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THE GAY EXPERIENCE => Gay, Bi, Whatever (Gay-Friendly Always Welcome) => Topic started by: michaelflanagansf on February 12, 2007, 11:42:12 PM

Title: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on February 12, 2007, 11:42:12 PM
The Origin of this thread

(http://i41.photobucket.com/albums/e266/michaelflanagansf/IMG_0213.jpg)

Over the holidays Linda (killersmom) was visiting in San Francisco and we were at Harvey Milk Plaza.  We got discussing Harvey and his live, and why Dan White (Harvey's killer) did what he did.  It was a lively discussion.

Later the same evening I was out with Linda and a group of the slash writers at dinner.  We got talking about what San Francisco was like when the AIDS crisis started, what people knew and what they did to prevent the spread of the disease.  I told them about 'Play Safe', a pamphlet from the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence that suggested safe sex - in 1982 (it would take the federal government another 6 years to distribute a pamphlet with this information).  It was clear there was an interest in this sort of dialog.

What I envision this thread as being is a place where people (of all orientations and genders) can talk about their brushes with gay history - things that have happened in their lives connected to the LGBT communities.  I can still remember family's reaction when I talked about Anita Bryant's campaign to overturn antidiscrimination laws.  I remember the first gay lib meeting I went to, and doing book displays in the bookstore I worked in for gay pride month in the seventies.  And I still have the first book I ever read on homosexuality - from before my coming out.  These are the sorts of personal memories I hope we can talk about here.

One of the things I have learned from doing genealogical work is that history has a personal side - people live through things that, at the time, don't seem significant or important - but our perspective changes later.  One of the other things I found while doing family history is the excitement that people can feel when they're sharing their personal stories.  I hope we can do that here, create a place for us to talk about our shared past and share our personal experiences related to history and feel that excitement.

I also hope that this will be a place where people will feel free to ask questions - whether they are writers or just curious.  This thread is meant for us to share information - I hope you will all feel free to ask questions about our histories.

Learning about out past gives us hope for the future, I believe.  And as Harvey said "You've got to give them hope."

(http://i41.photobucket.com/albums/e266/michaelflanagansf/IMG_0218.jpg)
(http://i41.photobucket.com/albums/e266/michaelflanagansf/IMG_0214.jpg)
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on February 12, 2007, 11:49:22 PM
Later this week I'll be putting up a poll so we can decide what time period we would like to talk about first.  I think that this will work better than individual events - it will give us a broader 'topic' to talk about.  For example, if we talk about the late 70s, we could talk about the development of gay neighborhoods in cities like Chicago, San Francisco, L.A. and other place.  We could also talk about the first antidiscrimination laws, and the reactions to them.  And we can talk about the first gay officials elected to office - Elaine Nobel and Harvey Milk, among others.  Until then I look forward to your comments and suggestions here!
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: estefue on February 13, 2007, 03:44:53 PM
Michael, thanks for opening a new and very interesting and relevant topic.  So many of us don't know our own history and how those who came before blazed a trail for us with their sacrifice.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: cabin on February 13, 2007, 03:49:14 PM
Michael:

Excellent new thread that should give each of us a good education on our past, where we are and where we're going.

Thanks

gerry
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on February 13, 2007, 04:00:17 PM
Gerry and Esteban,

Thanks so much for your comments!  I should note that I'm hoping this can be an international forum, as we have people from around the world here.  I would love to learn more about gay history in the Netherlands, Finland, Australia, Canada and Italy, for example - and we have people here who can probably help with this.

Michael
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: fritzkep on February 13, 2007, 04:12:22 PM
Gerry, if I may take the liberty of posting this link that you provided in the Diner. It is a fascinating overview of gay life after WW II, then of the adventures of a gay man in NYC, with references to Stonewall and other events.

http://www.nycnotkansas.com/

PS, Gerry, I'm still not finished working my way through it completely yet!

Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on February 13, 2007, 06:28:39 PM
Here, btw, is a great LGBT history website from Fordham University:

http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/pwh/

And a few others:

http://www.infopt.demon.co.uk/gayhist.htm

http://thecastro.net/

http://www.pbs.org/outofthepast/

http://www.jtsears.com/photomain3.htm

http://www.infopt.demon.co.uk/eighteen.htm

http://www.onearchives.org/

http://www.glbtq.com/
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: CellarDweller115 on February 13, 2007, 06:32:55 PM
Michael, thanks for opening a new and very interesting and relevant topic. So many of us don't know our own history and how those who came before blazed a trail for us with their sacrifice.

So true esteban.  I know I would like to learn more.  And your mention of "those who came before" reminds me of my friend Scott.  He lives in Pa, and everytime he comes to visit, we go to The Stonewall  to have drinks.  We always toast to "those who came before" and later on in the evening, we toast to "those who will come after".
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: fritzkep on February 13, 2007, 06:59:10 PM
Oh boy, I'm already enthralled with the Fordham site.

Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Carissa on February 13, 2007, 07:35:39 PM
I got this in my Cornell University (my alma mater) news alerts and thought this great new thread whould be appropriate to post it in. :)

Cornell Library Launches HRC Archives Exhibition
Event online Feb. 8 features 25 years of gay-rights struggles and activism

02.13.07
http://www.gaywired.com/article.cfm?section=70&id=13071

Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on February 14, 2007, 02:31:05 AM
I've just put up a poll to guide where our first discussions should go.  Here are the sorts of things we could discuss in the time periods marked out:

Fifties and Sixties (pre-Stonewall) - The initial formation of organizations (the Mattachine Society, Daughters of Bilitis, ONE Inc., The Society for Individual Rights in the U.S.and the Homosexual Law Reform Society in the U.K.) and the people involved in starting these organizations (Harry Hay, Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon).  We could also talk about authors who wrote on homosexual topics (Gore Vidal, James Baldwin, etc) and the legal status of LGBT people in this period.

1969 - 1975 - Early Gay Liberation - The Stonewall Riot and its aftermath, the first Gay Liberation newspapers, the formation of the Metropolitan Community Church, the Club Baths (and other bathhouses), the formation of Gay Liberation groups on college campuses and the initial split between radical lesbians and gay men.

1975 -1981 - The attempts to ensure equal rights in cities and the fight against those efforts, including the campaign by Anita Bryant and the Briggs Initiative (which would have prevented gays, lesbians and their supports from teaching in California), the founding of the Log Cabin Republicans and the initial attempts to win political office and their outcome (including the assassination of Harvey Milk and the White Night Riots).

1981 - 1996 - The reactions throughout the country after the onset of AIDS including the political attempts to restrict the rights of people with AIDS and acts of violence against people with AIDS, the rise of ACT-UP, GMHC, and other organizations, the reactions of the gay press, the holistic movements, the attempts to find drugs that would help fight the epidemic and the effects on communities.  This section would include a discussion of the people lost to AIDS during this period.

1996 - present - How did the Gay community recover from the AIDS epidemic when people stopped dying in large numbers?  When did the 'down-low' become an issue and who has it affected?  What was the reaction in media (Gay and straight, electronic, film and print) the the changes.  How did the internet affect the LGBT community - including the closing of women's and gay bookstores from competition online.

This is just an initial sketch of the sorts of things we could discuss for these periods.  Please feel free to add your own ideas and suggestions - and if the time periods don't seem right to you, let me know!  I can alter them.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Boris on February 14, 2007, 06:35:30 AM
I feel obliged to remind you that gay history is international. USA has been the flagbearer for decades (Stinewall ripple effect was huge, the removal of homosexuality from DSM-III by APA), I would like to bring some perspective from Northern Countries.

Finnish Broadcasting Corporation YLE produced a 4 hour documentary "Gay history of Finland" about a year ago and it was fascinating. It's not available in English but should you be interested I'd be willing to translate some parts of it.

The firm that produced it for YLE presents it as follows:

What was gay life like during the WWII. Where did women who loved women meet? How Soviet Union blackmailed state secrets from gay officials. How Finnish gay liberation rose in 1960's, when homosexuality was a mental illness and gay sex a crime. What is like to live openly as farmers in 21st century. In series tens of gays and lesbians tell what it was like to live as gay person in different decades, from 1940's to today. It is a history about discrimination and legal battles, but also loves, romances, joy and families of LGBT people f Finland.

I believe that I can be more rooted in my identity when I have understanding about the past and generations before me.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Nikki on February 14, 2007, 08:50:33 AM
Later this week I'll be putting up a poll so we can decide what time period we would like to talk about first.  I think that this will work better than individual events - it will give us a broader 'topic' to talk about.  For example, if we talk about the late 70s, we could talk about the development of gay neighborhoods in cities like Chicago, San Francisco, L.A. and other place.  We could also talk about the first antidiscrimination laws, and the reactions to them.  And we can talk about the first gay officials elected to office - Elaine Nobel and Harvey Milk, among others.  Until then I look forward to your comments and suggestions here!

Michael, back in July(?) when we were reading Edmund White's 'A Boy's Own Story,' I did some research on Stonewall and found the following which I printed out to read at some point when I had time. The first printout came to 31 pages: http://www.nycnotkansas.com/WhatAWonderful.htm. It was the author's personal account of being gay in NYC in 1960-61.  The second was http://www.nycontkansas.com/wild_side.htm -- 'Back to our Future? A Walk on the Wild Side of Stonewall'  by Robert Amsel from 'The Advocate' 9/15/87. Both articles are full of the two authors' personal experiences and cover a wide range. Thought these might be useful and informative to anyone who hasn't come across them.

P.S. The 'Wonderful Town..." is part of the link that Fritz posted except  it's from 1960-61.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Boris on February 14, 2007, 11:56:42 AM
There are also two rather nice books:

Neil Miller: Out of the Past. gay and Lesbian History from 1869 to the present.
Dumerman, Vicinus, Chauncey, eds.: Hidden from History. Reclaiming the Gay and Lesbian past.

Miller's is more easyreading, the latter is compilation of essays about gay hisory and philosophy of history. Among other things the oldest "were they gay" debate in the world i.e. could there have been "gays" before the concept of "gay".
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: b73_ on February 14, 2007, 12:26:52 PM
Michael:

This is fantastic!  I was so excited to see this thread open up after we discussed it at the Solstice Bash.  Thank you for this.

Love, Mag
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: NWWaguy on February 14, 2007, 04:52:02 PM
I'm going to find the time to participate here (after all, I DID live in Casper, WY, in 1958!!)

Here's one of my most want to know abouts:  Where is there a definitive article, book or documentary about gay life in Germany (Berlin mostly) before WWII??

Thanks, Michael!!   :-*
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on February 14, 2007, 04:57:10 PM
I feel obliged to remind you that gay history is international.

Thank you and I agree (in fact said as much earlier).  I do hope you'll stick around and continue to comment on this (and I hope that folks from the Netherlands, Australia, Canada, Italy, etc. will as well).

mf
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on February 14, 2007, 04:58:38 PM
I'm going to find the time to participate here (after all, I DID live in Casper, WY, in 1958!!)

Here's one of my most want to know abouts:  Where is there a definitive article, book or documentary about gay life in Germany (Berlin mostly) before WWII??

Thanks, Michael!!   :-*

Great to hear from you Steve!  I'll look around for books on Germany before WWII and let you know what I come up with.

 :-*

mf
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on February 14, 2007, 05:00:28 PM
Michael:

This is fantastic!  I was so excited to see this thread open up after we discussed it at the Solstice Bash.  Thank you for this.

Love, Mag

You bet Maggie!  Glad to see you here!

mf
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: CellarDweller115 on February 14, 2007, 05:25:25 PM
Well, I voted to begin at the begining.  Not sure how much I can add, but it would be interesting to learn from.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: dejavu on February 14, 2007, 07:44:32 PM
I was thinking the same thing -- begin at the beginning.  That's how they usually present history classes, and it makes things so much easier to follow, rather than jumping backing and forth.  (But I hope you keep going and get around to all the areas and time periods; they all sound interesting.)
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on February 14, 2007, 09:26:55 PM
I was thinking the same thing -- begin at the beginning.  That's how they usually present history classes, and it makes things so much easier to follow, rather than jumping backing and forth.  (But I hope you keep going and get around to all the areas and time periods; they all sound interesting.)

Well...here's the problem with 'begin at the beginning' - if we are looking for personal experience, I don't know that we have that many people on the list who were alive and active in the 50s and 60s.  If we're looking for people to share their stories, I don't know that we'll get that many.

On the other hand, we will have lots of other sources that we can find about this, I'm sure!

Of course, the fifties are not really the beginning - it's the start of the modern gay movement.  But like the program on Independent Lens on Billy Strayhorn showed earlier this week, there were lots of gay people around before the fifties.

BTW, if you get a chance to watch it the Strayhorn documentary is great:

http://www.pbs.org/independentlens/billystrayhorn/
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on February 15, 2007, 12:23:17 AM
Here's a history related request!  If you are interested, please go vote over in the poll in the book club thread:

http://www.davecullen.com/forum/index.php?topic=8585.0

This is our first non-fiction poll and all of the books are gay history related.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: killersmom on February 15, 2007, 09:36:27 AM
Thanks so much Michael for starting this thread and for thinking about it when we were having our discussions about it while I was in SF. As I said then, I know a little of the story, but not nearly as much as I would like.
This will give me the opportunity to do so!
And I see that I have a lot of reading ahead of me.

Thanks so much for your links and the links of others who have already shared here.
I look forward to  wonderful, rewarding hours of reading and learning!

Thanks,
Linda
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on February 17, 2007, 04:45:51 PM
I know we're not discussing this yet, but I did want to point out the S.F. Chronicle's wonderful series 'AIDS at 25':

http://www.sfgate.com/aidsat25/
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on February 18, 2007, 01:35:21 PM
A special request to history fans!  Please go vote in the most recent book poll - all of the books there are related to gay history:

http://www.davecullen.com/forum/index.php?topic=8585.0

Thank you!

mf
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: jack on February 18, 2007, 04:33:04 PM
Well, I voted to begin at the begining.  Not sure how much I can add, but it would be interesting to learn from.
thanks chuck.  so did i, because i lived through a great deal of it.  i have often and verbally regretted a lack of curiosity from the generations that have followed.  just hearing the names mattachine and one tok me back to the futile search for information and community.  finding porn was an adventure, but not anywhere near as daunting as making non-sexual connections, at least where i lived.

jack

ps:  i think you will fid a good deal more personal information here than you anticipate, michael.  it might prove profitable, despite its current dormancy to post this at the gay and gray thread.

jack
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: brokebacktom on February 18, 2007, 06:16:13 PM
I'm looking foward to this topic. THANKS, Mike
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on February 18, 2007, 06:27:05 PM
I'm looking foward to this topic. THANKS, Mike

You bet Tom!  I'm hoping Jack's right and we'll get lots of people in here commenting.  I just barely was aware of things before Stonewall.  Interestingly enough the Advocate was printing for about a year before Stonewall and the Metropolitan Community Church had existed before that - so I may be able to glean some information there.

There's also a good video I can recommend entitled (not surprisingly) 'Before Stonewall':

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0088782/

And I know some people who were involved in the riot at the Compton's Cafe here in town (there is a documentary entitled 'Screaming Queens: The Riot at Compton's Cafe' which KQED had on a few years ago - sadly no dvd yet).    Maybe I can get an interview for the thread.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: fritzkep on February 18, 2007, 07:19:01 PM
My involvement only goes back to the Bicentennial, becoming a member of with Dignity and stuff like that. And after getting together with my ex (met him through Dignity), partaking in various motorcycle and leather runs in the East Coast area between here and Fire Island. Otherwise, pretty whitebread stuff.

Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on February 18, 2007, 07:25:27 PM
Well...I was a tad advanced (since I've known what was happening since I was 9 years old).  So I went to a bookstore in the north Detroit suburbs and got a book entitled 'The Problem of Homosexuality in Modern Society' in my early teen years.  It was just as cheery as you can imagine.

Here's a website from the Truly CA program 'Screaming Queens: Riot at the Compton's Cafe'.  This took place in 1966 so it qualifies as pre-Stonewall:

http://www.kqed.org/arts/truly/episode.jsp?eid=130979

And here's the website for the film itself:

http://www.screamingqueensmovie.com/

Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on February 18, 2007, 07:48:08 PM
Here is the website for the GBLT History Society in San Francisco:

http://www.glbthistory.org/

And here is the San Diego Society:

http://www-rohan.sdsu.edu/~clgoyne/lghssd/archival.html

And here is a page from the Minnesota historical society dedicated to gay history:

http://www.mnhs.org/library/tips/history_topics/110glbt.html

And Boston's History Project:

http://www.historyproject.org/

And the National Archive of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender History (in New York)

http://www.gaycenter.org/resources/archive/

The Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives:

http://www.clga.ca/

The Gender Equity Archives (New Britain, CT):

http://library.ccsu.edu/lib/archives/equity/

The Gerber/Hart Archives (Chicago):

http://www.gerberhart.org/

The Gay and Lesbian Collections at the University of Missouri:

http://www.umsl.edu/~whmc/guides/gaycoll.html

The Kinsey Institute Library in Bloomington Indiana:

http://kinseyinstitute.org/library/

The Hall-Carpenter Archives of the British Museum:

http://hallcarpenter.tripod.com/

The Homodok Library in the Netherlands:

http://www.homodok.nl/

And here is a good all purpose list from the Lesbian Herstory Archives:

http://www.lesbianherstoryarchives.org/direct.htm
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here -- A small Australian snippet
Post by: BBM-Intern on February 19, 2007, 12:44:55 AM
Hi there all you lovely brokies,

I thought I'd just jump right in with a small snippet to add - more later about Australian perspectives of GLBTI history.  Other than the obvious starting point of the Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras, there's quite a bit of history from Oz left to discuss too.

But firstly, just a plug for the recent "Out and Loud" Concert in Melbourne Town Hall on 18-Feb.  Yes, there was the Brokeback connection as we did "A Love That Will Never Grow Old".  Our conncection from the antipodes is via the Boston Mens Gay Chorus who initially arranged this piece, which we subsequently adapted, but we will always be grateful for its heritage.  More importantly, the message of the film, which we said was a "love story" of two gay men.

But more importantly, what for me was a "goose-bumps" story for me was related by the festival director, who led the Melbourne Gay and Lesbian Choir for the Chicago "Gay Games" (15-22 Jul) and Montreal "Out Games" (29-Jul to 5-Aug).  I believe the story was that on the tour some (hysterical) person had got up before the choir performed yelling something like, "You don't have to be gay or lesbian, it's just a lifestyle choice!!".  Oh dear, that was a moment that could have really soured the performance, but the choir director (I believe it was Dr James Knapp) said quietly, "This is WHY we sing", just before they sang, "Why We Sing".  Yes, our battle is far from over, we have come a long, long way in GLBTI history, but we all have to work together to fight for our rights.  Wow, that story really brought a lump to my throat.  If someone was there and knows this story first-hand, I'd like to hear your perspective on it.

Why I mentioned this piece was because there are contemporary links from our "Out and Loud" Concert here in Melbourne, Australia to US GLBTI history - we performed "Why We Sing", arranged by Dr Kathleen McGuire of the San Francisco Gay Mens Chorus, who hails from Melbourne.  We are all bound and connected through our common causes - SFGMC which as you all know started informally commemorating the deaths of George Moscone and Harvey Milk in 1978.  It isn't even six degrees of separation, we all all in this together and we will see it through.  We may live on separate continents and face our own challenges, but where we have a united cause to see the world changed for equality for all.

I believe Brokeback has changed lives and will continue to do so.  Often time, we hear folks who proudly (and quite rightly so) tell us they were in the first Stonewall riots, or clashes with police in Sydney leading which gave birth to Mardi Gras etc. etc.  Well, we can look back and say, "I was a TRUE BELIEVER in the message of Brokeback and its tranforming message, and I SPREAD ITS MESSAGE!".  Aren't you excited to be part of history in the making?

More later, love to all here.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here -- A small Australian snippet
Post by: michaelflanagansf on February 19, 2007, 01:43:13 AM
Aren't you excited to be part of history in the making?

Dear BBM-Intern,

Yes, indeed I am.  [Of course, I must admit I've felt that way for a while - when I was working for an AIDS information organization in the 80s, and when I went to the first march on D.C. - kinda gives ya chills though, doesn't it?]

I have to tell you how touched I was by your message, sitting here in S.F. and reading your mentions of Harvey and George in the context of Gay Australian history.  I know they would both be happy too.

Thanks so much for joining us here and I look forward to more posts from you.

Michael
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 07, 2007, 02:36:05 PM
Okay...just a quick note to everyone to acknowledge that the first period we will cover here will be the period before 1968 (pre-Stonewall in the U.S.).  I will be working on this shortly and apologize for the lull - I was on vacation.

mf
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: CellarDweller115 on March 07, 2007, 05:20:57 PM
It's all good, Michael!
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Chriscd45 on March 07, 2007, 11:15:30 PM
"History is the witness that testifies to the passing of time; it illumines reality, vitalizes memory, provides guidance in daily life and brings us tidings of antiquity" -

Cicero Pro Publio Sestio

Thank you for this thread. History is important. Can't wait to get more involved.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: jack on March 09, 2007, 04:19:27 AM
and i need to start remembering my earliest memories of confusion.  why was i feeling like this, and how could i find out more than i could learn from vague whisperings and rumor.  i am not good with dates or sequential reckoning, but i am going to do my best.

stirrings::

although there had been some fumbling games in my early years at summer camps ( i went away every summer as my mother worked) i had zero information of sex, so boy crushes and what i now realize were eroticised contact and games, as well as other good feelings remained unexplained or rationalized away.  those years would encompass 1950 to 1957, approximately.  i clearly recall that SOMEHOW, i had already eroticised leather scent and tie em up games, and saw all tarzan and jungle jim and flash gordon serials that showed, on most saturday matinees.  from 7th grade on i had girlfriends, but they were to dance with and be seen with.  i recall no erotic tinglings, and nothing like the admiration i had for my close guy friends.

back in those days, at least as i in my innocence experience, it was not perceived as abnormal to not be in pursuit of m/f sex, or any sex, for that matter.  i made it through high school, ending in 1961 in that condition, but i had begun looking for answers to some troubling half-formed questions.  i can't remember how, but somewhere in there i managed to find some of those now collectable pulp paperbacks that hinted at same sex attraction, never of course addressing sexual interaction, and often indicating horrible ends for perversion.  i only read them for their literary merit, of course.

by '61, or shortly thereafter, i had started hunting for something more scientific, and even hoping to connect, more urgently since that summer, at 17, i had my first sexual experience with a man, and indeed my first of any kind.  i wish i could remember where or how i researched.  it almost had to be libraries, but damned if i can remember such. 

my first information, perhaps gleaned from a magazine article, was about the mattachine society, and their newsletter, "one".  i also heard about an organization called "the daughters of bilitis" but other than know of it, it had nothing to offer.  the first relatively scholarly book i read will be familiar to many old timers.  it was called "one in ten".  for a time at least, drunken college carousing and opportunistic sex, IE drunk frat boys and jocks was the extent of my education and liberation, but i began a mad pursuit and obsession with any written word, fiction and non-fiction, and drama as well, that featured or hinted at, same sex attraction, chiefly male.  many of you know the fare, and to the best of my knowledge, none of them came close to a happy ending.

that's enough for my first contribution, but if someone wants to start a list of that early literature, which was ALL many of us had to begin sorting things out, i will be glad to confirm or add to.

jack  :-*
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 09, 2007, 02:07:22 PM
Jack - thank so much for getting us started here!

Here are some questions I would like readers to consider for the period before June 28, 1969.  I have tried to gear the questions so that they can be answered by people from both inside and outside the U.S. and by people of all genders and orientations - but if you feel you need to change the question in some way to answer them, please feel free:

1.)  When did you first become aware of homosexuality as an external phenomenon - something that was talked about either as gossip, in the press, on television or in books?

2.)  Do you remember any discussions concerning homosexuality in your family?  What was the attitude of people in your family?

3.)  Do you remember any religious instruction addressing homosexuality?

4.)  If you are gay or lesbian were aware of your sexuality how did you handle that knowledge in relation to other people (were you out to some?  did you act on your knowledge and how?)  If you are not gay or lesbian did you have friends come out to you before this period and how did you handle that knowledge?

5.)  Did you know older gay and/or lesbian people?  What did they tell you about the world when they were growing up?  Did they tell you how they formed friendships and communicated with one another?

6.)  For those in the U.S. - did you know about the McCarthy hearings and the firing of government employees on the basis of homosexuality?  Did this have any affect on your life or your behavior?  If you are outside of the U.S. do you know of similar 'witch hunts' from this period?

7.)  If you were in the armed forces (or knew people who were in the armed forces) were there stories related to homosexuality?  Did you know of people who were discharged or questioned because of homosexuality?  If you are from outside of the U.S. what was the attitude toward homosexuality in the armed forces of the country you were in?

8.)  If you were in the U.S. did you go to bars before Stonewall?  How were they different from bars after Stonewall?  If you are outside of the U.S. were gay bars 'above ground' where you were?  Did Stonewall have an effect on the openness of gay life in your country?

9.)  In some countries (like the Netherlands) homosexuality was decriminalized long ago (1811 in Holland, 1830 in Brazil, 1852 Portugal, 1880 Japan, 1889 Italy).  If you were in these countries did you know about the disparity between your country and others?  Were you aware of gay organizations of openly gay/lesbian people?   Were you aware of gay organizations?  If you were not from these countries did you visit them and what was your perception of gay/lesbian life there? 

10.)  Prior to Stonewall there were instances of local panics in the U.S. related to homosexuality (like the Nov. 1955 panic in Boise, Idaho and a similar panic in Sioux City, Iowa the same year).  Were you aware of anything like this when you were growing up?  If you are from outside of the U.S. did similar panics occur?

11.)  Were you aware (or did anyone tell you later) of any local get-togethers in gay people's homes prior to Stonewall?

12.)  Did your family have any gay/lesbian friends or family members when you were growing up?  What was the attitude toward them?  Were you aware of people in your area that were rumored to be gay - and what was the attitude toward them?

13.)  If you were aware of your own homosexuality prior to Stonewall how did you attempt to find out information about it?  Were you successful in finding information?  Did you look in the library?  If so, did you find anything?

14.)  In the 40s, 50s and early 60s there were rumors about the sexuality of popular stars (like Rock Hudson, Fabian, Johnnie Ray, etc.).  Do you remember any of these rumors?  If so what was said?  Do you remember being forbidden to listen to particular stars because of their 'moral influence', for example?

15.)  There were films that dealt with homosexuality both openly and covertly prior to Stonewall ('Advise and Consent', 'Suddenly Last Summer', 'Strangers on a Train', 'Rope', 'Victim', 'The Children's Hour', 'Killing of Sister George', 'Fearless Vampire Killers', 'A Taste of Honey', 'Flaming Creatures', 'Scorpio Rising', 'The Producers', 'The Sergeant', etc.).  Do you remember seeing any of these movies (or other movies that addressed homosexuality) in the 60s (or before)?  What was your reaction?  Do you remember the reactions of other people?

This should give us a good start.  If there are other questions you wish to add, please feel free. 

Also, if you are too young to remember this time and have heard stories from others about it (or wish to ask other people you know off the forum) please feel free to add your comments.

Thanks a lot - I look forward to an interesting conversation!
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 09, 2007, 02:10:10 PM
Here is an interesting 'Timeline of LGBT History' from Wikipedia:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_LGBT_history

And here are a few books on the 'sex panics' I referred to in my questions:

http://www.amazon.com/Sex-Crime-Panic-Journey-Paranoid-Heart/dp/1555836593/ref=pd_sim_b_1/103-7071639-7111031

http://www.amazon.com/Boys-Boise-American-Columbia-Northwest/dp/0295981679

And here is a listing of films from imdb with the keyword 'homosexual' ranked by date:

http://www.imdb.com/keyword/homosexual/?start=1201&sort=date
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: jack on March 09, 2007, 02:38:53 PM
questions 1-5... see above

6.  the m carthy hearings were televised, but became an indistinct part of the country's patriotic mosaic of the times, in my experience of them.

7.  i was in the navy just long enough to audition successfully for the bluejacket choir, but to get released due to "QUESTIONABLE SEXUALITY".  í believe this was in '63.

8.  bars remained the same in upstate ny.  furtive and regularly rousted by the local police, patrons threatened, bribes taken.  it was illegal for men to wear women's clothes, or to dance together, and people were hauled away in paddy wagons.

much later in 68, i think, i went to miami beach, and discovered bar where people could dance.  there was stil a furtive quality, as there was usually a back room in which to dance, and a front bar, often nominally straight.

so much for the good old days.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: jack on March 09, 2007, 02:45:24 PM
9-12... see above, total blank.

13  see above.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: fritzkep on March 09, 2007, 04:06:59 PM
I'll take a stab at this, sorry to repeat the questions but I couldn't possibly keep them in my head to answer more than one at a time.

1.)  When did you first become aware of homosexuality as an external phenomenon - something that was talked about either as gossip, in the press, on television or in books?

The first time I recall hearing the word homosexual was during a high school retreat (but I was in 7th grade at the time), where during a conference one of the boys asked what one should do if someone bullied you by threatening to say that you were homosexual. Don't remember the answer the priest gave, but it was something to the effect of, how would (this other person) know if he were not one himself?

2.)  Do you remember any discussions concerning homosexuality in your family?  What was the attitude of people in your family?

The question never came up much in the family. But I can remember my father showing a friend of a friend (who I found out later was gay) a night-blooming cereus, and because of the way the friend commented about the flower my father said later, in an incensed and negative manner, that that guy was queer. I don't think I reacted to his reaction either way. At the time I didn't know about myself, didn't find out until many, many years later, after leaving home. But my father and uncles defintely had negative attitudes, my mother and sisters never expressed themselves about the subject. And also, the one place my father forbade me to go was the Club My-O-My at Lake Pontchartrain in New Orleans, but I had no idea why. Never did go there. Found out later it was a club for female impersonators. I was a far too obedient child.

3.)  Do you remember any religious instruction addressing homosexuality?

Except for that retreat mentioned above, I don't recall any discussion about homosexuality at all in a religious context. And I just remember one of the (religious) brothers in high school alluding to masturbation just one time, negatively of course.

4.)  If you are gay or lesbian were aware of your sexuality how did you handle that knowledge in relation to other people (were you out to some?  did you act on your knowledge and how?)  If you are not gay or lesbian did you have friends come out to you before this period and how did you handle that knowledge?

I did not realize about it myself until well into my 20's, though in retrospect I should have realized. I came out to one sister and a few friends, but the experience was neutral to negative, no really positive reaction by straight people, so I tended to clam up a bit after that.

5.)  Did you know older gay and/or lesbian people?  What did they tell you about the world when they were growing up?  Did they tell you how they formed friendships and communicated with one another?

Never knew any openly gay people when I was growing up.

6.)  For those in the U.S. - did you know about the McCarthy hearings and the firing of government employees on the basis of homosexuality?  Did this have any affect on your life or your behavior?  If you are outside of the U.S. do you know of similar 'witch hunts' from this period?

A bit too young to remember the hearings directly.

7.)  If you were in the armed forces (or knew people who were in the armed forces) were there stories related to homosexuality?  Did you know of people who were discharged or questioned because of homosexuality?  If you are from outside of the U.S. what was the attitude toward homosexuality in the armed forces of the country you were in?

I was in the Army, but did not realize my homosexuality at the time. I can remember being strongly attracted to many of the guys in the barracks, but did not act on the feelings. Never knew or heard directly about anyone being discharged for homosexuality.

8.)  If you were in the U.S. did you go to bars before Stonewall?  How were they different from bars after Stonewall?  If you are outside of the U.S. were gay bars 'above ground' where you were?  Did Stonewall have an effect on the openness of gay life in your country?

No, the first time I went to a bar was in 1974 or 1975. The first time was a bit frightening or at least disconcerting, because it was a leather bar. But the guys were very friendly.

9.)  In some countries (like the Netherlands) homosexuality was decriminalized long ago (1811 in Holland, 1830 in Brazil, 1852 Portugal, 1880 Japan, 1889 Italy).  If you were in these countries did you know about the disparity between your country and others?  Were you aware of gay organizations of openly gay/lesbian people?   Were you aware of gay organizations?  If you were not from these countries did you visit them and what was your perception of gay/lesbian life there? 

Not applicable. I travelled in the Netherlands in the late 60's, but unaware that there was anything like a gay subculture at the time. My fellow travellers were more interested in the straight red-light district, and I went along with them, without much interest. No one in my group did anything but look, just from the streets. We were all good boys from Notre Dame, after all.  :D

10.)  Prior to Stonewall there were instances of local panics in the U.S. related to homosexuality (like the Nov. 1955 panic in Boise, Idaho and a similar panic in Sioux City, Iowa the same year).  Were you aware of anything like this when you were growing up?  If you are from outside of the U.S. did similar panics occur?

I was unaware of such goings on. I guess I led a rather sheltered life.

11.)  Were you aware (or did anyone tell you later) of any local get-togethers in gay people's homes prior to Stonewall?

No. Not even aware of Stonewall until many years after it happened.

12.)  Did your family have any gay/lesbian friends or family members when you were growing up?  What was the attitude toward them?  Were you aware of people in your area that were rumored to be gay - and what was the attitude toward them?

None at all, unfortunately, as far as friends of the family. The one friend of a friend, as I said before, was flamboyant in his mannerisms. As it turned out, both he and my friend were gay, but didn't realize it until quite a bit later. Except for my father's negative reaction, the rest of my family were rather tolerant. And my father did not try to discourage me from associating with any of my friends, including the ones who turned out to be gay. Even though I was not quite as manly as I'm sure my father would have preferred, he never made any comments about me being queer. Then, again, I didn't realize it myself.

13.)  If you were aware of your own homosexuality prior to Stonewall how did you attempt to find out information about it?  Were you successful in finding information?  Did you look in the library?  If so, did you find anything?

Not before Stonewall, but I would look up information in the library, furtively. As I said, in retrospect I should have realized the truth about myself years earlier.

14.)  In the 40s, 50s and early 60s there were rumors about the sexuality of popular stars (like Rock Hudson, Fabian, Johnnie Ray, etc.).  Do you remember any of these rumors?  If so what was said?  Do you remember being forbidden to listen to particular stars because of their 'moral influence', for example?

Never happened to me. Except for my father and that one incident of the female impersonator club, most of my family were tolerant, I suppose, in the sense that I was not forbidden to associate with any people or go to any places, except that one club.

15.)  There were films that dealt with homosexuality both openly and covertly prior to Stonewall ('Advise and Consent', 'Suddenly Last Summer', 'Strangers on a Train', 'Rope', 'Victim', 'The Children's Hour', 'Killing of Sister George', 'Fearless Vampire Killers', 'A Taste of Honey', 'Flaming Creatures', 'Scorpio Rising', 'The Producers', 'The Sergeant', etc.).  Do you remember seeing any of these movies (or other movies that addressed homosexuality) in the 60s (or before)?  What was your reaction?  Do you remember the reactions of other people?

Never did see any of these movies way back then. The first movie I recall seeing which had homosexuality as a theme was Boys in the Band. Saw that during the Army. Because I went to Georgetown just before getting drafted, I got some ribbing from my fellow soldiers about supposed rampant homosexuality there, but I was never accused of being one myself. I don't know how I would have reacted had they made such an accusation, even in jest.

Sorry my answers aren't more interesting. I did some editing, so some of the answers may be a bit repititious. But I came out rather late, and if you were there at the BBQ, you would have heard that my first sexual experience (in the early 70's, with a friend's father) was not pleasant. Really didn't have an enjoyable sexual encounter until 1976. February 26.

Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Brokeback_1 on March 09, 2007, 04:30:27 PM
I'm going to answer these even though it is probably  not valid. I just feel a need to, and am thankful, haven't had the opportunity.....

1--I wasn't interested until puberty; if there was any interest before that i simply don't recall. I knew something was up, I looked at both sexes while my friends looked at girls and compared penises. If things were said i didn't much care. After puberty I was fascinated, after being molested i was completely baffled and ddn't know who or what to ask so i asked nobody.
2--No. But there were some comments as written  below.
3--YES. It was an evil thing and not to be discussed. masturbation was a venial sin, homo stuff sent you to hell. Of course nobody had much of an idea what homo stuff WAS at 12.
4--It was nobody's business but mine, any discussion caused Problems. I was eager and avid for info as to what was up and so ignorant it caused life altering problems. i didn't trust anyone; the one time I had, it caused misery during HS. So i STFU. Kids who were obviously into boys, to me anyway, tended to be even dumber then I was so i ran.
5--Not until my 20's. I avoided old farts, didn't trust them. Too many had tried to stuff cash into my pocket.
6--No, not a clue.
7--NA
8--No way i would be caught in any sort of non-standard teenaged hangout type of bar. None. Not until much later and even then I basically shit myself.
9--aware of gay orgs and ran away as fast and far as possible.
10--don't have a clue what a Panic IS
11--yes. I was much too untrusting and unwilling to go. I went to one[1] and flipped; i'd met a guy in a bar when I was celebrating 18 and got invited, knew whet i was being invited to and was scared to death. Everybody elsewas in their late 20's or 30's, I became the sole focus of sexual attention and lasted there for maybe 15 minutes before saying see ya, I'm out a here. And the bitchy remarks I got enraged me so much I still remember them.
12--yes, a lesbian cousin of my mothers. Lots of veiled remarks. And a very queeny cousin of mine whom I did not like and haven't spoken to in maybe 25 years. He was a smirky pain.
13--Stonewall had nothing to do with me, I noted it and was confused by it. Couldn't figure out why  homosexuals didn't date men AND women, it seemed really odd. What I learned was through books. And the only books that said things I related to as regards my sexual orientation were 2000 years old. I mean there was NOTHING and NOBODY.I didn't have a clue  or anything else aside from those books and yes, 1 or 2 boys in the same boat until I was in my 20's when I learned to trust older gay men. I think it's worse for bisexual teenagers, or was. We fit nowhere at all and had to make the rules up as we went.
14--No, not really. I was never forbidden to see anything because such things didn't happen. The closest to a meltdown happened on Broadway at my first play which was--I'm serious--Mame, where Angela Landsbury forgot to put on underwear and her skirt twirled up lolol during a dance number and I thought was that what I think it was lolol. I was very young. No--wait---I remember my father getting annoyed when i saw a film called The Boys In the Band.
15--I was afraid to watch them. They were about people who had the same issue but didn't have the same issue; I was very conflicted and confused;  not gay yet having gay sex; completely untrusting of older men who WERE gay.I was  having str8 sex, there was no way i would give that up. I couldn't even imagine how it felt to stick to one sex.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: fritzkep on March 09, 2007, 05:00:24 PM
One other comment, as far as tolerance/intolerance of homosexuality is concerned. I had a conversation about this with Lance many months ago, and I have come to realize things in these terms.

I was raised in New Orleans rather than in some rural or other urban place. (Now, when you're from a place as strange as New Orleans, I must say, Iowa seems exotic. :D )  While growing up there, in retrospect, I have come to realize that although some  individual people were highly intolerant, and institutions such as the Church were theoretically intolerant, homosexuality was simply not of a very high priority. Race, for example, was much higher on the list of concerns. I do believe that this attitude has a great deal to do with the fact that the predominant religion in the area is French Catholicism, rather than Irish or German or any other ethnic group. When I was growing up, people did indeed have a live and let live attitude. Sins of the flesh, straight or gay, were simply part of human nature and generally not discussed, positively or negatively for the most part. As I mentioned before, the subject just never came up in terms of religious stricture, so I did not grow up with a positive or negative attitude toward gayness. In retrospect, such a lack of negativity turned out to be as good a thing as I think could have happened, given the time.

Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Brokeback_1 on March 09, 2007, 05:22:19 PM
I missed something by concentrating my answers in the before as opposed to after sense; The Formative Years

Yes, I had older gay friends who spoke about Stonewall and what it was like before that time.  I remember thinking it sounded like stories from pre war  nazi germany
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 09, 2007, 07:24:52 PM
3.)  Do you remember any religious instruction addressing homosexuality?

Okay...time for me to talk to myself here.

By the time I was 9 (1963) I knew that I liked boys.  I struggled with it for 5 years until my mother found out something was up.  There was an awfully lot of guilt associated with this as I was Catholic.

When my mother found out I was gay it was 1968 (the year before Stonewall).  She first took me to a priest in another parish for confession.  He was an older Polish priest.  He took my confession and gave me some small penance and when my mother went into confession he said 'go home and love your son.'

We were fine then, but then I needed to go see my parish priest and let him know what was up.  I was an altar boy and was heavily involved in the church.  This particular priest was an Irish-American - he always had a chip on his shoulder too (honestly, I think he was p.o.ed that he had chosen to be celibate).  He had another brother who was a priest and he was always in competition with him (everybody liked his brother more).  All of this to say that when it came to 'sins' related to sexuality he was a hard ass.  He told me I'd have to start seeing a councilor at Catholic Social Services.  The councilor had a M.S.W. (masters of social work) and I was pretty clearly the first person he had ever talked to who was openly gay.  He didn't know what to do - but after reading up on what current beliefs were he told me that I needed to start dating girls and that if I couldn't change my sexuality that I'd have to live my life as a celibate to be a good Catholic.

This was all within the beliefs of the church.  If you are not having sex in marriage you are committing sin.  If you don't try to avoid it, you haven't made a good confession.  Good luck being a horny teenager.

And that's what life was like in rural Michigan as a gay Catholic before Stonewall - for me at least.

p.s. - it wasn't my sexuality I changed.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: maidenofthesea on March 09, 2007, 08:48:27 PM
Here is the website for the GBLT History Society in San Francisco:

http://www.glbthistory.org/

And here is the San Diego Society:

http://www-rohan.sdsu.edu/~clgoyne/lghssd/archival.html

And here is a page from the Minnesota historical society dedicated to gay history:

http://www.mnhs.org/library/tips/history_topics/110glbt.html

And Boston's History Project:

http://www.historyproject.org/

And the National Archive of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender History (in New York)

http://www.gaycenter.org/resources/archive/

The Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives:

http://www.clga.ca/

The Gender Equity Archives (New Britain, CT):

http://library.ccsu.edu/lib/archives/equity/

The Gerber/Hart Archives (Chicago):

http://www.gerberhart.org/

The Gay and Lesbian Collections at the University of Missouri:

http://www.umsl.edu/~whmc/guides/gaycoll.html

The Kinsey Institute Library in Bloomington Indiana:

http://kinseyinstitute.org/library/

The Hall-Carpenter Archives of the British Museum:

http://hallcarpenter.tripod.com/

The Homodok Library in the Netherlands:

http://www.homodok.nl/

And here is a good all purpose list from the Lesbian Herstory Archives:

http://www.lesbianherstoryarchives.org/direct.htm

Thank you for these links Michael! I've been looking for things similiar for a while now.
Thanks again!  :)
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 09, 2007, 08:52:04 PM
Thank you for these links Michael! I've been looking for things similiar for a while now.
Thanks again!  :)

You bet!  The reason I put up sites from all over is so you could go visit one close to you if you wanted to.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: maidenofthesea on March 09, 2007, 08:52:52 PM
Does anyone know right off any books (non-fiction) about being homosexual in the 1950's?
I've scoured the shelves and came up with little to nothing pre-Stonewall.

Any help would be greatly appreciated!  :)
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 09, 2007, 10:11:48 PM
Does anyone know right off any books (non-fiction) about being homosexual in the 1950's?
I've scoured the shelves and came up with little to nothing pre-Stonewall.

Any help would be greatly appreciated!  :)

Well, Edmund White's 'A Boy's Own Story' comes to mind immediately, as we did that in the book club.  It's 'fictionalized' but it's based on his life.

Does it have to be in the United States?  Quentin Crisp's 'Naked Civil Servant' covers that period too.

http://www.amazon.com/Naked-Civil-Servant-Penguin-Classics/dp/0141180536/ref=sr_1_1/103-7071639-7111031?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1173502427&sr=1-1

'Coming Out Under Fire' by Allan Berube is about gays and lesbians in the armed services of the U.S. during W.W. II:

http://www.amazon.com/Coming-Under-Fire-Allan-Berube/dp/0743210719/ref=sr_1_1/103-7071639-7111031?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1173502522&sr=1-1

'Gay New York, Urban Culture and the Making of the Gay Male World 1890 - 1940' by George Chauncey is good too:

http://www.amazon.com/Gay-New-York-Culture-1890-1940/dp/0465026214/ref=pd_sim_b_2/103-7071639-7111031?ie=UTF8&qid=1173502522&sr=1-1

'Sexual Politics, Sexual Communities' by John D'Emilio covers gay culture and the homophile movement from 1940 - 1970:

http://www.amazon.com/Sexual-Politics-Communities-John-DEmilio/dp/0226142671/ref=pd_sim_b_1/103-7071639-7111031?ie=UTF8&qid=1173502522&sr=1-1

'Wide-Open Town: A History of Queer San Francisco to 1965" by Nan Boyd:

http://www.amazon.com/Wide-Open-Town-History-Queer-Francisco/dp/0520244745/ref=sr_1_1/103-7071639-7111031?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1173503260&sr=1-1

And this one looks interesting, although I haven't seen it myself: 'Gay L.A.: A History of Sexual Outlaws, Power Politics and Lipstick Lesbians':

http://www.amazon.com/Gay-L-Politics-Lipstick-Lesbians/dp/046502288X/ref=sr_1_2/103-7071639-7111031?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1173503260&sr=1-2
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: killersmom on March 09, 2007, 11:35:42 PM
Thank you Michael, one for starting this thread and two, for always being such a font of information.
It will take me a long time to get to all the reading and I plan on doing a lot of what you have linked, but i would also like to thank everyone who has posted here so far. All the answers vary as much as the individuals who answered the questions. I feel that will be the case with all who answer here.

I am admittedly woefully ignorant about any of the history except for the headline items and even then just the highlights. I hope that many more people read and post and answer and comment here. This is truly a wonderful repository of Gay History and I hope that folks from all over the world will do so as well.

Thanks again Michael and I am so glad we had that conversation that day I was visiting. I will be an avid reader and I hope that it will be OK to ask questions as the thread progresses. Thanks again to you and to all who have shared so much. As a straight woman who is involved in this forum, I think this is a very important place for me to gain the knowledge and understanding and history of so many of the people I have gotten to know here.

Thanks again to all and in advance to those yet to share.
Linda
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 09, 2007, 11:41:49 PM
Thanks Linda ^^^

Actually, one thing I was considering doing was looking through the library for articles from magazines on homosexuality from the 50s and 60s and reproducing them here.  I know there's one from 1955 about the Boise 'scandal' - how does that sound?

I'll be answering some of my other questions - and I've posted over in the 'over 40' and 'over 50' threads for input.  If you know people I should be asking, please let them know.

mf
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: killersmom on March 09, 2007, 11:45:30 PM
I would love to see the magazine articles you are talking about, Michael.
And if I run across anyone you might have missed (although I doubt it) I will spread the word.
Thanks again!
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 09, 2007, 11:52:55 PM
I would love to see the magazine articles you are talking about, Michael.
And if I run across anyone you might have missed (although I doubt it) I will spread the word.
Thanks again!

Actually I'd really like to get Jari, Catia, Phrag3, Brianr, tifferg and Conny in here so that we can have an international perspective.  U.S. history is really pretty different different from the rest of the world.

And any other people you (all) can think of - the more the merrier, imho.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: killersmom on March 10, 2007, 12:23:02 AM
I will  contact them and see if they are interested.
I'll send them the link to the thread.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: conny on March 10, 2007, 01:14:51 AM
yes got the pm from linda,without the link  ;),but found the thread myself  :)
i`m gonna answer the questions later today,when i have some spare time,and read some of the articles.always interesting to know more about how it all went in other countries.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Brokeback_1 on March 10, 2007, 01:52:57 AM
Michael, another poster PM'd me and said that while it was yours to suggest, HE suggested I date my answers to put them in some sort of context compared to others. This is a very good idea, mine were about 10-15 years later. And for a guy who was trained as an historian even if he never did history, that was a sad omission!!!!

At puberty-12- it was the year 1967. In one answer about a house party, age 18 would make it March, 1973. Highschool was between 1969 [fall] and 1973 [spring]. The age at which I started to trust older gay men as human beings was 22 [1977], the age at which that trust cemented with a great deal of love was 23 [1978]. If it wasn't for my old gay farts i would never have lived to see 30.[ 1985]
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: jack on March 10, 2007, 02:20:33 AM
This is truly a wonderful repository of Gay History and I hope that folks from all over the world will do so as well.

it is indeed linda, and it is a tragic fact that much of our "tribal", in the sense of queer tribe, history and experience is about to be lost or is already all but lost, due to oppression, edited history, or most sadly, plague.

 I hope that it will be OK to ask questions as the thread progresses.
,
from my perspective linda, the questions move the dialogue.  aside from the fact that my memory is a jumbled thing at best   i don't think one ever really knows which bits and pieces of their life might be useful to record and share without being prodded a bit.  much of what has directed the course of my life i take for granted, while another far removed gay person or a heterosexual person might not have the slightest clue about.

the courting ritual in front of aguirre's trailer comes to mind as an example.  whether or not that is a courting ritual seems to be up for debate, but for gay men, particularly those of us of those times, the allusion (at the very least) is crystal clear.

keep those questions coming... and the same goes for you younger folks

jack
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Brokeback_1 on March 10, 2007, 03:18:20 AM
I would like to know around what year 'out' gay men in the most sophisticated  cities felt safe from the tire iron; when men living in places like NY or Boston just knew that if they used the streetsmarts  any other person living there had, they'd be just fine.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: fritzkep on March 10, 2007, 09:39:16 AM
Thanks Linda ^^^

Actually, one thing I was considering doing was looking through the library for articles from magazines on homosexuality from the 50s and 60s and reproducing them here.  I know there's one from 1955 about the Boise 'scandal' - how does that sound?

I'll be answering some of my other questions - and I've posted over in the 'over 40' and 'over 50' threads for input.  If you know people I should be asking, please let them know.

mf

I had never heard of the incident in Boise, Michael, so I am looking forward to some info about it. I've got a cousin who lives there, though she moved there only about 15 or so years ago.

Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: phrag3 on March 10, 2007, 09:53:29 AM
Well, I won't be much help here with respect to the Canadian perspective because I was still in highschool during these times and although I knew I liked boys, I really didn't know much more than that. I lived in an even smaller city than Winnipeg, then, and if there was any type of Gay life, I knew not about it.

Perhaps in the next "era" I will be able to say more, but still, except for those who lived in the larger Canadian cities like Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver, there likely will be little to relate to.

Dan

Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: desertrat on March 10, 2007, 10:21:25 AM
not sure whether my contribution is of any value here - if it isn't, please just ignore me. when i was in school, in the 80ties and 90ties, we weren't taught about homosexuality at all. there was a lot of focus on AIDS since it was the "high time" of the epidemia, but homosexuality was not a topic of discussion. however, we were given a lot of freedom in choice of topics to discuss. a lesbian friend of mine (who went to the same school) started discussions about female homosexuality and women's liberation in her class and she had a female literature teacher who was very willing to read the right books and discuss. unfortunately we had another teacher, and she was more into german poets  :-\.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: jack on March 10, 2007, 11:56:53 AM
I would like to know around what year 'out' gay men in the most sophisticated  cities felt safe from the tire iron; when men living in places like NY or Boston just knew that if they used the streetsmarts  any other person living there had, they'd be just fine.
i'll let you know when and where that occurs realistically, as soon as it happens jack.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 10, 2007, 01:23:29 PM
I would like to know around what year 'out' gay men in the most sophisticated  cities felt safe from the tire iron; when men living in places like NY or Boston just knew that if they used the streetsmarts  any other person living there had, they'd be just fine.

i'll let you know when and where that occurs realistically, as soon as it happens jack.

LOL!  What he said! ^^^

Actually this would be much later than the Stonewall era for me.  I had knives pulled on me in the 80s.  The last time I had things thrown at me out of moving cars was in the 90s.  So somewhere around then for me.

Of course, being somewhat nihilistic, I never really let it stop me anyway.  ;D
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Sandy on March 10, 2007, 02:17:56 PM
Thanks Linda ^^^

Actually, one thing I was considering doing was looking through the library for articles from magazines on homosexuality from the 50s and 60s and reproducing them here.  I know there's one from 1955 about the Boise 'scandal' - how does that sound?

I'll be answering some of my other questions - and I've posted over in the 'over 40' and 'over 50' threads for input.  If you know people I should be asking, please let them know.

mf
There was a book about it called, "The Boys of Boise," but I haven't seen it for years.

I had never heard of the incident in Boise, Michael, so I am looking forward to some info about it. I've got a cousin who lives there, though she moved there only about 15 or so years ago.


Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 10, 2007, 03:14:56 PM
Time Magazine
Monday, Dec. 12, 1955
'Crime' section - pg. 25
Idaho Underworld

Boise, Idaho (pop. 50,000), the state capital, is usually thought of as a boisterous, rollicking he-man's town, and home of the rugged Westerner. In the downtown saloons of the city a faint echo of Boise's ripsnorting frontier days can still be heard, but its quiet residential areas and 70 churches give the city an appearance of immaculate respectability. Recently, Boiseans were shocked to learn that their city had sheltered a widespread homosexual underworld that involved some of Boise's most prominent men and had preyed on hundreds of teen-age boys for the past decade.

In a succession of arrests and hearings that rocked Boise, those formally charged included Joe Moore, 54, vice president of the Idaho First National Bank, Attorney Paris T. Martin, 44, John Calvin Bartlett, 28, a high-school teacher in a nearby town, as well as a clerk in a haberdashery, a hospital orderly, a liquor salesman, two interior decorators, a warehouseman, and a buyer for a women's store. Last week Ralph Cooper, 33, a shoeshine boy and ex-convict, was sentenced to life in prison. Interior Decorator Charles H. Gordon, 40, got 15 years. Two other defendants pleaded guilty to committing "infamous crimes against nature." Other arrests and hearings are expected this week.

The scandal was uncovered by Howard Dice, a private detective, after one boy's parents found out what had been going on. In the course of their investigation, police talked with 125 youths who had been involved. All were between the ages of 13 and 20. Usually, the motive—and the lure—was money. Many of the boys wanted money for maintenance of their automobiles (Idaho grants daylight driving permits to children of 14, regular licenses to 15-year-olds). The usual fees given to the boys were $5 to $10 per assignation.

This week the shocked community and the state began a rehabilitation program for the boys. Social workers began to investigate each case, to work out any family problems. A citizens' committee representing virtually every organization in Boise began a campaign to get after-school jobs for the boys, and a special team of psychiatrists will arrive this week from Denver, at the expense of the State Board of Health, to treat the young victims.

Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 10, 2007, 03:39:10 PM
Time Magazine
Monday, Jan. 02, 1956
Adult Responsibility

In a Boise courtroom last week, five more men were sentenced to prison in the city's shocking homosexual scandal (TIME. Dec. 12) in which scores of boys were involved as victims. Joe Moore, vice president of the Idaho First National Bank and a leading citizen, got seven years, and four others drew terms ranging from six months to ten years.

Dr. John L. Butler, chief of Idaho's Department of Mental Health, had publicly opposed sentencing the homosexual adults to prison terms: "We have to build up community supports for them," he said. "One alternative might be to let them form their own society and be left alone." Judge Merlin S. Young disagreed. In sentencing one of the men, the judge said: "As an adult, you have an obligation to the youth of the community."

Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 10, 2007, 03:47:37 PM
The following is from the website 'History of Sodomy Laws in the United States' [http://www.sodomylaws.org/sensibilities/idaho.htm]

There are three reported cases from the Idaho Supreme Court resulting from the infamous "Boys of Boise" affair.38 This now-legendary affair caused one of the most virulent anti-Gay witch hunts in history. The first two cases were decided a week apart in 1956. In State v. Moore,39 the conviction of banker Joe Moore unanimously was upheld as was the right of the trial court to refuse the testimony of a second psychiatrist on behalf of the defendant, after having allowed one to testify.40 The Court also noted that Moore had been involved in "homosexual activity" over a period of "twelve or thirteen years," thus justifying the penitentiary sentence.41 The Court apparently overlooked the fact that, over this 12-13 year period, Moore never had gotten into trouble, and his sexual relations all apparently were consensual.

38 John Gerassi, The Boys of Boise: Furor, Vice and Folly in an American City, (New York:Collier, 1968). Gerassi gives excellent coverage to the news in Boise, as well as to the historical background into what makes Idaho and Boise what they are today, but does not discuss the link between the history and the scandal. The fascinating social history of Idaho is found in pages 129-162. This scandal only barely was discussed in the Mattachine Review and even then with more sympathy for the prosecutors. See the issues of February 1956, pages 2 and 20; and April 1956, page 2.

39 304 P.2d 1101, decided Dec. 4, 1956. Rehearing denied Jan. 9, 1957. The Moore and Wilson cases are not listed in the Idaho Digest. Gerassi’s book details the two appeals on pages 171-173. Any pretense about the charges the men in Boise faced was destroyed by the state’s Attorney General. In the Thirty-Third Biennial Report of the Attorney General of Idaho, page 19, the criminal charges faced by Moore and Wilson were listed as "homosexuality." This was repeated in the following biennial report, page 20.

40 Moore, at 1103.

41 Id. at 1104. Moore was paroled June 4, 1958 and released from parole supervision a little over a year later. (Correspondence from Mark Carnopis, Public Information Officer, Idaho Department of Corrections, Jan. 22, 1997).

Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: fritzkep on March 10, 2007, 03:50:53 PM
This is an entirely new bit of history to me, Michael. Thanks!

Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 10, 2007, 03:56:50 PM
Also check out this article on a similar witch hunt that went on in Sioux City, Iowa in Sept. 1955
[full article at: http://www.sodomylaws.org/usa/iowa/ianews03.htm]

Guilty Until Proven Straight
After Two Children Were Brutally Murdered, Police Incarcerated 22 Innocent Men in a Mental Hospital. Their Crime? They Were Gay.
Boston Phoenix, February 7-14, 2002
126 Brookline Ave., Boston, MA 02215
Fax: 617-536-1463
Email: letters@phx.com
By Neil Miller
It was late in the afternoon on the last Thursday in September, 1955. The sedan in which they were passengers turned off a two-lane highway outside a small town in the hilly country of southeast Iowa, near Burlington. The automobile continued down a drive lined with shade trees. For a moment it had seemed as if it were the approach to an English country house, one like they had seen in the movies—the gracious avenue, the well-tended lawns, the benches dotting the grounds. But that was not the case. Instead the car halted in front of a stark, four-story concrete structure whose institutional wings twisted behind in either direction.

Doug Thorson and Duane Wheeler emerged from the rear of the automobile and were led through an inconspicuous side entrance into the main building of the Mount Pleasant State Mental Hospital.

The men had been traveling all day from Sioux City. They hadn’t eaten throughout the entire 10-hour journey, permitted to stop only to go to the bathroom. Doug and Duane carried no suitcases. They were dressed in the same clothes they had been wearing the day they had been arrested three weeks before, charged with conspiracy to commit a felony.

(article continues online)
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 10, 2007, 04:45:52 PM
Thanks for your comment Fritz - it's an interesting era (glad I didn't have to deal with this sort of thing).  Here's a website for a documentary associated with the events in Idaho:

http://www.fallof55.com/

And there is a podcast associated with the film here:

http://132.178.236.111/stations/npr/fridayfocus.asp?link=1

And here's a review of the film from the Boise Weekly:

http://www.boiseweekly.com/gyrobase/Content?oid=oid%3A162552
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: fritzkep on March 10, 2007, 05:12:20 PM
The Sioux City incident is a new one to me too. And I have read some histories and seen documentaries, so I'm kind of surprised. Of course, perhaps they were mentioned in passing, and I just didn't notice.

Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 10, 2007, 05:35:12 PM
Another interesting case is the case of Bayard Rustin.  Rustin was a pacifist and a war resister in WWII.  He was arrested for 'sex perversion' in 1953:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bayard_Rustin

And singer Johnnie Ray was arrested in 1951 and 1959:

http://www.glbtq.com/arts/ray_j.html
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: maidenofthesea on March 10, 2007, 07:59:54 PM
Thanks Michael! I saved all the links!  :) :-*
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: killersmom on March 10, 2007, 08:17:09 PM
Thanks for all the links and information Michael.
And thank you Jack for your thoughts and input.
As I read and absorb all this, I know that I will have questions, and will ask them, thanks.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 11, 2007, 05:15:42 AM
from my perspective linda, the questions move the dialogue.  aside from the fact that my memory is a jumbled thing at best   i don't think one ever really knows which bits and pieces of their life might be useful to record and share without being prodded a bit.  much of what has directed the course of my life i take for granted, while another far removed gay person or a heterosexual person might not have the slightest clue about.

Jack, when the 60s were going on were you aware of the influence of the beat poets at all?  I ask because I became aware of them in the 70s, and I wonder if they were well known/talked about in your area.  And if your answer is yes were aware of the gay beats (like Ginsberg)?

I know from some discussions I've had with older lesbian friends that the lesbian pulp novels were a big pop culture sort of secret that many of them shared in the 60s.  Were you aware of the gay pulp novels from this period?

What about the AMG (Athletic Model Guild) physique magazines - did you know about those?

Lesbian Pulp link:

http://www.glbtq.com/arts/pulp_paperbacks.html

Wiki on Gay Pulp novels:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gay_pulp_fiction

Athletic Model Guild wiki:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Athletic_Model_Guild

Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 11, 2007, 05:46:09 AM
When I was first coming out (in 1967 - 1968) one of the most important and hopeful things I read about was the Wolfenden report in the U.K. (which lead to the repeal of sodomy laws there).  I managed to find out about this in rural Michigan - does anybody else here remember hearing about it in the 60s?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wolfenden_report
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: merrobot on March 11, 2007, 06:44:19 AM
Lesbian Pulp link:

http://www.glbtq.com/arts/pulp_paperbacks.html

Hi Michael - thank you for all these great links!  I've been reading this thread with interest but haven't contributed anything as I was born in the late 70s so I guess I'll need to wait until you get through a few decades before I can share my experiences  :D  However, I thought I would chip in here as Patricia Highsmith's The Price of Salt (aka Carol) was the first lesbian-themed book I ever read (I even read it before Jeanette Winterson's Oranges are not the only Fruit and Rita Mae Brown's Rubyfruit Jungle).  I didn't realise at the time that it had been written in 1952 - there are elements of this story that spoke to me as a lesbian teenager in the mid-90s and gave me a sense of hope.  I suppose what I am trying to get at is that despite the changes that have taken place over the past fifty or sixty years, some of the same issues and challenges facing the LGBT community that have endured.  On the other hand, there have also been steps forward which must be acknowledged and I think this history thread is a great way of doing this.  I'm really looking forward to hearing more from people  :)
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: jack on March 11, 2007, 07:18:12 AM
before i get to the serious remembrances, i have a guilty secret.  i think i liked some of those "shocking, horrifying depictions of the evils of rampant carnality and forbidden passion" better than some of the later works.  it made my forbidden feelings feel wicked and dangerous...lurk lurk.  ;)   

sad but true.

oh lord yes did i know of the beats.  i was a tiny bit young to be a "practicing" beatnik, and a bit long in the tooth for a real hippie, but i was in there somewhere.  i heard ginsburg in my heart, knew of the city lights bookstore, but kerouac appealed to somewhat lower regions.  stories of cassady and kerouac's adventures in free wheeling sex abounded, and god did they turn on my mind AND my loins.  they were brilliant, adventurous and sexually uninhibited, and all i wanted to be.

and yes, i did have a couple furtively obtained amg mags, even though they didn't really do it for me.  there might at least a couple shots that would fuel some hero fantasies. (i can't wait til we get to the john rechy years, lol).

Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: jack on March 11, 2007, 07:33:06 AM
When I was first coming out (in 1967 - 1968) one of the most important and hopeful things I read about was the Wolfenden report in the U.K. (which lead to the repeal of sodomy laws there).  I managed to find out about this in rural Michigan - does anybody else here remember hearing about it in the 60s?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wolfenden_report
by this time i was in a fairly "hip" university system (now called SUNY).  news of the wolfenden report, and of those first american demonstrations heartened some, and i was one of them.  barbare gittings and frank kameny and jack nichols names were being discussed, and even appearing in the national media.  they were NOT appearing in any local media, you can be sure.

Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 11, 2007, 03:27:27 PM
I've just gotten a great link from Whiplash that I wanted to post here.  At the end of this study guide there is a gay history chronology (which I'll past below).  Here is the link:

http://www.guthrietheater.org/Portals/0/StudyGuide/thief.pdf

And here is the Chronology:

CULTURAL CONTEXT
Gay History in America: 1948 – 2001 A Selected Chronology

1948
Dr. Alfred Kinsey publishes Sexual Behavior in the Human Male. Kinsey is among the first to put forth the idea that sexuality exists as a continuum rather than a dichotomy.

1950
Farm population: 25.1 million (estimated)Farmers make up 12.2% of labor force
Number of farms: 5.4 million

1950-55
Senator Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin conducts an investigation into the presence of Communists and Communist sympathizers in government positions. During the subsequent trials, various lists accuse between 1,000 and 6,000 government workers of homosexuality.

1951
Largely in response to McCarthy’s threats on the homosexual community, Harry Hay organizes the
Mattachine Society in Washington, D.C. The society is formed to provide leadership, unity, and political strength to what Hay called "one of the largest minorities in America today."

1957
Gay poet Allen Ginsberg publishes "Howl," which includes passages referring to acts of homosexual sex occurring at fellow poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s San Francisco bookstore. Police raid the bookstore, seize all copies of the poem, arrest the clerk, and put Ginsberg on trial for obscenity. The judge rules in favor of Ginsberg, concluding that "life is not encased in one formula where everybody acts the same or conforms to a particular pattern."

1960
Farm population: 15.6 million (estimated)
Farmers make up 8.3% of labor force
Number of farms: 3.7 million

1967
Perhaps the most famous and widely read gay newspaper, The Advocate, begins publication in Los
Angeles. Craig Rodwell opens the world’s first gay bookstore, the Oscar Wilde Memorial Bookstore, in New York City.

1968
Mart Crowley’s The Boys in the Band makes its off-Broadway debut. The play, which dissects several
stereotypes and challenges faced by the homosexual community, offers perhaps the most open display of the homosexual lifestyle in popular drama to date.

1969
Canada repeals its laws against sodomy. All fifty U.S. states uphold similar laws under continual
protests. New York City police raid a popular Greenwich Village gay bar, the Stonewall Inn. The street erupts into violent protest. The backlash and several nights of protest that follow—known as the Stonewall Riots—have since been credited with sparking the modern queer liberation movement throughout the world.

1970
Black Panther leader Huey Newton urges blacks to view the Gay Liberation Front as "friends and
potential allies," saying gays "might be the most oppressed people in our society."

The Teachers Advisory Council of Minneapolis approves a Guthrie Theater production about
homosexuality to be shown to more than 1,000 high school students.

Farm population: 9.7 million (estimated)
Farmers make up 4.6% of labor force
Number of farms: 2.8 million

1971 In a controversial letter published nationwide, Ann Landers advises a gay teenager to seek therapy rather than heterosexuality in order to find self-acceptance.

New York City holds its first Gay Pride Parade.

The Equal Rights Amendment, hailed as a keystone for gay rights, passes the U.S. Senate but fails in the House, and is never ratified.

A University of California study shows that prison sentences for sodomy are, on average, the same as those for manslaughter.

1973
The Minneapolis City Council unanimously passes a gay rights ordinance, one of the first of its kind.
The American Psychiatric Association votes to remove homosexuality from its list of psychiatric
disorders, where it had ranked among schizophrenia and other sociopathic disorders.

1974
Minneapolis state Senator Allan Spear publicly admits that he is gay. Spear is among the first openly
gay men to hold a congressional office, and wins re-election for another term.

1975
California passes a bill legalizing all consensual sex between adults, regardless of orientation. It is the first bill of its kind in the nation.

1976
In Doe v. Commonwealth of Virginia, the U.S. Supreme Court upholds the rights of states to pass laws against private homosexual acts between consenting adults.

Presidential hopeful Jimmy Carter expresses support for gay rights, but later revokes his support. Gay rights disappear from the Democratic platform.

1977
Singer Anita Bryant launches a massive national anti-gay campaign "to protect our children" after Dade County, Florida enacts a ban on anti-gay discrimination. Dade County would later repeal the measure under pressure, only to reinstate it due in part to heavy protests nationwide.

1978
Voters in St. Paul overturn a four-year-old gay rights ordinance. Similar reversals occur in cities across
the nation.  San Francisco Mayor George Moscone, gay advocate, and gay Supervisor Harvey Milk are assassinated by Dan White.

1979
The first national March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights draws more than 100,000
demonstrators, the largest rally of its kind to date.

1980
Farm population: 6.1 million
Farmers make up 3.4% of labor force
Number of farms: 2.4 million

1982
Wisconsin passes the first statewide gay rights law.

AIDS-related deaths in the U.S. total 200 at the beginning of this year. An estimated 10 to 20 new cases are discovered each week. Rev. Jerry Falwell calls AIDS "the judgment of God."

1984
Health officials in the United States and France announce the discovery of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

1986
Roy Cohn, closeted homosexual lawyer, infamous anti-gay and anti-Communist crusader, and personal friend of Joseph McCarthy, dies of AIDS.

1987
Over half a million lesbian and gay rights advocates rally in Washington—the largest civil rights march
of any kind to date.

1988
Only eight years after its discovery, the number of U.S. AIDS cases passes 50,000, with 500 new cases reported each week.

1990
President Bush signs into law the first bill against hate crimes based on sexual orientation.
Farm population: 4.6 million
Farmers make up 2.6% of labor force
Number of farms: 2.1 million

1993
President Clinton attempts to remove the long-standing ban on gays in the military. The repeated
discharge of "outed" enlisted gays becomes a national debacle with the compromise "don’t ask, don’t tell" policy.

1998
Matthew Shepard, an openly gay 21-year-old college student, is assaulted and left to die in Laramie,
Wyoming.  54% of Americans reportedly believe homosexuality to be a sin.

1999
Forty states allow known homosexuals to be summarily fired from their jobs, without further cause.
Pfc. Barry Winchell, an openly gay soldier who had been harassed by members of his U.S. Army
company, is murdered in his sleep by an 18-year-old private who beat him to death with a baseball bat.

2000
The Democratic platform for the presidential campaign supports "…continued efforts, like the
Employment Non-Discrimination Act, to end workplace discrimination against gay men and lesbians.
We support the full inclusion of gay and lesbian families in the life of the nation. This would include an equitable alignment of benefits." The Republican platform reads: "…we do not believe sexual
preference should be given specific legal protection or standing in the law."

(Farm statistics from the 1997 Census of Agriculture, USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service.)
— Chronology compiled by Sam Chase, Polly Carl and Michael Bigelow Dixon.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 11, 2007, 05:16:42 PM
Lesbian Pulp link:

http://www.glbtq.com/arts/pulp_paperbacks.html

Hi Michael - thank you for all these great links!  I've been reading this thread with interest but haven't contributed anything as I was born in the late 70s so I guess I'll need to wait until you get through a few decades before I can share my experiences  :D  However, I thought I would chip in here as Patricia Highsmith's The Price of Salt (aka Carol) was the first lesbian-themed book I ever read (I even read it before Jeanette Winterson's Oranges are not the only Fruit and Rita Mae Brown's Rubyfruit Jungle).  I didn't realise at the time that it had been written in 1952 - there are elements of this story that spoke to me as a lesbian teenager in the mid-90s and gave me a sense of hope.  I suppose what I am trying to get at is that despite the changes that have taken place over the past fifty or sixty years, some of the same issues and challenges facing the LGBT community that have endured.  On the other hand, there have also been steps forward which must be acknowledged and I think this history thread is a great way of doing this.  I'm really looking forward to hearing more from people  :)

Yes - I'm looking forward to hearing from more people too!  So far they seem shy.

One thing that both you and Jack have alluded to is the power of popular culture images.  I'm a big believer that pop culture can have an affect far beyond the depth or strength of its images - so lesbian and gay pulp got a lot of people in the 50s and 60s thinking about what their sexuality was before they knew anything about political movements.  And honestly, IMHO, without that there wouldn't have been a movement.  If you don't know you're gay or lesbian, you can't get political.

'The Price of Salt' was very important, I think.  Another important later book was 'Desert of the Heart' by Jane Rule (1964) that was turned into the movie 'Desert Hearts' in 1985.

Another pop writer from this time was Gordon Merrick.  He wrote 'Strumpet Wind' in 1947 - a year before Gore Vidal's 'City and the Pillar' - so it was groundbreaking (and reprinted as 'The Night and the Naked' in 1952) and also 'Demon at Noon' in 1954 (also released as 'Lovers in Torment').
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 11, 2007, 05:42:39 PM
I'm wondering about something - I know that in the 50s and 60s it was considered very risque for married couples to attend drag reviews (Finnochio's and the like).  Did anyone here have their parents go to these places on vacation?  Stories, anyone?

http://www.queermusicheritage.us/oct2002f.html
[very graphic intense - takes forever to load on dialup]

Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 11, 2007, 06:02:28 PM
by this time i was in a fairly "hip" university system (now called SUNY).  news of the wolfenden report, and of those first american demonstrations heartened some, and i was one of them.  barbare gittings and frank kameny and jack nichols names were being discussed, and even appearing in the national media.  they were NOT appearing in any local media, you can be sure.

Thanks for mentioning Barbara Gittings, Frank Kameny and Jack Nichols, Jack.  Particularly since Barbara Gittings just died.  Along with people like Harry Hay, Del Martin and Phyllis Lyons they were true pioneers:

Barbara Gittings

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barbara_Gittings

http://www.glbtq.com/social-sciences/gittings_b.html

http://www.glbthistorymonth.com/glbthistorymonth/bio.cfm?LeaderID=14

Frank Kameny

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_Kameny

http://www.glbtq.com/social-sciences/kameny_f.html

http://www.bnl.gov/bera/activities/globe/kameny.htm

Jack Nichols

http://www.queerculturalcenter.org/Pages/Keehnen/Nichols.html

http://www.lgbtran.org/Profile.aspx?A=O&ID=74

http://thomaskraemer.blogspot.com/2006/09/jack-nichols-1938-2005.html

http://www.signonsandiego.com/uniontrib/20050508/news_lz1j08nichols.html

Harry Hay

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harry_Hay

http://www.counterpunch.org/timmons1025.html

http://bostonphoenix.com/boston/news_features/other_stories/documents/02511115.htm

http://www.infopt.demon.co.uk/hay.htm

http://www.workers.org/2005/us/lavender-red-40/

Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Del_Martin

http://www.classicdykes.com/del_martin.htm

http://cart.frameline.org/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=T578

http://www.noevalleyvoice.com/2003/February/Lyon.html

Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 11, 2007, 06:33:25 PM
Does anyone here know what the issues were surrounding 'community standards' an putting books in libraries in the 40s and 50s?  Here's why I ask - when I was looking at reviews from Gore Vidal's 'City and the Pillar' a review from Library Journal suggested that although it was a good book, you should check laws concerning community standards before ordering the book for the library. 
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: jack on March 12, 2007, 03:48:46 AM
Another pop writer from this time was Gordon Merrick.  He wrote 'Strumpet Wind' in 1947 - a year before Gore Vidal's 'City and the Pillar' - so it was groundbreaking (and reprinted as 'The Night and the Naked' in 1952) and also 'Demon at Noon' in 1954 (also released as 'Lovers in Torment').
i knew gordon merrick would come up.  i did try SO hard to read them, but they were such dreadful potboilers, i couldn't for the life of me get through one.

for the more literarily minded of us there was no dearth of homoerotic reading material by then, if one looked.  james baldwin had begun being published, to great acclaim worldwide and grudging acceptance in the us, gore vidal was an oasis.  allen drury obeyed popular convention and punished his gays, but they seemed oppressed rather than evil, which nudged popular sentiment in the right direction.

somewhere around this time (michael?) mary renult began publishing her histories, and in doing so created some of the best homoerotic fiction ever written (imnsho).  her writing stands up to this day.  (list?)

also, while novels were not as productive, writing for the stage, a for more adult dominated field, was rich with material, and not a little because of one playwright.  tennesee williams.  he added as much to the drama lexicon as shakespeare and ibsen.  and are his plays RICH.  they were often de-gayed when made into movies, but WE knew what he ws writing about, and the original script are there to be read.  did anybody doubt what happened to blanche's young beau that crippled her emotionally enough to drive the narrative of streetcar...

there were others, but i worshipped tennesee.  and later, poor sad truman capote.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: jack on March 12, 2007, 03:53:02 AM
assendum:

it occurs to me that, until the age of the computer, books, the written word, informed my world. 
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: desertrat on March 12, 2007, 04:10:25 AM
I'm wondering about something - I know that in the 50s and 60s it was considered very risque for married couples to attend drag reviews (Finnochio's and the like).  Did anyone here have their parents go to these places on vacation?  Stories, anyone?

http://www.queermusicheritage.us/oct2002f.html
[very graphic intense - takes forever to load on dialup]



hmm...when i read this page it reminded me that drag shows were and still are quite popular in vienna. my parents used to go there from time to time, but that was in the 70ties to 90ties (in the 50ties they were still kids themselves  ;)).
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Nax on March 12, 2007, 05:38:56 AM
Does anyone know right off any books (non-fiction) about being homosexual in the 1950's?
I've scoured the shelves and came up with little to nothing pre-Stonewall.

Any help would be greatly appreciated!  :)
Try "The Naked Civil Servant" by Quentin Crisp, a personal history of his life between about 1930 and 1970 ish
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: jack on March 12, 2007, 06:35:21 AM
not sure the time fo publication, or the covered time, but check out joe orton, prick up your ear
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Nax on March 12, 2007, 08:03:42 AM
OK here’s my contribution, I won’t for my own reasons follow the pattern of Michaels questions, rather just give you a little background and my memories of the late 70’s early 80’s.

Firstly I have know I was gay from a very early age, I didn’t have word for it until much later in life, but I always have and always will be 100% gay.

At 19 I moved to Newcastle, Tyne & Wear (in 1977) I joined a group called CHE – The Campaign for Homosexual Equality; this was the largest group of its kind in the UK.  Homosexuality was still a taboo subject and it was very difficult to be open.  Pubs and clubs of course existed, but you had to be “in the know” to really gain entry; it was not just entry into an establishment but entry into the “community” – almost everyone knew everyone else.  The only alternative of the day for men was cruising known gay meeting places or cottaging which meant meeting others in public toilets, women as in many societies had no chance there was even less on offer for them.

CHE provided not only a political focus but a much needed social focus for a wide range of members; pubs and clubs could be very focuses on the young and older people had fewer available outlets.  We ran everything from bus trips to tupperware parties, marches to pantomimes.  By about 1980 CHE had in the region of 300 members in Newcastle alone.  Members formed the core of activist at that time and the mainstay of political campaigning.  Around 1978 I joined Friend which was a little like Gay Switchboard, it ran a phone service which provided advice in confidence and a befriending service. 

Befriending offered that step to people wanting to get experience of the “Gay community” without strings or commitments, someone to go with them for a drink in a gay pub or out for a night at a gay club or just someone to talk to.  This was one of the most rewarding times of my life as although only twenty, I’d already been around the block a few times and could empathise and relate to people who thought they were alone and marginalised.  Many of the people I befriended as part of that organisation are still friends almost thirty years later – if anything these are the children I could never have and it has been a privilege and a joy to watch them grow.  What is strange is that some of them are older than me!

The 80’s and the 90’s were a revolution, gradually there seemed to be an up welling of tolerance, more exposure of gay characters on TV and in the media (and I mean that in the truest sense of the word) some better than others but it did seem to de-fuse tensions.

Only now in this century do homosexual men and women in this country have a “modicum” of equality.  Employment law forbids discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation, the age limit for legal sex to take place has been reduced for men to 16 same and for heterosexuals (there never has been one for women as Queen Victoria didn’t believe women were capable of the act so no law was ever passed).  There was fierce opposition in the house of Lords to this reduction but the law was eventually changed and I would like to ask those who opposed it – what difference has it made to society – not the death and destruction that you predicted, just a lot of happy people getting on with their lives.

Now we have civil partnerships, OK it’s still not marriage but in terms of legality and how it affects people in a legal status i.e. tax, next of kin status etc they are the same and it’s a public declaration of a right to have a relationship. This is a huge step forward, again there was a lot of opposition from the religious right saying it would cause the downfall of society as we know it (perhaps not a bad thing), but I have asked people with these beliefs how a gay couple living in a stable and legal relationship would affect their lives or lifestyles – what would be the impact? Without fail they have not been able to give me a credible answer.

In some ways it’s been a hard campaign, the marching and the protesting (I can say I was there on the first few Gay pride marches in London). CHE no longer exists and the gay community has diversified and has almost been so assimilated into society that I can’t pin point it anymore as a separate entity.

Some of our straight friends have said just by being who we are, as I include my partner, and behaving the way we do has won over many more people than a multitude of marches would.  There is a time and a place for everything. I am still campaigning just by being me.

Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: ingmarnicebbmt on March 12, 2007, 08:37:09 AM
Some of our straight friends have said just by being who we are, as I include my partner, and behaving the way we do has won over many more people than a multitude of marches would.  There is a time and a place for everything. I am still campaigning just by being me.

Nax, many thanks for this candid and very moving-to-read report of yours, full of intelligent and human insights which are very impressive. I have to go through it many more times to appreciate it all.

I'd just like to single out the last paragraph of your contribution, because exactly the same has been said so many many times by so many many different people - from all backgrounds - about S, my partner-lover-husband (whatever) and myself.

And the way you put it is just, well: true! And wonderful. And honest.
Merci.

Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: jack on March 12, 2007, 09:07:05 AM
thank you so much neil.  i feel i have travelled much the same road, made different by circumstances, like location, addiction and partnership, but much the same arc.  of course, i was never the everday neighbor down the street with the perfect garden, but by being an honest, open, sometimes indignant, upfront gay man contributing to society and to my fellow man, i have swayed a few souls just by living my life unashamedly

i have also used the communication and persuasion skills i possess to good effect as well.  AA both rescued me, and gave me the most effective venue to be an honorable and loving man, and visible to a large, and largely grateful, community of drunks, recovering of course  :D

and they have been the children i didn't have.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: desertrat on March 12, 2007, 09:07:11 AM
CHE no longer exists and the gay community has diversified and has almost been so assimilated into society that I can’t pin point it anymore as a separate entity.

very similar to the situation here in austria. while i think a certain "culture" is slowly getting lost, i also think that's a good sign. the end of the ghettos.. ;)

Quote
Some of our straight friends have said just by being who we are, as I include my partner, and behaving the way we do has won over many more people than a multitude of marches would.  There is a time and a place for everything. I am still campaigning just by being me.

i second what ingmar has said. this is BEAUTIFUL. be just and exactly as you are, that's the best gift to the world you can give !  :-*
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: ingmarnicebbmt on March 12, 2007, 09:13:56 AM


My (written-by-me) books are my children. And, above all, my friends all over the world are my children.

Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: desertrat on March 12, 2007, 09:44:40 AM


My (written-by-me) books are my children. And, above all, my friends all over the world are my children.



same here...plus, i have a cat  ;D
as much as i love my biological family, i like extending the term "family" a bit. friends can be as much family to as my aunt.  ;)



to make this not too much off-topic: i just found a very interesting little bit about gay history i austria - something VERY early:

in 1787, emperor joseph II abandonned an ancient law that ruled for death penality for sodomy. this act made austria the first country in europe to abandon death penality for sodomy (people were still put in jail though - but at least not killed). plus, the text of this new law didn't say anything about sodomy being against nature, so they kept god out of it. h
omosexuality was legalised in 1971. The age of consent was equalized in 2002 by court decision.

more to come...
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Nax on March 12, 2007, 09:54:16 AM
Some of our straight friends have said just by being who we are, as I include my partner, and behaving the way we do has won over many more people than a multitude of marches would.  There is a time and a place for everything. I am still campaigning just by being me.

Nax, many thanks for this candid and very moving-to-read report of yours, full of intelligent and human insights which are very impressive. I have to go through it many more times to appreciate it all.

I'd just like to single out the last paragraph of your contribution, because exactly the same has been said so many many times by so many many different people - from all backgrounds - about S, my partner-lover-husband (whatever) and myself.

And the way you put it is just, well: true! And wonderful. And honest.
Merci.


:-* It's all I can bring myself to write and I appreciate your words.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: tfferg on March 12, 2007, 10:37:11 AM
Here is a rough gay historical timeline from the first European settlement in Australia in 1788:


1700’s
The first recorded execution for sodomy.

1828-63
People found guilty of sodomy are executed.

1899-1900
In the Australian Colonies, the ‘abominable crime of buggery’ is punished by a sentence of life imprisonment.

1951- the NSW Crimes Act is amended to ensure that ‘buggery’ is a criminal act ‘with or without the consent of the person’ – removing legal loophole of consent.

1959 - the first attempt at an organised move towards law reform in the efforts of Laurence Collinson,) who was in contact with reformers in the UK, towards setting up an organisation but nothing concrete eventuated.

1969 - An Australian arm of the Daughters of Bilitis forms in Melbourne and is considered Australia's first gay rights organisation.

1970 - CAMP (Campaign Against Moral Prosecution) is formed in Australia.

1971 - Society Five (a gay rights organisation) is formed in Melbourne Victoria; CAMP organizes the first gay and lesbian demonstration in Australia outside the headquarters of the Liberal Party in Sydney. (The Liberal Party is the major conservative party in Australia.)

1972 - the Dunstan Labor government introduces a consenting adults in private type defence in South Australia; the political activist association, Gay Liberation, is launched at Sydney University. Groups soon flourish on campuses around Australia.

1975 -  South Australia becomes the first state in Australia to make homosexuality legal between consenting adults in private. The first National Homosexual conference is held at Melbourne University, and attracts around 60 delegates. Campaign, the longest running commercial gay magazine in Australia, is launched.

1976 - The Homosexual Law Reform Coalition and the Gay Teachers Group are started; The Australian Capital Territory decriminalizes homosexuality between consenting adults in private and equalizes the age of consent.

1977 -  The first ongoing national campaign ever undertaken by the gay movement in to support Greg Weir who had been refused employment as a teacher in Queensland after acting as spokesperson for a gay group at a teacher's college

1978 - The largest gay rights march in Australia history is held, commemorating the 9th anniversary of the Stonewall riots. Of the approximately 2,000 demonstrators, are arrested on charges of offensive behavior and resisting arrest and beaten up by the police. This was the origin of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras.

1980 -Victoria decriminalizes homosexuality. The ALSO Foundation is established in Melbourne in response.

1981
The first Australia media reference to AIDS is made in the Gay and Lesbian newspaper The Sydney Star Observer.

1982 - New South Wales becomes the first Australian state to outlaw discrimination on the basis of actual or perceived homosexuality. But homosexuality is not decriminalized in NSW, however, until 1984.

1984 - New South Wales and the Northern Territory in Australia make homosexual acts legal. The Australian Medical Association agrees to remove homosexuality from its list of illnesses and disorders.
 
1989 - Western Australia legalizes male homosexuality.

1991 - Queensland decriminalizes sodomy.

1992 - Australia allows homosexuals to serve openly in the military for the first time

1993 - Sodomy laws are repealed in Norfolk Island.

1994 – Australian Capital Territory passes Domestic Relationships Act: first jurisdiction to give same-sex relationships the same legal standing as heterosexual defacto relationships.

UN Human Rights Commission rules that certain Tasmanian legislation discriminates against homosexuals and so breaches the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The Federal Government passes legislation, which establishes the right to sexual privacy, effectively overriding Tasmanian’s anti-gay laws.

1997 - Laws prohibiting private homosexual acts are finally repealed in Tasmania, the last Australian state to do so.

2002 - Western Australia equalizes their age of consent
.
2004 - Australia amends the law to ban same-sex marriage, though it was always restricted to a man and a woman.
 

For a listof gay rights in Austrlai over the last decade, see

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gay_right_in_Australia
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: jack on March 12, 2007, 03:23:07 PM
thank you.  that was enlightening.  far more than i had known previously.  the one that stuck in my craw the most was that in 1992, 15 years ago, the military ban was lifted, and we still haven't accomplished that yet.  good god, this is so not the country i was taught to expect.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Mejack on March 12, 2007, 06:05:16 PM
Just found this thread, and thought I'd share a few memories of a 70-year old.

Stonewall
I lived in Greenwich Village from 1959 to 1973 (except for 1964- 65 in San Francisco). My apartment was on Barrow Street in the Village, just one block from The Stonewall on Christopher.  I remember the 1969 riots well.  I was not at Stonewall that night in June, thankfully, but  word of the disturbance flashed through the little basement gay bar a couple of blocks away where we were. We got out in a hurry, expecting we might be next.  Rushing up Christopher Street, we could see the crowd that had gathered.  We were afraid to get too near.  The fire escape balcony of my little apartment on Barrow gave us a good view, and some safety too. Night after night, the crowds would gather.  At the time, of course, it never occurred to us that this was one of THE turning points in gay history.  But in the daytime, we would gather around the corner in Sheridan Square at Clara's PamPam Restaurant to discuss all the happenings.

Drag Shows
In those days New York's most well-known drag show was at Club 82.  The shows were produced by Kit Russell and everybody who was anybody in show business was among the clientele.  Top performers were Kim August, Vicki Lynn, and Ty Bennett who did a perfect Sophie Tucker.  There were three shows a night, seven nights a week.  The room seated about 300 (I think) and every show was packed.  So that would have been around a thousand guests each evening.

City Lights, 1964-65
I was doing theatrical lighting and had a little apartment in SF's North Beach  The biggest sensation in those days was Carol Doda at the Condor bar, the first topless dancer ever, and with hugh silicone implants.  Down Columbus Avenue was Ferlinghetti's City Lights Bookstore.  By the time I got there, the bohemians and Beat Generation were well established and the bookstore was well known.  I saw things there in print that astonished my gay self. The Hippies and Haight Ashbury were coming into their own, but I wasn't into that culture.  North Beach was the place for gays;  it would be several more years until The Castro.

Paul
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Mejack on March 12, 2007, 09:01:38 PM

Oh yeah, one more thing . . .

1950 - Eighth Grade
I was fooling around quite a bit with the boys.  School principal got wind of it and talked to my parents.  Said it wasn't normal.  Get this -- Mom took me to the family doctor to have me "checked out sexually."  Doc examined my penis and scrotum, said everything was normal, and Mom went away convinced that I was "just fine".  It was a naive world we lived in back then. Come to think of it, I am just fine!

Paul

Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: tfferg on March 12, 2007, 10:20:30 PM
thank you.  that was enlightening.  far more than i had known previously.  the one that stuck in my craw the most was that in 1992, 15 years ago, the military ban was lifted, and we still haven't accomplished that yet.  good god, this is so not the country i was taught to expect.

Jack, how galling it is that our countries are still so cruel and so backward. >:( :( :o :-[ >:( Especially when wwe were brought upto believe in how progressive and enlightened we were. Austalia was in many ways a century ago.

A number of states and territories in Australia are closer to being ready to legislate for civil unions and in the last few months the Australian Capital Territory has put up two Bills which have been vetoed by the Federal government because they have been too much like marriage. Marriage is a Federal government matter, so the states have no power to legislate for marriage and since the ACT and the Northern Territory don't have full self-government as states, the Feds can rescind their laws. The NT passed a voluntary euthanasia law a few years ago for the terminall ill - it was rescinded by the Feds.

As well as being backward on gay marriage, Australia has a worsening record on the treatment of asylum seekers, refugees and immigrants, the homeless, Indigenous people, industrial relations, education. The response to terrorism has resulted in draconian sedition laws and an erosion of hman rights. We don't have a Bill of Rights.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 12, 2007, 10:37:39 PM
Tony, Paul and Neil - thanks so much for your thoughtful contributions.  They are much appreciated.

Tony - a question for you: was Dennis Altman the 'father' of Gay Liberation in Australia?  I remember when he wrote 'Homosexual Liberation and Oppression'.  Was he an important figure in the movement over there or were there earlier people you would point to?

Paul - I'll be quoting from some of your selections to ask you specific questions.   :-*
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 12, 2007, 11:06:14 PM
Okay!  A few questions about this sir!

In the films I've seen about Stonewall and before there were often signals in the bars that the cops were coming - lights flashing on and off and the like (so that people would stop dancing or switch from same sex dancing to opposite sex dancing).  Do you remember anything like that?

Were the clubs/bars in New York and San Francisco integrated with both men and women, black and white?  I know that there were an awfully lot of lesbian bars in North Beach in the 40s and 50s.  Did people mix much?  I ask this because by the 70s (at least in Michigan) things seemed pretty segregated - both on the basis of race and sex.

Was the gay area in New York Greenwich village - or was there a gay area around the jazz clubs in midtown Manhattan?  Did you ever see Frances Faye?

When you were in North Beach was Finnochio's already considered mostly a bar for tourists?  Did you ever see Jose Saria (the Emperess Norton) perform while you were here?  Did you know anyone who was involved in the Society for Individual Rights?  Were you living in town when the New Year's Ball for Council on Religion and the Homosexual was busted by the police (New Year's Eve, 1965)?

I'm sure I'll think of more - but that's all I can think of now.  Thanks so much for sharing!!!

Just found this thread, and thought I'd share a few memories of a 70-year old.

Stonewall
I lived in Greenwich Village from 1959 to 1973 (except for 1964- 65 in San Francisco). My apartment was on Barrow Street in the Village, just one block from The Stonewall on Christopher.  I remember the 1969 riots well.  I was not at Stonewall that night in June, thankfully, but  word of the disturbance flashed through the little basement gay bar a couple of blocks away where we were. We got out in a hurry, expecting we might be next.  Rushing up Christopher Street, we could see the crowd that had gathered.  We were afraid to get too near.  The fire escape balcony of my little apartment on Barrow gave us a good view, and some safety too. Night after night, the crowds would gather.  At the time, of course, it never occurred to us that this was one of THE turning points in gay history.  But in the daytime, we would gather around the corner in Sheridan Square at Clara's PamPam Restaurant to discuss all the happenings.

Drag Shows
In those days New York's most well-known drag show was at Club 82.  The shows were produced by Kit Russell and everybody who was anybody in show business was among the clientele.  Top performers were Kim August, Vicki Lynn, and Ty Bennett who did a perfect Sophie Tucker.  There were three shows a night, seven nights a week.  The room seated about 300 (I think) and every show was packed.  So that would have been around a thousand guests each evening.

City Lights, 1964-65
I was doing theatrical lighting and had a little apartment in SF's North Beach  The biggest sensation in those days was Carol Doda at the Condor bar, the first topless dancer ever, and with hugh silicone implants.  Down Columbus Avenue was Ferlinghetti's City Lights Bookstore.  By the time I got there, the bohemians and Beat Generation were well established and the bookstore was well known.  I saw things there in print that astonished my gay self. The Hippies and Haight Ashbury were coming into their own, but I wasn't into that culture.  North Beach was the place for gays;  it would be several more years until The Castro.

Paul

Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 12, 2007, 11:13:56 PM
BTW, here's a San Francisco Gay timeline:

http://www.kqed.org/topics/history/heritage/lgbt/timeline.jsp#1960s
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: tfferg on March 13, 2007, 12:32:59 AM
Tony - a question for you: was Dennis Altman the 'father' of Gay Liberation in Australia?  I remember when he wrote 'Homosexual Liberation and Oppression'.  Was he an important figure in the movement over there or were there earlier people you would point to?

Michael, I can’t rely on my memory which is rather vague, especially as I wasn’t a gay activist,so I don’t have an inside view. I did read Homosexual Oppression and Liberation when it was first published.

The Bulletin, a national newsweekly a bit like Time magazine included Dennis Altman in its list of the 100 most influential Australians thus:

"Sexual theorist

"Dennis Altman, a professor of politics at La Trobe University in Melbourne, is to the gay liberation movement what Germaine Greer is to feminism. His seminal book Homosexual: Oppression and Liberation was published in 1971, two years after the Stonewall riots kicked off gay liberation, and became the touchstone of the gay movement. Altman, who grew up in Tasmania, was the first well known gay to “come out” at a time when such openness was revolutionary. He broke the ground that led to the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, the largest festival in the country. When the Grim Reaper crashed the party, Altman redirected his powerful intellect and restless curiosity towards fighting the AIDS pandemic. He is president of the AIDS society of Asia and the Pacific, and has recently published the landmark Global Sex, which analyses the connectivity of sex, global politics and economics."

BTW, the Grim Reaper is a reference to the government’s first TV campaign re AIDS. It featured the Grim Reaper mowing people down including small children. Dennis and other gays helped to change the official approach from terror tactics to public education and health programs. They worked with a very receptive Health Minister, Neal Blewett. Gay community groups set up Gay Men’s Health Centres and outreach programs with government support. Unfortunately, now when public education about AIDS needs updating, there is no Federal government consultation with gay communities. The current Health Minister is a fanatical Catholic and the government that has been in power for over a decade now regards any group that was consulted by the previous government as an illegitimate and elite special interest group to be completely excluded.

The last time I personally saw Dennis in public was at a seminar at La Trobe University about 5 or 6 years ago to critique the government’s racist fear campaign and cruel treatment of asylum seekers who arrive by boat without visa.

Wiki says:

"Mr. Dennis Altman. MA (1943-) was a Fullbright scholar at Cornell University in the 1960s when he met and began working with leading gay activists in the United States. Returning to Australia in 1969, he taught politics at the University of Sydney, and in 1971, published his book Homosexual: Oppression and Liberation - considered an important intellectual contribution to the ideas that shaped Australia's gay liberation movement. In 2005, he also published Gore Vidal's America...

"In 1985, Altman accepted an appointment at La Trobe University, where he later became Professor of Politics; he was appointed the visiting Chair of Australian Studies at Harvard University from January 2005.[1]

"Altman has delivered speeches on the topic of sexual liberation, one of his most known and appreciated speeches, 'Human Beings Can be Much More Than They Have Allowed Themselves to be', was delivered at the first Gay Liberation group meeting at Sydney University on January 19, 1972. This was at a time when homosexuality was considered 'shadowy' and 'ill understood'.

"Dennis Altman is also an active member of organisations that are dedicated to the amelioration of life for homosexuals, serving on the Australian National Council on AIDS and other International organisations including the AIDS Society of Asia and the Pacific, of which (as of the 2005 Kobe ICAAP Congress) he is President[2]. Although strongly identified with Gay Rights, Dennis Altman also contributes to more widely based organisations. In October 2006 he was elected to the Australian board of Oxfam [3]."




Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 13, 2007, 12:36:20 AM
BTW, the Grim Reaper is a reference to the government’s first TV campaign re AIDS. It featured the Grim Reaper mowing people down including small children.

Yes.  I saw this in the 80s.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Mejack on March 13, 2007, 07:42:11 AM

In the films I've seen about Stonewall and before there were often signals in the bars that the cops were coming - lights flashing on and off and the like (so that people would stop dancing or switch from same sex dancing to opposite sex dancing).  Do you remember anything like that?

The club I frequented most often (and I can't for the life of me remember it's name) had a basement entrance from the street.  Right from the sidewalk, it was down a flight of stairs to the door.  The doorman watched carefully and he controlled the light switch.  The lights didn't flash, they just "went on" and that happened frequently.  The room was shoulder to shoulder and slow-dancing was the thing, and so damned illicit!  When the lights were on, the dancing stopped and the music continued. 

Quote
Were the clubs/bars in New York and San Francisco integrated with both men and women, black and white?  I know that there were an awfully lot of lesbian bars in North Beach in the 40s and 50s.  Did people mix much?  I ask this because by the 70s (at least in Michigan) things seemed pretty segregated - both on the basis of race and sex.

In Greenwich Village the bars were not segregated but were mostly white because few blacks lived in the area.  Those who frequented the bars always seemed to be welcomed. I knew of two gay bars in Harlem.  Since we're speaking historically, and seeking to understand the flavor of that era, those bars were referred to as "dinge bars" and the patrons were "dinge queens."  In the Village there was at least one lesbian bar, probably more, but I just wasn't aware.  In San Francisco, the clientele of the North Beach bars I frequented were maybe 20% female.

Quote
Was the gay area in New York Greenwich village - or was there a gay area around the jazz clubs in midtown Manhattan?  Did you ever see Frances Faye?

Fraawnces Faye! Yes!  She played mostly the midtown jazz clubs, but I saw her in the Village at Bon Soir on Eighth Street. She sang "Night and Day, Olé! Olé, What is there to say? Frances Faye, Gay, gay, Gay, gay, Is there another way?"  I'll always remember her saying "When you're pretty it doesn't matter how you wear your hair."  The Bon Soir was very popular especially among the more affluent gays.  We often went to see Mabel Mercer and do you remember Jorie Remus?  And Bobby Short?  They all had huge gay followings, and when they weren't in New York they were in San Francisco at the Purple Onion.  I don't remember any gay bars around the jazz clubs, but I didn't venture uptown very often.

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When you were in North Beach was Finnochio's already considered mostly a bar for tourists?  Did you ever see Jose Saria (the Emperess Norton) perform while you were here?  Did you know anyone who was involved in the Society for Individual Rights?  Were you living in town when the New Year's Ball for Council on Religion and the Homosexual was busted by the police (New Year's Eve, 1965)?

Yes, by the mid sixties, Finnochio's was for tourists.  I never saw Jose Saria because the Black Cat Cafe had closed a year or so before I arrived. 


Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here: Some Brisbane snippets
Post by: BBM-Intern on March 13, 2007, 09:20:30 AM
Hi there everyone,

Wow, so many detailed and thoroughly researched pieces here, what I'm about to say is but a rambling of personal anecdotes I've heard from GLBTI friends who lived through an earlier era in Brisbane, as well as a bit of news.

Despite Brisbane being the capital of Queensland (you'd think they'd get the "queen" bit right!), it wasn't a particularly easy place being gay, circa the turbulent 70's which could be regarded as the beginning of gay rights in Australia.  Queensland had very restrictive liquor licencing laws to start with, with pubs closing at 1800, hence the "six o'clock swill".  There were places around town that gay and lesbian men visited, but these had to remain low key.  For example, a bar which was very close to the current Queensland Parliament was under surveillance in the Joh era, as there was an attempt to hold an AIDS meeting/conference when the illness first struck the community.  Apparently, there were police cars parked nearby taking notes of those who went in and out, as well as registration plates of those there.

I keep hearing stories even today of the brave attempts of the St Luke's Nursing Sisters, an Anglican order of nursing staff, who took it upon themselves to provide treatment services for gay men with HIV-AIDS in the 80's.  Back then, this service was illegal, and there was also the risk of a police raid.  The head nursing sister told us she kept a big magnet for the purposes of waving it over the computer that held patient records, as that was purported to be the way to erase the records quickly.  There wasn't too much known about the illness in the early days, so the nurses decided to conduct blood tests in the community, but the identities of men had to be concealed with anonymous numbers.  Apparently, the sisters went to these gay bars and took blood samples then and there, asking guys to lie down on pool tables!  These were the brave sisters that often tended, comforted and nursed those struck down by HIV-AIDS too, sometimes there to see their patients till the very end, holding their hands as they slipped from this world.

The days of Joh Bjelke-Petersen, one of the former premiers of Queensland were dark days indeed - police corruption, illegal sp bookmaking, prostitution were just some of the activities condoned; not only condoned, and a number of corrupt police officers were themselves involved, leading to the sacking and jailing of the police commissioner.

But thanks to the brave men and women of the past, we now live in a state that is much better.  For example, I sing with the local GLBTI choir and we have performed and been invited back for two years running now, to sing at the local Royal Exhibition Show (Ekka).  Traditionally, it's quite conservative, it's an event for the rural to come to the big smoke, so it must be an eye-opener for some.  But we get to sing at the Ekka, and dress up as we like.  Always a warm reception, and it really thrills me to think that in the years gone by, not only would we have been booed and jeered, we would probably be arrested and being subject to police brutality or worse.

Last Thursday (8-March-2007), the GLBTI choir sang at the local council library at New Farm.  Again, another battle won.  The lesbian community in the suburb of West End had a collection of books which they managed as a private lending library, but wanted someone else to take over the management of these books.  When they approached the local library, they were told, "There are no lesbians in West End!" (or words to that effect).  So, through persistence and perseverance, those championing our cause approached the New Farm library, and now the books have a permanent home.  Not only that, but Gary Dunne from Sydney, a GLBTI publisher donated out-of-print books on Australian GLBTI fiction and writings to augment the collection significantly.  So, the choir sang to mark the opening of this new selection; our books are now also available to the wider community.  They even had book readings from some young gay writers.  If you want a taste of Australian gay literature (free!), see http://www.gay-ebooks.com.au.  Contains some great reading and even recipes.

Our battles are far from over, but we shall overcome!!
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: jack on March 13, 2007, 10:38:02 AM
michael, et al, i have a bit of input here as well.  the areas i dealt with in the early years were upstate ny, around albany, and miami beach, coconut grove, and miami.  i did occassionally day trip to the nyc, but certainly could add little except that there were a couple theatres showing rather nasty gay porn (perhaps the reason f**k films turn me off to this day) and bookstores with real books and picture books.

most of the bars i went to in the sixties and early seventies did indeed have multiple rooms.  the front often served customers, gay and straight, looking to drink and maybe score.  a locked or manned door would be behind that, and either recognition or a cover charge would get you behind that door, where dancing and necking was possible. in albany, even this was beyond the pale, and bartenders would routinely caution patrons becoming over friendly.  in my experience in the 60's, those bars that were patronised by both men and women most often had separate rooms, or the lesbians would be in the more sedate front room.
 there were always alert sytems, and i do remember flashing redlights, and raised house lights. shortly thereafter the cops would make their pass, pick up their payoff, harass a couple queers and be on their way.  most bars of my experience were run by the mafia, with close ties to local governments.  queers were quite the cash cow in those days, being shaken down by the cops, the mafia and each other.

the bars of my recollection were almost always segregated... but then, so were all the bars of that era, although usually unofficially.  oddly, the only gay bar i ever saw that was integrated during those years was a lively dive in charleston, west virginia.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: atruant on March 13, 2007, 11:37:54 AM
Michael, et al....

The inputs on this thread have been extremely educational for boys like me, that being a closeted gay until a few years ago. As such I never experienced the lifestyle, bars or the abuse that openly-gay folks encountered in the sixties. There being no internet and almost zero treatment of homosexuality on TV or film, I had to educate myself surreptitiously. This was not easy to do living on a number of military bases in Canada and Europe. Early on I chose not to come out mainly because I wanted a flying career in the air force, where, until 1992, being openly gay was grounds for dismissal.

From a societal point of view, I do have a comment. My four years of high school were spent in the second oldest and largest school in a major Canadian city. Homosexuality was rarely a subject of conversation, and when it was there was little derision. This was Canada and a very liberal environment, even then. 

Respectfully,
John
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 13, 2007, 02:24:22 PM
Hi John!  Welcome!

To the degree that you are willing and able to talk about it, could you reflect at all on what attitudes were towards homosexuality in the Canadian military in this period?  I know that the late (great) Pierre Trudeau removed homosexuality from the Criminal Code of Canada in 1969.  Was there much response to this within the military?

Any info you can give would be much appreciated and if you don't know/remember that's fine too.

Great to see you here.

mf

Michael, et al....

The inputs on this thread have been extremely educational for boys like me, that being a closeted gay until a few years ago. As such I never experienced the lifestyle, bars or the abuse that openly-gay folks encountered in the sixties. There being no internet and almost zero treatment of homosexuality on TV or film, I had to educate myself surreptitiously. This was not easy to do living on a number of military bases in Canada and Europe. Early on I chose not to come out mainly because I wanted a flying career in the air force, where, until 1992, being openly gay was grounds for dismissal.

From a societal point of view, I do have a comment. My four years of high school were spent in the second oldest and largest school in a major Canadian city. Homosexuality was rarely a subject of conversation, and when it was there was little derision. This was Canada and a very liberal environment, even then. 

Respectfully,
John
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 13, 2007, 07:57:02 PM
For those of you who may have wondered about Francis Faye (who Paul and I have been chatting about) she was an openly gay performer in the 50s and 60s.  And, as Paul recalled, she used to sing:
"Frances Faye, gay, gay, is there another way?"

Here is a brief biography from wikipedia:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frances_Faye

And here is a wonderful archive with photos:

http://www.tyleralpern.com/francesfaye.html

And another biography:

http://www.glbtq.com/arts/faye_f.html

One of the important things Francis Faye brings to light is that even in a time when it wasn't all that easy to be lesbian or gay, people were having lots of fun.  That's one of the important things to remember - that we have made the best of bad times!

It's particularly important to remember this when we talk about people like Johnnie Ray and Bayard Rustin getting arrested - that wasn't happening to everybody, and there were people having a good time together.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 13, 2007, 08:22:47 PM
And speaking of people who had a good time...there was a review called 'The Jewel Box Review' that toured in the 50s and 60s - it had both male and female impersonators and was a forerunner of the La Cage Aux Folles show.  Here is a page on the documentary made about that show:

http://www.wmm.com/filmcatalog/pages/c217.shtml

And here is a blog on it as well:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ed-hamilton/drag-summit-takes-place-i_b_23843.html
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 13, 2007, 08:31:24 PM
Here is another event which shows that the times before Stonewall were not all grim - Truman Capote's Black and White Ball at the Plaza Hotel on November 28, 1966.  Here is a book about the event:

http://www.powells.com/cgi-bin/biblio?isbn=0471659665

And here is an excerpt from another book that talks about it:

http://www.randomhouse.com/boldtype/1297/plimpton/excerpt.html

And another article on it from 'The Independent':

http://news.independent.co.uk/world/americas/article360057.ece
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: tfferg on March 13, 2007, 09:43:31 PM
Yes, people had fun in the bad old days in Australia, too. I remember reading something once about some gay guys having a wonderful time in the army during the Second World War. I believe there was a gay bar in the basement of the Australia Hotel in the more upmarket Collins Street in the centre of Melbourne. But I think most gay socializing went on in a network of private parties at people’s houses or apartments. I heard of gays getting together on a secluded stretch of the banks of the Yarra River in Warrandyte, an outer north-eastern suburb that developed from an old gold-mining town that became a Sunday drive destination. There’s still quite a lot of bush and native vegetation parks there.

In the 1960s, I was in the chorus of the Gilbert & Sullivan Society at the Secondary Teachers College. One of the directors, the rehearsal pianist and other members were gay, but I didn’t realize it at the time – I was a very late developer. In 1969 or 1970, a gay friend and I were invited by one of the new members to his men-only 21st birthday party and everybody was to be in drag. I think my friend and I were assumed to be a couple because we came to rehearsals and left together. (But it was actually because I used to drive him and we’d go back to where he lived and have supper with his wife, who was a dear friend of mine.)

I couldn’t take the idea of drag seriously, so we went to a theatrical costume hire business and I picked out a 19th century style white satin and lace gown and was disappointed when my friend chose a dinner suit. On the night of the party, I had to go to a family dinner, but left early, went to my friends’ house to change into my costume and my woman friend did my shortish hair in a more feminine style. I added blue greasepaint to my lips and eyelids. Looking back, I guess it was more like genderfuck than drag. My friend drove the car across the city, and every time we saw a cop, I slipped down in the seat out of sight. Even cross-dressing was a criminal offence in those days.

The party was in a house in a very wealthy suburb. When we rang the doorbell, we were scrutinized through a crack before we were invited inside. My friend gave me his arm and we made a formal entrance into the living-room. I was rather taken aback to find it was full of what looked like long-legged South Yarra dolly-birds, with long hair, micro-mini dresses and make-up. They were shocked and hardly anyone spoke to me. One man I knew asked me to dance and told me that I was ‘outrageous’. He meant it literally I think. Later, everybody changed into straight male clothing and went to somebody’s apartment in a rather racier suburb for coffee.

I was never invited to anything else, but my gay married friend got very involved with people he met at the party and it led to his coming out. It wasn’t long before he was running a Gay Lib film society.

I met some other people through him on another occasion in the late 60s or early 70s and I have a vague memory of driving around town with a carload of gay guys having a good time. There was a restaurant or club on the lake at Albert Park, an inner suburb that had gay-friendly dances on Saturday or Sunday nights
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: jack on March 14, 2007, 05:42:12 AM
And speaking of people who had a good time...there was a review called 'The Jewel Box Review' that toured in the 50s and 60s - it had both male and female impersonators and was a forerunner of the La Cage Aux Folles show. 

ahhh, yes.  the jewel box.  i had almost forgotten it.   somehow, and i suppose this could be checked, it seems to me that the jewel box revue made its way to albany every few years for a time.  i think, dusting some very hoary memories, that it travelled the remains of the old vaudeville circuit.  if i am not mistaken, they even made some television appearances, possibly even ed sullivan or the like.  i will be curious to know if anyone else remembers this.   
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: jack on March 14, 2007, 05:50:54 AM
i am not sure if this is history of personal, but i had little fun as an out gay man, other than the near religious ecstasy of the disco/dance clubs, and it was inevitably fuelled by booze and/or drugs.  something primeval occurred, much as might be found in tribal gatherings or revival meetings.  my social construct did not include the white ball or its ilk.

i think this may be history, in that while the party life certainly deserves mention and celebration, i suspect for many gay men and lesbians, life was considerably grimmer.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 14, 2007, 01:52:58 PM
Paul has alerted me to a wonderful site that talks about gay life in New York in the 40s and 50s.  Please be aware that this is quite long (I haven't finished reading it yet), but it is certainly worth a gander:

http://www.nycnotkansas.com/WhatAWonderful.htm
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: brian on March 14, 2007, 02:31:38 PM
Tfferg’s (Tony?) post has brought back some rather painful memories for me. I was a member of CAMP and Gay Liberation and one of the founding members of Gay Teachers (GAYTAS - Gay Teachers and Students) here in Australia. An article (anonymous) I wrote in the magazine about being an openly gay teacher  in a Catholic Senior Boys’ College received wider publicity than I expected, mentioned in parliament and mainstream newspapers. I was rather surprised I kept my job as it was widely believed the Catholic education authorities knew who it was.
I was at the conference in 1978 from which the march generated that led to many arrests and eventually the development of Mardi Gras. Fortunately I did not participate in the march or I might have lost my job but I did take part in processions for many years afterwards. However that was all in the 70’s and I understand you are talking about the 50’s and 60’s which I only know from hearsay as during much of that time I did not even know what a homosexual was.
 My parents never discussed sex and never showed any romantic feelings between them in front of us except a peck on the cheek. I was very involved in the church and thought I was very virtuous but really had no temptations with girls.  I remember having all-over tingles when being fitted for clothes by a good looking shop assistant and I was very attracted to the wilder boys  at my school . I thought I was witnessing to them. I vividly remember one of them masturbating another friend at the back of the room one day (The teacher had no class control :) ) I asked “Why don’t you do that to me?” and he replied “Because you are religious”  What could I say?. I was sitting with another guy one day and he was writing a story about boy/girl meeting and getting more and more detailed then he wrote “They were rude, very rude” and finished. I was so disappointed as I had no idea (age 16) of how sex occurred. I did not find out about a woman’s anatomy  until I was in my late 20’s and having therapy for my homosexual perversion when they showed me photos of naked men followed quickly by photos of naked women and thus initiated my interest in pornography :)
When I went to university in 1962 and studied Psychology I found out what homosexuality was and began to realise that described me. However I still did not know anyone else. (Although I have met several friends from those times since). One particularly close friend from school was also religious but told me a year or so ago  he was doing the beats after school. I was amazed.
When I got my first car at age 19 I began hanging around bikie gangs and my sister saw me on the back of a bike and almost hysterically contacted a friend, the son of my minister. As a result I went to a psychiatrist  who warned me my career as a teacher was in jeopardy if  did not change. I had never wanted to be anything else except teach or enter the ministry which I realised would also be a problem. Still my only knowledge of homosexuals was dirty old men who hung around toilets.
I began teaching in high schools and regularly became infatuated with my senior students.  I was very popular as I took them surfing and camping and again believed I was helping them and some are still friends today and I am always invited to school reunions to learn about their grandchildren.
It was when I was crying over one of these boys preferring to go out with his girlfriend rather than me that I told my mother and again I was back at a  psychiatrist and  eventually undergoing the treatment to which I referred. The result was an engagement that I broke 6 months later. I left church activities (but not my beliefs) and began spending time at the pub with older and ex-students. I soon learnt how affectionate guys are after they have had a few too many drinks. I did begin to answer advertisements in the gay magazines that could now be purchased but these were furtive appointments and totally separate from my real life.
An overseas trip in 1974 and purchasing my own home in 1976 coincided with gay rights becoming regular news items and I began to join the organisations with which I started this story but as I said that was in the 70’s.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 14, 2007, 05:50:06 PM
Thanks very much for an interesting post Brian.  I'll comment in depth in a bit.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 14, 2007, 05:51:09 PM
For those interested in film history, the discussion of the book 'The Celluloid Closet' will begin on April 2nd:

http://www.davecullen.com/forum/index.php?topic=21097.0
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 14, 2007, 11:50:34 PM
And speaking of 'The Celluloid Closet' - I came across this article on the film 'Before Stonewall' while doing research on Vito:

Rare Documentary Opens Closets To History Of Gay Life
John Hartl
Seattle Times
Oct 20, 1985. pg. L.3

It isn't easy to create a feature-length documentary about the history of the American gay-rights movement when that movement didn't surface publicly until the late 1960s and early 1970s.

First you have to raise the money, mostly from small investors. Then you have to dig up newsreels, movies and other archival footage from that very closeted era. And you have to find people who are willing to talk about growing up during a period in which Americans lost their jobs and were even sent to asylums for admitting a preference for the same sex.

The creators of ``Before Stonewall,'' which opened this weekend at the Grand Illusion Theater, spent most of the past five years working on the movie, which won an award last spring as the best documentary at the Los Angeles Film Exposition (FILMEX). The title refers to the riots at the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village that established a militant gay community in 1969. The filmmakers have given the movie a subtitle, ``The Making of a Gay and Lesbian Community.''

``It's the history of people whose history isn't recorded,'' said Greta Schiller, who co-directed the film with Robert Rosenberg and visited Seattle this week for the opening. ``Documentaries give people who don't have much of a voice a chance to express themselves.

``We spent a lot of time on fund-raising, which was formidable, and we've had to stop a number of times because we were broke. But we felt that the 1980s were the right time for an introduction to gay history on film, and we want other films to grow out of this. We're hoping films like `Before Stonewall' and `The Times of Harvey Milk' will get Americans to acknowledge the contributions of gays and lesbians, to see them as equals.''

A film-school graduate from City College of New York, Schiller got her start on the project when she co-produced ``Greetings From Washington, D.C.,'' a 30-minute 1979 film about a gay-rights march on Washington,D.C. Deciding to expand on that, she and Rosenberg began working with 18 part-time researchers around the country, looking for home movies of gay weddings and snapshots of lovers, and trying to uncover hidden material. Notices in gay publications produced a flood of mail to the filmmakers.

``We had a list of code words and subjects that made it easier to find information about gays and lesbians before the late 1960s,'' she said. If, for instance, newspapers in the 1950s referred to someone as an ``introvert,'' that probably meant that he or she was gay. If someone was arrested on a ``morals charge,'' it might mean simply that he or she had been present at a gay bar.

One of her assistants was Vito Russo, who hopes to make a film of his 1981 book about gays in the movies, ``The Celluloid Closet,'' and helped her with a section of ``Before Stonewall'' that deals with gay cowboys.

``We found some of the most amazing scrapbooks and pictures, but a lot of it we couldn't use,'' said Schiller. ``They were of people who had been in the closet for 40 years and didn't want their parents or children to know.''

While she was able to get the rights to use a clip from the Beryl Reid usannah York movie, ``The Killing of Sister George,'' which shows Hollywood's version of a lesbian bar in 1969, Schiller couldn't afford to pay for a similar clip of a gay male bar from the 1962 movie, ``Advise and Consent.'' Although CBS did an hour-long special in 1967 about homosexuals, she said, the network was ``touchy'' about the subject and wouldn't allow her to use any of the material.

She added that getting newspaper coverage of the movie, which opened in June in New York, has been a problem as well. The New York Times' mainline critics, Vincent Canby and Janet Maslin, told her they didn't review documentaries, so a TV critic did the review. The New York Post's critic, Archer Winsten, wrote that he'd lived through the 1950s and remembered that ``these controversialists are the ones who sought and found trouble.'' He concluded that the movie makes the past ``seem much more foolish than it actually was.''

Schiller said these attitudes still make it particularly difficult for well-known homosexuals to ``come out'' on film and talk about their experiences.

``Professionals still have a high-risk factor,'' she said, ``and it isn't always possible for them to discuss their private lives. If people showed any indication of wanting to talk, I'd go to their homes and get to know them, make them feel comfortable, before we'd film anything. We especially wanted people who aren't gay activists now, who had grown up in a more repressive time.''

One of the best talkers in the movie is Johnnie Phelps, a former WAC who confronted her commanding general, Dwight D. Eisenhower, when he tried to get rid of all the lesbians in her battalion. When she informed him that 97 percent of the women in her battalion were gay, including herself, he canceled the order.

``She has an amazing storytelling ability,'' said Schiller. ``No matter how many times she told that one, it always came out exactly the same way.''

Part of the movie was shot in Seattle's Pioneer Square, and Schiller was tempted to do an episode about a 1950s gay witch hunt in Boise, Idaho - which did become the subject of a Channel 9 documentary, ``The Boys From Boise,'' several years ago. She did one interview here with a man who recalled leaving Boise, which was his home town, because he was afraid he might be named.

``That situation was so hysterical and repressive,'' she said. ``We could have done episode after episode about that kind of thing. It wasn't at all isolated. But we finally had to cut back. This started out as a 60-minute film about the 1950s, but that turned out to be the tip of the iceberg. We started adding more material, and our first cut ran about 2 1/2 hours. We shot more than 100 hours of interviews.''

Schiller is now editing a documentary about a 1940s all-woman jazz band, The International Sweethearts of Rhythm, and wants her next project to be a film about the writer Willa Cather. She's also thinking of making a shorter film, incorporating some of the ``Before Stonewall'' material she had to leave on the cutting-room floor, that would examine the way gay people view themselves. But she doesn't have the highest hopes for the future of documentaries.

``I think `60 Minutes' and `20/20' are murdering them,'' she said. ``Everything is done in an `objective' interview format. They don't have the passion of documentary filmmakers, the love of the subject. We find our creative voice in who we interview, and how we shoot the interview.''

Still, ``Before Stonewall'' is the first film about gays to get a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Even ``Word Is Out,'' the 1978 collection of interviews with gay people that was finally telecast on the Public Broadcasting System, didn't have that kind of support until it was finished and PBS decided to show it.

Schiller hopes to see ``Before Stonewall'' widely shown on PBS next year. She thinks, however, that a letter-writing campaign will be necessary to get it telecast on the PBS affiliates that are sensitive about the subject and which refused to show ``Word Is Out.''
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: jack on March 15, 2007, 03:32:52 AM
i would like to propose an idea here, as some of we oldies share.  first, we are indeed tough old birds.  we had to be to survive.

and second, while we may have come a long long way on our personal psychological and spiritual journey, few of us have managed to come all the way we might hope for.  the journey isn't over until it is over.

and these early years we speak of damaged many of us, and later events, such as the backlash to the early gay rights movement, the onset of hiv-aids (grid, as it was first known), and doma-dadt have knocked the pins out from under us each time we start reclaiming our personhood. 

the miracle is they we are still around, fighting, dreaming, hiding or reaching out.  and many of us are gathered here, brought here by a film, bringing what spirit and gift we possess and sharing what we can.  kudos to us, dinged up and wobbly as we may be at times.  remember, if you can, that growing up, or living, in the age of ennis and jack has left may of us with permanent scars that we can only hope show our strength as well as our weakness. 

play nice.

jack   
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 15, 2007, 01:16:59 PM
Philadelphia freedom: the city of brotherly love celebrates one of the first U.S. gay rights demonstrations
Advocate,
The,  July 5, 2005
 by Darren Frei

 Last summer a television spot from the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation, the first gay TV ad for a U.S. travel destination and the second such effort (after Orbitz) by a company not owned by gay people to explicitly target gay viewers, promoted the City of Brotherly Love as a place to "get your history straight and your nightlife gay." But in a city founded more than 300 years ago on Quaker principles of tolerance, equality, and freedom of expression--the birth-place of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness--isn't it more than reasonable to expect your history gay too?

Pride and Progress, a colorful mural painted on the side of Philadelphia's William Way Center, one of the country's few gay and lesbian community centers built with federal funds, features a bespectacled woman with white hair. It's the only figure in the crowded mural that seems to be looking directly at you, as if she has something important to say.

Barbara Gittings is known for compiling the first gay bibliography for the American Library Association (the extensive gay and lesbian collection at the Philadelphia Free Library's Independence Branch is named after her) and for lobbying the American Psychiatric Association to remove homosexuality from its list of mental illnesses. Four years before Stonewall, ,at Independence Hall on July 4, 1965, Gittings was among a group of pioneering gay and lesbian picketers who held the first Reminder Day, which according to Gittings was meant to "remind the public that there was still a sizable segment of the American people that were not benefiting from the promises in our founding fathers' document."

Article continues here:

http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1589/is_2005_July_5/ai_n15399818
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: tfferg on March 15, 2007, 06:55:52 PM
Tfferg’s (Tony?) post has brought back some rather painful memories for me.
Ah, Brian, painful memories indeed. I compiled that timeline late at night and then went to bed. I found myself awake again at 4am with my mind going over much of my own past. I hope you have some happy memories you can evoke, too.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 16, 2007, 04:30:11 AM
Brian, your post brings up the topic of aversion therapy.  Thankfully, I was either in an area that was too remote or it was too far along in the 60s for me to be exposed to that.  As I said, I was merely subjected to talk therapy - most of which was pretty banal and silly (I'm not sure if I should say even to a teenager or especially to a teenager).  I was pretty sure that all of the shrinks were loony by the time I was 16.

I'm so very sorry to hear you went through that.

For those who don't know about this, here is a link:

http://www.glbtq.com/social-sciences/aversion_therapy.html

Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 16, 2007, 04:35:32 AM
Related to that link on aversion therapy, here's a link to a woman who helped to bring the psychiatric establishment around to the notion that there were people who were homosexual and not mentally ill.  If there's any room for sainthood in gay history, Evelyn Hooker gets it in my book:

http://www.glbtq.com/social-sciences/hooker_e.html

And there is a great documentary on her entitled 'Changing Our Minds: The Story of Dr. Evelyn Hooker':

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0103938/



Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 16, 2007, 05:04:26 AM
Thursday I went over to U.C. Berkeley.  While I was there I saw notebooks from Jess (Jess Collins) - a San Francisco gay artist who's work spans the period we are talking about here.  I was reminded of many people that I should mention in this context - but first, Jess Collins:

http://www.sfai.edu/People/Person.aspx?id=147&navID=6&sectionID=2&typeID=1

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jess_Collins

And also the poet Robert Duncan:

http://www.glbtq.com/literature/duncan_r.html

http://www.english.uiuc.edu/maps/poets/a_f/duncan/duncan.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Duncan_(poet)

And the poet Jack Spicer:

http://www.glbtq.com/literature/spicer_j.html

http://www.poemhunter.com/jack-spicer/biography/

Here is an exhibition at the San Francisco Public Library that has work by all three:

http://sfpl.org/news/onlineexhibits/out/poets-artists.htm#poetrybooks

Another poet whose work I came in contact with early on was the bisexual poet Paul Goodman:

http://www.glbtq.com/literature/goodman_p.html

And Frank O'Hara:

http://www.glbtq.com/literature/ohara_f.html

And his sometime lover Larry Rivers:

http://www.glbtq.com/arts/rivers_l.html

And while I'm mentioning artists from this period I should probably also mention a few musician - one who worked with Gertrude Stein - Virgil Thomson:

http://www.glbtq.com/arts/thomson_v.html

Menlo Park resident Henry Cowell:

http://www.glbtq.com/arts/cowell_h.html

The father of indeterminism John Cage:

http://www.glbtq.com/arts/cage_j.html

Another amazing composer Lou Harrison:

http://www.glbtq.com/arts/harrison_l.html

Composer and writer Ned Rorem:

http://www.glbtq.com/arts/rorem_n_art.html

And sound innovator Harry Partch:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harry_Partch

http://www.therestisnoise.com/2005/04/harry_partch.html

And Aaron Copland:

http://www.glbtq.com/arts/copland_a.html

And here is an interesting blog that mentions many of these composers:

http://www.therestisnoise.com/2004/10/interesting_pie.html





Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Mejack on March 16, 2007, 11:11:49 AM
Damn, Michael, I can't read that fast!   ;D
I'm still about 8 posts ago.

Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 16, 2007, 01:11:53 PM
Damn, Michael, I can't read that fast!   ;D
I'm still about 8 posts ago.

LOL!  Okay Paul...I'll slow down.  I just got excited when I saw Jess's notebooks.  ;)
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: brian on March 16, 2007, 03:58:06 PM
Brian, your post brings up the topic of aversion therapy.  Thankfully, I was either in an area that was too remote or it was too far along in the 60s for me to be exposed to that.  As I said, I was merely subjected to talk therapy - most of which was pretty banal and silly (I'm not sure if I should say even to a teenager or especially to a teenager).  I was pretty sure that all of the shrinks were loony by the time I was 16.

I'm so very sorry to hear you went through that.

Fortunately I never progressed to actual aversion therapy.   I later met guys who did and in my opinion they all had psychological problems as a result.   I was merely shown photos of guys with erections (as I stated the first pornography I had ever seen) and then, when their measurements showed I had an erection, a photo of a naked woman was flashed up instead. Quite laughable in retrospect. I was also advised to find a suitable girl which I did.  At my review meeting a few weeks later I told them I was engaged and so I guess the statistics showed I was a success story as I never contacted them when the engagement fell through 6 months later.  That was very traumatic and the only time in my life when my mother did not support me - my fiancee was a lovely girl. I actually had my first sexual experience the day after the engagement broke up at age 27.  The engagement, however, saved me from progressing to aversion therapy. About 15 years later I was counselling a student who had come out to me. He told me his mother was taking him to the same psychiatrist and I was furious but the mother would not listen to me. I was so surprised when the psychiatrist told the mother she would have to accept the situation and support her son. Things had changed.  Unfortunately that boy later succumbed to AIDS.
When undergoing the treatment, another older man was in the waiting room waiting for his sessions and we just glared at each other. Then we had to go to another hospital for eye tests as there was some theory that homosexuality was connected to an eye deficiency (the mind boggles). We went together in a hospital car and began chatting. That was the first time I knowingly spoke to another homosexual. It was all those memories of repression as a teenager and young adult that Brokeback stirred up and why I am here on this forum.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: jack on March 16, 2007, 09:08:10 PM
Damn, Michael, I can't read that fast!   ;D
I'm still about 8 posts ago.


he DO go on, don't he , LOL
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: brokebacktom on March 16, 2007, 09:49:36 PM
Micheal, Micheal, Micheal--

My god you know so much!!!!!  Have you ever thought about writing The Gay History in your own words? It would be a great read!!! I have been enjoying readng your posts and comments too. Keep it going, but like some I can't keep up sometimes.

Tom
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 16, 2007, 10:02:41 PM
Micheal, Micheal, Micheal--

My god you know so much!!!!!  Have you ever thought about writing The Gay History in your own words? It would be a great read!!! I have been enjoying readng your posts and comments too. Keep it going, but like some I can't keep up sometimes.

Tom

 ;D

I have occasionally thought about writing about my life and my connections to gay history.

All of the material about Robert Duncan, Jess, etc. that I've just recently posted came from a period in my life when I was looking for people to model my life after - in the 70s.  I didn't feel like a typical activist (although I certainly wanted to see change) and didn't feel that I 'fit in' to the gay bar scene (the lives of people who were checking to see what labels other people were wearing was just too mundane to be believed to me).  So writers and poets became a real inspiration to me.

Thanks so much for your nice comments Tom!
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 16, 2007, 11:38:53 PM
Okay...I promised that I'd slow down - but I forgot to mention two underground film makers from this period - Jack Smith and Kenneth Anger.  Most people know Anger because he also wrote 'Hollywood Babylon.'  But in the 50s and 60s he made some amazing films.  I first saw them in Michigan - and the first ever film showing I went to for the LGBT film festival in S.F. was at the Roxie Cinema where Anger was there in person.  He is an incredible, amazing and confusing person.

First Jack Smith:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_Smith_(film_director)

http://www.hi-beam.net/mkr/js/js-bio.html

http://www.sensesofcinema.com/contents/cteq/02/21/flaming.html

http://www.brightlightsfilm.com/29/jacksmith.html

And Kenneth Anger:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kenneth_Anger

http://www.subcin.com/anger.html

http://www.ratso.net/anger.html

http://www.disinfo.com/archive/pages/dossier/id171/pg1/index.html

http://www.phinnweb.org/links/cinema/underground/anger/
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: brokebacktom on March 17, 2007, 07:51:15 AM
I did see Anger's FIREWORKS. All I remember about it was that it was homoerotic and surreal. It was considered an experiement movie. It was quite artsy and bizzare. And quite daring for the '50.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 17, 2007, 02:11:39 PM
I did see Anger's FIREWORKS. All I remember about it was that it was homoerotic and surreal. It was considered an experiement movie. It was quite artsy and bizzare. And quite daring for the '50.

Yes...he was quite out there for the fifties.  I think it's interesting that many of these artists either grew up or moved to New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles (and New Orleans).  The major exception I can think of is Black Mountain College in North Carolina where many of the artists, poets and musicians I was talking about worked.

It's also interesting that in the arts (high art) gay people seem to have been relatively safe - they didn't face the problems that people like Bayard Rustin and Johnny Ray did finding other gay people.  They didn't seem to be quite as vulnerable.

Later today I'm going to write a bit on the effect that Europe seemed to have on American gays in the 50s (and early 60s).
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 17, 2007, 02:15:22 PM
Here's a site that's NOT WORK SAFE but has some very interesting memorabilia from the period we're talking about:

http://www.homobilia.com/

I also came across this site, which has some interesting (if wordy) pages:

http://www.queer-arts.org/

In particular check out their pages on Paul Cadmus:

http://www.queer-arts.org/archive/9809/cadmus/cadmus.html

And Jonathan Katz's piece on Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg is quite interesting too:

http://www.queer-arts.org/archive/show4/forum/katz/katz_set.html
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: jack on March 17, 2007, 02:21:43 PM
i can speak about an impression i had, that i doubt i was alone in back then.  from what i had read, paris seemed like the holy land for acceptance, and north africa the holy land for hot exotic sex.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 17, 2007, 02:57:06 PM
i can speak about an impression i had, that i doubt i was alone in back then.  from what i had read, paris seemed like the holy land for acceptance, and north africa the holy land for hot exotic sex.

Interesting comments Jack - if you think about people like James Baldwin, I'm sure that Paris was almost like heaven for him.  And Morocco was the place (to quote Annie) in the 50s - both Paul Bowles and William Burroughs spent a good deal of time there.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: jack on March 17, 2007, 05:58:26 PM
michael, if you do a bit more of your infamous research, you can probably find them both a mecca far earlier than the generation you spoke of.  the british eccentrics and american expatriots of a queer bent all seemed to find their way there.  somerset maugham died there if a recall, and a famous photographer of boys. van gloeden (sp i think) captured many mocha skinned young men in pseudo-classical poses.  a rich rich literary and artistic (and gay) tradition in both, and even though i didn't have the words back then, i recognized kindred spirits as i scoured the artistic worlds.  my senior memory fails to bring forth many more names and i am in fact thrilled that i could conjure these... ;)
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: brokebacktom on March 17, 2007, 11:20:25 PM
Here's a site that's NOT WORK SAFE but has some very interesting memorabilia from the period we're talking about:

http://www.homobilia.com/

I also came across this site, which has some interesting (if wordy) pages:

http://www.queer-arts.org/

In particular check out their pages on Paul Cadmus:

http://www.queer-arts.org/archive/9809/cadmus/cadmus.html

And Jonathan Katz's piece on Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg is quite interesting too:

http://www.queer-arts.org/archive/show4/forum/katz/katz_set.html


Paul Cadmus was very underrated. His drawings were/are beautiful, well crafted and erotic. His paintings were very humoristic and shocking for the times. My favoriate was his '7 Deadly Sins' series. They were very small but packed a punch. I hope will look into his art work its awesome.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 18, 2007, 12:07:02 AM
michael, if you do a bit more of your infamous research, you can probably find them both a mecca far earlier than the generation you spoke of.  the british eccentrics and american expatriots of a queer bent all seemed to find their way there.  somerset maugham died there if a recall, and a famous photographer of boys. van gloeden (sp i think) captured many mocha skinned young men in pseudo-classical poses.  a rich rich literary and artistic (and gay) tradition in both, and even though i didn't have the words back then, i recognized kindred spirits as i scoured the artistic worlds.  my senior memory fails to bring forth many more names and i am in fact thrilled that i could conjure these... ;)

Well...it seems like there were a few meccas Jack...Von Gloeden was in Sicily

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wilhelm_von_Gloeden

Maugham died in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat in Nice (his house on the Rivera had once been owned by Belgian king Leopold II [!!!]).  He did spend time in India, though, and he was with Gerald Haxton there, so who knows what went on.... :o

Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: jack on March 18, 2007, 07:05:53 AM
well, durn...

i do "remember" the casbah and nearby environs being central to some artistic lives  ??? from around the turn of the last century, and paris figuring in the lives and careers of copeland, baldwin and vidal.

 
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Rob in Puyallup on March 18, 2007, 11:14:23 AM
Michael...

I just found this thread, thanks to the "News Box"... I will be back to beginning reading up on all this later!!!

Looks like lots of info and history...

Thanks!

Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: jpq716 on March 18, 2007, 11:28:31 AM
A number of you are not going to like what I am about to say, but no history of gays in America could be correct without an intensive study of the homosexual monsters of depravity who have enslaved the American people since 1981 so that they can rape with impunity abducted prepubescent boys at the Republican male brothel on K Street in Washington, DC. The homosexual element in the rise of contemporary Amerikan fascism is simply too dangerous to touch at the present time. But it must be dealt with, someday, even if only in the interests of retributive justice...

Not all American gays are like Harvey Milk or Randy Shilts, not to mention Jack Twist and Ennis Del Mar. Some are monsters of hideous depravity who, someday, will be seen to have the blood of millions of innocent people on their hands. And gay people must be in the forefront of their unmasking, for the integrity and safety of all gay --- and straight --- people everywhere...
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 18, 2007, 12:44:42 PM
Not all American gays are like Harvey Milk or Randy Shilts, not to mention Jack Twist and Ennis Del Mar. Some are monsters of hideous depravity who, someday, will be seen to have the blood of millions of innocent people on their hands. And gay people must be in the forefront of their unmasking, for the integrity and safety of all gay --- and straight --- people everywhere...

Hi JPQ - great to see you over here!

Certainly there are negative gay characters that we can talk about in terms of gay history - people like Roy Cohn:

http://www.planetout.com/news/history/archive/20000103.html

What we are talking about here generally, however, are people who are commonly known to be gay and who have contributed to a historical gay identity - and their lives and coping strategies.  The activities of individuals behind closed doors whether it be in a political cabal or an individual serial killer do not generally add to the common history of a people.  In the way Scott Peterson doesn't have a lot to do with golfers, Ted Bundy doesn't have a lot to do with people who work on suicide hot lines, Juan Corona doesn't reflect the lives of Mexican immigrants and John Wayne Gacy doesn't have a lot in common with most democratic precinct captains, the activities of people behind closed doors who do not publicly avow a gay life don't share much in common with the rest of us.

As you may have noted, I did refer to the Boise and Sioux City sex panic arrests, as well as the arrests of Bayard Rustin and Johnnie Ray.  I am not at all averse to discussing well documented events that have an impact on gay people in general (or have affected individual persons).

Currently we are discussing things that occured before 1969 in this thread.

 




Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Cowboysnkisses on March 18, 2007, 01:05:02 PM
I've just gotten a great link from Whiplash that I wanted to post here.  At the end of this study guide there is a gay history chronology (which I'll past below).  Here is the link:

http://www.guthrietheater.org/Portals/0/StudyGuide/thief.pdf

And here is the Chronology:

CULTURAL CONTEXT
Gay History in America: 1948 – 2001 A Selected Chronology


...

1967
Perhaps the most famous and widely read gay newspaper, The Advocate, begins publication in Los
Angeles. Craig Rodwell opens the world’s first gay bookstore, the Oscar Wilde Memorial Bookstore, in New York City.

1968
Mart Crowley’s The Boys in the Band makes its off-Broadway debut. The play, which dissects several
stereotypes and challenges faced by the homosexual community, offers perhaps the most open display of the homosexual lifestyle in popular drama to date.

1969
Canada repeals its laws against sodomy. All fifty U.S. states uphold similar laws under continual
protests. New York City police raid a popular Greenwich Village gay bar, the Stonewall Inn. The street erupts into violent protest. The backlash and several nights of protest that follow—known as the Stonewall Riots—have since been credited with sparking the modern queer liberation movement throughout the world.

1970
Black Panther leader Huey Newton urges blacks to view the Gay Liberation Front as "friends and
potential allies," saying gays "might be the most oppressed people in our society."

The Teachers Advisory Council of Minneapolis approves a Guthrie Theater production about
homosexuality to be shown to more than 1,000 high school students.

Farm population: 9.7 million (estimated)
Farmers make up 4.6% of labor force
Number of farms: 2.8 million

1971 In a controversial letter published nationwide, Ann Landers advises a gay teenager to seek therapy rather than heterosexuality in order to find self-acceptance.

New York City holds its first Gay Pride Parade.

The Equal Rights Amendment, hailed as a keystone for gay rights, passes the U.S. Senate but fails in the House, and is never ratified.

A University of California study shows that prison sentences for sodomy are, on average, the same as those for manslaughter.

1973
The Minneapolis City Council unanimously passes a gay rights ordinance, one of the first of its kind.
The American Psychiatric Association votes to remove homosexuality from its list of psychiatric
disorders, where it had ranked among schizophrenia and other sociopathic disorders.

1974
Minneapolis state Senator Allan Spear publicly admits that he is gay. Spear is among the first openly
gay men to hold a congressional office, and wins re-election for another term.

1975
California passes a bill legalizing all consensual sex between adults, regardless of orientation. It is the first bill of its kind in the nation.


...

Here's an important addition.  Illinois was the first state to remove anti-sodomy laws from its statutes in 1961.  It did so when it revised its Criminal Code without the earlier prohibition.  Oddly enough, Idaho was the second.  But when it was revealed by a gay publication that it had done so (modernized its code and left out anti-sodomy regulations), the Idaho legislature, in an emergency meeting, repealed the revision.  Illinois, of course, did not.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 18, 2007, 01:16:12 PM
Here's an important addition.  Illinois was the first state to remove anti-sodomy laws from its statutes in 1961.  It did so when it revised its Criminal Code without the earlier prohibition.  Oddly enough, Idaho was the second.  But when it was revealed by a gay publication that it had done so (modernized its code and left out anti-sodomy regulations), the Idaho legislature, in an emergency meeting, repealed the revision.  Illinois, of course, did not.

Cowboysnkisses it's wonderful to see you posting here!

I did a post on the history of sodomy laws in the Front Runner thread a while ago (it's here: http://www.davecullen.com/forum/index.php?topic=12775.msg494174#msg494174).  Your point is well taken, and I will repost that posting over here, I think.

The sodomy law in Illinois was revised in 1961 and took effect in 1962.  BTW, there is a great page on the history of sodomy laws here:

http://www.sodomylaws.org/history/history.htm

Actually, this entire site is quite interesting and worth exploring.

Again, welcome back.  It's great to see you here.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 18, 2007, 01:23:51 PM
Here is a portion of the post I did over in the Front Runner thread that runs from the 18th century through Stonewall:

December 20, 1785 - Joseph Ross of Pennsylvania sentenced to die for sodomy.

1786 - Death penalty removed for sodomy in Pennsylvania (and replaced with forfeiture of estate and 10 years in prison)

1791 - Sodomy laws eliminated in France

1793 - Maryland adopts law that makes sodomy only punisable for males and only punishable by death for slaves.

1796 - Death penalty abolished for sodomy in New Jersey (replace by unspecified punishment).

1796 - Death penalty abolished for sodomy in New York (replace by hard labor).

1798 - Rhode Island removes death penalty for sodomy for the first offense.

1800 - Virginia eliminated the death penalty for sodomy for all free men.

1805 - Death penalty for sodomy reduced to solitary confinement for up to one year, followed by hard labor for up to 10 years in Massachusetts.

1812 - Death penalty for sodomy reduced to six months in solitary confinement, followed by 1-10 years at hard labor in New Hampshire.

1816 - Georgia becomes the last of the first 13 colonies to enact a Sodomy law (prior to this Georgia was the only state of the first 13 colonies where sodomy was not illegal and it was the only original colony where sodomy was never punishable by death).

1821 - Death penalty replace with mandatory life imprisionment for sodomy in Connecticut.

1826 - Death penalty for sodomy replaced with 3 years solitary confinement, public flogging and $1000 fine in Delaware.

1844 - Death penalty eliminated for sodomy in Rhode Island (minimum sentence 1 year in prison).

July 4, 1855 - First edition of Walt Whitman's 'Leaves of Grass' published.

1863 - The last execution for sodomy (under the Buggery Act 1533 enacted by King Henry VIII) happens in the United Kingdom.

1864-1865 - Five pamphlets entitled 'Forschungen über das Räthsel der mannmännlichen
Liebe' ("Research on the Riddle of Male-Male Love") published by Karl-Heinrich Ulrichs
in Germany

August 29, 1867, Karl-Heinrich Ulrichs became the first self-proclaimed homosexual
to speak out publicly for homosexual rights when he pleaded at the Congress of
German Jurists in Munich for a resolution urging the repeal of anti-homosexual laws

1868 - Death penalty eliminated for sodomy in North Carolina.

1871 - Rimbaud and Verlaine begin a relationship in Paris (which ends when Verlaine
shoots Rimbaud in 1873).

1873 - 'A Problem in Greek Ethics' wrote one of the first essays in defense of
homosexuality in the English language published by John Addington Symonds in the U.K.

1890 - John Addington Symonds proposes a homosexual reading of Whitman's 'Calamus' poems.

1894 - 'Homogenic love and its place in a free society' published by Edward Carpenter
in the U.K.

April 6, 1895 - Oscar Wilde arrested for "committing acts of gross indecency with other
male persons" and convicted on May 25, 1895.

1900 - Natalie Clifford Barney publishes 'Quelques Portraits-Sonnets de Femmes
(Some Portrait-Sonnets of Women)' - some of the first openly lesbian poems of the
modern era.

1902 - 'L'immoraliste' by Andre Gide published. (Wins the Nobel Prize for literature in
1947).

1905-World War II - Bloomsbury Group exists as an informal society in the U.K.

1906 - 'Wings' by Mikhail Kuzmin published.

1909 - Natalie Barnie moves to 20, Rue Jacob in Paris's Latin Quarter and begins
holding her salon on Fridays (they were held till the late 1960s).

1909 - Alice B. Toklas moves in with Gertrude and Leo Stein at 27, rue du Fleurus
in Paris.  They held salons which complimented Natalie Barnie's from the twenties
through the forties.

1911 - Andre Gide publishes the first of his works that will eventually be published
under the title 'Corydon' about homosexuality (which met with general condemnation
when published).

1912 - Thomas Mann's 'Death in Venice' published.

1919 - Magnus Hirschfeld opens the Institut für Sexualwissenschaft (Institute for
Sexual Research) in Berlin.

1921/22 - Marcel Proust's 'Sodome et Gomorrhe' published in two volumes.

1924 - Gide's 'Corydon' published.

1928 - 'The Well of Loneliness' by Radcliff Hall published
     
1928 -  'Orlando' by Virginia Woolf published

1930s - Stauch's and Claridge's baths on Coney Island have the reputation for being a homosexual rendezvous.

1934 - Denmark becomes the first country to fully legalize homosexuality.

1937 - 'Nightwood' by Djuna Barns published

1939 - 'Goodbye to Berlin' by Christopher Isherwood (which contained some of the stories
later contained in 'Cabaret')  published.

1940 - Homosexuality legalized in Iceland.

1942 - The Black Cat cafe (which had been open since 1933) becomes a predominately gay bar, with José Sarria offering drag balls and drag operas on Sunday afternoons.

1944 - 'Notre-Dame des fleurs' by Jean Genet published.

1944 - Homosexuality legalized in Sweden.

1946 - COC (Cultuur en Ontspanningscentrum, or Center for Culture and Leisure) the oldest gay organization in the world, formed in The Netherlands.

1948 - 'City and the Pillar' by Gore Vidal published

1948 - 'Confessions of a Mask' by Yukio Mishima published.

1951 - 'The Price of Salt' by Patricia Highsmith (under the pen-name Claire Morgan)
published

1951 - Sol Stoumen, the straight owner of 'The Black Cat' wins his case in the California Supreme Court to run a gay business.

1952 - 'Spring Fire' by Vin Packer published - it sells 1.5 million copies.

1953 - 'ONE magazine' begins publication in the U.S.

1953 - 'The Charioteer' by Mary Renault (pseud. of Mary Challens) published.

1953 - 'The World Well Lost' by Theodore Sturgeon published.

1954 -  U.S. Postmaster seized 'One' magazine (upheld by a Federal District Court
in 1956).

May 1954 - the earliest known guide to San Francisco's gay bars and baths was printed and handed out at a meeting of the Mattachine Society.

1955 -  Mattachine Society launched the  'Mattachine Review' considered less radical
than 'ONE magazine'

1956 -  Daughters of Bilitis begin publication of the 'Ladder' (first lesbian magazine
in the U.S.).

1956 - 'Giovanni's Room' by James Baldwin published.

1956 - 'The Last of the Wine' by Mary Renault (pseud. of Mary Challens) published.

1957 - 'Odd Girl Out' by Ann Bannon (under the pseudonym of Ann Weldy) published.  It is
the second best-selling paperback of the year.

1958 -  U.S. Supreme Court overturns ruling on One Magazine allowing for its distribution in the mails.

12 May 1958 - Homosexual Law Reform Society formed in the U.K. - original members include a M.P.

1959 - Sol Stoumen forms the San Francisco Tavern Guild (possibly the first gay business association in the country).

1961 - José Sarria becomes the first openly gay person (and drag queen) in the world to run for political office, running for the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.  He got 5600 votes and established the clout of the gay community.

1962 - 'Another Country' by James Baldwin published.

1962 - Illinois becomes the first state to repeal sodomy laws.

1963 - 'City of Night' by John Rechy published.

1964 - Bob Damron, a gay bar owner,  publishes his first 'Bob Damron's Address Book', a guide to gay bars in the U.S.

1965 - Imperial Court System - a system whereby an Empress and an Emperor are elected by the drag community in cities in North America - is formed.  It is one of the oldest and largest gay organizations in the world and does fundraising for causes throughout the LGBT community.

1965 - Independence day march for homosexual job rights held in Philadelpha, PA

1965 - Jack Campbell opens the first of his Club Bath chain in Cleveland, Ohio.

August, 1966 - Transgender riots at comptons Cafe in San Francisco.

1967 - 'The Advocate' begins publication as 'The Los Angeles Advocate'.

1967 - Wolfenden report makes sodomy legal in England and Wales.

1967 - 'Numbers' by John Rechy published.

1968 - 'Myra Breckinridge' by Gore Vidal published.

1968 - Metropolitan Community Church (a christian church open to gay people) opens in Los Angeles with the Reverend Troy Perry (author of 'The Lord is My Shepherd and He Knows I'm Gay') as its pastor.

1968 - 'The Boys in the Band' by Mart Crowley published.

1969 - The Continental Baths (where Bette Midler and Barry Manilow performed) opened in the basement of the Ansonia Hotel by Steve Ostrow.

June 27-28, 1969 - Stonewall Riots
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Cowboysnkisses on March 18, 2007, 01:36:05 PM
Here's an important addition.  Illinois was the first state to remove anti-sodomy laws from its statutes in 1961.  It did so when it revised its Criminal Code without the earlier prohibition.  Oddly enough, Idaho was the second.  But when it was revealed by a gay publication that it had done so (modernized its code and left out anti-sodomy regulations), the Idaho legislature, in an emergency meeting, repealed the revision.  Illinois, of course, did not.

Cowboysnkisses it's wonderful to see you posting here!

I did a post on the history of sodomy laws in the Front Runner thread a while ago (it's here: http://www.davecullen.com/forum/index.php?topic=12775.msg494174#msg494174).  Your point is well taken, and I will repost that posting over here, I think.

The sodomy law in Illinois was revised in 1961 and took effect in 1962.  BTW, there is a great page on the history of sodomy laws here:

http://www.sodomylaws.org/history/history.htm

Actually, this entire site is quite interesting and worth exploring.

Again, welcome back.  It's great to see you here.

Thanks, Michael.  It's been awhile and it's good to be back.  We need to get Walt Whitman and Leaves of Grass on that list.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 18, 2007, 01:50:09 PM
Thanks, Michael.  It's been awhile and it's good to be back.  We need to get Walt Whitman and Leaves of Grass on that list.

Done.  And I've added the date John Addington Symonds asked Whitman about the poems too.  And thanks for bringing up Whitman.  Here's a history link to Whitman in a gay history context:

http://www.gayhistory.com/rev2/events/whitman.htm
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: jpq716 on March 18, 2007, 01:57:33 PM
It's amazing to consider that the systematic persecution of gay people was standard cultural fare in America until late in the 20th century. The murder of Matthew Shepherd was a national scandal in 1998, but thirty years earlier, it would not have been a news item of any particular importance. That is an amazing and sobering historical fact to consider, and it makes the heroism of the Stonewall Riots --- which began as a suicidal resolve to die on one's feet rather than to live on one's knees --- all the more striking. Yes, yes, as this thread makes quite clear, gay people did receive some legal relief in the 1960s in some parts of the country. But only the suicidal violence of the Stonewall Riots could really help gay people out. Here, as in so many other points in human history, the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church.

Yes, Michael, I had forgotten about Roy Cohn. The depraved monsters of whom I spoke in my previous post are direct descendents of Roy Cohn. You know, it was only when Cohn began to pressure the Army to give preferential treatment to his lover David Schine in 1953 that the Army began to turn against Joe McCarthy's fascist witchhunt and prompted the Army-McCarthy hearings in the spring of 1954 that secured McCarthy's fall. Yes, there are indeed saints in America's gay history, heroic and loving individuals who have made the world a better place for their having been here, but there are devils too --- and perhaps no devil greater than Roy Cohn. The Republican operatives who rape abducted little boys while securing the corporate fascist control of America during the first decade of the 21st century are Cohn's direct descendents. For it is true, in gay American history as everywhere else,  what the medieval Cloud of Unknowing stated so well: "I tell thee truly, the devil hath his contemplatives as God hath His." A true history of gay America has to reflect both sides, and the perfect starting-point for the dark side in gay American history is Roy Cohn. Thanks for the reminder, Michael!
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: jack on March 18, 2007, 05:04:04 PM
Not all American gays are like Harvey Milk or Randy Shilts, not to mention Jack Twist and Ennis Del Mar. Some are monsters of hideous depravity who, someday, will be seen to have the blood of millions of innocent people on their hands. And gay people must be in the forefront of their unmasking, for the integrity and safety of all gay --- and straight --- people everywhere...
while i concur that we have our psychopaths and sociopaths, and they do indeed need to be addressed, i do take umbrage to  the ignoring of the actual subject and context at hand.  ie.  the early years, and also to the preachiness of tone.  no one here is suggesting we are saints.  in fact, in my tortured psychotic alcoholic years i was far from noble in my actions.

jack   
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 18, 2007, 05:10:29 PM
Here's a little show and tell.  The other day I mentioned that I got started thinking about the artists from the 40s, 50s and 60s by viewing the notebooks of Jess in the U.C. Berkeley libraries.  Here's a picture of those notebooks:

(http://i41.photobucket.com/albums/e266/michaelflanagansf/IMG_0439.jpg)
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 18, 2007, 06:31:08 PM
I wanted to get back to discussing Black Mountain College a bit.  It was in Ashville, North Carolina and was in existance from 1933 to 1957.  So culturally it presupposes the Beats (and there is some talk that the Black Mountain poets influenced the Beats).  Among the LGBT faculty and students who were involved in this venture were Merce Cunningham, John Cage, Lou Harrison, Robert Duncan, Allen Ginsberg, Robert Rauschenberg, Michael Rumaker and Cy Twombly.

What is particularly interesting to me is that this school bridged the period from World War II to the late fifties.  And it is atypical in that it was in a rural setting instead of being either involved with the world of Broadway or Hollywood.  It was the first experimental college which had democratic self-rule.  And that is just one of the 'firsts' about the place - it was the first place that John Cage ever had one of his 'happenings' - it was the first place where Buckminster Fuller ever built one of his geodesic domes.

I've just discovered that Martin Duberman (who also wrote 'Stonewall') wrote one of his first books on Black Mountain College.  That seems like it would be an interesting read.

http://www.naropa.edu/notenoughnight/fall05/AnselmHollo_fa05.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Mountain_College

http://www.blackmountaincollege.org/

And here is an American Masters program on the college:

http://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/database/black_mountain_college.html

Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Cowboysnkisses on March 18, 2007, 06:49:53 PM

I've just discovered that Martin Duberman (who also wrote 'Stonewall') wrote one of his first books on Black Mountain College.  That seems like it would be an interesting read.


Martin Duberman also wrote a moving memoir called Cures about his submission to treatment under the earlier psychiatric orthodoxy of homosexuality as mental illness.  Others on this thread have mentioned their own personal experiences with this and might find that book of interest.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 18, 2007, 07:03:25 PM
Martin Duberman also wrote a moving memoir called Cures about his submission to treatment under the earlier psychiatric orthodoxy of homosexuality as mental illness.  Others on this thread have mentioned their own personal experiences with this and might find that book of interest.

Yes!  I was aware of this.  Have you read the book?  If so what were his experiences (generally)?  Did he undergo aversion therapy?

In the Evelyn Hooker documentary I mentioned (which is unfortunately not on DVD yet) there was information about patients who actually underwent psychosurgery to 'correct' homosexuality - a shocking application of psychiatric abuse, imho.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: alma on March 18, 2007, 07:19:45 PM
Thank you so much for this thread!! I can't wait to have time to really dig through it and read all the links and print the chronology.

My personal brush with gay culture happened when I was a teenager and two of my high school teachers "came out." One of them died only a few years later of AIDS. He had been married and had a couple of kids before he came out. He was among my favorite teachers.

In college, during the early 1980s, I was a part of a prayer group that prayed for AIDS patients before it was considered "safe" to do so. What I remember is putting on masks when we went in the patients rooms. This was in Los Angeles, CA. I do remember, though, that our youth group leader told us that we were free to lay hands on the patients because Jesus touched the lepers. While it feels odd to think about AIDS that way now, at the time, it was revolutionary for the evangelical world I was a part of. And having grown up in LA, having known many gay and lesbian people through my relationships in LA, I just never did have the same sense of homosexuality being sin that other conservative Christians did. I do remember one young man in the hospital crying when I got to pray for him with one of my friends. We held his hands. He was alone.

My husband's best friend from high school disappeared to San Francisco after college. When my husband and I married, the friend finally caught up to us and told my husband that he had AIDS. This was 1984. He died only a few months later and I never met him.

Okay, so now personal details are aside.

There is one bit of strange historic trivia that might be relevant here. The Jesus People movement in southern California in the late 1970s owes much of its existence to a gay man named Lonnie Frisbee. His story has recently been turned into a documentary by a friend of mine and my husband's. The interesting bit about this story is that Lonnie hid his identity as a gay man until when finally found out, he was summarily kicked out of the Calvary Chapel and Vineyard movements and his involvement in both has been mostly rewritten to exclude him. This movie tries to restake his place.

I don't always agree with the filmmakers perspective, but I am glad that this story is being circulated in the communities responsible for discrediting him.

http://www.lonniefrisbee.com/
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: fritzkep on March 18, 2007, 07:31:08 PM
Thanks, Michael.  It's been awhile and it's good to be back.  We need to get Walt Whitman and Leaves of Grass on that list.

Done.  And I've added the date John Addington Symonds asked Whitman about the poems too.  And thanks for bringing up Whitman.  Here's a history link to Whitman in a gay history context:

http://www.gayhistory.com/rev2/events/whitman.htm

Just for info, when Pete Tannen and his partner David were visiting last week, on Sunday we went to the National Portrait Gallery/National Museum of American Art, which just recently reopened, mainly to see an exhibit on Walt Whitman in photographs, engravings, paintings and books. Last Sunday, the day we were there, was the last day of the exhibit. It was wonderful, and we all enjoyed seeing it.

Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 18, 2007, 08:23:37 PM
Thank you so much for this thread!! I can't wait to have time to really dig through it and read all the links and print the chronology.

Hello and welcome!  Thanks so much for adding your personal details!  I hope you'll bring them up again as we go through the various periods in history.

I was aware of the movie about Lonnie Frisbee - I saw it earlier this year.  It is a very moving film (imho, of course) - I was on campus at this time and had run ins with these people.  I had no idea about his history.  Thanks for mentioning him.

Again, welcome!
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 18, 2007, 08:47:10 PM
Here are to sections on the www.glbtq.com website that I'd like to point out - first, the section of the Beat Generation:

Like the "Lost Generation" of the 1920s, the American "Beat Generation" of the 1950s names both a literary current and a broader cultural phenomenon or mood. Rejecting the conformism and stress on "normality" of the Truman and Eisenhower years, the Beats emphasized an openness to varieties of experience beyond the limits of middle-class society; they explored the cultural "underground" of bebop jazz, drug use, "polymorphous perverse" sexuality, and non-Western religions.

The website is here:

http://www.glbtq.com/literature/beat_gen.html

And also the overview on American gay literature of the 20th century before Stonewall:

Long before the 1969 Stonewall riots and the launching of the contemporary gay liberation movement, twentieth-century gay and bisexual male American writers had produced notable literature about the subject.

Overview

There was frank and affirmative gay male American writing from the century's start, but it was usually published abroad or by marginal presses or remained private and unpublished. As the century advanced, there were marked increases in both the amount of frank gay male American writing and the amount of it issued by mainstream publishers.

This pattern became unmistakable in the 1940s, when, among other firsts, books clearly concerned with homosexuality became best-sellers. A relative burst in published gay male American writing then followed in the 1950s, and this was in turn followed by what in context amounted to a flood of work in the pre-Stonewall 1960s.

But this increased public depiction of homosexuality was usually tinged with misery, when it was not totally bleak. It was as if gay male writers in these years were subject to a rule of concessiveness (either explicit or tacit), in which the price of greater public access was the confirming of homosexual stereotypes.

None of these patterns was seamless, however--for example, some relatively positive portrayals emerged from mainstream publishers early in the century, and some stereotypical ones appeared from independent presses; in addition, some amazingly positive depictions appeared in the decades just before Stonewall.


Continues here:

http://www.glbtq.com/literature/am_lit2_gay_1900_1969.html
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 18, 2007, 08:57:25 PM
Another history timeline - 'Sears Queer History Century Timeline':

http://www.jtsears.com/histime.htm
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 18, 2007, 09:40:18 PM
I'm working on my expat piece and I've come across a fascinating book I wanted to share with you:

Glenway Wescott and Monroe Wheeler were an extraordinary couple, to be sure. The two met for the first time in 1919, and it was, it seems, a classic case of love at first sight. At the time, Wescott was still in his teens and Wheeler just 20. Seemingly inured to the social mores of the time and inconstancies of youth, the two embarked on a relationship that can be called nothing short of a marriage, for the next 68 years, until Wescott's death in 1987. The young couple traveled the world, stopping in on Gertrude Stein's Paris Salon and crossing paths with Jean Cocteau on the Riviera, while Wescott developed his poetry and later fiction (he authored The Grandmothers and Pilgrim Hawk, among other bestsellers of his day) and Wheeler found his path. Eventually he would become the director of publications at the Museum of Modern Art.

When We Were Three presents photographs the trio took as they traveled the world together during the late '20s and '30s. They are the subjects of many of the images, but the Great Wall of China, an Egyptian sphinx, and their numerous friends--including Stein, Cocteau, Thornton Wilder, and Katherine Anne Porter--are captured, too. Oddly, the subject, date, and location of each photograph are carefully documented, but the photographer is not. Some of the earliest-known Lyne images are here, but it is the biographical essay by Anatole Pohorilenko in the front of the book that calls this out. Still, with its high production value and informative essays by Pohorilenko and James Crump, the book is an enjoyable choice for those interested in early-20th-century photography and the lifestyle of the legendary 1930s American expatriate in Europe.


http://www.amazon.com/When-We-Were-Three-Wheeler/dp/0965728048
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 18, 2007, 09:55:10 PM
By the way, Tom, Wescott was one of Paul Cadmus' lover's.  And as you responded positively to my earlier post on Cadmus, here are more websites related to him:

http://www.glbtq.com/arts/cadmus_p.html

(the following site is NOT WORK SAFE)

http://www.tendreams.org/cadmus.htm

http://www.history.navy.mil/ac/cadmus/cadmus.htm

http://www.tfaoi.com/aa/3aa/3aa442.htm

(the following site is NOT WORK SAFE)

http://www.artnet.com/artist/102081/Paul_Cadmus.html
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: doggedstrength on March 19, 2007, 01:20:38 AM
does anyone remember charles pierce?  he was a very funny gay comic actor (more multifaceted than a standup) who worked in clubs -- alone as well as with a zany, ribald female puppet named "madame".  pierce did a dead-on hilarious bette davis imitation (davis herself said that pierce "did" her better than anyone she knew of).  pierce and madame even had a TV show at one point.  pierce could be broad and subtle at the same time, getting off some great lines. 

one of my favorites:   "this face is leaving town in 30 minutes, and i want you on it.

cracked me up, this guy.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Brokeback_1 on March 19, 2007, 01:58:11 AM
It's simply amazing how little so many of us know, even those only what, 10-15 years younger. This thread is a true asset Michael, thanks for it.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: jack on March 19, 2007, 04:14:52 AM
does anyone remember charles pierce?  he was a very funny gay comic actor (more multifaceted than a standup) who worked in clubs -- alone as well as with a zany, ribald female puppet named "madame".  pierce did a dead-on hilarious bette davis imitation (davis herself said that pierce "did" her better than anyone she knew of).  pierce and madame even had a TV show at one point.  pierce could be broad and subtle at the same time, getting off some great lines. 

one of my favorites:   "this face is leaving town in 30 minutes, and i want you on it.

cracked me up, this guy.
this should prove interesting.  i remember madame and her voice, but i am recalling charles pierce as one of the best female impersonators of the twentienth century.  have they the same name, or have i jumbled them.

edit: whew, i haven't gone round the bend... yet
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Pierce

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wayland_Flowers

thank god for google.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: doggedstrength on March 19, 2007, 04:26:53 AM
does anyone remember charles pierce?  he was a very funny gay comic actor (more multifaceted than a standup) who worked in clubs -- alone as well as with a zany, ribald female puppet named "madame".  pierce did a dead-on hilarious bette davis imitation (davis herself said that pierce "did" her better than anyone she knew of).  pierce and madame even had a TV show at one point.  pierce could be broad and subtle at the same time, getting off some great lines. 

one of my favorites:   "this face is leaving town in 30 minutes, and i want you on it.

cracked me up, this guy.
this should prove interesting.  i remember madame and her voice, but i am recalling charles pierce as one of the best female impersonators of the twentienth century.  have they the same name, or have i jumbled them.

edit: whew, i haven't gone round the bend... yet
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Pierce

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wayland_Flowers

thank god for google.

jack, thank you.   :-[  i'm so embarrassed.  yes, of course, it was wayland flowers and madame.  the pierce line i quoted was correct, however.  i should have done my googling before i posted.  my mind is fading, jack, fading . . . .  or, as i myself have said, post in haste, repent at leisure.  thanks, again.  i'm off now to do some more repenting.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: jack on March 19, 2007, 04:28:46 AM
and to seal the legitimacy of his inclusion here, wayland flowers was only 48 when he died of aids related complications... yet another lost talent, another voice stilled.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: jpq716 on March 19, 2007, 02:08:38 PM
The curious thing about a number of these cultural (as opposed to political) posts is how strongly it calls to my mind just how omnipresent gay entertainment figures have been in post-war mainstream American culture --- provided, of course, they understood their peripheral place in that culture, they managed to amuse mainstream culture in its off moments, and they did not take mainstream cultural acceptance any more seriously than it was intended to be taken…

I was watching a concert version of Rogers and Hammerstein’s South Pacific on PBS the other night, and I was struck, not merely by the lush beauty of the music, but also by the big scene in the musical where the grunts on the South Pacific atoll put on an amateur theatrical show and camped things up, big-time, in grass skirts. And I mean, big-time. What a strange scene in retrospect! This was a major comic moment in the musical, the hottest theater ticket in New York City at the time of my birth, and it got its comic punch from an off-the-scoreboard send-up of femininity by men. It is almost as if there has always been a secret understanding between mainstream culture and gay culture, an understanding that certainly benefited mainstream culture in ways that I presently cannot understand --- until gay people decided in June of 1969 that they no longer liked the terms of the agreement and, in fact, did not really want the agreement at all any longer.

No question about it. Regardless of what one thinks of homosexuality from either the ethical or the scientific point of view, the gay perspective on things (to the extent that it can exist in the first place, independently of other factors) is quite an insightful one into the unconscious assumptions of mainstream straight culture. Assumptions that, in the wake of Matthew Shepard’s murder, the cultural triumph of Brokeback Mountain and the current full-court press for gay marriage rights cannot remain unconscious for very much longer…
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 19, 2007, 03:22:55 PM
It's simply amazing how little so many of us know, even those only what, 10-15 years younger. This thread is a true asset Michael, thanks for it.

You bet, Jack.  I'm quite happy the way it's turning out with people sharing information.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 19, 2007, 04:03:35 PM
I was watching a concert version of Rogers and Hammerstein’s South Pacific on PBS the other night, and I was struck, not merely by the lush beauty of the music, but also by the big scene in the musical where the grunts on the South Pacific atoll put on an amateur theatrical show and camped things up, big-time, in grass skirts. And I mean, big-time. What a strange scene in retrospect! This was a major comic moment in the musical, the hottest theater ticket in New York City at the time of my birth, and it got its comic punch from an off-the-scoreboard send-up of femininity by men.

Your post sent me to the book "Coming Out Under Fire" by Allan Berube to look for info on drag shows during WW II (there is an entire chapter in the book entitled 'GI Drag: A Gay Refuge').  Aside from 'South Pacific' there was also 'This Is The Army' by Irving Berlin.  It was an all-soldier show with GI drag in it.  In the movie of the same name Alan Hale appears in drag.

There were also 'blueprint specials' (soldier show handbooks) that included dress patterns for drag routines ('Hi, Yank!' apparently had more than 8 pages of drag patterns including instructions on how to make a tutu out of a t-shirt that had been dyed pink).

There is quite a bit more about the performances in the book.

"This is the Army" (note that no pictures of soldiers in drag made it to the website):

http://www.archives.gov/publications/prologue/1996/summer/irving-berlin-1.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/This_Is_the_Army

"Coming Out Under Fire":

http://www.amazon.com/Coming-Under-Fire-Allan-Berube/dp/0743210719

(note soldier in drag at the bottom of the next site):

http://www.deepfocusproductions.com/page_html/film_COUF0.html
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: DaveinPhilly on March 19, 2007, 06:03:10 PM
I haven't followed this thread but "Gay Metropolis" by Kaiser, pub 1996 is an exceptional study of NYC and deals with the subject in a particularlry strong way since the 2nd World War - decade by decade - in the event it hasn't been mentioned before.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 19, 2007, 06:23:23 PM
I haven't followed this thread but "Gay Metropolis" by Kaiser, pub 1996 is an exceptional study of NYC and deals with the subject in a particularlry strong way since the 2nd World War - decade by decade - in the event it hasn't been mentioned before.

It hasn't been mentioned yet Dave - thanks for letting us know about it.  Here's a link to it through Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Gay-Metropolis-1940-1996/dp/0802143172/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/102-0887842-7743359?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1174350152&sr=1-1
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: atruant on March 20, 2007, 11:15:50 AM

To the degree that you are willing and able to talk about it, could you reflect at all on what attitudes were towards homosexuality in the Canadian military in this period?  I know that the late (great) Pierre Trudeau removed homosexuality from the Criminal Code of Canada in 1969.  Was there much response to this within the military?

Any info you can give would be much appreciated and if you don't know/remember that's fine too.


Hi Michael,

Sorry to be so long getting back to you. There really is a short answer to your question on the response from within the Canadian military to the change in the Criminal Code regarding homosexuality - none. This because there was no change in the military regulations at the time (1969). Men and women who were openly gay were normally investigated by the military police and honorably discharged if found guilty. I think the term they used was "Unsuitable for Military Service." As I mentioned before, the rules did not change until 1992. I can comment more on that when you get to that period. Also on attitudes during the 70s and 80s.

In a nutshell, guys like myself who kept their homosexual thoughts and activities strictly outside the military, had no problem within.

On another note, Michael, if you ever write a book on gay history, I'll buy it!

Cheers,
John
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: jpq716 on March 20, 2007, 01:28:47 PM
Michael, your post on the “blueprint specials” brought to my attention the strangest government publication that I have ever read since that passage in The Code of Federal Regulations (now revoked) which mandated both a fine and imprisonment for any American citizen caught interacting with a UFO. One thing that both gay history and UFO history reveal to us, very clearly, is that we don’t really know a damn thing about the reality of the culture in which we have spent our entire lives and about which we think that we know all the important things. Please keep this thread going full-steam, Michael --- but never forget the dark side as well (e.g. Roy Cohn and the Republican boy brothel on K Street in Washington, DC).
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: LSky94 on March 20, 2007, 02:01:18 PM
There's a gay brothel on K Street in DC where boys are raped?  (from your earlier post).  Someone should call the police if that is so. 
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 20, 2007, 02:50:21 PM
Just a quick reminder - our current topic is gay history (in all of its forms) prior to 1968.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: jpq716 on March 20, 2007, 07:14:09 PM
What, if anything, has this thread accumulated about gay life in Amerika, outside of New York City, in the 1890s and in the 1920s? Those two decades fascinate me for a number of reasons...

(And gosh, LSky94, your suggestion never occurred to me... I guess that shoots down my entire position, and I might as well sit down and shut up in the corner, holding my head in shame... :D Forgive me, Michael, I will not raise the point again.)

Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 20, 2007, 07:33:23 PM
What, if anything, has this thread accumulated about gay life in Amerika, outside of New York City, in the 1890s and in the 1920s? Those two decades fascinate me for a number of reasons...

(And gosh, LSky94, your suggestion never occurred to me... I guess that shoots down my entire position, and I might as well sit down and shut up in the corner, holding my head in shame... :D Forgive me, Michael, I will not raise the point again.)

I will see what I can find about the U.S. outside of New York in the 1890s and 1920s. 


Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 20, 2007, 07:40:41 PM
Readers and posters, please keep in mind that this is to be a civil discussion of history.  As such we should be willing to cite references when referring to historical events and treat one another cordially.

I would also ask that we all try to keep within the time parameters that were agreed upon by the group (currently we are working on the period before 1969).

Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: cwby on March 20, 2007, 07:48:10 PM
I decided to google "The Body Politic" and learned there is a rich reserve of gay and lesbian history (i.e. 1960's) at the University of Toronto Library. I guess I'll start online.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 20, 2007, 08:11:10 PM
An interesting individual in Irish history from the late 19th and early 20th century is Roger Casement.  Casement, from Dublin, went to the Belgian Congo in 1883 and worked for several companies.  In 1900 he founded the first British consular post in the Congo and was asked (in 1903) by the House of Commons to make an enquiry into forced labor conditions in the country.  He subsequently went to Brazil and Peru and made reports on slavery in the rubber industry there.  He was knighted for his work in 1911.

In 1913 he joined the Irish Volunteers (a paramilitary organization dedicated to Irish independence).  When World War I broke out he attempted to enlist German assistance in the arming of Irish republicans.  He was arrested in 1916 in Ireland and executed.

During his trial the Crown circulated photographs of a diary reported to be Casement's which showed him to be gay and fond of young men.  There was much debate as to whether or not the 'Black Diaries' (as they have come to be called) were forgeries.  Although there was an inquiry by both the BBC and RTE in 2002 and a handwriting analyst came to the conclusion that the diaries were authentic there are still those who doubted their authenticity.

So the question remains - was Roger Casement a humanitarian and revolutionary who was framed?  Or was he a gay man (and perhaps a pederast) who was also a humanitarian and revolutionary?

http://www.glbtq.com/social-sciences/casement_r,2.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roger_Casement

http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/british/britain_wwone/casement_01.shtml


Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 20, 2007, 08:31:47 PM
As this is March and St. Patrick's day was last weekend, here's another interesting story from Irish history of two women who spurned all men, and escaped Ireland to live together in Wales.  Lady Eleanor Butler and Sarah Ponsonby, Sarah are collectively known as the Ladies of Llangollen for the town they live in (in Wales).

They 'eloped' twice.  The first attempt was unsuccessful and Lady Eleanor was put in a convent and Sarah's family attempted to marry her off.  The second try (in 1778) worked and they moved to Wales. 

There has been much debate as to whether or not they should be considered lesbian, or if they simply loved one another and were celibate.  Personally, I've always felt that the name of their dog (Sappho) was a pretty good clue.

http://www.glbtq.com/literature/butler_ponsonby.html

http://www.bbc.co.uk/wales/northeast/guides/halloffame/historical/ladies_llangollen.shtml

http://vwales.co.uk/ebooks/ladiesofllangollen.htm

http://www.ampltd.co.uk/collections_az/Ladies-Llang/highlights.aspx

http://www.ampltd.co.uk/digital_guides/ladies_of_llangollen_letters/publishers%20note.aspx

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ladies_of_Llangollen

Doris Grumbach wrote a fictionalized account of their lives 'The Ladies' in 1984.


Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 20, 2007, 09:22:33 PM
Okay...well this isn't the 1890s...but how about Joseph Smith in Nauvoo, Illinois in 1843 eulogizing a gay man's lover:

http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/pwh/josephsmith.html
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 20, 2007, 09:25:51 PM
New England in 1899 - Dr. Amand M. Hale


http://www.burrows.com/poolbio.html
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 20, 2007, 09:36:00 PM
Gay life in the South - James T. Sears' home page:

http://www.jtsears.com/

Particular regional history:

http://www.jtsears.com/history.htm
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 20, 2007, 09:36:51 PM
I decided to google "The Body Politic" and learned there is a rich reserve of gay and lesbian history (i.e. 1960's) at the University of Toronto Library. I guess I'll start online.

Thanks cwby!  Keep us informed of what you find.
Title: Roger Casement as a Possible Case-History of Homophobia in Politics
Post by: jpq716 on March 20, 2007, 09:37:52 PM
I first encountered Roger Casement almost forty years ago when I was in the midst of my obsession with the poetry of William Butler Yeats, an obsession that helped me to emerge into a new and higher state of consciousness. As was his custom, Yeats was nowhere to be found when Casement was arrested in April of 1916 after the German U-Boat U-19 unloaded him in Tralee Bay in County Kerry  or when he was shot in Pentonville Prison in London in August of 1916. But Yeats’s 1937 poem, “The Ghost of Roger Casement,” written at a time when Great Britain once again was drifting into a state of war with Germany and when Éamon de Valera, the President of Ireland, was cautiously feeling his way to a relationship with the Third Reich against Ireland’s Commonwealth Status within the British Empire, was a belated tribute to Casement’s devotion to Irish freedom. “The ghost of Roger Casement / Is beating on the door.”

http://www.ghost-stories.net/ghost_poems/The-Ghost-Of-Roger-Casement-William-Butler-Yeats.htm

As Michael correctly states, there is considerable controversy, even today, whether The Black Diaries, which outline a wild gay life, were authentic writings by Casement or merely a disinformation project by British intelligence in 1917 to blacken Casement’s considerable reputation with both the Irish and the English people. Many of the scholars who have studied the documents doubt whether they could be authentic, simply because they contain so many descriptions of gay activity that one wonders how Casement could have fitted it into his daily political schedule. But regardless of the validity of The Black Diaries, there really does not seem to have been much doubt that Casement was gay. And I am not sure whether homophobia among the leaders of the Irish resistance may not have contributed greatly to his capture and to his execution.

Casement resigned from the British Colonial Office in 1912, after a brilliant career as a negotiator in the Belgian Congo and South America, because he simply could not serve an Empire which oppressed his people so deeply. A year later he joined The Irish Volunteers, which was led by his close friend Eoin MacNeill, whom he always --- and fatally --- believed to be the head of the Irish resistance movement. In 1914, when Great Britain declared war on Germany, Casement pressured Clan na Gael to finance his diplomatic efforts to support an Irish uprising against British rule. Casement got the financial support that he needed from that organization, but it was a bitter struggle to get it, and quite a number of the leaders in the Clan na Gael were quite hostile to his work, supposedly because he was too moderate in his political views and was not a member of the more radical Irish Republican Brotherhood. These people never liked Casement, tried repeatedly to have him replaced in his liaison work, and withheld certain information from him, the possession of which might have kept him safely in Germany during the war.

The Germans weren’t much better. In Germany, Casement worked closely with German Foreign Secretary Arthur Zimmermann (later to become famous when he tried in the winter of 1917 to get Mexico to join Germany against the potentially hostile United States). But Zimmermann never really took Casement seriously and never seriously tried to get Ireland into the war against Germany. Sure, Casement was allowed to recruit an Irish brigade among the Irish prisoners-of-war in the German concentration camp at Limburg an der Lahn. But only fifty-two Irish prisoners-of-war signed up: after all, Irish participation in the British Army during World War I was purely on a voluntary basis, and most of the prisoners-of-war were committed to Irish Home Rule within the British Empire. Germany betrayed Casement just as thoroughly as the Clan na Gael did. They never encouraged his recruitment efforts. They never provided the Irish who volunteered the machine gun training that they promised. They never gave Casement anywhere the weapons support for which he asked. And the support that the Germans did provide came to nothing when the British were able to intercept their communications and captured the German  cargo boat, the Libau, which had been disguised as a Norwegian vessel.

Casement was shamelessly used by the Germans, but it was his own people who drove the nails into his coffin. As soon as Casement realized that Germany was stiffing him on the weapons shipment, he decided to rush back to Ireland in order to warn his friend Eoin MacNeill, whom he assumed to be the head of Irish resistance, to call off the proposed uprising scheduled for the Easter season. Casement did not realize that the British had intercepted the Libau until after he was caught in Ireland. Even worse, he did not know until he was in British custody that MacNeill was not the leader of Irish resistance and that a renegade faction of the Irish Republican Brotherhood, which had never liked him, was calling the shots. Casement was in British custody several days before the doomed Easter Uprising occurred, and he never had a chance to stop what he knew to be a futile act of military resistance against British rule.

In spite of all this, Casement was still quite popular among the British people for his humanitarian work before the war. The British ruling class, however, was frantic to repress Irish nationalism by maximal force. It did not matter that the German weapons never reached Ireland; it did not matter that they never were enough to make a significant difference anyway, even if they did arrive; and it most assuredly did not matter that Casement had left the safety of Germany precisely in order to stop the Easter Uprising. The British wanted Casement dead --- and then discredited. The problem was that the Treason Act covered only acts of treason on British soil. Casement had performed his treasonous acts in a foreign country, which technically lay outside the purview of The Treason Act. To overcome this difficulty, the presiding judge inserted a comma into the relevant section of the act, which made Casement subject to prosecution for his activities in Germany, and when he was condemned to death, it was widely stated that he was “hanged by a comma.” This grammatical maneuver backfired on the British, which is what prompted them to release The Black Diaries to blacken Casement’s reputation and to defuse popular unrest against the rigor and the injustice of the sentence.

Casement was so systematically screwed --- by the British, by the Germans, and especially by the Irish resistance --- that I have to wonder if plain, old-fashioned homophobia was behind a great deal of it. I have asked elsewhere in this forum whether it is possible for a gay person to support the survival of a nation-state which exists, inter alia, to persecute him or her. The case of Roger Casement is an excellent example of what can happen to a gay person who involves himself in politics in the service of people who are not serious about long-term political action and who would never be grateful to him or her in any case for his or her sacrifice. Yes, Yeats did pay his belated respects in 1937, and in 1965, the extremely old Éamon de Valera, President of Ireland and the last surviving member of the leadership of the Easter Uprising, insisted on attending the state funeral of Casement’s remains in Glasnevin Cemetery, the traditional resting-place for the immortals of the Irish reistance. But, I have to ask, was it worth it to Roger Casement? Was it worth it? Is it ever worth it? Will it ever be worth it?
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 20, 2007, 09:42:20 PM
Katherine Lee Bates (author of 'America the Beautiful') and her lover Katharine Coman (founder of the Wellesley College department of economics) lived together in the northwest from 1890 till Coman's death in 1915.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Katharine_Lee_Bates

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Katharine_Coman

http://www.fuzzylu.com/falmouth/bates/home.htm
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 20, 2007, 09:47:22 PM
Chuck Renslow opened the Gold Coast in Chicago (which on this site is called the first leather bar in the U.S.) in 1958.  Note thet this site is NOT WORK SAFE:

http://bitterqueen.typepad.com/bitter_queen/gay_history_the_existential_subculture_years/index.html

He also opened Kris Studios (one of the first Muscle Mag studios) in 1950:

http://www.infopt.demon.co.uk/renslow.htm
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Cowboysnkisses on March 20, 2007, 11:31:11 PM
Martin Duberman also wrote a moving memoir called Cures about his submission to treatment under the earlier psychiatric orthodoxy of homosexuality as mental illness.  Others on this thread have mentioned their own personal experiences with this and might find that book of interest.

Yes!  I was aware of this.  Have you read the book?  If so what were his experiences (generally)?  Did he undergo aversion therapy?

In the Evelyn Hooker documentary I mentioned (which is unfortunately not on DVD yet) there was information about patients who actually underwent psychosurgery to 'correct' homosexuality - a shocking application of psychiatric abuse, imho.

It's been some time since I read it, but I don't think he underwent aversion therapy.  However, he did have a very bad time with his analysts who insisted on seeing his emotional attachments to his lovers as evidence of continuing "sickness."  They effectively sabotaged his relationships until he finally broke free from their sinister influence.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Cowboysnkisses on March 20, 2007, 11:50:25 PM
Okay...well this isn't the 1890s...but how about Joseph Smith in Nauvoo, Illinois in 1843 eulogizing a gay man's lover:

http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/pwh/josephsmith.html

In fact there's a book about the early Mormons' tacit acceptance of gay relationships: D. Michael Quinn's Same-Sex Dynamics among Nineteenth-Century Americans: A Mormon Example.  It won the Herbert Feis Award from the American Historical Association in 1997.  But it also got him into trouble with the Mormon church as did his being gay.  He was eventually forced to resign his Professorship at Brigham Young University and was excommunicated from the church.  The Mormon hierarchy has gone on a crusade against him, threatening to pull funding out of conferences about Mormon history that allow him to speak.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: tfferg on March 21, 2007, 12:10:36 AM


Your post sent me to the book "Coming Out Under Fire" by Allan Berube to look for info on drag shows during WW II (there is an entire chapter in the book entitled 'GI Drag: A Gay Refuge').  Aside from 'South Pacific' there was also 'This Is The Army' by Irving Berlin.  It was an all-soldier show with GI drag in it.  In the movie of the same name Alan Hale appears in drag.

I don't know whether there are any books on the subject, but I have seen movies and TV programs about entertaining the troops in the British and Australian forces during WWII and they usually featured soldiers in drag. Prisoners of war in the camps in Germany and in Asia devised shows which included guys in drag.

Apart from the obvious exigencies of a lack of women to play the female parts, I wonder if it might also be connected to theatrical traditions dating back centuries when women were forbidden to appear on stage and women's roles were played by boys and young men.

Which reminds me of Japanese theatre in pre-modern times. Again as women were proscribed from appaearing on stage, the women's roles were played by men -onnagata - who still appear in kabuki even though there is now no law against women on stage.

In Europe and in Japan, actors traditonally had a very low position in the social hierarchy and were considered to be involved in the vice trade and deviant forms of sexuality.

In pre-Stonewall times in Australia, drag shows and skits were often part of popular entertainment and there were companies like Les Girls of "female impersonators". There were well-known actors like Frank Thring who were camp and always indulged in camp innuendo and repartee in interviews and talk shows. The "King" of commercial TV in Melbourne was Graham Kennedy who had a long-running nightly variety-cum-talk show called 'In Melbourne Tonight'. He was considered a comic genius and much of his humor turned on sexual innuendo. He never came out as gay though I believe he had a long-term male partner, a sports journalist who has recently published a book. Kennedy died recently as a retired recluse as far as the public was concerned. When I was a teenager, my mother wouldn't allow anyone to watch Kenndy's In Melbourne Tonight as she considered it dirty, so I only saw it occasionally in the houses of neighbours who liked "dirty jokes" and heard about it from conversations in the schoolyard.

Another very popular TV variety show, the Bobby Limb Show from Sydney included a regular comic skit, where Bobby's wife Dawn conducted what was almost a monologue with a big, busty,square-faced guy in drag. The characters were working class housewives nattering over the back fence, dressed in floral housecoats and scarves tied over their heads.

Although I never went to one, I think football club nights would usually include big macho footballers in drag which translated into weekly TV football shows that in recent years regularly have players appearing in drag.

Also popular/"controversial" in the old days were American performers like Liberace, who I think a lot of people despised, and the British drag entertainer, Danny La Rue. I think many homophobes probably based their stereotype of gays on Liberace.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 21, 2007, 01:11:29 AM
Okay...this is a little off topic, and I'm going to post a similar post over the the MTF/FTM thread - has anyone here ever read a fascinating little book entitled "Lieutenant Nun: Memoir of a Basque Transvestite in the New World" by Catalina De Erauso?  It's the story of a woman who escaped a nunnery and dressed as a soldier and came to the new world.  She was engaged to marry several women and was a dualist.  Eventually, when she was discovered to be a woman, she was given a special dispensation by the Pope to dress as a man.  She lived from 1592 - 1650.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catalina_de_Erauso

And here is a book on Catalina:

http://www.amazon.com/Lieutenant-Nun-Catalina-Erauso/dp/0807070734/ref=sr_1_1/103-7071639-7111031?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1174461366&sr=8-1
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 21, 2007, 01:43:22 AM
Regarding gay life outside of New York in the 1920s - in 1924 in Chicago Henry Gerber started the gay organization Society for Human Rights.  They published the first magazine for gays in the U.S. 'Friendship and Freedom', which was shut down by the Chicago police.  Gerber eventually wrote articles for the Mattachine Society and One.  He died in 1972.

http://www.gayhistory.com/rev2/factfiles/ff1924.htm

http://members.aol.com/matrixwerx/glbthistory/gerber.htm

http://www.glhalloffame.org/index.pl?item=18&todo=view_item

http://andrejkoymasky.com/liv/fam/biog1/gerb1.html

Two other Chicago pioneers were Jane Addams and Ellen Starr who started Hull House.

http://lesbianlife.about.com/od/lesbiansinhistory/p/JaneAddams.htm

http://www.glbtq.com/social-sciences/addams_j,2.html

Here is an article on the gay history of Chicago:

http://www.glbtq.com/social-sciences/chicago.html
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 21, 2007, 01:55:31 AM
Here is a LGBT history of Boston:

http://www.glbtq.com/social-sciences/boston.html

Included in it is informaton on F. Holland Day:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F._Holland_Day

And the institution referred to as Boston Marriages:

http://womenshistory.about.com/od/bostonmarriage/a/boston_marriage.htm

http://www.glbtq.com/social-sciences/boston_marriages.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boston_marriage

http://www.oah.org/pubs/nl/2004aug/freedman.html

Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 21, 2007, 02:06:13 AM
Here is a page which describes the LGBT history of Los Angeles:

http://www.glbtq.com/social-sciences/los_angeles.html
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Nax on March 21, 2007, 02:46:43 AM

Another very popular TV variety show, the Bobby Limb Show from Sydney included a regular comic skit, where Bobby's wife Dawn conducted what was almost a monologue with a big, busty,square-faced guy in drag. The characters were working class housewives nattering over the back fence, dressed in floral housecoats and scarves tied over their heads.


All of these type sketches were bases on a very early British TV comic called Norman Evans and were replicated and built on by several later comedians such as the great Les Dawson.

See

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LDOCQyDzmtU
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Nax on March 21, 2007, 03:00:47 AM
Mikey, I don't know if you posted this earlier, it's more of a general history and non US centric which might be interesting:-

http://www.suphawut.com/gvb/gayly/gay_history1.htm

Also there is a GLBT initiative here in the UK supported by the BBC see:-

http://www.lgbthistorymonth.org.uk/
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: jpq716 on March 21, 2007, 06:07:50 PM
In the late 1960s I used to frequent the Broadway theater avidly, and one of the musicals that I saw there was Cabaret. Joel Grey, alas, had left the cast before I was able to see him in the role of the Emcee, but the production stunned me nonetheless. I simply could not believe that “stuff like that” occurred in Weimar Germany, and I was prompted to find out more about the period as a result of seeing the play. Eventually, I succumbed --- as so many students of twentieth century culture have succumbed --- to the magic of Weimar Germany, which I formally entered in the spring of 1969 when I first read Hermann Hesse’s Demian. Hesse led me to Der Blau Engel, to Der Dreigroschen Oper, to Mann, to Brecht, to Weill, to Von Stroheim, to Billy Wilder and so many of the other geniuses of the time. And it lead me eventually to Christopher Isherwood, the first explicitly “gay” author whom I ever read --- and still one of the very best. The Berlin Stories (1945), which included the novella Goodbye to Berlin on which Cabaret was based, remains one of my favorite works of modern short fiction, and it is no accident that Time magazine in 2005 named the book one of the top one hundred novels of the twentieth century.

Of course, the best way to read The Berlin Stories is in tandem with Isherwood’s fascinating memoir, Christopher and His Kind (1976), which reveals just how artfully Isherwood suggested the real truth about the nature of his life in Berlin, even while cleverly manipulating the facts to provide himself with a plausible deniability at the time. A pose which intrigued but did not particularly impress me. You see, at the time that I encountered Weimar Germany, I presumed that it --- like the United States between 1865 and 1929 --- was an archaic, never-to-be-repeated fragment of the past, and therefore of limited relevance to the present. I was very young then, and I did not understand what Marie Antoinette’s seamstress understood oh-so-well, viz. that there is nothing new except what has been forgotten. Auden, who introduced Isherwood to the hypnotic delights of the Berlin boy-bars with their sad, and potentially dangerous, jungenpuppen, came to understand this quite well later on, as he expressed it so memorably in his great poem, “September 1, 1939”:

Exiled Thucydides knew
All that a speech can say
About Democracy,
And what dictators do,
The elderly rubbish they talk
To an apathetic grave;
Analysed all in his book,
The enlightenment driven away,
The habit-forming pain,
Mismanagement and grief:
We must suffer them all again.

Once I saw Weimar Germany, like the American Gilded Age, as but an historical curiosity. But now I know that the authors of Weimar Germany analyzed an over-ripe and decadent age as well as Thucydides did in his time: the enlightenment driven away, the habit-forming pain, mismanagement and grief. And oh --- would that it were not so! --- I see so much of Weimar Germany in the America of the past quarter of a century. Yes, indeed, we must suffer them all again… <SIGH>
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: brokebacktom on March 21, 2007, 07:37:49 PM
Mike and Othes have you Heard of the Photographer George Platt Lynes? He did high fashion photos but burned most of the and kept only the Homoerotic ones. He wanted to be known for those instead of his High fashion ones. You should look into his work it was quite good.

Tom
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 21, 2007, 08:53:42 PM
Mike and Othes have you Heard of the Photographer George Platt Lynes? He did high fashion photos but burned most of the and kept only the Homoerotic ones. He wanted to be known for those instead of his High fashion ones. You should look into his work it was quite good.

Tom

Hi Tom!  Yes, I posted a link to a book here with some of his photographs the other day:

http://www.amazon.com/When-We-Were-Three-Wheeler/dp/0965728048

In short, for those of you who are unaware, Platt Lynes also kept company with Monroe Wheeler and Glenway Wescot (and they were all friends of Paul Cadmus).

http://www.hrc.utexas.edu/research/fa/lynes.html

http://www.nytimes.com/books/first/p/pohorilenko-three.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

http://www.wisc.edu/wisconsinpress/books/3537.htm

http://webtext.library.yale.edu/xml2html/beinecke.mwheeler.nav.html



Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 21, 2007, 09:15:24 PM
Of course, the best way to read The Berlin Stories is in tandem with Isherwood’s fascinating memoir, Christopher and His Kind (1976), which reveals just how artfully Isherwood suggested the real truth about the nature of his life in Berlin

I absolutely love 'Christopher and His Kind'.  It's a wonderful window into the world of Wiemar Germany and Isherwood's life.  I read it when it came out.

http://www.amazon.com/Christopher-His-Kind-Isherwood/dp/0816638632/ref=sr_1_3/103-7071639-7111031?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1174533179&sr=8-3

http://www.litweb.net/biography/493/Christopher_Isherwood.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christopher_Isherwood

 
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 21, 2007, 09:25:52 PM
Mikey, I don't know if you posted this earlier, it's more of a general history and non US centric which might be interesting:-

http://www.suphawut.com/gvb/gayly/gay_history1.htm

Also there is a GLBT initiative here in the UK supported by the BBC see:-

http://www.lgbthistorymonth.org.uk/

Thanks very much for this Neil!

Here are some other international references from th glbtq site.

Australia:

http://www.glbtq.com/social-sciences/australia.html

Austria:

http://www.glbtq.com/social-sciences/austria.html

Belgium:

http://www.glbtq.com/social-sciences/belgium.html

Canada:

http://www.glbtq.com/social-sciences/canada.html

London:

http://www.glbtq.com/social-sciences/london.html

Madrid:

http://www.glbtq.com/social-sciences/madrid.html

Mexico:

http://www.glbtq.com/social-sciences/mexico.html

Moscow:

http://www.glbtq.com/social-sciences/moscow.html

The Netherlands:

http://www.glbtq.com/social-sciences/netherlands.html

Paris:

http://www.glbtq.com/social-sciences/paris.html

Sweden:

http://www.glbtq.com/social-sciences/sweden.html

[That's all for now - there's an alpha index on the site, however]
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 22, 2007, 09:38:56 PM
I wanted to get back to the notion of the expatriates and their effect on gay history.  I started thinking about this seriously when I was looking at the Gay Male American literature page that I referred you to the other day (http://www.glbtq.com/sfeatures/amlitgay19001969.html) and noticed how many of the people on this list had left the U.S. for extended periods of time.

First, I'd like to consider why it is that lesbian, gay and bisexual people left their home countries.  Certainly laws probably had something to do with it - for example France probably seemed safe country as in 1791 sodomy was decriminalized.  Compare this with the U.K. (where Oscar Wilde was tried in tried in 1895 and sentenced to hard labor), the United States where the first sodomy laws were overturned in the 1960s and Nazi Germany where people were put to death.  Wilde himself moved to France and Italy after his release from prison.  Likewise the liberalized laws in Italy drew people there (and, for a time, liberalized laws in Germany drew people there before the Nazi regime).  And naturally some travel was just for pleasure.

Part of the reason that people moved probably had to do with the the ability to live in relative anonymity.  Cultural institutions probably had a lot to do with their moves as well - Magnus Hirschfeld's Institut für Sexualwissenschaft in Berlin and Natalie Barnie and Gertrude Stein's salons in France.  The Institute and the salons provided a social as well as an artistic and intellectual outlet. 

There were people (like Stephen Spender and Gore Vidal) who left their respective countries for other political reasons (Spender to fight in the Spanish Civil War and Vidal with disenchantment with the United States after the Kennedy years).  There was a lure for some in the sexual availability of young men in places like Morocco.  For James Baldwin and Langston Hughes Europe was a draw because of racism in the United States.  Jean Genet traveled because they he was part of the criminal underworld.  Klaus Mann and Andre Gide left when the Nazis took over their countries.  So there was no one reason for people to travel.  But it certainly had an impact on their lives and their viewpoints for the rest of their lives.

It's also important to acknowledge that there were people like Quentin Crisp, Jean Cocteau, Marcel Proust, Simone de Beauvoir, Tchaikovsky, Tennessee Williams and Truman Capote (among many others) did not leave their home countries.

But it's still interesting to consider how cross-pollination may have happened culturally between many countries due to this travel.

Expatriate Americans

Edward I. Prime-Stevenson - Switzerland
Henry James - London
Robert McAlmon - Paris
Gertrude Stein - France
Alice B. Toklas - France
Natalie Clifford Barney - Paris
Paul Bowles - Morocco
Jane Bowles - Morocco
Clarkson Crane - France
Glenway Wescott - Paris
George Platt Lynes - Paris
Langston Hughes - Paris
Charles Henri Ford - Paris
Djuna Barnes - Paris
Alain LeRoy Locke - Berlin, Paris
John Horne Burns - Casablanca, Algiers, Italy
Gore Vidal - Ravello, Italy
Dunstan Thompson - Middle East, UK
James Baldwin - Paris
William S. Burroughs - Austria, Mexico, Rome, Tangiers, Paris, London
Alfred Chester - Paris
James Purdy - Mexico
Terrence McNally - Mexico
Ned Rorem - Morocco, Paris
Tobias Schneebaum - Peru, New Guinea

Expatriate British

Oscar Wilde - France, Italy
W. H. Auden - U.S.
Christopher Isherwood - Germany, U.S.
Stephen Spender - Spain, Germany
E. M. Forster- Egypt, Germany, India
Thom Gunn - U.S.
Somerset Maugham - India, France

Expatriate South African

William Plomer - Japan

Expatriate Germans

Klaus Mann - Czechoslovakia, United States

Expatriate French

Andre Gide - Tunisia
Jean Genet - Poland, Czechoslovakia, Spain
Arthur Rimbaud - United Kingdom
Paul Verlaine - United Kingdom


Expatriate Russians

Vaslav Nijinsky - Hungary, Switzerland, United Kingdom
Sergei Diaghilev - Italy

I'm sure this list is by no means complete - please feel free to tell me about other examples you know of (or correct me if I'm wrong).  And I'd love to hear your own notions about why this happened.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Sandy on March 22, 2007, 09:45:45 PM
Michael,

Gore Vidal has sold the villa and has moved back to the US. With EM Forster, I think he took a turn in India as part of his grand tour, but it would not have been a great place to escape the consequences of British law. While Indians tend not to look too closely at personal lives, anti-sodomy laws were in place, and Forster would have stood out.

Sandy
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 22, 2007, 09:46:41 PM
I'm unsure if I posted this link to an online article about early gay historians - if so pardon the repost.  It had one I'd never heard of before!

http://www.infopt.demon.co.uk/earlygay.htm
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: tfferg on March 22, 2007, 11:28:39 PM


Here are some other international references from th glbtq site.

Australia:

http://www.glbtq.com/social-sciences/australia.html

Austria:

http://www.glbtq.com/social-sciences/austria.html

Belgium:

http://www.glbtq.com/social-sciences/belgium.html

Canada:

http://www.glbtq.com/social-sciences/canada.html

London:

http://www.glbtq.com/social-sciences/london.html

Madrid:

http://www.glbtq.com/social-sciences/madrid.html

Mexico:

http://www.glbtq.com/social-sciences/mexico.html

Moscow:

http://www.glbtq.com/social-sciences/moscow.html

The Netherlands:

http://www.glbtq.com/social-sciences/netherlands.html

Paris:

http://www.glbtq.com/social-sciences/paris.html

Sweden:

http://www.glbtq.com/social-sciences/sweden.html

[That's all for now - there's an alpha index on the site, however]

The glbtq site also has articles on China, pre-independence sub-Saharan Africa and Thailand.

One of the general books referred to in the China article is

Hinsch, Bret. Passions of the Cut Sleeve: The Male Homosexual Tradition in China. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1990.

and another fascinating book is

Lars Eighner’s  Gay Cosmos  New York, 1995. Hard Candy Books

which among many other gems has a table of 44 African societies with a wide range of different homosexual traditions ad a worldwide brief cross-cultural survey.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 23, 2007, 02:21:17 PM
Actually, Tony, the only cross-cultural study I have is 'The Many Faces of Homosexuality' which is a little old (1986) and probably dry for most readers.

http://www.amazon.com/Many-Faces-Homosexuality-Anthropological-Approaches/dp/0918393205/ref=sr_1_1/103-7071639-7111031?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1174680018&sr=8-1

 I do remember when 'Passions of the Cut Sleeve: The Male Homosexual Tradition in China' came out, and it got very good press, as I recall.

When I was looking at 'The Many Faces of Homosexuality' I saw these two books which looked interesting:

Homosexualities by Stephen O. Murray:

http://www.amazon.com/Homosexualities-Worlds-Desire-Chicago-Sexuality/dp/0226551954/ref=pd_sim_b_2/103-7071639-7111031?ie=UTF8&qid=1174680359&sr=8-1

And 'The Geography of Perversion: Male-to-Male Sexual Behavior Outside the West and the Ethnographic Imagination, 1750-1918 ' by Rudi C. Bleys:

http://www.amazon.com/Geography-Perversion-Male-Male-Ethnographic/dp/0814712657/ref=sr_1_1/103-7071639-7111031?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1174680359&sr=8-1
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 23, 2007, 08:52:21 PM
I posted an earlier link from this site, but I discovered this as well - it's a guide to Homosexuality in 18th Century England:

http://www.infopt.demon.co.uk/eighteen.htm

And here's Dr. Norton's entire website:

http://www.infopt.demon.co.uk/

And here is his WONDERFUL, WONDERFUL links page:

http://www.infopt.demon.co.uk/gaylink1.htm
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 24, 2007, 02:42:17 PM
In putting together the list of expatriates that I posted the other day I got thinking about the Harlem Renaissance and realized that I should probably put up a few links to the movement and the major gay and lesbian authors involved in in.  Here is the overview site at the glbtq site:

http://www.glbtq.com/literature/harlem_renaissance.html

And here is that site's page on Countee Cullen, one of the major gay poets of the Harlem Renaissance:

http://www.glbtq.com/literature/cullen_c.html

And here is a page on the sculptor James Richmond Barthé:

http://www.glbtq.com/arts/barthe_jr.html

And the amazing A'Lelia Walker (daughter of the equally amazing Madam C. J. Walker):

http://www.glbtq.com/social-sciences/walker_a_ssh.html
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 24, 2007, 05:10:03 PM
So...is it time to move on to the next section here?  Does anyone want anything in particular from the pre-Stonewall era covered that hasn't been yet?  Opinions?
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: dejavu on March 24, 2007, 06:58:49 PM
Michael, I just want to compliment you for putting all these great references together.

I've been busy and won't have time to read most of them right now, but they are a wealth of information.  Whenever you go on to the next section is fine with me; I'll read later, as long as the thread stays around.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: fritzkep on March 24, 2007, 07:54:24 PM
Yes, Michael, it's good to begin at the beginning, but it is probably time to move on to a period that my friends and I have more personal knowledge about.

Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Rob in Puyallup on March 24, 2007, 09:01:18 PM
A quick note here to all my friends who didn't see this posted elsewhere... a little personal for this thread, perhaps, but thought I'd be forgiven anyway. :)

Last Thursday was the first anniversary of my "coming out"... without this movie of ours, without this forum and the family of friends I've made in it, and especially without my Nicky, it probably never would've happened.

This past year has shown me what it really means to be honest with myself and those around me. My life has never been better!

Many thanks to all involved!

Hugs,
Rob
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: fritzkep on March 24, 2007, 09:21:49 PM
Belated happy anniversary, Rob and Nick, wishing you all the best. Stay together at least 29 years, like me and Earl!  :D

Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Mejack on March 25, 2007, 07:10:54 AM
. . . a period that my friends and I have more personal knowledge about.


Young whippersnapper!!  ;D
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Rob in Puyallup on March 25, 2007, 09:11:20 AM
Belated happy anniversary, Rob and Nick, wishing you all the best. Stay together at least 29 years, like me and Earl!  :D


We're working on that Fritz!


 ;D
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Nikki on March 25, 2007, 09:38:10 AM

Michael,

This thread is a wonderful source of gay history -- kudos to you!!

BTW another book on Casement you may or may not be aware of is "Casement" by Angus Mitchell -- published by Haus Publishing in London.
I picked it up when I was in Ireland two years ago -- it a small book, but filed with information about Casement's early life and final execution. The introduction is prefaced by this quote from Casement: It is a cruel thing to die with all men misunderstanding -- misapprehending -- and to be silent forever.  Beautiful and still timely!
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 25, 2007, 12:12:38 PM
It is a cruel thing to die with all men misunderstanding -- misapprehending -- and to be silent forever.  Beautiful and still timely!

Thank you Nikki.  Roger Casement is someone from history who I hold particularly close to my heart.  That quote gave me chills and brought tears to my eyes!  I'll look for Angus Mitchell's book!
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 25, 2007, 12:15:37 PM
A quick note here to all my friends who didn't see this posted elsewhere... a little personal for this thread, perhaps, but thought I'd be forgiven anyway. :) {snip}
Rob

Well...if there's any thing that we learn from history Rob it's that our individual lives are important.  Congratulations and I encourage readers here to send p.m.s of support.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 25, 2007, 12:28:56 PM
Okay...so here's what I think:  I think we should move on to the next piece (Stonewall to the mid-seventies) beginning this Wednesday March 28th.  That will allow me to get this period of history started before I have to put questions together for the book and film club on April 2nd (a busy day) and to get us all starting our personal conversations.

I'll be posting some questions that you can use for a general guideline for reporting personal history - you don't need to necessarily follow them, they're meant as an aid, that's all.

If you should come across things or have questions from this earlier period I'd guess that it would be fine with everyone here to bring that up.

Feel free to post any comments or questions (or to p.m. me if you don't want to post them to the list).
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 25, 2007, 12:59:39 PM
Before we move on I'd like to discuss a few rather dark episodes in gay history.  The first is the the internment of men considered sexually deviant in concentration camps by the Nazis.  They were forced to wear the pink triangle.  Here is a site dedicate to that period in history:

http://www.pink-triangle.org/

People were put in prison under a law called Paragraph 175:

http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/pwh/para175.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paragraph_175

There was a film entitled 'Paragraph 175' about the Nazi persecution of homosexuals released in 2000:

http://www.tellingpictures.com/films/5.html

The United States Holocaust Memorial has a page concerning the Nazi Persecution of Homosexuals here:

http://www.ushmm.org/museum/exhibit/online/hsx/

Here is a page from the Holocaust Teacher Resource Center on the Nazi Persecution of Homosexuals:

http://www.holocaust-trc.org/homosx.htm#4

Here is a site concerning people who wore the pink triangle in Auschwitz:

http://www.joerg-hutter.de/auschwitz.htm#Auschwitz  [German]

(the English translation is at the bottom of the page - our you can go here:

http://www.joerg-hutter.de/auschwitz.htm#Auschwitz

One of the foremost memorials to those lost and persecuted in this atrocity is the 'Homomonument' - a memorial in the Netherlands:

http://www.glbtq.com/arts/homomonument.html

http://www.homomonument.nl/

One book I have read on this historic event is: "The Pink Triangle: The Nazi War Against Homosexuals" by Richard Plant:

http://www.amazon.com/Pink-Triangle-Nazi-Against-Homosexuals/dp/0805006001
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: fritzkep on March 25, 2007, 03:15:31 PM
One of the worst things that happened after the Second World War is that gay people who were incarcerated in the concentration camps were rearrested soon after the end of the war, because Para 175 was still very much enforced. Only gradually did the enforcement diminish before the law was finally stricken from the legal code.

Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: brian on March 25, 2007, 03:57:01 PM
You may be interested in this site which covers memorial to the gay holocaust around the world. There is even one in Sydney.
http://andrejkoymasky.com/mem/holocaust/ho08.html
 I originally posted this site in the G'day forum after one of our members (a dear friend due to Brokeback) visited the memorial in Frankfurt.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 25, 2007, 04:06:07 PM
One of the worst things that happened after the Second World War is that gay people who were incarcerated in the concentration camps were rearrested soon after the end of the war, because Para 175 was still very much enforced. Only gradually did the enforcement diminish before the law was finally stricken from the legal code.

Thanks very much for mentioning this Fritz.  It is truly a horror.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 25, 2007, 05:16:09 PM
You may be interested in this site which covers memorial to the gay holocaust around the world. There is even one in Sydney.
http://andrejkoymasky.com/mem/holocaust/ho08.html
 I originally posted this site in the G'day forum after one of our members (a dear friend due to Brokeback) visited the memorial in Frankfurt.

Thanks Brian!

Here's a picture of me on the monument in Amsterdam:

http://www.davecullen.com/forum/index.php?topic=109.msg102705#msg102705
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 25, 2007, 06:50:44 PM
...and when the King's son saw him he fell so much in love that he entered upon an enduring compact with him, and chose and determined to knit an indissoluble bond with him, before all other mortals

In memory of Edward II and Piers Gaveston:

http://www.historyhouse.com/in_history/edward_ii/
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 25, 2007, 07:48:39 PM
Here's a bit on the history terminology - the word 'homosexual' was first used in a letter from Károly Mária Kertbeny to Karl Heinrich Ulrichs dated 6 May 1868:

http://www.infopt.demon.co.uk/social14.htm

'Sodomy' as a term used to describe male homosexuality is thought to have originated either from Burchard, bishop of Worms (d. 1025) in his 'Medicus' or St. Peter Damian (1007 - 1071) in his book "Book of Gomorrah" (Liber Gomorrhianus):

http://www.glbtq.com/social-sciences/sodomy.html

http://www.aglp.org/gap/1_history/

http://www.gayhistory.com/rev2/words/sodomy.htm

Arrigo Tamassia was the first person who used the term 'inversion' (in 1878 - see the aglp.org citation).

'Buggery' appears to have come from Latin into French and then English and is thought to have originally referred to the sexual practices of the Bogomils, a heretical sect from Bulgaria.  The sect is from the 10th century:

http://machaut.uchicago.edu/cgi-bin/WEBSTER.sh?word=Bugger

Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 25, 2007, 10:28:15 PM
Apparently there were a few places you could go if you were in search of adventure and love....

Here are a few sites that will make you wonder a bit about the origin of the term 'booty':

http://www.chiprowe.com/bookrev/sodomy.html

http://www.glbtq.com/social-sciences/pirates.html

http://www.marcusrediker.com/Reviews/Turley_review.htm
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 25, 2007, 10:41:04 PM
Since we are talking about what happened BEFORE 1969 it would be appropriate to mention the Metropolitan Community Church, which began in 1968:

http://www.glbtq.com/social-sciences/metro_comm_church.html

http://www.glbtq.com/social-sciences/perry_t.html
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 25, 2007, 11:11:26 PM
Here is an article on gay bath houses which includes a good history caution - one nude photo - not work safe - also caution with links off of this article - one 'The history of gay bathhouses' has hardcore banner ads

http://www.answers.com/topic/gay-bathhouse

Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 26, 2007, 12:43:58 AM
This is a plug.  If you're interested in film history please join us for the discussion of 'The Celluloid Closet'.  The discussion schedule is posted here:

http://www.davecullen.com/forum/index.php?topic=21097.msg805727#msg805727
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Jack too on March 26, 2007, 11:45:59 AM
Here is an article on gay bath houses which includes a good history caution - one nude photo - not work safe - also caution with links off of this article - one 'The history of gay bathhouses' has hardcore banner ads

http://www.answers.com/topic/gay-bathhouse


Hope this is permissable.  Here is a link to a section of my own web site, which is about an evening at the Penn-Post baths in New York in the early 60's.  My experience in these years was that guys were ambivalent about the baths, though it seemed as though most of the people I knew at the time went occasionally.  The Everard and the old St. Marks baths were really quite grubby and dingy.  The Penn-Post was considered, from what I heard, a place to be missed.  I went anyway...several times.  However, perhaps because it enjoyed the poorest reputation in an era when the baths in general did not enjoy a great one, I have seen only passing references to it.  So, I include the link to my own recollections, which are a bit more detailed than what I've come across.

http://www.nycnotkansas.com/PennPost.htm

Jack
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Mejack on March 26, 2007, 12:28:28 PM
Here is an article on gay bath houses which includes a good history caution - one nude photo - not work safe - also caution with links off of this article - one 'The history of gay bathhouses' has hardcore banner ads

http://www.answers.com/topic/gay-bathhouse


Hope this is permissable.  Here is a link to a section of my own web site, which is about an evening at the Penn-Post baths in New York in the early 60's.  My experience in these years was that guys were ambivalent about the baths, though it seemed as though most of the people I knew at the time went occasionally.  The Everard and the old St. Marks baths were really quite grubby and dingy.  The Penn-Post was considered, from what I heard, a place to be missed.  I went anyway...several times.  However, perhaps because it enjoyed the poorest reputation in an era when the baths in general did not enjoy a great one, I have seen only passing references to it.  So, I include the link to my own recollections, which are a bit more detailed than what I've come across.

http://www.nycnotkansas.com/PennPost.htm

Jack

Jack,
How wonderful to find you posting here.  I've recently spent several wonderful hours reading your memoir (still haven't finished) and I'm astounded at how accurately you portray the New York we knew back then.  You and I were contemporaries and practically neighbors at one time in the Village.  I lived on Bleeker, right around the corner from Clara's Pam Pam where I was one of the regulars (well maybe not exactly "regular", but you know what I mean), while working as a waiter at Aldo's.  And, like you, I too arrived in the city with just 50 bucks in my pocket.

Never went to Penn-Post (too scary for me) but got to Everhards occasionally.  Do remember seeing Bette Midler at another bathhouse, what was it's name, was it the Continental?

Paul Mejack

NOTE:  I highly recommend Jack's memoir. It's a great read. www.nycnotkansas.com
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Jack too on March 26, 2007, 12:37:16 PM
Just found this thread, and thought I'd share a few memories of a 70-year old.

Stonewall
I lived in Greenwich Village from 1959 to 1973 (except for 1964- 65 in San Francisco). My apartment was on Barrow Street in the Village, just one block from The Stonewall on Christopher.  I remember the 1969 riots well.  I was not at Stonewall that night in June, thankfully, but  word of the disturbance flashed through the little basement gay bar a couple of blocks away where we were. We got out in a hurry, expecting we might be next. ...  But in the daytime, we would gather around the corner in Sheridan Square at Clara's PamPam Restaurant to discuss all the happenings.

Paul


Perhaps someone has already suggested this, but I haven't noticed a followup.

Would the "little basement gay bar" have been the Snake Pit on West 10th Street?  This was the place that the police raided about nine months after Stonewall - March '70, I think (it was another unlicensed, i.e. illegal, bar) and they took away the customers.  At the precinct bldg. a frightened immigrant, Diego Vinales, threw himself from the window and was impaled on an iron picket fence below.  Part of the fence had to be sawn off and taken to the hospital still embedded in him.  Amazingly, he lived.

I have repeatedly looked for reference to Pam Pam as it was so popular in the late Fifties and the Sixties, a gay Greenwich Village landmark.  I think this place was a popular gathering spot not only because it was in Sheridan Square, but because it was a cheap place to eat and hang out, and other gay restaurants that I recall from the era were more formal and expensive.

I first moved to New York in '59 too.

Jack
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Mejack on March 26, 2007, 12:57:49 PM

. . .Would the "little basement gay bar" have been the Snake Pit on West 10th Street?  This was the place that the police raided about nine months after Stonewall - March '70, I think (it was another unlicensed, i.e. illegal, bar) and they took away the customers. . .


No, it wasn't the Snake Pit.  It was on West 4th Street on the corner of either Charles or Perry . . . maybe three or four blocks from the Stonewall.

<I had no idea is was illegal, officer, honestly I didn't> ;) ;D

Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 26, 2007, 01:00:09 PM
Here is an article on gay bath houses which includes a good history caution - one nude photo - not work safe - also caution with links off of this article - one 'The history of gay bathhouses' has hardcore banner ads

http://www.answers.com/topic/gay-bathhouse


Hope this is permissable.  Here is a link to a section of my own web site, which is about an evening at the Penn-Post baths in New York in the early 60's.  My experience in these years was that guys were ambivalent about the baths, though it seemed as though most of the people I knew at the time went occasionally.  The Everard and the old St. Marks baths were really quite grubby and dingy.  The Penn-Post was considered, from what I heard, a place to be missed.  I went anyway...several times.  However, perhaps because it enjoyed the poorest reputation in an era when the baths in general did not enjoy a great one, I have seen only passing references to it.  So, I include the link to my own recollections, which are a bit more detailed than what I've come across.

http://www.nycnotkansas.com/PennPost.htm

Jack

Jack...not only is it permissable - I encourage people to link to their own historical sites and would be REALLY happy if you wanted to share any personal stories on your past here.  We're before Stonewall now (through Wednesday - but that doesn't really matter, if you can't get to it then do it when you can).  Paul, Jack, Brian and Neil (among others) have shared their stories here.  There's a post where I was asking questions earlier on - I'll try to find that and repost the address.

Welcome!  We look forward to hearing more from you.

Michael
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Jack too on March 26, 2007, 01:06:50 PM

Never went to Penn-Post (too scary for me) but got to Everhards occasionally.  Do remember seeing Bette Midler at another bathhouse, what was it's name, was it the Continental?

Paul Mejack

NOTE:  I highly recommend Jack's memoir. It's a great read. www.nycnotkansas.com


First of all, thank you for the kudos.  And I would encourage you to put something up.  As is clear from my own site, I am more than a bit sick of gay histories that are about organizations and not human beings.  Pls. feel free to email me at the web site email address, I would enjoy hearing from you.

Those baths, yes, it was the Continental that Bette Midler was singing at.  I lived a block away from them then, and attended for about a year with some regularity...but it wasn't to see her, though she was marvelous.  However, this is post-Stonewall, so I feel obliged to wait for the starting gun.

(I seem to be butchering the quote hierarchy the more I attempt to repair the damage, so I'll let the damage stand.)


Jack
Quote
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Mejack on March 26, 2007, 01:19:41 PM

First of all, thank you for the kudos.  And I would encourage you to put something up.

I have "put up" quite often on this forum, as indicated by over 1777 posts, thought not specifically on the subject of gay history.


Quote
. . . attended for about a year with some regularity...but it wasn't to see her, though she was marvelous.

We were probably sitting next to each other . . . your towel kept slipping.  ;D
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Mejack on March 26, 2007, 01:34:52 PM
Michael,
I'm posting the PM I sent you a couple of weeks ago.

Quote
Hi Michael,
I was browsing and found this link:

http://www.nycnotkansas.com/WhatAWonderful.htm

It is forevermore a perfect picture of the gay scene in New York during the 50s and 60s, exactly as I remember it.  Depicts the gay bars, the mafia ownership, repression of gays, the baths, the YMCAs, etc.

It's a very long account and I haven't finished reading it myself.  (That's why I didn't post it on the thread.)  But I couldn't wait to get the link to you.

Paul

Your response:  "This is pure gold."



Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Jack too on March 26, 2007, 04:57:57 PM
Before considering Stonewall, people should understand that in terms of New York City gay liberation, in practical and legal terms, was already well underway by the time the Stonewall events occurred.  The long purge of gay bars in the city during the administrations of Mayor Wagner ran out of steam toward the end.  John Lindsay, a liberal Republican became the next mayor, winning on the Fusion ticket in the mid-Sixties. 

In '66 Dick Leitsch and two other members of the Mattachine Society conducted the "Sip-In," which marks the beginning of aggressive challenges to gay discrimination.  The State Liquor Authority did not allow homosexual clients to be congregated and served in bars, and the SLA could and did confiscate the licenses of those that did.  This is what put gay bars into the hands of the Mafia.  The three Mattachine men were refused service at Julius's on West 10th when they identified themselves as homosexuals, and they then announced that they would sue for the right to be served.  Liberal opinions had gained such wide acceptance, especially in places like NYC, that the SLA backed down and said that it would not enforce that part of the regulations.  However, Mattachine wanted the precedent legally set that public accommodation in bars could not be denied gay people.  Even though the SLA laid off of enforcing this rule the legal proceedings went ahead, public opinion as expressed in the newspapers clearly opposed the anti-gay enforcement and in the end the courts ruled against the SLA.  (The City had no control over SLA activities as it was a State agency.)

Mattachine then pressed the Police Department to bring about the end of the policy of using plainsclothesmen to entrap gay men.  In a bizarre meeting in the Village the policy was ordered ended by Lindsay.  Mattachine continued to bring pressure to bear when incidents were reported.

Mattachine then got the Lindsay administration to agree to drop questions about sexual orientation from its employment hiring procedures; thus, ending a longstanding policy of discrimination.  The police and fire departments, however, resisted this.

These three major breakthroughs happened in the three years prior to the Stonewall riots.  And during this same period a gay public life and a visible public presence reasserted itself after lying low during the anti-gay repression of the early Sixties.

Bars such as the Stonewall, the Snake Pit and the Zodiac, which were raided at the end of the decade did not have liquor licenses, and, therefore, they were not the concern of the SLA - you can't revoke the license of a place that hasn't got one, but rather they were the business of local police as illegal establishments serving alcohol without the required license.  Gay bars in the city at this time, which had state licenses, were not touched, i.e. the Candlelight Lounge, the Old Vic, Kellers, Julius's and the International Stud - only unlicensed places.  As a result of the '66 Sip-In and the reversal (and court overruling) of the former SLA policy there now was such a thing as a legally licensed gay bar. 

To me, these facts make the Stonewall story and its development into mythic status far more interesting - and complex - than some of the usual canned and fictionalized versions of it.

Jack

     
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: fritzkep on March 26, 2007, 05:11:19 PM
Jack, I have greatly enjoyed reading your website too!

As an aside, my sister, Mary Virginia (Ginger), owned the Five Oaks from about 1975 to the early 90's, when she just couldn't make a go of it anymore. Because of her being there, I spent many pleasant hours listening to Marie Blake play and accompany just about anyone. She was amazing! It was wonderful to hear all those great singers from off-off-Broadway come and perform after their shows.

Thanks again for your website!

Fritz Keppler

Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: maidenofthesea on March 26, 2007, 07:45:40 PM
I too have read 'The Pink Triangle' by Robert Plant and was both surprised and disgusted to learn that homosexual male prisoners were often given the hardest physical labour of everyone, including the Jews. I've studied the Holocaust and WWII for the past 3-4 years now non-stop but that factoid was never known to me until I read the book about a year ago.

When I went to the Holocaust Museum in DC (something you all must do if you get the chance) I was disappointed although not surprised to see little to no attention given to the homosexuals within the camps nor any information of the torture they endured after 'liberation.'

Also in the gift shop (yes they have one there) I placed a pink triangle button on the desk to purchase and the woman behind the counter looked at me and said 'you do know what the pink triangle stands for right?" I said of course, yes I did that's why I was purchasing it. She said she had learned to ask that since some customers picked it up to buy and put it back down once they realised what and who it represented.

Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Mejack on March 26, 2007, 08:38:43 PM
Jack, your account of pre-Stonewall New York is accurate, to be sure.  But in our day to day activities, especially in the Village, daily life was quite pleasant.  We were young and carefree, in our early twenties, and I for one, paid little attention to the politics of the day.  We just knew we had to be careful.  Especially at night.  Only I wasn't, always. 


Mattachine then pressed the Police Department to bring about the end of the policy
of using plainsclothesmen to entrap gay men. 
 

Twice, I found myself shoved into an unmarked cop car. And, you see, I had this little problem of a previous <ahem> teenage prison record (which I've previously written about on the forum).  I sure as hell didn't want to go to the station and have that found out.  Anything but that.  I thought the few minutes of sexual favors in the back seat would have sufficed.  But then came the shakedown -- that twenty bucks was nearly half a week's pay back then. 

 
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 26, 2007, 10:53:25 PM
When I went to the Holocaust Museum in DC (something you all must do if you get the chance) I was disappointed although not surprised to see little to no attention given to the homosexuals within the camps nor any information of the torture they endured after 'liberation.'

After I went to the Bay City showing of BBM I went to the Holocaust Memorial in Farmington Hills.  We got there in time for the docent tour.  On display were to concentration camp outfits, one with a yellow star with a pink triangle in it.  There was no mention of what that meant on the display and I asked the docent 'is that what I think it is?'.  He said 'what do you mean?' and I said 'a pink triangle in a yellow star'.  He said 'oh yeah, I noticed that too - I guess so'.  But this time another person on the tour asked 'what does that mean' and the docent said 'the pink triangle indicated homosexuals - they were in the camps too'.  At the same time I said 'it meant he was a Jewish homosexual.'

It was a very surreal experience.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: milomorris on March 26, 2007, 11:06:57 PM

As is clear from my own site, I am more than a bit sick of gay histories that are about organizations and not human beings. 


I just visited your site for the first time tonight after skimming the posts in this thread. Thank you very much for writing all of this. Us "yung-uns" need to hear personal stories like this.

I feel like I've been missing this kind of POV with regards to gay history. I always had older family members who would tell me their accounts of life in the South, migration North, Jim Crow, and all the other things that a black man needs to know about his history in their own words and through their eyes. I never got much of that from older gay men that I have known.

Milo

Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Jack too on March 27, 2007, 12:29:10 AM
Jack, your account of pre-Stonewall New York is accurate, to be sure.  But in our day to day activities, especially in the Village, daily life was quite pleasant.  We were young and carefree, in our early twenties, and I for one, paid little attention to the politics of the day.  We just knew we had to be careful.  Especially at night.  Only I wasn't, always. 


I agree.  Though I lived on the Upper West Side, the attitude was the same.  Also, as I've pointed out on my site, thousands of gay men came to NYC to be freer than they could be in their hometowns or in other cities, and police harassment was not enough to make us all lie down and play dead.  Most guys I knew were having a life, and at least after five o'clock it was a gay life.  And once the spirit of change picked up speed in the mid-Sixties and the Wagner administration was out of office gay life really took off rapidly.  Gay life in New York in the years immediately before Stonewall was fun!  And it was far freer, in my experience, than most people today realize.  The fact that there were legal gay bars between '66 and Stonewall meant that gay life achieved some stability, some predictability.

Jack
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Jack too on March 27, 2007, 12:39:35 AM

I feel like I've been missing this kind of POV with regards to gay history. I always had older family members who would tell me their accounts of life in the South, migration North, Jim Crow, and all the other things that a black man needs to know about his history in their own words and through their eyes. I never got much of that from older gay men that I have known.


Milo, thank you.  And I want to say that the very experience which black people had, which you refer to, is part of what got me to finally stop grousing and sit down and put the site together.  I really wanted to hear what older gay people had to say when I was young as there was nothing in the way of formal gay history.  But I came to realize in the late Eighties and the Nineties that much of what was "out there" now, especially on the Internet, was a combination of make-believe and rubbish.

Jack
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 27, 2007, 02:37:09 AM
Regarding the Nazi persecution of homosexuals, it should be noted that negative attitudes and punative responses to homosexuality had a long history.  Before we move on to more recent history I wanted to give a historical outline of these attitudes up to this day. 

We know of cases of Bishops being castrated in Byzantium for homosexuality in the 6th century:

http://andrejkoymasky.com/liv/fam/bioi1/isai1.html

Here is a BBC site that discusses the attitudes toward homosexuality in medieval Europe:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/A7715315

In 1209 Pope Innocent III began the crusade against the Albigensians - who along with being accused of heresy were accused of sodomy (which they probably were not guilty of - if anything there were more repressed sexually than others).

http://www.languedoc-france.info/120105_names.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albigensian_Crusade

The Albigensian Crusade gave us a familiar phrase - when asked at the siege of Béziers how to distinguish the Cathars (Albigensians) from the innocent townspeople the Papal legate Arnaud-Amaury said "Caedite eos! Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius" [Kill them all, surely God will know his own].  It is estimated that 200,000 people died in the Albigensian Crusade (http://users.erols.com/mwhite28/warstat0.htm).

The first execution of an individual in Europe was for the specific charge of sodomy was in 1277 - Rudolph II of Germany had a noble executed ('Sodomy in Reformation Germany and Switzerland, 1400 – 1600' - Helmut Puff).  The first documented case where it person is known known by name is John de Wettre who was burned at the stake in 1292 in Ghent (the punishment of burning at the stake was approved by the Church Council of Nablus in 1120):

http://andrejkoymasky.com/liv/fam/biow2/wett2.html

On Friday October 13th, 1307 King Philip the Fair had 140 French Knights Templar and Jacques de Molay, Grand Master of the Order, arrested. They were tortured, and confessed to heresy, sodomy, cannibalism and other crimes. More than a hundred of them were then burned to death, and 51 more were burned in 1311.

http://www.glbtq.com/social-sciences/knights_templar.html

From 1432 - 1512 the Ufficiali di Notte (Office of the Night) was organized by the government of the city of Florence to prosecute sodomy.  17,000 men of a population of 40,000 were prosecuted during this time and 3,000 were convicted.  Conviction entailed a fine and at times expulsion from the city.  Towards the end of the Office there were protests against it and in 1512 the plaza was occupied by 30 young aristocrats who insisted that the Office be suspended and that the sentences be overturned.

http://www3.telus.net/Quattrocento_Florence/dinotte.html

Even Leonardo Da Vinci was accused via the Office of the Night (in 1476):

http://www.economicexpert.com/a/Leonardo:da:Vinci.htm

The sculptor Benvenuto Cellini was convicted in 1557 of having sex with a young man and was sentenced to 4 years in prison - this was commuted to 4 years of house arrest due to the intercession of one of his Duke Cosimo.

http://www.glbtq.com/arts/cellini_b.html

During the inquisition sodomy was generally considered outside the sphere of the investigations of the inquisitors.  However, in special circumstances such investigations were allowed.  Between 1570 and 1630 there were close to 1,000 sodomy trials in the Aragonese Inquisition and nearly 500 in the Portuguese Inquisition.

http://www.glbtq.com/social-sciences/inquisition.html

Although sexuality was a feature of the witch trials it generally only featured sodomy when there were male participants.  In Salzburg, Austria Zauberjäeckl trials (1675-1690) where sodomy was part of the accusation around 200 people were put to death (they spared the accused under 12 years of age).  The witch hunter Daniel Hauff of Esslingen included sodomy in his charges against male witches in the 1660s as well.

http://www.infopt.demon.co.uk/homopho4.htm

When Europeans came to the new world they discovered that some of the people who lived there did not hold the same bias against homosexuality that they did.  This led to events like Balboa's throwing 40 of the Quarenca to his dogs in 1594 when he discovered they were dressing as women and engaging in sodomy:

http://www.alann.exto.org/gallery/detail/id/412001.html

On November 30, 1624 Richard Cornish became the first person executed for sodomy in the British colonies of the new world:

http://content.hamptonroads.com/story.cfm?story=120971&ran=111744

Nobles were not beyond the reach of charges - in England Mervyn Tuchet, the 2nd Earl of Castlehaven was beheaded in 1631 for committing sodomy with his page Laurence FitzPatrick (who was also executed):

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mervyn_Tuchet%2C_2nd_Earl_of_Castlehaven

Even the clergy were not beyond execution - the second person to be executed in Ireland for buggery (in 1640) was Bishop John Atherton:

http://www.infopt.demon.co.uk/atherton.htm

And women were not beyond the charges either - in 1649 Sara Norman and Mary Hammon are accused of “leude behauior each with other vpon a bed":

http://www.americanheritage.com/articles/magazine/ah/1999/1/1999_1_126.shtml

Occasionally there were 'sodomy panics' - there were several in the 18th century - first in Paris:

http://www.gayhistory.com/rev2/events/1715.htm

Then the 'molly houses' were raided in England:

http://www.gayhistory.com/rev2/events/1726.htm

And between 1730 and 1811 over 500 people were executed for sodomy in these sorts of panics in the Netherlands:

http://www.gayhistory.com/rev2/events/1730.htm

In 1750 Bruno Lenoir and Jean Diot were the last two people to be executed for sodomy in France:

http://www.aaronsgayinfo.com/timeline/Ftime1700.html

On December 20, 1785 Joseph Ross is the last person to be executed for sodomy in the United States:

http://www.sodomylaws.org/calendar_for_december.htm

In 1835 John Smith and James Pratt are the last two people to be executed (by hanging) in the U.K.

http://uk.geocities.com/becky62655@btinternet.com/newgate.html

Between 1881 and 1900 219 men were arrested, of whom 156 (71%) were sent for trial and 101 (46%) were convicted in the Colony of Victoria:

http://www.adam-carr.net/sodomypaper.txt

On December 17, 1933 homosexuality was recriminalized in the Soviet Union:

http://www.gay.ru/english/history/kon/soviet.htm

http://www.gay.ru/english/communty/news/2004c.htm

http://www.thegully.com/essays/russia/030411_gay_overview_law.html

During the Cultural Revolution in China homosexuality could lead to execution:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,3604,447556,00.html

Dr Ali Mozaffarian was executed in Shiraz, Iran in early August 1992.

http://www.pglo.net/english/013.htm

In Afghanistan in 1998 5 men were crushed under walls as a punishment for sodomy:

http://web.amnesty.org/library/index/engACT530031998?open&of=THEMES/DEATH+PENALTY

A UNHCR from 2004-2005 reports that under sharia law in Nigeria the punishment for homosexuality is stoning:

http://www.unhcr.org/cgi-bin/texis/vtx/home/opendoc.htm?tbl=RSDCOI&page=research&id=42df61452f

In May 2006 Ahmed Khalil was shot in Iraq for being homosexual:

http://www.commondreams.org/headlines06/0505-06.htm
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: desertrat on March 27, 2007, 02:44:49 AM
I too have read 'The Pink Triangle' by Robert Plant and was both surprised and disgusted to learn that homosexual male prisoners were often given the hardest physical labour of everyone, including the Jews. I've studied the Holocaust and WWII for the past 3-4 years now non-stop but that factoid was never known to me until I read the book about a year ago.

When I went to the Holocaust Museum in DC (something you all must do if you get the chance) I was disappointed although not surprised to see little to no attention given to the homosexuals within the camps nor any information of the torture they endured after 'liberation.'

Also in the gift shop (yes they have one there) I placed a pink triangle button on the desk to purchase and the woman behind the counter looked at me and said 'you do know what the pink triangle stands for right?" I said of course, yes I did that's why I was purchasing it. She said she had learned to ask that since some customers picked it up to buy and put it back down once they realised what and who it represented.



this, to me, is a very dark side of european history of homosexuals that still needs a lot of historical work and enlightment/ education. not only do homosexuals "disappear" behind the jewish victims because their victim numbers were smaller (simply a result of the lower number of homosexuals + the closeted-ness) but also where historians more reluctant to bring that topic to the open. apparently, it is more "attractive" to bring up jews because their ethnic background "is not their fault". GLBT organsiations here do a lot of lobbying for research on that topic, and the funny thing is that allmost every country meanwhile has monuments for the GLBT victims. but the public still doesn't know much about it, which really has to be changed.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Jack too on March 27, 2007, 02:45:28 AM
Lee Mortimer

Prior to my exposure to NYC gay life in the spring of '59 I had only known of Lee Mortimer as the co-author (along with Jack Lait) of a string of yellow journalism exposé books: New York Confidential, The Lowdown on Its Bright Life (1948), Washington Confidential (1951), Chicago Confidential (1951) and  U.S.A. Confidential (1952).

When I started going to NYC I learned from gay people I met there that he was the arch gay-hater in the city too. 

Will Straw described these books in the Culture of Cities Project: "Lait and Mortimer were conservative, syndicated columnists for whom the topography of the large U.S. city was one of uncontrolled sexual deviance and racial miscegenation, both of which were seen to foster the communistic sympathies which are the books' underlying preoccupation."  Their books were gobbled up by people who already knew that America (which by and large meant White America) was under attack from tribes of gangsters, perverts, Communists and blacks.

Years later I read the New York book and skimmed the Washington one.  By today's standards they are rather tame, and often melodramatic, sometimes downright silly.  But the very fact that they were in print conferred some respectability on many of the unreasonable fears and rank prejudices of the day.

By the late Fifties Lait was the editor of the NY Mirror, I believe, and Mortimer was one of its columnists.  The Mirror was a bottom of the barrel rag overall, but it was a major morning newspaper, a tabloid.  Gay-baiting was one of Mortimer's staple items in his columns, and the Mirror also would list the names and addresses of men caught in anti-gay raids in its news stories.  Gay people feared Mortimer and the Mirror. In the fall of '59 he began a campaign of naming gay bars in his column and demanding that the police close them.  Between then and the following spring most of the bars had been.  This was the beginning of when the lid was slammed down tight on gay life in NYC, and stayed that way with varying degrees of force until the end of Mayor Wagner's term in the mid-Sixties.

I did learn upon moving to the city permanently in the summer of '60 that there was more than the power of Lee Mortimer's denunciations at work.  Internal fighting in the Democratic party between the old machine regulars and the Reform Democrats was also involved, and Wagner was very anxious to disassociate himself from the crooked associations of Tammy Hall and appear to be a squeaky clean guy.  So, an anti-vice campaign suited him just fine.

The Mirror folded in '63.  Mortimer died that year or maybe the one before, and the day after some guys gave parties to celebrate – I attended two.

But that still left gay people in the city with Mayor Wagner on the "clean up" trail, and the impending World's Fair was a new reason to reinvigorate it.

Jack


Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Jack too on March 27, 2007, 03:54:06 AM
Racial Mixing

I noticed in reading back through past entries that people have wondered about racial integration of bars in the past.

I am familiar with the bars in Syracuse, NY in the second half of the 1950's.  I cannot recall ever seeing a black person in the gay bars, and Syracuse did have a fairly large black minority.  There were also no Hispanic patrons, as far as I know, but cities in Central and Western New York State were just beginning at that time to get an influx of Hispanic people.  I attended Syracuse University from '56 to '60, and though it had only a miniscule number of blacks in a college population of about 10,000, I did meet two gay black guys on campus – one lived in the same cottage I did.

I found that bars in Greenwich Village (NYC)  might have one or two blacks in 1959 when I first came to the city.  However, there were more Hispanic guys, though not a large number.  The Village was not near a black neighborhood, but just north of the West Village the neighborhood was heavily Hispanic. 

Within the first year (1960) I moved to the Upper West Side, which was a very ethnically mixed neighborhood.  It had a large Hispanic minority and a smaller number of African-Americans.  The gay bars very much reflected the neighborhood – most patrons would be white, but Hispanics would be anywhere from 25% to much higher, a third or more on weekends, but there were only a very few African-Americans.  Of course many Hispanics are racially mixed and some would be considered "black," except for their Hispanic origin, so in terms of skin color there were a modest number of blacks, they just weren't all African-Americans.

Racially mixed socializing and screwing was pretty much the norm.  Although I'm sure some white guys may have been racially prejudiced and not wanted to sleep with Hispanics or blacks, I am unable to recall any who ever said so.  My own crowd of friends was mixed mostly white and Hispanic and one African-American, and my sexual partners were the same.  My neighborhood friends all slept with persons of other ethnicities or races in those years.

My guess would be that the Upper West Side neighborhood where I lived probably had more ethnically and racially mixed socializing than any other part of Manhattan, up until the mid-Seventies.

Cherry Grove on Fire Island in the early 60's was almost totally white, a few Hispanics.  I don't remember any African-Americans.

At the mid-Seventies the Upper West Side neighborhood gentrified and the bars became 90% white.

Jack   
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: milomorris on March 27, 2007, 08:29:10 AM

The sculptor Benvenuto Cellini was convicted in 1557 of having sex with a young man and was sentenced to 4 years in prison - this was commuted to 4 years of house arrest due to the intercession of one of his Duke Cosimo.

http://www.glbtq.com/arts/cellini_b.html


Isn't this interesting?!?! In the opera Benvenuto Cellini, by composer Hector Berlioz and librettists Léon de Wailly and August Barbier, Cellini is in love with the daughter of the papal treasurer. There is nothing in the plot even vaguely indicative of the real Cellini's sexuality.

More white-washed history.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Nax on March 27, 2007, 08:50:31 AM

The sculptor Benvenuto Cellini was convicted in 1557 of having sex with a young man and was sentenced to 4 years in prison - this was commuted to 4 years of house arrest due to the intercession of one of his Duke Cosimo.

http://www.glbtq.com/arts/cellini_b.html


Isn't this interesting?!?! In the opera Benvenuto Cellini, by composer Hector Berlioz and librettists Léon de Wailly and August Barbier, Cellini is in love with the daughter of the papal treasurer. There is nothing in the plot even vaguely indicative of the real Cellini's sexuality.

More white-washed history.
There's a lot of it about  ;)
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Jack too on March 27, 2007, 09:03:27 AM
Does anyone know right off any books (non-fiction) about being homosexual in the 1950's?
I've scoured the shelves and came up with little to nothing pre-Stonewall.

Any help would be greatly appreciated!  :)

In the event you haven't come across it yet, one of the best is The Evening Crowd at Kirmser's by Ricardo J. Brown.  It is about the late Forties more than the Fifties, but I doubt if things had changed significantly by the Fifties.  I consider it one of the best books of the lot, mainly because it is the story of a human being and not a movement or an event - and Brown was a good writer.  A short book, by the way.

Jack
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Rob in Puyallup on March 27, 2007, 09:16:52 AM
I watched the movie "Bent" last night. Saw the play in London last fall with Nick and his (now our :) ), friends Sian and Annie.

The subject matter wraps around the treatment of gays in Nazi Germany, following the main character from tranvestite bar to his death in a prison camp.

Gays were labeled with pink triangles. I'm assuming they first became our symbol there?
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Jack too on March 27, 2007, 09:30:40 AM
I would like to know around what year 'out' gay men in the most sophisticated  cities felt safe from the tire iron; when men living in places like NY or Boston just knew that if they used the streetsmarts  any other person living there had, they'd be just fine.

I spent the summer of '59 in NYC, and moved there permanently when I got out of college at the beginning of the following summer.  Manhattan was much different then, many rundown neighborhoods and large numbers of poor and marginally employed people, and something that is rarely mentioned, the street lighting was very dim and yellow.  The heat was on very heavily and bars cropped up in parts of town that were unknown to me and not necessarily well populated at night.  My fear was of muggers, not specifically gay bashers.  But I was not a courageous person, so I got wise to the streets early on.  But I didn't feel that people were out hunting gays with tire irons (and I don't think they were) - that came later as far as I was concerned.

I do remember that coming from Riis Park beach to the subway in Flatbush by bus sometimes straight guys would start making loud, anti-gay remarks and that scared me.  But I was on a bus with lots of other gay guys, which made me feel safer and there was a bus driver and you were surrounded by traffic and crowded streets.

I lived in a poor neighborhood and worked until the early morning hours, I was scared poopless coming home at 2 a.m. from work, but it was because I was a standout - one person on a dark street.  I was never a guy who automatically passed for straight, but I still went into some pretty rough neighborhood places and no one bothered me.  They looked, but they didn't do anything. 

By the mid-Sixties I felt completely secure.  If you didn't cruise in stupid places, I felt you were okay.  It was the cops who might try to shake you down or hassle you.

Jack 

Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Jack too on March 27, 2007, 10:01:02 AM
Gay fiction in the mid-Sixties & NYC gay life

Authors and publishers were more adventurous about homosexuality than the so-called "radical" politics of the era. One of the first best selling works to include major gay characters was Lawrence Durrell's four volume Alexandria Quartet. This series had been published in the late Fifties to great acclaim, and their appearance in paperback in the early Sixities widened their popularity.  One of the most sympathetic and wisest of the major characters in these books, Balthazar, is a gay male doctor, and a prominent secondary comic character is a gay cross-dressing policeman, who literally becomes a saint.  Other minor characters are gay or lesbian, and throughout the Quartet homosexuality is presented as unremarkable.  A constant touchstone throughout is the poetry and tutelary presence of Alexandria's gay poet, Constantine Cavafy. 

While there was no tidal wave of books focused on gay people, there was certainly a marked increase, and they received plenty of mainstream advertising and review space.  The first half of the decade saw Sam (1960) by best-seller author, Lonnie Coleman - among gays his book was referred to as "the gay novel with a happy ending", City of Night (1963) by John Rechy, A Single Man (1964) by Christopher Isherwood, Totem Pole (1965) by Sandford Friedman - a superb book, and Ned Rorem's Paris Diary (1966).  [Rorem's New York Diary appeared in 1967.]   The works of gay French writer, Jean Genêt, achieved widespread prominence in this period in the U.S., and a translation from French of Violette LeDuc's lesbian memoir, La Batarde came out in '65.  Hubert Selby Jr.'s 1964 novel, Last Exit to Brooklyn, received critical acclaim but was denounced as obscene.  It was a raw and violent look at lower class Brooklyn life, and one major section of the book was about a transvestite and another about a married man having a gay affair.  There were other books, but these are the ones that I can specifically recall myself or gay friends reading. 

Books intended for the gay erotica market became more visible - and better written.  In 1966 Phil Andros came out with Stud and Richard Amory, Song of the Loon, and both writers became very popular and sold very well with gay men.  There was enough serious gay literature and non-fiction about homosexuality that the Oscar Wilde Bookshop, selling only non-pornographic works, could open the following year.

 Although the beefcake photo magazines, their minimal text and captions studded with gay innuendoes and coded language, flourished, and One, the serious political voice, was still being published, I believe, there was a new gay mag on the block.  Drum, which I remember as being a definitely non-glossy production, came into my hands in 1965.  It was a mix of news items, comments and opinions - giving the finger not only at the oppressive straight world, but to gay targets as well, plus cartoons and photos, all done up in an irreverent manner.   

Joe Cino had opened the Caffe Cino in the late Fifties at 31 Cornelia St. in the Village.  A good looking gay guy of Sicilian descent, he had come to New York from Buffalo at age fifteen to be a dancer, but ended as one of the originators of Off-Off Broadway theater.  According to a friend, his landlady at the Caffe Cino was a Sicilian and rented the store to a paisan for $125 a month, which allowed him to operate with very little ready cash.  He was open only at night and served regular coffee - 25 cents, espresso a little more, grenadine - 75 cents, pastry - 45 cents, no wine or liquor, and no charge for the show.  The cast passed the hat after the performance.

In 1964 the Cino ran what I believe was the first of its gay plays, "The Madness of Lady Bright," the impetus for a specifically gay theater tradition, which was carried on by TOSO and GLINES in the years after Cino's death in '67.  Doric Wilson, Sam Shepherd, Landford Wilson, Marshall Mason, Al Pacino and many others got a start with Joe Cino.

Kenneth Anger's Scorpio Rising opened at the Bleecker Street Cinema in 1966, and had reruns in the following years.  In the same year Rev. Al Carmines, a playwright, began his tenure at Judson Memorial Church on Washington Square.  Very soon his productions were extremely popular with both straights and gays; the dialogue and lyrics were witty and Carmine's was a master satirical social criticism.   Gay characters and gay material were routine in his work.  I remember one hilarious scene - though I cannot remember the production which it was a part of - in which F.B.I. czar J. Edgar Hoover sang a letter dictation to his real life assistant, Clyde Tolson, who sat perched on Hoover's knee with a steno pad.  Rumors of their homosexual affair were later publicly confirmed by Mafia blackmailers.     

In mid-Sixties Manhattan you could spend an evening seeing a gay play, eat in a gay restaurant and then go to a gay bar, and all of this was on public view and legal.  The city was a far more relaxed place for gay people than it had been even in the late Fifties when it had been packed with gay bars.  The entire atmosphere (and the law) had changed so much by the mid-Sixties. 

Jack       
 
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: CellarDweller115 on March 27, 2007, 01:35:25 PM
Also in the gift shop (yes they have one there) I placed a pink triangle button on the desk to purchase and the woman behind the counter looked at me and said 'you do know what the pink triangle stands for right?" I said of course, yes I did that's why I was purchasing it. She said she had learned to ask that since some customers picked it up to buy and put it back down once they realised what and who it represented.

After I went to the Bay City showing of BBM I went to the Holocaust Memorial in Farmington Hills.  We got there in time for the docent tour.  On display were to concentration camp outfits, one with a yellow star with a pink triangle in it.  There was no mention of what that meant on the display and I asked the docent 'is that what I think it is?'.  He said 'what do you mean?' and I said 'a pink triangle in a yellow star'.  He said 'oh yeah, I noticed that too - I guess so'.  But this time another person on the tour asked 'what does that mean' and the docent said 'the pink triangle indicated homosexuals - they were in the camps too'.  At the same time I said 'it meant he was a Jewish homosexual.'

It was a very surreal experience.


this, to me, is a very dark side of european history of homosexuals that still needs a lot of historical work and enlightment/ education. not only do homosexuals "disappear" behind the jewish victims because their victim numbers were smaller (simply a result of the lower number of homosexuals + the closeted-ness) but also where historians more reluctant to bring that topic to the open. apparently, it is more "attractive" to bring up jews because their ethnic background "is not their fault". GLBT organsiations here do a lot of lobbying for research on that topic, and the funny thing is that allmost every country meanwhile has monuments for the GLBT victims. but the public still doesn't know much about it, which really has to be changed.


From my own experiences, I’ve found that a majority of people believe that only Jewish people were in Hitler’s death camps.

When I got my first tattoo, it was two Celtic Knots, with a pink triangle between them.  Whenever anyone sees it, they ask what the triangle is, and I give an explanation.  When they ask  why I would have something so negative on my arm, I tell them that I put it there so when I’m having a bad day, I can look at it, and remember that there were many who came before me, who had it much worse.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 27, 2007, 01:58:21 PM
Gay fiction in the mid-Sixties & NYC gay life

Authors and publishers were more adventurous about homosexuality than the so-called "radical" politics of the era. One of the first best selling works to include major gay characters was Lawrence Durrell's four volume Alexandria Quartet. This series had been published in the late Fifties to great acclaim, and their appearance in paperback in the early Sixities widened their popularity.  One of the most sympathetic and wisest of the major characters in these books, Balthazar, is a gay male doctor, and a prominent secondary comic character is a gay cross-dressing policeman, who literally becomes a saint.  Other minor characters are gay or lesbian, and throughout the Quartet homosexuality is presented as unremarkable.  A constant touchstone throughout is the poetry and tutelary presence of Alexandria's gay poet, Constantine Cavafy. 

While there was no tidal wave of books focused on gay people, there was certainly a marked increase, and they received plenty of mainstream advertising and review space.  The first half of the decade saw Sam (1960) by best-seller author, Lonnie Coleman - among gays his book was referred to as "the gay novel with a happy ending", City of Night (1963) by John Rechy, A Single Man (1964) by Christopher Isherwood, Totem Pole (1965) by Sandford Friedman - a superb book, and Ned Rorem's Paris Diary (1966).  [Rorem's New York Diary appeared in 1967.]   The works of gay French writer, Jean Genêt, achieved widespread prominence in this period in the U.S., and a translation from French of Violette LeDuc's lesbian memoir, La Batarde came out in '65.  Hubert Selby Jr.'s 1964 novel, Last Exit to Brooklyn, received critical acclaim but was denounced as obscene.  It was a raw and violent look at lower class Brooklyn life, and one major section of the book was about a transvestite and another about a married man having a gay affair.  There were other books, but these are the ones that I can specifically recall myself or gay friends reading. 

Books intended for the gay erotica market became more visible - and better written.  In 1966 Phil Andros came out with Stud and Richard Amory, Song of the Loon, and both writers became very popular and sold very well with gay men.  There was enough serious gay literature and non-fiction about homosexuality that the Oscar Wilde Bookshop, selling only non-pornographic works, could open the following year.

Thanks very much for this Jack.  When we get to the late 70s I intend on putting online my book list from the bookstore I worked in - I started a gay & lesbian section there.

Among the first gay literature that I read from this period were 'City and the Pillar' by Gore Vidal and James Baldwin's 'Giovanni's Room' - finding things to read in the rural midwest was not easy. 

I've read a bit about the book 'The Homosexual in America' by Donald Webster Cory - a pseudonym for Dr. Edward Sagarin, which was among the first non-fiction book about gay people, as I recall.

Donald Webster Cory is a reference to 'Corydon' by Andre Gide and is one of the two plays on words I know of from this period - the other is the women's magazine from Los Angeles 'Vice Versa' which was attributed to Lisa Ben - an anagram for 'lesbian'.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 27, 2007, 02:00:58 PM
I watched the movie "Bent" last night. Saw the play in London last fall with Nick and his (now our :) ), friends Sian and Annie.

The subject matter wraps around the treatment of gays in Nazi Germany, following the main character from tranvestite bar to his death in a prison camp.

Gays were labeled with pink triangles. I'm assuming they first became our symbol there?

Yes Rob, that was the first use of the pink triangle.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 27, 2007, 04:24:28 PM

The sculptor Benvenuto Cellini was convicted in 1557 of having sex with a young man and was sentenced to 4 years in prison - this was commuted to 4 years of house arrest due to the intercession of one of his Duke Cosimo.

http://www.glbtq.com/arts/cellini_b.html


Isn't this interesting?!?! In the opera Benvenuto Cellini, by composer Hector Berlioz and librettists Léon de Wailly and August Barbier, Cellini is in love with the daughter of the papal treasurer. There is nothing in the plot even vaguely indicative of the real Cellini's sexuality.

More white-washed history.

This is a very interesting period of history, Milo (and btw, welcome!).  As for Cellini's sexuality - well, I can't say I'm really very surprised - there's still debate raging about Leonardo, after all.

Honestly, though, someone should do a comedy about the whole 'office of the night' - the notion that the people in Florence were so upset about being thought sodomites that they put half their population on trial...and that a whole other set of people in the city were so upset about having people reported anonymously that they ripped down the boxes that you were supposed to drop your 'tips' about who was and wasn't doing it!  It really sounds like a farce to me (especially since the Italians weren't killing people).
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: tfferg on March 28, 2007, 02:23:45 AM
Regarding the Nazi persecution of homosexuals, it should be noted that negative attitudes and punative responses to homosexuality had a long history.  Before we move on to more recent history I wanted to give a historical outline of these attitudes up to this day. 

We know of cases of Bishops being castrated in Byzantium for homosexuality in the 6th century:

http://andrejkoymasky.com/liv/fam/bioi1/isai1.html

Here is a BBC site that discusses the attitudes toward homosexuality in medieval Europe:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/A7715315

In 1209 Pope Innocent III began the crusade against the Albigensians - who along with being accused of heresy were accused of sodomy (which they probably were not guilty of - if anything there were more repressed sexually than others).

http://www.languedoc-france.info/120105_names.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albigensian_Crusade

The Albigensian Crusade gave us a familiar phrase - when asked at the siege of Béziers how to distinguish the Cathars (Albigensians) from the innocent townspeople the Papal legate Arnaud-Amaury said "Caedite eos! Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius" [Kill them all, surely God will know his own].  It is estimated that 200,000 people died in the Albigensian Crusade (http://users.erols.com/mwhite28/warstat0.htm).


As I understand it, accusations of heresy were always accompanied by accusations of sodomy, whether or not the accused actually indulged in any sexual behaviour in the case of religious who were supposed to be celibate or nonprocreative, missionary postion sex through a hole in the nightgown in the case of lay people. It was a bit like the confaltion of Communism with homosexuality during the Mc Carthy period.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: tfferg on March 28, 2007, 02:34:41 AM
While we are still mentioning earlier history, an interesting book is:

Graham Robb: Strangers: Homosexual Love in the Nineteenth Century   Norton  2004

From Publishers Weekly
With an impressive oeuvre comprising acclaimed biographies of Rimbaud, Balzac and Victor Hugo, Robb returns to spoof the poststructuralist convention that homosexuality, because it was not then categorized or "named," cannot be said to exist prior to 1880; he also argues that homosexual men and women in this period were not automatically persecuted. For Robb, Oscar Wilde's "martyrdom" and similar cases were exceptions to the rule of, if not acceptance, then a grudging knowing. This agreeable, provocative romp shows that, at least in some strata of society, their peers already knew.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Robb's argument about lower levels of legal prosecution of homosexuals before Wilde's trials is based on 19th century court records.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: tfferg on March 28, 2007, 02:52:47 AM

The sculptor Benvenuto Cellini was convicted in 1557 of having sex with a young man and was sentenced to 4 years in prison - this was commuted to 4 years of house arrest due to the intercession of one of his Duke Cosimo.

http://www.glbtq.com/arts/cellini_b.html


Isn't this interesting?!?! In the opera Benvenuto Cellini, by composer Hector Berlioz and librettists Léon de Wailly and August Barbier, Cellini is in love with the daughter of the papal treasurer. There is nothing in the plot even vaguely indicative of the real Cellini's sexuality.

More white-washed history.

This is a very interesting period of history, Milo (and btw, welcome!).  As for Cellini's sexuality - well, I can't say I'm really very surprised - there's still debate raging about Leonardo, after all.


I suspect Cellini was rather versatile, perhaps somewhere toward the gayer end of Kinsey's scale:

According to Wiki,

…retire[d] in 1545 in disgust to Florence, where he employed his time in works of art, and exasperated his temper in rivalries with the uneasy-natured sculptor Baccio Bandinelli.

The first collision between the two had occurred several years before when Pope Clement VII commissioned Cellini to mint his coinage. Now, in an altercation before Duke Cosimo, Bandinelli insultingly stigmatized Benvenuto as guilty of gross immorality, calling out to him Sta cheto, soddomitaccio! (Shut up, you filthy sodomite!); in his autobiography Cellini recalls repelling rather than denying the charge, claiming to be unworthy of such a divine and royal diversion. Certainly his art, often celebratory of the young male form, is a testimonial to his appreciation of that beauty.

Cellini was charged four times with sodomy, only one of which is covered in his autobiography:

At the age of 23 with a boy named Domenico di ser Giuliano da Ripa, an accusation was settled with a small fine (perhaps thanks to his youth at the time).

While in Paris, a former model and lover brought charges against him of using her "after the Italian fashion." This is the only charge recounted in his autobiography, possibly because his confrontation with his accuser at court led to a dismissal of charges.

In Florence in 1548, Cellini was accused by a woman named Margherita, for having certain familiarities with her son, Vincenzo. Perhaps this was a private quarrel, one from which he simply fled, and undeserving of attention.

Finally, in 1556, his apprentice Fernando, after being fired for an altercation, accused his mentor of: (as the indictment read) Cinque anni ha tenuto per suo ragazzo Fernando di Giovanni di Montepulciano, giovanetto con el quale ha usato carnalmente moltissime volte col nefando vitio della soddomia, tenendolo in letto come sua moglie (For five years he kept as his boy Fernando di Giovanni di Montepulciano, a youth whom he used carnally in the abject vice of sodomy numerous instances, keeping him in his bed as a wife.) This time the penalty was a hefty fifty golden scudi fine, and four years of prison, remitted to four years of house arrest thanks to the intercession of the Medicis.

He is also known to have taken some of his female models as mistresses, having an illegitimate daughter with one of them while living in France. After briefly attempting a clerical career, in 1562, he married a servant, with whom he had five children, of which only a son and two daughters survived him.

It is notable that his references to his boy models (and possibly lovers) are more tender and affectionate than his references to women, including his wife. In his sculpture, the male is always more convincingly modelled than the female - his Venus of Fontainebleau, while notable, is unconvincing as a representation of the realistic female body.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benvenuto_Cellini
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: desertrat on March 28, 2007, 05:00:37 AM
From my own experiences, I’ve found that a majority of people believe that only Jewish people were in Hitler’s death camps.

When I got my first tattoo, it was two Celtic Knots, with a pink triangle between them.  Whenever anyone sees it, they ask what the triangle is, and I give an explanation.  When they ask  why I would have something so negative on my arm, I tell them that I put it there so when I’m having a bad day, I can look at it, and remember that there were many who came before me, who had it much worse.


wow, chuck, that is actually a wonderful idea of giving something sad and negative a beautifully optimistic touch.

over here, people are a bit more "educated" about the concentration camps, simply because they were everywhere around. most people you'll ask will know about jews, gypsies, communists, catholics, enemies of the regime and handicapped people. but very rarely people will mention homosexuals. there really seems some kind of unspoken taboo over it.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Nax on March 28, 2007, 06:44:18 AM
From my own experiences, I’ve found that a majority of people believe that only Jewish people were in Hitler’s death camps.

When I got my first tattoo, it was two Celtic Knots, with a pink triangle between them.  Whenever anyone sees it, they ask what the triangle is, and I give an explanation.  When they ask  why I would have something so negative on my arm, I tell them that I put it there so when I’m having a bad day, I can look at it, and remember that there were many who came before me, who had it much worse.


wow, chuck, that is actually a wonderful idea of giving something sad and negative a beautifully optimistic touch.

over here, people are a bit more "educated" about the concentration camps, simply because they were everywhere around. most people you'll ask will know about jews, gypsies, communists, catholics, enemies of the regime and handicapped people. but very rarely people will mention homosexuals. there really seems some kind of unspoken taboo over it.
I found something similar when I went to Auschwitz last year, although there was amention of homosexuals, I think it was very underplayed, having said that I was not dissapointed with what they have done there as a memorial in general.  I took my own spray of pink wooden roses.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here: Some Brisbane snippets
Post by: Jack too on March 28, 2007, 12:22:57 PM

Last Thursday (8-March-2007), the GLBTI choir sang at the local council library at New Farm.  Again, another battle won.  The lesbian community in the suburb of West End had a collection of books which they managed as a private lending library, but wanted someone else to take over the management of these books.  When they approached the local library, they were told, "There are no lesbians in West End!" (or words to that effect).  So, through persistence and perseverance, those championing our cause approached the New Farm library, and now the books have a permanent home.  Not only that, but Gary Dunne from Sydney, a GLBTI publisher donated out-of-print books on Australian GLBTI fiction and writings to augment the collection significantly.  So, the choir sang to mark the opening of this new selection; our books are now also available to the wider community.  They even had book readings from some young gay writers.  If you want a taste of Australian gay literature (free!), see http://www.gay-ebooks.com.au.  Contains some great reading and even recipes.

Our battles are far from over, but we shall overcome!!

1970 Australia

As we are to begin the discussion of the Stonewall events and the years following today, I think, this comment apropos the above quote is timely.

In April 1970 a private citizen, Dennis Altmann, successfully challenged a ministerial decision to ban a book - the American novel Totem Pole by Sandford Friedman, which tells of a man's gradual acceptance of his homosexuality. It was the first such legal challenge to succeed in Australia.

I knew Sandford Friedman.  He was a very fine writer, and in the late 80's and early 90's he conducted a writer's workshop for gay men and lesbians at the New York City Community Center under the auspices of SAGE (Seniors in a Gay Environment.)  His book Totem Pole is currently out of print, I believe, which is quite regrettable.  As literature it is a well-written novel, and stands as a fictional monument of high quality to our past history.  I would encourage you to look for it on used books sites to enjoy for yourselves, and perhaps to donate to a community library or center.

Jack
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here: Some Brisbane snippets
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 28, 2007, 02:01:08 PM
I knew Sandford Friedman.  He was a very fine writer, and in the late 80's and early 90's he conducted a writer's workshop for gay men and lesbians at the New York City Community Center under the auspices of SAGE (Seniors in a Gay Environment.)  His book Totem Pole is currently out of print, I believe, which is quite regrettable.  As literature it is a well-written novel, and stands as a fictional monument of high quality to our past history.  I would encourage you to look for it on used books sites to enjoy for yourselves, and perhaps to donate to a community library or center.

Jack

As a librarian I have to say this is a wonderful, wonderful thought, Jack!
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 28, 2007, 02:11:34 PM
When I got my first tattoo, it was two Celtic Knots, with a pink triangle between them.  Whenever anyone sees it, they ask what the triangle is, and I give an explanation.  When they ask  why I would have something so negative on my arm, I tell them that I put it there so when I’m having a bad day, I can look at it, and remember that there were many who came before me, who had it much worse.

I have a pink triangle in the center of a biohazard symbol on my right arm.  It comes from a particularly horrid time in my life where I was going into the hospital rooms of friends when others were shunning them.  It's my own way of saying 'never forget'.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 28, 2007, 02:17:50 PM
Racial Mixing

I noticed in reading back through past entries that people have wondered about racial integration of bars in the past.


Thanks for this Jack.  I was wondering about it, because as a former resident of Michigan I noticed how segregated our bars were there.  Black people (and women of any race) would get carded at the door - asked for 3 pieced of picture I.D. (I used to go out with a friend who would be subjected to this nonsense in the 70s).

We just recently had an incident in San Francisco where a bar (Badlands) was picketed for incidents like this.  The owner was also the owner of the only predominantly African-American bar in the Castro (The Pendulum)  - he closed down that bar and has reopened it under a different name.  Thankfully the new bar has very few patrons.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 28, 2007, 02:24:02 PM
As I understand it, accusations of heresy were always accompanied by accusations of sodomy, whether or not the accused actually indulged in any sexual behaviour in the case of religious who were supposed to be celibate or nonprocreative, missionary postion sex through a hole in the nightgown in the case of lay people. It was a bit like the confaltion of Communism with homosexuality during the Mc Carthy period.

Exactly right Tony - if you were accused of heresy (or later witchcraft) the charge of sodomy was tagged on.  In the case of the witches it was often due to other mythology like the supposed 'osculum infame':

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Osculum_infame

In working on this history and mentioning Sir Roger Casement I wonder how much these charges were just made to shame those accused - and so that their friends would want to disassociate themselves from them, making it easier for the church and the state to prosecute them (and often take whatever wealth they had).
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 28, 2007, 02:28:53 PM
Just a a few quick notes to readers here - I will be posting questions for the next period of history later in the day.  These are just there to prompt memories - you should not feel you have to follow them (that is, if you have other memories from this period that I don't cover please feel free to post them). 

Also, if you have comments or posts about the earlier period of history, please also feel free to continue to post them.  I look at this as being a cumulative history - we're moving forward, but some things we talk about in the 70s may trigger memories of earlier events, etc.

Finally, I'm probably not going to get the questions up for a little while today as I had an awful migraine yesterday and am still getting over it.  Sorry!
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: tfferg on March 28, 2007, 07:30:07 PM
Michael, do relax and take good care of yourself. I'm sure nobody will mind if you don't post the next set of questions for a day or two.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: tfferg on March 28, 2007, 07:36:59 PM
As I understand it, accusations of heresy were always accompanied by accusations of sodomy, whether or not the accused actually indulged in any sexual behaviour in the case of religious who were supposed to be celibate or nonprocreative, missionary postion sex through a hole in the nightgown in the case of lay people. It was a bit like the confaltion of Communism with homosexuality during the Mc Carthy period.

Exactly right Tony - if you were accused of heresy (or later witchcraft) the charge of sodomy was tagged on.  In the case of the witches it was often due to other mythology like the supposed 'osculum infame':

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Osculum_infame

In working on this history and mentioning Sir Roger Casement I wonder how much these charges were just made to shame those accused - and so that their friends would want to disassociate themselves from them, making it easier for the church and the state to prosecute them (and often take whatever wealth they had).

Interesting that people accuse of terrorism and Gitmo enemy combatants don't seem to have been accused of sodomy.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 28, 2007, 10:27:47 PM
Here are some questions for you to consider for the period from June 28, 1969 to the end of 1975.  Again, these questions are for those inside and outside the U.S. and all genders and orientations.  Please feel free to change the questions as you like, however:

1.)  Did Stonewall or its aftermath have any impact on your awareness of homosexuality?  If yes, how did you find out about it?  If no, what made you aware of gay people at this time?

2.)  Did the burgeoning gay liberation movement get discussed in your family or school?

3.)  If you were aware of being gay - or had friends or co-workers you thought were gay, did the gay liberation movement facilitate or inhibit conversation?

4.)  Do you remember the early feminist movement?  Did you have opinions about it regarding lesbianism? 

5.)  Did either the gay liberation movement or the feminist movement affect your reading at this time?  If so, what did you read?

6.)  Do you remember if homosexuality was discussed in your church at this time?

7.)  If you're gay or lesbian were you 'out of the closet'?  Did you act on your knowledge?  Did you go to bars or baths or political or social activities?  What were they like?  If you are not gay or lesbian did you have friends come out to you before this period and how did you handle that knowledge?

8.)  For those in the U.S. - do you remember when the American Psychological Association removed homosexuality from its list of illnesses?  Did this have any affect on your life or your behavior?  If you are outside of the U.S. did this decision get covered in the press and was there an impact there?

9.)  If you're in the U.K. or Canada do you remember when homosexuality was made legal?  What was the impact?  If you are outside of these countries were you aware of these changes and did they have an impact on your country?

10.)  If you were in the armed forces (or knew people who were in the armed forces) was there an impact of the gay liberation movement?  Were people more frightened?  Did you know of people who were discharged or questioned because of homosexuality?  Did you know of people who used the excuse of gayness to get out of the armed forces? 

11.)  If you were in the U.S. was there a change in the bars you went to after Stonewall?  If you are outside of the U.S. did Stonewall have an effect on the openness of gay life in your country?

12.)  In countries where homosexuality was legal do you remember what the reaction to Stonewall was?  Were people in your country baffled by the problems in the U.S.?  If you are from the U.S. did you visit any countries where homosexuality was legal - and what was you opinion of those countries?  Was there a cordial relationship between gay people and straight people or were gay people merely tolerated?

13.)  How soon after Stonewall Were you aware of gay organizations for openly gay/lesbian people?   

14.)  Were you aware of the reaction to law enforcement to gay people in your area?  Were their parks or restrooms in public areas that were patrolled?  Were there cases of people being arrested for gay sex in your area that you were aware of?

15.)  Were you aware of publications relating to gay people?  If so, what were they?  Were they national or local publications? 

16.)  Did you know any gay or lesbian people where you were growing up?  Were they really known to be gay, or were there rumors?  Did Stonewall and/or the gay liberation movement affect local attitudes toward them?  Did you meet any openly gay people during this period and what was your interaction with them like (i.e., do you still have friends from this period)?

17.)  Did you read any books (either fiction or non-fiction) dealing with lesbians or gay people in this period?  If so, were you open about reading them?  Do you remember anyone you know reading books about gay people?  Do you know if books about (or by) gay people were available in your area - either in bookstores or in libraries?

18.)  Do you remember seeing any plays concerning homosexuality in this period (for example 'The Boys In the Band')?  What did you think of them?  There were plays (like 'Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf') that were rumored to be about gay people, with straight characters substituted for the gay characters.  Did you see any of these plays - or did you know people who did?  Do recall talking about these plays?

19.)  There was a mini boom of films about homosexuality in this period ('Myra Breckenridge', 'The Boys In The Band', 'Gay Deceivers', 'Something for Everyone', 'Pink Flamingos', 'Sunday Bloody Sunday', 'The Damned', 'Death in Venice', etc.).  Do you remember seeing any of these movies (or other movies that addressed homosexuality) in this period?  What was your reaction?  Do you remember the reactions of other people or if you read reviews of the films?

20.)  If you were in an area where there was a college do you know if there were any gay organizations?  Did you know anyone who went to meetings of these organizations (or did you go)?  Were people afraid to attend these meetings?  Did you hear people discuss these groups?

21.)  Do you remember any gay related political events (like marches, zaps, etc.) in your area?  If so, what do you remember about them?  Were they covered in the press?

22.)  Do you remember the reaction of the non-gay press to Stonewall and events after it?  Do you remember the coverage of the A.P.A. removal of homosexuality as an illness in the press? 

23.)  Were there political candidates that addressed gay or lesbian issues in your area?  What did they say?  Was there a political reaction to gay events in your area?

24.)  Was there any sort of feminist activity in your area?  Were the people involved stigmatized as lesbians?  Did you go to any of these events?  Was there coverage in the press?

Again, if there are any topics you'd like to cover that I haven't mentioned please feel free - and if you just want to share memories without following these questions please do that as well.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: jack on March 29, 2007, 12:19:59 AM
can i send the answers in under separate cover with margin notes for the editor and publisher  ???  ;D  ;)
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 29, 2007, 01:01:50 AM
can i send the answers in under separate cover with margin notes for the editor and publisher  ???  ;D  ;)

Yep.  You can also answer them one at a time.  ;) :D

I get used to doing big batches of the questions for the book club.  Once I get going it's kind of hard to stop. ;D
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 29, 2007, 01:58:34 AM
For example, Jack:

24.)  Was there any sort of feminist activity in your area?  Were the people involved stigmatized as lesbians?  Did you go to any of these events?  Was there coverage in the press?

When I was at college (in 1972) there was a ballot initiative to make abortion legal.  I worked on the campaign and went to a rally in Ann Arbor.  Gloria Steinem, Flo Kennedy and Bella Abzug were there - but I don't recall any mentions of lesbianism in the campaign.

As a side story I was postering on the campus I was at (near Bay City) and this guy associated with Campus Crusade for Christ kept ripping down my posters.  It got rather heated.  A few years later I ran into him at a gay bar in Lansing (and I was nasty - I asked him why god was concerned with women's reproduction but thought it was okay for him to be in a gay bar).
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 29, 2007, 03:11:13 AM
15.)  Were you aware of publications relating to gay people?  If so, what were they?  Were they national or local publications?

The first gay publication I knew of was the 'Gay Liberator' a publication from Detroit (in in newspaper format).  I think I must have picked it up in my last year of High School - because when I went to college in the fall of 1972 I put up a poster from the magazine on the door of my dorm bathroom - a picture of Queen Victoria with the line 'Even A Queen Can Get The Clap' under her.  It stayed up on the door for a while too!

[My dorm suite mates were probably a little too scared of me to take it down at first.  Then they decided it was cool to have it on the door.]
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Jack too on March 29, 2007, 08:31:22 AM
1.)  Did Stonewall or its aftermath have any impact on your awareness of homosexuality?  If yes, how did you find out about it?  If no, what made you aware of gay people at this time?

The Stonewall events


I had lived in NYC more or less since 1959, and one of my principal reasons for going there was to find a freer, i.e. more anonymous atmosphere, and a more well developed gay life than I would have had in Western New York State where I had grown up and gone to school.

From '60 to '66 there was a more or less steady wave of police actions against gay bars, meat racks, street cruising.  However, the Mattachine Sip-In of '66 and the assumption of office by the new mayor, Lindsay, signaled a lot of changes – the main one in relation to the Stonewall events being that a licensed bar in NY State could no longer be closed for serving gay people, gay bars (with a license) were thus legal now.

Saturday, June 28th I'd just gotten back from vacation visiting relatives in Ireland. My lover-roommate and I decided to go to the Village for dinner that.  We came out of the IRT station at Sheridan Square somewhere between nine and ten p.m.  On the other side of Seventh Avenue, just a ways down Christopher Street, we saw a crowd that was big enough to be spilling off the sidewalk and into the street.  At first we were going to go over to check it out, but then realized that we were almost late for our reservations already and would probably end up standing in line if we took the time, so we went on.  When we the left restaurant we'd forgotten about the crowd, and we walked further west, anyway, rather than back to the square.  Nothing seemed unusual for a Saturday night.  What we had seen, of course, was the beginning of the second night of the Stonewall riots.  The crowd we saw had been in front of the Stonewall bar, though we didn't realize that it was at that particular part of the street.

I had started going to the Stonewall off and only a few months after it opened, but it was such a dirty hole and some of the customers were thieves, so about six months before the raid I stopped going there, and I would just go to the Snake Pit – another unlicensed place with dancing nearby.
   
The following Wednesday night I stopped in the Candlelight (then the only gay bar on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, and a legally licensed bar – it is the oldest continuously operating gay bar in New York City, by the way) and someone asked me if I had heard about what happened in the Village.  I hadn't and he told me that gay guys had been rioting with the cops.  The next day I went through a stack of newspapers in the trash closet in the hall.  I found a copy of the Times that had a small article - on a far inside page, as I recall.  It was an article in that very morning's paper, which covered the final disturbance which was taking place as I was first hearing about Stonewall the night before.

The weekend following the first Stonewall riot customers in the Candlelight were asking, "Did you hear what happened in the Village?"  Within another week it no longer came up.  It's hardly surprising considering the times, I think, that the events connected with the Stonewall raid did not command more intense and sustained interest among the Candlelight Lounge patrons.  Guys were thrilled by the idea of cops getting a black eye, so to speak, but the Stonewall itself was a literally filthy bar run by the Mafia, and so there was no real interest in it.

Jack   
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Jack too on March 29, 2007, 09:53:13 AM
After Stonewall

7.)If you're gay or lesbian were you 'out of the closet'?

Yes, and so were all of my friends (with the exception of one, who was totally dedicated to passing as straight.  He lived on the expensive and fashionable Upper East Side of NYC and had a job in advertising.) One of the things that gets lost in the retelling of the Stonewall story - and it is understandable to some extent as these tales are usually very short on gay NYC background - is that in New York City at the time many, many, many guys with were "out" as the expression now has it – I would prefer to say had abandoned passing.  And I think that this explains why the post-Stonewall activist groups failed to get much support and why they died very rapidly.  Guys who were still passing (or out, if you prefer) held back out of fear, I presume.  However, guys like me and my friends, who were out, had essentially arrived at being out – with our landlords, with our neighbors, with our co-workers, with our families – on our own.  This, of course, for most of us was a process that had taken a period of years, and most of us were between 25 and early thirties.  We had stuck our necks out and taken our lumps as individuals, we had had no "safety in numbers," and the idea of being preached at by mobs of younger people still infused with the thrill and hubris of college demonstrations met with a very cold reception. 

The appeal of "radical" (which was often interchangeable with anarchic) activist groups was close to zero.  One of the results of the riots at the '68 Democratic Convention in Chicago had been to demonstrate that mob action was not the royal road to political success, and locally it seemed, judging from how easily, Mayor Lindsay had accommodated Mattachine that liberal politicians and regular politics were a route definitely not to be abandoned.

When the NYC Gay Liberation Front (GLF) courted and supported homophobic Leftists, my feelings about them turned to pure unadulterated hatred.  They were gay Quislings.  And I have complete and total contempt for them to this day. I knew no one who had a positive opinion of them after this, and they died quickly as a result.  Some GLF members were equally sickened and they formed the Gay Activist Alliance, but for me the treachery of the GLF meant that I trusted no so-called radical groups after that and put all my hopes, and some meager contributions with conventional politicians.  The same was true of my friends.  I should perhaps point out that my friends and I were a mixed group of whites, Hispanics and one African-American from blue collar backgrounds, and with blue collar or clerical jobs ourselves.  We were not frightened, closeted, conservative A-gays.  And as time would quickly show, in terms of NYC at least, we had chosen the winning horse.   

11.)   If you were in the U.S. was there a change in the bars you went to after Stonewall?

Yes, but not really due to Stonewall, more from the fact that gay bars, already being legal, were in some cases something akin to club houses.  You knew your social life there was going to have stability and longevity. 

Over the next few years bars became places where handouts were left, usually piled on top of the cigarette machines and some bars allowed notices to be tacked up on a space on the walls, so bars became news centers.  "Bar rags" appeared and began to circulate, and these were left off in large numbers at the bars.

12.)   How soon after Stonewall were you aware of gay organizations for openly gay/lesbian people? 

Well, there were already Mattachine and the Daughters of Bilitis, of course.

It wasn't until the fall of '69, as I recall, that I became aware of GLF and STAR.  Two gay newspapers were circulating (one had started pre-Stonewall, I believe.)  However, there was a distribution/circulation problem at first.  No one interfered with them that I know of, and they were available on newsstands and magazine stores everywhere.  But the publishers tended at first to dump most of their papers in and near Greenwich Village, which had been for many years New York's center of gay life and the area that drew gay visitors.  But by the beginning of the Sixties both the Upper East Side and the Upper West Side of Manhattan had large gay populations too, however, the publishers never delivered enough copies uptown at first, and they sold out in hours.  This inhibited the spread of news of gay organizations, though the non-gay alternative press did give coverage and these papers had better distribution control.

22.)   Do you remember the reaction of the non-gay press to Stonewall and events after it?

The news stories in the NY Times were brief and not on the front page.  These riots were pretty small potatoes compared to what had happened at Columbia University on the Upper West Side in the recent past, and compared to the Democratic Convention riots.  The Daily News carried a feature article piece, the famous "Queen Bees" article that many people have seen – it was snide and mocking, but there was a grudging acknowledgement that the "queens" weren't going to take it.  The Village Voice printed the most detailed and objective report as I recall.

Jack
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 29, 2007, 10:03:37 AM
Thanks again Jack!  As far as organizations went I was vaguely aware that there was an organization behind Detroit's 'Gay Liberator'.  No bar experience for me as I didn't turn 18 till 1972.  I think I wandered into my first gay bar somewhere around 1974 - there were two bars in Lansing (where I transferred in college) - Joe Covello's and another one up the street who's name I forget. 

Oh!  And I was thinking about it last night - I must have ordered the 'Detroit Gay Liberator' through the mail, because I got the 'Come Out' button (a butterfly with a fist as a body) - you only got that when you subscribed.  My mom was thrilled as I recall ( :D) - but she was actually more worried because I was getting 'Socialist Worker' at home (my brother was in the Army and she was convinced that it would affect him).
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Jack too on March 29, 2007, 10:28:52 AM

Oh!  And I was thinking about it last night - I must have ordered the 'Detroit Gay Liberator' through the mail, because I got the 'Come Out' button (a butterfly with a fist as a body) - you only got that when you subscribed.  My mom was thrilled as I recall ( :D) - but she was actually more worried because I was getting 'Socialist Worker' at home (my brother was in the Army and she was convinced that it would affect him).

My gawd, your name is probably on a list somewhere in the FBI files!  But somewhere I have an interesting article from their web site on gay rights.

Jack
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 29, 2007, 09:48:11 PM
Oh!  And I was thinking about it last night - I must have ordered the 'Detroit Gay Liberator' through the mail, because I got the 'Come Out' button (a butterfly with a fist as a body) - you only got that when you subscribed.  My mom was thrilled as I recall ( :D) - but she was actually more worried because I was getting 'Socialist Worker' at home (my brother was in the Army and she was convinced that it would affect him).

My gawd, your name is probably on a list somewhere in the FBI files!  But somewhere I have an interesting article from their web site on gay rights.

Jack

I had a friend tell me the same thing today when I was recounting the story, Jack!

I'd be interested in the article if you come across it!
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 29, 2007, 09:49:24 PM
So how about it?  Anyone else have any comments from the early 70s?  I can go on answering my own questions, but I wanted to see if anyone else here had any input....
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 30, 2007, 01:51:45 AM
1.)  Did Stonewall or its aftermath have any impact on your awareness of homosexuality?  If yes, how did you find out about it?  If no, what made you aware of gay people at this time?

The Stonewall events


I had lived in NYC more or less since 1959, and one of my principal reasons for going there was to find a freer, i.e. more anonymous atmosphere, and a more well developed gay life than I would have had in Western New York State where I had grown up and gone to school.

From '60 to '66 there was a more or less steady wave of police actions against gay bars, meat racks, street cruising.  However, the Mattachine Sip-In of '66 and the assumption of office by the new mayor, Lindsay, signaled a lot of changes – the main one in relation to the Stonewall events being that a licensed bar in NY State could no longer be closed for serving gay people, gay bars (with a license) were thus legal now.

Saturday, June 28th I'd just gotten back from vacation visiting relatives in Ireland.

Fascinating, fascinating stuff as always Jack.  Thanks so much for sharing all this.

Were you aware of the Mattachine protests in Philadelphia on July 4, 1965?  Did you have friends who went?
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 30, 2007, 02:01:12 AM
21.)  Do you remember any gay related political events (like marches, zaps, etc.) in your area?  If so, what do you remember about them?  Were they covered in the press?

The first time I was at a political event where I was aware of other gay people was on January 20, 1973.  I went to the Nixon Inauguration protest - it was during the war in Vietnam and I was really disgusted from the vote the year before.

When I got to the event there were large groups of people on the mall.  One of the groups of people there was a gay contingent from New York - they were in hippie drag (similar to the glitter drag of the Cockettes).  I hung out with them for a while.

When I moved to Lansing in 1974 there were street theater groups that addressed gay issues as well as other political issues.  I became friends with one of the guys in the troupe (he would later be busted by police for solicitation - a charge he got off because they entrapped him).
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 30, 2007, 02:22:18 AM
I notice that I didn't include any questions about music from the period.  Sorry!  One of the big influences on me in this period was David Bowie.  In 1972 'Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars' came out and I was hooked.  I got platform shoes and gold lame tops and would put glitter on my face and wear false eyelashes (and a top hat).  Needless to say I was rather unique in Saginaw, Michigan.

Another recording from this time that may not be as well remembered as Bowie's work was by the artist Steven Grossman - he released a folk oriented album in 1974 entitled 'Caravan Tonight' which was openly gay and had lyrics to male lovers on it.  And, of course, unlike Bowie Grossman was really gay.  Here are some pages dedicated to his work:

http://www.queermusicheritage.us/grossman.html

http://www.artistswithaids.org/artforms/music/catalogue/grossman.html

Jobriath (a/k/a Bruce Wayne Campbell) was another glitter musician - with a difference - he really was gay.  I listened to him during this period as well.  Here are some Jobriath websites:

http://championstudios.net/jobriath/

http://www.williepee.com/jobriath.html



Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 30, 2007, 03:46:48 PM
1.)  Did Stonewall or its aftermath have any impact on your awareness of homosexuality?  If yes, how did you find out about it?  If no, what made you aware of gay people at this time?

Stonewall had an indirect impact on my life.  I was not aware that it happened until a few years afterward (in the early 70s).  But without Stonewall there wouldn't have been the gay collective that published the 'Detroit Gay Liberator'.

Incidentally I picked up the 'Detroit Gay Liberator' first at a store - I believe that I got it at an 'alternative' store (what would be seen as a 'head shop' now - back then they were into developing all sorts of alternative community enterprises).

That I picked up the newspaper at a 'head shop' points out something rather important, I think.  In the mid-section of the U.S. being gay was somehow associated with 'alternative' movements, like the hippies.  I'll have more to say about that in another post.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 30, 2007, 04:15:34 PM
5.)  Did either the gay liberation movement or the feminist movement affect your reading at this time?  If so, what did you read?

In 1972 I took a philosophy class entitled 'Philosophy and the Women's Movement' (taught by a man on our small campus, btw).  In that class I was assigned 'Women In Sexist Society' by Vivian Gornick, 'Sisterhood Is Powerful' edited by Robin Morgan and 'Sexual Politics' by Kate Millet.  Lesbian feminists were quite angry - but for some reason I never identified as the target of that anger and was able to figure out that we had some of the same goals in mind.  These books were good for me.

Also in 1972 I picked up a book by Jack Nichols and Lige Clarke entitled 'I Have More Fun with You Than Anybody' - it was the first book I knew of that gave me an idea of what a male couple could be.

In 1973 there was a book entitled 'The Gay Liberation Book' by Len Richmond & Gary Nogura that was very good for me - it had articles in it by William Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg, urroughs,  John Lennon, Huey Newton, Gore Vidal, and others.  It was initially published by Ramparts press and then picked up by Rolling Stone.  It was one of the first books that I can recall that made me feel like I was part of a larger group of people that was trying to change things.

Oh...the John Lennon piece was entitled 'go play with yourself today'.... :D
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 30, 2007, 04:16:27 PM
Here's a good lesbian-feminist chronology:

http://people.cohums.ohio-state.edu/wilson935/chrono1.htm
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 30, 2007, 04:41:04 PM
For me the hippies and hippiedom had a lot to do with my coming out process.  Actually this begins in the period prior to the one we're talking about - in the late 60s.  I was convinced that since there was all of this 'free love' talk being thrown around that maybe I could get some of the boys in my high school to throw some in my direction.  It didn't work that way, however.

As I've noted, when I went to the inaugural protest for Richard Nixon there was a tribe of gay hippies protesting the inauguration and I spent the afternoon with them.  And I did wind up 'hooking up' with some of my male friends in Saginaw who were willing to experiment.  These were the days before I started going to gay bars - this has something to do with the fact that my mother was a tea-totaler and I was convinced that bars were evil places - straight or gay bars.

There is a very interesting interview from 'White Crane' by Dan Vera and Bo Young about bohemianism and sexuality here that touches on some of the issues surrounding hippies and beats and gay sexuality:

http://whitecrane.typepad.com/journal/2007/02/wc71_editors_no.html

Here is an article on the Cockettes - the cosmic drag troupe from San Francisco that spawned Sylvester (a/k/a Sylvester James):

http://archive.salon.com/people/feature/2000/08/23/weissman/index.html

Here's an article by Tommi Avicolli Mecca (from San Francisco) about the connections between the Hippies and Gay Liberation in his own life:

http://www.beyondchron.org/news/index.php?itemid=3356

Here is an article by Jim Fouratt (who was at Stonewall) on the connections between the hippies and gay liberation in his own life:

http://www.generationonfire.com/fouratt.html

Harvey Milk was in the touring company of 'Hair' when he first visited San Francisco.  The rest, as they say, is history:

http://www.glbtq.com/social-sciences/milk_h.html

And, of course, Allen Ginsberg was a direct bridge between the hippie and gay movements:

http://www.glbtq.com/literature/ginsberg_a.html
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: dejavu on March 30, 2007, 05:40:30 PM
So how about it?  Anyone else have any comments from the early 70s?  I can go on answering my own questions, but I wanted to see if anyone else here had any input....

Don't give up yet, Michael.  This is the period when I knew a lot of gay people and I wanted to answer a few of your questions ("If you are straight, did you know ...") but haven't had a chance yet.  Maybe tomorrow.  It's already rather late here now.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 30, 2007, 05:56:06 PM
So how about it?  Anyone else have any comments from the early 70s?  I can go on answering my own questions, but I wanted to see if anyone else here had any input....

Don't give up yet, Michael.  This is the period when I knew a lot of gay people and I wanted to answer a few of your questions ("If you are straight, did you know ...") but haven't had a chance yet.  Maybe tomorrow.  It's already rather late here now.

Thanks for the support D.J.!
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 30, 2007, 06:00:18 PM
(http://i41.photobucket.com/albums/e266/michaelflanagansf/Pic01081.jpg)

This is a picture of the button from the Detroit Gay Liberator (circa 1972).
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: jpq716 on March 30, 2007, 06:18:40 PM
I myself did not become familiar with the gay and feminist movements until the mid-1970s when a teaching assignment suddenly put me right into the middle of both. I hadn’t become aware of either earlier because the environment within which I functioned in the late 1960s and the early 1970s was so profoundly conservative that no movements other than the anti-war and civil rights movements were seriously considered as social movements. As a result of this teaching assignment, I suddenly realized that there were whole dimensions of reality out there of which I had previously been ignorant, totally ignorant; my initial reaction to the revelation of these dimensions of reality was, simultaneously, the shock of recognition and a desperate desire to catch-up as quickly as I could; and I now realize that this period was one of the most consciousness-expanding periods of my life.

But it did not last long. You see, by the mid-1970s, both the gay and feminist movements had been a number of years old, and both --- let us be honest here! --- had lost their initial adolescent élan, were falling into stereotypes and formulated statements, and were falling under the control of managerial elites. My initial shock at the boldness of the gay and feminist critique of mainstream American society rapidly gave way to a disenchantment with their failure to address fully and courageously the pretensions of that exhausted and transient world-view. Their enemies had no such faint-heartedness. By 1977, when I started to move out of the teaching assignment that had introduced me to the gay and feminist worlds, Anita Bryant was fomenting a witch-hunt against gays in Florida, Carter himself was starting to turn against the feminists, and the stage was being set for the Midterm Election of 1978, which in turn set the stage for the Reaganite fascism of 1981.

It has now been almost thirty years since I functioned in either one of these worlds, and it surprises me to learn that they are still alive. How, I wonder, can that be, given the utterly naked and utterly shameless fascism of contemporary American culture? But so it must be, if the testimony in this thread be true. But I still look back at that period of my life, oh-so-long-ago now, with a bemused affection. Politics, I learned then, is both fundamental and inevitable in the human condition, but politics never seems to gratify the cravings that it is so adept at arousing. Nevertheless, the whole period was a necessary stage in my personal development, and I am glad that I had it, to the extent that I had it, for as long as I had it.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 30, 2007, 06:29:20 PM
But it did not last long. You see, by the mid-1970s, both the gay and feminist movements had been a number of years old, and both --- let us be honest here! --- had lost their initial adolescent élan, were falling into stereotypes and formulated statements, and were falling under the control of managerial elites.

You know...this is entirely true.  And I'm getting a bit ahead of myself here, but I got quite disenchanted with the dogmatism of the radical feminists in the late 70s.  Fortunately for me, by the time the late 70s came around I had discovered gay literature and was able to move sideways out of politics into gay literature.  This came as a great solace to me much later on when I dumped some hyperpolitical friends who were very politically correct, but also very personally damaging to me.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: jpq716 on March 30, 2007, 06:43:09 PM
Be careful, Michael, you are not being politically correct, and you might get rapped --- hard! --- on your knuckles for your intellectual ambivalence at a time of rigid ideological commitment... :D :D :D

I am glad that you were able to discover gay literature as a way to cope with your inevitable disenchantment with gay politics. But we need both, Michael, since literature sometimes turns out to be every bit as much a disappointment as politics is. Yes, we need literature to save us from the inevitable disenchantment of politics, but alas, Michael, we also need politics to save us from the inevitable disenchantment of literature... <SIGH>
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: dejavu on March 30, 2007, 07:45:02 PM
My input comes from a straight female.  Some of this overlaps the pre-Stonewall period but my memories were so vague from that time that I decided to discuss it all for the post-Stonewall period.

1.)  Did Stonewall or its aftermath have any impact on your awareness of homosexuality?  If yes, how did you find out about it?  If no, what made you aware of gay people at this time?

No, I don’t remember hearing about Stonewall until much later.  At the time it happened, I was living in the Denver CO suburbs and had just graduated from high school.  What I remember from that summer was my mother having cancer, the Moon landing, and my summer school college French class.  But in the fall, two friends from my high school joined me at college (a straight female and a gay male) and we became really close.  The gay male was someone I’d known since junior high, and he’d been nice to me then.  Through them, I met numerous other gay people, and learned for sure that some of the people in high school whom I had thought might be gay, really were (but some weren’t). 

I had been aware of gay people for a long time before Stonewall, although homosexuality wasn’t discussed at home.  In high school I took a lot of English classes, and interacted with a lot of people in drama club, although I didn’t act.  I also took a humanities class (art, music, literature).  The people whom I knew, who turned out to be gay, came from one or both of these groups.  I probably learned about homosexuality as a subject because of the discussions of books and plays in high school.  I also knew that some of the high school boys talked about areas downtown (Civic Center) which were known to be gay cruising areas.  I doubt they went there either to bash gays or to pick up gays; I think they were just curious at that point.  But there was a kind of allure to the way they spoke of these spots.

So by fall 1969, I started learning more about the people I knew from high school; heard more about other gay people from my high school who were younger than me, and whom I still didn’t know personally (but would later meet); and met other gay “friends of friends” at the college.   

2.)  Did the burgeoning gay liberation movement get discussed in your family or school?

No, not even among most of my gay friends, who were more concerned with their daily lives.  The exception would be one guy who went to New York for six months or so and came back considerably changed.  I had considered him my best friend before he left.  After he returned, he was still friendly, but I remember feeling hurt that he talked about gay people in general as “my people” – I thought his old friends should have been “his people.”

Later I suspect gay liberation may have impacted a few people’s decision to move to San Francisco, but it wasn’t stated in those terms.  They just talked about wanting to move to a larger city where they could meet other (and more) gay people easier.  I’d been to SF with a couple of them, and knew it was a nice (visually attractive) city, so I understood its appeal.

3.)  If you were aware of being gay - or had friends or co-workers you thought were gay, did the gay liberation movement facilitate or inhibit conversation?

No impact, except for the person mentioned in question 4 who began to identify with gay people as a group rather than with his old friends.

4.)  Do you remember the early feminist movement?  Did you have opinions about it regarding lesbianism? 

I remember it, but I was honestly too busy to care.  I didn’t identify much with women as a group at all.  One of my close woman friends was definitely straight.  Another may have had some involvement with a girlfriend which seemed like experimentation but she mostly dated men (quite unhappily – she let herself be used).  I know that leaders of the feminist movement sometimes were lesbians, or were accused of being lesbians, but that was foreign to me.  By 1971 I had a good job (working and going to college at night) and didn’t need “feminism” to get ahead.
 
5.)  Did either the gay liberation movement or the feminist movement affect your reading at this time?  If so, what did you read?

I wouldn’t say that gay lib affected what I read.  Later on, I became very curious about the whole subject of male homosexuality, but the reading was probably post-1975.  Can’t name specific non-fiction books, but by topic, I read some history of gay organizations; “what to do if your spouse/child is gay”; “to come out of the closet or not, and how to do it”; books about gay churches/ministers; etc.  Plus some of the early novels like “City and the Pillar,” “Giovanni’s Room,” “City of Night,” “Another Country,” Christopher Isherwood – although I mostly forget them now.  It’s hard to draw the line – some were from the AIDS era, but we’re not discussing those yet. 

6.)  Do you remember if homosexuality was discussed in your church at this time?

I stopped going to church at about age 16 – influenced by my atheist hero in humanities class who read Ayn Rand, no doubt.  Homosexuality hadn’t been discussed when I was still going there.  We were Presbyterians, fairly traditional and staid.  No fire and brimstone.  It likely was discussed more in my father’s family’s Southern Baptist church, but he had converted and I had little exposure to that – although in later years, when his anti-gay attitudes started coming out, they can probably be traced back to his religious roots. 

7.)  If you're gay or lesbian were you 'out of the closet'?  Did you act on your knowledge?  Did you go to bars or baths or political or social activities?  What were they like?  If you are not gay or lesbian did you have friends come out to you before this period and how did you handle that knowledge?

Speaking as a non-gay:  I didn’t know anyone who went through a big deal over coming out to his friends.  For those people whom I knew were gay, I either learned when they decided (after high school) to talk about it, or I was told that they were gay when I was introduced to them.

I did know people who had a hard time coming out to parents.  At least two men said that their mothers were probably hoping I was their girlfriend, because the mothers suspected, but didn’t want to know for sure, that they were gay.  One father gave his son a hard time about it.  And another father threw his son out of the house while the kid was still in high school.  Two of my gay friends got jobs at the same company where I worked, and then they tried to keep it hidden from bosses.

As far as how I handled the knowledge, I just accepted it as a natural part of who they were, and I actually liked that they were gay because I was looking for friends, not boyfriends, and it was easier to hang out with these people.  The only thing I handled wrong was to be too trusting of my own parents, and to tell them things about my friends that I came to regret having told them.  I came to learn too late that my parents were prejudiced, even though they’d not discussed it with me earlier.

The worst instance involved my father, who was a supervisor at the my company, and he refused to interview one of my friends for a job opening in his department because he said he didn’t want a gay man working for him.  I couldn’t do anything in that case.  On another occasion, I was going out to eat with a gay male friend and my father wanted to meet him and said to him, “We understand that you’re – a homosexual.”  That was my fault because I’d given them the impression that this friend and I were discussing getting an apartment together – we had discussed it, but not too seriously, and it had been my idea.  I was under 21 and my parents put their foot down, then said, “Well, go have a nice dinner.”  Sure.  After the evening had been ruined.  I felt so bad for my friend, it was so embarrassing for him to be treated that way.

Later on, in 1974, BTW, I did get an apartment with a different gay male friend and a straight female, plus myself – a three-bedroom floor of a house, actually.  But I was older then and my parents couldn’t really object. 

8.)  For those in the U.S. - do you remember when the American Psychological Association removed homosexuality from its list of illnesses?  Did this have any affect on your life or your behavior?  If you are outside of the U.S. did this decision get covered in the press and was there an impact there?

I don’t remember exactly when it happened, but I was always interested in psychological stuff and considered this a great step forward.

 
10.)  If you were in the armed forces (or knew people who were in the armed forces) was there an impact of the gay liberation movement?  Were people more frightened?  Did you know of people who were discharged or questioned because of homosexuality?  Did you know of people who used the excuse of gayness to get out of the armed forces? 

One of the guys from high school who turned out to be gay (although his best buddy wasn’t) got married, had a kid, got divorced, then joined the Army.  I heard later that he was being discharged because of homosexuality.

11.)  If you were in the U.S. was there a change in the bars you went to after Stonewall?  If you are outside of the U.S. did Stonewall have an effect on the openness of gay life in your country?

This question doesn’t really apply to me, but I do want to say that I did go with a couple of my gay male friends to a gay bar, at least one particular time that I can remember.  It was in East Denver, on or near Colfax, but it was pretty upscale.  Mostly empty at the time we were there.  But I remember the seating areas laid out with comfy plush chairs, like it was somebody’s livingroom.  I had no qualms about being in a gay bar in terms of it being gay; I just didn’t like to drink alcohol so going to any bar was very out-of-character for me. 

I remember one of the guys (and his then-lover) having a party at their house, and he kept insisting that I drink because I’d enjoy myself more.  Actually, alcohol always put me to sleep, so I resented being pushed into it.  But I’d drink either a little wine, or a little something with vodka (a screwdriver) because the vodka didn’t have a bad taste.

The strangest party I ever went to with any of these gay men was at the house of two lesbians whom they knew.  I didn’t know how to deal with lesbians then; I don’t know what I thought would happen.  I guess I had some homophobia of my own going in that case.  I was the usual wallflower, as is my style; nobody bothered me, but I didn’t talk to any of the women either.

===============================

Well, I guess that’s enough for now.  I’ll try to answer some more questions tomorrow.  Somebody (Michael, I think) said something earlier about an overlap between hippies and some gay people during this timeframe.  I have a few words to say about that – some of these guys were as much or more hippie than gay when I first met them.

Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 30, 2007, 10:05:13 PM
 
10.)  If you were in the armed forces (or knew people who were in the armed forces) was there an impact of the gay liberation movement?  Were people more frightened?  Did you know of people who were discharged or questioned because of homosexuality?  Did you know of people who used the excuse of gayness to get out of the armed forces? 

One of the guys from high school who turned out to be gay (although his best buddy wasn’t) got married, had a kid, got divorced, then joined the Army.  I heard later that he was being discharged because of homosexuality.

I only knew a few guys who were kicked out of the army for being gay - most of the guys I knew who had been in the army made it through and got out.  I dated a marine who was in Vietnam for a while in '74.

Interesting comments Dejavu - thanks a lot for this!  I'll spend more time on it tomorrow.

mf
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: BayCityJohn on March 31, 2007, 12:34:42 AM
7.) If you're gay or lesbian were you 'out of the closet'? Did you act on your knowledge? Did you go to bars or baths or political or social activities? What were they like? If you are not gay or lesbian did you have friends come out to you before this period and how did you handle that knowledge?

I started going to bars in 1974. The drinking age in Michigan was 18 at that time, and i was 17.
That was also the year that I came out to my high school friends. Most of them didn't care. We were a very liberal group. I did lose 1 friend.  I think he was afraid that people would think he was gay too because we always hung out together. We never got a chance to talk about it as he was killed the next year.

I remember the first time I went to a bar. I was surprised that there were so many people there. It seems like there were a lot more people at the bars back then. I was also very surprised to see men dressed in drag.

We only had 1 bar here in Saginaw. They had drag shows on the weekend. Disco wasn't really a big thing yet.

It's hard to remember a lot of that period because I was usually high on LSD. We usually purchased drugs at the bar.
I also drank a lot. This was before the strict drunk driving laws. I used to drive back to Bay City going about 90 mph.

The only baths were in Detroit, and we would often drive down there, about 100 miles, on saturday night. I really enjoyed that. It wasn't all about the sex, it
was just a nice quiet, relaxing place to meet people. I spent several nights there without having sex.

One of the first people I met when I came out was killed in Detroit in 1974 as he was leaving a gay bar.

The main social activity here was going to Wenona Park. We used to meet down by the river. There would be anywhere from 5 to 20 people, and we would just hang out and listen to music, and wait for a good looking guy to cruise by. Which leads up to this  question:

14.) Were you aware of the reaction to law enforcement to gay people in your area? Were their parks or restrooms in public areas that were patrolled? Were there cases of people being arrested for gay sex in your area that you were aware of?

No, I wasn't aware of any arrests at that time (1974-75).  The cops didn't harass us. They did drive through the park, but I can only rememberthem asking us if everything was 'ok'. There was another park out on River Road, and I know that the police would chase people out of the park, but I don't remember any arrests until several years later.

I wasn't aware of any political activity at that time.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: BayCityJohn on March 31, 2007, 12:38:21 AM
15.)  Were you aware of publications relating to gay people?  If so, what were they?  Were they national or local publications? 

The closest thing to a gay publication that I remember was a magazine called 'After Dark'

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/After_Dark_(magazine)
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: BayCityJohn on March 31, 2007, 12:46:46 AM
18.)  Do you remember seeing any plays concerning homosexuality in this period (for example 'The Boys In the Band')?  What did you think of them?  There were plays (like 'Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf') that were rumored to be about gay people, with straight characters substituted for the gay characters.  Did you see any of these plays - or did you know people who did?  Do recall talking about these plays?

Yes. In 1975 we saw 'Boys In The Band' at a Catholic college in Detroit.

It was a good production.

I remember thinking how the characters were a lot like the new friends I had made in the previous year.

I was a little surprised that it was being performed at a Catholic school, but not as surprised as I would be if was being performed now at the same school.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: BayCityJohn on March 31, 2007, 01:01:02 AM
10.)  If you were in the armed forces (or knew people who were in the armed forces) was there an impact of the gay liberation movement?  Were people more frightened?  Did you know of people who were discharged or questioned because of homosexuality?  Did you know of people who used the excuse of gayness to get out of the armed forces? 

My friend Fred was dishonorably discharged from the Navy after he was outed. This happened sometime in the early 60's.

I was in the Army in 1974 for 2 months. I enlisted in July, and right after I signed the papers I stopped into the restroom at the park on my way home. A man in the restroom started talking to me, and asked me if I wanted to go for a ride.
That was the first time I had sex, and we are still friends today.
I had 2 months before I had to report to Fort Knox for basic training.
In those 2 months I met a lot of gay people. It was a whole new world for me, and I didn't want to leave it to go to the Army.

After a month at Fort Knox, I told the chaplain that I was gay and didn't want to be in the Army.
Of course the news got back to the barracks very quickly.

Believe it or not, I had more people supporting me than harrasing me. One of the drill sgts. was a real asshole, but another one tried to convince me to stay in the Army to set an example for other gays.

He wasn't sucessful.

I felt like I had already spent 18 years in the Army, my father was in for 25 years.

This was after Vietnam, and I received an Honorable Discharge 3 weeks later.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: BayCityJohn on March 31, 2007, 01:12:20 AM
19.)  There was a mini boom of films about homosexuality in this period ('Myra Breckenridge', 'The Boys In The Band', 'Gay Deceivers', 'Something for Everyone', 'Pink Flamingos', 'Sunday Bloody Sunday', 'The Damned', 'Death in Venice', etc.).  Do you remember seeing any of these movies (or other movies that addressed homosexuality) in this period?  What was your reaction?  Do you remember the reactions of other people or if you read reviews of the films?

I don't remember seeing any movies, but I do remember a TV series that had a big impact.

The show was 'An American Family', and it was the first time I had seen an openly gay person portayed on TV.

It made me feel like I wasn't such a freak after all.


The series challenged conventional views of middle class American family life with its depiction of marital tensions that led to divorce, an elder son's gay lifestyle and the changing values of American families. Prior to An American Family, the staples of television family programs such as The Brady Bunch profiled a model of the perfectly happy family that seldom faced any crisis. The broadcast of An American Family in 1973 proved to be a groundbreaking watershed that forever changed American television programming and led the way to more complex family portraits such as Roseanne, One Day At A Time and even The Simpsons.

http://www.pbs.org/lanceloud/american/


The present-day, lightweight view of the 1970s leaves no room for George McGovern's 1972 presidential campaign, or Earth Day, Kent State, Ramparts magazine -- all products of the 1970s, not the 1960s. There is no room for a look at the rise of new political forces that transpired during that time: feminism, gay rights, ecology, or that one could look at a magazine such as Rolling Stone and see politics and issues discussed in its pages. Or that rock milestones associated with the 60s actually took place later -- such as the death of Jim Morrison, in 1971. It was Richard Nixon who created the Environmental Protection Agency -- not because he cared at all about the planet, of course -- but such were the prevailing political currents to a degree simply unimaginable today.

No era deserves uncritical homage. A simple paean to the 1970s would be grossly inaccurate. There was, of course, a good amount of darkness during that time. If one looks for kitsch and spectacle, it can be found. But there was much more not to laugh at, not to disregard. And it is inaccurate and tiresome to brand the Louds and their era as simple exercises in ego or frivolity. Television and media today overflow with Brady Bunch references, homages to American Bandstand, K.C. and the Sunshine Band; fun, irony-laden trivia. The story of the Louds is almost nowhere to be found. An American Family is moving, disturbing, funny and very, very real. It is television's finest moment.


http://www.januarymagazine.com/artcult/anamericanfamily.html

Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: dejavu on March 31, 2007, 09:02:33 AM
Michael:  One thing that I should add, regarding the apartment that I shared with a gay man and another straight woman.  This was in Capitol Hill section of Denver, which certainly wasn't Rosewood Avenue in West Hollywood (haha) -- that is, it wasn't a mostly gay neighborhood -- but there were a lot of gays in the area.  Besides our house, another friend and his lover lived in a house a couple of blocks away.

Eventually I realized (because it was pointed out to me by one of the gay friends of ours who didn't live there, but who came around a lot during the day while I was at work) that our landlord and his "fix-it man" were a gay couple, also.  The landlord was the one I had dealt with in signing the lease; he had only dealt with me and knew I was a professional person, so he didn't ask to meet the roommates who would be living there with me.  My roommates weren't professional; they had low-paying jobs (a waiter, etc.) or sometimes no job at all.  I didn't meet the landlord's lover until he was sent around a few times to fix broken/leaky things.  I would not have put two-and-two together, except that my friend spent more time observing them and talking to them, and figured it out.  After that, I sometimes took the rent check down to their house and was invited in, and I could see them having a normal domestic life, so I realized they really were a couple.

This was a significantly different example of gay people than any I'd known before.  It was an example of gay people in an authority role (something I don't think your questions asked about).  And they were older, maybe 45 and 35.  And I found out that they were authorities, just like any other authorities.  Some of my roommates and their friends were on the wild side (hippies) regarding music, drugs, etc.  My landlord didn't like the loud music because the upstairs neighbor complained.  And we weren't supposed to have pets, but somehow a stray pregnant cat had had kittens on our porch, in a box we'd dug up for the occasion, and some of the cats stayed.  (I tried to place them, but didn't have the heart to give them to the SPCA, so I got them shots, etc.)  Well, after my gay friends left for San Francisco (my female roommate had already left) the landlord came to me because he'd seen the cats.  He was nice enough about it, but it was either give up the cats or be evicted.  I couldn't see any reason for staying, so I moved to a suburban apartment that allowed pets. 
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Jack too on March 31, 2007, 09:25:39 AM
11.)   If you were in the U.S. was there a change in the bars you went to after Stonewall?

There was a big change, but it had nothing to do with Stonewall, it was a change in the gay zeitgeist.  Bars in NYC were changing in atmosphere, just as many gay men were changing elements of their lifestyles in the late Sixties and this accelerated in the early Seventies.

I believe this was due to three things:

1.   – The legalization of licensed gay bars in New York State in '66/'67, which meant that gay bars were safe places to be in.
2.   – The effects of an across-the-board (straight & gay) loosening up of social, and especially sexual, mores in the Sixties, which was easily accommodated in Manhattan.
3.   – The ascendancy and preeminence of black soul and funk music in gay bars that occurred during these years.

In my neighborhood (Upper West Side of Manhattan)the gay bar environment changed virtually overnight.  The one neighborhood bar, the Candlelight Lounge, had had a loser juke box filled with a skimming of popular rock music, old Fifties gay favorites (Judy Garland, Johnnie Mathis, etc.) and a dash of Motown/soul.  This was not what you found in the Stonewall down in the village, nor in Kellers, also in the Village in the late Sixties, where black music was taking over the box.

In the very early Seventies a new gay bar opened across the street from the Candlelight Lounge, a place called the Picadilly. (Yes, a single "c.") And in one night an entirely new bar scene came to the Upper West Side full blown.  The head bartender/manager was very savvy and the juke box was virtually a monument to black music with a few up tempo songs by white singers (Judy Garland got one slot, and then soon vanished from the box,) and the bar vibrated with a totally different social and sexual energy than the Candlelight.  The customers moved to the music - literally, and sometimes the bartenders had yell at guys (my set of friends for example) to "Tone it down!"  I would add, without trying to estimate the importance of it, that the crowd had a large Hispanic minority, and the whites were of working class background in large part - and most people did not have "dress up" type nine to five jobs...perhaps as a group of customers we were primed to be a bit less formal and restrained.

Late Fifties and early Sixties gay bars in New York often had the same energy as a crowded subway platform – a lot of shuffling around, mumbled talking, low energy.  With the change in music, and the assurance of legality,New York gay bars were pulsating and alive, they became fun and sensual experiences. For me it was almost a new gay life, people really looked and acted like they were enjoying themselves.

The following web page gives some interesting insights into earlier days when the Mafia was still in control of gay bars:

http://bitterqueen.typepad.com/bitter_queen/2006/09/the_mafia_contr.html

Story written by a policeman about doing duty in a "raided premises" bar in NYC 1960's:

http://www.nycop.com/Jun_99/The_Raided_Premises/body_the_raided_premises.html

Jack 
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: dejavu on March 31, 2007, 09:38:51 AM
^^^^^

Speaking of black music, Stevie Wonder was very popular with both my female roommate and the gay male friend who came over to visit us.  For my actual gay male roommate, although he liked that kind of music, he continued to prefer hardcore acid rock (like Cream) and then the subsequent groups that Eric Clapton was in.

He thought it was a major accomplishment to get me to listen to Cream.  Although I truly did like Clapton in Derek & The Dominos. 

BTW, I have always felt that "Bellbottom Blues" could be a gay song -- it makes no mention at all of the gender of the person being sung to, and it simply uses the term "find me with another lover".
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Jack too on March 31, 2007, 10:03:23 AM
Snake Pit bar raid, 1970 - NYC

Michael,

You asked about the publicity that the Stonewall raid and riots got, which was pretty low-keyed in the NY press.

However, the raid on the Snake Pit, an unlicensed, after-hours bar on West Tenth Street, not far from the Stonewall garnered much more coverage.  Stonewall was a stinking dump, literally, and finally I quit going to it and just went to the Snake Pit when I wanted to dance.  It was a much smaller place in a basement, but clean and with a more trustworthy and friendly crowd, I felt.

The night of March 10, 1970 the place was raided and the cops carted off the customers - I should point out that taking away the customers as a group in a raid was unusual.  Ordinarily it was the bartenders and staff who were picked up, and any customers who might be underage or in some way suspicious (being without your draft classification card, by the way, was a big no-no, and as I recall it was a crime.)  Once they were at the nearby Charles Street police station they were taken to an upper floor for processing.  One of the customers, Diego Vinales, was an illegal alien - he had failed to renew his visa.  He panicked, and fearful that his family would be notified, he threw himself from a window - I believe they were at least three floors up.  He fell onto an iron picketed fence, on which he was impaled through his torso.  Part of the fence had to be cut away and he - with the fence still in him - was taken to St. Vincent's Hospital on 14th Street.

This horrific incident did receive widespread coverage in the mainstream press - one tabloid newspaper, it would have been the Daily News or the NY Post, had a full page photo of Vinales impaled on the fence on page one.  It was an incredible shocker! (He did live, and he was not deported.)  That picture does exist on the net somewhere, because I have seen it in the past...but like a jerk I did not copy it.  Perhaps it is in the Fordham collection.

The next night there was a gathering in front of the police station - I believe that one police car was trashed, maybe some damage to the front of the station (I really do not have a clear memory of this part) and then there was a candlelight march to the hospital.  Naturally it got max coverage in the gay press. 

To me this horrible incident was more memorable and it created a stronger wave of mainstream publicity than Stonewall.  This was page one news and it sickened many straight people, whose attitude was rapidly becoming something like, "Oh, why bother these people?"  Of course, Stonewall was more "marketable" to many gay people because it was an "uprising," and it echoed much of the Sixties mainstream activities against the police.

Jack
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: dejavu on March 31, 2007, 10:54:21 AM
Continuing response from a straight female:

13.)  How soon after Stonewall were you aware of gay organizations for openly gay/lesbian people?   

None of the gay people I knew mentioned such organizations during the years 1969-1976.  I became aware of them through my own reading much later, after I’d lost touch with those people.

14.)  Were you aware of the reaction to law enforcement to gay people in your area?  Were their parks or restrooms in public areas that were patrolled?  Were there cases of people being arrested for gay sex in your area that you were aware of?

That area in Denver, the park around the Civic Center, was a gay cruising area.  I do remember hearing (from my gay friends) rumors that arrests took place there, but I don’t know the actual facts.  Another area was Cheeseman Park to the east, but unfortunately I can’t say whether it was just for cruising or whether the police also patrolled there.  It was in a more residential area, farther from downtown, so it was quieter.

15.)  Were you aware of publications relating to gay people?  If so, what were they?  Were they national or local publications? 

The Advocate, a national publication, although without looking it up I’m not sure when it started.  I think I remember my friends mentioning it.  I wanted to refer to some of their articles much later (in the 1990s) and subscribed for a while. 

16.)  Did you know any gay or lesbian people where you were growing up?  Were they really known to be gay, or were there rumors?  Did Stonewall and/or the gay liberation movement affect local attitudes toward them?  Did you meet any openly gay people during this period and what was your interaction with them like (i.e., do you still have friends from this period)?

I covered this one pretty well yesterday – yes, I knew a lot of gay people.  Or so it seemed.  Among those really known to be gay, offhand, I can think of three from high school, two from college, two friends of friends who became close to me, and my two landlords – which is only nine, but they included some of my closest friends.

There were rumors – or suspicions on my part – about others, like the two friends of a later-known-to-be-gay man, who went out drinking all night together after their senior prom instead of going out with girls, but we knew them later and they didn’t seem to be gay.  One was married, and we only saw him at parties.  One we socialized a lot with at his house, but he again was more of a hippie and didn’t appear to have any sexual interest in men, even though his closest friend was a gay man.

I talked earlier about my daily interactions with the gay people I knew.  One, who was what you’d call obvious and knew a lot about make-up and hair, I let dye my hair one Friday night with something from a bottle – a big mistake.  My gay roommate, I went to a lot of rock concerts with him – Eric Clapton and Joni Mitchell, among others.  We’d go out to eat.  I also took a few trips with him. 

My first airplane ride was to fly with this roommate from Denver to Los Angeles LAX, rent a car (I was 24 and he was 22 but he didn’t have a driver’s license because he took buses in the city), and drive to Anaheim.  We went to Disneyland and other tourist attractions.  We drove north a long ways to a restaurant in L.A.  Later that week, I dropped him off to visit his father and step-mother, whom he hadn’t seen in a long time.  Then we drove to San Diego, went to Sea World and such, turned in the car, and flew home.  We always shared a hotel or motel room – just got two beds.

Another time, I drove with him from Denver to the Grand Canyon in Arizona, and down to Phoenix and Tucson.  Saw the big cacti.  On yet another occasion, after my gay friend from high school had already moved to San Francisco, my gay roommate and I flew to SF to visit him, and spent many days walking up and down all the hills, going to all parts of the main city visited by tourists.  The following year (although this is 1976) my roommate decided to move to SF also.  I drove out with him, from Denver, through southern Wyo, Utah, Nevada, across CA to SF.  We went to a baseball game (Giants/Phillies), then my sister flew out to SF and drove home with me by way of L.A. (where we stayed downtown and parked on the hotel roof and went to Dodgers/Phillies games) and then to San Diego (yep, more baseball games, Padres/Phillies).  Then she and I drove home from San Diego, across the desert, around Memorial Day.

Another friend (the one who lived with his lover in my neighborhood) and I formed a carpool to go to work.  That was a fair arrangement; I’d drive and he’d pay for parking.

I don’t still have any gay friends from that period.  At least three, maybe four, moved to SF.  I kept in touch for a while, but I had had  my differences with my ex-roommate and his best friend over unrelated things like drugs (I didn’t like them); them calling me paranoid for worrying about what the landlord and neighbors would say about their music; some phone bills to their parents that got charged to my number while they were traveling; and me not wanting to open up my new suburban apartment to them dropping in in the middle of the night (to crash, because they were in the neighborhood).  Finally, after my former roommate moved to SF, he found himself without money, and called to see if I would help out.  I did once – drove downtown to the Western Union office to send money.  But that was the last time.  I didn’t try to contact them after I moved from Denver to Philadelphia.

Unlike those two guys, my car pool rider whom I mentioned above never took advantage of me financially.  Even though we weren’t as close in our daily association, I missed him and hoped he was all right.  Especially when AIDS started happening, I wondered what had happened to him and tried to track him down in SF, but he didn’t have a phone listed in his name.

17.)  Did you read any books (either fiction or non-fiction) dealing with lesbians or gay people in this period?  If so, were you open about reading them?  Do you remember anyone you know reading books about gay people?  Do you know if books about (or by) gay people were available in your area - either in bookstores or in libraries?

I mentioned some books earlier but don’t think I actually read them in this period, although they were from this period or earlier.  No, I was not open about reading them, either around other straight friends or around family members.  I even got rid of a lot of my gay-themed books because I thought I’d never read them again, and didn’t want my brother or my nephew to find them someday. 

I apologize for jumping ahead, but if I don’t say this now, it probably won’t get said.   It wasn’t until after BBM that I started reading gay-themed material again and felt more comfortable talking about what I was reading.  Recently, for example, my current boyfriend and I were discussing HIV (something had been on TV) and he ended up getting an hour-long oral synopsis of the “Front Runner” series.   :D  He also watched “Big Eden” and “My Beautiful Laundrette” with me – not his idea, but he was sitting there and wouldn’t leave the room.

 
19.)  There was a mini boom of films about homosexuality in this period ('Myra Breckenridge', 'The Boys In The Band', 'Gay Deceivers', 'Something for Everyone', 'Pink Flamingos', 'Sunday Bloody Sunday', 'The Damned', 'Death in Venice', etc.).  Do you remember seeing any of these movies (or other movies that addressed homosexuality) in this period?  What was your reaction?  Do you remember the reactions of other people or if you read reviews of the films?

I didn’t see Myra Breckenridge, but a gay friend talked a lot about the book.  I did see “The Boys In the Band” and still have the videotape, but it’s been too long for me to comment.  I have a vague memory of seeing “Sunday Bloody Sunday” – couldn’t comment, but would like to see it again.

20.)  If you were in an area where there was a college do you know if there were any gay organizations?  Did you know anyone who went to meetings of these organizations (or did you go)?  Were people afraid to attend these meetings?  Did you hear people discuss these groups?

I (and some of my gay friends) were in college at this time, but I don’t remember any gay organizations.  The college was a small branch of a big college, so I seriously doubt there was anything. 

21.)  Do you remember any gay related political events (like marches, zaps, etc.) in your area?  If so, what do you remember about them?  Were they covered in the press?

The campus newspaper was pretty liberal but the campus politics were more anti-Vietnam-war than anything.

23.)  Were there political candidates that addressed gay or lesbian issues in your area?  What did they say?  Was there a political reaction to gay events in your area?

Denver and Colorado had some liberal Democratic politicians, particularly in 1972.  But I don’t remember them talking about gay issues.  Again, the Vietnam war was the big issue that I remember.

Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Jack too on March 31, 2007, 12:33:33 PM
Misc. essays, books, plays, film and porn of the early 70's

In September 1970 Harper's Magazine printed Joseph Epstein's scathingly homophobic piece, "Homo/Hetero: the Struggle for Sexual Identity" and the reaction provoked some healthy open discussion.

The New York Times Magazine printed an article early January '71 as a direct result of Epstein's vilification.  Merle Miller, a respected biographer of Presidents Truman and Lyndon Johnson, wrote a 7-page essay, "What It Means To Be a Homosexual."

Paul Morrisey of Andy Warhol's in/famous "Factory" filmed the enigmatic and voluptuous Joe Dallesandro in Heat in 1972, completing a trilogy of films that began with Flesh and Trash which helped make "Little Joe," the former nude physique model and prostitute, into the male sex symbol of the underground film world with a huge following - male and female.  The Stones '71 Sticky Fingers album used a Warhol shot of Joe's basket on the cover, and in 1984 the Smiths used a still from Flesh as the cover of their debut album.  The Sticky Fingers cover caused a furor and some stores refused to display it.

Fred Halsted's L.A. Plays Itself (1972) was his take on the same territory as Anger's Scorpio Rising.  When it opened at the 55th Street Playhouse, doubled billed with his Sex Garage, the police shut it down - not for the notorious fisting vignette that climaxes L.A. Plays Itself, but for a scene in which a guy gets it on with his motorcycle. Halsted's two films have a place in the Museum of Modern Art's film collection along with Anger's films.

In '73 The Faggot! by Al Carmines, the musical-writing minister at Judson Memorial Church, got rave reviews from Clive Barnes the theater critic for the New York Times and was still selling out after its three-week run at Judson Memorial Church.  It moved to the Truck and Warehouse Theater were it continued to sell and its score was recorded. Carmines was a major part of NYC's Off Broadway theater scene and his plays often contained gay characters, vignettes and references.

E.M. Forster died in 1970, and Christopher Isherwood had been entrusted with the manuscript of Maurice, his long shelved novel about same-sex love written in 1913.  Isherwood saw that it was published in 1971. 

Yukio Mishima's  tetralogy, The Sea of Fertility began coming out in the U.S. in '72.  The overall theme of the four volumes is the fading of the old Japan from the first decade of the 20th century through the aftermath of World War II.  This unrolls through the story of two male high school classmates, one of whom is deeply infatuated with the other.  After the early death of his friend the grieving survivor discovers him reborn three more times and obsessively spies on him through each new life.

Patrick White, an openly gay Australian writer, won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1973.

In April '75 the Metropolitan Museum had an exhibit of works by the contemporary gay Anglo-Irish painter, Francis Bacon.  Neither Bacon nor the art critics concealed his sexuality.

In 1973 Charles Ludlum's high-camp version of Camille for his Ridiculous Theatre Company proved to me that drag and camp could be funny when they were unleashed into new territory.
 
In 1974, Doric Wilson and other gay men formed TOSOS (The Other Side of Silence), as the first professional theatre company to deal openly and honestly with the gay experience. One of TOSOS' most interesting productions was of Wilson's play The West Street Gang done in the Spike bar in Chelsea.   

Colt Studios, first located in NYC (1969), was publishing a series of slick new magazines - Manpower, Gallery and Olympus.  The owner/photographer, Jim French moved the operation to California and for the next two decades produced an enormous body of pornography, erotica and art works of high caliber.  The Smiths used a shot of model George O'Mara's bum by French on the cover of one of their releases.

A whole crop of new homoerotic and porn magazines like In Touch ('73), Mandate ('75) , Drummer ('75) and Blueboy ('75) eventually pushed the closeted homoerotic After Dark into a terminal slump.  These magazines found a place on the newsstands and magazine stores right next to the similar het stuff -- pornographically speaking we had arrived.

Jack

Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 31, 2007, 01:08:53 PM
Thanks Jack, Dejavu and John for your wonderful posts!  John you anticipated my asking you to join us here as you were in Michigan at the same time I was.

I'll have more comments, questions, etc. when I get back home from work later today.  Please carry on - feel free to ask each other questions, etc.!

Thanks again - mf
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Jack too on March 31, 2007, 01:16:31 PM

Were you aware of the Mattachine protests in Philadelphia on July 4, 1965?  Did you have friends who went?

I wasn't aware of it until sometime after, and I didn't know anyone who went.  The lack of gay publications was a big drawback.  And the fact that bar life was unstable due to the constant police closings meant that word-of-mouth, the jungle telegraph, wasn't very up to date necessarily.

Jack
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: dejavu on March 31, 2007, 01:42:35 PM
Just a couple of other comments, to clarify.

Regarding the first apartment sharing idea (when a gay man and I discussed sharing an apartment while still in college, and my parents intervened and put a stop to it) -- I said it had been my idea.  That is, I brought the subject up between the two of us.  But I don't think we really would have gone through with it, at that age -- that's part of why I was so mad at my father for causing all the embarrassment about my friend being gay.  I felt it was like "Guess Who's Coming To Dinner," in a way.  What is important, though, is that he and I both got the idea from a couple of older college seniors -- straight girl, gay man -- who were seriously talking about doing just that.  So it was a "copy cat" idea on our part.

It so happens that that man, the first friend I talked about sharing an apartment with, was an ex-lover of my best gay friend from junior high.  They had met in college and broken up over the issue of drugs.  My old friend from junior high used pot, and probably other things.  My new friend was completely against them.  In appearance, he was also more conservative -- good-looking, but hair cut neatly, no hippie look.  That was another reason I thought it was so unfair for anyone to feel that he was a bad influence.  I had started using pot a little myself by then (talked into it by many people, both straight and gay) but felt more comfortable with someone who was a non-user.

Regarding the drug issue, I'm mostly talking about pot.  Although in our even wider circle of friends and acquaintances, I heard of other drugs being used.  It was still the tail end of the LSD era.  One (the supposedly straight guy) smoked hashish.  He also often obtained the pot and sold it to everyone else.  And I remember mention of some kind of pills.  I'm not sure whether speed played a role at all, but it may have.  But in the main group of gay people that I've been describing, pot was the main drug.  Although my gay roommate that I started living with after college graduation, who did have quite the hippie look (long ponytail, etc.), used it to excess, IMO.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 31, 2007, 02:26:29 PM
There is a series on Daily Kos about a gay couple who bought a farm in the early 70s - it fits into the 'back to the land' movement, which we haven't talked about here.  Here is the link:

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2007/2/3/105536/9339

From my own perspective, having grown up in rural Michigan, I tend to agree with Fran Leibowitz:

"The outdoors is what you have to go through to get from the apartment into the taxi."

Heresy here in the land of bull riders and such, I know...but we all have our own pasts to contend with.  ;) :D
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on March 31, 2007, 02:59:39 PM
Speaking of 'back to the country' there was a magazine founded in 1974 called 'RFD'  that was associated with a 'back to the country' movement among gay men.  The first person I knew who subscribed to it was at our co-op in Lansing:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RFD_(magazine)

http://www.rfdmag.org/
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Jack too on April 01, 2007, 04:07:22 AM
What about...?

Stonewall is a well known around the world, even if usually in the form of a political event extracted from its context.  But I remember reading in a book by Stephen O. Murray, who seems an unusually heads-up gay academic and not a devotee of "theory", that there had been other events in the U.S. prior to Stonewall.  I don't have his book handy at the moment.

Compton's Cafeteria was one, but I believe he mentions one or two others.  Does anyone out there have any information?  I find it odd that after all these years these events remain virtually forgotten.  But then until Carter's book there was no solid and credible book on Stonewall. 

Jack
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: BayCityJohn on April 01, 2007, 07:43:25 AM
I wasn't aware of Stonewall until 1977 when I was doing research for my English Lit class at Delta College.

I didn't find the information at the college library, I found it in a pornographic 'sex manual' that I picked up at a local bookstore.

I wish I would have saved those essays. We were asked to write about ourselves, and I wrote about the process of
'coming out'.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Jack too on April 01, 2007, 08:46:51 AM
Ed Murphy – a dubious Stonewall "hero"

The Stonewall riots might well have slipped into historical obscurity if it had not been for the commemorative parade that was organized on the anniversary date in 1970, largely through the efforts of Craig Rodwell of the Oscar Wilde Book Shop, I understand.  The parade gathered in Sheridan Square and marched up Sixth Avenue (later Fifth Ave.) to end in Central Park.  I did not hear about it beforehand the first year, and my impression has been from all that I've ever heard or read that it drew mainly from Village.

This parade became an annual event, and after just a few years its direction was reversed and it gathered uptown and marched down to the West Village, where there was a street fair/festival. It became the first gay event to attract gay men and lesbians across the board, attracting all types of people and interest groups. At some point the management of the event became the province of something called Heritage of Pride (HOP.)

And a well known, but shadowy, character named Ed Murphy played a very prominent role in HOP.  Murphy had been the Stonewall doorman/bouncer, and had been hauled off by the cops to the pokie the first night. While Murphy was known to have a thing for very young guys, he had never been "gay" in just so many words.  But after the Stonewall riots, like St. Paul on the road to Damascus, he experienced a metanoia, and whereas before his attitude had been thuggish toward gay men, he now claimed that he had been beaten by the police in the raid and touted himself as hero of the events.  He continued to work gay places in the Village, and attained a visibility in gay life that he had never had before. And he rode each year at the head of the parade in an automobile reserved for those who had been at Stonewall on the night of the raid.

Murphy had a long record as a juvenile offender.  He went into the army in WW II, was a professional wrestler and then took up a career as a burglar – he was caught in '47 and served ten years.

His before-Stonewall career as far as most gay people knew of it, including myself, had been as a hulking manager/bouncer/whatever at a series of gay bars during the repression of the Wagner years, a career that by collective report stretched back to the late 50's.

He had probably been the manager of the Mais Oui when I was picked up there in a police raid in early '59, while visiting from college.  He managed Dirty Dick's a bar waaaay over on the western waterfront of the Village in '62 when I went down there – this was in the era when the Village west of Hudson was a dark, dingy area with zero tourism and night life. Later I saw him sometimes ('63) in the Hat Box on Herald Square when I went there. Putting all the reports together, historian David Carter, shows that Murphy followed a trail of Mafia-run gay establishments up to Stonewall.

After his death in 1989 he received the post-mortem honor of being named Honorary Grand Marshall of the parade. It was at this point that I became aware of who he was, and who he had been, because some people were vocal about opposing him being honored in this way. 

Sometime later the venerable Wall Street Journal printed a story about a blackmail ring in the mid-Sixties that had preyed on gay men, some connected with the NY Stock Exchange.  Smack dab in the middle of this ring was the very same Ed Murphy – longtime gay bar manager, how perfect.

Historian David Carter has put together Ed Murphy's own recorded recollections, along with those of gay men from the era, plus those of the police and the crime records for his book, Stonewall: the riots that sparked the gay revolution. Murphy had what appears to be an unbroken blackmailing career from his release from prison in the late Fifties up to the Stonewall riots, preying on gay men with highly organized extortion rings; aside from being attracted to young men, he also appears to have pimped them, and a room above the Stonewall was used for gay male prostitution.  There are also unsupported assertions that he was responsible for the "disappearance" of at least one young gay man.

I remember gay men in the late Fifties telling me that the Mafia used the profits from gay bars to finance their heroin business.  It gave me the creeps, as it did other guys, but the Mafia bars were the only game in town thanks to the State Liquor Authority regulations.  But it looks as if the Mafia knife cut even closer to home with Murphy's extortion rings.

Below is a site which gives an interesting glimpse of Ed Murphy, read the June 10, 2006 entry.   

http://cclonline.org/index.php?pg=lcsw&blogfile=/2006_06_01_archive.html

Jack
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on April 01, 2007, 01:39:37 PM
Compton's Cafeteria was one, but I believe he mentions one or two others.  Does anyone out there have any information?

On Jan. 1, 1965 there was a Mardi Gras Masked Ball held in San Francisco to raise money for the 'Council on Religion and the Homosexual' - a clergy based group out of Glide Church in downtown San Francisco.  There was a police raid on the event.  Here is a page on the event:

http://www.lgbtran.org/Exhibits/CRH/Room.aspx?RID=3

In the aftermath of this event there were hearings and meetings with the police:

http://www.lgbtran.org/Exhibits/CRH/Room.aspx?RID=5

I think this may be one of the early events you were talking about Jack?  It predates Compton's Cafe by over a year.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on April 01, 2007, 01:50:50 PM
Also before Stonewall was a raid on the Black Cat Bar on Sunset Junction in Silver Lake.  Here's what glbtq has to say about the event (which was partially behind the creation of 'The Advocate'):

"Police harassment on New Year's 1967 sparked the largest protest by glbtq citizens anywhere in the decade. In a raid of the Black Cat Bar, at Sunset Junction in Silver Lake, police brutalized numerous patrons and staff. In response activists organized a large demonstration, collected money to fight the charges in court, and alerted media to the problem of police harassment. The placards at the Black Cat protest were surprisingly modern: "No more abuse of our rights and dignity"; "Blue fascism must go"; and, "Stop illegal search and seizure."

Before this, in 1966, the Los Angeles organization PRIDE (Personal Rights in Defense and Education) had organized to promote awareness of LAPD harassment of homosexuals and published a newsletter. PRIDE supported the Black Cat protest, and Dick Michaels (a pseudonym) and friends expanded the newsletter to chronicle the protest and its aftermath. Printed by mimeograph in the basement mailroom of ABC Television's Los Angeles headquarters, the first issue of The Los Angeles Advocate was published in September 1967. In 1970 it became bi-weekly and national and as The Advocate has been the glbtq newsmagazine of record for almost forty years."

[http://www.glbtq.com/social-sciences/los_angeles,7.html]

Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Jack too on April 01, 2007, 02:38:08 PM
Also before Stonewall was a raid on the Black Cat Bar on Sunset Junction in Silver Lake. 

This was the only event I'd heard anything about in any detail.

This is off the track a bit, and going back in time, but here is some material about the Newton Arvin scandal of 1960.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newton_Arvin

http://www.glbtq.com/literature/arvin_n.html

http://www.thenation.com/doc/20010723/leonard

Jack

Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on April 01, 2007, 05:51:53 PM
Paul Morrisey of Andy Warhol's in/famous "Factory" filmed the enigmatic and voluptuous Joe Dallesandro in Heat in 1972, completing a trilogy of films that began with Flesh and Trash which helped make "Little Joe," the former nude physique model and prostitute, into the male sex symbol of the underground film world with a huge following - male and female.  The Stones '71 Sticky Fingers album used a Warhol shot of Joe's basket on the cover, and in 1984 the Smiths used a still from Flesh as the cover of their debut album.  The Sticky Fingers cover caused a furor and some stores refused to display it.

Jack, somehow in the 70s I became aware of Warhol's Factory (don't ask me how in Michigan!).  I subscribed to 'Andy Warhol's Interview' (I still have the t-shirt from 'Andy Warhol's Bad' that was part of the subscription deal...and yes, I am a pack rat).  Of course I got 'Sticky Fingers' when it came out.

I saw 'Trash' somewhere around this time.

John's post of the other day reminded me of 'After Dark' magazine.  'After Dark' was one of the semi-closeted publications of the day - you could subscribe and say you were interested in Broadway or fashion.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on April 01, 2007, 05:58:07 PM
Jack, I was talking about the L.A. events with one of my friends who works at Frameline and he mentioned to me that there was a lunch counter sit-in in Philadelphia (he thought, couldn't remember for sure) at around 1965.  Apparently there were waitresses who refused to wait on the openly homosexual patrons.  Does this ring any bells with you?

I think the place was called 'Morrie's'

Okay...I've looked this up to the degree that I can (there isn't much online).  The place I'm talking about wasn't in Philadelphia - it was in Ithaca, New York.  It was a bar in the student center called Morrie's and there was a boycott by the gay student organization against it.  It was post-stonewall, however - it happened in 1970.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on April 01, 2007, 06:33:13 PM
The worst instance involved my father, who was a supervisor at the my company, and he refused to interview one of my friends for a job opening in his department because he said he didn’t want a gay man working for him.  I couldn’t do anything in that case.  On another occasion, I was going out to eat with a gay male friend and my father wanted to meet him and said to him, “We understand that you’re – a homosexual.”  That was my fault because I’d given them the impression that this friend and I were discussing getting an apartment together – we had discussed it, but not too seriously, and it had been my idea.  I was under 21 and my parents put their foot down, then said, “Well, go have a nice dinner.”  Sure.  After the evening had been ruined.  I felt so bad for my friend, it was so embarrassing for him to be treated that way.

Later on, in 1974, BTW, I did get an apartment with a different gay male friend and a straight female, plus myself – a three-bedroom floor of a house, actually.  But I was older then and my parents couldn’t really object. 

Oddly enough I had one of my female friends embarrass me during this time as well.  He didn't know I was in his house and came dancing through the living room in long john saying 'look at me, I'm Flanagan, I'm Flanagan'.  I couldn't really say anything.

I lived with several straight friends after coming out.  In 1973 I lived in a house with all straight men who knew I was gay - only one had a problem with it - but he was pretty much a grouch with everyone.

In 1974 I moved in with a gay friend in Lansing.  That lasted for a few years till he got too insulting (he was very bitchy and demeaning), at which point I moved out into a house with two hippies who were associated with Stephen Gaskin and the Farm - who was anti-gay at the time (he thought we weren't associated with 'life energy').
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on April 01, 2007, 06:51:49 PM
A very important book for me in the early 70s was Karla Jay & Allen Young's book 'Out of the Closets: Voices of Gay Liberation'.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karla_Jay

http://andrejkoymasky.com/liv/fam/bioj1/jay1.html

http://www.booksamillion.com/ncom/books?pid=0814741835&ad=FGLBKS
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on April 01, 2007, 07:08:09 PM
Here's a little story about 'Boys in the Band' and 'Myra Breckenridge'.  When I was in High School I went to see 'Boys in the Band' - the year it was released (1970).  I was in love with a straight boy at the time and the film made me very, very depressed.  I kind of felt it was giving me an idea of what I had to look forward to.

Fortunately for me 'Myra Breckenridge' was released at about the same time.  I saw it a week after seeing 'Boys in the Band' and decided that that was going to be how my future would be, not like 'Boys in the Band'.  If Myra could make it, so could I!
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: maidenofthesea on April 01, 2007, 09:16:47 PM
Michael I just had to chime in and say you are a wonderful, constant source of knowledge about this topic and your links and insight is very much appreciated by me. I saved a lot of your info and links to my computer to help me with the various writings. So thanks again.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on April 01, 2007, 10:58:01 PM
Michael I just had to chime in and say you are a wonderful, constant source of knowledge about this topic and your links and insight is very much appreciated by me. I saved a lot of your info and links to my computer to help me with the various writings. So thanks again.

Thank you and you bet!  It's a labor of love! 
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on April 02, 2007, 10:57:56 AM
One reflection of my sexuality during the period from 1969-1975 were people that I saw on television.  Gore Vidal, Truman Capote and Tennessee Williams appeared on both Johnny Carson and Dick Cavett  then (does anyone else have any other people that they remembered in particular).  Dates follow:

Gore Vidal on Carson:

May 4, 1970
Sept. 30, 1970
April 18, 1972

Gore Vidal on Dick Cavett:

March 4, 1968
unknown date 1971 - with Janet Flanner and Norman Mailer (on which Cavett told Mailer to fold it five ways)

Truman Capote on Dick Cavett

May 25, 1971
Dec 18, 1970
Nov 26, 1970

There was also an incident at the Democratic national convention in 1968 where Gore Vidal referred to William F. Buckley as a crypto-Nazi and Buckley called Vidal a queer and threatened to punch him.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Jack too on April 02, 2007, 11:41:29 AM
Plays about gay people

18.)   Do you remember seeing any plays concerning homosexuality in this period (for example 'The Boys In the Band')?  What did you think of them?....Did you see any of these plays - or did you know people who did?  Do recall talking about these plays?

I was living in NYC with my lover when Boys in the Band (the play) came out.  It generated a lot of comment with straights and gay people.  The straight press was ga-ga about it – it was so, so true-to-life, etc. etc.  A lot of guys my local bar had seen it and they were quoting the bitch queen camp lines from it.

I was, let's say, apprehensive about what it was I was going to see.  How could one trust the judgement of straights about what was "true" in gay life; on the other hand, those campy lines were viscious.

When I came out in the late Fifties one of the worst parts of it – in addition to realizing that I would be the victim of anti-gay hatred all my life – was to realize that there was a pervasive depressingly negative and nasty attitude in gay male life itself.  For me that attitude, more or less coequal to "camping" itself, sucked the air out of gay life.  I was repelled by its insistently bottomless negativity, misogyny and self-hatred.  For me it cast a blight over much of gay life at that time.

My lover/roommate and I went to see BITB early in '69.  All those often-quoted lines were there, but I laughed at them – with the same kind of embarrassed enjoyment that one usually feels about black humor.  But in the end I felt the play was a cheat.  I felt that it was reflecting the gay life of the late Fifties and early Sixties, and not that of the late Sixties.  I believe that I was probably wrong.  Though in a city like NYC, big and liberal, there was an opposite tone and emphasis arising in gay life, I have serious doubts about how widespread it was elsewhere. 

I was glad I'd seen the play, just to be able to say that I had, but I definitely felt dirtied by it.  To me it depicted a gay lifestyle that was passing away, but also one that was only part of what gay life had ever been like.  When I read that Mart Crowley had been deeply depressed while writing it, I could imagine why.  Over the years since then I have heard men say that the play or the movie had a very negative impact on how they felt about being gay.  Ultimately, I think Crowley failed to get beyond the vitriolic camp clearly enough, though he seemed to be attempting it, to leave a lasting impression of gay male decency and humanity – and the existence of good-natured, forgiving humor among gay men.

I experienced it as something like a homo Amos 'n' Andy.  Some people in the bar loved it, especially those people whose conduct in the bar was the same as that of the play's characters.  Other guys liked and disliked it to varying degrees with most, as I recall, feeling that it reflected badly on gay men to the straight world.  Well, Crowley wasn't, I suppose, attempting to write propaganda, so I couldn't really fault him on that score myself.   

It did serve as a strong reminder, however, that straights were most comfortable laughing at us, just as whites were truly most comfortable on the whole laughing at blacks.  It takes their fear out of our "otherness," but I didn't feel it was my duty to appear impotent or clownish for their comfort.

I didn't buy into the idea that Albee had turned a gay couple into a straight one for Virginia Woolf.  It certainly was not ridiculous to consider that possibility, but if you look at his earlier plays, this is not a man who had a history of pulling his punches about race or sexuality.  Based on that, and a conversation I once had with him around this time, I thought that he was dealing with the issues of the plot in a straightforward way and not masking them.

Fortunately NYC was soon producing other gay theater utilizing camp or eschewing it, and a musical such as Chorus Line presented gay characters to the world as better rounded and more easy to empathize with.

Jack
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Jack too on April 02, 2007, 12:07:11 PM
One reflection of my sexuality during the period from 1969-1975 were people that I saw on television.  Gore Vidal, Truman Capote and Tennessee Williams appeared on both Johnny Carson and Dick Cavett  then (does anyone else have any other people that they remembered in particular).

Michael, I've been waiting decades for the chance to use this, heh-heh.

Little Richard , the outrageous (and closeted) rock n roll singer of the Fifties appeared on the Dick Cavett show, many years
ago.  I do not know if he was out at this point, but a personal statement was hardly needed.  His remarks below were directed at two other guests, John Simon (well-known literary critic) and Erich Segal (univeristy prof and writer of trash romances). 

The use of all caps should make it clear that Lil Richard took over the show at this point like Sherman taking Atlanta:

"WHY, YES, IN THE WHOLE HISTORY OF AAAART!  THAT'S RIGHT!  SHUT UP!  SHUT UP!  WHAT DO YOU KNOW, MR. CRITIC?  WHY, WHEN THE CREEDENCE CLEARWATER PUT OUT WITH THEIR 'TRAVELIN' BAND' EVERYBODY SAY WHEEE-OOO BUT I KNOW IT CAUSE THEY ONLY DOING 'LONG TALL SALLY' JUST LIKE THE BEATLES ANDTHESTONESANDTOMJONESANDELVIS--I AM ALL OF IT, LITTLE RICHARD HIMSELF, VERY TRULY THE GREATEST, THE HANDSOMEST, AND NOW TO YOU (to Segal) AND TO YOU (to Simon), I HAVE WRITTEN A BOOK, MYSELF, I AM A WRITER, I HAVE WRITTEN A BOOK AND IT'S CALLED--'HE GOT WHAT HE WANTED BUT HE LOST WHAT HE HAD'!  THAT'S IT!  SHUT UP!  SHUT UP!  SHUT UP!  HE GOT WHAT HE WANTED BUT HE LOST WHAT HE HAD!  THE STORY OF MY LIFE.  CAN YOU DIG IT?  THAT'S MY BOY LITTLE RICHARD, SURE IS.  OO MAH SOUL!  WHEEEEE-OO!  OOO MAH SOUL!  OO mah soul!"

Keep Boys in the Band and let 'em have this!

Did you happen to catch the show, Michael?

It is quoted in Mystery Train by Greil Marcus

Jack
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on April 02, 2007, 10:45:24 PM
Did you happen to catch the show, Michael?

Oh My God!!!  Yes, I did see that show!  It was one of those experiences where you sat around for a while afterwards and thought 'did I really see that?'.

Of course the Cavett show often had surreal moments.  Here's some text from that show with Mailer and Vidal:

MAILER: “I would not hit anyone here, you’re all too small.”
CAVETT: “Smaller?”
MAILER: “Intellectually smaller.”
CAVETT: “Perhaps you’d like another chair to help contain your giant intellect.”
MAILER: I’ll accept the chair if you’ll accept fingerbowls.
CAVETT: Fingerbowls? Fingerbowls. I don’t get that. Does anyone on our team [Vidal and Janet Flanner] want that one?
MAILER: Think about it.
CAVETT: Fingerbowls.
MAILER: Why don’t you just read another question off your list, Cavett?
CAVETT: Why don’t you just fold it five ways and put it where the moon don’t shine?

And Capote told Johnny Carson that Jacqueline Susann looked like a 'truck driver in drag'.  And when pressed for an apology he apologized to truck drivers.

I really think that someone should do a compilation of clips like this to show exactly how gay television was in this era.  I think you'd need to include David Suskind as well.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Jack too on April 03, 2007, 10:38:49 AM
Early homophile publications information and sales.

This site contains a listing of early homophile publications on sale with some pretty detailed background info as well as a listing of the table of contents of each issue available.  Even if you are not interested in purchasing - the information is worth saving if you are a gay history buff.

http://www.tyleralpern.com/one.html

Jack
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on April 05, 2007, 01:26:38 AM
I wanted to talk a bit about some media events that happened during the early 70s.  There were some important movies that came out around this time.  JPQ mentioned Christopher Isherwood earlier - 'Cabaret' was released in 1972 - and it dealt with issues of homosexuality (and the repression of it by the Nazis).  I remember being intrigued by it and I read 'Christopher and His Kind' as a result when it came out (in 1976).

Another film that was released at around this time was 'A Very Natural Thing' (1974).  Although it received mixed reviews it was one of the first films that dealt with homosexual romance as a love story and not as a 'problem':

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Very_Natural_Thing

'Song of the Loon' was released in 1970 - it was based on Richard Amory's book of the same name:

http://home.earthlink.net/~richardamory.com/index.html

Also around this time gay porn like Peter De Rome's films (Adam and Yves, etc.) and 'Boys in the Sand' were released:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boys_in_the_Sand

'The Front Runner' by Patricia Nell Warren was an important book from this period.  It was released in 1974 and was on the New York Times bestseller list.  Interestingly enough the book actually sold by word of mouth as much as by any other means as it was not heavily reviewed in book review sections of newspapers.  It was also of note because it was written by a woman and was written about gay men.  It's still a quite popular book and we have had a thread running at this forum about this book and the others in Ms. Warren's series here:

http://www.davecullen.com/forum/index.php?topic=12775.0




Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on April 05, 2007, 10:29:58 AM
As I'm doing 'The Celluloid Closet' over in the book club thread I keep coming across things that cross-pollinate with this thread.  A participant over there just mentioned Divine's films, and it struck me that we haven't talked about them over here either.

'Pink Flamingos' (1972) and 'Female Trouble' (1974) [as well as the even more wild 'Multiple Maniacs' (1970) and 'The Diane Linkletter Story' (1970)] radicalized a whole bunch of people with humor.  And many of those people were straight.  Divine and John Waters glamorized a whole sensibility in the 70s that made most gay people seem like the folks next door by comparison.  The midnight movie phenomenon of the 70s had a way of moving a whole group of people ahead without any political discussion being necessary.

In a similar way 'Rocky Horror Picture Show' (1975) made a whole group of kids who probably wouldn't have shown up in gay bars ask 'why shouldn't I dress in drag?'.    I can remember going out to the Lansing Mall (which was definitely on the 'wrong' side of town for gay activity - it was near where the farmers came into town).

Does anyone here have similar experiences? 
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on April 05, 2007, 10:33:37 AM
A quick questions readers - are we ready to move on to the next section?  It seems as if we have covered this period very quickly, if this is the case.  Does anyone else have anything they'd like to share - or does anyone have any questions about this period in our shared history?
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: dejavu on April 05, 2007, 01:45:28 PM
A quick questions readers - are we ready to move on to the next section?  It seems as if we have covered this period very quickly, if this is the case.  Does anyone else have anything they'd like to share - or does anyone have any questions about this period in our shared history?

We need more participation on the current period.  Surely other people can have memories ...
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Jack too on April 05, 2007, 03:21:24 PM
Early 70's politics in NYC

21.)   Do you remember any gay related political events (like marches, zaps, etc.) in your area?  If so, what do you remember about them?  Were they covered in the press?

In New York Gay Liberation Front lasted only a short time and I don't believe that it got much mainstream press coverage.  They did, I believe, put out their own paper, but it was filled with grandiose and incendiary rhetoric that impressed no one.  The Gay Activist Alliance split off from GLF, and its zaps did get press coverage in the Times and the News.  But that coverage could vary from a mention of an interruption of an event at which Mayor Lindsay was speak at, or stand-alone story, such as the one about the action at Harper's magazine.  By the end of '72 GLF was long dead and GAA was folding.  Contrary to the impression that one sometimes gets from the attention that some books pay to these two organizations they had memberships of two hundred or less, I have read, and did not succeed in gaining widespread support. Part of this was due, I think, to a nationwide disenchantment with student groups, rioting, civil disturbances, etc.  Another reason was that NYC politics was seeing the extinction of the old Tammany Hall machine, the emergence of new and very liberal Reform Democrat politicians, plus the eclipse of the liberal wing of the Republican party.  City politics was hot, and it was ready for gay issues.

GAA's meeting place "the firehouse" was destroyed by fire in early '73, and that was the end of the last vestige of "activist" politicking for awhile.  The cause of the fire was arson, but it went unsolved.  Popular speculation pointed the finger at the Mafia.   

23.)  Were there political candidates that addressed gay or lesbian issues in your area?  What did they say?  Was there a political reaction to gay events in yourarea?

There was a gay rights bill before the City Council by '71, and it was supported by Mayor Lindsay.  When it failed, as it did for many years when it was reintroduced, Lindsay (and other mayors) used executive orders as best they could to introduce measures of gay equality.

Bella Abzug, Shirley Chisolm and Ed Koch were some of the new liberal Reform Dem faces.  They all made some pro-gay noises, and in Greenwich Village where at that time there was a concentration of gay people, gay men and women organized a gay Democratic club.  By the Nineties openly gay candidates were not only common (and winning), there were even conservative gay candidates who became councilmen.

Jack
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on April 05, 2007, 07:45:16 PM
Jack, a quick question for you - in 1969 the term 'Lavender Menace' was used by Betty Friedan to refer to lesbians within the National Organization for Women.  I'm wondering if you remember if inclusion of lesbians or support of lesbian rights was an issue for people like Bella Abzug and Shirley Chisolm (I'm guessing not, but I can't remember).
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on April 05, 2007, 07:50:34 PM
And...since I forgot to mention it, and since that last post of Jack's reminded me of it - I give you 'The Lavender Menace' (*ta daaaaaa*):

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lavender_Menace

And the group which formed due to this bias - Radicalesbians:

http://www.glbtq.com/social-sciences/radicalesbians.html
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: jpq716 on April 05, 2007, 08:01:30 PM
I have believed for quite some time that the defining decade of recent American history is not the 1960s, but the 1970s. In the 1960s, what I have previously called “the Great Tradition” was so massively weakened by the chaos of the Great War (1914-1945) that the Counterculture of the late 1950s and the 1960s was able to rise up against it, to expose its irrelevance and its hypocrisy, and to advocate its outright overthrow. But this was a rejection initially by a small upper middle-class group, and it had little cultural effect outside of its natural habitat (mainly the nation’s colleges and universities), regardless of what the media would have you believe forty years later. The threat posed by this small group was dealt with, decisively, at Kent State on 4 May 1970, and by the fall of 1973 (when the world in which we live today actually began to take shape), this elite was gone from the American scene.

But by this time, the American rank-n-file had become aware not merely of the Counterculture’s exposure of the essential hypocrisy of mainstream bourgeois America (and its “Great Tradition” to boot) but also of the Government’s violent repression of that exposure in an increasingly desperate attempt to maintain the Ozzie-n-Harriet American Dream of that mainstream bourgeois culture. Because of its awareness of the hypocrisy of mainstream American society (and, of course, its “Great Tradition”), you suddenly had large masses of American society beginning to abandon their traditional commitment to American society. This, I stress, is something that happened in the 1970s, and not in the 1960s, when Americans by-and-large continued to support their fundamental institutions. But correlative with this mass abandonment of American institutions, there was, simultaneously, the memory of Kent State and National Guard hit-squads, so this alienation moved, not in the direction of 1960s idealism, but in the direction of a distinctly 1970s hedonism. And this witches’ brew of mass alienation and mass hedonism in the 1970s invariably led to the formal introduction of Reaganite fascism between 1978 and 1981. And what happened after that, we all know very well, although we generally pretend that we do not…

But what, you might opine snarkily, does this have to do with Gay History? Well, first of all, Gay History, like it or not, is but a subset of the general history of post-war America. It, like feminism and cultural pluralism, was one of the very last revolutionary attacks on the bourgeois mainstream American ideal, and as such, it managed to embody the idealistic radicalism of the 1960s Counterculture long after the Countercultural elite itself had disappeared. But because America was changing so radically culturally during the 1970s, the Gay Movement had a moment of ideological purity and idealism much shorter in duration than either the Civil Rights Movement of the early 1960s or the Anti-War Movement of the late 1960s. By the late 1970s, as I have previously indicated in this thread, the Gay Movement was becoming corrupted by the unfocused and self-destructive hedonism of 1970s American culture. God only knows what would have happened to the Gay Movement in the 1980s if religious fundamentalism (with its violent homophobia) and the AIDS epidemic (with its still unexplained initial gay focus) had not driven it right to the wall, with the knife at its collective throat and collective death only a moment away. Hideously evil as this fundamentalist homophobia and this AIDS genocide may have been, they forced the Gay Movement back into a state of ideological purity which has sustained it greatly over a full quarter of a century of open, naked, shameless American fascism and which lies behind its current full-court press for mainstream acceptance in whatever may remain of American history after the slow unmasking of our current cultural death-in-life. (A horrible, truly horrible, truth that the Gay Movement, by and large, has yet to realize…)

America in 1970 was substantially what it was in 1960, and America in 2000 was substantially what it was in 1980, but America in 1980 was radically different than what it was in 1970. In all of our traditional concern for the quarter century of the superficial triumph of the American Empire (1945-1970) and for the quarter century of the inevitable corruption of American Empire (1980-2006), we have forgotten the 1970s, but the 1970s were the most essential, the foundational, decade of all. Yes, even in Gay History.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on April 05, 2007, 08:32:04 PM
And given that I brought up the topic with those two last posts, now would be a good time to bring up Lesbian Feminism, Separatism and issues of the women's community that developed beginning in the early 70s:

http://www.glbtq.com/social-sciences/lesbian_feminism.html

http://people.cohums.ohio-state.edu/wilson935/1970slf.htm

http://www.glbtq.com/social-sciences/separatism.html

In the early 70s the notion of 'women identified women' was a philosophy by which women decided to dedicate themselves to other women:

http://www.glbtq.com/social-sciences/woman_identified_woman.html

Some women who were women identified carried their political and philosophical notions into the realm of sexuality.  From these notions rose what is called 'political lesbianism':

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Political_lesbianism

Authors such as Jill Johnston forwarded much of the philosophy behind notions like lesbian feminism:

http://www.glbtq.com/social-sciences/lesbian_nation.html

Part of the reason for the shift from feminism to lesbian feminism and the rise of separatism and the notion of the woman identified woman was the notion of patriarchy:

http://www.glbtq.com/social-sciences/patriarchy.html

Also affiliated with this was the notion that our society is woman hating and that misogyny is a prevalent and pervasive phenomenon:

http://www.glbtq.com/social-sciences/misogyny.html

And some feel that body notions and the beauty industry are associated with misogyny:

http://books.guardian.co.uk/departments/politicsphilosophyandsociety/story/0,6000,1519268,00.html

Spiritually one of the ways that people disassociated women hating from religion was by becoming involved with Goddess religions:

http://www.glbtq.com/social-sciences/goddess_religions.html

Economically and socially there was a move toward 'woman safe' spaces such as women's bookstores:

http://www.shapingsf.org/ezine/gay/files/oldwifes.html

http://www.wifp.org/womensmediach7.html

These books stores handled a variety of works including works by artists such as Adrienne Rich:

http://www.glbtq.com/literature/rich_a.html

Pat Parker:

http://voices.cla.umn.edu/vg/Bios/entries/parker_pat.html

Monique Wittig:

http://www.glbtq.com/literature/wittig_m.html

And other lesbian writers:

http://www.glbtq.com/literature/am_lit5_lesbian_post_stonewall.html

And there was the development of art forms such as women's music:

http://www.glbtq.com/arts/music_women.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women's_music

http://www.glbtq.com/arts/near_h.html

http://andrejkoymasky.com/liv/fam/biow2/will25.html

http://arts.enotes.com/contemporary-musicians/adam-margie-biography

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ferron

http://lesbianlife.about.com/od/lesbianmusicians/p/AlixDobkin.htm

Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on April 05, 2007, 08:34:02 PM
America in 1970 was substantially what it was in 1960, and America in 2000 was substantially what it was in 1980, but America in 1980 was radically different than what it was in 1970. In all of our traditional concern for the quarter century of the superficial triumph of the American Empire (1945-1970) and for the quarter century of the inevitable corruption of American Empire (1980-2006), we have forgotten the 1970s, but the 1970s were the most essential, the foundational, decade of all. Yes, even in Gay History.

I most wholeheartedly agree.  And some of those lesbian feminist links I just posted should point to that as well.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on April 05, 2007, 08:35:55 PM
Women Studies programs (in which I got a minor from Michigan State University in the 70s) also grew in the 1970s:

http://www.glbtq.com/social-sciences/womens_studies.html
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: jpq716 on April 05, 2007, 09:32:05 PM
Yes, Michael, Cabaret is a highly representative film of the early 1970s, when the political winds were starting to change with a quickness and a violence that America had not seen in decades and that it has most assuredly not seen since (although it is quite possible that this might change sometime within the next three or four years…) But the story behind Cabaret is perhaps even more fascinating than the film itself.

America discovered Weimar Germany --- the real Weimar Germany --- in the mid-1960s, and this was, alas!, no accident, since both Weimar Germany and Counterculture America were pre-fascist cultural phenomena. I myself discovered Weimar Germany, with a vengeance in the spring of 1969, when my hipper friends told me to read Hermann Hesse’s Demian. I did read Demian, and I knew, right then and there, that the time and the place that produced such a hypnotic, if dangerous, work of literature was worth serious study. And I have studied Weimar Germany with intense fascination (and no small measure of fear) since that time.

One of the most fascinating works that I have ever read about Weimar Germany was Christopher Isherwood’s Christopher and His Kind (1976). This book is really something. Gay people talk incessantly about the Gay Movement and Gay Politics, yada, yada, yada. But Isherwood’s memoir demonstrates --- with a concreteness and clarity that I have rarely seen elsewhere --- that in Weimar Germany, which knew so much more than Dubya’s America has yet to learn, sexual identity was intimately --- intimately! --- involved with even greater struggles within society. Sexual identity and non-sexual identity interacted in a way that we still do not see in America a good forty years after the Counterculture supposedly showed us all the Promised Land! Gays in Weimar Germany knew that they had to engage heavily in non-gay politics in order to protect themselves, and --- just as remarkably! --- many non-gays in Weimar Germany knew that they needed, that they absolutely had to have, gay support in their non-gay politics in order to protect themselves as well! And so there was a gay influence in Weimar culture that gays have yet to experience in post-Dubya America. And Isherwood’s 1976 memoir reveals this astonishing cultural ambience in a way that no other memoir of the time has done, at least in my personal opinion!

Christopher and His Kind tells the truth, almost half a century after the fact, but The Berlin Stories (first published as a unit in 1945) most assuredly does not. In fact, it is only after you have read Christopher and His Kind that you realize what an incredible work of art (i.e. what a consummately distorted lie) The Berlin Stories actually is. Isherwood was no fool: he knew that Anglo-American culture at that time was decades behind the radicalism of Weimar Germany, a radicalism so intense that it triggered a fascist reaction that almost destroyed the entire planet. Yes, the gay element of Weimar Germany is present, tangentially, in The Berlin Stories, but the intimacy of the interaction between gay politics and supra-gay politics in Weimar Germany is carefully disguised. It is not stated; it cannot be stated; it can only be implied in the “divine decadence” of the Kit-Kat Club.

But this implication was enough for the Anglo-American culture of the time: Isherwood was anti-fascist (regardless of the reason), so he must be an OK guy. And so, when The Berlin Stories finally appeared in the year that Hitler committed suicide, the novel (which Time proclaimed in 2005 to be one of the top one hundred novels of the 20th century) was valued superficially as an anti-fascist document. The antics of the Kit-Kat Club are depicted as an intensifying foreshadowing of the impending arrival of Nazi Germany, and yet the political radicalism of the entire cabaret scene during Weimar Germany --- a radicalism of which Isherwood and Auden and Spender were all deeply aware --- is completely ignored. And the power of The Berlin Stories as an anti-fascist indictment, as a final spit on Hitler’s bunker, was so strong that in 1951 the sadly underappreciated John Van Druten made a play out of it entitled I Am a Camera (a play which, incidentally, made a Broadway star of the truly great Julie Harris). And the play, in turn, spawned a movie of the same name four years later.

Eleven years --- just eleven years --- separate the film version of I Am A Camera in 1955 from the initial version of Cabaret in 1966. Just eleven years! But oh, what a traumatic eleven years in American history! Is it true, as the French student revolutionaries of 1968 once claimed, that America is the only nation in history to have gone from barbarism to decadence without an intervening period of civilization? Maybe, maybe not, but a hell of a lot of water flowed under --- and over --- the bridge in those eleven years, and it is a shock to compare the book of Carbaret with the text of The Berlin Stories (of twenty-one years earlier) and the script of I Am a Camera (of fifteen, and then eleven, years earlier). Fraulein Sally Bowles and perhaps, even worse, the M.C. of the Kit-Kat Club truly shocked mainstream Broadway-going America just two years after the Republican Party began to fall under fascist control and in the same year that Ronald Reagan became the Governor of California. Yes, Cabaret is an indictment of fascism and, yes, it is a pointed warning that it not only could happen here but that it was happening here. But there is a profound, and truly frightening, tension in the play between its stated moral/political purpose and the seductive amorality of the antics on the stage of the Kit-Kat Club. Indeed, the audience watching the play has to remind itself, repeatedly, that the fascinating “divine decadence” of the cabaret revue is, nevertheless, the smooth downward chute to hell. And sometimes --- this is the fascination of the play --- the audience does forget, even for a moment.

Everything is intensified in the film, which appeared just a year before 1973, that pivotal year in modern American history. The openness of the 1960s confronted the proto-fascist anxiety of the early 1970s head-on within the film under the brilliant genius of Bob Fosse’s direction. You knew, when Cabaret bagged eight Oscars in the spring of 1973, that the times were most definitely a changin’. So much of what Isherwood had shoved into the closet with The Berlin Stories in 1945 was starting to resurface, and the reason why it was allowed to resurface was because America had changed, really and truly changed, over the previous twenty-seven years. And of course, from what I heard, the 1998 revival on Broadway --- which I was not able to see --- goes even farther over-the-top, just two years before the fascist coup d’etat of 2000.

Art is always contemporary; even when it deals with the there and then, it is talking about the here and now. I wonder, I really wonder, what the next revival of Cabaret is going to look like. I am almost afraid to imagine… :D :D :D
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Jack too on April 06, 2007, 05:53:51 AM
Jack, a quick question for you - in 1969 the term 'Lavender Menace' was used by Betty Friedan to refer to lesbians within the National Organization for Women.  I'm wondering if you remember if inclusion of lesbians or support of lesbian rights was an issue for people like Bella Abzug and Shirley Chisolm (I'm guessing not, but I can't remember).

If you mean do I recall instances where they separated some lesbian issues from gay issues, no, I do not.  However, I was not a close follower of feminist nor lesbian issues, and I certainly could have missed such comments.  I do remember the Lavander Menace comment, and it was another instance - like the homophobia of the Black Panthers and Castro's Cuba - that told me to not wear blinders about the Left.  Like many people in the era we are talking about I was attracted to the Left in part simply by something no more complicated than a very sentimental idealism, and in part by its seeming compassion and I was just beginning to realize that all was not what it first appeared to be on the Left.

Jack
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Jack too on April 06, 2007, 07:46:13 AM
Music in NYC gay life '69 - mid-Seventies

I notice that I didn't include any questions about music from the period.  Sorry!  One of the big influences on me in this period was David Bowie.  In 1972 'Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars' came out and I was hooked.... 

My experience of music in the gay life of New York was different.  I heard Bowie, of course, and was aware of the NY Dolls, though I'm not sure I ever heard them, but it was black soul and funk that predominated in my life - and in public gay life in the city. 

I worked in an environment where there were many young straight people and I often went out with them.  While the juke boxes in gay places were becoming increasingly heavy on black artists singing soul and funk, in the bars that my workmates went to soul and funk recording reached something more like 25% of the listings, with the rest being various forms of rock.  Most rock had simply slipped off of the juke boxes in NYC gay places by the middle of the 70's decade.

While free style dancing had evolved in the late Sixties, there was nothing identified as "dance music" per se, and until closer to the mid-Seventies disco music as such did not exist. 

The Sanctuary (a former Baptist church), which was used for one scene in the Jane Fonda film, Clute, is often touted as the first disco – even though there was no such thing as disco music during its lifetime (about '69 –early '72.)  Francis Grasso the (straight) DJ had to deal with playing 45 rpm records and cuts from 33 rpm LP's, and he played a great mix of mix of black music, some pop/rock and even international stuff.  He is credited with inventing slip-cueing and matching the beats on two records.  (I have lived in the eastern Mediterranean area and there were moments there when the mix of Euro-American rock, Greek pop and Arab pop brought back flashes of Grasso's uncanny ability to weave almost anything together into a great dance experience.)

The first few times my friend and I went the Sanctuary had a mix of straight and gay patons and a big crowd, but then it seemed to become mostly gay. It was racially mixed, but mostly white and Latino, a small group of drags were always there – and usually using drugs.  I ran into three in the john while one had her syringe lying out on the countertop, they were flying so high they would have shot up in front of J. Edgar Hoover.  Lots of women when we first went, but very few later on.  First time I went, I notice right away that the three or four guys at the door downstairs were all old faces from former gay bars, which meant Mafia or Mafia employees.  The authorities closed the place finally, and the grapevine said that it was drugs in part. 

At virtually the same time the dining room of the hotel in the gay Fire Island resort of Cherry Grove was also turned into a recognizable "disco" ambience with a similar type of music.  This same place had also started the custom of the "tea dance." And I think that was before '69.

By 72/73 black labels and black artists on mainstream labels were creating so much danceable music that I rarely heard pop or rock any more, only a bit of Elton John that I recall and a couple of  up-tempo Streisand numbers.

Oddly, the two dance places I remember from the first half of the Seventies were after-hours joints serving booze illegally – the first one, the Exile in the far West Village was definitely Mafia, but the other one, ca. '74, I don't think so.

Incredibly good music was being created in the early 70's, with a lot of variety from Labelle to Dr. Buzzard's Original Savannah Band, and on into early disco and Gloria Gaynor's continuous mix LP Never Can Say Goodbye.

Gay model Tom Moulton, who liked to make music tapes for a pastime, had gotten them played at the Sandpiper in the Fire Island Pines, and found himself in instant demand by record companies as a production mixer, he soon invented the long-play 33 rpm single, and with that innovation dance music and disco clubs really began to take off.  He was the guy who mixed Gaynor's album into one long dance number - to the initial horror of his associates, I believe.

Moulton had never been a club DJ, but other gay club DJ's (many black or Hispanic) would also find themselves in demand as time went on.  While this dance music had come from the world of black entertainment, it was in large measure white gay men that "channeled" into environments where it got mainstream attention.  By the middle of the decade gay NYC dance clubs and gay DJ's were the ones that radio stations and the music industry watched.  When radio station WBLS debuted in '74, it became for several years not only the most popular station in the city, but one of the most influential in pop music.  Though originated for a black urban listening audience, it immediately attracted gay men like myself.

The summer of '74 was the point which some gay acquaintances of mine who opened a popular disco agreed was the beginning of the disco era. It was the first era in popular music that I am aware of where the influence and participation of gay people was a powerful force and an openly acknowledged one.

Jack
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on April 06, 2007, 12:15:18 PM
I do remember the Lavander Menace comment, and it was another instance - like the homophobia of the Black Panthers and Castro's Cuba - that told me to not wear blinders about the Left.  Like many people in the era we are talking about I was attracted to the Left in part simply by something no more complicated than a very sentimental idealism, and in part by its seeming compassion and I was just beginning to realize that all was not what it first appeared to be on the Left.

Jack

Jack's comment made me want to go searching for the comments that Eldridge Cleaver made about James Baldwin.  I found a bit about it on this website:

From:
http://www.offscreen.com/biblio/essays/brother/

In Soul on Ice, originally published by McGraw-Hill in 1967 and republished by Delta/Dell in the 1990s, Eldridge Cleaver described moving from admiration for Baldwin (“I began experiencing that continuous delight one feels upon discovering a fascinating, brilliant talent…,” Soul on Ice, Delta/Dell, 1999; 122) to discomfort (“I was disturbed upon becoming aware of an aversion in my heart to part of the song he sang,” 123). Cleaver wrote, “There is in James Baldwin’s work the most grueling, agonizing, total hatred of the blacks, particularly of himself, and the most shameful, fanatical, fawning, sycophantic love of the whites that one can find in the writings of any black American writer of note in our time” (124). Not only that, but Cleaver, an obviously impassioned but inattentive reader, counter-poses Baldwin to the great Richard Wright, who, for all his concern for African-Americans, wrote scathing criticism of black culture in Black Boy and provided its most brutal portrayal in Native Son. (Criticism is what a writer does, implicitly or explicitly.) I doubt, however, that many readers of Baldwin would agree with Cleaver’s critique, which Cleaver compounds by attacking Baldwin’s sexuality. (Baldwin described his early relationships with women and his long attachment to a European man and alluded to subsequent relationships with otherwise heterosexual men; and he is commonly though of as homosexual, bisexuality being too complex an idea for Americans.) Cleaver wrote that the black homosexual has been deprived of masculinity by the white man, though he doesn’t say how this was achieved or how the presumably more threatening heterosexual black man’s masculinity was protected from a similar subversion (nor does Cleaver specify the value of masculinity in the lives of heterosexual black men who are unemployed, in prison—as Cleaver was, or disinclined to be in committed relationships with women or take care of the children they have fathered).

What did Baldwin say to this? In a New York Times interview with Julius Lester in 1984 for its book review section, reprinted in Conversations with James Baldwin (University Press of Mississippi, 1989), Baldwin said, “Eldridge’s attack on me—quite apart from everything else—is preposterous. In any case, Eldridge cannot claim to know me in any way whatsoever” (224). In a Paris Review interview published the same year, also reprinted in Conversations, Baldwin said, “My real difficulty with Cleaver, sadly, was visited on me by the kids who were following him, while he was calling me a faggot and the rest of it. I would come to a town to speak, Cleveland, let’s say, and he would’ve been standing on the very same stage a couple of days earlier. I had to try to undo the damage I considered he was doing” (252). Previously, in No Name in the Street, published in 1972 by The Dial Press, James Baldwin had written, “I felt that he used my public reputation against me both naively and unjustly, and I also felt that I was confused in his mind with the unutterable debasement of the male—with all those faggots, punks, and sissies, the sight and sound of whom, in prison, must have made him vomit more than once” (reprinted in Baldwin’s The Price of the Ticket, St. Martin’s/Marek, 1985; 539). Baldwin also used this disagreement to speculate about something more significant, as was his nature. Baldwin compared the relationship of the artist and the revolutionary to the people they both hope to serve, and wrote that one should remember that “the people are one mystery and that the person is another,” and “a failure to respect the person so dangerously limits one’s perception of the people that one risks betraying them and oneself” (540).
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on April 06, 2007, 12:19:59 PM
Henry Louis Gates also has a piece online that addresses the homophobia of the Panthers toward James Baldwin:

http://www.nathanielturner.com/firelasttime.htm

And the wonderful Irish writer Colm Toibin has a bit about it in his essay as well:

http://www.colmtoibin.com/essays/lrb/CTLRB14Sept2001b.htm
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on April 06, 2007, 01:01:52 PM
And here is a bit about the disillusion that gays felt with Cuba - because of the 'Military Units for the Aid of Production' (labor camps) set up for gays in 1965 and the removal of teachers in 1971 for “bourgeois vices” by the First National Congress:

http://www.tradequeerthings.com/archive06.html
(the first article)

http://www.blacklightonline.com/cubagisela.html

Also covered in 'Out of the Closets: Voices of Gay Liberation' is the behavior of the Cuban government towards gay and lesbian members of the Venceremos Brigade.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on April 06, 2007, 10:31:13 PM
Yes, Michael, Cabaret is a highly representative film of the early 1970s, when the political winds were starting to change with a quickness and a violence that America had not seen in decades and that it has most assuredly not seen since (although it is quite possible that this might change sometime within the next three or four years…) But the story behind Cabaret is perhaps even more fascinating than the film itself.

{snipA}

Christopher and His Kind tells the truth, almost half a century after the fact, but The Berlin Stories (first published as a unit in 1945) most assuredly does not. In fact, it is only after you have read Christopher and His Kind that you realize what an incredible work of art (i.e. what a consummately distorted lie) The Berlin Stories actually is. Isherwood was no fool: he knew that Anglo-American culture at that time was decades behind the radicalism of Weimar Germany, a radicalism so intense that it triggered a fascist reaction that almost destroyed the entire planet. Yes, the gay element of Weimar Germany is present, tangentially, in The Berlin Stories, but the intimacy of the interaction between gay politics and supra-gay politics in Weimar Germany is carefully disguised. It is not stated; it cannot be stated; it can only be implied in the “divine decadence” of the Kit-Kat Club.

I find this very interesting.  It shows a type of sophistication in Europe that America was afraid to approach till much later.  Strangely enough I'm seeing this reflected in the discussion of film over in 'The Celluloid Closet' discussion.

I must admit I've never read 'The Berlin Stories' (although I have a copy) because I had heard that it was a fictionalized account of what went on in 'Christopher and His Kind'.  You make me want to read it now, just for the sake of comparison.

And I have to say that since we've seen versions of Cabaret on both stage and screen - as well as the revival with Alan Cummings - it would be interesting to see a filmed version of 'Christopher and His Kind' - don't you think?
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on April 06, 2007, 10:52:53 PM
The first few times my friend and I went the Sanctuary had a mix of straight and gay patons and a big crowd, but then it seemed to become mostly gay. It was racially mixed, but mostly white and Latino, a small group of drags were always there – and usually using drugs.  I ran into three in the john while one had her syringe lying out on the countertop, they were flying so high they would have shot up in front of J. Edgar Hoover.  Lots of women when we first went, but very few later on.  First time I went, I notice right away that the three or four guys at the door downstairs were all old faces from former gay bars, which meant Mafia or Mafia employees.  The authorities closed the place finally, and the grapevine said that it was drugs in part. 

By 72/73 black labels and black artists on mainstream labels were creating so much danceable music that I rarely heard pop or rock any more, only a bit of Elton John that I recall and a couple of  up-tempo Streisand numbers.

Oddly, the two dance places I remember from the first half of the Seventies were after-hours joints serving booze illegally – the first one, the Exile in the far West Village was definitely Mafia, but the other one, ca. '74, I don't think so.

Incredibly good music was being created in the early 70's, with a lot of variety from Labelle to Dr. Buzzard's Original Savannah Band, and on into early disco and Gloria Gaynor's continuous mix LP Never Can Say Goodbye.

{snip}

The summer of '74 was the point which some gay acquaintances of mine who opened a popular disco agreed was the beginning of the disco era. It was the first era in popular music that I am aware of where the influence and participation of gay people was a powerful force and an openly acknowledged one.

Jack

I'm so glad you mentioned this Jack!  It is indeed something that I forgot to include in the questions I posted - 'Do you remember the rise of disco and its relationship to gay culture?'

I wasn't really exposed to disco music until 1974.  And it was in a club whose patrons were a very mixed bag - black, white, gay, straight, drag and some hustlers, hookers and drug dealers to boot - Rudy Stober's (or just Stober's) in Lansing.  It was there that I first heard First Choice ('Armed and Extremely Dangerous', 'Newsy Neighbors'), Sylvia (Pillow Talk), The Three Degrees and yes - Dr. Buzzards and Gloria Gaynor (I remember 'Honeybee' as well as 'Never Can Say Goodbye') - as well as songs by Kool and the Gang. Harold Melvin and the Bluenotes, the Hues Corporation, George McRae and Barry White .

It was a wild time - this was the club where I first saw drag performers - and it was the kind of neighborhood bar that gave me a sense of community.

And yes, disco was the first music that I can think of (at least in the U.S.) that had gay people as open contributors.  In the late 70s there was a reviewer who disparaged disco in MSU and I wrote an editorial to suggest that the dislike of disco was, at least in part, homophobic (which I still feel).
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Brokeback_1 on April 06, 2007, 11:14:39 PM
O Michael!!!

That is blasphemy and it hurts lol!!

I liked the dancing as much as anybody but disco never had and never could have the sophistication of rock and roll.
 
Think of the Rolling Stones & Zeppelin!

We used to dance to disco while saying  ''Disco was nothing but a beat for the musically illiterate.'

BOOMBOOMBOOM. 

And my friends were a very mixed crew in 74 when I was 19--gay rock/jocks who drank like fish, straight disco/rock/scientific/jocks who drank like fish and sensitive bi literary/attitudinal-only-jocks who drank like fish[ me and 1 other guy whom I still know, he became a fireman], all of whom could bust balls with the professionals....

At 19 even my gay friends danced to disco while freely acknowledging their lack of taste, said it was to meet other guys, because sadly all the other gay guys were disco maniacs with no musical taste and what was a guy supposed to do, play with himself ? And the straight ones either denied it existed or used it to meet girls while shaking their heads at it's lack of spirituality. And the bi ones accepted it existed, decried its' bad beat, decided it WAS unspiritual compared to Emerson Pake and Palmer's Brain Salad Soup and danced to it while they  hid their shame!

But we ALL had great as in GREAT disco haircuts roflmao.

Does that count???
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on April 07, 2007, 12:13:51 AM
O Michael!!!

That is blasphemy and it hurts lol!!

I liked the dancing as much as anybody but disco never had and never could have the sophistication of rock and roll.
 
Think of the Rolling Stones & Zeppelin!

We used to dance to disco while saying  ''Disco was nothing but a beat for the musically illiterate.'

{snip}

decided it WAS unspiritual compared to Emerson Pake and Palmer's Brain Salad Soup and danced to it while they  hid their shame!

Hmmm...odd you should bring up ELP.  At around the same time that disco was being skewered by people who said 'disco sucks' (odd that they should use that phrase - eh?) ELP (and the Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin) were being accused of being overbloated dinosaurs by punk rockers.  So I guess everybody come in for musical criticism, eh?  Does this mean you didn't like Kiss' disco single 'I was made for loving you' and Blondie's 'Heart of Glass'?

I did see Keith Emerson spin his piano in space.  And saw Mick Jagger spray the audience with a large phallus in a concert in Cleveland (in 1975 - hey!  It even fits into the period!)

Disco did become a commercial heartless musical industry where singers or musicians were not so important as the producers behind them.  Of course the same could be said of parts of hip-hop and lots of techno.  And rock has produced its own monsters - like Sebastian Bach of Skid Row wearing his 'AIDS Kills Fags Dead' t-shirt.

When disco started (in 1972 - 1974) it was club music - prosexual and advocating that people have fun when their lives outside the clubs might not not be that good (reflected in songs that said things like 'You might not ever get rich - But let me tell ya it's better than diggin' a ditch').  As prosexual music in a world that was telling gay people that they shouldn't exist or that they shouldn't be having fun if they did it certainly was a spiritual music - a Dionysian kind of spirituality.

It was important at the time.  When it started it made people feel like something secret, special and fun was happening.  After 'Saturday Night Fever' - when the secret was out and the clubs were invaded, it didn't nearly feel as secret or fun.  And sadly it was over at around the same time we were left with other musicians like Bowie abandoning gay people - saying that 'saying he was gay was the biggest mistake he ever made in his life' (as he did in Rolling Stone in 1984 - as the AIDS crisis was starting).

Disco also gave us artists like Sylvester James - an out gay man who had sung with the Cockettes and introduced us to Martha Wash and Izora Rhodes who would later do the anthem 'It's Raining Men'.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sylvester_James

And supported the androgyny of people like Grace Jones:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grace_Jones

As well as out lesbians like Alicia Bridges:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alicia_Bridges

And allowed gay composers and producers like Patrick Cowley and Paul Jabara to work and be out in the business:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patrick_Cowley

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Jabara

And who could complain about a music style that had people talking about '12 inches' (as we used to call disco singles)?

I'm getting ahead of myself but I worked in record stores from 1977 - 1984 and sold both disco, punk and mainstream rock.  And I've never been ashamed of any of it.  But then again, I'm pretty shameless.  ;D



Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Jack too on April 07, 2007, 03:10:21 AM

We used to dance to disco while saying  ''Disco was nothing but a beat for the musically illiterate.'

BOOMBOOMBOOM. 


Bad DJ, wrong dance club.  You must have been in a straight place.  ;D

Rock = Soul Death.

Jack
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Brokeback_1 on April 07, 2007, 07:52:38 AM
oh god.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: tfferg on April 07, 2007, 10:32:14 AM
Although I could enjoy a dance to a rock’n’roll song or a disco number, I soon got and still do get bored with these genres after a few numbers.

In the early 70s, by a happy turn of events I was able to learn to dance a range of Greek dances, both traditional village dances and the dances of rebetika, the Greek blues that evolved in the hashish dens of the refugees from Asia Minor in the first half of the last century. There are so many different and varied rhythms and steps that are quite different from any other culture. And they are danced in all-male groups, or all-female groups, or mixed groups or pairs regardless of gender. Zeibekiko can even be danced solo when the mood takes you and it's wonderful to see a man dance it . In Melbourne, we didn’t need to go to a gay venue to dance with men, straight, gay, bi, whatever, linked with arms round each other’s shoulders or hand in hand according to the type of dance or with a man’s legs wrapped around your waist in a belly dance.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on April 07, 2007, 10:50:04 AM
Although I could enjoy a dance to a rock’n’roll song or a disco number, I soon got and still do get bored with these genres after a few numbers.

In the early 70s, by a happy turn of events I was able to learn to dance a range of Greek dances, both traditional village dances and the dances of rebetika, the Greek blues that evolved in the hashish dens of the refugees from Asia Minor in the first half of the last century. There are so many different and varied rhythms and steps that are quite different from any other culture. And they are danced in all-male groups, or all-female groups, or mixed groups or pairs regardless of gender. Zeibekiko can even be danced solo when the mood takes you and it's wonderful to see a man dance it . In Melbourne, we didn’t need to go to a gay venue to dance with men, straight, gay, bi, whatever, linked with arms round each other’s shoulders or hand in hand according to the type of dance or with a man’s legs wrapped around your waist in a belly dance.

Well you know that the Rembetes did have an active gay subculture, right?  I'm not sure if it transferred over to the Australian Greek communities, but particularly in the 20s-30s when the people from Anatolia came over to to Pireaus.  The Greek writer Elias Petropoulos wrote about this in his book 'Songs of the Greek Underworld: The Rebetika Tradition'.

The word rembetika probably either comes from the Serbian word for rebel or the Turkish word for 'in the gutter', btw.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on April 07, 2007, 02:11:16 PM
Is anybody here very familiar with polari?  We just were talking about it over in the 'Celluloid Closet' thread - it's an interesting case of a created language (and, in media at least, its use to get one by the censors):

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polari

http://www.chris-d.net/polari/
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: tfferg on April 07, 2007, 08:40:10 PM


Well you know that the Rembetes did have an active gay subculture, right?  I'm not sure if it transferred over to the Australian Greek communities, but particularly in the 20s-30s when the people from Anatolia came over to to Pireaus.  The Greek writer Elias Petropoulos wrote about this in his book 'Songs of the Greek Underworld: The Rebetika Tradition'.

The word rembetika probably either comes from the Serbian word for rebel or the Turkish word for 'in the gutter', btw.

I never came across an active gay subculture among rembetes in Melbourne, though perhaps my Greek gaydar wasn't well enough attuned. A few years ago, I went to an Australian Greek gay organization's anniversary party in a nightclub. Most of the music was disco and there were only one or two brackets of hasaposervika, though Melbourne Greeks tend to maintain demotiki music and rembetika, in the 1970s and 1980s to a much greater extent than in Greece where it was largely regarded as old hat.

Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Mejack on April 09, 2007, 06:42:31 PM
Before we leave the 1960s completely, just one more
quick recollection about Off-off-Broadway Theatre. 

In those days I was friends with Joe Cino, owner of the now-famous Caffe Cino which was populated with an assortment of bohemians, intellectuals, and gays.  It was there, around 1960, that I saw my very first gay play, The Bed.   I don't remember who wrote it, or even who was in it, but I remember to this day the scenes of two men in bed together and how sensational it was.

Then there was Jerry Herman's revue Parade, also in 1960.  the revue wasn't gay in and of itself, yet everything about it was somehow delicious to the gay mind. Jerry sat at the piano every night in front of that tiny stage, and played his songs while Dody Goodman and Charles Nelson Reilly cavorted on stage.  I was mesmerized.  My seat was just three feet from Jerry's piano.  I say "my seat" because I was on the front row for 68 performances!  I had fallen in love with theatre and the performing arts!

I think the 1960s were the heyday of off-off-Broadway in Greenwich Village, and perhaps the genesis of gay theatre.

Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on April 09, 2007, 08:33:16 PM
Thanks so much Paul!

Just one comment - history here is cumulative - that is, we won't ever leave the 60s (man).  You can post anything you want about the periods of history we've been through.

Before we leave the 1960s completely, just one more
quick recollection about Off-off-Broadway Theatre. 

In those days I was friends with Joe Cino, owner of the now-famous Caffe Cino which was populated with an assortment of bohemians, intellectuals, and gays.  It was there, around 1960, that I saw my very first gay play, The Bed.   I don't remember who wrote it, or even who was in it, but I remember to this day the scenes of two men in bed together and how sensational it was.

Then there was Jerry Herman's revue Parade, also in 1960.  the revue wasn't gay in and of itself, yet everything about it was somehow delicious to the gay mind. Jerry sat at the piano every night in front of that tiny stage, and played his songs while Dody Goodman and Charles Nelson Reilly cavorted on stage.  I was mesmerized.  My seat was just three feet from Jerry's piano.  I say "my seat" because I was on the front row for 68 performances!  I had fallen in love with theatre and the performing arts!

I think the 1960s were the heyday of off-off-Broadway in Greenwich Village, and perhaps the genesis of gay theatre.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Jack too on April 12, 2007, 04:04:52 AM

Well you know that the Rembetes did have an active gay subculture, right?  I'm not sure if it transferred over to the Australian Greek communities, but particularly in the 20s-30s when the people from Anatolia came over to to Pireaus.  The Greek writer Elias Petropoulos wrote about this in his book 'Songs of the Greek Underworld: The Rebetika Tradition'.

The word rembetika probably either comes from the Serbian word for rebel or the Turkish word for 'in the gutter', btw.

My gawd, I never expected to hear anyone refer to Petropoulos' book.  I think he put a few noses out of joint with his observations.  While Giorgios Dalaras is not, at least if you are a purista, in the Rembetika tradition, I think he is beyond super in singing some of the old music. 

Someone remarked on the Greeks now seeing it as "old hat," and indeed that was my experience.  One record store clerk in Paphos (Cyprus) was aghast when I asked it they had any, "Even we don't listen to it anymore."  She was quite amused.

When I lived in Cyprus the open-air dance floor where the village weddings were celebrated was near me and I could hear and see the dancing.  Loved it.

Jack
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Jack too on April 12, 2007, 04:15:17 AM
Before we leave the 1960s completely, just one more
quick recollection about Off-off-Broadway Theatre. 

In those days I was friends with Joe Cino, owner of the now-famous Caffe Cino ...

Then there was Jerry Herman's revue Parade, also in 1960.  ...

I think the 1960s were the heyday of off-off-Broadway in Greenwich Village, and perhaps the genesis of gay theatre....


Cafe Cino was the greatest, Joe was a very handsome guy!  And just the other day I was listening to Parade, well, not the whole thing, but the hula hoop song...I still find it funny and wistful.

What I associate with my early days in NYC is the Julius Monk reviews and especially the Bon Soir on 8th Street with Jimmy Daniels as the MC. Wasn't the Bon Soir where Streisand first appeared, or at least where she got noticed?  Great shows and the standing room was notorious for groping.  Jimmy was a well-known entertainer from the Harlem Renaissance, a charming guy and a real gentleman.

I first heard Dawn Hampton on a bill with Tiny Tim in a really grubby, fly-by-night gay bar called the Coronet.  No stage and there couldn't have been twelve people there.  But they put on a show like it was the Palace.

Jack
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Jack too on April 12, 2007, 07:20:38 AM
Misc. 60's and 70's stuff

William Gedney was a gay photographer of the 60's and 70's.  If you will look through these galleries, which contain many interesting period photos, you will find ones of gay interest.

     New York http://scriptorium.lib.duke.edu/gedney/thumbs/newyork/newyork1.html

     San Francisco  http://scriptorium.lib.duke.edu/gedney/thumbs/sanfrancisco/sanfrancisco1.html

Photos of Times Square in '65, containing some of hustlers and TV's.  I hustled there briefly in early '62 and in these photos it is     brighter and cleaner than I remember, but that was 42nd Street.

     http://www.rapo.com/icrgallery/TimesSquare.htm

Funny interview from early 70's with Bette Midler about her last appearance at the gay Continental Baths, which was around the corner from my apt. at the time.

     http://www.betteontheboards.com/boards/magazine-03.htm

Memorabilia on Rev. Al Carmines early 70's gay musical Faggot

     http://www.queermusicheritage.us/gm-fag.html

The early 70's films of Fred Halsted were considered to rival the work of Kenneth Anger.  Halsted's films are in the archives of the Museum of Modern Art.  (While by no means a XXX site, some of the photos are erotic.)

     http://www.brightlightsfilm.com/49/halsted.htm

Joe Cino, early gay theater entrepreneur, mentioned by Paul:

     (http://www.nycnotkansas.com/nyc_pix/cinoj03.JPG)

     http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joe_Cino                                 

     http://doricwilson.com/caffecino.asp       

Jack
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Nikki on April 12, 2007, 10:58:41 AM


Michael, I know you're still in the '60s-70s era, but I wanted to mention these two pieces that I printed out way back when we were discussing Edmund White's "A Boy's Own Story" in the August book club. They may be of interest, but forgive me if they've already been mentioned.


1.   "Back to Our Future: A Walk on the Wild Side of StoneWall" by Robert Amsel from 'The Advocate' 9/15/87. Includes a piece on The Snake Pit Raid.

2.   "Gay Community: How We Got There" by Paul Varnell origiinally appeared in the 'Windy City Times' 6/27/96. Review of a book by gay sociologist Stephen O. Murray -- "American Gay (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996).  Varnell wrote "this one immediately joins the small shelf of "Essential Gay Reading." Varnell ended the piece by writing Reading Murray is like talking with a bright, thoughtful, and extremely well read friend who is happy to pass on to us what he has figured out about how we live and why we live as we do.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Mejack on April 12, 2007, 11:25:26 AM

What I associate with my early days in NYC is the Julius Monk reviews and especially the Bon Soir on 8th Street with Jimmy Daniels as the MC. Wasn't the Bon Soir where Streisand first appeared, or at least where she got noticed?  Great shows and the standing room was notorious for groping.


I spent a lot of time at the Bon Soir since I managed Jorie Remus, a comedienne who appeared there regularly, along with Mabel Mercer, Bobby Short and others.  They all had a huge gay following.  Jorie lounged atop the grand piano, draped in feather boas, singing faux torch songs.  When she wasn't at Bon Soir, more often than not she was in San Francisco at the Purple Onion.

Streisand did indeed appear at Bon Soir before she was known.  She was rebooked, in advance, to appear a year later for a one week engagement, at $800.  But by then her fee had risen to nearly five times that amount.  Bon Soir held her to the contract. She reluctantly did the week to a packed house, but never returned to the club. 

And you're right about the groping!  ;)

Paul
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on April 12, 2007, 12:46:04 PM
My gawd, I never expected to hear anyone refer to Petropoulos' book.  I think he put a few noses out of joint with his observations.  While Giorgios Dalaras is not, at least if you are a purista, in the Rembetika tradition, I think he is beyond super in singing some of the old music. 

Petropoulos was incredible!  He wrote a book entitled "Kaliarda, an Etymological Dictionary of Greek Homosexuals' Slang" (1971) - for which he received a seven month prison sentence in 1972 (which probably gave him more time to do research  ;) :D). 

Here's a film about him:

http://www.fipresci.org/festivals/archive/2005/thessaloniki_doc/thess_doc_xifilinos.htm

Here's a good obituary:

http://maillists.uci.edu/mailman/public/mgsa-l/2003-September/002299.html

Strangely enough Rembetika seems to have had a revival over here in the last 2 decades - there are quite a few CDs that have been re-released. 

Petropoulos book on Rembetika is here:

http://www.amazon.com/Songs-Greek-Underworld-Rebetika-Tradition/dp/0863563686

On this webpage with a good history of Rembetika there is another biography of Petropoulos (near the bottom...not sure if he would have approved.... ;)):

http://www.geocities.com/HydraGathering/emery1.html

Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on April 12, 2007, 01:51:58 PM
Nikki, Jack & Paul - thanks for your posts.  I don't know if  you all noticed the article I did in yesterday's 'Daily Sheet', but clearly someone noticed - we've had a couple of hundred more 'views' on this section in the last few days.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Nikki on April 12, 2007, 02:19:11 PM
Nikki, Jack & Paul - thanks for your posts.  I don't know if  you all noticed the article I did in yesterday's 'Daily Sheet', but clearly someone noticed - we've had a couple of hundred more 'views' on this section in the last few days.

Yes Michael, I read your post in the TDS. One would expect this thread to attract a gay element, but for me, a straight female, I was at first hesitant 'cause I felt I had nothing to offer, or certainly no experience to recount. I began lurking earlier on the thread to gain more perspective and insight which I have done. I hope the few and far contributions I make are helpful. Perhaps, Michael, your post in yesterday's TDS brought in some more hesitant lurkers like me.

To all the gay posters here, I thank you for giving me more insight into the gay community, your history, and your experiences - good and bad.

Nikki
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on April 12, 2007, 02:33:55 PM
Yes Michael, I read your post in the TDS. One would expect this thread to attract a gay element, but for me, a straight female, I was at first hesitant 'cause I felt I had nothing to offer, or certainly no experience to recount. I began lurking earlier on the thread to gain more perspective and insight which I have done. I hope the few and far contributions I make are helpful. Perhaps, Michael, your post in yesterday's TDS brought in some more hesitant lurkers like me.

To all the gay posters here, I thank you for giving me more insight into the gay community, your history, and your experiences - good and bad.

Nikki

Thanks for your contributions Nikki!  I certainly welcome all posters.  Having just had a longterm gay friend die I've been in touch with his niece, who lived with both of us.  I've known her through one pregnancy and two marriages and she knew me from Michigan to my move out here.  It's pretty clear to me that the people who are our friends, who read books about us, see movies about us, etc. are witnesses to our shared history as much as gay people.  Our perspectives may or may not vary, but it's a good thing, I think to broaden the base of contribution of our stories here.

If you get a chance to see 'The Times of Harvey Milk' I strongly suggest it.  It gives a really good idea of what I'm talking about.  There's an older straight guy, a dockworker, who talks about the impact Harvey's union work had.  There's woman that Harvey knew who recounts when he came to her door with flowers after she had a miscarriage.

We share a common history.  I welcome all posters to talk about that shared history.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Nikki on April 12, 2007, 03:25:07 PM
Yes Michael, I read your post in the TDS. One would expect this thread to attract a gay element, but for me, a straight female, I was at first hesitant 'cause I felt I had nothing to offer, or certainly no experience to recount. I began lurking earlier on the thread to gain more perspective and insight which I have done. I hope the few and far contributions I make are helpful. Perhaps, Michael, your post in yesterday's TDS brought in some more hesitant lurkers like me.

To all the gay posters here, I thank you for giving me more insight into the gay community, your history, and your experiences - good and bad.

Nikki

Thanks for your contributions Nikki!  I certainly welcome all posters.  Having just had a longterm gay friend die I've been in touch with his niece, who lived with both of us.  I've known her through one pregnancy and two marriages and she knew me from Michigan to my move out here.  It's pretty clear to me that the people who are our friends, who read books about us, see movies about us, etc. are witnesses to our shared history as much as gay people.  Our perspectives may or may not vary, but it's a good thing, I think to broaden the base of contribution of our stories here.

If you get a chance to see 'The Times of Harvey Milk' I strongly suggest it.  It gives a really good idea of what I'm talking about.  There's an older straight guy, a dockworker, who talks about the impact Harvey's union work had.  There's woman that Harvey knew who recounts when he came to her door with flowers after she had a miscarriage.

We share a common history.  I welcome all posters to talk about that shared history.

Michael, my deepest sympathy to you on the occasion of your friend's death.

-----------------

I already  have 'The Life and Times of Harvey Milk' on my netflix list.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on April 12, 2007, 05:00:27 PM
I don't know if any of you are going to be in San Francisco between now and August, but there is an exhibition going on regarding an earlier part of history that you may be interested in - Enrico Banducci's hungry i exhibition at the San Francisco Performing Arts Library and Museum exhibition space:

http://www.sfpalm.org/exhibits/HUNGRY/Hungry.htm

Here is an article on the exhibition from the San Francisco Chronicle:

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2007/04/04/DDGLTP09FP1.DTL

And here is the wikipedia article on the hungry i:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hungry_i

Although the hungry i was not a gay club, it was in North Beach at the same time as Mona’s, The Black Cat and Finocchio’s were there.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on April 12, 2007, 05:03:43 PM
A little more on Gays in North Beach:

http://www.shapingsf.org/ezine/gay/files/beats.html

http://queerestplaces.wordpress.com/2007/01/24/san-franciscos-black-cat/

And if you wanted to visit points of interest in San Francisco this would give you some important addresses:

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2000/06/23/DD16GAY.DTL

http://www.sfgate.com/eguide/gay/pages/nbeach.shtml

Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on April 12, 2007, 05:30:53 PM
For those of you who are interested in both books and history (as I am) here is the winner of the American Historical Association's Committee on Lesbian and Gay History's Boswell Prize, presented by the committee to the book they feel is the best on gay and lesbian history.  This year's winner is 'Contacts Desired: Gay and Lesbian Communications and Community 1940-1970s' by Martin Meeker from the University of Chicago Press:

http://www.press.uchicago.edu/cgi-bin/hfs.cgi/00/167324.ctl

http://www.amazon.com/Contacts-Desired-Communications-Community-1940s-1970s/dp/0226517349
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: jack on April 14, 2007, 04:48:02 PM
in the midst of my current insanity, moving myself, moving my mother from new york the next month, and a very complicated and demanding sponsorship of an alcoholic/heroin addict hopefully into a lasting sobriety, glimpses in here have been a tonic, and those hippie photos are priceless.  i can't wait to show them to some of my (much) younger friends.  they have NO idea of what we were like back then.

such memories...
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Jack too on April 15, 2007, 02:31:12 PM
Snake Pit Raid in NYC - March 8, 1970

The Snake Pit was an unlicensed premises that had dancing and sold booze into the early morning hours.  It was in a basement a few blocks from the Stonewall Inn.  It was a much smaller place, but had, I thought, a friendlier crowd and was considerably cleaner.  It was raided in the wee hours (eight months after the Stonewall raid) and all of the patrons were taken to the local station house.  One of them, an illegal immigrant named Diego Vinales, was terrified and threw himself from a window in a desperate effort to escape and was impaled on an iron fence below.  Part of the fence had to be cut away and taken to the hospital still piercing his body - I have read that it was five points of the fence.  He did survive

A protest march followed. 

The picture below appeared on the front page of the Daily News.  The picture has been shot from a window above or perhaps from the top of the ladder shown in the photo.  The photo may be confusing at first sight.  The fence upon which Vinales was impaled was part of a large sunken well that probably had basement windows opening onto it.  The policeman and the medic (?) are crouched on a platform that has been hurriedly made of parts of a police barricade, which was probably stored at the station and this allows them to be at the level of his body.  It appears as if someone may be holding his hand and supporting him from below.

Contrary to the low profile events of Stonewall, this achieved city-wide notoriety.

Jack    (http://www.nycnotkansas.com/nyc_pix/Vinales03.jpg)

Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on April 15, 2007, 02:53:01 PM
Thanks very much for the information on the Snake Pit, Jack.  I was wondering about that - I remembered Diego Vinales when I read his name.  In looking for him I came across this interesting post on Stonewall:

http://www.cs.cmu.edu/afs/cs/user/scotts/ftp/bulgarians/stonewall.txt

There is an article on the Snake Pit further down in the post.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on April 15, 2007, 05:52:31 PM
Gay and Lesbian Elected Officials

The early 70s was the period where Gay and Lesbian candidates ran for office and won.  In 1961 José Saria was the first openly gay candidate who ran for office as City Supervisor under the the name 'Dowager Widow of the Emperor Norton, Empress of San Francisco and Protectress of Mexico.'  He didn't win, but he did get 6500 votes (we've always been a tad strange here).

Here's a video from the San Francisco GLBT Historical Collection concerning The Dowager Widow:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h5BvNDCH6Ok&feature=PlayList&p=FA14A22E93BEFDA1&index=60&playnext=1

The first open lesbian office holder in the U.S. was Nancy Wechsler (she came out in office in 1973)

http://www.wellesley.edu/womensreview/nw.html

Here is the party she was part of:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_Rights_Party

Here is an article on the background of Lesbian & Gay rights in Ann Arbor at the time:

http://www.pub.umich.edu/daily/1999/feb/02-12-99/news/news18.html

Jerry DeGrieck was the first gay man to come out in office (also on the Ann Arbor City Council) in 1973:

http://www.lgbtheritage.org/search.phtml?stype=people&value=51&heading=Jerry%20DeGrieck

Here is a post online that refers to a dissertation relatied to this:

Date:    Wed, 08 Apr 92 13:19 CDT
From: C60RBR1%NIU.BIT...@mitvma.mit.edu
Subject: First Elected Lesbian

The lesbian who was first to be elected to public office in the
United States was Nancy Wechsler of the Ann Arbor Human Rights
Party in 1972. She and gay man Jerry Degrieck did not come out as
gay and lesbian until seven months after taking office.For anyone
who wants the full story, get hold of Anthony Ralph Smith's 1980
dissertation from the University of Illinois " College Town
Radicals: The Case of the Ann Arbor Human Rights Party-"they
have a copy they'll lend out.
     Any more questions? As keeper of the microfilm collection of
the Midwest gay press, there is a lot here aT Northern Illinois
University that we can draw on.
     Thanks for the article on the Pink Angels.

                                            Rob Ridinger

The first openly lesbian candidate elected to office in the United States was Kathy Kozachenko, who was elected to the Ann Arbor City Council in January 1974:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kathy_Kozachenko

http://www.lgbtheritage.org/event.phtml?events_id=98

The first openly lesbian candidate to win statewide office was Elaine Noble, who came out during her campaign in 1974 and won in November of that year:

http://www.glbtq.com/social-sciences/noble_e.html

http://andrejkoymasky.com/liv/fam/bion1/nobl1.html

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1589/is_2002_Nov_12/ai_94598267

The first openly gay male state officeholder was Minnesota state senator Allan Spear who came out in 1974 - he was re-elected multiple times after coming out:

(The article about Allan Spear is further down in this citation):

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1589/is_2000_July_4/ai_63059684

(quote from Allan Spear further down in this article on Minnesota gay pride):

http://citypages.com/databank/25/1229/article12233.asp

Spear discusses his politics here:

http://www.oberlinlgbt.org/into-the-pink/before-1970-4


Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Jack too on April 16, 2007, 07:45:30 AM
In praise of gay bars

I first went to NYC in spring of 1959 on my Easter break from a college in upstate New York.  What I discovered (in Manhattan, at least) was a thriving, albeit harassed, gay male subculture.  The fact that there were just over twenty bars or bar & restaurants catering to gay men in Manhattan, plus some for lesbians made for a buzzing social life, though one that always had an ax over it.

I lived in NYC that summer, and returned to college in the fall.  At that point Lee Mortimer, a muck-raking columnist for the NY Daily Mirror, started an anti-gay bar crusade in his column.  A very nervous Mayor Wagner, having various political problems of his own, was not adverse to a widespread anti-gay campaign as part of cleaning up his image.  The result was the severest wave of oppression of gay subculture in NYC history.

When I arrived in the city after being graduated from college at the beginning of summer 1960 I found only two bars left open out of the more than two dozen from the previous year.  I then found another, but it closed down within one or two weeks.  The next six years saw gay bars come and go with the regularity of a revolving door.  The baths remained, risky meat rack cruising and tea rooms were still options – but even if you were willing to take the risks involved, these were not environments where you were likely to cultivate friendships, and certainly not ones in which you would probably develop a circle of friends and acquaintances.  For a new arrival, like myself, this was a genuine problem. There was no stable place to hang out and have the time to develop social relationships over a period of time. 

However, I will say that many of those virtually fly-by-night gay bars of these years had far more diverse crowds of patrons than the bars I had been introduced to in my college year in '59.  I suppose this was pretty much dictated by the fact that the heat was on so intensely that there were extremely few bars to go to; therefore, everyone pretty much had to go to the same places.  I've often thought in retrospect that this prolonged anti-gay bar campaign may have helped to break down some of the affectation and bitchiness that was part of the gay New York I was first introduced to in '59.  However, despite what seemed to me to be a wider variety of guys, there might be only one or two black guys in a bar, and a few Hispanics.  (My judgment of who might be Hispanic was off during my early years in the city as I often mistook Latinos to be Italians.)

Lee Mortimer – the gay-hating columnist - died, no tears shed there, and Mayor Wagner's career in office was coming to an end as the mid-Sixties approached.  The occasion of the World's Fair brought about the last burst of concerted anti-gay activity; then he was gone and Lindsay was the new mayor.

Mattachine held the sip-in early in 1966 in an effort to provoke a court battle that they hoped would lead to the rescinding of the State Liquor Authority regulation which denied accommodation in licensed bars to homosexuals and revoked the licenses of places that did so. The sip-in was a success.

The Mattachine Sip-in of 1966 probably had a more profound effect on the lives of gay men in NYC of any single event in the late Sixties.  With the State Liquor Authority retreating from its policy of prohibiting the serving of homosexuals after the Sip-in, and the subsequent finding of the courts that this policy was not constitutional, the legalization of gay bars had occurred.  Running a gay bar was no longer just a lucrative enterprise, it was a legal one.  This did not mean that all the criminal interests disappeared from the field, but it did mean that they were now running in competition with anyone who could raise the cash and pass the licensing requirements.

The gay population benefited in many ways - most immediately in that the number of gay establishments serving alcohol began increasing rapidly.  As I recall, the management and staffs were friendlier, the surroundings were cleaner, the booze was unwatered and if they smelled, it was usually from stale beer and not the stench of piss and shit from non-functioning plumbing.  Great as these things were, the long term effects were even more powerful.

Achieving public accommodation in a licensed bar was a major civil rights victory for gay people in NYC.  No longer was having a drink with your friends to risk public humiliation, harassment or arrest.  After almost seven years of police action against gay life in the city, a sense of safety and with it the promise of an ongoing public social life came to the gay men and lesbians of New York.  While gay bars certainly functioned as places to pick up a trick, in many this was balanced by the steady patronage of customers for whom the bar was also a neighborhood meeting place.

In 1967 there was one bar in the Upper West Side neighborhood, in the following decade there were eight.

Right after the Sip-in I had discovered a gay bar in my neighborhood, one not operated by the Mafia.  It was also, because of the character of the neighborhood, far more ethnically mixed than most gay bars farther downtown were.  Anywhere from a quarter to a third of the customers were Latinos and a lesser numbers of blacks.  Because of this place, called the Candlelight Lounge at that time, now just the Candle Bar, my social life became more stable and supportive.

I met the overwhelming majority of my friends in that bar or a couple of others in the neighborhood later, some on an individual basis and others because they were friends of people I had already met.  And these were the people - and the places - that provided support that ran a gamut from pleasant companionship to help in times of serious problems.  And my experience, I know, was shared by many others in the Seventies and Eighties. The bars also became information centers where you could find out what was going on around the city of gay interest – posters, handouts, bar rags all helped to create a connection to gay life around town, as did the grapevine.

In the Eighties bars collected money for AIDS organizations with collection cans, raffles, etc.  And news and information about the epidemic was shared there, and through sharing their suffering people were encouraged to join volunteer activities.  Gay bars were also used as drop-off points for free prepared meals made by God's Love We Deliver for home-bound PWA's.

While I found gay bars a source of sexual opportunity for many decades, what remains in my mind at age sixty-nine is what a rich source of friendship, good conversation and help and support these places were. 

Jack





Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: fritzkep on April 18, 2007, 03:13:19 PM
Michael, remembering the 101st anniversary of the earthquake.

Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on April 18, 2007, 03:41:24 PM
Actually, Fritz, there is a Gay History connection to the quake.  It cleared out a lot of property in downtown San Francisco and, after the quake, a whole new 'Barbary Coast' rose out of the ashes.  And amongst the houses of ill repute was The Dash - the first known gay bar in San Francisco, which was shut down by the police for naughty business in 1908....
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: fritzkep on April 18, 2007, 04:55:28 PM
Michael, I was wondering, exactly where was the Barbary Coast? And was the location the same in the 19th century as well as after the earthquake?

I was wondering, because the Wikipedia article seems to indicate that it was not directly on the water, is this true?

Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on April 19, 2007, 05:48:26 AM
Michael, I was wondering, exactly where was the Barbary Coast? And was the location the same in the 19th century as well as after the earthquake?

I was wondering, because the Wikipedia article seems to indicate that it was not directly on the water, is this true?

Well...it's not directly on the water now - but that's due to landfill in the bay that happened after the quake - the entire downtown is sitting on landfill.  The Barbary Coast was the entire area that supported the waterfront - so not all of it was on the water.  Saloons, bawdy houses, etc. were from the waterfront all the way into what is now North Beach, Chinatown and parts of downtown San Francisco.  There were opium dens in both Chinatown and outside of Chinatown in what is now downtown San Francisco.

A good book that gives a kind of notion of what downtown San Francisco was like is 'You Can't Win' by Jack Black.  It was a bestseller in 1926 and told the life of the hobo underworld in the early decades of the 20th century:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/You_Can%27t_Win

There is an interactive map from the San Francisco Historical Society here:

http://www.sfhistory.org/bct/flash_index.html

If you come to visit I'll walk you along the trail.  ;)

BTW, the S.F. Historical Museum is moving into the Old Mint building (at 5th St. near Market) one of the few downtown buildings that was saved from the earthquake and fire (the Ferry Building being one of the other buildings).  When it opens it will certainly be worth seeing.

I had a patron stop by the library this week looking for an article from Smithsonian magazine about the saving of the mint (from April 2006).  Her parents both survived the earthquake and told her about the survival of the building.

http://www.sfhistory.org/
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Jack too on April 19, 2007, 09:31:53 AM
In regard to the SF earthquake and fire, when I got ready to emigrate from the U.S. I came across a box of stereopticon slides in color of the event.  (I think that's what it was called - a Victorian era hand-held viewer with cardboard slides that turned 3-D when you looked through the viewer.  I had gotten the slides and viewer from my godparents many, many years ago.  I gave them to a photography museum at Stanford.

Fascinating stuff.  I looked at them many times over the years.

Wasn't Mrs. Madrigal's house in place called Barbary Lane.  Does that mean it was in the Barbary Coast area.

Just keep attached to gay history:  in the Eighties there was a gay bar on West 14th Street in Manhattan called Barbary Coast - a real boozers' roost and a place that got its first wave of customers while most folks were on their way to work.

Jack
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: fritzkep on April 19, 2007, 04:31:52 PM
Michael, I feel stupid! Because I knew about the landfill, but didn't think about it in relation to the area now inland which would have been on the water then! Thanks for the info! And I would love to have you as a tourguide the next time I'm in the City. (Last time was in 1997, way too long!)

Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on April 19, 2007, 05:30:48 PM
Wasn't Mrs. Madrigal's house in place called Barbary Lane.  Does that mean it was in the Barbary Coast area.

'Barbary Lane' doesn't really exist, but is inspired by Macondray Lane:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macondray_Lane

Here's a map of where it is in San Francisco:

http://www.mapquest.com/maps/map.adp?latlongtype=decimal&latitude=37.799203&longitude=-122.415116&zoom=9

So it's in the Barbary Coast, but it's high on a hill and the folks who were going to and from the bawdy houses and taverns weren't exactly doing a lot of hill climbing. 

Here's the staircase:

http://www.mistersf.com/high/index.html?highmacondray.htm

And here's a little bit more on the actual background of where Armistead was living at the time he wrote the books:

http://www.mistersf.com/literary/index.html?litmaupin03.htm

And here's a site with some more pictures:

http://www.noehill.com/sf/russian/default.asp

Here is a city tour related to 'Tales of the City.':

http://www.armisteadmaupin.com/totc_05_talestour_01.html
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Jack too on April 21, 2007, 04:00:49 AM
Seventies dancers in NYC - Crisco Disco

Here is a shot of the famous (or notorious, if you were easily titillated) Crisco Disco in NYC.  The photo is from '76 or '77.  The crowd, as you can see from the picture was racially and ethnically  mixed, as were most of the dance venues that did not operate as clubs with a high membership fee.  Only a very few women that I recall, and more of them straight than lesbian.  When the top radio city station of the era, WBLS, decided to broadcast a (supposedly) live show from a dance club on Friday nights their debut club was the Crisco Disco.  This was rather a shocker as the station had all straight black DJ's and aimed at the black urban market, but the station manager, Frankie Crocker, was a sharp guy on the music scene, and he realized that gay white men had become a major part of the station's audience and that audience was a major player in the music scene now...and business is business.  He used to frequently drop into the DJ booth at the Garage (from which "garage music" took its name), one of the top two gay clubs in the late Seventies and Eighties.  It was mostly black and Latino, though owned by a white guy.  As did other black and Latino Dj's, the Garage's black DJ Larry Levan found his services wanted for professional studio mixing as a result of his club reputation.

The Crisco can in the background was the DJ booth at the Crisco Disco, and is a visual reference to fisting.  Iit served as a piece of atmospheric stimulation...sorta like, in case you don't get it, we're decadent!  I know from watching the reactions of some first-timers that it gave folks whose only up close and personal acquaintance with Crisco had been Mom's apple pie a real frisson.   

(http://www.nycnotkansas.com/nyc_pix/CriscoDiscoDanceFlr020001.jpg) 

Jack
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Jack too on April 21, 2007, 04:13:54 AM
Muscle Up! - 1976, Arnie and the gang pump up for kulcha and a gay audience

One of my cultural adventures was a trip to the Whitney Museum in NYC  in February '76.  The occasion was to see bodybuilders Arnold Schwarzenegger, Frank Zane and Ed Corny in a posing exhibition in the museum's auditorium!   The event evidently was tied into an attempt to promote the upcoming film Pumping Iron, though it wrapped itself in a silly academic guise – perhaps to assuage the museum's supporters.  Amateur bodybuilders, gay and straight, showed up, but it was packed with more just plain ol' fags than a tea dance.  The posing exhibition was followed by brief talks by five or six academics (some from campuses of my employer, the City University), who made absolute fools of themselves on the topic of whether bodybuilding should be considered an art.  With one shining exception, they were pompous and humorless.
       
In a windup informal discussion in which the three bodybuilders (now in street clothes) participated, Schwarzenegger performed with the heavy-handed wit that America has since come to expect from him, while Frank Zane, a bright, educated guy, went pleasantly head-to-head with the academics, displaying great charm and obvious intelligence.  The release of Pumping Iron in '77 is credited with giving what had been a slowly increasing interest in bodybuilding an emphatic boost.

Previously it had received a small boost with the appearance of a stunningly handsome and built Steve Reeves opposite Debbie Reynold in '54 in a spoof called Athena.  This brought him to the attention of an Italian producer who starred him in the first sword and sandal bodybuilder flick, Hercules, which was released in the U.S. in '59.  This film and the many that followed it, corny as they were, had already turned many teenagers and young men of that era onto bodybuilding.

Jack
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: maidenofthesea on April 21, 2007, 12:38:10 PM
Don't know if this the proper place for this but I found the video for the closing song in 'And The Band Played On' and I thought I would share with all of you.
'The Last Song' By Elton John

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wlD_XNMCjuo
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: jack on April 21, 2007, 09:47:39 PM
well...

that pretty much did me in for the night...

that horror, and the ignorance and hate that let it grow and fester, will go with me to my grave. 

jack
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Jack too on April 22, 2007, 03:51:53 PM
Two famous early 70s press essays on gays

The first appeared in the September 1970 Harper's Magazine.  I didn't read the magazine regularly and was unaware of it until the wave of anger and fear that it provoked reached me a few weeks after it came out.  Someone gave me his copy, and I read "Homo/Hetero: the Struggle for Sexual Identity" by Joseph Epstein. (He was an academic who went on to be editor of  The American Scholar for many years, a "cultural critic" and mediocre fiction writer.)  In his jeremiad Epstein began with "hedonism," but then settled in on homosexuals who had been "cursed....with evil luck," which he characterized as a state of "permanent niggerdom."  (Yowsa, boss.)  Nowhere, that I recall, did he recognize seething homophobia like his own as causative of such a condition. 
                 
He did, however, have a solution - an startlingly final one for a Jew - had he the power he would "wish homosexuality off the face of the earth."  And how one would do that without wishing homosexuals off it as well, he did not explain.  Midge Decter, the magazine's managing editor, although a Jew, failed to see the similarity between this and wishing Jews away.  She was stoutly behind the Epstein article; not surprisingly she would author an equally poisonous one in 1980, "The Boys on the Beach."  It was Gore Vidal who pointed out the parallel for their benefit.  The Gay Activist Alliance pulled off a sit-in type protest at Harper's with considerable skill and humor; it lasted most of the business day and attracted TV coverage.  It may have been their best thought-out and coordinated zap, and it was well-received. 

The other article appeared in the New York Times Magazine one Sunday in early January '71 as a direct result of Espstein's vilification.  Merle Miller, a respected biographer of Presidents Truman and Lyndon Johnson, wrote a 7-page essay, "What It Means To Be a Homosexual."  His was a thoughtful, unsensational essay, and it received widespread positive response.  His most memorable comment:  "...you cannot demand your rights, civil or otherwise, if you are unwilling to say what you are."  Miller's Times essay probably got considerably more exposure than the Harper's piece.

Jack
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Jack too on April 22, 2007, 04:46:40 PM
Gay names in 70's Literature and Art

Because of my interest in Japanese literature, which had started back when I was a copyboy at the NY Times, I had already read three of Yukio Mishima's books, two of which – Confessions of a Mask and Forbidden Colors – had strong gay themes.  Mishima, who was bisexual, or perhaps a married gay man, had killed himself in 1970 after an abortive coup attempt by his private militia.  His final work, a tetralogy entitled The Sea of Fertility began coming out in the U.S. in '72. 

The overall theme of the four volumes is the fading of the old Japan from the first decade of the 20th century through the aftermath of World War II.  The story concerns two male high school classmates, one of whom is deeply in love with the other.  After the early death of his friend the grieving survivor discovers him reborn three more times and obsessively spies on him through each new life.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Sea_of_Fertility
                                                                                                                                             
Patrick White, an openly gay Australian writer, won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1973.  I had been enthralled with one of his books, Riders in the Chariot.  At the end of the decade he wrote The Twyborn Affair, a fascinating story about a sexually ambiguous man who leads three different lives in the book's three sections: one in France, as a woman before World War I, another in Australia, as a man, on a sheep station and the third, in London as the madam of an exclusive brothel.

(http://www.nycnotkansas.com/nyc_pix/TwybornAffair.jpg)
http://arts.abc.net.au/white/
http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/literature/articles/hansson/index.html

The book cover above is by Mel Odom, an artist who lived in my Upper West Side neighborhood in the 70's.  Odom's style was very distinctive.  He did the illustrations for many book covers during those years, usually, as I recall, for established writers or well-known books.  He did a famous cover for a reissue of Edmund White's Nocturne for the King of Naples in the early 80's.

http://www.bpib.com/illustra2/odom.htm

In April '75 a bartender friend and I went to the Metropolitan Museum (NYC) to see an exhibit of works by the contemporary gay Anglo-Irish painter, Francis Bacon.  We lucked out either in the day we picked or the time of day, because there were not many people there.  I was awed - or maybe even a bit shocked, and I think my friend must have had similar feelings, because for someone who was almost never at a loss for a comment he was very subdued.  After awhile we drifted apart and moved through it separately. 

I wrote in a journal that I came away feeling like people must have centuries ago when they encountered the paintings of Michelangelo or Caravaggio for the first time.  And the force of that impression hasn't diminished.  I don't remember that anyone ever wrote about Bacon for Christopher Street magazine, a gay journal on arts and affairs that came out in these years, and that strikes me as odd now.
       
These paintings also had a very personal resonance.  Early in the Seventies not long after a second gay bar opened in our neighborhood, I met a guy there I'd never seen before; our initial trick night developed into an intensely carnal relationship that lasted about thirteen years.  Harry had large eyes and a brooding - almost stolid - expression, as well as a husky body, and many of Bacon's nude males immediately reminded me of him.  There was the tension of obsession in our relationship, and it was echoed in the atmosphere of Bacon's paintings with their contrast of empty interiors and coiled, bursting body energy.  Though Harry was a professional pianist, it is Bacon's paintings and not some piece of music that recall him.

http://www.bacon.nl/site_engels/index_site.html

Jack

Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on April 22, 2007, 05:12:34 PM

The other article appeared in the New York Times Magazine one Sunday in early January '71 as a direct result of Espstein's vilification.  Merle Miller, a respected biographer of Presidents Truman and Lyndon Johnson, wrote a 7-page essay, "What It Means To Be a Homosexual."  His was a thoughtful, unsensational essay, and it received widespread positive response.  His most memorable comment:  "...you cannot demand your rights, civil or otherwise, if you are unwilling to say what you are."  Miller's Times essay probably got considerably more exposure than the Harper's piece.

Jack

Jack - I remember the Merle Miller article.  It was republished in book form as 'On Being Different: What It Means To Be a Homosexual.'

http://www.amazon.com/being-different-What-means-homosexual/dp/0394473302/ref=sr_1_12/104-0744306-0787110?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1177282800&sr=1-12

I picked up the book while in High School.  One of the heartstopping lines from it that I still remember is 'A fag is the homosexual gentleman who just left the room.'

He served in the U.S. Army Corps. during WWII as an editor of the magazine 'Yank'.

Here is a review of his book (and Dennis Altman's) in 'Time':

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,905876-1,00.html

Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on April 22, 2007, 05:25:35 PM
And speaking of articles from this period, here is another article which talks about television programs (and protests related to at least one) that occurred in the early 70s:

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,903924,00.html
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Jack too on April 23, 2007, 12:46:26 AM
And speaking of articles from this period, here is another article which talks about television programs (and protests related to at least one) that occurred in the early 70s:

Ah, yes.  I remember that some people I knew were less than enthused about the Welby one.  But by this time TV watching was not part of my life, and I had missed it.

Jack
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Jack too on April 23, 2007, 02:07:55 PM
Hate takes center stage – late 70's

Anita Bryant, the OJ Lady makes hate a virtue

My first inkling that the American Neanderthal was on the move came in '77.  Dade County (Miami) had passed a gay anti-discrimination law.  However, former beauty queen/singer, Anita Bryant, who was also the national spokesperson for the Florida Citrus Commission, started a campaign to have this gay rights legislation overturned in a referendum.  Bryant, one of the new style hate-and-fear Christians, charged that the ordinance would threaten children with "recruitment" and child molestation.  "God puts homosexuals in the same category as murderers," she told her audience.  The New York Times, however, rebuked gay people for the tenor of their opposition to her! – Editor Abe Rosenthal, was still keeping gay people in their place, as he had been trying to for years. 

The ordinance was successfully overturned by a large majority of the vote, and I was amazed.  Living in the protection of Manhattan, never had I dreamed Bryant would succeed in Miami.  She then went on tour, and got a pie in the face in Des Moines.  She was turned up all over the country, and was the Joan of Arc of Christian fascism.

But after gay people launched a boycott of Florida orange juice, and she and her husband divorced, the Citrus Commission dropped her.   Her professional career nose-dived, and she and a second husband left a trail of unpaid creditors and employees in their wake as she attempted to rejuvenate her professional life.  She finally filed for bankruptcy – in two states - nevertheless, she had been the bellwether of an anti-gay movement in national politics.  Celebrities such as General William Westmoreland, Art Linkletter, Jack LaLanne, Pat Boone and Lawrence Welk had come out in support of her crusade.  Christian religious fascism manifested now itself on the national political scene as a powerful and respected force - and it and the Republican party each saw their union as a marriage made in heaven.

(http://www.nycnotkansas.com/nyc_pix/bryantnojuice%20copy.jpg)

http://www.stpetersburgtimes.com/2002/04/28/State/Bankruptcy__ill_will_.shtml - fleecing the faithful (scroll down)

http://www.nndb.com/people/177/000024105/ - Beauty queen's road to hate

Disco Sucks/Hate Fags

Chicago rock DJ Steve Dahl started using the phrase "Disco sucks!" this year, and it caught on with straight rock fans across the country.  In the spring of '79 I was working at the University's Central Office in the white middle and upper class neighborhood, where Gracie Mansion, the mayor's home is located.  One day I went around the corner to catch a bus and found the shelter newly marked up with "disco sucks" and anti-gay graffiti.  This coupling popped up everywhere, often accompanied by anti-black slogans too.  I never saw "disco sucks" graffiti that wasn't combined with "hate gays," and other homophobic scrawls.  Not once.   
For the first time since I've lived in the city I was afraid that being gay bashed was a real danger, and not just a possibility.  In Chicago Dahl promoted a "Disco Demolition Night" on July 12, 1979 between games at a nighttime double-header in Comiskey Park.  Listeners were encouraged to bring disco records for destruction.  Some observers that night have made a point of saying that lots of the men did not appear to be baseball fans, and many in the crowd started sailing their records like Frisbees onto the field during the first game.  At the intermission  Dahl came onto the field and detonated a box of records with a charge that ripped a hole in the field, at which point thousands of screwed up straight white guys charged onto the field – fires were started, fist-fighting and vandalism broke out and riot police had to be called in to clear the field.  The Chicago team had to forfeit the second game as their opponents refused to take the field, calling the mob conditions unsafe.

"Disco Sucks!" is cited as the end of the disco craze, but it was more accurately a barometer of anti-gay and anti-black sentiment among many straight white males.  Many young white American males clearly felt gelded by black divas and fags.  As a fad among straights disco died out for this and other reasons - not least because straight white discos and their DJ's had isolated themselves from the black (and gay) wellsprings of dance music.  But dance music and the world of dance clubs continued to thrive among gay men, this was the era of Hi NRG music – in fact the best dance years in my city (NYC) hadn't happened yet, and ditto in S.F., I believe.

Anti-gay graffiti had popped up around town after the "Disco Sucks" outburst in the late 70's like I had never experienced in my twenty years in New York City.  On my rare daytime trips in the East Village I had thought there was more there than elsewhere, especially in the area of The Saint, a very popular gay dance club, which I attributed to the fact that the neighborhood attracted many young white visitors.  "Hate gays" and "kill fags" seemed to have become a graffiti fad.

Years later (1987)in the midst of the AIDS epidemic I moved out of the Upper West Side to the Stuyvesant Square neighborhood, just a bit north of the East Village and Chinatown. With the epidemic, scrawlings about "AIDS fags" had joined the hate parade.  Now that I lived in the Stuyvesant Park neighborhood I was frequently in the East Village at first, or I often walked down Bowery (Third Ave.) to Chinatown.  I realized that the homophobic graffiti was thickest around the area of CBGB, a famous rock club on Bowery (recently closed) - I used to wonder how many of its customers would have liked to bash me to death.  The stench of anti-gay hate was exuded by the walls in that neighborhood.  I got sick of seeing it and began avoiding the East Village entirely.  When I went to Chinatown, rather than walk down Bowery past CBGB's, I took a bus and got off at Canal where the drunks flopped out on the sidewalk, but they didn't write graffiti.  I knew I was with a better class of folks.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disco_Demolition_Night

http://www.villagevoice.com/news/9826,braunstein,229,1.html

http://www.brumm.com/gaylib/disco/

Jack
 


Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Jack too on April 23, 2007, 02:32:26 PM
A note about the NY Times


The other article appeared in the New York Times Magazine one Sunday in early January '71 as a direct result of Espstein's vilification. 

The NY Times was still a two-headed animal in these years (early 70's).  The main newspaper creeped slowly and sometimes painfully toward a policy of covering gay-related news events.  It was under the editorship of Abe Rosenthal, an individual who was less than enthusiastic about gay rights.

However, the Sunday magazine section, which in those days was a very large publication, often carrying two major essays and several serious articles, had a different editor.  A far more adventurous publication, the Sunday magazine very quickly began including intelligent articles about homosexuality, such as Millers.

Later the magazine was also put under Rosenthal's editorship, and it became a reflection of the main news section, ceasing to be a journal of importance in its own right.  Today, of course, it has been reduced in size and dumbed down to the point of embarrassment.  Too bad, with the loss of independence of the Times Sunday magazine section America lost a major journal in its own right.

This rather timid history of the main news section of the paper is still a tale of major advancement compared to what it had been. In mid-December 1963 the New York Times  printed a jolly article on its front page:  "Growth of Overt Homosexuality in City Provokes Wide Concern."  Although it appeared as a news story on page one, pinned to recent attempts to close down gay bars, etc., it contained much material that would be characterized as op-ed today.  The Times article ruminated on with anxious fretting and a tone of hand-wringing bewilderment, finally finding hope in the fact that as homosexuality had been recognized by the medical profession as a disease that cures could be effected.  All might be well left to the power of medicine.

Jack
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on April 23, 2007, 04:30:12 PM
I suggest, following the lead of Jack, that we move the discussion into the late 70s now.  Of course remember that we can still continue to discuss earlier periods.

I will be posting some personal comments from this period - most likely on Wednesday (as that will give me time to finish my questions from 'The Celluloid Closet' thread).  I'll post some questions round about then too.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Jack too on April 24, 2007, 03:59:52 AM
I suggest, following the lead of Jack, that we move the discussion into the late 70s now.

Whoooooops, didn't mean to jump the gun.  Sorry.  :-[

Jack
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on April 25, 2007, 02:28:34 PM
I suggest, following the lead of Jack, that we move the discussion into the late 70s now.

Whoooooops, didn't mean to jump the gun.  Sorry.  :-[

Jack

Not a problem!  I think it is time to move along - with the proviso that we can still post about earlier periods.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on April 27, 2007, 12:16:02 PM
Questions for 1975-1980

1.)  Sgt. Leonard Matlovich became one of the first high profile individuals to say that he was gay and wanted to stay in the Armed forces.  He delivered a letter to the Air Force on March 6, 1975 stating that he was homosexual and wanted to stay in the Air Force.  On Sept. 8, 1975 he appeared on the cover of Time magazine (http://www.time.com/time/covers/0,16641,19750908,00.html) (http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,917784,00.html).  Do you remember his case?  How did this affect your opinion of the gay rights movement?

2.)  Also in 1975 Mary Jo Risher became one of the most high profile lesbians to fight for custody of a child.  Here fight was made into the made for TV movie 'A Question of Love' in 1978.  Do you remember any similar custody cases from this period or do you remember the movie?  What were its effects on you?

3.)  In June, 1976 the platform of the Democratic Party was put in place with no 'purple' plank - that is, there was no inclusion of a call for gay rights in the platform.  This was a change from the 1972 platform where there was an 11 hour debate on issues such as gay rights - do you remember this - did this affect your opinions on politics at the time?

4.)  As I have mentioned in the previous period, this period was preceded by the first LGBT candidates in office.  Do you remember any candidates or campaigns for office in your area?

5.)  In January 1977 Dade County Florida passed a Human Rights ordinance that became effective on Feb. 17 of that year and started Anita Bryant off on her 'Save Our Children' campaign.  Do you remember the campaign?  What effect did it have on your local communities? 

6.)  Following the Dade County vote there were votes in other cities that overturned gay rights (including Eugene, Oregon; Saint Paul, MN and Wichita, Kansas).  Were you living in any of these areas during the campaign or do you remember them?

7.)  Do you remember the Orange Juice boycott following the gay rights ordinances failure?

8.]  In California following the defeat of gay rights ordinances and the banning of gay teachers in Oklahoma and Arkansas Senator John Briggs, a former insurance salesman, proposed banning anyone from teaching who 'advocated, promoted or encouraged' homosexuality.  Do you remember the Briggs initiative?  Did it have any impact on discussions where you lived?

9.)  Harvey Milk became a San Francisco City Councilman in November, 1977.  Do you remember his election?  Were you aware of his work against the Briggs initiative?  When he was shot in city hall do you remember the coverage?

10.) In 1979 there were protests surrounding the film 'Cruising.'  Do you remember the protests?  Did you see the film? Did you think the protests were justified?

11.)  On October 14, 1979 the first national gay rights march took place in Washington D.C.  Were you there?  If so, please share your memories.

12.)  Also in the 70s gay pride marches became more common - did you attend any gay pride marches in the 70s?  What do you remember from them?

13.)  Gay and lesbian books became big business during the late 70s.  A few big titles were 'Rubyfruit Jungle', 'Taking Care of Mrs. Carroll', 'Sexual Outlaw', 'Dancer from the Dance', 'Tales of the City' and 'Faggots.'  Do you remember reading these or any other LGBT books during this time?  Did you visit any LGBT bookstores? 

14.)  There was also more coverage of LGBT issues on television including 'A Question of Love', 'The Naked Civil Servant', 'The War Widow', 'Sergeant Matlovich vs. U.S. Air Force' and T.V. shows like 'Soap.'  Do you remember any particular gay/lesbian programing in the Seventies that caught your eye?

15.)  In 1977 in San Francisco the murder of Robert Hillsborough by fag bashers sparked an outpouring of outrage and grief (http://thecastro.net/parade/parade/hillsborough77.html) and led to the formation of Community United Against Violence, an organization that keeps statistics on violence against LGBT people.  Do you remember any violence of this nature in your area?

16.)  As we discussed in the last time period discos were very popular during this period.  Did you go to gay discos in your area?  Do you have any particular memories?  If you didn't like disco were there alternative spaces for people like you to get together?

17.)  The punk movement also happened during this period.  As a group punks had both positive and negative responses to homosexuality - do your remember any of these?  Did you know about the Tom Robinson Band?  Did you know about Wayne County and the Electric Chairs?

18.)  In Canada the Truxx bar was raided in Montreal and 'The Body Politic' was the national gay newspaper.  Do you remember reading the 'Body Politic' or the raids in Montreal? 

19.)  In the late 70s the 'Rocky Horror Picture Show' gave a lot of young people a non-threatening way to deal with sexual diversity and fun.  Did you attend the 'Rocky Horror Picture Show' during this period?  Do you have any memories to share?

20.)  It was also during this period that Gay film festivals started - beginning in San Francisco in 1977.  Do you remember any particular films from this period?  Did you see 'Outrageous'?  Do you remember seeing 'Word Is Out'?

21.)  The 'White Night Riots' happened in San Francisco on May 21, 1979 in response to the verdicts of the murder trial of Dan White.  Were you in San Francisco at the time?  Do you remember the White Night Riots?  If so, please share your memories.

Of course, as always, please feel free to add your own questions.  My apologies for this being centered around U.S. events - it's what I know.  However, if you are from another country, please tell us about what was happening where you lived during this period.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Jack too on April 27, 2007, 02:14:09 PM
Questions for 1975-1980

13.)  Gay and lesbian books became big business during the late 70s.  A few big titles were 'Rubyfruit Jungle', 'Taking Care of Mrs. Carroll', 'Sexual Outlaw', 'Dancer from the Dance', 'Tales of the City' and 'Faggots.'  Do you remember reading these or any other LGBT books during this time?  Did you visit any LGBT bookstores? 

I knocked off three gay books published in 1978, each was brought out by a mainstream publishing house:  Edmund White's Nocturnes for the King of Naples was a short, elegiac, novel which White once said was the favorite of his works.  Dancer from the Dance, was another, and was Andrew Holleran's debut.  It was the auspicious beginning to a series of fine books that are like a modern reworking of the ancient Irish story of Oisín's sojourn in Tir na nÓg, the Land of Youth, and his fate when he returns to the everyday world.  (The fatal blaze at the Everard Baths in May '77 figures in the novel.)  The last – which I had to give up on even though I'd made it three-quarters of the way through – was Faggots.  This was written by Larry Kramer (Academy Award nomination for the script of Women in Love) on the heels of a disappointed love affair, according to an interview with him in the April 6, 1998 New York Magazine, and it does have the flavor of sour grapes.  But mainly it desperately cries out for serious editing, and a better sense of humor.

Gay movie actor, George Nader (a childhood lust object of  mine from Loretta Young's TV show) wrote a sci-fi novel, Chrome

I recently reread White's Nocturnes, and felt that it did not quite hold up for me.  I enjoyed it the second time around, but felt that some of it was simply purple rather than "baroque," an adjective sometimes applied to it.  I also made another valiant attempt at Faggots, but couldn't even get a third of the way through it this time.  I find the book just thuddingly heavy-handed and over-the-top, but then I think his prize-winning play Normal Heart suffers for much the same reason. 

I also read the collected poems of the lesbian poet, Elizabeth Bishop, and Cavafy, a book by Robert Liddell on the life and work of the gay Greek poet, whom I'd first been introduced to by a gay workmate in the mid-Sixties.   I also saw a production in Greenwich Village in early '78 of two modern Noh plays by the gay Japanese writer, Yukio Mishima - though I don't remember if the content of either play was gay.  The next fall was Bent, starring Richard Gere and David Dukes as two lovers in a Nazi concentration camp, at the new Apollo Theater on West 42nd Street - part of a brief attempt to bring legit theater back to the Duece.

As I recall in NYC, in addition to the Oscar Wilde book store, there was a Different Light in the Village, but many bookstores there carried gay and lesbian books, and most mainstream bookstores in other parts of town did too. 

Jack
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Jack too on April 27, 2007, 02:23:00 PM
Questions for 1975-1980

10.) In 1979 there were protests surrounding the film 'Cruising.'  Do you remember the protests?  Did you see the film? Did you think the protests were justified?
(http://www.nycnotkansas.com/nyc_pix/cruising_poster.jpg)

I glimpsed the protests and, of course, there was stuff in the gay press and the mainstream press.  It was a topic of conversation for awhile, but then part of the conversation was about the gay men who took bit parts in the film...as I recall a group of them had their photo, rather sexily posed, in After Dark, which was still being published then.  I have never seen the film, though I was thinking just last week when I came across some reference to it that perhaps I should give it a look.

Is it from a novel, I don't remember.

http://www.brightlightsfilm.com/16/cruise.html - brief article about the film

http://velvet_peach.tripod.com/fpaccruising.html - longer article, including several reviews

Jack
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Brokeback_1 on April 27, 2007, 05:56:10 PM
Questions for 1975-1980

1.)  Sgt. Leonard Matlovich became one of the first high profile individuals to say that he was gay and wanted to stay in the Armed forces.  He delivered a letter to the Air Force on March 6, 1975 stating that he was homosexual and wanted to stay in the Air Force.  On Sept. 8, 1975 he appeared on the cover of Time magazine  Do you remember his case?  How did this affect your opinion of the gay rights movement?

No. I have no important memories of this case. I have a vague memory of thinking it was completely unfair. In 75 I turned 20 and was involved in my own battle to achieve a measure of independence BUT when you brought this up I remembered males my age were split about 50/50 on the subject of gays in the military.

2.)  Also in 1975 Mary Jo Risher became one of the most high profile lesbians to fight for custody of a child.  Here fight was made into the made for TV movie 'A Question of Love' in 1978.  Do you remember any similar custody cases from this period or do you remember the movie?  What were its effects on you?
No recollection whatsoever of any of this

3.)  In June, 1976 the platform of the Democratic Party was put in place with no 'purple' plank - that is, there was no inclusion of a call for gay rights in the platform.  This was a change from the 1972 platform where there was an 11 hour debate on issues such as gay rights - do you remember this - did this affect your opinions on politics at the time?
Yes, I remember this. I got into a fight with a guy in my dorm who kept saying fags needed to not be embraced but kiilled. He had no idea I was 1/2 a fag and thought I would support his view but after 9 or 10 beers I said know what, I'm half a fag and popped him in the jaw. He was surprised and bought more beer. 

4.)  As I have mentioned in the previous period, this period was preceded by the first LGBT candidates in office.  Do you remember any candidates or campaigns for office in your area?Yes, but i can't remember their names. I remember wondering how they could be so open when people said such awful things about gays. I respected them a great deal

5.)  In January 1977 Dade County Florida passed a Human Rights ordinance that became effective on Feb. 17 of that year and started Anita Bryant off on her 'Save Our Children' campaign.  Do you remember the campaign? YES. It was discussed in the family. My father supported it, which was to be expected as his son had been molested. Then he asked ME and I said she was nuts. I think that's when he knew definitively about me.  He was also terminally ill by then and always scowled when he heard her after that and said she needed a good lay. What effect did it have on your local communities?  I remember people in Brooklyn talking about her. Some felt she was a great woman and others felt she had gone off the deep end.

6.)  Following the Dade County vote there were votes in other cities that overturned gay rights (including Eugene, Oregon; Saint Paul, MN and Wichita, Kansas).  Were you living in any of these areas during the campaign or do you remember them?I have no memory of any of it and was disconnected internally from all of it. It was gay, and too many gay people I'd tried to speak with either tried to take my pants off with sweet words or flat out said there were no bi men, that bi was a filling station on a roadtrip to gay. So I disconnected, not that I was ever very connected to begin with

7.)  Do you remember the Orange Juice boycott following the gay rights ordinances failure?
Yes. My family refused to buy juice, but started again when the 2 youngest complained

8.]  In California following the defeat of gay rights ordinances and the banning of gay teachers in Oklahoma and Arkansas Senator John Briggs, a former insurance salesman, proposed banning anyone from teaching who 'advocated, promoted or encouraged' homosexuality.  Do you remember the Briggs initiative?  Yes. My response was to shrug and figure I should just stay quiet.Did it have any impact on discussions where you lived?Yes, it was discussed all over the place. Oddly the very oldest thought it was wrong, most my age seemed to support it

9.)  Harvey Milk became a San Francisco City Councilman in November, 1977.  Do you remember his election?  Were you aware of his work against the Briggs initiative?  When he was shot in city hall do you remember the coverage?Just the coverage. Numerous people treated it as a joke, which I found awful. I used to say it was awful, and they'd say yeah it is, BUT...

10.) In 1979 there were protests surrounding the film 'Cruising.'  Do you remember the protests?
YES  Did you see the film? NODid you think the protests were justified?YES. I thought it illuminated a crazy subculture and people would think everyone was like that. Plus I had my own reasons for running away from sadists.

11.)  On October 14, 1979 the first national gay rights march took place in Washington D.C.  Were you there? No If so, please share your memories.none

12.)  Also in the 70s gay pride marches became more common - did you attend any gay pride marches in the 70s?  Yes, one What do you remember from them?I was embarressed and wondered what leading a man on a leash was supposed to celebrate. I have never attended one since, and neither have any of the  bi friends who were at that particular parade with me. Why? The aforementioned leash, and people giggling with a bitchy  'suuuure you are' when we said we were bi. We got approached a number of times at that parade, we were a good looking bunch. We did not like the skepticism. And felt we did not belong

13.)  Gay and lesbian books became big business during the late 70s.  A few big titles were 'Rubyfruit Jungle', 'Taking Care of Mrs. Carroll', 'Sexual Outlaw', 'Dancer from the Dance', 'Tales of the City' and 'Faggots.'  Do you remember reading these or any other LGBT books during this time? Sexual Outlaw Did you visit any LGBT bookstores?  yes

14.)  There was also more coverage of LGBT issues on television including 'A Question of Love', 'The Naked Civil Servant', 'The War Widow', 'Sergeant Matlovich vs. U.S. Air Force' and T.V. shows like 'Soap.'  Do you remember any particular gay/lesbian programing in the Seventies that caught your eye?Soap. I related lol

15.)  In 1977 in San Francisco the murder of Robert Hillsborough by fag bashers sparked an outpouring of outrage and grief (http://thecastro.net/parade/parade/hillsborough77.html) and led to the formation of Community United Against Violence, an organization that keeps statistics on violence against LGBT people.  Do you remember any violence of this nature in your area?I knew it was always possible, especially in the Village where kids from uptown came to prey on gay men. I was much less worried about anything in the then tightly woven neighborhoods of Brooklyn, where--at least in my area-- everybody knew SOMEbody, or had one in the family, or knew soandso's brother. It was surprisingly live and let live unless you were a flamboyant queen. They would suggest you take it to Manhattan. Where I lived I always felt lesbians were more likely to be hurt; there were a lot of macho guys there and some took lesbianism as a personal affront. This all changed for the worse when drugs became widespread

16.)  As we discussed in the last time period discos were very popular during this period.  Did you go to gay discos in your area? yeah Do you have any particular memories? yeah. bad music and older gay men who tried to pay for sex. If you didn't like disco were there alternative spaces for people like you to get together? yeah, straight rock clubs. The whole bi group usually ended up in straight rock clubs and someone always ended up going home with a rocker our age. But we all drank too much and mostly went to bars, usually straight ones. The gay ones were a pain, someone older would always bug you.

17.)  The punk movement also happened during this period.  As a group punks had both positive and negative responses to homosexuality - do your remember any of these?  Did you know about the Tom Robinson Band? yeah i didn't care for it  Did you know about Wayne County and the Electric Chairs? ditto

18.)  In Canada the Truxx bar was raided in Montreal and 'The Body Politic' was the national gay newspaper.  Do you remember reading the 'Body Politic' or the raids in Montreal?  no

19.)  In the late 70s the 'Rocky Horror Picture Show' gave a lot of young people a non-threatening way to deal with sexual diversity and fun.  Did you attend the 'Rocky Horror Picture Show' during this period? Yes Do you have any memories to share? I never got obsessed by it like my friends, but it was ok. On the silly side.

20.)  It was also during this period that Gay film festivals started - beginning in San Francisco in 1977.  Do you remember any particular films from this period?  Did you see 'Outrageous'?  Do you remember seeing 'Word Is Out'? Yeah,   The Word Is Out. It didn't really apply to us...at least that's how we felt at the time. Gay sex was something we all did but a gay lifestyle just seemed, I dunno, false to every one of us, for us. We weren't gay, so why behave 'gay'?

21.)  The 'White Night Riots' happened in San Francisco on May 21, 1979 in response to the verdicts of the murder trial of Dan White.  Were you in San Francisco at the time?  Do you remember the White Night Riots?  If so, please share your memories.No, No and No

Of course, as always, please feel free to add your own questions.  My apologies for this being centered around U.S. events - it's what I know.  However, if you are from another country, please tell us about what was happening where you lived during this period.
Quote
I honestly don't know if our experiences are appropriate for the thread.[ I would like to see what 2 friends from that group--one a a fireman and the other a disco king who would NEVER have acted as a gay disco king although he slept with half the men in NY--have to say or add...] We were a subgroup of a subgroup and got bashed for it on both sides, by straight AND gay people. There was more acceptance by gay men, but verbal bashing by others who claimed we didn't exist. You had to watch yourself, what you said, who you said it to within the gay community.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Jack too on April 30, 2007, 06:05:11 AM
Questions for 1975-1980

12.)  Also in the 70s gay pride marches became more common - did you attend any gay pride marches in the 70s?  What do you remember from them?

In NYC the parade is (or was, at least) called the Christopher Street Liberation something, though, of course, it was what has come to be called a "gay pride march."  I find that term misleading, but it seems to have stuck.

There were groups and individuals that I found offensive or ridiculous.  And I was quite snooty about who I thought should and should not be allowed to march.  However, my own attitude about this went against my own very, very, very deep feelings about the servility and cravenness of conforming to impress straights.  I and all my friends (with one exception) had been out before the Stonewall events, and the whole purpose of being out was to have self-respect and not kiss straight ass.  I could not long sustain my Auntie Tom opinions in regard to the parade.  This was a process that took several years for me to go through, and I am grateful that I did not turn my back on the event as I was sometimes tempted to do - I think it would have been a major set-back in freeing myself from some of the more repugnant aspects of white heteronormative socialization.

The parade in NYC in the beginning started in the Village and ended up in Central Park - in the early days it was still a very Sixties affair.  After a few years the direction of the parade was reversed and it started uptown and marched down Fifth Avenue to Greenwich Village, and there was a street festival over between Hudson Street and the Hudson River.  By this point many thousands of people were participating, and they participated in many ways - and, as I said, some of which I was rather snooty about.  The marchers and the crowds watching numbered in the many tens of thousands and it got bigger every year.  By the Eighties, I believe that it was the biggest or second biggest annual parade in the city.

This was the one event in the city where all kinds of gay people (and their clubs and organizations that were forming in these years) got together to celebrate themselves, and I came to feel that this was far more important than whether I wanted hang out with guys in ball gowns or chain mail, or gay Catholics, etc. etc.  I saw the event as a carnival celebration as much as anything, and I was quite happy to be a part of it. 

There were still numerous "opportunities" to conform one's conduct in such a manner as to impress the straights.

Being mainstream straight in America has always meant having to be tightass.  Being gay has on the whole had been a contrary counter stream, even when it was mostly furtive.  The Mardi Gras events in New Orleans and Mobile are somewhat tame straight attempts at bringing the Carnival spirit to America, and I was delighted that these annual gay events brought more of it into our lives.  And I still have many of the same snooty, above-it-all attitudes, but these marches are our celebration, and I am one very small part of our.

Certainly occasions like the Washington march were different, they were aggressively and pointedly political. I did not attend the Washington march, but the reports of it were thrilling.  I was sobered by what seemed the obvious attempts of the govt. authorities in D.C. to attempt to minimize their estimate of the size of the parade, etc.  This impression, along with the Anita Bryant campaign and similar ones, plus the Disco Sucks hate craze that resulted in anti-gay graffiti all over town convinced me that it was important not to duck down.  I could remember hearing the doggeral as a child: "If you're black, stay back; if you're brown, keep down; if you're white, you're all right!"  The last thing I wanted to do as a gay man was to knuckle under and return to what conformity to straights had meant to gay people too.   If some man wanted to get up on a float dressed in a shimmy dress and shoes with eight inch Cuban heels and shake his booty, I remained still a bit embarrassed but happy to walk with him.  And I do believe that it was good for me.

Jack 
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on May 06, 2007, 06:57:36 PM
I'm going to get around to answering my own questions here this next week.  Meanwhile, it seems like me and the two Jacks (well...maybe three Jacks) are the only people here - is this true?  If there are others reading here please say hello and let us know you are still here.

Here are two links associated with Sylvester and the Cockettes.  First a review of Sylvester and his career:

http://www.roctober.com/roctober/greatness/sylvester.html

And second a site from Sweet Pam of the Cockettes:

http://www.noehill.com/cockettes/links.asp

Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: brokebacktom on May 06, 2007, 07:09:42 PM
I'm still here. Loving every minute of it, and learning alot too. YOU all know so much. KEEP up the good work.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on May 06, 2007, 08:21:14 PM
Thanks Tom!  Here is a site I came across while searching for information for another thread - this is the Gay History site for Iowa State University/Ames Gay History (who knew?):

http://www.brumm.com/gaylib/indexa.html
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Mejack on May 06, 2007, 08:39:54 PM
Michael, I read hear every single day!
Was beginning to think there was no gay history after 1970 though  ;D
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on May 06, 2007, 09:15:42 PM
Michael, I read hear every single day!
Was beginning to think there was no gay history after 1970 though  ;D

Sorry!  I've been running the book club for 'The Celluloid Closet' and it has been an extremely daunting project, so I haven't had as much time for this thread as I would like.  I'm planning on posting the list of books I stocked in the bookstore I worked at soon (although I may get a cramp typing).

And here are a few cross posts from 'The Celluloid Closet' thread - here's a review of 'The Boys In The Band' from when it was a play:

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,838329,00.html

I've posted a review of the movie in 'The Celluloid Closet' thread as well.  And here is an interesting  article on gay film in the 70s from Time:

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,841359,00.html
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: BayCityJohn on May 06, 2007, 09:19:05 PM
16.) As we discussed in the last time period discos were very popular during this period. Did you go to gay discos in your area? Do you have any particular memories? If you didn't like disco were there alternative spaces for people like you to get together?

Yes, I spent a lot of time in Discos.

Here in Michigan we went to Dutch's Bar in Saginaw. They had drag shows mostly up until 1978 when it became more of a disco. A small disco. But the place was packed every weekend. Dutch's is named 'Bambi's' now as far as I know. I don't go there anymore.

In late 1979 through mid 1980 I was a substitute DJ at Dutch's. I still have a lot of the records from that year. A good friend of mine was the regular DJ.

I also waited on tables in the bar, and on my first night and very first table I dumped a tray of 12 drinks all over a group of women. Dutch (the owner) felt sorry for me and didn't charge me for that tray, but he did make it clear that I would be charged if it happened again. The women were upset of course, but later on they gave me the biggest tip of the night.

There are 3 gay bars in Saginaw now, but back then Dutch's was the only one. Our closest alternatives were in Flint, 50 miles away, or Detroit, 100 miles.

Flint had 2 bars that I knew of. One was the State Bar on Dort Highway which is still there. They did have a small dance floor, but I wouldn't call it a disco. I'm not sure when it opened, but I believe in was in the 1930's because I remember their 50th anniversary in the late 80's.

The other bar in Flint was the 'Downtowner' on Saginaw St. I can't remember when it closed, but it may have been sometime in the early 80's. This was more of a disco and they had occasional appearances by disco artists. The only one I can remember was Viola Wills but I can't remember what song she sang.

Around 1975-76 there was a third bar that opened in Flint. Henry's Oasis. That place didn't last long.

That was pretty much what we had available. They were all dance oriented. My friend Mike tried to run a small gay bar in Saginaw not far from Dutch's in the late 70's, Club Jules. It was in a very bad part of the bad part of Saginaw and didn't last very long, less than a year I think. There was no dance floor, just a pool table and a juke box.

In June of 1980 I moved to Los Angeles. That was during the height of disco, at least in my mind.

There were a lot of disco's, but my favorites were 'Oil Can Harry's' in Studio City and 'Studio One' in West Hollywood.

(http://www.baycityforums.com/images/studioone.jpg)

(http://www.baycityforums.com/images/studioone200.jpg)

Studio One was the place to be back then. It was the largest disco in Los Angeles. I spent every weekend dancing there for almost a year. Nothing can compare to this club. I don't know the dimensions of the dance floor, but I'm sure it held at least 1,000 people. I can remember performances by Thelma Houston, Sylvester, and Gloria Gaynor. A lot of celebrities would go there as well.


There was also a dinner theatre, the Backlot, attached to Studio One.

But my favorite spot when I wasn't dancing was next door to Studio One. The 'Rose Tattoo', a piano bar.

I'm surprised I can remember anything from that era. I was always very drunk by the end of the night, and usually high on LSD. I am not bragging about it, that's just the way it was for a lot of us back then.

What I do remember is all of the good friends I made back then, and how most of them were gone by 1990. There was not 1 friend that I had in Los Angeles that survived.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: milomorris on May 06, 2007, 09:44:01 PM
I'm going to get around to answering my own questions here this next week.  Meanwhile, it seems like me and the two Jacks (well...maybe three Jacks) are the only people here - is this true?  If there are others reading here please say hello and let us know you are still here.

I'll give these questions a shot. I remember some of these events, but during the years covered I was 11-16 years old so my thoughts, feelings, and opinions were not those of an adult.

Milo
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on May 06, 2007, 09:53:10 PM
Here in Michigan we went to Dutch's Bar in Saginaw. They had drag shows mostly up until 1978 when it became more of a disco. A small disco. But the place was packed every weekend. Dutch's is named 'Bambi's' now as far as I know. I don't go there anymore.

Yep, it's still Bambi's.  I was there earlier in this decade.

It's interesting, because when I was in school in Saginaw (1972-74) I never made it to that bar.  The first gay bar I went to was Rudy Stober's in Lansing (and that would be 1974).  It was one of the 'one of everything' bars - there were leather guys, drag queens, preppy college types and street hustler types.  For those who don't know Lansing is a bit larger than Saginaw - so this was the 'big city' to me.

At around the same time another bar named Joe Covello's 'went gay' (actually it originally went lesbian and then the gay men followed).  Joe's and Stober's both had dance floors, but were small kind of dingy bars.

And then in 1977 or so Trammps opened.  Trammps was the first gay owned gay bar in town.  It had a fancy decor (actually they changed it quite often - the rumor was that one of the lovers who owned it kept changing the bar decor because his boyfriend kept getting bored with the bar).  This was the place where disco really 'broke' in Lansing.  And after Saturday Night Fever happened we had our own tourists there too.

In 1978 (or so) another bar, the Bus Stop, opened a little further down the street from Trammps.   It was originally a straight disco and then they started having 'gay' nights to drum up business.  By the time I left town it was pretty mixed.

From 1977 - 1980 I worked in a record store (back when they were record stores) in East Lansing.  I became kind of well known and in the summer of 1980 I did a rock dance night at Trammps (with  music from groups like Talking Heads, Blondie, B-52s, Buzzcocks, Devo, etc.).

One of the more negative things I remember from this period is that every time there was an election in town there were arrests around the bars.  Police would wait in the parking lot across the street and look for people with open beers, people smoking pot, etc.  I also had a friend who was busted for soliciting when he was picked up hitchhiking.  He got in a van - there was someone in the back (unseen) who witnessed the conversation.  The charge went from soliciting to 'lewd and lascivious conduct' and then was thrown out - but by then it was too late as his boss had found out and he was fired from his job.  He left town shortly after that.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: BayCityJohn on May 06, 2007, 10:04:14 PM
Bambi's/Dutch's bar opened at its current location in the summer of 1974. Dutch owned another bar a few blocks away before that.

I never made it to the Lansing area at that time, but all of the bars Michael mentioned were well known up here in Bay City. Joe Covello's was probably the most talked about one.

When I worked at Dutch's we never had problems with the police. They were easily bribed on weekends with a case of beer after closing time.

Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on May 06, 2007, 10:24:31 PM
One of the things that is interesting, John, is that there was never (to my knowledge) a bar in Bay City - or in Midland, now that I think of it.  And from what I remember the bar in Saginaw was the last bar that you come to in Michigan (going north) till you get to Traverse City.  In the Upper Peninsula I thing there was a bar across the bridge at Sault Saint Marie (in Canada).

This period of time contains the first time I went to the baths as well.  There was a Club baths in Detroit - and I seem to remember that there was another bathhouse on State Fair.  The baths were always interesting to me in that they were integrated.

That was not the case as far as the bars in Detroit went.  It was odd, but the bars in Lansing didn't card people at the door based on race - but in Detroit (particularly at Menjo's) the doorman would card anyone who was Black at the front door - asking for 3 pieces of picture I.D.  And they would often do the same thing to women as well.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on May 06, 2007, 11:16:12 PM
I should mention the documentary 'Gay Sex In the 70s' while talking about this period of time:

http://www.gaysexinthe70s.com/

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0455953/

http://metromix.chicagotribune.com/movies/mmx-060127-movies-review-sex,0,886609.story

It's definitely worth taking a look at.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: BayCityJohn on May 06, 2007, 11:39:17 PM
Michael:

We did have a gay bar in Bay City for a short time in the 70's. It was owned by Mike Revette, but it was only 'gay' on weekends.
Like most bars around here it didn't last long.

And the bath house on State Fair was the Prudential. I used to go there a lot. It was a nice place, and I did not have sex every time I went there. It was a great place to meet people that would never be seen in a gay bar.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on May 07, 2007, 12:20:53 AM
Michael:

We did have a gay bar in Bay City for a short time in the 70's. It was owned by Mike Revette, but it was only 'gay' on weekends.
Like most bars around here it didn't last long.

And the bath house on State Fair was the Prudential. I used to go there a lot. It was a nice place, and I did not have sex every time I went there. It was a great place to meet people that would never be seen in a gay bar.

True enough about the bathhouse on State Fair - I met some very kind people there, and that was not often the case at other bathhouses (talk about feeling like a piece of meat!).

However, that meeting people that would never be in gay bars can cut both ways - I remember meeting a guy in a bathhouse in San Francisco and having him say 'I have a daughter just about your age.'  (Yikes!)

I'd like to say a word about neighborhood bars here - they often serve as a community center, a networking place and the community chest - among other things.  I've been to bars in smaller cities (Lafayette, Indiana comes to mind) where everyone seems to know one another - and they are always very interested in newcomers.  There was another bar in downtown San Antonio that I went to that was like that - the bartender was called 'Abuelita' (grandma) and I asked 'shouldn't that be abuelito?' - they said 'oh no - don't call him that, he'll slap you' [LOL!].

When I think back on this time in my life the bars I remember remind me of those type - a long bar with people sitting around it gossiping.  Bambi's was like that last time I was there, too.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: atruant on May 07, 2007, 04:16:14 PM
I'm still here too, Michael, although I don't necessarily check in every day. Been a little busy lately, but you know all about that!

Of all your questions regarding the 1970-75 period, the first one about Sgt Matlovich really hit home with me. I still have a copy of the magazine! At the time I was serving in Germany with our air force (Canadian), and reading Time Magazine was par for the course. I remember picking this one up and trying to look nonchalant while paying for it, fearful that others in the military bookstore would think I'm queer because I was buying it! My heart went out for Matlovich because I knew where he was coming from. In those days, you couldn't be gay in the Canadian air force either, so I and a couple of others I suspected of being gay were firmly closeted. Matlovich had a lot of balls to do what he did.

I identified with the question about "Cruising" too. I saw it twice, thinking it was pretty avant garde for the times vis a vis portrayal of queers in movies. Things were starting to move along during that period. Progress was glacial, however. It's just sad that it took until 2005 to get something as powerful as Brokeback Mountain out!

Your work here is just amazing, Michael.

Cheers,
John
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on May 07, 2007, 04:57:22 PM
I'm still here too, Michael, although I don't necessarily check in every day. Been a little busy lately, but you know all about that!

Of all your questions regarding the 1970-75 period, the first one about Sgt Matlovich really hit home with me. I still have a copy of the magazine! At the time I was serving in Germany with our air force (Canadian), and reading Time Magazine was par for the course. I remember picking this one up and trying to look nonchalant while paying for it, fearful that others in the military bookstore would think I'm queer because I was buying it! My heart went out for Matlovich because I knew where he was coming from. In those days, you couldn't be gay in the Canadian air force either, so I and a couple of others I suspected of being gay were firmly closeted. Matlovich had a lot of balls to do what he did.

I identified with the question about "Cruising" too. I saw it twice, thinking it was pretty avant garde for the times vis a vis portrayal of queers in movies. Things were starting to move along during that period. Progress was glacial, however. It's just sad that it took until 2005 to get something as powerful as Brokeback Mountain out!

Your work here is just amazing, Michael.

Cheers,
John

Thanks so much for your comments John.  :-*

I can't help but think that Vito Russo would have really liked Brokeback.  It breaks my heart that he didn't get to see it.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Jack too on May 08, 2007, 05:08:59 AM
Quote
Studio One was the place to be back then. It was the largest disco in Los Angeles. I spent every weekend dancing there for almost a year. Nothing can compare to this club. I don't know the dimensions of the dance floor, but I'm sure it held at least 1,000 people. I can remember performances by Thelma Houston, Sylvester, and Gloria Gaynor. A lot of celebrities would go there as well.


I remember that there was an article about this place in one of the national magazines, though I don't remember which one.  The article may have been about the dancing trend itself, but I do seem to remember that it pointed to Studio One as the ne plus ultra.
When The Saint opened in NYC I wondered how much it might be like Studio One.

Jack
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Brokeback_1 on May 08, 2007, 05:44:49 AM
This jack has been in NYC Michael, where only dialup was available in the house.  It was so frustrating after cable that I went online exactly ONCE.  But I would like to take advantage of your kind offer and share memories of the time period....and also ask a few questions of my fellow posters. While back east i asked several friends about their own memories of what I want to ask, got their opinions, their reactions to a few things which went on back in Ye Golden Olden Days. Just give me a chance to unwind, I'll post those questions--with background info--tomorrow!

NYCNOTKANSAS: will you be at Estes Park? I'd very much enjoy speaking with you if you are going!
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: sotoalf on May 08, 2007, 07:58:46 AM
Anybody read Peter Shapiro's Turn The Beat Around, published in 2005? It's the best account of the rise and fall of disco yet written.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Jack too on May 08, 2007, 09:11:57 AM
Quote
NYCNOTKANSAS: will you be at Estes Park? I'd very much enjoy speaking with you if you are going!

Sorry, no...I just realized from your question that I have never been explicit about where I live.  I emigrated from the U.S. in Jan. 2000, and I presently live in SW Portugal.  Talking is, thus, limited to the computer.

Jack
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Jack too on May 08, 2007, 09:40:39 AM
Anybody read Peter Shapiro's Turn The Beat Around, published in 2005? It's the best account of the rise and fall of disco yet written.

I'd like to second that. 

I lived on the Upper West Side of Manhattan for almost thirty years, and experienced gay life there as the neighborhood went from  heavily Latino with a very mixed gay bar clientele (though very few bars) and a very casual ethnically mixed social scene to a neighborhood where most of the gay men were white and there were many bars.  Soul and funk became the gay bar sound in the neighborhood by about '70, and by the mid-Seventies it was disco and a newer, more polished type of Soul.

Although I was in better financial shape in the latter period, I really missed the former rundown, funky, ethnically mixed neighborhood with the rawer types of Soul & Funk and hanging out with a bunch of guys, most of whom, like me, were scratching hard to keep all the bills paid.  I am reminded of an album of Bob Dylan songs by a black gospel choir called Dylan's Gospel.  It had a really smokin' version of I'll Be Your Baby Tonight that could set a place on fire.

For me those years are a mixture of things black, Latino and gay.  And for me this is a great book because it brings all this in. 

Jack
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Jack too on May 08, 2007, 10:59:49 AM
NYC social life in the 70's

I spent most of my socializing time after spring of '78 in Boot Hill, one of the neighborhood bars around the corner from where I lived on Manhattan's Upper West Side, and on weekends I took a cab down to the East Village to dance at a humungous new dance place that opened in '80, the legendary Saint.

But before then sometimes on a weekend night, actually early morning, I would still head downtown to play until dawn.

In Greenwich Village most of the bars, restaurants and shops for gay men were clustered along Christopher Street and ran down to the river and the pier at its western end.  Running north on the waterfront blocks were more were more bars and shops, which encompassed an area of dilapidated old warehouses and the meat-cutting plants of the Washington Market. At 14th Street, the northern boundary of the Village, the character of the area changed abruptly.  The street from Ninth Avenue to the Hudson was a hustling strip for drag prostitutes with the Anvil located at the river end, and north of here were two famous leather bars, the Eagle and the Spike, near the waterfront in Chelsea.   In this northwestern area of the West Village were a scattering of  bars and "clubs", places with names like the Zoo, the Underground, Alex in Wonderland and others, some of which served alcohol after hours and many had "backrooms", i.e. rooms for sex.  In the second half of the Seventies there were three places in this area I visited for awhile.   

The Anvil opened in September 1974 and was the northern Village outpost of this area. (It closed in November 1985.)  Early on it was a simply a very sleazy bar that sold alcohol after legal closing hours till dawn, and which had a tiny dance floor and a far from terrific juke box.  It was on the ground floor of a small building, the upstairs of which was a rundown hotel where some drag queens lived. However, the addition of drag acts, a sex show, a professional DJ and a back room revved up the entertainment level.  The Anvil was one of the few places in this era, in my experience, that regularly featured drag acts as entertainment.  The mix of customers was beyond imagination: some squeaky clean types, leather men, guys who drifted over from the Christopher Street bars - a mix of ages, ethnicities and races, plus in later years,  pickpockets and assorted troublemakers   

For awhile in its early days the Anvil acquired a notoriety that drew bored members of the Rich and Famous set looking for a place to do some new slumming - shades of Cabaret!  (Truman Capote and Princess Radziwill, Jackie Onassis' sister were reputed early visitors, which sounds about right – they were both sleazebags.) 

(A couple of web sites remark on the wonderful drag acts at the Anvil, and how sexy the bar performers were.  Well, that definitely wasn't the case when I was going there -- drugs always seemed to have taken their toll on the performers, but it's possible these acts changed for the better after early '79.)

(http://www.nycnotkansas.com/nyc_pix/Anvil.jpg)
The Anvil

I also went down to a new club, the Paradise Garage, a few times when it was just opening., but I preferred 12 West.  This was in the "Gray Room" era of the Garage, I guess.  The Garage quickly became predominantly black and Latino, though I had a casual friend who was white who would never go dancing anywhere else.  This is the club that record producer Mel Cherin writes about in his book, Keep on Dancin'.

12 West, was a favorite disco for gay men for many years. It was in a shabby warehouse building but on the inside had been renovated in early '75 so that it rather resembled a high school gymnasium – or at least that's what it reminded me of.   It had a great dance floor, incredible sound , and was definitely not an attitude factory.  There was a mix of guys, not just racially or ethnically, but as far as appearance, dress, income.  This was where I first heard DJ Robbie Leslie play.         
     
The Mineshaft on Washington Street  - which I slowly became aware of - ultimately enjoyed a worldwide reputation. The movie Cruising was shot around there. It was in a dumpy warehouse building on the West Village waterfront.  (I always though it had been the site of an illegal after-hours dance place, the Exile, in the early 70's.)  It was an all-night place with the sole purpose of sex and drugs. While initially the Mineshaft started out with a juke box full of current gay favorites, e.g. Ike and Tina Turner's Proud Mary, I remember taped music too.  Their tapes did not feature dance music as such, unless the songs were extremely erotic in orchestration or lyrics. They were an eclectic mix of music and sometimes subtly incorporated sounds and voices calculated to accommodate and enhance the drug and sex fantasy.  I have a copy of one of the last tapes made for the Mineshaft, and it is not music you would want to just sit around and listen to.  It has a vaguely discomforting quality about it when you are listening to it stone sober in the bright light of day. The Mineshaft decor made no effort to be slick or attractive, concentrating instead on sexual fantasy. The bar area had a small bar, tables to sit on (tables provided major during the 70s  - no one ever sat at a table, only on one.)  And there was the mandatory pool table, of course.  Pool tables cropped up in many bars during this era and were an obligatory part of the bar decorator's art. 

Off to one side was an open archway which disappeared into blackness. Once beyond the arch you were into an S&M/sexual fantasy trip. The lighting was minimal, shadowy with only a few dramatic spotlights. There were stalls simulating johns with glory holes cut in the walls; a row of shoeshine chairs mounted on a platform complete with the stanchions for putting your feet on; in the center of this room under a bright spot was a sling and a can of Crisco, there was also a completely empty room lit in blue lights off to one side, a totally dark closet-like room and an alcove with two benches tilted head downwards with cans of Crisco beside them. Below all this was another room with accoutrements for water sports. While everyone arrived clothed, of course, as the hours wore on people drifted in and out of the sex rooms and back into the bar in greater and greater states of undress.......not to mentioned slick with sweat and grease.

The place was open seven days a week from about 11 p.m. to dawn. Wally, the owner, was an affable guy who had had a very straight career in advertising in the Sixties, I have been told, before he discovered drugs and kinky sex – and also discovered that there was a world waiting to be served the same thing. The drugs used here were ludes (methaqualone), grass and all sorts of hallucinogens, and, of course, amyl nitrite. Drugs were almost a necessity, I think, if you were going to be able to stand the incredibly intense atmosphere of the place.  I found it a bit overwhelming, and using drugs inclined me to space out and pay more attention to the music than the flesh – on those occasions when I connected with someone, we left.  To use a totally overworked word - appropriately for once - it was awesome. 

May 25, 1977 the almost century-old Everard Baths at West 28th near Broadway caught fire, a day before a fire sprinkler system was due to be put into operation.  Nine men died, seven were seriously injured.  One of the dead was Jimmy Stuard, the immensely well-liked young DJ at 12 West.  This Continental Baths already long been abandoned by its gay crowd, but there were the New St. Mark's Baths, the Club Baths and others.  I'd stopped going to the baths early in the Seventies. 

Michael Fesco, who had whipped the Ice Palace in Cherry Grove into shape, created a totally different world at Flamingo in 1974.  It was in another part of the city, at Broadway and Houston in an area known now as NoHo and was the hot gay dance club of the last half of the Seventies. While there was little in the way of impressive lighting and décor, the music was superb – Howard Merritt, Richie Rivera – it became so popular that memberships disappeared fast, and were rumored to have sold black market for many hundreds of dollars.  This was reflected in the makeup of the crowd - white with almost no blacks, and in a reputation of drawing its crowd from the Upper East Side and Pines.  Of course, in addition to not being affordable by most ethnic and racial minority gay men, it wasn't a place that your white working class gay grunt or ribbon clerk could patronize either.  Flamingo was a business, and unlike some posh prep school overflowing with guilt and noblesse oblige, no scholarships were handed out.  Clothes, looks, body and attitude were everything.     Flamingo was one end of an axis, the other being the disco at the Sandpiper in the Fire Island Pines.   This was so much so, that Flamingo was almost literally the Pines in an urban winter setting.   Discos made little concession to the seasons. Inside it was always summer at the beach. 

What the Mineshaft was compared to the baths, Flamingo was compared to 12 West and other discos - so overwhelming that it seemed to be revealing an occult level of experience. 

The only reason that I ever got admitted as a guest was because my roommate worked for the Les Mouches dance club, and the owners knew Michael Fesco – otherwise I never would have seen the inside of the place.  The mid-Seventies was the last time I recall seeing any guys dressing up in fancy shirts, gold chains and sexy trousers to go to a disco – though I never saw clothes as 70's trendy as in Saturday Night Fever.  My recollection is that by this time you never saw any of this gear in a regular gay bar and only on a few guys in the trendier clubs.  Levi 501's had taken over. 

(http://www.nycnotkansas.com/nyc_pix/ParadeNYC70s0001.jpg)
Seventies dress style, third guy from the left was a neighbor and close friend

The Sandpiper out in the Fire Island Pines closed on Halloween '79.  It was torn down and replaced by the Pavilion, an enormous structure that looked like it had been inspired by the boxcar, and it no longer bothered with a restaurant business.  (I believe that the Pavilion was demolished a year or two ago, and I have no idea what venue there is for dancing in the Pines, or if, perhaps, the gay era is over out there.)

Someone  has mentioned carding, particularly in reference to black guys.  I have almost no recollection of carding even when I first came to NYC.  The drinking age was 18 for many years in NY State, so perhaps that had something to do with it.  I was only carded later, when I was clearly into my late twenties, and that was because I was suspected of being a cop – inappropriately dressed, buzzed hair in an era of shaggy locks, etc.

My neighborhood had a totally mixed bar scene until gentrification turned it mostly white by about 1975, and race and ethnicity had simply never been an issue.  Oddly enough after the demographic change occurred a new gay bar opened up, the Nickel Bar, which purposely sought a black and Hispanic patronage -  long after the neighborhood ceased to have any sizable group of either, and the customers came down from farther uptown.

There were kerjillion gay dance places in Manhattan by the mid and late 70's.  The very expensive ones were clubs with membership fees and entrance fees as well.  These usually had very few blacks, but then they also had very few working class Latinos and whites too.

The smaller clubs with low door fees, at least the ones I recall, had a mixture of blacks, Latinos and whites.  And you could find all-black and all-Latino places if you went into ethnic neighborhoods. 

Jack

(http://www.nycnotkansas.com/nyc_pix/JonesGrace_B.jpg)
Grace Jones at Studio 54, that's a gun in her hand.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Brokeback_1 on May 09, 2007, 02:30:26 AM
Gay men went through hell and we all know it---mockery, insults, taunts, beatings, social stigma, being murdered just because they were different. The 70's were a time of gay 'coming out', a collective shout that we existed as a community and a group.

Yet this post makes me feel quite awkward.
 
Why?

My friends and I weren't gay. As most of you know, we were  bisexual. I would like to ask my fellow posters questions  concerning the attitudes of a substantial number of gay men during the 1970's towards people like me.

 From the beginning lip service has been given to the idea of 'diversity' within the larger 'sexually nonconformist' community-- lesbians, transgender, bisexuals, etc.-- but it was my experience that during the 70's [and even today, although it is far far far less] numerous gay men  treated bisexuals with almost the same disdain they themselves had experienced from members of the straight society.

Does anyone know about the evolution of attitudes within the gay MALE community as a whole, anything they can say about the subject?

What caused these frustrating and often downright damaging attitudes within so many members of the gay community? Were there actual reasons for these attitudes? Did we as a group do something? Were we just classic victims of people who had themselves been victimised??

While in NYC last week I talked about this with 2 of my bi friends from those days. I was wondering if I was way off base.  One is a captain on the FDNY, the other was my ex BF; and it seems  I was not offbase for we all had the same unpleasant memories.

There are large differences between  gay males and 'genuinely' bisexual males, true. There are a LOT fewer bi men then gay men, of course>>>IMO most of the men labeled bisexual are either gay and in the process of coming out or straight guys open enough to be curious and actually 'check out the other side'. I think "genuine bisexual men" are fairly uncommon, IMO.   'Real' bi males are just as funky as gay ones while being  more or less indistinguishable to society from hetero men. We are, in a way,  a fringe group of a fringe group.

As a lot of you already know, I actively disliked and distrusted gay men during my teens and early 20's due to rather extensive non-familial sexual abuse. My attitudes changed drastically and completely after becoming involved with a number of older, remarkable gay men who offered very deep, emotionally honest  friendships.

Our bisexuality--mine & that of  the bi friends I introduced them to as time went by--tended to baffle my 'old gay buds'. They  did not understand it, BUT THEY ACCEPTED IT, which was in marked contrast to the attitudes of many others.

Last week my friends and I tried to get an approximate count on the number of 70's gay men who had sniffed when we had said we were bisexual. Those guys invariably replied with a  form of the following: "Bi is a pit stop on the highway to gay."

It happened so many times we found counting impossible.

The fireman reminded us of the innumerable times he had been eagerly pursued  because of his looks and occupation. He said about 1/2 refused to believe he was bisexual [see above quote lol]. He was told at various times that it was sad he couldn't have pride and needed to hide under 'bi'; that he was a coward; he had been told to get therapy; he had been mocked for being queer and lying; he had been told he was f**ked up; some --lolol--had offered to give him sex until he was convinced women were not his thing; he had been told he was only a fireman to prove he wasn't gay; he had been told that no man who got into it the way he got into it could possibly like women; he had been told to have some pride and get out of the closet, if not on the job then with his family>>when he said his family knew, he was accused of lying....his list was ENDLESS. That non-acceptance from gay men did a lot of damage. He knew it, said it had taken years to feel good about himself. Why? People who demanded respect FOR WHAT THEY WERE, who had themselves been trashed for being gay and liking men--mocked him for WHAT HE WAS,  because he liked men AND women...

He wasn't part of the club, any club, because he was different.

My BF and I remembered the Queens Of Chelsea who had told us to get out of the closet AFTER we told them we were a couple and were together. What we had was apparently meaningless because we were bi and both liked women, too. We were lectured in a restaurant by one guy who refused to believe we were together until my BF grabbed the back of my head  and stuck his tongue down my throat pleasantly asking if THAT was homo enough for this idiot or did he have to screw me on the dinner table to prove it?? A certain nasty queen segment made so many remarks, and made them  so viciously, we simply did not know what to do any longer. We were was damned by straight people for being together and damned by gay people for being together while saying we liked WOMEN.

You simply could not win. And the bizarre thing was all these people would have happily had sex with any of us while thinking we were f**ked up cowards.

Non-acceptance from straight guys was one thing, non-acceptance by GAY 70's/80's discomaniacs was quite another.

Why did so many gay men have problems with bisexuals? Was it because so many claiming to be bi were really gay and coming out? Was it because so many who couldn't admit they were gay sought refuge in the term bisexual? These attitudes comments and mockery were  ENDEMIC among many many gay men during the 70's in NY, all over the place, it was as if they finally had a chance to dish out what they themselves had recieved, to an even smaller and more vulnerable group....

Why? Any answers would be hugely appreciated.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Nax on May 10, 2007, 04:10:48 AM
Hey Jack here's my take.....

Bi, by its very nature is in the most awkward position of all, that position probably has less understanding by the general populace than any major sexual sub group - neither one thing or the other in many peoples book.  I and I'm sure you, can understand that many men who now declare themselves gay have had relationships with the opposite sex and the reasons for this are many-fold - social pressure, the true nature of their sexuality denied etc. 

I think certainly in the campaging days of the 70's there was a certain stigma in the gay community concerning "bisexuality" and I think again that was an educational thing, it was easy to align oneself with the "gay campaigns" as by their very names and nature they indicated one element of the sexual spectrum.  That did start to change in the late 70's/80's (certainly with organisations I was involved with)

The true bisexual is thought by many as a cop out for being gay - which you and I know not to be true.  I took me a long time to really understand the concept of attraction to both sexes (let alone attraction to the opposite sex being 100% gay).  The truth of the matter is IMHO is that we cannot pigeon hole people into convenient categories (OK it can make understanding easier) as it's a multi-coloured sexual landscape out there  ;)
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: tfferg on May 10, 2007, 05:46:35 AM
I wonder if the reality of bisexual men was too threatening to many gay men of the time. In the '70s, gay men were working to establish their identity and legitimacy as gays, overcome the widespread homophobia in society and their own internalized homophobia and it was all very recent and probably tenuous.

It reminds me of the time I was working in a secondary school with newly-arrived non-Englsih speaking immigrant teenagers, who were very much a small minority. The school was very Anglo-Celtic, but there was a large minority of locally-born sons of non-Anglo immigrant families. The recent arrivasl were ostracized and subject to racist discriminationand persecution to the point of violent assaults if they tried to make friends with the mainstream boys or join in their games in the playground. The nastiest, most violent behaviour was on the part of the second-generation kids from immigrant families. I came to understand that they couldn't be seen to associate with the new arrivals because it would threaten their acceptance and assimilation by the Anglo kids and their wn sense of identity. At that time, mutilcultural attitudes had not become as widespread as they have since in Australia.

I imagine the 70s gay rejection of bisexuals may have related to a similar dynamic.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Jack too on May 10, 2007, 09:19:22 AM
Bisexuality in the 70's, etc.

To some degree, Jack, I think that this statement of yours:
Quote
IMO most of the men labeled bisexual are either gay and in the process of coming out or straight guys open enough to be curious and actually 'check out the other side'. I think "genuine bisexual men" are fairly uncommon, IMO.
   
goes a long way, perhaps, to addressing the question you closed with:
Quote
Why did so many gay men have problems with bisexuals? Was it because so many claiming to be bi were really gay and coming out? Was it because so many who couldn't admit they were gay sought refuge in the term bisexual? These attitudes comments and mockery were  ENDEMIC among many many gay men during the 70's in NY, all over the place, it was as if they finally had a chance to dish out what they themselves had recieved, to an even smaller and more vulnerable group....

I would agree with your description of the difference between the appearance and/or claim of bisexuality, versus those many fewer men who essentially are bisexual, and not on a trip to somewhere else or masking their gayness.  The result, of course, was - and continues to be, I am sure - a great deal of confusion on the part of the gay male observer of "bisexuality."  I use the quotes to draw attention to the difficulty in separating the various groups you indicate.

There were also those men designated as "trade" in the Fifties, Sixties and early Seventies, which can further complicate perceptions.  In my experience this term was reserved for those guys who would hang out with gay men or pick up gay men in the interest of getting a BJ, but who were adamant about being straight. 

(The difference between trade and bisexuality was not always clear.  It certainly wasn't to me in the late Fifties, and in my mind I lumped the two sets of people together as one.  A gay saying that I clearly remember from the Fifties and early Sixties was: "Today's trade is tomorrow's competition.")

But to go back to your statement I quoted above, I think if gay men experienced most "bisexual" men they encountered as later having a gay identity; then it may go a long way toward explaining their lack of credulity and hostility when encountering someone who was bisexual.  Plus, I think the idea that bisexual men were not interested in reciprocal sex was very common too.

My own social experience with men who said they were bisexual was, and is, very limited.  I'd say from the late Fifties to the Eighties I knew perhaps four or five.  None of them were personal friends, but several were good bar friends and had many gay friends.  For a brief while in the early Sixties I peddled my butt in Times Square while out of work.  I was picked up by a couple of guys who claimed to be married and bisexual, and they were interested only in me giving a BJ.  This further reenforced my idea that bisexual men were not interested in reciprocal sex with other men.  For that reason, in the late Seventies, when for the one and only time a bisexual man made a physical pass at me in a dance club I cut him off.  Though I had zero problem with taking an exclusively receptive sexual role with a gay man, I had no interest in doing it with someone whom I thought expected it as his due.  I was not there to be "used" unless you paid.

There can be a somewhat comparable situation in regard to race.  As you can see from the photo I am white, except that that should be "white."  I have one black African greatgrandparent.  This was not something l learned of until quite late in my life.  However, by the usual majority American norms I am, thus, not white.  Most white Americans take this ancestry as a curiosity, though a few have gone into the most convoluted explanations to demonstrate how truly my being "not white" really must mean something other than what it does.  However, those African-Americans who are brown or black complexioned and/or have other black African physical features are sometimes quite hostile.  I can understand why:  In no way has my life been impinged upon by having black African ancestry, on the contrary I, and my mother's entire family, enjoyed all the perogatives of whiteness. 

In both situations, the racial and the sexual, there is a problem of confusing categories plus the perception that one may have been able to enjoy the privileges of the oppressor while not really "deserving" them.

There is a lyric that has just come into my mind.  Didn't Nina Simone have a song with the line, "Oh lord, don't let me be misunderstood...."  With all due respects to anyone's deity, that prayer is in vain.  If it's not one thing, it will be another.  If not about bisexuality, it will be about drag or intersexuality.

Jack (too)




Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Brokeback_1 on May 11, 2007, 12:58:21 AM
You guys deserve enormous respect for taking on a very difficult question. The 70's in some ways were awful if you were bi; it's gotten better since, but that decade still makes me wince. It was nasty in so many ways! It didn't get better until the end of the 80's.

They just couldn't figure out guys who had relationships with both sexes and didn't lie about it.

Thanks, those were damned good answers. If nobody minds, i'm going to quote from them to my friend in the FDNY. He too would love to read them.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Jack too on May 11, 2007, 12:54:11 PM
Gay organizations in the late 70's.

By the end of the decade one of my friends used to kid about what he called "those little envelopes,"  i.e. – fund-raising letters from gay organizations.  The National Gay Task Force had been founded in 1973 by Dr. Howard Brown, the former NYC health administrator under Lindsay, who came out publicly after he left office.  Lambda Legal was also established in the same year after a tussle in court.  The kick-off benefit for SAGE (Senior Action in a Gay Environment) occurred  in the Fire Island Pines in '77. SAGE was the only organization oriented to gay seniors and sought to provide gay-oriented counseling and events for this age group.  In 1980 the Human Rights Campaign Fund was established.   There were beginning to be enough gay-related groups of all sorts in the city that a community center would soon be feasible.  And local straight politicians courted gay voters, at least in those election districts where they formed a large demographic group.

Jack
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on May 11, 2007, 04:26:03 PM
Here's a review of 'The Boys in the Band' from the Advocate.  I've been looking around to see if I can find any indication of protests over the film - this certainly doesn't indicate that there were any in Los Angeles.

A general question here - by the time I started reading 'The Advocate' (77 or so) it had something of the feeling of being stuffy - not edgy at all.  Does anyone know when it started moving in that direction?

Article follows:

Filmed 'Boys' winds up just a nasty exhibition
(no author given)
Advocate May 12-26, 1970
pg 16, 18

National General Corporation ushered in 'The Boys in the Band' with considerable hoopla at their new theatre in L.A.'s Westwood Village.

I took my straight, old mother as sort of counterweight to the impact of the film, figuring to measure her square world against the yardstick of author Mart Crowley's inspiration.

This arrangement brought the picture into a rather frightening perspective.  Director William Friedkin appears to be more concerned with shocking the heterosexual public than in honestly presenting the play in film terms.

On stage at the Huntington Hartford, the actors labeled each other, 'cunts,' 'pricks,' and threw away lines like 'Fuck you!' with a light airy touch that permitted the ironic humor to shine through.  On the wide screen, each epithet is spat, snarled, hissed and whined with the force of a sledgehammer (and in massive close upse, yet).

This technique renders Crowley's brilliant analysis of the gay world less a rapier-like dissection of foibles and a more nasty, ugly and repellent exhibition.  No attempt has been made to expand this piece beyond, perhaps, the clever titles and the lantern-lit, rain-drenched, balcony patio.  Instead, the camera darts around the single-set apartment and moves from spoken line to eye reaction among the nine participants.  And, as the action progresses, Friedkin darkens the mood and the film grows uglier and uglier to hear.

Crowley, serving as his own producer, was bound and determined to make the most homosexually explicit movie ever to break through the barrier of general distribution.  Strangely enough, there is almost no nudity (a brief glimpse of a derrière stepping into a shower is all).  There is no love demonstrated, and even the dancing is screened behind a red filter.  But every one of Mr. Crowley's lines is punched out like little phrases on a privy wall and articulated with rare gusto as if they were gems for posterity.

Excellent Acting

With this kind of closed-in, heavy-breathing technique, the actors play their isolated big scenes and emerge as extraordinary performers in a flamboyantly exaggerated vehicle.

Some of the performances are far better than there is any right to expect.  Kenneth Nelson's Michael is always exciting to watch, often coming across as a younger version of a male Bette Davis.  When he collapses in hysterics at the finish, he cinches an Academy Award nomination next Oscar season.

Peter White's straight Alan is equally moving in its way, a beautifully modulated performance - tender, wise and touching.  Leonard Frey's Harold is far more strident than his stage conception of the part but still on target.  Cliff Gorman's Emory is several light years too broad all the way through, but his telephone conversation with his dentist love will bring tears to your eyes.

When the lights went up, my dear old straight mother said as we left the theatre: "Who needs to see such a depressing film?  I go to the movies for entertainment."  If this reaction is indicative of the mainstream of the straight world, the movie is in for serious difficulties.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: brokebacktom on May 11, 2007, 09:11:50 PM
I feel that 'The Boys in the Band" is one the best films dealing the issue of being gay. It was funny, poignant and full of great acting. i would like to see a remake. But only if they keep the truefulness of the film's approach to total openness. Yet with Hollywood's constant destroying old greats, I guess the best thing is to leave it alone.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Jack too on May 12, 2007, 03:59:36 AM
I feel that 'The Boys in the Band" is one the best films dealing the issue of being gay. ...

An acquaintance sent me this comment about his impression of the film: "I was very young when I first saw that movie. I was alone and troubled by who I was because then not only was it mental shit, but criminal.  When I saw that movie, I thought to myself, I may as well commit suicide than be like that screaming bunch of misfits and unknown to me that was what I did.  I locked the closet door.  It took years to see life differently.  I hate that movie even today.  I tried watching it recently and still hated it."

I had seen the play, have never seen the film.  The play was an accurate, if highly concentrated, reflection of the attitudes that prevailed in the group of guys into which I came out into in 1959.  It was an odious, self-hating, soul-destroying segment of the gay subculture, being in it was like someone had sucked the air out of the room.  Thankfully, oh so thankfully!, after about ten months I escaped it into a somewhat better adjusted, happier group of young men.   

Though initially shocked when I moved to NYC by the wave of police oppression that had commenced there in '59 and lasted more or less until '66, it did have the very positive effect of producing a far better balanced gay subculture, I think.  I found the BITB atmosphere diminished quite a bit, there was a far wider mix of guys in the few bars that were open and gay men had far less tolerance for bitch queen spew when everyone's back was to the wall.  Under duress the atmosphere was actually improved.  And the various winds of change that blew through the Sixties inevitably brought more light and air into the gay subculture.

So many changes were occurring, and I remember one funny, but telling incident at a party in Cherry Grove, Fire Island early in the Sixties.  At this particular party the obligatory Judy Garland songs turned into a marathon when a drunk commandeered the phonograph - the notorious "gin and Judy" syndrome. Some of the younger guys - at least those who weren't into drag numbers and celebrity worship - groused among themselves about the lack of popular music.  "Hasn't anybody here heard of the Marvelettes!?" one guy complained in loud disgust.   

The Fifties (and even the Forties) and the we-are-all-Bette-Davis posturing were slower to die in Cherry Grove than in the city.

By the time the BITB film came out the people I knew and the places I went to in the city already made its world seem antique.  But it is, I think, the same kind of provocative landmark on the gay landscape as Uncle Tom's Cabin is on the race one.

Jack



Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Brokeback_1 on May 12, 2007, 04:08:22 AM
TBITB depressed the hell out of me
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Jack too on May 12, 2007, 10:33:05 AM
Handwriting on the wall.

Early in '78 I tricked for a few weeks with Billy, one of the regulars at a neighborhood bar. He had been rather stocky when I had slept with him, after awhile I saw him around less often when I went out – he had a boyfriend, I heard.  When I did run into him he had lost quite a bit of weight.  Then in 1980 a mutual friend told me that Billy had been very sick for quite a while and had gone to live with his sister. He said the doctor had told Billy that he could not determine what was wrong with him specifically, but that he could not find no way to reverse his diarrhea, wasting and fatigue and that he was not optimistic about the outcome.

In the summer of 1979 I took a new friend, who had never been to Fire Island, out to Cherry Grove for a week. It was my first time back to the Island after a gap of three summers.  While we were out there we met a group of guys that we liked and hung out with, and we saw them occasionally in the City after the summer.  That winter one of them, Ed, became ill with "a rare cancer", which a close acquaintance of his said gave him "spots".  The doctors said that it was a not often seen disease, but hardly ever a fatal one. It was called  Kaposi's Sarcoma, a cancer usually  restricted to elderly men of Mediterranean background. Bill was Irish, in his fifties. Quite unexpectedly he died within a very brief time. The doctors were quite puzzled, I was told.

Jack 
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on May 12, 2007, 11:12:15 AM
"The Boys In The Band" depressed the hell out of me when I was in high school, before I knew any other gay men.  Back then I thought it was a bad film.  It has improved with age, IMHO.  Part of this had to do with my knowing that there were a broader range of gay men than were depicted in the film (an understatement) and partially because it is a study of a particular part of (some) gay male psychology - the 'self-loathing' part.  Given that I've recently met a large number of men who didn't come out till later in life I don't think we're entirely out of the woods so far as that type of attitude goes (although admittedly many of the men I know who came out later had serious external concerns such as discrimination that affected their decisions and self-loathing may have had little to do with it in their case).

What I tend to think about the movie is that it is an interesting view on a certain group of gay men (aspiring upwardly mobile bar queens) which probably doesn't have a whole lot to do with 'gay identity' in general any more.  But just like 'Looking For Mr. Goodbar' raises interesting questions from a feminist perspective, I think that 'Boys' raises interesting questions about how some gay men are self destructive (and how they externalize that to try to tear down their 'friends').

I also think we've reached a stage where we can talk about these things and not worry about 'if it's good for the gays' (to quote Vito's analysis where he compares internal critiques to the way Jewish people analyzed things as if they were 'good for the Jews').  I think it's a good thing and it shows we've matured as a community and realize that it's a big gay world out there and there are a whole lot of different sorts in it.

Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: brokebacktom on May 12, 2007, 12:43:59 PM
I feel that 'The Boys in the Band" is one the best films dealing the issue of being gay. It was funny, poignant and full of great acting. i would like to see a remake. But only if they keep the truefulness of the film's approach to total openness. Yet with Hollywood's constant destroying old greats, I guess the best thing is to leave it alone.

OOOPPSS!! what I forget to say was it was on the 'gay lifestyle' and gay Sterotypes. I still found it to be moving and strong. Mostly the acting.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Jack too on May 15, 2007, 06:59:58 AM

What I tend to think about the movie is that it is an interesting view on a certain group of gay men (aspiring upwardly mobile bar queens) which probably doesn't have a whole lot to do with 'gay identity' in general any more.  But just like 'Looking For Mr. Goodbar' raises interesting questions from a feminist perspective, I think that 'Boys' raises interesting questions about how some gay men are self destructive (and how they externalize that to try to tear down their 'friends').

I may misunderstand what you mean by the term "upwardly mobile."  To me it describes people who are working their way up the socio-economic ladder and for whom this project is a real possibility or likelihood. 

My take is that the bitch-queen syndrome developed  as often as not as a substitute for the lack of upward mobility possibilities, and more specifically for the lack of being able to accomplish this as who one really was, i.e. - a gay man.  A few men, Lincoln Kirstein comes to mind, had the money, personal stability, and the social cachet to rise to powerful positions despite the fact that their homosexuality was an open secret.  I had one close friend, Frank, who came from similar circumstances - his father had been a famous figure in the upper level of our national government early in the 20th century, he was very well educated and connected and had more than average financial resources.  His barely masked homosexuality did not block his development professionally or socially.  And, I think, as a result the over-the-top, non-stop bitchiness such as one sees in BITB played almost no part in his personality, nor in that of his equally fortunate gay friends.  Why should it have?  Their sexual orientation had proved to be no impediment as long as it was handled discretely.

Another group of upward mobile gay men that I met in NYC was a small clique, who despite humble origins and no financial means, but through cultivating the proper social image - dress, manners, etc., were in the process of acquiring wealthy fiancees from the Social Register set.  They were, at least when I knew them, having a good deal of success climbing the social ladder, and in their gay lives expressed none of the BITB bitchiness and hostility. 

(Then, of course, you had gay men who had no particularly great career or social aspirations that met with frustration.)

However, this coincidence of luck and social skill is not widespread, and many men with reasonably decent educations and perhaps even better than average intelligence would find themselves blocked in the mainstream het world having to totally pass for straight in order to maximize their chances for success.  Otherwise in the Fifties and Sixties one ended up, as women did, limited and controlled by straight males. 

It was a bitter paradox, I think, that gay men in those decades were perceived as female wannabes or quasi-women by straight men, and that in turn so many of them turned to the role of viper-tongued Bette Davises and Joan Crawfords as a fantasy rebellion.  But it was a style of rebellion that confirmed the original stereotyping, and so the circle was made.

Thus, I am inclined to think that the behavior is (oftentimes) about frustrated aspirations of upward mobility. 

And I don't feel that it is surprising that some men, unwilling to try the passing act, pursued successful professional and social careers in fields where they served women, who, of course, "served" men, i.e. they became courtiers to courtesans in a sense, a world in which heteronormative masculine behavior would have been an impediment and even a danger.

Jack

Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Jack too on May 15, 2007, 12:31:37 PM

What I tend to think about the movie is that it is an interesting view on a certain group of gay men (aspiring upwardly mobile bar queens) which probably doesn't have a whole lot to do with 'gay identity' in general any more.  But just like 'Looking For Mr. Goodbar' raises interesting questions from a feminist perspective, I think that 'Boys' raises interesting questions about how some gay men are self destructive (and how they externalize that to try to tear down their 'friends').

I may misunderstand what you mean by the term "upwardly mobile."  To me it describes people who are working their way up the socio-economic ladder and for whom this project is a real possibility or likelihood. 

My take is that the bitch-queen syndrome may have developed as a result of the lack of upward mobility possibilities, and more specifically for the lack of being able to accomplish this as who one really was, i.e. - a gay man.  A few men, Lincoln Kirstein comes to mind, had the money, personal stability, and the social cachet to rise to powerful positions despite the fact that their homosexuality was an open secret.  I had one close friend, Frank, who came from similar circumstances - his father had been a famous figure in the upper level of our national government early in the 20th century, he was very well educated and connected and had more than average financial resources.  His barely masked homosexuality did not block his development professionally or socially.  And, I think, as a result the over-the-top, non-stop bitchiness such as one sees in BITB played almost no part in his personality, nor in that of his equally fortunate gay friends.  Why should it have?  Their sexual orientation had proved to be no impediment as long as it was handled discretely.

Another group of upward mobile gay men that I met in NYC was a small clique, who despite humble origins and no financial means, but through cultivating the proper social image - dress, manners, etc., were in the process of acquiring wealthy fiancees from the Social Register set.  They were, at least when I knew them, having a good deal of success climbing the social ladder, and in their gay lives expressed none of the BITB bitchiness and hostility. 

(Then, of course, you had gay men who had no particularly great career or social aspirations that met with frustration.)

However, this coincidence of luck and social skill is not widespread, and many men with reasonably decent educations and perhaps even better than average intelligence would find themselves blocked in the mainstream het world having to totally pass for straight in order to maximize their chances for success.  Otherwise in the Fifties and Sixties one ended up, as women did, limited and controlled by straight males. 

It was a bitter paradox, I think, that gay men in those decades were perceived as female wannabes or quasi-women by straight men, and that in turn so many of them turned to the role of viper-tongued Bette Davises and Joan Crawfords as a fantasy rebellion.  But it was a style of rebellion that confirmed the original stereotyping, and so the circle was made.

Thus, I am inclined to think that the behavior is (oftentimes) about frustrated aspirations of upward mobility. 

And I don't feel that it is surprising that some men, unwilling to try the passing act, pursued successful professional and social careers in fields where they served women, who, of course, "served" men, i.e. they became courtiers to courtesans in a sense, a world in which heteronormative masculine behavior would have been an impediment and even a danger.

Jack


Quote
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on May 15, 2007, 03:47:09 PM
Jack, you make very good points - I will comment more on them either tonight (when I get home from work) or tomorrow.

I think that rising expectations vs. upward mobility aspirations may have something to do with this all.

Of course I just thought they were dumb in the 70s.  But then again I was marxist then - Izod shirts and Karl Lagerfeld cologne didn't seem to be priorities to me (and I always thought that the people who wonder why they weren't were a bit dull).  As you can imagine, this led to many interesting conversations in the bar.  :D :D :D

And, in part, explains why I spent a whole lot more time with lesbians than gay men.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Jack too on May 15, 2007, 04:02:02 PM

And, in part, explains why I spent a whole lot more time with lesbians than gay men.

I think in the context of discussions on these kinds of points this is one of the funnier comments I've heard, though I can believe that you mean it!

Well, it is bedtime here in the Old World, so I shall look forward to your comments tomorrow.

Jack
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on May 15, 2007, 04:06:11 PM

And, in part, explains why I spent a whole lot more time with lesbians than gay men.

I think in the context of discussions on these kinds of points this is one of the funnier comments I've heard, though I can believe that you mean it!

Well, it is bedtime here in the Old World, so I shall look forward to your comments tomorrow.

Jack

 :D :D :D

Yes...well it helps if I explain that I was getting a minor in Women's Studies at my university at the time.  And I had a lesbian boss in the bookstore I worked in and lived with two women who were a couple for a while.  I had severe lesbian envy at this period of my life - there were women's bookstores, women's music festivals, women's music and it seemed like all men were interested in were the bars and the baths (not that they didn't have their attractions  ;)).

Things changed when I moved to San Francisco, but in the late 70s this is where I was at!
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on May 15, 2007, 04:38:29 PM
Here's a good site for a summary of what was going on in the 70s in San Francisco:

http://www.shapingsf.org/ezine/gay/files/70s.html
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on May 16, 2007, 02:17:03 AM
Here are my responses to the late 70s questions:

1.)  Sgt. Leonard Matlovich {snip}

I was strangely moved by Sgt. Matlovich's case.  I say strangely, because I protested the Vietnam war and was generally anti-military.  And yet I was moved by his attempt to stay in the Air Force and was proud of him.  I got a copy of this magazine and kept it for years (I may still even have a copy).

2.)  Also in 1975 Mary Jo Risher became one of the most high profile lesbians to fight for custody of a child.  Here fight was made into the made for TV movie 'A Question of Love' in 1978.  Do you remember any similar custody cases from this period or do you remember the movie?  What were its effects on you?

I was not aware of the case when it came up in 1985, but I did see the television show - and I was quited moved by it.  Again, this was kind of strange for me because I wasn't interested in having children myself and had been actively involved in the pro-choice movement in the early 70s (before Roe v. Wade happened).  Regardless, I thought it was wrong to take away someone's child because of their sexual preferance.

3.)  In June, 1976 the platform of the Democratic Party was put in place with no 'purple' plank - that is, there was no inclusion of a call for gay rights in the platform.  This was a change from the 1972 platform where there was an 11 hour debate on issues such as gay rights - do you remember this - did this affect your opinions on politics at the time?

I was not aware of this at the time, but it would not have surprised me.  I was a big McGovern booster and pretty much gave up on politics on the national level when he lost.  I've always voted, but I just didn't really feel that national party politics had much to do with my life - and I didn't feel that it did again until I was involved in fighting for my friends lives in the 80s.

4.)  As I have mentioned in the previous period, this period was preceded by the first LGBT candidates in office.  Do you remember any candidates or campaigns for office in your area?

Strangely enough I was not aware of the LGBT candidates in Ann Arbor.  The first candidate that I was aware of was Elaine Noble.  And of course I was aware of Harvey Milk too.

5.)  In January 1977 Dade County Florida passed a Human Rights ordinance that became effective on Feb. 17 of that year and started Anita Bryant off on her 'Save Our Children' campaign.  Do you remember the campaign?  What effect did it have on your local communities? 

By 1977 I was working in both a book and a record store in East Lansing, Michigan.  I started a lesbian and gay book section in the bookstore and (I think to a large degree because of Anita) talked my boss into letting me do a Gay Pride month display in the front window of the store.  I also recall getting in the single 'F*** Anita Bryant' by David Allan Coe at the record store.  It was the first notion I had that country music could be rebellous.  I tried talking to members of my family about Anita with mixed success - I had a sister tell me that she had a friend who had been approached at church by a man who told her that he was gay and Catholic.  The friend said 'If another person tells me that I'll just be sick.'  Needless to say, I didn't talk to that sister about this much again.  These conversations fueled my desire to move from the midwest to California.

6.)  Following the Dade County vote there were votes in other cities that overturned gay rights (including Eugene, Oregon; Saint Paul, MN and Wichita, Kansas).  Were you living in any of these areas during the campaign or do you remember them?

I certainly remember them - it was a very, very depressing time. 

7.)  Do you remember the Orange Juice boycott following the gay rights ordinances failure?

I read about this in 'The Advocate'.

8.]  In California following the defeat of gay rights ordinances and the banning of gay teachers in Oklahoma and Arkansas Senator John Briggs, a former insurance salesman, proposed banning anyone from teaching who 'advocated, promoted or encouraged' homosexuality.  Do you remember the Briggs initiative?  Did it have any impact on discussions where you lived?

In the summer of 1978 I visited San Francisco for the first time - and I went to the offices of the 'No on 6' campaign (the Briggs initiative was Proposition 6) and bought a t-shirt and button, which I still have.  I was certainly aware of this.

9.)  Harvey Milk became a San Francisco City Councilman in November, 1977.  Do you remember his election?  Were you aware of his work against the Briggs initiative?  When he was shot in city hall do you remember the coverage?

I remember that when Harvey Milk became a supervisor I felt just about the opposite of what I felt when the ordinances were overturned in Eugene and the other cities - it gave me a sense of hope and pride.  As I said, I went to the offices of the campaign in San Francisco, so I was aware of his work with them.  I was shocked and saddened by his death - it came shortly after the Jonestown massacre, and it seemed like San Francisco was going crazy.

10.) In 1979 there were protests surrounding the film 'Cruising.'  Do you remember the protests?  Did you see the film? Did you think the protests were justified?

I did know about the protests and I didn't see the film at the time.

11.)  On October 14, 1979 the first national gay rights march took place in Washington D.C.  Were you there?  If so, please share your memories.

I went to the march with friends.  We drove down in two cars and stayed at the brother of a friend from Lansing.  It was exhilerating seeing so many different people from so many places.  I still remember the 'Klondykes' from Alaska.  It gave me gooseflesh when people from all of the states lined up under their banners.

12.)  Also in the 70s gay pride marches became de riguer - did you attend any gay pride marches in the 70s?  What do you remember from them?

I didn't go to any gay pride marches (aside from the national march) until I moved to San Francisco.  My first one was in 1981.

13.)  Gay and lesbian books became big business during the late 70s.  A few big titles were 'Rubyfruit Jungle', 'Taking Care of Mrs. Carroll', 'Sexual Outlaw', 'Dancer from the Dance', 'Tales of the City' and 'Faggots.'  Do you remember reading these or any other LGBT books during this time?  Did you visit any LGBT bookstores? 

Of the books I mentioned I read 'Rubyfruit Jungle' (loved it), 'Dancer from the Dance' (hated it) and 'Tales of the City' (I was charmed by it).  I believe I've already mentioned that I read 'Christopher and His Kind' by Christopher Isherwood when it came out - I loved that book.  A few other books I read at this time included 'The David Kopay Story', 'After You're Out' and 'Lesbian Nation.'  When I went to the march on Washinton I went to Lambda Rising and when I visited San Francisco I went to the Walt Whitman bookstore.

14.)  There was also more coverage of LGBT issues on television including 'A Question of Love', 'The Naked Civil Servant', 'The War Widow', 'Sergeant Matlovich vs. U.S. Air Force' and T.V. shows like 'Soap.'  Do you remember any particular gay/lesbian programing in the Seventies that caught your eye?

I loved 'The Naked Civil Servant' (I had read the book).  I saw 'A Question of Love' - it was alright.  And I remember Billy Crystal in 'Soap' - he was quite funny in that. 

15.)  In 1977 in San Francisco the murder of Robert Hillsborough by fag bashers sparked an outpouring of outrage and grief (http://thecastro.net/parade/parade/hillsborough77.html) and led to the formation of Community United Against Violence, an organization that keeps statistics on violence against LGBT people.  Do you remember any violence of this nature in your area?

I had rocks and bottles thrown at me on the streets of East Lansing and Detroit (in Detroit it was when I was going to a Devo concert - I had a bottle thrown that shattered right in front of me as the car sped by an someone yelled 'Devo faggots' out of the window).  It wasn't a fun time.

16.)  As we discussed in the last time period discos were very popular during this period.  Did you go to gay discos in your area?  Do you have any particular memories?  If you didn't like disco were there alternative spaces for people like you to get together?

I've already talked about the discos I went to in Lansing - I also went to the Trocadero when I visited San Francisco and went to discos in Detroit.

17.)  The punk movement also happened during this period.  As a group punks had both positive and negative responses to homosexuality - do your remember any of these?  Did you know about the Tom Robinson Band?  Did you know about Wayne County and the Electric Chairs?

Yep - I knew about Tom Robinson - although I liked him more for his politics than his music.  And I was a big fan of both Wayne and Jayne County.

18.)  In Canada the Truxx bar was raided in Montreal and 'The Body Politic' was the national gay newspaper.  Do you remember reading the 'Body Politic' or the raids in Montreal? 

I read 'The Body Politic' regularly - I thought it was a much better source of news than 'The Advocate.'  And I do remember the raid on Truxx.

19.)  In the late 70s the 'Rocky Horror Picture Show' gave a lot of young people a non-threatening way to deal with sexual diversity and fun.  Did you attend the 'Rocky Horror Picture Show' during this period?  Do you have any memories to share?

Yes - I went to 'Rocky Horror' in Lansing with a group of friends once - and we did all of the audience participation we were supposed to - one of the friends I was with dressed as Frank-n-furter.

20.)  It was also during this period that Gay film festivals started - beginning in San Francisco in 1977.  Do you remember any particular films from this period?  Did you see 'Outrageous'?  Do you remember seeing 'Word Is Out'?

I remember seeing 'Outrageous' - but I think I didn't see it till I was in San Francisco.  I did see 'Word Is Out' in East Lansing - there was a showing of it on Michigan State University's campus.  I also remember seeing 'A Very Natural Thing' in East Lansing - and remember the gasps and boos from the audience (I could never figure out why people went to films they thought would offend them).

21.)  The 'White Night Riots' happened in San Francisco on May 21, 1979 in response to the verdicts of the murder trial of Dan White.  Were you in San Francisco at the time?  Do you remember the White Night Riots?  If so, please share your memories.

I was not in San Francisco when this happened.  However one of the people I know who was here told me about gay men locking their arms together in front of City Hall to prevent the doors from being smashed - and then being attacked by the police.  And he also mentioned that for weeks before the verdict there were spontaneous demonstrations in town.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Jack too on May 16, 2007, 11:32:25 AM


Yes...well it helps if I explain that I was getting a minor in Women's Studies at my university at the time.  And I had a lesbian boss in the bookstore I worked in and lived with two women who were a couple for a while.  I had severe lesbian envy at this period of my life - there were women's bookstores, women's music festivals, women's music and it seemed like all men were interested in were the bars and the baths (not that they didn't have their attractions  ;)).

What a contrast to my own experience and my observations.  I would say that from the late 50's, when I came out, up to the second half of the 80's gay men and lesbians did very little socializing together.  Back in '58 and '59 in Syracuse there was a mixed crowd at one bar (a horrendous dive) and at an after-hours "club," where the crowd was 50-50.  This was with townies, not on the university campus, where an atmosphere of something like Third Reich paranoia existed.

In NYC in '59 I was told that women did not want men coming to their bars, not straight certainly, but that they were not interested in having gay men there either.  I must say that except for dance bars, the only women I ever say in a men's gay bars then were straight women - and few of those.  When Gay Liberation began in '66 with the Sip-In and the change to a new gay-accepting administration, the picture didn't change significantly. 

In politics the Gay Liberation Front had a mixed group, but was more male and it died a quick death in any case.  The Gay Activist Alliance attracted more women, but again the organization was dead within less than three years.  But these were very tiny groups of people, despite the impression one may get from reading some of the standard gay histories, but in fact their impact on gay life in the city was marginal.  The great mass of gay men and lesbians were not involved in these groups, and men and women continued on their separate ways.  You did have men and women sharing social space (to a limited degree in Cherry Grove on Fire Island), and in gay restaurants in the city the crowd would be mixed and in some discos.  (My experience with dance venues was that the more affordable and usually racially mixed ones rarely had women in them.)  Les Mouches, a trendy place that opened just after the midpoint of the 70's had women in the crowd.   

Lesbians, it seemed to me, found a focus in Feminism - and though Feminism had/has many vagaries, and runs from the sublime to the ridiculous (which being which depending upon who you ask) I think it was an enormously positive experience for lesbians.

We had, of course, something close to six years of unstable, unsupportive gay life in the city because of the very aggressive police activity of the Wagner administration.  And I believe that the establishment of legal gay bars after '66 had a profoundly positive effect on gay male social life in NYC.  (I expect that the same may have been true regarding that of lesbians to a lesser degree,  though I have no first hand knowledge.)  While some gay bars for men were exclusively for sexual tourism, many were neighborhood "clubhouses," as well a cruising place and provided very supportive environments.  I had some of the greatest conversations I can recall with other men in the Boot Hill bar, a bar in the Upper West Side neighborhood - everything from the music of Heinrik Schutz to whether a long-term roommate relationship wasn't preferable to seeking a lover, etc. 

On the other hand, I would have to say that for me one of the biggest disappointments in gay life has been the failure of gay men at any point in the past half century to foster an intellectual movement that examines the life of gay men - something with the independence and energy of Feminists.  Gay men have been content to read from the gospels of Feminism, political correctness and Queer Theory, and very few have put other people's texts on the shelf and said - OK, let's take our own look at ourselves.  Michael Warner comes to mind and sometimes, very tentatively, Richard Mohr and certainly Lee Edelman and the Europeans Didier Eribon, Henning Beck and perhaps the later Foucault...and in other areas, Jarman and Paosolini, and Thom Gunn.  However, on the whole it is very tame and gay men seem to either ignore things altogether or be obedient to the existing isms.

There may have been specific reasons that such did not take place in the 70's, of course.

My own personal project of the 70's, after establishing myself in a new work environment (a huge publicly funded university) as a gay man, was to work to make the environment more accepting not only of me, but other gay people.  The university was cutting edge liberal on issues regarding women and race, with quotas and headcounts all over the place - but absolutely none of this transferred over to gay people.  The idea entered my head when a very effeminate gay man, a clerk-typist, was transferred to our department because his boss didn't want him working for him, and our Vice Chancellor (to my surprise) told our department to take him as he was not going to just toss this guy to Personnel as if he were the "problem."  I hired quite a few temp workers for our office, and I began to let gay men in my neighborhood know when there were positions available.  I also brought my boyfriend of the time to social events that some of the upper level staff gave in their homes.  There was only one upper level African-American on the staff, a straight guy, and we got along extremely well.  And he hired two black, gay guys from our work study program to be permanent staff members. 

At the end of five years our unit had a number of totally out gay people, and being gay was zero problem there - quite in contrast to the other major part of the university's central administration, which was located in another part of town, where only low-level, effeminate clericals were out and all the gay people at higher levels were still into passing - and the homophobia could be cut with an axe it was so blatant and casual.  This central office never did mandate an equality policy for gays, nor one for persons with AIDS until the late Eighties, by which time many of the constituent colleges had already addressed these issues on their own.

Jack     



Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on May 16, 2007, 12:21:07 PM
Here are a few more thoughts on my relationships lesbians and lesbian groups in the 70s

Up until the time I moved to East Lansing (in 1974) I had known only one lesbian couple - and they were so closeted that they didn't even identify as such.  But we were close friends and I visited them when they moved from the campus in Saginaw to Port Huron.  I was much more political than they were - I read 'Lesbian Nation' in 1973 and had been involved in the pro-choice movement.  On the whole they weren't that interested in that.

When I moved to East Lansing I had a woman friend (who was straight at that time) who told me about the burgeoning Women Studies department.  There was a professor there, Marilyn Frye, who was a big philosophical mover - a very interesting teacher.  Much of her work was centered around rape and it's relationship to the male/female dynamic.  I got interested in the department and started taking classes.

Much of what you indicate, Jack, was true of the Women's Studies department.  They did not want men hanging around generally.  I was pretty much able to get around this by respecting the notion of 'personal space' and explaining that I was attempting to determine the relationship between radical feminism and being a gay man.  Although it sounds very strange to say, it didn't hurt that I had experienced a rape attempt by a group of straight men on the Saginaw Valley campus.  And the experiences I had with anti-gay violence seemed very pertinent to the 'rape culture' philosophy which was being espoused at the time.

It was not an easy relationship - there was a lot of mistrust on their side and I understood it.  But what radical feminism often did was to give a philosophical structure for attempting to build an alternative life.  And some of the things I learned there (specifically concerning medicine and the way people who are not in power are treated) would be very, very germane to what I would see when AIDS came. 

There was not a lesbian bar in Lansing.  Most of the 'bar dykes' (as they came to be known) went to Joe Covello's - which had initially been a mixed gay bar and then started losing more men when the fancier Trammps  opened.

I too was looking for a philosophical center to what being a gay man meant.  There were some people (the effeminists) who attempted to create this sort of philosophy.  There were also rural communal gays and gays associated with food co-ops that were attempting to create a 'live off the land' sort of philosophy.  The effeminist philosophy appealed to me - somewhat - but seemed to be both derivative and not able to deal with what the whole male experience.  As for 'back to the earth' - well, I originally came from a farming community and had more than enough of that by the 70s.

By the time that I graduated from college it was really pretty clear to me that my place was not with the radical feminists - it took way too much manipulation and deference to live in that world (and, if you can't tell by now, I have a hard time holding my tongue).  Plus silly things were happening like arguments about S & M women and teen male children being allowed at the Michigan Womyn's Music festival.  Also, I had big problems with the radical feminist analysis of transvestism - I knew way too many people for whom that was a central part of their life to believe that they were (consciously or unconsciously) 'making fun of women.'

What I was left with from this academic experience was a notion that you could seriously apply gender issues to an academic framework.  It gave me a good basis for a lot of reading that I was doing.  It also taught me to analyze minority status in terms of economics (which was pretty frightening, given that many of the gay men I knew were living at the very upper limits of their credit ranges to appear 'fabulous').  And it gave me a body of knowledge that would help me become friends with women in San Francisco - some of whom I'm friendly with up to today.
 
I also was pretty impressed with some of the community building efforts that were going on in the lesbian community - having music labels, festivals and bookstores (in out of the way areas like East Lansing) was pretty impressive to me.  It was something that stayed with me when I moved to the west coast and a notion I still have - that LGBT culture should emphasize building institutions that exist outside of the bar and bath environment - not because of any negative implications of those institutions, but because they will always be there (and don't satisfy all of our needs by any means).
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Brokeback_1 on May 17, 2007, 02:00:01 AM
My friend went to a lesbian bar called Henrietta's  with some lipstick-type lesbians----until the 'diesel' lesbians told him to stop coming as it was inappropriate for him to be there.

LOL
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on May 17, 2007, 02:15:10 PM
My friend went to a lesbian bar called Henrietta's  with some lipstick-type lesbians----until the 'diesel' lesbians told him to stop coming as it was inappropriate for him to be there.

LOL

Actually I didn't start going to lesbian bars till I came to San Francisco.  By the time I got out here things were getting more mixed - so it wasn't as big of an issue.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on May 17, 2007, 06:09:25 PM
Here are some sites relevant to the White Night Riots - the first gay riots after stonewall:

http://thecastro.net/milk/whitenight.html

http://www.shapingsf.org/ezine/gay/files/whitengt.htm

http://www.shapingsf.org/ezine/gay/files/riot79.htm

http://www.archive.org/details/ssfWhitent1

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_Night_Riots

http://www.answers.com/topic/white-night-riots

http://www.notfrisco.com/colmatales/moscone/mosc3.html#whitenote
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Jack too on May 19, 2007, 06:33:56 AM
The Saint dance club (1980) and the Garage in NYC

The old Fillmore East on 2nd Ave., one of Phil Graham's defunct shrines of rock music, was gutted and fitted out as an enormous dance club by Bruce Mailman - who had already revived the grungy St. Marks Baths - with membership costing several hundred dollars a year, plus an admission charge each time you attended, and higher prices for special party nights.  The straight disco scene might be expiring, but gay men were still dancing, and they were doing it, figuratively at least, on one of the graves of  the Sixties rock world.     

Inside the former Fillmore East had totally vanished and been replaced by a three-level dance palace fantasy.  The first floor contained the lobby which opened up onto the coat rooms, on either side were the old marble stairways which went upstairs to the dance floor, while straight ahead was a bar and lounge.  You could also go upstairs via two industrial type mesh-enclosed spiral stairways from the front of the lounge.  My recollection is that the capacity was 3,000.

Once upstairs you were actually outside the dance floor.  At the rear area you were on large balconies which overlooked the first floor, and in the front you were at the back of the former mezzanine where there were johns and some lounging space.  In neither case were you able to see the dance floor - though the roar was like thunder over surf.

The dance area itself was round, and covered in a gigantic metal dome 80 feet high, which came almost all the way down to the floor and was entered through one of four entrances which came up under it.  You walked up about five stairs and found yourself inside of what appeared to be an enormous colander.  In the center of the dance floor was a tall mirrored pedestal on top of which was mounted the same type of projection equipment as is used in planetariums.  The interior rim of the circular dance floor was surrounded by three steps of carpeted bleacher seats, except where it was overlooked by the DJ's raised booth, which also housed the lighting technician.

None of this description really captures anything of what it was like to come up through the place and arrive at this point.

It is no exaggeration to say that The Saint was built for "Industrial Strength" sensation.

I have no recollection of what a regular season membership cost.  However, I have several receipts for the rental of a locker, which cost $40.00 per season.  And folded around my summer '86 membership card is a Saint bookkeeper's receipt dated May 11th for $150.00, which I assume was the cost for the summer.  Members were also charged a fee at the door - this varied from $12.00 to $20.00, depending upon the occasion, plus $20.00 for the guest.  Charges for the short summer season were much lower than for the rest of the year. 

Membership was overwhelmingly white, though with plenty of Hispanics in my experience, and a small number of Asians - I remember only seeing an occasional black person.  It seemed to consist mainly of men from their mid-twenties to late thirties, though there were younger and older men as well.  If asked to guess, I would have said that most of the members had mid-level white collar jobs, but as a matter of fact, many of the guys I knew or met there had low level clerical jobs or were waiters or other non-white collar workers.  So, with the exception of the very low number of blacks, the crowd may not been heavily skewed.  We made jokes sometimes about a Fire Island Pines/Saint Axis, and without a doubt there were guys whose lives justified that term.  But most of the members I knew would not have able to consider a summer in the Pines as part of their regular lifestyle - including me.

The Saint has been characterized on one web site as "catering predominantly to the gay-lesbian community."  This is a load of crap.  It was intended to be - and was - a club for gay men.  This policy was adhered to very strongly.  At one point owner Bruce Mailman had party nights especially for a straight group of clubbers on a week night, but otherwise straights (as guests) were never anything but a tiny handful of the regular weekend or holiday crowd.  And it was certainly not a place for anything like "the gay-lesbian community" either.  The attendance of women was not encouraged at all.  One night a year there was a specially promoted open night (can't remember what it was actually called), and on this night women were welcomed - otherwise they were as rare as dinosaurs.  The first time I went to this special guest night, a much younger friend, Mark, and his buddies derisively described it as "Fish City," and skipped going.  It was hardly that.  The fact that there were a visible number of women in the crowd made it a unique night, but even then they were only a very small part of it.  What I noticed more was that the crowd was smaller than usual, leading me to wonder if a fair number of men didn't share Mark's feelings, and, on the other hand, I wondered too if in fact there were not that many women interested in attending what was known to be a gay men's club.  However, in an era when bars and clubs littered the New York landscape - some catering to one sex or ethnic group or sexual orientation, and others being mixed - The Saint's policy was not remarkable.

I have read (but I cannot remember where now) a brief remark by one of San Francisco's Cockettes to the effect that The Saint promoted such an male image that he felt like a freak as a drag in a gay environment.  Without a doubt the management did not encourage drag, however, a crucial problem could have been this guys style of drag.  I saw TV's there, but they looked like women and not drag queens, and they simply mixed with the dance crowd and were not into the usual drag posing.

There was another large, but less spectacular club in the south part of the west Village, the Garage, which had a clientele that was mainly black and Latino, with a small number of white people.  Record producer Mel Cheren has written an autobiography that contains considerable material about the Garage.  Contrary to The Saint, which had a roster of DJ's, Larry Levan, a black man was the resident DJ and Deity at the garage.  His personality and tastes essentially created a major part of the club's ambiance.  The club had not been intended to be primarily for blacks and Latinos (it was owned by a white man), but the fact that Levan was black, and that his choice of music was more distinctively black than the music at The Saint, may have accounted for the fact that the Garage attracted the ethnic crowd that it did.  Levan, like other minority DJ's, was good enough to get a crack at doing the mixing for commercial recordings.  The style of music known as "garage music" had its origins here.  This club opened a couple of years before The Saint.   

(http://www.nycnotkansas.com/nyc_pix/SaintDome.jpg)

Jack

http://nndb.com/people/560/000044428/ - Bill Graham - creator of those rock temples, Fillmore West and Fillmore East       

http://www.mylandofmakebelieve.com/  - The Saint - Land of Make Believe site - great site, a bit confusing to navigate

http://www.andwedanced.com/venues/pgarage.htm  - Paradise Garage site

http://www.westendrecords.com/staff/mel.php3 - Mel Cheren/West End Records, an unfortunately difficult site to read because of the use of a fine type face in color on a black background.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Jack too on May 19, 2007, 06:59:10 AM
70's Miscellany

This is just a listing of sites about people or whatever that remind me of my gay life in the Seventies.  None of the pages open with photos of sexual nudity, by the way.

http://www.betteontheboards.com/boards/magazine-03.htm - Bette Midler at the Baths, not a good night!

http://www.doricwilson.com/  - Doric Wilson, pioneer of gay theatre in NYC

http://www.dreamlandnews.com/  - smashing John Waters site

http://www.brightlightsfilm.com/49/halsted.htm  - Fred Halsted, seen by some as the sucessor to Kenneth Anger

http://www.dawnsbday.com/dawn.html  - bio of Dawn Hampton, an entertainer who appeared in many gay cabarets

http://www.bpib.com/illustra2/odom.htm - page on Mel Odom, a gay Upper West Side artist whose work was ubiquitous in the    Seventies

http://www.gaytoday.badpuppy.com/garchive/reviews/112000re.htm - brief page on Al Parker, 70's/80's gay XXX superstar

http://www.queertheory.com/histories/c/cavafy_constantine.htm  -  Constantine Cavafy.  This site has interesting info on the poet and great links to other sites concerning him.  Cavafy was a long dead, Alexandrian Greek poet by the time the Seventies rolled around, but I was introduced to his work early on in NYC, and have returned to it over and over.  His mixture of themes, though rooted in his life in Alexandria or in the Hellenistic or Byzantine past, often concern gay men or the crumbling of great cities and cultures, and have, thus, seemed to me to be quite translatable to the second half of America's 20th century.

Jack
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Brokeback_1 on May 20, 2007, 05:09:59 AM
I went to the Saint a few times. The entire atmosphere was...somewhat misogynistic lol. I either went with a gay group [ never a mixed group] or  by myself. The women I knew  had no desire to go there: the few who HAD been there didn't stay long, they said they'd heard  a continual series of comments such as fish, stinking fish, 'the place is ruined! there are c***s here', that sort of thing.

It was a young crowd my age, and a lot of those did not WANT older men at that disco. I actually ASKED. And oh yes, they answered lolol! I can see where it had an appeal, yet the Saint was not my thing. The Saint remains the ONLY club I have ever been to where if someone asked, and a surprising number DID ask if I was straight, I lied and said I was gay. [ I looked like one of those 'cuginey' NY Italian kids back then.] I only went 3-4 times because I never felt comfortable. It was for gay men and gay men only; there was no subterfuge about it. The last time I went,  I ran into a friend of mine; he  got hysterical when he saw me and laughed his ass off. He KNEW I was out of place. He completely busted my balls and all in all  made me feel so comfortable I gave him some roflmao.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on May 20, 2007, 02:06:30 PM
Here's a little bit about the LGBT punk world of the late 70s.

One of the persons I mentioned in my questions was Jayne County.  During the early 70s, before her surgery, she was known as Wayne County.  In 1977 Wayne released the l.p. 'Wayne County & The Electric Chairs' with the (somewhat infamous) single 'F*** Off' (with the lyrics 'If you don't want to f*** me, baby f*** off').  This was when I first became aware of her. 

What I was not aware of till later is that Wayne was initially signed to David Bowie's management team, and apparently there are songs that County penned that eventually influenced some of Bowie's own work.  There's more information about this here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jayne_County

County was openly transsexual in a time when there weren't many people who were.  She was also involved in both punk music and (initially) with the Warhol crowd - so she was very 'in your face'  (with songs like 'Man Enough To Be A Woman').  She moved the bar as far as discussions of sexuality went in the 70s and was in Derek Jarman's movie 'Jubilee.'

During this period she also got into a very public feud with another punk musician, "Handsome" Dick Manitoba of the Dictators - and the insults which flew between them often had to do with sexuality.

In late 1977 the E.P. by Tom Robinson Band with 'Glad To Be Gay' was released by EMI.  Stiff Records (an early punk label) had referred to his music as 'fucking queer music' - so it's important to remember that not everyone was enlightened.

Robinson's music found a willing audience among the people who went to the Rock Against Racism concerts in Britain :

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rock_Against_Racism

This put them in the midst of other groups that would be quite popular, like the Clash, Buzzcocks, Graham Parker and others.  'Glad to be Gay' was released in the United States in 1978 on the l.p. 'Power in the Darkness.'  Although it charted in the U.K. it did not in the U.S. (although Tom Robinson did tour and I saw him back then).

There were other groups and artists who had members with ambivalent sexuality.  The Buzzcocks singer and guitarist Pete Shelley penned songs like 'What Do I Get' ('I just want a lover like any other, what do I get?') and 'Ever Fallen in Love (With Someone You Shouldn't've)' which were associated with with Shelley's bisexuality ('Ever Fallen in Love' is about one of his band mate, purportedly).  Shelley didn't publicly address his bisexuality untill 1981, when he was on solo tour, but it was rumored in the late 70s.  He addressed his sexuality when his song 'Homosapien' was banned by the BBC for "explicit reference to gay sex".

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pete_Shelley

Patti Smith's first record 'Horses' had several references to women in the lyrics and she was taken on as something of an idol among lesbian and bi rock girls in the late 70s.

Phranc first came to public notice with the group Nervous Gender in the late 70s in Southern California.  She appeared on stage with a blonde buzzcut (and she still has a buzzcut to this day, although she has now stopped bleaching it).  The fanzine 'Slash' referred to her as looking like a runaway from a boys reform school.  She would become more famous in the 80s with her solo work:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phranc

The punk ethos had a lot to do with not giving a damn about what other people thought about you.  In that vein LGBT musicians who were up front (and even those who just hinted) about their sexuality were welcome.  They spun off lots of groups that either referenced homosexuality (like the bands 'The Homosexuals' and 'The Queers') as well as opening the way for non-musicians like Divine to record punk influenced music.  One of the effects was that people were as likely to snarl in your face that they were queer and 'what's it to you' as anything else.  And in the punk clubs it opened the door for lots of bisexual play.

It's something that people don't talk a lot about - because it didn't properly fit within 'gay' culture and wasn't where gay people were more expected in music (in dance ).  It was somewhat refreshing after the faux bisexuality of people like Bowie and Lou Reed.  For me, it's an interesting world that I was part of in the late 70s.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on May 20, 2007, 03:30:42 PM
Here are the lyrics to "Glad To Be Gay" - originally penned for London Gay Pride, 1976:

SING IF YOU'RE GLAD TO BE GAY (1978)

The British Police are the best in the world
I don't believe one of these stories I've heard
'Bout them raiding our pubs for no reason at all
Lining the customers up by the wall
Picking out people and knocking them down
Resisting arrest as they're kicked on the ground
Searching their houses and calling them queer
I don't believe that sort of thing happens here

Sing if you're glad to be gay
Sing if you're happy that way

Pictures of naked young women are fun
In Titbits and Playboy, page three of The Sun
There's no nudes in Gay News our last magazine
But they still find excuses to call it obscene
Read how disgusting we are in the press
The News of The World and the Sunday Express
Molesters of children, corruptors of youth
It's there in the paper, it must be the truth

Sing if you're glad to be gay
Sing if you're happy that way

Don't try to kid us that if you're discreet
You're perfectly safe as you walk down the street
You don't have to mince or make bitchy remarks
To get beaten unconscious and left in the dark
I had a friend who was gentle and short
Got lonely one evening and went for a walk
Queerbashers caught him and kicked in his teeth
He was only hospitalised for a week

Sing if you're glad to be gay
Sing if you're happy that way

So sit back and watch as they close all our clubs
Arrest us for meeting and raid all our pubs
Make sure your boyfriend's at least 21
So only your friends and your brothers get done
Lie to your workmates, lie to your folks
Put down the queens and tell anti-queer jokes
Gay Lib's ridiculous, join their laughter
"The buggers are legal now,
what more are they after ?"

Sing if you're glad to be gay
Sing if you're happy that way, hey
Sing if you're glad to be gay
Sing if you're happy that way, hey
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on May 20, 2007, 03:34:53 PM
Tom Robinson, btw, got married and has a kid now - but is openly and proudly bi.  Here's his website (caution, not work safe):

http://www.bothways.com/
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on May 20, 2007, 03:52:46 PM
Here is Jayne County's website:

http://www.jaynecounty.com/

And here is the discography for the Electric Chairs from the former drummer with the group:

http://www.drumpunk.co.uk/punkframes.html

(click on the 'Electric Chairs History' link on the left hand side for more information)

And here is a good link from the 'Queer Music Heritage' site that covers Jayne County and Cherry Vanilla:

http://www.queermusicheritage.us/nov2003s.html

And the more general page on queer rock music from that era:

http://www.queermusicheritage.us/nov2003.html

I must say - I've just discovered this website and really like it!
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on May 20, 2007, 04:25:25 PM
Here is a wonderful overview of Gay Pride marches in San Francisco in the 70s:

http://thecastro.net/parade/parade/parade.html

And here is an equally wonderful page about the images of Joseph Stalin, Adolph Hitler, Anita Bryant and a Cross Burning which was used in the pride parade in 1977 as a comment on Anita Bryant's win in Dade County early that year:

http://thecastro.net/parade/parade/paradebigots.html
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on May 20, 2007, 04:54:20 PM
While we are still in the late 70s we should talk a little film history.

The first Gay and Lesbian film festival took place in San Francisco in the late 70s:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frameline

When it started it was primarily in the Roxie Cinema in the Mission District.  In the early 80s it moved to include showings at the Castro Theater as well.

One of the first major independent films with a gay central character was 'Outrageous' which featured female impersonator Craig Russell and was filmed in Canada in 1977:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0076513/

http://www.glbtq.com/arts/russell_c.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Outrageous%21

The other important film event that happened in the late 70s was the release of 'Word is Out: Stories of Some of Our Lives':

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Word_is_Out:_Stories_of_Some_of_Our_Lives

http://www.brightlightsfilm.com/52/word.htm

'Word is Out' was important because in the face of films that featured gays and lesbians as killers or predators it provided a documentary which showed 26 actual individuals.  Some of the people in the film (like Pat Bond) went on to do lectures and plays - some had published already (Elsa Gidlow) and the film spread their fame:

http://www.glbtq.com/literature/gidlow_e.html

I can tell you that as a young man in the Midwest that this film had a profound effect on me.  It made me realize that I could have a real, meaningful life.  Words cannot express how important this film was.  This year brings its 30th anniversary (and its release on DVD):

http://www.wordisoutmovie.com/
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on May 20, 2007, 06:13:33 PM
A little more music history - in the mid 70s there was a record entitled 'I Was Born This Way', penned by Bunny Jones (a straight woman who had worked around a lot of gay people) and initially sung by a singer by the name of Valentino.  When it was signed to Motown records the single was re-recorded by Carl Bean.  Here is a web page dedicated to that single:

http://www.queermusicheritage.us/jun2002v.html
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on May 20, 2007, 06:28:03 PM
Surprisingly enough the Queer Music Heritage site reminded me that I hadn't put anything on this thread about 'An American Family' - the PBS documentary that followed the Loud Family.  Here is the wiki on 'An American Family':

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/An_American_Family

And here is an article from January Magazine that talks about the series:

http://www.januarymagazine.com/artcult/anamericanfamily.html

And do check out this site, which reprints the cover from Newsweek of March 12, 1973:

http://subcin.com/americanfamily.html

And here is the Wiki on Lance Loud:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lance_Loud
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: BayCityJohn on May 20, 2007, 06:38:18 PM
I posted something about 'An American Family' awhile ago:

http://www.davecullen.com/forum/index.php?topic=20158.msg813295#msg813295
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on May 20, 2007, 06:52:30 PM
Here's a great set of photos from the National March on Washington, 1979:

http://www.queermusicheritage.us/march79.html

Please note that despite the naysayers who are always talking about how lewd our marches are, there is not a naked person to be seen.

Here is the link to the archives at the LGBT Community Center in New York's records of the march:

http://www.gaycenter.org/resources/archive/collection/014

And here is a web page that talks about all of the marches on Washington:

http://www.glbtq.com/social-sciences/marches_washington.html

Here is Uncle Donald's web pages dedicated to the 1979 march:

http://thecastro.net/MOW/mow79.html

http://thecastro.net/MOW/USA/usa.html

Here is the transcript of gay trade unionist Howard Wallace's 1979 speech:

http://www.nathannewman.org/EDIN/.mags/.cross/.42/.42stonewall/.wallace.html

Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on May 20, 2007, 07:01:31 PM
I posted something about 'An American Family' awhile ago:

http://www.davecullen.com/forum/index.php?topic=20158.msg813295#msg813295

Whoops!  Sorry, John!  :-[

I just got excited because I was remembering Lance's band 'The Mumps.'
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on May 20, 2007, 07:12:06 PM
Here is a Howard Wallace interview where he talks about the Coors Boycott of the 70s:

http://www.politicalaffairs.net/article/articleview/113/1/29

Here is Matt and Andrej Koymasky's website on Howard Wallace:

http://andrejkoymasky.com/liv/fam/biow1/wall1.html
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on May 20, 2007, 07:15:44 PM
And since we are in the 70s - here's a little bit more about Gay boycotts:

http://www.glbtq.com/social-sciences/boycotts.html

And a Time magazine article on Anita and the boycott:

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,915719-1,00.html
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on May 20, 2007, 07:22:08 PM
Here is a web page from Iowa State University on Anita Bryant (it includes pictures of her getting a pie in the face and the 2nd page is a helpful cartoon from National Lampoon):

http://www.brumm.com/gaylib/anitabryant1977_1.html
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on May 20, 2007, 07:28:59 PM
In the late 70s the 'Clone' look ruled.  On Uncle Donald's website you can get an idea of what the Castro Street Clone looked like:

http://thecastro.net/scenes/scenes.html

http://thecastro.net/scenes/scene04.html

http://thecastro.net/scenes/scene05.html
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on May 20, 2007, 07:42:25 PM
Here is Morris Kight, a person who was very instrumental in the Gay movement in Los Angeles (he started the first march there in 1971 and the Gay and Lesbian Center there):

http://andrejkoymasky.com/liv/fam/biok1/kigh1.html

http://www.glbtq.com/social-sciences/kight_m.html
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Jack too on May 21, 2007, 05:54:18 AM
In the late 70s the 'Clone' look ruled.  On Uncle Donald's website you can get an idea of what the Castro Street Clone looked like:

I am always a bit puzzled, and amused, by the supposed "gay clone" phenomenon.  I went to work in a computer center in the early 70's where I was surrounded by geek programmers, almost all of whom were straight NYC Jews.  And, guess what, they had shaggy hair, mustaches, wore flannel shirts or tee shirts and Levis.  I have to wonder, could these unlikely guys have been the inspiration for the legendary "gay clone"?

I think people have lost sight of several things.  First, dressing down was being allowed in more and more work environments, which brought a lot of guy's "weekend" and knockaround clothes into view - straights as well as gays.  Jeans and flannel shirts have been staples in the American male wardrobe since the Forties, and they seem to have been in the background even during the Ivy League trendiness and the modish wardrobe of the late Sixties/early Seventies. 

Jack
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Jack too on May 21, 2007, 06:49:45 AM
70's gay misogyny and ageism

I went to the Saint a few times. The entire atmosphere was...somewhat misogynistic

It was specifically run as a gay men's club. I think the misogyny could be expected.   I belonged for five years and very rarely saw women there, in any case.  The attitude toward women there was the flip side of the coin of the attitude of lesbians toward gay men in their spaces - they did not want it, and were very aggressive about.  I had, and have, no problem with either attitude.   When I spent a major part of my time in a mixed gender environment, which is what work is for most people, I wanted same-sex social spaces.  And I found that the lesbians I knew felt exactly the same way, even though I had these discussions at informal private social gatherings that included gay men and lesbians.   

Quote
It was a young crowd my age, and a lot of those did not WANT older men at that disco. I actually ASKED. And oh yes, they answered lolol!

I think the crowd was probably weighted heaviest in the early thirties bracket.  There were not a few men in their late thirties and early forties who belonged.  When I joined in '83, I was 45 years-old.  I had problems because of my age only once, when an early-thirties, muscly employee very aggressively put the make on me.  I wasn't interested and thought I disengaged myself with minimum embarrassment to him.  He clearly felt did not feel this, and every time he saw me after that he would very loudly and nastily yell out, "Hi pops."    In '85 a boyfriend started going with me, I was 47 by then and he was only a year to two younger.  Never any problems.  I never heard other guys in their early forties complain of ageist remarks or attitude.

On the other hand, I would never have set foot in Moon Shadow, as it had the reputation of being a very young persons club.

By far one of the most significant changes from the Sixties to the Seventies that I saw was the much greater age range of guys in the gay male social scene.  Whereas guys in their late thirties had once been a bit scarce and those in their forties almost non-existent, in the Seventies that was no longer the case - at least as I experienced NYC.  I would say, though, that this was  more true of the bars, beachs and informal socializing than it was of dance clubs in general.  It was a much more interesting social scene in the Seventies as a result of this change. 

In the post-AIDS years this underwent a rapid and vehement reversal as "older" men were held responsible for the disease by the emerging generation.  The stories of hostility I heard in those years disgusted me.  My own first experience with consistent ageism in a gay environment was not until the 90's in New York's gay and lesbian community (!) center, where loud ageist remarks from  the young crowd of face queens that hung out around the reception area the the ground floor public areas were frequent.  Despite the fact that SAGE (the senior gay organization) met at the Center, the Center never seemed to find a way to put a lid on this stuff.  But my observation was that politically correct ideals ended up being very selectively enforced.  This experience contributed to my deciding to withdraw from the post-AIDS American queer scene and live in Europe.

Jack   
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on May 21, 2007, 10:32:16 AM
I am always a bit puzzled, and amused, by the supposed "gay clone" phenomenon.  I went to work in a computer center in the early 70's where I was surrounded by geek programmers, almost all of whom were straight NYC Jews.  And, guess what, they had shaggy hair, mustaches, wore flannel shirts or tee shirts and Levis.  I have to wonder, could these unlikely guys have been the inspiration for the legendary "gay clone"?

I think people have lost sight of several things.  First, dressing down was being allowed in more and more work environments, which brought a lot of guy's "weekend" and knockaround clothes into view - straights as well as gays.  Jeans and flannel shirts have been staples in the American male wardrobe since the Forties, and they seem to have been in the background even during the Ivy League trendiness and the modish wardrobe of the late Sixties/early Seventies. 

Jack

All I can tell you Jack is that I first visited San Francisco in 1978 and that the clone look was in full swing.  The hair wasn't shaggy then, it was shorter and sunglasses (especially mirrored ones) seemed to be expected.  And it was not a dressed down look - these guys had the most pristine looking jeans and shirts you had ever scene - clearly not used at work.  By the time I got here in the 80s they were also using wire brushes to wear down the crotch area of the pants.  And often there were the leather jackets and hankies that specified exactly what someone was into.

It was a direct 180 degree turn from the hippyish look of San Francisco in the early 70s.  Tie-dye and long hair was out - as was anything androgynous.  Perhaps in order to see the change you need to remember the svelte willowy glitter look of the early 70s.

From your perspective I can certainly see that this would fit in with the working men of the 40s and 50s.  But from my perspective there was a real shift - and these guys were not (in the least) interested in anything that deviated from their perspective of what was sexy and masculine.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Jack too on May 21, 2007, 11:54:53 AM

Sorry, my exceptions are not so much to your comment, as to the general assumptions I come across about "clone" style - that this is an exclusively "gay" look, and that it was virtually invented by gay men. 

Quote
All I can tell you Jack is that I first visited San Francisco in 1978 and that the clone look was in full swing.

In all of it's infinite variety, it was in NYC as well at the same time. 

However, it was - without the wire brushing, etc. - already a general direction in what was allowable male dress in many new contexts - which was, or should have been my point.  In my experience, the basic jeans and sport/tee shirt was already being adopted by straight and gay men.  My boss, a straight female, in the early and mid-Seventies objected strenuously to it.  She was the Administrative Director, and she wanted to have the various technical directors enforce a kind of retrogressive dress code that would have barred jeans and flannel and tee shirts.  You may recall that the upsurge in the popularity of the traditional blue jeans - a market formerly dominated by Lee, Levis, etc. - led to the emergence of new brands of "fashion" blue jeans, Jordache, etc. which was a quick way to try to capitalize on the trend.  The target for these products was first women, as they were not satisfied with the cut of the traditional U.S. jeans, but most of these companies could not resist an attempt at taking a chunk of the male market as well based on the rising acceptability of jeans.  A cousin of mine in Brazil made his fortune there manufacturing blue jeans on contract for American companies.   

That some gay men would affect hankies, or helmets, etc. by the later 70's is, of course, the case.  But in my experience most guys did not routinely accessorize with this stuff.  But NY is not SF. 
 
Quote
And it was not a dressed down look - these guys had the most pristine looking jeans and shirts you had ever scene - clearly not used at work...

I had in mind that it was a radical departure from the ultra-neat Ivy League style and from the hippy style, which in my memory in the city rapidly morphed into something more like pretty costumes.  In comparison to these, I would have to say jeans, etc. run in the opposite direction, i.e. dressed down.

But I am surprised at your recollection of "pristine looking," mine is that these clothes usually looked as if guys folded them up after they came hot from the dryer and that that sufficed.  Again, NY is not SF and it may be as simple as that.   

Quote
It was a direct 180 degree turn from the hippyish look of San Francisco in the early 70s.  Tie-dye and long hair was out - as was anything androgynous.  Perhaps in order to see the change you need to remember the svelte willowy glitter look of the early 70s.

180 degrees, indeed, and from the Ivy League drag which had preceded that, which is why I thought of dressing down.  SF hippy clothing may have had an informality and casualness that I'm simply not familiar with.  In NYC hippy style suffered almost instant commercialization and got sucked into the vortex of synthetic satin and velour creations which suggested a film set for the Pirates of the Bounding Main vs The Gypsy Baron.  That there was a radical shift I most certainly agree with, however, based on my observations men across the board were fleeing to the basic jeans and informal shirt whenever possible, whence the "clone" arrived. 

Jack
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: jpq716 on May 31, 2007, 04:57:45 PM
These reminiscences only go to show that most people, gay or straight, are incapable of thinking or feeling on their own, and that they need to be regimented within an ideological agenda in order to avoid the terror of freedom. The older I get, the more gay people strike me as being just like straight people, except in one decreasingly important respect…
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on May 31, 2007, 08:26:20 PM
These reminiscences only go to show that most people, gay or straight, are incapable of thinking or feeling on their own, and that they need to be regimented within an ideological agenda in order to avoid the terror of freedom. The older I get, the more gay people strike me as being just like straight people, except in one decreasingly important respect…

Well, that's an interesting thought - I don't I agree with it, however.  Most people, gay or straight, seem to live their lives without thinking of an ideological agenda, IMHO.  They go about their day to day lives dealing with friends, going out to events and watching television - existing within the dominant cultural paradigm - and don't think of agendas at all, let alone being regimented within them.

People who actually take the time to think about things politically are more likely to be able to develop their own viewpoints (unless they approach politics as some sort of surrogate religion where belief is more important than thought).  And honestly that's why I would prefer that someone take a position that is ideologically opposed to what I believe in than just to be an apathetic non-thinker.  Even right wing thought is attempting to find a solution to a problem, and I respect that far more than just going along without thinking.

However where I most fundamentally disagree with your comment is that is seems to have no place for compassion in interactions between human beings.  We will get firmly into this in the 80s, but I have to tell you now that having worked in AIDS education and outreach for around 10 years that I saw many, many people who were far more concerned with a compassionate connection between people in time of great tragedy than with any sort of ideological dogmatic thinking.  And in that you are absolutely correct - there was no difference between the good gay and lesbian people and the good straight people.  I am very, very thankful they were there and bless them every day.  And that is the sort of think that keeps me from nihilistic isolationist thinking - there is a true capacity in humanity for outreach and caring.  I know - I've seen it firsthand.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: jpq716 on May 31, 2007, 09:03:48 PM
Michael, I really don't see any conflict between what I said (about the many) and what you said  (about the few). And yes, I am willing to defer to your judgment on the heroic compassion of the few, especially during the chaotic times of the 1980s. You were there; I wasn't; so you know, and I don't. Yes, humanity in general (whether gay or straight) is a grave disappointment, but then there is always that person who, coming out of nowhere, redeems your faith in the potentialities of the human spirit. I sometimes tend to forget that extraordinary exception, and I thank you for reminding me of its ever occasional, but always astonishing, presence. :D :D :D
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on June 08, 2007, 05:54:55 PM
The local bay area public broadcasting station here in the bay area has put up its gay pride month page - here are the history links:

http://www.kqed.org/topics/history/heritage/lgbt/history-links.jsp
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on June 13, 2007, 07:07:56 AM
GLBT Historical Society Unveils Nation’s First
Historical Exhibit on the Experiences of Gay Veterans
Show Opening in June as Congress Plans
“Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” Hearings

San Francisco , CA – The Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgender Historical Society has announced the opening of “Out Ranks,” the nation’s first historical exhibit on the experiences of gays in the military. The one-year exhibition opens in June as Congress begins planning hearings on the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” military policy in the fall. “Out Ranks” is a premier exhibit of the GLBT Historical Society, one of the world’s largest institutions for of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender historical materials.

“Out Ranks” tracks changes in military policy and conveys the stories of GLBT veterans and peace activists from WWII to Iraq . Almost 70 years of history is told through hundreds of letters, photographs, medals, uniforms, and video footage. The opening reception on Thursday, June 14th is free and open to the public from 6pm-8pm in the GLBT Historical Society’s main gallery at 657 Mission Street , 3rd Floor.

“The GLBT Historical Society is our community’s Smithsonian,” said Paul Boneberg, Executive Director. “Our exhibits highlight the vital role of preserving and promoting GLBT history to inform meaningful public debate on pressing current events.”

The “Out Ranks” exhibit follows two related timelines, running from 1941 to the present. One timeline tracks American military conflicts from WWII to Iraq , focusing on the roles of GLBT personnel. The other timeline charts the evolution of the ban on openly gay service personnel. The two timelines meet in the center of the exhibit in the present time as GLBT service personnel fight their rights even as they defend our country in both the military and peace movements.

Visitors to the exhibit are encouraged to walk between the timelines to explore when policies on gays in the military change and why, when and why discharges of GLBT servicemembers rise and fall, how social and political issues (such as AIDS, marriage, homophobia, and privacy) affect the military debate and how military service has affected the gay rights movement over time.

“Enforced silence has led to collective amnesia about the patriotic service and courageous sacrifices of gay and lesbian troops,” said Dr. Steve Estes, guest curator of “Out Ranks.” “This exhibit tells the stories of some of our military’s most exceptional servicemembers during the most pivotal times in our country’s history.”

Exhibit highlights pulled from the GLBT Historical Society’s world-renowned archives include Leonard Matlovich’s footlocker from his tour in Vietnam, Matlovich was a Vietnam vet who fought the US military in 1975 for the right to serve as an openly gay man; the Air Medal citation, letter from President Truman, and photo of Robert Ricks, a WWII B-24 bomber navigator whose plane was shot down in August 1943 and who spent the rest of the war behind German lines, including three months in Dachau; the Bronze Star Citation and photo of Robert Fleisher who helped liberate Dachau; and a photo of military police guarding the entrance of the Black Cat, a popular gay bar in San Francisco during WWII, in an attempt to keep military personnel out.

An estimated 650,000 gays served in the Armed Forces during WWII, despite the official ban on gay military service. “We were not about to be deprived the privilege of serving our country in a time of great national emergency by virtue of some stupid regulation about being gay,” said Charles Rowland, one of the gay draftees featured in the exhibit.

World War II offered an unprecedented opportunity for women to serve non-combat roles in the military, where thousands of lesbians found sisterhood. Pat Bond, who found herself coming out in the 1940’s joined the Women’s Army Corps (WAC) on her first day recalled her first day, “I came with my suitcase, staggering down the mess hall and I heard a voice from one of the barracks say, ‘Good God, Elizabeth, look! Here comes another one!’” Another WAC servicemember, Helen Harder, dreamed of flying and signed up with her girlfriend.

http://www.glbthistory.org/news/05_16_outranks.html

http://www.glbthistory.org/

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2007/06/13/MNGRUQEFN61.DTL
Title: Great Day for Equal Rights in Massachusetts!
Post by: Vermont sunset on June 14, 2007, 01:06:27 PM
The Massachusetts Legislature sitting in Constitutional Convention defeated an amendment that would have banned gay marriage by a vote of 151-45. Ever since the MA Supreme Judicial Court ruled in 2004 that a ban on gay marriage violated the equal protection clause, MA has been under assault from hate groups and religious fanatics intent on overturning the ruling. Using some very deceptive tactics they did get enough signatures on a petition to put it on the ballot. But in MA such an amendment must also be approved by  two consecutive Legislative sessions. But only 50 votes are needed. Last year the amendment received 57 votes. This year through electoral changes and changes of heart it only received 45 votes.

I wrote to every member of the legislature, and wrote another earlier this week to a wavering representative. I am just thrilled and so proud of Massachusetts. ( So as not to confuse you all, I have a place in VT that I love.  )

June 14, 2007. A great day to celebrate our rights as American citizens!



Here is the notification I received.

Knowing of your interest regarding the proposed Marriage Amendment to the Massachusetts Constitution, I am writing to provide an update on the Constitutional Convention held today, June 14th 2007.

I am pleased to report that at this the 18th Constitutional Convention meeting on the question of same-sex marriage, the members present and voting defeated the proposed amendment by a vote of 151-45. This means that the amendment will not advance to the November 2008 ballot.

This is a significant victory for the civil rights of the gay and lesbian community. When the debate began 18 Conventions ago, there were only a couple dozen people in the Legislature that believed that Civil Unions or Same-Sex Marriages should be allowed. Over the years, as a result of the public debate and deep reflection, that number grew to 151. This is truly a reflection of the shifting views not only of the Legislators but also of their constituents. This is a great victory also for the Supreme Judicial Court which had the wisdom and courage to declare that our Constitution requires equal protection for all, for more than a thousand religious leaders who stood with same-sex couples, for the 10s of thousands  of constituents across the Commonwealth who spoke out in support of the gay community, and for the more than 9 thousand same-sex couples who have solemnized - through marriage - their commitment and love for each other.

Thanks for your continued perseverance in this long battle for equal rights.

Stan Rosenberg

Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: brokebacktom on June 14, 2007, 01:34:47 PM
Stan--

Thanks for sharing that information. It made me have hope again that maybe we could all have equal rights under the law.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on June 14, 2007, 01:37:07 PM
Yes...thanks for that post, Stan.  Here's the article from today's S.F. Chronicle:

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/n/a/2007/06/14/national/a102246D97.DTL

First two paragraphs of that article:

Massachusetts lawmakers on Thursday blocked a proposed constitutional amendment banning gay marriage from reaching voters, a stunning victory for gay marriage advocates and a devastating blow to efforts to reverse a historic 2003 court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage.

The 45-151 vote means Massachusetts remains the only state in the nation to allow same-sex couples to marry. The question needed the approval of 50 of 200 lawmakers in consecutive sessions to advance to the 2008 ballot. It got the first approval at the end of last session in January with 62 votes.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Vermont sunset on June 14, 2007, 02:03:11 PM
Actually my name is Pete. Stan is the name of the State Senator who sent me the notification. ;)

 But on a day like this who cares about names!

MA, a model now for the rest of the country.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Jeff Wrangler on June 14, 2007, 02:16:11 PM
MA, a model now for the rest of the country.

Bravo for Massachusetts! Yeehaw!

And to think that 350 years ago, Massachusetts was essentially a Puritan Christian theocracy. ...

On the other hand, as I've followed the struggle in Massachusetts, it has occurred to me that down through the centuries, from the days of the Puritan colonists, there has been a strain, a spirit, a passion, in Massachusetts for doing the right thing. The idea of what constitutes the right thing might have changed, but the spirit lives on.

(Forgive me.) God bless the Commonwealth of Massachusetts!
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on June 14, 2007, 02:30:43 PM
Jeff and Pete - welcome to this thread!  We've been going through periods in history and the most recent we were on was 1975 - 1981.    Here are the questions I posted on this period:

http://www.davecullen.com/forum/index.php?topic=20158.msg879050#msg879050

Any thoughts about that or anything else from that time?  Personal experiences or things you've been told?

I'll be moving on to the early 80s shortly.

It's been a long haul, hasn't it (regarding marriage)?  Here's the first person I have been able to find who tried to register a gay marriage in the U.S.:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_Baker_(activist)

Again - welcome!
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Vermont sunset on June 15, 2007, 05:43:12 AM
Thanks for the warm welcome Michael. I have a rather convoluted history as far as my sexual orientation identity, which I haven't totally sorted out quite yet. But I'll read what's posted here and try to contribute intelligently.  ;)
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Jeff Wrangler on June 15, 2007, 07:08:21 AM
Thanks, Michael!

I followed your link and saw your answers (couldn't quite find the original questions  ??? ).

I was in high school and college in the '70s, and being a late bloomer socially, I didn't begin to come out until the mid-'80s, so there isn't much I can add to any discussion of the '70s.

I do remember the whole Anita Bryant business, though!  :P
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on June 15, 2007, 01:18:24 PM
Thanks, Michael!

I followed your link and saw your answers (couldn't quite find the original questions  ??? ).

WHOOPS!

Here they are (really this time):

http://www.davecullen.com/forum/index.php?topic=20158.msg849502#msg849502
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Jeff Wrangler on June 18, 2007, 08:56:27 AM
Because Michael asked me so nicely, I'll answer the questions, but I fear I can't add much to a discussion of this period. In 1975-1980, I was finishing high school and attending college in Central Pennsylvania. I hadn't yet figured out that I was gay, much less was I aware of anything happening in the gay rights movement, especially in San Francisco. ~J.W.

Questions for 1975-1980

1.)  Sgt. Leonard Matlovich became one of the first high profile individuals to say that he was gay and wanted to stay in the Armed forces.  He delivered a letter to the Air Force on March 6, 1975 stating that he was homosexual and wanted to stay in the Air Force.  On Sept. 8, 1975 he appeared on the cover of Time magazine (http://www.time.com/time/covers/0,16641,19750908,00.html) (http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,917784,00.html).  Do you remember his case?  How did this affect your opinion of the gay rights movement?

I know of Sgt. Matlovich's case, but I think I know of it only as "history" read after the fact, not as something I was aware of as it was transpiring.

2.)  Also in 1975 Mary Jo Risher became one of the most high profile lesbians to fight for custody of a child.  Here fight was made into the made for TV movie 'A Question of Love' in 1978.  Do you remember any similar custody cases from this period or do you remember the movie?  What were its effects on you?

No memory of this case or of any similar cases from this period.

3.)  In June, 1976 the platform of the Democratic Party was put in place with no 'purple' plank - that is, there was no inclusion of a call for gay rights in the platform.  This was a change from the 1972 platform where there was an 11 hour debate on issues such as gay rights - do you remember this - did this affect your opinions on politics at the time?

Again no memory. I was pretty politically unaware. I turned 18 in May of 1976 and could have voted in the election that November--my father even offered to pick me up at college (half-hour drive from home) so I could vote--but to my everlasting shame I didn't care enough at the time to do it.  :(

4.)  As I have mentioned in the previous period, this period was preceded by the first LGBT candidates in office.  Do you remember any candidates or campaigns for office in your area?

Out candidates in Central Pennsylvania in the mid-1970s?

5.)  In January 1977 Dade County Florida passed a Human Rights ordinance that became effective on Feb. 17 of that year and started Anita Bryant off on her 'Save Our Children' campaign.  Do you remember the campaign?  What effect did it have on your local communities?

I remember the campaign, but since I wasn't out at that time, it was more a matter of following the accounts of it as a national news event.

6.)  Following the Dade County vote there were votes in other cities that overturned gay rights (including Eugene, Oregon; Saint Paul, MN and Wichita, Kansas).  Were you living in any of these areas during the campaign or do you remember them?

No.

7.)  Do you remember the Orange Juice boycott following the gay rights ordinances failure?

Vaguely.

8.]  In California following the defeat of gay rights ordinances and the banning of gay teachers in Oklahoma and Arkansas Senator John Briggs, a former insurance salesman, proposed banning anyone from teaching who 'advocated, promoted or encouraged' homosexuality.  Do you remember the Briggs initiative?  Did it have any impact on discussions where you lived?

No, I don't remember the initiative.

9.)  Harvey Milk became a San Francisco City Councilman in November, 1977.  Do you remember his election?  Were you aware of his work against the Briggs initiative?  When he was shot in city hall do you remember the coverage?

To the best of my memory I'd never heard of Harvey Milk until he and Mayor George Moscone were assassinated.

10.) In 1979 there were protests surrounding the film 'Cruising.'  Do you remember the protests?  Did you see the film? Did you think the protests were justified?

I only saw the film on video years after it came out. I wasn't aware of the protests.

11.)  On October 14, 1979 the first national gay rights march took place in Washington D.C.  Were you there?  If so, please share your memories.

I don't remember even being aware of this event.

12.)  Also in the 70s gay pride marches became more common - did you attend any gay pride marches in the 70s?  What do you remember from them?

No. Again, I wasn't even self-aware, let alone out, at this time.

13.)  Gay and lesbian books became big business during the late 70s.  A few big titles were 'Rubyfruit Jungle', 'Taking Care of Mrs. Carroll', 'Sexual Outlaw', 'Dancer from the Dance', 'Tales of the City' and 'Faggots.'  Do you remember reading these or any other LGBT books during this time?  Did you visit any LGBT bookstores? 

Not at this time. I discovered "Dancer from the Dance" years later. At the end of the '80s I used to reread it every February and have a good cry.  ;D Rechy's "Sexual Oulaw" made a good vacation read in Provincetown one summer in the mid-'90s.  ;D

14.)  There was also more coverage of LGBT issues on television including 'A Question of Love', 'The Naked Civil Servant', 'The War Widow', 'Sergeant Matlovich vs. U.S. Air Force' and T.V. shows like 'Soap.'  Do you remember any particular gay/lesbian programing in the Seventies that caught your eye?

Of these, I only remember "Soap."

15.)  In 1977 in San Francisco the murder of Robert Hillsborough by fag bashers sparked an outpouring of outrage and grief (http://thecastro.net/parade/parade/hillsborough77.html) and led to the formation of Community United Against Violence, an organization that keeps statistics on violence against LGBT people.  Do you remember any violence of this nature in your area?

No.

16.)  As we discussed in the last time period discos were very popular during this period.  Did you go to gay discos in your area?  Do you have any particular memories?  If you didn't like disco were there alternative spaces for people like you to get together?

No such thing as a gay disco in Central Pennsylvania in the mid-'70s. Many years later I became aware of the area gay bars, which had dance floors, but I didn't go to them.

17.)  The punk movement also happened during this period.  As a group punks had both positive and negative responses to homosexuality - do your remember any of these?  Did you know about the Tom Robinson Band?  Did you know about Wayne County and the Electric Chairs?

I've never heard of any of these bands.

18.)  In Canada the Truxx bar was raided in Montreal and 'The Body Politic' was the national gay newspaper.  Do you remember reading the 'Body Politic' or the raids in Montreal?

No.

19.)  In the late 70s the 'Rocky Horror Picture Show' gave a lot of young people a non-threatening way to deal with sexual diversity and fun.  Did you attend the 'Rocky Horror Picture Show' during this period?  Do you have any memories to share?

Actually, to his day I have never seen "Rocky Horror." Just not my kind of movie.

20.)  It was also during this period that Gay film festivals started - beginning in San Francisco in 1977.  Do you remember any particular films from this period?  Did you see 'Outrageous'?  Do you remember seeing 'Word Is Out'?

No.

21.)  The 'White Night Riots' happened in San Francisco on May 21, 1979 in response to the verdicts of the murder trial of Dan White.  Were you in San Francisco at the time?  Do you remember the White Night Riots?  If so, please share your memories.

No. I do, however, remember White's murder when he was released from jail. By that time I was coming out and becoming more aware of gay matters generally.

Of course, as always, please feel free to add your own questions.  My apologies for this being centered around U.S. events - it's what I know.  However, if you are from another country, please tell us about what was happening where you lived during this period.
 
 
 
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on June 18, 2007, 02:11:29 PM
Because Michael asked me so nicely, I'll answer the questions, but I fear I can't add much to a discussion of this period. In 1975-1980, I was finishing high school and attending college in Central Pennsylvania. I hadn't yet figured out that I was gay, much less was I aware of anything happening in the gay rights movement, especially in San Francisco. ~J.W.

Thanks so much Jeff!  Actually, imho it doesn't really matter if people had figured out if they were gay or not when answering these questions - it kind of give us an idea of how much information had 'seeped in' to the culture and that's really useful information, I think.  Thanks again
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Jeff Wrangler on June 18, 2007, 04:49:11 PM
Because Michael asked me so nicely, I'll answer the questions, but I fear I can't add much to a discussion of this period. In 1975-1980, I was finishing high school and attending college in Central Pennsylvania. I hadn't yet figured out that I was gay, much less was I aware of anything happening in the gay rights movement, especially in San Francisco. ~J.W.

Thanks so much Jeff!  Actually, imho it doesn't really matter if people had figured out if they were gay or not when answering these questions - it kind of give us an idea of how much information had 'seeped in' to the culture and that's really useful information, I think.  Thanks again

Sure enough! I guess, then, that my answers say that it really needed to be a big or sensational national news story--Anita Bryant, the assassination of Harvey Milk and George Moscone--to penetrate where I was geographically and who I was socially and psychologically at that time.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Jack too on June 25, 2007, 01:29:53 PM
Dope in Seventies Gay Life

I never knew any gay people who used drugs, even marijuana, until after the mid-Sixties.  If anyone had whipped out a joint at a party before then, the host would have thrown them out – for one thing, it was not unusual for cops to appear at large gay parties, and who needed dope on the scene.  In any case, it wasn't till the mid-Sixties that the stigma seemed to begin to lift off of drug use.  The exception was amyl nitrite vaporoles – "poppers" - which some guys used while having sex. (These were crushable, gauze-wrapped "capsules" that were intended to be inhaled by people having an angina attack.)  They sold for about $1.64 a dozen in any drug store, and were non-prescription.
     (http://www.nycnotkansas.com/nyc_pix/AmylNitrite.jpg)
The lover I lived with beginning in '65 smoked marijuana once in awhile.  I think he started a year or so after we began living together, though I choose to believe it was not a case of cause and effect.  I'd had no strong curiosity about grass, but I tried it – just not be a wet blanket – and zip, nothing happened.  One weekend we smoked before having sex.  Afterwards he asked, as he had in the past, whether I'd gotten high.  I mumbled something non-committal, and then added, "but sex seemed to take so looooong!"  (It wasn't a complaint.)  He laughed, "You finally got high."  I blew grass regularly for the next twenty years.

By the late 60's and early 70's hallucinogenic drugs became popular with many younger gay guys, and a several guys in my crowd used acid every weekend it seemed.  Various names floated around for types of LSD – Sunshine, Purple Haze...  I never did acid, I did not like the idea of hallucinating.   I did, however, try Angel Dust in the late 60's and had a rather weird, but not frightening, experience; and then I tried it a second time and it was practically a non-event.  Someone clued me in as to how dangerous it could be, and I never did it again.  I  tried psilocybin around '74, and the experience was horrible.  After that I never tried anything hallucinogenic.  And it seemed that by this time any friends who had been into regular acid trips had stopped using it.

In the early 70's a second gay bar opened in the neighborhood (Upper West Side of Manhattan.) The music at the Pic was so good that it begged to be danced to – or something.  We used to hang around the juke box at the back of the bar, and sometimes someone would snap a popper and surreptitiously pass it among us.  This was a no-no in the bar.  Even if the distinctive odor hadn't penetrated the smell of beer and cigarette smoke, in fifteen seconds the fact that four or five guys were standing around undulating to the music like they were at a Motown audition was a dead give-away. 

Over-the-counter sale of amyl nitrite had been banned in 1969, but they were still available as black market items for a couple of years after.  However, the government, as I understood, then clamped down on their manufacture and distribution knowing full well that they had been replaced for the most part in medical settings with tablets.  This had to have been prompted in part by the fact that a few doctors would give you a prescription for them, or even sell to patients directly.  At this point the underground manufacture of poppers and their sale by dealers, began in earnest, and eventually the sale of a butyl nitrite substitute as brand name stuff  in "head shops" and sex shops became common, with the bottles indicating that it was a room deodorant!!! or "head cleaner".  However, the underground brew was usually far better than these brand name products.  The upshot of this was that it became easier, and less smelly, to pass a bottle around than a crushed capsule.   
   
Smoking grass in our new neighborhood bar, or any gay bar, in the early Seventies would have gotten your ass lofted through the air and bonded to the sidewalk out front.  But guys would go out and toke on a joint as they walked around the block – it was late night in a quiet neighborhood, so the risk was slight.  Before too much time had passed some guys simply stood in the doorway by the parking garage next door to smoke.  But it certainly didn't please the bartenders to have their  customers blowing grass practically in its entrance.  The joint went around until the roach was too small to hold, even in a clip...then you opened the door and floated back into the bar, where the music of hits by Holland-Dozier-Holland and the other great black songwriters lifted you up and kept you up through the night.  This was the era when rock virtually disappear from New York gay bars, having been replaced with soul and funk.

I remember grass was selling for about $35 a Z in the mid-Seventies, and almost everyone I knew smoked pretty regularly.  I used to buy about an ounce a month for years, though since it made me feel so incredibly laid back I never smoked except in the evening or on weekends.

By the second half of the Seventies I was going to a new bar in the neighborhood, and things had become so loose that the management allowed the customers to smoke grass without the slightest attempt at concealing it.  I got hep as the result of a serious hospitalization in '78, and was never able to drink alcohol after that.  A side effect of this was that I became aware that a surprising number of guys, though not a huge one, drank mugs of soft drinks or wine spritzers in the bars. As in my case, some were probably not drinking alcohol because of health - or abuse - problems, but the use of drugs also had something to do with it.  Grass (and other drugs) often raised a fierce thirst, and if you were slugging down beer or liquor to quench it, you could end up drunk - thus ruining the high, as well as producing a very negative impact on sexual performance.  "No thanks, not when I smoke," wasn't an unusual refusal when you were buying a round of beers for a group of friends.  I can hardly remember running into anyone who never smoked grass.  It was so commonplace, and even many straights I knew did it.   

People were much better behaved in the bars in the Seventies than in the early Sixties, and I think it had to do with the fact (among other things) that smoking grass didn't make guys hostile the way getting drunk did.

Jack
www.nycnotkansas.com
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on June 25, 2007, 02:00:55 PM
People were much better behaved in the bars in the Seventies than in the early Sixties, and I think it had to do with the fact (among other things) that smoking grass didn't make guys hostile the way getting drunk did.

Jack
www.nycnotkansas.com


An absolutely great topic Jack - and I'll have more to say about it when I get home from work (hopefully - between the Donnie Darko and TCM threads I'm swamped).

One comment - although people may have been better behaved due to pot in the 70s they got to behaving worse as Ecstasy and Coke came on the scene.  There's nothing like someone's unwanted attention who's horny and convinced that they're beautiful, they love you and you love them too make a night 'memorable' in all the wrong ways.  :D
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Jack too on June 28, 2007, 10:57:07 AM

An absolutely great topic Jack - and I'll have more to say about it when I get home from work (hopefully - between the Donnie Darko and TCM threads I'm swamped).

One comment - although people may have been better behaved due to pot in the 70s they got to behaving worse as Ecstasy and Coke came on the scene.  There's nothing like someone's unwanted attention who's horny and convinced that they're beautiful, they love you and you love them too make a night 'memorable' in all the wrong ways.  :D

Heh-heh, funny.  I do remember being literally attacked by a little muscle number who was employed at The Saint.  His drugs told him that I was the greatest thing since sliced bread, whereas my vibes where he was concerned were "hot you're not."  He was totally unable to believe that I had zero interest in him...very unpleasant, especially as he worked there.

My own experience with coke (never did X or Special K) did not begin until '81, as I recall, so it falls outside of this period.  I do remember that a few friends & acquaintances had tried coke in the late Seventies - but they were not into it on a regular basis.  It was quite expensive then, and not nearly as easily obtainable as it became after the "War on Drugs" began.

In my recollections the Seventies fall into two distinct periods, though without a doubt there was a considerable transitioning and these periods may have occurred earlier for other people.  The early and middle Seventies saw the transition through several styles of black music: soul, funk and what I will call "classic" disco.  Hallucinogens started dropping out of the picture, and grass and poppers became commonplace, if not exactly universal.  The feeling of this era, i.e. music, dope and attitude, was one exuberance, fun.  Late Seventies into the first half of the Eighties the sound of the music, the dope and the tone of the social scene all seemed to become more aggressive, faster, self-consciously "hotter" but more intense than exuberant.

I cannot imagine coke ever becoming as popular in the first era as it became later, simply because it was "harder" and created too intense a tone for the typical ambiance of those earkier days, I think.  Plus the fact that I recall early in the Seventies having a dealer tell me that he sold single grams of coke for $125., so there was the money factor as well.

Though the eras were definitely transitioning in the late Seventies, the Reagan admin's drug policy gave cocaine use a major assist.  So much government money and energy was directed toward the relatively harmless use of marijuana that drug importers and retail dealers found themselves seriously reassessing their marijuana business.  It was simply no longer profitable enough to be worth the risk, I think.  A Z of grass was up to about $75.00 in the late Seventies (28 grams in an ounce), but a gram of cocaine - a single gram - was down to about 95.00.  The advantages of dealing coke become obvious: A Z bag of grass grosses the dealer only $75, but a Z of cocaine sold in grams would have grossed $2,660.  Clearly one has to import, store and sell an ENORMOUS quantity of grass in order to equal the profit that selling a much smaller quantity of cocaine would bring.  With the drug enforcement initially focused on marijuana, it becomes much more enticing to deal in cocaine - especially if the social climate of your drug clientele can accomodate the particular high of the drug in their "scene.".  (Just as an example, it would have made no sense to try to peddle something like opium to a dance crowd in place of marijuana because you can't get off your ass when you smoke opium.)

And I can clearly recall that marijuana became much more difficult to find in the Eighties and the price increased considerably.  It actually increased enough that though I had been an ounce-a-month user for years, I began buying much, much less often.  By '87, I guess, I had stopped using it at all.

I was fortunate in that coke use as I was exposed to it seemed not to produce monsters.  While it was used pretty casually by people I knew, its use seemed to be largely limited to very specific familiar/controlled situations - furtively in the local bar while socializing, at small parties or bull sessions or for sex with someone you'd already picked up.  Perhaps somewhat unusually, I did not do coke in dance clubs very often nor in large social scenes, nor did the people I was with.  I did see some pretty over-the-top guys sometimes in those venues, and was quite happy not to be in the way (or rarely, at least.)   

I did see three people become addicted to coke: a friend and the friend of a friend, whom I knew distantly.  Both pulled themselves together, the first on his own; the second in a rehab.  The third person was my roommate of thirteen plus years, who destroyed his life in a period of four years in a grotesque and horrible fashion.  Cocaine played a major part in this, but considering the fact that two of his straight siblings (a brother and a sister) had had major problems with alcohol and drugs, I am inclined to feel that the fact he was involved with cocaine (and not something else) was not particularly relevant to his destruction.  He was dx with AIDS and killed himself rapidly - and with forethought - using coke and booze, after deciding not to pursue medical treatment.

Jack
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on June 28, 2007, 03:43:15 PM
Here's a bit of history that I didn't realize was as old as it is - apparently Exodus International, the christian ex-gay group, formed in 1976 (which predates Anita Bryant). 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exodus_International

Apparently there was a group called EXIT (EX-gay Intervention Team) in Southern California that formed out of the Melodyland Christian Center.  Michael Bussee joined Melodyland in 1974 and he and Gary Cooper (not the film star) went on to form EXIT with a third person.

http://www.exgaywatch.com/wp/2005/01/subjective-view/
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on June 28, 2007, 07:36:57 PM
Since I brought up the Briggs Initiative (from November, 1978), here is some information on it:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_Proposition_6_%28November_1978%29

Basically, it was an initiative that would have allowed schools to fire teachers who were lesbian or gay, or who advocated homosexuality (regardless of their sexual orientation).  It was this last part that actually helped to get the proposition defeated - because it could easily have been used to create a witch hunt to remove teachers who were disliked in schools.

The Briggs initiative was not the first instance of attempts to remove gay and lesbian teachers.  There is a good rundown of the legal history of gay and lesbian teachers here:

http://www.qrd.org/qrd/www/orgs/glstn/teachers.legal.rights

On April 6, 1978 the Oklahoma Senate unanimously passed a bill which allowed school boards to 'fire, suspend, or deny re-employment to any teacher, student teacher or teacher's aide who is found to have engaged in public homosexual conduct or activity' (so, for example, attending a public meeting or kissing in public).  The law was overturned in 1985.

Oklahoma had something of a history for prosecuting teachers who were suspected of being gay.  In 1968 26 teachers in Oklahoma County quit their jobs after having been investigated by the Attorney General.  Curtis Harris, the Attorney General in question, said that the investigation in 1968 was to 'weed out' sexual deviates from public jobs but not to prosecute them.  In the 3 years prior to 1968 there had been 12 resignations for this reason.

Of course this wasn't sort of attitude (or action) wasn't limited to Oklahoma - here is a brief history of the rights of gay and lesbian teachers from the late sixties to the Briggs Initiative:

In 1969 the California Supreme Court held that the State Board of Education couldn't 'abstractly characterize homosexual behavior as immoral' unless 'conduct indicated that the petitioner is unfit to teach.'  They ruled 'employment must not arbitrarily impact the right of an individual to live his private life.'  So from then on (in California) it was incumbent on a school to prove that a teacher's conduct made them unfit to teach - they couldn't just be fired for being gay.  But in 1972 the same court found that 'evidence of homosexual behavior in a public place constituted sufficient proof of unfitness for service in the public school system.'

in May, 1970, however, Ingrid Montano was pressured to resign for having a homosexual speak to seniors in her Sociology class in Phoenix, Arizona.

In Pennsylvania Joseph Acanfora was allowed to teach in Sept. 1972 after having brought suit against the University of Pennsylvania (which he said had discriminated against gays).  The State Secretary of Education John C. Pittenger said that he wouldn't have approved Mr. Acanfora's credentials if he had been convicted of homosexual activities, however (still possible in the era of Sodomy laws).

In 1972 John Gish was elected board president of the Gay Activist Alliance of New Jersey and head of the Gay Teacher's Caucus of the National Education Association.  The day after telling the School Board about this the Superintendent of Schools began procedures to suspend him as a teacher.  He was forbidden to enter High School property or meet with students and was ultimately suspended without pay.  He was initially placed in the administrative offices of the school and then required to undergo psychiatric evaluation to determine his fitness as a teacher.  Prior to this time he had taught for 7 years and had gotten tenure.  The U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear his case in 1977.  Finally, in July 1981 the New Jersey State Board of Education ruled teachers in public schools here may not be dismissed because of their political opinions outside the classroom.

James Gaylord was fired from a Tacoma High School in 1972 after school officials learned he was gay (he joined The Dorian Group, a local gay rights club) - he had been teaching Social Studies for 13 years at the time with a good job record.  He lost his appeal in the Washington Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme court refused to hear his appeal in 1977.  After losing the case in 1977, Gaylord worked odd jobs, cleaned homes and managed the office of the Tacoma teachers union.  In 1982 he became a librarian.

This gives you an idea of the world that the people who were fighting the Briggs Initiative found themselves in - and the reason the work of people like Harvey Milk was so important in fighting it.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on July 01, 2007, 02:38:10 PM
Here's a wikipedia link for Joe Acanfora - one of the people who fought so that gay people would be able to teach:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joe_Acanfora
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on July 01, 2007, 03:00:13 PM
I've found a very interesting article online on the suppression of Lesbian and Gay history.  I was not aware, for example that both Gandhi and Nehru were involved in the destruction of images of homosexuality in Indian temples.  Nor was I aware of the work of Alain Daniélou and Rabindranath Tagore to preserve that history.  Here is the link:

http://www.infopt.demon.co.uk/suppress.htm

And here is a wikipedia article on Alain Daniélou:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alain_Dani%C3%A9lou

And an article on the rise of homophobia in India:

http://www.vnn.org/editorials/ET0307/ET12-8214.html
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: tfferg on July 01, 2007, 10:12:32 PM
I've found a very interesting article online on the suppression of Lesbian and Gay history.  I was not aware, for example that both Gandhi and Nehru were involved in the destruction of images of homosexuality in Indian temples.  Nor was I aware of the work of Alain Daniélou and Rabindranath Tagore to preserve that history.  Here is the link:

http://www.infopt.demon.co.uk/suppress.htm

And here is a wikipedia article on Alain Daniélou:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alain_Dani%C3%A9lou

And an article on the rise of homophobia in India:

http://www.vnn.org/editorials/ET0307/ET12-8214.html

What a great article, Michael!

As for Gandhi, much as he is to be greatly admired for his development of non-violence in the struggle for independence, he was also puritanical. He was consumed with guilt because he was making love with his wife when his father died.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on July 01, 2007, 10:51:17 PM
What a great article, Michael!

As for Gandhi, much as he is to be greatly admired for his development of non-violence in the struggle for independence, he was also puritanical. He was consumed with guilt because he was making love with his wife when his father died.

Isn't Rictor Norton amazing?  I didn't know much about him until I started working on this thread.  Here's his biography from his home page:

http://www.infopt.demon.co.uk/index.htm

And here's his wikipedia article:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rictor_Norton

Apparently he was one of the first people to teach a gay course in the U.S. (before he emigrated to the U.K.).

I wasn't aware of Gandhi's puritanical side, but it makes perfect sense - it fits right in with his being raised in a Victorian culture.  It's odd to think of the influence that culture continued to have on people like Nehru.  It seems like that influence (or perhaps it was the missionary influence) must have had a similar effect on the Chinese, given the change made to the 'Two Flower Temple' in the 19th century.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: tfferg on July 02, 2007, 01:26:28 AM
What a great article, Michael!

As for Gandhi, much as he is to be greatly admired for his development of non-violence in the struggle for independence, he was also puritanical. He was consumed with guilt because he was making love with his wife when his father died.

Isn't Rictor Norton amazing?  I didn't know much about him until I started working on this thread.  Here's his biography from his home page:

http://www.infopt.demon.co.uk/index.htm

And here's his wikipedia article:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rictor_Norton

Apparently he was one of the first people to teach a gay course in the U.S. (before he emigrated to the U.K.).

I wasn't aware of Gandhi's puritanical side, but it makes perfect sense - it fits right in with his being raised in a Victorian culture.  It's odd to think of the influence that culture continued to have on people like Nehru.  It seems like that influence (or perhaps it was the missionary influence) must have had a similar effect on the Chinese, given the change made to the 'Two Flower Temple' in the 19th century.

Yes, Rictor Norton's website is an absolute treasure trove.

It seems the Hindu Renaissance had an extremely puritanical side as a response to British/Christian colonial dominance. I think that where there are homophobic laws in many countries, they were originally legislated by British (or Iberian) colonial regimes: India and Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, many African countries.

In Thailand which was never colonized by a Western power, there has never been any criminalization of homosexuality. There was and is Christian missionary activity, but only a tiny minority of Thais were converted. On the other hand, it seems that there is little understanding of homosexuality. There was an unsuccessful attempt to have something written about civil rights for people of diverse sexualities into the constitution that is currently being drafted. People from organizations that sponsored the attempt were pessimistic, arguing that there are too few politicians and legislators who have any understanding of the issues at all.

Thai kings and governments have always worked to maintain national independence often by adopting Western technology and other aspects of Western culture. A number of conventions and attitudes that Thais tend to regard as traditionally Thai derive from Victorian attitudes and the policies of 'modernizing' twentieth-century military dictators.

At least two recently released Thai movies incorporate homophobic attitudes and nasty stereotypes of gay characters, which sits oddly with the live-and-let-live attitudes of so many 'ordinary' people here. I wonder where the homophobia comes from and if it comes from Western influence.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Jack too on July 02, 2007, 06:49:37 AM
Michael, the links and comments on Gandhi, Nehru, etc. were very interesting, and you set my mind off.  This is a topic I find fascinating, sad, disturbing...and not only this example of specific Indian sculpture.  I thought quite awhile what I wanted to say in response to your article, i.e. in addition; and tfferg has done most of the job very nicely already, I see.

It does seem to be almost inevitable that many leaders of subject peoples will internalize the ideals of their foreign rulers, and then   "sanitize" their own culture - according to the cultural standards of those foreign rulers - even as they seek to free it from outsiders.

I think of the Irish, who despite the collapse of native rule in the Tudor era, still maintained their own culture in parallel with that of the English rulers.  But when the 19th century brought reform that allowed the participation of Catholics in the mainstream culture, most would-be professionals and politicians adopted the standards of English Victorian culture and aggressively participated in extinguishing the native language and many social customs.  The catastrophe of the Irish famine in mid-century certainly accelerated this process by literally killing off or draining away large parts of the population who might have resisted, or at least been a brake to, assumption of Victorian English cultural values.  When Irish leaders focused on nationalist goals at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th, they utilized a sanitized nationalism replete with sentimental Victorian imagery (both graphic and literary) and essentially denuded of any Irish/Gaelic associations repellant to Victorian values. 

I think two things are at work when this happens.  One, it allows nationalist leaders to extirpate and reform those within their ranks who do not conform to the ideals that these leaders have internalized from their rulers, and, thus, any lingering doubts or guilt over their own repudiation of the past get sublimated in the task of dealing with their more backward fellows who can be castigated as standing in the way of "progress," "freedom," "equality" and so on.  Second, leaders can say to their opponents something to the effect of - See, we are just like you.  The argument is clearly implicit, of course, if we are like you; then we must deserve to be treated as you treat yourselves.  But at heart it does look to the "other side" to validate one's claims, however coyly.  And it avoids the more challenging position, which says that even though I am not like you I deserve to be treated as you treat yourselves.  And the more difficult road of self-questioning and self-definition is comfortably by-passed.   

The American gay subculture as it has emerged has certainly been subject to similar forces, though since it is a subculture rather than a subject culture, the conflicts and processes may be less easy to discern.  However, the more public American gay life became, and the more complex its formal and informal institutions, the more it did seem a parallel culture.  The AIDS epidemic certainly shook up gay life, though most immediately the gay male part of it.  The post-AIDS era has seen some radical changes in the direction and emphasis of GLBT politics, with the claims for equality taking on a more pronounced heterosexual-normative emphasis. 

Jack
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: gnash on July 24, 2007, 04:56:53 AM
hi, i can't believe i never enjoyed this thread before, there are so many pages to catch up on! i talked to michael last weekend and promised to check it out, and post something i found about... naked men. :)  it's an article on the apollo network website, a sort of primer on the history the nude male in art, from ancient to.. tom of finland. it's fairly entertaining, especially if you click on the image links. i'm still not sure if it's right for this thread, michael, but... there is some history involved.

man without clothes (http://www.apollonetwork.com/misc/nakedman/index.html)

-- jimmy
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on July 24, 2007, 03:37:56 PM
hi, i can't believe i never enjoyed this thread before, there are so many pages to catch up on! i talked to michael last weekend and promised to check it out, and post something i found about... naked men. :)  it's an article on the apollo network website, a sort of primer on the history the nude male in art, from ancient to.. tom of finland. it's fairly entertaining, especially if you click on the image links. i'm still not sure if it's right for this thread, michael, but... there is some history involved.

man without clothes (http://www.apollonetwork.com/misc/nakedman/index.html)

-- jimmy

I'm fairly sure this applies here Jimmy - I can't check right now because I'm at work, but I'll check it out tonight.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on July 25, 2007, 07:04:21 PM
Orange County has a gay history!!!  Who knew?  Here's a web page I found with the O.C.'s gay history.  And since we're (still...sorry) on the 70s, I've posted the 70s web page here - but note that there is a timeline on the left hand side of the page.

http://www.metrog.com/locations/orangecounty/ochistory_1970.html

Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on July 26, 2007, 01:41:47 AM
Here's a great find!  If you go down the left hand column you can get the broadcast of the Buckley/Vidal debate here:

http://www.pitt.edu/~kloman/vidalframe.html
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: gnash on July 26, 2007, 03:46:52 AM
Orange County has a gay history!!!  Who knew?  Here's a web page I found with the O.C.'s gay history.  And since we're (still...sorry) on the 70s, I've posted the 70s web page here - but note that there is a timeline on the left hand side of the page.

http://www.metrog.com/locations/orangecounty/ochistory_1970.html



oh, interesting, i'll have to forward that to my friends down in irvine. one worked at the orange county aidswalk organization and would be interested in the history of his community... it's a sleepy town, irvine, but there are lots of gay men (and women i suppose) down there, when we trip around down in that area it's always nice to know there's a there, there.. :D
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: fritzkep on July 26, 2007, 09:30:08 AM
Unlike Oakland.

Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on July 26, 2007, 11:40:51 AM
oh, interesting, i'll have to forward that to my friends down in irvine. one worked at the orange county aidswalk organization and would be interested in the history of his community... it's a sleepy town, irvine, but there are lots of gay men (and women i suppose) down there, when we trip around down in that area it's always nice to know there's a there, there.. :D

Jimmy, the interesting one is actually the 60s - apparently for a while the number of gay bars in Garden Grove outnumbered the ones in West Hollywood or the Castro.  It's an interesting comment on the flight from suburbia to the city that happened between the early 60s and the 70s:

http://www.metrog.com/locations/orangecounty/ochistory_1960.html

And to give credit where credit is due I must mention that I found this site due to the film threads here - I was looking up the death of Danny Lockin a TV and film star from the 60s & 70s (he was in Hello Dolly).  He picked up a guy in Garden Grove who stabbed him over 100 times - and the guy only got 4 years in prison.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on July 26, 2007, 11:58:48 AM
Unlike Oakland.

Well...that's just because they don't have a 'pink ghetto' there, Fritz!  Here's an article on it:

http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2004/06/25/BAGC47AU0M33.DTL

There was a bookstore called 'Mama Bears' over there, a bar called 'The White Horse' (still there), Steamworks (ditto) and the Body Electric collective:

http://www.berkeley.edu/news/berkeleyan/2000/06/07/gaybears.html

In fact, the White Horse is apparently the second oldest gay bay still in existence in the United States (it opened in 1936 - the Doubleheader in Seattle opened in 1934 and is likely the oldest).  It's the only remaining bar in the bay area from the period of the 30s & 40s (when there was a boom in the number of bars):

http://www.eastbayexpress.com/2001-06-22/news/sanctuary/

Here, btw, is a history of gay bars before Stonewall (it's a word document in pdf):

www.geocities.com/gueroperro/Bars.doc
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Jack too on July 26, 2007, 05:13:07 PM

Here, btw, is a history of gay bars before Stonewall (it's a word document in pdf):

www.geocities.com/gueroperro/Bars.doc

I've seen this in the past.  My only real familiarity with the topic and the era is mostly NYC.  That section is missing quite a few places.  I've tried to reach the list's originator at the email address he gives but mail is rejected as the account is closed

Too bad there isn't a way of updating it before the oldest of us shuffle off to Buffalo.

Jack
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on July 26, 2007, 07:22:29 PM
Hmmm...kind of makes me wonder if the list owner hasn't 'shuffled off to buffalo' already.

On a related topic I had a very interesting conversation at a bar with a gentleman (he must have been in his 80s) today.  He's originally from Minneapolis and was talking about a restaurant that is in Ashland called 'The Platter Restaurant.'  In the 60s it was owned by two men who lived together and kept it open for 50 weeks of the year - for the other two weeks they went to New York together and attended the opera.  He said that it was generally understood that they were gay, but that no one would talk about it.

He said that in the Midwest (at that time) one didn't really 'come out' - you didn't talk about things of a sexual nature in public - including whether someone was pregnant (which was alluded to as 'being in a family way' or 'being p.g.'). 

I had been thinking of this because the book we are reading over in the book thread right now has a allusion to someone being 'not right.'  The two parents are talking to each other about this.  What is problematic is that (besides being a repressed homosexual) the character is also very odd - he has, at the least, a personality disorder.   So it's unclear as to whether or not the parents are talking about his personality disorder or his sexuality - as mental illness was another thing that you didn't talk about.  This in turn reminded me of when my father was dying from cancer - which was generally referred to as 'the big c' when it was referred to at all.

So not talking about sexuality (at least where I was from) was part of a whole panoply of things that just were not discussed.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Jack too on July 27, 2007, 03:22:07 AM
Hmmm...kind of makes me wonder if the list owner hasn't 'shuffled off to buffalo' already.

Well.....that's what I have been thinking, but apropos what you said below, I decided it was too "indelicate" to say so.

Quote
He said that in the Midwest (at that time) one didn't really 'come out' - you didn't talk about things of a sexual nature in public - including whether someone was pregnant (which was alluded to as 'being in a family way' or 'being p.g.').... This in turn reminded me of when my father was dying from cancer - which was generally referred to as 'the big c' when it was referred to at all.

So not talking about sexuality (at least where I was from) was part of a whole panoply of things that just were not discussed.

I do remember that whole lingo of double-talk and innuendo it was such a hallmark of my early childhood in the Forties, and even in the early Fifties.  My mother never got over the habit.  But I noticed that people did sooooo much enjoy using those code words, sucking on them like pieces of sweet hard candy!   And those pst-pst-pst conversations, like a nest of snakes.

The misinformation and myths surrounding cancer were so damaging that the govt and the Cancer Society spend millions, if not billions, trying to promote an openness about it.  Of course, in the early years of the AIDS epidemic the great success of that campaign had some unexpected and horrible repercussions.

My father died of cancer too, in 1969, and I can remember my mother whispering to me over his death bed, "The doctor said it's safe to kiss him."  I was stunned.  I guess those years of cancer info in places like the Reader's Digest had just never penetrated.

I have just come from a discussion with some senior gay people that has been pretty depressing, but is, I think, in some aspects connected to what you have said, Michael, about code words and keeping certain things hush-hush.  What I have noticed with some of the people I just referred to is that that they rather enjoy the closeted existence in some ways.  Although it is an airless existence and a fearful one, some of these folks clearly see it as kind of cabal of "specialness" too - very compensatory I think.  It's like seeing the late Fifties preserved in a piece of amber.

I had a close acquaintance who worked with me, and who just died; we were in NYC and in a very liberal work environment - he was out too.  But he revelled in using expressions such as "that way" for being gay/queer and all sorts of eye-rolling and winking and circumlocution when talking to our straight workmates about anything gay.  Quite bizarre, but again it seemed as if he enjoyed toying with the "naughtiness" of it all too much to give it up.

Jack
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: gnash on July 27, 2007, 06:25:33 AM
In fact, the White Horse is apparently the second oldest gay bay still in existence in the United States (it opened in 1936 - the Doubleheader in Seattle opened in 1934 and is likely the oldest).  It's the only remaining bar in the bay area from the period of the 30s & 40s (when there was a boom in the number of bars):

http://www.eastbayexpress.com/2001-06-22/news/sanctuary/


aah, the white horse! gee, why does that sound so familiar?  ::)

lost lots of friends that frequented that place.. and spent lots of time there too. i worked the door for a while, and was on hand when they celebrated their 50th anniversary... i didn't have time to read the whole article, so maybe they mention this -- there was a law, i guess in the 30's, that prohibited drinking establishments within one mile of the UC berkeley campus, so the white horse is like,, 1.1 miles from sather gate, lol. that place would fill up with cal stud(ent)s, that's for sure. thursday nights were packed. i loved that place...  met a special guy there too. ;)

my friend pippin, who worked the day shift, used to tell me about ruthie, what a character she was...  i did know graham bell, who owned the bar after ruthie. and i'll never forget troc, the bar manager, who lived in SF just up the street from cafe flore. not to mention all the other bartenders who were lost to AIDS -- and too many customers to count...

does anybody know if inga still around?

it wasn't a fancy bar, but it could be fun. loved the mixed crowd -- gay, lesbian, straight, transgendered and handicapped. it wasn't a big deal to see people in wheelchairs on the dance floor, or deaf patrons with big balloons between them (to soak up the bass beats) shimmying to "we are family" on the tiny black and white tiled dance floor in front, and later, on the slightly larger floor in back.

met the guy that drew THE HUN comics there.. my bf yanked his chain (and you wouldn't believe what it was attached to!)... i remember when morrissey came in one night... and andy bell from erasure. james gabbert (of TV20) would sometimes visit too, haha. and a handful of students and priests from the seminary on chabot would frequent the place  ::) 

so yeah, there is definitely a there, up there in oakland... i don't know what gertrude was thinking!

Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Jeff Wrangler on July 27, 2007, 07:06:30 AM
I have just come from a discussion with some senior gay people that has been pretty depressing, but is, I think, in some aspects connected to what you have said, Michael, about code words and keeping certain things hush-hush.  What I have noticed with some of the people I just referred to is that that they rather enjoy the closeted existence in some ways.  Although it is an airless existence and a fearful one, some of these folks clearly see it as kind of cabal of "specialness" too - very compensatory I think.  It's like seeing the late Fifties preserved in a piece of amber.

Sometimes being "out" can be, or seem to be, a lot of work. There are days when I'm just tired of it, when I just want to be "left alone" to be myself. Even in my own predominantly gay social circle, there are days when I just get tired of the "gayness."  :-\
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Jack too on July 27, 2007, 08:51:06 AM

Sometimes being "out" can be, or seem to be, a lot of work. There are days when I'm just tired of it, when I just want to be "left alone" to be myself.

I do think being out can be a lot of work, and it can also be made into a lot of work sometimes.

But, that aside, I have to say that I cannot imagine what "to be myself" would mean to me without the inclusion of my sexual orientation and my life experience as a gay man. 

Quote
Even in my own predominantly gay social circle, there are days when I just get tired of the "gayness."  :-\

If I understand "gayness" correctly as something other than the fact of being gay, then I heartily agree.  I loathed the prevailing social style of the late Fifties, which was overwhelmingly bitchy and affected.  It wasn't until I lived in NYC in the early 60's that I discovered that there were a significant number of men who did not act this way.   And I consider the greatest liberation of the late 60's to have been the diminishing of that tone in gay male life and a far more relaxed atmosphere in the Seventies.

Jack
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Jeff Wrangler on July 27, 2007, 11:46:29 AM
But, that aside, I have to say that I cannot imagine what "to be myself" would mean to me without the inclusion of my sexual orientation and my life experience as a gay man. 

Point well taken, and I wasn't clear on what I was getting at. What I was really getting at was a life that is not defined by or entirely built around  my sexual orientation.

There are many things that go into making up me. Obviously my sexual orientation is an important factor--a very important factor. But I get tired of feeling that the fact that I am sexually and emotionally orientated toward persons of my own gender has to be the defining factor of who I am.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on July 27, 2007, 12:09:11 PM
A very interesting discussion guys.  I can remember that between age 12 and 18 that I knew what was going on but felt that I could only talk to a few very close friends about my sexuality.  At first I was still very guilty about it, but once getting over that it was a safety issue - I lived in rural Michigan and to admit gayness was to become a target.  But I also knew that the first chance I got I was going to leave all that behind - to be as out as possible and to let people think of me what they would.  It was kind of the exact opposite of the code word culture you talk of, Jack.  On the other hand what is problematic with being consumed with being defiant is that most people think of you as solely being your sexual orientation (that and it scares a lot of folks off that you might have had fun knowing  ;) :D). 

But it also was part of a whole set of things you didn't talk about - religion, sex and politics were the big three as I recall (and talking about someone's finances was considered in bad taste too).  So I think that part of the change came when people started talking about the pill, when there was sex ed and when politics became part of the national discourse - so all around the late 60s and early 70s.

I've known a lot of guys (especially in the Midwest) who liked to talk in code - F.O.D. for 'Friends of Dorothy', 'going to church' for going to the bars, 'visiting Ruth Ann' for going to a Rest Area, etc.  I think that some people did this because it gave them the feeling of being in an 'in group' (which is, after all, something of a feeling of power for people who are vulnerable) - and it made them feel special.  And, quite honestly, it was a kind of camp fun - and it honored those who came before us who could only live that way - and it was a unifying element - it crossed race lines that were still pretty rigid back then and allowed people to feel part of the same group.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Jack too on July 27, 2007, 04:53:25 PM

 On the other hand what is problematic with being consumed with being defiant is that most people think of you as solely being your sexual orientation (that and it scares a lot of folks off that you might have had fun knowing  ;) :D). 

This is what I was alluding to when I said that being out could be made into work - and then, as Jeff said too, it can be taken as the defining factor of who you are.

Quote
I think that some people did this because it gave them the feeling of being in an 'in group' (which is, after all, something of a feeling of power for people who are vulnerable) - and it made them feel special. 

Definitely, I can remember standing around Lenny's Hideaway (in NYC) in '59 and having that exact feeling.  For me, it cloyed very rapidly though.  In retrospect I think I had a clear preference for the "outlaw" role rather than the "cabal" member one.  :)

A friend of mine once remarked with sarcastic emphasis that gay life became less "precious" in the Seventies - a comment that I think is not a bad snapshot of  the changing eras. 

Well, it is late and a hot wind is blowing over from the Sahara and I am going to flee into an air conditioned bedroom.

Jack
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on July 27, 2007, 05:13:37 PM
This is what I was alluding to when I said that being out could be made into work - and then, as Jeff said too, it can be taken as the defining factor of who you are.

This can certainly be problematic.  I fought this battlefield in my own mind in the 80s - mostly over the issue of whether or not there were 'gay authors' - or if they were 'authors who were gay' (oftentimes it all comes down to literature for me  :D).

What I find problematic is not that certain people are considered 'authors who are gay' - authors like Tennessee Williams, Gore Vidal, James Baldwin, Edward Albee, Michael Cunningham, Edmund White, etc. are certainly all gay (or homosexual if you prefer) but their work goes beyond a ghetto niche of writing.  And if an author is seen as being simply being for a minority audience I feel that their work can often lose much of the impact that they would have.  On the other hand, it's sort of a double edged sword as there are some people who don't have the time or inclination to research what they are reading and might need the guide that they would get by going into a gay (or women's) bookstore and browsing the authors there.

So both personally and generically labeling can be problematic.  I know I had a lot of issues about this in the 70s when I created a Gay & Lesbian section in the bookstore I worked in.

BTW, speaking of this - I have a list from the late 70s that I put together of things I ordered for the bookstore.  Would anyone be interested in seeing this?  It's kind of a snapshot of what I knew was available at the time.  It has both fiction and non-fiction.

Let me know - it's typewritten and I'd need to re-type it to get it online.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: gnash on July 27, 2007, 05:28:19 PM
ruth anne??   that's funny... i suppose some mighta said rick ames... or reston stoppard...  :)

i posted something in fan art a little bit ago, a sort of what i think bobby might have found after jack died, in his pockets, in hidden boxes in drawers. maybe in his fishin tackle box...  it's sort of like gay history, i tried to tie in elements of the sixties and seventies, something a gay man, even married and closeted, would have come across as he lived his life.

http://www.davecullen.com/forum/index.php?topic=11891.msg943784#msg943784
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on July 27, 2007, 05:49:23 PM
Yep...Ruth Anne's....

I love that Jimmy - and I've always felt there was some Jack history that could be 'discovered.'

I knew about the Dorian Group - in fact one of the teachers I mentioned in the 'how gay teachers became legal' post was involved with them.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: gnash on July 27, 2007, 06:08:04 PM
Even in my own predominantly gay social circle, there are days when I just get tired of the "gayness."  :-\

If I understand "gayness" correctly as something other than the fact of being gay, then I heartily agree.  I loathed the prevailing social style of the late Fifties, which was overwhelmingly bitchy and affected.  It wasn't until I lived in NYC in the early 60's that I discovered that there were a significant number of men who did not act this way.   And I consider the greatest liberation of the late 60's to have been the diminishing of that tone in gay male life and a far more relaxed atmosphere in the Seventies.

Jack

interesting to hear about the fifties, and i imagine that bitchiness was not limited to gays? i think it's like that now, there is of course the huge gay population in big cities (i'm in LA and witness to the spectacle that is west hollywood), but we all know there are tons of men in rural areas that don't identify with that sort of thing at all. and another thing i've noticed is that the kids these days are sort of ambivalent about sexuality, not really caring if they, or their friends, are gay or straight.

i worked with kids (well, high school age) at a ceramic studio for five or six years, and i learned a bit about what's going on this new century. for many of them, it's no big deal to be gay. then again i'm talking kids that live in the greater LA metro area. i think computers and online life also expose them to various lifestyles, and sexuality for them is a little less iffy -- there's less of the wondering, less of the fear that comes with the unknown. the rave culture, with drugs and partying, and their anthem of PLUR (peace, love understanding respect) also breaks down what they know to be sexist, racist, and homophobic.

so, one day nick tells me about a party that's happening an upcoming weekend... a high school ecstacy party. i'm shocked, he tells me that there are party rooms, for gay, straight, and bi kids. how they just let loose and there's no worries, just be yourself type of thing. my mind is racing with thoughts of unsafe sex but he assures me that they're aware of that. ok, high and drunk, and you're going to make sure about fluid exchange. sigh...  anyway, i guess there are parties like this all over, he's been to several and he says they're great fun. wow.

the xtube generation too is another example of what's breaking down sexual barriers. i don't have high speed so i can't say too much about what goes on there, but i know that lots of kids are doing just that, going on webcams, broadcasting themselves, posting sexual videos, etc... i couldn't even imagine that sort of thing when i was in middle school and high school! my friend, when he turned 18, was totally freaked because he had lots of images of other guys his age on his hard drive, pic exchanges with other gay youth, and was worried to death because he had to take his computer in for repair one day.

so yeah, the times are changing, but they're also the same -- i think the thrill, the apprehension, and the wonderment of coming of age is the same, but the ways and means of exploring sexuality has definitely changed. instead of going to rest stops to hook up, you can go onto craigslist or other sites to find mr. right.

i came out when i was about 14 -- to my mother, not my father... (i knew better)...  she wasn't impressed. more on that later... michael asked me to recount a story i'd told him last weekend, when i was 12 and i found out that i was "a gay"... :D

===

michael -- yes, the dorian group seemed to do some important work when they were in business! based in portland, i guess. rob over there posted some links that show their history.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: fritzkep on July 27, 2007, 06:22:48 PM
Not exactly code words, but a couple of terms from the Eastern Shore of Maryland from the 70's:

A rest area on US 301, quite isolated and unilluminated back then, unlike today, was called by friends who lived in that area "swallow hollow".

And the place in Delaware where US 40 met US 13, in the rear of an adult book store there, was termed "suction junction".

(I would have been way too scared to partake of the offerings back then.)  :D

Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: gnash on July 27, 2007, 06:23:00 PM
What I find problematic is not that certain people are considered 'authors who are gay' - authors like Tennessee Williams, Gore Vidal, James Baldwin, Edward Albee, Michael Cunningham, Edmund White, etc. are certainly all gay (or homosexual if you prefer) but their work goes beyond a ghetto niche of writing. 

well, i think it's safe to say that there are tons of respected writers out there that are gay but nobody knows they are.. so for all those that are identifiable as gay, hats off to them for being out, no matter how they're lumped together as writers. so many filmmakers, directors, authors, scientists, inventors, etc etc etc who have done great work and contributed, but haven't told a soul of their inclinations, have made a big difference in our lives!


and sure -- i'd like to read your list of books from the seventies!  you could scan the typewritten page too, that might be interesting, historically!

Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on July 27, 2007, 06:44:56 PM
well, i think it's safe to say that there are tons of respected writers out there that are gay but nobody knows they are.. so for all those that are identifiable as gay, hats off to them for being out, no matter how they're lumped together as writers. so many filmmakers, directors, authors, scientists, inventors, etc etc etc who have done great work and contributed, but haven't told a soul of their inclinations, have made a big difference in our lives!

Yes, but the problem (to me) came as twofold - one that people who were identified as gay writers (or filmmakers or musicians) would feel pigeonholed in their work - that it would stifle them.  I also became somewhat concerned by the quality of some things I was seeing.  Jack (as opposed to Jack Too) mentioned his distaste at Gordon Merrick earlier when I brought him up.  That's the sort of thing that came to concern me later - but even in the 70s there were some people who I felt we gave something of a 'pass' to because they were gay and we were so, so hungry for artists that would speak to us publicly.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Jeff Wrangler on July 27, 2007, 07:44:24 PM
Gordon Merrick. ...

God, I used to see those paperbacks with the artwork of impossibly beautiful men on the shelves of, what was it, Walden Books?

Back in the day when I was chicken I was far too chicken ever to buy and read them!  :D
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: gnash on July 27, 2007, 08:46:29 PM
i never heard of gordon merrick,,, looked him up... must have raised some eyebrows back then.

(http://taxine.com/fullerspicer/lordwontmind.jpg)

http://www.ianyoungbooks.com/GayPbks/covers/Lord.htm

unfortunately, "The World Literature and Gay and Lesbian sections are currently closed for inventory."

Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Jack too on July 28, 2007, 05:47:45 AM

interesting to hear about the fifties, and i imagine that bitchiness was not limited to gays?

In my experience, it was.  It was a style or manner of self-presentation (whatever one wants to call it) that seemed to be derived largely from past Hollywood films (Bette Davis, etc.etc.etc.), plus an impression - or apeing, perhaps - of what was imagined to be the ways and mores of high society.  It is the style of the guys in Boys in the Band.  Straight men certainly did not cultivate this kind of self-presentation, nor did straight women - except for a very few of those women who hung around with gay men.

Quote
i think it's like that now, there is of course the huge gay population in big cities (i'm in LA and witness to the spectacle that is west hollywood), but we all know there are tons of men in rural areas that don't identify with that sort of thing at all.

Yes, and, of course, the gamut of gay life/society can be diced even more finely.  Speaking of my late 50's/early 60's experience - what I did not know, having just come out in '58, into a subculture that could be more accurately described (and sometimes was) as the gay underground, was that the style of interaction I referred to above was not all there was.  But in those days there was essentially no gay press, almost no gay literature, etc. etc. one learned about gay life aurally - you were told about it.  Your heritage and skills were learned in the same way the Australian aborigines learned theirs - from those more experienced than yourself and modified (perhaps) by a slowly increasing store of knowledge acquired from your own experiences.  In large measure, however, other people were inscribing their world on your brain.

I had to discover that the gay world I was being handed and experiencing was not the only one there was.  Once I moved to NYC permanently, I found that there were other gay men, many thousands of them, for whom the gay style I had received was not the norm.  There were the other very obvious subdivision/tribes, e.g. leathermen, those who would later be described as "straight-acting," drag queens, etc.  And many for whom "gay" didn't seem to have a particular style.  Had the years 1959-60 not been when the existing gay bars in New York were closed wholesale by the police, as a relative stranger in the city I most certainly would have gone immediately back to the bars that I had been introduced to, and as a result been immersed in the same old same old.  But the upheaval in gay life meant that I was exposed immediately to a mix of people that had by and large not existed before.

Quote
so yeah, the times are changing, but they're also the same -- i think the thrill, the apprehension, and the wonderment of coming of age is the same, but the ways and means of exploring sexuality has definitely changed. instead of going to rest stops to hook up, you can go onto craigslist or other sites to find mr. right.

Indeed!  Nowadays one can browse dozens of magazines, read dozens of novels and hundreds of non-fictions books about being gay, surf the net and so on, the world is awash in information of the enormous variety of lifestyles and no-lifestyles that make up the gay world.  What it took me two or three years to arrive at can be accomplished in a few months today.   

I think there is another aspect to this, and that is that the tendency to take the most visible part for the whole.  What is written about the Fifties and early 60's is that cynical, bitchy Boys in the Band world.  But, in fact, there was so much that was Not-Boys-in-the-Band, which is one reason I put up my website.  We seem to be given a similar myopic view of the 70's gay life - Christopher Street or the Castro.  Even historians are lazy, I guess, it is just easier to describe the part of the iceberg that is most visible.

Jack

Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: gnash on July 30, 2007, 07:23:48 AM
^^^ jack, i visited your website and gave it a quick once-over, i'll be back to read it in its entirety, that's for sure, as it's chock full of stuff and fascinating. it was referred it to a gay couple (my non forum friends) who love that sort of stuff, they're in their twenties and one of them is into vintage pics. he loves that recent photo-book with the pics of gay couples from the turn of the century.

ah -- i see what you mean about the exaggerated hollywood diva mannerisms... i did watch part of "boys in the band" and it was pretty bitchy, that's for sure. the dvd crapped out right when it started raining on their little party,, and it was almost a relief! good to know it wasn't like that with everybody during that time... something i suspected anyway.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: Roco on August 14, 2007, 09:08:19 AM
Many people don't realize that 911 is part of GAY HISTORY also ... Here's why!

http://www.angelfire.com/fl3/uraniamanuscripts/sept11.html
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: fritzkep on August 14, 2007, 04:01:48 PM
Had not seen this listing before, thanks Roco!

Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: cabin on August 28, 2007, 06:50:32 AM
Let's see if we can start the convo again on a period of gay history that has always motivated me to study further.

http://www.pbs.org/outofthepast/
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: ChrisW on September 03, 2007, 01:39:59 PM
Hello all,
Tomorrow is the 50th anniversary of the publication of the Wolfenden report, which was a key event for gay people in the UK.
This piece by Julian Mitchell is well worth reading
http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,,2161121,00.html
- and as he says, when he and his partner came out of the registry office arm in arm, no-one even looked up.
It has seemed to me that the British public really don't care any more about this issue, he confirms it.

Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: tfferg on September 03, 2007, 11:31:47 PM
Hello all,
Tomorrow is the 50th anniversary of the publication of the Wolfenden report, which was a key event for gay people in the UK.
This piece by Julian Mitchell is well worth reading
http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,,2161121,00.html
- and as he says, when he and his partner came out of the registry office arm in arm, no-one even looked up.
It has seemed to me that the British public really don't care any more about this issue, he confirms it.



Hmmm. The comments from readers following the article reveal a more complex picture.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: ChrisW on September 04, 2007, 01:25:30 AM
Well, OK, but it really does seem that it's somewhat more tolerated than anyone, including me, would have guessed. No-one had heard of 'gay marriage' until a few years ago. When I first heard about it I thought it was a bizarre idea, and I'm one of the supposedly well-educated and enlightened members of society. Of course you are welcome to add your own comment, too, to redress the balance. I have not read the comments, since I was actually reading the paper when i came to this item.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: tfferg on September 04, 2007, 08:42:29 AM
Well, OK, but it really does seem that it's somewhat more tolerated than anyone, including me, would have guessed. No-one had heard of 'gay marriage' until a few years ago. When I first heard about it I thought it was a bizarre idea, and I'm one of the supposedly well-educated and enlightened members of society. Of course you are welcome to add your own comment, too, to redress the balance. I have not read the comments, since I was actually reading the paper when i came to this item.

Didn't mean to be a wet blanket, montezumae. I agree that there has certainly been significant progress and people's lives have been changed so much for the better. The experience of individual people in different social contexts varies so much even in countries where laws have been reformed for the better, as in the UK, but the progress that has been achieved gives us hope.

At the moment, I'm staying in a country where there are no anti-homosexual laws and the dominant religion is not homophobic, though there is no same-sex marriage or legal civil union. Gay-bashing seems to be unheard of. There are lots of gay bars in the big cities and resort towns and the majority of the population seems to have a live and let live attitude or simply pity the bad karma that leads poeple to be born homosexual. But it is not the gay paradise that it is sometimes perceived as by people from overtly homophobic countries. Local gays are often isolated and suffer to the extent that they feel suicidal.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: cabin on September 15, 2007, 03:22:48 PM
I found the following link from a website mentioned on another thread.
Like some others here, I've heard the name Frank Kameny for the past
30 years on his determination for gay rights, and that happened decades
before the first time I heard of him. 

Apparently, he continues to this day.   The guy is legendary.

http://www.towleroad.com/2007/09/frank-kameny-ga.html
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: ChrisW on September 17, 2007, 01:05:41 AM

Didn't mean to be a wet blanket, montezumae. I agree that there has certainly been significant progress and people's lives have been changed so much for the better. The experience of individual people in different social contexts varies so much even in countries where laws have been reformed for the better, as in the UK, but the progress that has been achieved gives us hope.

At the moment, I'm staying in a country where there are no anti-homosexual laws and the dominant religion is not homophobic, though there is no same-sex marriage or legal civil union. Gay-bashing seems to be unheard of. There are lots of gay bars in the big cities and resort towns and the majority of the population seems to have a live and let live attitude or simply pity the bad karma that leads poeple to be born homosexual. But it is not the gay paradise that it is sometimes perceived as by people from overtly homophobic countries. Local gays are often isolated and suffer to the extent that they feel suicidal.
no, I'm sure you didn't - and bad karma -now, i really don't like that. At this stage i seem to have lots of gay friends and relations, and no way am I thinking this is bad karma, or the UK equivalent. Pity eh!  I count myself lucky to know (and love) these people.  Wrong thread... sorry....
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on September 17, 2007, 01:37:06 AM
The recent situation with Larry Craig reminded me of another individual who was arrested for public indecency - Bayard Rustin.  He was one of the organizers of the March on Washington where Martin Luther King gave his 'I Have A Dream' speech.  Here's a little info on his life:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bayard_Rustin

http://www.rustin.org/
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: tfferg on September 17, 2007, 08:26:35 AM

no, I'm sure you didn't - and bad karma -now, i really don't like that. At this stage i seem to have lots of gay friends and relations, and no way am I thinking this is bad karma, or the UK equivalent. Pity eh!  I count myself lucky to know (and love) these people.  Wrong thread... sorry....

I think traditonally people in this country thought of being born a ladyboy or not straight was the karmic consequence of committing adultery in former life. If you were not heterosexual with the opportunity to marry and have children, you'd have the prospect of a lonely and poverty-stricken old age. Here, where there is little in the way of social security provided by the state, offspring have always had the duty to provide for their parents as soon as they are able and repay them for their care as dependent children. Even now adult children are too ashamed to go home to visit their parents upcountry if they cannot take money to give them.

A lot of gays here support parents in the provinces and I suspect carry more responsibility for their parents' welfare than their straight siblings.

Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on September 17, 2007, 10:03:09 AM
A lot of gays here support parents in the provinces and I suspect carry more responsibility for their parents' welfare than their straight siblings.

Strangely enough there was a Dear Abby that concerned this sort of thing recently.  This post is from Bessemer Alabama:

http://bessemeropinions.blogspot.com/2007/07/intolerance-v-acceptance.html

So this does seem related to many people's personal history.

Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: ChrisW on September 17, 2007, 02:52:32 PM

no, I'm sure you didn't - and bad karma -now, i really don't like that. At this stage i seem to have lots of gay friends and relations, and no way am I thinking this is bad karma, or the UK equivalent. Pity eh!  I count myself lucky to know (and love) these people.  Wrong thread... sorry....

I think traditonally people in this country thought of being born a ladyboy or not straight was the karmic consequence of committing adultery in former life. If you were not heterosexual with the opportunity to marry and have children, you'd have the prospect of a lonely and poverty-stricken old age. Here, where there is little in the way of social security provided by the state, offspring have always had the duty to provide for their parents as soon as they are able and repay them for their care as dependent children. Even now adult children are too ashamed to go home to visit their parents upcountry if they cannot take money to give them.

A lot of gays here support parents in the provinces and I suspect carry more responsibility for their parents' welfare than their straight siblings.


- that's a very interesting observation. After my sister got to know my son's bf a bit and we had talked it over, she astounded me by saying, 'you know, it could be A. (the bf) who has to arrange for you to be admitted to a nursing home.' I don't mind telling you I was gobsmacked, because that seems such a long way off, but also because I don't think I'd ever really thought that way about it.
Oh, don't tell me this is the wrong thread..... I know that.

But while we are on this subject, the Ladyboys of Bangkok have performed for several years now at the Brighton Festival here in the UK. The publicity bumf always emphasises that the performers aren't necessarily gay. Sorry, I haven't seen the show. I'm sorry to hear that this  is treated as the sins of the mothers being visited on the children, or something. Hmmm. Didn't know that, thanks for explaining.

Michael - thanks for that, at least she wasn't too proud to change her beliefs, and I am sure you are right, there are plenty of examples, you bet.



Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: fritzkep on September 24, 2007, 05:43:38 PM
Michael, I'm not sure if this website has been noted, called "People with a History".

http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/pwh/

I don't recall it being mentioned, but if it has been, let me know and I'll delete it.

Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on September 24, 2007, 06:13:26 PM
Michael, I'm not sure if this website has been noted, called "People with a History".

http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/pwh/

I don't recall it being mentioned, but if it has been, let me know and I'll delete it.

I mentioned it in connection to Mormon history earlier:

http://www.davecullen.com/forum/index.php?topic=20158.msg798599#msg798599

But didn't post the front page.  It's worth keeping here Fritz.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: tfferg on September 25, 2007, 01:18:52 AM

But while we are on this subject, the Ladyboys of Bangkok have performed for several years now at the Brighton Festival here in the UK. The publicity bumf always emphasises that the performers aren't necessarily gay. Sorry, I haven't seen the show. I'm sorry to hear that this  is treated as the sins of the mothers being visited on the children, or something. Hmmm. Didn't know that, thanks for explaining.


Karmic consequences are not the sins of the mother being visited on the children, but the consequences of the same person's sins in their next reincarnation.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: CellarDweller115 on September 25, 2007, 12:51:51 PM
Strangely enough there was a Dear Abby that concerned this sort of thing recently.  This post is from Bessemer Alabama:

http://bessemeropinions.blogspot.com/2007/07/intolerance-v-acceptance.html

So this does seem related to many people's personal history.


Loved this story, thanks for posting it!

Both Ann Landers and Dear Abby long supported gay readers, I've seen many letters answered by them regarding this issue.

One of the funniest I found was in a collection of her answers to letter, and went something like this:

Q:  Dear Ann Landers, a homosexual couple has moved in across the street.  What can we do to improve the neighborhood?

A:  You could move.




:D :D :D :D
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on September 25, 2007, 02:11:18 PM
In fact that column received a number of responses, Chuck.  We should probably be talking about this over in 'how the media perceives us' or something like that - but just to let you know here are the responses (all good):

http://www.philly.com/dailynews/features/9845157.html
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on September 25, 2007, 08:43:09 PM
Okay...here's something I don't think I've covered here - and it definitely is before 1980.... ;D

James Buchanan may have been the nation's first gay president.  He was a 'confirmed bachelor' as they say, and lived with William Rufus King (himself a Senator...tap,tap, tap...from Alabama) for over a decade.  They were referred to as  'Miss Nancy' and 'Aunt Fancy' by Andrew Jackson.

Here's a bit more on Miss Nancy and Aunt Fancy:

http://insomniareport.blogspot.com/2006/09/monday-scandalrama-thats-president.html

http://lindholm.jp/chinf_buc.html

http://www.tompaine.com/Archive/scontent/2458.html

http://www.geocities.com/boybluetoo/rufey.html

And King was the person that King County (where Seattle is) is named after:

http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/262697_gcenter13.html

Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: ChrisW on September 26, 2007, 01:31:54 AM

But while we are on this subject, the Ladyboys of Bangkok have performed for several years now at the Brighton Festival here in the UK. The publicity bumf always emphasises that the performers aren't necessarily gay. Sorry, I haven't seen the show. I'm sorry to hear that this  is treated as the sins of the mothers being visited on the children, or something. Hmmm. Didn't know that, thanks for explaining.


Karmic consequences are not the sins of the mother being visited on the children, but the consequences of the same person's sins in their next reincarnation.
oh, sorry, thanks for that explanation!
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: tfferg on September 26, 2007, 01:57:26 AM

oh, sorry, thanks for that explanation!

No need to say sorry, monte :)
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: ChrisW on September 29, 2007, 03:59:45 PM
hello tfferg - today I was reading 'Memoirs of a Geisha' - makes me very aware of the effects of religion and culture on sexual issues.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: tfferg on September 29, 2007, 08:43:50 PM
hello tfferg - today I was reading 'Memoirs of a Geisha' - makes me very aware of the effects of religion and culture on sexual issues.

Hello, monte. I haven't read that one, but from reading other Japanese books, people there have a different take on sexual issues from Western Christian, Jewish and Islamic peoples. I understand though, that these days, there is a problem with homophobia, more so than in the pre-modern era.
Title: Re: Gay History -- How We Got Here
Post by: michaelflanagansf on October 08, 2007, 08:16:07 PM
This is a note to let members of the Book Club, Film Club and Gay History threads to let you know that (effective next month) I am retiring as a moderator on the forum.  I have personal obligations that I need to spend time on - most particularly working on a book project - and I need to free up some time.

I'm not going anywhere