Box Turtle Bulletin

Box Turtle BulletinNews, analysis and fact-checking of anti-gay rhetoric
“Now you must raise your children up in a world where that union of man and box turtle is on the same legal footing as man and wife…”
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Franklin Graham clarifies his bank move

Timothy Kincaid

June 12th, 2015

franklin graham

Franklin Graham is in the process of moving the accounts of the Billy Graham Evangelical Association from Wells Fargo Bank to BB&T Bank. He cited Wells Fargo’s commercial showing a lesbian couple learning sign language so as to adopt a little deaf girl.

Several parties have noted that BB&T also is pro-gay and has sponsored some gay pride events. But as I said then,

But sponsoring a pride entry is not the same as running an inclusive commercial on Franklin Graham’s television set. And this makes me curious as to whether BB&T has made assurances to Graham that they will keep their pro-gay visibility solely to gay venues.

BB&T clarified that while they did do sponsorship within the community so as to increase business from gay customers, this should not be interpreted as being supportive of the goals of the gay community. Nor do they advocate in their advertising for “social issues”, such as the existence of same-sex couples who might want to adopt a deaf girl.

Franklin Graham has now further clarified the reason that Wells Fargo is unacceptable, but BB&T is okay. (USAToday)

It is true that a local BB&T branch in the Miami area hosted a fundraiser for a program called Legacy Couples, which recognizes same-sex couples who have been in committed relationships for 10 years or more, but the bank did not promote this program through a national advertising campaign (or we would still be looking for another bank).

I think there is a difference between being friendly and being a public advocate. By staying at Wells Fargo, we would not only be associating with the promotion of a lifestyle we believe to be wrong, we also would actually be helping to pay for the advertisements by virtue of banking with them — because a bank has no money to advertise with other than the money its customers place in its trust and the interest earned on that money. We simply chose not to continue doing business with a bank that is promoting something that violates our conscience and beliefs.

Graham does not state whether BB&T has given him assurances that none of their national advertising will include same-sex couples. But it certainly seems likely.

I’ve not heard back from BB&T as to whether they have made any assurances to Graham.

This ad is going to give Franklin Graham a headache

Timothy Kincaid

June 12th, 2015

Last week Franklin Graham, the President of the Billy Graham Evangelical Association, announced that he’s moving the group’s accounts from Wells Fargo to BB&T Bank because Wells ran a commercial featuring a lesbian couple adopting a little deaf girl.

Well he’s really not going to like this ad from Tylenol.

See that middle finger that Corporate America is waving in your face, Franklin? Get used to it.

Florida removes gay adoption ban from its books

Timothy Kincaid

June 12th, 2015

While Michigan is taking steps which will make it more difficult for same-sex couples to adopt, Florida is removing a piece of obsolete law that restricted gay adoption. (tbo.com)

The nearly four-decade-old law that prevents gays from adopting children will disappear from Florida’s statutes on July 1.

Republican Gov. Rick Scott signed a bill today that removes the language – though the ban hasn’t been enforced for the past five years.

Michigan allows religious adoption agencies to turn away couples of which they disapprove

Timothy Kincaid

June 12th, 2015

The state of Michigan has approved three bills that will authorize religious-based adoption agencies to turn away certain applicants.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder on Thursday quickly signed controversial legislation allowing adoption agencies that contract with the state to decline service to prospective parents on religious grounds.

The laws impact about 17 of the state’s 62 adoption agencies and requires that all religious agencies keep referral lists so that they can send prospective couples to alternate facilities. The Governor’s rationale for signing the bills is that without the protection, some of the agencies would close and that this would result in fewer children being placed in homes.

I don’t object to adoption agencies that target their placement. If a Catholic woman wants to be certain that her son is raised respecting the beliefs and traditions of her faith, I have no problem with her going to a Catholic adoption agency that will place the child with a Catholic family.

But don’t ask me to pay for it. It stops being “charity” when you get paid to do it.

Funding religious service providers has always been a tricky proposition. But for as long as they did not discriminate in the services they provide, the state could not exclude certain providers just because they were religious.

But these bills change the ground rules. These specifically say that contractors CAN discriminate, using taxpayer funds, so long as it’s based on a religious reason. And that is an unjustifiable position for a state. If a state contractor cannot provide services to all citizens on an equal and fair basis, then it’s time to go be a charity again.

I think that the legislators and Governor in Michigan will regret this decision. While it is intended to protect religious adoption agencies from placing children with gay couples, laws tend to never stay in the box for which they were intended. Unable to just come out and say “you can refuse gay people”, the legislature used the vaguer concept of ‘religious objection’ and that is a notion that is very broad.

Of course Catholics won’t place children with gay couples. That’s a violation of their beliefs. But can they, in good conscience, place children with Satanists? I mean, c’mon, Satanists?

And then there’s Wiccans. And Pagans. Surely a Christian organization doesn’t have to place children in the homes of people who worship demon spirits in trees and lakes.

And certainly we don’t want to place Christian children with Jews, where they won’t be taught Jesus or go to heaven. Or Hindus; they’re idol worshipers. Or Muslim – definitely not Muslims. Or the crazy Pentecostals.

And, of course, atheists. Or those who are irreligious. A child needs a good moral structure.

And the list goes on. And on. All with good religious reasons.

All on the state’s dollar.

And that’s a nightmare.

Marriage equality comes to Chihuahua

Timothy Kincaid

June 11th, 2015

chihuahua

Although Chihuahua is perhaps known most for a tiny dog, it is actually Mexico’s biggest state – roughly the size of Michigan – placed alongside New Mexico and Texas. It is also the latest Mexican state to lift all restrictions to same-sex marriage. (proceso badly translated by google)

The government of Cesar Duarte Jaquez decided not to put more obstacles to marriages between same sex and from now on married couples who request them.

Chihuahua joins Quintana Roo (Cancun) and Coahuila (the state to Chihuahua’s east also bordering Texas) as states in which marriages are now immediately available. In the remainder of Mexico, couples may still need to go to court to get an amparo (civil rights ruling), but the outcome of the ruling is assured to be positive.

And you won’t do what, exactly?

Timothy Kincaid

June 11th, 2015

wapo rant ad

Lately I’ve been hearing a lot from the anti-gay activist world about how they are revolting, rebelling, standing up, and refusing to comply with the anticipated determination of the US Supreme Court that states must give their gay citizens the same rights as heterosexuals. And today the usual carnival of loons ran a full page ad in the Washington Post pleading with SCOTUS to not force them to choose between the state and the Laws of God.

Most of the expected names are there: Phil Burress, Elaine Donnelly, the Wildmons, the Benham brothers, Franklin Graham, Mat Staver, Alan Keyes, Harry Jackson, Jim Garlow. (It was amusing, however, to note that some names like Linda Harvey and Matt Barber didn’t make the cut.)

Together they warn the Court that “we will not honor any decision by the Supreme Court which will force us to violate a clear biblical understanding of marriage as solely the union of one man and one woman.” They “pledge obedience to our Creator” and affirm their definition of marriage.

They whine and wail and throw words about, but they fail to do one thing: tell anyone exactly what it is that they won’t do.

Will they refuse to recognize the validity of our marriages?

That’s fine with me. They can refuse to recognize Ronald Reagan’s marriage to Nancy because he was divorced. Or refuse to recognize Maggie Gallagher’s marriage to Raman Srivastav because they are ‘unequally joined together’ due to different faiths. Perhaps they can even find former Texas Senator Phil Graham’s marriage invalid because his wife is of a different race.

I really don’t care what marriages they believe to be illegitimate. And no one’s standing in their way; they can believe whatever they like.

Will they refuse to officiate at my wedding?

Okie-dokie. The First Amendment protects their right to conduct their sacraments as they choose, and nothing SCOTUS says this month will impact that in the slightest.

Or will they refuse to bake me a cake?

While some here may disagree, I don’t really care if Elaine Donnelly stands in her doorway screaming, “No cake for you!!” I prefer my cakes baked with love and sweetness, not anger and bitterness. Besides, in most of the states that this collection of harpies come from there are no non-discrimination provisions that protect LGBT people. They can refuse cake, flowers, pizza, or any other trappings that they wish and the only thing hurt is their bottom line.

I’ve got to say that I’m used to vague empty rhetoric is the political sphere; but this word salad lacks all meaning whatsoever. Someone please tell me how they are being forced to “choose”? And they are going to refuse to do what, exactly?

NC House overrides veto on magistrate protection bill

Timothy Kincaid

June 11th, 2015

In May the North Carolina legislature passed Senate Bill 2, a bill designed to allow individual Magistrates to give up conducting marriages and to allow assistant Registrars to give up issuing marriage licenses. Republican Governor Pat McCrory vetoed the bill, saying that public officials who swear to perform the duties of their office should not be exempt from doing so.

On June 2nd, the state Senate voted to override the Governor’s veto and today the House did the same. So the bill becomes law.

Here’s what it does:

  • The Register of Deeds in a county cannot refuse to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. That is an integral part of their duties and they have to fulfill their obligations.
  • Assistant Registers of Deeds can, however, give up issuing marriage licenses altogether as part of their tasks. But they cannot pick and choose; It’s either all legal marriage licenses or none.
  • Magistrates can give up conducting marriage licenses altogether. But they cannot pick and choose; It’s either all legal marriage ceremonies or none.
  • If all magistrates in a jurisdiction refuse to conduct civil marriages, a magistrate will be assigned by the Administrative Office of the Courts. Until that magistrate is assigned, the Chief District Court Judge (or his assignee) will be deemed a magistrate to conduct civil marriages. There is no down time.
  • Marriages before a magistrate must be available a minimum of ten hours per week and over at least three days per week. This appears to be a new requirement.

While this is seen as an affront to our community, it is not clear that it will have much real impact on same-sex couples seeking marriage. The provisions require that licenses be issued and marriages be conducted and it probably matters little whether any specific Magistrates or Assistant Register of Deeds individually participate.

And it should be noted that the state has been issuing marriage licenses and conducting marriages since October 2014, and things appear to be going smoothly. I suspect that the offices of the various Registers of Deeds and Magistrates have by now pretty much identified ways to comply with the law without any serious loss of religious freedom or significant inconvenience to marrying parties. I doubt much will change.

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The Daily Agenda for Wednesday, June 17

Jim Burroway

June 17th, 2015

TODAY’S AGENDA:
Pride Celebrations This Weekend: Biarritz, France; Bisbee, AZ; Chicago, IL; Columbus, OH; Cumbria, UK; Denver, CO; Edinburgh, UK; Grand Rapids, MI; Guadalajara, JAL; Huntsville, AL; Iowa City, IA; Juneau, AK; Knoxville, TN; Lancaster, PA; Las Cruces, NM; Louisville, KY; Lyon, France; Nanaimo, BC; New Orleans, LA; Oldenburg, Germany; Oklahoma City, OK; Olympia, WA; Portland, ME; Providence, RI; Regina, SK; Riga, Latvia (EuroPride); Salem, MA; Salisbury, NC; Schenectady, NY; Shanghai, China; Sioux Falls, SD; Sitges, Spain; Springfield, MO; Syracuse, NY; Thessaloniki, Greece; Vienna, Austria; Wilton Manors, FL; York, UK; Zurich, Switzerland.

Other Events This Weekend: Lesbian and Gay Stadtfest, Berlin, Germany; Durban Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, Durban, South Africa; Folsom East, New York, NY; Frameline International LGBT Film Festival, San Francisco, CA; Cedar Point Gay Days, Sandusky, OH; Out in the Vineyard Gay Wine Weekend, Sonoma, CA.

TODAY’S AGENDA is brought to you by:

From The Calendar (San Antonio, TX), June 4, 1982, page 12.

From The Calendar (San Antonio, TX), June 4, 1982, page 12.

Dena KayeDena Kaye grew up singing gospel with her family around Houston. After high school, she switched to country and western and sang with bands in the Dallas/Fort Worth era. In an odd twist, she quickly found a gay following somehow and became one of the first national touring country and western acts willing to perform in gay bars in the 1980s.  “Gay people have been instrumental in helping me to advance my career,” she told San Antonio’s The Calendar. “Their support has been both inspiration and motivation to me. I’ll never forget the good times I’ve had, or the fine friends I’ve made.”

She also had the ability to bring all kinds of people together. When she made another appearance at Ab’s Westernaire, another San Antonio gay bar, the crowd from a neighboring straight C&W bar heard the music and joined the gay crowd. The straight bar’s owners even locked up their own place and joined the party. But despite opening for such luminaries as Hank Williams Jr., and Bobby Bare, she was never quite able to break into the big time.

TODAY IN HISTORY:
 Liberace Wins Libel Case: 1959. Liberace — his real name was Wladziu Valentino Liberace, but like Cher and Madonna he was known by a single name on stage — had become a piano-playing sensation in the U.S. in the 1950s. He started as a classical pianist, but he quickly added schmaltz and elements of Las Vegas showmanship (extravagant costumes, massive diamond rings, and his signature candelabra) to his repertoire of classics, show tunes, film scores and popular songs, all of which took his performances in a decidedly unclassical direction. His curly black hair, long eyelashes and bright smile made him a sex symbol for an odd collection of somewhat nerdy teenage girls, their middle-aged mothers and even their grandmothers — and for not a few gay men who understood what they were seeing. His flamboyance attracted questions about his sexuality, but those questions didn’t do much to dent the popularity of his his hit television series and packed concert halls.

But in 1956, a Daily Mirror columnist who went by the pen name Cassandra (real name: William Connor) wrote a scathing article the day after Liberace’s arrival in London for a live BBC broadcast and a European tour. If everyone else was willing to go along with Liberace’s persona of being sweet, sensitive, sensational and straight, Connor had no intention of playing along:

He is the summit of sex – the pinnacle of masculine, feminine, and neuter. Everything that he, she and it can ever want. I spoke to sad but kindly men on this newspaper who have met every celebrity coming from America for the past 30 years. They say that this deadly, winking, sniggering, snuggling, chromium-plated, scent-impregnated, luminous, quivering, giggling, fruit-flavored, mincing, ice-covered heap of mother love has had the biggest reception and impact on London since Charlie Chaplin arrived at the same station, Waterloo, on September 12, 1921.

Liberace replied with at telegram: “What you said hurt me very much. I cried all the way to the bank.” But he also decided to sue for libel. The case finally reached a London courtroom in 1959. On June 6, Liberace took the stand and denied that he was gay. He also denied that he was even a sex symbol. “I consider sex appeal as something possessed by Marilyn Monroe and Brigitte Bardot. I certainly do not put myself in their class,” he said, prompting laughter in the court room. When Connor took the stand, he denied trying to imply that Liberace was gay, although he found it difficult to square that claim with his word choices for his column. The most damning phrase, according to news accounts of the day, was his use of “fruit-flavored.” Apparently that was not the phrase to be tossed around at just anyone.

With no proof of actual homosexual activity on Liberace’s part — there were no former lovers to testify, no police arrests to report — the jury returned a verdict of guilty against Connor and the Daily Mirror, and awarded damages of $22,400. But today of course we know what was true all along: that he was actually gay even though he never came out of the closet during his lifetime. His estate and many of his remaining fans continued to deny for many years the numerous reports that when he died in 1987, it was AIDS that killed him.

 Premiere of Documentary of Drag Queen Competition: 1968. The documentary The Queen makes its premiere in a theater in New York City. The film, shot almost entirely with hand-held cameras, is a primitive pre-Stonewall prequel to Paris is Burning, and follows the behind-the-scenes preparations for the Miss All-America Camp Beauty Pageant – a national drag queen competition in New York City. The conversations recorded in the dressing rooms about draft boards, sexual and gender identity, sex reassignment surgery, and being a drag queen captures a very specific time in LGBT history. If you are ever lucky enough to see it, keep a very sharp eye out whenever the camera pans to the audience. You might just get a quick glimpse of Andy Warhol in his trademark platinum wig.

 Guin “Richie” Phillips Murdered: 2003. One fine Wednesday in June, two fishermen pulled a suitcase out of Rough River Lake, located about midway between Elizabethtown and Owensboro, Kentucky. When they pulled it up and unzipped it, they found the grizley remains of Guin “Richie” Phillips, a 36-year-old gay man from Rineyville, near Elizabethtown. He was identified by some personal items and a University of Kentucky Wildcat tattoo on his shoulder. Phillips had disappeared on June 17.

When his mother reported her son missing, she told police that she feared that he had been harmed because he was gay. Her fears proved correct. Police arrested Joshua Cottrell, 21, and charged him with Phillip’s murder. Cottrell had been seen having lunch with Phillips in Elizabethtown, and they were seen together in Phillip’s truck that same day. Several days later, the truck was found abandoned in Southern Indiana. Prosecutors announced that they would seek the death penalty.

When the trial finally got under way in 2005, a mutual friend testified that Cottrell had bought a set of luggage at J.C. Penney’s and told the friend that he planned to do some travelling. Cottrell also said that he would “cold-cock” Phillips if he ever made a pass at him. Cottrell’s aunt testified that Cottrell had confessed to the crime but his family didn’t believe him. According to the aunt, Cottrell invited Phillips to his motel room and asked Phillips if he liked him. Phillips said yes, and Cottrell chocked him to death.

But Cottrell testified that Phillips came to his motel room uninvited, tried to kiss him, and tried to force him to into oral sex. Cottrell’s attorney told the jury that the killing was fully justified. “This kid is not a killer,” Scott Drabenstadt said during closing arguments. “This kid is not a robber. Yes, he did some very inappropriate things with the body. … But what set it all in motion, he was privileged to do. What set it in motion were the actions of a 36-year-old man.”

That “gay panic defense,” despite the testimony from Cottrell’s own relatives, was all that was needed to convince the jury to reject the more serious charge of murder in favor of second degree manslaughter. They recommended 30 years, but Kentucky law limited the term to twenty. Phillips’s brother told a reporter, “I think they were looking at my brother being a homosexual when they made their decision to pick the lesser charge.” Cottrell was sentenced to the maximum twenty years. He is now more than half way through his term and has been eligible for parole since 2007.

Carl Van Vechten, self-portrait, 1934.

TODAY’S BIRTHDAY:
 135 YEARS AGO: Carl Van Vechten: 1880-1964. A writer and a photographer, Carl Van Vechten was fascinated with African-American culture and became a patron on the Harlem Renaissance. In 1926, he published his controversial 1926 novel Nigger Heaven, which portrayed the intellectuals, political activists, workers, and others who inhabited the “great black walled city” of Harlem. The book by a white author split Harlem down the middle: Langston Hughes was among the book’s fans and defenders (Hughes even wrote new poems to replace the songs used in the book’s first printing), while W. E. B. Du Bois and Alain Locke condemned it as an “affront to the hospitality of black folks.”

The question of whether a white man could truly know the Black experience lies at the very heart of the controversy surrounding Van Vechten’s life. Some of Van Vechten’s affinity for African-Americans can be traced to his wealthy family while growing up in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. His father endowed a school for African-Americna children, and he instructed his sons to always address the family’s employees with “Mr.” and “Mrs.”, regardless of their race. After graduating from the University of Chicago, he moved to New York to become the music and dance critic for The New York Times. In 1913, he took a year-long trip to Europe where he met Gertrude Stein and helped to get her work published.

In the 1920s, he began publishing novels himself, many of which containing sly and witty references to homosexuality. His 1923 novel, The Blind Bow-Boy includes a character he called “the Duke of Middlebottom,” whose stationery sported the slogan, “A thing of beauty is a boy forever.” It was about this time that Van Vechten emerged as a notable advocate for Black culture, writing articles in Vanity Fair celebrating the music of the Harleem Renaissance — the blues, jazz and spirituals which he said were the only authentic American musical forms. He also promoted writers of “the New Negro movement”: Alain Locke, Langston Hughes, Wallace Thurman, among others. In the 1930, Van Vechten took up photography and became known for his portraits of some of the leading artists of the day, including Langston Hughes, Marian Anderson, Pearl Baily, Josephine Baker, Marlon Brando, Truman Capote, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Lena Horne, Mahalia Jackson — the list is nearly endless.

Although Van Vechten had married the Russian-born actress Fania Marinoff in 1914, Van Vechten was gay. This was evident when his papers were unsealed twenty-five years after his death in 1964:

As the 25-year mark drew near, scholars assumed they were about to unveil Van Vechten’s diaries. “They said, ‘Of course, this is going to be exciting, and let’s open those journals and have a party,’ and the curator said, ‘Well, I don’t think so…’ It was a good instinct.” The few people who did attend the 1989 opening, including Willis, were shocked by what they found: 18 scrapbooks of graphic homoeroticism, full of mischief and devoid of explanation.

…Van Vechten collected newspaper clippings chronicling Harlem drag balls, early sex-change operations (“GI Who Turned Woman is a Happy Beauty”), court cases for “morals charges,” and abuse incidents. He assembled more restrained, if still theatrical, black and white photographs of male nudes, both Caucasian and African American, which most scholars think are mostly or entirely the work of Van Vechten. Nothing escaped him: Photos of ambiguously homoerotic Greek vases, labeled in childishly rounded handwriting, nestled against newspaper cutouts of male wrestlers locked in combat.

Emily Bernard’s 2012 biography, Carl Van Vechten and the Harlem Renaissance: A Portrait in Black and White, explores the contentious racial and sexual intersections between the multiple worlds that Van Vechten inhabited and chronicled.

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 Tuesday, June 16

Jim Burroway

June 16th, 2015

TODAY’S AGENDA is brought to you by:

From the Advocate, March 5, 1981, classifieds section, page 23.

Rawhide opened in 1979 and its name said it all. It was a serious, cruisey, low-frills place that catered to the leather/levi crowd. Its black walls were decorated with Tom of Finland posters and a beat up motorcycle hung from the black-painted ceiling above a red-velvet pool table. The landmark bar closed last year after the landlord nearly doubled the rent from $15,000 to $27,000 per month. The building today houses yet anther one of those West Coast pizza chains that are infecting the gentrifying Chelsea neighborhood. The landlord, without even the slightest hint of irony, hailed the new tenant as “something with a little more local flair where the community would like to patronize.”

TODAY IN HISTORY:
Philadelphia’s Packer Street-Gloucester City Bridge Named for Walt Whitman: 1954. Walt Whitman spent his last nineteen years in Camden, New Jersey, just across the Delaware River from Philadelphia. More than sixty years later, the Delaware River Port Authority’s Special Committee on Bridge Names voted unanimously to name a suspension bridge, then under construction connecting nearby Gloucester City, New Jersey to Philadelphia’s Packer Avenue, for Camden’s adopted hometown hero in advance of the centenary of the first publication of Leaves of Grass.

The announcement was made, the Centenary was celebrated in 1956, and the bridge’s construction continued with its opening slated for the spring of 1957. That should have been the end of the matter.

And it would have been, until Father Edward Lucitt, director of the Holy Name Union of the Diocese of Camden, Monsignor Joseph McIntyre, and seven other Holy Name Society leaders in Southern New Jersey wrote to complain that “Whitman himself had neither the noble stature or quality of accomplishment that merits this tremendous honor, and his life and works are personally objectionable to us.”

That letter, from December 16, 1956, was motivated by a series of articles in the Camden diocesan weekly newspapers by Rev. James Ryan, who denounced Whitman as a third-rate poet and a scandal to decency. Other Catholic publications picked up on the controversy and went through Whitman’s published work with a fine tooth comb. They criticized a line in Section 32 of “Song of Myself” where Whitman praises the irreligiosity of animals (“They do not make me sick discussing their duty to God”), and especially, of course, “As I Lay With My Head in Your Lap, Camerado.” In January 1957, the Committee received 467 copies of a mimeographed form letter, signed by clerics, nuns and lay people from across Philadelphia and southern New Jersey, which mixed moralizing with then-common red-baiting rhetoric:

Gentlemen:

We oppose the naming of the new $90,000,000 bridge as a memorial to Walt Whitman for the following reasons:

(1) He is not great enough to deserve this honor. In what way has he inspired or influenced American democracy for good?

(2) He boasted of his immoralities and published immorality as a personal experience.

(3) He held Christianity in contempt, and affirmed himself as the new savior of mankind.

(4) He attempted to teach rebellion against the natural law of God, and the right order established by the tortured experience of the centuries.

(5) His political philosophy, dusted off the scrap heap during the depression, as the Voice of the Common Man, has proved alien to Jeffersonian Democracy, and he is now the Poet Laureate of the World Communist Revolution.

Because the naming of the Bridge in his honor would raise him to the status of a national hero, give aid and comfort to the enemies of our established order of morality and democracy, make the teaching of religious concepts difficult, and bring the common stamp of morality in our heritage into contempt, we ask you to drop Whitman’s name from the Bridge.

Not all Catholics were on board with the anti-Whitman campaign. An editorial in The Ave Maria, published at Notre Dame University, warned against the foolishness of wasting the moral weight of Catholic opinion on “less important matters” when there were other things to worry about (such as the showing of “obscene movies” and “legislation authorizing the distribution of birth control literature.”) The New York Times picked up on the story, which led to a counter-campaign by those who either supported honoring Whitman or resented Catholic interference in public affairs. For at least one letter writer, Whitman’s sexuality was not an issue. “Michael Angelo was a homosexual,” he wrote to the committee. “Why don’t they destroy the Sistine chapel?” Another letter to The New York Post expanded on that theme:

(They) “want to take Whitman’s name off that bridge because he may have been abnormal sexually. If they succeed, their next job is to remove Michelangelo’s statues from the Vatican, tear down St. Peter’s Basilica and throw out all copies of Leonardo’s Last Supper. Da Vinci was actually arrested on a charge of perversion and Michelangelo’s sonnets suggest far more than any of Whitman’s poems.”

In the end, there appears to have been little desire among River Authority officials to consider changing the name. By the time the Walt Whitman Bridge opened to traffic on May on May 16, 1957, the controversy was over and mostly forgotten. Ten years later when the New Jersey Turnpike Authority renamed one of its service areas for Whitman, no one objected. Today, the Walt Whitman Bridge is a part of Interstate 76, which is known locally in the Philadelphia area as the Schuylkill Expressway.

[Source: Joann P. Krieg. “Democracy in Action: Naming the Bridge for Walt Whitman.” Walt Whitman Quarterly Review 12, no. 2 (Fall 1994), 108-114. Available online here.

“Dal McIntire” (Don Slater) “Tangents.” ONE Magazine 4, no. 3 (March 1956):7.]

Rocky Horror Show Premieres: 1973. The stage musical The Rocky Horror Show premiered in London at the Royal Court’s Theatre Upstairs, a tiny 63-seat venue set aside as a project space for new works. Starring Tim Curry as Dr. Frank-N-Furter — a “sweet transvestite from Transsexual, Transylvania” — the musical (set in Ohio!) follows the adventures of young lovers Brad Majors and Janet Weiss who came to the doctor’s castle to call a cab because their car has a flat tire. The production featured lots of catchy songs (“Time Warp” and “Science Fiction, Double Feature”), risqué sexuality and of course, lots of makeup. The show was an instant hit, and the cast was signed for a soundtrack album right after the show’s second night. By the time the show closed seven years and four venues later, it has gone through 2,960 performances and picked up several added songs along the way.

The Rocky Horror Show opened on Broadway on March 10, 1975, but critics panned it and the show closed just three weeks later. That same year, the play was adapted for the film and retitled The Rocky Horror Picture Show. It became a must-see cult classic that has kept art houses in business for the next four decades. Because it is still officially in limited release, The Rocky Horror Picture Show is the longest-running theatrical release in film history.

Sen. Lott Likens Gay People to Alcoholics, Sex Addicts, Kleptomaniacs: 1998. Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-MS) appeared on Armstrong Williams’s program to talk about abortion, disciplining children (he said he used a belt on his occasionally) and his childhood (growing up in Mississippi in the 1950s and early 1960s was a “good time in America.” And he also spoke on the controversial subject of same-sex marriage, two years after the passage of the Defense of Marriage Act. Williams asked Lott what he thought about homosexuality. Lott replied, “You still love that person and you should not try to mistreat them or treat them as outcasts. You should try to show them a way to deal with that.” He said his own father had had a problem with alcoholism, adding, ”Others have a sex addiction or are kleptomaniacs. There are all kinds of problems and addictions and difficulties and experiences of this kind that are wrong. But you should try to work with that person to learn to control that problem.”

President Bill Clinton’s press secretary Michael D. McCurry blasted Lott’s statement, saying it showed how difficult it was getting things done “when you’re dealing with people who are so backward in their thinking. For over 25 years, it’s been quite clear that sexual orientation is not an affliction, it’s not a disease, it is something that is part of defining one’s sexuality.'” Sen. Paul Wellstone (D-MN) seized on Lott’s remarks to demand that Clinton’s nomination of openly gay James Hormel as ambassador to Luxembourg to be brought to the Senate floor, a move that had been blocked by Lott. House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-TX) came to Lott’s defense: “I abide by the Bible… I do not quarrel with the Bible on the subject.” The controversy eventually blew over and Lott kept his job as Senate Republican leader until 2002 when, at a party honoring the 100th birthday of Sen. Strom Thurmond (S-SC) who had run for President as a segregationist Dixiecrat candidate in 1948, Lott said that if Thurmond had won, “we wouldn’t have had all these problems over the years.” Those remarks finally led to his resigning his leadership position.

Del Martin (left, 87) and Phyllis Lyon (right, 83)

Longtime Gay Activists Become First Same-Sex Couple to Marry in California: 2008. Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin of San Francisco had been together for fifty-five years when they were finally married at city hall. Their wedding capped a lifetime of advocacy for gay equality. In 1955, they and six other women founded the Daughters of Bilitis, the first major lesbian organization in the United States. Phyllis edited the DOB’s newsletter The Ladder beginning in 1956, and Del edited The Ladder from 1960 to 1962. They also took turns as head of the Daughters until 1964, when they helped found the Council on Religion and the Homosexual. Phyllis was also the first open lesbian to serve on the board of the National Organization for Women in 1973. Meanwhile, Del was heavily involved in getting the American Psychiatric Association to remove homosexuality from its list of mental disorders.

The California Supreme Court ruled on May 15, 2008, that the state’s ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional under the state constitution, and issued a temporary stay to give the state time to implement the necessary changes in its forms and procedures. That stay expired at 5:00 p.m. on June 16. San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom selected Phyllis and Del for the honor of being the first same-sex couple in California to marry in a ceremony began at precisely 5:01 p.m.

Phyllis and Del enjoyed two months of officially wedded bliss before Del passed away in August of that year.

TODAY’S BIRTHDAY:
Lou Sullivan: 1951-1991. The pioneering transgender activist had begun identifying as a “female transvestite” in 1973. Two years later, he moved to San Francisco and began identifying as a female-to-male transgender — and as a gay man. This didn’t sit well with the so-called gender specialists of the day, who saw sexual orientation and gender identity as, more or less, the same thing — gay men really “wanted to be women,” just like male-to-female transgender people, with only the degree of that “want” distinguishing the two. The idea that someone born female who identifies as a male but who also is attracted to other men — that just blew their minds, with many saying it just wasn’t possible.

So when Sullivan sought surgery, he was consistently denied it because, as far as the so-called gender experts were concerned, he was a woman who liked men and therefore there was nothing to “fix.” Sullivan was able to obtain hormones from doctors who were not associated with gender clinics, and he began lobbying the Harry Benjamin International Gender Dysphoria Association (now known as WPATH, World Professional Association for Transgender Health), to recognize that, despite what the “experts” said, he really did exist. Sullivan wrote the first guidebook for FtM people, and he spent the rest of his life as an advocate and an educator on the clear distinctions between sexual orientation and gender identity. His efforts eventually paid off, and in 1986 he was able to undergo genital reconstructive surgery. Later that year, he was diagnosed with AIDS, which exposed him to yet another kind of stigma. Just before he died in 1991, he wrote, “I took a certain pleasure in informing the gender clinic that even though their program told me that I could not live like a gay man, it looks like I’m going to die like one.” The Lou Sullivan Society continues to serve the FtM community in the San Francisco Bay area.

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, June 15

Jim Burroway

June 15th, 2015

TODAY’S AGENDA is brought to you by:

From Michael's Thing (New York, NY), August 2, 1976, page 14.

From Michael’s Thing (New York, NY), August 2, 1976, page 14.

Ordinarily, the ads we feature here are for businesses from times gone by. This time, I’m making an exception for Manhattan’s Candle Bar, which has been in continuous operation as a gay bar since at least 1958. But after some fifty-seven years in business, BTB reader Phillip informs me that the Candle will be extinguished by the end of this month. The only reason the Candle lasted this long is because the business owner also happened to own the building. Otherwise, rising rents might have driven it out a long time ago:

Robert Ader bought the four-story building at 309 Amsterdam Ave. in 1985; when he died, his sister Michelle Ader took over the management.  But Ader has sold the building, which was listed for $6.95 million and the new owner is not interested in keeping Candle Bar open, said Demarko, who regretted that the bar couldn’t be saved.

The Candle will close on June 22. The Bitter Queen has more on the Candle Bar’s history:

The premises has existed as a gay bar since 1958 when it was opened by George Fluss; however, it was a short run for Fluss.  He lost his liquor license in 1959 for permitting “homosexual activities” on the premises according to New York State Liquor Authority records.  Fluss went on to work at other gay bars and restaurants in the early 1960s including at the Pines & Dunes Yacht Club on Fire Island and the Coat of Arms at 140 East 53rd Street.

Ralph Pansini took over the 309 Amsterdam Avenue space in 1960 under the name Candlelight Lounge, and continued to operate it as a gay bar.  Pansini wore a wire for New York District Attorney Frank Hogan’s investigation into corruption at the State Liquor Authority.  The investigation brought down SLA head Martin Epstein and agency fixer Hyman Siegel who specialized in licensing cases.

Sen. Clyde Hoey

TODAY IN HISTORY:
 65 YEARS AGO: Senate Committee Orders “Pervert Inquiry”: 1950. The year 1950 is better known as marking the start of Sen. Joseph McCarthy’s infamous Red Scare witch hunt. But, in the spirit of first things first, the national scare over imagined Reds in America was actually preceded by a now often-forgotten Lavender Scare. The Lavender Scare began quietly enough earlier that year when Deputy Undersecretary of State John E. Peurifoy revealed in testimony before the Senate Appropriations Committee that the State Department had gotten rid of 91 employees accused of being homosexual (see Feb 28). His testimony almost didn’t make the papers, but Republican and southern Democrats unhappy with President Truman’s civil rights policies, seized on that admission to stoke fears of, according to one uninformed estimate, as many as 3,750 “sex perverts” in the Federal Government’s employment (see May 19).

That wild guess was given to the Senate Committee on Expendatures in the Executive Department by Police Lieutenant Roy Blick, head of the Washington, D.C. police department’s vice squad. The Senate Committee then ordered an investigative subcommittee to investigate those charges. Sen. Clyde R. Hoey (D-NC) was named to head the investigation. “The paramount objectuive is to protect the Government and the public interest,” he explained, and promised the investigation will make “every effort to obtain all the pertinent facts” but without “subject(ing) any individual to ridicule.

The New York Times reported that Sen. Joseph McCarthy (R-WI), who had already made numerous allegations concerning Communists and homosexuals in the federal government, agreed to remove himself from the panel,”to avoid being in a position of judging his own allegations.” Sen. Andrew F. Schoeppel (R-KS) was named to take his place. Other panel members were Sens. Margaret Chase Smith (R-ME), John McClellan (D-AR), James Eastland (D-MS), Herbert O’Conor (D-MD) and Karl Mundt (R-SD).

TODAY’S BIRTHDAY:
 Neil Patrick Harris: 1973. NPH has successfully smashed two important acting barriers. A former child actor, he has successfully navigated the difficulties of becoming an adult actor in Broadway, film, and television. And he has also navigated the difficult transition from assumed-straight actor to a highly visible gay one, with partner David Burtka and twin children who were born in 2010. And as a very visible gay actor, he still manages to play straight roles on film and television. In addition, he has been an acclaimed host for the Tony Awards in 2009, 2011, 2012, and 2013. He didn’t host the 2010 Tonys, but that year he did win an Emmy for hosting the 2009 Awards, and he won two more Emmys for hosting the 2011 and 2012 Tonys. His winning ways continued with his performance in the Broadway premiere of Hedwig and the Angry Inch, for which he won a Drama Desk Award and a Tony for Best Actor in a Musical.

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, June 14

Jim Burroway

June 14th, 2015

TODAY’S AGENDA:

Individualism in the original thirteen-star flag

It’s Flag Day, a day established in 1916 to commemorate the Second Continental Congress’s adoption of the Stars and Stripes on June 14, 1777. The original 1777 specification for the flag was simple: “Resolved, that the flag of the United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new Constellation.” That was it. Consequently, there were as many early American flag designs as there were flag designers.

An eighteen star, eighteen stripe flag, commemorating Louisiana’s entry into the union.

In 1795, the number of stars and stripes rose to fifteen in honor of Vermont and Kentucky’s entry into the union. As more states entered, flag makers added stars and stripes accordingly, although some flag makers decided having too many stripes made their flags look a little too busy. They took the initiative of going back to thirteen stripes for the original thirteen states. In 1818 when there were twenty states in the union, Congress decided to curb the potential stripe explosion and adopted the thirteen stripe flag with twenty stars, while specifying that new stars would be added as needed each July 4. But the stars’ remained unregulated, and flag makers continued to demonstrate a great deal of creativity throughout the nineteenth century. When Arizona and New Mexico became the 47th and 48th states in 1912, Congress finally got around to declaring a uniform design for the stars and stripes.

Fifty star flag measurement specification

Today, the flag’s design is carefully regulated by the General Services Administration’s specification DDD-F-416E (PDF: 1.16MB/34 pages!), with precise measurements and colors defined according to the CAUS Standard Color Reference of America. But very few commercially-made flags adhere to that standard: the measurements and aspect ratios are almost always wrong and the colors are typically off. Those that do are called Government Specification or G-Spec flags. The rest of us make do with whatever the Chinese manufacturer decides it will be.

Pride Celebrations This Weekend: Blackpool, UK; Boston, MA; Des Moines, IA; Edmonton, AB; Evansville, IN; Ft. Smith, AR; Göteborg, Sweden; Juneau, AK; Key West, FLLos Angeles, CA; Luleå, Sweden; Maplewood/South Orange, NJ; McKinney, TX; Nanaimo, BC; Napa, CA; Nyack, NY; Philadelphia, PA; Pittsburgh, PA; Portland, OR; Rockland, NY; Saskatoon, SK;Shanghai, China; Tel Aviv, Israel; Thunder Bay, ONWashington, DC; Winnipeg, MB; Wuppertal, Germany.

Other Events This Weekend: Tel Aviv LGBT International Film Festival, Tel Aviv, Israel; Identities Queer Film Festival, Vienna, Austria.

TODAY’S AGENDA is brought to you by:

From LXIX (Houston, TX) February 1, 1978, page 28 (Source.)

From LXIX (Houston, TX) February 1, 1978, page 28 (Source.)

THIS MONTH IN HISTORY:
Sexual Inversion Among Women in Spain: 1914. Not much has been written about lesbians in the historic literature, where most of the focus was on gay men. But Douglas C. McMurtrie, the New York editor of the Urologic and Cutaneous Review came a cross an article in a Spanish journal by the criminologist Bernaldo de Quiros and decided that the information was “of sufficient originality to warrant an abstract in English.” Using the term “tribadism” for lesbianism, McMurtrie went on to summarize de Quiros’s paper:

In certain cases, particularly those of congenital inversion with or without reference to physically inverted characteristics, tribadism develops, from instinctively digressive tendencies, in centers where there are segregated members of the female sex. There are various centers of this sort: convents, boarding-schools, manufacturing establishments, etc. Sapphic love affairs are very prevalent in tobacco factories. In explanation of this a new cause has been mentioned; namely, the irritation which the flying tobacco dust produces. Until recently, there was, near the tobacco factory of Madrid, a tavern which, had the proprietor known any classical mythology — beyond that pertaining to Bacchus, could have been christened “To the Island of Lesbos.”

Among the prostitutes, inversion is frequent, as also with some female criminals. The prison and hospital are centers of initiation into the practices of tribadism. Tribades are seldom permitted in brothels. Whenever recognized, they are found living independently. We have become acquainted with some who act as “men” and keep their beloved locked up at home while they go out on business to earn by their degraded profession, means for their mutual maintenance and provision for their needs. Admitting the frequency of homosexuality among prostitutes, it is necessary at the same time, to consider at least, the paradoxical hypothesisof Kurella, according to which prostitution is a partial inversion in woman, this being evidenced by the absence of feminine honor — which is obvious — and by the failure of ordinary sexual practices to give them satisfaction.

One of the great struggles that writers about homosexuality were forced to endure was to wrap their brains around the possibility that sexuality and gender roles were somehow separate. Men and women were defined according to both who they were anatomically, and according to what they did behaviorally. Men had penises and did men’s work; women had vaginas and performed women’s tasks, and the idea that the two parts of the definition could be decoupled in any meaningful way was beyond the imagination of most observers. That failing is not altogether their fault; it was also beyond the imagination of most gays and lesbians of that era as well. Where today we would simply see two men or two women in a same-sex relationship, that observation would have proved extremely difficult to understand a century ago. And so there was a considerable effort to figure out in these same-sex relationships who was the man and who was the woman, a task that McMurtrie candidly admitted was a difficult one:

It is difficult to picture the dualism of the sexes and the roles played by the different characters in this kind of love. One criterion of inversion which has been taken, is the development of the clitoris, either congenital or acquired by manipulation; this organ corresponding in the homology of sexual dualism to the male penis. The tribades whom we questioned on this point answered in various ways. The “man” is the masculine, not by reason of extraordinary development of the clitoris, but rather by the manifestation of characteristics which they, with their knowledge of the psychology of the other sex, consider as masculine. The “male” tribade is such through her impulse of domination, through her masculine impetus, and especially, according to the eloquent love-confession of one of these women, “because she is the one who does the beating.” The normal woman or the inverted woman lives under the “rule of the club” and in the delivery of mitigation of “the beating” that the differentiation is accomplished. …The “male” tribade likes to imitate a man in actions and occupations. They also adopt masculine nicknames.

[Source: Douglas C. McMurtrie. “Sexual inversion among women in Spain. Urologic and Cutaneous Review 18, no. 6 (June 1914): 308. Available online via Google Books here.]

TODAY’S BIRTHDAY:
Boy George: 1961. George O’Dowd’s first stage name was Lieutenant Lush when he performed with Bow Wow Wow. That tenure was short lived: he was booed off the stage. He then joined up with drummer (and regular boyfriend) Jon Moss (previously of The Damned and Adam and the Ants), bassist Mikey Craig and guitarist/keyboardist Roy Hay. They called their group In Praise of Lemmings and then Sex Gang Children. When they finally realized that they had a androgynous Irish singer, a black bassist, a Jewish drummer and an English keyboardist, they decided to call themselves Culture Club, with Boy George as the frontman. Their debut album Kissing to Be Clever was released in 1982, and their single “Do You Really Want To Hurt Me?” became an international hit. “Time (Clock of Heart)” and “I’ll Tumble 4 Ya,” gave them the distinction of being the first group since the Beatles to have three Top 10 hits in the U.S. from a debut album. Their next album Colour By Numbers, did almost as well, with “Church of the Poison Mind” and “Miss Me Blind” hitting the Top Ten in the U.S. and “Karma Chameleon” holding the #1 spot for three weeks (and for six weeks in the U.K.).

Boy George left Culture Club behind in 1986 when his relationship with Moss soured and he began descending into a nasty heroin addiction. He went into rehab, but part of his treatment added prescriptions for narcotics to deal with the heroin withdrawal. He ended up trading one addiction for another. He had a few modest hits as a solo artist, including the title song from the movie The Crying Game in 1992. He wrote the score for the London musical Taboo, which was based on his life and earned him a Tony nomination for Best Musical Score. But his troubles continued to follow him. In 2005, he was arrested in New York for cocaine possession and filing a false burglary report. The drug charge was dropped and he pleaded guilty to the false report. He was sentenced to five days of community service, fined $1,000 and ordered into drug rehab. In 2008, he was arrested and charged with assault and false imprisonment. He was convicted and sentenced to fifteen months imprisonment. He was released after four months and was placed under home detention. In 2010, he released Ordinary Alien, which he followed in 2013 with This Is What I Do.

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 Saturday, June 13

Jim Burroway

June 13th, 2015

TODAY’S AGENDA:
Pride Celebrations This Weekend: Albany, NY; Albuquerque, NM; Athens, Greece; Beaumont, TX; Blackpool, UK; Boston, MA; Brooklyn, NY; Chemnitz, Germany; Des Moines, IA; Edmonton, AB; Evansville, IN; Ft. Smith, AR; Göteborg, Sweden; Huntington, NY; Indianapolis, IN; Juneau, AK; Kalamazoo, MI; Key West, FL; Ljubljana, Slovenia; Los Angeles, CA; Luleå, Sweden; Maplewood/South Orange, NJ; McKinney, TX; Nanaimo, BC; Nantes, France; Napa, CA; Niagara Falls, NY; Nyack, NY; Philadelphia, PA; Pittsburgh, PA; Portland, OR; Rockland, NY; Rome, Italy; San Mateo, CA; Saskatoon, SK; Seoul, South Korea; Shanghai, China; Spokane, WA; Strasbourg, France; Tel Aviv, Israel; Thunder Bay, ON; Warsaw, Poland; Washington, DC; Weimar, Germany; Winnipeg, MB; Wuppertal, Germany; Youngstown, OH; Zagreb, Croatia.

Other Events This Weekend: Tel Aviv LGBT International Film Festival, Tel Aviv, Israel; Identities Queer Film Festival, Vienna, Austria.

TODAY’S AGENDA is brought to you by:

From The (Washington) Blade, June 1977, page 4.

Nomad Village’s owners were unusual: a gay husband and straight wife team who bought the property in 1959 and planned to build a small resort that would appeal to families. Randall and Betty Goodwin build a dozen A-frame cottages, and a three story main building that included a store, a bar, and apartments above. But when they learned that growing numbers of gay men were coming to the area for the summer, Randall decided to open The Other Room at the Nomad as a separate gay bar so there wouldn’t be any fights with his straight bar patrons. “I didn’t start out to have a gay bar, but it just sort of happened.” he said. “It’s generally accepted that straights think I caused what was called ‘the gay problem’ in the area, but it’s not true. Gays were already coming from Washington, DC. … it just made sense economically to open the Nomad to the gays.”

Keeping the Nomad open was a constant battle for the Goodwins.  They not only had to contend with hurricanes and tornados, they also faced legal problems with their liquor license, and their property was rezoned out from under them from commercial to residential in 1972, all in a bid to drive them out from business. They spent the next decade fighting the county to get their zoning restored. They also had to contend with their children being picked on in school because of the business. But Nomad Village stayed in business and continued operating for four decades. Sometime before 2000, the Goodwins went into semi-retirement and moved to Florida, returning to Delaware in the summertime to re-open the Nomad for several more seasons. They finally sold it off around 2003, and the property was razed soon after.

TODAY IN HISTORY:
Delaware Police Announce “Morals” Roundup: 1961. A state investigation in a “morals case” ended with the arrest of fifteen men, aged sixteen to twenty-seven years. As The Mattachine Review commented, the sixteen-year-old “unfortunately gives authorities a valid reason to conduct the investigations,” although it is unclear from the Wilmington Evening Journal’s article of June 13 whether that was the focus of the investigation or merely something police discovered sometime after it began. The investigation started on April 6 when police officers in Newark arrested Vance H. Middleton, 37, who “admitted participating in immoral acts.” Police went to his home and “seized a mass of obscene pictures and literature and photographic equipment and original photographs. It was through these photographs that the identity of many of those in the investigation was established.” Through a kind of a snowballing operation in which each contact was interrogated in order to obtain the names of other contacts, police surmised that “The Newark parties drew persons from throughout Delaware, Elkton, Philadelphia and New York” and that “most of the immoral activity centered in the Newark-Brookside area of week-ends.” One man, James M.F. Short, 31, of Newark and Wilmington, was charged with “63 morals charges by state police” and was being “held for psychiatric treatment on the Newark charges.”

A reader sent a copy of the Wilmington Evening Journal’s article to The Mattachine Review, and added the following details.

Police pressure is terrible throughout the state, they are pressuring homosexuals that are picked up to name and identify all their acquaintances. They even go to the places where they are employed, call them off the job and not even permit them to inform their employers they are leaving. They then are held as long as the police desire to hold them and generally cost the respective employee his job (which the police clearly envision because of their actions). When they are picked up, they are taken to the station for interrogation, subjected to a contingent of police officials’ questioning, and their actions and conversation filmed and tape recorded for the entirety of their stay. Their legal rights are denied on a wholesale basis, and none of them as yet has taken any action against the police.

Of course, in some towns down state, attorneys will not even defend a prospective client against the police even on charges other than homosexuality. (Proof of that statement In the Delaware State News, Dover, Delaware)

Short, one of the defendants in the case, attempted to implicate a State Trooper, so, of course, the numerous charges placed against him clearly indicate how the police plan to handle him.

[Sources: “15 Arrests in Morals Case End State’s Investigation.” Wilmington (DE) Evening Journal (June 13, 1961). As reprinted in the The Mattachine Review 7. no. 7 (June 1961): 27-28.]

Letter to the editor. The Mattachine Review 7. no. 7 (June 1961): 27.

Harold Call. “Calling Shots.” The Mattachine Review 7. no. 7 (June 1961): 4-5.]

20 YEARS AGO: LGBT Leaders Welcomed to White House With Rubber Gloves: 1995. Relations between the LGBT community and the Clinton Administration were at a low point in 1995. Instead of repealing the ban against gays in the military, the Clinton Administration negotiated “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” with conservative Democrats and Republicans. Instead of filing a Justice Department brief with the Supreme Court to weigh in on a lawsuit challenging Colorado’s Amendment 2 which would have banned civil rights protections for gay people, Attorney General Janet Reno sat on her hands. But with the White House beginning to cast an eye toward the 1996 elections, they realized that they needed to do something to try to placate a seriously pissed off constituency.

So on June 14, the Clinton Administration invited 40 gay leaders, including state senators and representatives, city council members, judges and other elected officials from around the country, to a special White House meeting. The meeting’s purpose was to announce that Marsha Scott, a deputy assistant to President Clinton, was being named as White House liason officer for gay and lesbian issues. They were also there to learn about a new 30-member presidential advisory council on HIV/AIDS. But before the meeting even got started, things got off on the wrong foot when the LGBT leaders were greeted at the White House by Secret Service agents who had put on rubber gloves before granting them access. The activists were furious when agents told them they were wearing the gloves to protect themselves from HIV. “For that to even happen at the White House shows they haven’t a clue about AIDS,” said Act-Up spokesman Steve Michael. “It just shows where they’re at.”

What was supposed to be a grand kiss-and-make-up session quickly turned into yet another embarrasment for the administration. Secret Service director Eljay Brown issued a statement saying that he regretted “the unfortunate actions” taken by his agents. “It is not the policy of the Secret Service to wear gloves merely based on known sexual preference.” The Treasury Department, which had jurisdiction over the Secret Service, was asked to investigate. White House press secretary Mike McCurry said, “It’s safe to say the chief of staff (Leon Panetta) and others were distressed by that and believe it to be an error of judgment.”

TODAY’S BIRTHDAY:
Paul Lynde: 1926-1982. He studied drama at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois with fellow students Cloris Leachman, Charlotte Rae, Patricia Neal, Jeffrey Hunter and Claude Akins. Imagine what that class must have been like. After graduating in 1948, he moved to New York and became a stand-up comic and a Broadway actor. In 1960, he appeared in Broadway’s Bye Bye Birdie, as well as in its film adaptation in 1963. But most of his work was in television, where he appeared in numerous sitcoms (he was Uncle Arthur in Bewitched) and lent his voice to animated cartoons. He is probably best known as the “center square” for the game show Hollywood Squares with host Peter Marshall, where Lynde became famous for his one-liners and double entendres. They say his sexual orientation was an open secret in Hollywood. It’s hard to imagine any secret being more open than his. Especially considering Hollywood Squares answers like these:

Peter Marshall: In the Wizard of Oz, the lion wanted courage and the tin man wanted a heart. What did the scarecrow want?
Paul Lynde: He wanted the tin man to notice him.

Marshall: Is the electricity in your house A.C. or D.C.?
Lynde: In my house it’s both.

Marshall: What do you call a man who gives you diamonds and pearls?
Lynde: I’d call him “darling”!

Marshall: It is the most abused and neglected part of your body– what is it?
Lynde: Mine may be abused but it certainly isn’t neglected!

Marshall: Paul, in what famous book will you read about a talking ass who wonders why it’s being beaten?
Lynde: I read it, “The Joy of Sex.”

Marshall: Paul, why do Hell’s Angels wear leather?
Lynde: Because chiffon wrinkles too easily.

Marshall: According to the old song, what’s breaking up that old gang of mine?
Lynde: Anita Byant!

And here are a couple more:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XcqNowVkav8

Lynde was enormously popular, but several attempts to give him his own shows invariably ended in low ratings and swift cancellations. Audiences loved him, but only in small doses. This will give you an idea of how powerful his presence was: we may remember his appearances on Bewitched, but he only appeared on that show ten times throughout its eight year run.

Also working against him were skittish TV executives, who were concerned his homosexuality and his worsening alcoholism and substance abuse. When he was sober, he was well-loved by his fellow performers. When Lynde won an Emmy for Entertainer of the Year in 1976, he immediately turned the statue over to host Jackie Gleason, who had never won an Emmy, saying that Gleason was “the funniest man ever.” But when he was drunk, he was one of the most out-of-control drunks to inhabit the planet. In 1965, he was partying with a young actor (and alleged lover) in Lynde’s room at San Francisco’s Sir Francis Drake hotel when the actor fell from the eighth-floor window to his death. That tragedy was hushed up, which saved Lynde’s career but did little to sober him up. He was repeatedly arrested for his drunken behavior, including one arrest in1978 outside of a gay bar in Salt Lake City which led to his being dropped from a guest appearance on the Donnie and Marie show.  That same year, he was banned from the campus of Northwestern University after unleashing a horrendously racist tirade at a black professor in a nearby Burger King.

Lynde left Hollywood Squares in 1979 (some say he was fired for being drunk and belligerent on the set), but came back a year later, clean and sober. He also started living a much quieter life outside the studio, hosting dinner parties at home and apologizing to friends and co-workers. But a lifetime of hard living had already taken its toll and he died of a heart attack in 1982 at the age of 55.

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 Friday, June 12

Jim Burroway

June 12th, 2015

TODAY’S AGENDA:
Pride Celebrations This Weekend: Albany, NY; Albuquerque, NM; Athens, Greece; Beaumont, TX; Blackpool, UK; Boston, MA; Brooklyn, NY; Chemnitz, Germany; Des Moines, IA; Edmonton, AB; Evansville, IN; Ft. Smith, AR; Göteborg, Sweden; Huntington, NY; Indianapolis, IN; Juneau, AK; Kalamazoo, MI; Key West, FL; Ljubljana, Slovenia; Los Angeles, CA; Luleå, Sweden; Maplewood/South Orange, NJ; McKinney, TX; Nanaimo, BC; Nantes, France; Napa, CA; Niagara Falls, NY; Nyack, NY; Philadelphia, PA; Pittsburgh, PA; Portland, OR; Rockland, NY; Rome, Italy; San Mateo, CA; Saskatoon, SK; Seoul, South Korea; Shanghai, China; Spokane, WA; Strasbourg, France; Tel Aviv, Israel; Thunder Bay, ON; Warsaw, Poland; Washington, DC; Weimar, Germany; Winnipeg, MB; Wuppertal, Germany; Youngstown, OH; Zagreb, Croatia.

Other Events This Weekend: Tel Aviv LGBT International Film Festival, Tel Aviv, Israel; Identities Queer Film Festival, Vienna, Austria.

TODAY’S AGENDA is brought to you by:

From Contact, March 1974, page 4.

It may have been “The place” in 1974, but Mae’s Cabaret looks like it was located a good safe distance — about twenty miles — from Jackson. When I put this ad up last year, I lamented that I wasn’t able to find out anything about the place. Thankfully, a BTB reader filled in the blanks:

I grew up in Jackson. Jack Myers ran Mae’s Cabaret, first when it was on Hwy 49, it was raided by the Jackson police. Jack Myers met with the Chief of Police who didn’t find anything wrong with female impersonation and Mae’s Cabaret continued to have legal drag shows.

Later the bar relocated downtown on Farish and Capitol streets. The bar then moved to the old Amite theater and from there it transitioned into a gay black club named Bill’s Disco. Bill’s Disco had an amazing stage and the drag performers were world class, always being billed as, “Miss This That and The Other…” and “Miss So and So At Large…” The girls literally needed wheel barrows to haul the tips off the stage.

Around the time Mae’s Cabaret turned into Bill’s Disco, Jack opened another bar downtown named Jack’s and then eventually Jack and Jill’s. Two things I’m reminded of when I hear Mae’s Cabaret, It was the one and only place for gay people in Jackson so the kids would use it as a slur against little gay boys like, “Yeah they’ve got a date later tonight at Mae’s Cabaret…” and when I was first realizing I was gay there was a rumor of a gay serial killer that was stalking the place. I don’t know if there is any truth to that or if it was some propaganda to keep little gay boys like me away.

It didn’t work as you have read.

TODAY IN HISTORY:
Loving v. Virginia: 1967. Mildred Jeter and Richard Loving were an unusual couple. They had long crossed the racial barrier as friends in rural Central Point, Virginia: she was Black and Native American, he was white. But friendship turned to dating, and when Mildred became pregnant at the age of 18 in 1958, they decided to go to Washington, D.C. to elope. When they returned home, a group of police officers invaded their house late at night hoping to catch them in the act of having sex (which would have been a crime because of their racial differences). Mildred pointed to the marriage license that they had hung on the wall, hoping that it would protect them. Little did she know, but that license was proof that they had committed another crime. Virginia’s Racial Integrity Act of 1924 prohibited any “colored” person with so much as one drop of African American or Indian blood from marrying a white person. Miscegenation was a felony, punishable by a prison sentence of between one and five years. The couple pleaded guilty on January 6, 1959, and they were sentenced to one year, with the sentence suspended for 25 years on the condition that they left Virginia.

The Lovings moved to D.C., and in 1963 the ACLU began a series of motions and lawsuits alleging that Virginia’s Racial Integrity Act violated the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Those lawsuits eventually made their way all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court. On June 12, 1967, the Supreme Court struck down Virginia’s anti-miscegenation law, along with similar laws in fifteen other states. In the unanimous ruling, the Court held that “Marriage is one of the ‘basic civil rights of man,’ fundamental to our very existence and survival.” Despite this ruling, anti-miscegenation laws remained on the books for several years to come, despite their being unenforceable. In 2000, Alabama voters approved a ballot initiative to repeal its anti-miscegenation law, although even then more than half a million — 40% — voted to keep it.

Mildred and Richard were never political people. After the Supreme Court victory, the couple returned to Virginia and raised three children. Richard died in 1975 at the age of 41 when their car was struck by a drunk driver. Mildred lost her right eye in the accident. She passed away in 2008 of pneumonia at the age of 68. But a year before she died, she issued a statement on the 40th anniversary of Loving v. Virginia, in which she saw the fight for the freedom to marry as unfinished business:

My generation was bitterly divided over something that should have been so clear and right. The majority believed that what the judge said, that it was God’s plan to keep people apart, and that government should discriminate against people in love. But I have lived long enough now to see big changes. The older generation’s fears and prejudices have given way, and today’s young people realize that if someone loves someone, they have a right to marry.

Surrounded as I am now by wonderful children and grandchildren, not a day goes by that I don’t think of Richard and our love, our right to marry, and how much it meant to me to have that freedom to marry the person precious to me, even if others thought he was the ‘wrong kind of person’ for me to marry. I believe all Americans, no matter their race, no matter their sex, no matter their sexual orientation, should have that same freedom to marry. Government has no business imposing some people’s religious beliefs over others. Especially if it denies people’s civil rights.

I am still not a political person, but I am proud that Richard’s and my name is on a court case that can help reinforce the love, the commitment, the fairness, and the family that so many people, black or white, young or old, gay or straight, seek in life. I support the freedom to marry for all. That’s what Loving, and loving, are all about.

TODAY’S BIRTHDAY:
 85 YEARS AGO: Jim Nabors: 1930. The Sylacauga, Alabama, learned to sing at his high school and church, and didn’t get into acting until he attended the University of Alabama. After graduating, he eventually landed his first job in television: cutting film for a television station in Chattanooga. He eventually decided to move to Los Angeles because of his asthma, where he began singing and acting in a local Santa Monica cabaret. That’s where he developed a character similar to the one we would later come to know as Gomer Pyle: a naive, golly-gee southern bumpkin with a high-pitched voice and thick accent would would launch into a nearly operatic baritone when singing. That’s where Andy Griffith discovered him, and signed to play a gas station attendant on The Andy Griffith Show. Nabor’s character was so popular that he soon ended up with his own spin-off, Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C, which ran for five seasons from 1964 to 1969.

Nabors was among a handful of actors who were openly gay among friends and co-workers, but who were never put publicly. “I haven’t ever made a public spectacle of it. Well, I’ve known since I was a child, so, come on. It’s not that kind of a thing. I’ve never made a huge secret of it at all,” Nabors said recently. What made Nabors so unusual is that he never bothered to play the game of “dating” women for publicity’s sake. There was one rumor going around that Nabors had “married” Rock Hudson in the early 1970’s, sparked by a joke invitation that went out among friends which said that Hudson wold take the last name of Nabor’s character and become “Rock Pyle.” When fan magazines found the invitation, they turned the joke into a story, causing embarrassment for both men. It’s also the only time I know of when Nabors gave the standard 1960s response to why he wasn’t married. “I love kids,” he said. “But I’ve been so busy with my career that I really haven’t given marriage much thought.”

After CBS decided to re-vamp its lineup and cancel all of its “cornball” programs (which constituted almost all of the network’s comedic lineup by 1969), Nabors briefly hosted his own variety show and made several guest appearances on other programs, including a few children’s television programs. But by the mid-1970s, he was pretty much done with TV, and move to Hawaii, where he and his then-longtime partner and now husband, Stan Cadwallader, have made their home.

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?

Michael Brown is not a pastor

Timothy Kincaid

June 11th, 2015

michaelbrowndvd

On May 27th I wrote an article in which I said that it appears to me that Charlotte anti-gay activist Michael Brown has taken the step from truth-spinner and fact-bender to blatant liar for repeating the false claim that the Yes Campaign supporting marriage in Ireland was funded by an American billionaire.

There is a difference between funding organizations with an ideological bent and who seek a social position, and funding an actual campaign for a referendum. This is a clear distinction and one that Michael Brown knows well.

On June 3rd, World Net Daily presented a commentary by Brown in which he attempts to set the record straight.

He spends several paragraphs patting himself on the back for conducting “the gold standard” of anti-gay activism and attempting to place the label of dishonesty on me instead of himself. For example, I describe his pack of annual protesters as “a red shirt mob” but he assures the readers at WND that they are “fine Christian men, women and children, including grandmas and grandpas”. Ya know, that sort of thing.

As for the meat of my argument, I predicted Brown’s response well.

Now Brown and others may say that this is splitting hairs, a mere technicality. They might argue that because Mr. Feeney funded organizations that advocate for marriage equality, he is funding the campaign in a more general sense. He’s not actually funding buttons and flyers and posters, maybe, but he’s helping fund groups that are pro-gay so it’s all the same really.

Which was exactly how Brown responded.

Not only is this hair-splitting, but it has been clearly documented that the push to redefine marriage in Ireland goes back more than a decade, with much of the groundwork laid by Atlantic Philanthropies, through which Feeney donated millions.

In other words, Brown claims that back when same-sex couples could marry only in the Netherland, Belgium, Ontario, and Massachusetts, a billionaire in New Jersey concocted a decade long scheme in which he would bring about marriage equality not in his own state or country, but in what was possibly the most Catholic nation on the planet, Ireland. I’ll let you decide if you think that is likely.

Oh I suppose that if your worldview is such that efforts to protect children from bullying equals “the homosexual indoctrination of your kids” or if you believe that casting demons out of a gay person can turn them straight then you can convince yourself of anything.

Now it is true that marriage equality is part of the overall drive for equality and inclusion. And though I think that no one, Feeney included, dared to dream that in 2015 two dozen countries would have marriage equality, full equality and inclusion of LGBT people into the fabric of daily life has always been the long goal. And Feeney has, for many years, given to groups in Ireland who support the goals of the community.

But the claim Brown repeated is flatly false. It’s an assertion that illegal contributions paid for a vote in which those who support his exclusionary and rejecting view of society lost and lost badly. In telling “what really happened in Ireland” he insisted that “Ireland was not ready for the massive influx of gay activist funding from America”. In other words, the only reason they lost is because the Yes Campaign broke the law and accepted a American gay money.

And it is interesting (and telling) that no where in Brown’s rebuttal does he admit that this accusation is untrue, choosing instead to double-down by implying, suggesting, hinting that what he really meant was based in fact.

Without this decade-long effort (which Kincaid cannot possibly believe was not part of a larger plan, leading up to the “Yes” campaign), it is almost certain that Ireland would not have voted 62 to 38 percent to redefine marriage.

This is what my Irish supporter was trying to convey when she wrote, “We tried so hard to prevent it, but were up against every political party and up against millions of U.S. dollars that were being poured into the yes campaign. American billionaire, Chuck Feeney alone contributed over $24 million.”

Again, without massive American funding over a period of more than 10 years, the campaign would likely have failed.

Which isn’t quite the same thing as that unexpected “massive influx of gay activist funding from America”, is it? So I guess there was no sneaky influx of foreign gay activist money that “Ireland was not ready for”, was there? But that doesn’t much matter to Brown.

Repeat the lie, imply it was true in what was ‘trying to be conveyed’, conflate the timeline, and the average WND reader will walk away believing that Feeney dumped $24 into the Yes Campaign. End result: the desired deception.

Meh. Liars will lie. Prevaricators will be truth-benders.

But as for me, I will readily admit that one part of my commentary is not correct. And for that I apologize.

I called Michael Brown a pastor. He insists that he is not a pastor. And let the record so state.

The Daily Agenda for Thursday, June 11

Jim Burroway

June 11th, 2015

TODAY’S AGENDA:
Pride Celebrations This Weekend: Albany, NY; Albuquerque, NM; Athens, Greece; Beaumont, TX; Blackpool, UK; Boston, MA; Brooklyn, NY; Chemnitz, Germany; Des Moines, IA; Edmonton, AB; Evansville, IN; Ft. Smith, AR; Göteborg, Sweden; Huntington, NY; Indianapolis, IN; Juneau, AK; Kalamazoo, MI; Key West, FL; Ljubljana, Slovenia; Los Angeles, CA; Luleå, Sweden; Maplewood/South Orange, NJ; McKinney, TX; Nanaimo, BC; Nantes, France; Napa, CA; Niagara Falls, NY; Nyack, NY; Philadelphia, PA; Pittsburgh, PA; Portland, OR; Rockland, NY; Rome, Italy; San Mateo, CA; Saskatoon, SK; Seoul, South Korea; Shanghai, China; Spokane, WA; Strasbourg, France; Tel Aviv, Israel; Thunder Bay, ON; Warsaw, Poland; Washington, DC; Weimar, Germany; Winnipeg, MB; Wuppertal, Germany; Youngstown, OH; Zagreb, Croatia.

Other Events This Weekend: Tel Aviv LGBT International Film Festival, Tel Aviv, Israel; Identities Queer Film Festival, Vienna, Austria.

TODAY’S AGENDA is brought to you by:

From Club Scene, December 1983, page 30.

From Club Scene, December 1983, page 30.

TODAY IN HISTORY:
50 YEARS AGO: Life Magazine Opposes Decriminalization: 1965. A year before, Life magazine published a groundbreaking essay on “Homosexuality in America,” (see Jun 26), which was notable for being one of the earliest relatively balanced portrayals of gay life in California. Gay rights advocates had hoped that the article might portend more positive press for gay issues, at least in the pages of Life, but that hope proved short-lived. In 1965, there was a proposal before the New York legislature to repeal that state’s sodomy law, which banned “deviant sexual intercourse” between unmarried persons. If passed, New York would have become only the second state, after Illinois, to decriminalize consensual sexual behavior between gay adults (see Jul 28). Life, in an unsigned, self-contradictory and illogical editorial in its June 11, 1965 edition, opposed the move:

As readers of LIFE’s survey of homosexuality in America will remember, the “gay world” (actually a sad world) is coming increasingly above ground in many big cities and is lobbying for more sympathetic treatment. Homosexuality is frequently curable, but jail is the last place to expect a cure, and the laws restricting it are notoriously ineffective. Enforcement is either nonexistent or unjust and repugnant because of its peep-hole and entrapment methods. …

But the legislative debates have produced some robustious arguments on the other side. In Albany one legislator, who favored lifting the sanctions against adultery but not against homosexuality, explained that “after all, there are more of us than there are of them.”

There are more cogent arguments for retaining the laws against homosexuality. Its practice can and does break up families; and protection of the family is a legitimate area for legislation. Repeal would imply an indifference that society cannot afford. Until it finds a better way of discouraging the practice, a statute at least expresses society’s disapproval.

The proposal failed to make it into law, and New York’s sodomy law would remain on the books until 1980 when the New York Court of Appeals struck it down as unconstitutional.

[Source: “The law and the homosexual problem.” Life 58, no. 23. (June 11, 1965): 4.]

TODAY’S BIRTHDAY:
Wilma Burgess: 1939-2003. Before Chely Wright came out, there was k.d. lang. But before k.d. lang — before everyone, in fact — there was Wilma Burgess. The difference with Burgess however was that she never really came out. She was always out, throughout her career. She enjoyed recording romantic ballads, but in a break from most “girl singers,” she avoided recording gender-specific songs whenever she could. A southerner from Orlando, Wilma wasn’t much interested in country music when she first began singing professionally. But when she attended an Eddie Arnold concert, she was struck by the emotional honesty of Arnold’s music. She made her way to Nashville in 1962 where she cut her first single. “Confuses” didn’t really go anywhere, but it got her a contract for Decca Records.

After a several singles, she landed pay dirt in 1965 with “Baby,” which peaked at #7 on the country music charts. That same year, she purchased Patsy Cline’s old home in Nashville. In 1966 she recorded two more notable hits, “Don’t Touch Me” and “Misty Blue,” which became her signature song. That song was eventually covered by the man who inspired her to perform country music, Eddie Arnold. She had several more Top Forty country hits, but by the mid-1970s she decided to retire from the music business. She then opened the Hitching Post, Nashville’s first lesbian bar, where she regularly performed. She died suddenly in 2003 of a massive heart attack.

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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