Events This Weekend: European Gay Ski Week, Alpe d’Huez, France; AIDS Walk South Dallas, Dallas, TX; Texas Bear Roundup, Dallas, TX; BFI London Lesbian and Gay film Festival, London, UK; Camp Laurel Foundation Marathon, Los Angeles, CA; Elevation: Mammoth Gay Ski Week, Mammoth Mountain, CA; Texas Tradition Gay Rodeo, Pasadena, TX.
TODAY IN HISTORY:
U.S. Morals Lowest in History: 1952. The National Association of Evangelicals were holding their tenth annual convention in Chicago when the group’s president, Dr. Frederick C. Fowler, told the gathering that American was at its lowest moral level in its history, despite church membership being an all-time high. He blamed “the moral collapse everywhere evident” on materialistic education:
“What is the reason for immorality in the State Department, where homosexuals were dismissed not for their sin but for security reasons?” he asked. “What is the reason for the corruption in the Internal Revenue and other departments of government, for the admitted cheating in college examinations, and in other forms of immorality in the American scene?”
“It goes back to those so-called ‘brilliant’ educators, centered in John Dewey at Columbia, who questioned and then denied the very existence of God, and ruled out any final authority except their own ridiculous and assumed knowledge.”
[Source: Associated Press. "U.S. morals lowest in history, leader says." Los Angeles Times (March 17, 1952): 27.]
Jack Nichols: 1938. The co-founder, with Frank Kameny, of the Washington, D.C., chapter of the Mattachine Society, Nichols was out to his parents since he age of twelve. His mother, described as an Auntie Mame figure, accepted him with aplomb; his father, an agent with the FBI who had divorced his mother after returning from World War II, not so much. His mother’s parents, with whom he and his mother lived in affluent Chevy Chase, Maryland, were similarly accepting: his grandmother allowed him to neck with his male dates in the driveway. By the time he was nineteen, Nichols and his first boyfriend bought a house and lived together openly as a couple.
In 1960, he met Frank Kameny (see May 21), and together they co-founded the Mattachine Society of Washington, D.C. Beginning in 1963, Nichols chaired the Washington Mattachine’s committee on religious concerns, which eventually became the Washington Area Council on Religion and Homosexuality. With Kameny, he led the first gay rights March in front of the White House in April, 1965. Afterword, when Nichol’s presence at the protest drew the attention of J. Edgar Hoover, Nichols’s father, who feared that it would jeopardize his career, threatened to kill him. For obvious reasons, that would mark their final parting.
That same year, Nichols participated in the first of five annual pickets at Philadelphia’s Independence Hall on July 4, and he began to lead the challenge to remove homosexuality from the APA’s list of mental disorders. Nichols was among those who appeared on the 1967 documentary CBS Reports: The Homosexuals (See Mar 7). In 1969, he and his partner, Lige Clarke, moved to New York and founded GAY, reputed to be the first gay weekly newspaper in the US distributed on newsstands. He and Clarke also wrote a column, “The Homosexual Citizen,” for Screw magazine. That column was the first gay-interest column in a non-gay publication. Nichols would later serve as editor for Sexology magazine, the San Francisco Sentinel, and GayToday.com. He also wrote four books: 1974′s Roommates Can’t Always be Lovers: An Intimate Guide to Male-Male Relationships, 1975′s Men’s Liberation: A New Definition of Masculinity, 1996′s The Gay Agenda: Talking Back to the Fundamentalists, and 2004′s The Tomcat Chronicles: Erotic Adventures of a Gay Liberation Pioneer. He died in 2005 at his home in Florida of complications from cancer.
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And feel free to consider this your open thread for the day. What’s happening in your world?