The Ladder, June 1957, Vol. 1, No. 9
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Purpose of the
Daughters of BILITIS
A WOMEN'S ORGANIZATION FOR THE PURPOSE OF PROMOTING THE INTEGRATION OF THE HOMOSEXUAL INTO SOCIETY BY:
1 Education of the variant, with particular emphasis on the psychological, physiological and sociological aspects, to enable her to understand herself and make her adjustment to society in all its social, civic and economic implications--this to be accomplished by establishing and maintaining as complete a library as possible of both fiction and non-fiction literature on the sex deviant theme; by sponsoring public discussions on pertinent subjects to be conducted by leading members of the legal, psychiatric, religious and other professions; by advocating a mode of behavior and dress acceptable to society.
2 Education of the public at large through acceptance first of the individual, leading to an eventual breakdown of erroneous taboos and prejudices; through public discussion meetings aforementioned; through dissemination of educational literature on the homosexual theme.
3 Participation on in research projects by duly authorized and responsible psychologists, sociologists and other such experts directed towards further knowledge of the homosexual.
4 Investigation of the, penal code as it pertains to the homosexual, proposal of changes to provide an equitable handling of cases involving this minority group, and promotion of these changes through due process of law in the state legislatures.
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Published monthly by the Daughters of Bilitis, Inc., a non-profit corporation, 693 Mission Street, Room 308, San Francisco, California. Telephone EXbrook 7-0773.
Vice President--Del Martin
Publications Director--Phyllis Lyon
Los Angeles Reporter--Sten Russell
ONE Takes The Stand
A fight of the utmost importance not only to homophiles but to all who believe in freedom of the press is being waged by ONE, Inc., and you can help!
In October, 1954, the postal authorities in Los Angeles declared that month's issue of ONE to be non-mailable because it was "obscene, lewd, lascivious and filthy". Specifically cited were a story entitled "Sappho Remembered" and a satiric poem, "Lord Samuel and Lord Montagu".
ONE immediately began action against the local postmaster
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seeking a judgment in the United States District Court declaring the magazine lawful and mailable. This court proceeding dragged along from October, 1954, to March, 1956, at which time, in spite of powerful and compelling arguments presented by ONE'S lawyer, the court upheld Postmaster Otto K. Oleson of Los Angeles.
ONE immediately filed an appeal against the court ruling with, the Court of Appeals which met in Los Angeles November 2, 1956. Decision of this court was not reached until March 1, 1957, at which time the courts again decided against ONE.
For those who wish the complete story, including the full text of the Court of Appeals' decision, we suggest you read the March, 1957, issue of ONE Magazine.
ONE now plans to take its case to the United States Supreme Court--a course which will cost a great deal of money but which is a vital necessity.
The First Amendment says: "Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press ..."
The arguments against ONE Magazine as set forth by the courts clearly make much of the subject matter. The fact that heterophiles magazines every day print material similar to that which appeared in the banned issue of ONE seems to be an entirely different situation.
Neither THE LADDER nor the Daughters of Bilitis hold any brief for obscenity, sensationalism or just plain pornography. But we do hold a brief for the right to print stories, articles, poems and what-have-you which will be judged in the same light as those Printed in magazines of more general circulation.
The homophile press in America (if ONE Magazine, the Mattachine Review and THE LADDER can constitute a "press") is attempting to bring to its readers, homophile
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and heterophile alike, a true picture of homosexuality and sexual deviancy in all of the many existent ramifications. To do this we must have freedom, not license, of the press.
A number of historic battles have been won in the courts during the past years defending the rights of authors to realistically depict the eras, mores and sexual, habits of those about whom they write--both in fiction, non-fiction and poetry.
Unfortunately it would seem that homosexual themes, as opposed to heterosexual, are not to be accorded the same. standard of treatment.
We cannot condone such a double standard. We could not condone it were the magazine concerned devoted to raising pigeons. Historically freedom of the press has been one of our greatest glories, one for which we have had to fight for time and time again.
The basic problem herein presented is not whether the homophile press shall continue to exist but rather whether a free press can continue to exist. If we, as Americans, relax our vigilance we may be sure that the petty, the narrow-minded, the book burners, the Klansmen and all their ilk will not relax theirs. The smallest opening is a victory for all who disbelieve in man's ability to think for himself.
We said YOU could help in this fight. Here's how. Send your contributions to the Legal Fund, ONE, Inc., 232 South Hill St., Los Angeles 12, California. Money thus designated will be used only to enable ONE to take its case to the Supreme Court.
It is estimated that not less than $2000.00 will be needed. ONE'S attorney is donating his services free, but the costs of a: legal fight in travel, secretarial and brief costs are enormous.
The Daughters of Bilitis and THE LADDER heartily support
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the brave stand taken by ONE Magazine.
We urge you all to contribute as much as possible to ensure a victory which will more firmly entrench a vital freedom in our land and only incidentally assure the right of the homophile to answer his critics in a straightforward manner.
One Facet of Fear
The Lesbian is by her very nature insecure. She has always been aware of thoughts, Impulses and inclinations which have set her apart from the crowd. She has learned, sometimes through grievous suffering, that she must conform to the normal pattern of heterosexual life if she is to be accepted by society as a person.
Sometimes she marries before she has reached complete understanding of herself, and perhaps a child complicates the situation. If she has a child to raise and educate she will undoubtedly be forced by circumstances to build a life contrary to her own desires in order to provide security for the innocent being she has brought into the world.
Many heterosexual marriages are based on factors other than sexual attraction. A harmonious family life may stem from mutual interest in the home. Furnishing a new home, planning the decorations, planting lawns and flower areas, sharing the household tasks as well as planning for the future can form a full, rich association which, is completely satisfying for some couples, particularly if they do not have and do not plan to have children. Often a heterosexual couple of this type will share in the raising and breeding of special show animals.
If one of the partners in the marriage has outside interests
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unknown to the other which do not subtract in any way from these harmonious, shared associations, what then might the outcome be?
Perhaps the deviate partner has broached the subject time and again in order to test the reactions of her husband, only to find a completely rejecting, narrow attitude and no spark of interest. If there is no crack or chink in her husband's armor she is doomed to keep her secret rather than risk shocking and upsetting his faith in her and the harmony of her home.
Still, the longer such a situation goes on the greater danger the deviate wife risks. An accepting attitude and a willingness to be enlightened on the part of her husband Is her only way to find complete peace of mind.
There are then two courses open to such a wife, She can keep her secret, treading a tightrope which leaves her vulnerable to blackmail and the danger of losing her home should her husband's revulsion upon "finding out" be too great. Or she can "confess" to him, thereby risking dissolvement of her marriage at once.
Surely there must be an intelligent way to handle such a situation. But rather than destroy everything she has built up through the years, most Lesbians with successful heterosexual marriages will keep their fears within themselves, trusting to luck that the tightrope of their lives will remain intact and unthreatened.
PLEASE--WE NEED SHORT FICTION PIECES ...
We know there are writers among our readers--you've told us so! How about sending in some of your manuscripts to THE LADDER? Preferred length is about 1000 words, though we will consider longer stories. We can't offer remuneration, but donations of copy are as readily received as funds for our work. Send material to THE LADDER, 693 Mission St., Rm. 308, San Francisco 5, Calif.
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PROFESSIONAL GROUP MEETS DOB, MATTACHINE
The Mattachine Society and the Daughters of Bilitis had the distinct opportunity and pleasure of meeting and entertaining a group of professional people at the headquarters of both organizations in San Francisco June 9.
Officers of the two societies presented a resume of the aims and programs of their groups and then opened the meeting to a question and answer session.
One of the questions, which has often been asked of us, is why the necessity for two organizations. Helen Sanders, president of the Daughters, explained that the DOB was formed before the group knew anything at all about either ONE, Inc., or the Mattachine Society and that both of these organizations had much difficulty, in attracting women as members and workers. To date it has proved far more satisfactory to have a separate women's organization.
Another point which was brought up by several of the visitors was the marked approval of the use of the word "homophile" as opposed to "homosexual" in both our publications and discussions. It was felt that the use of the word "homophile" would produce a more favorable and constructive reaction from the general public; that as soon as "homosexual" is used there is a marked reaction of a negative tone.
The group was definitely a cross-section) of professional people including teachers, social workers, librarian, chiropractors, psychiatrist, nurses, engraver, buyer for a department store, etc. It was noted that these people were quite receptive to the program presented although many had no previous, or little, knowledge of the subject.
Dr. Blanche Baker, San Francisco psychiatrist, arranged the meeting of the three groups. Both Mattachine and the Daughters are indeed grateful to her.
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CALENDAR OF EVENTS
|Tuesday, June 25||--Basil Vaerlen, psychotherapist, Will lead a public discussion on "Is A Homophile Marriage Possible?" at 465 Geary St., Studio 51 (5th floor). Those of you who didn't get a chance to take Mr. Vaerlen to task after his lecture in December will have a second whack at him. Get your ammunition ready and come and heap this stimulating and controversial speaker.|
|Sunday, June 30||--Annual picnic at Tilden Park, Oakland, for members and guests only. Bring your swim suits, your own cold drinks and $1.50 per person and the Daughters will furnish the food and coffee. All proceeds over our costs will be sent to the Legal Fund of ONE, Inc., (see page 3). East Bay residents make reservations by June 28 to Thornwall 3-5505; San Franciscans to Valencia 4-2790, or EXbrook 7-0773.|
|Tuesday, July 9||--Monthly business meeting, 2174 California St., (basement apartment) 8 p.m. sharp. Members only.|
|Friday, July 12||--Gab 'n Java Session, 651 Duncan St., 8 p.m. An Informal bull session for the present limited to women only.|
|Tuesday, July 23||--Dr. Carlo Lastrucci, social psychologist from San Francisco State College, will speak on "The Sexual Impulse" at the July discussion meeting. Same time and place as above.|
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A Cross-Cultural Survey
Entire books could be written about the psychology of clothes. Dress not only affects one's own personality but also the way that others react to you. There is not a single society existing that doesn't use dress as an identifying symbol; either for sex, or for wealth, class and occupation. In fact, the ancient Incas regarded impersonation of the opposite sex as a capital crime equally as serious as impersonation of royalty.
Now It is known that transvestism may or may not occur with homosexuality. It does occur concurrently with inversion when and if a culture defines a homosexual as" one who manifests the traits of the opposite sex. In some cultures such abnormality is institutionalized, as exemplified by the Berdache among the Plains Indians, or the temple attendant's among the ancient Babylonians. Yet in the vast majority of those cultures having the institution, the transvestites are men. Knowing that female transvestism is becoming more prevalent in the Western civilization, we must inquire as to what unique cultural conditions are contributory to this.
Almost universally men have held the occupations of greater status in a society, but not everywhere have women desired to be men. Havelock Ellis found the "masculine protest quite lacking in parts of Germany where motherhood was in its own way a position of great honor." On the other hand, American women have freely accepted the masculine definition of "female inferiority" by their envy of male occupations and privileges. The fact that in some states there are laws against men dressing like women but not against the other seems to imply that male transvestism is a degradation into the "lowly role of a woman".
Secondly, we must take into account the greater freedom of women in contemporary Western society. When
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women are allowed to "raise their status" by entering male occupations, such behavior can easily be rationalized on motivations for "success". And interestingly enough, our prized male occupations such as law and medicine are precisely those that rest on the highest cerebral skills, in contrast to the mechanical biological functions traditionally assigned women in the past.
In relation to modern feminine freedom, there is no freedom as obvious and diversified as that of dress. In fact, as styles go, women are the initiators and rebels, who pride themselves on uniqueness, in contrast to our drab male conformity. With such diversity as now known, there can be a complete spectrum in mannerisms from the "frilly" right down to the obviously tailored.
A third factor to be accounted for is the so-called "recent-sex reversal". One needs only to remember the costume of George Washington's time to gain a perspective on this. Perhaps, in view of the modern plainess in garb for both sexes, this could be more rightly termed a "revolt from discomfort". Paralleling the male revolt from skin-tight breeches and strangling collars, women have cast aside the equally restraining corset, the impeding hoop-skirts and, in part, the tottering high-heeled shoes. In this age of professional leisure, ease and casuality have become the keynote. And the automobile is rapidly replacing woman's costume as a means of pecuniary emulation.
There have been many accounts concerning the origins of transvestism in women, but few that explain its continuation, A typical genetic explanation cites such reasons as "father-identification", "sibling rivalry", or "she was raised like a boy". A sociologist frequently terms transvestism as the "special symbol of an isolated and highly underprivileged cult".
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Now these may in some way explain how a person might have become started in this pattern, but they in no way account for that pattern's persistence. For we know that people certainly are not the slaves to habit and imitation in the degree that cynics would have us believe. If a habit has a prolonged existence there must be a functional reason; a psychological need for Its continuance. It is not enough to tell the transvestite that she "must conform". Rather, we should seek out the psychological functions, and find the adjustments. In light of the newer understanding.
This writer has come across many cases that can be termed "protective" or "defensive" transvestism. This is not so gross an anomaly as may be first supposed. We could call. It an exaggeration of a major trend that's widespread among modern women at large. For fewer women nowadays like to be too frail or helpless. And more and more women aspire to the spontaneity of expression formerly allotted only to men. Witness how quickly the corsets have been cast away along with the fashion of fainting. And women now can be athletic as well as attractive.
How does mannish garb enter in here? We know how clothes affect the behavior of others towards us, and many a woman has confided to me: "Padded shoulders, make me appear Stronger, tougher, more self-sufficient. People aren't so apt to push me around." Or, "a tailored suit makes me appear professional; people respect me as a 'brain' instead of looking down on me as an ordinary 'silly female'." Are these merely rationalizations? Hardly so. In part they define the psychological-needs of these individuals. Also they reflect the prevalent acceptance of "masculine superiority" and the prestige of male occupations. the woman who states "I am only a housewife" shows much the same attitude.
Furthermore, transvestism may be a barrier against possible sexual assault. How often have girls said: "I feel secure when I'm walking alone at night when
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I have my trousers on. Fellows think I'm a man and they won't bother me." Or, "When I dress this way around the shop, the fellows accept me as a buddy, not as a female. Sure I like men, as long "as they treat me as an equal. But it burns me up when..." In spite of the tendency to classify these remarks as mere sexual fears and neuroses, the fact remains that some males make brashness a tradition.
Quite in relation to this hiding from sex is the rejection by some of the "Super-Sex Cult". In this day of the glorified pin-up girl there are some people yet who would rather be rated on their character and intellect than on hypertrophied anatomy. David Reisman cites numerous cases of women who "try to be less beautiful than they are by wearing glasses or ill-fitting clothes, as also big and handsome men are prone to do." With the culture geared as ours is to the exploits of the grey matter it is understandable why many would rather be persons than bodies.
Nevertheless, transvestism is the tag that labels the Lesbian. Conformity has been recommended as a solution, but too often forced conformity is the mother of further neuroses. So we must try to reach a compromise which can satisfy the deviant as well as protect her.
One long-term proposal would include a revision of the traditional dominance-submission pattern among the sexes (and classes as well). That aim is out of reach for our particular group, but seems to be one that's already transforming American society. If women emerge more as the helpmates of men and less as their prey or competitors there might be less need for the transvestite's shield of rugged clothing.
Another more immediate attempt would be the building-up of. self-confidence in the individual herself. Truly self-confident people have no need to express themselves or barricade themselves by costume or possessions. And this measure would be of greatest value to those girls who are really so insecure and so frightened behind
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their masks of masculine bravado.
And finally, the very diversity of women's styles is a saving factor. For those who must be mannish can do so, if they care, with "style, class and sophistication."
This surely does not exhaust the field of transvestism, nor explain more than a few of its causes. The writer would welcome, however, letters from readers telling their own theories or experiences with transvestism. Especially desired is word from those who have effected adjustments.
ADVANCE NOTICE ON MATTACHINE CONVENTION
The 4th annual convention of the Mattachine Society will be held in San Francisco August 30-September 2, 1957, at the Sheraton-Palace Hotel, it has been announced by the Board of Directors.
The convention activities will begin with a reception Friday evening, August 30, in the library lounge of the San Francisco Area Council in Room 309 at 693 Mission St. The Saturday session will feature a symposium with seven participating speakers discussing the convention theme, "Must the Individual Homophile Be Rejected in Our Time?" This event, open to the public, and including luncheon and evening awards banquet, will tentatively cost a total of $13.00.
Featured on Sunday, September 1, will be a continental breakfast followed by a panel discussion including the following organizations: Mattachine Society; Daughters of Bilitis, Inc.; ONE, Inc., and Pan-Graphic Press.
Convention activities will wind up Monday, September 2, with the Society's annual business meeting and election of officers.
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8. WE WALK ALONE by Ann Aldrloh. Gold Medal Books. Pawoett Publications Inc., New York, 1955.
For review see page l6.
9. THE OUTCAST by Anna Elisabet Weirauch. Greenberg Publishers, New York, 1933.
A continuation of THE SCORPION (see Item 12 in the May, 1957, issue of THE LADDER). Title to the contrary, this is not a portrayal of conflict with the outer world. Rather, it faces the problem of temperamental conflicts within a pair with an extraordinary degree of understanding.
15. DUSTY ANSWER by Rosamond Lehmann. Henry Holt and Company, New York, 1927.
A delicate portrayal of affection, perched on the razor-edge of homo--and heterosexual boundaries. The scene is Cambridge University, the atmosphere haunting and dreamlike, and the reminiscences of Judith are unforgettable.
16. THING AS THEY ARE by Gertrude Stein. Banyan Press, 1903.
An early work of Miss Stein's depicting an entirely feminine triangle with profound insight. Issued as a limited edition of 500 copies on the death of Miss Stein, it is regrettable that few or no copies of this book are available.
This is a continuing column in which we hope to list (and briefly describe) as many fiction and non-fiction works dealing with the Lesbian as is possible. Your comments, suggestions and contributions will be more than welcome.
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Aldrich "Walks Alone"
The debate on Ann Aldrich's controversial book, "We Walk Alone" (Fawcett Publications, 1955) during the May public discussion turned into a one-sided affair, the contention being that for all Miss Aldrich's good intentions she did not achieve her purpose and failed to balance her more bizarre examples of Lesbianism with those who have attained adjustment and are useful, productive citizens in today's society.
In upholding the book, Del Martin pointed Put that all too many homophile readers were looking for "affirmation" rather than information or a well-rounded picture of Lesbianism, that a true picture must include the negative aspects. She also cited the difficulties encountered in commercial publishing and that most firms demand a pattern that does not condone. The proverbial "unhappy ending", as has been pointed out by many authors who have worked with the homosexual theme, is not necessarily in the original copy.
Helen Sanders criticized the author for having lived, as she admits, in "gay life" for 15 years and failing to seek the "cure" she believes possible since she so obviously hates and resents her lot. Miss Sanders also took exception to the title of the book, stating that the isolation and loneliness of the homosexual has been highly exaggerated.
"It is ridiculous to imply that because one is a Lesbian one feels lonely or rejected or lost." She added, "Very many Lesbians live full and rich lives ... "
Miss Martin quoted from "We Walk Alone" where the author says, "There is no stereotype in the over-all picture of the Lesbian. This is the first discovery I ever made about the group of which I am a member".
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Miss Sanders was quick to point out that Ann Aldrich then proceeds to contradict herself further in the book by placing undue stress on the obvious and bizarre "types" of Lesbians, citing few, if any, of the adjusted ones.
While Miss Sanders felt that Ann Aldrich quoted heavily from medical and psychological authorities who are, very biased, Miss Martin suggested that the many quotations from Caprio and others of such mind were somewhat offset by the inclusion of a few good quotes from Dr. Benjamin Karpman.
Miss Sanders felt that the author placed too much emphasis on the lack of finances or low income of the Lesbian (Ann Aldrich cites this factor as being the main reason the Lesbian as a rule does not seek therapy). The speaker felt that many Lesbians had very good positions--of responsibility and remuneration. Miss Martin concurred with Miss Aldrich, however, in that the male is better paid--homophile or heterophile. Many women receive their reward in title rather than in money, Miss Martin pointed out.
The chapter on the various state laws in the United States pertaining to homosexuality was conceded by both speakers to be of considerable value. However, both took exception to Miss Aldrich's conclusion that since most Lesbians are never affected by encounters with law enforcement agencies they need not be concerned too much. It has always been the contention of the Daughters of Bilitis that all those of the homosexual minority (LADDER, Volume 1, Number 3, December 1956) should be, apprised, of a citizen's rights in case of arrest and as a group should be concerned where there are instances of infringement on civil rights. The DOB is also watching with interest the progress of the Model Penal Code now being drafted by the American Law Institute.
It was generally agreed that Miss Aldrich "tried", that hers is a valid contribution to Lesbian literature (of which there is so little) if not taken too seriously or considered "gospel" by those of limited experience.
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DREW PEARSON ON SCOTT McLEOD
Drew Pearson, one of the more controversial writers about contemporary American political life, devoted his column on April 30, 1957, to Scott McLeod, up for Senate confirmation as U.S. Ambassador to Ireland.
McLeod rose to prominence during his conduct of a purge within the State Department. Mr. Pearson states:
"As part of his purge, McLeod appointed Dimitri Dikanikus, former writer for Time magazine, to prepare a special report on homosexuality and what it had done to bring about the collapse of other civilizations. Dikanikus found there were fewer perverts in the State Department than in the Army, Navy and Air Force; that homosexuality had had no effect on the fall of Greece or Rome.
"McLeod was annoyed by the report, buried it."
MOVE AFOOT TO REVIEW UNDESIRABLE DISCHARGES
Public hearings were held in mid-May by a House Armed Services Subcommittee on a bill designed to provide for a more equitable review of other than honorable discharges from the armed forces.
H.R. 1108 was introduced by Congressman Clyde Doyle of California early in the present session of Congress and states in part: "Boards for the correction of military or naval records shall give consideration to satisfactory evidence relating to good character and conduct in civilian life after discharge or dismissal in determining whether or not to correct certain discharges and dismissals."
In 1955, in the Army alone, 14,566 "undesirable" discharges were issued. This is the type of discharge homosexuals receive, although it may be given for other reasons.
About 40 other Congressmen have introduced identical bills.
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ACLU clashes With San Francisco
Police On Vagrancy Arrests
A row between the American Civil Liberties Union and the San Francisco police over Chief Frank Ahern's intensified city-wide vagrancy arrest policy flared into the open during May.
Ernest Besig, executive director of the Northern California branch of the Union, said the ACLU has protested to Harold McKinnon, police commission president, about the "rousting of citizens" by the police, on the basis of an "increasing number of complaints we have received."
Among the complaints cited by Besig as "clear abuses of the vagrancy law" was that of three San Francisco State College coeds, all over 21, who ware arrested in a bar and charged with wearing men's clothes--slacks. The case was later dismissed.
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WHAT MENTAL HEALTH IS NOT
Dr. Dana Farnsworth of Harvard University and 36 other experts in the mental health field recently undertook to define what mental health is and dispels the "many misconceptions" surrounding It. The definition turned out to be a 9-way test for "what mental health is not", according to Edwin Diamond, International News Service science writer.
Here is the definition.
1. It is not adjustment under all circumstances. There are many circumstances to which a person should not adjust; otherwise there would be no progress.
2. It is not freedom from anxiety and tension, Anxiety and tension are often prerequisites and accompaniments of creativity and self-preservation.
3. It is not freedom from dissatisfaction. From dissatisfaction progress ensues.
4. It is not conformity. The mature person has the ability to stand apart from the crowd when conditions indicate. Mental health is characterized by relative freedom from cultural and personal biases.
5. It is not constant happiness. In this imperfect world a sensitive, mature person often experiences unhappiness.
6. It is not lessening of accomplishment and creativity. Mental health is characterized by the ability of the individual to use his powers even more fully.
7. It is not the absence of personal idiosyncrasies. Many such idiosyncrasies which do not interfere with function enrich the life of the individual and those who come
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In contact with him.
8. It is not the undermining of authority. Mental health is characterized by increased ability to use and respect realistic authority. At the same time, the mature individual opposes oppressive and selfish authority.
9. It is not opposition to religious values, Mental health facilitates and complements the aims of religion since it fosters the highest spiritual and social values.
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IF YOU TOLD ME WHAT I THOUGHT YOU MIGHT HAVE,
I WOULD HAVE TOLD YOU THIS
We make unfair, called up adjustments,
toddled by such consolations
As a day can discard upon request
In hidden, puckered places.
But we can still love the world, and find
A famished friend, hungry for understanding,
And know a refuge for her from the fury of herself
And give it time and trust to place it well.
The game we play demands its lies,
But we have seen the lonely alleys in the day
And fled the shameful shadows in the night.
We've known a wilderness of fear and truth.
We will sidestep and to the very end
Bring that which we have brought about
Into an innocence, inevitable, demanding,
And these consequences will not be lies.
There is no sun today; no stars tonight
But those of remembrance.
A multitude of memory stays
In this grail of forgetfulness.
There was a time when this would be enough,
Your laugh, a glance ... these would be food for hours
Of dreaming. Might-have-been stuff
I lived on, pale sustenance, like paper flowers
Compared to true ones. But since last night
Dreams cannot satisfy. I have a deeper need
And I must know your wish and hold you tight
Against my pounding heart and from your lips to feed.
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QUOTATIONS FROM THE IMMORTALS
Have you learned lessons only of those
who admired you.
and who were tender with you,
and stood aside for you?
Have you not learned great lessons
from those who reject you, and
brace themselves against you, or
who treat you with contempt or
dispute the passage with you?
MEMORY OF San Francisco
City of darkness, city of light,
Memory of silver fog-bourne night;
Long and deep the sea-mist falls,
The wind blows, the bittern calls.
For whither the wind blows, there go I,
Haunted forever by sea-green eyes.
Sea-green eyes in a tall dim room,
Candlelight misting into the womb
Of night where ecstasy lights a flame
Of silver too quick to hold or tame.
For where and when can mortal hold
Shadows, dreams, or moonlight gold;
So whither the wind blows, there go I,
Haunted forever by sea-green eyes.
Sea-green eyes, driftwood soul;
Far off, a foghorn's toll.
Long and deep the sea-mist falls,
The wind blows, the bittern calls,
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"We are planning shortly to run another Feminine Viewpoint issue of ONE Magazine. It will not be. as broad in scope as our former one since we have cut to 24 pages, but even in that length we feel it only right to invite the DOB to share in the issue. I wish we could allot unlimited space to your organization where in you may say what you wish of your activities, THE LADDER, or any information you wish to convey but I fear we can offer just two pages in this issue,"
Ann Carll Reid, Editor
232 S. Hill st.
Los Angeles l2, Calif.
"Members of the Mattachine in New York recommended you highly and although we have very little time, we would like to help your New York chapter if you ever plan one. We are both execs in public relations and can perhaps be of help to you in this capacity."
A.C., New York, N. Y.
We do not have a chapter in New York at the present time, but it is hoped that we can get one started this fall. Our New York member who will supervise the formation of the chapter is in California at the present time and will return to New York in September. She will be working with us here in
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San Francisco during the month of August, and it is requested that those interested write direct to us--693 Mission St., Rm. 308, San Francisco 5--ED.
"I should like an application blank for associate membership in the society, and I hope when sending my dues for that, that I will be able to add a small contribution for your book fund. I think you are engaged in a commendable effort toward social acceptance of the homophile, and though a half century of experience leaves me a bit pessimistic about seeing its success within my lifetime, I am glad to add my own bit on the right side of the scales.
"As you know, my book, SEX VARIANT WOMEN IN LITERATURE, includes a bibliography of over 300 items of creative literature, and the text makes clear which are more than superficial treatments and which are sympathetic. I hope you will feel free to use my compilation in your running bibliography of Lesbiana. As. my study stopped with June, 1954, I now know of a good many subsequent titles which I will be glad to list if others of your membership have not already done so. (I spent two years trying for commercial or university press publication, and ended by. resorting to a subsidy publisher, who took another year to get the book out--a measure of the difficulties we all encounter in making ourselves heard.)
Jeannette H. Foster
Kansas City, Kan.
By all means send us any subsequent titles you may be aware of for Lesbiana! We welcome any additions to this column. ... New readers will want to know that Miss Foster's book was reviewed in the May, 1957, issue of THE LADDER by Marion Zimmer Bradley. Copies of this issue are still available. Single
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copies are 25¢, or you can start your subscription with this issue.--ED
I am so pleased to receive your very interesting publication regularly. It is indeed gratifying to know that our sisters, the Daughters of Bilitis, have at last organized behind a righteous cause, and with zeal and enthusiasm are permitting their voice to be heard in sincerity and candor.
"Please accept the inclosed to cover a two year subscription to your delightful little periodical."
F.T., West Concord,Mass.
"Please renew my subscription for (two more years. At one time you mentioned a re-issue of the first three issues for the benefit of some of us who did not receive them. Are you still considering this plan?
"I especially like your monthly page devoted to Lesbiana. At a future date I will) send you a list of titles of books to be added to this growing list.
"Best of luck to your magazine."
T.H., Los Angeles, Calif.
The Quarterly composite of the first three issues has grown to five--thus the delay in publication! Because of limitations in staff and time, we are working on this re-issue catch-as-catch-can between current issues of THE LADDER. However, it is hoped that this booklet will be available within the next two or three months. Please bear with us?--ED.
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"Enclosed please find check for a year's subscription to THE LADDER. I enjoyed the publication to which I was introduced (Vol. 1, No. 8) and in it found sound, usable material. Your psychiatric support is encouraging and the purposes of the organization most plausible."
J. H., Los Angeles, Cal.
"Would you, please, continue my subscription for
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the coming year? The address Is a new one as I graduate from college this June. I Once I secure a job I will try to send you somewhat more substantial amounts!
"I would like to congratulate all of you on the amazing advancement and growth of your magazine during the past few months."
V.A., Yonkers, N.Y.
"This publication is certainly a step in the right direction. For c summing up of the Sapphic situation, I give you the words of Augustine de Villeblanche:
"Of all the quirks of nature, that which has caused the most discussion, which has seemed the most strange to those demi--philosophers who wish to analyze everything without ever understanding anything, It is that bizarre taste that women of a certain physique or of a certain temperament have conceived for persons of their own sex. Although long before the Immortal Sappho and ever since, there has not been a single country in the world, not one solitary town which has hot offered us women of this caprice, although after proofs of such strength it would seem more reasonable to accuse nature of a vagary than such women of a crime against nature, nevertheless we have never ceased to blame them.... What is there to fear from such depravity? ...In the eyes of every truly wise being, it would appear that it might prevent greater ones, but no one will ever prove to me that It might give rise to dangerous ones... Ah, merciful heavens, are they afraid that the whims of these individuals of whatever sex will bring the world to an end, that they will make a bid for our precious human species, and that their alleged crime will destroy" It for failing to attend to its -multiplications? Let anyone
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consider this carefully and he will see that all these imaginary losses are utterly without consequence to nature, and that not only does she not. condemn them, but she proves to us by innumerable examples that she wants and desires them. Why, if these losses disturbed her and if progeniture was so essential to her, would a woman be able to spend only one third of her life in its service, and would half the beings that she produces leave her hands with a distaste for this progeniture that is nevertheless demanded by her? It would be better to say that she permits the species to multiply, but she does not demand it, and in the certain knowledge that there will always be more individuals than she has a need for, she is far from thwarting the partialities of those who are not in the habit of procreating, and find conformity with such a custom repugnant to them."
"The father of four children, no one can say that I haven't done my share--but still... there is something left over. While I'm considered unpredictable by many, I'm considered to be well adjusted and only the objects of my desires know of my penchant.
"Being a vice-president of a local firm, I can't have my name used, so must remain anonymous."
J.L., Washington, D.C.
"My compliments for the intelligent and dignified manner in which you are apparently attempting to aid yourselves and others in the solution of your mutual and individual problems."
"Enclosed are fees for subscription, as indicated, and my best wishes.
"Thank you for sharing your information with us, at Sunday's
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meeting, and for the refreshments."
M.P., San Francisco, Calif.
See page 8 for meeting referred to,--ED,
"The world is full of people who sit back and say 'why don't they this and that'. Then there are people such as your selves--say nothing but do things,
"I was once a part of the mixed-up kids who look like men and aren't--who look for trouble and get it. The closest I came to opening a book was a cigar box.
"Do you know what Chicago does to people who are mixed up like that? Every door they walk through is in danger of being locked forever.
"One day I met someone who stripped me of my precious clothing and replaced It with eight years of schooling. My first lesson was--I am a woman and that's something, to be proud of.
"Later came books, music and all the arts.
"Today I can't go back, but I'm not accepted alone, on my own. If a chapter is started here It will have to be by persons who have no shameful past to hide.
"People don't see the good when they know the bad."
Cr.K., Chicago, Ill.
"About time I praised your outstanding contribution. Am enjoying every inch of THE LADDER ... it's better and better. Especially liked Moon-Blink."
J.C., Hollywood, Calif.
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MEMBERSHIP in the DAUGHTERS OF BILITIS may be either a voting or associate membership.
VOTING MEMBERSHIP--$5.00 initiation fee and $1.00 monthly dues. THE LADDER is sent FREE.
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THE LADDER: A monthly publication by the Daughters of Bilitis, Inc., mailed by first class mail in a plain sealed envelope for $2.50 per year,.
CONTRIBUTIONS are gratefully accepted from anyone who wishes to assist us in our work. We are a non-profit corporation working entirely on donated labor. Our fees are not of such amounts as to allow for much expansion of the publication. While men may not become members of the Daughters of Bilitis, Inc., many have expressed interest in our efforts and our publication and- have made contributions to further our work. Of course, anyone over 21 years of age may subscribe to THE LADDER.
TO BECOME A MEMBER: Write to the Daughters of Bilitis, Inc., Room 308, 693 Mission Street, San Francisco 5, Calif., requesting an application form.
TO SUBSCRIBE TO THE LADDER: Send $2.50 for one year or $5.00 for two years, enclosing coupon below or facsimile.
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