The Ladder, May 1965, Vol. 9, No. 8
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purpose of the Daughters of BILITIS
A WOMEN'S ORGANIZATION FOR THE PURPOSE OF PROMOTING THE INTEGRATION OF THE HOMOSEXUAL INTO SOCIETY BY:
1 Education of the variant, with particular emphasis on the psychological, physiological and sociological aspects, to enable her to understand herself and make her adjustment to society in all it's 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, 1232 Market Street, Suite 108, San Francisco 2, California. Telephone: UNderhill 3--8196.
NATIONAL OFFICERS, DAUGHTERS OF BSLIT1S, INC.
RECORDING SECRETARY--Agatha Mathys
CORRESPONDING SECRETARY--Marjorie McCann
PUBLIC RELATIONS DIRECTOR--Phyllis Leon
THE LADDER STAFF
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.
|A Christ-Like Work--by Monica Furlong||
|The Princess and the Gargoyles--by Nola||
|Does Research Into Homosexuality Matter? --by Dr. Franklin E. Kameny||
|Special Report: Faith and Fury--by Jody Shotwell||
|Lesbiana--by Gene Damon||
|I Hate Men--A Diversion by a Male Transvestite--by Susanna Valenti||
Cover photo by Kay Tobin
Copyright 1965 by Daughters of Bilitis, Inc., San Francisco, California
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A Christ--Like Work
BY MONICA FURLONG
(Editor's note: We are pleased to have permission to reprint the following article by London journalist Monica Furlong, which stands out as an unusually sensible and humane discussion of homosexuality in the public press. This article appeared as Miss Furlong's column in the February 16 edition of the DAILY MAIL0, a popular national British daily newspaper with a large circulation.)
A few weeks ago a reader wrote and asked me whether I approved of an organization called the Minorities Research Group, advertising in the DAILY MAIL.
The advertisement invited women with Lesbian problems to get in touch with the group. My correspondent's objection was that the advertisement might attract the attention of her young daughters and so expose them to the knowledge of ideas and feelings which she preferred to keep hidden from them.
While I sympathized with her concern for her own children, I felt quite sure that this newspaper was right to carry the advertisement.
This is not only because I know the Minorities Research Group to be a responsible body but because I know from the correspondence I receive that it is doing necessary work.
What is the Minorities Research Group? It is a body founded in 1963 by five professional women, and its purpose is to investigate and report on the situation of the homosexual minority, with particular reference to women homosexuals.
One excellent achievement already to its credit is that it publishes a monthly news letter which discusses Lesbianism in a calm, Intelligent, fearless fashion, which will make it much easier for the public to regard the whole matter rationally and without fanaticism.
It has two equally important functions. One is that it is building up its own counselings service, and the other, that it is beginning to provide facilities for debate, discussion, and social meetings for its members.
Why does all this matter? Lesbians are not punished by the law like male homosexuals, and society, while it does not approve Lesbian behaviour, is often prepared to ignore it.
It matters because of the despair and the loneliness involved for those who feel different from the majority, and because
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there is a need for all of us to rethink our attitudes to such problems so that we do not unwittingly drive others to bad solutions.
The M.R.G. have been astonished to discover that a very large number of members are married women--women who thought that marriage might solve their difficulties, but instead brought misery to a husband and children as well as to themselves.
One woman I talked to when preparing for this article told me that she spent 15 desperate years trying to prove to herself that she was just like other women, and in the process had borne two illegitimate children.
She had read everything on the subject of homosexuality she' could think of, tried everything, wrestled with deep religious convictions, and longed intensely to be able to conform to convention.
But in the end she was left with an irreducible piece of knowledge about herself: "To me it seems perverted to sleep with a man."
What bothers me when I write and talk to people about these things is the way innumerable decent men and women find themselves forced into a life of pretense among colleagues, friends and relatives.
And for what?
To keep up a facade of pointless respectability that helps no one, that is more damaging both to the individual and to society as a whole than a quiet, rational acceptance that God does not make us all alike.
The following letter is from a middle-aged social worker who describes herself as "sublimating like mad."
"There are decent, hardworking, conscientious people like myself who have spent bitter, anxious years of loneliness before accepting ourselves, and we are still alone because we don't know how or where to meet similar decent people.
"There are clubs, but only shoddy ones. One tends to throw oneself into work, committees and more work. In the end one still comes home to an empty room. I make lots of lonely people happy during the day and most evenings by giving like crazy, but it isn't the answer. My career matters to me, but I need to share my life."
I believe myself that the time is coming when we will no longer condemn men and women to live in this kind of private hell, because we are learning that people are no more "to blame" for such problems than others are to blame for a speech defect or short sight.
And perhaps even this does homosexuals less than justice, since it implies that there is something wrong with hem,
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whereas there is a certain amount of evidence that, while different from the majority, very many homosexuals are balanced, mature people, both emotionally and physically.
Whenever I raise this subject in print I know that I am going to get many letters from devout Christians telling me that faith could cure these people. Alas, this is simply not true, and it is no more reasonable to ask it than to expect faith to cure baldness.
One of the most moving letters I have ever received came from I a minister, who described the unhappiness and loneliness of | his position.
"My church members are good and kind men and women, but I don't know of anyone among them to whom I could reveal my secret. Popular prejudice is very hard to remove from even Christian minds, and the Christian heart may also feel disgust with something it does not understand.
"My faith has, however, saved me from bitterness. I find myself continually falling back upon the faith that God accepts me for what I am and that I can come to Him and be loved.
"Time and again it is this faith that has saved me from the greater bitterness and worse misery I might have known without it. Only the loneliness remains--undiminished.
"Other sufferers have written to you of the need to 'conceal and pretend to friends, relatives and colleagues that all is well.'
"I cannot describe the heartache that it can cause to a person in my profession. As the years go by the need seems to grow for a human as well as a Divine confessor and friend.
"I hope to God that day comes when the love and understanding you have written about will be freely and widely shown."
The Minorities Research Group is trying to spread this kind of love and understanding, and showing considerable courage in the way it sets about it.
This is, perhaps, one of the most Christ-like pieces, of work anyone is attempting in our time.
(Note: For more information about M.R.G. address: Minorities Research Group, 41 Great Russell St., London W.C.1, England. Subscription to the group's magazine ARENA THREE is $6.00 in the United States. Send payment in the form of a special bank draft or international postal money order payable in England.)
THE LADDER's rate for foreign subscription (outside the U.S., Canada, and Mexico) also is $6.00. Send a gift LADDER subscription to a friend abroad! Mail your order and payment to our Circulation Manager at DOB headquarters in San Francisco.
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I didn't speak.
any my brow felt the touch.
Although the bed, by hollow shadows
And a mute impression, shows where
she slept that night,
A simple thing, a chair, the very room
Recalls her presence in this
Alone, I feel the soft wave
Of her spirit,
That caresses everything she saw
These barren things move,
A prank of the gleaming sunlight,
And I move also, her perfect face
Simplicity becomes her landscape
And her room of sleep--
Terrain of massive forms, of
Primary colors, purity of design
The light and motion where
abstract ideas make manifest
their force, and shape for me
The sanctified archives
While I, dumb disciple of
Hear in my heart
The sound of her deathless footsteps.
Child am I--
But not of Nature.
the pattern of a rose,
How it grows,
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the Princess and
the Gargoyles _____ by Nola
(At school there was the stink of vomit and pee and the sound of Miss Hurley's screaming and the feel of her icy fingers on the back of your neck. And at home there was Mamma yelling and the stink of dirty baby carriages in the hallway. And in the streets around the house there were the other Mamas screaming, running after the screaming kids. There was just one lovely thing and one magic hour. It came just before dusk in the spring and summer. After the Mamas had gone upstairs to put the babies to bed a hush would fall on the street. The janitor would come out with his hose and wash the day's litter into the streaming gutter and the sidewalk would glisten gold, reflecting the setting sun. Then the Princess would come out.)
"Here comes the Princess!"
Mrs. Levinson's one good eye rolled upwards, beamed at the top of the stoop where the daughter of Pinsky, the tailor, stood patting her bushy red hair and staring into space.
The eyes of goitered Mrs. Rosenkrantz and wart-nosed Mrs. Estrin followed. The grandmother-gargoyles guarded our Brooklyn tenement well.Graven beside the stoop, they sat day after day immobilized on their folding chairs, the uncorseted flesh of sapless hips and thighs spilling over the sides. Their heads turned slowly in unison on wrinkled necks, faded eyes squinted and blue-creped lips pursed or fell apart in wonder as they followed the progress of each person entering or leaving the "building. Alien spirits brought forth a low hiss followed by a sing-song litany--half in Yiddishized English, half in Anglicized Yiddish.
"Again a new dress..."
"Putzed up like a movie star..."
She blazed against the dingy brick building in her brilliantly colored dress, her gold earrings and bangle bracelets glancing in the setting sun. Her hair was a torch above a tallow-white face. Black penciled eyebrows swept up and out from bridge, of nose to temples. Large gray eyes, shaded by black mascara, looked out from behind the mask. To me at age eight she was all the loveliness in the world.
(Oh Princess, shine on me, your secret worshiper!)
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We girls used to sprawl on the stoop in postures of bacchanalian abandon, spitting out poppy seed and Indian nut shells, licking and sucking ices out of paper cups, popping our bubble gum as the changing light transformed us from gold to violet to dim shadows. When the Princess came "out we would stare silently and shove aside to let her pass.
Like her father, the Princess was hunchbacked. But he bent low under the burden on his back, never lifting his eyes from his work or the ground. She held herself erect, even tilting backward a little in her attempt to throw off the burden, With each of her crisp bright dresses she wore a matching little cape covering the hump. Her tiny body was otherwise as exquisitely formed as an ivory figurine.
The Princess greeted nobody, looked at nobody as she descended the stairs. Teetering on her spike heel's, exuding dime store oriental scents, she delicately picked her way through our rubbish and passed into the street. Her eyes were fixed on a distant vision.
(Oh Princess, look at me!)
The gargoyles watched and we watched as she walked slowly down the canyoned street. And I would move away from my friends and listen avidly for the chant of the gargoyles.
"The Princess don't say hello to nobody."
"Too stuck up."
"Walks like in her sleep..."
"Oy, oy... such a curse..."
"Worse yet for the mamma..."
"But she got a nice little figure..."
"Looks funny the way she stands..."
"Stiff, like a wooden soldier..."
"And that make-up on her face..."
"Like a clown..."
"Like a you-know-what..."
"You think men like it?"
"Feh, gives them ideas..."
"That they got enough already..."
"And those crazy dresses..."
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"Such colors...so bright..."
"You think she helps her father? All day she's making for herself dresses."
"So? She should have a little pleasure..."
"Who begrudges? Only she got nowhere to go. "
"Who knows where she goes..."
Who knows? We girls had our theories. She went, we decided, to New York to find men and make assignations with them. At night the men climbed in her window and what orgies ensued! The Princess's nightly escapades made up an endlessly embroidered tale often climaxed by the delectable question: "When you get married will you let your husband do that to you?" and, the rapturously shrieked answers, "Never, never!" "Not me!"
It is unlikely that the Princess left Brooklyn more than once or twice a year. Those were depression years. She lived on what her father earned. Where was there to go? There was the park--a breath of air for the gasping lungs--and the movies - a breath of air for the gasping soul. Usually she returned within an hour or two with a newspaper and a movie or confession magazine under her arm. Then she would sit at the ground floor window reading and smoking or staring into space. She often read by the street light when it got dark. Behind her in the room were the pictures of actors and actresses she had cut out of the magazines and tacked on the wall. Prom the street we could see the pictures and the magazines neatly stacked on her dresser top.
The Princess often visited my father's office for treatment of her sinus condition. I had seen her many, times sitting in our living room, which served as the patients' waiting room. When she wasn't holding her head in pain she would stare into space or read a magazine, oblivious of the gossiping women and the squalling babies.
One day she came to the door during the afternoon when Dad was out on calls. I told her my father would be back at six.
"No dear, it's your mother I want to see," she said, smiling at me.
(She smiled at me! She called me dear!)
I led her to the kitchen where Mother was cooking. Her perfume immediately drowned out the cooking smells.
"Mrs. Richman, I would like to ask a great favor of you," she said in a high quavery voice.
The kitchen was hot and she nervously fluttered a lacy handkerchief to the sweat crystals on her forehead and bosom. Her
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low-cut summer dress revealed a tiny golden Star of David dangling from a delicate chain to the very spot where the twin creamy mounds began their swell. I ogled the jewel jealously from the corner of the kitchen to which I had retreated, trying to become invisible.
"Anything I can do to be of help," said Mother, drying her hands on a towel.
The girl spread her lips in an uneasy grimace. Her teeth were large and white and a little tinged with lipstick. Her opalescent eyes were like the gray marbles we played with in the street.
"In the next few days I am expecting a couple of telephone calls and I would appreciate it if you... could..."
"You want me to call you to the phone?" asked Mother anxiously.
"Well Miss Pinsky," said Mother gnawing her lips. "You know I am always happy to help out in an emergency,, But you see this is a professional phone...urgent calls, you know."
"Oh I understand!" said Miss Pinsky in a voice fringed with tears." I would never ask... only it's very, very important. It will take just a second. If you could tell one of the children to ring my bell I'll come right away...I would ask at the candy store, but you know...half a block...sometimes they don't want to bother..."
"Well, if it's so important, all right," sighed Mother. "Only nobody must know about it. People don't realize...."
"Mrs. Richman, I never talk to these people around here," said the girl flushing through her powder.
She left in a flurry of thank you' s, looking ready to cry.
"Ma, who's gonna call her?"
"Where did you come from? Stop that wriggling!"
"Maybe a boy friend or something, huh?"
"Go buy some milk."
"What kinda perfume you think she wears?" I inhaled ecstatically.
"All eyes, ears, nose and big mouth, that's you," said Mother flinging open the window.
"Ma, is she gonna get married?"
"I don't know. Maybe it's for a date. All young ladies have dates."
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"Doesn't... what're you dreaming about now?"
A vision had formed in my mind. I was walking down the aisle of the synagogue in a pink ruffled dress scattering pink rose petals. Behind me walked the Princess in a bridal gown with a white veil over her face. The shadowy figure of a man stood at the altar. The Princess walked up to him and he kissed her and her hump vanished.
The next evening the first call came. Mother sent me down to ring her bell. Prune-faced Mrs. Pinsky, saturated in chicken soup odor, opened the door a crack and witch-eyed me through it. But the girl came to the door, brushed her mother aside and swept out of the apartment. She was wearing a jade silk kimono, which she clasped to her bosom with a little ivory shell of a hand. Her face glistened with cold cream and the eyebrows and mouth I was accustomed to were gone. I could see only flaming hair, eyes filled with light and that small magic hand.
(Oh Princess! Behind that mask that had cast a spell on me was the living beauty that awakened me!)
And then he came. One evening the Princess appeared in the doorway on the arm of a man, He was a little man, scarcely taller than she was and they walked stiffly down the steps, looking like a mechanical bride and bridegroom descending a wedding cake.
There was a gasp, then silence. The chant of the gargoyles began/as soon as the couple moved a few feet from the stoop.
"God should only help her..."
"And the mamma too..."
"At last they called a shadjun (marriage broker) like they shoulda done yet years ago."
"Ya think so?"
"What then? He came looking for a Princess with a... "
"He's not much, the fella...I mean so little..."
"So? What can she get? The Prince of Wales, maybe?"
"She wants like all young girls..."
"She wants! The Queen of Sheba wants! She'11 get like all women--aggravation, dirt, a big bellyache..."
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"She should only be so lucky!"
"My cousin Rachel, she also had trouble...a twisted foot from when she was born...they married her off to an old man back in the old country yet...on her wedding day she screamed, tore out from her head the hairs, locked herself up in the house and they all came and broke open the door...some wedding! But three handsome sons he gave her...one an accountant, one a doctor and another a nice business in ladies' wear...the, best in the world ain't none too good for their mamma. Believe-- you-me she don't cry today..."
(Never, never, never! They won't break open her door! No babies! A Princess forever!)
The next time I was sent to call Miss Pinsky to the telephone I went out into the hallway and stood mute and passive before her door for a few minutes. Then I went back.
"Nobody home." I said.
I don't remember whether he called again or whether she ever went out with him or any other man again. Suddenly I was sick of the life on the stoop and I turned my back on my old pals. I trudged back and forth to the library carrying armloads of books I couldn't read. All I remember for certain about the Princess is that for the ten years we continued to live in that house in Brooklyn, she remained with her parents in the ground-floor apartment. She took walks and used to sit at the window, reading, staring, smoking. The pictures of the actors and actresses finally completely covered the wall behind her and the magazines piled higher and higher.
(Oh Princess, in the later years, when I was occasionally caught by your mask in the window, I was riven as by a scream. If it was I who turned the last lock on the door of your enchanted tower, forgive me. It was to protect your loveliness, your dream--my dream. But if only you had known how a living heart had beat for you!)
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Does Research Into
Homosexuality Matter ?
by DR. FRANKLIN E. KAMENY
(Franklin E. Kameny, Ph.D., is a physicist and astronomer in private industry. He is founder and former president, and is currently on the Executive Board, of the Mattachine Society of Washington which recently adopted this resolution: "The Mattachine Society of Washington takes the position that in the absence of valid evidence to the contrary, homosexuality is " not a sickness, disturbance, or pathology in any sense, but is merely a preference, orientation, or propensity, on par with, and not different in kind from, heterosexuality.")"
PART I: ON SOME ASPECTS OP MILITANCY IN THE HOMOPHILE MOVEMENT
As little as two years ago, "militancy" was something of a dirty word in the homophile movement. Long inculcation in attitudes, of cringing meekness had taken its toll among homosexuals, combined with a feeling, still widely prevalent, that reasonable, logical, gentlemanly and ladylike persuasion and presentation of reasonable, logical argument, could not fail to win over those who would deny us our equality and our right to be homosexual and to live as homosexuals without disadvantage. There was--and is--a feeling that given any fair chance to undertake dialogue with such opponents, we would be able to Impress them with the basic rightness of our position and bring them into agreement with it.
Unfortunately, by this approach alone we will not prevail, because most people operate not rationally but emotionally on questions of sex in general, and homosexuality in particular, just as they do on racial questions.
It is thus necessary for us to adopt a strongly positive approach, a militant one. It is for us to take the initiative, the offensive--not the defensive--in matters affecting us. It is time that we began to move from endless talk (directed, in the last analysis, by us to ourselves) to firm, vigorous action.
We ARE right; those who oppose us are both factually and morally wrong. We are the true authorities on homosexuality, whether we are accepted as such or not. We must DEMAND our rights, boldly, not beg cringingly for mere privileges, and not be satisfied with crumbs tossed to us. I have been deeply gratified to note in the past year a growing spirit of militancy on the part of an increasing number of members of the homophile organizations.
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We would be foolish not to recognize what the Negro rights movement has shown us is sadly so: that mere persuasion, information and education are not going to gain for us in actual practice the rights and equality which are ours in principle.
I have been pleased to see a trend away from weak, wishy-washy compromise positions in our movement, toward ones of strong affirmation of what it is that we believe and want, followed by a drive to take whatever action is needed to obtain our rights. I do not of course favor uncontrolled, unplanned, ill-considered lashing out. Due and careful consideration must always be given to tact and tactics. Within the bounds dictated by such considerations, however, we must be prepared to take firm, positive, definite action--action initiated by us, not merely responding to the initiatives of others. The homophile movement increasingly is adopting this philosophy.
PART II: ON THE HOMOPHILE MOVEMENT AND HOMOSEXUALITY AS A
Among the topics to which we are led by the preceding, is that of our approach to the question of homosexuality as a sickness. This is one of the most important issues--probably THE most important single issue--facing our movement today.
It is a question upon which, by rationalization after rationalization, members of the homophile movement have backed away from taking a position. It is a question upon which a clear, definite, unambiguous, no-nonsense stand MUST be taken, must be taken promptly, and must be taken by US, publicly.
There are some who say that WE will not be accepted as authorities, regardless of what we say, or how we say it, or what evidence we present, and that therefore we must take no positions on these matters but must wait for the accepted authorities to come around to our position--if they do. This makes of us a mere passive battlefield across which conflicting "authorities" fight their intellectual battles. I, for one, am not prepared to play a passive role in such controversy, letting others dispose of me as they see fit. I intend to play an active role in the determination of my own fate.
As a scientist by training and by profession, I feel fully and formally competent to judge good and poor scientific work when. I see them--and fully qualified to express my conclusions.
In looking over the literature alleging homosexuality as a sickness, one sees, first, abysmally poor sampling technique, leading to clearly biased, atypical samplings, which are then taken as representative of the entire homosexual community. Obviously all persons coming to a psychiatrist's office are going to have problems of one sort or another, are going to be disturbed or maladjusted or pathological, in some sense, or they wouldn't be there. To characterize ALL homosexuals as sick, on the basis of such a sampling--as Bieber, Bergler, and others have done--is clearly invalid, and is bad science.
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Dr. Daniel Cappon, in his recent appalling book TOWARD AN UNDERSTANDING OF HOMOSEXUALITY (perhaps better named "A way from an Understanding of Homosexuality" or "Toward a Misunderstanding of Homosexuality") acknowledges at least this non-representative sampling and actually shows some faint signs of suggesting that perhaps there are two classes of homosexuals: patients and non-patients.
Notwithstanding Dr. Bieber's cavalier dismissal of it, Dr. Evelyn Hooker's work involving non-clinical homosexual subjects, with Its very careful sampling technique and its conclusions of non-sickness, still remains convincing.
One sees secondly, in the literature alleging homosexuality as sickness, a violation of basic laws of logic by the drawing of "conclusions" which were inserted as assumptions. Dr. Bieber does this (and by implication, attributes it to his entire profession) in his statement: "All psychoanalytic theories ASSUME that homosexuality is psychopathological." Dr. Cappon says: "...homosexuality, BY "DEFINITION, is not healthy.... " (Emphasis supplied in both quotations.) Obviously, if one assumes homosexuality as pathological or defines it as unhealthy at the outset, one will discover that homosexuals are sick. The "conclusions," however, can carry no weight outside the self-contained, rather useless logical structure erected upon the assumption or definition. The assumptions must be proven; the definitions must be validated. They have not been.
I am able to speak as a professional scientist when I say that we search in vain for any evidence, acceptable under proper scientific standards, that homosexuality is a sickness or disorder, or that homosexuals per se are disturbed.
On the basis of a disguised moralistic judgment (sometimes not at all disguised, as with Dr. Cappon), mixed both with a teleological approach to sexual matters, and with a classification as sickness of any departure from conformity to the statistical societal norms (on this basis, Dr. Cappon seems to come close to defining left-handedness as sickness), homosexuality has been DEFINED as pathological. We have been defined into sickness.
In logic, the entire burden of proof in this matter rests with those who would call us sick. We do not have to prove health. They have not shouldered their burden or proof of sickness; therefore we are not sick. These are things which it is our duty to point out, and, having pointed them out, to take strong public positions on them.
Then there are those who say that the label appended really doesn't matter. Let the homosexual be defined as sick, they say, but just get it granted that even if sick, he can function effectively and should therefore be judged only on his Individual record and qualifications, and it is that state of being-judged-as-an-individual, regardless of labels, toward which we must work. This unfortunately is a woefully impractical, unrealistic, ivory-tower approach. Homosexuality is looked upon as a psychological question. If it is sickness or
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disease or illness, it becomes then a mental illness. Properly or improperly, people ARE prejudiced against the mentally ill. Rightly or wrongly, employers will NOT hire them. Morally or immorally, the mentally i11 are NOT judged as individuals, but are made pariahs. If we allow the label of sickness to stand, we will then have two battles to fight--that to combat prejudice against homosexuals per se, and that to combat prejudice against the mentally ill--and we will be pariahs and outcasts twice over. One such battle is quite enough!
Finally, as a matter of adopting a unified, coherent, self-consistent philosophy, we MUST argue from a positive position of health. We cannot declare our equality and ask for acceptance and for judgement as whole persons, from a position of sickness. More than that, we argue for our RIGHT to be homosexuals, to remain homosexuals, and to live as homosexuals. In my view and by my moral standards, such an argument is immoral if we are not prepared, at the same time, to take a positive position that homosexuality is not pathological. If homosexuality indeed IS a sickness, then we have no right to remain homosexuals; we have the moral obligation to seek cure, and that only.
When we tell the various arms of organized society that part of our basic position is the request for acceptance as homosexuals, freed from constant pressure for conversion to heterosexuality, we are met with the argument of sickness. This occurred recently at a meeting between Washington Mattachine members and eleven representatives of all three major faiths, at which we asked for such acceptance of the homosexual into the religious community. Our entire position, our entire raison d'etre for such meetings, falls to the ground unless we are prepared to couple our requests with an affirmative, definitive assertion of health--as we in Washington did in that instance.
I feel, therefore, that in the light of fact and logic, the question of sickness is a settled one and will remain so until and unless valid evidence can be brought forth to demonstrate pathology. Further, I feel that for purposes of strategy, we must say this and say it clearly and with no possible room for equivocation or ambiguity.
PART III: ON RESEARCH AND THE HOMOPHILE MOVEMENT
Movements tend to get themselves tied up with certain ideas and concepts, which in time assume the status of revealed and revered truth and cease being subjected to continuing,searching re-examination in the light of changed conditions. As an habitual skeptic, heretic, and iconoclast, I wish here to, examine critically if briefly the value and importance to the "homophile movement of research Into homosexuality, of our commitment to It, and of the role, if any, which such research should play in the movement and in the activities of the homophile organizations.
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I recognize that, with the deference granted to science in our culture, it is very respectable and self-reassuring and impressive to call one's group a research organization or to say that the group's purpose is research. However, at the outset one fact should be faced directly. For all their pledges of allegiance to the value of research, for all their designation of themselves as research organizations, for all their much-vaunted support and sponsorship of research, NO American homophile organization that I know of has thus far done any effective or meaningful research, has sponsored any research, has supported or participated in any truly significant research. (With the single exception of Dr. Evelyn Hooker's study, and while I grant that to be a major and important exception, the participation involved nothing more than supplying candidates for experimentation.) The homophile movement's loss from its failure to contribute to research has been not from that failure, but from the diversion into talking ("maundering" might be a better term) about research--diversion of effort, time, and energy better expended elsewhere.
For purposes of this discussion, we can divide the objectives of relevant research into two loosely delineated classes: research into the origins and causes of homosexuality, and research into collateral aspects of the homosexual and his life and his community.
Almost always, when the homosexual speaks of research on homosexuality, he means the former class in one aspect or another: "What is the nature of homosexuality?" "What are its caused?" "Why am I a homosexual?" "Is homosexuality a sickness?" "Can the homosexual be changed?" Objectionably, "How can homosexuality be prevented?" etc.
A consideration of the rationale behind the homosexual's interest in such questions will quickly show that they are symptomatic of a thinly-veiled defensive feeling of inferiority, of uncertainty, of inequality, of insecurity--and most important, of lack of comfortable self-acceptance.
I have never heard of a single instance of a heterosexual, whatever problems he may have been facing, inquiring about the nature and origins of heterosexuality, or asking why he was a heterosexual, or considering these matters important, I fail to see why we should make similar inquiry in regard to homosexuality or consider the answers to these questions as being of any great moment to us. The Negro is not engrossed in questions about the origins of his skin color, nor the Jew In questions of the possibility of his conversion to Christianity.
Such questions are of academic, intellectual, scientific interest, but they nor NOT--or ought not to be--burning ones for the homophile movement. Despite oft-made statements to the contrary, there is NO great need for research into homosexuality, and our movement is in no important way dependent upon such research or upon its findings.
If we start out--I do, on the basis presented in Part II above--with the premises (1) that the homosexual and his
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homosexuality are fully and unqualifiedly on par with, and the equal of, the heterosexual and his heterosexuality; and (2) (since others have raised the question) that homosexuality is not an illness--then all these questions recede into unimportance.
We start off with the fact of the homosexual and his homosexuality and his right to remain as he is, and proceed to do all that is possible to make for him--as a homosexual (similarly, in other contexts, as a Negro and as a Jew)--as happy a life, useful to self and to society, as is possible.
Research in these areas therefore is not, in any fundamental sense, particularly needed or particularly important. There is no driving or compelling urgency for us to concern ourselves with it. Those who do allege sickness have created THEIR need for THEIR research; let THEM do it.
In the collateral areas mentioned, well planned and executed research on carefully chosen projects can be of importance, particularly where it will serve to dispel modern folklore. Evelyn Hooker's research (referred to above) showing no difference outside their homosexuality itself, in its narrowest, denotive sense, between homosexuals and heterosexuals,is one case in point. A study in the Netherlands by a Dr. Tolsma, which showed that the seduction of young boys by homosexuals had no effect upon their adult sexual orientation, is another. The study now under way by the Mattachine Society of Washington to obtain the first meaningful information on the actual susceptibility of homosexuals to blackmail, will probably be a third.
These are all useful projects. Dr. Hooker's has turned out to be one of our major bulwarks against the barrage of propaganda currently being loosed against us by the agents of organized psychiatry. (However, as I pointed out above, this is a bulwark not needed, in strict logic.) I shall in fact probably be using the results of all three of these collateral research projects from time to time in my presentations of our case. But these studies are not of the vital importance which could properly lead many of our homophile groups to characterize themselves as, research organizations (only one of these projects actually involved a homophile organization to any significant degree) or to divert into research resources better expended elsewhere.
Research does not play the important role in our movement which much lip-service attributes to it. It plays a very useful and occasionally valuable supporting role, but not-more than that.
More important than the preceding, however, is the matter of this emphasis upon research, in terms of the evolution of our movement. In the earlier days of the modern homophile movement, allegiance to the alleged importance of research was reasonable. As the philosophy of the movement has formed, crystallized, and matured, and more important, as our society itself has changed--and it has changed enormously in the past
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fifteen years and even in the past two--the directions and emphases in our movement have changed too. As indicated in Part I of this article, the mainstream has shifted toward a more activist mode of operation.
Continued placing of primary or strong emphasis within our movement upon research will only result in the movement's loss of the lead which it is taking in the shaping, formation, and formulation of society's attitudes and policies toward homosexuality and the homosexual.
Thus, while as a scientist I will never derogate the value of research for its own sake in order to provide additional knowledge, as an active member of the homophile movement my position must be quite different. It is time for us to move away from the comfortingly detached respectability of research into the often less pleasant rough-and-tumble of political and social activism.
Faith and Fury
Members of Daughters of Bilitis's New York Chapter, along with members of the three other homophile groups comprising the E.C.H.O. affiliation, attended a lecture in Philadelphia on April 1 by Dr. Samuel B. Hadden, Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania Medical School.
Dr. Hadden is best known for his work in group-therapy treatment of male homosexuals. He recently came into the public eye when he attacked the homophile organizations in a talk he gave at an American Group Psychotherapy Association Meeting in San Francisco. Nationwide publicity was given Dr. Hadden's claim of success in "curing" homosexuals and his condemnation of the homophile groups' "propagandizing efforts" to convince society that homosexuality is an acceptable way of life which cannot be changed.
Dr. Hadden's Philadelphia lecture on April 1, 1965, was sponsored by the Janus Society of America.
According to Dr. Hadden, the homosexual is victim of a neurotic disorder which is in many cases treatable. He relates the disorder to early environmental situations, often created by a dominating mother-figure. In his group-therapy technique, the homosexual is brought into contact with other homosexuals who, according to Dr. Hadden, have seen some kind of light. During the sessions, those patients farther along in treatment try to convince the newer members of the group of the dissatisfactions --if not horrors--of life as a homosexual. Some attention is given to dress and mannerisms, in an effort to get the more effeminate homosexuals to conform to our culture's notion of masculinity.
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Dr. Hadden reported that 12 of his total of 32 homosexual patients are considered "cured," having changed to heterosexual orientation. When asked about follow-up in the 12 cases, Dr. Hadden said he keeps in close touch with discharged patients, and no backsliding has been reported. An audience member suggested that any regressions might be concealed by the men and that Dr. Hadden had no reliable way of checking up on them.
Dr. Hadden announced, as though it were a revelation of importance, that although many people say a homosexual cannot be recognized on sight, "I can always recognize a homosexual or a prostitute--if they want to be recognized."
He feels people who are arrested and forced to go to clinics for psychiatric treatment should be required to pay, so that they may attach more value to the assistance forced on them.
Early in his talk, Dr. Hadden made a tasteless analogy between homophile groups and Nazi or Ku Klux Klan groups--saying in effect that he realized his chances of impressing his audience were as slim as would be his chances of impressing a group of KKKers or Nazis. He later repeated this analogy several times to his partly homosexual audience.
Dr. Hadden made it plain he thinks homosexuals should not have security clearances. He also claimed that all the people who had defected to the Russians were homosexual--a point taken up repeatedly by appalled members of the audience.
He particularly riled his listeners by remarking that the only people bothered by police are those engaging in sexual acts publicly, and by suggesting that homosexuals' feelings of discrimination are exaggerated. An audience member won applause when he responded that those remarks sounded suspiciously like arguments we have been hearing for years from the segregationist South about the Negro. The respondent then pointed out that he personally had starved--literally, not as a figure of speech--as a result of the discrimination against homosexual employees by their own government. Dr. Hadden had no reply.
Dr. Franklin E. Kameny of the Mattachine Society of Washington put the following questions to the speaker: 1. Are not his patients particularly susceptible or prone--as demonstrated by their being his patients--to justify the changes he has wrought, and hence atypical of homosexuals as a whole? 2. He seems to have taken it as a premise or axiom that homosexuality is pathological. What scientifically meaningful proof or demonstration of such pathology does he have? Dr. Hadden did not reply to or touch on the first question. In answering the second, he spoke in terms of "I feel (that homosexuality is a sickness,etc.)...We believe...I consider...We think..." In the exchange of remarks, Dr. Kameny asked for a definition of pathology in this context and said that homosexuals have been defined into sickness. When Dr. Hadden's responses continued in terms of "I think" and "We feel," Dr. Kameny declared, "This is not science, Dr. Hadden; this is faith."
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The mid-April news report that Fidel Castro's government is going to crack down on Cuban homosexuals and send them to work camps, touched off picketing by homophile organizations at the White House in Washington and the United Nations in New York.
Mattachine Society of New York wanted to stage a protest at the Cuban mission to the United Nations, but police rules do not permit picketing closer than one-fifth of a mile, so arrangements were made to demonstrate at Hammarskjold Plaza at the U.N. itself. There, 29 persons picketed on Sunday, April 18. The protest was covered by a New York Times reporter.
The White House had been picketed before on behalf of homosexuals, by the same one person on two occasions about a year apart. But the official demonstration by Mattachine Society of Washington on Saturday, April 17, marked the first time for mass picketing at the White House by a homophile organization.
Since the U.S. does not have diplomatic relations with Cuba and there is no Cuban embassy in Washington, MSW decided to combine protest, in effect, and to picket at the White House in regard both to Cuba's campaign against homosexuals and to American homosexuals' grievances against their own government.
The MSW picketers, 7 men and 3 women, were given a choice spot directly in front of the White House for their hour-long demonstration late in the afternoon. Both city and White House police reportedly were courteous and helpful. Newspapers had been notified in advance. A WTOP-TV cameraman was on hand. The picketers' signs read as follows:
U.S. Claims No Second-Class Citizens. What About Homosexual Citizens?
Cuba's Government Persecutes Homosexuals. U.S. Government Beat Them to It.
We want: Federal Employment--Honorable Discharges--Security Clearances
Gov. Wallace Met with Negroes. Our Gov't Won't Meet with Us.
U. S., Cuba, Russia United in Persecuting Homosexuals
Employment for Homosexuals SI! Labor Camps NO!
Jews to Concentration Camps under Nazis; Homosexuals to Work Camps under Castro. Is the U.S. Much Better?
Members of the Mattachine Society of Washington Protest Cuba's Crackdown on Homosexuals
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Lesbiana by Gene Damon
303. OLD ACQUAINTANCE--by David Stacton. London, Faber, 1962; New York, Putnam, 1964.
This quiet story of the later years of two homosexuals who have long been good friends is pleasant reading. Charlie, a novelist, and Lotte, an actress, each accompanied by the friend of the moment, meet at a film festival. The two young ones have a change of heart and run off together, though this is not the point of the story. The dual viewpoints of Lotte and Charlie--shown in their conversations, asides, and interior monologues--make the book rewarding.
304. DAILY AND SUNDAY--by Richard Powell. Scribner's, 1965.
Rhoda Winthrop, one of the members of the Board of a metropolitan newspaper facing a management crisis, faces also a personal crisis in her discovery of lesbianism in herself. The handling is unconvincing, since Rhoda is portrayed as a forceful, talented, and mature woman, and her panic and subsequent childish actions on realizing that she loves another woman are simply unbelievable. A substantial portion of the novel is devoted to Rhoda and her personal life.
305. P.S. WILKINSON--by C.D.B. Bryan. Harper, 1965.
This year's Harper Prize Novel shows the insidious workings of our society toward the stamping out of individuality. The hero's rejection by the C.I.A. on grounds of homosexuality is a Kafka-like nightmare. One of P.S.'s few pleasant interludes covers his emotional relationship with a lesbian couple. Minor homosexual content in a timely and generally good novel.
306. NOT IN THE CALENDAR--by Margaret Kennedy. Macmillan, 1964.
Since the family-chronicle novel, rich in characterization and plot, has all but disappeared from contemporary writing, it is gratifying to find this panorama of the well-to-do Knevett family from Queen Victoria's day to 1938. Caroline Knevett, the leading protagonist in an "aunt heap" of relatives, has a strong lifelong attachment to a deaf-mute girl, Wyn Harper, who becomes a famous artist. But it's Caroline's sister Alice (Lallie) who will most interest Lesbiana fans. Lallie, an invalid with a weak heart, is shunted about, unwanted, from relative to relative until her fortuitous meeting with handicraft teacher Martha Lecky. Martha literally kidnaps Lallie and moves her into a cottage in the country, where they do good works and collect pets and become known as "The Ladies of Owls Head" (in honor of the Ladies of Llangollen), Recommended.
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307. SISTER IMELDA--by Edna O'Brien. S.s. in WINTER'S TALES NO.9, edited by Maclean. St. Martin's Press, 1963.
In her last year of convent school, the 16-year-old narrator falls in love with Sister Imelda, a youthful, beautiful nun. Bittersweet reminiscence of the gaudeamus-igitur variety.
I HATE MEN
A Diversion by a Male Transvestite
FOREWORD: In a lesbian magazine, the title "I Hate Men" doesn't sound half as exciting as "I Hate Women." But this article reflects the views of someone who, though born with a male body, has always felt the vivid intensity of what he calls "the girl-within." In other words, the author(ess) is a male transvestite, who also happens to be the contributing editor of TRANSVESTIA, a magazine which is to the TV (short for transvestite, and especially useful in conversation when there are "outsiders" present) what THE LADDER is to the lesbian. The name of the "girl-within" is Susanna Valenti. She was deeply impressed by the thundering condemnation of the "woman image" of our times set forth under the title "I Hate Women" in THE LADDER's February/March issue. Susanna believes that society's man image" also deserves indictment. So here is Susanna's reaction to "I Hate Women."
I've always felt a sense of unfairness in the way society is arranged. The world of women has been to me as much mine as it is theirs. All the time I was a little "girl" I inwardly gnashed my teeth when I was denied the supreme joy of playing with dolls, as I was dying to do, or worse still, when I saw my sister bedecked in dresses I would have given half my life to wear. My poor parents, however, only saw me as their boy. How could they know there was a girl within me? So they kept giving me the kinds of clothes and toys society demands be given to all little boys. My parents had to follow the formula, and therefore I was made to follow it too.
There is a set pattern for men to be fitted into, and woe to those who do not want or are not able to conform. One of the theories that tries to explain transvestism is based on this society-made mold into which all male children must be poured. By pushing males into the Masculine Role, society is actually sentencing to oblivion a good percentage of each individual's personality.
From the beginning a little boy is taught that boys do not, cry, that to do so is unworthy of their maleness--even if the
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poor brat is dying to have a good cry! He mustn't be timid. He mustn't be tender. He mustn't be fond of pretty things. He isn't supposed to use sissy words like "lovely." If he should feel like running away from a fight, his father will probably upbraid him and insist he give the other "little ruffian" a good scrap. Physically I've always been a coward; a fight scares the devil out of me and I'd much rather run away. But this is "unmanly"--so I am quite out of the pattern so nicely set for me. I often wonder what would happen if everybody in the world were bold and fearless and endowed with a conquering spirit. Who would then be the conquered? After all, there is a lot of fun in being conquered.
But the average man is forever worrying about conforming to the rigid ideal which demands that he be Arrowed, Stetsoned, grey-suited and brown-slippered and that he definitely go into ruptures whenever he hears talk of hunting, fishing, mechanics or carpentry. If he doesn't like these things, it's immediately assumed there's something wrong with his masculinity. He may be accused of Rejecting the Masculine Role--which is a much more terrible crime than adultery, alcoholism, gambling, or renting a car that doesn't come from Hertz. (Here I am unashamedly paraphrasing the author of "I Hate Women.")
The ideal image of man we have been brainwashed to accept is that husband in the ads, deliriously happy over a can of beer while he experiences untold thrills over his new portable electric saw/can opener/shaver combination. Just the thing for his workshop downstairs where he simply must spend every Saturday of his life. This is the manly image every male is supposed to squeeze himself Into, whether he fits it or not. Woe unto the man who should show interest in sewing or ironing or wearing lipstick around the house, or who admits a desire for a smooth, silky, soft life. We have created a definition or what men should be like, and If they're not like that, then there's something wrong with the man, not with the definition.
So far I've been coasting along with the "unreconstructed feminist" who wrote "I Hate Women." But the time has come to do a bit of scratching and hair-pulling. You see, I don't use my fists for fighting as a "man" should! Let me tighten my girdle a bit, and here we go.
Our author claims that, the women of today are an oppressed minority and that the oppressors are the men: woman is slave, man is master. This author despises women because "They're so easily sold this cheap bill of goods and don't fight for their rights against the exploiter." Come on, honey! Who told you women are slaves today? Women run the world and you know it! Their acceptance of the mold which you say men have forced them into, is only strategy, marvelous feminine strategy. You yourself admit that a woman with any amount of brains has more brains than a man. It is woman who, in order to rule, has convinced man that his ideal of femininity is the right one.
It makes me, as a TV, indignant to see the fabulous amount of freedom a girl (born a girl) enjoys in our present society. Let's take the matter of dress--the subject dearest to the
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heart of the TV. If a girl wants to wear pants, who is going to stop her from doing so? She can walk on Fifth Avenue wearing a man's shirt, slacks, socks and loafers, and nobody will say boo. But let a man walk to the corner store wearing a print blouse and a skirt--and you'll see pandemonium! Men must conform to the "definition," remember?
So how can I, born a male, satisfy this craving of the "girl-- within" me? I must resort to all the props of the female impersonator. These include a wig (a good one, of course) and everything down to nylons and garter belt. Now, if my beard should be heavy and dark--which it is--I must shave so close that you can see through to the other side of my face and then I must use liberal amounts of make-up. Trouble is, on a sunshiny day the darned shadow still shows through the make-up. So I have to resort to plucking my entire face--something I doubt most women readers of THE LADDER (with a few exceptions, of course) have ever had any need to do. This plucking is painful, believe me. And since I'm a physical coward,as I said before, you can guess how overwhelmingly strong the need to express my femininity must be, to make me stand that kind of torture. But I've done it and--no shaving, and no shadow! I do feel Ivory Snowed, and I love it!
No, my dear "unreconstructed feminist," women have all the breaks. How many times has a woman solved an important problem just by putting on a good cry? The brainless one (man) swallows the beautiful act and gives in. By acting helpless, a woman can always get an idiot to do the work for her. Women are actually using men to make women's lives easier and softer. Woman today makes all the important decisions that affect a man's life. And I have a sneaking suspicion that it's woman who has invented today's Masculine Role. She is the one who insists on man's fitting a pattern which she herself has concocted with devilish cleverness. She has decreed that he must stay within the rigid frame of that mold, while she keeps for herself all the freedom she wants in life.
I am positive that if Science continues to advance as it is doing now, one day a woman biochemist and geneticist will discover the formula whereby it will be man, not woman, who will conceive and bear children. If that should come to pass, I am sure we would never have to worry about a population explosion --for I doubt whether many men would want to become mothers. The only exception (perhaps) might be the transvestite. Nobody, as far as I know, has made comparative studies of pain. I wonder if plucking your beard hurts more, or less, than having a baby.
So as a TV, I hate men for being so stupid and allowing themselves to be kept within the bondages of the Masculine Ideal. The transvestites are the only ones who are rebelling against this artificial definition of what man is and wants, and we feel proud of being able to show the world an honest inner self--who adores frills, loves to walk on high heels, and is happy to sign an article like this with her real "real" name
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DAUGHTERS of BILITIS
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.
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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.
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|New York Chapter:||
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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.
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MEXICAN SAYS "SI!"
TO THE LADDER
A subscriber recently sent copies of THE LADDER to friends of hers, a heterosexual couple doing sabbatical-leave studies at the University of Mexico. Here's what the wife wrote back to our subscriber:
"We got all the issues of THE LADDER you sent, and they made the rounds at the University here. One day, a student who was entirely unknown to me came up and said, 'That's a terrific little magazine your husband brought in. I'm gaining a great deal of respect for those women!' I was sitting at a table in a group of other students, so of course off we were on a discussion of the homosexual in society."
You too can put THE LADDER to work by sharing your copies! Stop to think of ways in which you might share this unique magazine. Of course, friends straight or gay who take an interest in current social issues will find THE LADDER an eye-opener. But there are many other possibilities.
For example, you might send copies to a clergyman, teacher, lawyer, physician, or school counselor.
Or mail a few copies to the editor of your newspaper or to your favorite columnist.
A prime place to send back issues of THE LADDER is a library. A college or university library; your main public library; a religious, legal or medical library--all may benefit from having issues of THE LADDER on their shelves and listed in their card catalogs under what is in many libraries a neglected subject: Homosexuality.
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