The Daily Agenda for Tuesday, April 29

Jim Burroway

April 29th, 2014

TODAY’S AGENDA is brought to you by:

From the Advocate, March 15, 1972, page 35.

San Francisco’s Polk Street in the 1960s had been lined with rather conventional bars and restaurants, but as the gay bars began to move in, the businesses which had been there catering to the straight crowd saw their business dry up. In 1970, a restaurant at 1695 Polk remodeled and re-opened as On the Q.T., with a name that gave a nod to the dual life that many gay people were living at the time. It began as a piano bar/cabaret and fine restaurant. It remained there until 1979, when it closed, moved to 1312 Polk Street, re-opened as QT II, and became one of San Francisco’s better known hustler bars.

The San Francisco Streetcar Murder: 1961. It was late on a Friday night, actually shortly after midnight on Saturday morning, when William P. Hall, 27, was waiting near his San Francisco home for a streetcar on the J line at 19th and Church Street alongside Dolores Park. He was on his way to a dinner date with a theater manager at a North Beach pizza parlor when a car pulled up and three youths, Larry Magee 16, of 116 Tiffany Avenue, Robert Hall, 17 (and no relation to William Hall), and William Castillo, 17, both of 680 Castro Street, piled out. “Are you a queer?”, one of them asked. Hall replied “What if I asked you that question?” And that’s when the trouble really began.

Hall was a well-liked teacher in Marin County, but that night he was accosted by four young men “looking to roll a queer,” as they later admitted. They beat him mercilessly until his was unconscious, took his wallet containing $2.85, and left him lying on the trolley tracks. They then went piled back to the car, driven by Michael Kilkenny, 16, of 710 Castro Street, (and who police later said was the mastermind of the whole idea) and fled the scene. They then went looking in Buena Vista Park for other homosexuals to roll that night, although they later told police they didn’t find any. Car trouble finally ended the spree for the night.

A few minutes after they left Hall on the J line, a streetcar came along and was unable to stop in time before Hall was “ground to death beneath the wheels,” according to one news report. The motorman first told police that he thought he might have seen Hall feebly waving his arms as the streetcar approached, but later he said he wasn’t sure if Hall had moved. Firemen worked for nearly an hour to jack the streetcar up, but Hall died from his injuries before he could be freed.

About a week later, an anonymous tip led police to arrest the four youths, who, according to a San Francisco News-Call-Bulletin report, were quite proud of what they did:

“They said they considered Hall’s death justifiable homicide,” said Inspector Robert McLellan, who with Inspector William Guthrie helped crack the baffling case. “They seem to regard the beating up of whomever they consider sex deviates as a civic duty.”

The officers made clear Hall certainly was not in that unfortunate category.

“This is the first time we ever took anything,” one youth said, admitting the beating they gave Hall was not the first they had administered. “Most of the time, one of these guys comes up and says something suggestive. Then we jump him.” This boy said he knew of as many as 50 youths in his neighborhood who have taken part in similar attacks.

A later news report added:

“I know one fellow,” volunteered Magee, “who has 28 or 29 queers to his credit. They’re all over the city. This is becoming a homosexual town. They’re even coming into the Mission District. You can’t even go out to Dolores Park any more.”

And what qualifies a teenager to diagnose anyone as a sex deviate?

“Well,” Magee replied, “we ask ’em.”

All four teens had juvenile police records which included battery, burglary, disturbing the peace, and auto theft. Kilkenny’s father defending his son as “very studious” and “an upright young man.” But Castillo’s father was more forthcoming. “He’s a bum,” he said, tearfully, while blaming Kilkenny for being a bad influence. On September 8, all four teens were found guilty of first degree murder and robbery, charges which carried automatic life sentences.

[Sources: “‘Queer Hunting’ Among Teenagers.” Mattachine Review 7, no. 6 (June 1961): 6-15.

Del McIntire (pseudonym). “Tangents.” ONE 9, no. 7 (July 1961): 17-19.

“Four Youths Guilty in Streetcar Slaying.” Mattachine Review 7, no. 10 (October 1961): 24.]

“I Am Proud Of My Gay Son”: 1972. Frustration had been growing in New York City’s gay community over the lack of news coverage of the gay rights movement since the Stonewall rebellion nearly three years before. When journalists and politicians gathered for the Fiftieth Annual Inner Circle dinner and comedy roast at the New York Hilton, members of the Gay Activists Alliance saw a perfect opportunity for a protest. But when they entered the ballroom during the intermission to distribute leaflets and briefly take the stage, they were thrown out. A fight ensued in the hallway, where, according to several city officials who witnessed the melee, Michael Maye, president of the city’s Uniformed Firefighters Association, threw twenty-one year old Morty Manford down an escalator, then kicked and stopped him. (Despite the numerous witnesses, Maye was later acquitted of the assault.)

Manford’s parents were outraged by the attack, and in April 29, Jeanne Manford’s letter appeared in the New York Post announcing her unquestioned support for her son:

A Fair Chance

I would like to commend The Post for its coverage last week of the tragic incident that took place at the Inner Circle dinner, when hoodlums who work for our city were allowed to beat up the young men of the Gay Activists Alliance and walk away while our police stood by watching. It might be that these “men” have themselves some deep rooted sexual problems or they would not have become so enraged as to commit violence in beatings.

I am proud of my son, Morty Manford, and the hard work he has been doing in urging homosexuals to accept their feelings and not let the bigots and sick people take advantage of them in the ways they have done in the past and are continuing to do.

I hope that your honest and forthright coverage of the incident has made many of the gays who have been fearful gain courage to come out and join the bandwagon. They are working for a fair chance at employment and dignity and to become a vocal and respected minority. It is a fight for recognition such as all minority groups must wage and needs support from outsiders as well as participants in the movements.

Jeanne Manford

Two months later, Jeanne would walk alongside her son during the New York City Gay Pride Parade, carrying a hand-lettered sign that read, “Parents of Gays United in Support of Our Children.” She later recalled that as they walked along the parade route spectators cheered and “young people were hugging me, kissing me, screaming, asking if I would talk to their parents. Very few of them were out to their parents for fear of rejection.” That when Jeanne and her husband, Jules, got the idea of starting a local support group for parents of gays and lesbians. That support group grew to become the internationally-renowned Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), with 350 chapters more than 200,000 members in the U.S. Jeane Manford passed away in 2013 at the age of 92.

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?

Eric Payne

April 29th, 2014

Once again, it seems, I lead off…

@Jim Burroway,

I have a question for you, and am really interested in your answer and the rationale behind your answer.

Fact: In January, 2014, Oklahoma state representative Mike Turner came up with what he believed was the perfect solution to a court ruling the state’s ban on marriage equality was unconstitutional: He would ban all marriage(s) in the state of Oklahoma. The overwhelming negative response led to his abandoning the idea, almost immediately.


1. Young people turn out in record numbers during the next election, replacing the hard line GOP governance with a moderate Democrat governor, and evening the balance throughout the rest of the state’s government.

2. Though the government has changed, also in that election was a ballot initiative that proposed Turner’s plan to ban marriage in OK. Enough of the very conservative base turns out and approves the initiative; the publicity behind the initiative only emphasizes the initiative is the only way to “keep the gays from marrying.”

3. The newly elected Governor, in a nod to bipartisanship, offers the post of Chief of Staff in the Governor’s Office to a moderate Republican.

4. After assuming the duties of Chief of Staff, a business in Oklahoma reveals the new Chief of Staff made a contribution to the “Yes on No” proposition, helping to invalidate the marriages of every couple in Oklahoma. The court system eventually rules the ballot initiative was in-and-of itself unconstitutional and, after… oh, let’s say… a year, couples’ marriages are reinstated.

The question: Should that Chief of Staff — who refuses to publicly acknowledge whether his views on marriage in the state of Oklahoma have changed, or whether he could suspend his personal belief(s) in his new position — keep his job?

Now, we all know that, even given the strongest leeway, the hypothetical(s) I’ve given would never become reality; the vetting process would eliminate that person from consideration for the Chief of Staff position.

Obviously, Mozilla failed in the vetting process… that, or Eich already had, in his pocket, enough shareholder/Board votes to become CEO in spite of any negatives found in vetting.

And, while I’m sure we can agree, we both feel there were pressures put on Eich to resign, the fact remains, he DID resign, voluntarily. Our suspicions are not facts — just as my suspicion of authorship of the Eich petition was not a fact.

I look forward to, not only your response, but the blog postings promised by a couple of the BTB crew.


April 29th, 2014

Personally, I think it is too much to expect the BTB editors to reply to all the comments and arguments supporting the Eich resignation and opposing the Freedom to Marry, Freedom to Dissent statement.

It may be time just to agree to disagree, and move on to other issues.

Ben M

April 29th, 2014

FYoung – I agree with you on that. The arguments have descended to the point of people talking (yelling?) at each other rather then with each other (with a few notable exceptions). I think there are some fundamental underlying assumptions that each “side” is making that the other side doesn’t share.

On a side note – is it odd that I want to find out what happened to Larry Magee, etc?

Boris Hirsi

April 29th, 2014

“Agree to disagree”. Isn’t that what the letter was all about?

That is the favorite talking point of people that seek to destropy our lives and femilies: that it is only a question of disagreement.

Like disagree wheteher gays should be jailed or not? Let’s have “rational discussion about that but let us not dare to criticize those who want us detained or executed too much – after all it is just an “opinion.”

Ben M

April 29th, 2014

Boris Hiris – I don’t think the letter said that we should “agree to disagree” in any way, nor did it say we should not criticize those who would take action against us. Believe me, there is much in the letter I found troubling, but there is also much people seem to be reading into it that I do not see. Maybe I’m to dumb to see it.

I also see a difference between agreeing to disagree over the morality of any giving tactic vs. jailing gays. I have not read (in a very long history of reading BBT) any of the writers saying we should agree to disagree with people who oppose gay rights. If that were they case I do not think they would be criticizing and working against the likes of Robert Oscar Lopez, Matt Barber, the AFA and on and on.

Fundamentally, I’m not so sure both sides are a far away as they might think. I don’t want to but words in anyone’s mouth, but the way I read Rob’s responses (and Timothy’s as well), it seems to me the outcomes of the protests is less important then the goal for the protest (in this limited case). Is the goal to win over converts to our side or to punish those for having thoughts we disagree with? A boycott because you don’t want to spend money on someone who will use it to oppress you is different than boycotting someone who disagrees with you, but does not actively work to oppress you. Both could have the same result (the business closes because it lost it’s customers). I am to pragmatic to get fired up over such moral arguments, but I can understand them.

Another example, it is not the “goal” of BBT to shame Robert Oscar Lopez into changing his mind, but it is possible he could feel shame as an outcome of BBT writing about him.

Boris Hirsi

April 29th, 2014

And once again: had Eich been racist his resignation would have been expected. Rob, you, Timothy, ALL of you seem to believe that anti-gay sentiments and actions, including funding political campaigns that directly aim to hurt you are not worthy of reaction or even comment.

You and the BTB boys can continue being quislings. IF you believe that the professional proganda-artists can be “persuaded” not to advocate hurting us you are seriously deluded.

But your concern for this extremely wealthy, privileged white straight man is touching.

Ben M

April 29th, 2014

Boris Hirsi – I don’t know if the “you” was addressed at me. If so, I’ve been up front that I thought Eich should resign, but I was not up in arms about it. You can resort to trying to to shame me with the word “quisling” but as has been mentioned before, shame generally only works if you know your wrong.

That you would call someone who disagrees with you on only minor points (and possibly only in volume) a quisling tells me more about you then about me. I also have to say that is proves some of the points that others have made. Would you force me to agree with your every thought? Or try to shame me for disagreeing with only minor points? Your clearly not trying to convince me to change my opinion.

As for the rest, have you given consideration that the people that BBT are trying to persuade are not the professional propaganda artists? Indeed, it seems much digital ink is spent ridiculing them and showing how foolish they are. I think that the BBT are trying to convince our neighbors, who are part of the significant percentage of people with changing views. Again, a different tactic that you might take, but one that I have used many times as well and does not make one a quisling.

Ben M

April 29th, 2014

Also, I had huge brain facts that, those should be BTB

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