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Posts for May, 2015

The Daily Agenda for Friday, May 15

Jim Burroway

May 15th, 2015

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

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

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

TODAY’S AGENDA is brought to you by:

From the Times of Louisiana Communities (Baton Rouge, LA), July 1981, page 4.

From the Times of Louisiana Communities (Baton Rouge, LA), July 1981, page 4.

Jefferson Withers

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

Dear Jim:

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

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

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

With great respect I am the old
Stud,
Jeff.

James Henry Hammond

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

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

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

Gay men wearing the pink triangle as convicts under §175 during the Nazi era.

Gay men wearing the pink triangle as convicts under §175 during the Nazi era.

Paragraph 175 of the German Criminal Code Adopted: 1871. Germany’s history has been, much more often than not, a history of several separate countries and kingdoms. It had only existed as a unified country for 75 years before it was divided again in the aftermath of World War II. It remained divided until the 1990 reunification, which means that Germany has experienced only a little bit more than a century’s worth of unity. The history of Paragraph 175, the part of the German legal code which criminalized homosexual acts between men, in many ways mirrors Germany’s history of unification and division.

In the early 1800s, what we now know as Germany was actually a fractured realm of some 300 smaller political entities which were, more or less, content to fight or cooperate with each other, as interests and politics dictated. But Napoleon’s invasion of Europe brought about a rising feeling of “Germanness” among the German-speaking people of central Europe. After France’s withdrawal, much of the rest of Germany’s history was marked by increasing competition between the two largest powers, Austria and Prussia, a contest which was finally decided in 1866 when Prussia emerged victorious in the Austro-Prussian war. With Austria sidelined, Prussia formed the North German Confederation with Hanover, Hesse-Kassel, Nassau, and the city of Frankfurt. Baden, Württemberg, and Bavaria formed alliances with Prussia which brought them into its sphere of influence.

The proclamation of the German Empire at Versailles. Painting by Anton von Werner, 1885.

The Proclamation of the German Empire at Versailles. Painting by Anton von Werner, 1885.

Now it was France’s turn, as the newest threat to the German states, to play a critical role in Germany’s unification. As France sought to increase its influence in the region, the German states which were still independent became increasingly reliant on Prussia for protection. When tensions finally exploded in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-1871, France experience something of a nineteenth-century version of the Blitzkrieg. Prussia, whose armies were much more mobile, quickly overwhelmed the disorganized French. Prussia quickly captured an entire French arming, along with Paris and Emperor Napoleon III. On January 18, 1871, the German princes gathered in the Hall of Mirrors at the Palace of Versailles to proclaim King Wilhelm I of Prussia the first German Kaiser.

This new Germany, comprised of what had been four kingdoms, six grand duchies, five duchies, seven principalities, three free cities and the imperial territory of Alsace-Lorraine, each with their own systems of law. Prussia had already begun a process of systematically codifying its laws, and its penal code served as the basis for the penal code of the North German Confederation, which in turn became the basis of the united Germany’s penal code. On May 15, 1871, Paragraph 175 was adopted straight from the Prussia’s Paragraph 143, which read simply:

§ 175 Unnatural fornication

Unnatural fornication, whether between persons of the male sex or of humans with beasts, is to be punished by imprisonment; a sentence of loss of civil rights may also be passed.

§175: The Disgrace of the Century!, 1922, by Kurt Hiller (see Aug 17).

§175: The Disgrace of the Century!, 1922, by Kurt Hiller (see Aug 17).

A notable feature of §175 was that lesbians weren’t criminalized under the law. In fact, sexual relations between women were never expressly prohibited. As for the men convicted under §175, they were subject to prison sentences ranging from one to four years. Prussia’s legal code proved a disappointment in some of the more liberal German states, where privacy rights were held in higher regard, and efforts to repeal §175 began almost immediately (see May 6, Aug 17Aug 28.) By the turn of the century, about 350 prosecutions per year for homosexuality were taking place, with a similar number of prosecutions for bestiality. It was about this time that Magnus Hirschfeld (see May 14) co-founded the Wissenschaftlich-humanitäre Komitee (Scientific-Humanitarian Committee) whose first priority was §175’s repeal.

It might seem that the Weimar Republic years, between 1919 and 1930, would have been the best time to bring §175 to its rightful end. After all, the Weimar years are often regarded as the high water mark for homosexual rights advocacy and culture in the early twentieth century. That was especially true in Berlin during the so-called “golden era” of 1923 to 1929. Berlin’s legendary cabarets, theaters and salons saw an explosion of creativity, and dozens of clubs catered almost exclusively to the newly visible gay and transgender communities. But such liberal attitudes weren’t so prevalent outside of Berlin. Criminal charges for homosexuality rose from a little over 200 for 1920 to a peak of more than twelve hundred in 1925 and eleven hundred in 1926.

Arrests and convictions fell by 1929 to about eight hundred, which is when Hirschfeld’s committee almost succeded in its goal. The Reichstag’s Commission for Law Reform voted 15 to 13 in favor of a resolution to repeal it (see Oct 16). But two weeks later, stock markets crashed around the world and Germany was soon overtaken with political instability. The Nazis came to power in 1933 and expanded §175 to punish a broader range of “lewd and lascivious” behavior between men. This broader measure, which no longer required evidence of “fornication,” resulted in over 8,000 convictions annually by 1937. Many of those were sent to concentration camps, marked with a pink swastika.

Down with §175": A 1973 gay rights poster.

Down with §175″: A 1973 gay rights poster.

Germany was defeated and Nazism vanquished, but §175 remained in place. While allied armies liberated Jews, Poles and other prisoners from the ghastly concentration camps, gay men were sent to German prisons to serve out the remainder of their sentences. In West Germany, arrests and convictions under the Nazi-era §175 continued apace, averaging between 2,000 and 3,000 each year. In 1969, West Germany modified the code to exempt anyone over the age of 21, although, oddly, those between the ages of eighteen and twenty-one were still subject to up to five years imprisonment. In 1973, the age of consent was lowered to eighteen, leaving §175 only punishing sex with minors of the same gender, although at a different standard than similar convictions for heterosexual acts with minors. Meanwhile East Germany informally reverted its practice back to the original pre-1935 version of §175 in 1950, although the Nazi revision remained officially on the books until 1968 when homosexuality was officially decriminalized between adults.

Germany’s 1871 unification brought §175 into existence. Germany’s 1990 reunification set the stage for finally killing it off for good. The reunited Bundestag finally repealed §175 altogether as part of the process of harmonizing the penal codes of East and West Germany.

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

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

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

Phyllis Lyon and and Del Marton

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

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

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

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

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

Jasper Johns receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

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

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

The Daily Agenda for Thursday, May 14

Jim Burroway

May 14th, 2015

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

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

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

TODAY’S AGENDA is brought to you by:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The proposed Equality Act of 1974 can be viewed here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If you know of something that belongs on the agenda, please send it here. Don’t forget to include the basics: who, what, when, where, and URL (if available).

And feel free to consider this your open thread for the day. What’s happening in your world?

The Daily Agenda for Wednesday, May 13

Jim Burroway

May 13th, 2015

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

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

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

TODAY’S AGENDA is brought to you by:

From Wilde Side, September 1, 1976, page 21.

TODAY IN HISTORY:
“Cambio de Sexo” Premieres: 1977. Generalissimo Francisco Franco’s death in 1975 brought a new permissiveness in Spanish film-making, and Catalonia-born director Vicente Aranda probed the limits in what was acceptable in a still-conservative society. Cambio de Sexo (“Change of Sex”), which debuted on May 13, 1977 to critical acclaim, starred Victoria Abril as José Maria, a shy, introverted teenager living in the outskirts of Barcelona. Bullied and harassed by his schoolmates, José is expelled from his school. His father tries everything to “cure” him of his effeminate mannerisms, including, in a pivotal scene, taking him to a strip club in Barcelona. But unbeknownst to his father, one of the acts in the strip club is a pre-operative transgender. The father, clueless to the situation and determined to see his son lose his virginity, insists that José goes home with the stripper. Let’s just say the entire experience is revelatory as José understands that he was actually meant to be a girl. But the movie is more than just a story of the teen’s metamorphosis into a young woman. The transgender theme served as a reflection of the larger social changes which were just beginning to overtake Spain.

TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS:
Armistead Maupin: 1944.
He was born in Washington, D.C. but grew up in Raleigh, North Carolina. He began working as a newspaper reported in Charleston, S.C. before he moved to San Francisco in 1971 to work for the Associated Press, In 1976, he released the first installment of his Tales of the City serials, first in a now-defunct Marin County newspaper and later in the San Francisco Chronicle. Those columns were re-worked into a series of books in 1978. In 2007, Maupin married his husband Christopher Turner in Vancouver. During a trip to Australia in 2011, Maupin and his husband were denied the use of a restroom at a saloon in Alice Springs where they were having lunch. The bartender told them to go across the street because their rest room was reserved for “real men.” “So we did what real men do and crossed the street to the visitor’s center where we filed a complaint,” Maupin wrote. “Impressively we received an e-mail apology from the bartender that afternoon. Fair dinkum, mate. Next time don’t [expletive] with the poofters.”

Alan Ball: 1957. Screenwriter, director, actor and producer Alan Ball was born in Atlanta George and graduated from Florida State University with a degree in theater arts. He has written two films, American Beauty (for which he won an Oscar for best original screenplay) and Towelhead. He is more familiar to television audiences for his role as creator, writer and producer of the HBO drama series Six Feet Under (for which he won an Emmy in 2002) and True Blood, a series that has been seen as a paper-thin allegory for the LGBT community. Ball has called the comparison “kind of lazy”, adding “I just hope people can remember that, because it’s a show about vampires, it’s not meant to be taken that seriously. It’s supposed to be fun.”

Ball not only has to contend with critics, but in 2011 he and his partner, actor Peter Macdissi, got tangled in a legal tussle with their neighbor, Quentin Tarantino, who filed a lawsuit claiming that the pair’s collection of exotic birds constantly emit “blood-curdling” and “pterodactyl-like screams” each day which have disrupted Tarantino’s work as a writer. That lawsuit between neighbors was quietly buried six feet under.

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, May 12

Jim Burroway

May 12th, 2015

TODAY’S AGENDA:

From The Empty Closet (Rochester, NY), May 1974, page 5.

From The Empty Closet (Rochester, NY), May 1974, page 5.

The Streaking craze hit its peak in the spring of 1974. Wikipedia says the “epidemic” started the year before on the Stephen F. Austin State University campus in in Nacogdoches, Texas, and pretty soon it seemed everyone was streaking. There was even a hit song about it. Streakers also hit this Great Gatsby Show in Rochester, NY, according to the city’s gay paper, The Empty Closet:

Another opening, another show. THE GREAT GATSBY at Jim’s brought awards to TOM, MIKE, MAURICE, STEVE, and others. The most appropriate award, I think, was to Stanley for “Best Streaker”, he bared his soul, and went back to basics where only his personality is the thing. How can we be a liberated generation when we are so busy emulating someone else’s generation that we can’t be ourselves?

The 1970s are coming back into vogue again. I wonder if streaking will see a return?

TODAY IN HISTORY:
40 YEARS AGO: California Decriminalizes Homosexuality: 1975. Efforts to repeal California’s Sodomy law began in 1969 when San Francisco Assemblyman Willie Brown introduced what became known as the Brown Bill into the lower House. He reintroduced the bill every year until its passage in 1975. That year, the bill advanced through the House only to run into trouble in the Senate. The vote stood at a 20-20 tie when Senate Majority Leader George Moscone (who later became mayor of San Francisco) locked the chamber’s doors until Lt. Gov. Mervyn Dymallyin could fly in from Denver to deliver the tie-breaking vote. Gov. Jerry Brown signed the bill into law when it finally reached his desk.

Members of Chicago's gay community march against police harassment, arrests and anti-gay violence, June 5.

Members of Chicago’s gay community march against police harassment, arrests and anti-gay violence, June 5.

Chicago Police Launch Campaign of Gay Bar Raids: 1979. The first one hit was Carol’s Speakeasy. Vice Squad officers had obtained membership cards and used them to gain entrance. They raided the place at 3:30 a.m., and remained there long after closing time, keeping patrons from entering or leaving the club, checking I.D.’s, and calling for a building and fire inspection. Four were arrested outside the club.

One week later, police returned to Carol’s again, at 1:15 a.m. on May 18. Police ordered the approximately six to eight hundred people to leave. Outside the club, a photographer began taking pictures of the raid, and police immediately knocked him to the ground and began beating him. A friend tried to intervene, and police roughly pushed him into a squad car, tearing the ligaments in his arm in the process. Another patron was beaten so badly he wound up in intensive care with a concussion. Eleven were arrested in all, although it was never explained what exactly they were being charged with.

Less than twenty-four hours later, police launched yet another bar raid, this time at the New Flight. Seven were arrested. As the bar was being evacuated, one officer was heard to yell, “Be sure to take your purses.”

Gay community leaders met with the 18th district watch commander, identified only as Captain Rooney, who claimed not to know who ordered the raids or how many officers were involved. He chalked the police violence up to “frayed nerves,” and claimed the raids on Carol’s were nothing more than “a routine response to neighbors complaints. He then refused to answer any more questions. Another officer of the tactical squad also refused to answer questions, saying,” If you want an interview, pay me. Famous people get paid.”

On June 5, about a thousand people marched to protest police harassment, and against rising anti-gay violence that received almost no attention from Chicago Police. Mayor Jane Byrne and other city officials met with march organizers and conceded that “there certainly, in my view, has been harassment in the gay community,” and promised to look into it. But it doesn’t surprise me at all that I haven’t been able to find any follow up reports on the matter.

[Sources: David W. Linger. “Bar raids in Chicago.” GPU News (Milwaukee, WI, June 1979): 4.

“Chicago March.” GPU News (Milwaukee, WI, July 1979): 11.]

TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS:
Bruce Voeller: 1934-1994. Where to begin? He was a tireless gay rights advocate who co-founded the National Gay Task Force in 1973 and served as its director until 1978. He was a talented biologist, having studied biochemistry, developmental biology and genetics. That put him on the front lines as a researcher for a new disease that others started calling Gay-Related Immune Disorder (GRID), a name that he challenged for its medical inaccuracy. Voeller is credited for giving the new disease the more accurate name of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS).

Voeller had married Dr. Kytja Scott Voeller, whom he met in grad school. Together they had three children. He came out in 1964 when he was 29, and the resulting divorce was messy. Voeller had to fight all the way up to the Supreme Court to gain child visitation rights. By then, he was heavily involved in the resurgent gay rights movement. He was among the founders of the Gay Activists Alliance in 1969 and served as its third president. But where the GAA was more interested in street activism, he sought to bring gay activism into the mainstream of political discourse. In 1973, he left the GAA and founded NGTF (later, NGLTF), and built it into a nation advocacy organization. As NGTF director, he attended a historic White House meeting in 1977 with thirteen other LGBT advocates to raise awareness about discriminatory laws and policies.

In 1978, Voeller left he NGTF and established the Mariposa Education and Research Foundation to conduct human sexuality research. Among his concerns was that books, papers, and other ephemera on the LGBT movement was easily lost or destroyed, posing a danger that LGBT history itself would vanish. So he created a network of volunteers to search for and gather as much as possible, and that extensive collection was donated to the Cornell University Library in 1988. With the advent of AIDS, Voeller returned to his biologist’s roots and the Foundation shifted its focus to reducing the risks of sexually transmitted diseases. His 1989 study warned that mineral oil lubricants caused rapid deterioration of latex condoms, leading to a shift to water-based sexual lubricants. He pioneered the use of nonoxynol-9 as a spermicide and topical virus-transmission preventative,, and he studied the reliability of various brands of condoms in disease prevention. The results of that study even appeared in Consumer Reports, making the information widely available and accessible to the public. He was conducting studies on viral leakage for the (then) recently approved “female” condom when he passed away in 1994 of an AIDS-related illness.

40 YEARS AGO: Jared Polis: 1975. Polis earned his fortune when he founded American Information Systems, an Internet access, web hosting and application service provider. He also co-founded an online greeting card company and an online florist. After selling those companies during the height of the dot-com bubble, he used his wealth to found the Jared Polis Foundation in 2000, with the mission to “create opportunities for success through education and access to technology.” The foundation has refurbished and donated more than 3,500 computers each year to schools and other non-profits. He also founded two charter schools for at-risk students, and another school for older immigrant youths. He founded another school in Denver to serve youth who are homeless or living in unstable conditions.

When he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives for Colorado’s Second District in 2008, he was the first openly gay man to be elected as a freshmen (all the other gay Representatives came out while already in office). He is also the first openly gay parent in Congress. As Congressman, he has been a tireless advocate for LGBT equality. In 2011, he launched the Fearless Campaign, dedicated to “empowering our political leaders with the moral courage it takes to vote fearlessly on the politically charged issues of today, regardless of the perceived political risk.”

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, May 11

Jim Burroway

May 11th, 2015

TODAY’S AGENDA is brought to you by:

From Vector (San Francisco, CA), September 1968, page 32

From Vector (San Francisco, CA), September 1968, page 32

THIS MONTH IN HISTORY:
 50 YEARS AGO: Frank Kameny Declares “We Are the True Authorities on Homosexuality”: 1965. That was a bold declaration to make in 1965. It’s almost impossible to overstate how much deference that was accorded the mental health profession a half century ago. Psychiatrists — by virtue of their degrees, university affiliations, books and lectures — were the recognized authorities on everything touching on the human condition. When psychiatrists declared someone mentally sick, they more or less had the last word on the matter. Many — though certainly not all — gay activists went along with those pronouncements. If a doctor said someone was sick, they reasoned, then who else had the standing or credentials to say differently?

This led to some strange arguments in the pages of ONE magazine, the Mattachine Review, and the Daughters of Bilitis’ newsletter, The Ladder. Those who deferred to the psychiatric profession’s belief that gay people were sick developed arguments for why gays and lesbians deserved equal rights (or at the very least, “understanding”) either despite or because of their sickness. Others argued that gay people weren’t sick — and they, too, could count on a number of psychiatrists and psychologists who agreed with them — and they called for even more psychological research which, they reasoned, would prove them right and somehow open the door to “understanding” on the part of the public. While the two sides disagreed over whether gay people were sick, they both agreed on one thing: that psychiatry would ultimately settle the question, and when it did everyone else would fall in line. Early gay activists were so beholden to that belief that almost all of the early gay rights organizations included the sponsorship or promotion of research as part of their mission statements.

In 1965, gay rights pioneer Frank Kameny (see May 21) upended the very foundation on which those arguments rested. In an essay published in Daughters of Bilitis’s The Ladder, Kameny went to the heart of the mental health profession’s exalted reputation by declaring that their pronouncements were not based on science, but prejudice. His declaration of independence from the psychiatric profession was part of a broader shift taking place that year in the gay rights movement, when activists shifted from putting forward “reasonable” discussions on whether gay people deserved equal treatment to staging public protests demanding that America treat gay Americans as full citizens (see Apr 17, Apr 18, Apr 25, May 29Jun 26Jul 4, Jul 31, Aug 28Sep 19, Oct 23). Kameny’s declaration so clearly crystallizes the debate as it appeared in 1965 that I decided to present it here in full:

Does Research Into Homosexuality Matter?

By Dr. Franklin E. Kameny.

(Franklin E. Kameny, Ph.D., is a physicist and astronomer in private industry. He is founder and former president, and is currently on the Executive Board, of the Mattachine Society of Washington which recently adopted this resolution: “The Mattachine Society of Washington takes the position that in the absence of valid evidence to the contrary, homosexuality is not a sickness, disturbance, or pathology in any sense, but is merely a preference, orientation, or propensity, on par with, and not different in kind from, heterosexuality.”)

PART I: ON SOME ASPECTS OF MILITANCY IN THE HOMOPHILE MOVEMENT

As little as two years ago, “militancy” was something of a dirty word in the homophile movement. Long inculcation in attitudes of cringing meekness had taken its toll among homosexuals, combined with a feeling, still widely prevalent, that reasonable, logical, gentlemanly and ladylike persuation (sic) and presentation of reasonable, logical argument, could not fail to win over those who would deny us our equality and our right to be homosexual and to live as homosexuals without disadvantage. There was — and is — a feeling that given any fair chance to undertake dialogue with such opponents, we would be able to impress them with the basic rightness of our position and bring them into agreement with it.

Unfortunately, by this approach alone we will not prevail, because most people operate not rationally but emotionally on questions of sex in general, and homosexuality in particular, just as they do on racial questions.

It is thus necessary for us to adopt a strongly positive approach, a militant one. It is for us to take the initiative, the offensive — not the defensive — in matters affecting us. It is time that we began to move from endless talk (directed, in the last analysis, by us to ourselves) to firm, vigorous action.

We ARE right; those who oppose us are both factually and morally wrong. We are the true authorities on homosexuality, whether we are accepted as such or not. We must DEMAND our rights, boldly, not beg cringingly for mere privileges, and not be satisfied with crumbs tossed to us. I have been deeply gratified to note in the past year a growing spirit of militancy on the part of an increasing number of members of the homophile organizations.

We would be foolish not to recognize what the Negro rights movement has shown us is sadly so: that mere persuasion, information and education are not going to gain for us in actual practice the rights and equality which are ours in principle.

I have been pleased to see a trend away from weak, wishy-washy compromise positions in our movement, toward ones of strong affirmation of what it is that we believe and want, followed by a drive to take whatever action is needed to obtain our rights. I do not of course favor uncontrolled, unplanned, ill-considered lashing out. Due and careful consideration must always be given to tact and tactics. Within the bounds dictated by such considerations, however, we must be prepared to take firm, positive, definite action — action initiated by us, not merely responding to the initiatives of others. The homophile movement increasingly is adopting this philosophy.

PART II: ON THE HOMOPHILE MOVEMENT AND HOMOSEXUALITY AS A DISEASE

Among the topics to which we are led by the preceding, is that of our approach to the question of homosexuality as a sickness. This is one of the most important issues — probably THE most important single issue — facing our movement today.

It is a question upon which, by rationalization after rationalization, members of the homophile movement have backed away from taking a position. It is a question upon which a clear, definite, unambiguous, no-nonsense stand MUST be taken, must be taken promptly, and must be taken by US, publicly.

There are some who say that WE will not be accepted as authorities, regardless of what we say, or how we say it, or what evidence we present, and that therefore we must take no positions on these matters but must wait for the accepted authorities to come around to our position — if they do. This makes of us a mere passive battlefield across which conflicting “authorities” fight their intellectual battles. I, for one, am not prepared to play a passive role in such controversy, letting others dispose of me as they see fit. I intend to play an active role in the determination of my own fate.

As a scientist by training and by profession, I feel fully and formally competent to judge good and poor scientific work when I see them — and fully qualified to express my conclusions.

In looking over the literature alleging homosexuality as a sickness, one sees, first, abysmally poor sampling technique, leading to clearly biased, atypical samplings, which are then taken as representative of the entire homosexual community. Obviously all persons coming to a psychiatrist’s office are going to have problems of one sort or another, are going to be disturbed or maladjusted or pathological, in some sense, or they wouldn’t be there. To characterize ALL homosexuals as sick, on the basis of such a sampling — as Bieber, Bergler, and others have done — is clearly invalid, and is bad science.

Dr. Daniel Cappon, in his recent appalling book TOWARD AN UNDERSTANDING OF HOMOSEXUALITY (perhaps better named “Away from an Understanding of Homosexuality” or “Toward a Misunderstanding of Homosexuality”) acknowledges at least this non-representative sampling and actually shows some faint signs of suggesting that perhaps there are two classes of homosexuals: patients and non-patients.

Notwithstanding Dr. Bieber’s cavalier dismissal of it, Dr. Evelyn Hooker’s work involving non-clinical homosexual subjects, with its very careful sampling technique and its conclusions of non-sickness, still remains convincing.

One sees secondly, in the literature alleging homosexuality as sickness, a violation of basic laws of logic by the drawing of “conclusions” which were inserted as assumptions. Dr. Bieber does this (and by implication, attributes it to his entire profession) in his statement: “All psychoanalytic theories ASSUME that homosexuality is psychopathological.” Dr. Cappon says: “…homosexuality, BY DEFINITION, is not healthy…” (Emphasis supplied in both quotations.) Obviously, if one assumes homosexuality as pathological or defines it as unhealthy at the outset, one will discover that homosexuals are sick. The “conclusions,” however, can carry no weight outside the self-contained, rather useless logical structure erected upon the assumption or definition. The assumptions must be proven; the definitions must be validated. They have not been.

I am able to speak as a professional scientist when I say that we search in vain for any evidence, acceptable under proper scientific standards, that homosexuality is a sickness or disorder, or that homosexuals per se are disturbed.

On the basis of a disguised moralistic judgement (sometimes not at all disguised, as with Dr. Cappon), mixed both with a teleological approach to sexual matters, and with a classification as sickness of any departure from conformity to the statistical societal norms (on this basis, Dr. Cappon seems to come close to defining left-handedness as sickness), homosexuality has been DEFINED as pathological. We have been defined into sickness.

In logic, the entire burden of proof in this matter rests with those who would call us sick. We do not have to prove health. They have not shouldered their burden or proof of sickness; therefore we are not sick. These are things which it is our duty to point out, and, having pointed them out, to take strong public positions on them.

Then there are those who say that the label appended really doesn’t matter. Let the homosexual be defined as sick, they say, but just get it granted that even if sick, he can function effectively and should therefore be judged only on his individual record and qualifications, and it is that state of being-judged-as-an-individual, regardless of labels, toward which we must work. This unfortunately is a woefully impractical, unrealistic, ivory-tower approach. Homosexuality is looked upon as a psychological question. If it is sickness or disease or illness, it becomes then a mental illness. Properly or improperly, people ARE prejudiced against the mentally ill. Rightly or wrongly, employers will NOT hire them. Morally or immorally, the mentally ill are NOT judged as individuals, but are made pariahs. If we allow the label of sickness to stand, we will then have two battles to fight — that to combat prejudice against homosexuals per se, and that to combat prejudice against the mentally ill — and we will be pariahs and outcasts twice over. One such battle is quite enough.

Finally, as a matter of adopting a unified, coherent, self-consistent philosophy, we MUST argue from a positive position of health. We cannot declare our equality and ask for acceptance and for judgement as whole persons, from a position of sickness. More than that, we argue for our RIGHT to be homosexuals, to remain homosexuals, and to live as homosexuals. In my view and by my moral standards, such an argument is immoral if we are not prepared, at the same time, to take a positive position that homosexuality is not pathological. If homosexuality indeed IS a sickness, then we have no right to remain homosexuals; we have the moral obligation to seek cure, and that only.

When we tell the various arms of organized society that part of our basic position is the request for acceptance as homosexuals, freed from constant pressure for conversion to heterosexuality, we are met with the argument of sickness. This occurred recently at a meeting between Washington Mattachine members and eleven representatives of all three major faiths, at which we asked for such acceptance of the homosexual into the religious community. Our entire position, our entire raison d’etre for such meetings, falls to the ground unless we are prepared to couple our requests with an affirmative, definitive assertion of health — as we in Washington did in that instance.

I feel, therefore, that in the light of fact and logic, the question of sickness is a settled one and will remain so until and unless valid evidence can be brought forth to demonstrate pathology. Further, I feel that for purposes of strategy, we must say this and say it clearly and with no possible room for equivocation or ambiguity.

PART III: ON RESEARCH AND THE HOMOPHILE MOVEMENT

Movements tend to get themselves tied up with certain ideas and concepts, which in time assume the status of revealed and revered truth and cease being subjected to continuing, searching re-examination in the light of changed conditions. As an habitual skeptic, heretic, and iconoclast, I wish here to examine critically if briefly the value and importance to the homophile movement of research into homosexuality, of our commitment to it, and of the role, if any, which such research should play in the movement and in the activities of the homophile organizations.

I recognize that, with the deference granted to science in our culture, it is very respectable and self-reassuring and impressive to call one’s group a research organization or to say that the group’s purpose is research. However, at the outset one fact should be faced directly. For all their pledges of allegiance to the value of research, for all their designation of themselves as research organizations, for all their much-vaunted support and sponsorship of research, NO American homophile organization that I know of has thus far done any effective or meaningful research, has sponsored any research, has supported or participated in any truly significant research. (With the single exception of Dr. Evelyn Hooker’s study, and while I grant that to be a major and important exception, the participation involved nothing more than supplying candidates for experimentation.) The homophile movement’s loss from its failure to contribute to research has been not from that failure, but from the diversion into talking (“maundering” might be a better term) about research — diversion of effort, time, and energy better expended elsewhere.

For purposes of this discussion, we can divide the objectives of relevant research into two loosely delineated classes: research into the origins and causes of homosexuality, and research into collateral aspects of the homosexual and his life and his community.

Almost always, when the homosexual speaks of research on homosexuality, he means the former class in one aspect or another: “What is the nature of homosexuality?” “What are its causes?” “Why am I a homosexual?” “Is homosexuality a sickness?” “Can the homosexual be changed?” Objectionably, “How can homosexuality be prevented?” etc.

A consideration of the rationale behind the homosexual’s interest in such questions will quickly show that they are symptomatic of a thinly-veiled defensive feeling of inferiority, of uncertainty, of inequality, of insecurity — and most important, of lack of comfortable self-acceptance.

I have never heard of a single instance of a heterosexual, whatever problems he may have been facing, inquiring about the nature and origins of heterosexuality, or asking why he was a heterosexual, or considering these matters important, I fail to see why we should make similar inquiry in regard to homosexuality or consider the answers to these questions as being of any great moment to us. The Negro is not engrossed in questions about the origins of his skin color, nor the Jew in questions of the possibility of his conversion to Christianity.

Such questions are of academic, intellectual, scientific interest, but they nor NOT — or ought not to be — burning ones for the homophile movement. Despite oft-made statements to the contrary, there is NO great need for research into homosexuality, and our movement is in no important way dependent upon such research or upon its findings.

If we start out — I do, on the basis presented in Part II above — with the premises (1) that the homosexual and his homosexuality are fully and unqualifiedly on par with, and the equal of, the heterosexual and his heterosexuality; and (2) (since others have raised the question) that homosexuality is not an illness -then all these questions recede into unimportance.

We start off with the fact of the homosexual and his homosexuality and his right to remain as he is, and proceed to do all that is possible to make for him -as a homosexual (similarly, in other contexts, as a Negro and as a Jew) -as happy a life, useful to self and to society, as is possible.

Research in these areas therefore is not, in any fundamental sense, particularly needed or particularly important. There is no driving or compelling urgency for us to concern ourselves with it. Those who do allege sickness have created THEIR need for THEIR research; let THEM do it.

In the collateral areas mentioned, well planned and executed research on carefully chosen projects can be of importance, particularly where it will serve to dispel modern folklore. Evelyn Hooker’s research (referred to above) showing no difference outside their homosexuality itself, in its narrowest, denotive sense, between homosexuals and heterosexuals, is one case in point. A study in the Netherlands by a Dr. Tolsma, which showed that the seduction of young boys by homosexuals had no effect upon their adult sexual orientation, is another. The study now under way by the Mattachine Society of Washington to obtain the first meaningful information on the actual susceptibility of homosexuals to blackmail, will probably be a third.

These are all useful projects. Dr. Hooker’s has turned out to be one of our major bulwarks against the barrage of propaganda currently being loosed against us by the agents of organized psychiatry. (However, as I pointed out above, this is a bulwark not needed, in strict logic.) I shall in fact probably be using the .results of all three of these collateral research projects from time to time in my presentations of our case. But these studies are not of the vital importance which could properly lead many of our homophile groups to characterize themselves as research organizations (only one of these projects actually involved a homophile organization to any significant degree) or to divert into research resources better expended elsewhere.

Research does not play the important role in our movement which much lip-service attributes to it. It plays a very useful and occasionally valuable supporting role, but not more than that.

More important than the preceding, however, is the matter of this emphasis upon research, in terms of the evolution of our movement. In the earlier days of the modern homophile movement, allegiance to the alleged importance of research was reasonable. As the philosophy of the movement has formed, crystallized, and matured, and more important, as our society itself has changed — and it has changed enormously in the past fifteen years and even in the past two — the directions and emphases in our movement have changed too. As indicated in Part I of this article, the mainstream has shifted toward a more activist mode of operation.

Continued placing of primary or strong emphasis within our movement upon research w1ll only result in the movement’s loss of the lead which it is taking in the shaping, formation, and formulation of society’s attitudes and policies toward homosexuality and the homosexual.

Thus, while as a scientist I w1ll never derogate the value of research for its own sake in order to provide additional knowledge, as an active member of the homophile movement my position must be quite different. It is time for us to move away from the comfortingly detached respectability of research into the often less pleasant rough-and-tumble of political and social activism.

[Source: Franklin E. Kameny. “Does Research Into Homosexuality Matter?” The Ladder 9, no. 8 (May 1965): 14-20.]

TODAY’S BIRTHDAY:
Valentino Garavani: 1932. The Italian designer, known simply as Valentino, set the fashion bar in the 1960s when he became a favorite designer for such glamorous taste-makers as Elizabeth Taylor, Sophia Loren, Jane Fonda, Audrey Hepburn, Cate Blanchett, and Princess Margaret, many of whom were also his personal friends. Four decades later, he was still going strong as the most-worn designer at the 2007 Oscars. It’s likely he would have repeated that achievement in 2008 if he hadn’t chosen to retire that year.

Valentino and his partner, Giancarlo Giammetti, have been the ultimate power couple in the fashion world for more than 50 years, with Giammetti serving as his business partner from very nearly the time they first met in 1960. In the documentary film Valentino: The Last Emperor, Valentino estimated that if one were to add up all of the time the two men have spent apart, it would not amount to more than eight weeks.

Fr. Mychal Judge: 1933-2001. He was born Robert Emmett Judge, to recent Irish immigrants in Brooklyn. His father died when he was only six, and young Robert took to shining shoes at Penn Station to help the family make ends meet. His shoe shine stand was near the Church of St. Francis of Assisi, and while the sandal-wearing friars weren’t didn’t make for lucrative customers, they did become his closest friends.

He was particularly attracted to the Friars’ embrace of poverty. “I realized that I didn’t care for material things… I knew then that I wanted to be a friar.” He spent his freshman year at the St. Frances Preparatory School in Brooklyn and, at the age of fifteen, he began the process of entering the Order of Friars Minor. He began studying for the priesthood in 1954 at St. Joseph’s Seraphic Seminary. He became a novitiate in 1954, and received his habit and professed his first vows the following year. As was customary when professing first vows as a Franciscan, he was given a new name: Fallon Michael, which he later changed to the Gaelic Mychal. He professed his solemn vows in 1958, and was ordained a priest in 1961.

Fr. Mychal then embarked on a satisfying vocation as a simple Franciscan parish priest, with assignments in New Jersey and New York. In the early 1970s, he later said that he became an alcoholic, although nobody knew it at the time. His drinking never interfered with his work, but by 1978 he decided it was time to get a handle on it and enter Alcoholics Anonymous. He attended an AA group composed mainly of gay people. He acknowledged his own homosexuality, while also remaining true to his vow of celibacy, and joined Dignity, the Catholic LGBT group.

He ministered to the homeless, the hungry, recovering alcoholics, immigrants and others who were alienated either by the church or society. When AIDS came along, he ministered to those who were dying, many of them alone and abandoned. His friend, Fr. Michael Duffy, remembered one patient who no one would go near. “”Mychal said to me, ‘You know, no one touches this man. He must be so lonely.’ So he’d go visit him and hold his hand. He told me that even once he bent over and kissed him on the forehead because he felt so bad that no one would come near him.” He also celebrated funeral Masses for those whose own priests were reluctant to do so.

In 1992, he became a chaplain for the New York Fire Department. Whenever a call went out, Fr. Mychal exchanged his brown Franciscan’s habit for firefighting gear and respond to the call. His final call was on September 11, 2001, when two hijacked airliners crashed into the twin towers of the World Trade Center. Mychal’s unit was called to Tower One. He immediately began administering Last Rites to some of the bodies lying the streets, and provided aid and prayers from inside the lobby of the North Tower. When the South Tower collapsed, Fr. Mychal was killed, while still in prayer, by flying debris. Fellow firemen and a civilian carried his body out of the North Tower lobby, took him to St. Peter’s Catholic Church and laid him before the altar. Moments later, the North Tower collapsed. Fr. Mychal is officially listed as victim 0001 of the September 11 attacks.

There is a push to have Fr. Mychal declared a saint, although the New York Archdiocese and the Franciscan leadership have been cool to the idea. Several books have been written about this remarkable man, including Father Mychal Judge: An Authentic American Hero by Michael Ford in 2002, and The Book of Mychal by Michael Daly in 2008. A documentary of his life, Saint of 9/11, was released in 2006. His name is on Panel S-18 of the National September 11 Memorial’s South Pool, along with those of other first responders who died that day.

Billy Bean: 1964. The former outfielder and left-handed hitter for the Detroit Tigers, Los Angeles Dodgers, and San Diego Padres made headlines in 1999 when he became only the second baseball player to publicly come out, three years after his retirement. It was a long struggle to get there. As a closeted pro athlete, he struggled to juggle his secret and his career. He divorced his wife in 1993 and secretly moved in with his first lover. When his lover died of AIDS, Bean didn’t attend the funeral because he was too frightened that his secret would be revealed. “Why was it so impossible to think that a baseball player could grieve for a man?” he later reflected. “That was a terrible, terrible decision I made.”

His 2003 book, Going the Other Way: Lessons from a Life In and Out of Major League Baseball, chronicles the ups and downs of his life as a gay man and baseball player. He is currently a real estate agent in Miami.

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The Daily Agenda for Mother’s Day

Jim Burroway

May 10th, 2015

Mom and me.

Call Your Mother. Today is Mother’s Day. Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!

TODAY’S AGENDA:
Pride Celebrations This Weekend: Joensuu, Finland; Maspalomas, Gran Canaria; São Paulo, Brazil; Växjö, Sweden.

Other Events This Weekend: Purple Party, Dallas, TX; BeachBear Weekend, Ft. Lauderdale, FL; Splash, Houston, TX.

TODAY’S AGENDA is brought to you by:

From the 1987 International Gay Rodeo Association program, page 7.

From the 1987 International Gay Rodeo Association program, page 7.

At some point, the Skylark changed its name to simply the Lark. It closed sometime after 2010.

TODAY IN HISTORY:
Book Burning in Berlin: 1933. After raiding the Institute for Sexual Research and looted its vast library and archives (see May 6), the Nazi-affiliated German Student Association (Deutsche Studentenschaft) proclaimed a nationwide “Action against the Un-German Spirit”, which culminated in the “cleansing” (“Säuberung”) by fire on May 10, 1933 of an estimated 25,000 volumes of “un-German” books. Book burnings took place throughout Germany, and the bulk of the books burned in Berlin came from the ISR. About 40,000 people watched in the Opernplatz as propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels declared “No to decadence and moral corruption!” LGBT advocacy, which had developed as a strong scientific and social institution in Germany over the past several decades, was shut down virtually overnight.

TODAY’S BIRTHDAY:
Max Lorenz: 1901-1975. The Düsseldorf native’s powerful performances as a heroic tenor (heldentenor, in German) in Wagner’s operas is probably what saved his life in Nazi Germany — or at the very least, the life of his Jewish wife, whom he married in 1932 despite his homosexuality. The very next year, he established his dominance at the Bayreuth Festival, the annual Wagner festival began by Richard Wagner himself, just as the Nazis came to power. Later, when Lorenz was caught “in flagrante” with a young man at Bayreuth, Hitler forbade his future performances at the prestigious festival. Winifred Wagner, the festival’s director, answered that she would would close the festival because without Lorenz, “Bayreuth can’t be done.” Such was Hitler’s love for Wagner’s operas that he backed down and let Lorenz perform. In 1943, when the SS stormed Lorenz’s home while he was away to take his wife and mother-in-law off to the concentration camps, Hermann Göring personally intervened and placed the entire family under his personal protection.

Lorenz’s career lasted almost three decades. He was particularly renowned for his performances as Siegfried (in Siegfried and Götterdämmerung), Tristan (in Tristan und Isolde) and as Walther (in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg) After the war, Lorenz became an Austrian citizen, but his reputation was sullied by the assumption that he had been a Nazi. He died in Salzburg in 1975.

Steve Gunderson: 1951. The first openly gay Republican to serve in Congress, the Wisconsin representative was outed on the floor of the House of Representatives by a fellow Republican, the virulently anti-gay Rep. Bob Dornan of California. The confrontation occurred during a debate on a measure that would have prohibited any school which received federal funding from “promoting homosexuality as a positive lifestyle.” Gunderson objected to some of the defects in how the measure was written, saying it “has the effect of prohibiting school counseling and guidance. It has the effect of prohibiting AIDS education.”

Dornan rose to object, saying that Gunderson has “a revolving door on his closet. He’s on, he’s out, he’s in, he’s out, he’s in. I guess you’re out because you went up and spoke to a huge homosexual dinner, Mr. Gunderson.” Dornan later complained to reporters, “We have a rep on our side who is a homo who goes in and out of the closet. I have just had it with him saying he takes second place to no one in this House … (in) upholding Christian principles.”

That “homosexual dinner” was the annual Human Rights Campaign Fund dinner in Baltimore two weeks earlier, where Gunderson told the gathering about the beach house in Rehoboth that he shared with “Rob” and “our two dogs.” Gunderson also talked about how he and Rob had been touched by the AIDS crisis in the past year. “Two of our closest friends died from AIDS, and while for Rob and I this was the first personal loss from this tragic disease, it makes its impact no less painful to each of us. He also urged gays and lesbians to come out of the closet, saying that “unless a son or brother is gay, a daughter or sister is lesbian, most families will not encounter challenges to their traditional values.”

Despite Gunderson’s urging that more gays and lesbians come out of the closet, Gunderson refused to confirm or deny his sexuality to reporters in the immediate aftermath of Dornan’s outburst, saying that he wouldn’t dignify Dornan’s comments with a response. But in 1994, refusing to deny it was all that was really needed. Rep. Barny Frank (D-MA) sympathized somewhat: “This is not an easy situation he finds himself in. In a perfect world none of this would be necessary.”

Gunderson won re-election later that year, and he became the lone Republican to vote against the Defense of Marriage Act two years later. He chose not to seek re-election in 1996. In January 2010, Gunderson was appointed by President Barack Obama to the President’s Commission on White House Fellows. Until last year, he was President and CEO of the Council on Foundations, a Washington, DC-based nonprofit membership association of approximately 2,000 grantmaking foundations and corporations, but now he’s president and CEO of a trade group in Washington representing for-profit colleges and universities.

Michele Van Gorp: 1977. Born in Warren, Michigan, Michele Van Gorp played women’s collegiate basketball at Purdue University for her freshman and sophomore years, then transferred to Duke University, where she led Duke to the school’s first NCAA final for women’s basketball. She was drafted into the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) in 1999. After playing for a year with the Portland Fire, she was traded to the Minnesota Lynx, where she gained a reputation as one of the league’s toughest defenders.

Van Gorp was the only open lesbian in the WNBA from 2002 (when Sue Wicks retired) until 2005, when Sheryl Swoopes and Latasha Byears came out. She missed much of the 2004 season due to a stress fracture in her left foot, and she ended up retiring from the WNBA in 2005. She is currently back at her alma mater, working with the Duke women’s basketball program.

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The Daily Agenda for Saturday, May 9

Jim Burroway

May 9th, 2015

TODAY’S AGENDA:
Pride Celebrations This Weekend: Joensuu, Finland; Maspalomas, Gran Canaria; São Paulo, Brazil; Växjö, Sweden.

AIDS Walk This Weekend: Anaheim, CA; Buffalo, NY; Ft. Wayne, IN; Poughkeepsie, NY.

Other Events This Weekend: Purple Party, Dallas, TX; BeachBear Weekend, Ft. Lauderdale, FL; Splash, Houston, TX.

TODAY’S AGENDA is brought to you by:

From Vector (San Francisco, CA), May 1973, page 3.

From Vector (San Francisco, CA), May 1973, page 3.

Vicki Marlane, known as “the woman with the liquid spine” because of her performance moves, was a San Francisco institution:

Vicki Marlane“When I first came here we weren’t even allowed in the gay bars if we were in drag,” she recalled. “During the first gay Pride Parade my friends and I rode in a convertible, and we got just as many ‘boos’ from gay people as we did from straights.” …

Ms. Marlane was born Donald Sterger in Crookston, Minnesota on September 5, 1934. After a difficult childhood she left the farm where she grew up and ran off to join a traveling circus, playing the fifth and sixth legs of the “Six Legged Woman.” She also starred as the “Alligator Woman,” covering her skin with crackling glue and using green food coloring to give her “alligator eyes.”

When she left the circus, she traveled all over the country performing in drag shows in New Orleans; Flint, Michigan; Portland, Oregon; and at the Club Chesterfield in Chicago, where she was known by the stage name “Mister Peel.” She moved to San Francisco in 1966 and worked at the Top of the Town, the Frolic Room, the 181 Club, Jackie D’s, and the Gilded Cage. She made many of her own costumes, embellishing them with beads, sequins, and rhinestones and later added to her collection many gowns from Sue Wong, her favorite designer.

… “Her passion to perform was what truly mattered; the house could be packed to the rafters, or ‘dead,’ yet Miss Marlane never failed to deliver,” said her friend James Reed, who uses the stage name Bus Station John. “She taught me that true show people ‘bring it’ regardless of how many people show up, focusing not on who isn’t there, but who is. … In recent years it ‘bringing it’ wasn’t always easy for Vicki; during episodes of illness, she would summon forth all her energies to create magic at the corner of Turk and Taylor, then return home and crumple. Yet there she’d be, the next night or the next week, bewitching us all over again. This was her gift – a gift to us, to San Francisco, to the world.”

She retired in 1980, transitioned to a woman, moved to San Diego, and then back to San Francisco to resume performing. She died in 2011 at age 75.

The Tyburn Triple Tree

TODAY IN HISTORY:
Three Hanged for Sodomy: 1726. In July of 1725, Gabriel Lawrence, 43 and “a Papist” — that alone was also a crime in 18th century England — was indicted “for committing, with Thomas Newton, aged 30 years, the heinous and detestable sin of Sodomy, not to be named among Christians.” He was among 40 who were arrested at the famous “molly house” of Margaret Clap, a “place of rendezvous for Sodomites.” Newton, who testified against the defendants in exchange for immunity, described the place: “For the more convenient establishment of her customers, she had provided beds in every room of the house. She usually had 30 or 40 of such Persons there every Night, but more especially on a Sunday. I was conducted up one pair of Stairs, and by the Perswasions of Bavidge (who was present all the Time) I suffer’d the Prisoner to commit the said Crime. He has attempted the same since that Time, but I never would permit him any more.” Newton testified against Lawrence, taking upon himself the role of innocent victim even though he, too, was at the “molly house” and arrested.

Newton claimed that he didn’t know that Claps’s establishment was a molly house. He must have been pretty dumb, because he apparently spent a lot of time there. He not only testified against Lawrence, but also against two others at the house: William Griffin, 43, and Thomas Wright, 32, who “often fetched me to oblige company that way.” All three defendants were found guilty and sentenced to death. On May 9, 1726, Lawrence, Griffin, and Wright were hanged at the infamous gallows known as “the Tyburn Tree,” not far from the present-day location of the Marble Arch. Margaret Clapp was fined, made to stand at the pillory at Smithfield, and sent to prison for two years.

[Sources: Ian McCormick. Secret Sexualities: A Sourcebook of 17th and 18th Century Writings (London: Routledge, 1977): 72-74.

“Trial of Gabriel Lawrence.” Old Bailey Proceedings Online (April 1726): record t17260420-64.

Historian Rictor Norton has also posted trial records for Lawrence, Griffin and Wright at his web site.]

145 YEARS AGO: Ignorance Is Bliss: 1870. Dressed as Lady Stella Clinton and Miss Fanny Winifred Park, Ernest Boulton, 22, and Frederick William Park, 23 both scandalized and titillated Londoners when they attended a performance at the Strand Theatre and were arrested by police. A search of their homes turned up more than a dozen dresses, petticoats, bodices and bonnets. Their landlady described their dresses as very extreme. They were charged with conspiracy to commit sodomy.

The two defendants appeared in court in drag. The whole thing baffled the Attorney General, who testified on May 9, 1871 that the lack of detailed British knowledge on the topic was actually one of the country’s virtues. He thought it “fortunate [that] there is little learning or knowledge upon this subject in this country; there are other countries in which I am told learned treatises are written as to the appearance to be expected in such cases. Fortunately Doctors in England know very little about these matters.” Ignorance reigned, and it was to Boulton and Park’s benefit. Sure, they dressed funny, engaged in “disgraceful behaviour,” and wrote piles of letters describing their exploits — an entire day was spent reading them into the record — but none of that counted as evidence of a conspiracy to commit sodomy. And since wearing dresses itself wasn’t against the law, the jury found them not guilty.

[Source: Ivan Crozier. “Nineteenth-Century British psychiatric writings about homosexuality before Havelock Ellis: The missing story.” Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences 68, no. 1 (Jan 2008): 65-102.]

Wichita Voters Repeal Gay Rights Ordinance: 1978. Anita Bryant’s success in defeating a gay rights ordinance in Miami at the ballot box the year before (see Jun 7) inspired voters in St. Paul to repeal their ordinance the following spring by more than a two-to-one margin (see Apr 25). Two weeks later, the fight moved to Wichita, Kansas, where an ordinance banning discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodations due to “sexual or affectional preferences” was the subject of a special repeal election. After Miami voters repealed their anti-discrimination ordinance, Wichita organizers quickly gathered 31,000 signatures, more than three times the needed number, to place the ordinance up for a vote. The City Council decided to short-cut the process, and in a 3-2 vote agreed to place the issue on the ballot for a special May 9 election.

Rev. Richard A. Angwin, who headed the St. Paul repeal effort, traveled to Wichita fresh off of his St. Paul victory and told a Wichita audience that the Minnesota vote proved that “from the conservative Bible-belt of Dade County, Florida, to the liberal progressive north of Minnesota, that the American people are not willing to accept homosexuality as a legitimate intrusion into human rights ordinances.” He also argued that gay people were second-class citizens. “I think anyone who is immoral is a second-class citizen,” he said. “But I don’t say it out of hatred. I love the murderer, but I’m still going to limit his behavior in society.”

Wichita voters apparently agreed. They repealed Wichita’s anti-discrimination ordinance by a nearly five-to-one margin: 47,246 to 10,005. Forty-four percent of the city’s 128,888 registered voters turned out, making it the largest turnout for a city election in a decade. Rev. Ron Adrian, president of Concerned Citizens for Community Standards which campaigned for the repeal, was elated. He had only expected a two-to-one victory margin. “I think God’s using this vote to openly rebuke the pro-homosexual forces,” he said.

Robert Lewis, co-director of the Homophile Alliance, was initially bitter about the results. “Obviously there are a lot of bigots in Wichita,” he told reporters. But later, after cooling off at a local gay bar, Lewis put a better face on the defeat. “It’s like a New Year’s Eve party here. You would never know gay rights had been defeated. Gay people in Wichita are feeling much better about themselves as a result of this campaign.”

Two days later, it was revealed that Miami-based Protect America’s Children, which was linked to another tax exempt organization called “Anita Bryant Ministries,” had poured $20,000 into the Wichita and St. Paul battles. At $74,000 in today’s dollars, it represented big money for city elections in 1978. Their next target was a special election in Eugene, Oregon, to repeal its gay rights ordinance, scheduled for May 23.

Dana Goes International: 1998. The music world is shocked when judges at that year’s Eurovision Song Contest in Birmingham, England choose openly MtF Dana International as their champion. Ultra-Orthodox Jews and Israeli conservatives were shocked and demanded that next year’s telecast not be held in the winning country, as tradition holds, due to the “shame” of her being transsexual. Dana countered, “My victory proves God is on my side. I want to send my critics a message of forgiveness and say to them: try to accept me and the kind of life I lead. I am what I am and this does not mean I don’t believe in God, and I am part of the Jewish Nation.”

Here is how Dana International’s win looked on German television:

President Barack Obama Announces Support for Marriage Equality: 2012. Through much of his presidency, Barack Obama had long opposed the abolition of same-sex marriages via state and federal constitutional amendments, and during his 2008 primary campaign against then-Sen. Hillary Clinton, he distinguished his position from hers by calling for the full repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act in its entirety. (Her position was to repeal the provision barring federal recognition of same-sex marriages while keeping Section 2, which allows states to ignore other states’ marriages.) In 2011, his Justice Department announced that they would no longer defend DOMA in Federal Court, arguing that heightened scrutiny was called for in examining the law’s constitutionality, and that DOMA fails under that standard. But on the critical question of whether Obama supported same-sex marriage itself, he famously said that he was “still evolving” on the issue.

That evolution was completed when, during an interview with ABC News, Obama revealed that he now supported the rights of same-sex couples to marry”

I have to tell you that over the course of several years as I have talked to friends and family and neighbors when I think about members of my own staff who are in incredibly committed monogamous relationships, same-sex relationships, who are raising kids together, when I think about those soldiers or airmen or marines or sailors who are out there fighting on my behalf and yet feel constrained, even now that Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is gone, because they are not able to commit themselves in a marriage, at a certain point I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married.

Obama’s announcement came three days after Vice President Joe Biden told David Gregory on NBC’s Meet the Press that he was “absolutely comfortable with the fact that men marrying men, women marrying women and heterosexual men and women marrying one another are entitled to the same exact rights.”

Obama’s announcement made him the first sitting President to announce his support for marriage equality for same-sex couples. Conventional wisdom had held that such a position would be political suicide for national office, but Obama proved that wrong in November when he became the first presidential candidate to win an election on a platform calling for marriage equality. That same election also saw voters in three states — Maryland, Maine and Washington — make history by approving same-sex marriage at the ballot box, and voters in Minnesota turned back an attempt to write discrimination into its state constitution for only the second time in history. In the year following Obama’s announcement, the number of states providing marriage equality nearly doubled from six to eleven, after legislators in Rhode Island and Delaware passed legislation legalizing same-sex marriages.

TODAY’S BIRTHDAY:
Alan Bennett: 1934. The English performer and playwright is best known for The Madness of George III and the film adaptation, The Madness of King George. He received an Academy Award nomination for the screenplay. In August 1960, he achieved instant fame as a comedy actor at the Edinburgh Festival by appearing in a satirical review with Dudley Moore, Jonathan Miller and Peter Cook. His first play, Forty Years On, debuted in 1968. His critically acclaimed The History Boys won three Lawrence Olivier Awards in 2005 and Six Tony Awards on Broadway in 2006. His memoir, Untold Stories, appeared in 2005. He thought it would be published posthumously because he was undergoing treatment for cancer when he wrote it. The cancer went into remission, but the book went ahead anyway. In the biographical sketches, Bennett wrote openly for the first time about his homosexuality, although he said that he was “reluctant to be enrolled in the ranks of gay martyrdom, reluctant, if the truth be told, to be enrolled in any ranks whatsoever.”

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The Daily Agenda for Friday, May 8

Jim Burroway

May 8th, 2015

TODAY’S AGENDA:
Pride Celebrations This Weekend: Joensuu, Finland; Maspalomas, Gran Canaria; São Paulo, Brazil; Växjö, Sweden.

AIDS Walk This Weekend: Anaheim, CA; Buffalo, NY; Ft. Wayne, IN; Poughkeepsie, NY.

Other Events This Weekend: Purple Party, Dallas, TX; BeachBear Weekend, Ft. Lauderdale, FL; Splash, Houston, TX.

TODAY’S AGENDA is brought to you by:

From Christopher Street, June 1977, page 47.

THIS MONTH IN HISTORY:
The Stronger the Shock, the Better the Cure: 1973. A nondescript office park in the northeast Atlanta suburb of North Druid Hills was home to Barry A. Tanner’s Center for Behavioral Change. Among the behaviors Tanner was trying to change was homosexual behavior. As Tanner was a Behavioral Therapist, it appears likely that, as was common with Behavioral Therapists throughout the U.S., he believed that all psychological problems were strictly behavioral problems that could be solved through retraining the patient through behavioral modification techniques. (For more information about Behavioral Therapy, see our report Blind Man’s Bluff, a part of our award-winning series .What Are Little Boys Made Of?)

Tanner’s preferred method was electric shock aversion therapy, and his methods were particularly invasive and, for this experiment, painful. And in a paper he published in the journal Behaviour Research and Therapy for May 1973, he wrote that the more painful the shock — and the more the patients feared the pain of the shock — the more desirable the results. Previous research by other Behavioral Therapists advocated a minimal level of electric shock, but Tanner’s goal was to prove that high shock levels would be more effective.

For Tanner’s experiments, twenty-six men answered newspaper ads “for a free research and treatment program,” and were randomly assigned to one of two groups. One group was the 5 milliampere high-shock group, and the other group were allowed to chose their own shock levels. All but one who were allowed to choose selected a level lower than 5 mA — generally in the 3 to 4.5 mA region. The men in both groups were hooked up to electrodes — he doesn’t say where — and a measurement device was attached to their penises to measure changes in circumference. Slides were projected on a screen of attractive nude men and women. When a male slide was projected on the screen, the subject was shocked. No shocks were delivered if a woman’s picture was up. And that contraption attached to the penis? That’s how Tanner decided if the experiment was working. If penile growth was detected while a a male slide was on the screen, then the experiment was going the wrong way. A greater heterosexual response — or at least, a lesser homosexual one — constituted success. Each session went on like this for 45 minutes. The full program consisted of twenty sessions, three sessions each week. The subjects were also asked to rate their fear of shock on a scale from one to ten, with ten represented the greatest amount of fear.

The results were somewhat confusing. Tanner described recruiting twenty-six gay men for his experiment, but he supplies data for only twenty of them. He doesn’t say what happened to the other six. Twelve were in the high-shock group, and eight were allowed to select their own shock levels. Unsurprisingly, fully half of the high-shock group didn’t make it through all twenty sessions. Five of the six who dropped out didn’t stick around beyond third. Only two of the six in the select-your-own-punishment group dropped out — although, as I said, he doesn’t explain the missing six from the original twenty-eight. His results?

The results support the earlier findings of animal research, that avoidance learning improves at higher shock intensities. Men receiving 5 mA of current showed greater change in a heterosexual direction than did men receiving from 3 to 4.5. mA of current (p = 0.047). The prediction of MacCulloch et al. that effective learning requires only a minimally aversive stimulus was, therefore, not supported.

MacCulloch also predicted that high shock intensity would result in a higher dropout rate. However, the number of sessions attended by men receiving 5 rnA of current did not differ significantly from the number attended by men receiving less than 5 rnA (p = 0.0735). Still, the difference may be great enough to warrant some consideration in clinical applications of avoidance learning.

…Since the men who completed training had a median fear rating of 4.0, while the men who dropped out had a median rating of 5.0, I suggest assigning a current flow of 5 mA to all men with a fear rating of 4 or less, while allowing men with a fear rating greater than 4 to select their own shock intensity. In addition, since most men who dropped out of training after receiving at least one shock did so comparatively early (mean sessions attended before dropping out = 7), the current level could be increased after the seventh session for those men who select their own shock intensity. Current flow might be boosted by 25 per cent or 5 mA, whichever is less, beginning with the eighth session.

The MacCulloch fellow mentioned here was Malclom J. MacCulloch, who had published a number of influential papers on “curing” gay men through electric shock since the mid-1960s. (see, for example, Jun 3). Tanner thought MacCulloch was going soft on his subjects by using lower current levels. As for Tanner, he thought that perhaps 5 mA wasn’t high enough:

The selection of a 5-mA maximum may be premature, since up to 10 rnA has been reported with human avoidance training with no apparent ill effects (Birk et al., 1971) and Craven (1970) has stated that a minimum of 20 mA is required for a prolonged period before painful muscular contraction wiII occur, I selected 5 mA as the maximum current in my work simply because I personally could tolerate little more than that, and the proposed research ethics of the American Psychological Association recommend that E (Experimenter) stimulate himself before each training session to insure that his equipment is in working order.

[Source: Barry A. Tanner. “Shock intensity and fear of shock in the modification of homosexual behavior in males by avoidance learning.” Behaviour Research and Therapy 11, no. 2 (May 1973): 213-218.]

TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS:
95 YEARS AGO: Tom of Finland: 1920-1991. Born Touko Laaksonen, Tom of Finland was famous for his stylized homoerotic and fetish art. Over a forty year career, he produced some 3,500 drawings in his unique exaggerated style. If Barbie dolls proportions represent an anatomically impossible ideal for women, Tom of Finland’s hypermasculine characters were portrayed in similarly fantastical idealizations of manly men, although Tom didn’t see it that way. “All my drawings are grounded in reality,” he said. “I use models, whom I initially photograph and then later refer to when I draw. People complain that I exaggerate. My fantasies often take over, of course, but I want to offer the viewer something that he can’t get in a photograph.”

His style was partly influenced by beefcake and physique magazines which skirted on the edges of U.S. censorship codes in the 1950s and 1960s. But as the codes were struck down in the 1960s over First Amendment issues, his drawings became more explicit and more overtly sexual. They became the definitive style guide for leathermen through his portrayal of policemen, lumberjacks, sailors and bikers, and they’ve inspired such artists as Robert Mapplethorpe (see Nov 4), Freddie Mercury (see Sep 5) and the Village People.

He died of a stroke brought on by emphysema on November 7, 1991. Several examples of his “dirty drawings ” — his unabashed description for them — have been acquired by New York’s Museum of Modern Art. This past winter, works by Tom of Finland and “physique” photographer Bob Mizer (see Mar 27) were featured in a special exhibit at the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art. On September 8 of this year, his native Finland will honor him with a set of postage stamps which have been described as ” considerably more erotic than those usually seen on any nation’s envelopes.” A documentary film of his life is in the works and is slated for a 2015 release.

Darren Hayes: 1972. The singer-songwriter was the front man of Savage Garden. Their 1997 album by the same name peaked at #1 in Australia, #2 in the U.K., #3 in the U.S. Their biggest American hit was “Truly Madly Deeply.” Their follow-up album yielded another #1 hit in the U.S. with “I Knew I Loved You.” In 2002, he launched his solo career, and by 2005 it was clear that Savage Garden was through.

Hayes married his childhood sweetheart in 1997. They divorced in 2000 after he told her that he was gay. After years of public speculation about his sexuality, Hayes came out on July 18, 2006, when he announced that he had entered a civil partnership with his boyfriend, Richard Cullen, a month earlier. In April, 2007, he told The Advocate, “First of all, it took me a long time to even accept that I was gay. And then it took me a long time to be happy that I was gay.” That summer he headlined London’s Gay Pride at Trafalgar Square. You can see his video for “It Gets Better” here. His fourth solo album, Secret Codes and Battleships, was released in 2011. He and Cullen upgraded their partnership in 2013 to full marriage soon after same-sex marriage resumed in California.

If you know of something that belongs on the agenda, please send it here. Don’t forget to include the basics: who, what, when, where, and URL (if available).

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The Daily Agenda for Thursday, May 7

Jim Burroway

May 7th, 2015

TODAY’S AGENDA:
Pride Celebrations This Weekend: Joensuu, Finland; Maspalomas, Gran Canaria; São Paulo, Brazil; Växjö, Sweden.

AIDS Walk This Weekend: Anaheim, CA; Buffalo, NY; Ft. Wayne, IN; Poughkeepsie, NY.

Other Events This Weekend: Purple Party, Dallas, TX; BeachBear Weekend, Ft. Lauderdale, FL; Splash, Houston, TX.

TODAY’S AGENDA is brought to you by:

From Vector, July 1974, page 7.

Free Speech demonstration at UC Berkeley, 1964.

TODAY IN HISTORY:
California Senate Committee Calls UC Berkeley Hotbed of Communists and Homosexuals: 1966. Aanti-war demonstration on American campuses were still in their infancy, but already the “Free Speech Movement” had planted its foothold at the University of California at Berkeley. In the fall of 1964, University of California president Clark Kerr imposed a ban on on-campus political activity at UC Berkeley. That ban included civil rights advocacy in addition to anti-war protests and leafletting. Students responded with weeks of demonstrations and sit-ins which finally ended when Kerr rescinded the ban after Christmas break. State legislators charge that Kerr’s accommodation of the student’s First Amendment rights meant that the campus was now “seething with Communists and homosexuals,” according to a report released by the State Senate Committee on Un-American Activities. As the Associated Press described it:

UC president Clark Kerr

UC president Clark Kerr

Under Kerr, charged the committee, Communist-oriented students and nonstudents have made the Berkeley campus the nationwide center for the anti-Viet Nam war movement. Homosexuality and sexual promiscuity, the senators suggested, are rampant. …The five-member committee accused Ker of a “hostile attitude” toward its work, and said he not only didn’t help in seeking out communist activities on campus “but actual took steps that tended to prevent its being given.”

…To back up its charge that homosexuality is rampant at Berkeley, the committee cited a story in the Daily Californian, the student newspaper, which reported that 2700 of the school’s 27,000 students were homosexual.

Jim Branson, editor of the campus newspaper, said that the statistics was provided by Harold Call (see Sep 20), president of the Mattachine Society of San Francisco, a group devote to protecting the rights of homosexuals.

The committee charged that under Kerr, “the campus sank to a new low,” and reported campus dances with lewd themes and blatant promiscuity and the presentation of “disgusting, debased spectacles.”

The committee held Kerr responsible for allowing “left-wing domination of the campus scene.” Kerr, in turn, said that the university “by its nature is dedicated to freedom in a society. It can become, consequently, an arena for dissent.” He also told reporters that for four years he had been asking the committee to provide the names of Communists connected with the university, but the committee failed to respond.

The Berkeley campus would continue to be a lightning rod, both for left-wing political dissent and for right-wing discontent. It also became a topic of the 1966 gubernatorial campaign when then-actor Ronald Reagan, in his first run for public office, called for Kerr’s dismissal on May 12. Later that fall, Reagan announced that if he were elected governor, he would appoint former CIA director John McCone to investigate campus unrest at Berkeley. On January 20, 1967, during Gov. Reagan’s first meeting with the UC Board of Regents, the board fired Kerr as U.C. President.

Jesse Helms Rails Against “Militant-Activist-Mean Lesbian”: 1993. But of course, in Helms’s imagination what other kind of lesbian was there? President Bill Clinton had nominated Roberta Achtenberg, a San Francisco civil rights lawyer, as Assistant Secretary for Housing and Urban Development. As San Francisco City Supervisor, she supported efforts to bar the Boy Scouts from using the city’s school facilities because of its exclusion of gays scouts and leaders. Helms blew his stack over that. “She’s not your garden-variety lesbian,” he told the Associated Press. “She’s a militant-activist-mean lesbian, working her whole career to advance the homosexual agenda. Now you think I’m going to sit still and let her be confirmed by the Senate? . . . If you want to call me a bigot, go ahead.”

Helms was a bigot, but Achtenberg was confirmed. She remained on the job until 1995 when she left to run against Willie Brown for mayor of San Francisco. Obviously, she didn’t make it. Achtenberg is currently serving on the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. Helms is currently dead.

TODAY’S BIRTHDAY:
175 YEARS AGO: Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky: 1840-1893. The great Russian composer’s brother, Modeste, was comfortable with being gay, but Pyotr was not, at least not until much later in life. But he had to undergo a short, disastrous marriage before he arrived at the conclusion that his sexual orientation was insurmountable. Meanwhile, he became Russia’s most celebrated composer, with Swan Lake, Eugene Onegin, The Nutcracker, and his Fourth Symphony and Sixth Symphony (Pathétique) probably his finest works. He composed the 1812 Overture to celebrate Russia’s defeat of Napoleon at the outskirts of Moscow. Tchaikovsky confessed that the work, complete with live canon shots, would be “very loud and noisy, but I wrote it with no warm feeling of love, and therefore there will probably be no artistic merits in it.” He warned one Russian conductor, “I shan’t be at all surprised and offended if you find that it is in a style unsuitable for symphony concerts.” The 1812 Overture, it turned out, became one of his most popular works.

His death in 1893 was attributed to cholera, although there have been a persistent legend that his died by suicide. One story has it that a sentence of suicide was imposed in a “court of honor” by Tchaikovsky’s fellow alumni of the St. Petersburg Imperial School of Jurisprudence because of his homosexuality. Another has it that his suicide was ordered by Tsar Alexander III himself. There doesn’t appear to be much evidence for either legend. But against the backdrop of those unfounded rumors, many have taken Pathétique, which Tchaikovsky premiered just a few days before his death, as his final statement. According to an eyewitness at the premiere:

Tchaikovsky began conducting with the baton held tightly in his fist … in his usual manner. But when the final sounds of the symphony had died away and Tchaikovsky slowly lowered the baton, there was dead silence in the audience. Instead of applause, stifled sobs came from various parts of the hall. The audience was stunned and Tchaikovsky stood there, motionless, his head bowed.

Some have come to regard Pathétique as Tchaikovsky’s requiem, with its second performance coming three weeks later at his memorial concert in St. Petersburg.

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The Daily Agenda for Wednesday, May 6

Jim Burroway

May 6th, 2015

TODAY’S AGENDA:
Pride Celebrations This Weekend: Joensuu, Finland; Maspalomas, Gran Canaria; São Paulo, Brazil; Växjö, Sweden.

AIDS Walk This Weekend: Anaheim, CA; Buffalo, NY; Ft. Wayne, IN; Poughkeepsie, NY.

Other Events This Weekend: Purple Party, Dallas, TX; BeachBear Weekend, Ft. Lauderdale, FL; Splash, Houston, TX.

TODAY’S AGENDA is brought to you by:

From The Body Politic (Toronto, ON), June 1976, page 14.

From The Body Politic (Toronto, ON), June 1976, page 14.

Montreal’s Stork Club was popular with gays and straights alike:

Not to be confused with the Big Apple’s famed nightspot of the same name. Still, Montreal’s Stork Club, located on Guy St. next to the famed Her Majesty’s Theatre (formerly His Majesty’s Theatre, when our monarch was male), was synonymous with the city’s glorious ­ Sin City days, when visiting celeb royalty like Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr. and Jerry Lewis would head there for late-night revelry following their engagements at other city haunts. Montrealers of all stripes would also congregate there not only to catch a glimpse of celebs but also to bop to the beat of house bands on the club’s sprawling dance floor. The club was later to become home to the disco palace Oz. And ­sigh! ­So it goes.

A rather substantial steel and glass office tower occupies the site today.

Karl-Maria Kertbeny’s letter to Karl Heinrich Ulrichs with the word “Homosexualität” (Click to enlarge)

TODAY IN HISTORY:
The Word “Homosexuality” Coined: 1868.On this date, an Austrian-born Hungarian by the name of Karl-Maria Kertbeny (or Károly Mária Kertbeny, see Feb 28) wrote a letter in which he used, for the first time in recorded history, a new word of his creation: Homosexualität.

The letter was to German gay-rights advocate Karl Heinrich Ulrichs (see Aug 28). Ulrichs was, more precisely speaking, an urning-rights advocate. Ulrichs defined urning as a “male-bodied person with a female psyche,” who is sexually attracted to men and not women. In fact, he had complex taxonomy to describe the many combinations and permutations of gender, gender role, attractions, and degrees of affection. In addition to urning, there was dioning (a heterosexual masculine man), uranodioning (a male bisexual), mannlinge (very masculine man with an attraction toward effeminate men), manuring (effeminate man who was attracted towards women), and virilisiert mannlinger (a “straight-acting” gay man) — and that was just for men. There was also a list of counterpart words for women. It was all very complicated to try to keep track of.

In English, the terminology was very simple — in fact, too simple. The word invert described gay men and women as embodying an inversion of sex-role behavior. But that term depended on a description of sex role behavior rather than sexual attraction, which meant that masculine men and feminine women who were attracted to the same sex fell outside of the definition.

And this is what set Kertbeny’s homosexualität apart. For the first time, here was a simple word that went straight to the heart of the matter: the object of sexual or romantic desire was separated from the gender role — but not the gender itself — of the subject as part of the definition. This eventually allowed for the discussion of everyone who was attracted to the same gender, men and women, masculine and feminine.

Homosexualität made its first known public appearance the following year, when Kertbeny anonymously published a pamphlet calling for the repeal of Prussia’s sodomy laws. Other German advocates picked up the word, and it eventually made its English appearance as “homosexuality” in 1894 when Richard von Krafft-Ebing’s 1886 Psychopathia Sexualis was translated into English. Adoption in English was slow however. The famous English sexologist Havelock Ellis (see Feb 2) hated it on linguistic grounds: its mixture of Greek-based (“homo”) and Latin-based (“sexual”) roots were anathema to him. In his groundbreaking first volume of Studies in the Psychology of Sex published in 1897, Ellis stuck to the more widely-used English term inversion, writing in a footnote on the first page of the text, “‘Homosexual’ is a barbarously hybrid word, and I claim no responsibility for it. It is, however, convenient, and now widely used.” But even as he saw the writing on the wall he resisted and suggested an alternative: ” ‘Homogenic’ has been suggested as a substitute,” he added.

His suggestion of homogenic never caught on, and even Ellis declined to adopt it. Invert remained a common term, but its usage continued to diminish until it finally met its demise in the 1920’s. That’s when when the psychoanalytic theories of Sigmund Freud, who preferred the word “homosexuality” and its counterparts “heterosexuality” and “bisexuality” became popular in the English-speaking world. We’ve been homos (or bi’s, as the case may be) ever since.

Students of the Deutsche Studentenschaft parading in front of the Institute of Sex Research.

Nazis Storm the Institute of Sex Research: 1933. The great German sexologist Magnus Hirschfeld (see May 14) established the Institute of Sex Research in 1919. Located in Berlin’s Tiergarten it became a major center for gay rights advocacy and research, with a massive research library archive. The Institute included medical, psychological, and ethnological divisions, provided marriage and sex counseling.

But when the Nazis came to power in January of 1933, the Institute quickly became a target of official ire. On May 6 of that year while Hirchfeld was on a lecture tour of the U.S., students of the Deutsche Studentenschaft began parading in front of the Institute. That night, Nazis attacked it and looted the archives. Four days later, those archives served as the fuel for the famous book-burning rally, where some 20,000 books and journals, and 5,000 images, were destroyed. The Institute’s groundbreaking work came to an abrupt end. Hirschfeld remained in exile, first in Paris and later in Nice, where he died of a heart attack in 1935.

TODAY’S BIRTHDAY:
Rudolph Valentino: 1895-1926. Italina-born Rodolpho Guglielmi di Valentina D’Antonguolla’s appearances in films like The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, The Sheik, Blood and Sand, The Eagle and Son of the Sheik established him as one of moviedom’s earliest male sex symbols. When the original Latin lover died suddenly at the age of 31, his public viewing prompted near-rioting among his female fans. Valentino had married twice — once in an unconsummated marriage to the lesbian actress Jean Acker (see Oct 23), and then to Natacha Rambova, the artistic director for an early film they both worked on. That marriage also ended in divorce.

Neither marriage did much to quell rumors of Valentino’s “effeminacy,” which critics believed they detected in his sensitive and stylish portrayals on the silver screen. One Chicago Tribune editorial blasted his androgynous image as the “Pink Powder Puff.” Wrote the writer, “When will we be rid of all these effeminate youths, pomaded, powdered, bejeweled and bedizened, in the image of Rudy–that painted pansy?” The evidence behind those rumors remains both fleeting and controversial. Oh well, his birthday is noteworthy regardless of whether he was gay or not. I mean, just look at him!

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The Daily Agenda for Tuesday, May 5

Jim Burroway

May 5th, 2015

TODAY’S AGENDA is brought to you by:

From Northwest Gay Review (Portland, OR), May 1975, page 24.

From Northwest Gay Review (Portland, OR), May 1975, page 24.

Ninia Baehr and Genora Dancel

Ninia Baehr and Genora Dancel

TODAY IN HISTORY:
Marriage In Hawaii, Almost: 1993. In the case of Baehr v Lewin, Ninia Baehr sued the state of Hawaii over the state’s refusal to issue her and her partner, Genora Dancel, a marriage license. That refusal, according to their lawsuit, amounted to illegal discrimination. On May 5, 1992, the Hawaii Supreme Court ruled that her argument had merit. They didn’t rule Hawaii’s ban illegal, but remanded the case to a lower court, and placed the burden on the state to prove that it had a compelling interest under strict scrutiny for denying same-sex partners a marriage license.

The case would drag on for another six years with little doubt about where the state Supreme Court would go if the case made its way back there again. Ninia had thought they had as good as won. But the state legislature had other ideas, and drafted a constitutional amendment to take the issue out of the courts’ hands. Voters approved Amendment 2 in 1998, making Hawaii the first state to amend its constitution to address same-sex marriage. But unlike other state constitutional amendments that would follow, Hawaii’s Amendment 2 didn’t ban same-sex marriage outright. It granted Hawaii’s legislature the power to reserve marriage to opposite-sex couples, which it later did by passing a law to that effect.

In February of 2011, Gov. Neil Abercrombe signed into law a bill granting civil unions to the state’s same-sex couples. That law took effect on January 1, 2012. A bill to allow same-sex marriage was introduced into the legislature in January 2013, but it quickly died without legislative action. After the U.S. Supreme Court struck down parts of the Defense of Marriage Act, a move which made civil unions unquestionably inferior to marriage at the federal level, Gov. Abercrombe called the state legislature back for a special session to take up a marriage equality bill. After a contentious hearings, the Senate and House finally approved the bill and Gov. Ambercrombe signed it into law, the state that started the first steps toward marriage equality twenty years earlier became the fifteenth state to make it available to same-sex couples in December.

Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin

TODAY’S BIRTHDAY:
Del Martin: 1921-2008. When young Dorothy Taliaferro was six years old, she experienced her first act of discrimination when she was denied a magazine delivery route just because she was a girl. That alone made her a life-long feminist, and it was that awareness that informed everything she did as an activist.

Her adult life started out rather conventionally. She studied journalism, married James Martin when she was nineteen, had a daughter, and divorced four years later. So much for conventionality. By 1950, Del was living in Seattle, writing for a construction trade magazine, where she met Phyllis Lyon (see Nov 10). In 1953, the couple moved to San Francisco, moved into a home together, established a joint bank account, and embarked on more than a half-century together as a couple.

But being a lesbian couple in the 1950s was a lonely experience for them. In their search for lesbian friends, Martin and Lyon, along with six other women, founded the Daughters of Bilitis in 1955, which became the first major lesbian organization in the United States (see Oct 19). The DOB grow from a small Bay-area club to a national organization dedicated to “the education of the variant; education of the public at large; participation in research projects; and investigation of the penal code as it pertains to the homosexual.” In 1956, the DOB began publishing a monthly newsletter, The Ladder, with Lyons acting as its first editor and Martin contributing a groundbreaking essay in the very first issue. The DOB struggled to stake out its place in the emerging homophile movement. Martin chaffed when, as happened all too often, DOB was dismissed as the “women’s auxiliary” of the Mattachine Society. At the Mattachine’s 1959 convention in Denver, Del addressed the delegates and defended the need to keep DOB as a separate, women’s-only organization:

What do you men know about lesbians? In all of your programs and your Mattachine Review you speak of the male homosexual and follow this with — oh yes, and incidentally there are some female homosexuals, too. … ONE magazine has done little better. For years they have relegated the lesbian interest to a column called “Feminine Viewpoint.” So it would appear to me that quite obviously neither organization (the Mattachine Society nor ONE) has recognized the fact that lesbians are women and that the twentieth century is the era of emancipation of women…

In 1964, Del and Phyllis helped to found the Council on Religion and the Homosexual, bringing together national religious leaders and gay and lesbian activists for a discussion of gay rights (see Jan 1). In the late sixties, Del and Phyllis became active in the National Organization for Women, with Martin becoming the first open lesbian elected to the gruop’s board of directors. As Martin saw it, lesbian issues were feminist issues, and she consistently lambasted examples of chauvinism among the male leaders of the gay rights movement. In 1970, Martin wrote a scathing article for The Advocate titled, “Goodbye, My Alienated Brothers,” which became a clarion call for a separate lesbian movement that was completely independent from the male-dominated gay movement. “Goodbye to the male homophile community,” she wrote. “‘Gay is good,’ but not good enough …We joined with you in what we mistakenly thought was a common cause.” But her commitment to lesbian causes didn’t end all cooperation with other gay activists. A year later, she flew to Washington D.C. for the annual American Psychiatric Association meeting to speak on a panel of “nonpatient” homosexuals, where Martin accused psychiatrists of becoming “the guardians of mental illness rather than promoting the mental health of homosexuals as a class of people in our society.”

In the next decade, Martin’s activism turned to domestic violence with the 1976 publication of her groundbreaking book Battered Wives. That book, which is still in print, helped to launch battered women’s shelters across the country. She also co-founded the Coalition for Justice for Battered Women and chaired NOW’s Task Force on Battered Women and Household Violence. In the 1980s, Martin and Lyons became involved in advocacy on behalf of ageing gays and lesbians. They both served as delegates for the 1995 White House Conference on Ageing, where they represented the interests of older lesbians and prodded the conference into including sexual orientation in a nondiscrimination declaration. The couple also became heavily involved with Bay area Democratic politics. In 2008, Martin and Lyons became the first same-sex couple to be married after the California’s Supreme Court ruling legalizing marriage equality. Del passed away two months later.

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The Daily Agenda for Monday, May 4

Jim Burroway

May 4th, 2015

TODAY’S AGENDA is brought to you by:

From Michael’s Thing, a biweekly New York City gay bar guide, 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’S BIRTHDAYS:
Keith Haring: 1958-1990. Inspired by graffiti art in New York, Keith Haring’s bold lines, vivid colors, and simple, active figures became an iconic presence throughout the 1980’s. He was a huge proponent of public art, and that led to commissions and collaborations from around the world. The very out, HIV-positive gay man even found common ground in his collaboration with the visionary Baptist preacher/folk artist Howard Finster.

From his AIDS diagnosis in 1988 until his death in 1990 at the age of thirty-one, his artwork also became the de facto art of AIDS through the work of the Keith Haring Foundation. In 2008, Rizolli published a 522-page monograph supplemented with a wealth of material including drawings, studio photo, and journal entries. His journals, which he kept from the age of nineteen until his death, were re-issued in 2010 by Penguin Classics.

Lance Bass: 1979. The ‘N Sync alum grew up in Mississippi in a Southern Baptist family where, as many southern gay boys do, he learned to sing in the church choir. He further honed his bass voice (no pun intended) in his high school’s award-winning show choir and in a state-wide choir, where he just happened to work with Justin Timberlake’s vocal coach. When Timberlake left The Mickey Mouse Club in 1994 and joined up with Lou Perlman to put together a boy band, it was Timberlake’s vocal coach who recommended Bass after the original bass singer dropped out. ‘N Sync went on the record three multi-platinum studio albums which yielded eleven top forty pop singles including number one hits “Bye Bye Bye” and “It’s Gonna Be Me.”

After ‘N Sync went on permanent “temporary hiatus,” Bass took a turn at training at Star City, Russia to qualify for a seat on a Soyuz capsule for a trip to the International Space Station in 2002. He completed the grueling training which earned him a certification from NASA and the Russian Space Agency, only to lose that chance to go into space when his commercial sponsors withdrew their support over financial and liability concerns. In 2006, Bass came out in a cover story for People magazine. A year later, he followed up with his autobiography, Out of Sync. He married painter and actor Michael Turchin in December  2014.

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The Daily Agenda for Sunday, May 3

Jim Burroway

May 3rd, 2015

TODAY’S AGENDA:
Pride Celebrations This Weekend: Willemstad, Curaçao; Norrköping Sweden.

AIDS Walks This Weekend: Atlantic City, NJ; Asbury Park, NJMorristown, NJ; Newark NJ; Ridgewood NJ.

Other Events This Weekend: Texas Tradition Rodeo, Dallas, TX; Frieberg Gay Film Festival, Frieberg, Germany; Miami Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, Miami, FL; Hot Rodeo, Palm Springs, CA; Prague Rainbow Spring, Prague, Czech Republic; Sitges International Bear Meeting, Sitges, Spain; Tybee Rainbow Fest, Tybee Island, GA.

TODAY’S AGENDA is brought to you by:

From GPU News (Milwaukee, WI), October 1971, page 3.

From GPU News (Milwaukee, WI), October 1971, page 3.

Open at about 1965, Your Place’s name often wound up being a double entendre — “What do you say we go to Your Place?” Maybe that’s why locals simply called it “The Y.P.” It was very popular through the 1970s and 1980s. The Wisconsin GLBT History Project says:

Your Place 1966

Your Place, Christmas 1965

The bar long featured original art work, and was especially known for a round ceiling mural by local gay arts Robert Uyvari. It is perhaps best known as probably the first gay bar in Milwaukee with a large outdoor patio. The patio was used for summer barbecues virtually every weekend, and was well landscaped with lights, plants, paths, benches and a stage for shows. This was also one of the favorite smaller dance bars in town, although in later years the dance area held a pool table. Between the main building and the patio was an enclosed porch, with a small bar service area and large windows facing the patio; this was a favorite spot to sit and talk or enjoy drinks separate from the main bar area. …

Fallen AngelOn June 28, 1989, second owner Uncle Al closed the YP after his 7-and-a-half year reign as owner, and the bar was reopened late in July as “Partners” under the management of Paul and ownership of Jim Balistreri. The large round painting of a male nude angel, by local artist Robert Uyvari, which had long hung over the front bar, was auctioned off at a “Make A Promise” Dinner in April 1990 as a benefit for the ARCW (AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin).

Partner’s didn’t last long, and it went back to being Your Place in 1993 before closing for good the next year.

Sir Francis Bacon, looking fabulous as always

TODAY IN HISTORY:
Sr. Francis Bacon Accused of “His Most Abominable and Darling Sin”: 1621. On May 3, 1621, Sir Simonds D’Ewes published his political biography of Sir Francis Bacon, in which he accuses the great lawyer, scholar and “father of empiricism” of “his most abominable and darling sin.” D’Ewes continued, “I should rather bury in silence than mention it, were it not a most admirable instance of how men are enslaved by wickedness and held captive by the devil.” D’Ewes accused Bacon of “keeping still one Godrick, a very effeminate-faced youth, to be his catamite and bedfellow… deserting the bed of his Lady.” That same year, Bacon resigned as Lord Chancellor over accusations that he accepted payment from litigants, which, while against the law, was a widespread and accepted practice at the time. He quickly confessed to accepting payments, a confession that may have been prompted by threats to charge him with the capital offense of sodomy.

Medical Report of a Gay Civil War Veteran: 1921. Dr. Clarence P. Oberndorf, a New York City psychoanalyst, spoke at the Annual Meeting of the Medical Society of the State of New York in Brooklyn about one of his patients, a 74-year-old Civil War veteran who suffered from depression, saying “For sixty years I have been leading a double life.” He became aware of his feelings for other men at a very early age. “He preferred rough, coarse men, like longshoremen, husky and full of vitality. These he sought at intervals, while his acquaintances knew him as a refined gentleman interested in art and literature.” He never married. Oberndorf quoted tim: “In my younger days, I used to grieve because of my affliction, but in later years I have become indifferent.”

Oberndorf’s goal was not to cure homosexuality per se. “Where treatment is undertaken for passive homoerotism in the male,” — active homosexuals, or “tops,” were not considered truly homosexual in the early 20th century — “psychoanalysis may powerfully influence the attitude of the patient toward his malady by removing some of the urgent neurotic fears which accompany the inversion. After analysis such an invert at least feels himself more reconciled to his passive homoeroticism than previously. I have had male passive homoerotics seek treatment with just such stipulations — not to be cured but to be made more content with their lives.”

[Source: Clarence P. Oberndorf. “Homosexuality.” New York Medical Journal 22, no. 4 (April 1922): 176-180. Available online here.]

Mariel boatlift

MCC Wins Federal Grant to Resettle Gay Refugees: 1981. The Rev. Elder Freda Smith, vice moderator of the Metropolitan Community Church, announced that the gay church had been awared a $380,000 grant from the Reagan Administration to resettle gay Cuban refugees who were currently being housed in four reception centers across the country. Rev. Smith said the church had already resettled nearly 500 gay Cubans who had arrived during the previous year’s Mariel boatlift that brought 127,000 refugees to southern Florida. The gay refugees had additional motives for joining the boatlift: “Gays are looked down in Cuba because homosexuality runs against the macho attitudes in the country,” Rev. Smith added.

Rev. Smith said that federal officials authorized the grant because the MCC was better equipped to resettle gay refugees than other groups. “We are an idea whose time has come,” she said. She also revealed that the church had already spent another $100,000 of its own funds toward the effort.

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The Daily Agenda for Saturday, May 2

Jim Burroway

May 2nd, 2015

TODAY’S AGENDA:
Pride Celebrations This Weekend: Willemstad, Curaçao; Norrköping Sweden; Northhampton, MA; Raleigh, NC.

AIDS Walks This Weekend: Atlantic City, NJ; Asbury Park, NJ; Charlotte, NC; Morristown, NJ; Newark NJ; Ogunquit, ME; Ridgewood NJ.

Other Events This Weekend: Texas Tradition Rodeo, Dallas, TX; Frieberg Gay Film Festival, Frieberg, Germany; Miami Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, Miami, FL; Hot Rodeo, Palm Springs, CA; Prague Rainbow Spring, Prague, Czech Republic; Sitges International Bear Meeting, Sitges, Spain; Tybee Rainbow Fest, Tybee Island, GA.

TODAY’S AGENDA is brought to you by:

From Contact (Houston, TX), February 5, 1975, page 4.

From Contact (Houston, TX), February 5, 1975, page 4.

The gay travel magazine Ciao didn’t care much for Wonder’s when it devoted a special section to Houston in 1984. Maybe Wonder’s refused to shell out for an ad?

WondersThe Wonder’s Club at 3207 Montrose gets the worst types in the area. Most of the heads and problems kicked out of the other bars head for there. While the other bars in the Westheimer area have been changing for the better, the Wonder’s has been changing for the worse. It isn’t recommended unless you prefer heads, hustlers and troublemakers. They have shows, but they’re not very good.

The right portion of the building you see in the photo is still there, but the left part which appears to have been the club’s entrance has been torn down.

TODAY IN HISTORY:
65 YEARS AGO: Disloyalty vs. Security Risk: 1950. So if you’ve been following along on the Daily Agendas (for example, Feb 28, Mar 14,Mar 21Mar 23Mar 24Apr 14Apr 26) you would have a pretty good feel for the incredible anti-gay hysteria that was sweeping the country in 1950. The twin scares — the Lavender Scare and the Red Scare — cemented in everyone’s mind the argument that gay people in federal employment, particularly in the State Department and in the armed forces, represented a security risk which, in the words of the GOP chairman, were “as dangerous as the actual Communists” (see Apr 18). On May 2, columnist James Marlow took the opportunity to provide a couple of hypothetical situations to explain to readers the difference between being disloyal and being a security risk:

1. Jones, completely loyal, is a good worker, sober on the job. But at night, sometimes or often, he gets drunk and talks too much. In the non-sensitive agriculture department that might not make much difference, as long as Jones did his work and kept out of trouble when drunk. In the commerce department, if Jones held a sensitive job, he might be considered a security risk: he might blab secrets when drunk.

The commerce department could do one of two things: fire Jones on the ground that he was “unsuitable” for government work; or transfer him to a non-sensitive job. But state department officials say that if Jones worked there and was considered a security risk, he’d be fired. (The say emphatically they keep no known security risks or disloyal persons on the payroll, although Senator McCarthy, Republican of Wisconsin, says the place is full of them.)

2. Smith is found to be a homosexual. He’s completely loyal but because of his secret sex habits may some day run into an individual or group which would blackmail him. In the state department, he’d be considered a security risk and out, officials there say.

Officials of other government agencies, sensitive and non-sensitive, told this writer they would get rid of a homosexual on the grounds that he was “unsuitable” for government employment, not because he was a security risk.

L-R: Barbara Gittings, Frank Kameny, and John Fryer as “Dr. H. Anonymous”

“Dr. H. Anonymous” Addresses the APA: 1972. For several years, gay activists Barbara Gittings (see Jul 31) and Frank Kameny (see May 21), among others, saw the American Psychiatric Association’s classification of homosexuality as a mental illness as the single greatest impediment to equal rights for gays and lesbians. As long as the APA labeled gay people as sick, the government had an excuse to refuse to hire them, immigration authorities could refuse to allow them into the country, and thousands of therapists could continue to inflict harmful and questionable treatments to try to “cure” their patients (see, for example, see Jan 18Jan 20, Mar 29, Jun 3Jul 26Oct 30Dec 8, and our award-winning investigation, What are Little Boys Made Of?).

For Gittings and Kameny in particular, getting the APA to change its stance was a pressing priority. After years of protesting APA conventions as outsiders (see May 14), they finally were given permission in 1972 to organize a panel on homosexuality for that year’s convention in Dallas. The panel’s topic was to be “Lifestyles of Non-Patient Homosexuals.” Gittings and Kameny were part of the panel, and they had recruited three other prominent psychiatrists, Judd Marmor, Robert Siedenberg and Kent Robinson. But they also felt it was important to include a professional psychiatrist who was gay. Finding one who would agree to speak was virtually impossible. Everyone they asked turned them down, except one: John Fryer (see Nov 7), and he would only do it in disguise. He wore a mask, wig, and a suit several sizes too big (which was not easy to find since Fryer was already a big man to begin with), and he spoke into a microphone which distorted his voice. And with all of those precautions in place, American psychiatrists, for the first time, heard a fellow psychiatrist by the name of “Dr. H. Anonymous” describe what it was like to be gay in a profession that considered him sick. His speech was short, but to the point:

Thank you, Dr. Robinson. I am a homosexual. I am a psychiatrist. I, like most of you in this room, am a member of the APA and am proud to be a member. However, tonight I am, insofar as in it is possible, a “we.” I attempt tonight to speak for many of my fellow gay members of the APA as well as for myself. When we gather at these conventions, we have a group, which we have glibly come to call the Gay-PA. And several of us feel that it is time that real flesh and blood stand up before you and ask to be listened to and understood insofar as that is possible. I am disguised tonight in order that I might speak freely without conjuring up too much regard on your part about the particular WHO I happen to be. I do that mostly for your protection. I can assure you that I could be any one of more than a hundred psychiatrists registered at this convention. And the curious among you should cease attempting to figure out who I am and listen to what I say.

We homosexual psychiatrists must persistently deal with a variety of what we shall call ‘Nigger Syndromes.’ We shall describe some of them and how they make us feel.

As psychiatrists who are homosexual, we must know our place and what we must do to be successful. If our goal is academic appointment, a level of earning capacity equal to our fellows, or admission to a psychoanalytic institute, we must make certain that no one in a position of power is aware of our sexual orientation or gender identity. Much like the black man with the light skin who chooses to live as a white man, we cannot be seen with our real friends — our real homosexual family — lest our secret be known and our dooms sealed. There are practicing psychoanalysts among us who have completed their training analysis without mentioning their homosexuality to their analysts. Those who are willing to speak up openly will do so only if they have nothing to lose, then they won’t be listened to.

As psychiatrists who are homosexuals, we must look carefully at the power which lies in our hands to define the health of others around us. In particular, we should have clearly in our minds, our own particular understanding of what it is to be a healthy homosexual in a world, which sees that appellation as an impossible oxymoron. One cannot be healthy and be homosexual, they say. One result of being psychiatrists who are homosexual is that we are required to be more healthy than our heterosexual counterparts. We have to make some sort of attempt through therapy or analysis to work problems out. Many of us who make that effort are still left with a sense of failure and of persistence of “the problem.” Just as the black man must be super person, so must we, in order to face those among our colleagues who know we are gay. We could continue to cite examples of this sort of situation for the remainder of the night. It would be useful, however, if we could now look at the reverse.

What is it like to be a homosexual who is also a psychiatrist? Most of us Gay-PA members do not wear our badges into the Bayou Landing, [a gay bar in Dallas] or the local Canal Baths. If we did, we could risk the derision of all the non-psychiatrist homosexuals. There is much negative feeling in the homosexual community towards psychiatrists. And those of us, who are visible, are the easiest targets from which the angry can vent their wrath. Beyond that, in our own hometowns, the chances are that in any gathering of homosexuals, there is likely to be any number of patients or paraprofessional employees who might try to hurt us professionally in a larger community if those communities enable them to hurt us that way.

Finally, as homosexual psychiatrists, we seem to present a unique ability to marry ourselves to institutions rather than wives or lovers. Many of us work twenty hours daily to protect institutions that would literally chew us up and spit us out if they knew the truth. These are our feelings, and like any set of feelings, they have value insofar as they move us toward concrete action.

Here, I will speak primarily to the other members of the Gay-PA who are present, not in costume tonight. Perhaps you can help your fellow psychiatrist friends understand what I am saying. When you are with professionals, fellow professionals, fellow psychiatrists who are denigrating the “faggots” and the “queers,” don’t just stand back, but don’t give up your careers either. Show a little creative ingenuity; make sure you let your associates know that they have a few issues that they have to think through again. When fellow homosexuals come to you for treatment, don’t let your own problems get in your way, but develop creative ways to let the patient know that they’re all right. And teach them everything they need to know. Refer them to other sources of information with basic differences from your own so that the homosexual will be freely able to make his own choices.

Finally, pull up your courage by your bootstraps and discover ways in which you and homosexual psychiatrists can be closely involved in movements which attempt to change the attitudes of heterosexuals — and homosexuals — toward homosexuality. For all of us have something to lose. We may not be considered for that professorship. The analyst down the street may stop referring us his overflow. Our supervisor may ask us to take a leave of absence. We are taking an even bigger risk, however, not accepting fully our own humanity, with all of the lessons it has to teach all the other humans around us and ourselves. This is the greatest loss: our honest humanity. And that loss leads all those others around us to lose that little bit of their humanity as well. For, if they were truly comfortable with their own homosexuality, then they could be comfortable with ours. We must use our skills and wisdom to help them — and us — grow to be comfortable with that little piece of humanity called homosexuality.

The panel was a sensation. Despite the august credentials held by the other psychiatrists, their contributions to the discussion were all but ignored. Dr. Anonymous’s speech was the only thing people talked about. The “Dr. Anonymous” speech proved to be a critical turning point. The following year, Dr. Robert Spitzer, who was editor of the Diagnostic And Statistical Manual, met quietly with the Gay-PA and began the process of removing homosexuality from the authoritative manual. That process was completed by the end of the year (see Dec 15)

But on that day, the end goal still seemed to be very far away. But Fryer, despite his initial hesitation, was elated. The next day as he was flying back to Boston from Dallas, Fryer wrote in his diary:

The day has passed — it has come and gone and I am still alive. For the first time, I have identified with a force which is akin to my selfhood. I am not Black. I am not alcoholic. I am not really addicted. I am homosexual, and I am the only American psychiatrist who has stood up on a podium to let real flesh and blood tell this nation it is so.

[You can see Dr. Fryer’s handwritten speech here and his diary entry here.]

TODAY’S BIRTHDAY:
Lesley Gore: 1946-2015. She was still a junior in high school in 1963 when her single, “It’s My Party” shot to number one, was nominated for a Grammy, and sold over one million copies. She followed that with a string of top forty hits: “Judy’s Turn to Cry”, “She’s a Fool,” “You Don’t Own Me,” and another Grammy nominated hit, “Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows.” Her fame led to a cameo in the beach party movie, The Girls on the Beach, which also included an early appearance by the Beach Boys, and she played the villain, Pussycat, one of Catwoman’s acolytes, in the Batman TV series. In 1980, she won an Academy Award, with her brother Michael, for the song  “Out Here On My Own” for the Fame soundtrack. In 2005, Gore revealed in an interview that she was a lesbian, and had been living with her partner, jewelry designer Lois Sasson, since 1982. She died of lung cancer on February 15, 2015.

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, May 1

Jim Burroway

May 1st, 2015

TODAY’S AGENDA:
Pride Celebrations This Weekend: Willemstad, Curaçao; Norrköping Sweden; Northhampton, MA; Raleigh, NC.

AIDS Walks This Weekend: Atlantic City, NJ; Asbury Park, NJ; Charlotte, NC; Morristown, NJ; Newark NJ; Ogunquit, ME; Ridgewood NJ.

Other Events This Weekend: Texas Tradition Rodeo, Dallas, TX; Frieberg Gay Film Festival, Frieberg, Germany; Miami Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, Miami, FL; Hot Rodeo, Palm Springs, CA; Prague Rainbow Spring, Prague, Czech Republic; Sitges International Bear Meeting, Sitges, Spain; Tybee Rainbow Fest, Tybee Island, GA.

TODAY’S AGENDA is brought to you by:

From The Blade (Washington, D.C.), June, 1977, page 7.

When it opened in 1974, Club Madame billed itself as the “the Washington club with a French accent” and catered to a mostly lesbian crowd. Operated by “Madame Louisatte and daughter Beatrice (‘BB’),” the club was located along 8th Street S.E. alongside several other gay bars. Club Madame was particularly popular for its special themed events, including Mardi Gras and Ocktoberfest. The club closed in 1978, and the location re-opened as a gay bar called Bachelor’s Mill which suffered an arson attack in 1980. Today, the building houses a Cuban/Mexican/Puerto Rican restaurant and bar.

Romaine Brooks, Self Portrait, 1923.

TODAY’S BIRTHDAY:
Romaine Brooks: 1874-1970. The American painter worked mostly in France, where she was surrounded by the brilliant colors of Fauvism and the decompositional attitudes of cubism, but her work hearkened back to the style of James Whistler. She was born Beatrice Romaine Goddard, and in 1903 she married John Ellingham Brooks. He was gay, but he couldn’t take her gender-bending manner of dress and hairstyle. Their marriage lasted only a year, but she wound up keeping his name. The following year, she discarded the bright colors of her works which were so fashionable and adopted the darker, more subdued colors which would become her trademark.

Brooks took a string of unconventional lovers, including the American heiress Winnaretta Singer and Lord Alfred Douglas (Oscar Wilde’s former lover), and the Russian ballerina Ida Rubinstein, who Brooks painted more than any other subject. Her paintings were almost all portraits, and very nearly all of them of women. By 1925, she had been featured in several successful solo exhibitions in Paris, London and New York, but after that year she produced only four more paintings. She briefly took up line drawing in 1930, but dropped that by 1935. Her longtime partner, Natalie Barney, also became her manager and continued to arrange shows for her. But after the Second World War, Brooks became increasingly reclusive and paranoid. By 1969, Brooks’s paranoia led her to stop communicating with Barney entirely. Brooks died in 1970 at the age of 96.

Michael Dillon: 1915-1962. The first trans man to undergo sex-reassignment surgery, he started life as Laura. His mother died just ten days after his birth. He was raised by two aunts in Kent, England, studied at Oxford, and began working at a research lab in Gloucestershire. He had long decided that he was not truly the woman others thought he was, so in 1939 sought treatment from a doctor who was experimenting with teststerone. But before getting the testosterone pills from his doctor, the doctor insisted that Dillon see a psychiatrist, who violated Dillon’s confidentiality by blabbing about him all over town.

Dillon quit his professional job and fled to Bristol where he took a job at a mechanic’s garage. The hormones, by then, were having their effect and he was able to present himself as a man. In 1939 when Dillon was in the hospital for hypoglycemia, he came to the attention of a plastic surgeon, a specialty that was still exceedingly rare at the time. That surgeon agreed to perform a double mastectomy, provided the necessary paperwork so Dillon could correct his birth certificate, and put him in touch with another plastic surgeon, Harold Gilles, who was already being regarded as “the father of plastic surgery.”

Giles was in high demand to reconstruct penises for injured soldiers and he had also begun working with intersex people with ambiguous genitalia. He was willing to perform Dillon’s phalloplasty, but he already had a long line of wounded soldiers in front of him. So while Dillon was waiting for his surgery, he enrolled in medical school under his new legal name and became a physician.

When Dr. Giles was finally ready to perform the first of at least thirteen surgeries between 1946 and 1949, he entered an official diagnosis of acute hypospadias, a rare birth defect of the penis, in order to conceal the fact that he as performing the world’s first FtM reassignment surgery. Whenever Dillon returned to college following surgery, he attributed his limp and infections to war injuries. He also published a book, Self: A Study in Ethics and Endocrinology, one of the first books to describe what would later be called transsexuality and transgenderism.

Dillon didn’t discuss his own history in Self; that would come out in 1958 when his aristocratic roots would betray him, when Debrett’s Peerage listed him as the legitimate heir to his brother’s baronetcy, while another guide, Burke’s Peerage, mentioned only a sister — referring to Dillon before he transitioned. By then Dillon was a ship’s doctor, and his ship was docked in Baltimore when the news of his sex reassignment broke. Reporters threatened to tear off his clothe4s to see the evidence of his surgery. Dillon fled to India where he began studying Buddhism, entered a monastery and took the name Lobzang Jivaka. His problems weren’t over however, as his fellow monks and superiors refused to recognize him as male. He nevertheless wrote two books on Buddhism before dying on May 15, 1962 at the age of 47.

Tad Mosel: 1922-2008. It’s a sad commentary on where television has gone that its first decade of widespread existence is often looked upon as its golden age. That’s when people were still trying to figure out how to make the new medium work as an art form. Productions were on a shoestring budget, and in the very early years most programs went out live, forcing the actors and crew to stay alert and think on their feet. That immediacy made for compelling television that’s not often seen today.

Mosel was born in Steubenville, but the family moved to New York City shortly after his father’s grocery business failed following the stock market crash. His early exposure to Broadway in 1936 opened the young Mozel’s eyes to the theater. After serving in World War II, he studied at Amherst, did graduate work at Yale Drama School, and earned a Masters at Columbia. He quickly found a place in television in 1949, shortly after commercial broadcasting began in New York City, with his first teleplay on Chevrolet Tele-Theater. He considered that job a diversion, nothing more than an opportunity to make a little money — very little money because no “self-respecting writer” would dare write for TV — before returning to the theater. As he recalled in 1997,

Even drunken screenwriters wouldn’t write for television. So who was there left? It was us. It was kids who would work for 65 cents. And so with a very patronizing attitude you thought, “Well, if I could make a few bucks doing that, it would give me time to write the great American play.” It didn’t take too much experience to realize that television was a medium all in itself, and that it was a career all in itself, and it was a thrilling one. But we stumbled into it by being snobs if I may say so. They would give anyone a chance. I look back on it, and I think, “Weren’t we lucky to be there?” Because it was pure luck that we were there.

He went on to become a major script writer for television drama, with plays appearing on Goodyear Television Playhouse (1953-54), Medallion Theater (1953-1954), Philco Television Playhouse (1954) and Producer’s Showcase (1955), Studio One (1957-58), and CBS’s prestigious Playhouse 90 (1957-1959). He returned to theater in 1960 with All the Way Home, which opened to critical acclaim and earned him a 1961 Pulitzer. The play was also adapted for television and film in 1963. He continued writing screenplays until retiring in the 1980s. He died at age 86 of cancer in 2008. His partner of more than 40 years, graphic designer Raymond Tatro, had died thirteen years earlier.

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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