The Ladder, August 1957, Vol. 1, No. 11
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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 prejudice's; through public discussion meetings aforementioned; through dissemination of educational literature on the homosexual theme.
3 Participation 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.
Publications Director--Phyllis Lyon
Los Angeles Reporter--Sten Russell
'TAINT FUNNY McGEE!
The latest in jokes, called "horribles" or "grislies" are gravely worrying some psychiatrists, according to a NANA press release from. New York.
These experts see in this "humor", which has made jokes centered on sex all but passes, ominous evidence that sadism is the upcoming problem our mental health guardians will have to face on a large scale. The "sadistic stories" deal with human suffering in various forms, but usually involve a child. An extra-vicious twist is often added by having the child's mother deliver the punch line.
Typical is this one--and in advance, it doesn't make pleasant reading:
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A. child asks his mother if Christmas always comes in August.
"No, dear" she answers, "but remember you have leukemia."
Or this dialogue:
"Ma, can I watch television?"
"Shut up and study your Braille."
Others enlarge even more cruelly on the themes of cancer, polio, leprosy and loss of limbs. New York's newest form of this party play consists of solemnly reading official reports of a disabling accident case from a city's safety bulletin, with the merrymakers then making appropriate or "inappropriate" comments.
That morbid "jokes" are told does not surprise the psychiatrists, since death and bloodshed have always had an unhealthy popular appeal. What really worries them is that the new humor is so calculated, in its nastiness. Also, the experts ponder the big why--why the listeners laugh.
Dr. Eugene J. Braun, a New York psychiatrist, feels that the jokes are a reflection, of the times.
"The emphasis in psychiatry today has shifted from sex to a new area--sadism. The most common neurotic problems now have to do with power and dominance. The sadistic person enjoys inflicting power by hating or hurting some one. These jokes, which can hurt people, are simply one manifestation of this tendency."
SEX JOKES ARE PASSE
"There's no more fun in sexual jokes," Dr. Braun said. "People don't mind them so much any more."
Dr. Frederic Wertham, a psychiatrist who is also an. authority on juvenile problems, agrees that ours is an age of violence and that outcropping of this type of joke at this particular time is further evidence of the fact. He points out too the amount of violence seen in movies and on television, and in our literature.
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"We can kill more people in a minute now than we formerly could in a month, and we talk about it all the time. All these things and the jokes are connected--if we only knew how."
BUT ALL IS NOT LOST ...
A third psychiatrist, who preferred not to be quoted by name, disagreed. He sees in the jokes, not a national disposition towards sadism, but a harmless letting-off of steam. They are, he feels, an expression of the childish desire to violate social taboos simply for the sake of violating them.
"Incurable diseases are very much a matter of public concern today and naturally are treated with great seriousness, For this reason people find a certain release in telling jokes about them. The jokes also strike at other respected institutions--home, family and mother --especially mother. They shock people, and this is very satisfying to the teller. But this is as far as it goes."
GOOD NEWS FOR BOOKWORMS
Bring your specs and pay your respects. The long-awaited Daughters of Bilitis library is now processed. The books, ranging from strictly homophile subjects to the better-known established classical works, are now available to anyone interested at the DOB office, room 308, the Williams Building, 693 Mission St., San Francisco.
To all those who, chanced to borrow any of these books before the withdrawal procedures were completed we issue a plea for their return, that they may be added to our ever-growing number of volumes.
Readers interested in helping out on this, our latest educational and recreational venture, may do so by contributing any books on the homophile or related themes. Monetary donations for the purchase of books arc always welcome, too.
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ON GROWING UP'
"How Can the Homophile World Grow Up?" was the subject of a lively panel discussion staged between the Mattachine Society and the Daughters of Bilitis at the August Mattachine public meeting.
The goal, or the definition of being "grown up", was defined by Basil Vaerlen, psychotherapist and moderator of the discussion, as "conforming to a certain degree, yet still preserving individuality and contributing one's bit to society".
Sage advice from the panel to achieve this goal follows:
1. If you can't fight 'em, join 'em. A degree of conformity is only protective coloring.
2. Stop playing a role. Being "different" is simply an act. Be yourself!
3. Individualize rather than generalize. Many hostilities are due to judgment by extremes instead of considering the average.
4. Remember you are a human being firsts Your difference is only in choice of love object, and actually, your feelings, emotions and problems are the same as any heterosexual's.
5. Quit worrying about what other people think of you. What do you think?
6. Common courtesy can do wonders. Throw in a little patience for good measure.
Out of; the suggestion that members of the two organizations may learn to get along better (that is, getting the male and female homophile to know and accept each., other) through mutual social functions came an idea for dating.
"Living in a predominantly heterosexual world, an individual at times must, or should, have a date. At office parties or the like it very often leaves a lot better impression," one of the panel members pointed out.
Other advantages to this dating idea between male and female homophiles were discussed by the panel: getting
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to know each other socially can be of benefit to both neither need be afraid that something might be expected at the end of the evening; it wouldn't make any difference who asked whom; those who may be unpoised or gauche in heterosexual contacts could learn to achieve social rapport; it would provide a new avenue for social outlet for those who are weary of gay bars and the same cliques.
It was interesting to note that by a show of hands in the audience there is considerably less hostility between the men and women present since the intermingling of the two organizations during the last year.
SEX IS AN 'ATTITUDE'
"The sexual urge in man is purely voluntary--not instinctive as is so frequently stated and believed," declared Dr. Carlo Lastrucci, social psychologist from San Francisco, State College, at the July discussion meeting of the Daughters of Bilitis.
Presenting the theory that he has evolved through his many years of teaching and research, Dr. Lastrucci pointed out that the higher up in the animal kingdom you go the less periodicity there is in mating. In the lowest animals the mating is compulsive and rigid. With man the sexual urge is diffuse and general with no biological compulsion.
"You might say that man is the only animal showing no periodicity in sexual behaviour. He has no rutting season or, conversely, he is always in rut."
Usually the sex instinct is lumped along with such basic instincts for survival as hunger, thirst and need for sleep. This is wrong, the speaker declared, since the need for food, water and sleep are basic to life while sex is not. It is purely voluntary, not biological.
Dr. Lastrucci stressed that in man the need for a sexual outlet is attitudinal, and ranges from nothing to the impelling need of the rapist. These attitudes differ in each person depending upon the individual circumstances
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DOB Asked to Join ICSE
The Foundation of the International Committee for Sexual Equality, founded in 1951 in an effort to Unite all homophile groups under a common goal, has just recently heard of the Daughters of Bilitis and written for an exchange of statutes and publications with an invitation to the DOB to join the international group, which has its headquarters in Amsterdam, Holland.
ICSE publishes every month: in English, Periodical Newsletter; in German, ICSE-KURIER; in German, ICSE-PRESS (for the German and Austrian Press).
Both ONE, Inc., and the Mattachine Society have been, members for some time. Membership fee is one dollar per member per year. For every 250 members one delegate may be sent with the right to vote at the international council (Verwaltungsrat). Most of the annual meetings are organized in Europe.
According to Jack Argo, editor and member of the Board of Directors, "special female groups are rare institutions. The COC f.i. has both female and male members. There is a group in Denmark, called 'Allen for een Klubben' for females only, also a member of ICSE".
Available issues of THE LADDER and a copy of the DOB constitution and by-laws are being forwarded to the ICSE. The possibility of joining the international organization is being considered by the membership of the Daughters.
The aims of the ICSE are:
a. Furthering objective scientific studies of the essences and phenomena of masculine and feminine homophily and of all problems connected with them.
b. Furthering the exchange, on an international level of the results of these studies as well as the widest possible spreading of the insights based on then.
c. Furthering the legal and factual harmonization of homophile man with the principles laid down in the "Universal Declaration of the Rights of Man" issued by the United Nations, running as follows:
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"All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood".
'YOUR LEGAL RIGHTS'
Copies of a booklet entitled "Your Legal Rights" based on the Illinois Criminal Code, which has been prepared by the Legal Department of the Chicago Area Council of the Mattachine Society, are now available.
While the booklet is specifically based on the statutes of the State of Illinois, it is significant in that similar statutes are in effect in virtually all the states. By consulting the penal codes for other states, particularly those sections pertaining to sex offenses, vagrancy, etc., as well as municipal codes where applicable, this, booklet can be readily adapted to fit the situation in any U.S. jurisdiction.
As pointed out in "Your Legal Rights", many private citizens, through ignorance and fear, fail to avail themselves of those laws created to protect individuals from harassment and persecution by society or its agents. This state of affairs is particularly prevalent among minority groups whose social ostracism frequently makes them feel a personal guilt or inferior status before the law. It is essential that these groups be apprised of their legal rights and learn to replace fear with a true knowledge of legal procedure for their own protections.
"Your Legal Rights" was prepared by the Mattachine Society with the assistance of Attorney Pearl M. Hart of Chicago. Copies may be obtained at 25¢ each from the following addresses:
Chicago Area Council
Mattachine Society, Inc.
Post Office Box 3513
Merchandise Mart Post Office
Mattachine Society, Inc.
693 Mission St., Rm. 307
San Francisco 5, Calif.
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THE ELEVENTH HOUR
by Jo Allyn
Hazel leaned against the wall and felt again for the letter in her pocket. The counter was clean and empty; there were only occasional customers this time of the afternoon in the little coffee shop. She brushed short, blonde hair back; it was hot and she was weary after the noon rush.
For the tenth time she pulled the letter from her uniform pocket and read it.
"Wednesday will be our first anniversary," it said, "You know I want you to be with me. Navy life isn't the best thing for marriage not with me gone as much as I've been lately, put the ship will be tied up in San Diego for ten days and we can spend that time together if you'll come down. I know I haven't been a very good husband, Hazel, but give me this chance to make it up to you. Love, Jim."
Another chance.... she sighed. How like Jim. Always wanting another chance to make up for the bad times, the loneliness, the indifference and neglect, the quarrels.
Heaven knew she had given him enough chances. She 'd also stayed here in the little college town working, as he wanted her to, instead of following when the ship went to the East Coast last winter.
"Your family is here," he had argued when she suggested going with him. "Besides you've got a good job here. You sight not find another one back there that pays as well."
Money meant a let to Jim. Her wages kept the car payments up, among other things. Jim liked driving the late-model convertible he'd bought in New York, and he liked having plenty of "green stuff" to spend drinking with his sea-going buddies.
On the other hand, settling down to marriages didn't appear to mean so much. There were problems of adjustment that, after a year of being too seldom together, still remained
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unsolved. And when they were together, his rough demands and careless neglect left her nervous and unhappy.
She sighed. Still, ten days vacation from the daily eight hours of catering to the crotchety hotel-coffee shop guest would be a relief. Maybe she could get rested up if Jim didn't insist on his usual nightly round of skid-row bars.
There was another reason she wanted to see him. Something had been bothering her lately. Perhaps if she was with him again, the growing friendship between herself and Patricia Blaine would fall into a reasonable, explainable perspective® Perhaps she should stay in San Diego, not see her any more.
It had begun the day her boss's daughter returned from Europe where she'd been bicycling across country on a youth-hostel tour. The big, pleasant looking girl with dark, closely cropped hair was enrolling in a post-graduate course at the college. She had enthusiastically detailed her plans to Hazel over a cup of coffee the first day she was back.
"It's wonderful having someone who is interested in these things to talk to," she said. "Most of the kids I know who graduated last year are gone, or," her brow wrinkled a little, "or married. The ones this year seem so darn. young." She looked at Hazel's fair hair and level grey eyes with appreciation. "I hope you don't mind my taking up your time this way," she apologized belatedly.
"Not at all," Hazel reassured her quickly. "It gets pretty lonesome in here between two and five." Pat's loneliness was very appealing to Hazel who certainly understood it much more than the other girl was aware. The older girl's brown eyes were sad and wistful and trusting, all mixed together with something else....the shy admiration and devotion that Hazel recognized. She knew that Pat's mother was dead and that her father was much too busy to bother about being a companion to his only child. Money spent on her education and in travel was his substitute for parental love. Hazel knew it wasn't enough, and wondered if Pat was aware that she, too, was searching for acceptance....for a niche in someone's heart...........
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She wondered, too, what Pat would think if she told her of Tommy. Thomasina, the girl whose devotion had filled all the days of Hazel's young childhoods Tommy, the two years older tomboy whose, quiet strength had protected Hazel from teasing boys and spiteful girls. Tommy she was always her sympathetic confidant and helpful friend. And finally when they were in their teens, whose attachment had seemed naturally, of its own accord to ripen into and demand the fulfillment of love.
How strange that the very naturalness of their devotion had turned their parent's adjoining homes into armed enemy camp Hazel still couldn't under stand, her mother's revulsion when she discovered her daughter had a "crush" on the older girl next door. But the memory of her mother's bitter denunciate of Tommy, and the angry words that ensued between the two families still had the power to tear agonizingly through Hazel's mind.
Later Tommy's family had moved away without allowing the girls even to say goodbye. The family pastor had come to pray with Hazel and her parents to exorcise the "wicked and evil" thing that had come into their lives. Perhaps it was that, more than anything else, that had fastened the horrible scars of shame and guilt, across Hazel's heart so that never again could she think of love and tenderness without the dreadful remembered sensation of guilty fear.
If only both sets of parents had been less dramatic about it...had treated it as a normal crush perhaps a reasonable adjustment could have been reached later by Hazel. But their super-dramatics only served to freeze her emotionally into the very pattern her parents feared.
And then again, if only they hadn't made. such an issue of things when he met Jim some months later, things might have fallen naturally into a different pattern for her. She might have been able, if they'd let her alone, to respond to the attraction he felt for her, and have fallen in love with him. But, inevitably, as soon as her mother knew that Jim was interested, she began her openly obvious campaign to see that Hazel married him.
"Now is your chance to make something of yourself," her mother nagged, "You're just too young to realize what
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you and that horrible girl branded, yourselves with, carrying on like you did," she sniffed in scorn. "If you get married to Jim, as any decent girl would, you'll be a respectable married woman and we can hold up our heads again...." The pressure only served to mix Hazel up. Still, anything would be preferable to her mother's. hounding and watching her every minute.
To add to her grief, Tommy had never written since moving: away. Eventually this apparent betrayal had weighted the scales in favor of Jim. It wasn't until after the wedding that her mother confessed contritely that a number of letters from Tommy had been burned "to save Hazel embarrassment." They came from another city.
Perhaps it wasn't Jim's fault that he brought none of the tender glory that Hazel had wistfully hoped for to their marriage. Nor that he couldn't understand and was impatient of her lack of response to his rough demands. But by "the time he left for a new duty station two. weeks after the wedding Hazel, already knew that the new relationship was empty of meaning for her.
Nor was it too odd that, left alone most of this first year, she should respond to the questing look in Pat's brown eyes that were so very much like Tommy's.
It wasn't too long before. Pat began coming downstairs at seven to walk home with Hazel after her work was done. Often she would invite the lonely girl in to have coffee or a glass of wine. Pat, raised since babyhood in the downtown hotel, appreciatively drank in the homey atmosphere of the little apartment.
Sometimes they went to movies together, and soon, without meaning to, Hazel realized they were spending almost every evening of the week together. There were times when Pat talked of her studies. She was majoring in psychology, and Hazel would listen wide-eyed to the amazing knowledge about interesting things that the older girl was acquiring. There were other times when Hazel told Pat haltingly of her life before her marriage to Jim, of the crowded small home across town, of the father who drank too much, and the mother who nagged. But she never mentioned Tommy.
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One night she did admit, to Pat that her marriage to Jim was not what she had dreamed it would be. Slowly, haltingly she recounted the reasons reluctantly, wanting to find excuses for Jim while she talked.
"I...I think I've tried," she finished humbly, puzzled at her own defensiveness, feeling disloyal to Jim. Yet she felt, better for having confided in the sympathetic girl.
Pat's eyes, were patient and understanding as she touched. Hazel's arm. "I'm sure, you have, my dear," she said. "I think you've made him a good wife, as far as he's allowed you to." She looked away to the rim of hills outside the window. "Better than he deserves," she muttered almost under her breath.
Lately Pat has seemed protective as well as sympathetic and Hazel had come to depend on seeing her every day. What fun it was to listen to her talk of her travels, or of the books she had reads. Sometimes they would sit in silent companionship, listening to Pat's collection of classical records. With Pat, in her comfortable slacks and shirt, sitting across the room from her, Hazel felt an odd sense of completion. The big girl's eyes were so understanding, so eager and...and tender. Without realizing how it had come about, Hazel found herself wishing that Pat would stay in the little apartment with her always. And in her dreams, when something unknown frightened her, it was Pat who held her close and reassured her, not Jim.
Now that the letter had. come, Hazel knew it would be hard to tell Pat she was leaving to be with him. What she wouldn't... couldn't tell her was that if Jim would agree, she would Stay in San Diego, and find work there. It was the only way left to salvage their marriage, she knew that now, Only last night, saying goodnight at the apartment, she had sensed the trembling urgency struggling for release, in Pat. And the answering response in her own blood had left her weak and filled with longing.. Not by any word between them, but by something electric and unspoken.
Although it would hurt both of them, she knew she must go to Jim, severing the sweet companionship that was becoming increasingly dear to her. The association that was
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trembling on the threshold of something much, much deeper.
Pat was waiting in the hotel lobby, as usual, when she got off work at seven. Falling naturally into perfect stride as they walked towards the apartment, Hazel told the big girl of her plans to join Jim. She touched Pat's arm as she finished. "I'll write to you, and...and I want very much to hear from you, too."
Pat paused to light a cigarette, and Hazel noticed, dismayed, that her friend's hands were shaking. But when she spoke, her voice was level and flat, as If every emotion had been forcibly ejected from it.
"Of course, Hazel. But....but you won't be gone long?"
Hesitating over her words, she answered, "I....I don't know. M..m..maybe note."
Without speaking again, they resumed their walk, but, miserably, Hazel could feel the tight., control that Pat was holding over herself. How could she hurt this wonderful girl who meant so much to her? But she had to. Her duty was to Jim, and he wanted her to join him. Maybe this time it really would be different. Maybe he'd made up his mind to make a success of their marriage after all. To love, honor and cherish her, as their wedding vows had said.
"Here we are," Pat broke into her reverie. "I'll see you up to your door, then; I'll be on my way," she said crisply. "You've got your packing to do." But her eyes when they met Hazel's were lost and forsaken.
"Thank you, Pat," Hazel murmured, as they started up the stairs "I'll...I'll phone; you tomorrow before I leave."
But there was a yellow envelope slipped half-way under the locked door when they reached her, apartment.
"Just a minute, Pat, don't go yet," Hazel touched her arm lightly and she stayed, her eyes watching warily as Hazel read the contents of the telegram.
It was from Jim, of course.
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"RESTRICTED TO SHIP NEXT TEN DAYS. SORRY, TOO MUCH PARTY FIRST NIGHT IN FORT. BETTER NOT COME DOWN. SHIP LEAVES FOR HONOLULU TEN DAYS. SEE YOU IN ABOUT THREE WEEKS..AS ALWAYS, JIM."
Yes, Jim, as always, at the eleventh hour had let her down, Still, sudden tremendous relief flooded her being. Now she could admit to herself how much she had dreaded seeing Jim, submitting to his temper tirades, his sly brutalities. And what was more, she could admit it at last to Pat, too.
Now she could voice what had been in her mind these past few months. She would tell Pat about Tommy and confess her need to find that lost tenderness again. She had tried marriage and failed.....whether it was her own fault or Jim's she was not sure. Perhaps some day she would try again, the Pates would decide. Meanwhile, now, in the magic presence of this girl she had come to care so much for, one door had closed, and another was opening.
Hazel put her arm around Pat's waist and opened the. door with her key.
"Come in, darling," she said softly. "I'm not going away after all...ever."
And her eyes told Pat that she was glad.
Then, as she put, the coffee pot on the stove, she told the other girl her story, chattering with an abandonment of relief brought about by her new decision. And in her joy at being able at last to confide in her friend, she didn't notice that Pat said nothing in reply, only sat lighting a new cigarette on the embers of the old one, Finally through with her tale, Hazel came to stand in front of her and place a timid hand on her shoulder.
"But you're not glad.... about us...that...that I knew..." she stammered, puzzled and suddenly alarmed.
Pat turned her troubled face away from Hazel's searching look look for a long moment, and then she sighed and straightened her back. Her eyes, when they rested on Hazel's, held a new determination.
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HAVE YOU BEEN TO HELEN'S
MOST OF YOU have never actually been in "Helena's Bar." And probably won't be, unless you happen to live in the town where she runs it. Even then, you may not be able to. discover where it is. If you're lucky enough to do so, you will still have to arrange for an "introduction" before you can enjoy it to the full.
... don't scream at your mother ...
If you do, "Mother" Helen Is likely to scream right back at you and throw you out. "The obvious homosexual is in the minority," she says. "I think he brings the censure of the public not only on himself, but is the main cause of all adverse judgment against the group as a whole. He is such a rebel and such an exhibitionist that he is held as an example of the homosexual. I do not welcome this type in the bar. I am rude to them, watch them so closely for any infraction of my arbitrary rules, that they soon leave."
...hit him with your headed bag, May...
"When tourists arrive,"Helen" reports, "I walk along the bar and talk to two or three couples and give them the following instructions:
"'One of you turn and look at those in the booth. When you see they are looking at you, say something to the other, then you both laugh.' Say another bit and laugh again.'
"After this treatment is repeated several times, our unwelcome guests drink up real fast and go. A bit of laughter follows them and we have the case of the biter being bitten."
Helen will show you there's more than one way of getting rough and standing up for your "rights."
....and away we go....
"I took over for a bar owner who wanted to change his place to a gay bar. In several months I became quite experienced. Later he fired me in Order to bring in someone else. This new host had a reputation for a following and the boss thought, he'd hold my group and acquire his. It did not work that way. Many of my own friends followed me and the new fellow was fired after a month."
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And so, HELEN'S was started....
And it continues, night after night, week after week. Its patrons couldn't be happier. You meet your friends at Helen's, You catch up on the latest gossip at Helen's. You have impromptu parties at Helen's. You can patch up your domestic difficulties at Helen's. Or find a way to console yourself after the "divorce."
YOU, TOO, CAN GO TO HELEN'S....
For now Helen has put her bar between covers. Her readers can become happy habitudes of the place--at least for a time. So pour out a beer for yourself. Cold glass, of course. And settle down to the pleasure of a night in Helen's
Casting a spotlight on one of those gathering places found in every large city... written by a woman who knows her subject from the inside out! The humor.... the heartbreak....the piercing reality....
Everyone will want to reed Helen P. Branson's first book
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STRAIGHT FROM THE SHOULDER......
"You won't find any statements in parentheses in my book," said Helen P. Branson as she Turned in the final manuscript for publication. "I typed this myself an a Polish model typewriter. It had no parenthesis marks on the keyboard. So I made all of my statements direct-- just as if I were talking to you."
That same directness has characterized Helen's life throughout her sixty years, with a great deal of variety of living included. She was graduated from high school in 1914, then took voice lessons for two years while she taught school in Nebraska. Not satisfied with her singing, she entered a new field. She became a bank teller during World War I, after which she moved to a ranch in Idaho, and finally settled in California. Today she operates a bar, does all the work herself, and every week visits her aged mother, whom she helps support.
"I've had more ups and downs than I care to tell about," she says. "But all my life I have had an interest in the occult and the unseen, the hard to explain things about me," she says. "I was a student of astrology and became a palmist years ago. In fact I made my living entertaining in this field for several years.
Her study of astrology led to on interest in reincarnation, which she says she explored for her own satisfaction.
"All of this led me to a recognition of the biggest word in my vocabulary; today, Helen says. "That word is WHY. Trying to find that answer is the main reason for my interest in people and what they do."
"My first intentional contact with homosexuals as I a group was to determine if there was a pattern in their palms. My gradual integration with such groups has come through mutual affection and respect. I am at home with them."
Homosexual or not, everyone, it seems, has an immediate reaction to Helen. No in-between regard for this intensely active and perceptive woman is possible; it is a case of love her a lot or not at ail. But readers of her book, "Gay Bar," will see at once what the reaction of the majority is.
"Everybody loves Helen," say those who know her. It's a safe prediction that sons and daughters, as well as mothers and fathers, will be infected with the same feeling for her after they read the book, too.
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"I'm glad that you know why your marriage was failing, Hazel. And....in a way that I can't explain... I'm glad, too, that there was a Tommy in your life. But," she rose and gripped the smaller girl's shoulders, "There is something I want you to promise me."
"I...I promise..." Hazel stammered, unable to guess what was on Pat's mind.
"If you think that you care for me now, I want you to go to Jim. Stay with him, follow him, be near him and with him for at least six months. Talk to him, try to understand him and help him to understand you, Hazel. If all else fails, go to a marriage counsellor. You're still young and you owe it to yourself to make your marriage work. Believe me, I know what I'm talking about."
Hazel's eyes fell and her shoulders drooped. Rejection was the last thing she had expected and she didn't know how to meet it.
Then Pat went on, "But remember this. If, after six months' trial...or even a year's trial, it doesn't work....I'll...I'll be waiting right, here." She lifted Hazel's chin gently and gazed deeply into her eyes. "I'd wait forever for you, my dearest."
And Hazel knew she was speaking the truth.
NEW YORK MATTACHINE MOVES
The New York chapter of the Mattachine Society has moved into permanent quarters after over a year of "living out of a suitcase".
The new address is il83 Avenue of the Americas, New York 36, New York.
We are assured by the group that they will welcome all visitors inquiring about Mattachine or just wishing to visit. They are also looking for help in re-doing the office and donations of furnishings or office equipment.
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Mattachine Convention Near
"Must the Individual Homosexual be Rejected in Our Time" is the topic of discussion for a panel of five professional persons who will be featured at the 4th annual convention of the Mattachine Society on Saturday, Aug. 31, at the Sheraton-Palace Hotel, San Francisco. Moderator Sam Morford will Introduce the panelists, who are: Harry Benjamin, M.D., who practices in New York and San Francisco; Alfred Auerback, M.D., San Francisco, chairman of the Committee on Mental Health of the California. Medical Association and Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the University of California; Leo J. Zeff, clinical psychologist and practicing therapist, Berkeley; William A. Baker, M.S.W., and Julia Coleman, M.S.W., therapists from San Carlos, Calif. Banquet Speaker will be David Schmidt, M.D., chief psychiatrist at San Quentin Prison.
Convention activities begin at 8 p.m. Friday, August 30, at Pan-Graphic Press, 693 Mission St., with a reception for members, delegates and friends.
On Saturday at the Sheraton-Palace registration begins at 9 a.m. (Fees., including luncheon and banquet tickets, are $13). Call to order is at 11 a.m. and at 11:30 a.m. Attorney Kenneth C. Zwerin of San Francisco will speak on "After Arrest--What?" Luncheon speaker is Thurmond H. Hanson, U.S. Probation officer of San Francisco, The panel discussion will begin at 2 p.m. Cocktail hour is at 6:30 p.m., followed by the banquet at 7.30 p.m.
Sunday's events will open with a Continental Breakfast, 9-12 a.m., at the national headquarters office, 693 Mission St. Tapes of addresses on the homosexual problem will be played. At 1 p.m. in the Williams Building, a panel program featuring representatives of ONE, Inc., Daughters of Bilitis, the Mattachine Society and Pan-Graphic Press will be held. After adjournment at 3 p.m. committees for the Monday Business session will meet to complete necessary work>. Daughters of Bilitis will be hosts at a cooking program on Sunday from 5:30-7.30 p.m.
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in Studio 30 at 465 Geary St. Donation is $1.00. The remainder of the evening will be free.
Monday, September 2 (Labor Day) will see the Society's annual business meeting open at 9 a.m. in the Williams Building. It will conclude at noon with, the election of officers and directors. A short meeting of the Board of Directors will follow to conclude the 3-day convention.
Events on Saturday are open to the public". The. session or Sunday, Sept. 1, is open to Mattachine members and friend: and representatives of the participating organizations. Members and delegates of the Mattachine Society only will participate in the. Monday business session.
Calender of Events
|Monday, August 26||--Open House for New York Board members of the Mattachine Society will be held by Pan-Graphic Press at 693 Mission St., Room 307, at 7 p.m. Dinner will be served. Donation is $1.00.|
|Tuesday, August 27||--Public discussion meeting sponsored by the. DOB at 465 Geary St., Studio 51, (5th floor) 8:15 p.m. Robert E. Mack of the Kimball Foundation of Human Engineering will discuss "Proven Methods of Developing Better Human Relationships".|
|Friday, August 30||--Pan-Graphic Press will hold a reception for members, delegates and friends here for the Mattachine Society convention at 8 p.m. at 693 Mission St., Room 307.|
|Saturday, August 31||
--Fourth Annual Convention of the
Mattachine Society, Inc. Registration at 9 a.m.
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at tip Sheraton-Palace Hotel. For full information see page 18.
|Sunday, September 1||--Daughters of Bilitis Cocktail party from 5:30-7:30 p.m., Studio 30, 465 Geary St. Donation $l.00.|
|Thursday, September 5||--Mattachine Public Discussion Forum, 8 p.m., 1830 Sutter St., American Friends Service Committee Center. Ellen M. Carder, registered nurse and teacher of marriage and family relations, will speak on "Communication: the Key to Happiness".|
|Friday, September 6||--Gab 'n Java session, 6340 Geary St., Apt. 19. An informal bull session at present limited to women only.|
|Wednesday, August 11||--DOB monthly business meeting to be held at the office, 693 Mission St., Room 398, 8 p.m.|
|Friday, September 13||--Mattachine Koffee Klatch, a moderated discussion meeting, 2001 Francisco, Berkeley, Calif., 7.30 p.m.|
|Saturday, September 14||--Daughters of Bilitis bowling at the Sports Center, 3333 Mission St., 7 p.m. To enable us to reserve the right number of alleys please make reservations by Friday, Sept. 13, to the office, EXbrook 7-0773 or THornwall 3-5505.|
|Tuesday, September 24||--DOB public , 465 Geary St., Studio 5, 8:15 p.m. William Baker, national president of the American Graphological Society, handwriting expert and counselor with a background of experience in clinical analysis of emotionally disturbed persons will speak.|
|Saturday, October 26||--Keep this date open for the D0B's annual Halloween party. Details later, but we might warn you that this one will be a costume party with prizes for the best, etc. Those of you who shun actual costumes may Just wear masks. For members and guests only; full details later.|
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21. STRANGE FRIENDS by Agnete Holk. Pyramid Books, New York, 1955.
Translated from the Danish, this is the story of Vita Storm who adopts a school friend as her "little sister", not realizing the true nature of her attraction to Hilda. A frank story, the author has handled the subject with delicacy and understanding and concludes on a hopeful note.
22. BIRTH OF THE GODS by Dmitri Merezowskii. J.M. Dant and Sons, London, 1926.
Laid in Crete during the reign of Amenhotep IV, a large part of the story Is devoted to the passionate love affair between Dio, a priestess, and her novice, Eoia, a temple dancer.
23. DEW IN APRIL by John Clayton. Kendall and Sharpe, 1931.
"This middle volume of an historical trilogy is located in a Provençal convent during the early 13th century and deals with the introspective and relatively innocent homosexual outburst among three of the youngest novices.
24. LOVELIEST OP FRIENDS by G. Sheila Donisthorpe. Berkeley Publishing Corp., New York, 1931.
The powerful and bitter story of Audrey and Kim, this novel by an English writer portrays the seduction of Audrey, an upper middle-class wife, by Kim, also married but deeply experienced in Lesbian affairs. Kim succeeds in winning Audrey completely, but Kim's desire for conquest after conquest leaves no room for a permanent relationship. Audrey without either Kim or her husband is left riding a downward spiral from which the book gives little hope that she will rise.
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FUGUE IN D MINOR--by Del Martin
The still sound of the countryside
Splintered by the tattoo of, rainfall
And the, turning of a lotus bud
From its nest of frog wings.
The spring sound of birds in early morning,
Of butterflies and bee balm,
The wrapped mind and the tinkling flesh.
The powder of pearls and peach down
On a landscape of green satin sheets.
The murmur of lips joined
In the crystal promise of summer.
The beetle sound of the pointed storm
Sheathed by the tree of my content.
For I have listened to the rainbow,
I have seen a lover's lullaby.
The shadow sound of the sleeping
Fractured by a scream in the night.
The volcano vomits into the. valley,
The foghorn stretches across the swollen sea,
Train wheels whir along Iron rails
In extended applause.
The stutter of machine gun bullets,
Tempests of trumpet tongues,
The cast iron buckle of thunder,
A propeller of drumsticks on the ivory gate--
Reeled into an eddy of sound And curdled in the faucet of my brain.
The grey sound of the dirge,
Of worm-cast and burned bones.
The hush of evening spelled
By the grave note of the serpent
As the skeleton kneels,
The trees drop their leaves--
And the lion purrs.
The muffled sound of twilight
Inching Into the black of night
And the hollow heart
And the deafened ear.
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"Included please find three dollars for "Gay Bar", as advertised in the July issue. "Wind Woman" was good, if somewhat naive. Its greatest virtue is its honesty."
J.L., Washington, D.C.
"A week or two ago I wrote you a letter, commenting on the progress made by THE LADDER, and on various ideas set forth in the June issue of your magazine. After sending that letter off I wondered if perhaps it didn't sound pretty dogmatic, perhaps intolerant, in part. Tonight I have been reading Sherwood Anderson's letters, and I was brought to a halt by one which he wrote to the woman who was to be his future mother-in-law. There is a juxtaposition of ideas in this letter which, to me, was very moving. In one place Anderson wrote, 'Think what Christianity would gain if Christians did not feel themselves superior to non-Christians.' Then, in the following paragraph, 'We all do so much of this. The moral man sets himself above the so-called immoral. How does he know what immorality is? In every inch you set yourself above anyone, you hurt that other one.' That is, in itself, a form of morality, of course. And a damn good one, I think. Then, two paragraphs farther on Anderson writes, 'I have wanted to say so much about my feeling about; Eleanor (his future wife) I can't say. The fact that my loving her should hurt others seems horrible to me. I don't want to touch her in her real self, change her, I don't want her if it is going, to hurt her or you who are dear to her. I'd much rather live the rest of my life alone.'
To me, these two passages illustrate the morality which is, itself, love. As everybody knows,, Sherwood Anderson
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was no puritan, no blue-nose. He was the antithesis of all that. Nobody has praised sensual love as wholeheartedly as he. This willingness he expresses to sacrifice his own needs to the well-being of his beloved does not arise from anything anti-erotic in his nature, but rather because he. was so intensely pro-persons. There is nothing in the least guilty in Anderson's love for Eleanor. There is no question here of broken vows, deception, the threat of a wrecked partnership and home. The issue is simple, 'I don't want her if it is going to hurt her or you who are dear to her. I'd much rather live the rest of my life alone.'
I hope this will show my earlier letter in a less dogmatic light."
Luther Allen, Baltimore, Md.
Correction: "Values and Responsibilities" is a four-part article by Luther Allen appearing in the February, April, June and August issues of the "Mattachine Review". Copies of these issues are still available at 693 Mission St., Rm. 307, San Francisco 5, Calif., at 50¢ each.
Fans of Mr. Allen will be interested to know that his will be the second book to be published by Pan-Graphic Press in San Francisco. The theme will pertain to morality and religion as regards homosexuality and will include the four installments, above mentioned, as well as a fifth not yet published. Publication date will be some time in 1958. -ED.
"I Wave now received and thoroughly read (and reread) five issues of THE LADDER, and I feel I must write and congratulate you on your magnificent work for us all. I enjoyed your attempt to list and annotate literature in your feature 'Lesbiana' most of all, as I know the years of frustration and work involved in collecting a library of gay literature. I now have some 300 works of fiction, poetry and drama, with perhaps 200 devoted to women. Your column should help many others along the same lines. I am very grateful to you also for reviewing some of these works. It is refreshing to read unbiased
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material for a change. I hope you will continue to support and mention Dr. Jeannette H. Foster's 'Sex Variant Women in Literature', "as this is a magnificent volume of both review and bibliography....
"I truly hope you will continue to include fiction and poetry in some quantity in your publication. (However small they are all important.) I have noticed in rereading some of the letters submitted to you that everyone finds a little to criticize, and I am happy to say the that I cannot find anything to criticize even slightly. I believe I know the tremendous work and sacrifice you all have put into this magazine. I am enclosing with this letter a few additions you might wish for 'Lesbiana'.
"Please keep up the wonderful work. Your cover illustration reminds me of a few words from the last paragraphs of Radclyffe Hall's 'The Well of Loneliness': 'We are coming, and our name is legion. You dare not disown us.'
G.D. Kansas City, Kansas
Dr. Foster's book was reviewed by Marion Zimmer Bradley, herself a well known science fiction writer, in the May issue of THE LADDER. Copies are still available at 50¢ each by writing to 693 Mission St., Rm. 308, San Francisco, 5, Calif.
Also would like to ask G.D. to send along a sentence or
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two (about the book as well as title, author, publisher, year etc. Sometimes we haven't read the book nor have the volume available to us. For inclusion in "Lesbiana" we will accept any volume which includes Lesbianism, as either a major or minor theme. -ED.
"I want to thank you for giving the Denver chapter's newsletter a write-up in THE LADDER. We are. going to give DOB a write-up, too, very soon....
"We don't know any women here. If any of your group have contacts in the Denver area they would like to refer to us, or have us contact them, we would appreciate it. "I always exhibit THE LADDER at our meetings. We will seek to place it in the hands of interested women when we have contact with them."
Carl B. Harding, Secretary
P.O. Box 7035
Capitol Hill Station,
Denver 6, Colorado
Regarding that manuscript on Lesbian marriage we never got around to writing for the Mattachine Review, please be advised that if it ever comes into being it will be run in THE LADDER. After all,... -ED.
"Enclosed you will find a money order for five dollars which is to help make good a so far neglected earlier promise of financial support....
"With the last two copies of the publication I am more convinced than ever of the depth and sincerity and-- dignity--you people are determined to pursue your work with. I cannot tell you how encouraging it is. From where you are getting the energy and courage is something of a mystery to me but please know it begins to inspire similar qualities in those who read THE LADDER.
"In the issue before the last I was particularly struck
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with and interested in the articles by Osbourne arid Stephens. I remarked at some length in my first (rather talky, I'm afraid) letter on my views on transvestism. I am how pleased to see that there are those who have given and are giving attention to the question in a most serious way. Good. I feel I am learning how to think all over again.
"Most of all I wanted to leap into the questions raised in Nancy Osbourne's so very important bit on heterosexually married lesbians. (I am one of those, incidentally, who is going to stick to lower-case, until somebody convinces me that what the homosexual wants and needs is not autonomy from the human race--but utter integration into it. I feel, however, that I could be wrong about it.) I was equally interested in Marion Bradley's contributions on the theme in the current issue, though frankly I understood what she was saying far less. I felt the piece was of serious and intelligent intentions but made some rather precarious suggestions. Speaking personally. as well as abstractly here, may I ask when did the problem of saying to one self, or to one's husband, or anyone else that one finds "other women interesting" get to be any kind of a problem at all? With the very best circumspect motivations I am sure, it does seem to me that Miss Bradley misstates the problem of the homosexual woman (married or otherwise) so crucially as to almost approach the comical. I mean really, unless I am afflicted with the worst kind of misunderstanding, the homosexual impulse does transcend 'interest' in other women. Isn't the problem of the married lesbian woman that of an individual who finds that, despite her conscious will oft. times, she is inclined to have, her most intense emotional and physical reactions directed toward other women, quite beyond any comparative thing she might have ever felt for her husband--whatever her sincere affection for him? And isn't that the problem? How one quite admits that to oneself--and to one's husband? And isn't it necessary to state it so before we can pretend to discuss it?
"Further, to assert that such women ought to be able to 'put genuine truth in her statement that her interest in other women will affect her marriage no more than the heterosexual woman's interest in other men' is making an
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equation of two decidedly different social circumstances that simply have no equality in life. A woman of strength and honesty may, if she chooses, sever her marriage and marry a new male mate and society will be upset that the divorce rate is rising so--but there are few places in the United States, in any event, where she will be anything remotely akin to an 'outcast'. Obviously this is not true for a woman who would end her marriage to take up life with another woman.
"I very loudly agree, on the other hand, with the writer's view that women who violate their marriages freely because the violations involve women rather than men deserve the condemnation of both society and lesbian opinion. Not so much because of any sacredness of our dubious social morality, but rather because it involves the deception of another human being--and that, as always, is intolerable. Also I think it is very nice if somehow lesbian women in general might lend themselves amiably to showing that all relationships between women need not be those of 'cats' tearing at one another--but in this particular discussion it seems rather beside the point.
"I suspect that the problem of the married woman who would prefer emotional-physical relationships with other women is proportionally much higher than a similar statistic for men. (A statistic surely no one will ever really have.) This because the estate of woman being what it is, how could we ever begin to guess the numbers of women who are not prepared to risk a life alien to what they have been taught all their lives to believe was their 'natural' destiny--AND--their only expectation for ECONOMIC security. It seems to me that this is why the question has an immensity that it does not have for male homosexuals. We must, as noted above, take a dim view of anyone who treats a married partner without respect; but at the same time I should imagine that we would have a particularly sensitive and sympathetic awareness of the nature of the 'social trap' (I cannot think of a better set of words at the moment ) which the fundamental position of women as a sex is likely to force many women into--homosexual or heterosexual.
"I am suggesting here that perhaps it is pat and even unfair to suggest that all that remains for the married
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lesbian, already nursing her frustrations and confusions, is somehow to get rid of her 'self-pity' and 'self-excuses' and make a 'happy marriage without in anyway denying her nature'. I am afraid that homosexuality, whatever its origins, is far more real than that, far more profound in the demands it makes; otherwise it could hardly deserve to be called a problem at all. I don't think people start out in this world to be 'bad'--they start out to be happy. Frankly, I haven't the least idea in the world what a 'solution' to the question night be at this particular moment in history. And I guess in the face of that kind of an admission it seems a little presumptions to have charged into Miss Bradley's really quite worthwhile efforts. But maybe that is what I was trying to say--let us not get lost in answers which
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cannot possibly exist at the moment; but rather, exhaust ourselves in the dissection of previous views. For instance the whole realm of morality and ethics is something that has escaped the attention of women by and large. And, it needs the attention of intellectual women most desperately. I think it is about time that equipped women began to take on some of the ethical questions which a male dominated culture has produced and dissect and analyze them quite to pieces in a serious fashion. It is time that 'half the human race' had something to say about the nature of its existence. Otherwise--without revised basic thinking--the woman intellectual is likely to find herself trying to draw conclusions--moral conclusions--based on acceptance, of a social moral superstructure which has never admitted to the "equality of women and is therefore immoral itself. As per marriage, as per sexual practices, as per the rearing of children, etc. In this kind of work there may be women to emerge who will be able to formulate a new and possible concept that homosexual persecution and condemnation has at its roots not only social ignorance, but a philosophically active anti-feminist dogma. But that is but-a kernel of a speculative embryonic idea improperly introduced here."
L.N., New York, N.Y.
NEW ADDITION TO THE HOMOSEXUAL PRESS!
"The Lark News" made its debut in Bridgeport, Pennsylvania in April of this year. The publication, a "local newsletter", is published by the "ELL" Club, a non-profit organization of both men and women.
The group has been in operation since November, 1956 and boasts approximately 85 members in good standing. Application for a state Charter is now in process.
The purpose of the organization is to "bring closer unity between men and women homophiles,to help them to understand themselves and make their own adjustment, to society, and to work for acceptance by the general public".
Anyone interested in contacting the "ELL" Club may write c/o Lark Hotel, 302 DeKalb St., Bridgeport, Penn.
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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.
ASSOCIATE MEMBERSHIP--$2.50 initiation fee and .50 monthly dues. THE LADDER is sent FREE. Since most people having this membership are not residents in the area where meetings are held, copies of business meeting minutes are also mailed to these members.
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 303, 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.
DAUGHTERS OF BILITIS, INC.
693 Mission Street--Room 308
San Francisco 5, California
Please send THE LADDER for_____year(s) by first class mall sealed to the address below. I enclose $_____at the rate of $2.50 for each year ordered.
CITY_____ ZONE_____ STATE_____
I am over 21 years of age (Signed)_____