The Daily Agenda for Wednesday, September 19
September 19th, 2012
Southern Comfort Conference: Atlanta, GA. Southern Comfort Conference, which takes place every year in Atlanta, is the world’s largest transgender social, educational, and entertainment conference. Southern Comfort began on Wednesday and continues through the weekend. For the past 22 years, it has provided the transgender community with a place to meet and discuss issues directly relevant to the community, and to just have some fun and catch up on friendships along the way. The five-day conference begins today at the Crowne Plaza Hotel | Atlanta Perimeter at Ravinia .
National Black Justice Coaliiton’s OUT On the Hill Black LGBT Leadership Summit: Washington, D.C. The National Black Justice Coalition convenes its third annual OUT On the HIll summit today. The focus this year is to make an expanded effort in recruiting emerging Black LGBT leaders to “educate our Congressional leaders, the Obama Administration and federal agencies on public policy concerns of Black LGBT people and our families.” This year’s conference includes participation in the Black LGBT Leaders Day at the White House this afternoon and an opportunity to participate in the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s Annual Legislative Conference (CBCF-ALC) on Saturday. OUT on the Hill is being held at the Washington Marriott Wardman Park and continues through Saturday.
Gay and Lesbian Medical Association Conference: San Francisco, CA. Clinicians, researchers, public health professionals and policymakers will convene today in San Francisco for the thirtieth annual GLMA Conference. Topics presented at the conference include clinical health and primary care issues, education and training, health policy and public health programs, emerging LGBT health issues, health disparities, model programs and other original research. The conference kicks off today with a Welcome reception, with a full schedule beginning tomorrow and lasting through Sunday.
Africa Sexual Health and Rights Conference: Windhoek, Namibia. The 5th Africa Conference on Sexual Health and Rights will meet to evaluate status of sexual health and rights, with particular focus on women, girls, adolescents and youth, and will include discussions on the problems faced by Africa’s LGBT communities. The conference is being hosted by the Namibia Planned Parenthood Association (NAPPA), an affiliate member of the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) under the auspices of the African Federation for Sexual Health and Rights. The three day conference will continue through Saturday.
AIDS Walks This Weekend: Amherst, NS; Bay City, MI; Brampton, ON; Calgary, AB; Catham, ON; Corner Brook, NL; Dryden, ON; East Lansing, MI; Edmonton, AB; Flint, MI; Ft. McMurray, AB; Fredericton, NB; Grande Prairie, AB; Halifax, NS; Happy Valley/Goose Bay, NL; Kamloops, BC; Kingston, ON; Moncton, NB; Moricetown, BC (Friday); Namaimo, BC; New Glasgow, NS; New Hope, CA; Oshawa, ON; Niagara, ON; Oklahoma City, OK; Portland, OR; Prince George, BC; Red Deer, AB; Regina, SA; St. Catharines, ON; St. John, NB; St. Johns, NL; San Antonio, TX; Seattle, WA; Smithers, BC; Sydney, NSW; Thunder Bay, ON; Toronto, ON; Traverse City, MI; Truro, NS; Vancouver, BC; Victoria, BC (Tomorrow); Whitehorse, YT (Today); Windsor, ON; Winnipeg, MB.
Other Events This Weekend: Everybody’s Perfect LGBTIQ Film Festival, Geneva, Switzerland; Queer Lisboa Film Festival, Lisbon, Portugal; Gay Day at LA County Fair, Los Angeles,CA; OctoBEARfest, Munich, Germany; Queer Fest 2012, St. Petersburg, Russia; Folsom Street Fair, San Francisco, CA; Out In the Park Six Flags, Springfield, MA.
TODAY IN HISTORY:
Miami Mayor Dismisses Constitutional Concerns Over Anti-Gay Drive: 1954. Miami’s ongoing hysteria over discovering the presence of gay people in their midsts (see Aug 3, Aug 11, Aug 12, Aug 13 (twice that day), Aug 14, Aug 26, Aug 31, Sep 1, Sep 2, Sep 7 and Sep 15) received further attention on the editorial page of The Miami News when staff writer Jane Woods highlighted the many battles between the combative mayor Abe Aronovitz and others on the City Commission and the local community:
Homosexuals brought the next trouble. In the pre-Kefauver days, says the Mayor, there were numerous bars in downtown Miami with gambling rooms upstairs or in the back. After open gambling was closed down, some of these bar operators turned these upstairs rooms into parlors, where homosexuals congregated, met each other, made love.
After Miami had a series of shocking crimes this summer, it was brought to the Mayor’s attention that many homosexuals took an intense pleasure in starting innocent young people off into an abnormal life. Many teen-age boys, to make money, had learned to feign abnormality to milk older homosexual men for all the money they could. Bar operators calculatingly making money from this traffic in human misery in the heart of downtown appalled him (Aronovitz), he says.
“The only effective step I knew to take was to bring the most intense public pressure to bear on Chief Headley (see Aug 26, Aug 31 and Sep 1.) I have affection, and respect for Walter Headley and his ability. But I hoped that the men in the district, under him, directly able to do something about these bars, might be spurred into action if they felt the chief’s job as at stake. I knew they could, if they would, use technicalities of the law to force these places out of existence.
“What response do I get from my fellow commissioners? Mr. Hearn tells me that I am doing millions of dollars worth of harm by bad publicity, making it appear we are a houseful of perverts in Miami. Chief Quigg suggests that the intense police drive I advocate might violate constitutional rights of some men.”
An Ex-Gay Leader Walked Into A Bar: 2000. In 1998, the supposedly “ex-gay” John Paulk and his “ex-lesbian” wife Anne were the centerpieces of a massive publicity push by Focus On the Family to promote the pray-away-the-gay therapy offered by Exodus International. Paulk was the manager of Focus’ Homosexuality and Gender division, and he had also served as Board Chairman for Exodus since 1995. As part of their publicity campaign, the Paulks appeared on 60 Minutes and Oprah, as well as in full-page newspaper ads and on a 1998 cover of Newsweek. Their 1999 book, Love Won Out, became the title for a series of promotional ex-gay conferences put on jointly by Focus and Exodus.
On September 19, 2000, John Paulk traveled to Washington, D.C. on Focus business when he walked into a dark and seedy gay bar known as Mr. P’s in the heart of D.C.’s Dupont Circle gayborhood. A few of the patrons there, employees at the Human Rights Campaign, recognized him immediately and watched as Paulk ordered a drink and struck up conversations with other bar patrons. One of the HRC staffers called Wayne Besen, who was also working at the HRC at the time and who had already written about the ex-gay movement. When Besen arrived twenty minutes later, he found Paulk on a barstool chatting with patrons. Besen confronted Paulk and tried to photograph him, but the bar’s bouncer, citing house rules prohibiting photography, stepped in and asked Besen to leave. Besen waited outside the bar and when Paulk finally came out the front door, Besen snapped another photo as Paulk was leaving.
Besen immediately called several reporters. The first to express an interest was Southern Voice’s Joel Lawson, who broke the story two days later. In Paulk’s first public statement, he claimed that he only went to Mr. P’s to use the restroom, despite the presence of brightly lit coffee shops and hotels with public restrooms on the very same block. Besen countered, “I didn’t know that using the bathroom involved 40 minutes of socializing in a bar and offering drinks to strangers.” Paulk was called back to Focus headquarters in Colorado Springs where he was placed on probation and removed as Board Chair at Exodus International (although he remained a member of the board on probationary status). But he somehow managed to weather the controversy. Paulk remained in his position at Focus, and he continued to be the principle organizer and featured speaker at Love Won Out conferences for another three years. In 2003, he finally decided to step down from Focus. Today, Anne Paulk continues to write and advocate for ex-gay ministries, but John has disengaged completely from the movement. He is instead a catering chef in Portland, Oregon.
Brian Epstein: 1934. He was already well on the way to becoming a successful businessman while managing the record departments at his father’s chain of radio and hi-fi stores in Liverpool, when he began to hear the buzz surrounding a local band. He decided to attend a lunchtime concert at the Cavern Club and was taken in by what he heard. “I was immediately struck by their music, their beat, and their sense of humor on stage — and, even afterwards, when I met them, I was struck again by their personal charm. And it was there that, really, it all started.” The band called themselves the Beatles. Epstein signed on as their manager, and within five months he had paid Decca records out of his own pocket to record a studio demo. He shopped it around, but none of the major labels were interested until George Martin at EMI’s tiny Parlophone label heard them. He liked what he heard and signed the band. The rest, as they say, is history.
Epstein’s sexuality wasn’t generally known until several years after his death in 1967. The band, of course, figured it out right away, probably owing to Epstein’s interest in the band’s appearance on stage. Epstein is credited for creating the early Beatles’ look — the collarless suites and ties, the mod haircuts, the synchronized bow at the end of their performances. John Lennon was known to make a few sarcastic comments about Epstein’s sexuality, but the band mostly accepted him as one of their own. Rumors later swirled that Lennon and Epstein had an affair while vacationing in Barcelona in 1963, but Lennon denied it in a Playboy interview in 1980. “It was never consummated, but we had a pretty intense relationship,” he said. Lennon and his first wife, Cynthia, (Eptstein had been John’s best man when they married in 1962) have always maintained that the relationship was platonic.
When Epstein died in 1967 from an overdose of the barbiturate Carbitral, the band began its downward spiral. Much of that downfall was attributed to tensions between McCartney and Lennon, who argued over who should take over the band’s management. They were never able to come to an agreement on that point, and the relationship between the two men continued to deteriorate.
Eighteen years after the Beatles broke up, they were among the earliest entrants into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Paul McCartney credits Epstein for making the Beatles one of the most successful bands in the world. “If anyone was the Fifth Beatle, it was Brian,” he told a BBC documentary in 1997. But to this day, Epstein is still not included in the Hall’s Non-Performer’s Section.
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