells

Following Simpson’s murder, the afternoon Daily News wasn’t about to let its morning rival get the upper hand in the contest for who could out-vilify the local gay and lesbian community. For its third installment of its “educational” series on homosexuals, News staff writer Jack Roberts went all out, charging that homosexuality caused the fall of Greece and Rome. Unmentioned, of course, is that all great civilizations come to an end sooner or later, and by the time Rome fell it was an officially Christian nation. Roberts credited his defective understanding of history to “well-known Miami psychiatrist” Dr. Paul Wells, who had been featured in the first installment of the series (see Aug 13):

Dr. Kells pointed out that the spokesman for homosexuals in the Los Angeles area (editor of a magazine for homosexuals) constantly crusade for a legitimate place in society. “But in all their arguments, they fail to look at the other side of the picture,” said Dr. Kells. “The most important thing to consider where moral degeneracy can lead to.”

The article gave a brief rundown on the “all-out war against homosexuals” being waged by Shepard and Kelly. “I simply want them to get out of town,” Shepard said. Kelly’s goal was the same: “I will keep on harassing the homosexuals until they understand they’re not wanted in Dade County.” But the News blasted Headley for his “reluctance to bother perverts.” Nevertheless, representatives of the Dade County-area law enforcement agencies had formed a study group to come up with ideas on how to deal with the problems. Attorney E.F.P. Brigham, chairman of the group, described to the News their suggestion of a sexual psychopath law:

If a sexual deviate is accused of molesting a child, or any person for that matter, and manages to beat the charge ni court, the state will still have the right to order a mental examination for the offender. If the person is found to be a sexual psychopath (and that does not necessarily mean insane) the state will then have the right to institute civil action to put that person in the asylum for the rest of his or her life or until such time as a cure can be effected.

Brigham says he has no doubt that the legislators will approve of new laws to curb sexual psychopaths. “But I’m afraid they will balk at the money it will cost to provide asylum facilities, “he said. “I’m afraid they will look on the pervert problem as one belonging to Miami and not the state as a whole.”

…”It is most important to take these people away from society,” said Brigham. “By establishing a worthwhile asylum, it may be possible to cure some of these psychopaths and help them lead normal lives. We are going to cite case after case of children being violated to the Legislature to prove our point. It seems foolish to try to save a few tax dollars when so much is at stake.

When Brigham made his suggestion, twenty states already had similar sexual psychopath laws on the books. Florida enacted a sexual psychopath law in 1955, but it was declared “unconstitutionally vague” a year later.

[Additional sources: "Miami Junks the Constitution." ONE 2, no. 1 (January 1954): 16-21.

Fred Fejes. "Murder, Perversion, and Moral Panic: The 1954 Media Campaign against Miami's Homosexuals and the Discourse of Civic Betterment." Journal of the History of Sexuality 9, No. 3 (July 2000): 305-347]

TODAY’S BIRTHDAY:
Pierre Seel: 1923-2005. Pierre’s troubles began when his watch was stolen while he was in a public square in his Alsace home in 1939. The watch, a gift from his godmother, had sentimental value, and so he reported the theft to police. The square where the theft occurred was a well-known cruising ground for gay men in the area, but since homosexuality was not illegal in France, there shouldn’t have been much of a problem. But local police added his name to a list of gay men they were maintaining, and when the Germans invaded in 1940, that list fell into Gestapo hands. Seel was picked up in 1941, was beaten, had his fingernails pulled out, and raped with broken rulers. Two weeks later, he was sent to the Schirmeck-Vorbrück camp near Strasbourg, where the beatings, tortures and rapes continued. He wore a blue bar on his uniform instead of the pink triangle — The blue bar was reserved for Catholics and “a-socials” — but the nature of his “crime” was well known. “There was no solidarity for the homosexual prisoners; they belonged to the lowest caste,” he later recalled. “Other prisoners, even when between themselves, used to target them.” He and his camp were made to stand and watch as his eighteen-year-old boyfriend was stripped naked in the center of the yard and torn apart and devoured by german shepherds. That scene would haunt his nightmares for the rest of his life.

After six months of starvation, torture and forced labor, Seen was set free without an explanation. What’s more, he was made a German citizen when Alsace was informally annexed by Germany, and he was drafted into the army and sent to the Eastern Front. After the war, he made his way back to France. He took his family’s advice and went deeply underground about his sexuality, and married in 1950. The marriage was a difficult one, and it finally fell apart in 1978. In 1979, Seel happened to attend a debate in a bookstore for the launch of the French edition of Heinz Heger’s book, The Men with the Pink Triangle. Two years later, Seel went public with his story when the Bishop of Strasbourg denounced the performance of the French translation of the play Bent, which was based on Heger’s book. From then on, Seel became an advocate for the recognition of gay victims of the Nazis, particularly those from the Alsace and Moselle regions of France. In 1994, Seel published his own memoir, I, Pierre Seel, Deported Homosexual. In 2000, he appeared in the American-made documentary, Paragraph 175. When the documentary premiered at the Berlin Film Festival, Seel traveled to Germany for the first time since the war and received a five-minute standing ovation.

France still has an uneasy don’t-ask-don’t-tell policy where German collaboration is concerned, and Seel’s opening of old wounds didn’t go down easy. In the 1980s and 1990s, he received numerous death threats, and was attacked and beaten by youths shouting homophobic epithets following an appearance on French television. The mayor of Strasbourg refused to shake his hand during a commemoration ceremony. But the distance of time has allowed some recognition of historical realities to take root. Seel received official recognition as a victim of the Holocaust in 2003, and in 2008, three years after his death in Toulouse, his adopted city, a street was renamed in his honor. The plaque reads, “Rue Pierre Seel — Déporté Français pour homosexualité — 1923-2005″.

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Privilege, Michael Brown, and Harvey Milk

Rob Tisinai

August 15th, 2014

I posted this on Facebook the other day, and the reaction was pretty strong, so I figured I’d share it here.

I’m such a white guy, an all-American-looking white guy whom old ladies trust on sight. No cop has ever pulled me over for random questioning on the street. No customs agent has ever asked me to open my bag. I know when a traffic cop pulls me over I can feign helpless incompetence and stand a good shot at nothing harsher than a fix-it ticket. In fact, I once showed up in court because I had a “failure to appear” and I told the judge in my middle-American, educated accent that I simply hadn’t understood what I was supposed to do, and he rolled his eyes and sent me home with no penalty, leaving him free to deal with the people in the room who were not white.

This is privilege. It’s nothing I’ve earned. It’s not even something I can counteract. But I can recognize that some unarmed people are shot in cold blood just because they don’t share my privilege. And I can believe what they tell me about their experience and their lives.

About 120 comments later, after a bunch of arguments about privilege, I got what was intended to be praise from someone dear to me. He wrote:

I may not be able to articulate my thoughts as well as others on this post, but I thought I would chime in.

I would like to make a comparison with my soon to be brother in law and the shooting incident.

Lead by example. This is what I mean.

I admire Rob for being a strong advocate to the gay and lesbian community. He makes posts to start a discussion on gay and lesbian rights. These discussions begin to shed a light on how the community feels and are being treated. What he would like to see change. In a peaceful way.

When the proposition for gay marriage didn’t pass the community didn’t riot and loot. They didn’t hold cities hostage. They put on more parades . They stepped up there presence in the community. As the society began to feel less threatened more people began to open their hearts and minds.

What’s happening in Missouri is not helping the cause for racism. It’s closing off the minds of society and creating more stereotypes. Rosa Parks did more for equality by sitting on a bus then the rioters. 

Racism stems for hate of ones self. If you don’t love and accept who you are you tend to lash out at others to make yourself feel better. Love yourself and you will have learned to love others.

Lead by example and others will look up and admire you. Like my brother in law Rob

It’s true that I’m a peace-maker and consensus-seeker at heart (blame it on being the youngest child in family where my older siblings fought hard with my dad), but I had to tell him this, in a series of wine-assisted comments:

I have to take issue with what you’re saying and offer a different perspective. Yes, it’s true that after Prop 8 Will and I and others organized a peaceful candle-lit march in protest, with great coverage from all four local networks, and that was great.

But before that, we participated in shutting down [the intersection at] hollywood and highland. We (and all the protesters) were polite to the police (a recurring theme through all the Prop 8 protests was the repeated thank yous called to police) but Will and I have fantastic memories of that civil disobedience.

But go back earlier and you have Dan White, who killed both the straight mayor of San Francisco and a gay city supervisor. Because he killed a fag, he had legal defense funds set up in his name and he ultimately was acquitted. The gays rioted — and why not! Once your society has announced your life has no value, then what do you have to gain from maintaining that civil order?

I think the same thing is happening in Ferguson. No, it’s not a strategically good move — or maybe it is, if it wakes people up. Personally, I’m not likely to go around setting cars on fire in any circumstance, but if you cast a group out of society, as has happened in my lifetime to both gays and blacks, you shouldn’t be surprised when they react with no regard for the laws of that society.

Drops mic. (and then sneaks off stage when no one claps).

That’s all.

[Correction: Dan White was not acquitted, but was convicted of voluntary manslaughter rather than first-degree murder, and served five years in prison for killing two men.]

The Daily Agenda for Friday, August 15

Jim Burroway

August 15th, 2014

TODAY’S AGENDA:
Pride Celebrations This Weekend: Allentown, PA; Cardiff, UK; Charlotte, NC; Doncaster, UK; Fargo/Moorehead ND/MN; Kelowna, BC; Lübeck, Germany; Madgeburg, Germany; Montréal, QC; New Westminster, BC; New York, NY (Black Pride); Prague, Czech Republic; Pueblo, CO; Regensburg, Germany; Reno, NV; San Jose, CA; Taos, NM.

Other Events This Weekend: Gay Games 9, Cleveland, OH; AIDS Walk, Denver CO; Ascension Beach Party, Fire Island, NY; Dunas Festival, Gran Canaria, Spain; Tropical Heat, Key West, FL; Vancouver Queer Film Festival, Vancouver, BC.

TODAY’S AGENDA is brought to you by:

From The Advocate, July 12, 1979, page 19. Click to enlarge.

From The Advocate, July 12, 1979, page 19. Click to enlarge.

The Pleasure People was a gay business complex located about three and a half miles northwest of downtown Toledo. It consisted of a bar and disco called the Open Closet, an adult bookstore Secor Adult News, and the O.C. Baths. Other than that, I can find little else about these businesses. If you know anything about them, please feel free to leave a comment.

Dr. Charles L Dana

TODAY IN HISTORY:
Sexual Perversions “As Rare As They Are Disgusting”: 1891. The August 15th edition of the Medical and Surgical Reporter included the text of a clinical lecture given by Dr. Charles L. Dana, M.D., who taught at the New York Post-Graduate Medical School. Dana’s talk, “On Certain Sexual Neuroses,” focused mostly on the dangers of masturbation — which was thought to cause various physical health problems and mental disturbances –  and his treatments to “cure” his patients from the “vicious habit.” But he touched on a number of other sexual “perversions” as well, which he categorized this way:

The Sexual Psychoses are Divided into,

A — The Vicious Habits, such as masturbation, &c.
B — The Sexual Perversions, these are classified as

  1. Masturbation, sexual murder and anthropophagy.
  2. Flagellation.
  3. Exhibitionism
  4. Stercophily
  5. Contrary Sexual Instincts of which Pæderasty and Bestiality are examples.

C — Excessive Sexuality: –

  1. Sexual precocity
  2. Senile sexuality
  3. Satyriasis
  4. Nymphomania.

Of the sexual perversions I shall say nothing except that they are happily as rare as they are disgusting, and are usually an evidence of mental deterioration. They are sometimes, however, acquired vices being the result of a continual search for new sexual stimuli on the part of voluptuaries.

In 1891, the term “contrary sexual instinct” was commonly deployed to described homosexuality — the term homosexuality itself had not yet entered the English language (see May 6). Its conflation with bestiality and pederasty goes back centuries, as laws against sodomy typically made no distinction between the three.

But as I said, Dana’s article dealt chiefly with masturbation and another condition that was seen as equally injurious, nocturnal emissions (which carried the diagnosis of spermatorrhea). Both, which represented the expenditure of seed and energies for purely recreational purposes (or, in the case of nocturnal emissions, no purpose at all), were believed to be debilitating, particularly for young men and women. For one sixteen year old patient who masturbated “weekly and sometimes daily,” Dr. Dana prescribed quite a number of treatments:

He was placed on bromides, taken from school, and kept at work out doors. But his emissions continued. I saw him a month ago, and prescribed atropia and bromides, twice a day, noon and night, with a drachm of flud extract of salix nigra at night. Beside this, cold steel sounds were introduced into the urethra for ten minutes, three times weekly. He was made to take cold sponge baths daily, and was given an impressive lecture on the necessity of stopping his bad habits. He is very much better now, and on the high road to recovery.

[Source: Charles L. Dana. "On certain sexual neuroses." Medical and Surgical Reporter. 65, no. 7 (August 15, 1891): 241-245. Available online at Google Books here.]

MiamiNews1954.08.15

60 YEARS AGO: “How Los Angeles Handles Its 150,000 Perverts”: 1954. “Is Greater Miami in danger of becoming a favorite gathering spot for homosexuals and sexual psychopaths? It happened in Los Angeels and it could happen here.” That was The Miami Daily News’ opening line in the second of three articles that appeared on the front page on Sunday, August 15, 1954 as part of the News’ and Miami Herald’s ongoing campaign to whip up anti-gay hysteria in South Florida. The first article had appeared two days earlier (see Aug 13) featuring a local psychiatrist who characterized homosexuality as “worse than drug addiction or alcoholism” because “there is little hope for returning the established homosexual to a socially acceptable pattern.” Now the News with another “educational” installment to describe what would happen if Miami became overrun with homosexuals the way Los Angeles did. ONE Magazine, the first nationally-distributed pro-gay magazine in the United States, managed to catch the News: attention:

In California the homosexuals have organized to resist interference by police. They have established their own magazine and are constantly crusading for recognition as a “normal” group, a so-called “third sex.” They number 150,000 in Los Angeles, their leaders say. They claim kinship by nature with some of the leading literary and business figures in the nation.

…Thad F. Brown, deputy chief of detectives for the City of Los Angeles, told The Miami Daily News that homosexuals and sexual psychopaths “are a tremendous problem in this city.” Chief Brown said a special detail works out of the vice squad to control homosexuals gathering in public places. … “This thing is like cancer, said Chief Brown. “It keeps getting bigger and bigger each year. We process about 150 homosexuals a month who are caught in the act.”

… The police in Los Angeles have a policy of harassment. “We keep a constant check on bars and restaurants where they hang out,” Brown said. “We try to get the licenses of the places catering to them.”

The News described the January 1954 edition of ONE, which had criticized Miami Beach Police Chief Romeo Shepard for a series of raids at the 22nd Street beach in 1953. “Last Thursday Chief Shepard pulled another raid at 22nd Street,” said the News (see Aug 13), “and will probably get another roasting from the magazine published in Los Angeles.” The News then warned that Miami may well end up like Los Angeles, maybe worse:

Miami and Los Angeles have much in common. Both have mild climates; both are vacation centers, ar in the midst of rapid growth and are cosmopolitan in attitude. In other words, Miami could follow a pattern to that of Los Angeles in regard to deviates. Florida’s laws for the punishment of the sexual psychopath are not nearly as harsh as California law. Punishment for homosexuals caught in the act is light.

Lee Mortimer

New York Mirror Columnist Blasts Mattachine Society: 1961. Lee Mortimer, a columnist for the New York Mirror, had an unusual beat: he began his career as a crime reporter before becoming a Broadway and Harlem nightclub gossip columnist. He traded in sensation with a popular series of gossipy books about crime in the U.S., with titles like New York Confidential, Chicago Confidential, Washington Confidential, and U.S. Confidential, the latter of which drew libel lawsuits from two members of Congress. Those salacious books, which purported to describe the seedy underside of urban life, often included derisive descriptions of limp-wristed, sashaying and lisping homosexuals. On August 15, 1961, Mortimer decided that New Yorkers needed to know about the local chapter of the Mattachine Society which had been in existence since 1956, and wrote the following for his column in the Mirror:

DEPT. OF STIFLED YAWNS: There’s an international group known as the Mattachine Society, Inc. with headquarters at 1133 Broadway; which acts as a sort of defense agency for homosexuals. It talks loudly and stridently about their “civil rights” and lobbies to secure legislation making such disgusting practices legal. That has been done in many continental countries. The campaign is well on the way to reaching its objective in England, a country in which homosexualism has always had a head start… In a letter signed “Albert J. de Dion, chairman” the statement is made that the society was in back of my “campaign” to rid the town of hoodlums who preyed on these “unfortunates,” but now it seems to be having second thoughts. “Fighting to keep criminal elements from our city is very commendable and deserves our support. But to attack a defenseless minority such as homosexuals is not in the best of American traditions.” I now ask whether it is in the best of American traditions to encourage the degenerates who roam our streets at night. I say these so-called “unfortunates” are no defenseless minority but a huge, well-organized, wealthy, defiant, politically powerful, intelligent community, spreading across national borders, with loyalty to no country, no law or no code, except their fellow deviates.

Ohio Secretary of State Ted W. Brown

Ohio Refuses to Incorporate Gay Organization: 1972. Secretary of State Ted W. Brown (R) refused to accept the articles of incorporation for the Greater Cincinnati Gay Society. The organization’s proposed articles of incorporation said the group was formed “to promote the acceptance of homosexuality as a valid life style whenever and wherever possible by legal, political or other means.” Brown refused to approve, file and record the articles of incorporation because “homosexuality as a valid life style has been and is currently defined by statute as a criminal act.” In a radical interpretation of Ohio law, Brown held that just talking about it, apparently, was also against the law under Ohio’s anti-sodomy and solicitation statutes.

The three men who filed the articles — Powell Grant, Jack Busse, and Robert Dugan — appealed Brown’s decision to the Ohio Supreme Court, asking the court to order Brown to accept the incorporation request. While the case was pending, the Ohio Legislature undertook a massive revision to the Ohio Criminal Code (now routinely referred to as the Ohio Revised Code), and in the process eliminated the anti-sodomy and anti-solicitation laws. But the majority of the court appeared not to have gotten that memo. On July 10, 1974, four of the seven justices sided with Secretary Brown. They acknowledged that homosexuality was no longer illegal, but held instead that “promotion of homosexuality as a valid life style is contrary to the public policy of the state.” The minority pointed out that because Ohio had decriminalized all private sexual activity between consenting adults, there was nothing even remotely illegal about the Society.

In 1976, Brown apparently had a change of heart when he approved the filing of articles of incorporation for the Dayton Lesbian and Gay Center. In 1978, he lost his seat to his Democratic challenger in a very close race.

If you know of something that belongs on the agenda, please send it here. Don’t forget to include the basics: who, what, when, where, and URL (if available).

And feel free to consider this your open thread for the day. What’s happening in your world?

Stupid Transphobic Dickhead, er, Douche, er, Person

Rob Tisinai

August 14th, 2014

My genetics gave me terrible vision. I’ve never met anyone with correctible vision worse than mine. Over the years, I’ve had three surgeries involving scalpels slicing into my eyes, and four surgeries with lasers burning flesh off the surface of my eyes.

Does that make you cringe? I don’t blame you. But at least now I don’t have to poke rigid plastic lenses onto my eyeballs, lenses I could only wear for a few hours at a time, with the only alternative being glasses that made me literally unrecognizable to people back in the days before fancy polymers made coke bottle lenses obsolete.

Even that milder, eye-poking option may have made you scrunch your eyes shut in irrational self-protection. I don’t blame you. I’m not offended. I realize that your visceral response — while quite natural – is not a moral revelation of condemnation against my situation.

By the way, I’m an XY person. I have a penis, and I’ll protect it. If a dozen tennis balls were launched at me simultaneously, I’d cover my eyes with one hand and my flesh-and-blood balls with the other. As just as you might have scrunched up when reading about my eyes, I’d fold inward and cross my legs when hearing about a woman having her balls cut off.

Yes, a woman having her balls cut off.

An ass named Gavin McInnes has published a long, disgusting rant called “Transphobia is Perfectly Natural.” I won’t link to it. Google it if you like. I call it disgusting because it does nothing but play into the same squeamishness you may have felt when I talked about scalpels cutting in to my eyes. His reasoning argument rant goes mostly like this. He says (sarcastically):

In fact, the only thing more normal than castrating yourself and taking tons of hormones to grow tits is chopping them off.

He’s squeamish, fine. His moral failing, though, is that he raises that squeamishness to level of moral truth. He writes:

By pretending this is all perfectly sane, you are enabling these poor bastards to mutilate themselves.

And in case that wasn’t dickish enough – I mean, douchey enough – God, even our most basic insults revolve around genitalia! And in case that wasn’t repugnant enough (odd that genitalia stand in as synonyms for repugnance, isn’t it?), he even jokes:

And ladies, if you’re a butch lesbian, you’re a lady with a lot of testosterone. Put a dick on a belt and fuck your girlfriend. You don’t need to turn your vagina inside out. You’re not a man. You don’t even know what Turf Builder is.

Not only is the joke lame — really? fertilizer is your symbol of manhood? you might want to take a Freudian look at your own sexuality — but it’s built on ignorance. Being a strong, powerful lesbian does not mean you identify as a man. Wanting to lie back and get reamed doesn’t mean I identify as a woman.

But this person, this Gavin McInnes, has set himself up as a little god. His clenched up little reactions have the force of moral law. But you know what, Gavin? It is perfectly natural for an XY person who identifies as male to clench up when he thinks about a knife cutting up his dick. But that’s not transphobia. Transphobia is when you take your personalized genital clenchiness and turn it into a Great Commandment for the rest of the world. That’s not natural. That’s not brave. That’s not ballsy. That’s just narrow-minded megalomania.

Damn, I don’t know why this pisses me off so much. It just does.

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