The Daily Agenda for Monday, August 19

Jim Burroway

August 19th, 2013

Frank Kameny Throws Down The Gauntlet: 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the U.S. Air Force when, in the spring of 1966, he was accused of homosexuality and his eleven-year security clearance was revoked.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. It wouldn’t be until President Clinton signed Executive order 12968 in 1995 (see Aug 5) that homosexuality would be formally removed as a reason for denying a security clearance (most governmental agencies had dropped the ban informally by then).

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

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.

Renée Richards: 1934. The opthamologist, author and professional tennis player completed her transition to female in 1975, after which she was denied entry into the 1976 US Open by the United States Tennis Association. The association had suddenly come up with a “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.

Richards’s tennis career resumed in 1977. That 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, Richards would be known more for her transitioning than for her tennis career. 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. She was the subject of an ESPN documentary in 2011, and she still practices opthamology with offices in Manhattan and Westchester County, N.Y.

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?

Timothy (TRiG)

August 19th, 2013

I know you like to keep up with Pride parades and similar events in this series. I should have said this last week: News from Ireland: There was a Pride Parade in Sligo on Saturday. (A lot of Prides in Ireland seem to be named after the region they’re in, not the actual town, so Sligo was “North West Pride”.) Small, friendly, and fun: my kind of parade: everyone was part of it.

On Sunday morning I took a train down from Sligo to Dublin (sleeping on the train to make up for my lack of sleep the previous night [ahem]) for the March for Marriage: a cheerful protest for marriage equality, which marched from City Hall to the the Department of Justice, going past Leinster House (Parliament) en route.

Next weekend is Galway Pride. (Again, it has a different name: “Pride Ireland West”, I think. Or something like that. Possibly “Amach LGBT”, or perhaps that’s the organising group. I get confused.)


Jim Burroway

August 19th, 2013

I had Sligo’s Pride listed for Saturday’s Agenda. Thanks for filling us in. Shame I didn’t know about the Dublin March for Marriage. I already have Galway’s pride loaded up for next weekend.

I usually try to get the town where the main Pride events are located. That’s not always easy to do. Another pet peeve: you wouldn’t believe how may Pride web sites require several clicks to figure it WHEN it takes place. You’d think that would go right up prominently on the front page.

Timothy Kincaid

August 19th, 2013


So I have to ask: was the theme of the March for Marriage “Yes, so everyone agrees on this, why don’t we do it already?”

Timothy (TRiG)

August 19th, 2013

Ah, yes, you did have Sligo. Don’t know why I thought you didn’t.

And, Timothy, that actually pretty much was the theme, yes. I was with friends who’d missed breakfast, so we didn’t stay for the actual speeches. If it was similar to the one I was at two years ago (I missed last year’s), a lot of the speeches were actually about trans issues. It’s quite closely related, because the marriage equality legislation should allow for recognition of gender changes, but probably won’t.

I didn’t stay for the speeches this time, so I don’t know whether they focussed on that, but certainly there was a strongly visible contingent from TENI* at the march.


* Transgender Equality Network Ireland.


August 19th, 2013

What happens when you take a community of homosexual people (LGB) and artificially force them into a “community” with an array of mostly heterosexual people (T)? Why, you get absurd results like the post above. Here we have a post by a gay writer on a gay blog celebrating Renee Richards, who is not gay. More to the point, Ms. Richards opposes the basic civil right of marriage for gay people and has spoken out about how they should be kept from the institution of marriage, lest they harm it.

Was Burroway ignorant of this? (A simple google search would have revealed this, and it is hard to believe that Burroway would fail to do such basic due diligence.) Or does his fealty to the ideology of LGBT and/or his lack of intellectual courage require that certain embarrassing realities be suppressed so that a fiction can be maintained?

Regardless of the reasons for this post, it remains the case that a heterosexual woman who openly advocates discrimination against gay people has been decreed to be “one people” with gays. It makes as much sense to include Maggie Gallagher and Michele Bachmann in that decree. One thing’s for sure: if such a decree ever did come down from NGLTF or queer academia, Burroway would salute and start churning out articles on Maggie and Michele accordingly.

Priya Lynn

August 19th, 2013

Steven, the vast majority of trans people support the right of gays and lesbians to marry.

Please refrain from judging all trans people based on the unethical position taken by one very rare and isolated trans person.

There are gays and lesbians who oppose marriage equality as well. I don’t here you saying this means all gays and lesbians can’t be a part of your community either.

Jim Burroway

August 19th, 2013

I didn’t know that Renee Richards opposes marriage equality. I will include that next year.

Just because I write about someone doesn’t mean that everyone has to consider them a hero. I write about LGBT people and events generally, and yes, I have no problem with the acronym. “T’s” have had the same experience — experienced differently, of course — of violating gender norms as the B’s, G’s, and L’s. Every time I kiss a man, I violate a gender norm in someone’s eyes, just as surely as Renee Richards did.

But again, that doesn’t mean that I think she has to be everybody’s hero. Same goes for Roy Cohn, Edward Sagarin, Harry Hay, or any number of other figures that have appeared on the Daily Agenda.

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