Wednesday, July 31, 2013

cranking out articles and postponing meetings[again]

I've spent the whole day typing articles to send to Clevester at Rainbow Lit magazine. At one point I accidentally deleted an article when I was almost done typing it and had to retype the whole thing! I was so pissed! Don't ask me why I didn't have it saved. Anyhow, so I did retype it and sent a total of two new articles today. That's a total of four this summer. If I'm not going to write new pages to the sequel I'm going to make sure I'm doing something to promote myself and/or hone my writing skills. I also want take my mind off my neighbor and my other personal problems. I can't sit at home and watch DVDs and sulk all day!
   My meeting I was suppose to have today with my Friend to set up my Facebook, goodreads and Amazon author profiles got postponed-again! I was planning to ride my bike to meet her half way, since she lives across town, but there was rain in the weather forecast. At one point it did look like it was going to rain too but, or course, it didn't. How much can you go by weather forecast anyway? I should have just took the risk. If I got drenched then so be it. But that's another reason I made sure I got something else done today. I was determined to make today, my only day off from my day job, productive no matter what! We reschduled our meeting for this Friday. But I've found some more sites, LGBT Bookshop and Bookdaily, that I can set up profiles on, too. I have the feeling these meetings are going to be on-going.

Monday, July 29, 2013

moving, postponements and rainbow lit

Things are settling down but I'm thinking that I might have move! This situation with my neighbor is really getting to me. Maybe it's just time to go. I've been living in this house for four years now. The energy is not what it was when I moved in back in 2009. If I decide to move, I'll have to budget and save money for moving expenses and look for a place. Talk about a major disruption of my life, but I may not have any other choice. I guess I could always choose to stay where I am but I don't see thing getting any better.
    Anyhow, the meeting I had today with my friend to get these author profiles and my Facebook fan page set up was postponed until Wednesday. I'm off that day and I can go straight to her house. It'll just be a lot easier for both of us.
    I skimmed through the digital issue of Rainbow Lit magazine that Clevester sent me and it looks good! I read two of the author interviews and saw my three part article series but I haven't read them yet. It's a good thing I did a three part series because they would have been too short by themselves. I have to hand it to Clevester. Publishing a magazine would be a lot of hard work, especially if your doing everything by yourself like he is. I know he's been struggling a lot lately with it. Maybe my articles will help make his load a little lighter. I couldn't sleep last light so I wrote another article for him. I called it The Science of Success. That article makes four new articles, so I only have two more to write to make my goal of six. To be perfectly honest, I'm not sure about the quality of these articles. But, then again, maybe that's just me being too harsh on myself.  Anyhow, I e-mailed him today to congratulate him on the publication of the summer issue and to give my thoughts on it.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

yesterdays post didn't happen

Yesterday I was a hot mess! I couldn't get that post together to save my life! Part of the problem is that I didn't have what I was going to say outlined before I started blogging like I usually do. The other part of the problem is the fact that I've been having some personal stress and I just wasn't focused. I'm going through some stuff with my downstairs neighbor and I've been concerned about Rainbow Lit magazine. I had not received the summer issue yet and we're a month into summer! So, I e-mailed Clevester, the editor, last week to see what the hold-up was, but I didn't hear back from him. Fortunately, I did get his reply today. He said he's been having some major problems with his computer. He sent me a digital copy of the magazine and said the print copies will be out shortly. I'm glad I at least know whats going on now. I have three articles in this issue and I'm eager to see them in print. The issues with my neighbor are another story, however. I just wish he would move! That would solve everything! I guess I'm also a little sick of the seemingly haphazard and slow pace of everything. I stress the word ''seemingly'' because I know nothing is ever as it seems.
    As far as my study of A Queer History of the United States goes, I'm just going to resume it next week. I'm going to start at the beginning of chapter five as if yesterdays post didn't happen. Hopefully I'll be more focused and organized. These blog postings do take a certain degree of preparation, at least in my case.
    Monday I've scheduled an appointment with a friend of mine who does IT work to get started on my Amazon authors and Goodreads profiles. We're also going to set-up my Facebook fan page. Tonight I'm going to a drag show to have fun, let loose and forget about everything!

Friday, July 26, 2013

I'm not feeling this post!

Okay, back to my study of A Queer History of the United States. Today I start postings on chapter five, A Dangerous Purity, and it's quite a study. So, I left chapter four talking about Walt Whitman, the transcendentalists, English thinkers and they're writings on Homosexuality, the German activists' who were challenging they're government's same-sex desire laws through the court and Victoria Woodhull's ''free-love'' crusade. Now, if all this was going on in the late 19th century, the turn of the century and well into the 20th century you can bet there were counter forces at work as well.
    The counter force was the temperance and social purity movements. They did not spring up in direct opposition to Homosexuality but in direct opposition to alcoholism, prostitution, gambling and the public and domestic violence that sprang from them. They're belief that non-reproductive/marital sex was sinful clarifies they're stance on the Homosexual  and ''free-love'' issues but, like I said, curbing the latter vices was they're main focus. They saw the law as the way to social control. They were behind prohibition and the Comstock law, which forbade the sending of any lewd, obscene or lascivious material through the U.S. mail.
    I'm having a hard time articulating my thoughts on this post. I've been at this computer for two hours and this is all I've come up with! I'm going to come back to it tomorrow.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

life in the blogosphere[so far]

I finished Chapter four of A Queer History of the United States yesterday and tomorrow I'll begin postings on chapter five. But before I do I've decided to talk about blogging. I've been blogging consistently since February and I have to say it's been good. Sometimes it feels like going to work and I don't feel like doing it but I must maintain my consistency. Once I do it, and I'm finished, I'm always glad I didn't blow it off. I think consistency and commitment are the keys to a successful blog. I also think It takes along time to build a blog. I've only been at this for five months but people work at building they're blog for years! The blogger can do things to promote his/her blog but people also surf the web and just find it, too. If people see that your last posting was six months or a year ago they'll just say ''well this %$@#&* ain't doing nothin' with this blog'' and they wont come back. You have to stay fresh and current.
    As far as using all of my blogs' features are concerned, I've not been doing so great. I have not posted any photos or videos and I've only done one link. But to be perfectly honest it's because I don't know how to do those things! I'm sure there are features on my blog that I don't even know about, let alone how to use them! I just see my blog, and myself as a blogger, as a work in progress. I know that I will grow as a blogger and my blog will reflect that growth over time. For now my main blogging goal is to maintain consistency.
    I still don't have any new followers, there are not a lot of readers and there has been no comments on any of my postings but I feel that I have to earn followers, readers and comments. People have to feel the bloggers commitment. It's like earning trust in any other area of life, it takes time. So, I'm five months into my blogging journey and I've come too far to turn back. I'll just keep blogging for myself and the handful of people who visit my blog and think no more about it. There's always a pay-off for perseverance.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

''free-love'' for all!

Today I'm going to conclude chapter four of A Queer History of the United States. In my last post I talked about the influences that American and European writers and thinkers had on each other from they're respective sides of the pond. It appears as though the American side, with the writings of Whitman and the transcendentalist and American Utopian ideals, spearheaded the European side, mostly in Germany, to take more concrete action toward changing actual laws through the courts. But the English were playing their part, too. English thinkers such as Edward Carpenter and John Addington Symonds were cranking out pamphlets, essays and even whole books on the question of same-sex desire. They're work is still available today and is said to be at the foundation of the modern LGBT rights movement.
    American, English and German males were not the only ones calling for freedom to love whomever they chose for as long or short a period of time as they chose. Victoria Woodhull was leading another movement in America called the ''free-love'' movement. Her movement was not LGBT specific but Whitman had been a major influence on her. Now, don't think that Victorian era Women were jumping on Victoria's bandwagon in droves because she had a lot of male and female detractors. Nonetheless she ran for President of the United States in 1872, one-hundred years before Shirley Chisholm and one-hundred and thirty-six years before Hillary Clinton. I suspect she wanted a national platform for her crusade. The life of Victoria Woodhull is a Study of it's own but she is a vital piece to the puzzle because LGBT rights boil down to ''free-love'' anyhow. Racial equality plays a major role in this as well because miscegenation laws, laws forbidding interracial marriage, infringe on free-love, too. So, the rights of women, LGBT's and people of color are interconnected. This is not only Because freedom for one means freedom for all but because LGBT's are also Women and people of color!

Monday, July 22, 2013

working together across the pond

I talked to my friend Greg again and I was wrong when I said he was leaving for Southeast Asia on Saturday, it's today. He should be in the air typing my pages as I write this post. With that said, I'd like to get back to A Queer History of the United States. The last section of Chapter four is called Politics and Poetics and it is very insightful. I'm going to split it up into two post.
    So, when was the official start of the LGBT rights movement? As I study our history more and more I'm setting the official start back further and further, at least from my perspective. Anyhow, I'm now going to argue that it started in the mid 19th century, 1860's to be more precise. Walt Whitman was using words like ''manly attachment'' and ''adhesive'' in his writings to describe same-sex desire. His work was well known and having a big impact on the other side of the pond, I like using ''pond'' when talking about across the Atlantic in Europe. Over there activist, influenced by American style ''freedom,'' began arguing in the German courts to repeal laws that illegalized same-sex behavior. ''Homosexual,'' the new word used to describe Whitman's ''manly attachment'' and ''adhesive,'' gave a non-derogatory kind of energy to same-sex attraction. Legal, medical and cultural communities quickly began using the new word, not necessarily in a positive way but at least the ''love that dare not speak it's name'' now had a name!
    The term ''sexology'' was coined around his time also to aid in the legal reform of same-sex desire laws. It made a kind of non judgemental science of sexuality and classified different forms of sexuality scientifically. It argued that homosexuality between two consenting adults was inborn and therefore should be decriminalized.
    In the 1870's Araxes: A Call to Free the Nature of the Urning[Urning is a derivative of Uranian, which was a common word for Homosexual or ''third sex'' used in the mid/late 19th century coined around 1864]From Penal Law was published. It  was one of many pamphlet sized booklets using Magna Carta style natural rights of man language to basically say the state had no business in our bedrooms. These pamphlets were written in German but, I'm sure, were translated into English and read on this side of ''the pond,'' too.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

vegetating is not an option!

  I'm suspending my A Queer History of the United States today. I'll come back to it on Monday. My friend Greg left for Southeast Asia today. I talked to him earlier this week and he said he received the longhand photo copies of the sequel pages I sent him[ something sounds wrong with that sentence but I'm leaving it anyhow]. He said he'll get them typed on the plane. Now all I have to do is write more pages! I have not written in about a month! All I've been doing is working like a fiend at my day job, but I have been a little under the weather, too. I'm struggling with my determination to write but it's not writer's block. I just don't feel motivation. So, I've been working like crazy to stay busy and to keep myself distracted from the fact that I'm not writing. For example, I just got off as I write this post at 4:00PM and I have to be back tonight at 10:00PM and work graveyard. Then, I have to go back at 11:00AM tomorrow morning! I know that's insane but I must be productive somehow! If I'm not going to write I'm going to work and that's that! I refuse to stay at home and vegetate in front of the DVD player. Part of me feels like it's okay to be in a rut once in awhile. Maybe my creative juices need replenishing. Well, no matter whats going on, I have to get off this computer and go home, eat, rest and get ready to go back to work tonight.

Friday, July 19, 2013

classical greek and roman photography

Yesterday I talked about the explosion of war statuary after the civil war, but there was another expression of male homage that swept the country at that time as well. Photography had become more accessible and artistic by the late 1860's and a crop of prominent photographers sprang up. They were almost all male with same-sex desires. Like I said yesterday, with the end of the war came a new interest in maleness and all things masculine, especially in the physical sense. Even though the churches had effectively repressed images of  classical Greek and Roman nudity in art for centuries the times were changing and these photographers revived it through photography. 1870's art critic John Addington Symonds associated  the male nudes of Michelangelo and De Vinci with same-sex desire in his writings. And Remember there was a lot of discussion going on, in intellectual circles, at this time about same-sex desire. The very words ''Homosexual'' and the nearly forgotten today ''Uranian'' were coined during this period as well. So, within certain circles there was a level of  interest in homoerotic art/imagery. Some of these photographers photographed nude men of color to add race to the discussion.


Thursday, July 18, 2013

the second wave of American manliness

The next section of A queer History of the United States is called New Bodies for the Body Politic. I found this section to be quite interesting. Here is my take on it. After the civil war America sought to redeem itself from all the bloodshed and carnage. What I see as a ''second wave'' of American maleness emerged out of the ashes of the war. The first ''wave'' was the fabricated man, or the American cowboy, I discussed in my post entitled Progressiveness and a Fabricated Man. This was a persona invented to create a uniquely American man separate from the Englishman. So, the post civil-war American man was still rugged, masculine, virile and patriotic except now he wore a soldier's uniform and held a bayonet.
    An explosion of statues paying tribute to this new ''man'' were erected all over the country after the war. These statues not only glorified the heroic soldier[s] but the generals and politicians of the war as well. But just as the cowboy persona had/has his homoerotic undertones so does the soldier. Vulnerability and impetuousness are the other side of the coin when it comes to soldiering, which means that the potential for same-sex desires are ever present. And who doesn't like a man in uniform?

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

boston marriages

The ''Boston marriage'' was a 19th century phenomenon that is little known today. The term is derived from the 1886 novel entitled ''The Bostonians'' by Henry James. A Boston marriage involved  two women who lived together like a married couple and enjoyed all the trappings of married life without the legalities. Boston marriages were long-term domestic partnerships and, unlike romantic friendships or intimate friendships which I talk about in my post entitled Bosom buddies, were an exclusively female life-style. They were most prevalent at institutions of higher learning, or Women's colleges, amongst the professors and administration.
    These women came from affluent backgrounds. If there were Boston marriages amongst poor women there is no surviving documentation to prove it. Like Charlotte Cushman, whom I discussed yesterday, these women had there own money and education which gave them autonomy from men. It also allowed them to move in male social circles of power and influence. Many in this social circle of New England intellectuals were transcendentalist, whom I discussed in my post entitled Interracial Gay Desire as a Pretext for Egalitarianism, who had a secret advocacy for Homosexuals. There is no doubt that these Eastern, intellectual, transcendentalist knew about the possibility of sexual behavior between women in Boston marriages but they were not likely to judge or condemn them and apparently the public didn't either, because these ''marriages'' were known amongst the general population, too. It is not proven that these women had sexual relationships but it is not proven they did not. The homoerotic tone in some of their letters strongly suggest that they did!

Monday, July 15, 2013

drama queen cushman

Now I will resume my A Queer History of the United States study. In looking for an example of 19th century LGBT history that is not between the lines or subtle we need look no further than Charlotte Cushman. Cushman was a very famous actress who was born in 1816 and died in 1876. Of course we can never see the acting that gave her the huge following that she had, since film had not come on the scene yet, but we can read the newspaper reviews. The newspapers not only covered Cuchman's shows but also her private life. This, along with her personal effects, is how we know she was unabashedly Lesbian.
    Cushman's life was one big drama on stage and off and she did not care who was watching. She dressed in a masculine style and had numerous affairs with women, even as she was publicly acknowledged to be with writer Matilda Hays. In 1852 Hays and Cushman moved to Rome and lived amongst a colony of artists where they both had affairs with other women. They had a bitter brake up because of they're mutual unfaithfulness but Cushman finally did settle down with a women she met there. She stayed with this women until her death, but she still had another female lover twenty-three years her junior, too!
    To paint a picture of Cushman's fame and adoration I'll use the example of her 1874 farewell performance in New York. Twenty-five thousand people gathered outside her hotel to pay tribute to her! How Cushman pulled off her public relationships and affairs with women in the 19th century, and still maintained her notoriety I don't know. But I am sure that the financial Independence she had from her work played a part in that she did not have to marry a man to sustain herself. Hers was a very unusual 19th century life story not only for Lesbians but for Women in general.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

time & history, a perspective

I'm going to interrupt my A Queer History of the United States study to point out something about time that I've unearthed over the past 2-3 years. There is a school of thought that says there is no past, present or future. It says that they all exist in the same moment and that ''time'' is cyclical and not linear and does not exist as we know it. It also says that the ''past, present and future'' are all in constant flux and are always changing. There are other layers/areas to this school of thought that talk about parallel universes and time travel, which I'm not going to get into here but they are a part of the subject.
     Anyhow, the reason I'm bring this up is because, if it is true, it changes not only the way we perceive time but also the way we perceive history. And I'm not exactly sure how. Does it mean that all history is one big lie? And how can past, present and Future all exist in the same moment? What would cyclical time ''feel'' like? One thing I'm getting from this is that if time is ''cyclical'' then that would mean it is fluid and traversal. And if it is fluid and traversal then it is changeable.
    I cannot say that I totally understand cyclical time and the simultaneity of past, present and future but I can say that it does put a new spin on history which, along with writing, is my great love. Okay, so I'm married to writing and to history. I guess that makes me a polygamist. Well, I can live with that! My conclusion regarding this new perspective, as it relates to history, is that the past is ''fluid'' but the basic story or environment is what it is, or should I say is what it was!  I think there is still a light in the window for history buffs like me but it might flicker a little differently. How differently remains to be seen.

Friday, July 12, 2013

I feel gypped ! part 2

Okay, so yesterday I left off talking about passing women fighting in the Union and Confederate armies of the U.S. civil war. Many of these passing women got killed or wounded like they're male counterparts. If they were killed and then discovered it didn't matter because they were dead anyhow, but if they were just wounded the vast majority of them deserted. They did not want they're secret discovered and had they sought treatment in an army hospital they would surely have been. I suspect that many of these wounded females ended up have slow painful deaths because of this dilemma.
    They're enlistment was relatively easy though. Many of the male recruits were mid to late teens. So, it was easy for passing females to get away with not having a beard, a deep voice or having a small build. I suspect, here I go suspecting again, that some military officials knew that some of they're recruits were passing females but they turned a blind eye because they needed soldiers. And these passing females had proven themselves worthy.
    I have one more suspicion that is not mentioned in A Queer History of the United States. It is a known fact that army brigades during the civil war were segregated. I suspect that the African-American brigades had passing African-American females in then, too! I have never heard or read this anywhere but common sense tells me that if the white brigades had passing females the African-American ones must have had them, too! This is an area of African-American history worth exploring.
    These passing women fascinated America and a book called Women of the war: Their Heroism and Self-Sacrifice was published in 1866. The book was not entirely about Passing female soldiers but it did have an entire chapter dedicated to them. Loreta Velazquez, who had passed as man in the Confederate army, published her memoirs in 1876 and some women received government pensions for they're service.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

I feel gypped ! part 1

In yesterdays post I stated that females were scarce in the military during the American civil war but I should have said ''out'' women were scarce in the military during the civil war. Gays were not the only ones in the closet in the 19th century. Women were passing as men everywhere you turned, and the military was no exception. How did I miss this in my high school history class? Oh wait, I know how, because they forgot to teach it! I feel gypped!
    Anyhow, there are no records on how many females fought, dresses as men, in the American civil war but I think it's safe to assume there were thousands. They fought for the North and the South and they fought just as bravely and valiantly as they're male counterparts, maybe even more so. It is ridiculous to say that they were all Lesbian, Bi and/or Transgendered but it is equally ridiculous to say that many, were not. They're reasons for dressing like men and joining the fight, aside from the fact that only males could enlist, were as diverse as they're sexual orientations and gender identities. One reason is obvious in that women can be as patriotic as men. Some had been living and passing as men before the war broke out, so joining the fight was only the next logical and/or expected step to take. Some may have been bored and wanted some action, excitement and adventure. The one thing most of them did have in common was that they came from poor rural or urban backgrounds which ended up being a plus because it gave them the thick skin they needed to survive in a war torn, male environment. If they drank, smoked, chewed tobacco, swore and could endure sexist and misogynistic remarks that was a plus, too.
    As I write this post I'm reflecting on what this would have been like for them. Not only were they fighting in a war, which would be hell on it's own, but they had to pass as men on top of that! I have more to say on this topic tomorrow. I find it fascinating!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

a bloody bathhouse and whitman's gay torch song

So, I'm finished with my Before Stonewall after 1899 postings and now I'm going to resume my postings on A Queer History of the United States. I've still been reading it even though I postponed my postings about it and it's gotten even better! I left off at chapter four.
    When I think of the American civil war I think of Southern secession, slavery, Lincoln, The Emancipation proclamation, etc. In other words I think of everything I was taught in history class, and even in my own independent studies, until now! One thing I never considered about it on my own was the impact of starring ones own mortality in the face. What kind of physical, mental and emotional vulnerabilities is a soldier open to in a war zone or in combat? What ''could of, should of, would of's'' race through ones mind when they're own extinction is within sight? That old expression ''eat, drink and be marry for tomorrow we die'' must surely apply in a war zone and open soldiers up to exploring avenues/areas of life, like sexuality, that were unexplored before. When you add the ''homosocial'' environment that war and soldiering created back then, since females were scarce in the military and the average soldier was eighteen and ''cocksure,'' you have a recipe for a bathhouse bazaar or a gay pride celebration!
     The only records to confirm any same-sex attractions, for lack of a better word, during the civil war period come from Walt Whitman's writings. He had been a nurse on the battlefields and in army hospitals and was quite disturbed at the sight of beautiful, young male minds and they're bodies being damaged and mangled, sometimes beyond repair. His popular Leaves of Grass series of poems reflected his mood with clear homoerotic intentions. And it did not go unnoticed since he was fired from his job with the department of the interior in 1865.

Monday, July 8, 2013

i refuse to get divorced!

I mailed the ninety pages I've written, since I resumed work on my sequel back in April, to my typist today. My typist is my friend Greg who I went to visit In Wisconsin back in March. He's going to Singapore and Malaysia this month and he wanted something to occupy his time on the plane. I think he said the flight is seventeen hours or something like that. I would go insane on a flight that long! Anyhow, I suggested I send him photo copies of the pages I've written so far for him to type on the plane. Of course, I was only thinking of him. He said ''sure'',so now he gets to go on an exciting vacation and type my pages at the same time, the lucky devil! Actually, he's a pretty fast typist. It may not be enough work to pass the entire time, but if it's not it will pass some of it.
     I have dreams of traveling the world myself. For now, the best I can do is watch my Discovery Atlas DVD's, among others. Discovery Atlas is amazing because you get an intimate look into the personal lives, dreams and goals of average people who live in whatever country they're featuring. It's a kind of biographical travel series like Anthony Bourdain's No reservations is a food travel series.
     I sent Clevester at Rainbow Lit my second article today, also. Now I only have four more to send to make my goal of six this summer. That means I have to write three more and I have no idea what they will be about. All I know is that they will have to do with writing, but I'm not worried. I'll come up with something.
    I must admit that the lackluster writing output I had in June has spilled over into July. In other words, I haven't written one new page, so far, this month! How pathetic is that! But I have been blogging, sending articles to Rainbow Lit and doing other promotional work. I'm not going to deny that writing is a struggle for me, because it is! But no matter how much I struggle with my writing, book promotions, etc. I will not stop. It's my purpose, my ''something to do'' in life. It's my gay marriage and I refuse to get divorced!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

before stonewall after 1899 part 10: daughters of bilitis continued

So, in continuing to talk about the DOB I'll go into the origins of the name. Daughters of Bilitis comes from a 1894 French poem called The songs of Bilitis. Bilitis,a character in the poem, lives on the Isle of Lesbos alongside Sappho. Daughters was chosen for it's association to other American social clubs like the Daughters of the American Revolution. The DOB filed for non-profit incorporation in 1957 with a vague charter description so as to not deter the government from granting them status.
    On the inside cover of every issue of The Latter the DOB announced itself as ''a Women's organization for the purpose of promoting the integration of the Homosexual into society.'' In 1960 they held they're first national convention in San Fransisco. The convention was so successful that they held one every two years until 1968. They sent press releases to local newspapers and radio stations, which prompted the police to come to make sure everybody was wearing clothing appropriate to they're gender!  Wearing clothing of the opposite sex in public was illegal back then. The organizers expected this and told everybody to wear dresses, high heels and stockings.
    By the mid 1960's the feminist movement started to take shape. The National Organization for Women or NOW, had been formed and the DOB was split on whether to focus on Gay issues, Women's issues or both. A Lesbian Review was removed as the sub-title for The Latter and in-fighting had resulted in The Latters subscription list being stolen. By 1970 scores of new Lesbian/Gay rights groups had come along and the DOB, along with it's male counterpart the Mattichine Society, got lost in he frenzy and folded. But The Latter struggled along until 1972.
     My two postings on the Daughters of Bilitis are way beyond abridged. There is a lot more to the story but they are only meant to be an introduction for people who may not know about it. I want to help keep our history alive!

Friday, July 5, 2013

before stonewall after 1899 part 9: daughters of bilitis

The Daughters of Bilitis, or the DOB, was the first Lesbian organization in the United States. It was started in 1955 and remained active until 1970, It's founders, Del Martin and Phyllis Lyons were lovers and wanted to meet other Lesbians and have a safe haven for social gathering. The Gay bars were dangerous because they were constantly being raided. So, they got a group of women together and began meeting regularly. From the start they knew they wanted to raise Lesbian self-esteem and educate other women about Lesbians. The political focus evolved over time but by 1959 there were DOB chapters in New York City, Chicago, and Los Angeles along with the original chapter in San Francisco.
    They found meeting attendees and members by distributing a newsletter that, by the fall of 1956, became The Latter. I talk about The Latter in my post entitled Before Stonewall After 1899 part 6: The Latter posted on 05-30-13. There is no doubt that The Latter quickly caught the attention of the FBI and that they're meetings were infiltrated. Sometimes it's hard for people today to fathom the courage it would have taken for these early activist to do things we think nothing of doing now. But it really was risky business to be involved in a ''homophile'' group back then. You could easily have lost your job, your home/housing, your family and friends, your reputation and, in some extreme cases, your life! I'll finish talking about the DOB tomorrow. There is a lot more to the story.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

before stonewall after 1899 part 8[continued] mattichine society[continued]

Okay, back to the trial. So, Jennings plead not guilty and confessed to being a homosexual in court but he also insisted that his not guilty plea was just that! He was not guilty of the charges. The jury deadlocked and the Mattichine declared a win. After the trial the Mattichine's membership grew and so did meeting attendance.
    In a 1976 interview Henry Hay was asked about the origin of the name ''Mattichine.'' This is a direct quote: ''One masque group was known as the Societe Mattichine. these societies, lifelong secret fraternities of unmarried townsmen who never performed in public unmasked, were dedicated to going out into the countryside and conducting dances and rituals during the feast of fools , at the Vernal Equinox. Sometimes these dance rituals, or masques, were peasant protest against oppression-with the maskers, in the people's name, receiving the brunt of a given lord's vicious retaliation. So we took the name Mattichine because we felt that we 1950's gays were also a masked people, unknown and anonymous, who might become engaged in morale building and helping ourselves and others, though struggle, to move toward total redress and change.''
          -Jonathan Katz[interviewer],  Gay American History. Cromwell Publishers, 1974
    The Mattichine Society was one national organization based in LA until it moved to San Francisco in the mid 1950's. Chapters popped up all over the country in New York City, Washington D.C., Chicago and other cities. But any group is hard to keep together and in-fighting caused these Mattichine Society chapters to split into small independent groups by the early 60's. One of these off-shoots occurred in the early 50's and became One Inc., which went on to create One magazine, which I talk about in my post entitled Before Stonewall After 1899 part 5 One Magazine posted on 05-25-13. Anyhow, these off-shoot groups maintained a strong and viable independence throughout he 1960's. But toward the end of the 60's, and especially after the stonewall riots in 1969, they were seen as old school and behind the times. A whole new crop of groups and organizations popped up by the 1970's and the Mattichine and all it's off-shoots became apart of LGBT history.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

before stonewall after 1899 part 7[continued] mattachine society

 Starting today I'm going to finish my Before Stonewall After 1899 series. I should have completed it before moving onto anything else in the first place! What was I thinking? I'll come back to my study of A Queer History of the United States when I finish this series.
    Anyhow, there are two more things I want to discuss in this series. One is The Mattechine Society and the other is The Daughters of Bilitis. I'll start with The Mattachine Society. Earlier in this series I talked about the Society for Human Rights founded by Henry Gerber in the 1920's. Well, The Mattichine Society is a ''descendent'' of Gerber's organization. It was first conceived of in 1948 by Harry Hay. Hay was a frustrated gay man who wanted action! He talked to some gay friends at a party about starting a ''homophile'' rights, as gays were called back then, organization. Everybody was enthusiastic and on board until the next day, when I assume they're hangovers were over. That's when they were nowhere to be found. However, Hay was was not deterred. He continued to draft and polish a document of ''organizing principles'' and in November of 1950 the first meeting of The Society of Fools, which would soon become The Mattichine Society, was held in Los Angeles.
    The societies growth was slow at first and did not take off until a founding member named Dale Jennings was arrested for lewd behavior in an Los Angeles park in 1952.  Instead of pleading not guilty or no contest, like most men had done in the past, Jennings saw the situation as an opportunity. He plead not guilty and went to trial. The society created a publicity campaign and started to receive financial support and volunteers. They probably packed the courtroom on the day of the trial and Jennings admitted to being a homosexual. I can see the courtroom now. Everybody is horrified and erupts into whispers of shock at such a confession. The judge pounds his gavel and yells ''order in the court!'' This story could be a movie! It's a classic melodrama. Anyhow, I'll finish my telling of this saga tomorrow.

Monday, July 1, 2013

let the summer begin!

Okay, I've decided to do things a little different from now on. Instead of setting  new goals every month I'm going to set them every season. So, I'm actually behind because we're already ten days into summer, but that's alright. I'll just have to work harder. My summer 2013 goals are as follows:
    1. get the entire sequel manuscript written[at least the first draft of it]
    2. get a fan page posted on facebook
    3. continue blogging five days a week
    4. get an author page/profile posted on
    5. get an author page/profile posted on
    6. get six new articles written and sent to Clevester at Rainbow Lit magazine
    7. get a profile posted on
    8. stay focused on my affirmations and meditations.
    9. get a boyfriend and live happily ever after[I'm currently accepting applications!]
    10. promote my book trailer
    So, these are my goals for summer 2013. I've always been a goal oriented person and it's a part of  my personality that has served me well. I don't always make my goals but sometimes I do! The important thing is to have them so I have something productive and constructive to occupy my time and to work towards. Sometimes I get lazy and/or discouraged but I just renew my determination when I fall back, and that's constantly! So, let the summer begin!