The Daily Agenda for Thursday, May 14

Jim Burroway

May 14th, 2015

Pride Celebrations This Weekend: Brussels, Belgium; Chisinau, Moldova; Maspalomas, Gran Canaria; Kerry, Ireland; Long Beach, CA; New Hope, PA; Poitiers, France; São Paulo, Brazil; Springfield, IL.

AIDS Walks This Weekend: Minneapolis, MN; New York, NY.

Other Events This Weekend: Bear Watch, Galveston, TX; Urban Bear Weekend, New York, NY.

TODAY’S AGENDA is brought to you by:

From The Body Politic (Toronto, ON), July 1974, page 26.

From The Body Politic (Toronto, ON), July 1974, page 26.

Le Gant de Velours (the Velvet Glove) in downtown Montreal was considered one of the more elite gay clubs in the city. The existence of gay clubs in the downtown area was an embarrassment to pious local officials, especially during the months leading up to the 1976 Olympics. Montreal police launched a series of raids on gay bars, clubs, and bath houses in a massive crackdown intended to drive the city’s gay community underground. As a result, many of the city’s gay establishments went out of business when fearful patrons opted to stay away. Les Gant de Velours, which had opened in 1973, appears to have closed down sometime during this “Olympic cleanup” campaign.

P.M. Pierre Trudeau: “There’s no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation, and what’s done in private between adults doesn’t concern the Criminal Code.”

Canada’s Parliament Votes to Decriminalize Homosexuality: 1969. In 1967, Justice Minister Pierre Trudeau introduced a large omnibus bill, The Criminal Amendment Act of 1968, in the 27th Canadian Parliament, which, if passed, would have had far-ranging effects on Canadian Law. The bill proposed, among other things, to allow provinces and the federal government to set up lotteries, expand laws on gun possession, impose penalties on drinking and driving, regulate misleading advertising, allow abortions and contraception, and decriminalize homosexuality. In 1968 when Prime Minister Lester Pearson announced he was stepping down as Prime Minister and head of the Liberal party, Trudeau sought the party’s leadership and won. After elections that summer, Trudeau became Prime Minister and John Turner became Trudeau’s Justice Minister. Turner re-introduced the massive omnibus bill into the 28th Parliament and described it as “the most important and all-embracing reform of the criminal and penal law ever attempted at one time in this country.”

The most controversial elements of the bill, the provisions legalizing abortion and same-sex relationships, drew the sharpest criticism from the opposition. The government fought back amendments from Conservative and Creditiste party members to leave the homosexuality sanctions intact. MP Marcel Lambert (PC-Edmonton West) asked, “If it is right to remove the legal sanction from acts of homosexuality between consenting adults … and from certain acts between husband and wife, why do we not remove a whole gamut of offenses, including attempted suicide and other acts involving an individual only and not other human?” MP Andrew Fortin (Creditiste-Lotbiniere) claimed that homosexuality “like tuberculosis,” could be brought under control with proper treatment. MP Rene Matte (Criditiste-Champlain) found the whole debate an abomination, saying it was “almost scandalous to see representatives of the people being obliged to discuss these questions.” England had decriminalized homosexuality two years earlier, but Matte declared, “we’re not obliged to follow the decadence of England.”

Justice Minister Turner countered that the removal of homosexuality from the criminal code would merely lift “the taint or stigma of the law,” and repeated the government’s position that “areas of private conscience, private behavior had better be left to private judgment,” and added that a law that was not enforceable was not a good law. Trudeau also rose to defend the provisions, telling reporters that “there’s no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation, and what’s done in private between adults doesn’t concern the Criminal Code.” After the acrimonious debate finally came to a close, the criminal code amendments dealing with abortions and homosexuality cleared the House of Commons late on Wednesday night, May 13, 1969, in a 149-55 vote.

You can see the CBC’s archival news clips of Trudeau speaking to reporters about decriminalizing homosexuality and other provisions of the omnibus bill here.

A diagram from 1971 of a system to deliver electric shock aversion therapy to gay men. (Click to enlarge.)

45 YEARS AGO: “Shock Doc” Protested at APA: 1970. Gay advocates had long observed that the APA’s labeling of homosexuality a mental disorder served as a handy excuse to enforce widespread discrimination and legal sanctions against LGBT people in all areas of life. What’s more, psychiatry’s attempts to cure homosexuality were often physically torturous, with electric shock aversion therapy a not uncommon method. One of the stars of aversion therapy, an Australian psychiatrist by the name of Nathaniel McConaghy, was in San Francisco to read a paper American Psychiatric Association’s annual meeting, and gay advocates saw it as a perfect opportunity to confront the organization. As McConaghy coolly described the methods he used — his patients’ penises were wired to measurement devices and they were shown porn; once twinge of arousal and they were delivered powerful electric shocks — gay advocates in the crowd began shouting “vicious!” and “torture!” and “where did you take your residency, Auschwitz?”

When the moderator announced the next session, the gay advocates exploded and demanded to be heard. The moderator refused, and the meeting broke down into shouts and recriminations. Conference chairman Dr. John Brady told the protesters to restrain themselves, whereupon one demonstrator shouted back, “We’ve restrained ourselves for 5,000 years!” Another psychiatrist shouted back, “It won’t hurt to restrain yourselves for another half-hour. Another physician reportedly called for the police to shoot the protesters. Most psychiatrists left the room, but some stayed and the conversations that ensued over the next three years finally led to the APA’s delisting of homosexuality as a mental disorder.

In 1981, McConaghy was still unapologetic about his treatment of gay people. In an article he published in the journal Behavior Research and Therapy, he was still presenting the results of his electric shock experiments on gay men. He defended his work as ethical and continued to voice resentment over the interruption of his presentation eleven years earlier. By the mid 1980’s he abandoned aversion therapy, but he kept trying to cure an illness that no longer existed.

Somehow, his colleagues’ esteem for him remained intact. After he died in 2005, the Archives of Sexual Behavior published a memorial lauding him as a pioneer in behavioral therapy who “inspired many to pursue truth and beauty through his example.” The memorial was notable for three things: 1) it briefly mentioned his attempts to cure gay men and painted his response to the “near riot” of 1970 as heroic (“He remained a fearless champion of the application of scientific methods to the study of human sexuality.”), 2) the memorial neglected to mention his use of electric shock therapy, and 3) the memorial was unsigned.

First LGBT Civil Rights Bill Introduced in Congress: 1974. Rep. Bella Abzug, the Democratic Congresswoman for Manhattan and part of the Bronx, was a civil rights attorney before she entered Congress, where she became an outspoken supporter of the Equal Rights Amendment and opponent of the war in Vietnam. Her stands earned her the nickname “Battling Bella,” along with a position on President Richard Nixon’s famed “Enemies List.” On this date in 1974, Rep. Abzug introduced the first federal gay rights bill, the Equality Act of 1974. The bill, which would have banned discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations, went nowhere then, and similar efforts to ban discrimination at the federal level have come to naught in the 41 years since then.

The proposed Equality Act of 1974 can be viewed here.

The raid on Club Neptune (from Body Politic, August 1976, page 17.)

The raid on Club Neptune (from The Body Politic, August 1976, page 17.)

Montreal Police Intensifies “Olympic Cleanup”: 1976. The Games of the XXI Olympiad were due to open just two months away on July 17, and Montreal police had some cleaning up to do. At 1:00 a.m., police raided the Neptune Sauna, arresting 89 men and calling it “the break-up of the most important male homosexual prostitution ring in North America.” Four were charged with being “keepers of a bawdy house”, with the rest being charged as “found-ins.” Of course, it wasn’t prostitution taking place, but ordinary consensual sex in a private club. Police smashed down doors to the individual rooms, and photographed men having sex — acts which, before police smashed the doors down, were taking place in private, but were now taking place “in the presence of a third party,” otherwise known as gross indecency. Police also seized the club’s membership list containing more than seven thousand names.

Over the next three days, police raided five more gay bars and clubs: Chrystal Baths, the Stork Club, Studio One, Le Taureau d’Or, and Chez Jilly’s a lesbian bar. Le Taureai d’Or had been raided the previous October along with four other bars. On May 20, Montreal police raided the Club Baths and arrested twenty-six. This was the second raid on the Club Baths that year. They had raided it on shortly after midnight on January 23, arresting 34. In fact, Montreal Police had been raiding gay bars, clubs and bathhouses right and left since October 17, 1975. Why the raids? According to Toronto’s gay newspaper The Body Politic:

It was made official over the long weekend in May. Representatives of most of Ontario’s gay organizations were meeting in Kingston. They were told by an employee of COJO (the French acronym for the Committee to Organize the Olympics) that a directive had been circulated to the effect that nonconforming elements, including gays, were to be driven underground in the population corridor stretching form Quebec City to Toronto.

…In Toronto on March 10, 1976, two officers fo the RCMP Security Service visit Gay Alliance Toward Equality president Tom Warner. They want to know what, if anything, that organization is planning for the Olympics. They’re looking for “cooperation.” Later in the month, neighbours observe three Metro Toronto police officers emerging from the apartment of a Body Politic Collective member while he is away at work. He is never officially told of the visit.”

A police source told a Montreal paper that the Montreal raids were “designed to frighten gays from frequenting public places where Olympic tourists are likely to be, particularly downtown Montreal.” Pretty soon, the “cleanup” spread to Ottawa, where some of the Olympic events were scheduled to take place. Just two days after the Montreal raid on Club Baths, Ottawa police raided the Club Baths facility there, arresting twenty-secen and seizing the membership list containing more than three thousand names. All told, there had been eighteen raids over the previous fifteen months, with eight of those raids taking place in just the last two months. As The Body Politic observed, “It doesn’t take any leak from the COJO Security Committee to let us know that we are the victims of an ‘Olympic crackdown’.”

The June 19 demonstration in downtown Montreal (From The Body Politic, August 1976, page 1.)

The June 19 demonstration in downtown Montreal (From The Body Politic, August 1976, page 1.)

Montreal’s gay community was never well organized, thanks partly due to divisions between francophones and anglophones. But on June 19, just a month before the Olympic’s opening ceremonies, the newly organized Comite Homosexual Anti-Repression (CHAR) managed to pull off what was until then the largest pro-gay demonstration in Canadian history. Three hundred marched past Quebec Premier Robert Bourassa’s office, COJO headquarters and City Hall to Viger Square, demanding an end to the raids. Instead of driving the gay community underground, the raids had the opposite effect of bringing gay people out in the streets. The May 20 Club Bath raid proved to be the last for a while, although more raids would come after the Olympics were over (see Oct 23). The Body Politic nevertheless declared a tentative victory:

We may have pulled it off. Gay people drawn to the movement in numbers as never before, may have just aborted this country’s most organized and vicious attack on gay people. But as we go to press, the games are still some weeks away and security measures are tightening up. It’s not over yet. But now, we’re ready.

[Source: “Olympic Crackdown.” The Body Politic (August 1976): 1, 17.

Tom Warner. Never Going Back: A History of Queer Activism in Canada (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2002): 107-108.]

Magnus Hirschfeld: 1868-1935. Sometimes known as “The Einstein of Sex,” German-born Magnus Hirschfeld was the most prominent advocate of gay emancipation in his day. In 1897, Hirschfeld co-founded the Wissenschaftlich-humanitäre Komitee (Scientific-Humanitarian Committee), whose first project was to repeal Germanys infamous Paragraph 175, which criminalized homosexuality between men (women were unmentioned in the anti-gay code). While the committee managed to gather signatures of some 6,000 Germans calling for repeal, the committee failed in its goal. In 1919, Hirschfeld founded the Institut für Sexualwissenschaft (Institute for Sexual Science), and he became widely recognized as a prolific writer and speaker on sexual minority issues. He also figured in film history, when he made a cameo appearance in the 1919 film Anders als die Andern (Different from the Others, see May 28), the first film to portray a homosexual love story in a sympathetic light.

While Germany’s Weimar Republic saw homosexuality becoming somewhat accepted in Berlin, extreme right-wing forces reacted with violence. In 1920, Hirschfeld was attacked and severely wounded in Munich after a conference, and in 1921 his skull was fractured in another attack. From 1929, Nazis repeatedly disrupted his lectures. In 1930, Hirschfeld began a lecture tour of the United States, which was expanded to a world-wide tour. By the time he returned to Europe in 1932, conditions in Germany had become so dangerous that he decided not to return to Berlin. On May 6, 1933, the Nazis attacked and destroyed the Institute for Sexual Science, and on May 10, they burned its library and files, the largest of its kind in the world. Hirschfeld wandered Europe before settling in Nice, France in 1934. He died there in 1935, with his death coming also on this very same date in history.

Julian Eltinge: 1881-1941. He was, perhaps, America’s first famous drag queen. One story has it that he first donned women’s clothing at the age of ten for an appearance in Boston. Another one suggests that his mother helped him to dress in drag at a very young age to perform in the saloons in Butte, Montana, and that his father nearly beat him to death when he found out. Eltinge himself claimed that he learned to perform drag as a member of Harvard’s Hasting Pudding Club, but in fact he never attended school there.

At any rate, we do know that he was performing drag onstage and touring Vaudeville after the turn of the century, and unlike most female impersonators at the time, he didn’t place farcical caricatures of women for laughs. He sought to create the full illusion of actually being a woman. He toured Vaudeville under the his last name Eltinge, which gave no hint of his gender. He sang, he danced, he recited soliloquies, and at the end of his act, he stepped forward on stage, and in a dramatic gesture emulated later in the 1982 film Victor/Victoria, he reached up and removed his wig to the surprise of his often unsuspecting audience. He arrived on Broadway in 1907 at the Alhambra Theater, and through the next decade he was reputed to be the highest paid stage actor. He started appearing in films in 1914, and by 1920, had one of the most lavish mansions in Southern California, where he lived with his mother.

Eltinge countered rumors of his homosexuality offstage by presenting an unrelentingly masculine presence in public. He smoked cigars, was an amateur boxer, got into bar fights, and had long engagements with women. Funny though, he never married. “I am not gay,” he protested, “I just like pearls.” But his heyday was over by the 1930s. He gained weight and started drinking heavily while his career took a nose-dive. He was reduced to performing in a Hollywood nightclub catering to a gay clientele, but local laws intended to contain the “homosexual menace” banned him from dressing in drag. Eltinge had to perform in a tuxedo alongside mannequins dressed in his outfits. He’d point to them while enacting his characters. He died in 1941, reportedly of a brain hemorrhage although some suspected suicide. His will, dated October 13, 1938, stated “I declare that I am a bachelor” and left everything to his mother.

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?


May 14th, 2015

“Voters in Eureka Spring, Arkansas, have voted to retain a local nondiscrimination ordinance that defies a new state law forbidding communities to adopt LGBT protections.”

I guess the next step is for the courts to weigh in. I wonder what it would take. I do find it ridiculous that the “small government” party has seen fit to prevent local governments from making their own rule; I guess that their definition of “small government” is different from mine. One thing’s for sure, though – the state government can’t use “the will of the people” to uphold their own law over the local ordinance.

Eric Payne

May 14th, 2015

Arkansas recently enacted a new law, not yet in effect, which bars any local government, at any level in the state, from expanding/enacting any non-discrimination laws to persons NOT already included in existing state law.

I’m sure, the day that law goes into effect, Eureka Springs will be sued to conform to that law’s stricture.


May 14th, 2015

Eric, I suspect there won’t be any lawsuits with respect to the state law v. local ordinances (I don’t think Eureka Springs is the only one) until someone gets in trouble under the local ordinance and fights on the grounds of the state law. I am of the impression that contradictory laws tend to be ignored until there is a real life conflict. That said, if, as you say, the state law has not actually gone into effect, there might be a third, and most unsatisfactory, way. I know Eureka Springs initially passed their ordinance as the law was being debated, in the hopes that their ordinance would be grandfathered in. Any other similar local ordinances could offer the same argument: they existed before there was a state law against them. A court challenge could determine that the preexisting ordinances can stand, without actually striking down the state law, forcing LGBT Arkansans to wait even longer for a new local ordinance to be passed in spite of the state law, and then for a challenge to arise. However I hope you are right and the state challenges LGBT-protective ordinances as soon as the law is in effect. Of course, that would only be a good thing if the state law is smacked down as a result (as it should be). But, if that is even remotely a realistic possibility, you can bet state leaders will be satisfied to wait for an independent challenge to the local ordinances, rather than risking their precious victory against “teh gey”.

Eric Payne

May 14th, 2015

Actually, Nathaniel, Eureka Springs IS “the only one.” Even Little Rock had their local law protecting LGBT citizens reversed by voter referendum.

Leave A Comment

All comments reflect the opinions of commenters only. They are not necessarily those of anyone associated with Box Turtle Bulletin. Comments are subject to our Comments Policy.

(Required, never shared)

PLEASE NOTE: All comments are subject to our Comments Policy.


Latest Posts

The Things You Learn from the Internet

"The Intel On This Wasn't 100 Percent"

From Fake News To Real Bullets: This Is The New Normal

NC Gov McCrory Throws In The Towel

Colorado Store Manager Verbally Attacks "Faggot That Voted For Hillary" In Front of 4-Year-Old Son

Associated Press Updates "Alt-Right" Usage Guide

A Challenge for Blue Bubble Democrats

Baptist Churches in Dallas, Austin Expelled Over LGBT-Affirming Stance

Featured Reports

What Are Little Boys Made Of?

In this original BTB Investigation, we unveil the tragic story of Kirk Murphy, a four-year-old boy who was treated for “cross-gender disturbance” in 1970 by a young grad student by the name of George Rekers. This story is a stark reminder that there are severe and damaging consequences when therapists try to ensure that boys will be boys.

Slouching Towards Kampala: Uganda’s Deadly Embrace of Hate

When we first reported on three American anti-gay activists traveling to Kampala for a three-day conference, we had no idea that it would be the first report of a long string of events leading to a proposal to institute the death penalty for LGBT people. But that is exactly what happened. In this report, we review our collection of more than 500 posts to tell the story of one nation’s embrace of hatred toward gay people. This report will be updated continuously as events continue to unfold. Check here for the latest updates.

Paul Cameron’s World

In 2005, the Southern Poverty Law Center wrote that “[Paul] Cameron’s ‘science’ echoes Nazi Germany.” What the SPLC didn”t know was Cameron doesn’t just “echo” Nazi Germany. He quoted extensively from one of the Final Solution’s architects. This puts his fascination with quarantines, mandatory tattoos, and extermination being a “plausible idea” in a whole new and deeply disturbing light.

From the Inside: Focus on the Family’s “Love Won Out”

On February 10, I attended an all-day “Love Won Out” ex-gay conference in Phoenix, put on by Focus on the Family and Exodus International. In this series of reports, I talk about what I learned there: the people who go to these conferences, the things that they hear, and what this all means for them, their families and for the rest of us.

Prologue: Why I Went To “Love Won Out”
Part 1: What’s Love Got To Do With It?
Part 2: Parents Struggle With “No Exceptions”
Part 3: A Whole New Dialect
Part 4: It Depends On How The Meaning of the Word "Change" Changes
Part 5: A Candid Explanation For "Change"

The Heterosexual Agenda: Exposing The Myths

At last, the truth can now be told.

Using the same research methods employed by most anti-gay political pressure groups, we examine the statistics and the case studies that dispel many of the myths about heterosexuality. Download your copy today!

And don‘t miss our companion report, How To Write An Anti-Gay Tract In Fifteen Easy Steps.

Testing The Premise: Are Gays A Threat To Our Children?

Anti-gay activists often charge that gay men and women pose a threat to children. In this report, we explore the supposed connection between homosexuality and child sexual abuse, the conclusions reached by the most knowledgeable professionals in the field, and how anti-gay activists continue to ignore their findings. This has tremendous consequences, not just for gay men and women, but more importantly for the safety of all our children.

Straight From The Source: What the “Dutch Study” Really Says About Gay Couples

Anti-gay activists often cite the “Dutch Study” to claim that gay unions last only about 1½ years and that the these men have an average of eight additional partners per year outside of their steady relationship. In this report, we will take you step by step into the study to see whether the claims are true.

The FRC’s Briefs Are Showing

Tony Perkins’ Family Research Council submitted an Amicus Brief to the Maryland Court of Appeals as that court prepared to consider the issue of gay marriage. We examine just one small section of that brief to reveal the junk science and fraudulent claims of the Family “Research” Council.

Daniel Fetty Doesn’t Count

Daniel FettyThe FBI’s annual Hate Crime Statistics aren’t as complete as they ought to be, and their report for 2004 was no exception. In fact, their most recent report has quite a few glaring holes. Holes big enough for Daniel Fetty to fall through.