The Daily Agenda for Sunday, April 27
April 27th, 2014
TODAY’S AGENDA is brought to you by:
According to Outhistory.org:
In the early 1960s, the Golden Horseshoe became Seattle’s first regular-hours bar where men could dance openly with men. In exchange for this “privilege,” the owners had to pay the police $50 per week, plus $15 a night for a cop to monitor the door on Fridays and Saturdays. Police pay-offs were common in this time period, a means of fending off harassment and keeping the bars open. In the late ’60s, a group of bar owners joined forces with the FBI to expose the pay-off system; scores of Seattle police were dismissed and some were sent to prison.
At one time, Seattle’s Pioneer Square neighborhood was the center of gay nightlife before it all moved to Capitol Hill. More recently, the Golden Horseshoe’s former location housed an art gallery.
TODAY IN HISTORY:
“A Closer Union Than That Of Most Marriages”: 1892. Mary Grew was the daughter of the Baptist preacher Henry Grew of Boston, who, after moving to Hartford, co-founded the Hartford Female Seminary and the Hartford Peace Society, which became a part of the larger New England Anti-Slavery Society. The elder Mary followed her father in his abolitionist footsteps. In 1840, she accompanied her father to the World Anti-Slavery Convention in London. But the convention’s most severe debates centered not on slavery, but whether women should be permitted to participate in the conference. The elder Grew sided with the conference organizers who demanded that women be excluded. Mary’s exclusion, which was supported by her own father, opened her eyes to the need to join the cause of women’s suffrage.
Grew dedicated her life to feminism and abolitionism, the latter cause shifting to civil rights for African-Americans following the civil war. Her lifelong companion, Margaret Burleigh, also joined Grew in both causes. They shared a home and bed together until Burleigh’s death in December, 1891. The following April, Grew responded to a sympathy note from fellow suffragist Isabel Howland, herself involved in a relationship with another woman. That may explain Grew’s opening lines in her thank you note:
Your words respecting my beloved friend touch me deeply. Evidently you understood her fine character; & you comprehend & appreciate, as few persons do, the nature of the relation which existed, which exists, between her & myself. Her only surviving niece, Miss Ella Jones, also does. To me it seems to have been a closer union than that of most marriages. We know that there have been other such between two men, & also between two women. And why should there not be. Love is spiritual, only passion is sexual. …
Why do we speak of those who have “gone up higher,” as though they were of the past? They live more really, more fully, than ever before; & they love us with a firmer, tenderer, nobler love. …
And I have the comfort & confident hope that my time on earth is nearing its end; for I am eighty-seven years old. I try to wait patiently. I do not feel wholly separated from her who was so large a part of my life.
[Source: Jonathan Ned Katz. Gay/Lesbian Almanac: A New Documentary (New York: Harper & Row, 1983): 230-231.]
Eisenhower Signs Executive Order Banning Gays from Federal Employment: 1953. By the time Dwight D. Eisenhower began his first term as president, an anti-gay witch hunt had been going on steadily for three years. When Undersecretary of State John Peurifoy, testifying before the US Senate Committee on Expenditures in the Executive Department, revealed that 91 employees “in the shady category” had resigned since 1947 (see Feb 28). Republican Senators took that admission to allege that President Harry Truman’s administration’s employment of “sexual deviants with police records” was recklessly endangering the country’s national security. The Republican Party’s national chairman sent a warning to 7,000 party members that, “Perhaps as dangerous as the actual Communists are the sexual perverts who have infiltrated our government in recent years.” (See Apr 18).
So when Eisenhower took office, he was keen to demonstrate that he wouldn’t be soft on the pansies. Three months after taking office, he signed Executive Order 10450 mandating that all federal employees who were determined to be guilty of “sexual perversion,” among other offenses, be fired. As The Los Angeles Time described it, the “tough new loyalty-security program (is) designed to rid the government of homosexuals, alcoholics and ‘blabbermouths,’ as well as employees deemed subversive and disloyal. The Executive Order deemed all of those categories “security risks,” regardless of whether they were actually disloyal or not. It didn’t matter how low or innocuous their position was; their mere presence in a government office was deemed a threat. ONE magazine, the first national gay magazine in the U.S., worried about the order’s far-reaching consequences:
Every item in the new standards can be used to hound and harry not only every homosexual in government and in basic industry, but all his friends, acquaintances, and associates, be they homosexual, homosexually inclined, bi-sexual, or heterosexual. Further, every name breathed as fact or as rumor, whether they be National Security employees or not, goes into the National Security files for cross-referencing to Armed Services Files and the local records of the Communities in which they live, towards another day of total mobilization, or a National Registration Act, whichever is first.
For the homosexual, to be loyal is not enough. The homosexual is required to be 100% anti-homosexual as well. He must agree, by taking a loyalty oath, to subvert the Constitution of the United States (which is not his to subvert) and testify against himself. Then, as a homosexual, he must testify against his own decency and integrity thereby making possible acts of aggression against every person he has ever known. Then, having destroyed himself as a person not only to the community but to his own conscience, he is to be tossed aside as a basic security risk by one or all of the five standards of the Security Program.
The homosexual’s life is no longer a private matter to himself. It has become political by Presidential order.
More than 640 federal employees would lose their job because of allegations of homosexuality over the next year and a half. Unknown numbers of others resigned quietly. State and local governments and government contractors followed suit, tossing countless more innocent Americans out of their jobs.
Unintended consequences are funny things though. In 1957, a young astronomer by the name of Dr. Franklin Kameny was fired from the Army Map service because of his homosexuality (see Dec 20). After all of his court appeals were denied, he founded the Washington, D.C. Mattachine Society. In 1965, Kameny and Daughters of Billitis organizer Barbara Gittings (see Jul 31) organized demonstrations in front of the White House (see Apr 17, May 29), the Civil Service Commission (see Jun 26), Philadelphia’s Independence Hall (see Jul 4), and the Pentagon (see Jul 31), all to demand an end to the federal employment ban. This demand remained a key component of the whole gay rights movement from the 1950’s through the 1970’s.
The Civil Service ban on gays and lesbians would continue for the next two decades. In 1973, a federal judge ruled that a person’s sexual orientation alone had no bearing on an individual’s ability to perform his or her job, and it could not be the sole reason for termination from federal employment. But even with that ruling, the U.S. Civil Service Commission held out until 1975 before finally notifying Kameny that they had changed their policies and were now allowing gay people to work in federal jobs (see Jul 3).
[Additional source: Anonymous (“R. Noone”) “You are a public enemy.” ONE 1, no. 5 (May 1953): 5-7.]
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?