The Ladder: A Lesbian Review, February-March 1965, Vol. 9, No. 5 and 6, pp. 1-28


The Ladder, February-March 1965, Vol. 9, No. 5 and 6

[p. [1]] | [Page Image]





[p. [2]] | [Page Image]


purpose of the
Daughters of BILITIS

A WOMEN'S ORGANIZATION FOR THE PURPOSE OF PROMOTING THE INTEGRATION OF THE HOMOSEXUAL INTO SOCIETY BY:

1 Education of the variant, with particular emphasis on the psychological, physiological and sociological aspects, to enable her to understand herself and make her adjustment to society in all its social, civic and economic implications--this to be accomplished by establishing and maintaining as complete a library as possible of both fiction and non-fiction literature on the sex deviant theme; by sponsoring public discussions on pertinent subjects to be conducted by leading members of the legal, psychiatric, religious and other professions; by advocating a mode of behavior and dress acceptable to society.

2 Education of the public at large through acceptance first of the individual, leading to an eventual breakdown of erroneous taboos and prejudices; through public discussion meetings aforementioned; through dissemination of educational literature on the homosexual theme.

3 Participation 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.

[p. 3] | [Page Image]


Published monthly by the Daughters of Bilitis, Inc., a non-profit corporation, 1232 Market Street, Suite 108, San Francisco 2, California, Telephone: Underhill 3--8196.

NATIONAL OFFICERS, DAUGHTERS OF BILITIS, INC.

PRESIDENT--Cleo Glenn

VICE-PRESIDENT--Del Shearer

RECORDING SECRETARY--Agatha Mathys

CORRESPONDING SECRETARY--Marjorie McCann

PUBLIC RELATIONS DIRECTOR--Phyllis Leon

TREASURER--Del Martin

THE LADDER STAFF

Editor--Barbara Gittings

Fiction and Poetry Editor--Agatha Mathys

Production--Joan Oliver, V. Pigrom

Circulation Manager--Cleo Glenn

THE LADDER is regarded as a sounding board for various points of view on the homophile and related subjects and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the organization.

CONTENTS

After the Ball 4
New Study Under Way 6
I Hate Women--A Diatribe by an
Unreconstructed Feminist
7
East Coast Homophile Organizations--Report '64
Part Four: "Act or Teach?"
13
"Expert" challenged 18
Lesbian Literature in 1964--by Gene Damon 19
To Tell or Not To Tell--by Vera Niven 24
Readers Respond 25

Cover by Kim S., modeled by Midge Brown and P. D. S.

Copyright 1965 by Daughters of Bilitis, Inc., San Francisco, California

[p. 4] | [Page Image]


After the Ball...

Dozens of police swarmed in and around California Hall in San Francisco on New Year's Day, invading a benefit costume ball organized by the Council on Religion and the Homosexual.

A line-up of police cars, one paddy wagon, plainclothes and uniformed officers, and police photographers greeted over 600 patrons of this supposedly gala event. Attending the ball were prominent ministers in the San Francisco area, as well as many members of their congregations, and members and friends of Bay Area homophile organizations.

The Mardi Gras New Year's Ball was held to raise funds for the work of the Council of Religion and the Homosexual, a group formed "to promote a continuing dialogue between the church and the homosexual." The Council is composed of representatives from six homophile organizations--Daughters of Bilitis, Mattachine Society (San Francisco), Tavern Guild, Society for Individual Rights, The Colts, Strait and Associates--as well as ministers of the Methodist, Episcopal, Lutheran, and United Church of Christ Faiths.

Police dogged the assembly from 9 p. m. to 1 a. m. in a blatant display of police power. Official police photographers snapped pictures of most of the 600 guests as they arrived. Arrested were three attorneys and a housewife who challenged inspectors from the sex-crimes detail by insisting the police needed either a warrant, or Information that a crime was being committed, in order to enter the hall. The four were charged with obstructing police officers. A clergyman was threatened with arrest while escorting two guests to their car. Two men attending the ball were arrested on charges of disorderly conduct, which brought to six the number of arrests.

This flagrant harassment, surveillance, and show of force by police caused the ball to break up an hour early. Nevertheless the guests tried to enjoy the festivities as planned. No criticisms were made by police of the costumes, the dancing, or the program.

"Angry Ministers Rip Police" said one newspaper headline over a report of a press conference held by the ministers on January 2, The clergymen accused the police of "intimidation, broken promises, and obvious hostility" and claimed police had acted "in bad faith" and had "Terrified" well-behaved guests.

The ministers explained they had gone to the police on December 23 to tell them in good faith about plans for the benefit event. Thereafter, police reportedly tried to get California Hall officials to cancel the Mardi Gras Ball booking.

On December 29, ministers and members of homophile groups met again with police officials, who gave assurances that guests

[p. 5] | [Page Image]


in costume (including drag) would not be summarily arrested. Ministers described these negotiations as "strained."

The clergymen contended police had questioned them about their "theological concepts." They reported police "looked at the rings on out fingers and said 'We see you're married--how do your wives accept this?'" Police also suggested to the ministers they were being "used" by the homosexual organizations.

San Francisco newspapers carried a stream of letters and articles about the ball. Wire service reports were picked up by newspapers around the country. Radio and TV (including BBC) discussed the repercussions from the ball and also took up the subject of homosexuality in general.

The local American Civil Liberties Union reacted swiftly by announcing it would defend the three arrested attorneys, who are retained by the Council on Religion and the Homosexual. The ACLU spokesman claimed that police made the arrests "to intimidate attorneys who represent unpopular groups."

Del Martin, DOB Treasurer and a member of the Council, commented that "this is the type of police activity that homosexuals know well, but heretofore the police had never played their hand before Mr. Average Citizen. ...It was always the testimony of the police officer versus the homosexual, and the homosexual, fearing publicity and knowing the odds were against him, succumbed. But in this instance the police overplayed their part." Miss Martin speculated that police had arrested two of the ball guests on disorderly conduct charges in order to justify police invasion of a peaceful, orderly gathering.

As this issue of THE LADDER goes to press, San Francisco's Mayor John Shelley and Police Chief Thomas Cahill still aren't talking. They want to "study police reports" before making statements about the ball. Police claim their intrusion was warranted because tickets to the ball were being sold at the door. Ministers say they knew of no tickets sold this way.

What next? "Police action in this affair will be contested in court to establish the right of homosexuals and all adults to assemble lawfully without invasion of privacy..." according to a statement issued by the Committee for the Mardi Gras Ball.

THE LADDER will cover new developments in this cause celebre.

--Kay Tobin

SEND CURRENT NEWS

THE LADDER does not subscribe to a news clipping service. We get ours fresh from the field! You are our only source. Next time you see a news item that might interest LADDER readers, won't you pluck it for us? Please give the name and date of the publication. Dispatch to The Editor, c/o DOB National.

[p. 6] | [Page Image]


NEW STUDY UNDER WAY

DOB has agreed to cooperate in the distribution of research materials for a project aimed at noting the relationships between the sexual attitudes and experiences of females and certain personality characteristics.

This study is being conducted by Manfred F. DeMartino, M. A., certified psychologist in New York state. Mr. DeMartino is a member of the American Psychological Association, the American Association for Humanistic Psychology, and the Society for the Scientific Study of Sex. He has taught psychology at Syracuse University and Alabama Polytechnic Institute, and now teaches at Onondaga Community College in Syracuse. He has also served as research psychologist for the New York State Mental Health Commission and as clinical psychologist at Southbury Training School for the mentally retarded at Southbury, Connecticut.

He has written or edited the Following books: COUNSELING AND PSYCHOTHERAPY WITH THE MENTALLY RETARDED (The Free Press, 1957); UNDERSTANDING HUMAN MOTIVATION (Howard Allen, 1958); DREAMS AND PERSONALITY DYNAMICS (C. C. Thomas, 1959); SEXUAL BEHAVIOR AND PERSONALITY CHARACTERISTICS (Citadel, 1963).

The materials will be sent out shortly to all paying LADDER subscribers in sealed envelopes, and will be completely anonymous. As in the past, DOB hopes that you will give this project your best attention.

--DOB Research Committee

SPECIAL NOTICES

--BECAUSE OF DELAY IN THE LADDER'S PUBLICATION SCHEDULE, THIS ISSUE IS A COMBINED ISSUE SPANNING FEBRUARY AND MARCH 1965. SUBSCRIPTIONS WILL BE EXTENDED ONE MONTH.

--THANKS to all who remembered DOB at Christmas time!

--WHEN YOU MOVE, please notify our Circulation Manager. The postage rate used for the magazine does not permit forwarding even though your former post office may have your new address. Avoid missing any issues! Send your new address promptly to the Circulation Manager in San Francisco.

--The BOOKS-FOR-GER CAMPAIGN is over. Some quality books have been gathered for shipment to subscriber Ger van B., half a world away. Donations of books and postage came from Massachusetts, New Jersey, Indiana, Missouri, Pennsylvania,and Virginia. As we go to press, the books are being packed for the long trip overseas. News of their arrival will appear in a future LADDER issue. Our sincere thanks to those who responded to the appeal. We know that Ger will be pleased.

[p. 7] | [Page Image]


I Hate Women

A Diatribe by an Unreconstructed Feminist

As a lesbian, I am supposed to hate men. But some of my best friends are men. It's women I can't stand--that is, the current model of American femininity, trussed into the Feminine Role of Wife and Mother, with a Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval stamped across her Maidenform-upholstered bosom.

Now femininity is something I like very much. Smooth, silky, soft, warm feminine attributes, physical and spiritual, delight me. That is one of the chief reasons I am a lesbian.

Normally--if you'll excuse the expression--I should be attracted in a general way to many women around me, for their femininity. Instead, I find the particular brand of femininity they represent quite repulsive, because it represents extinction of themselves as persons in their own right, to play a role society has thrust on them.

What makes a person attractive? Vitality, intelligence, individuality, a self-propelled quality. But these are exactly the characteristics the 1965 model American female hides if she has them, until they evaporate and leave her an automaton in female dress.

Women are sociologically an oppressed minority who never question the ruling group's right to keep them down and exploit them. All too submissively they learn to adopt the humiliating strategies of the slave who has to curry favor with the master group. Every girl is told she must smile and smile on dates, much as Uncle Tom smiles his big ingratiating smile at massa. She is warned to keep repeating the heterosexual equivalent of "Yassuh, yassuh" to any idiocy put forth by the male, who is placed by society in the master role by virtue of the class he belongs to rather than by personal superiority. And she accepts the role of making herself pleasing to him, though the social structure has placed her there regardless of her personal worth. Everyone knows a woman must never let a man find out she's smarter than he is, and never correct or dispute him. Men, young girls are warned, hate women with more brains than they have. (It would seem that any amount Is more.) As long as you know your place, massa will love you, but don't ever try to assume equality.

What is unattractive about the current version of American womanhood is that she shows no spark of rebellion, but has been thoroughly, abjectly brainwashed into worrying whether she is having the right "feminine" feelings and attitudes which will please men, so she can be early married, impregnated, Pyrexed,

[p. 8] | [Page Image]


Bendixed, Kentiled, Cheered, Ivory Snowed, and PTA'd. She is busy playing the Feminine Role forced upon her by American industry, psychology, sociology, and the mass media. It's no accident that wigs and false eyelashes are becoming widely marketed consumer products now. Added to the already popular false bosoms and stiletto heels, they indicate that to play the "natural" Feminine Role, the American woman has to use all the props of the female impersonator.

If she finds housework, marriage and babies uninteresting and admits it, she's sent to a psychiatrist or marriage counselor to Find Out Why she Rejects the Feminine Role. For some reason, rejecting the Feminine Role is the most terrible accusation you can make against any woman these days--more serious than adultery, promiscuity, or even prostitution, which at least prove her Femininity.

Even critics of the "feminine mystique" like Betty Friedan and Eve Merriam merely plead for women to have the right to escape from the kitchen only after they've had children. They too go on the assumption that motherhood is woman's highest fulfillment; only they beg for her a little relief from this highest fulfillment in the form of a job and a nursery school to take the fulfillments off her hands. They are merely proposing a slight loosening of the tight bonds on those innumerable women who, cowed and brainwashed, duly marry and breed and run neat homes and buy tons of Tide, and yet are not saved.

The Feminine Role is rigidly defined, and every female is supposed to fit into it. As with the ben of Procrustes--those who were too short had to be stretched to fit it, and those too long were lopped off--every woman, whatever her needs, must fit herself into the wife-and-mother role.

Lest anyone make an appeal to Nature and pretend this is every woman's destiny and true fulfillment, note the attitudes of the experts who as handmaidens of the status quo, have the job of processing women for their social role. In their hearts they know that talk of nature and destiny is palaver. What is important, is conforming to the rules of your society--right or wrong, just or unjust.

In an essay called "Learning the Feminine Role" (1), sociologist Mirra Komarovsky shows that "feminine" attitudes are not inborn and "natural," but are inculcated by society at an early age and promoted consistently through adolescence. The author coolly admits that though parents may want daughters in today's uncertain world to be trained to make a living for themselves if necessary, "In doing so we run the risk of awakening Interests and abilities which run counter to the present definition of femininity."

The "risk" of awakening interests and abilities! Risk to whom? To the ruling group of course. In whom would it be a "risk" to awaken abilities--usually considered a desirable thing--except in a subject people, who might get up on their hind legs and insist on being treated as persons instead of being consigned by the master race to the society's slob jobs.

[p. 9] | [Page Image]


These abilities we risk awakening "run counter to the present definition of femininity," a clear recognition this "present definition" is artificial--her whole article proves it--but she, agrees that nevertheless the female should conform to it, because it's our society's norm! We have created a definition of what women should be like, and if they're not like that, there's something wrong with the woman, not the definition.

This genuflection by the professionals to a temporary, distorted and unhappy status quo for the female leads to an appalling "Orwellian doublethink and doubletalk. A woman educator writing in the COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY FORUM (Spring 1962) titles her essay "Educating Female People." Immediately you suspect she is calling them "people" because she is going to rob them of their person-hood. And doesn't she! Blandly stating that "The right of women to an equal education may be considered won" (she got hers, she's teaching at Columbia), she recommends that the educational system be revamped so that girls postpone going to college until their children are grown because after a taste of the possibilities opened up by education, they find a life bounded by the washing machine and the babies intolerably frustrating. Pushing them hard into early, and practically forced, motherhood, she would withdraw their right to choose their lives and their careers as freely as boys. She performs the trick of promoting the Nazi "Kinder, Kuche, Kirche" (children, kitchen and church) doctrine while making "progressive" noises. She merely wants the poor darlings to be happier in their oppressed state--and to nip in the bud any stirrings of rebellion.

Every society creates models, or images as the ad men call them, of the types of people it wants its members to emulate. Gone out of mind in America is the strong, self-propelled single woman who was a dedicated teacher, doctor, writer, or social crusader. Even the strong pioneer woman, though married, has probably been bypassed in school textbooks. Girls are taught to be passive, compliant and "feminine," to give up their individuality and concentrate on making themselves mantraps to snare a boy into early marriage and parenthood.

Our ideal image of woman is that housewife in the ads, looking lovingly at her box of detergent in her sparkling kitchen, and having orgasms over the giant in her washing machine who gets her husband's and children's dirty shirt collars so clean.

Her function is to consume products and produce consumers. In a year-end ritual common to large corporations, in which they predict a rosy sales future, the president of Kentile told the floor coverings distributors of America that "11,896 women rise newly pregnant every morning." The specific nature of this figure indicates the intimate relationship between American industry and its female consumer--they've gotten way inside her.

Now, like everyone else, I want to see the national economy strong. But I don't want to see it rest on a psychological exploitation of half the citizens--the female half. This is sheer imperialism, comparable to going into a backward nation and making slaves of the natives for corporate profits.

[p. 10] | [Page Image]


What I despise about women Is that they're so easily sold this cheap bill of goods and don't fight for their rights against the exploiter. You don't see the slightest signs of any Resistance movement. The few remaining career women on the scene wear flowered hats all day, go to the analyst four times a week, and have numerous divorces and unfortunate babies to prove their femininity and apologize for their presumption.

Yet, aside from the cows, the timid, the lazy, and that minority who genuinely like housekeeping and children, most women hate being stuck in that plastic kitchen depicted in the ads. It is a wonder that there has not long ago been organized an underground network in the suburbs of America which would one day give a secret signal, at which simultaneously every housewife would dump a whole carton of Tide into her washer, turn it on and run off, resulting in the total inundation of the communities in detergent suds. All business would be stopped, and the men would be left by themselves to clean up the mess.

Instead, dissatisfied women take refuge in boring part-time jobs, psychiatry, alcoholism, adultery, or neo-fascist political movements. Never has there been so much neurosis as since almost every woman in America (94% are married before age 40) has fulfilled herself in homemaking, marriage and motherhood.

Lesbians are practically the only people who cop out of this farce. Many of them are intimidated by the universal agreement that This Is The Way It's Supposed To Be, to the extent that they feel guilty and often run to the psychiatrist to be made as dishonest as everyone else. Fortunately the treatment seldom "takes," for it would reduce the small number of those who are waiting out the dark ages, keeping a little lamp of dissent lit underground until a new era comes in.

Which Is very close at hand. Not by virtue of anybody's strength or rebellion, but because the "population explosion," like a fireball from an atomic blast, Is rolling towards us at a suddenly accelerated pace. The big World War II baby crop is full grown and has begun to breed, as- directed, early and fast. The put-off time Is over when only the population experts worried about standing room only. The consciousness of the problem is being moved down to the masses, and the propaganda machine is preparing itself for a complete reversal.

We are faced with the possibility--the certainty--of too many consumers of air, water and space, resulting in a physical and spiritual pollution of the atmosphere, the devaluation of the individual life, and a downgrading of the quality of life to a mass level much lower than we have today, according to the authors of TOO MANY AMERICANS (2).

We will have to tailor our social myths to fit the situation. The hard sell on femininity and motherhood will suddenly go out of fashion, and those geniuses who coin terms like "population explosion" and "organization man" which crystallize and change the public consciousness, will think up persuasive slogans related to busting the baby boom for a greater America. Babies, instead of being regarded as blessings, will be looked

[p. 11] | [Page Image]


on as calamities. Breeding will be unpatriotic. Someone will even stop Mrs. Robert Kennedy from having her 15th or 20th child, because large families will no longer draw votes.

The propaganda machinery will reverse itself and promote the image of the woman who doesn't breed. The "woman of the year" will be a childless astronaut or deep-sea diver. Since early marriage is a big culprit in exploding populations, girls will be encouraged, even paid, to prolong their school years and postpone or bypass marriage. They will study for newly-created scientific and technological professions. Women will be shoveled by hundreds of thousands into the traditional female occupations of teaching, social work and nursing, but they will also become doctors and politicians and anything else they want to be, since they will not have to interrupt their work for childbearing.

In this millennium, women will be persons, and will become attractive even when straight. It may be difficult then to tell the straight from the gay ones--in fact, it may not even be necessary. A British writer suggests (3):

"The time may yet come when homosexuality is practically compulsory, and not merely fashionable. It will indeed be a piquant paradox if--in the long run and taking the survival of humanity as a whole as our criterion--this controversial instinct turns out to have a greater survival value than the urge to reproduce."

(1) "Learning the Feminine Role" by Mirra Komarovsky--THE FAMILY AND THE SEXUAL REVOLUTION, edited by Edwin M. Schur, Indiana University Press,. 1964.

(2) TOO MANY AMERICANS by Lincoln and Alice Day, Houghton Mifflin, 1964.

(3) "Standing Room Only" by Arthur C. Clarke--HARPERS, April 1958.

SURVIVAL

(Twentieth Century)

We bend the subtle twigs of our existence
With a grossly educated hand,
And force the natural sway of growth
Into warped limbs and crazy angles
In a frantic race against crowding death.

The serried forest shudders with mangling activity,
As each schooled woodsman vies for space
To twist and thrust his egoistic stem aloft
So the sickly leaves may feed on sunlight
Before the darkness kills.

The forest floor crackles with snapped twigs.

--Carol Orr

[p. 12] | [Page Image]


MONOTHEISM

My psalms have all one mark, and memory
Is burnt like incense in a secret place;
And like the ground-swell growing silently,
The soul like spring tide rolls toward one face.
One shifting spectrum lingers in my sight,
Of chestnut-brown caught in the sheen of sun,
To palest pink grown warm beneath the light--
Thus fragile things an altar build to one.
My self, a graven image of one god--
Recorded in my pulse only one touch;
One voice I hear; one kiss I feel--and odd,
How one can miss a mouth loved overmuch.

The litany of loveliness is long--
One deity enough to hear my song.

--N. F. K.

FUGUE

I play the cello
gayly
but gently.
I caress velvet strings
pizzicato
arpeggio
or whatever
Searching out the magic
Chords,
And you, my subtle friend,
Come counterpoint,
Offer me softly
of your melodic
Talents.

--Carolyn Surface

When I could not bear the thoughts of parting
I'd walk down the grating street
until sand grains formed dunes
and I walked among the reeds,
uncut by mere pebbles and shells.
I'd sit and look past the seagulls
beyond the breakwater and foam,
and the sun shone quietly
making patterns of the sky.
With my footsteps washed by the lapping
I'd stand toward the raspberry sun
asking it questions,
but always the glow remained silent
and the seagulls spoke not in my tongue.

--Natalie Savinov

[p. 13] | [Page Image]


echo REPORT'64

E.C.H.O. stands for East Coast Homophile Organizations. This affiliation was created in early 1963 when representatives of four organizations--Daughters of Bilitis, Mattachine Society of New York, Janus Society, Mattachine Society of Washington-- met in Philadelphia to plan an informal alliance of homophile groups on the East Coast. Participation in ECHO is limited to formally organized groups operating east of the Mississippi River, whose main purpose is working by lawful means toward the improvement of the status of the homosexual in society.

ECHO has sponsored two public conferences since its inception. The second one, held in Washington, D. C. on October 10-11, 1964, was on the theme "Homosexuality: Civil Liberties and Social Rights." The first three parts of THE LADDER'S special coverage of ECHO '64 appeared in the January 1965 issue. Part Pour, the last one, appears below. The comprehensive reports in TEE LADDER are based on a complete tape recording of this ECHO conference and not on the edited transcript of the event.

PART FOUR: "ACT OR TEACH?"

Key philosophical differences within the homophile movement were laid bare in an informal debate entitled "Education or Legislation?" which capped the ECHO '64 conference. The opponents were Dr. Kurt Konietzko, psychologist and member of the Philadelphia Board of Parole, who spoke in favor of emphasis on education/information; and Dr. Franklin E. Kameny, physicist and astronomer, and president of the Mattachine Society of Washington, who spoke in favor of emphasis on legislation.

Dr. Kameny, as the first speaker, clarified for the audience the alternative strategies under discussion. He said "there are three areas in which emphasis can be placed in a movement such as ours: the social services, Information and education, civil liberties and social rights." These areas overlap and are complementary, and each major homophile organization works in all three areas in varying degrees. But, partly because of limited resources, each group chooses which area it will emphasize. Social services must be provided, especially to help homosexuals find jobs and get legal and other professional aid. Yet social services do not get at the roots of the problems --they only treat the symptoms. Since the primary purpose of the homophile groups, said Dr. Kameny, is "to effect a lasting improvement" in the status of the homosexual citizen, the organizations must stress either an education/information

[p. 14] | [Page Image]


program or civil liberties/social rights action. The social services, having a place subordinate to these two areas of basic strategy, were therefore not discussed in the debate.

"Act or Teach?" might better describe the alternatives, Dr. Kameny suggested. He explained that traditionally, much of the homophile movement has geared itself to educating and informing, hoping to change prejudiced attitudes. "I feel this is wrong," Dr. Kameny charged--and the debate was under way.

The Case for Legislation

The education/formation approach, Dr. Kameny said, relies on the "naive assumption that in matters of ingrained prejudice, the majority of people are rational and amenable to reason. They aren't. Prejudice is an emotional commitment, not an intellectual one, and is little if at all touched by considerations of reason. Study upon study...has shown this."

Dr. Kameny cited one recent study which he said "showed that tolerance is only slightly promoted by more information, that communication of facts is generally ineffective against predisposition." Large numbers of people "'hate our guts'," he warned. In terms of their deep prejudices in this area, they are "uneducable and noninformable." Anyone doubting this need only read the transcript of the Dowdy subcommittee hearings on HR 5990. "That's entrenched prejudice in very high places!"

He pointed out that "the Negro tried the education/information approach for 90 years and got almost nowhere. In the next ten years, by a vigorous social-protest, social-action, civil-liberties type of program, he achieved in essence everything for which he had been fighting. Let not this lesson be wasted upon us." Dr. Kameny also referred to an article in SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN about changing attitudes toward integration, which indicated that "official action has preceded public sentiment, and public sentiment has then attempted to accommodate itself to the new situation."

All these considerations Imply that homophile groups should direct their main efforts toward "changes of law, regulation, and procedure, whether brought about through legislative means or judicial ones. One good court case or court decision will go farther than a dozen radio appearances. A few properly written letters to properly chosen public officials...will go much farther than a dozen public lectures," Dr. Kameny said.

Primary emphasis on education/information, he claimed, would lead only to a "very slow process of evolution." A secondary stress on education/information nevertheless has utility. It will "get us the support of many--but very far from all--of the more intelligent members of the community. Even there, a disconcertingly strong core of resistance remains and will remain." Education work will also bring needed publicity.

Summing up, Dr. Kameny advised the homophile movement to put primary emphasis on "a vigorous civil liberties, social rights and social action program." He urged that discriminatory laws

[p. 15] | [Page Image]


and regulations be tested in the courts and that cases be encouraged, even rigged up if necessary. He further recommended that all possible lawful pressure be imposed upon legislators.

The Case for Education

Dr. Konietzko first made it clear that he thinks in terms of a larger problem, "the basic human question of how we get people to live together harmoniously...in a basically tolerant society, (Dr. Kameny and I) have a difference in approach because I see this as basically an educational problem," He said his concern is for liberalization in general of attitudes toward sex. He pointed out that our Judeo-Christian heritage has created in our society an overall problem of sexuality which affects the heterosexual as well as the homosexual.

He noted that clergymen on ECHO's religious panel had spoken of the worthwhileness of the individual. This is "a new thing from new leaders. ...Apparently all the clergy doesn't feel this way. "But this concept of the individual's worth is not yet getting through to congregations because "most people are essentially blame-oriented and punishment-oriented," he said, Dr. Konietzko claimed such deep prejudicial attitudes cannot be abolished by legislation. Further, "you (the homophile groups) are not going to get cooperation from the legislators unless you change some of their basic prejudices too,"

Homosexuals have in point of fact, Dr. Konietzko maintained, only those rights which society is willing to grant to them. Rights are a matter of definition.

Dr. Konietzko observed that society's institutions, including religious ones, are "charged specifically with instilling in the young the,attitudes of the larger society." He concluded: "Prejudices are learned. And if they are learned, they are taught. If you can change the teaching, then you can change the society."

Rebuttals

The spontaneous back-and-forth went substantially as. follows:

DR. KAMENY: Dr. Konietzko referred to the clergy. Most people have an emotional not an intellectual commitment to their clergy. People will stop discriminating against the homosexual not because they've changed a single thing in their minds but because their clergyman, as an emotional leader, has told them to do so.

Also, Dr. Konietzko said society defines our rights. Our definitions of (homophile) rights have been carefully keyed in to the rights of other minorities. So we are on fairly firm ground in requesting those rights. Judicial means are more practical, since legislatures are tied in too closely with the prejudices we're fighting. Even if you educate your legislators, they still have to follow the will of their constituents. So you go to the courts. You act, to get what you feel properly and justifiably are the rights that are yours.

[p. 16] | [Page Image]


DR. KONIETZKO: In terras of getting your legal rights, your, approach is quite suitable. You can get a court ruling on any one case, and after several years you will have a dozen rulings. But I am more concerned about basic acceptance of the homosexual as a human being. You should work primarily with a heavy education/information campaign, plus legal action where indicated, rather than trying to fight everyone in the courts. You will only establish a lot of legal rights nobody is going to give you because they don't grant them to you emotionally. And when you want to get hired, you will have to return to the courts and stress your rights again and again, and you will still face the same basic ostracism and hostility.

The more you attack, the more defensive people become, and the more reaction you get--usually a reprisal reaction. The more you threaten, the less they're able to think straight, and the less willing they become to grant you anything. I think you should exert a firm, gentle pressure through the courts, but not a slam-bang attack--because I think you're going to get clobbered, (Applause from audience)

DR. KAMENY: I did not propose a slam-bang attack. Yet I feel there should be distinctly more than a firm, gentle pressure through the courts. The Negro went to the courts and Southerners still don't like him. He nevertheless now has his basic rights, and these have been established by the constituted authority of society, even if not by the will of the society around him. The changes in attitude will accommodate themselves to what constituted authority hands down. After that, education/information comes to the fore--but it will go very much faster after the basic principles have been established in a firm, formal sense.

DR. KONIETZKO: Maybe this is just a question of emphasis. Ministers are the conscience of the community and should be your first target. If you can get the clergy to assert the homosexual is a worthwhile human being and not outside God's love, then people--and roughly 60% of the people belong to some kind of church--will believe they must treat homosexuals like human beings and will be ready to change their attitudes. You should begin by getting the church to say that homosexuality Is not a sin per se. Then you will have a good argument and be well on your way to getting legal support. Old values are being re-examined by more humane clergymen, so now is the time for you to get on the bandwagon with education.

DR. KAMENY: Regarding your comment about getting the clergy to grant that homosexuality is not a sin, I have already begun to ask clergymen just this. And I have found that to get a commitment from a clergymen on a statement like that Is rather unlikely. Yet you can get it from some.

DR. KONIETZKO: 100 years ago you couldn't even have asked.

DR. KAMENY: Your point about getting on the bandwagon is well made. Without derogating the education/information approach to third-class status, I would give It a just slightly second role to the civil liberties approach.

[p. 17] | [Page Image]


DR. KONIETZKO: I suggest that you not push for rights for the homosexual in states where the Model Penal Code is coming under consideration, for I think you would endanger the entire revision of our criminal justice system. In states that are not ready to adopt the Code, you can push for court action.

QUESTION FROM AUDIENCE: Dr. Konietzko, the education/information approach relies heavily on "experts" because it is felt they are the ones who effectively influence public opinion. Yet the "experts" are constantly making pronouncements to the public which contradict the subjective knowledge of so many homosexuals. How can homosexuals get their message across to the public and to those "experts," who incidentally all have their vested interests? And I include the clergy.

DR. KONIETZKO: How do you get so-called experts to re-examine their position? It's for somebody to challenge them. If it's a question of morality, ask the clergy. If it's a question of illness, ask the psychiatrists. They will give you a dozen different answers, but at least you'll communicate.

DR. KAMENY: A place to start is for the homophile organizations to realize that in the last analysis--and I am knowingly oversimplifying--we are the experts and the authorities. And we had better start educating the public to the fact that when they want reliable information on homosexuals and homosexuality, they come not to the psychiatrists, not to the ministers, and not to all the rest--they come to us. (Applause) We are coming to be more and more called on to speak in our own behalf, and it's time we started a coordinated program to do so. We must get across to the public that we are the ones to come to, not the psychiatrists or all the rest with their utter lack of information and their distorted viewpoints.

DR. KONIETZKO: One comment on Dr. Kameny's expertness. He is just as liable as myself or experts heterosexual or homosexual, to have distorted views. We are all human beings!

--Kay Tobin and Barbara Sittings

E.C.H.O. PLANS FOR 1965

The next conference of East Coast Homophile Organizations will be held in New York on September 18-19, 1965. Tentative theme is "The Homosexual Citizen in the Great Society." Each participating group welcomes your support and suggestions for ECHO '65! THE LADDER will continue to announce conference plans.

ADDRESSES OP THE ECHO ORGANIZATIONS

Daughters of Bilitis--(See inside back cover of THE LADDER) Mattachine Society of New York--1133 Broadway, New York 10, New York

Janus Society--34 South 17th St., Philadelphia 3, Penna. Mattachine Society of Washington--P. O. Box 1032, Washington 13, D. C.

[p. 18] | [Page Image]


"EXPERT" CHALLENGED

A woman and three men turned up to picket a lecture entitled "Homosexuality, a Disease."

The lecture was given on December 2, 1964, as part of the popular Cooper Union Forum series in New York City. The speaker was Dr. Paul R. Dince, Associate in Psychiatry at New York Medical College.

Stationing themselves at entrances to the large lecture hall, the four picketers handed out free literature from homophile organizations. They wore signs saying WE REQUEST 10 MINUTES REBUTTAL TIME. A typed letter asking for rebuttal time was taken to, the forum's chairman, who agreed to the request.

During the question and answer period, one of the four picketers was allowed to speak for ten minutes from a microphone in the audience. He pointed out that the so-called experts are in great disagreement, often contradicting each other's theories about homosexuality. Furthermore, he said, research on homosexuality is skimpy and has been conducted almost entirely with unhappy, ill-adjusted homosexuals who were patients undergoing therapy. The researchers usually start with the assumption that homosexuality is a disease, so it is not surprising that their conclusions support this biased view. He noted that those who call homosexuality a disease rarely warn their listeners about the unscrupulous therapists who charge exorbitant hourly fees and promise quick, easy cures to naive homosexuals or their distraught parents.

Applause for the challenger topped applause for the lecturer, who appeared stunned for a moment by the reaction of the audience. Dr. Dince conceded the point about unscrupulous therapists. "Unfortunately," he said, "they do exist." He added candidly that it was quite a surprise to be picketed, and to receive such a rebuttal, at his first public lecture.

--Kay Tobin Editor's note: Meet The Challenger--on our back cover!

Tandem Publication

The New York Mattachine Society and the Washington Mattachine Society are pooling their publishing resources and are about. to issue their publications, separately edited, under a single cover. The first issue of the amalgamated New York Mattachine NEWSLETTER and Washington Mattachine GAZETTE will be datelined February, 1965. Subscription price for this two-in-one publication is only $3.00. Send to. either organization (see their addresses at bottom of page 17). Keep up with the views and news of two of the most active homophile groups in the U. S.!

[p. 19] | [Page Image]


Lesbian Literature in '64

by Gene Damon

1964 was a wonderful year in lesbian literature (after a relatively disappointing 1963 season), with some exciting discoveries and an all-time high in quality hardback books on the subject. There was a total of 195 titles: 34 hardbacks and 161 paperback originals. All the hardback works are included in this survey article, but only those paperbacks worth looking into are covered. The merit of paperbacks is always open to debate. Some feel they should be judged on the same level as hardbacks--but this, in my view, is unrealistic and overlooks the intended function of paperback originals, which is lightweight entertainment only.

The outstanding hardback title of the year--and possibly the best lesbian novel since Claire Morgan's 1952 book THE PRICE OF SALT--is Jane Rule's THE DESERT OF THE HEART (London, Seeker and Warburg, 1964; Toronto, Macmillan, 1964). This novel has not yet been released in the U.S., but is tentatively due out in June 1965 from an American publisher. Don't miss it. There is every ingredient to call forth admiration: love, adventure, conflict, and quality of writing seldom found in a first novel. It concerns an intense love affair, with realistic complications and a happy denouement.

Robert Neumann's FESTIVAL (London, Barrie and Rockliff, 1963) is my choice for second novel of the year--not second, in talent but in emotional impact. It is a moving story of a brief romance between two women, one worldly, one very young, whose destinies make their attachment impossible.

A novel intended as satire turned out to contain some real romance and serious consideration of the demands lesbianism entails. In HONEY FOR THE BEARS by Anthony Burgess (Norton, 1963, 1964), a Russian woman physician changes a miserable English housewife into a happy woman through her love.

One choice title each in the popular fields of mystery and humor helped make this a banner year. Sebastien Japrisot's prize-winning novel TRAP FOR CINDERELLA (Simon and Schuster, 1964) holds you on the edge of your chair as you try to determine which of the two girls is dead and why and who killed the questionable corpse. After that, it's fun to watch Louise W. King's THE DAY WE WERE MOSTLY BUTTERFLIES (London, Michael Joseph, 1963; N, Y., Doubleday, 1964) flapping away into the sunset with the delightful coterie of gay interior decorator Maurice, which includes the scatterhead Miss Moppet, her lover Lillian, and a pet horned toad named Butchy.

Some novels defy classification. The fey and gentle story THE LATE BREAKFASTERS by Robert Aickman (London, Goliancz, 1964)

[p. 20] | [Page Image]


will probably be the favorite title of 1964 for many readers. It includes one of those eye-contact romances, with the sudden lightning of emotions. For those who enjoy Shirley Jackson's books, Aickman,s novel will have strong appeal, since there is a decided overtone of supernatural mystery in the fatal affair of Louise and Griselda, and the subsequent life of Griselda.

David Stacton's OLD ACQUAINTANCE (Putnam, 1964) takes up the lives of two older homosexuals, a man and a woman who have shared affection for many years. The novel is too slow-moving for all tastes, but it's full of witty asides, knowing conversation and interior monologues which the literate gay reader will dig.

For years Marguerite Steen has written good-quality popular novels. Now, like many other mainstream novelists, she has entered the field of lesbian literature with her book A CANDLE IN THE SUN (Doubleday, 1964). The best part of this English romp is the character Oggie Schneider, who proves that stereotypes need not be vituperatively drawn. Oggie is a butchy girl, and she is presented so well that she will be real to the knowing and inoffensive to the casual reader.

Another well-known novelist making a first venture into the field Is Richard Llewellyn in his SWEET MORN OF JUDAS DAY (Doubleday, 1964), The lesbian theme Is relatively minor and somewhat obscured by the hot-house South American setting, but the lesbian woman is a fascinating witch.

The disappointment of the year is Elizabeth Bowen's THE LITTLE GIRLS (Doubleday, 1963, 1964). Had a lesser writer produced this novel, it would merit praise and be called "promising." But for one of the most important novelists in the English-speaking world, and one who contributed a small masterpiece to lesbian literature (THE HOTEL, Dial, 1928), it is a failure.

Admirers of Iris Murdoch have no doubt already read her latest novel, THE ITALIAN GIRL (Viking, 1964). But for those of you who have, never acquired that special taste for her writing, her witty analysis of the fraughts of human relationships, now Is the time. This book is caviar.

Merle Miller continues to include all types of homosexuals in his panoramic novels on social mores, and he is, as always, quite fair in A DAY IN LATE SEPTEMBER (Morrow-Sloane, 1963).

A brief, cruel episode involving a lesbian brutalized by the hero (?) appears in J. Inchardi's PORTRAIT OF A SEAMAN (John Day, 1964). However, the author's sympathy is entirely with the lesbian victim and his novel has power and shows promise.

Both Leon Uris' ARMAGEDDON (Doubleday, 1964) and THE FUGITIVE by Pierre Gascar (Little, Brown, 1964) contain minor references to lesbianism; in both books these concern wartime and post-wartime prostitution in Berlin, The personal life of the fringe people in wartime London is the general theme of CAN I GET THERE BY CANDLELIGHT by Julius Horowitz (Atheneum, 1964), which includes several homosexuals as miscellaneous figures.

[p. 21] | [Page Image]


Maude Hutchins's HONEY ON THE MOON (Morrow, 1964) is a major male homosexual title, but it will be of interest to lesbiana fans because it includes as minor characters an excellently drawn lesbian couple. Miss Hutchins frequently writes about homosexuals, and she handles the subject matter well.

Lane Kauffmann's witty story about the preparations for a society marriage which is, as indicated in the ceremony, AN HOWORABLE ESTATE (Lippincott, 1964), contains several homosexual characters of both, or rather all, sexes. The handling is similar to Merle Miller's "integrated" novels mentioned above.

The year's inevitable college novel, and a really good one for a change, is Andrea Newman's A SHARE OP THE WORLD (London, THE Bodley Head, 1964; N. Y., New American Library, 1964). While the lesbian element is not major, it is substantial and the girl is a primary character. The story line, however, is sad.

With all the attention devoted to politics in 1964, it was no surprise to find a couple of political novels of relevance to this article. THE LOSERS by Borden Deal (Doubleday, 1964),involves one of those unbelievable miraculous conversions to heterosexuality. Harold Bienvenu's THE PATRIOT (St. Martin's Press, 1964) is an ugly tale about the forming of a group of super-patriots a la John Birch Society. None of the book is redeeming, but it serves as a warning. A lesbian character is one of the pawns of the game.

Lesbian incest continues to turn up as a theme--very unpleasantly in Ellen Ryder's unsuccessful first novel, THE RED BAIZE DOOR (London, New Authors, 1964).

THE GREAT SWEET DAYS OP OLD SHIBUI by H. D. Miller (Doubleday, 1964) will appeal to those who find entertainment in the beat world. Prom the same world, but on a higher level of writing, comes A JOURNAL OF LOVE by Edward Mannix (Dial, 1964). Though some of its mannerisms are irritating, the novel includes a lengthy and specific account of a lesbian affair.

Usually it is in the paperback field that one finds the low point of the year. But in 1964, despite the plethora of newsstand tripe, the zero rating goes to Burton Wohl's hardcover novel THE JET SET (Dial, 1964; also Dell paperback, 1964) for its uniformly lousy writing and distasteful sex scenes.

In past years my surveys have included older titles (two years or less) discovered too late for mention in the appropriate annual article. This year I found an important older title: THE JUMPING OFF PLACE by Garet Rogers (Dial, 1962). This novel was widely reviewed and noted as being concerned with male homosexuality. But there is also a major lesbian theme, introduced by a clever literary disguise.

Some fair paperback originals appeared in 1964, if we judge paperbacks as providing entertainment on a more superficial level than hardbacks. Even so, the number of good paperback titles is small compared to former years, and this may be the sign that the genre is ending except for the trashy items that

[p. 22] | [Page Image]


are of no interest. Valerie Taylor contributed two novels. A WORLD WITHOUT MEN (Midwood Tower, 1963, 1964) introduces provocative Erika Prohmann, who has an abortive but believable affair with alcoholic Kate Wood. RETURN TO LESBOS (Midwood Tower, 1963, 1964) is a sequel to STRANGER ON LESBOS (Fawcett Crest, 1960) which brought two popular lesbian characters onto the fiction scene: Frannie and Bake. Bake is absent from the sequel, but Frannie, recognizing her sickening error depicted in the earlier story, meets Erika and together they build the stepping stones necessary to a responsible marriage. Miss Taylor consistently produces above-average paperbacks.

THE HOUSEGUEST by Kimberly Kemp (Midwood Tower, 1964) is noted here only because of its theme: the dilemma of a widow of high principles who falls in love with her daughter's roommate. The theme deserves a serious novel; this one is oversexed tripe.

The best-written paperback of the year--despite its derogatory cliché title (was it tacked on by the publisher?)--is TWILIGHT LOVERS by Miriam Gardner (Monarch, 1964). The plot is a brouhaha of complications, but it contains more extensive character and motivation development than is normally found in a paperback original novel.

Lesbian plays are rare and seldom do they treat the subject frankly. Ronald Duncan's play THE CATALYST (London, The Rebel Press, 1964) Is frank yet devoid of sensationalism. It is a well-handled story of a menage a trois.

Two popular-level non-fiction books made news this year: one, a crass journalistic paste-up, THE GRAPEVINE by Jess Stearn (Doubleday, 1964); the other, THE LESBIAN IN AMERICA by Donald Webster Cory (Citadel, 1964). Mr. Cory's book, despite flaws, is a well-intentioned effort to discuss lesbians and the lesbian minority from an armchair psychology/sociology viewpoint.

There was an outstanding biography to delight the history-oriented reader. The combination of scholarship and honesty is refreshing in Maurice Ashley's THE STUARTS IN LOVE (Macmillan, 1964) which covers the great Stuart monarchs of Scotland and England in the 1600's and 1700's. Many of these rulers were wholly or partly homosexual: James I, Charles I, William III and his wife Mary, and Queen Anne, (Ed. note: A biographical sketch of Queen Anne appeared in THE LADDER, November 1964).

Five good short stories--a high number--were found in 1964, and four of these were by distinguished contributors to the genre. Austrian poet Ingeborg Bachmann's story "A Step Toward Gomorrah" ( THE THIRTIETH YEAR: Knoph, 1964) leaves the reader less than happy. But the experience depicted has happened to more than one of us, and the writing is superior, John O'Hara, who writes better short stories than he does novels, convincingly portrays the lives of a lesbian and a male homosexual --with the contrasts in their adjustments to life--in his long story "Yucca Knolls" (THE HAT ON THE BED: Random House, 1963). H. E. Bates's story "Breeze Anstey" (THE BEST OF H. E. BATES: Little, Brown, 1963) is like D. H. Lawrence's novelette THE FOX in that it concerns two women who run a farm

[p. 23] | [Page Image]


together, but it is somewhat more sympathetic to the lesbian who loves in vain. A second story by Mr. Bates, "THE Diamond Hair Pin" (THE FABULOUS MRS. V.: London, Michael Joseph, 1964) is a reader' s-choice tale in which lesbianism seems the plausible conclusion. The least literate of the five stories, but the most rewarding one in my opinion, is in a paperback original collection. It is "Testament of a Green-Eyed Man" by Denys Val Baker (THE STRANGE AND THE DAMNED: Pyramid, 1964). A husband, Jealous of the attention his wife receives from another woman, decides to rape the woman--with less than fortuitous consequences for himself. It's both funny and ironic.

Since the titles in this survey were compiled by December 1, 1964, omissions will be covered in next year's article.

Readers who have seen my annual report on lesbian literature in previous years (it has been a LADDER feature since 1958) will note that this year, for the first time, a complete list of all titles pertaining to lesbianism has not been included. There are too many titles, and the majority are trashy paperbacks not worthy of mention in this survey. Those readers interested in an all-inclusive list should watch for announcement of the new edition of the cumulative CHECKLIST, edited by Marion Zimmer Bradley and myself. Notice of its publication date will appear in a future issue of THE LADDER.

Gene Damon Talks about Herself

Once when I was 18, and full of the brashness bred by lack of confidence, I went into a library to kill time. Inspired by a whim, I asked the attractive librarian on duty if they had THE WELL OF LONELINESS (which I already owned). I was hoping for a shocked reaction. Instead, she coolly assured me they had not only this book but others in the same line, and she reeled off several titles. That was thirteen years ago. Now I have, hundreds of other books--and I still have the same "reader's advisor."

SO SEEING YOU

Amidst my myriad dreams
were first loves embers.

So seeing you I knew
a beginning had begun.

The end is not in view
But by our very beginnings
We know there must be one.

--Kris Carson

[p. 24] | [Page Image]


To Tell or Not To Tell

Should I admit my homosexuality to my parents? That is the question confronting thousands of men and women in this country each year. I believe that, with few exceptions, homosexuals can get acceptance and understanding from their parents.

The first step is to put aside, if you have them, the feelings of guilt which many homosexuals carry around like Marley's chains. Face it, there is no disgrace in being a lesbian! Any disgrace you feel comes from the same kind of prejudice we accuse others of harboring.

Then, if you are not ashamed of your way of life and your way of love, you can present a convincing case to those near and dear to you for acceptance of your orientation.

Home situations vary, and each homosexual will have different problems to consider when pondering this decision. Perhaps one parent is more sympathetic than the other. Fine. I say, choose that one to tell your story to, if you decide to tell.

On the other hand, perhaps you have reason to think that your parents could not possibly understand. Nevertheless, you can tell them by example. Take your friend "home" with you on holidays, mention the time you spend with her family, refer to her in your phone conversations with your parents, until they gradually feel that this person is an essential part of your life. They may not comprehend why she means so much to you. But they will realize this is the case, and for the most part, I believe, they will accept it. If you convey tactfully the idea of your commitment, they will probably come to feel that your friend is a true member of the family.

Why live half a life anywhere? Why continue the deception in which each half of your marriage goes home alone to her own parents for every major holiday? Why not go together, splitting your visits between the families, as heterosexual married couples generally do?

If you are not willing to make It plain that your primary loyalty is to your friend, the alternatives may be painful. Are you risking your marriage to make mother and dad happy? Are you being fair to your parents when you spend time away from them that they feel entitled to, while not giving them the reassurance about your motive that they need?

Maybe you haven't yet entered into a homosexual marriage. Now might be the time to clear the air and make sure your family understands your orientation. It may make things easier later on when you take on a double responsibility. If your parents love you, I think the chances are they will do their best to accept you and your needs.

[p. 25] | [Page Image]


For your own peace of mind and for theirs, tell them--by word or by example--where your needs lie. Make sure that all the important persons in your life, especially your parents, have an easy basis on which to maintain relationships with you.

--Vern Niven

READERS RESPOND

Let me add my voice to the many others who have complimented you on the improved LADDER, No matter what else I have to do, the minute a copy arrives in the mail, I seize upon it and read it through from one end to the other. You are doing a fine job!

--F. I. B., California

One of the most pernicious attitudes taken toward homosexuality, and currently a popular one, is the one branding the condition as a disease.

As a psychologist, I consider a person emotionally healthy if he is adjusted to himself and makes a contribution to society. And I know many homosexuals who meet these criteria. Many are so well adjusted to what they are that they neither desire to be, nor can they conceive of being, other than they are. Further, I see no merit in telling homosexuals: "There is only a small chance of cure. You're sick, but adapt to it as will as you can." If the condition is almost impossible to change, at least where adults are concerned, it seems to me it is important that homosexuals perceive themselves as healthy, if the facts permit that interpretation. And I contend that they do. Evelyn Hooker and others have found no more neurosis among homosexuals than among heterosexuals, if one except the sexual orientation itself.

Some psychiatrists speak of the percent of "cures" made among their own patients. We are never given statistics about how many ultimately return to homosexuality. Furthermore, we do not know how many of those who were unsuccessfully treated become more confused than before the effort to convert them.

Two important factors in any individual's adjustment to being homosexual are these: he should establish a clearest concept of what he is, and accept it; and he should develop a strong enough ego to accept his right to differ from the majority.

--A Psychologist, New York

[p. [26]] | [Page Image]


In your November issue there apparently wasn't room for any fiction--and I missed it. I missed the emotional appeal that fiction has. Too much fact, fact, fact (even if it concerns happy news about progress in the homophile movement) has for me an uncomfortable rigor. I wouldn't want THE LADDER to become a pure newsletter. Please never let the romance, nostalgia, and feeling of SISTERHOOD disappear from its pages.

--L. H., District of Columbia

Editor's note: Fiction and poetry manuscripts are welcome!

The review of LAW, LIBERTY, AND PSYCHIATRY (September) led me to check into the situation here in New Jersey. We have one of the psychiatrically-oriented sex laws, and the officials I interviewed seemed to feel it is a model one. The crux is its reliance, on a diagnostic center which serves as advisor to the courts. The procedure, used with hundreds each year, is for the person convicted of a sex offense to be sent there by the judge, who has no choice in the matter. The offense may be as minor as soliciting. The convicted person is then returned to court with a report, and the judge is required--if the report so directs--to commit him to one of the state mental hospitals for a period not to exceed the term he would have had to serve in a prison. Apparently it is possible in some cases to refuse treatment, but this is rarely done. And a prisoner so refusing would probably get the maximum sentence. Diagnosis before trial may be made in some cases also. The law is described as "protecting both the patient and the community."

What happens to the person at the diagnostic center? He can struggle to prove his sanity, and thereby be recommended for ordinary imprisonment. Or he can accept a hospital, for better or worse--and worse can be pretty bad in an understaffed state hospital. In these, all too many "cured" patients-prove to have been reduced by tranquilizers to a glassy-eyed apathy. Certainly no deep psychotherapy can be attempted on the budget available.

At least New Jersey has one advantage over Pennsylvania and New York: hospital commitments in those states are not restricted to the legal time limits set on the prison sentence for a given offense. There is a great deal of evidence here to support Dr. Szasz's contention that there has been a shift in authority from judicial to "medical."

--S. N., New Jersey

I compliment you on the very high quality of THE LADDER. It is an excellent example of responsible journalism in a field that could very well fall into maudlin sentiment or to the other extreme of sensationalism, either of which would defeat the purpose for which the periodical was established.

--Professor V. C., Indiana

[p. [27]] | [Page Image]


DAUGHTERS of BILITIS

INCORPORATED

MEMBERSHIP in Daughters of Bilitis is limited to women 21 years of age or older. If in San Francisco, New York, or Chicago area, direct inquiry to chapter concerned. Otherwise write to National Office in San Francisco for a membership application form.

THE LADDER is a monthly magazine published by Daughters of Bilitis, Inc., mailed in a plain sealed envelope for $5.00 a year. Anyone over 21 may subscribe to The Ladder.

CONTRIBUTIONS are gratefully accepted from anyone who wants to support our work. We are a non-profit corporation depending entirely on volunteer labor. While men may not become members of Daughters of Bilitis, many have expressed interest in our efforts and have made contributions to further our work.

NATIONAL HEADQUARTERS and San Francisco Chapter: 1232 Market St., Suite 108, San Francisco 2, California.

New York Chapter: 441 West 28th St.,
New York 1, N. Y.
Chicago Chapter: P. O. Box 4497,
Chicago, Ill.

DAUGHTERS OF BILITIS, INC.

1232 Market Street, Suite 108, San Francisco 2, California.

Please send THE LADDER for year(s) in a plain sealed envelope to the address below. I enclose $_____ at the rate of $5.00 for each year ordered.

NAME_____

ADDRESS_____

CITY_____ZONE_____ STATE_____

I am aver 21 years of age (Signed)_____

[p. [28]] | [Page Image]


Did You Know ...




that many men as well as women read THE LADDER? Nearly one-fifth of the magazine's subscribers are men. They include professional persons, supporters of D.O.B. and its work, and members of other homophile organizations.

That's subscriber Randolfe Wicker above: New York man-about-town, radio/TY personality, and one-man homosexual crusade. Handy writes, "THE LADDER really says something. It's one of the top two homophile magazines." He didn't name the other one--but whichever it is, THE LADDER tries harder! Why not subscribe today?

THE LADDER-a unique gift,
a unique magazine !



back to top