September 6th, 2011
CA Supreme Court to Hear Arguments on Prop 8 Standing: San Francisco. When Federal District Judge Vaughn Walker struck down California’s Proposition 8 as unconstitutional, he did so without the State of California’s defending the proposition. Instead, the Alliance Defense Fund stepped in to unsuccessfully defend Prop 8. However, now that it is appeals time, the Ninth Circuit Court asks the Supreme Court of California for a legal interpretation of that state’s constitution to determine whether which the authors of a proposition could appeal a federal decision if the elected representatives of the state choose not to do so. In other words, does California law allow non-elected persons to step in to enforce a state law by appealing a federal court decision finding the law unconstitutional when the duly elected officials (i.e. the state Attorney General) decides not to do so. Parties for and against Prop 8 will appear today before California’s Supreme Court to flesh out that very question. Oral arguments will be televised on the statewide California Channel public affairs network, and the proceedings get underway at 10:00 a.m. PDT. LGBT advocates will hold a “No Standing for Prop 8” sit-in on the steps of the Supreme Court beginning at 8:00 a.m.
TODAY IN HISTORY:
First Recorded Case Of Electric Shock Treatment for Homosexuality: 1935. The idea had been floated around for quite a while among therapists practicing a brand new, non-Freudian form of psychology known as Behavioral Therapy. The premise for this form of therapy goes back to Pavlov’s dog, which was trained to salivate whenever it heard a bell ringing. Behavioral Therapy used various systems of rewards and punishments — mostly punishments — to instill desired behavior in their subjects. And therapists were always on the lookout for new, effective forms of punishment. Shocking patients with a dose of electricity was seen as one promising avenue, but improperly administered, electric current could be lethal, as prisons from Sing Sing to San Quentin demonstrated on a regular basis. But in early 1934, that problem was solved. New York University’s Louis William Max introduced a new device that he invented to safely administer a painful electric shock to his patient at a meeting of the New York branch of the American Psychological Association. The following year, Dr. Max traveled to Ann Arbor, Michigan, to present a brief talk before the American Psychological Association’s annual meeting about his attempts to cure homosexuality using his new electric shock device. On Friday, September 6th at 2:00 p.m., the APA convened a panel on Abnormal Psychology at the University of Michigan’s Chemistry Amphitheater (room 165, to be exact), where Dr. Max gave his talk. The transcript of the talk itself is not available, but this brief synopsis appeared the following month in the APA’s Psychological Bulletin:
Breaking Up a Homosexual Fixation by the Conditioned Reaction Technique: A Case Study. Louis Wm. Max, New York University.
A homosexual neurosis in a young man was found upon analysis to be partially fetishistic, the homosexual behavior usually following upon the fetishistic stimulus. An attempt was made to disconnect the emotional aura from this stimulus by means of electric shock, applied in conjunction with the presentation of the stimulus under laboratory conditions. Low shock intensities had little effect but intensities considerably higher than those usually employed.on human subjects in other studies, definitely diminished the emotional value of the stimulus for days after each experimental period. Though the subject reported some backsliding, the ” desensitizing ” effect over a three month period was cumulative. Four months after cessation of the experiment he wrote, ” That terrible neurosis has lost its battle, not completely but 95% of the way.” Advantages and limitations of this technique are discussed. [10 min.]
Behavioral techniques to try to “cure” homosexuality took many forms, from electric shock therapy on adults and adolescents, to so-called “mild swats” on four-year-old boys like Kirk Andrew Murphy who underwent behavioral therapy at the hands of George Rekers. You can learn more about the role of Behavioral Therapy in attempts to “cure” homosexuality in Blind Man’s Bluff, an epilogue to our original investigation, What Are Little Boys Made Of?, about Kirk’s treatment at UCLA under Rekers.
Sylvester: 1946. He lived his entire life on the corner of Gay and Black. Born in Los Angeles, he moved to San Francisco where he began performing with the gender-queering troupe known as the Cockettes. He also performed in drag in a musical review of Bessie Smith and Billie Holiday songs. He went on to form several bands before finally latching onto the disco craze in the mid-1970s a solo artist. His second album, Step II, yielded his greatest funk/disco hits, “You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)” and “Dance (Disco Heat)”. In 1979, he appeared in the film The Rose, starring Bette Midler, and in 1983 his Hi-NRG dance hit “Do You Wanna Funk” appeared in the film Trading Places. During the disco era, he was called “The Queen of Disco,” but as he moved away from disco and toward a more Dance/Funk sound, his record company wanted him to butch things up a bit. Sylvester’s response was to attend meetings in full-on drag. A drag photo shoot that he put together to tweak his record label bosses ended up yielding the cover art for his posthumous release Immortal. His last hit, 1986’s “Someone Like You,” hit number 1 on the U.S. Dance Chart, and came from his only Warner Brother’s album, Mutual Attraction, which featured cover art by Keith Haring. Sylvester is another of the many giant talents consumed by the AIDS epidemic; he died in 1988.
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In this original BTB Investigation, we unveil the tragic story of Kirk Murphy, a four-year-old boy who was treated for “cross-gender disturbance” in 1970 by a young grad student by the name of George Rekers. This story is a stark reminder that there are severe and damaging consequences when therapists try to ensure that boys will be boys.
When we first reported on three American anti-gay activists traveling to Kampala for a three-day conference, we had no idea that it would be the first report of a long string of events leading to a proposal to institute the death penalty for LGBT people. But that is exactly what happened. In this report, we review our collection of more than 500 posts to tell the story of one nation’s embrace of hatred toward gay people. This report will be updated continuously as events continue to unfold. Check here for the latest updates.
In 2005, the Southern Poverty Law Center wrote that “[Paul] Cameron’s ‘science’ echoes Nazi Germany.” What the SPLC didn”t know was Cameron doesn’t just “echo” Nazi Germany. He quoted extensively from one of the Final Solution’s architects. This puts his fascination with quarantines, mandatory tattoos, and extermination being a “plausible idea” in a whole new and deeply disturbing light.
On February 10, I attended an all-day “Love Won Out” ex-gay conference in Phoenix, put on by Focus on the Family and Exodus International. In this series of reports, I talk about what I learned there: the people who go to these conferences, the things that they hear, and what this all means for them, their families and for the rest of us.
Prologue: Why I Went To “Love Won Out”
Part 1: What’s Love Got To Do With It?
Part 2: Parents Struggle With “No Exceptions”
Part 3: A Whole New Dialect
Part 4: It Depends On How The Meaning of the Word "Change" Changes
Part 5: A Candid Explanation For "Change"
Using the same research methods employed by most anti-gay political pressure groups, we examine the statistics and the case studies that dispel many of the myths about heterosexuality. Download your copy today!
And don‘t miss our companion report, How To Write An Anti-Gay Tract In Fifteen Easy Steps.
Anti-gay activists often charge that gay men and women pose a threat to children. In this report, we explore the supposed connection between homosexuality and child sexual abuse, the conclusions reached by the most knowledgeable professionals in the field, and how anti-gay activists continue to ignore their findings. This has tremendous consequences, not just for gay men and women, but more importantly for the safety of all our children.
Anti-gay activists often cite the “Dutch Study” to claim that gay unions last only about 1½ years and that the these men have an average of eight additional partners per year outside of their steady relationship. In this report, we will take you step by step into the study to see whether the claims are true.
Tony Perkins’ Family Research Council submitted an Amicus Brief to the Maryland Court of Appeals as that court prepared to consider the issue of gay marriage. We examine just one small section of that brief to reveal the junk science and fraudulent claims of the Family “Research” Council.
The FBI’s annual Hate Crime Statistics aren’t as complete as they ought to be, and their report for 2004 was no exception. In fact, their most recent report has quite a few glaring holes. Holes big enough for Daniel Fetty to fall through.