Posts Tagged As: Daily Agenda

Today In History, 1954: Miami’s Mayor Grows Impatient Over “Deviates”

Jim Burroway

August 31st, 2016

Miami Mayor Abe Aronovitz

Miami Mayor Abe Aronovitz

Five days had passed since  Miami Mayor Abe Aronovitz went on the radio to blast city manager E.A. Evans and police chief Walter Headley for failing to drive all of the homosexuals out of town (Aug 26). Never mind that both Evans and Headley themselves were out of town on vacation when Aronovitz took to the airwaves. But both of Miami’s daily newspapers were pressing for action against the gay community ever since the murder of an Eastern Airlines flight attendant (Aug 3) and the subsequent discovery, according to the papers, of “a colony of some 500 male homosexuals, congregated mostly in the near-downtown northeast section and ruled by a ‘queen’.” The papers demanded that steps be taken to drive the gay community out of town and Miami’s “Powder Puff Lane” closed for good. It didn’t help matters that, in contrast to the aggressive raids staged by the Miami Beach police department and the Dade County Sheriff’s office,  Miami’s police chief’s policy of allowing a handful of bars operate in one centralized location to make it easier to “keep an eye on them” had earned the praises of ONE magazine earlier that year. Eight months later, the city’s papers were throwing ONE’s praises back in the city’s faces, and Aronovitz was feeling the heat.

So now that Evans was back (Headley was still on vacation), Aronovitz called Evans on the carpet and threatened to introduce a resolution in city council for his dismissal if the city manager failed to get rid of the city’s known gay bars. The mayor demanded that homosexuals be prevented from congregating in the bars, but he said it wanted it done within the existing legal framework and without violating anyone’s constitutional rights. Clearly, these instructions were impossibly contradictory, and Evans asked the mayor for instructions on how to accomplish this. “You are the director of public safety,” Aronovitz replied. “This is a law enforcement matter.” Evans, who was clearly feeling the heat, promised to get right on it and “put pervert hangouts out of business by tomorrow.”

Born On This Day, 1977: Del Marquis

Jim Burroway

August 31st, 2016

Del Marquis

Jake Sheers had already formed Scissor Sisters when they were looking for a guitarist, and the guy Jake was dating had a friend who was looking for the gig. Derek Gruen answered the call, adopted the stage name of Del Marquis, and the rest of history. Scissor Sisters went on to fame on the strength of their cover of Pink Floyd’s “Comfortably Numb.” That was followed by their own string of hits in 2004 which did well mainly on the British charts, but their popularity in the U.S. was blunted by Wal-Mart’s refusal to stock their eponymous debut album. They objected to the single “Tits On the Radio,” which they called a “snarling, swaggering attack on conservatism.” Which Wal-Mart took as a Very Bad Thing from which their bargain-hunting customers needed protection. The band refused to record a “clean” version. Since 2008, Del Marquis began releasing his own solo material, which you can hear on his web site. In 2012, Scissor Sisters released their latest album, Magic Hour, and they promptly went on a world tour. In October of that year, while performing in North London, the Sisters announced that they would be taking an indefinite hiatus.

Today’s Agenda Is Brought To You By…

Jim Burroway

August 30th, 2016

From Michael's Thing (New York, NY), August 30, 1976, page 35.

From Michael’s Thing (New York, NY), August 30, 1976, page 35.

The former cabaret in New York’s West Village is now a high-end Italian restaurant.

Today In History, 1956: The Adjustment of Male Overt Homosexuals

Jim Burroway

August 30th, 2016

Dr. Evelyn Hooker

60 YEARS AGO: As the annual American Psychological Association Convention got underway in Chicago, the body heard UCLA’s Dr. Evelyn Hooker read a paper which, over time, would shake the foundation of the mental health professions’ collective insistence that homosexuality was a mental disorder. Psychiatry’s opinion of homosexuality was both clear and curt: the first edition of the Diagnostics and Statistics Manual (DSM), which defined mental illnesses for the American Psychiatric Association, defined “Sexual Deviation” as a Sociopathic Personality Disturbance, and included “pathologic behavior, such as homosexuality, transvestism, pedophilia, fetishism and sexual sadism (including rape, sexual assault, mutilation).” The APA’s dim view of homosexuality was, at that time, backed up with more than a half-century’s worth of serious study of the subject. Unfortunately, all of those series studies were of those exhibiting homosexual behavior in prisons and reform schools or among psychiatric patients, many of whom also suffered other mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and depression. Until 1956, not one paper or research project looked systematically at gay men and women who were living contented and productive lives. As far as the mental health professions were concerned, such people didn’t exist, mainly because the vast majority of the so-called experts had never seen them (at least, that they knew of).

But Dr. Hooker had an altogether different view of gay people. As a research assistant at UCLA’s psychology department, Hooker’s social circle had already widened to include a number of prominent gay people in Los Angeles (Christopher Isherwood and Don Bachardy were neighbors) and a student in her classroom, who challenged her: “We have let you see us as we are, and now, it is your scientific duty to make a study of people like us.”

Sen. Joseph McCarthy’s Red and Lavender scares were still fresh in everyone’s memory. So when Hooker applied for a grant with the National Institute of Mental Health, her chances of getting funding was considered a long shot. An NIMH representative personally flew to L.A. to make sure she was legitimate (and not a lesbian). Finding backing for her project at UCLA was similarly challenging. When she met with the chair of the Psychiatry Department to discuss her proposed study of “normal male homosexuals,” he rose from his desk and said, “What do you think you are doing? There is no such person.” He referred her to another colleague to review her proposal. His reaction was similar, but more positive. “I have never seen such persons, but I sure would like to.”

After winning the NIMH grant (miraculously, she later said, given the subject matter), she began assembling a group of thirty gay men who had never been in therapy or in trouble with the law, through contacts with the Mattachine Society, the staff of ONE magazine, and through her own social circle. Finding thirty gay men willing to participate during the McCarthy era proved exceptionally difficult. As she later recalled in 1992:

It will be obvious to you that the absolute sine qua non of research into behavior thought to be “a sin, a crime, and a disease” is confidentiality. …The triple stigma was never far from the minds of the men whom I came to know nor was it far from mine. …Building confidentiality with the gay community at that time was not an easy task. I could not lightly, if at all, share these confidences with another. Informal applications to be a coinvestigator were numerous, but I continued to work alone until the data gathering phase was complete. …I hasten to make clear that, when I characterize conducting research with gay men as stressful, I am only referring to the McCarthy era when the penalties were barbaric.

She also found thirty straight men with whom she could painstakingly match to the gay men according to age, education, and IQ. Once she assembled her study samples, she administered three psychological tests: the Thematic Apperception Test (TAT), which was used to provide information about a subject’s views of the self, the world, and interpersonal relationships; the Make-A-Picture-Story (MAPS), in which subjects were asked to describe a story based on cut-out figures they selected and placed in a setting; and the Rorschach test, in which subjects are asked to identify what they saw in a series of abstract inkblots. All three tests were popular methods in the 1950s for assessing personality and mental disorders — and they were used particularly for diagnosing homosexuality. But rather than assessing the test results herself — after all, she knew who was gay and who wasn’t — she turned them over to a panel of three judges, each of them known experts in each of the tests. (One of the examiners was Edwin Shneidman, who was the creator of the MAPS test.)

To everyone’s surprise, none of them could find any differences between the members of the study. In other words, all of those supposedly mentally-ill homosexuals in her study — and remember, the APA said that all homosexuals were mentally ill — all of those supposedly mentally-ill homosexuals were indistinguishable from their not-mentally-ill heterosexual counterparts. As Hooker wrote in her groundbreaking paper:

As a judge compared the matched protocols, he would frequently comment, “There are no clues;” or, “These are so similar that you are out to skin us alive;” or, “It is a forced choice;” or, “I just have to guess.” The difficulty of the task was reflected not only in the comments of the judges but also in the results. Judge “A” correctly identified 17 of the 30 pairs, and Judge “B” 18 of the 30. Thus neither judge was able to do better than chance. In seven pairs both judges were incorrect, that is, identifying the homosexual as the heterosexual, and vice versa; in twelve pairs, correct; and in the remaining eleven they disagreed.

The degree to which the judges disagreed or got their diagnoses wrong was very entertaining. Man #16, depending on the judge and the test he was evaluating, was identified as a “strong, superior and wise” straight man, and by another as “the most heterosexual-looking homosexual I have ever seen.” A judge said of Man #50, “Except for a little too much emphasis on conquest in heterosexual relations, he is well adjusted and smooth.” Both men were gay.

When she presented the results of the study to the APA in Chicago, the findings came under withering criticism. Some criticized her for studying members of homophile groups who were probably were better adjusted than those who weren’t. Others criticized her for relying on such a small sample. But to Hooker, those  criticisms actually supported the very point she was making:

But would we not, in this case, be dealing with a different question, namely, “How many homosexuals, as compared with heterosexuals, are average or better in adjustment, and how many were worse than average?” It seems to me that for the present investigation the question is whether homosexuality is necessarily a symptom of pathology. All we need is a single case in which the answer is negative.

Her paper, “Adjustment of the Male Overt Homosexual,” was published the following March in the Journal of Projective Techniques and Personality Assessment, and she would follow that with a number of other follow-up papers reinforcing these findings. In 1972, Dr. Marvin Siegelman of City College of New York used similar methods and a larger study sample of men — and women — and found results nearly identical to Hooker’s study of gay men. Meanwhile, Hooker had chaired the NIMH Task Force on Homosexuality in 1967, which recommended the decriminalization of homosexuality and its removal from the APA’s list of mental disorders. But the APA would not act on that recommendation until 1973, and it would take another thirty years before the U.S. Supreme Court would finally release gay men and women from the threat of imprisonment.

[Sources: Evelyn Hooker. “The adjustment of the male overt homosexual.” Journal of Projective Techniques and Personality Assessment 21, no. 1 (March 1957): 18-31.

Evenly Hooker. “Reflections of a 40-year exploration: A scientific view on homosexuality.” American Psychologist 48, no. 4 (April 1993): 450-453.

Marvin Siegelman. “Adjustment of homosexual and heterosexual women.” British Journal of Psychiatry 120, no. 558 (May 1972): 477-481.

Marvin Siegelman. “Adjustment of male homosexuals and heterosexuals.” Archives of Sexual Behavior 2, no. 1 (June 1972): 9-25.]

Today’s Agenda Is Brought To You By…

Jim Burroway

August 29th, 2016

From Michael's Thing (New York, NY), April 29, 1974, page 22.

From Michael’s Thing (New York, NY), April 29, 1974, page 22.

I haven’t been able to come up with much information about Dirty Edna’s except that it was a rather seedy bar owned by a husband and wife team, reputedly with mob connections — like a lot of other New York gay bars at the time. According to a Village Voice article from 1978:

Most of the bars he laces into are run by a husband-and-wife team who have been around the gay-bar scene since Peter Minuit bought Manhattan from the Indians. Legally we cannot identify the couple or be more specific about names, dates and places reported by (Ediie “Skull” Murphy, described as a “double agent and gay liberationist”) … But according to him, the couple own more property than the Catholic Church and have old East Side Yorkville Mafia ties. Whatever those ties are, he doesn’t say. “They’re still paying their porters $5 a day and their bouncers $20 a night. Among the spots they own or have owned are the Pub, La Fiesta, Boot Hill, the Wildwood, the Roundhill Lounge, Dirty Edna’s, the Barrow Inn, the Mailbox, and Gracie Manor in Brooklyn.

Near as I can tell, the location now appears to be a parking lot a block off of Broadway.

Today In History, 1970: Protesters March, then Riot in Greenwich Village over Police Harassment

Jim Burroway

August 29th, 2016


Since the very first Christopher Street Day celebration in two months earlier (Jun 28), gay residents in New York’s Greenwich Village began to notice increased police harassment, particularly during the last three weeks of August. In one week alone, over three hundred had been arrested in the Times Square area. The Gay Liberation Front’s newsletter Come Out! reported that one young man was looking at a display window when a police officer came up to him and asked, Were you ever arrested?” “No,” the young man replied. The officer said, “There’s always a first time,” and hauled him away. Women were also being harassed, which was a new development.

Local activists had had enough, so on the last Saturday of August, the Gay Liberation Front, the Gay Activists’ Alliance, Radical Lesbians and other women’s groups organized a demonstration that night. About 250 people showing up at 8th Avenue and West 42nd Street near Times Square, and marched down 7th Avenue to Sheridan Square in Greenwich Village.


Photo by Steve Rose / Come Out!

The demonstration broke up around midnight, but the frustrations were still there. Some went on to march around the Women’s House of Detention at Greenwich Avenue and 6th Avenue. Police arrived to break it up, and the crowd ran toward Christopher Street. The crowd arrived at Sheridan Square just in time to witness the police raiding the Haven. As a mass of people gathered in front of the Haven, the police called for reinforcements. A police bus arrived, and it was met with a shower of bottles. A running battle ensued over the next two hours, as crowds set trash cans on fire, looted a record shop and overturned at least one car. Eight were injured and about a dozen were arrested.

The next day, the GLF and GAA held a news conference at the gay-friendly Episcopal Church of the Holy Apostles, charging the police with harassment. They also denounced police inaction against a series of gay bashings and anti-gay harassment in the neighborhood. A police spokesman denied that there were any increased actions against the gay community, but refused further comment.

[Sources: Frank J. Brial. “Protest march by homosexuals sparks disturbance in ‘Village’.” The New York Times (August 30, 1970): 49.

C. Gerald Frasier. “‘Gay ghettos’ seen as police targets: but homosexuals’ charge of harassment denied.” The New York Times (August 31, 1970): 28.

Martha Shelly. “Gays Riot Again!” Come Out! 1, no. 5 (September 1970): 3-5.]

Born On This Day, 1844: Edward Carpenter

Jim Burroway

August 29th, 2016

Edward Carpenter and George Merrill

(d. 1929) Britain would be a very different place without him, and so would the LGBT world. Carpenter was a very influential poet, philosopher, anthologist, nudist, feminist, pacifist, and early gay activist. He was as leading proponent of socialism, and he helped to found Britain’s Labour Party. Reading Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass in the 1860’s was a huge revelation for him, with Whitman’s dreams of “a brotherhood of manly love” (Jul 4). Carpenter’s 1889 book Civilisation, Its Cause and Cure argued that civilization is a form of disease from which no society ever survived more than a thousand years before collapsing. His cure involved a closer relationship with the land and a greater sense of our own development as individuals. He very much practiced what he preached, living among tenant farmers and other working class workers.

Carpenter was relatively open about his homosexuality, which itself was a remarkable accomplishment. Unlike Oscar Wilde, who was arrested and imprisoned for his vice, Carpenter escaped scandal and arrest, even though he had moved in with the man who would be his partner for the rest of his life, George Merrill, in Millthorpe.  Carpenter befriended Walt Whitman (May 31), E.M. Forster (Jan 1), Havelock Ellis (Feb 2), John Addington Symonds (Oct 5), and several other early pioneers in the nascent gay community. Carpenter and Merrill’s relationship would serve as the model for Forster’s homoerotic novel, Maurice and, hetersexualized, for D.H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover. Carpenter’s groundbreaking 1908 book, The Intermediate Sex: A Study of Some Transitional Types of Men and Women, would become a foundational English-language text for future LGBT movements. He wrote that because “intermediate types” (his preferred term for gay people; he hated “homosexual” because of what he called its “bastardization” of the Latin and Greek) were free of gender limitations, they were uniquely qualified for bringing about greater gender equality and equal rights for women. More than forty years later, Carpenter’s writings would inspire Harry Hay to found the Mattachine Foundation in Los Angeles (Nov 11), and thus spark a new gay rights movement half a world away.

Today’s Agenda Is Brought To You By…

Jim Burroway

August 28th, 2016

From David, a Jacksonville-based gay photography and lifestyle magazine, May 1972, page 51.

From David, a Jacksonville-based gay photography and lifestyle magazine, May 1972, page 51.

The address in this tiny strip mall appears to be vacant.

Today In History, 1951: California Gay Bars Given Very Brief Reprieve

Jim Burroway

August 28th, 2016

San Francisco’s Black Cat Cafe at 710 Montgomery St.

65 YEARS AGO: The Black Cat Cafe was one of San Francisco’s more enduring institutions. Opened originally after the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, the dance hall and host of raunchy vaudeville-style acts came under police scrutiny as it earned a reputation as a center of prostitution. It closed during the Prohibition era, but was re-opened again in 1933 by the same owners when the booze started flowing again. After World War II, the Black Cat became a watering hole for the Beat crowd and for a growing gay clientele, and by the 1950s, the bar was placed on the Armed Forces Disciplinary Control Board’s list of forbidden establishments for military personnel. The bar had also been the target of a steady stream of police harassment. In 1951, the cafe’s owner, Sol Stoumen, was charged with “keeping a disorderly house” and the State Board of Equalization, which was then responsible for regulating the sale of alcohol, suspended the Black Cat’s liquor license indefinitely. Stouman sued, and on August 28, 1951, the California Supreme Court ruled in Stoumen v. Reilly that “something more must be shown that many of his patrons were homosexuals” before the bar could be closed down.

The Black Cat Cafe is now an upscale tapas bar.

The case is one of the earliest legal affirmations of gay rights, but there was a clause in that ruling that made it an extraordinarily limited one. The court added that the bar could be closed with “proof of the commission of illegal or immoral acts on the premises.” Because homosexuality was illegal in California (along with every other state and territory), the state still had broad powers to act against gay establishments. It just needed the proper legislation to do so. Three years later, the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (CABC) was established via a constitutional amendment, and the California Assembly passed legislation authorizing it to shut down any “resort [for] sexual perverts.”

The Black Cat continued to be the target of raids and mass arrests until 1963, when the CABC revoked its liquor license right before its annual Halloween party. Stouman was already in debt from past legal battles and could no longer afford to keep fighting. The Black Cat limped along a few months more as a non-alcoholic venue before closing down permanently in February of 1964.

Today In History, 1965: Gay Rights Advocates Picket the State Department

Jim Burroway

August 28th, 2016

The historic year of organized gay rights protests continued as the Mattachine Society of Washington, D.C., organized another of its pickets, this time in front of the State Department. Earlier pickets that year had targeted the White House (Apr 17, May 29), the U.N. (Apr 18), the Civil Service Commission (Jun 26), Philadelphia’s Independence Hall (Jul 4), and the Pentagon (Jul 31). This time, fourteen people turned out to picket the State Department in protest over the department’s prohibition on hiring gay people or granting them security clearances. Some of the signs they carried read, “Sexual Conduct is Irrelevant to State Department Employees” and “Governor Wallace Met with Negroes, Our Government Won’t Meet with Us.”

The Mattachine Society circulated a press release two days earlier to announce the protest, explaining that “the State Department remains the last resolute bastion of McCarthyism in our government.” The announcement also promised that “the demonstration is expected to be orderly, dignified, and fully lawful.” The day before the appointed day, reporters asked Secretary of State Dean Rusk about the upcoming picket during a news conference. Rusk explained department policy:

Secretary of State Dean Rusk, speaking at a news conference the night before the picket.

Secretary of State Dean Rusk, speaking at a news conference the night before the picket.

“I understand that we are being picketed by a group of homosexuals. The policy of the Department is that we do not employ homosexuals knowingly, and that if we discover homosexuals in our department we discharge them. This does not have to do with medical or humane considerations. It has to do with the fact that the Department of State is a department that is concerned with the security of the United States, and that we have to exact standards of conduct that are far higher than the conduct of the general society in which we operate. This has to do with problems of blackmail and problems of personal instability and all sorts of things. So that I don’t think that we can give any comfort to those who might be tempted to picket us tomorrow.”

Thanks to Rusk’s comments, there was somewhat greater press interest in this protest compared to the previous ones. Reporters from CBS, Agence France-Presse and the Kansas City Star were there, and a story ran the next day in the Washington Post.

[Sources: “Rusk Probed on Picketing.” The Ladder (October 1965): 18.

Marcia M. Gallo. Different Daughters: A History of the Daughters of Bilitis and the Rise of the Lesbian Rights Movement (Emeryville, CA: Seal Press, 2007): 105-108.]

Today In History, 1987: Arsonists Burn Florida Family Home of Three Brothers with AIDS

Jim Burroway

August 28th, 2016


In 1986, doctors discovered that three Florida brothers with hemophilia — Ricky, 10, Robby, 9, and Randy, 8 — tested positive for HIV although none of them had developed AIDS. The school system in Arcadia barred the boys from attending school and provided tutors to instruct them at home. But the boys’ parents, Louise and Cliff Ray, decided that that boys would be better off in school. They sued the school district, and a judge ruled in their favor on August 5, 1987.

That ruling kicked off a vicious, hysterical campaign in the small community. A group formed, calling themselves Citizens Against AIDS in Schools, and announced a boycott of the Arcadia schools at a rally on August 21. The next day, the Ray family began receiving threatening phone calls, with one caller warning that their house would be torched. On August 25, bomb threats were phoned in to the DeSoto County Board of Education, and on the 26th, threats were made directly to Memorial Elementary, where the Ray children were enrolled.

Then on August 28, Danny Armond Tew, president of the citizens’ group, held a press conference to denounced Ray family by name. He laid out the group[s goal: “Our primary goal is to remove this tragic disease from our schools. This goal will be accomplished by mandatory testing and separate but equal education.” He also charged that officials at the CDC were lying about how easy it was to become infected with HIV though casual contact. “If a child gets up from his desk, he might trip over the leg of the desk and fall down and bust his nose or cut his arm. In that close proximity, no telling how many of those children around him could be accidentally exposed to his blood.” He also challenged the U.S. Surgeon General, C. Everett Koop, to a debate. “We’re saying the Surgeon General is wrong about AIDS.”

Three hours later, while the Rays were away visiting relatives and Cliff’s brother was sleeping in the house when he woke to discover the house was on fire. He escaped and was treated for smoke inhalation, but the house was left a smoldering ruin. Fire investigators determined that the fire was arson. The blaze had started in several places: the utility room, hallways, and living room. No one was ever arrested. Tew denied responsibility for the fire, or for stirring up passions in the community. As far as he was concerned, the Rays had brought all of the trouble onto themselves.

The Rays, who had lived in Arcadia for sixteen years, moved to Sarasota. Tew’s group followed, vowing to “inform” Sarasota residents about their conspiracy theories about AIDS. “We have a right to go wherever we want as long as we stay within the bounds of the law,” Tew said. “This concern is for the larger issue of AIDS, not the Ray children. There is more than the Ray children involved.” But cooler heads prevailed in Sarasota, and the Ray children were finally able to go to school just like any other kids.

Robert was diagnosed with AIDS in February 1990. Ricky was diagnosed in March 1991. Ricky died peacefully at home in his sleep in 1992 at the age of fifteen. He would be memorialized in the Ricky Ray Relief Fund Act, a federal law that compensated hemophiliacs were infected with HIV from 1982 to 1987 from tainted blood supplies. Robert died in 2000 at the age of 22. Shortly after, Cliff tried to commit suicide, but failed. Randy married in 2001, and continues to live with HIV. Candy, the Ray’s only daughter, was not hemophiliac and never contracted AIDS.

Born On This Day, 1825: Karl Heinrich Ulrichs

Jim Burroway

August 28th, 2016

(d. 1895) If anyone can claim the mantle of being the very first gay rights advocate of the modern age, the native of the Kingdom of Hanover, Karl Heinrich Ulrichs, has as good a claim as any. When he was very little, he remembered wanting to be a girl and preferring to play with girls, but as often happens (though not always) when a very young boy like him hits puberty, his leanings moved toward homosexuality rather than a transgender identity. He went on to study law and theology at Göttingen University and history at Berlin University. He became a legal adviser for a district court in Hanover, but was dismissed when his homosexuality became known. That led him to declare himself, openly, an Urning. A word he coined in the 1860’s, he described the Urning as a “male-bodied person with a female psyche” who is sexually attracted to men and not women. He also coined Urningin for a “female-bodied person with a male psyche,” and Urningthum came to mean homosexuality itself.

Ulrichs devised an entire system of classification based on different combinations of attractions and gender roles, and more importantly, he set about to develop a robust argument for the legalization of homosexuality. Between 1864 and 1880, he published a series of twelve tracts which he collectively called, Research on the Riddle of Man-Manly Love, and his writings kept him in trouble with the law. His books were banned and confiscated in Saxony, Prussia, and Berlin. In 1867 after the formation of a northern German confederation, he became the first homosexual to address the Association of German Jurists in Munich on the need to reform German laws against homosexuality. He was shouted down but remained undeterred. In 1870, he published Araxes: a Call to Free the Nature of the Urning from Penal Law, in which he wrote:

The Urning, too, is a person. He, too, therefore, has inalienable rights. His sexual orientation is a right established by nature. Legislators have no right to veto nature; no right to persecute nature in the course of its work; no right to torture living creatures who are subject to those drives nature gave them.

The Urning is also a citizen. He, too, has civil rights; and according to these rights, the state has certain duties to fulfill as well. The state does not have the right to act on whimsy or for the sheer love of persecution. The state is not authorized, as in the past, to treat Urnings as outside the pale of the law.

…. Uranian love is in any instance no real crime. All indications of such are lacking. It is not even shameful, decadent or wicked, simply because it is the fulfillment of a law of nature. It is reckoned as one of the many imagined crimes that have defaced Europe’s law books to the shame of civilized people. To criminalize it appears, therefore, to be an injustice officially perpetrated. Just because Urnings are unfortunate enough to be a small minority, no damage can be done to their inalienable rights and to their civil rights. The law of liberty in the constitutional state also has to consider its minorities.

By 1879, Ulrichs decided that he had done all he could do in Germany and went into self-imposed exile in Italy. He later wrote, “Until my dying day I will look back with pride that I found the courage to come face to face in battle against the spectre which for time immemorial has been injecting poison into me and into men of my nature. Many have been driven to suicide because all their happiness in life was tainted. Indeed, I am proud that I found the courage to deal the initial blow to the hydra of public contempt.”

Born On this Day, 1921: Nancy Kulp

Jim Burroway

August 28th, 2016

95 YEARS AGO: (d. 1991) Her name is not exactly a household name today, but her character from The Beverly Hillbillies, Miss Jane Hathaway, lives on in re-runs. Kulp began life as a journalist for The Miami Beach Tropics, writing celebrity profiles while studying English and French at the University of Miami. In 1944, she left academic life to enlist in the U.S. Naval Reserves and served in World War II as a member of the WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service), where she was highly decorated. She married relatively late for her time (at the age of thirty) and divorced ten years later.

Shortly after she married, she moved to Hollywood and began her career as an actress, appearing in several movies including Shane, A Star Is Born, The Three Faces of Eve, and The Parent Trap. Her characters were what we today would call a geek. On television, she inevitably played the spinster. One reviewer called her the homeliest girl in television and said she had the “face of a shriveled balloon, the figure of a string of spaghetti and the voice of a bullfrog in mating season.” But her straitlaced approach to comedy made her an ideal “straight man,” so to speak, for the other zanier characters around her.

In 1984, she went home to Port Royal, Pennsylvania and ran for Congress as a Democrat. To her great dismay, her opponent, Bud Shuster, picked up the endorsement of Beverly Hillbillies costar Buddy Ebsen, who recorded a radio commercial denouncing her as “too liberal.” Kulp lost, picking up only a third of the vote.

In a 1989 interview, Kulp finally came out as a lesbian in an interview: “As long as you reproduce my reply word for word, and the question, you may use it… I’d appreciate it if you’d let me phrase the question. There is more than one way. Here’s how I would ask it: ‘Do you think that opposites attract?’ My own reply would be that I’m the other sort – I find that birds of a feather flock together. That answers your question.” She died in 1991 of cancer.

Today’s Agenda Is Brought To You By…

Jim Burroway

August 27th, 2016


From Northwest Fountain (Portland, OR), May 1979, page 17

Shuckey’s Tavern opened in 1975 in the old Mitchell Hotel at the corner of Tenth and Front Streets as Boise’s the first ever gay bar. It apparently became Shuckey’s Discovery Disco, according to this ad, by 1979, everyone just called it Shuckey’s. An intrepid reporter from the University of Idaho’s student paper in 1982 gave a brief overview of Shuckey’s history before describing the time he screwed up the courage to check it out:

The Mitchell Hotel as it appeared in 1979. Shuckey's was located next door to the Emerald Club at the far right of the photo.

The Mitchell Hotel as it appeared in 1979. Shuckey’s was located next door to the Emerald Club at the far right of the photo.

When it opened for business on July 24, 1976 [sic], Shuckey’s Bar became the first tangible evidence to the straight population that a gay community existed in Boise. Standing as an insult to the sensibilities of Boiseans who thought that gay culture existed only in places like liberal New York or flaky San Francisco, upon opening Shuckey’s came under attack from the Boise establishment through the city police force. Persons walking across the street to Shuckey’s on weekends were issued jay-walking tickets with the word “Homosexual” written across them, by an officer stationed near Shuckey’s just for that purpose. The Boise police also carried out clandestine surveillance on Shuckey’s, taking photographs of Shuckey’s customers from the back of an unmarked police van.

Eventually Boise either grew tired of harassing Shuckey’s or the novelty of the game wore off when people realized that the existence of Shuckey’s wasn’t going to bring about the collapse of civilization as Boise knew it. Shuckey’s continues to prosper today, and its customers — not all of whom are gay — point out that Shuckey’s has to call the police to handle problems much less frequently than, most straight bars in town. Except when it is the butt of a joke — as when some Idaho legislators swiped conservative Sen. Jim Risch’s legislative name tag and left it at Shuckey’s — the city’s only gay bar is essentially ignored by the majority of the straight population.

…Just before opening the door I grabbed my friend’s hand, holding her as a badge of warning to any of the perverts lurking inside that I, had not come to Shuckey’s to dance, to be kissed, or to be tied up in leather and beaten with live chickens. Inside the bar they were having New Wave Night, and it was the (at that time) novel New Wave costumes that struck me as the most unusual aspect of the place — it looked like a convention of the B-52’s fan club. Only after the weirdness of the cheap sunglasses and the houndstooth coats was absorbed, did I realize that the men were dancing with the men and the women with women. Other than the very few men in drag and the fact that people of the same gender were doing things together that people of different genders usually do together, there was nothing really unusual about Shuckey’s…

After I had time to assimilate what was going on, I released the death grip on my woman friend and began, like a nosey reporter, to talk to a few people and ask some questions. One young man said that he didn’t particularly like the idea of making contacts in a gay bar, but there was no other way for gays to recognize and meet each other. All the stuff that kids hear in school about how queers contact one another through signals (at my school it was green socks on Thursdays that signaled homosexuality) was just myth according to the young man. The bouncer at Shuckey’s said that gays and straights were all welcomed at Shuckey’s and that straights didn’t need to fear going there; like most people, gays just want to lead their lives as they wish without trying to force people into their lifestyle, the bouncer said.

We’ve all seen straight guys with that death grip, haven’t we? Shuckey’s was later renamed the Stoplight, which closed in 1988. The old hotel, which was listed on the National Register of Historic Places, appears to have suffered a fire in October, 1989. The location is now a parking lot.

Today In History, 2006: NARTH Official Recommends Peer Shaming for Gender-Variant Elementary School Children

Jim Burroway

August 27th, 2016

NARTH Scientific Advisory Board member Joseph Berger

NARTH Scientific Advisory Board member Joseph Berger

TEN YEARS AGO: Once upon a time, the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) thought it would be cool to jump on the cutting edge of social media in the pre-Facebook, pre-Twitter age: they started a blog, where they could remind everyone how odious their ideas were on a daily basis.

On August 27, NARTH’s resident blogger posted a brief synopsis of a story that appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle about a private elementary school in Oakland that had gained a reputation for its ability to work with very young children. “They now let boys play girls and girls play boys in skits,” the Chronicle reported. “And there’s a unisex bathroom.” It went on:

Park Day’s gender-neutral metamorphosis happened over the past few years, as applications trickled in for kindergartners who didn’t fit on either side of the gender line. One girl enrolled as a boy, and there were other children who didn’t dress or act in gender-typical ways. Last year the school hired a consultant to help the staff accommodate these new students.

“We had to ask ourselves, what is gender for young children?” Hodes said. “It’s coming up more and more.”

The NARTH blogger, known only by the handle “jjohnson,” posted a link to the article, copied the first two paragraphs, and left it at that. The blog’s first comment was left by Dr. Joseph Berger, a Toronto-based psychiatrist and a member of NARTH’s Scientific Advisory Committee. It went like this:

Dr. Berger reacted to the San Francisco Chronicle article by observing:

I think that a lot of this is nonsense and is being pushed by people who have an agenda to disrupt society in order to further some perverted goals such as the acceptance of pedophilia, and, of course, the attempted “normalization” of homosexuality.

From a medical/scientific perspective, the notion of a child of five being “transgendered” is absolute garbage. This is a child wanting attention and wanting to play “dress-up,” with an added layer of unhappiness.

That essentially is the issue for most of these children. They are unhappy. They don’t have a “biological” based “gender identity disorder.” They are unhappy; they have an envy of certain aspects of the opposite sex role – and wish to pursuit it for as long as they can.

Tolerant parents, tolerant schools, tolerant societies, might let them get away with it. No one should be surprised that avant-garde California or sun-drenched Florida should be places where the tolerance is highest.

His solution?

Here in cold Canada, I often talk with mothers of small children who routinely complain about how difficult it is to get their children dressed in the winter in the multiple layers of clothing they need to go off to school. I suggest to them that they make it clear to their children that they will leave home – or that the school bus will come – at such-and-such time, and they will go whether they are ready or not. I suggest that going just one day in their pajamas or underwear will be enough to “cure” them of their procrastination.

I suggest, indeed, letting children who wish go to school in clothes of the opposite sex – but not counseling other children to not tease them or hurt their feelings.

On the contrary, don’t interfere, and let the other children ridicule the child who has lost that clear boundary between play-acting at home and the reality needs of the outside world. Maybe, in this way, the child will re-establish that necessary boundary.

Berger closed his post with a parting shot directed toward the parents of gender-variant children: “I am sure that if we looked carefully, we could find some significant personal issues and aberrations in the parents of these children.” Berger’s comments soon attracted the attention of mental health professionals and gay rights groups. Jack Drescher, former chair of the American Psychiatric Association Committee on gay, lesbian and bisexual issues, responded:

NARTH has a long tradition of encouraging antigay social disapproval as a form of prevention, it should come as no surprise that in addition to supporting the criminalization of homosexuality and denying gay adults full civil rights, NARTH would support teasing by other children as a way to promote gender conformity. NARTH, have you no sense of decency?”

Daniel Gonzales, a writer at Ex-Gay Watch (and later for BTB), also weighed in: “Regardless if a child’s gender dysphoria persists into adulthood, allowing any child with a psychological condition to be harassed because of that condition is shameful. I’m most shocked and dismayed this position is being advocated from within a professional mental health association.”

Focus On the Family and Exodus International, who jointly staged a series of ex-gay conferences around the country called “Love Won Out,” expressed their support for NARTH and its president and co-founder, Joseph Nicolosi. But Exodus president Alan Chamber, who recalled being teased for being effeminate when he was a child, later told the Los Angeles Times that Berger’s advice that children should be ridiculed “wouldn’t be something we would tolerate from someone who was part of our board. We have to be very careful about what we say and how we say it. Peoples’ emotions, hearts and even lives are at stake.”

Nicolosi finally responded to the growing controversy with a short note on August 31: “Narth disagrees with Dr. Berger’s advice as we believe shaming, as distinct from correcting can only create greater harm. Too many of our clients experienced the often life long, harmful effects of peer shaming. We cannot encourage this.” The following day, NARTH quietly and without explanation edited Berger’s comments by deleting the three offending paragraphs. That did little to quiet the controversy. NARTH finally removed Berger’s comment, along with the entire blog thread with no further explanation. Berger remained on NARTH’s advisory committee.  NARTH now calls itself the Alliance for Therapeutic Choice and Scientific Integrity,

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