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Posts for April, 2015

The Daily Agenda for Thursday, April 30

Jim Burroway

April 30th, 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:

04.30.RinglingBros-Poster1983

A poster for the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus benefit to fight AIDS, April 30, 1983.

This poster was submitted by BTB reader Jaime Harrington last September:

My partner and I were visiting with our friend whose husband just died. They just were able to marry, together 48 years. He relayed to me this meeting by the gay men’s health crisis in 83 and have the poster from it. I apologize the picture isn’t the best. He relayed there was a total news blackout regarding it. But it was either 15 or 18,000 people showed up.

Sen. Joseph McCarthy (R-WI) convers with his chief counsel, Roy Cohn, during the Army-McCarthy hearings, April 26, 1954.

Sen. Joseph McCarthy (R-WI) convers with his chief counsel, Roy Cohn, during the Army-McCarthy hearings, April 26, 1954.

TODAY IN HISTORY:
“A Pixie Is a Close Relative of a Fairy”: 1954. Roy Cohn was only 24 years old when he gained prominence for his part in grilling witnesses on the stand in the Rosenberg trial of 1951. Cohn’s performance impressed FBI director J. Edgar Hoover, who recommended Sen. Joseph McCarthy (R-WI) hire Cohn as his chief counsel on the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. Cohn, in tern, recruited his friend and anti-communist crusader, G. David Schine, to join McCarthy’s staff as an unpaid “chief consultant.” The two spent the summer of 1953 on a widely-criticized tour of Europe, visiting libraries of the U.S. Information Agency and snooping for what they considered to be subversive material. One American official in Germany jeered them as “junketeering gumshoes.”

David Schine and Roy Cohn, the "junketeering gumshoes."

David Schine and Roy Cohn, the “junketeering gumshoes.”

It appears that at about this time, Cohn took quite a shine to Schine and developed something of a schoolboy’s crush. By all accounts, Schine appears to have been straight and there’s no evidence to suggest that Cohn’s affections were returned. Nevertheless, when Schine was drafted into the army the following November, Cohn was livid. Through back channels, Cohn made several demands in Schine’s behalf for light duties, extra leave, and not to be assigned overseas. He also demanded that Schine be given an officer’s commission — Schine had been inducted as a private — but the army refused due to lack of qualifications. Cohn pestered everyone from the Secretary of the Army on down, charging that the Army was holding Schine “hostage” in an attempt to dissuade Cohn and McCarthy from launching a witch hunt against the Army, and threatening to “wreck” the Army” if he didn’t get his way.

Cohn’s behavior raised eyebrows, not only in the Army but also in the Senate. Sen. Ralph Flanders (R-VT), who despised McCarthy, gave a speech on the Senate floor questioning” the mystery concerning the personal relationship of the army private, the staff assistant and the senator.”

Special counsel Ray Jenkins

Investigations Subcommittee special counsel Ray Jenkins

The resulting Army-McCarthy Hearings, broadcast live on national television from April to June of 1954, had Americans glued to their sets to watch the epic battle between McCarthy and the Army. In mid-April, while the committee’s special counsel Ray Jenkins grilled Army Secretary Robert T. Stevens, Jenkins produced a key piece of evidence provided to him by Cohn. It was a photo of a smiling Stevens standing next to Schine, a photo that Jenkins charged was “taken with you (and Schine) alone at your suggestion.” It had been taken the previous November, soon after Schine was drafted and undergoing basic training at Fort Dix, New Jersey. Stephens had gone to Fort Dix to meet with McCarthy and Cohn, and the photo was taken after the meetings were over. If Stevens was so outraged at McCarthy and Cohn’s demands, why was he photographed alone with Schine, appearing somewhat relaxed, looking in Schine’s direction and smiling. Wasn’t the real truth something else? “Isn’t it a fact,” Jenkins pressed, “that you were being especially nice and considerate and tender of this boy, Schine, in order to dissuade the senator from continuing his investigation of one of your departments?”

“Positively and completely not,” Stevens answered, and he insisted he treated all privates in the Army the same. This answer was hard to believe. After all, how many Army privates get their photo taken alone with the Secretary of the Army?

The photo caught Stevens and the Army’s counsel, Joseph Welch, off guard. Later that evening, Welch got a call from the Army photographer who took the photo. The photographer saw the photo in the news and was angry that it had been altered. There were three people in the photo, and a fourth who was only partly in the frame. It was not, as Jenkins claimed, a friendly photo of an Army Secretary and a private, but a group photo of Stevens, Schine, Air Force Col. J.T. Bradley and, on the far edge of the photo, the left arm of McCarthy’s chief of staff, Frank Carr. And when you saw the full photo, it became clearer that Stevens wasn’t looking at Schine and smiling, but was looking past Schine toward Col. Bradley.

DavidSchine

David Schine testified on April 29 that the photo he gave McCarthy’s staff hadn’t been cropped.

When Welch revealed the original photograph to the committee the next day, it was Jenkins, McCarthy’s and Cohn’s turn to be put on the defensive. Welch told Jenkins, “I would like to say with all of my power, sir, I know you would never participate in a trick like this, but I suggest to you that you were imposed upon.” Jenkins sputtered that he got the altered photo from “one of the parties in interest in this case, and I might say an adverse party of interest to Mr. Stevens, as being the genuine authentic photograph. And I presented it in good faith.” But all of America knew that Jenkins had been duped. What’s worse, it was proof that evidence being fed to the committee was being doctored and was untrustworthy.

So instead of the committee investigating the Army, it was now investigating where the doctored photo came from. On April 29, Schine was called to testify. He said that he had supplied a copy of the photo to McCarthy’s staff, but that the photo he provided showed all four people. The next day, the committee called Cohn’s assistant, James Juliana, to the stand. He acknowledged receiving the photo, but repeatedly claimed he had no idea where it came from.

Top:  Joseph Welch asks James Juliana, "Did this come from a pixie?" Bottom: The fairy is not amused.

Top: Joseph Welch (R) asks James Juliana (L), “Did you think this came from a pixie?”
Bottom: The fairy is not amused.

Welch was incredulous. He thrust a copy of the photo at Juliana and asked, “Did you think this came from a pixie? Where do you think that this picture I hold in my hand came from?”

Juliana replied, “I had no idea.”

McCarthy tried to give Juliana some relief from the grilling by asking Welch an apparently innocuous question: “With the counsel for my benefit define — I think he might be an expert on that — what a pixie is?”

Welch replied, with relish. “Yes, I should say, Mr. Senator, that a pixie is a close relative of a fairy. Shall I proceed, sir? Have I enlightened you?”

The room burst into raucous laughter. Even McCarthy, aware that the cameras were now trained on him, managed a chuckle. But Cohn sat stone-faced and was clearly not amused. Cohn later called the remark “malicious,” “wicked,” and “indecent.” After the hearings were over, Cohn resigned from McCarthy’s staff and went into private practice in New York City. He became a fixture at Studio 54 in the 1970s, he threw lavish parties featuring very beautiful young men, and he used Barbara Walters as his beard. All the while, he insisted that he was straight. And until the day he died, he insisted that the disease he was suffering from was liver cancer. He died in 1986 of AIDS.

“I’m gay,” says Ellen, directly into the microphone.

“Ellen” Comes Out: 1997. Ellen DeGeneres had already come out as a lesbian publicly two weeks earlier with a Time magazine cover story titled, “Yep, I’m Gay.” But Ellen Morgan, her clumsy, nervous, and eager-to-please character on her weekly sitcom, Ellen was as closeted as ever, although hints were dripping out throughout season four. Ellen’s character finally came tumbling out in her characteristically awkward fashion when she met Susan, a lesbian television producer who assumed that Ellen was also gay. Although Ellen denied it, much of the episode dwelled on her trying to come to terms with the fact that she really, really liked Susan — in that way. When Ellen was told that Susan was about to leave town, Ellen rushed to the airport and, after much hemming and hawing, finally said it: “I’m gay” — while inadvertently saying it directly into the public address microphone that carried her announcement throughout the terminal.

Getting the episode to air was easier than you might think. Network executives had become antsy about the series’ lackluster ratings and lack of focus, and DeGeneres wasn’t much interested in fixing the problem by relying on the standard sitcom formulas of dating and relationships. One producer suggested that maybe Ellen could get a puppy, an indication of how desperate the producers were to think that a puppy was all that was missing. That plot element was discarded, but the suggestion lived on in the episode’s title, “The Puppy Episode.” ABC and Disney agreed to their next plan, which was for Ellen to come out as lesbian. After rejecting the first script for not going far enough — “If we’re going to do it, let’s do it,” Disney executive Dean Valentine reportedly said — they began production on the episode on March 7.

Word spread, and the backlash soon followed. The studio received one bomb threat, and DeGeneres was followed to work by a “suspicious man” at least once. The American Family Association called for an advertiser boycott, as they always do, leading Chrysler to refuse to buy advertising time for the “Puppy Episode,” along with did J.C. Penney. (DeGeneres would become the advertising face for J.C. Penney in 2012, prompting yet another AFA boycott.) Wendy’s dropped Ellen from its sponsorship altogether, and ABC affiliate WBMA in Birmingham, Alabama refused to air the episode. Jerry Falwell displayed his monumental ingenuity by calling DeGeneres “Ellen Degenerate,” to which DeGeneris responded, “I’ve been getting that since the fourth grade.” Laura Dern, who played Susan, was unable to find work for a year and a half because of the episode.

“The Puppy Episode” however was the highest-rated episode of Ellen ever, drawing some 42 million viewers. It won two Emmys, a Peabody, and a GLAAD Media Award. Ellen was renewed for another season, but each subsequent episode was prefaced with a parental warning. Ratings dropped, perhaps because of the backlash, perhaps because of the warning, but also perhaps because so many episodes wound up dealing with gay-specific issues which were of little interest to the larger audience. At any rate, Ellen was cancelled after the end of Season 5.

YouTube Preview Image

The Admiral Duncan immediately after the blast (Click to enlarge).

London Gay Pub Bombed: 1999. It was the start of a bank holiday weekend in Britain, and the venerable Admiral Duncan pub in Soho was packed with people getting an early start. Londoners that Friday evening were only somewhat wary following two unsolved bombings earlier that month in Brixton (April 17) and East London (April 24). Fortunately, nobody died in either bombing, although sixty one were injured, including a two year old toddler with a four inch nail embedded in his brain. Police narrowed the search to neo-Nazi David Copeland based on a CCTV image from the Brixton blast. Brixton was targeted because of its black population, while the East London neighborhood was largely inhabited by South Asian immigrants. Some feared that the next target might be Jewish, or possibly gay. One gay pub in Soho had put up a poster warning customers to be vigilant for any suspicious activity, but most people thought that his motivations were more racist than homophobic. That theory was quickly dispelled at 6:37 p.m. when a nail bomb that had been left in a bag at the Pub’s entrance went off. Jonathan Cash, who would later write a play about the bombing, described it this way:

“The loudest, most alien sound I have ever heard ripped through the pub and smashed into my head. I don’t know how long it went on – a couple of seconds, perhaps – then the most enormous crunch of something structural and solid. I felt no pain, just terror. My eyes were ringing, my nose filled with sulphurous dust and, in the blink of an eye, I saw unrecognisable shapes flying past towards the doors. With the dust and smoke, I could see little more than six inches in front of me. Somehow I was on the floor. Then I heard the screaming. I didn’t make any sound. Or perhaps I did. I can’t remember.”

Nick Moore, John Light, and Andrea and Julian Dykes.

Andrea Dykes, 27, who was four months pregnant, was killed instantly, along with two friends, Nick More, 31 and John Light, 32. About seventy were injured, including Dykes’s husband, Julian, who remained in a coma for three weeks. Four of the injured required amputations.

Police tracked Copeland down later that night and arrested him. He told them that he had hoped that his bombings would inflame racial tensions and create a backlash that would generate popular support for the radical-right British National Party. On June 30, 2000, a court sentenced Copeland to six life sentences, and in 2007 the High Court ruled that he should remain in prison for at least 50 years, guaranteeing that he will remain put away until at least the age of 73. There is now a memorial chandelier with an inscription and a plaque at the Admiral Duncan to remember those where were killed and injured.

Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas

TODAY’S BIRTHDAY:
Alice B. Toklas: 1877-1967.Born in San Francisco, she met Gertrude Stein (see Feb 3) on the very first day that she arrived in Paris, on September 8, 1907. They remained inseparable for the next thirty-nine years until Stein’s death in 1946. Together, they hosted one of the more illustrious salons that attracted the best writers and painters of the Paris avant-garde, including American expats Ernest Hemingway, Thorton Wilder, and Paul Bowles. Stein and Toklas were early patrons of Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse, and they were also patrons of some rather unsavory characters before and during World War II. Their support for the Vichy government went far beyond considerations of wartime survival. They could have easily escaped to Switzerland, but their friendship with the anti-Semitic Bernard Faÿ and open admiration for Vichy leader Marshal Philippe Pétain (Stein translated a collection of Pétain’s speeches into English to bring them to a wider audience) gave them privileges denied ordinary French citizens, let alone those who were both Jewish and gay.

Toklas was Stein’s partner in every way: cook, lover, editor, critic and muse. Stein gave her own autobiography the tongue-in-cheek title of The Autobiography of Alice B Toklas, while Toklas’s 1954 memoir was titled The Alice B Toklas Cookbook. It was, technically I suppose, a cookbook — there are three hundred recipes, including the famous brownie recipe titled “Haschich Fudge” — but it’s was more accurately a memoir of the many dinners that Toklas and Stein hosted for their famous friends over the years. In 1963, Toklas really did write an autobiography, What Is Remembered, but it ends abruptly with Stein’s death in 1946, much as Toklas’s own life did in many ways. Their relationship being legally unrecognized, Stein’s relatives plundered the couples’ art collection and left Toklas in poor financial and physical health. She died in poverty in 1967 at the age of 89, and was buried next to Stein in the Peré Lachaise Cemetery in Paris.

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, April 29

Jim Burroway

April 29th, 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 Vector (San Francisco, CA), May 1971, page 39.

From Vector (San Francisco, CA), May 1971, page 39.

By the time the Bay Area Reporter began publishing in 1971, there were already two gay bars, the Bayou Lounge and Le Cabaret, one lesbian bar, the Bee Hive (jokingly referred to as the ’Beer Hive’), and a bath house (the homey-sounding Fred’s Health Club) all in Redwood City. The bars were regularly featured in the column ’Peninsular Gossip’ by Roger Thomas which ran in the B.A.R. that first year. And should you think these were quiet neighborhood bars, Le Cabaret was a three-floor dance and show bar and was already sponsoring VD clinics in the early ’70s!

TODAY IN HISTORY:
The San Francisco Streetcar Murder: 1961. It was late on a Friday night, actually shortly after midnight on Saturday morning, when William P. Hall, 27, was waiting near his San Francisco home for a streetcar on the J line at 19th and Church Street alongside Dolores Park. He was on his way to a dinner date with a theater manager at a North Beach pizza parlor when a car pulled up and three youths, Larry Magee 16, of 116 Tiffany Avenue, Robert Hall, 17 (and no relation to William Hall), and William Castillo, 17, both of 680 Castro Street, piled out. Magee asked William Hall, “Are you a queer?” Hall replied, “What if I asked you that question?” And that’s when the trouble really began.

FourYouthsWilliam Hall was a well-liked eight grade teacher in Marin County, but that night he was accosted by four young men “looking to roll a queer,” as they later admitted. Castillo later told police that Robert Hall and Magee attacked William first. When William fell, Castillo said he kicked him in the head “but I was only wearing tennis shoes.” In fact, it came out during the trial that Castillo had jumped down from this pedestrian bridge and landed on Hall’s head. They beat him mercilessly until his was unconscious, took his wallet containing $2.85, and left him lying on the trolley tracks. They piled back into the car, driven by Michael Kilkenny, 16, of 710 Castro Street, (and who police later said was the mastermind of the whole thing) and fled to Buena Vista Park to find more gay men to roll, although they later told police they didn’t find any. Car trouble finally ended the spree for the night.

But back at Dolores Park and just a few minutes after they left Hall lying there on the J line, a streetcar came around the corner. Roy Gibbon, the motorman, saw Hall lying on the tracks a mere thirty feet away and slammed on the breaks, but it was too late. Hall was “ground to death beneath the wheels,” according to one of the more prosaic news report. Gibbon later told the jury, “I know he was under the car but I didn’t want to look at him.” The motorman first told police that he thought he might have seen Hall feebly waving his arms as the streetcar approached, but later he said he wasn’t sure if Hall had moved. Firemen worked for nearly an hour to jack the streetcar up, but Hall died  from his injuries about ten minutes before before he could be freed.

When Hall’s death appeared in the papers the next morning, the four decided to try to destroy the only evidence they had: the wallet. They tried burning it, but when that failed, Kilkenny took it to Golden Gate Park and threw it into Stow Lake. About a week later, an anonymous tip led police to arrest the four, who, according to a San Francisco News-Call-Bulletin report, were quite proud of what they did:

“They said they considered Hall’s death justifiable homicide,” said Inspector Robert McLellan, who with Inspector William Guthrie helped crack the baffling case. “They seem to regard the beating up of whomever they consider sex deviates as a civic duty.”

The officers made clear Hall certainly was not in that unfortunate category.

“This is the first time we ever took anything,” one youth said, admitting the beating they gave Hall was not the first they had administered. “Most of the time, one of these guys comes up and says something suggestive. Then we jump him.” This boy said he knew of as many as 50 youths in his neighborhood who have taken part in similar attacks.

According to several news reports, the four admitted to belonging to “a gang of 50 that roamed the streets at night looking for  someone to roll”:

“I know one fellow,” volunteered Magee, “who has 28 or 29 queers to his credit. They’re all over the city. This is becoming a homosexual town. They’re even coming into the Mission District. You can’t even go out to Dolores Park any more.”

And what qualifies a teenager to diagnose anyone as a sex deviate?

“Well,” Magee replied, “we ask ’em.”

L-R: Michael Kilkenny, William Castillo, Larry Magee, and Robert Hall, 16, await the verdict.

L-R: Michael Kilkenny, 16; William Castillo,17; Larry Magee, 16; and Robert Hall, 16, await the verdict.

During the trial, Magee said that all they wanted to do was find some gay people “and scare them.” When asked how one goes about scaring gay people, he replied, “You form a ring around him and taunt him.” All four teens had juvenile police records which included battery, burglary, disturbing the peace, and auto theft. Kilkenny’s father defending his son as “very studious” and “an upright young man.” But Castillo’s father was more forthcoming. “He’s a bum,” he said, tearfully, while blaming Kilkenny for being a bad influence. All four teens were tried as adults. After a three week trial, the jury deliberated for just two and a half hours before finding all four guilty of first degree murder and robbery. All four were sentenced to mandatory life sentences, but they would be eligible for parole after seven years. I’ve not been able to find any information about how long they remained in prison.

William Pierce Hall, who was born March 9, 1934, was buried in Oak Grove Cemetery in Nacogdoches, Texas.

[Sources: “‘Queer Hunting’ Among Teenagers.” Mattachine Review 7, no. 6 (June 1961): 6-15.

Del McIntire (pseudonym). “Tangents.” ONE 9, no. 7 (July 1961): 17-19.

“Four Youths Guilty in Streetcar Slaying.” Mattachine Review 7, no. 10 (October 1961): 24.

“4 Youths Charged with Bludgeoning of Ross Teacher.” San Rafael (CA) Daily Independent-Journal (May 5, 1961): 1, 12.

“Motorman Testifies At Trial of Four Boys.” San Rafael Daily Independent-Journal (August 25, 1961): 1.

“Four Youths Found Guilty of Slaying Ross Teacher.”San Rafael Daily Independent-Journal (September 9, 1961): 1, 5.]

“I Am Proud Of My Gay Son”: 1972. Frustration had been growing in New York City’s gay community over the lack of news coverage of the gay rights movement since the Stonewall rebellion nearly three years before. When journalists and politicians gathered for the Fiftieth Annual Inner Circle dinner and comedy roast at the New York Hilton, members of the Gay Activists Alliance saw a perfect opportunity for a protest. But when they entered the ballroom during the intermission to distribute leaflets and briefly take the stage, they were thrown out. A fight ensued in the hallway, where, according to several city officials who witnessed the melee, Michael Maye, president of the city’s Uniformed Firefighters Association, threw twenty-one year old Morty Manford down an escalator, then kicked and stopped him. (Despite the many witnesses, Maye was later acquitted of the assault.)

Manford’s parents were outraged by the attack, and in April 29, Jeanne Manford’s letter appeared in the New York Post announcing her unquestioned support for her son:

A Fair Chance

I would like to commend The Post for its coverage last week of the tragic incident that took place at the Inner Circle dinner, when hoodlums who work for our city were allowed to beat up the young men of the Gay Activists Alliance and walk away while our police stood by watching. It might be that these “men” have themselves some deep rooted sexual problems or they would not have become so enraged as to commit violence in beatings.

I am proud of my son, Morty Manford, and the hard work he has been doing in urging homosexuals to accept their feelings and not let the bigots and sick people take advantage of them in the ways they have done in the past and are continuing to do.

I hope that your honest and forthright coverage of the incident has made many of the gays who have been fearful gain courage to come out and join the bandwagon. They are working for a fair chance at employment and dignity and to become a vocal and respected minority. It is a fight for recognition such as all minority groups must wage and needs support from outsiders as well as participants in the movements.

Jeanne Manford

Two months later, Jeanne would walk alongside her son during the New York City Gay Pride Parade, carrying a hand-lettered sign that read, “Parents of Gays United in Support of Our Children.” She later recalled that as they walked along the parade route spectators cheered and “young people were hugging me, kissing me, screaming, asking if I would talk to their parents. Very few of them were out to their parents for fear of rejection.” That when Jeanne and her husband, Jules, got the idea of starting a local support group for parents of gays and lesbians. That support group grew to become the internationally-renowned Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), with 350 chapters more than 200,000 members in the U.S. Jeane Manford passed away in 2013 at the age of 92.

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, April 28

Jim Burroway

April 28th, 2015
People have been camping outside the Supreme Court since Saturday.

People have been camping outside the Supreme Court since Saturday.

TODAY’S AGENDA:
U.S. Supreme Court Hears Oral Arguments in Marriage Cases: Washington, DC. No matter how things go, today will be a historic day. The U.S. Supreme Court today will hear arguments in four marriage cases from Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, which upheld same-sex marriage bans in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee. In accepting the cases, the U.S. Supreme Court announced that they will hear arguments centering on just two questions:

1. Do bans against same-sex marriage violate the Constitution of the United States? (Michigan: DeBoer v. Snyder.)

2. Are states obligated under the U.S. Constitution to recognize a same-sex marriage that was lawfully obtained on other states? (Kentucky: Bourke v. Beshear; Ohio: Obergefell v. Hodges; Tennessee: Tanco v. Haslam)

All four cases were consolidated, but the Court will hear arguments in two parts, one for each question. Mary Bonauto, who successfully argued for same-sex marriage in Massachusetts in 2003, will present her case on the first question and argue against bans on same-sex marriage for about thirty minutes. This will be her first appearance before the Supreme Court. She will be followed by the Solicitor General of the U.S., Donald Verrilli, Jr., who will have fifteen minutes to present the Obama Administration’s position that the bans violate the equal protection clause. Then John Bursch, a former Michigan solicitor general with eight Supreme Court appearances under his belt, will have about forty-five minutes to argue on behalf of Michigan to keep the ban in place. Then Bonauto will have a few more minutes of rebuttal time.

Next, Douglas Hallward-Driemeier will have about a half hour to present his case on behalf of the challenges to the states’ bans on recognizing valid same-sex marriage licenses from other states. Hallward-Driemeier is a seasoned pro with the Supreme Court stuff, having argued 15 cases before the high court. The states will then be represented by Joseph WHalen, an associate solicitor general form Tennessee. This will be his first time before the high court, and like Hallward-Driemeier, he will also have thirty minutes.

The session gets underway at 10:00 a.m. E.D.T. While there will not be any live-streaming of audio or video, the court’s press office has announced that the posting of audio on the court’s web site will be expedited, perhaps as early as noon. A decision isn’t expected until late June.

TODAY’S AGENDA is brought to you by:

From the Advocate, April 14, 1983, page 67.

Uncle Charlie’s began in two Manhattan locations in the mid 1970s: Uncle Charlie’s North was at 1049 Lexington Avenue near 75th street in the Upper East Side, and Uncle Charlie’s South was at 581 3rd Avenue at 38th Street in the Murray Hill neighborhood. The north location eventually closed (it is now a specialty stationary story), and South was joined by Uncle Charlie’s restaurant across the street and down a block at 542 3rd Avenue. Uncle Charlie’s Downtown opened on Greenwich Avenue at around 1980. I don’t know when Uncle Charlie’s South or the restaurant closed, but South today is home to a sushi bar, and the restaurant location became a Mediterranean bar and restaurant. Uncle Charlie’s Downtown closed in 1997 and became an Irish pub. Uncle Charlie’s is still around (although I’m not quite sure of its provenance) as a (still gay) piano bar.

TODAY IN HISTORY:
Gay Bar Bombed in Greenwich Village: 1990. A home-made pipe bomb exploded shortly after midnight early Saturday morning at Uncle Charlie’s Downtown Bar, a popular video-bar in Greenwich Village. Damage to the building was described as minor, but at least three patrons were injured. Frizzell Green, said he was in the bar when the blast went off in a trash can, about five or six feet away from him. At first, police investigators told reporters that they didn’t consider the bombing to be bias-related. Gay community leaders disagreed, and they organized a march on Saturday evening. Three to five hundred people gathered at Uncle Charlie’s and walked the ten blocks to the Sixth Precinct, blocking traffic and chanting “Hey, hey, ho, ho! Homophobia has got to go!”

The bombing went unsolved for five years, until February 1995 when Federal prosecutors charged El Sayyid A. Nosair with the attack. Nosair, one of the leaders of a fundamentalist Islamic terrorist group, was already serving a prison sentence for assault and possession of an illegal firearm in connection with the murder of radical Jewish Rabbi Meir Kahane. Bizarrely, the jury acquitted him of murder even though they found him guilty of the assault that led to Kahane’s death, leaving the judge in December 1991 to sentence Nosair to 7⅓ to 22 years in prison, the maximum allowed by law. So when Federal officials charged him again in 1995 for bombing the gay bar and conspiring to blow up other New York landmarks including the World Trade Center, he was found guilty of seditious conspiracy with other defendants, including the blind sheik, Omar Abdel Rahman, and sentenced to life imprisonment. At last report, Nosair was serving his sentence at the federal Supermax facility in Florence, Colorado.

TODAY’s BIRTHDAY:
Ryan Skipper: 1981-2007. Ryan would be celebrating his thirty-fourth birthday if Joseph Beardon and William Brown, Jr., hadn’t stabbed him more than 20 times, slit his throat, stole his car, left his body on a dark rural road in Wahneta, Florida, and bragged to friends that they killed him because he was “a faggot” on March 14, 2007. Jurors in Beardon and Brown’s trial were visibly shaken when they saw the autopsy photos. The coroner testified that it was the cut to the throat that killed him. The cut was 3.5 inches deep, tearing through skin, tissue, muscles and, more fatally, an artery. Ryan quickly bled to death within minutes. Bearden and Brown tried to clean the car so they could sell it. But it was too badly soaked with blood to be cleaned and they didn’t have a copy of the car’s title to sell it, so they abandoned it on a dock on Lake Pansy in Winter Haven and set it on fire. The flames only caused minor damage, and investigators were able to retrieve both of their fingerprints from the car.

Prosecutors had sought the death penalty for Bearden, but jurors found him guilty of second-degree murder instead of first-degree murder as charged. He was also found guilty of theft of a motor vehicle, accessory after the fact, tampering with evidence, and dealing in stolen property. He was sentenced to life in prison. A few months later, Brown was found guilty of first degree murder, robbery, arson, and tampering with evidence. He was sentenced to life in prison without parole for the first degree murder conviction, another life term for the armed robbery with a deadly weapon, fifteen years for arson, and a five for tampering with evidence.

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The Daily Agenda for Monday, April 27

Jim Burroway

April 27th, 2015

TODAY’S AGENDA is brought to you by:

From High Gear (Cleveland, OH), April 27, 1976, page 8.

From High Gear (Cleveland, OH), April 27, 1976, page 8.

TODAY IN HISTORY:
“A Closer Union Than That Of Most Marriages”: 1892. Mary Grew was the daughter of the Baptist preacher Henry Grew of Boston, who, after moving to Hartford, co-founded the Hartford Female Seminary and the Hartford Peace Society, which became a part of the larger New England Anti-Slavery Society. The elder Mary followed her father in his abolitionist footsteps. In 1840, she accompanied her father to the World Anti-Slavery Convention in London. But the convention’s most severe debates centered not on slavery, but whether women should be permitted to participate in the conference. The elder Grew sided with the conference organizers who demanded that women be excluded. Mary’s exclusion, which was supported by her own father, opened her eyes to the need to join the cause of women’s suffrage.

Grew dedicated her life to feminism and abolitionism, the latter cause shifting to civil rights for African-Americans following the civil war. Her lifelong companion, Margaret Burleigh, also joined Grew in both causes. They shared a home and bed together until Burleigh’s death in December, 1891. The following April, Grew responded to a sympathy note from fellow suffragist Isabel Howland, herself involved in a relationship with another woman. That may explain Grew’s opening lines in her thank you note:

Your words respecting my beloved friend touch me deeply. Evidently you understood her fine character; & you comprehend & appreciate, as few persons do, the nature of the relation which existed, which exists, between her & myself. Her only surviving niece, Miss Ella Jones, also does. To me it seems to have been a closer union than that of most marriages. We know that there have been other such between two men, & also between two women. And why should there not be. Love is spiritual, only passion is sexual. …

Why do we speak of those who have “gone up higher,” as though they were of the past? They live more really, more fully, than ever before; & they love us with a firmer, tenderer, nobler love. …

And I have the comfort & confident hope that my time on earth is nearing its end; for I am eighty-seven years old. I try to wait patiently. I do not feel wholly separated from her who was so large a part of my life.

[Source: Jonathan Ned Katz. Gay/Lesbian Almanac: A New Documentary (New York: Harper & Row, 1983): 230-231.]

Eisenhower Signs Executive Order Banning Gays from Federal Employment: 1953. By the time Dwight D. Eisenhower began his first term as president, an anti-gay witch hunt had been going on steadily for three years. When Undersecretary of State John Peurifoy, testifying before the US Senate Committee on Expenditures in the Executive Department, revealed that 91 employees “in the shady category” had resigned since 1947 (see Feb 28). Republican Senators took that admission to allege that President Harry Truman’s administration’s employment of “sexual deviants with police records” was recklessly endangering the country’s national security. The Republican Party’s national chairman warned 7,000 party members that, “Perhaps as dangerous as the actual Communists are the sexual perverts who have infiltrated our government in recent years.” (See Apr 18).

So when Eisenhower took office in 1953, he was keen to demonstrate that he wouldn’t be soft on the pansies. Three months after becoming President, Eisenhower invited Sens. Joseph McCarthy (R-WI), William Jenner (R-IN), Frank Carlson (R-KS) and Reps. Harold Velde (R-IL) and Edward Reese (R-KS) — all of them longtime communist and homosexual hunters — to brief them on a new Executive Order, known as Executive order 10450 mandating that all federal employees who were determined to be guilty of “sexual perversion,” among other offenses, be fired.

This new Executive Order represented a massive expansion of the Truman Administration’s security and loyalty programs. The Truman policies had only applied to ten federal agencies and a limited number of positions that dealt with classified information. It guaranteed the employee the right to counsel and a right to know the charges against him (although not necessarily his accuser, which typically made cross-examination impossible). It also allowed for an appeal to a review board. Eisenhower’s Executive Order dispensed with all of that. An employee’s fate now rested solely with the department head, and if the department head fired him, he stayed fired. The order also applied to everyone in federal employment, and not just those deemed to be in “sensitive positions.” It no longer matter whether the employee was a diplomat, a typist, a switch board operator, or a cook.

As The Los Angeles Time described it, the “tough new loyalty-security program (is) designed to rid the government of homosexuals, alcoholics and ‘blabbermouths,’ as well as employees deemed subversive and disloyal. The Executive Order deemed all of those categories “security risks,” regardless of whether they were actually disloyal or not. ONE magazine, the first national gay magazine in the U.S., worried about the order’s far-reaching consequences:

Every item in the new standards can be used to hound and harry not only every homosexual in government and in basic industry, but all his friends, acquaintances, and associates, be they homosexual, homosexually inclined, bi-sexual, or heterosexual. Further, every name breathed as fact or as rumor, whether they be National Security employees or not, goes into the National Security files for cross-referencing to Armed Services Files and the local records of the Communities in which they live, towards another day of total mobilization, or a National Registration Act, whichever is first.

For the homosexual, to be loyal is not enough. The homosexual is required to be 100% anti-homosexual as well. He must agree, by taking a loyalty oath, to subvert the Constitution of the United States (which is not his to subvert) and testify against himself. Then, as a homosexual, he must testify against his own decency and integrity thereby making possible acts of aggression against every person he has ever known. Then, having destroyed himself as a person not only to the community but to his own conscience, he is to be tossed aside as a basic security risk by one or all of the five standards of the Security Program.

The homosexual’s life is no longer a private matter to himself. It has become political by Presidential order.

More than 640 federal employees would lose their job because of allegations of homosexuality over the next year and a half. Unknown numbers of others resigned quietly. State and local governments and government contractors followed suit, tossing countless more innocent Americans out of their jobs.

The ban on gays and lesbians in federal employment would continue for the next two decades. In 1973, a federal judge ruled that a person’s sexual orientation alone had no bearing on an individual’s ability to perform his or her job, and it could not be the sole reason for termination from federal employment. But even with that ruling, the U.S. Civil Service Commission held out until 1975 before finally changing their policies and allowed gay people to work in federal jobs (see Jul 3).

[Additional source: Anonymous (“R. Noone”) “You are a public enemy.” ONE 1, no. 5 (May 1953): 5-7.]

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 Sunday, April 26

Jim Burroway

April 26th, 2015

TODAY’S AGENDA:
Pride Celebrations This Weekend: Philadelphia, PA (Black Pride); Phuket, Thailand; Port St. Lucie, FL; Potsdam, Germany; Tokyo, Japan.

AIDS Walks This Weekend: Kansas City, MO; Miami, FL.

Other Events This Weekend: Hill Country Ride for AIDS, Austin, TX; GayCharlotte Film Festival, Charlotte, NC; Rodeo In the Rock, Little Rock, AR; White Party; Palm Springs, CA; Splash, South Padre Island, TX.

TODAY’S AGENDA is brought to you by:

From Dallas/Fort Worth Gay News, April 20, 1984, page 9.

From Dallas/Fort Worth Gay News, April 20, 1984, page 9.

Deputy Undersecretary of State Carlisle H. Humelsine (left) with fellow Marylander, Gov. William Preston Lane (D)

Deputy Undersecretary of State Carlisle H. Humelsine (left) with fellow Marylander, Gov. William Preston Lane (D)

TODAY IN HISTORY:
65 years ago: State Department Escalates Gay Purge: 1950. Two months earlier, Deputy Undersecretary of State John E. Peurifoy revealed in testimony before the Senate Appropriations Committee that the State Department had gotten rid of 91 employees accused of being homosexual (see Feb 28). At first, his comments almost slipped by unnoticed, but the revelation became more prominent in the growing public feud between Peurifoy and Sen. Joseph McCarthy (R-WI), who was just beginning to stake his career on what would become the Red and Lavender Scares. Pretty soon, national conservative pundits picked up on Peurifoy’s mention of the 91 homosexuals, and it seems that just about everyone had already forgotten about all of those Communists who were allegedly floating around in government (see Mar 21Mar 23, Mar 24, Apr 14). Meanwhile, Peurifoy was appointed ambassador to Greece and Carlisle H. Humelsine took over his post at the State Department. In testimony made public on April 26, Humelsine told the House Appropriations Committee that the State Department’s purge was continuing, with the number forced out rising to 148 since 1947 with eleven more under investigation.

“There is no doubt whatsoever in my mind and there is no doubt as far as the State Department is concerned, that a homosexual is a security risk,” Humelsine told the panel. “We treat homosexuals as security risks. We are not attempting to run a campaign of going after people because of the fact that they have an illness. I think homosexuality is a type of illness. A homosexual, in my opinion, is just as sick as a person who has a cancer or some other disease. But it is absolutely apparent to us that these people are also security risks and we want them off our rolls. And we are going to get them off our rolls.”

65 YEARS AGO: Australian Judge in Adelaide Sentences Nine for Homosexual Offenses: 1950b. And The Advertiser was there to record all of the details, including the names and addresses of the eight men who pleaded guilty to various charges of “homosexual offences.” Two were sentenced to twelve months for “unnatural offence with each other,” another got eight months for “unnatural office with another man,” and five got four months for “gross indecency with another man.” A ninth man was ordered to pay a ” two year bond of £25 with two £25 sureties, not to associate with homosexuals or persons of bad character.”

The Advertiser, which was little more than a scandal sheet, didn’t provide much information about how the men had been arrested. In fact, The Advertiser didn’t even bother to name the judge, although the defendants were identified in detail. But this 2012 paper by Dino Hodge provides considerable more context. After World War II,  the city experienced what Hodge describes as ” a flowering of Adelaide’s homosexual world” which ran headlong against the growing cold war worries over such “subversives” as unionists, peace activists and gay men. South Australian Police Commissioner William Johns established the Subversive Section which investigated allegedly subversive activity and maintained detailed secret records on thousands of people through the 1978, when a judicial inquiry finally ordered the files destroyed.

In 1948, police began what local gay men would later remember as “the blitz,” a four year campaign of harassment, intimidation, beatings and arrests of gay people and anyone suspected of being gay. Adelaide’s gay life centered mostly on private parties held in peoples’ homes. Bert Hines, who lived above his lampshade shop in central Adelaide, was one such host. He had been hosting parties since at least 1933, and had seen his parties raided by police several times. Before the war, those raids were mostly relaxed, with good natured-bantering between the police and Hines. But a 1950 raid was considerably different. One of those arrested later recalled:

“This is the first time this had ever happened … And of course, each one dobbed the other in. … It snowballed and snowballed. … But it wasn’t anything to do [with] the connection with Bertha, they were just individual charges, but the police linked it to the shop. … There was hundreds questioned, but they … were older people who had a bit more brains than the kids that they charged.”

On passing sentence, the judge who Hodge identified as Justice George Ligertwood, remarked, “It must have come as a shock to the citizens of Adelaide to learn that there were centres of homosexuality in this city. Such practices have always been regarded as abhorrent to public decency and have been treated in the Criminal Law Consolidation Act as serious crimes. Whatever psychology may say about this class of offender, my duty is to carry out the law and to impose sentences which will act as a deterrent to others, who are minded to commit homosexual crimes. …In the majority of the cases,  the sentences will be light. They will not however be taken as precedents for the future. If, after the warning of the present sentences, the offences are found to recur much heavier penalties will ensue.”

As I said, eight of the nine were sentenced to jail, and their names, ages and addresses were published in the papers. One of those jailed later committed suicide. As for Bery Hines, locals later said that he was among many others who “simply fled town for Melbourne or Sydney, some never to return.” Hodge added: “The lampshade shop scandal was the first of three court cases within a few years which were highly-publicised and considered by some to be held up as a warning for the culture to reduce its profile and activities.”

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The Daily Agenda for Saturday, April 25

Jim Burroway

April 25th, 2015

TODAY’S AGENDA:
Pride Celebrations This Weekend: Philadelphia, PA (Black Pride); Phuket, Thailand; Port St. Lucie, FL; Potsdam, Germany; Tokyo, Japan.

AIDS Walks This Weekend: Kansas City, MO; Miami, FL.

Other Events This Weekend: Hill Country Ride for AIDS, Austin, TX; GayCharlotte Film Festival, Charlotte, NC; Rodeo In the Rock, Little Rock, AR; White Party; Palm Springs, CA; Splash, South Padre Island, TX.

TODAY’S AGENDA is brought to you by:

From Drum magazine, November 1964, page 31. Drum was originally published by The Janus Society, a Philadelphia gay rights group.

Named for the nearby Forrest Theater, the restaurant and bar was bought in 1944 by Barney Zeeman, a pianist and former dance band leader in the 1920s and 1930s. By the 1960s, the Forrest began advertising itself in gay magazines and travel guides.  Zeeman died in 1976, and the Forrest continued to operate as a gay bar in various incarnations through the early 1980s. The location is now a leather bar called the Bike Stop.

TODAY IN HISTORY:
Miami Police Reveals It Keeps Tabs on 3,000 Homosexuals: 1962. Florida Gov. C. Farris Bryant convened a conference in Miami for area law enforcement officers to discuss the “serious and growing problem of homosexuality and other sexual perversions in the state.” The governor’s spokesman, Vernon Williams, addressed the conference, saying “The governor feels a diligent effort is required on the part of all agencies to curb the growth of homosexuality. But it s not our intention to start a witch hunt.” Williams had no need to announce a new witch hunt, as authorities in Miami and much of Florida had waged a rather long-standing campaign against gay people for much of the prior decade. Williams pointed to those campaigns and said that homosexuals were found “in the ranks of university professors, Sunday school teachers, and Scout leaders, among other professions.”

Williams wasn’t the only one discussing the results of various witch hunts. Closer to home, Dade County sheriff Thomas Kelly, who was not stranger to anti-gay witch hunts in Miami (see Aug 14), told the gathering that Metro police maintained a list of 3,000 local persons “suspected of being practicing homosexuals.” He said that the list was comprised of people “from 8 to 80″ (8? Really?). He also said that they “tend to stay in groups and had many contacts throughout the county. … I feel that these people are sick.”

50 YEARS AGO: Gay Protesters Arrested At Philadelphia’s Dewey’s Malt Stand: 1965. Dewey’s was a chain of malt and sandwich shops with as many as eighteen locations sprinkled throughout Philadelphia. Many of them were open twenty-four hours a day, and the one on the 200 block of 13th Street known throughout Philly as the “fag Dewey’s” was popular with the LGBT crowd, especially after the bars closed. But “a large number of homosexuals and persons wearing non-conformist clothing” began to filter into the 17th Street Dewey’s management decided to keep the undesirables out of that location. On April 25, two teen boys and one teen girl were refused service. But instead of getting up and walking out, they remained seated and refused to leave. They were arrested along with Clark Polak, a gay rights leader and publisher of Philly’s gay magazine Drum, and all of them were charged with disorderly conduct.

The Janus Society, an early Philadelphia gay rights group, had joined with several other east cost gay activist groups to form the East Cost Homophile Organization (ECHO), which, in a 1964 conference, agreed to engage in more direct actions, including protests, to confront provocations against the gay community. That agreement had already spawned two planned protests in April: the first picket for gay rights in Washington D.C. at the White House (see April 17) and another one in New York at the United Nations (see April 18. New York had already seen its first picket the year before; see Sep 9). The Dewey’s sit-in was the perfect opportunity to put ECHO’s new-found commitment to direct action to work in Philadelphia by organizing a five-day protest and leafleting campaign. Over 1,500 pieces of literature were distributed in front of the malt stand while gay rights leaders negotiated with the restaurant’s management. On May 7, protesters staged another sit-in. Management called police, but this time police decided that they had no authority to force the protesters to leave. After an hour, management gave in and agreed to “an immediate cessation to all indiscriminate denials of service.” It is believed to be the first documented instance of a sit-in in support of LGBT rights.

St. Paul Voters Overturn Gay Rights Ordinance: 1978. In 1977, a proposed state anti-discrimination law failed to pass the Minnesota legislature. That defeat, which occurred just three weeks before voters in Dade County, Florida voted down a similar measure that had been approved by the Miami-Metro government, emboldened anti-gay activists at St. Paul’s Temple Baptist Church to turn their attention to that city’s three-year-old gay rights ordinance. Pastor Richard Angwin, in launching the petition drive to put the ordinance’s repeal on the ballot, stated frankly, “I don’t want to live in a community that gives respect to homosexuals.”

Anita Bryant, fresh off her victory in Miami-Dade, joined the fray along with her husband, Robert Green. A week before the vote, Anita Bryant failed to show up at a rally, telling some reporters that she didn’t feel well. Some suspect that the pie-throwing incident in Des Moines the previous fall may have unnerved her when she changed her story, saying that she was afraid she’d be assassinated. Local gay rights activist Jack Baker (see Mar 10) scoffed at the idea. “We’d be silly to shoot her,” he said. “She’s the best thing that ever hit the gay community.” Green showed up in her place and urged the crowd of 10,000 to stand against the forces of “moral breakdown of this nation,” saying “the devil is really working overtime.” Turnout was heavy for the special election, and voters repealed the the gay rights ordinance, 54,090 to 31,690. Soon after the election results were announced, over a thousand marchers demonstrated through the streets of St. Paul.

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 Friday, April 24

Jim Burroway

April 24th, 2015

TODAY’S AGENDA:
Pride Celebrations This Weekend: Philadelphia, PA (Black Pride); Phuket, Thailand; Port St. Lucie, FL; Potsdam, Germany; Tokyo, Japan.

AIDS Walks This Weekend: Kansas City, MO; Miami, FL.

Other Events This Weekend: Hill Country Ride for AIDS, Austin, TX; GayCharlotte Film Festival, Charlotte, NC; Rodeo In the Rock, Little Rock, AR; White Party; Palm Springs, CA; Splash, South Padre Island, TX.

TODAY’S AGENDA is brought to you by:

From Vieux Carre Star (Houston, TX), July 21, 1977, page 4.

From Vieux Carre Star (Houston, TX), July 21, 1977, page 4.

T.T.’s West was located on the northwest edge of New Orleans’ French Quarter, just across the street from Louis Armstrong Park. I haven’t been able to find anything out about T.T.’s West, but this Google Street View from June 2014 shows the building to be empty. According to Yelp, it is now a hipster craft cocktail bar.

University of South Florida president John S. Allen.

TODAY IN HISTORY:
University of South Florida President Denies Hiring Homosexuals: 1963. Dr. John Allen, who became University of South Florida’s first president when it was established in 1957, strongly denied charges that the school “harbored homosexuals” on its faculty. He also denied that the Tampa-based school was “soft on communism,” was anti-religious, or that controversial writings by “‘beatnik” authors were typical of the literature found in the school’s reading program.

All of those charges were levied against USF and other Florida state colleges and institutions by the Johns Committee, Florida’s homegrown version of the McCarthy Red and Lavender Scares from a decade earlier. Named for its first chairman, state Senator and former acting Governor Charley Johns, the Johns committee was established in 1956 to investigate so-called communist links to the NAACP and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. In 1957, the Florida legislature broadened the committee’s mandate to investigate gays in the state’s colleges and universities, and reiterated that mandate again in 1961. Florida’s leaders of higher education proved eager to demonstrate that Florida’s sons and daughters were safe in their institutions. In 1959, the University of Florida in Gainesville threw its campus wide open to heavy-handed investigators calling individual students and teachers out of class for interrogations (see Apr 3)

The results of those investigations were made public in a report in 1963, in which Johns claimed credit for “flush(ing) 71 homosexual public school teachers and 30 homosexual deans and professors of universities,” with an additional sixty-three cases against teachers still pending. Dr. Allen responded, quite forcefully, that his school was certainly not infested with homosexuals. The committee, he pointed out, established only one clear case of a gay teacher among the entire 500 person-staff, which was only “one-fifth of one per cent,” as he put it. That person resigned immediately. Charges had been levied against two others which could not be supported, and reports indicated that they “later left the university for other reasons.”

The Johns Committee, already facing calls for its dismantlement, was in the midst of a legislative budget battle to fund its continued work for another year. Committee supporters triumphed in the state Senate three weeks later, allocating $155,ooo (nearly $1.2 million in today’s dollars) “to finance an even greater study of communism and homosexualism” over the next two years. That budget was more than double the $75,000 the committee was seeking. But the Johns Committee would finally overreach barely a year later with its publication of the famous “Purple Pamphlet,” which was denounced as “pornographic” by politicians across the state (see Mar 17). In response to the outcry, the Legislature finally pulled the committee’s funding in 1965.

[Sources: “Johns Offers to Step Out, Lauds Probe.” Lakeland (Fla) Ledger (April 19, 1963): 1. Available online via Google Newspaper Archive here.

“Johns Committee Charges Denied by College Head.” Sarasota Herald-Tribune (April 25, 1963) 4. Available online via Google Newspaper Archives here.

“Study Communism, Homosexualism: Senate Allots $155,000 To Legislative Probers.” Ocala (Fla) Star-Banner (May 10, 1963): 3. Available online via Google Newspaper Archives here.]

New Orleans Police Institutes Massive Gay Roundup: 1981. In a 1982 article published in the Columbia Journalism Review, Randsell Pierson wrote a very informative piece wondering aloud, “Can the Straight Press get the gay story right?” Pierson had interviewed several closeted gay reporters at the New Orleans Times-Picayune who all said that they feared pitching gay-related stories to their editors for fear of being identified as gay. That silence, Pierson said, helped to explain why homosexuality was still illegal in 25 states and the District of Columbia. Lapses in coverage of gay issues was surprising, and among the many examples that Pierson offered up was this one:

Over a period of three days on the weekend of April 24, 1981, New Orleans police rounded up and jailed more than 100 gay men and women in a series of raids in the French Quarter. Those arrested were charged with “obstructing sidewalks” in front of gay bars. The arrests prompted a vigorous political response from the local gay community, which charged that the police were trying to drive gays out of the French Quarter. A protest meeting attended by 700 gays helped to persuade Mayor Ernest Morial and Police Chief Henry Morris to promise to investigate charges of police harassment. All charges against the arrested gays were subsequently dropped.

Two of the city’s three television stations — WDSU (NBC) and WVUE )ABC) — followed the breaking story and sent film crews to the protest meeting held on the Tuesday following the weekend arrests. The Times-Picayine/States-Item waited five days after the first arrests to report on the story. The account, buried in section 5, said nothing about the protest meeting, which would seem to have been the logical peg, and failed to include in its tally the arrests a group of thirty-nine gay men picked up the previous Sunday. Reporter Allan Katz, who wrote the story, says: “They wanted somebody to do something in a hurry. You would think that because the story was four days old before they assigned it to a reporter they didn’t consider it a major story. About the only time in my experience we really try to relate to gay news is when something really controversial comes up.” Apparently, the arrest of more than 100 men and women in a city not under martial law was not considered “really controversial.”

[Source: Randsell Pierson.”Uptight on Gay News: Can the Straight Press Get the Gay Story Straight? Is Anyone Even Trying?” Chapter 59 in Larry Gross & James D. Woods (eds.) The Columbia Reader on Lesbians & Gay Men in Media, Society, and Politics (New York: Columbia University Press, 1999): 368-376.]

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 Thursday, April 23

Jim Burroway

April 23rd, 2015

TODAY’S AGENDA:
Pride Celebrations This Weekend: Philadelphia, PA (Black Pride); Phuket, Thailand; Port St. Lucie, FL; Potsdam, Germany; Tokyo, Japan.

AIDS Walks This Weekend: Kansas City, MO; Miami, FL.

Other Events This Weekend: Hill Country Ride for AIDS, Austin, TX; GayCharlotte Film Festival, Charlotte, NC; Rodeo In the Rock, Little Rock, AR; White Party; Palm Springs, CA; Splash, South Padre Island, TX.

TODAY’S AGENDA is brought to you by:

04.23.MadamArthur'sSanAntonio-Calendar1984.04.13p18

From The Calendar (San Antonio, TX), April 13, 1984, page 18,

 

TODAY IN HISTORY:
25 YEARS AGO: Hate Crimes Statistics Act Signed Into Law: 1990. Following strong support from the Administration and Congress, President George H.W. Bush signed the Hate Crimes Statistics Act into law in a ceremony at the Old Executive Office Building which, for the first time, included LGBT advocates, along with representatives from the ACLU, NAACP, and other groups that had criticized Bush’s record on civil rights. The LGBT representatives were invited only after agreeing not to turn the signing ceremony into an opportunity to protest the Bush administration’s AIDS policies. The law, which requires the Justice Department to institute a program to systematically collect hate crime statistics based on race, religion, ethnic background and/or sexual orientation, was the first federal law to specifically identify gays, lesbians and bisexuals. The Justice Department and FBI have been issuing annual Hate Crime reports since 1992. All reports from 1995 on are available on the web.

Sen. Rick Santorum’s “Man On Dog” Interview: 2003. In an interview printed in USA Today, Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) was in the midst of blaming the Catholic Church’s sexual abuse scandals on liberals and the “right to privacy lifestyle” (which Santorum made abundantly clear that he did not accept), when he cast his eye toward the pending U.S. Supreme Court case Lawrence v. Texas which would strike down sodomy laws later that summer. Santorum defended sodomy laws and launched his most infamous polemic against gay families:

AP: OK, without being too gory or graphic, so if somebody is homosexual, you would argue that they should not have sex?

SANTORUM: We have laws in states, like the one at the Supreme Court right now, that has sodomy laws and they were there for a purpose. Because, again, I would argue, they undermine the basic tenets of our society and the family. And if the Supreme Court says that you have the right to consensual sex within your home, then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery. You have the right to anything. Does that undermine the fabric of our society? I would argue yes, it does. It all comes from, I would argue, this right to privacy that doesn’t exist in my opinion in the United States Constitution, this right that was created, it was created in Griswold — Griswold was the contraceptive case — and abortion. And now we’re just extending it out. And the further you extend it out, the more you — this freedom actually intervenes and affects the family. You say, well, it’s my individual freedom. Yes, but it destroys the basic unit of our society because it condones behavior that’s antithetical to strong healthy families. Whether it’s polygamy, whether it’s adultery, where it’s sodomy, all of those things, are antithetical to a healthy, stable, traditional family.

Every society in the history of man has upheld the institution of marriage as a bond between a man and a woman. Why? Because society is based on one thing: that society is based on the future of the society. And that’s what? Children. Monogamous relationships. In every society, the definition of marriage has not ever to my knowledge included homosexuality. That’s not to pick on homosexuality. It’s not, you know, man on child, man on dog, or whatever the case may be. It is one thing. And when you destroy that you have a dramatic impact on the quality —

AP: I’m sorry, I didn’t think I was going to talk about “man on dog” with a United States Senator, it’s sort of freaking me out.

The AP reporter wasn’t the only one freaking out. Dan Savage wrote a New York Times op-ed calling Santorum out for his blatant bigotry. Noting that Sen. Trent Lott had lost his post as Senate majority leader over remarks praising staunch segregationist Sen. Stromm Thurmond’s (R-SC) 1948 presidential bid, Santorum was assured of escaping this outrage with no sanctions. “Unlike the former majority leader, Mr. Santorum didn’t slip up and say something in plain English that every good Republican knows must only be said in code. Unlike Republican appeals to racist voters, Republican appeals to homophobic voters are overt.”

Dan Savage, spreading the, er, word at the 15th Annual Webby Awards on June 13, 2011.

But a month later, Santorum’s comments were largely forgotten, except among the LGBT community. Lamenting that “the Santorum scandal didn’t have legs,” a 23-year-old reader of Dan Savage’s “Savage Love” column suggested holding a contest to “‘include’ (Santorum) in our sex lives–by naming a gay sex act after him.” Savage agreed, and invited readers to send in their suggestions. By June, the votes were counted, and a definition was promulgated:

Hey, everybody: We have a winner. Savage Love readers, by a wide margin, want Sen. Rick Santorum’s name to stand for… THAT FROTHY MIXTURE OF LUBE AND FECAL MATTER THAT IS SOMETIMES THE BYPRODUCT OF ANAL SEX! It was a landslide for that frothy mixture; the runner-up, farting in the face of someone who’s rimming you, came in a distant second. So congratulations to WUTSAP, who nominated that frothy mixture, and a big thank you to the thousands who voted.

The definition was created, but it still wasn’t obvious that Santorum’s name would be equated with the aforementioned byproduct. Four months after Santorum’s infamous comments and two months after the definition was created, the neologism was still struggling to catch on. It wasn’t until the end of the year when a new web site was created that SpreadingSantorum ended up becoming the most successful Google bomb in history. And with that, a callow comment which almost faded into history has become the name by which Santorum will be known for the rest of his life.

Ernestine Eckstein, on the cover of the July 1966 edition of The Ladder.

Ernestine Eckstein, on the cover of the July 1966 edition of The Ladder.

TODAY’S BIRTHDAY:
Ernestine Eckstein: 1941-1992. She was born in South Bend, Indiana, as Ernestine Delois Eppenger, but she adopted the surname Eckstein for her lesbian and gay activism as protection for times and places when it wasn’t safe for her to be out. She began her activism while attending Indiana University, serving as an officer in the local NAACP chapter. She graduated in 1963 with a degree in magazine journalism and moving to New York where she dropped her work with the NAACP and joined the more progressive Congress on Racial Equality (CORE), the group which had made a name for itself with its Freedom Rides through the South. She also came to understand her own identity as a lesbian. As she explained in a 1966 Interview in the Daughters of Bilitis’s The Ladder:

It’s very hard to explain this, but I had never known about homosexuality, I’d never thought about it. It’s funny, because I’d always had a very strong attraction to women. But I’d never known anyone who was homosexual, not in grade school or high school or in college. Never heard the word mentioned. And I wasn’t a dumb kid, you know, but this was a kind of blank that had never been filled in by anything — reading, experience, anything — until after I came to New York when I was twenty-two. I look back and I wonder! I didn’t know there were other people who felt the same way I did. …

Well, as a matter of fact, I had a college friend who had come here earlier. He was my best friend in college. … And he was a homosexual, but I didn’t know it then, he didn’t tell me. … So when I came to New York he was one of the first persons I looked up. And he said, “Ah…Ernestine, you know I’m gay?” And I thought: well, you’re happy, so what? I didn’t know the term gay! And he explained it to me.

Then all of a sudden things began to click. Because at that time I was sort of attracted to my roommate, and I thought: am I sexually as well as emotionally attracted to her? And it dawned on me that I was. And so my college friend sort of introduced me to the homosexual community he knew. Still, I went through the soul-searching bit for several months, trying to decide if I was homosexual, where I stood.

But then having once decided, the next thing on the agenda was to find a way of being in the homosexual movement — because I assumed there was such a movement, or should be. And at that time I saw the New York Mattachine ads in the Village Voice.

She began attending meetings of the New York Mattachine Society, which led to her introduction to the Daughters of Bilitis, which also had a New York chapter. She quickly saw the parallels between the African-American Civil Rights Movement and the struggle for gay equality. When she was named the New York DoB’s Vice President, she brought an more activistic approach to a group that was often noted for its timidity. As she explained in that same Ladder interview:

Picketing I regard as almost a conservative act now. The homosexual has to call attention to the fact that he’s been unjustly acted upon on. This is what the Negro did. … Any movement needs a certain number of courageous people, there’s no getting around it. They have to come out on behalf of the cause and accept whatever consequences come. Most lesbians that I know endorse homophile picketing, but will not picket themselves. I will get in a picket line…

Ernestine Eckstein can be seen on the left at the third White House demonstration for gay rights, Oct 23, 1965.

Ernestine Eckstein can be seen on the left at the third White House demonstration for gay rights, Oct 23, 1965.

Indeed, she did. Eckstein took part in the first of what would become the Annual Reminder Day pickets at Philadelphia’s Independence Hall (see Jul 4), and she was the only woman of color to demonstrate at the third White House protest later that year (see Oct 23). Her sign read, “Denial of Equality of Opportunity is Immoral,” which neatly summed up her life’s work as an African-American, feminist and lesbian activist. Her appearance on the cover of the June 1966 issue of The Ladder — the issue that included Barbara Gittings (see Jul 31) and Kay Lahusen’s (see Jan 5) extensive interview with Eckstein — brought visibility to the lesbian African-American experience.

Eckstein enlisted Frank Kameny’s help (see May 21 in trying to persuade the national DoB to allow picketing as a pressure tactic. In a letter to Kameny in early 1966, she asked him to speak at a DoB meeting. “I want you to be free enough to say whatever you want, so to speak – about any aspect of the movement,” she wrote. “Keep in mind my particular aim: to get these people to realize there is such a thing as the homophile movement and possibly begin to develop a fuller concept of themselves as part of it.” But the DoB, which was still under the Old Guard’s tight grip, wasn’t interested, and Eckstein had to write Kameny again to say that the organization had declined to invite him to speak. In her Ladder interview, Eckstein voiced her frustrations over the homophile movement’s resistance to rocking the boat:

Generally, NAACP is the most conservative of all civil rights groups. And some homophile groups are the same, with the same sort of predisposition to take things easy, not to push too fast, not stick their necks out too far. For instance, demonstrations, as far as I’m concerned, are one of the very first steps toward changing society. The NAACP never reached this stage — or at least not until it was pushed into at least giving lip-service to demonstrations by other Negro organizations. And I think that in the homophile movement, some segments will have to be so vocal and so progressive, until they eventually push the ultra-conservative segments into a more progressive line of thinking and action.

She also was frustrated that the organization was spending so much of its time and energy to what she called “the personal problems of its members”:

This getting involved in individuals’ problems is a factor that has held back some of the homophile groups quite a bit, I think. My feeling is that there are certain broad, general problems that we all have as homosexuals, across the board so to speak, and we should concentrate on those -the discrimination by the government in employment and military service, the laws used against homosexuals, the rejection by the churches. The kinds of things that touch us all, affect us all, or substantial segments of the homosexual population, rather than things that simply touch individuals.

By 1968, Eckstein had grown tired of the constant disagreements within the DoB over tactics and strategy. She left New York in 1968 and moved to Northern California, where she joined the radical Black Women Organized for Action (BWOA) in Oakland.Beyond that, little else about her is known. In fact, most of what we know about her comes from that Ladder interview, except that she passed away on July 15, 1992 in San Pablo, California, at the age of 51.

[Source: Barbara Gittings and Kay Tobin (pseud. of Kay Lahusen). “Interview with Ernestine.” The Ladder 10, no. 9 (June 1966): 4-11.]

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The Daily Agenda for Wednesday, April 22

Jim Burroway

April 22nd, 2015

TODAY’S AGENDA:
Pride Celebrations This Weekend: Philadelphia, PA (Black Pride); Phuket, Thailand; Port St. Lucie, FL; Potsdam, Germany; Tokyo, Japan.

AIDS Walks This Weekend: Kansas City, MO; Miami, FL.

Other Events This Weekend: Hill Country Ride for AIDS, Austin, TX; GayCharlotte Film Festival, Charlotte, NC; Rodeo In the Rock, Little Rock, AR; White Party; Palm Springs, CA; Splash, South Padre Island, TX.

TODAY’S AGENDA is brought to you by:

From GPU News (Milwaukee, WI), December 1974, page 28.

From GPU News (Milwaukee, WI), December 1974, page 28.

TODAY IN HISTORY:
State Department Fires One Homosexual Every Two Days On Average: 1953. In testimony before a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee hearing, Undersecretary of State Donald B. Lourie testified that the State Department was firing upwards of five employees a week on grounds that they were security risks. Of those, he said, about one every two days were fired on grounds of homosexuality. Sen. Joseph McCarthy (R-WI), who had been leading a three year Red and Lavender Scare campaigned, commended Lourie and Scott McLeod, department security chief, for “doing a good job.” He added, “I think it’s unfortunate that the public doesn’t know what a painstaking job of housecleaning is being done.” Sen. Allen Ellender (D-LA) asked why the State Department seemed to have so many more homosexuals on its payroll than other departments. Lourie replied that maybe they wanted “to get away from home” and go abroad to countries where homosexuality is “condoned.” Lourie didn’t explain which countries in 1953 condoned homosexuality.

“Conquering AIDS” Op-Ed in the New York Times: 1983. The epidemic was coming on its two year anniversary, and as of April 13, 1983, 1,339 people had been diagnosed with AIDS, with 505 known deaths recorded. Nearly half of them were in New York City. Dr. Kevin M. Cahill, director of the tropical disease center at Lenox Hill Hospital, became alarmed at the lack of action, both on the part of federal officials as well as New York’s City Hall under Mayor Ed Koch. Cahill attributed that lack of urgency to “politicians (who) handled the epidemic with unaccustomed wariness. Almost without exception, public leaders evaded the epidemic issue, avoiding even the usual expressions of compassion and concern. The victims’ sexual orientation apparently made involvement risky, and the politicians directed their courage and energies elsewhere.” Cahill wondered why the medical community was “strangely absent” as the disaster escalated:

When a fatal infection struck down veterans attending an American Legion convention, health professionals across America joined in the search for a solution. When women using tampons became ill with toxic-shock syndrome, medical centers immediately focused their enormous talents on that problem. But when the victims were drug addicts and poor Haitian refugees and homosexual men, no major research programs were announced. Until it became clear that the disease could spread to the general population through blood transfusions, organized medicine seemed part of a conspiracy of silence.

Cahill applauded the “many instances of individual courage” by physicians, nurses and technicians who took up the fight with “a quiet dignity and decency that deserves special respect.”

TODAY’S BIRTHDAY:
John Waters: 1946. The auteur of such film classics as Pink Flamingos (1972), Female Trouble (1974), Desperate Living (1977), Polyester (1981), and Hairspray (1988) grew up in the Baltimore suburb of Lutherville, the son of respectable upper-middle class Catholics and the product of a private education at Baltimore’s Calvert School, Calvert Hall College High School, and Boys’ Latin School of Maryland. He got his first 8mm camera from his grandmother for his sixteenth birthday. After quickly abandoning a short stay at NYU, Waters returned to Baltimore and began making low budget films with his childhood friend Glenn Milstead (a.k.a. Divine, see Oct 19), Mink Stole, Cookie Mueller, Edith Massey, and several others that made up his company, the Dreamlanders. His influences included such figures as Walt Disney, B-movie producer Edward D. Wood, Jr., Frederico Fellini, Ingmar Bergman, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, and Andy Warhol.  His campy films with outlandish characters pushed the envelope of propriety and taste, out-exploiting exploitation films, out-trashing trashy films, and sailing under the budgets of Drive-in “B” movie fair.

His Trash Trilogy — Pink Flamingos, Female Trouble, and Desperate Living became art house favorites and set him up for his first mainstream crossover hit, Polyester — presented in Odorama — starring Divine, former teen heartthrob Tab Hunter (see Jul 11) and Mink Stole. From then on, his films became somewhat less controversial — Divine would never again be seen eating dog shit — but they remained the same off-beat celebrations of the bizarre and outrageous as his earlier work. Only now, he could attract bigger name actors like Johnny Depp (Cry Baby, 1990), Kathleen Turner and Sam Waterston (Serial Mom, 1994), Melanie Griffith (Cecil B. Demented, 2000), and Tracy Ullman and Johnny Knoxville (A Dirty Shame, 2004). In 2003, Hairspray was adapted as a hit Broadway musical which won eight Tonys, eight Drama Desk Awards, and four Laurence Olivier Awards. That Broadway musical was then adapted for the 2007 film remake, starring Michelle Pfeiffer Christopher Walken, Zac Efron, Queen Latifah, with John Travolta in drag for Divine’s role as Edna Turnblad.

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The Daily Agenda for Tuesday, April 21

Jim Burroway

April 21st, 2015

TODAY’S AGENDA is brought to you by:

From Michael's Thing (New York, NY), February 2, 1976, page 65.

From Michael’s Thing (New York, NY), February 2, 1976, page 65.

It appears that there were two Danny’s (Danny’ses?) near Sheridan Square. The one on 7th Avenue was known as “Dancing Danny’s,” and “Regular Danny’s” was at 141 Christopher Street.

TODAY IN HISTORY:
 Three Homosexuals Order A Drink: 1966. Gay bars were made illegal in New York, due to a State Liquor Authority regulation against serving customers who were “disorderly,” a term that was invariably used against anyone who was gay. Inspectors routinely revoked bars’ licenses which allowed gay people to congregate, citing New York City’s statutes against “indecent behavior.” As a result, the better bars routinely refused to serve anyone suspected of being gay.

Furthermore, New York Police routinely launched entrapment campaigns in which they would place good-looking undercover officers in bars who would hit on suspected gay people, propose a sexual encounter, and arrest them and shut down the bar. Vice officers were under a monthly quota, which resulted in a lot men being arrested on flimsy evidence. All of this together drove the gay bar trade to the less reputable bars, often owned or operated by the Mafia who paid off police officers for protection.

From The New York Times.

To highlight the problem, members of the Mattachine Society — President Dick Leitsch and members Craig Rodwell and John Timmons — contacted reporters at The New York Times, The Village Voice, and The New York Post to say that they planned to stage a “sip in” at a bar in the Village. The idea behind the sip-in was to go into a bar, announce that they were homosexual and order a drink. If they were served, the reporters would report on it, and the bar would either serve them and risk their liquor license, or refuse to serve them and they would then sue to bar. As Leitsch later recalled:

Well, first of all, we were going to go to this bar on 8th Street (the Ukrainian-American Village Restaurant). They had a sign in their window saying, if you’re gay, go away. And we thought that would be very dramatic and we’d go there and ask for service and see what happened. We notified the press and being gay, we got there late. And the New York Times had already gotten there and said, what about this gay demonstration? And the manager said, what? So he closed the place for the day.

When we got there, there’s a sign on the door saying, closed today. And so then we decided we had to go Julius’ because Julius’ had been raided like 10 days before. The bar would have a sign in the window saying, this is a raided premises, and very often they’d put a uniformed cop on the stool inside the door, and he sat there until the trial came up.

So we knew that Julius’ would not serve us because they have this thing pending. And so when we walked in, the bartender put glasses in front of us, and we told him that we were gay and we intended to remain orderly, we just wanted service. And he said, hey, you’re gay, I can’t serve you, and he put his hands over the top of the glass, which made wonderful photographs. The whole thing ended up in court, and the court decided well, yes, the Constitution says that people have the right to peacefully assemble and the state can’t take that right away from you. And so the Liquor Authority can’t prevent gay people from congregating in bars.

The May 5 edition of the Voice carried the headline, “Three Homosexuals In Search of a Drink,” and featured a photo of the three Mattachine members seated at the bar with the bartender’s hand covering their drinks. After stories appeared in the Times and the Post, the Liquor Authority was forced to abandon its anti-gay operations. But NYPD raids would continue for at least three more years, culminating in that fateful raid at the Stonewall Inn in 1969.

Julius’ bar, which dates back to 1864, is still in business, billing itself as Greenwich Village’s oldest bar and New York’s oldest gay bar.

 Wall Street Journal Coverage of the Ex-Gay Movement: 1993. The article opens with a description of an ex-gay meeting at the Foursquare Pentecostal Church in Hayward, California, near San Francisco, where a 31-year-old former missionary talked about his despair over the difficulties of trying to change:

He confesses: “It’s not working, and I don’t know why.” The others, regulars at this Friday-night support group, are sympathetic; they know the temptations of the flesh and the damnation they figure awaits those who succumb. “It’s a matter of will,” says one. “You have to make the choice.” Maybe, suggests another, it is demonic possession.

The erstwhile missionary’s eyes grow watery. He has begged God to free him, has surrounded himself with Christians and spent a month in an in-patient treatment program. But nothing has worked, and thinking about it just makes it worse — especially at these meetings. “I’m having sex, I’m having fun, and I don’t feel bad about it,” he confesses. “Not getting AIDS is all I care about.”

Having sex, having fun and not feeling bad about it are not options here. Another of those interviewed was John Evans, who, with Ken Philpot and Frank Worthen, founded Love In Action (which would later move to Memphis). Evans had already left the ex-gay movement when his best friend, Jack McIntyre, killed himself over his failure to change. McIntyre had spent four years in Love In Action before winding up in the psychiatric ward at Marin General Hospital:

There, in 1977 at age 46, he recorded his thoughts in a letter: “No matter how much I prayed and tried to avoid the temptation, I continually failed. . . . I love life, but my love for the Lord is so much greater, the choice is simple. . . . To continually go before God and ask for forgiveness and make promises you know you can’t keep is more than I can take. I feel it is making a mockery of God and all He stands for in my life.”

In room 104, he gave himself Communion, swallowed a lethal nightcap of Valium and Dalmane — tranquilizers and sleeping pills — and lay down on a couch to a quiet death.

By 1993, Exodus International claimed 65 affiliated ministries, but Evans said, “They’re destroying people’s lives. If you don’t do their thing, you’re not of God, you’ll go to hell. They’re living in a fantasy world.” Among those in that fantasy world was John Paulk, who was also interviewed for the Journal:

Mr. Paulk had been a prostitute, a female impersonator named Candi and an alcoholic who tried to kill himself before he decided to become straight and marry an ex-lesbian he met in church last year. “I had no sexual interest in women at all,” he says. “But when you begin a relationship with a woman that you believe God has led you to, then you develop attraction to that person. To say that we’ve arrived at this place of total heterosexuality — that we’re totally healed — is misleading.”

In 1993, Paulk was a cautious “success story” for the  ex-gay movement. He would later run Focus On the Family’s Gender and Homosexuality division, and he was elected to two terms as chairman of Exodus International. In 1998, he helped to found Love Won Out, a traveling ex-gay roadshow and infomercial conducted jointly by Focus and Exodus. Love Won Out staged a half a dozen conferences per year in cities across North American for the next thirteen years. That same year, he and his ex-lesbian wife, Anne, became the face of the ex-gay movement in a massive publicity campaign that culminated in their landing on the cover of Newsweek. In 2000, Wayne Besen photographed Paulk as he was leaving a gay bar in Washington, D.C. (see Sep 19). After a brief hiatus, Paulk returned to ex-gay ministry, and continued working at Focus On the Family and speaking at Love Won Out conferences for the next three years.

In 2003, the Paulks left Focus and moved to Oregon, where John started a catering business while Anne continued writing books and speaking on the ex-gay circuit. But in 2013, John recanted his ex-gay beliefs and issued a formal apology to the “countless people (who) were harmed by things I said and did in the past.” Later that year, he and Anne divorced. Anne helped to form a break-away group of former Exodus ministries following Exodus president Alan Chambers’s acknowledgment that change in sexual orientation was not possible. She now serves on the board of directors of that dissident group, Restored Hope Network.

Meanwhile, Exodus International shut its doors in 2013 after Chambers apologized to the gay community for “promot(ing) sexual orientation change efforts and reparative theories about sexual orientation that stigmatized parents” and for “communicat(ing) that you and your families are less than me and mine.” California, New Jersey and the District of Columbia now prohibit licensed professionals from offering conversion therapy to minors, and President Barack Obama has called for a similar ban nationwide.

[Source: Michael J. Ybarra. “Going Straight: Christian groups press gay people to take a heterosexual path.” Wall Street Journal, Eastern edition (April 21, 1993): A1.]

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The Daily Agenda for Monday, April 20

Jim Burroway

April 20th, 2015

TODAY’S AGENDA is brought to you by:

From Nuntius (Houston, TX), September 1970, page 4. (Source.)

From Nuntius (Houston, TX), September 1970, page 4. (Source.)

TODAY IN HISTORY:
 China Removes Homosexuality From List of Mental Disorders: 2001. After consulting with mental health organizations in the U.S. and elsewhere, the Chinese Psychiatric Association published the third edition of the Chinese Standards for Classification and Diagnosis of Mental Disorders, which formally removed homosexuality from its list of mental disorders. The move came as Chinese psychiatry was coming under international scrutiny for the growing use of mental institutions to detain dissidents and members of the banned Falun Gong sect. The delisting of homosexual was controversial: the Beijing Youth Daily gave prominent space to a senior psychiatrist who called gay people “abnormal.”

TODAY’S BIRTHDAY:
 George Takei: 1937. It’s hard to tell, but the actor best known for his role as Mr. Hikaru Sulu in the Star Trek franchise turns seventy-eight today. Oh, my! Born in Los Angeles to two native-born Californians of Japanese descent, Takei nevertheless ended up spending his formative years at a Japanese in internment camp in Rohwer, Arkansas, and then in the Tule Lake camp in California. His first roles in the 1950s was doing voiceover work, dubbing Japanese monster movies. Later, he was able to score a gig with CBS’s award winning Playhouse 90, an episode of The Twilight Zone, and film roles in Hell to Eternity (1960), A Majority of One (1961), and Walk, Don’t Run (1966). When the Star Trek pilot came along in 1965, Takei was cast as helmsman for the USS Enterprise, but he was only able to take part in half of the first season due to a commitment he already had as a South Vietnamese officer in the John Wayne film, The Green Berets. When Takei returned for Star Trek’s second season, he found that he had to share a dressing room, script, and a ship’s helm panel, side-by-side, with Walter Koenig as the starship’s navigator, Ensign Pavel Chekhov.

Star Trek only lasted three seasons on NBC. It struggled to find an audience during its first season, and rumors flew that NBC was going to cancel it it at the end of the second season. A letter-writing campaign saved the program for another year, only to see NBC placing it at the dead-end 10:00 time slot on Friday night and slashing its production budget. After 79 episodes, NBC canceled the series, in a move which TV Guide in 2011 ranked as number four of its “biggest TV blunders.” Thanks to syndication, Star Trek found a larger audience than it ever had on NBC. Takei has since reprised his role as Leutenant, then Commander Sulu in the first five Star Trek movies before he was promoted to Captain with his own starship, the USS Excelsior in a Star Trek: Voyager episode, a role he reprised for Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.

In 2005, Takei came out as gay in an issue of Los Angeles-based Frontiers magazine. “It’s not really coming out, which suggests opening a door and stepping through,” he said. “It’s more like a long, long walk through what began as a narrow corridor that starts to widen.” That corridor included longtime active memberships in various LGBT organizations and a then-eighteen year partnership with Brad Altman. In 2008, Takei and Altman turned that partnership into an honest-to-god marriage just before Prop 8 was approved by California voters, and they were the first same-sex couple to appear in the Game Show Network’s revived celebrity edition of The Newlywed Game. Takei is one of the more entertaining stars of Facebook and the Twitterverse (You can send your birthday greetings to @GeorgeTakei), and he also has Asteroid 7307 named in his honor. His 2012 Internet-themed memoir, Oh Myyy!: There Goes The Internet, is available in paperback and Kindle.

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The Daily Agenda for Sunday, April 19

Jim Burroway

April 19th, 2015

TODAY’S AGENDA:
Pride Celebration This Weekend: Åre, Sweden (Winter Pride); Mobile, AL; Phuket, Thailand; Potsdam, Germany.

AIDS Walks This Weekend: Honolulu, HI; Las Vegas, NV.

TODAY’S AGENDA is brought to you by:

From the Columbia Daily Spectator, May 9, 1967, page 3.

From the Columbia Daily Spectator, May 9, 1967, page 3.

TODAY IN HISTORY:
 First Gay Student Group Registered at Columbia University: 1967. Stephen Donaldson, a member of the Mattachine Society of New York, enrolled at Columbia University in the fall of 1965 as an openly bisexual student. After his suitemates in his dorm complained about living with a bisexual, school officials forced him to move out of the dorm. That experience led him and other gay students to form a campus Mattachine-type group, which he envisioned as “the first chapter of a spreading confederation of student homophile groups.”

But getting that first chapter off the ground was no easy thing. Donaldson and another student were willing to lead the Student Homophile League under pseudonyms, but none of the other students were willing to officially join the organization unless they could do so anonymously. Columbia however wouldn’t recognize any student group without a membership list. Donaldson finally got around that problem by recruiting some of the university’s more prominent social-justice student leaders as pro-forma members. With that, Columbia granted the very first charter for a student gay rights group in the country.

The following May, The New York Times published a front-page story about the SHL being granted a charter. Time magazine followed suit a week later with a small article that gave the still-secretive group national exposure:

While declining to identify himself or other members by name (“We would be losing jobs for the rest of our lives”), the league’s chairman insists the group is educational, not social, and “plans no mixers with Harvard.” So far, Columbia students seem little interested in joining. Shrugged Sophomore Elliot Stern: “As long as they don’t bother the rest of us, it’s O.K.” The league’s biggest problem will probably be its self-imposed secrecy. As some students asked: How do you treat them equally when you don’t know who they are?

The exposure provoked widespread controversy, and criticisms followed in the pages of the Columbia Daily Spectator and in letters to the administration. Dr. Anthony Philip, director of the counseling service, warned in a letter to the Spectator that having such an open group would pose a danger to those “who perhaps more so than others their age are troubled by questions of masculinity, sexuality and more generally with their sense of personal identity. If there is one thing such students certainly can do without, it is the mythology that they really are homosexuals whose “latent homosexuality” needs only to be “brought out” by the sympathetic, tutorial attention of the Student Homophile League.” He also told reporter for the Spectator that even though the SHL’s goal was to have speakers and seminars to address anti-gay bigotry on campus, he worried that the SHLs members were “angry and militant,” and were bent on “proselytizing” students.

In the end, Columbia officials decided against revoking the group’s charter. But they also decided to forbid the group from serving in any social functions for fear that it would run afoul of the state’s sodomy laws. But the exposure, on balance, was far more beneficial to the group. By the end of the year, more than 20 people had joined the SHL at Columbia, and students at Stanford, the University of Pittsburgh, and Cornell expressed interest in starting chapters on their respective campuses.

[Sources: Brett Beemyn. “The Silence is Broken: A History of the First Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual College Student Groups.” Journal of the History of Sexuality 12, no. 2 (April 2003): 205-223.

“Students: Equality for your fellow man.” Time (May 12, 1967). Available online with subscription here.

“Homophile Group is Viewed as Danger to Some Students.” Columbia Daily Spectator (May 9, 1967): 3.

Anthony F. PHilip. Letter to the editor: “The Homophile League.” Columbia Daily Spectator (May 9, 1967): 4.

Daniel M. Taubnam. “Breaking the Ice: New Student League Backs Homosexuals.” Cornell Daily Sun (November 11, 1967): 8.]

TODAY’S BIRTHDAY:
 85 YEARS AGO: Dick Sargent: 1930-1994. His best known role was that of the second Darrin in the 1960s sitcom Bewitched, after having taken over that role in 1969 when Dick York was forced to leave due to ongoing health problems. It was a fortuitous second chance for Sargent: he was the producers’ first choice for the role in 1964 but was forced to turn it down because he was under contract with Universal Studios to appear in the short-lived sitcom Broadside, a WWII comedy about four girls on an island with 4,000 sailors. (Hilarity allegedly ensued, but only for one season.) Before he got his second chance at Bewitched, Sargent appeared in several films and television programs which helped pad his resume with a growing list of solid if not particularly memorable roles.

He never really made it onto the A-list, but he did have a solid run opposite Elizabeth Montgomery as America’s favorite put-upon mortal. And what a strange, gay time he must have had on the set, with openly-flamboyant Paul Lynde as practical-joker Uncle Arthur and the closeted and conflicted Agnes Moorhead as Endora (a character whose style and sarcasm deserves unceasing genuflections from drag queens everywhere). The series ended in 1972 and immediately went into syndication for whole new generations to enjoy. Meanwhile, Sargent kept working in minor roles and voiceovers for commercials and cartoons.

In 1974, Sargent appeared with lesbian Fannie Flagg (see Sept 21) in the game show Tattletales, in which Hollywood couples would try to guess each others’ answers to embarrassing questions about marriage, sex, or other coupley topics. They were, ostensibly, “dating” for the game show’s purposes. Sargent finally came out on National Coming Out Day, October 11, 1991, over concerns about high suicide rates among gay teens. He revealed that when he was a student at Stanford he twice tried to kill himself when he realized he was gay. The following summer, he was Grand Marshall of the Los Angeles Gay Pride parade alongside his former Bewitched co-star and forever friend, Elizabeth Montgomery. He became involved with the AIDS Project Los Angeles and the American Foundation for AIDS Research. Sargent died in 1994 of prostate cancer.

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 Saturday, April 18

Jim Burroway

April 18th, 2015

TODAY’S AGENDA:
Pride Celebration This Weekend: Åre, Sweden (Winter Pride); Mobile, AL; Phuket, Thailand; Potsdam, Germany; Tallahassee, FL.

AIDS Walks This Weekend: Belmont, NC; Columbus, OH; Dayton, OH; Honolulu, HI; Las Vegas, NV.

TODAY’S AGENDA is brought to you by:

From The Advocate, January 8, 1981, page 5.

Rounds was, euphemistically a “cruise bar.” Not so euphemistically speaking, it was a hustler bar, located in the Loop around East 53d Street and Second Avenue where hustlers and their johns hung out. It opened in 1979 with three partners, one of whom, Seymour Seiden, was allegedly mob connected.  (Seiden had previously been a part owner of another gay bar, The Sanctuary, until 1972, when his partner was murdered the night before he was scheduled to testify before a federal grand jury.) Rounds’ opening night was a star-studded event, according to Charles Scaglione’s memoir (a non-mob partner, for what that’s worth, and the only straight one of the three), with David Geffen, Calvin Klein and Studio 54 owner Steve Rubel supposedly in attendance. Scaglione also said that over the years, Tennessee Williams, Truman Capote, Andy Warhol and Vladimir Horowitz showed up from time to time. Rounds was finally forced to close in 1994 following a police raid in response to complaints about prostitution.

RNC Chairman Guy Gabrielson

TODAY IN HISTORY:
 65 YEARS AGO: GOP Chairman Warns of “Perverts Who Have Infiltrated Our Government”: 1950. Sen. Joseph McCarthy’s (R-WI) Lavender Scare got another boost after nearly two months of outrage over the discovery that 91 state department employees had been fired for being gay (see Feb 28, Mar 21, Mar 23, Mar 24, and Apr 14) when Guy Gabrielson, Republican National Chairman, issued a letter addressed to about 7,000 party workers, under the title “This is the News from Washington,” in which he wrote:

Perhaps as dangerous as the actual Communists are the sexual perverts who have infiltrated our Government in recent years. The State Department has confessed that it has had to fire ninety-one of these. It is the talk of Washington and of the Washington correspondents corps.

American sensibilities were quite delicate in 1950, particularly on a subject as contentious as homosexuality. In many respects, it was still the “love that dares not speak its name.” Newspaper editors were reluctant to actually use the word “homosexual,” preferring instead to dance around the subject wherever possible. The use of the word “pervert,” on the other hand, was totally acceptable and routine. Gabrielson expressed his frustration over editors’ concerns over their readers delicate sensibilities:

The country would be more aroused over this tragic angle of the situation if it were not for the difficulties of the newspapers and radio commentators in adequately presenting the facts, while respecting the decency of their American audiences.

Dick Leitsch and Craig Rodwell (photo: Randolphe Wicker).

 50 YEARS AGO: First Gay Rights Picket at the United Nations: 1965. Two years earlier, independent Mattachine Chapters in New York, Washington, and Miami, along with Daughters of Bilitis chapters in New York and Philadelphia, with other activists and small groups, had come together to form the East Coast Homophile Organization. ECHO was intended to be not so much a separate organization but a forum in which members of the activists groups could get together and plan strategy and share valuable lessons. At a meeting during the fall of 1964, they decided that the old ways of doing things — engaging in polite “education” programs with the hope of increasing “understanding — just wasn’t yielding any results. “It was a gathering of men and women impatient to remedy the discrimination against the homosexual citizen in our society,” The Ladder reported, which quoted one attendee: “A few years ago, ours was a sweeter, clubbier, less insistent organization. Now there seems to be a militancy about the new groups and new leaders. There’s a different mood.”

The group decided it was time to engage in more direct action. And so when Cuban President Fidel Castro announced a new round governmental policy of rounding up its gay citizenry and and throwing them into internment camps, New York and Washington, D.C. activists felt that this provided a good “hook” on which to hang a couple of protests. Activists in the D.C. area took the opportunity to mount the first ever picket at the White House (see yesterday), while New York advocates decided to protest in front of the Cuban Mission. They soon discovered that police rules prohibited picketing with a fifth of a mile of the Cuban Mission, so they chose to picket at Hammarksjold Plaza at the United Nations. Twenty-nine picketers showed up for the first gay rights protest at the United Nations, and only the second gay rights protest in New York City (see Sep 19).

[Sources: Warren D. Adkins and Kay Tobin (pseudonyms for Jack Nichols and Kay Lahusen) “ECHO Report ’64. Part one: Sidelights of ECHO.” The Ladder 9, no. 4 (January 1965): 4.

“Cross Currents.” The Ladder 9, no. 8 (May 1965): 22.]

 New York Times: “Certain Words Can Trip Up AIDS Grants.”: 2003. A New York Times investigation revealed that AIDS researchers were having trouble getting their research proposals funded by the National Institutes of Health because certain sensitive terms were included in their grant applications. Scientists, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told The Times that they were warned by federal health officials that their research would come under closer scrutiny by the Department of Health and Human Services or by members of Congress if their proposals included certain key words, including “sex workers,” “men who sleep with men,” “anal sex,” and “needle exchange.” A spokesman for HHS denied that such screening was taking place, but another unnamed official at NIH confirmed that:

…project officers at the agency, the people who deal with grant applicants and recipients, were telling researchers at meetings and in telephone conversations to avoid so-called sensitive language. But the official added, “You won’t find any paper or anything that advises people to do this.”

The official said researchers had long been advised to avoid phrases that might mark their work as controversial. But the degree of scrutiny under the Bush administration was “much worse and more intense,” the official said.

Dr. Alfred Sommer, the dean of the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University, said a researcher at his institution had been advised by a project officer at N.I.H. to change the term “sex worker” to something more euphemistic in a grant proposal for a study of H.I.V. prevention among prostitutes. He said the idea that grants might be subject to political surveillance was creating a “pernicious sense of insecurity” among researchers.

…In another example of the scrutiny the scientists described, a researcher at the University of California said he had been advised by an N.I.H. project officer that the abstract of a grant application he was submitting “should be ‘cleansed’ and should not contain any contentious wording like ‘gay’ or ‘homosexual’ or ‘transgender.'” The researcher said the project officer told him that grants that included those words were “being screened out and targeted for more intense scrutiny.”

He said he was now struggling with how to write the grant proposal, which dealt with a study of gay men and H.I.V. testing. When the subjects were gay men, he said, “It’s hard not to mention them in your abstract.”

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 Friday, April 17

Jim Burroway

April 17th, 2015

TODAY’S AGENDA:
Pride Celebration This Weekend: Åre, Sweden (Winter Pride); Mobile, AL; Phuket, Thailand; Potsdam, Germany; Tallahassee, FL.

AIDS Walks This Weekend: Belmont, NC; Columbus, OH; Dayton, OH; Honolulu, HI; Las Vegas, NV.

TODAY’S AGENDA is brought to you by:

From the Eastern Mattachine Magazine (Published by the Mattachine Society of New York), June 1965, page 26.

The Golden Calf operated from 1963 to 1970, and was a popular meeting place for members of the the Mattachine Society of Washington, D.C. The entire 14th Street corridor has been redeveloped over the past few decades, with the entire block now taken up with high-rise apartment buildings, condos and offices.

TODAY IN HISTORY:
 50 YEARS AGO: First White House Picket for Gay Rights: 1965. In 2010, former Cuban president Fidel Castro apologized for for his government’s persecution of gay people in the mid-1960s. That persecution included rounding up gay people and throwing them into camps. That apology reminded Washington, D.C.’s veteran gay rights advocate Frank Kameny (see May 21) of Castro’s action in 1965 led directly to the first time a group of gay activists picketed the White House that spring:

While, Castro had no notion, of course, of what he was doing in this context at that time, in my view and in my interpretation of the dynamics of the 1960s Gay Movement, he triggered Stonewall and all that has followed.

News of Castro’s incarceration of gays in detention camps in Cuba came out early in 1965 — probably in March or very early April. At that time “the 60s” hadn’t yet erupted in their full force, but the precursors were very well advanced. Picketing was considered the mode of expression of dissent, par excellence.

Jack Nichols (see Mar 16) approached me to suggest that we (“we”= The Mattachine Society of Washington, of which I was President) picket the White House to protest Cuba’s action. I felt that it was rather pointless to picket the American President to protest what a Cuban dictator was doing. So I suggested that we broaden and Americanize the effort. One or more of our signs said (in gross paraphrase, here, from memory) “Cuba persecutes Gays; is America much better?”, and others specifically addressed governmental and private anti-gay discrimination here, and other gay-related problems of the day.

Those MSW picketers, seven men and three women, arrived promptly at 2:00 in the afternoon of Palm Sunday at Lafayette Park. They went across the Pennsylvania Avenue and formed an orderly oval in front of the White House and marched, carrying signs reading, “U.S. Claims No Second-Class Citizens. What About Homosexual Citizens?”, “Cuba’s Government Persecutes Homosexuals. U.S. Government Beat Them To It,” and “Gov. Wallace Met With Negroes. Our Gov’t Won’t Meet With Us.” They dressed conservatively, the men in suits and ties, the women in skirts and heals. Kameny insisted on it. “If you’re asking for equal employment rights,” he said, “look employable!” The group had decided not to publicize the protest in advance because they didn’t want to give authorities time to invent a reason to block their protest. But that also meant that there were no reporters or news cameras at that first protest, although the local Afro-American did include a small news bulletin about the demonstration.

They marched for one hour, then packed up and left, elated over how easy it all was. That protest would lead to many more that year: at the Pentagon, the Civil Service Commission, the United Nations, Philadelphia’s Independence Hall, and two more pickets at the White House. Those pickets marked a new beginning for the gay rights movement, and they all happened in 1965, four years before Stonewall. Kamany later reflected on that auspicious year:

Ever since, it has been my view, and remains so, that those demonstrations created the protest-oriented mindset which made Stonewall possible, and that without it Stonewall just wouldn’t have happened. Therefore, several steps removed, and obviously utterly unbeknownst to him, by his 1965 detentions of Cuban gays, Fidel Castro precipitated and triggered Stonewall and all that we have gained from it since. So, if you enter into a same-sex marriage, or are helped by a gay-protective anti-discrimination law, or run for elective office an an open gay, thank Fidel.

TODAY’S BIRTHDAY:
  Thornton Wilder: 1897. The Pulitzer Award-winning playwright and author is best known for his plays Our Town and The Skin of Our Teeth, as well his novel The Bridge of San Luis Rey. He also wrote the screenplay for Alfred Hitchcock’s Shadow of a Doubt. His works touched on very broad, universal themes: the qualities of good and evil, and finding meaning in the lives of ordinary people. Our Town was particularly inventive: it’s sparse stage setting was quite “modern” in 1938, but not as avant-garde as the character of the “stage manager,” who breaks the fourth wall and converses with the audience, even going so far as taking questions.

Details of Wilder’s private life are very hard to come by. The lifelong bachelor was exceptionally circumspect about his private life, although he is known to have enjoyed a wide circle of friends. He was romantically linked with the writer Sam Steward, to whom he was introduced by Gertrude Stein. They were reportedly together while Wilder wrote the third act of Our Town — in which we learn that the town’s choir director and church organist Simon Stimson commits suicide. Sadly, in 1938 it would not have been at all difficult to read that as code.

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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Today’s Agenda for Thursday, April 16 (Corrected)

Jim Burroway

April 16th, 2015

TODAY’S AGENDA:
Pride Celebration This Weekend: Åre, Sweden (Winter Pride); Mobile, AL; Phuket, Thailand; Potsdam, Germany; Tallahassee, FL.

AIDS Walks This Weekend: Belmont, NC; Columbus, OH; Dayton, OH; Honolulu, HI; Las Vegas, NV.

TODAY’S AGENDA is brought to you by:

From The Advocate, April 3, 1980, page 39.

The original location, in a light industrial area of Miami underneath the flight path for Miami International, is gone, replaced with a parking lot for an auto paint shop. The Ft. Lauderdale location is now a strip mall.

TODAY IN HISTORY:
 U.S. Morals Lowest in History: 1952. The National Association of Evangelicals were holding their tenth annual convention in Chicago when the group’s president, Dr. Frederick C. Fowler, told the gathering that American was at its lowest moral level in its history. Despite church membership being an all-time high, Fowler blamed “the moral collapse everywhere evident” on materialistic education:

“What is the reason for immorality in the State Department, where homosexuals were dismissed not for their sin but for security reasons?” he asked. “What is the reason for the corruption in the Internal Revenue and other departments of government, for the admitted cheating in college examinations, and in other forms of immorality in the American scene?”

“It goes back to those so-called ‘brilliant’ educators, centered in John Dewey at Columbia, who questioned and then denied the very existence of God, and ruled out any final authority except their own ridiculous and assumed knowledge.”

Fowler’s prescription for America’s abysmal 1950s values was simple: “Yo cannot disregard God and ignore his moral laws and not expect to reap a mptrvest of rottenness.” He called on government to act as “a minister and trustee, not a Lord; that it is responsible not to itself but to God and the people.” He also asserted that “Christianity can exist without democracy, but democracy could not exist without Christianity.

 Human Events Warns of “Homosexual International”: 1952. Before Countess Waldeck became Countess Waldeck, she was Rosa (or Rosie) Goldschmidt, the daughter of a prominent German Jewish banker, who had quite a knack for reinvention. She later became Catholic, and then became a countess when she married, perhaps, her third husband (who’s really counting?) the Hungarian Count Armin Graf von Waldeck. Time described it as “a marriage in which friendship and German passport considerations were deftly blended.” But that’s getting ahead of a few things. Her first marriage, in 1921, was a brief one to the gynecologist Ernst Gräfenberg, for whom the “G-Spot” is named. They divorced four years later “by mutual agreement. In 1929, the 31-year old married the 63-year-old widowed Franz Ullstein, scion of Berlin’s Ullstein Verlag publishing house, which was caught up in a sensational spy scandal. That marriage ended, but she got a lot out of it. When she published her 1934 autobiography “Prelude to the Past,” she candidly described the Ullstein affair along with some affairs of her own.

All of which is to say that Waldeck not only had a knack for reinvention, but also one for international intrigue which she parlayed into a career in journalism for Newsweek and another gossipy and wildly popular book in 1942 about international spies at a grand hotel, the Athene Palace in Bucharest.

But a decade later, her popularity faded as America’s attention turned inward during the McCarthy era. The new enemies now were American Communists and subversive homosexuals in the cojoined Red- and Lavender Scares. Waldeck made another stab at international conspiracy with a story she published in a small newsletter, Human Events, which despite its circulation — perhaps 40,000 in 1960 — claimed among its conservative readers many top Republican Party leaders and an actor in California who would soon become governor and future President. In 1952, Human Events published Waldeck’s essay, “Homosexual International,” in which she praised the ongoing investigations and firings of homosexuals from the State Department, but warned that political leaders and the general public failed to grasp that those investigations barely uncovered the tip of an international iceberg.

In reality the main reason why, at this juncture of history, the elimination of the homosexuals from all Government agencies and especially from the State Department is of vital urgency is that by the very nature of their vice they belong to a sinister, mysterious and efficient International.

Welded together by the identity of their forbidden desires, of their strange, sad needs, habits, dangers, not to mention their outrageously fatuous vocabulary, members of this International constitute a world-wide conspiracy against society. This conspiracy has spread all over the globe; has penetrated all classes; operates in armies and in prisons; has infiltrated into the press, the movies and the cabinets; and it all but dominates the arts, literature, theater, music and TV.

And here is why homosexual officials are a peril to us in the present struggle between West and East: members of one conspiracy are prone to join another conspiracy. This is one reason why so many homosexuals from being enemies of society in general, become enemies of capitalism in particular. Without being necessarily Marxist they serve the ends of the Communist International in the name of their rebellion against the prejudices, standards, ideals of the “bourgeois” world. Another reason for the homosexual-Communist alliance is the instability and passion for intrigue for intrigue’s sake, which is inherent in the homosexual personality. A third reason is the social promiscuity within the homosexual minority and the fusion it effects between upperclass and proletarian corruption.

There was at that time an underlying belief in some quarters that there was something about homosexuality that wasn’t quite American. It wasn’t so much that homosexuality was a foreign import, but there was an undercurrent of thought that somehow tied homosexuality in America to other subversive “foreign” influences. The McCarthy witch hunts only encouraged the notion that homosexuals and communists were interchangeably charged with being national security risks. There was even a new word for the homosexual side of this international conspiracy: hominterm, a play on “Comintern,” short for the Moscow-based Communist International. This “Homosexual International” was allegedly an international conspiracy to control the world and break down society. Waldeck described its supposed history this way:

Actually, the Homosexual International began to gnaw at the sinews of the state in the 1930’s. Until then it just nibbled. I have before me notes I took years ago about that nibbling stage. Still very new to politics, I was amazed to discover that, the “Cherchez l’homme” pointed to a much more powerful factor in international affairs than the “Cherchez la femme.” With fascination I watched the little Sodoms functioning within the Embassies and foreign offices. Somehow homosexuals always seemed to come by the dozen, not because they were cheaper that way but rather because a homosexual ambassador or charge d’affaires or Undersecretary of State liked to staff his “team” with his own people.

Waldeck claimed that “the scope of this article does not permit naming names and place,” which was rather convenient because it allowed her to spend the rest of her 3,500-plus word article to indulge her vivid imagination without actually having to produce anything which might constitute verifiable facts:

…Why had a certain capitalist country such an amazing influence on the politics of a certain revolutionary country? Because the aristocratic ambassador of the capitalist country was a homosexual and so was the foreign minister of the revolutionary country, and the perfect understanding between them cut across ideologies. Why did a certain bilateral trade conference, which seemed hopelessly bogged down, suddenly come to life again? Because the homosexual head of one mission, in order to please the homosexual aide of another mission, decided to sacrifice some vested interests at home for the sake of better understanding abroad. There were many instances of this kind; they didn’t then add up to a menace. But in politics it is always smart to fear a power not because it is dangerous but because it could become dangerous.

That the Homosexual International could become dangerous should have been evident to anyone who had an opportunity to observe the mysterious manner in which homosexuals recognize each other — by a glance, a gesture, an indefinable pitch of voice — and the astonishing understanding which this recognition creates between men who seem to be socially or politically at opposite poles. True, other Internationals are better organized and more articulate. But what is the unifying force of race, of faith, of ideology as compared to the unifying force of a vice which intimately links the press tycoon to the beggar, the jailbird to the Ambassador, the General to the pullman porter?

Waldeck then returns to the two great themes of the McCarthy witch hunts in claiming that “the Homosexual International has become a sort of auxiliary of the Communist International”:

…the Homosexual International works into the hands of the Comintern without any special organizing effort. This does not mean that every homosexual diplomat or official is a Communist or even a fellow-traveller. Still, this dangerous mixture of anti-social hostility and social promiscuity inherent in the vice inclines them towards Communist causes. That’s why agencies in which homosexuals are numerous excel in the sort of intrigue and doubletalk which, apparently objective, somehow always coincides with the party line. One could probably trace some of our more preposterous foreign policy decisions during the last 25 years to the little Sodom inside the State Department. Then too, a study of the the OWI (the U.S. Office of War Information) — veritable home from home for the Homosexual International during the war — would yield a few fascinating cues.

There is another even more sinister aspect of homosexuality in high places. It is that homosexuals make natural secret agents and natural traitors. This conclusion is to be drawn from a theory developed by Professor Theodor Reik in his “Psychology of Sex Relations.” Briefly, this theory is that the phantasy of sex metamorphosis operating in most homosexual affairs which causes him to play the role of the other sex causes him also to enjoy any job which gives him the chance of playing a double role.

The classical example is the famous espionage case of the homosexual Colonel Alfred Redl of the Austro-Hungarian Military Intelligence who, during the decade preceding World War I, delivered Austrian military secrets to the Russians and denounced his own agents to them. He got an immense kick out of playing the role of both the traitor and of the one whose lifework it is to apprehend and punish traitors.

Wardeck advised that the chief weapon against Homintern’s spread was education, in language that is still familiar today:

At best the elimination of homosexuals from Government agencies is only one phase of combatting the homosexual invasion of American public life. Another phase, more important in the long run, is the matter of public educations. …However, the chief educational task would be to combat the “love-and-let-love” line which, peddled by the pseudo-liberal fringe, claims that sexual preversion (sic) does not prevent a man from functioning normally in all other contexts and that it was just like Senator McCarthy to “persecute” the poor dears in the State Department. This line is fatal in that it lulls society into a false sense of security. It fools homosexuals themselves.

It fools them by instilling in them the notion that there is nothing wrong with the satisfaction of their abnormal desires and that it is, indeed, the solution of the homosexual problem. That this is by no means the case is demonstrated by the unhappiness under which most homosexuals (even the most successful among them) labor. In fact, if proof were needed of the high price paid by those who violate the Divine Laws, that dark melancholy unhappiness which is so characteristic of the homosexuals would be it. Actually, license acerbates the homosexual problem both for society and for the individual. Its solution lies just in the opposite direction — namely, in the practice of the admirable art of self-control and resignation.

Two weeks later, Rep. Katherine St. George (R-NY) read the article into the Congressional Record while warning that “the dangers to our own country and our whole political structure from this kind of international ring is dangerous in the extreme and not to be dismissed lightly.” Waldeck’s “Homosexual International” was so influential that Human Events reprinted it again in 1960.

[Source: R.G. Waldeck “Homosexual International.” Human Events (April 16, 1952): 1.]

 Miami Gay Bar Raided: 1960. Residents of greater Miami woke up on Easter morning to the news that Metro police overnight had raided the “E Club,” located at the corner of Tamiami Trail and SW 37th Avenue “at the request of a citizen. Twenty-three men, including the manager, were arrested at the “deviates’ den” and were charged with “disorderly conduct by being in a known homosexual hangout.” The manager was charged with allowing minors in the bar as well as “operating a known homosexual hangout.” Among those charged was an instructor at Miami Military Academy. When reporters informed the academy’s superintendent, he vowed, “We will drop him immediately, without question. We just can’t have a thing like that. We have enough headaches as it is. I will get in touch with him tomorrow and find out if he was arrested.” Another man from Coral Gables told police he was a teacher, but he later told the Miami News that he was a former teacher who hadn’t taught since 1956.

The names, addresses, and occupations of all twenty-two men arrested were printed in the accompanying article.  According to The Miami News:

Habitues of the place were reported to embrace each other, wear tight-fitting women’s pants and bleach their hair, (Metro Capt. Patrick) Gallagher said. When Gallagher and six other officers descended on the place Friday night, they found the dim-lit bar full of men, some of them paired off in “couples” he said. The only woman in the place told police she just dropped by for a drink, and she was not detained. Officers took all the men in the place to headquarters. Several were released after a screening and 22 were booked.

TODAY’S BIRTHDAY:
 Dusty Springfield: 1939-1999. Mary Isobel Catherine Bernadette O’Brien got the nickname “Dusty” because she was fond of playing football with the boys on the streets of Ealing in West London. In 1960, Dusty, her brother Tom and Tim field formed a reasonably successful folk trio, The Springfields. When Dusty launched her solo career in 1964, she kept the Springfield name, and switched to to a kind of an R&B Phil Spectoresque “Wall of Sound” that completed her transition to the singer we know today.

Her first album, A Girl Called Dusty, reached number 6 on the British charts powered by her single “I Only Want to Be With You,” which also broke into the U.S. top 20 more than a full year before the Beatles invasion. Other hits followed: “Wishin’ and Hopin'” (1964), “You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me” (1966), “The Look of Love” (1967), and “Son of a Preacher Man (1968). She also had a knack for exposing other acts to new audiences. She hosted a series of television programs that introduced the Temptations, the Supremes, the Miracles and Stevie Wonder to British audiences, and while recording an album in Memphis for Atlantic records, she convinced one of the label’s heads to sign Led Zeppelin. Those Memphis sessions resulted in the album, Dusty in Memphis, which won rave reviews but was met with poor sales. (It nevertheless won a Grammy Hall of Fame award in 2001.)

By the mid-1970s, Springfield had mostly abandoned her recording career and hid out in the U.S. and away from the British tabloids. Part of that had to do with her increasing drug and alcohol abuse, but part of it also had to do with her sexuality. In 1970, she told the Evening Standard that she was “as capable as of being swayed by a girl as by a boy.” She had lived with follow singer Norma Tanega from 1966 to the early 1970s, and she had an on-again/off-again relationship with American photojournalist Faye Harris. Meanwhile, her addictions got worse and her mental health deteriorated. She began cutting herself, was hospitalized several times, and was finally diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

Springfield started recording again in the late 1970s but her later efforts failed to chart. She even tried New Wave music in 1982. But when she accepted an invitation from the Pet Shop Boys to record vocals on their 1987 single “What Have I Done to Deserve This?”, the single reached number 2 in the U.S. and U.K. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1994 while recording her final album, A Very Fine Love, in Nashville, and died in 1999, just two weeks before she was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

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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