The Daily Agenda for Sunday, July 13

Jim Burroway

July 13th, 2014

TODAY’S AGENDA:
Pride Celebrations This Weekend: Bellingham, WA; Bournemouth, UK; Leipzig, Germany; Lincoln, NE; Rapid City, SD; San Luis Obispo, CATacoma, WA; Valletta, Malta.

Other Events This Weekend: Aomori International LGBT Film Festival, Aomori, Japan; Rocky Mountain Regional Rodeo, Denver, CO; Durban Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, Durban, South Africa; Outfest Film Festival, Los Angeles, CA; Bear Week, Provincetown, MA; Tokyo International Lesbian and Gay Film Festival, Tokyo, Japan.

TODAY’S AGENDA is brought to you by:

From GPU News (Milwaukee, WI), June 1974, page 20.

From GPU News (Milwaukee, WI), June 1974, page 20.

 
Chicago’s Twenty-One Club, opened in 1961, was raided by police in September 1969, just a few months after Stonewall. According to a brief article written by Bill Kelley for Mattachine Midwest:

The first raid of the current series occurred in the early morning hours of Saturday, Sept. 20, when the 21 Club was hit and 12 persons were arrested and charged with public indecency. (Public indecency is defined as lewd fondling on the body in public, and Chicago police routinely apply the law to cover homosexual dancing and even two men with arms over each other’s shoulders. Allegations of lewd fondling are always thrown in, but the real police target is harmless activity on a par with accepted heterosexual behavior.)

As usual, nothing was going on, but the time had come, so the 21 club was raided and innocent victims grabbed. Woody, the owner, was taken in and quite generously bailed out the patrons. He contacted MM, gave us details of the event and took an MM referral attorney. Moreover, Woody has helped raise funds for the legal defense of the patrons ( a benefit cocktail party was being held on Sunday, Oct. 21, as this went to press).

At some point, Club 21 became known as Legacy 21. It was still in business in 2001 when the Chicago Tribune published this brief profile which noted that the bar was the oldest gay bar still operating. I haven’t been able to track down when the club finally closed, but by 2012 it was boarded up tight, its large yellow sign was still hanging out front.

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TODAY IN HISTORY:
Gay Pub Raided in London: 1810. From The Times of London:

The existence of a Club, or Society, for the purpose so detestable and repugnant to the common feelings of our nature, that by no word can it be described without committing an outrage upon decency, has for some time been suspected by the Magistrates of Bow-street; who cautiously concealing the odious secret, abstained from taking any steps on the information they had received, until an opportunity should offer of surprising the whole gang. About 11 o’clock last Sunday evening, three separate parties of the patrole, attended by constables, were detached from Bow-street on this service. … The enterprise was completely successful. — We regret most deeply, that the information given at the office was found to be so accurate, that the Officers felt themselves justified in seizing no fewer than 23 individuals, at a public-house, called the White Swan, in Vere-street, Clare-market.

Two men were found guilty of sodomy and were hanged. Six more were found guilty of attempted sodomy and were made to stand at the pillory. The crowds who turned out for the pillory were particularly violent, throwing rotten fish, dead cats, “cannonballs” made of mud, and vegetables at the convicted men. The men were severely injured and barely survived their allotted time at the pillory.

30 YEARS AGO: “Brothers” Debuts: 1984. The first American television program featuring a gay lead character finally debuted on Showtime. The show, set in Philadelphia, centered around the three Waters brothers: Lou was a typical blue-collar construction foreman, Joe was a retired placekicker for the Philadelphia Eagles and owner of a sports bar, and Cliff, who in the first episode left his bride at the altar and came out to his family as a gay man. ABC and NBC had already turned down the series out of fear of portraying homosexuality on prime time, but when Showtime decided to begin producing original television series, they saw Brothers as the perfect fit. After a successful first season, Showtime decided to pick up the series for a second season. Showtime also offer the series for syndication to over-the-air broadcast stations, and the fledgling Fox network decided to jump on that deal. Brother would go on for a full five seasons and 115 episodes.

Anti-Gay Groups Kick Off Nationwide Ex-Gay Advertising Campaign: 1998. The campaign attracted so much attention that the Family Research Council’s Bob Knight hailed it as “the “Normandy landing in the larger cultural wars.” Fifteen anti-gay organizations, including the Christian Coalition, Focus on the Family, the Family Research Council and Coral Ridge Ministries, launched a national million-dollar advertising campaign, with newspaper ads in the New York Times, Washington Post and USA Today featuring “ex-lesbian” Anne Paulk under the headline, “I’m living proof that the Truth can set you free.” The campaign also included a television commercial featuring ex-gay and HIV-positive Michael Johnston who, with his mother by his side, proclaimed that he was now free from the “homosexual lifestyle.”

The ads quickly generated widespread media attention. Segments on NBC’s Today, ABC’s Nightline, CBS’s 60 Minutes and Oprah were devoted to the topic, Anne and John Paulk made the cover of Newsweek under the question, “Gay for life?” The ex-gay movement finally found its moment under the sun. But more significantly, the larger anti-gay political movement had yet another weapon to use against the gay community. As the argument went, if gay people could choose to become straight, then they didn’t need protections or guarantees of equality under the law. One underlying argument went even further: that there was no such thing as homosexuals; they were just heterosexuals with homosexual problems.

Focus On the Family, in particular, was eager to exploit the growing public awareness of the ex-gay movement. That same year, Focus, in partnership with Exodus International, launched a series of one-day conferences across the country. Titled “Love Won Out,” the conferences were part road show and part infomercial for ex-gay ministries. Featuring John Paulk (who was also a Focus employee and conference coordinator), fellow Focus employees Melissa Fryrear and Mike Haley; Exodus’s Bob Davies and Joe Dallas (and later, Alan Chambers); NARTH co-founder Joseph Nicolosi; and Nancy Hesche, actress Anne Hesche’s mother, the conferences introduced thousands, mostly parents of gay children, to the movement. Many conferences attracted an attendance of more than two thousand, with a half a dozen conferences taking place every year across North America.

But all was not well behind the movement’s facade. In 2000, Wayne Besen photographed John Paulk as he was leaving a gay bar in Washington, D.C. where he had spent a couple of hours chatting up customers (see Sep 19). Paulk was called back to Focus headquarters in Colorado Springs, where he was placed on probation and removed as Board Chair at Exodus International (although he remained a member of the board on probationary status). But Paulk managed to weather the controversy, remaining in his position at Focus, and continuing in his role as the principal organizer and featured speaker at Love Won Out conferences for another three years.

Michael Johnston and his mother in a television commercial.

In 2003, it was revealed that while Michael Johnston was the public face of the ex-gay movement, he was privately engaging in anonymous sex with men without disclosing his HIV status. Johnston quickly shuttered his ministry and fled to Pure Life Ministries, an ex-gay residential program in rural Kentucky.

So, where are they today? In 2012, Alan Chambers acknowledged that “the majority of people that I have met, and I would say the majority meaning 99.9% of them, have not experienced a change in their orientation.” He then repudiated the particular type of counseling intended to change sexual orientation known as Reparative Therapy, and he has declared that Exodus will no longer take sides in the political debates surrounding gay rights. In 2013, he issued a formal apology for the harms done by Exodus International to its clients and shut down Exodus altogether.

John Paulk left Focus on the Family in 2o03, and he and his wife moved to Portland Oregon where he started a catering business. Anne continue to write books and speak on the ex-gay circuit. In 2013, John recanted his ex-gay beliefs and issued a formal apology. Meanwhile, Anne helped to form Restored Hope Network, a more hardline break-away group of former Exodus ministries. She now serves on the board of directors of RHN. The Paulks have divorced.

Johnston continues as director of donor and media relations at Pure Life Ministries, where his is also available as a public speaker (PDF: 93 KB/3 pages).

TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS:
Robert Gant: 1968. He was Ben Bruckner in the American version of “Queer as Folk.” His HIV-positive character gave the series an opportunity to explore anti-AIDS hysteria and stigma, both outside and inside the gay community. He has had numerous television guest roles, and he acted and produced in Save Me, the film staring Chad Allen about the ex-gay movement. Gant and Allen, along with Christopher Racster, are partners in the production company Mythgarden. He is active in LGBT elder issues, supporting SAGE (Senior Advocacy for GLBT Elders) and GLEH (Gay and Lesbian Elder Housing).

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?

Hue-Man

July 13th, 2014

These two items were posted while alien bloggers took control of BTB during the past days. The first is about sex education for high school students that is factual, non-judgmental, and assumes that teens are likely to act as irresponsibly as the rest of us unless they learn about safe sex practices! I’ll be gracious and won’t impute an agenda on the school board – I’m glad they acted quickly to correct the situation.

The second is just sad – an infant abandoned by his parents but his relatives won’t allow a married gay couple foster the child.

“Alberta high school students must take a Career and Life Management (CALM) course, a program in which Emily Dawson, then 17, enrolled last July. She found, however, that the course was being taught by someone from the Pregnancy Care Centre, an organization that touts itself as a resource for pregnant teens and also happens to be known as staunchly anti-abortion, though it does not market itself explicitly as such.

Emily alleges that the instructor was “slut-shaming” in her presentation, that she ridiculed single-parent families and shot down questions about same-sex relationships. Emily’s mother, Kathy, decided to sit in on a class after hearing her daughter’s account, and found that the lecture was focused on notions deeply rooted in Christian doctrine, including abstinence until marriage and rejection of divorce and abortion.”

“Kathy tried to pull Emily out of the course, but was told that her daughter would face academic penalty if she did not attend lectures. She then wrote to board trustees expressing her concerns and circulated a petition in the community. Finally, in April, the mother and daughter filed a complaint to the Alberta Human Rights Commission, alleging that the board had infringed on their rights as non-Christians by forcing Emily to chose between Christian education or academic penalty. This week, the commission confirmed it will pursue the complaint.” http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2014/07/11/robyn-urback-if-you-want-to-learn-abstinence-go-to-church-get-christian-sex-ed-out-of-secular-public-schools/

Background: Although Alberta is often referred to as Texas North, Calgary and Edmonton (pop 730,000) are less conservative. The 2011 Census showed 53% of Edmonton’s 15-24 year-olds identified as “Christian” and 38% as “None”. Canada does not have a national criminal law on abortion, after the Supreme Court found the existing laws unconstitutional in 1988. And birth control for kids under 18: http://www.law-faqs.org/wiki/index.php/Youth_and_the_Law_in_Alberta/Health_%26_Medical#How_old_do_I_have_to_be_to_get_birth_control.3F

That was July 11, 2014, 10:47 EDT. Later the same day:

“The Edmonton Public School Board has said it will tell teachers not to use an anti-abortion centre to teach part of its sexual education curriculum, after a high school student filed a human rights complaint over what she was taught.” http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/edmonton-school-board-drops-abstinence-based-sex-ed-after-complaint-1.2704291

The CBC link has the Pregnancy Care Centre’s side of the story.

“A gay Vancouver politician says he and his husband were rejected as foster parents because of their sexual orientation.”

“After “agreeing with excitement,” the couple was then told that the baby’s relatives — who didn’t want to take care of the child themselves — were not willing to accept a same-sex family.”

“”We were contacted because of the racial make-up of our family but denied because of our sexual orientation. We send our love to the baby, and hope it finds the family it deserves,” wrote the MLA.” http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2014/07/11/spencer-chandra-herbert-gay-adoption-foster-parents_n_5579441.html

FYoung

July 13th, 2014

It’s great to have see BTB back online.

Thanks for putting in perspective the kick off of the nationwide ex-gay advertising campaign in 1998 with its political roots and its subsequent history. The rest of the history are the marriage bans that reached their peak in 2004.

jpeckjr

July 13th, 2014

I loved “Brothers.” Does anyone know if it is available on DVD? If so, where?

TomTallis

July 13th, 2014

Paul Regina, the dreamboat who played Cliff on “Brothers,” was straight. Sadly, he died in 2006 of liver cancer, leaving a wife and a young daughter. The rest of the lead cast is still with us.

Dave H

July 13th, 2014

I also loved Brothers. I never missed an episode. It would probably look dated today, but it was quite ground-breaking at the time.

The other main character was Cliff’s friend Donald who was, shall we say, “fabulous!” Most episodes included some level of conflict and witty repartee between Donald and Lou (the construction worker).

Dave H

July 13th, 2014

Brothers has never been issued on DVD, as far as I can tell. All of the episodes are available for download here: http://www.tubeplus.me/player/759091/Brothers/

jpeckjr

July 13th, 2014

Thanks for the link, Dave H.

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