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lethherald79

lethherald79

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04/30/2012

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With
one
in
A
HOMOSEXUAL
WHO
TRIES TO
hidethenature
ofhis
sexualityias«kltobe
in
the
dc«et.
Should
abandon the attempt to hide he
wiU
be Mid to
have
come
out.Homosexuals
are
now coming out in
meat
numbers, and
as
though
in
im-
itation
of a law of nature many
heterosexuals
are manifesting an
action.If
aoa-
homosex-
Moclair
in arecent
issue
of the
To-
ronto police union's
monthly
news-
fetteOthen why
not other acts?
Why
not condone murder,
assault
and
rape?
Those people are sick in the
Soon°after
Staff Sergeant
Moclair
flashedthesethoughts a
young
man
was tried in Toronto for stabbingtodeatha transsexual. Theaccused.
William
Andes, whowas20 at thetime,said
he
hadbelievedthevictimto
be
a
woman,
but then learned
dur-
ing the
early
stages
of
a
.-aualen-
counter
that
he had been
deceived.
In
•rage
lie
stabbedthe
victim
r? times.
When
the judge sentenced Andes toeightyears
in
penitentiary,
his*her
cried
out
"Oh,
please,"
she.
gged
the
judge,
"he's the
victim.
Don't punish hun.Not forkillingahomosexual." .
So
common
have
these
and similarviews
become
that
it is
hard
not to
conclude
that
themore homosexuals
come
out,
the
more fear
and
hatredthey
will
attract from
the
heteroaex-
uab
they come out among.
Indeed,
such a bleak future would
appear
to
be
inevitable were it not for the
con-
trary
experience
of
San-
Francisco,
where
recent
history
suggest,a
healthier
outcome
for
both
groups.
At
about the time, for
instance,
when
Staff
Sergeant Moclair
in
Torontowas writing that
"many
culturesthroughout
history
have dealt
with
them (homosexuals) almost
univer-
sally
.with disdain,
disgust,
abhor-
rence
and
even death," Chief
of Police
CharlesGain
in
San Francisco
was
tossing
out
the
first ball in an exhibi-
tion
softball
gamebetween
the
PoliceRecruiting Unit
and the Gay
All-
Stars.
The gay
team
won by 11
runs.
Whenever
a gaybase runner
ad-
vanced mto
scoring position
agirl
sit-
ting
onthe grassy slope
behind
thirc
bsBejumpedto
her feet, laughingandclapping.^'Go for
it,
Lavender!*
sheshouted; and along the slope otherspectators took up the dap andchanted,
"Lavender,
Lavender, Lav-
WKSKENOMAOUINE.JOLYT.im
Gay
San
STREET
CLOTHES
SHOP:
GAY
MAIN STREET
USA
ender
"Once, when thegay shortstop
cut
off
a line drive with a
one-handed
stab that took
him far to
his
left,
the
girl on the third
base
slope turned tothe manbesideher, astrangerto San
Francisco
and to her. She was slight
and
very plain behind steel-rimmed
eyeglasses,
but now she was
radiant.
-You
know,"
she
said,
"back
home
Tve
had
women, nice women,
friendsof my
mother's,
say to me,
'But
my
dear, there
are no
lesbians
in
Mas-
sachusetts.'
And
Td
look
at
them
and
think,
*My
God,
I'm
losing
my
mind.'
So
I came out here, but I
didn't
really
expect
it to be, you
know
like
this.
She
jumped
up and kicked on her
shoes
and
danced with
her toes
curl-ing in thegrass,clapping and
chant-
,
ing,
"Lavender,
Lavender, Laven-
der,"
and
then
dropped
to the
ground
and rolled
down
the slope,
laughing.
L
AVENDER
IS
NEITHER
ple nor
violet
but
a
blushfulunion
of
both. Like Tory blue orGrit red,
Gay
lavender
has
become
asort
of
official
color.
SanFranciscopassed a gay rights
ordinancein1978,
and
when
the
mayor signed
the
billheusedalavender pen.Gay
self-
defence
groups are called Lavender
Panthers.
SanFranciscans
have
de-
bated
themeritsof
establishing
a
new
centre
of higher
learning,
to be
known
as
Lavender U. Gay
styles
and
attitudes
are spoken of
with
in
creasing
frequency
as
lavender
cul-
ture,
and lavender fashions more
often
than not
start
in San
Francisco
Backroom
bars
appeared here sev
eral years
ago,and areonlynowmaking
an
appearance in many
east-
em
cities.
Thesocial roleof aback-
room
bar
is togive peopleachancetomake sexual contacts they can turn
instantly
into sexual
acts.
These
are
usually carried out in the
presence
ol
other clients, most
ofwhom
are apt
to
be
similarlyengaged.
Among
theseadherents to the
lavender culture
the
idea of promiscuity
has
become
meaningless, since
no
standard
of
sexual
discrimination
remains
from
which
promiscuously to
depart.
The first backroom
bars
in SanFrancisco were after-hours deadfalls
that
cateredtopeople with nowhere
to
go. While such
cities
as
theToronto
of
Staff Sergeant
Moclair
are
still
dubious
about what
kind
of
reception
to
give backroom
bars
that
open
late
at
night,
the
backroom
bars
of San
Francisco have
started
opening
at
noon.What
goes on
there
at that
horn-
isknown
as
nmch.Even
for
liberals
long dedicated
to
the belief
that
what happens
ni
pri-vate between
consenting adults is
noconcern of anybody
else,
the appear-ance of a fashion like
funch
can putprinciple under severe
strain.
Yet
in
San Francisco the majority seems in-creasingly willing to accept the sex-ual minorities, and even to allowthem
access
to many
of
the privilegesand rewards
the
city
has
togive.Out-side
the
Bitch
Street
baths
there
is a
sign
that
says
COME
IN.
ACTUALIZEYOUR FANTASIES.
Improbable
asit
sounds,
this
seems to be whar s
going
down
in San Francisco.
S
AN
FRANCISCOWAS
NOT AL-
ways
like
this.
In the early
1970s
homosexuals were
no
more con-spicuous here
than
in
most_
otherlarge
cities.
Nobody
had yet
thoughtto speak of a gay community,
al-
though
a few gay
bars
had moved
into
empty storefronts
in
a
decay™
Irish
workingman'sneighborhood
known
after
its
principal
street
as
the
Castro.By
1973
thebars
were draw
ingto the
night
streets
of
the
Castro
a
fan-
number
of gay
customers, many
of whom
were being beaten
and
rob-
bed. According to the victims,
there
were
often
police
officers
within
sight
or
earshot
of
thesebeatings,
but theyseemed
slow
to see orhear whatwashappeninguntil thehomosexualswere bloody and
their
assailante
were gone. The bar
owners,
joined bya
handful
of other gay businessmen
who by now had
followed
them
inti
the district,
tried
to
enlist
the
local
.10-
 
erchanb
gelation
in
pressing
a
HJPJ^I1»HUT
(VW
II
I
•!
I
^^mt
i
emand
for
adequate
police
protec-tion for their customers. But
mem-
lenhip
in the
association
was
by
in-
viS
only,
•»*
«ta
-tabtobed
merchants
now
node
itdear
thatno
such invitation
WM
about
to be ex-
ended,
then
or
ever, to
a
homosexual
Among
the
newcomers
thus
snub-
bed
by the
established
merchantswas
a
New
York
Jew
named
Harvey
Milk,
who bad
just
opened a
camera,
•hop
in
what
had
heen
a
vacant
century-old
storefront
on
Castro
Stnet.
While
the
other
gay
busi-
nessmen
tookthemerchants'
rebuff
with the wounded resignationthey
tad
learnedinsimilar
situations,
Milk
got
mad.
He
ledthe
formation of
a new
gay organization,
the
Cas-
tzo
Village MerchantsAssociation.
...
..
A_
*--^-
*•!•«
A!*
BAR ON FORSOM
STREET:
HEAVY
MALE FASHIONS.
LAVENDER
FANTASIES
-11-
tn>
village
meivniiiii**
«*w
11
which
was separate from the old
group
and soon
more
than itsequal,to
set
the
streets
of
the
district
abuzz
with
slogans.
"Gay for
Gay"
was
a.
call for gay people togiveeach otherthe help that was not forthcoming
fromthepolice
in
cases of
streetw-
lenoe.
"Gay
Buy
Gay"
was
a
baek-
bander aimed at the merchants who
aad
excluded
the gay
businessmentorn their association. Both
slogans
liad
some
effect,
and
Milk quicklysaw that the combination of peopleand moneyraisedthe prospect ofpolitical advantage. Politicians havesometimessucceeded despite being
ttomosexual,
but
Milk now
set
out tomake his wayinpoliticsbecausehewas homosexual, and
this
wasatnck
nobody
had
ever turned.
Before
the
vear
was
out he was running for a
seat
on San Francisco's governing
body,
the
Board
of
Supervisors,
cam-
..;_«.,.,
on the
slogan,
Gay
Vote
Milk
was 42
thatyear.the
early prime of
some
men's
lives
but
dose
to the
last
call
for
mart.homo-
sexuals;
he sometimes called himself
"an
old queen." Still,
he
did
his
best
tolook like
a
young one, hair
in
a
post-hippieponytail,
moustache in abushy, Mexican
droop,
feet
inopensandal* or nothing at
alL
He had abig, ugly noseand aharsh,
ugly
Central
Park West pavement cruis-
er's
accent, which was
authentic.
At
14
he was
known,
as
they
sayat
the
station
house, tothepolice who pa-
trolled the gay
precincts
of
Central
Park,
According
to his
older
brother
he
was
also known at the
neighbor-
hood
movie house, where through
much
of his childhood he entered the
Saturday
matinee raffles because he
loved
appearing onstage when he
held
a winning number. Mentally he
was
stubborn
but
quick,
skipping
twoErodes
in high
school
and graduating
from
the
State Teacher's College
inAlbany,
New
York,
the
year
he
Thatwas'the
first
full
year
of the
Korean
War.
Milk
sidestepped
the
draft
by
using
his new
degree
to get
an
ensign's
commission
in
the navy
He
went
to
deep
seadiving school,
be-
came a diving
officer
on a submarine
WEEKEND
MAGA7.INE.JULY7,im»
 
and
ship
on patrol in the
Pacific,
dlihonorably discharged foractivity, all within two
man
of leaving
school. Such
a dis-
fcarge
effectively
blacklisted him
tan
the
callinghe had
trained
for,
.So
for the
next
20
years
he
KUU^.
mainly
in and
around
the
stock markets.
Usually he
did
the
kindofwork
retailers
callsales
promotion
andstockbrokers callSecurities
analysis.
Some
years
therewasenough moneytohelpfinance
off-Broadway
ahow«-
investments
it.nke
the
raffle
tickets of
his
childhood,mightrewardhim
with aCtatndethetheatre,there
isharcUy
anyone
to
whom
a streak
of
exm-
Iritionism
can be more
useful
than a
politician
runninghismaiden race.
When Milk
at
last
left
the securities
business
he
began
to
exhibit
his
homosexuality and to
tun
 for
 office
atalmostthe
same
time. To reporterswho had
never
heard of him before,
Milk
said,
"Some people
oU"»*•*>
unofficial
mayor ofCaatro
Street"
He
had
set
upTshop
in
Castro
Street
barely
three
months earlier, when
^reporters
asked what
the issues
were
hVsaid,
"Gay
for Gay
That's
theWgone."
Hebegan
topohshwhateventually became
known
as
Har-
vey's
Hope Speech." He spoke ofyoungpeopteeverywhere-who think
they're
goingto failbecausethey'regay.
I
wanttoshow them
tfcey
can
succeed-that
they
canhavehope.
Until
the advent of Harvey
Milk
in San
Francisco were
in the closet, as
indeed
. In
1972
the San
Fran-
sroamr
reported
that
2,000men andwomen participated
in
the
city's
first gay
parade.
Thepoliticians
who
ran
the
city were wellaware
that
the actual number of gay voters was
vastly
greater than
the
apparentnumber.
What
they didn't know waswhether
all
these
individuals could
be
influenced
to
vote
as a
bloc. Nor,losing
sucha
"gayvote*
to exist,
matheconventional
ward
bosses
know
how to get it out Politicians
confronting
similaruncertaintiescomronang
aunuar
""*"•;;"•"•"-
about Jews or
Catholics, Italians
orBlacks
or
Chicanes,
have
tra-
nueB,
DHKKB
«•
%"""*"""'
•-
ditionallyturned to power brokers,members of the minority
in question
who
know, or say they know, how todeliver
the
vote.
San
Franaaco
s gay
power
brokers had
been
working dis-creetly behind
the
scenes
for
several
years,
trading
campaign
contnbu-
tiona and the promise ofvotesfor
such
political
concessions
as
reduced
---
fw.ni
tha
VIM
miad
on Bay
SUCH
poimoil
«wm»i™™
».~
preswre
from
the vice squad on gay
baths
and
bars.
Thein^
inwrtant
of
these
men wasDavid
Goodstoui
editorand
pubUaher
of anationalgaytabloid
cf&eA
Advocate.
When
Har-
vey Milkshowed up and
starts
dragging;
gay
politics,
wincingandshuddering, out of the
backrooms
onto
the
streeteorners,
Goodstein lost
his
composure.-Nobodywillgiveyoupower, said
Milk.-You've
gotto
take
it."
Til
tell
you
why
1
can't standBar
TRANSFER,
OUT OF THE
GU>
ETS
AND
INTO
™E
DISCOTHEQUES
vey
Milk,"
said Goodstein. "He's god-damned crazy,
that's
why."
Goodsteinand theother Responsi-
ble
GayLeaders,astheyhadcometobe called,could probably haveen-sured
Milk's
election if they had en-
dorsed
him. By refusing, and using
their
influence
against
him, they
be-
lieved
they
could ensure
his
defeat
For
a
long
time
theyseemed
to be
right
Muk
lost
his bid in 1973 for a
seat
on theBoardof Supervisors. In
1975
he
ran
again and
lost
That year
10,000
people participated in the gay
parade.
The next year
Milk
ran
for
a
seat
in the
California
State
Assembly
and
lost
Tryingtolook likea man it was
safe
to
vote for,
Milk
had by nowcropped
his ponytail,shavedhis
moustache,
and acquired a drab twopiece
suit
he wore everywhere he
went
Somebody floated an ugly
rumor
that
he was secretly het-erosexual. "If I were," Milk told a
re-
porter senttocheck
this
story,
"theresure would be a lot of surprised menwalking around San Francisco. Oneof themwasJack
Lira,
the
youngman
who
was living with
Milk
at thetime. Lira was then 25,
still
havingtrouble
reconciling himself to his
homosexuality, given to periods ofdepressionand suddentantrums.Hehadbeen unableto
hold
a
job
for
some
time.
Milk
offeredtosendhimbacktoschool. Lira
refused. He
buried him-
self
in the housework and came out
less
and
less
frequently
from
theapartment abovethecamerashop onCastro Street.
Like
Milk,
the
Castro
had
beenchanging. The district was first
de-
veloped
in the
1880s,
mainly rowhousing in the fashion of QueenAnne. The style appealed to the newgayowners,
who
added
brightworkand
pastel paint
to one row
after
another untilentire
blocks
beganto
g
litter.
In
onesix-monthperiodhous-
ig
prices
doubled,
and during thenext six monthsroseby half as muchagain. Antique
and
clothing bou-
tiques,
male beauty parlors andjewelry shops replaced the
smoke
shops
and
shoerepair stores
of
an ear-lier day. Landlords raised rents by300 and 400 percent. Harvey Milk
one day
looked
up and
down
the
streetandsaid, "The shopson
these
two
blocks
of
Castro
alone
havejto
net
at
least
$30million,andthat'sat
least
$10 million
more
than they did
last
year." Milk's landlord had
just
served
notice
that
his rent
would
betripled
whenhislease expired,and
Milk
wasmovingoutThesereal es-
tate
speculators, he said, were
"bloodsuckers."
If
so, they were
atleast
homosex-
ual
bloodsuckers,
for by now the
Cas-
tro was
acknowledged
to be
between
95
and
100 percent gay. By day many
residents
wore three piece suits and
carried briefcases
to
professional
or
business
offices
downtown.
By
nightthey cruisedthe
streets
outfittedasmalestereotypes,loggers,
cops,
con-struction
workers, cowboys.
The
male
on
male costumes
reminded
somebody
of the cloning stories then
popular
in
science
fiction, and henamed
the street cruisers
Cas-
troids."
At the
peak
of the
national
campaign by the
singer
and
moralistAnita Bryant
for
the
repeal
of
homosexual civil
rights
ordinances,her allies in San Francisco
claimed
the
Castroids
had no
standards
of
be-
havior.
This
was not
altogether
the
case. "Drunks
and
people
on
drugs
are
out," said the owner
of
a
gay bathhouse.
"So are
people
who do
some-
thing wrong, likespitting
on the floor
and
giggling
in the
orgy
room.
We vemade
thebaths respectable."
Before
the pressures of a
growing
market
pushed Harvey Milk's rent
beyond
his
ability
to
pay,
he
had
once
predicted
that
Castro
would become
the gay
main
street
of
America.
In
1977
the
Examiner
reported
that
thegay
parade attracted 240,000 par-
ticipants.
In
the five
yearssince
the
first gay parade homosexuals hadbeen coming
out in
mounting num-
bers
all
over
the continent. But
on
the
streets
of the Castro that day it wasapparent that here,
as
perhaps
in
no
other place since the plain
ofbibhcal
antiquity, anentire community
had
come
out.Thatyear
the
rules
go
verning
elec-
tion to the
Board
of
Supervisorswerechanged
from
a
citywide
ballot to a
ward
system.
The
boundaries
of one
ward,
no.5, were
not
much
different
from
the
natural boundaries
of the
Castro district.
In a gay
ward onlyanother gay candidate was likely to
run
well against Harvey
Milk,
who
had
become better known every tune
he
lost an election; The
Responsible
Gay
Leaders nominated
one of
their
own
number,
a
lawyer named
Rick
Stokes. They raised
$60,000
for theStokes campaign, three times theamount
Milk
was
able
to
raise,
and
they hit
Milk
with everything they
had,
including
the
fear
among
wel
placed
homosexuals
of Milks
crude
raucous,
public
manner..
"Harve;will
embarrassthe
s
out of
us.'
David
Goodstein said. "Thevll
do
uaviu
UWAIHWSI"
B«»W.
*»«*j
~
anything
to
keep
me
out,"
Milk
said"because
I
won't
cut
deals."
Milk
won,
outpolling
Stokes
bymore
than
two to
one.
He
rode
to
his
WEEKEND
MACAZ1NK.JUIV7.1IT9
-12-

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