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Posts for February, 2015

The Daily Agenda for Friday, February 20

Jim Burroway

February 20th, 2015

TODAY’S AGENDA:
Events This Weekend: Pride, Cape Town, South Africa; Telluride Gay Ski Week, Mountain Village, CO; Elevation: Utah Gay Ski Week, Park City, UT; Arctic Pride, Rovaniemi, Finland; Sydney Mardi Gras, Sydney, NSW.

TODAY’S AGENDA is brought to you by:

From The Calendar (San Antonio, TX), February 17, 1984, page 3.

From The Calendar (San Antonio, TX), February 17, 1984, page 3.

Marcus_Welby_Intro_Screen

TODAY IN HISTORY:
Marcus Welby, M.D. Episode “The Other Martin Loring” Airs: 1973. Marcus Welby was America’s favorite doctor, and Marcus Welby, M.D. was the first program to hit number one in the Nielsen ratings for the perpetually struggling ABC. But America’s favorite doctor made a bad call in its fourth season when it aired an episode titled “The Other Martin Loring.” The episode centers around Loring, who consults Dr. Welby for being an alcoholic, overweight, depressed and diabetic. Relax, take it easy, don’t work too hard, Welby tells Loring. That night, Loring who goes home to his wife, who demand a divorce and custody of their son. When he threatens to countersue, Mrs. Loring says she won’t “hold anything back.” He later collapses under the strain and under Welby’s care again. One thing led to another, including a drunk-driving car accident. Eventually, Welby figures out that Loring is gay. Welby’s advice: Loring had a “serious illness” and he should suppress his desires and see a psychiatrist because his “tendencies” were “degrading and loathsome.”

Shortly before the episode’s scheduled air date, a script was leaked to the Gay Activist Alliance, which organized a protest of two dozen demonstrators at ABC’s New York headquarters. Another group of thirty activists entered the building, guided by a detailed map provided by someone within the network, and took over the thirty-ninth floor offices of the network’s top executives. “It was one of the first big actions we took,” Ron Gold, GAA’s media director, later recalled. “It was also one of the biggest mistakes we made. ABC offered to set up a meeting for two of us with their standards and practices person and the president of the network if the rest of us would go away. But we were afraid that we were going to get screwed over so we said no. That was very foolish because we didn’t get to talk to anybody. They thought we were crazy — and to a certain extent we were. But we were also justifiably paranoid.”

Other protests broke out in Los Angeles when the episode aired, and gay activists tried to launch a nationwide advertiser boycott. But the boycott fizzled, largely because the fractious gay activist community didn’t have the means to communicate with each other effectively, let alone mount a campaign to sway the general public. LGBT-advocacy was still in its infancy, learning the ways of effective demonstration and publicity. But they were quick learners. More than a year later when Marcus Welby, M.D. would air another homophobic episode (see Oct 8), gay activists were better prepared, and their actions would lead to seventeen ABC affiliates dropping that episode and nearly a dozen sponsors pulling out.

TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS:
William Lygon, 7th Earl Beauchamp: 1872-1938. He succeeded his father as Earl at the age of eighteen when his father died of a heart attack during dinner in 1891. That was the start of a very prodigious political career. He became mayor of Worcester in 1895, and was given the post as Governor of New South Wales, Australia in 1899, while still only twenty-seven. But here, his inexperience showed. He was unpopular due to a series of gaffes, including the time he referred to Australia’s “birthstain” as a penal colony. Bored with the assignment, Beauchamp returned to Britain in 1900. In 1902, he joined the Liberal Party and married Lady Lettice Grosvenor. The couple would go on to have three sons and four daughters. When the Liberals came to power in 1905, Beauchamp took on a series of posts in the government, and he served as Liberal Leader in the House of Lords from 1924 to 1931.

Stories had circulated since the 1920s about parties Beauchamp threw at Walmer Castle. But it would be a return trip to Australia in 1930 that would be his undoing, as he was accompanied during the two month trip by young Liberal MP, Robert Bernays, who was also Beauchamp’s lover. Hugh Grosvenor, the Tory Duke of Westminster, was a staunch foe of the Liberals and, more to the point, developed a deep and abiding hatred for his brother-in-law. He summoned his sister and laid the evidence of Beauchamp’s homosexuality before her and urged her to divorce her husband. She never did file for divorce, but she left him immediately. The Duke also demanded that Beauchamp’s children testify against him, but they refused. Finally, the Duke took his information to King George V, who was shocked at the allegation. “I thought men like that shot themselves,” he muttered.

It appeared Beauchamp’s arrest and trail by the House of Lords was imminent. But there was one problem: during the depths of the Great Depression, the House of Lords was increasingly looked upon as a place of idleness and privilege, prompting calls for its abolition. A scandal like this would only worsen the its reputation. Also, Beauchamp was personally close to the King — he had carried the Sword of State at William’s coronation and served as Steward of the Household. Also, the King’s son, George, was seeing one of Beauchamp’s daughters, although that relationship soon ended. The King intervened, and sent three envoys to persuade Beauchamp to resign from all of his official posts and leave England by midnight.

Beauchamp fled England that night, taking a boat to the continent and traveling to the German spa town of Wiesbaden. His plan, which he had disclosed to two of his daughters before leaving, was to commit suicide by overdose. His children took turns traveling weeks at a time to Wiesbaden to remain with him at all times, watching over him. It was finally Hugh, his second son (and who was also gay) who finally persuaded his father from taking his life.

After recovering his wits at Wiesbaden, Beauchamp moved to Paris, Venice, Sydney and San Francisco, constantly moving between the four cities. The closest city to a home to him was perhaps Sydney, where he spent most of his time and was tempted to buy a house. But after Hugh’s death in 1936, Beauchamp was allowed to return to England to bury his son at the ancestral home of Madresfield Court, staying only a few days for fear of arrest. But the following year, shortly after George V’s death and George VI’s coronation, the charges were finally dropped and Beauchamp was allowed to go home for good. He died in 1938 of cancer while traveling to New York. His children remained loyal to him to the very end.

The Earl of Beauchamp is generally believed to have been model for Lord Marchmain in Evelyn Waugh’s novel, Brideshead Revisited.

Joseph McCarthy and Roy Cohn

Roy Cohn: 1927-1986. Could there be a more despicable character in all of gay history? The Columbia Law grad showed signs of legal brilliance early, having been admitted to the bar at twenty-one, becoming an Assistant U.S. attorney in Manhattan and playing a prominent role in the prosecution of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg in 1951. In 1952, Sen. Joseph McCarthy (R-WI) appointed him as chief counsel to the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations on the recommendation of FBI chief J. Edgar Hoover, where Cohn became known for his aggressive questioning of suspected Communists. Cohn brought in his good friend, David Schine as consultant to McCarthy’s staff. But when the young and handsome Schine was drafted into the army in 1953, Cohn embarked on a private campaign to ensure special treatment for Schine — light duties, extra leave, an exemption from overseas assignment — and threatened to “wreck the Army” if they didn’t accede to his demands. The bitter irony of all this is that while Cohn was pursuing special treatment for his special friend, McCarthy’s witch hunt extended beyond communists to also include gay people (See, for example, Mar 14Jul 2, Sep 7).

Roy Cohn and David Schine on the cover of Time.

By 1954, McCarthy’s anti-communist and anti-gay witch hunt extended to the Army, which decided to fight back. During one exchange during a committee hearing, the Army’s head counsel, Joseph Welch, asked a McCarthy staffer about the origin of a photo of Schine and Army Secretary Robert Stevens, which had been doctored to omit the presence of Air Force Colonel Jack Bradley. Welch asked the staffer sarcastically, “Did you think it came from a pixie?” McCarthy interjected, “Will counsel (Welch) for my benefit define– I think he might be an expert on that– what a pixie is?” Welch responded, “Yes. I should say, Mr. Senator, that a pixie is a close relative of a fairy.” Others in the chamber who were in on the rumors, broke into laughter. Cohn later called the remark, “malicious,” “wicked,” and “indecent.”

Roy Cohn, four months before he died in 1986.

Cohn later forced to resign from McCarthy’s staff due to growing outrage over his tactics. He returned to New York and entered private practice, where his clients included mafia figures, the New York Yankees, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York, and Studio 54 owners Steve Rubell and Ian Schrager. He was friends with Barbara Walters (she served as his “beard” for a while), columnist Walter Wenchell, and North Carolina Sen. Jesse Helms.

Bully / Coward / VictimWhile publicly closeted and working actively against gay rights, he partied at the best gay bars and threw lavish parties in New York and Provincetown. In 1984, he was diagnosed with AIDS. He used his connections to jump to the head of the line for treatment with the then-scarce and experimental AZT. By the time he died in 1986, he maintained his public denial both of his homosexuality and his disease — he said it was “cancer.” In Tony Kushner’s Angels In America, Cohn is portrayed as a power hungry, self-loathing hypocrite who is dying of AIDS while haunted by the ghost of Ethel Rosenberg. Cohn’s name is also on a panel of the AIDS memorial quilt. It reads, “Roy Cohn: Bully, Coward, Victim.” A fitting eulogy if there ever was one.

Gaetan Dugas

Gaëtan Dugas: 1953-1984. There’s a legal principle in U.S. law that says that you cannot libel the dead. That seems particularly unjust in Degas’s case, given that his fame didn’t come until three years after he died. That’s when Randy Shilts cast him as the villain, as Patient Zero, in his bestselling book And the Band Played On. If you’ve read the book, this scene is impossible to forget:

Club Baths, San Francisco, November 1982 . . . When the moaning stopped, the young man rolled over on his back for a cigarette. Gaetan Dugas reached up for the lights, turning up the rheostat slowly so his partner’s eyes would have time to adjust. He then made a point of eyeing the purple lesions on his chest. “Gay cancer,” he said, almost as if he were talking to himself. “Maybe you’ll get it too.”

UnknownGaëtan Dugas was described as a good-looking airline steward for Air Canada who hopped around the country and wantonly spread AIDS to as many people as he could — from 50 to perhaps more than 250. Shilts didn’t actually write that Dugas was the guy who gave America AIDS. But by identifying him as “Patient Zero,” Shilts gave birth to the notion that the narcissistic, predatory, diseased-laden Dugas — “the Quebecois version of Typhoid Mary,” as Shilts put it — was resonsible for the most significant public health catastrophe of the late twentieth century. A New York Post headline called Dugas “the man who gave us AIDS” , and Time magazine called his life as an “appalling saga.” And pundits and anti-gay activists’ appropriated the story to charge that all people with AIDS, especially gay people with AIDS, were a danger to society — and potential murderers.

The diagram that started it all. From David M. Auerbach, William W. Darrow, Harold W. Jaffe, James W. Curran. "Cluster of cases of acquired immune deficiency syndrome." American Journal of Medicine 76, no. 3 (March 1984): 487-492.

The diagram that started it all. Click to enlarge. From David M. Auerbach, William W. Darrow, Harold W. Jaffe, James W. Curran. “Cluster of cases of acquired immune deficiency syndrome.” American Journal of Medicine 76, no. 3 (March 1984): 487-492.

In fact, Dugas was identified as “Patient O” — the letter O — in a study that was able to demonstrate that there was some sort of transmission agent for the disease. Marcus Conant of the University of California, who co-wrote the study, pointed out that “if it hadn’t been this man, it would have been some other.” As for the story about Degas having sex with unwitting victims and then callously revealing his “gay cancer,” there’s reason to believe that the story was at the very least manipulated and exaggerated, and at worst, made up. In 2012, Shilts’s former editor, Michael Denneny, admitted that it was all a sick bid for publicity:

“We lowered ourselves to yellow journalism. My publicist told me, ‘Sex, death, glamour, and, best of all, he is a foreigner, that would be the icing on the cake,’” said Shilts’ editor, Michael Denneny, in an interview. “That was the only way we could get them to pay attention.”

…“Randy hated the idea. It took me almost a week to argue him into it,” Denneny tells Tiemeyer in the new book.

But there was “terrific animus in the media about covering AIDS at all,” Denneny said. The New York Times, Newsweek and other publications “all told us they were not going to review a book that was an indictment of the Reagan administration and the medical establishment.”

So new publicity materials focusing on the hot flight attendant were fed to the New York Post. The tabloid’s Oct. 6, 1987, headline sparked a media frenzy. Shilts appeared on 60 Minutes. The Times reviewed the book on a weekday and again on Sunday; it was a best-seller the following week.

Dugas had become a scapegoat. He came to personify gay sexual excess, that stereotype that was already so firmly lodged in the public’s imagination. But now they could blame Dugas deaths of thousands, a blame laid by anti-gay activists as well as by members of the gay community itself.

But those who knew Dugas had a different view of him. Shortly after Dugas died, a small group of AIDS activists in Vancouver had dedicated three cherry trees to the memory of the first three gay men in the city who had died of AIDS: Cedar Debley, Ray Scott and Gaëtan Dugas. They had hoped that people would see the trees and remember the three men with respect. Two years later, they watched, dumbfounded, astheir friend became public enemy number one:

Dugas’ two closest friends, both Air Canada flight attendants, were horrified. So was Bob Tivey. He could not believe his eyes when he watched the television coverage: “Gaëtan Dugas is named as Patient Zero in the North American AIDS epidemic.” “Promiscuous French-Canadian flight attendant responsible for the rapid spread of AIDS in the US.”

“They weren’t talking about the man I knew,” Tivey tells me. He had agreed to talk with Shilts when the reporter made a trip to Vancouver while he was researching the book: on the condition that Shilts would not use Dugas’ name. Tivey did not mention anything about Dugas’ sexual habits. At the time, Tivey suspected that Shilts had broken confidentiality to cash in and sell more books. “I had a battle with Randy on Good Morning America. I was very upset.”

Dugas was no angel. He was promiscuous, and he didn’t believe that AIDS was contagious. Dugas wasn’t unusual that way. A lot of people, including doctors, had all kinds of theories about what caused AIDS. Some thought that the Hepatitis B vaccine was the culprit. Others blamed poppers and other drugs. Others still thought it was some kind of a haywire immune response to semen. In fact, a suspected AIDS virus wasn’t discovered until 1983 (see May 20), several months after that made-up conversation in Shilts’s book supposedly took place.

Since Shilts’s book came out, Dugas has served as the archetype for repeated bouts of media hysteria focusing on one HIV-positive monster or another, lurking in the shadows and the bathhouses, spreading a pernicious disease to as many people has possible. The Patient Zero myth still persists today.

Gaetan-Dugasx400But the reality  is far more complicated. Last year, a video emerged of a AIDS forum held in Vancouver in 1983. A young man approached the microphone asking the panel of experts pointed questions about AIDS. “If you present yourself to a doctor,” he asked, “what kind of test can be undertaken to confirm if you are a carrier or not?” There was no test, they replied. And no one had yet identified a virus. “So if you have a lover who has AIDS and you don’t have AIDS, what is the warning you give to people? You should not necessarily fear those people,” he pressed. That frightened young man asking those pointed questions was Gaëtan Dugas.

[My thanks to Mark S. King for alerting me to the true story of Gaëtan Dugas.]

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?

More questions, more answers (part 2)

Rob Tisinai

February 19th, 2015

This is part 2 of my answers to questions posed by Jason Salamone, who “is a former liberal agnostic, but surrendered to Christ on April 7th, 2011.” You can find part 1 here. It covered his first 11 questions, so let’s pick up with #12. (And I’m afraid this time I wasn’t able to hold back the snark he provokes as we get closer to the end.)

(12.) Not every marriage produces children, but every child has a biological mother and father. By redefining marriage to mean that those biological connections as unnecessary, are we not teaching society that children are commodities for adult desires, and that marriage is not about the children’s needs?

Read the rest of this entry »

The Daily Agenda for Thursday, February 19

Jim Burroway

February 19th, 2015

TODAY’S AGENDA:
Events This Weekend: Pride, Cape Town, South Africa; Telluride Gay Ski Week, Mountain Village, CO; Elevation: Utah Gay Ski Week, Park City, UT; Arctic Pride, Rovaniemi, Finland; Sydney Mardi Gras, Sydney, NSW.

TODAY’S AGENDA is brought to you by:

From The Advocate, March 5, 1981, page 25

From what I can gather, the Express may have closed sometime in the 1990s, and perhaps re-opened as Deja Vu, and then it became the Express again in 2002 when the club’s last owners bought the business. They kept it going until January, 2013. The building, with the Express sign still visible, was for sale as of April 2014.

Deputies check patrons’ identification during a raid at Hazel’s Inn.

TODAY IN HISTORY:
San Mateo Sheriff Raids Hazel’s Inn: 1956. San Mateo County Sheriff Earl Whitmore, accompanied by deputies, Army military police, state Alcoholic Beverage Control agents and members of the California Highway Patrol, began the raid by striding into Hazel’s Inn, a gay bar in Sharp Park, south of San Francisco, and announced simply, “This is a raid!” Patrons were ordered to line up in single file and pass before a group of officers at the rear of the door. Those who were recognized by undercover agents as being gay were ordered to step to one side and loaded into a waiting van outside. About 88 of the 200 or more patrons were singled out and taken away to be fingerprinted, their mug shots taken, and charged with vagrancy for being a “lewd and dissolute person” and for committing “acts outraging public decency” — common misdemeanor charges used against those deemed to be engaging in “immoral” acts, which in this case was, basically, being caught in a gay bar. The bars owners were also charged with operating a dance establishment without a license (some patrons were seen dancing to a jukebox).

Sheriff Whitmore told the press, “The purpose of the raid is to make it very clear to these people that we won’t put up with this sort of thing.” The American Civil Liberties Union of San Francisco’s Executive Secretary Ernest Besig took exception to that reasoning. “As far as can be ascertained, none of the patrons of the tavern were misbehaving or breaking any laws when the arrests occurred,” he wrote in the chapter’s newsletter. “The complaint seems to be that these men were making the tavern a ‘hang-out.’ Of course, there is no law against that, so long as their activity was lawful. …The ACLU is investigating the matter and the local staff counsel will appear on behalf of some of the alleged homosexuals at the court hearing.”

Those who were arrested were told by law enforcement officers and their bail bondsmen that if they forfeited bail, all further proceedings would be dropped. Thirty took the deal and on March 1, the remaining 57 were arraigned. About 30 entered not guilty pleas and requested jury trials, which were set for March 26 and 27. The judge offered to reduce the charge to disorderly conduct in exchange for guilty pleas, and all but three took him up on that offer. Two of the three were found guilty and one was acquitted.

[Sources: Unsigned. “Civil Liberties Union looks into mass arrests.” Mattachine Review 2, 2nd special issue (March 1956): 4-5.

Unsigned. “American Civil Liberties Union acts to appeal California’s lewd vagrancy laws after convictions resulting from mass raids and arrests.” Mattachine Review 2, no. 3 (June 1956): 3-4, 36.]

Sen. Thomas Kuchel

Sen. Thomas Kuchel

Four Inditced In Gay-Baiting Conspiracy Against U.S. Senator: 1965. A political bombshell landed in Los Angeles when a grand jury returned indictments against four co-conspirators, charged with criminal libel in a campaign against U.S. Sen. Thomas Kuchel (R-CA). Kuchel was a moderate Republican — back in the days when it was still possible to be a moderate Republican — who had drawn the ire of the GOP’s rising right wing. Kuchel, who had served in the U.S. Senate since 1953, had refused to endorse Richard Nixon in his race against Pat Brown, Sr., for governor in 1962, and he had backed New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller during the primary race agaisnt Sen. Barry Goldwater. Kuchel had also served as a co-manager on the floor of the Senate for the Civili Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Amidst the Democratic landslide of 1964 that saw Goldwater’s defeat for President, one ultra-conservative GOP candidate managed to become California’s other Republican Senator: George L. Murphy. Murphy had asked Kuchel for his support, and Kuchel replied that he’d be happy to do so only if Murphy repudiated his ties to the John Birch Society and other extremist groups. Murphy declined, and Kuchel’s refusal to back Murphy led a group of conservative Republicans in the state to decide it was finally time to “get” Kuchel, largely out of the fear that Kuchel might try to run against Ronald Reagan in the 1966 gubernatorial primary. The group began circulating an affidavit signed by Norman H. Krause, a bar owner and former Los Angeles Police Officer, and Jack D. Clemmons, a police sergeant, alleging that Krause had arrested Kuchel in 1950 for public drunkenness and what one columnist called “immorality of a peculiarly revolting kind.” The explosive charges made their way through conservative circles, right wing bookstores, and in several newsletters. They even made their way into the halls of Congress. This presented Kuchel with a dilemma: should he ignore the smear campaign and hope it would go away, or should he give the charges even greater public exposure by going after those who were circulating the affidavit?

Kuchel chose the latter. As he told a Washington Post reporter, “This had to be nailed. It had to be nailed as an outright lie. … I want my name cleared because this is a vicious falsehood, but in addition to that, society has something at stake. If the right wing — or any extremist organization — can by falsehoods, rotten falsehoods, successfully destroy the character of a public servant …. it will frighten good people from becoming candidates for public office and it will intimidate other public servants that the same infamous weapons will be used against them.”

And so on February 19, the Los Angeles County grand jury handed down four indictments. Krouse and Clemens were charged with criminal libel, along with two much bigger fish: California GOP political operative and public relations executive John F. Fergus, and Francis A. Cappel, who published portions of the affidavit in his right-wing newspaper Herald of Freedom. Cappel had also provided copies to the Senate Internal Security subcommittee. Fergus resigned as public relations executive for Eversharp-Schick, of Schick razor fame, which at the time was run by Patrick J. Frawley. Frawly, who also was chair of Technicolor, Inc., sponsored the Christian Anti-Communist Crusade and a host of other extremist right-wing causes. Clemmons, who was still on the police force, also resigned when the indictments were handed down.

Conservatives rallied around the co-conspirators. In April, the California Republican party met to elect new party leaders (and to defeat a resolution against discrimination in voting rights while calling for the repeal of the income tax). One GOP spokesman for the moderate wing disclosed to a reporter: “In the convention we were solicited for a most curious cause. We were asked to help two of the four men currently under indictment for conspiracy to libel Senator Kuchel, the great vote-getter in modern Republican politics.” Pamphlets circulated at the convention addressed to “Dear Fellow Patriots,” described Fergus and Clemmons as “two of California’s most active and dedicated constitutional conservatives… good Americans, who acted in good faith.”

Clemmons and Fergus had refused to testify before the grand jury, but a parade of other witnesses who had come into possession of the xeroxed affidavit did. Most denied circulating it further, and some took the Fifth when asked how they got it. While some witnesses expressed horror at the smear campaign, a few nevertheless justified it. Said one, “Senator Kuchel has provoked a lot of hatred and a lot of resentment.” Eighty-one-year-old Helen Courtois refused to testify, saying that the investigation was “to smear, intimidate and divide the forces of the so-called extreme right, to which I have the honor of being a member. … The net result of the proposed investigation if carried out will be to give aid and comfort to the enemy.” Another witness complained that the grand jury’s investigation of “dedicated citizens” was just the first step in President Johnson’s “order” to “punish those who oppose him.”

Capell, Fergus and Clemmons vigorously protested their innocence. But just before their trial was to take place in June, the three changed their pleas to no contest and signed written apologies and acknowledgments of their “mistake.” Capell and Fergus were fined $500; charges against Clemmons were dropped after he changed his plea and signed the apology. Krause pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge.

Kuchel’s standing soared due to his willingness to take on the conservative wing of the party. Moderates continued to urge Kuchel to enter the 1966 California gubernatorial primary against Reagan. But by then, Kuchel had had enough with the conservative wing, calling them ” fanatical neo-fascist political cult of right-wingers in the GOP, driven by a strange mixture of corrosive hatred and sickening fear that is recklessly determined to control our party or destroy it. Their un-Republican dogma has no more place in our party than the odious teachings of communism.”

The conservatives struck back however. Kuchel was narrowly defeated in the GOP primary for re-election to the Senate in 1968 by conservative candidate Max Rafferty. Kuchel’s upset loss opened the way for Alan Cranston to win the general election. Kuchel left politics and returned to practicing law until his retirement in 1981. He died in 1994 at the age of 84.

[Additional sources: Richard Corrigan. “A lie that had to be nailed.” The Washington Post (March 14, 1965): E1.

“Three plead no contest and apologize to Kuchel.” The Washington Post (June 29, 1965): A2.

Jack Jones. “2 are fined $500 each in Kuchel case.” The Washington Post (July 20, 1965): A2.]

Billy Jack Gaither Murdered: 1999. The thirty-nine year old Sylacauga, Alabama resident was beaten to death with an axe handle, covered with kerosene, and burned on a pile of old tires. His attackers said that he had propositioned them, so killing him was the only logical thing to do.

On February 19, Billy Gaither went to The Tavern, a Sylacauga nightclub, where he had been friends with the owner, Marion Hammond, for twenty years. Gaither was a regular there, if he wasn’t at the Tool Box in Birmingham forty miles away. Hammond remembered that he was nonchalant about his sexuality. ” If they walked over to Billy Jack and they say, ‘Are you gay?’ he’d say, ‘Yes, and I love it.’ You couldn’t hurt his feelings on it, so we wasn’t worried about it.”

Another regular, Steve Mullins, 25, also started to hang out at the Tavern. His presence wasn’t so benign. He sometimes showed up wearing racist t-shirts and harassing African-American customers. He was known locally as a wannabe tough-acting skinhead. “He tried to walk around like a bully, but he wasn’t,” Hammond said. “He was mostly talk.” His buddy, a construction worker named Charles Butler, Jr., was quieter.

Gaither had a reputation for getting along with pretty much everyone, so nobody’s eyebrows were raised when Gaither left The Tavern that night with Mullins and Butler. The three drove to a remote area where Mullins and Butler beat Gaither, stuffed him into the trunk, and went for supplies: kerosene, matches, an axe handle and old tires form Mullins’s home. They then drove to the banks of Peckerwood Creek in neighboring Coosa County. They poured kerosene on the tires and set them ablaze. Then they pulled Gaither out of the trunk of his car. He tried to stand up and they beat him with the ax handle, cut his throat, and threw him onto the pile of burning tires. They moved Gaither’s car to another dirt road and set it on fire. It was found the next day.

After spending a night in jail for an unrelated offense, Butler went to police to tell them about the murder, saying God told him to confess. Butler claimed the gay panic defense, telling the police, “Well, sir, he started talking, you know, queer stuff, you know, and I just didn’t want no part of it.” Mullins also confessed, with the two blaming each other for taking the lead in the killing, but neither expressing remorse. In June, Mullins pled guilty to capital murder to avoid the death penalty and agreed to testify against Butler, who was also found guilty. he victim’s father, Marion Gaither, had asked that Mr. Butler not be sentenced to death, saying, “I can’t see taking another human beings life, no matter what.” Both men were sentenced to life with out parole.

Lisa Pond (left) and Janice Langbehn (second from right) with three of their four children as they prepared to board an RFamily cruise ship.

Miami Hospital Denies Access to Partner of Dying Patient: 2007. Janice Langbehn, her partner of nearly 18 years, Lisa Pond, and three of their four children flew from Oregon to Miami to board a cruise Miami to the Bahamas. But Pond suffered a brain aneurysm while in Miami before they could board the ship. Pond was rushed to Jackson Memorial Hospital, where a social worker told Langbehn that they were in an “anti-gay state” and that they needed legal paperwork before Langbehn could see Pond. But even after a friend in Olympia faxed the legal documents showing that Pond had authorized Langbehn to make medical decisions for her, Langbehn was refused permission to visit Pond or to make any medical decisions. She was even refused basic information about Pond’s condition. It was only because of the intervention by a Catholic priest who was called to perform last rites that Langbehn was able to spend a few minutes with Janice before she died.

After Pond died, the cold shoulder continued. Hospital officials refused to provide Langbehn with Pond’s medical records, and the county refused to provide her with Pond’s death certificate, items needed for their two children’s Social Security benefits. Langbehn sued, but a Federal Judge dismissed the lawsuit, based on the narrow fact that Pond was in the trauma unit where rules about visitation were more restrictive. “The court’s decision paints a tragically stark picture of how vulnerable same-sex couples and their families really are during times of crisis,” said Beth Littrell, Staff Attorney in Lambda Legal’s Southern Regional Office based in Atlanta. After the Judge’s ruling, President Barack Obama ordered new regulations on hospital visitation rights for same-sex couples for all facilities receiving federal Medicare or Medicaid funds. Those new rules went into effect in 2010. In 2011, Janice Langbehn was named one of thirteen honorees of the 2011 Presidential Citizens Medal, the nation’s second-highest civilian honor.

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?

The Daily Agenda for Wednesday, February 18

Jim Burroway

February 18th, 2015

TODAY’S AGENDA:
Events This Weekend: Pride, Cape Town, South Africa; Telluride Gay Ski Week, Mountain Village, CO; Elevation: Utah Gay Ski Week, Park City, UT; Arctic Pride, Rovaniemi, Finland; Sydney Mardi Gras, Sydney, NSW.

TODAY’S AGENDA is brought to you by:

From the Advocate, March 5, 1981, page 3.

From the Advocate, March 5, 1981, page 3.

Are you tired of snowstorms and below-zero temperatures? This might be a good time to book a trip to Florida. Key West has long been known as a very gay friendly location, with a good number of resorts and guest houses catering the the gay and lesbian markets, with many of the resorts for gay men being clothing optional. The Sea Isle Guest House was one such landmark. Built in 1948 as garden apartments for the military, the complex was converted to a gay resort in the late 1970s — complete with a statue of Judy Garland. The owners sold the Sea Isle in 2004, and the next thing everyone knew, it had been bulldozed and replaced with a cluster of cookie-cutter townhomes.

John Sholto Douglas, 9th Marquess of Queensberry

TODAY IN HISTORY:
120 YEARS AGO: Marquess of Queensbury Accuses Oscar Wilde of Being a “Somdomite”: 1895. British playwright Oscar Wilde was dining at the Albermarle Club when the Marquess of Queensbury left a calling card with the porter. It read, “To Oscar Wilde posing as a somdomite.” The misspelling may have been the product of Queensbury’s rage over the relationship between Wilde and his son, Lord Alfred “Bosie” Douglas. Queensbury had ferocious arguments with his son, trying to get him to stop seeing Wilde, but Bosie refused. Queensbury even threatened to go public with what he knew, but Bosie refused to back down. So on February 18, 1895, Queensbury followed through on his threat.

Oscar Wilde and Alfred Douglas

Oscar Wilde and Alfred Douglas.

This action led to a long string of events which eventually led to Wilde’s disgrace, imprisonment, exile in France, and early death. Perhaps all that could have been avoided if Wilde had decided not to sue Queensbury for libel. His friends advised him against it, but he may have felt he had little choice. Having been called out publicly like that, declining to sue might be taken as an admission of guilt. Unfortunately, Wilde’s libel case collapsed when Queensbury’s lawyer asked whether he had ever kissed Walter Grainger in greeting. “Oh, dear no,” Wilde replied, “He was a peculiarly plain boy. He was unfortunately extremely ugly. I pitied him for it.”

Queensbury’s lawyer pounced on Wilde’s admission that attraction was the reason he didn’t kiss him.  In short order, Wilde lost the case, and was charged with gross indecency. Wilde’s first criminal trial ended in a hung jury but the second one resulted in Wilde’s conviction and sentence to two years at hard labor.

British Quakers Publish “Toward a Quaker View of Sex”: 1963. A report published by an influential group of eleven Quaker scholars challenged what it considered a hidebound view of sexuality among Christians. The groundbreaking report insisted on the basic similarity of homosexual and heterosexual emotional experience and placed the two on an equal moral footing, insisting that the morality be judged by the same standard.

“Surely it is the nature and quality of a relationship that matters,” the authors wrote. “One must not judge by its outward appearance but by its inner worth … We see no reason why the physical nature of a sexual act should be the criterion by which the question whether or not it is moral should be decided. An act which expresses true affection between two individuals and gives pleasure to them both, does not seem to us to be sinful by reason alone of the fact that it is homosexual.”

The report asserted that “sexuality, looked at dispassionately, is neither good nor evil — it is a fact of nature.” it also explored the meaning of morality itself. “It seems to us,” the report continued,” that morals, like the Sabbath, were made for man, not man for morals, and that as society changes and modes of conduct with it, we must always be searching below the surface of human behavior, to discover what is in fact happening to people, what they are seeking to express, what motives and intentions they are satisfying, what fruits good or bad, they are harvesting.”

Towards a Quaker View of Sex was not an official Quaker statement on sexuality. But because it was published by the Literature Committee of the Friends Home Service Committee, it would prove to be a profoundly influential document among Quakers for the next several decades. You can read the full report here (PDF: 117KB/7 pages).

North American Conference of Homophile Organizations (NACHO) Forms: 1966. Following the success of the East Coast Homophile Organizations’ (ECHO) efforts to organize several gay rights groups for coordinated actions (see Oct 10), forty activists from the East and West Coasts, the Midwest and Texas met in Kansas City for a planning conference for what would become the first attempt at a national coalition of gay rights groups. Fifteen organizations were represented at the Kansas City meeting which was moderated by the Rev. Clarence A Culwell, a straight UCC minister who headed the San Francisco-based Council of Religion and the Homosexual (see Jan 1). The conference agreed to sponsor public meetings in several cities for Armed Forces Day, May 21, to discuss gays and the draft. It also agreed to a follow-up meeting in San Francisco in August to solidify the organization and plan further actions.

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?

More questions, more answers (part 1)

Rob Tisinai

February 17th, 2015

I don’t know why I find it so compelling, this anti-gay strategy of asking scary gotcha questions instead of offering substantive arguments, but I always feel a near-irresistible urge to answer them. Apparently it’s always been this way. This is from one of my first-grade teacher evaluations:

Well, finally Bobby remembers to raise his hand to talk. I was so pleased and then he acquired a new twist. Now when he raises his hand he keeps saying my name until I answer. So we are currently working on that.

Yes, I was that kid (“Mrs. Boyer! Mrs. Boyer! Mrs. Boyer!”) who always had to know the answer.

Well, I found another list of questions, this time from Jason Salamone, who “is a former liberal agnostic, but surrendered to Christ on April 7th, 2011.”

I have a few questions for the pro-homosexual practice crowd and same-sex “marriage” advocates. I have no issues with them attempting to actually answer the following questions, feel free, but I’m also respectfully challenging them to ponder these questions themselves…

I actually like this list, because it’s as if he compiled what our opponents considered their best unanswerable gotchas. Might be handy for us to a set of ready-made responses. He’s got 21 questions, so I’ll do 11 today and the rest in my next post.

To begin: Read the rest of this entry »

The Daily Agenda for Tuesday, February 17

Jim Burroway

February 17th, 2015

TODAY’S AGENDA is brought to you by:

From David, May 1972, page 41.

From David, May 1972, page 41.

Last Sunday, I featured an ad for the predecessor of Chicago’s world famous Baton Cabaret, known then simply as “The Baton” in 1972. It was also located a couple doors down from the location of today’ cabaret, at 430 N. Clark St. At 436, where the Baton Cabaret currently holds court was another drag bar known as Queen’s Surf. Then, as now, reservations were recommended.

TODAY IN HISTORY:
Laredo D.A. Defends City’s Reputation: 1953. The District Attorney for Laredo, Texas, defended his fair city’s reputation against allegations made by a Mexican newspaper in Nuevo Laredo, just a cross the border from Laredo. El Mañana, a morning daily with wide circulation in both communities, wrote in a series of articles that many prominent citizens of Laredo were involved in homosexual activities, and it promised to run a list of names in a future article. Laredo D.A. James Kazen denounced the stories as “wholly untrue,” and successfully appealed to Judge R.D. Wright to reconvene a grand jury to investigate the reports. Kazen did acknowledge that there were homosexuals on the streets of Laredo — but only four, and two of them were outsiders who had only recently moved to town.

Chicago Police Raid Lesbian Bar: 1961. Chicago police, like New York Police, were always raiding gay bars, often for the same reasons. As in New York, gay bars in Chicago tended to have mob connections, and police raids were planned according to whether the proper protections were paid to the proper officers on the force. While raids were a routine feature of gay life in Chicago, each one nevertheless was added insult to the daily difficulties of gay life. In March of 1961, a Chicago woman who went by the name of Del Shearer (a pseudonym she used throughout her career in activism) wrote to the Daughters of Bilitis’ newsletter The Ladder to describe the latest insult:

On February 17, shortly before midnight, the police arrested some 52 people, herded them off to a Chicago jail, and charged them with presence in a disorderly house. According to Illinois statutes, all “owners, agents, and occupants” thereof are subject to arrest. First, not all were arrested. It was determined by the arresting officers on the basis of “fly fronts” who was to be taken in — “fly fronts” which were made in women’s slacks by legally owned and operated manufacturers are not illegal and thus they do not constitute disorderly conduct. Second, on the night this raid occurred, there was no apparent violence, disturbance of the peace, disorderly assembly, or legal violation. At the station those women wearing “fly fronts,” regardless of whether they wore lipstick, long hair, or earrings, were made partially to undress in order to determine whether they wore jockey shorts.  (I suppose they will now be charged with indecent exposure.) It now appears that those arrested at the discrimination of the police are to appear in courts in March, where they will face the charge against them.

Though I do not wish to go into the details of their fifteen-hour detention period, I will say that the conditions of the lockup itself, as well as their treatment, violated more than a few Illinois laws.

After briefly describing the raid — we don’t know the name of the bar was raided on that night — Shearer then went on to vent her frustration with the general feeling of resignation the gay community had about the raids:

Gay people have let their fears overpower their conscience. They’re afraid of publicity and newspapers, of public condemnation and the loss of their families’ love. They’re afraid of the big, black, threatening cloud that hangs above each and every one.

The object of the homosexual to live without fear of discrimination and persecution will never be attained without a fight. If the gay element wants its freedom, it has no choice but to fight, for freedom in this country or any country is not a thing given or guaranteed to anyone who does not hold it in highest esteem. The word fight is a frightening word.

Gay people, like many Americans, think in terms of jobs, money, reputation, and prestige. Like most Americans, they feel these are more important than either ethics or morals. For this reason, they seem to be primarily concerned about their own necks. Not only have they lost sight of their own rights, but they seem completely to have forgotten homosexual posterity. No legal miracle is going to free us or those who come after us.

If we ever hope to win our battle, we must fight. First, we must unshackle ourselves from fear, for it alone is our omnipresent enemy. We fear sacrifice, though sacrifice is called for. In any war — physical, social, civil, or international — both sides suffer; in the course of warfare, before or after, all involved must suffer. We are afraid to suffer in battle, though it may well be that our sufferings will be augmented a thousand times if we do not fight. If we do not fight, we will continue in ever-increasing numbers to be made the target of society’s and the police’s blows. We will continue to be ridiculed, persecuted, denied our legal rights, and falsely prosecuted at the command of our discriminating master. Are we to be bound as children by the fear which disorganizes us? Are we to think as children of the world filled with honey trees and sugarplum trees, where we will live happily ever after? We are a minority group and because we are, we consider ourselves orphans of society, without parents to protect us and without love. Orphans grow up, though, as we must. When they realize that they have to look out after their own interests, the sky becomes the limit. Our case is not radically different.

…Homosexuals everywhere have been made the scapegoat of society. The prejudices held against us are in most cases built out of sight of the very same scientific findings and theories with which Americans in this scientific age so cleverly rationalize their behavior — but not that of their fellow man. How long will we sit quietly and watch society kindle the flames beneath the stakes on which we burn with our own legal and moral rights?

Shearer went on to found a Chicago chapter of the Daughters of Bilitis later that year. In 1964, she was the only woman to appear among five panelists for a televised two-hour discussion on WBKB (Channel 7, which later became WLS-TV). Shearer also served as the national vice president for the Daughters of Bilitis. But there were limits to how far she was willing to take the fight. She resigned from the DOB governing board in 1965 due to her strong disagreement “at this time or in the very near future” with the tactic of picketing by East Coast homophile groups (see Apr 17May 29Jun 26Jul 4Jul 31Aug 28, and Oct 23). And with her resignation, she also left the homophile movement entirely.

[Source: Letter to the editor from “D.S., Illinois.” The Ladder 5, no .7 (April 1961): 21-23.]

“Chicken And Bulls” Blackmail Ring Busted: 1966. A massive, multi-state blackmail ring stretching from Chicago to New York To North Carolina was broken with the arrest of nine extortionists, with eight more being sought. As The New York Times reported, the gang employed “chickens” (including college students and at least one bodybuilder) who posed as young gay men who would allow themselves to be picked up by other gay men, usually travelling businessmen, to go back to the hotel. Once there, the “chicken” would beat and rob their victims and leave. A few hours later, other men — the “bulls” — posing as policemen would arrive at the hotel for another shakedown. Saying that they had arrested a homosexual prostitute with the victim’s wallet in his possession, the “police” needed to victim to go to the station to make a statement. Fearing exposure, the victim would often offer a bribe to the “police” to make the whole problem go away. In another version of the shakedown, “police” would burst into the hotel room just when the men were in a compromising state of undress, and the shakedown would begin with the threat of arrest.

The gang’s success hinged on several factors: homosexuality was illegal everywhere except Illinois, and even there the mere threat of being publicly exposed was enough to induce the victim to do just about anything to avoid having his reputation, career and family life ruined. The ring’s longevity — it would later be revealed that it had been in operation for about a decade — was further aided by the fact that none of the victims went to the police. And why would they? They already thought they were dealing with the police. Actual police corruption was so rampant, with many of them operating their own blackmail schemes using many of the same tactics, victims had no way to tell the fake cops from the real.

To further add to the confusion, some members of the gang actually had police connections, allowing the gang to imitate police officers with a great deal of precision. John J. Pyne, the gang’s ringleader, was a retired Chicago policeman. In his home, the FBI found police badges and identification papers for almost every state, along with a variety of blank arrest warrants, charge sheets and extradition forms from several jurisdictions. As the investigation and trials unfolded over the next two years, investigators would learn that millions of dollars were extorted from over a thousand victims. The victims themselves were no lo-lifes. They included university deans, professors, military officers (including a navy admiral and two generals), several well-known actors, TV personalities (including, it’s been said, Liberace, who refused to testify before a grand jury for fear of ruining his career), and at least one U.S. Congressman. Their boldness knew no limits. Twice, they confronted Rep. Peter Frelinghuysen (R-NJ) in his Capitol Hill office, took him to a private plane to fly to New Jersey, and brought him directly to a bank where he paid a total of $50,000. They pulled a prominent surgeon out of an operating room, forcing his colleague to finish the surgery. They even went into the Pentagon and escorted Admiral William Church out of the building and to a bank where he handed over $5,000. Church later committed suicide to avoid testifying before a grand jury against his blackmailers.

Church’s suicide (and Liberace’s reticence) was indicative of the greatest problem that the FBI and New York Police Department faced in trying to break the case: almost none of the victims were willing to talk to police, let alone testify. If there is a silver lining in the whole affair, is is probably the fact that investigators had to figure out how to set aside their own prejudices, and through persistence and discretion, build a foundation of trust between themselves and the victims. The Mattachine Society was enlisted as a go-between so that victims might feel less exposed. Some judges, where they could, allowed victims to testify anonymously, or allowed victims to testify about the blackmail without going into any sexual details. These accommodations were a complete turnaround from the way law enforcement and the courts had dealt with gay people during the Lavender Scare of the 1950s. Press coverage was also markedly different. With the roster of victims including the cream of society, it was much easier to portray them with considerable sympathy. As one law enforcement official told The Times, “Extortion of money from well known persons who are homosexual or bisexual is a persistent problem. We want to alert these people who come from all walks of life that such extortion schemes exist and we want to impress upon them also that New York City detectives are no part of this disgusting racket.”

Over the next two years, various members of the ring were tried, with most found guilty and sent to prison. Pyne was sentenced to two consecutive 20-year federal prison terms. Weightlifter John Fellabaum, a ringleader who posed as a muscle-bound “chicken,” angered the judge when he forced a witness, an antiques dealer from Maine, to take the stand and publicly out himself, after which Fellabaum immediately changed his plea to guilty. The judge was outraged. “I have been sentencing people for twenty-seven years and it has been a a long time since I have come upon a case that was so revolting as your case. I think you are so steeped in filth that as I read the report I cringed, and my flesh crept as I read the depth of inequity to which you allowed yourself to sink.”

[Sources: William McGowan. “The Chicken and the Bulls” Slate (July 11, 2012). Available online here.

Angus McLaren. Sexual Blackmail: A Modern History (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2002): 239-242.]

TODAY’S BIRTHDAY:
Friedrich Alfred Krupp: 1854-1902. Fritz had every advantage available to one born to Germany’s most prominent industrialist family. Named for his grandfather who founded the family firm in 1811, and heir to the vast steelmaking, mining, and armaments conglomerate assembled by his father, young Fritz, at the relatively young age of 33, stepped in as head of the Krupp empire when his father suddenly died. Under Fritz, the Krupp firm developed nickel steel which would revolutionize battleship armor and cannons, and created a shipbuilding works which would go on to build Germany’s first U-Boat in 1906. Fritz also cultivated a very close working relationship and personal friendship with the Kaiser, Wilhelm II, which proved especially fruitful. His wealth and business acumen was such that crowned heads of state often negotiated contracts with him personally, while his tact and charm allowed him to resolve touchy problems whenever they arose.

Fritz’s first love though wasn’t business, but oceanography, a hobby he would pursue throughout his life. Because of poor health, he frequently traveled to the Mediterranean where he could indulge his hobby, along with another — young, exotic men. From 1898, he took up a semi-permanent residence on Capri, where he could pursue both pleasures, well out of sight of his wife and family. He was also generous with the local community, so much so that the Capri council made him an honorary citizen.

But because the burdens of business required him to spend a considerable amount of time in Berlin, he sent several of his favorites to the Hotel Bristol and arranged for their employment there with the understanding that when he was in town, they were to attend to him rather than their duties. The men quickly proved unsuitable to their tasks.

Between his time in Capri and the men he had stashed away in Berlin, stories began to leak out in the Italian press, and insinuations began to make their way into the German papers in 1902. As the stories began to leak out, Krupp’s wife was confined to a mental asylum — whether it was due to her distress or to ensure her discretion, it’s hard to say. Finally, on November 15, the Social Democratic magazine Vorwärts published an article, titled “Krupp in Capri, which boldly accused Krupp of homosexuality, including his fondness for Adolfo Schiano, an 18-year-old barber and amateur musician.

Krupp requested an audience with the Kaiser, but one week later, on the day they were to meet,, Krupp was found dead in his home, apparently of suicide, although the circumstances surrounding his death were never revealed. No autopsy was ever performed, and Krupp’s body was placed in a closed casket. Within days, Krupp’s wife was released from the asylum; her sanity apparently was miraculously restored. In a speech at Krupp’s funeral, the Kaiser denounced the Social Democrats for “lying” about Krupp’s homosexuality. His heirs then launched a libel suit against Vorwärts, but it was quietly dropped a short time later.

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?

The Daily Agenda for Monday, February 16

Jim Burroway

February 16th, 2015

TODAY’S AGENDA is brought to you by:

From the International Gay Rodeo Association program, 1989, page 8.

From the International Gay Rodeo Association program, 1989, page 8.

THIS MONTH IN HISTORY:
Aversion Therapy for “Sexual Deviation”: 1973. Attempts to cure homosexuality have taken many forms, many of them cruel. Perhaps the cruelest might be the use of electric shock aversion therapy. This method was first described in the academic literature in 1935, and reports of its continued use persisted through the 1970’s and even later. Two of sixteen participants at a Brigham Young University program committed suicide in the mid-1970’s, and there are similar reports of suicide and long-term psychological and physical damage elsewhere.

There are literally hundreds of reports of various forms of aversion therapy in the literature between 1935 and 1980. In 1973, one such report appeared in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology by two researchers from the University of Vermont. Dr. Harold Leitenberg and Ph.D candidate Edward J. Callahan wrote an article titled, “Aversion therapy for sexual deviation: Contingent shock and covert sensitization“, in which they described their experiments on six subjects:

Six subjects were selected from a group of 23 referrals during a 2-year period. Selection was made on the grounds of desire to undergo aversion therapy and the consistent occurrence of measurable erection during presentation of slides depicting their deviant form of arousal. Seven referrals decided agains treatment (two of these were court referred), two subjects dropped out during the first phase…

Treatment Procedures
Contingent shock: …Shock levels varying from “pain” to “tolerance” were then randomly selected for administration as part of a punishment procedure which made shock contingent upon erection. These shock levels ordinarily ranged from .5 milliampere to 4.5 milliampere, and shock duration was varied randomly from .1 second to .5 second. Erection was monitored by a penile strain gate. Five slides of deviant material and two heterosexually oriented slides were presented for 125 seconds apiece in each session while the subject was instructed to imaging whatever was sexually arousing with the person on the slide. An attempt was made to obtain slides appropriate to each person’s idiosyncratic sexual arousal. If during the “deviant” material slide, the penile circumference increase exceeded a level of 15% of full erection, shock was administered through electrodes on the first and third fingers on the subject’s right hand.

Covert Sensitization: This technique involves the presentation of verbal descriptions of “deviant” acts and the description of aversive consequences, such as nausea, vomiting, discovery by family, etc. … For example, a man might be asked to imagine going to the apartment of a homosexual contact, approaching the man’s bedroom, initiating sexual activity, feeling increasingly nauseous, and finally vomiting on the contact, on the sheets, and all over himself. A variation of this scene might involve the patient finding the homosexual contact rotting with syphilitic sores, or finding that the contact had diarrhea during the sexual encounter.

The subjects included two pedophiles and a young man arrested for indecent exposure. The other three were:

Subject 2
The patient was a 38-year-old depressed married man with a 13-year history of active homosexuality and depression. The patient sought behavioral treatment after 4 years of psychiatric counseling which had not alleviated either problem. He continued psychiatric counseling for the depression, with the stipulation that no sexual matters be discussed. His homosexual activity consisted of seeking. His homosexual activity consisted of seeking contacts 2-3 times a week, usually without success. …He sought treatment to reduce homosexual urges since he felt they led to frustration, depression, and an inability to concentrate on work.

The patient was a 38-year-old depressed married man with a 13-year history of active homosexuality and depression. The patient sought behavioral treatment after 4 years of psychiatric counseling which had not alleviated either problem. He continued psychiatric counseling for the depression, with the stipulation that no sexual matters be discussed. His homosexual activity consisted of seeking. His homosexual activity consisted of seeking contacts 2-3 times a week, usually without success. …He sought treatment to reduce homosexual urges since he felt they led to frustration, depression, and an inability to concentrate on work.

…The subject’s only homosexual contact during treatment occurred during a 2-week break in treatment in this phase. The patient reported an inability to reach climax during this contact. During a later talk to a former contact, the patient felt the symptoms of impending vomiting and left the situation. He later connected this feeling with experiences felt during treatment.

Subject 4
This was a 19-year-old homosexual with no prior sexual or dating experience with girls. … Sexual contacts [with other men] led to guilt feelings and vacillation over whether he wanted to learn to accept homosexuality or to change his pattern of sexual arousal. After discussing his dilemma with a few friends and relatives, he decided to seek treatment.

Phase 1: Contingent shock was administered for 10 sessions. Penile circumference changes were reduced during slides of males and females initially; however, this suppression during slides of females was only transient. There was an increase in average daily homosexual urges to slightly more than two per day and a slight increase in frequency of daily homosexual masturbation, while homosexual fantasies were slightly decreased. The patient was somewhat disturbed by the experience of shock, but was willing to undergo it in order to change his sexual arousal pattern. He had one homosexual contact late in this phase.

Phase 2: Covert sensitization was administered for seven sessions. Penile circumference changes to slides of men reduced greatly, and penile circumference changes to slides of women continued to increase. Rapid progress was reported by the subject in this phase. … After seven sessions, the subject reported he was progressing more quickly than he could stand “physically.” He felt his progress was strong enough to drop treatment and continue to make adjustment alone. After 3 months, however, he returned to treatment because of “unwanted” homosexual contact which unnerved him about the stability of his progress.

… An attempt was made to return the subject to contingent shock treatment. The subject became very upset by this and misapplied the electrodes during the first scheduled shock session in order to reduce the shock. At the next session, he explained that the felt shock had not helped him and that he did not want to go through the painful experience since he felt it had not therapeutic effect. At this stage, he said he would have to quit treatment rather than go through contingent shock again.

Subject 5
The patient was a 29-year-old married man referred after being apprehended by police while walking along a main street in women’s clothing. This was his first police contact in 17 years of cross-dressing, and no charges were pressed. His treatment was voluntary; his reported reason for wanting therapy was the desire to feel sexually “normal.” Although married, the patient reported intercourse occurred only twice a year.

…Treatment consisted of one phase of contingent shock and one phase of covert sensitization. There was rapid and substantial suppression of erection to transsexual fantasies during the first phase. (Note that measurement was taken without the shock electrodes attached.) Intercourse was reported to increase to once a week, although independent confirmation with his wife was impossible since the patient claimed that his wife was unaware of his transvestism, and he did not wish us to contact her. …

Calahan and Lienteberg concluded that ” both treatments combined led to a favorable outcome,” despite acknowledging the difficulty of independent verification.

By the time this paper appeared in The Journal of Abnormal Psychology, Callahan had already moved on to UCLA, where he became a Behavioral Modification supervisor for the Neorpsychiatric Institute, where five-year-old Kirk Murphy was treated by future anti-gay activist George Rekers for what was identified as Kirk’s “Gender Identity Disorder.” (There is no evidence that Callahan was involved with Kirk’s treatment.) He is currently at UC Davis. Leitenberg, who had founded the University of Vermint’s Behavior Therapy and Psychotherapy Center in 1972, served as its director until his retirement in 2001.

[Source: Callahan, Edward J.; Leitenberg, Harold. “Aversion therapy for sexual deviation: Contingent shock and covert sensitization.” Journal of Abnormal Psychology 81, no. 1 (February 1973): 60-73. Abstract available here.]

TODAY’S BIRTHDAY:
Katharine Cornell: 1893-1974. She shared the title of “The First Lady of the Theatre” with Helen Hayes; as good friends and colleagues, they each deferred the title to each other. While Hayes is probably more well known today, Cornell’s own acting and contributions to the theater are legendary. Part of her success can be attributed to her collaboration with her husband, Guthrie McClintic, a successful director and producer. Their marriage was both professional and one of convenience: Cornell was lesbian and McClintic was gay. She was a member of New York’s “sewing circles, with relationships with Tallulah Bankhead and Mercedes de Acosta, among others. Meanwhile, McClinctic directed Cornell in every play since their marriage.

Cornell’s acclaimed Broadway roles include the title character of George Bernard Shaw’s Candide, Countess Ellen Olenska in The Age of Innocence, the poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning in The Barretts of Wimpole Street — and that’s just before the Great Depression. Her career continued unabated through the 1950s. Her appearance in the title role of 1936’s St. Joan won her a bevy of honorary degrees from several colleges and universities, and she won a Tony Award for Best Actress for Antony and Cleopatra in 1947. After McClintic died in 1961, Cornell decided to retire rather than work with another director. She restored the 300-year-old Association Hall on Martha’s Vineyard, which was later rename the Katharine Cornell Theater. She died of pneumonia in 1974, and was buried next to the theater named in her honor.

John Schlesinger: 1926-2003. The British director of film, stage, television and opera became one of the more influential figures in Britain’s post-war entertainment industry. He began acting in a small number of small parts in films shortly after leaving Oxford. In the mid-fifties, he began directing short documentaries for the BBC. His first feature film came in 1961 with Terminus, a documentary set on a London train station. It earned him a Venice Film Festival Gold Lion a British Academy Award. He then set about making fictional feature films beginning with the award-winning A Kind of Loving (1962), which was the sixth most popular movie in Britain that year. A string of films followed, many of which were set in “swinging London” of the 1960s, and which established Schlesinger as an influential part of the British New Wave.

His first American film, 1969’s Midnight Cowboy, starring Dustin Hoffman and Jon Voight, became the first and only X-rated film to win an Oscar. It actually won three: Best Picture, Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay. By today’s standards, the film is much less daring than its x-rating would suggest. The rating came from the story line in which Joe Buck (Voight), a Texas transplant, becomes a hustler soon after arriving in New York. He also begins a relationship of sorts with a con man by the name of “Ratso” Rizzo (Hoffman). MPAA pointed to the film’s “homosexual frame of reference” and its “possible influence upon youngsters” in giving it an X-rating. (It has been reclassified as an “R” with no edits to the original film.) In 1994, Midnight Cowboy was designated as “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant” by the Library of Congress and was selected for preservation by the U.S. National Film Registry. In 1970, Schlesinger was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE).

Schlesinger went on to make a string of films, some portraying the underbelly of society, others focusing on unusual and often flawed characters, including Sunday Bloody Sunday (1971), The Day of the Locust (1975), Marathon Man (1976), Yanks (1979), The Falcon and the Snowman (1985), Pacific Heights (1990). In 1999’s The Next Best Thing, he paired Madonna and Rupert Everett for a one-night stand between a gay man and a straight woman.

Schlesinger lived quite openly with his partner, Michael Childers, since the late 1960s, although he didn’t publicly address his sexuality until 1991, when Sir Ian McKellen was attacked for being the first openly gay person to be knighted. Schlesinger was one of a dozen British gay and lesbian artists who signed a letter coming to McKellen’s defense.

In 1998, Schlesinger underwent a quadruple heart bypass, and then suffered a stroke in 2000. He remained in poor health until his death in 2003.

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?

The Daily Agenda for Sunday, February 15

Jim Burroway

February 15th, 2015

TODAY’S AGENDA:
Events This Weekend: Belgium Leatherpride, Antwerp, Belgium; Cologne Street Carnival, Cologne, Germany; Gay Mardi Gras, New Orleans, LA; Arizona Gay Rodeo, Phoenix, AZ; Sitges Carnival, Sitges, Spain.

TODAY’S AGENDA is brought to you by:

From David, May 1972, page 59.

From David, May 1972, page 59.

As a rule, most of the businesses we feature here are defunct. The Baton Show Lounge in Chicago however is still in business, although it is located a few doors up from where it used to be. It’s been around since 1969, and is world famous for its legendary drag shows. So famous, in fact, that reservations are recommended on the weekends.

Jefferson Withers

TODAY IN HISTORY:
“Writhing Bedfellows”: 1826. Few intimate letters between men survive from the early nineteenth century, which makes this one so remarkable. Back when the nation was young, Jefferson Withers, 22, wrote to his dear friend, James Hammond, 18, a letter which is both frank and playful — even “campy”:

Dear Jim:

I got your Letter this morning about 8 o’clock, from the hands of the Bearer . . . I was sick as the Devil, when the Gentleman entered the Room, and have been so during most of the day. About 1 o’clock I swallowed a huge mass of Epsom Salts — and it will not be hard to imagine that I have been at dirty work since. I feel partially relieved — enough to write a hasty dull letter.

I feel some inclination to learn whether you yet sleep in your Shirt-tail, and whether you yet have the extravagant delight of poking and punching a writhing Bedfellow with your long fleshen pole — the exquisite touches of which I have often had the honor of feeling? Let me say unto thee that unless thou changest former habits in this particular, thou wilt be represented by every future Chum as a nuisance. And, I pronounce it, with good reason too. Sir, you roughen the downy Slumbers of your Bedfellow — by such hostile — furious lunges as you are in the habit of making at him — when he is least prepared for defence against the crushing force of a Battering Ram. Without reformation my imagination depicts some awful results for which you will be held accountable — and therefore it is, that I earnestly recommend it. Indeed it is encouraging an assault and battery propensity, which needs correction — & uncorrected threatens devastation, horror & bloodshed, etc. …

[The letter goes on for two more pages on unrelated matters, then signs off–]

With great respect I am the old
Stud,
Jeff.

James Henry Hammond

Withers would later become a judge in South Carolina and delegate to the conferences that established a provisional government for the Confederacy. He also served as a Congressman for the Confederacy from South Carolina. Hammond became a Congressman, Senator and Governor of South Carolina, and one of the South’s more important advocate for slavery as a Christian institution, as a blessing and a moral good. the greatest of all the great blessings which a kind Providence has bestowed upon our glorious region.” Slavery was also, according to Hammond, “is not only not a sin but especially commanded by God through Moses and approved by Christ through His Apostles.” Hammond’s personal diaries revealed he made sexual advances on his three teenage nieces, and he detailed his sexual relationship with a slave who bore him several children, and his sexual exploitation of her twelve year old daughter who bore several more children. Neither Withers nor Hammond, from the standpoint of American history, come across as admirable people, yet Hammond has become a modern-day hero for David Barton and others who promote the “Christian Nation” view of American history.

But all of that came later. Meanwhile back in 1826, Hammond replied to Wither’s letter on June 3, although that letter is now lost. But Withers followed with another letter the following September (see Sep 24.)

[Source: Martin Duberman. “‘Writhing Bedfellows': 1826.” Journal of Homosexuality 6, no. 1 (1981): 85-101. Available online here.]

Homosexual Drives As Menstrual Cycles: 1950. This was a time when Congress was preoccupied with two color-coded scares: The Red Menace of imaginary communists hiding in every cupboard and The Pink Menace of homosexuals working in federal offices. Congressman Arthur L. Miller (R-Nebr) was particularly incensed over the latter. He was also a doctor and a surgeon, which made this speech during a committee hearing particularly strange:

Some of these people are dangerous. They will go to any limit. These homosexuals have strong emotions. They are not to be trusted and when blackmail threatens they are a dangerous group. … It is found that the cycle of these individuals’ homosexual desires follow the cycle closely patterned to the menstrual period of women. There may be three or four days in each month that this homosexual’s instincts break down and drive the individual into abnormal fields of sexual practice.

Episcopal Church Allows Ordination of Gay Deacons: 1996. An Episcopal Church court threw out a heresy charge and ruled that Bishop Walter C. Righter did not violate the church’s core doctrine when he ordained openly gay Barry Stopfel as a deacon, the rank below that of a priest, in the Dioceses of Newark in 1990.

Phyllis Lyon and and Del Marton

California State Supreme Court Strikes Down Ban on Same-Sex Marriages: 2008. In a 4-3 decision, the California State Supreme Court ruled:

“[T]he language of section 300 limiting the designation of marriage to a union “between a man and a woman” is unconstitutional and must be stricken from the statute, and that the remaining statutory language must be understood as making the designation of marriage available both to opposite-sex and same-sex couples. In addition, because the limitation of marriage to opposite-sex couples imposed by section 308.5 can have no constitutionally permissible effect in light of the constitutional conclusions set forth in this opinion, that provision cannot stand.”

The decision took effect on June 16, 2008, when gay rights pioneers Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin’s 55-year relationship was solemnized by the first official same-sex wedding in San Francisco. But two weeks earlier, California’s Secretary of State reported that marriage equality opponents had turned in enough signatures to place a proposed amendment banning same-sex marriages on the November ballot. Prop 8 passed, but was later declared unconstitutional in Federal Court. That decision is now working its way through the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, where a three-judge panel has upheld the lower court’s ruling but narrowed its reasoning. The case was then appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which refused to rule on the merits because the appellants lacked standing. That sent the case all the way back to the Federal District Court which declared Prop 8 unconstitutional in the first place, making that original decision the one that stuck.

Jasper Johns’s “Map,” 1961 (Click to enlarge.)

TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS:
Jasper Johns: 1930. He probably best known for his 1955 painting Flag, which is, just as its name implies, simply a painting of an American Flag. His focus on the mundane as subjects have led some to consider him a pop artist with an abstract impressionist streak, but it’s probably more accurate to see him as a ne0-Dadaist. Flag exemplifies that movement by taking an object or a popular image imbued with intense meaning and removing it from its context and thereby reducing it to a simple abstract design. Map (1961) does the same thing. It’s an ordinary map of the United States portrayed in an abstract impressionist style which reduces the iconic image to a series of color splotches and shapes. Flags, maps, stenciled words and numbers — all of these mundane yet symbolic images were subjects for Johns’s paintings.

Jasper Johns receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Johns was born in South Carolina and studied for three semesters at the University of South Carolina before moving to New York to study briefly at the Parson’s School of Design in 1949. After a stint in the military during the Korean War, Johns returned to New York where he met Robert Rauschenberg and they became lovers for eight years. It was through his connection with Rauschenberg that Johns was discovered by the art world. When prominent gallery owner visited Rauschenberg’s studio in 1958 and saw Johns’s work, he offered Johns a show on the spot. At that debut show, the Museum of Modern Art anointed Johns as a major figure in the art world by purchasing three of his paintings. By the 1980s, John’s paintings fetched higher prices than any other living artist in history. In 2011, Johns was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama, making him the first painter to receive the award since 1977.

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The Daily Agenda for Valentine’s Day

Jim Burroway

February 14th, 2015

TODAY’S AGENDA:

Dinner

So, what are your plans for Valentine’s Day?

Events This Weekend: Belgium Leatherpride, Antwerp, Belgium; Cologne Street Carnival, Cologne, Germany; Gay Mardi Gras, New Orleans, LA; Arizona Gay Rodeo, Phoenix, AZ; Sitges Carnival, Sitges, Spain.

TODAY’S AGENDA is brought to you by:

From GPU News (Milwaukee, WI), February 1972, page 14.

From GPU News (Milwaukee, WI), February 1972, page 14.

EMPHASIS MINE:
I’m not much of a poetry guy, but I’ve always found this Valentine’s Day poem rather haunting. It comes to us from the February, 1962 issue of ONE magazine.

John, Passing

Steve, you say your name is, from Columbus, somewhere,
Going through New York on your way to somewhere else.
Oh New York is my home, I offer, smiling secretly
At the handsome aspirant who is really no longer
An aspirant but — John, passing — in one of his legion disguises.

Only last week you were Tim from Maine’s lumbering woods
Ending your vacation days here — Steve, you say.
Oh, yes. You’ve chosen that temporary name, John, passing.

But before we start, and you leave, admiring the neatness of my petite bedroom,
Let me make another plea as I did when you, John, passing, were here as Milo,
A hundred Bobs, Franks, Georges, Bills and one Sylvester ago.

Stay.
John, passing.
Stay.
So I may stop days and weeks searching you,
Finding the many different names you answer to and faces you wear.
So we can weld an iron home from this swirling world
And fend from reality’s cruel sunlight
So loneliness’ deep ulcers can have end and justification in you
And what’s left of this savagely confused pattern can bring a happier existence.

Pause.
You needn’t answer.
I’m sorry.
I’ve embarrassed you.
Steve you say your name is.
We’d better get on before you’re late for your train.

– Vincent Synge

TODAY IN HISTORY:
San Francisco Establishes Domestic Partnership Registry: 1991. The idea had been tossed around since 1979, when gay rights activist Tom Brougham proposed a new category of relationship called “domestic partnership.” His cause was taken up in 1982 by San Francisco Supervisor Harry Britt, who had taken the seat of slain Supervisor Harvey Milk. Britt’s bill authorizing domestic partnerships was vetoed that year by Mayor Dianne Feinstein, It would be passed again in 1989, but that law was repealed by a voter initiative in 1990. Fortunately, that same year city voters approved Proposition K which established a modified version of domestic partnerships which allowed same-sex and opposite-sex couples to register. Fittingly, on February 14, 1991, the brand new registry was established in San Francisco allowing partners to register. San Francisco however wasn’t the first city to provide domestic partnerships. That honor went to West Hollywood in 1985.

TODAY’S BIRTHDAY:
Jim Kepner: 1923-1997. There’s no telling exactly when Kepner was born. His mother found him wrapped in newspapers under an oleander bush in an empty lot in Galveston, Texas in late September of 1923. They guessed he was about eight months old, give or take. He never knew exactly how old he really was. I asked around trying to get more clues, but Paul Cain, author of Leading the Parade: Conversations with America’s Most Influential Lesbians and Gay Men checked his notes and didn’t have anthing either. He then suggested, “If you just want to pick a day in February, maybe you could pick Feb 14 — Jim really was a sweetheart!”

And so I shall.

Kepner may have been abandoned because of his deformed leg and club foot, which despite corrective surgery and physical therapy, gave him a limp for the rest of his life. That limp, more than his attempt to classify himself as a Conscientious Objector, probably kept him out of the draft during World War II. That he was open about his homosexuality may have played a part also. In 1942, he moved with his father to San Francisco, where he discovered the underground gay scene. He also began searching for books and other material on homosexuality. Over the years, that search would lead him to compile one of the largest archives of LGBT literature in the U.S.

Between 1943 and 1951, he moved to Los Angeles, New York, Miami, back to San Francisco, then back to Los Angeles. Like a lot of young idealists of his day, he became involved with the Communist party while the U.S. was still allied with the Soviet Union, but was kicked out when his homosexuality became known. Upon returning to L.A., Kepner became involved with the Mattachine Society. Soon after, he met up with other former Mattachine members who had just launched ONE, the first nationally-distributed gay magazine (see Oct 15).

Kepner’s first article in ONE appeared in March, 1954, titled “The Importance of Being Different” under the pseudonym of Lyn Pedersen. His debut article went to the very heart of a critical debate taking place in the gay community. Mattachine founder Harry Hay, for example (see Apr 7), argued that gay people were a distinct cultural minority, while others like Dale Jennings (see Oct 21) argued that the only difference between gay people and straight people was who they went to bed with. Kepner threw his support with Hay, announcing “Vive la Différence!” But he also urged readers not to let the controversy split the nascent movement. “What can a Society accomplish if half of it feels its object is to convince the world we’re just like everyone else and the other half feels homosexuals are variants in the full sense of the term and have every right to be? … Only by allowing the free action of individual groups within the structure of an elastic society can such diverse philosophies work together.”

By the fall of 1954, Kepner was working more or less full time at ONE, although he didn’t draw a salary until 1957. Kepner continued writing under his own name as well as several pseudonyms, mainly as a marketing ploy to mask the fact that ONE had such a tiny staff. Meanwhile, ONE had also established an educational branch, the ONE Institute, in addition to the publication arm of ONE magazine. The competing goals, education versus publication, put a strain on the organization’s meager resources and energies. Kepner finally resigned from ONE in 1960, frustrated by the infighting and what he saw as lax management in the organization.

Kepner stayed out of gay advocacy until the mid sixties. In 1966, he became the secretary of the Southern California Council on Religion and the Homophile, and edited ten issues of their newsletter. He also began publishing his own magazine, Pursuit & Symposium, which focused on gay history. He mortgaged his house to fund it. After two years, the magazine failed and he lost his house. In 1967, he helped to organize a rally in response to the LAPD raid on the Black Cat bar (see Jan 1), where he declared that “the nameless love would never again shut up.” Out of that rally came a new gay rights group, PRIDE (Personal Rights in Defense and Education), and Kepner served as the editor for the group’s newsletter. In October, that newsletter would become The Los Angeles Advocate, then later simply The Advocate. Kepner remained a regular with The Advocate through 1976, and contributed sporadically afterwards. Kepner also helped to form the Society of Pat Rocco Enlightened Enthusiasts (SPREE), a group of film enthusiasts and fans of Pat Rocco (see Feb 9), and Kepner is credited with convincing the Park Theatre’s (straight) owners to program for gay audiences. In 1969, he became an active member of the Los Angeles Gay Liberation Front, and he served on the Christopher Street West committee from 1970 to 1977. He was a founder of the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Community Services Center, and would come to work as a member of their paid staff for their education program from 1978 to 1980.

Jim Kepner with his archives

Beginning in 1971, Kepner made his vast collection of gay documents and memorabilia available to the public. In 1975, he dubbed his collection the Western Gay Archives, then renamed them again in 1984 as the International Gay and Lesbian Archives. By then, the collection consisted of 25,000 books and thousands of other items. In 1994, Kepner’s collection was merged with ONE’s archives at the University of Southern California. That archive today is known as the ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives. If you ever have a chance to stop in, I heartily recommend it. Kepner died in 1997, at about the age of 74. A month later, his anthology, Rough News, Daring Views: 1950s’ Pioneer Gay Press Journalism, was published by Haworth Press.

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).

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The Best Worst Graphic Ever

Rob Tisinai

February 13th, 2015

I recently saw an anti-gay graphic on JoeMyGod that excels so thoroughly at destroying its own message it feels like the best worst graphic ever.  I’m an instructional designer and a big part of my job is creating direct, clear, effective messaging, so I felt compelled, almost as a professional exercise, to analyze what makes it so perfectly disastrous. This is probably just for my fellow geeks, nerds, and dorks, but have a look at this masterpiece. Read the rest of this entry »

Alabama county update

Timothy Kincaid

February 13th, 2015

As of last count, in Alabama

47 counties are observing marriage equality
6 are issuing no marriage licenses to anyone
8 are issuing only to opposite-sex couples
5 are unreachable for inquiry

The equality counties are interspersed throughout the state, so few couples wishing to marry are inconvenienced with not more than a short drive.

The Daily Agenda for Friday the 13th

Jim Burroway

February 13th, 2015

TODAY’S AGENDA: Events This Weekend: Belgium Leatherpride, Antwerp, Belgium; Cologne Street Carnival, Cologne, Germany; Gay Mardi Gras, New Orleans, LA; Arizona Gay Rodeo, Phoenix, AZ; Sitges Carnival, Sitges, Spain.

TODAY’S AGENDA is brought to you by:

From This Week In Texas, July 2, 1977, page 30.

From This Week In Texas, July 2, 1977, page 30.

ONE-1960.02

THIS MONTH IN HISTORY:
 55 YEARS AGO: Magazine cover provokes outrage: 1960. Fifty-five years ago, ONE magazine published yet another issue, just like it always did every month. This one, as issues go, was rather ordinary: A couple of poems, two short stories, an article about the organization of families, another one asking “Can we be worthy of a free erotic life?”, a scathing book review of Edmund Bergler’s 1000 Homosexuals (Bergler, a homo-obsessed psychoanalyst, was delightful combination of Paul Cameron and Scott Lively of his day), an advice column by psychologist Blanche Baker titled “Toward Understanding,” a brief commentary on England’s long-running debate over the Wolfenden Report’s recommendation that Parliament rescind the nation’s sodomy laws (see Sep 4), and a few letters to the editor. It was a decent issue, but mostly unremarkable. But the following month, one reader felt compelled to complain about that issue:

Dear ONE:

Good grief, Charley Brown! The cover of the February issue is simply TOO MUCH! For months now , with a snarl on my lips and no joy in my heart, I have been looking at those effeminate line drawings, girlish youths and that awful photograph of a nelly cop an ONE cover without so much as a line of protest to you. Looking back I can’t find anything like a real male figure all the way back to that sailor drawing in ’57. And now these weird creatures! They’re enough to steam a saint!

ONE, May 1957.

ONE, May 1957.

I know that many people have a positive predilection for effeminancy, as opposed to true femininity. I don’t have such a feeling; in fact an overdose of male girlishness gives me the vapors. If real male art is hard to come by couldn’t you canvass friends? Nobody wants ONE to ape the muscle mags with sweaty weightlifters all over the place, but this shouldn’t deny us the opportunity of seeing on occasional attractive man in your pages.

One last item: I think all this grotesquely womanish art is bad psychologically for those of your readers who are battling to free themselves from self-identication with the popularly-held homosexaul stereotype. Please help them remember once in a while that the average person with homosexual preferences looks, and is, as male as the next guy.

ONE, February 1958.

ONE, February 1958.

The Daughters of Bilitis insisted that women wear proper skirts instead of jeans or slacks at DoB events. Police often entered lesbian bars to make sure women wore blouses with the buttons on the left instead of the right. Men had fewer  imposed fewer dress code restrictions (outside of drag, anyway), but they were no less scrutinized and judged if they otherwise fell afoul of gender norms. And many of those judgments often came from gay men and women toward other gay men and women, in many cases just as harshly as those coming from the police or others outside the gay community.

Those who violated those gender norms — and those norms were much more restrictive fifty-five years ago — were seen as garish neon signs that drew far too much unwanted attention. A man who was romantically inclined towards other men was already violating far more gender norms than anyone could count. And in 1960, the last thing most of such men (and women) wanted to see was other people whose gender-role variance they perceived as being  more visible than their own.

Grant Wood, self-portrait, 1932.

TODAY’S BIRTHDAY:
Grant Wood: 1891-1942. Born a few miles outside of Anamosa, Iowa, the great expanse of the upper great plains and the solid simplicity of its people would always be near to his heart. He studied at the Art Institute in Chicago, and from 1920 to 1928, he made four trips to Europe where he studied Impressionism and Post-Impressionist styles of painting, but his heat never strayed far Iowa, nor did his style stray from simplicity and directness which are the bedrock of Iowa’s people. His style became known as Regionalism, which depicted rural American themes in a style which recalled the severe Calvinism of Northern Renaissance paintings.

American Gothic, 1930.

This is best exemplified in his iconic 1930 painting American Gothic, perhaps among the best known, best loved, and best parodied of American paintings. Art critics, at least those who assumed the painting was meant to be satire of small-town life, praised it. When a copy was printed in the Cedar Rapids Gazette, locals denounced their depiction as “pinched, grim-faced, puritanical Bible-thumpers.” Wood himself defended the painting as simply a a depiction of the American pioneer spirit. He also became a vocal critic of modernist trends and the dominance of the East coast art world. No other American artist before or since has earned such national fame without ever showing his work in New York.

In 1932, he founded the Stone City Art Colony to help other artists get through the Great Depression, and from 1934 to 1941 he taught at the University of Iowa’s School of Art, where his teaching career was very nearly derailed over accusations that Wood was gay. The only report that contains the complete details of those accusations was buried in a time capsule of the Art and Art History Building in 1934, and the details will remain hidden until the cornerstone is opened some twenty years from now. New allegations arose in 1941 when university colleagues, most of whom embraced the European trends that Wood so clearly disdained, tried to get Wood removed from the faculty. Their accusations centered around a very brief marriage that ended in divorce in 1938 and the handsome young roommates who lived in his home. When a reporter from Time came sniffing, the university president managed to get the story spiked, and reorganized the Art Department so that Wood would be placed in an entirely separate division and away from his detractors. But before Wood could resume teaching, he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and died in February 12, 1942.

Most biographies which have come out since Wood’s death have either avoided his homosexuality or dismissed it. Tripp Evans’s 2010 Grant Wood: A Life changes that by delving into previously unreleased documents and taking a closer look at Wood’s highly symbolic paintings, some of which toy with cross-gender depictions.

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).

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Dangerous Medical Experimentation on Teens

Rob Tisinai

February 12th, 2015

Laurie Higgins is the “Cultural Analyst” for the Illinois Family Institute, and she’s quite agitated about the state’s attempt to ban conversion therapy for teens.

…they want minors to be prohibited from even hearing any ideas that may be linked to their unchosen same-sex attraction, because such ideas undermine the unproven, non-factual, self-serving assumptions of homosexual activists and their highly politicized, Leftist mental health community allies.

Such a tizzy. Though I’m not sure exactly what it means. But Laurie clearly thinks it’s a bad idea.

The sponsors of this bill have marshalled an unimpressive array of claims from mental “health” organizations, all of which are loaded with biased and ambiguous language in support of an astoundingly totalitarian bill. If we have any really good critical thinkers and debaters in Springfield, they should be able to shred this bill in a floor debate.

Not just regular totalitarian, like in North Korea or the Soviet Union, but astoundingly so.

Now you might think Laurie is about to shred the bill with facts and careful analysis. But that’s not her style. Laurie would rather just ask questions of the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Kelly Cassidy. I’ve seen this just askin’ strategy before. It’s lazy and dishonest. Lazy, because it doesn’t require any evidence or even decent reasoning just to ask a question. Dishonest, because it leaves a gullible reader thinking a point’s been made even though nothing’s actually been said. The reader just fills in the missing answers with whatever the author insinuates.

The danger with this strategy, though, is that we can demolish simply by answering the questions. So let’s give that a try. Before we begin, though, let’s establish one thing. There is no evidence conversion therapy works, and a good bit of evidence that it can be harmful, so let’s call it what it is: dangerous medical experimentation on teens. That’s what it is, and that’s what we should always call it. Now, with that out of the way, first question: Read the rest of this entry »

The Daily Agenda for Thursday, February 12

Jim Burroway

February 12th, 2015

TODAY’S AGENDA: Events This Weekend: Belgium Leatherpride, Antwerp, Belgium; Cologne Street Carnival, Cologne, Germany; Gay Mardi Gras, New Orleans, LA; Arizona Gay Rodeo, Phoenix, AZ; Sitges Carnival, Sitges, Spain.

TODAY’S AGENDA is brought to you by:

From The Calendar (San Antonio, TX), February 11, 1983, page 24.

From The Calendar (San Antonio, TX), February 11, 1983, page 24.

TODAY IN HISTORY:
Premiere of “Making Love”: 1982. Starring Michael Ontkean, Charlie’s Angels star Kate Jackson, and Harry Hamlin, Making Love opened in theaters as the first mainstream film to tackle homosexuality in a nonjudgmental way. That’s not to say that the story wasn’t without drama when Zach (Ontkean) and Claire (Jackson) dealt with a crumbling marriage as Zach struggled to deal with his attractions to other men. When he meets gay novelist Bart McGuire (Hamlin), their professional relationship (Zach was a doctor, Bart a patient who was in for a check-up) turned into a lunch date, then a dinner date, and then a full-fledged relationship, which over time, ends in a divorce for Zach and Claire. Claire handles the news badly, but over time comes to understand that gay people can live happy lives. The film’s happily-ever-after ending had the cautious feel of a made-for-TV movie, which critics hated. Gay critics, however, were overjoyed that the film was a positive portrayal where the gay characters didn’t all die in the end.

In real life however, the film demonstrated one significant difficulty in making mainstream movies about gay men: it seemed to confirm the fear that taking such a role would be career killers. Tom Berenger, Michael Douglas, Harrison Ford, William Hurt and Peter Strauss were all approached to play Zach; they all turned the role down. After the film’s release Ontkean and Hamlin had trouble living the film down. Hamlin’s promising career stalled for the next four years until he landed a role in NBC’s L.A. Law. Ontkean tried to prevent clips of his role from appearing in Vito Russo’s 1996 documentary The Celluloid Closet.

San Francisco Mayor Orders Issuance of Same-Sex Marriage Licenses: 2004. It was a stunning announcement, when San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom declared that the California Constitution’s equal protection clause gave him the authority to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Between February 12 and March 11, 2004, an estimated 4,000 joyous couples lined up at City Hall to take part in what was quickly dubbed “The Winter of Love.” But the weddings came to an abrupt halt when the California Supreme Court declared that the mayor lacked the authority to bypass state law. All of those marriage licenses were voided, and same-sex marriage would remain unavailable until 2008 when the state Supreme Court found that “equal respect and dignity” of marriage is a “basic civil right” for all couples in California, gay or straight. That finding was overturned by California voters when they approved Prop 8 in 2008, which itself was ruled unconstitutional in 2010. That ruling was upheld by a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in 2012, and a challenge to the U.S. Supreme Court by anti-gay activists was rejected due to lack of standing in 2013.

TODAY’S BIRTHDAY:
Philipp zu Eulenburg: 1847-1921. A close, personal friend of Kaiser Wilhelm II, Eulenburg had a tremendous influence over the younger Kaiser, and over Germany’s politics in general. Like virtually everyone else in positions of influence, Eulenburg married a Swedish countess in his twenties. Together they had eight children. But also like many others of similar outlook, his marriage did little to discourage his many liaisons with others in the Kaiser’s inner circle.

In 1900, Eulenburg’s brother was exposed as a homosexual. The Kaiser demanded that Eulenburg cut all contact with his brother, a demand that Eulenburg refused, though that refusal appears not to have affected Eulenburg’s career. That same year, Eulenburg was given the title of prince in recognition of Eulenburg’s valuable counsel and friendship to the Kaiser. That counsel included urging the Kaiser to exercise a more autocratic rule independent of the Reichstag. Eulenburg also retained his post as Ambassador to Austria-Hungary, which he had held since 1893.

But holding such a powerful and influential position in the Kaiser’s court made Eulenburg a political target. In 1902, Eulenburg resigned his Ambassadorship and withdrew from politics, pleading exhaustion, although we now know that the real reason was blackmail. That was at about the same time the Germany was rocked by revelations that German industrialist Friedrick Krupp was frolicking with young men in Capri and Berlin (see Sep 17). Eulenburg returned to the Court in 1906, where he again drew the ire of critics of the Kaiser’s increasingly autocratic rule and expansionist foreign policy. Eulenburg’s timing for his return wasn’t good. Between 1906 and 1907, six military officers committed suicide after being blackmailed, and dozens of soldiers and officers had faced courts marshall for homosexuality.

Maximillian Harden, publisher of Die Zukunft, struck the first blow agaisnt Eulenburg by outing him in an article printed in April of 1907. Harden also outed General Kuno von Moltke in the same article. At the Kaiser’s urging, Eulenburg and Moltke denied the report and charged Harden with libel. Moltke’s trial came in 1907. It didn’t go well for Moltke. His former wife, a soldier, and even sexologist Magnus Hirschfeld (see May 14) testified against him. The court declared that Molte indeed was gay and cleared Harden of libel. The Kaiser voided the verdict and demanded a new trial, which found Harden guilty. He was sentenced to four months imprisonment.

But the details from the first trial both shocked and disgusted Germany. When Eulenburg’s perjury trial came around in 1908 — he was charged for denying his homosexuality during the Moltke trial — the prosecution had lined up hundreds of witnesses. Forty-one testified against Eulenburg, including several who described watching him through a keyhole. Eulenburg collapsed in the courtroom early in the trial, and proceedings were suspended while he underwent medical treatment. It  resumed later that year with Eulenburg on a stretcher, but was suspended again due to his poor health. The case remained in limbo until the destruction of the German Empire in 1918, and it never resumed after that. Eulenburg remained in retirement, with no further contact with the Kaiser, until Eulenburg’s death in 1921 at the age of 74.

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).

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The Daily Agenda for Wednesday, February 11

Jim Burroway

February 11th, 2015

TODAY’S AGENDA:
Events This Weekend: Belgium Leatherpride, Antwerp, Belgium; Cologne Street Carnival, Cologne, Germany; Gay Mardi Gras, New Orleans, LA; Arizona Gay Rodeo, Phoenix, AZ; Sitges Carnival, Sitges, Spain.

TODAY’S AGENDA is brought to you by:

From The Advocate, March 15, 1972, page 7.

Before San Francisco’s Eureka Valley rebranded itself for the Castro Theater that remains its most prominent landmark, gay life in San Francisco centered on Polk Street, particularly the area between Geary and Union known locally as Polk Gulch or Polk Strasse. California Hall, at Polk and Turk, saw an important event in San Francisco gay history when police raided a New Years Day Mardi Gras ball sponsored by the Council on Religion and the Homosexual. The ensuing uproar forever changed LGBT politics in the city. Polk Street was also the location for San Francisco’s first Gay Pride parade in 1972. The Town Squire, a clothing store that opened in 1960, was just one of scores of popular businesses catering to the gay trade. By the late 1970s, gay life shifted to the Castro, and Polk Street became known more for its hustlers, sex workers and transgender refugees. In recent years, the entire area has undergone massive gentrfication, pushing out all of the old queer places and queer people. The storefront today is home to a computer repair business, with swank new condos rising up from above it.

A couple walks past police officers to attend the New Year’s Mardi Gras ball.

TODAY IN HISTORY:
SF Judge Acquits Four From New Years Day Raid: 1965. On New Years Day, San Francisco police raided a ball hosted by the Council on Religion and the Homosexual, a coalition of of gay and straight people of faith in the Bay area (see Jan 1). The raid took place despite negotiations between ball organizers and the SFPD which resulted in an empty promise by SFBD not to harass attendees or arrest anyone arriving at the ball in costume, including those in drag. Instead, police snapped photos of everyone trying to enter the building and later demanded entrance. Three CRH lawyers explained that the party was a private party under California law and that police could not enter without buying tickets or showing a warrant. The lawyers were arrested, along with a ticket-taker, and charged with obstructing an officer.

Trial for the four began on February 8 with Marshall Krause, an attorney from the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California, demanding that the police state in detail what the four did to interfere with the officers. Three inspectors and one officer were called to the stand and questioned extensively. According to the testimony, the officers had, in fact, gained entrance to the hall, but were stopped inside when the four asked for search warrants as required under the Constitution. When asked why police were taking pictures of guests arriving at the ball even though no crime had occurred, one official replied that police “wanted pictures of these people because some of them might be connected to national security.” He also claimed that the more than two dozen officers and two photographers were necessary “just to inspect the premises.” On February 11, their testimony ended, and Krause moved that the case be dismissed because the prosecution’s contention that the charges against the defendants lacked merit. Judge Leo Friedman agreed, and directed the jury to return not guilty verdicts.

The raid and resulting acquittals would be a major turning point for the gay rights movement in San Francisco. City officials, embarrassed by the obvious police misconduct, responded by designating officer Elliot Blackstone as the first liaison between the department and the LGBT community. One of the lawyers who had been arrested and charged, Herb Donaldson, would go on to become San Francisco’s first openly gay judge. Two years later, the Los Angeles Advocate would contrast the differing political climates for the gay community in Los Angeles to San Francisco and credit the “unbelievably inept harassment of a big New Year’s Eve Ball a few years ago” for “triggering the homosexual resurgence, and the organizations were quick to capitalize on the police bungling.”

[Sources: Kay Tobin. “After the ball…” The Ladder 9, no. 5 (February 1965): 4-5.

Unsigned. “Cross currents.” The Ladder 9, no. 9 (June 1965): 14-16.

Unsigned. Editorial: “Politics by the bay.” The Los Angeles Advocate 1, no. 4 (December 1967): 6.]

Time magazine, Feb 9,1976.

Newspapers Pull “Doonesbury” Over Gay Character: 1976. Garry Trudeau’s Doonesbury, which had been in syndication for little over five years, had gained a reputation for taking on a host of controversial subjects: sex, drugs, the Vietnam War, race, women’s lib, Watergate, you name it. In 1975, Trudeau won a Pulitzer for Editorial Cartooning, making Doonesbury the first regular comic strip to be so honored. Trudeau was, you might say, the Jon Stewart of his day. President Gerald Ford, who was often skewered in Doonesbury, remarked, “There are only three major vehicles to keep us informed as to what is going on in Washington—the electronic media, the print media and Doonesbury, and not necessarily in that order.” On February 9, 1976, Time magazine put the cast of Doonesbury on its front cover, and noting, “The panels are so volatile that half a dozen editors regularly run the strip on the editorial page.”

As if to prove that volatility, just two days later newspaper editors across the country were confronted with what to do with that day’s latest Doonesbury installment. The strip was, by today’s standards, pretty innocuous: a simple conversation between Walden College law student Joanie Caucus and classmate Andy Lippincott, with whom Joanie has developed a crush. Andy sits down with her and explains the situation: he’s gay.

That panel sent dozens of newspaper editors over the cliff. At least three major newspapers — The Columbus (Ohio) Citizen-Journal, The Cleveland Press and The Houston Post — and an unknown number of smaller ones suspended the strip. Thomas Boardmen of The Cleveland Press tried to put a thoughtful, but ultimately self-contradictory spin on their decision: “The subject of homosexuality is one of the most important issues facing our society today and it deserves special treatment. We are not shying away from it but we do not believe that it is proper for the comic page.” Charles Egger, editor of the Citizen-Journal, faintly echoed his Cleveland counterpart: “We felt the subject matter was not appropriate for the comic page.” After the Citizen-Journal’s switchboard was flooded with thousands of complaints, the paper offered to mail copies of the deleted strip to those who requested it. In Houston, Post editors also called the strip “inappropriate on a comic page,” but a local radio station responded by reading it over the air, as did member of the Gay Activist Alliance at the University of Houston when anyone called their office number. “We’ve been getting about 50 calls a day,” said an unnamed GAA spokesman. All three papers resumed publishing the strip by the following Monday.

TODAY’S BIRTHDAY:
Tammy Baldwin: 1962. Her political career began in 1986 when she won a seat to the Dane County (Madison, Wisconsin) Board of Supervisors. In 1992, she won a race for the Wisconsin State Assembly by defeating two other candidates while garnering 59% of the vote. She was one of only six openly gay politicians nationwide to win a general election that year, and she was the first openly lesbian Assembly member. When Congressman Scott Klug announced his retirement in 1998, Baldwin ran for that seat and won, making her the first woman to be sent to Congress from Wisconsin, and the first person to enter Congress as an openly gay representative. She would go on to represent the 2nd District for seven terms. In 2013, she became the first openly gay Senator in history after defeating former Gov. Tommy Thompson to represent Wisconsin in the U.S. Senate.

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?

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