The Daily Agenda for Monday, December 23
December 23rd, 2013
TODAY IN HISTORY:
“Organized Male Depravity in Sydney”: 1931. The Arrow, published in Sydney, New South Wales between 1906 and 1933, was the successor paper to two earlier broadsheets, The Dean Bird and Bird O’Freedom. The sporting weekly often augmented its sports and racing coverage with attention-grabbing stories of a scandalous nature. And as one headline from 1931 demonstrates, there was nothing more scandalous and attention-grabbing than examples of “perversion becoming rampant.” On December 23, 1931, Sydney readers were regaled by an allegedly eyewitness account of the annual crowning of the queen of a “kamp kult:”
At a recent gathering held a few nights ago, at which a representative of “The Arrow” had the singular experience of being present, apologies for unavoidable absence were received from “he-shes” and “she-he’s” from all over Australia.
The occasion was a very important one in the annals of organised male depravity in the city of Sydney. It was no less than the ceremony of crowning the Queen of the “Kamp-Kult,” as this body of male flappers describes itself. The ceremonial takes place once a year, and the queen, curiously enough in this assemblage of inverted males, is a buxom and rather impressive-looking woman. The “Kamp Kult” holds high revel, not, as might be assumed, in the vicinity of its members’ nightly perambulations, amid the bright lights of King’s Cross, but in a western suburb, far removed. This, no doubt, for the sake of safety.
The Arrow’s intrepid reporter then sidetracked into an exercise of protesting-too-much before going on to describe the “legendary revels”:
The visitor had gained his invitation by devious means, through a relative. He confesses that, much as the performance that he witnessed appealed to his sense of the bizarre, and astonishing as he found the spectacle of sixty or more devotees of this most ancient and decadent of vices, he did not feel entirely at ease until he had left the scene far behind. For, aside from the dread of personal familiarities which he experienced, and the physical nausea which the spectacle caused within him, was a fear of a massed attack by these Saturnalian revellers if the object of his visit had been even remotely guessed.
The reporter then got back to the proceedings:
Presently amid much excitement the Princess Royal, elect of the Kamp Kultur boys, was announced. An attractive, smartly-gowned brunette was she, immediately recognisable as a young gentleman from the city. Cheers from the assemblage of frocked he-maidens greeted the arrival or the Princess, who was welcomed with showers of kisses. To the astonishment of at least one visitor the Princess disrobed in full view of the guests, and changed into her ceremonial garments. A page in velvet knee breeches and a “Royal” (as the ultra male perverts are called) in the full canonicals of a bishop, completed the ensemble.
The weird gathering was marshalled into the assembly room by the bishop, who played the part of M.C. in the ceremony. A dignified figure, his expression denoting a full sense of the importance of the occasion, he arranged the principals in their places before an altar draped and bedecked with flowers, keeping the guests in the background. They, chattering like magpies, giggling in the manner of schoolgirls, and adopting various feminine poses, and calling each other by endearing names, indulged in the small talk of a hens’ convention. Some walked arm-in-arm, embracing lovingly and examining with interest one another’s beautiful frocks fitting so closely to the figure. Cigarettes were held between manicured fingers or puffed between carmined lips. Some wore false hair, with marcel waves, others the boyish Eton crop. They addressed one another as “Marie” or “Sibyl.” Their talk was mingled with strange expressions, and there were frequent references as to how “trading” was going.
…The Bishop and attendants, the Princess and ladies(?)-in-waiting, took their places. The bishop opened the proceedings by reading apologies from those unable to be present. Descending from the dais, the bishop read from a large book, the cover of which sported a huge “K,” the vows which the Princess was required to take. As a specimen of Rabelaisian ordure, the contents of that book were enough to make a hardened sinner blush. This part of the ceremony was carried out amid a babel of chatter in the mincing tones that inverts adopt in familiar conversation. There were frequent retirements outside, presumably for a little love-making.
When the crowning of the Princess Royal was over, she addressed the assembly. In well-modulated tones she told them how happy she was to be with them, and how she regretted the lost years before she became a Kamp member. … Then the beer flowed, and the fun started. It was surprising to discover what musical talent was there. Many of those present gave evidence of refinement and education. The dancing of some of the “she-he’s” was delightful.
However ” delightful” the dancing may have been, the Arrow of course wasn’t above tisk-tisking the whole thing on behalf of its titillated readers:
This is the answer to those who would say, “These people are different. They cannot help what they are. Let them live their own life.” That is just what we cannot do. For the pervert is like the drug fiend in this, that he would corrupt the world and drag everyone to his own level. The Queen is the occupant of the house where these obscene revels are held. It is stated that homosexual marriages and divorces are held in this house, with as much ceremony as the performance here described.
Said a convicted homo-sexual on one occasion to “The Arrow”: “I have been in gaol and have just been released. But I know I shall do it again. I cannot help myself. What should I do?” The advice given him was: “Go and live in some country where they do not mind these things. But get out of Ausralia. You are not wanted here.”
It is time the police took a hand with these social pests. There is plenty of work in this direction for idle policemen. Instead of being placed on duty guarding either Nellie Cameron or Parliament House. A clean up of Sydney’s perverts is overdue.
[Source: “Organized Male Depravity in Sydney. Perversion Becoming Rampant — Sodom and Gomorrah Revels Shock Community. Man ‘Married’ to a Man.” The Arrow (Sydney, NSW, December 23, 1931): 1, 4. Available online here.]
Wild Bill Dannemeyer’s Op-Ed on Gays in the Military: 1991.The debate was well underway over whether the Defense Department should rescind its policy barring gays in the military. In the pre-DADT era, the ban was a matter of DoD policy, not the law. Conservatives, joined by a large number of fearful moderates and even a few liberals, wanted to keep the ban in place. But few were more hard core about it — or more obnoxious — than Rep. William Dannemeyer (R-CA). On December 23, 1991, he was true to form in his op-ed lambasting gay people with his usual class:
A very poor joke asks: What is meaner than a pit bull with AIDS? The guy who gave the dog AIDS, of course. This could be the fightingest son-of-a-gun in the whole Army. But should he be?
I have seen how aggressive the lunatics of ACT-UP can be-rioting in the streets, smashing windows, fighting with anyone in disagreement-and have often thought how effective they might be on the front lines of combat. But does this prowess and compunction for destruction automatically certify the few and the proud?
…Many people still believe that homosexual sodomy is a perverse behavior, that someone choosing to do so isn’t playing with a full deck. Survey after survey of military personnel supports this belief. …For homosexuals to blame others for reacting adversely to their chosen lifestyle is absurd. The notion of punishing “homophobes” (the label applied to people who find homosexual sodomy repugnant) in the military as perverts rather than those persons who define their very existence by a sex act is itself perverse…
Those were the arguments against gays in the military in the early 1990s. When Bill Clinton ran for President, he promised to overturn the ban. But as soon as he was sworn into office, he ran into a buzz saw of opposition led by fellow Democratic Sen. Sam Nunn of Georgia. In 1993, Congress shifted the ban from administrative policy to legal imperative with the passage of that year’s Defense Authorization Bill, which included the codification of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” into law. According to Servicemembers United, 14,346 soldiers, sailors and airmen/women would be discharged under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” over the next eighteen years before its repeal finally went into effect in 2011 (see Sep 20).
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