The Ladder, September 1957, Vol. 1, No. 12
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Purpose of the
Daughters of BILITIS
A WOMEN'S ORGANIZATION FOR THE PURPOSE OP 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 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
Mattachine Looks at
Life--Life Talks Back
The fourth annual convention of the Mattachine Society, Inc., held in San Francisco over Labor Day weekend, brought together interested persons from all over the nation to hear speakers, both professional and lay, on the homophile subject.
Convention sessions were held at the Sheraton-Palace Hotel and in the Mattachine offices in the Williams building.
The convention got underway Friday night, Aug. 30, with a reception for members and friends at Pan-Graphic Press.
The convention proper began Saturday morning, Aug. 31, at the Sheraton-Palace. Don Lucas, president of Mattachine,
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gave the address of welcome and sketched the history of the Mattachine Society from its inception seven years ago as informal discussion groups to its present democratic structured. He told of its purposes and some of its accomplishments; of the monthly Mattachine Review, of the brochure, "Your Legal Rights", of the Society making itself available to professional groups studying homosexuality rather than attempting to carry on any original research of its own. He stated that the future of the Society would depend on how much the members fulfilled the principle of the four "Fs"--Faith, Fellowship, Friendship and Funds. Funds, he pointed out, were more than just money, but also time and energy. Also, that those who said they could not afford $10 a year dues could afford $100 a year if they really wanted to--if not out of their own pockets, then by raising it in some other manner.
The main morning address was given by Kenneth Zwerin, San Francisco attorney-at-law, whose controversial topic was "After Arrest--What?"
He told Don Lucas he could throw away that brochure on "Your Legal Rights"--that for all practical purposes it wasn't going to mean much to the average homosexual who is arrested--that few people, otherwise law-abiding, could adjust to the traumatic situation of arrest in time not to say or do those things that make it next to impossible for an attorney to help him, once he gets hold of the case.
Mr. Zwerin then proceeded to tell a hideous little story of a hypothetical but realistic case showing how theories of legal rights and privileges go out the window when shock, fear and ridicule step into the picture.
After arrest--what? Ken Zwerin says, "Tragedy, perennial tragedy."
After all this, Mr. Zwerin ended his address on the optimistic note that the situation is becoming more favorable for sexual acts between two consenting adults as indicated by projected changes in the law in Britain.
The afternoon session consisted of a panel discussion
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on the topic, "Must the Individual Homosexual Be. Rejected in Our Time?" (l had eagerly awaited this panel, as I was consumed with curiosity as to how anyone could answer this question unless he was first prepared to say whether he had stopped beating his wife or not. Unhappily, no one took exception to the wording of the question and I was left with my own thoughts on the subject... namely that known individual homosexuals are accepted in our time in many areas, depending on the individual's other qualifications. The topic, "Must Homosexuality Be Rejected in Our Time?" would not have brought such intense brow-knitting out of me.)
Sam Morford, research director of the Mattachine Society, was moderator. Harry Benjamin, M.D., New York and San Francisco, endocrinologist and sexologist, was the first panelist. Dr. Benjamin has had 40 years study in the field of endocrinology. He worked with Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld in pre-Nazi Germany. Through Dr. Alfred Kinsey he became acquainted with the work and aims of the Mattachine Society.
Dr. Benjamin said in reference to the panel topic that he was ashamed that the question had to be asked. He stated that the situation represented a form of "puritanical terror", that the enforcement of the law was highly selective, that a few homosexuals undoubtedly acted in such a way as to bring rejection on themselves and the whole group but that other homosexuals could help change the picture.
Dr. Benjamin defined a homosexual as one who was exclusively or predominantly aroused by the same sex. Then he went into various main theories as the cause or-- causes of homosexuality in an individuals:
1. Heredity. In the studies of the frequency of homosexuality occurring in identical twins raised separately the incidence has been quite high.
2. Endocrine imbalance. A disturbance of the glands in the mother could affect the unborn child's later sexual development.
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3. Fixation at the "immature homosexual phase" of emotional development.
4. Psychological conditioning. (All homosexuals belong to this group according to "Orthodox" psychological theory.)
5. Cultural and environmental conditioning. Prisons and prison camps are one illustration of this "homosexuality for want".
The speaker indicated that these causes were not mutually exclusive, but could operate separately or in groups to help make a person the certain type of homosexual he might be. He stated that in his opinion homosexuality was a symptom, not, a disease; that it was not un-natural, as it was a product of nature; that in some way he felt it might even be a defense of Nature--a means of guarding against over-population; that no one knows what is "normalcy", only what is "customary". He finished his address with the opinion that whatever the causes, the "why?" of the matter, homosexuals must be made free from the fear of blackmai1, entrapment and the "deadly poison of ostracism".
Leo J. Zeff, clinical psychologist and practicing therapist, stated that the Mattachine Review, ONE Magazine, and THE LADDER were invaluable to professional people with therapeutic experience with homosexuality in that they give insight into the problems of homosexuals. In other publications all one could find was the description of, and opinions about, homosexuality from the point of view of outsiders. In actuality, the essence of homosexuality is indescribable, he said.
Mr. Zeff came closest to pinning down the paradox of the panel topic when he said that if he had to answer the question, "Must the Individual Homosexual Be Rejected in Our Time?" he would have to say "No!" but that if he re-phrased the question, "Can the Individual Homosexual Be Accepted in Our Time?" he would have to give an equally emphatic "No!" Implicit somewhere between the two extremes was the thought that the question was meaningless to Mr. Zeff--or at best, wrongly directed. He
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felt that the panel topic hung in the balance on one word, "rejected". What did this word mean to the questioners? Did it mean to imply that the Individual homosexual, the "person", was being rejected along with his homosexual acts? This was an important thing to know before one could possibly answer the question "yes" or "no", Mr. Zeff felt.
The "neurotic homosexual" carries his homosexuality like a sore thumb; he stated, still that is not all that he is. This is true of so many in minority groups. It is a "negative reaction" to minority status and decides whether he will be a "neurotic" member of that group or not. This is part of the "self-fulfilling prophecy" wherein one truly becomes what he believes himself to be.
This is not an anti-homosexual society; it is an anti-sex society. So that the problem is really one of the homosexual rejecting himself. This is everybody's problem who rejects himself for any reason. The unhappy, unfulfilled heterosexual's problem is no different. His feelings and reactions are the same, though his "crown of thorns" may look a little different.
The question always uppermost in the self-rejecting person's mind is, "What would THEY say?" These people do not understand that true authority for one's actions lies not in THEY, but deep within one's self. The trouble comes when people do not understand or follow the First Commandment: "I am the Lord thy God; thou shalt have no other gods before me." This God lies not outside, but inside. The real essence of any religion is LOVE. Whenever hatred enters in and love is blocked by judging and condemning, someone has misinterpreted the original teachings.
Mr. Zeff went on to say that we must not burden people with things they do not understand, they have enough problems of their own to understand. "Understand yourself... everything else will fall into place."
Julia W. Coleman, M.S.W., San Carlos, Calif., social worker and practicing psychotherapist, took the opposite
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approach of Mr. Zeff and spoke of "The Price of Rejection" to society.
That society does reject the homosexual, as assumed in the panel topic, Miss Coleman said, was beyond argument. She said that society pays a high price for rejecting homosexual's who are not socially destructive, but simply because they were "different". This price could be outlined but never really totaled. There is the loss of productivity of the outcast group, the high cost of mental illness, alcoholism, severe neurosis, the throttling of creativity. There is the loss to the art, music and dance group--that many people, including heterosexuals, will not enter, despite their talents, because they fear being branded "queer".
She felt that society had a definite responsibility to study the causes, implications and cure., if any, of the homosexual problem; that the field had never been studied in an adequate or scientific manner; that such research as had been done had been in prisons and institutions, Instead of financing and setting up an adequate study program, it was so much "easier" to have the police make a few arrests, but so much more expensive in the long run. The knowledge gained from such study would extend its value far beyond the Immediate Investigation. Any other route leads to a contempt for the law which spells the disintegration of its authority in society.
The immediate results to the individual rejectors in society who hate and scorn by pre-conceived stereotypes is that they have a warped view of reality and become, themselves, stereotypes. Such emotionally charged reactions denote anxieties and fears within the rejector that are being avoided. It is small wonder that people do this when society teaches that "difference" is evil; nevertheless hatred and scorn wreak their inexorable toll in brutalizing and cancerous effects on the rejector.
Miss Coleman concluded her address with the thought that responsibility lies not alone with the homosexual groups, but that society as a whole must act on the
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matter of rejection...and must act on facts, not myths.
William A. Baker, M.S.W., San Carlos, Calif., social worker and practicing psychotherapist, said that it was simple to see that in general the homosexual was rejected, but that the answer to the topic question of "must he be" was a very complicated one. In the first place, "Why is he rejected?" The answer to that filled books...but boiled down simply to the fact that it was because he is a homosexual. The solution was that the homosexual must learn to accept himself first as a person, more alike than different from other people. When he did that, he would be paving the way to being accepted by others.
"However," Mr. Baker stated, "Even being accepted by one other is a satisfying experience." The homosexual, Mr. Baker went on, has a precious gift to society: the ability to understand other minority groups.
Alfred Auerback, M.D., San Francisco, chairman of the Committee on Mental Health, California Medical Association, assistant clinical professor of psychiatry, University of California, stated that one of the main reasons for the great hostility against male homosexuals in this culture is that a great anxiety prevails about being "manly" enough. Also, back in 1885, an Englishman helped crystallize certain attitudes into law by getting the House of Commons to pass a rider (to a law protecting women) which made it a felony for two men, in public or private, to have sexual acts with each, other.
However, Dr. Auerback feels, with the late Dr. Kinsey, that "knowledge will bring about a change in our ideas." He felt optimistic about the future...citing the very existence of the Mattachine Society and other groups as showing great progress. He mentioned how only recently syphilis, tuberculosis, cancer, etc., were also unmentionable subjects. He said that we must show the public that homosexuality is not a contagious disease or a great threat to the body politic as it is so often feared or purported to be; that we must show that
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homosexuality just "is" and cannot be squelched.
He felt that we could not bring about any change in the present attitudes by force or pressure, but only by evolution. He suggested that we be active in society; show that we could be of help in community problems as well as our own. He thought we should conform as much as possible to outward mores and police ourselves and our group as much as possible.
Sam Morford, moderator, wrapped up the panel discussion by saying that it didn't seem to him that anyone could be rejected unless he accepted the rejection. He cited the case of Madame Jenkins, who, in a concert house filled with boos and catcalls, heard only the three people who applauded.
The Annual Awards Banquet was held that evening in the French Parlor, with President Lucas presiding and Ken Zwerin as Toastmaster. A scroll of commendation was given to Tony Segura, public relations director, Mattachine Society, Inc., New York chapter, as "Member of the Year". Other awards were given to Luther Allen, writer; THE LADDER, and the C.O.C., a homosexual organization in Holland.
The featured banquet address was given by David Schmidt, M.D., Larkspur, Calif., chief psychiatrist, San Quentin Prison. Dr. Schmidt, who has worked more than 25 years at San Quentin, had as his topic, "Sex Offenders and the Homophile in a Prison Situation".
Dr. Schmidt, said that when he first came to San Quentin he knew very little about homosexuality, that he had; learned much over the years, but was always seeking to learn more about the subject and understand it better in all its manifestations. Were this not true, he said, he would not be speaking before such a gathering, and then dryly quoted from Dr. Kinsey, "Sex is not only so biologically normal, but also centrally located."
Of the thousands of San Quentin inmates, he said, "Our guests are the product of an imperfect social environment," and added that they posed one of the major psychiatric
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problems and the greatest unsolved public health problem today.
He referred to Stephen Nash as a homophile, credited with eight homicides and said, "We are all of us, perhaps, the product of one man and one woman. None of us had any choice of our ancestors. We none of us are 100$ male or female."
Up until 1939, the homosexual served much longer sentences than he does now. The psychopathic unit at San Quentin can serve only 20% of those begging for psychiatric help.
Dr. Schmidt said, that some homosexuals may be "born", but that the larger part were "acquired", in his opinion. He had, noted throughout his practice that most homosexual males appeared to be masculine in physical structure and the homosexual females to be feminine in physical structure, contrary to the popular opinion, and that homophiles have less mental defectives in their number, percentage-wise, than the rest of the prison population.
Poor and delinquent homes had produced the prisoners, and by "poor", Dr. Schmidt stated he did not mean necessarily poor in money. He labeled these homes variously as: over-dominant, over-perfectionistic, over-protective, over-indulgent, over-solicitous, and inconsistent. Children from such homes often sought refuge in mental illness and either internalized their suffering (neurotic behavior) or externalized it as psychopaths.
Dr. Schmidt gave a weary list of procedures which had been used on many of the prisoners in the attempt to "cure" homosexuality. These were: injections from goat glands. (which made the older prisoners act "like kids" but did not alter the love object); pituitary injections; sterilization (which failed, except in certain areas with mental defectives); orthodectomy (only helps before puberty); 25,000 spinal fluid exams; fever treatment; EEGs (which showed concussion in the background of some prisoners); insulin shock; insulin
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tonic; electro-shook. But none of these "cures" had much effect on homosexual behaviour.
The most helpful approach Dr. Schmidt had found was the group therapy units which aided the prisoners in understanding, their defense mechanisms. Each psychiatrist at San Quentin handles eight to ten therapy units.
Of particular interest at the Continental Breakfast, held in the library-lounge of the Mattachine Society offices, Sunday, September 1, was a tape recording of Dr. Murray Banks. A practicing psychologist in New York, Dr. Banks delivered a lecture to the 1956 Teachers' Convention in Des Moines, Iowa, which, on tape, was the funniest and richest in practical advice on how to live a reasonably happy life that I have ever heard.
According to Dr. Banks, a person has four basic wants:
1. To live...forever.
2. A feeling of importance.
3. Someone to love him.
4. Variety or adventure in living.
We are all destined to be frustrated on one or more of these points, he tells us. "What kind of an adjustment do you make when life hands you a dirty deal?"
There are many possible adjustments: suicide, murder, alcohol (the alcoholic hates life more than liquor, and he hates liquor), insanity (yes, this is a form of adjustment... practically every one who is insane wants to be, though usually not consciously), nervous breakdown (no such thing as..."show me where the nerve broke down... show me"), nervous stomach (caused by emotions, fears, etc.), psycho-neurosis (an unconscious neurotic adjustment ranging all the way from tiredness to complete paralysis), psychosis or "insanity" (emotional suicide).
And, all of this is avoidable, says Dr. Banks, if we
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would learn to face our problems instead of flee them. Find out what's wrong and do something about it.
"It isn't good to be too well adjusted. The people in the cemeteries are all well adjusted. You're not crazy if you talk to yourself...only if you listen. What is normal or abnormal is only a matter of extent and degree. It is normal to be depressed occasionally. It is abnormal to stay that way. It is normal to laugh." They take you away if you continue laughing too long."
Dr. Banks offered the following points as a basis for knowing how to live with yourself:
1. Are you happy? Seek happiness directly and it will never be yours.
2. Zest for living.
3. Are you socially well-adjusted? Do you like people? Can you see the other fellow's point of view?
4. Do you have unity and balance? Don't wrap your life around one thing. This is like building a house on one pillar. If the pillar goes, the house goes.
5. Most of the worry that goes on is about things which never happen or about things done that cannot be undone.
6. Seek insight into your own conduct.
7. Have a confidential relationship with someone.
8. Cultivate a sense of the ridiculous...at yourself. "Laughter is the sunshine of the soul". It is chemically impossible to laugh and be angry (have ulcers) at the same time.
9. Are you engaged in satisfying work? The, person breaks down over worry--not over-work.
10. How to worry effectively is to find out what's wrong and do something about it.
It is a matter of attitude that determines whether life will be a slippery glass hill, impossible of climbing, or not, Dr. Banks said.
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THE GOD WITHIN
THE GOD WITHIN--How to Achieve the Maximum of Health and Happiness--by Cristina Midence Valentine. Exposition Press, New York, 1957. 222 pp. $3.50
For some months now I personally have been concerned, in my Work with the Daughters of Bilitis and THE LADDER, with the apparent conflict and consequent suffering among homosexuals who have been unable to reconcile their way of life with their religious teachings. For my own part I have through the years been evolving a philosophy of life which works for me when I work at it. I am aware that I have only begun to scratch the surface in this search for universal truth, but to the degree that I have been able to find peace of mind I have wanted to reach out to those in our group who were, to me, bogged down with dogmatic and rigid concepts wholly incongruous and at odds with their basic personality.
I had wanted at least to impart the rewards of love, understanding, constructive thinking and actions as against the punishment of hate, resentment, negative thoughts and acts. I had wanted to convey the fact that we as individuals are exactly what we make of ourselves: if we are rejected, it is because we have accepted the rejection; if we are miserable, it is because we have allowed ourselves to wallow in self-pity; and if we are happy and prosperous, it is because we have risen above our handicaps and with self-discipline have sought a constructive outlet for our energies.
As I was reaching out for help in presenting this problem adequately, the answer came. We received in the office a reviewing copy of Cristina Valentine's book, "The God Within". I was struck by the fact that I had met the author some months before and yet had no idea that she was working in this field. But more than that I was elated to find that she has put into words for the lay reader fundamental rules for achieving "the maximum of health and happiness". For Cristina believes that "the intangible and inexplicable phenomena of life, such as miracles, follow laws as exact and immutable as those of chemistry or physics" and gives the reader 11 basic rules "to reduce frustration to a minimum and increase fulfillment to the maximum".
This is not Pollyanna stuff. It is based on years of study of the world's major religions, sociology, psychology, physical and social sciences--synthesized into a workable, practical guide for better living. It is the testament of faith and inspiration of a woman who has overcome the handicap of being totally deaf since infancy--a woman who despite this handicap speaks two languages and understands five, who founded the first school for the deaf in Central America (in Honduras), who was editor-in-chief of "Avante", a leading Latin American magazine, and U.S. section editor off "Norte".
While it may be possible to take exception to some minor points or examples cited by the author in clarifying the fundamental laws of life, to do so would be petty and would defeat my purpose. For I sincerely believe that "The God Within" holds a dynamic message for those who would help themselves to a better, healthier and happier life.
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25. WARPED WOMEN by Janet Pritchard. #B121 Beacon Books c1951 (1956).
Despite the title, this is a fairly well written explicit story of the love affair of Miss Jan Carter and young Cynthia Bennett. It has an ending to satisfy censors but nevertheless is well worth reading.
26. THE HEARTH AND THE STRANGENESS by N. Martin Kramer. #R236 Pyramid Books, c1956.
Enclosed in a lengthy and excellent novel on inherited insanity is one of the most beautifully told stories of love between two women. It is especially important in that the causation of Lesbianism in the one girl is made manifestly clear from early childhood, to complete maturity. Although the ending is not a happy one, it is not the fault or failure of either participant, but rather an act of God.
27. THE DARK ISLAND by Vita Sackville-West. Doubleday, Doran & Co., 1934.
To Shirin there are but two obsessions: Christina and the lonely, windswept dark island. Of the bitter conflict that arises between the jealous Venn and these obsessions lies a story of melodramatic and tragic impact.
28. DESPERATE REMEDIES, by Thomas Hardy (1871). MacMillan, 1951.
The diary of a noble woman's servant is recorded with intense reality, concerning "woman and woman", of whom "the facts were ethereal and refined". The tale leads later on a heterosexual vein into a plot of overwhelming complexity.
THIS IS A CONTINUOUS COLUMN PUBLISHED EACH MONTH IN THE LADDER. CONTRIBUTIONS FROM READERS ARE WELCOME.
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'One Generation from Extinction'
As we continue to express our belief in freedom, it would seem that the American youth is rejecting this precious ideal of our forefathers.
In a survey of political and social opinions of American teen-agers taken recently by the Purdue University Opinion Panel, half of the high school students polled felt that most people are incapable of deciding what's best for them. 41% believed we should cancel freedom of the, press; 34% favored denying free speech to certain people; 26% would allow search and seizure without a warrant; they favored legalized wire tapping and the "third degree"; they believed censorship of books, movies, radio and television was a job for the police.
As pointed out by Wellington J. Griffith, Jr., in his article, "Freedom Is Not Free", published in This Week Magazine (United Newspapers Magazine Corp., New York) early this month, "Always freedom is but one generation from extinction".
He deplores the failure of American adults "to pass on the lesson that men and women who founded our nation knew so well: freedom, our most valuable possession, must be jealously protected and strengthened by each generation".
Britains Seek Sex Law Revisions
A special government committee on vice recommended early this month that homosexual behavior between adults no longer be considered a criminal offense in Britain, according to United Press releases.
Regarding homosexuality, the committee said, "We do not think that it is proper for the law to concern itself with what a man does in private unless it can be shown to be so contrary to the public good that the law ought
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to intervene in its function as the guardian of the public good."
Under present law penalties for homosexuality--both public and private--range to life imprisonment for "the gravest offense". The group recommended that life imprisonment be retained only for offenses with boys under the age of l6.
CLEAR DISTINCTION MADE
The group also made a clear distinction between homo-- sexuality and homosexual offenses, saying homosexuality is a "state or condition" and is not as such within the purview of criminal law.
The report was prepared by a 13-member committee headed by Reading University Vice-Chancellor Sir John Wolfenden. No early government decision on the report is expected. It will probably be debated in the House of Commons in November.
In the meantime, spokesmen for religious and civic groups generally spoke in favor of the recommendations, but newspapers were sharply divided.
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On The Eve of Spring
A Story by Alice Vernon
The smell of Spring was in the night. It had rained that afternoon; yet the deluge had been short and not unpleasant. Winter and the freezing rains were now of the past. The street lights shone as halos through the shiny wet-branched trees of the Boulevard Raspail. They were street lights of the last century--the hiss of the gas mingled with the soft creaking sound of the breeze as it played among the barren branches.
The girl stood beneath the trees, her duffle coat open to the cool night air. She breathed it in ecstatically, sensing the promise of Spring. It was over--the long winter night of Paris was over. She was alone in the night but Spring was hidden in the darkness, and she felt the first stirrings of a rebirth in the heart of the sleeping city.
The time for solitude was passing. The boulevard was silent. But from afar came sound of great revelry--the cafe crowds of Montparnasse had come out from winter hibernation to welcome the Spring. She walked slowly up the Rue Vavin. The neon-lighted cafes burst into view and the night became as day. The Select cafe was even more crowded than usual--full of those who might one day be renowned in the world of arts. Some were true artists; however, many were simply avid readers of Hemingway--almost as pilgrims they came to that spot where their idol had sat writing day upon day.
The girl Vicky stood outside watching those people. How intense appeared their lives, seen through the panes of the glass-enclosed terrace! Conversing seriously or bursting with gaiety, their rather wild gesticulations and intense expressions conveyed a feeling of the importance of each individual's thoughts. They were youth, possessors of the universe--in Paris on the eve of Springtime.
Vicky entered the cafe and joined a group of her friends who were seated in the corner of the terrace. They were
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all optimistic, still-to-become-famous, young artists. They were a mixed group held together by strong bonds of friendship, with similar hopes for the future, the same sentiments on life and love, and, above all, a profound love for Paris. Yet tonight, with Spring in the air, friendship was not quite enough. The unity of the group was weakened--it was divided into couples, too selfish in love to give their thoughts to others. It was not a night to converse deeply--to solve all the world's problems over a glass of wine. It was a night for love and laughter.
Vicky looked out onto the sidewalk. Couples arm in arm strolled by heedless of the chill of the night air. She recognized many faces. Paris is like a grouping of many small cities. People know each other; they nod and greet familiar faces as they pass in the crowd. One can feel at home in Paris as in no other large city in the world. In New York City one sees millions of vague faces; one is lost in the crowd passing in silence. In Paris one smiles and; speaks to familiar faces; everyone is a neighbor. Vicky saw the French-American couple who lived upstairs--the ones with the adorable, completely bilingual, little boy. And there was the girl whom Vicky often saw walking alone. A young girl who walked alone, loving Paris, knowing that one must wander the streets to really feel and know the heart of the city. Vicky saw her many times each day--always alone, always walking. She was probably American, although her clothes--tapered black slacks and duffle coat--looked French, and she wore her beautiful dark hair long and uncurled, Parisian style. The girl looked into the cafe and smiled quietly to Vicky. She did not stop but continued walking slowly up the brightly lit boulevard. Vicky followed her with her eyes until she was lost from sight in the flowing crowd.
Vicky and her friends left the cafe of words and walked up the Boulevard Montparnasse to the cafe of music in the Hotel des Etats-Unis. They sat down, in the smoky cafe filled to overflowing with an excited crowd. The entire room seemed to sway to the throbbing rhythm of the five-piece jazz band. Dancing was prohibited in the crowded room. However, downstairs outside the rest rooms--if one can call them by such a luxurious name--was an area large enough for dancing. A couple of Vicky's friends
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went down to dance. The remaining couples had loving eyes for each other only. Vicky sat and listened to the music. The strong, primitive sounds blared forth in the small room. The rhythm throbbed within her body; she felt rather than heard the music. It was an intense beat; it coursed through her veins tumultuously. The music was for two--it was too fervent to be borne in loneliness.
Vicky slipped away into the dark stillness of the night streets, her head and heart pounding still with the wild rhythm. She began walking up the boulevard towards the Observatoire. There by the fountain she loved she could regain her usual calm. The fountain shown dry and naked In the cold light of the Paris night. The horses reared up from the empty basin. They glittered, wet from the afternoon's rainfall. A shadow moved by the fountain. Vicky started, and then relaxed with a smile. It was the girl who walked alone. She greeted Vicky, speaking in a beautiful French. Yet she too was American. They spoke of Parks, and of the coming Spring; they spoke little, yet each knew she had found understanding. Neither would ever again walk alone in the night. The streets of Paris had brought them together; and together they would come to know the heart of their city.
They walked arm in arm down the Boulevard Raspail. The gas lights hissed softly, the breeze brought to their ears far-off sounds of laughter and gaiety. Faintly they heard soft strains of jazz, footsteps around a dark corner, lonely whistling in the night. The breeze carried a breath of warmth. Paris--on the eve off spring, and of Love.
QUOTATIONS FROM THE IMMORTALS
It seems to be a universal fact that minorities--especially when the individuals composing them can be recognized by physical characteristics--are treated by the majorities among whom they live as an inferior order of beings. The tragedy of such a fate lies not merely in the unfair treatment to which these minorities are automatically subjected in social and economic matters,
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CALENDAR OF EVENTS
|Tuesday, September 24||- Public Discussion meeting at 465 Geary St., Studio 51 (5th floor) at 8:15 p.m. William Baker, national president of the American Graphological Society, will speak on "Handwriting As It Relates To The Personality".|
|Wednesday, October 9||- Monthly business meeting and annual election of officers. 2174 California St. (basement apartment) at 8 p.m. Members only.|
|Saturday, October 26||- Annual Halloween Party (costume) for members and their guests only. Details in next issue of LADDER.|
|Friday, October 4||- Gab 'n Java session at 2217 Fillmore St., 8:15 p.m. Informal bull session type meeting for women only.|
NO PUBLIC DISCUSSION MEETING IS SCHEDULED FOR OCTOBER.
However, it is planned to have Leo Zeff, clinical psychologist speak in November on "Depth" Psychology and Religion. Particulars will be announced in next issue,
but also in the fact that under the suggestive influence of the majority racist of the victims themselves succumb to the same prejudice and regard their kind as inferior beings. This second and greater part of the evil can be overcome by closer association and by deliberate education of the minority, whose spiritual liberation can thus be accomplished.
Albert Einstein, Amsterdam, 1934
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"You have sent me issue number 9. Would you, however, back date my subscription to the first issue and send me all the previous ones? I am interested in these first issues, and also to see how the mentality of the female homosexual corresponds to my own.
"Today, by letter post, I have posted off two books to you. One of them, 'Olivia', the story of a Lesbian, you may already have; however, it may not have been issued in the States and therefore of interest to you. The other is a book with photos, of the life of Queen Mary.
"May I wish you all the very best for success with your work and magazine ..."
B.W., London, England
Thank you indeed for the books--they arrived safely. "Olivia" has been printed in the United States. However, until now we did not have ä copy in the DOB library.
We have forwarded all available issues of THE LADDER--beginning with March. We are STILL in process of reproducing a composite edition of the first five issues (now out of print). Advance orders for this edition are being accepted at 50¢ per copy; $1 on publication. -ED.
"May I share the following quote with you? It
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was written by Robert G. Ingersoll (American lawyer and agnostic, l833-l899). I send it to you in response to a frequent statement made in THE LADDER i.e., the homosexual's difference is only in choice of love object.
"'Love is the only bow on life's dark cloud. It is the morning and the evening star. It shines upon the babe, and sheds its radiance upon the quiet tomb.
"'It is the mother of art, Inspirer of poet, patriot and philosopher. It is the air and light of every heart--builder of every home, kindler of every fire on every hearth. It was the first to dream of immortality. It fills the world with melody--for music is the voice of love.
"'Love is the magician, the enchanter, that changes worthless things to joy, and makes right royal kings and queens of common clay. It is the perfume of that wondrous flower, the heart, and without that sacred passion, that divine swoon, we are less than beasts; but with it, earth is heaven and we are gods.'"
P.K., Sausalito, Calif.
"I am a Hungarian emigrant. I am 26 years old and should like to correspond with a 40 or 50 year old woman. Please, help me and send me an address!"
E.H., Zurich, Switzerland
We receive a great many letters of this nature from various parts of the world. However, we are not set up to help those who wish to find some one with whom to correspond. Because of
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the laws in this country and the stigma attached to homosexuality, most of our members--readers prefer to remain anonymous. They rely on us to use discretion and to keep such information in confidence. Therefore, much as we may be sympathetic to the problem, it is definitely against the policy of the DOB to give out names and addresses in any case. Sorry! -ED.
"Could you tell me where I might secure a copy of the book, 'Chase of the Wild Goose' by Mary Baker--it is an English book. Do you have any books to sell concerning the Lesbian theme? If so, please send me a list of them"
E.W., Decker, Indiana
Sorry, we don't know off hand where you might be able, to obtain Mary Baker's book. Perhaps one of our readers may know. Also, our book service at present is limited to "Wind Woman" by Carol Hales. See ad on page 17. -ED.
"I enjoy THE LADDER immensely, my favorite Item to date being Dr. Blanche Baker's open letter 'pleading guilty' in the April issue. I'd enjoy knowing Dr. Baker!"
J.A., Kansas City, Kansas
For those who missed Dr. Baker's provocative letter, copies of the April issue are still available and may be obtained at 50¢ ea. -ED.
THIS COLUMN BELONGS TO THE READERS OF THE LADDER. HERE'S YOUR CHANCE TO BE HEARD!
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You Control Your Life
"Only one person can control your life--you!"
This statement keynoted the remarks made at the August public discussion meeting of the Daughters of Bilitis by Robert E. Mack of the Kimball Foundation of Human Engineering.
The Foundation aims to teach people how to use the capacities inherent within them. "All of us have what is necessary, but maybe we are not using it," Mr. Mack pointed out. "Nature will give you anything you act like you have," he said, "and take away anything you act like, you haven't."
Positive thinking is well and good, the speaker stated, but accomplishes nothing unless the act is coupled with the thought. The Foundation uses a series of "keys" to unlock the personality to gear the action to the thought.
Mr. Mack put the audience through a set of these keys, and everyone agreed that it was hard to feel depressed or mean while standing straight and tall and smiling broadly. "When you feel better things will work better for you. We stress as the Golden Rule of our course to be good to yourself, because until you are you can't be any good to anyone else.
"Nothing happens to you unless you allow it to happen. If you depend on a thing, person or surroundings for your well-being these things can disappear or change. Your security must come from within yourself if it is to be valid and lasting."
The Kimball Foundation conducts regular classes in "Human Engineering". All are based on the precept that by thinking and acting positively at the same time a person can teach himself to live now, not in the future or the past, and to utilize to the utmost his capabilities, most of which are now latent in most people. Integration of the thought with the act sums up the basic approach.
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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 Daughter 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 for two years, enclosing coupon below or facsimile.
DAUGHTERS OF BILITIS, INC.
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San Francisco 5, California
Please send THE LADDER for __ year(s) by first class mail sealed to the address below. I enclose $ __at the rate of $2.50 for each year ordered.
CITY _____ZONE __STATE _____
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