News and Views
February 1966 • Vol. 1 No. 5
Originally published in the February 1966 issue of Tangents
NEW YORK — Good Housekeeping calls itself “The Magazine America Lives By.” It is to be hoped this is only a slogan, for the lead article in January, “Our Son Was Different,” can cause a lot of trouble.
Its subject is homosexuality. The authority it cites most often is Dr. Irving Bieber. It contains such statements as “homosexuality is an illness that can be successfully treated” and “faulty parent-child relationships…are the main cause of homosexuality”—assertations [sic] without basis in fact and which informed opinion now largely discredits [see “Science Looks at Homosexuality” in the August issue of this magazine]. Quoted in the Good Housekeeping article is Dr. O. Spurgeon English, Temple University Medical School psychiatrist:
When people are homosexual there is a tendency for them to be immature in their reactions, easily depressed and discouraged, frequently frustrated…and quite frequently suicides.
There is no statistical basis for the assertion that homosexuals are more prone to depression than heterosexuals, and none whatever for the statement that homosexuals are necessarily more suicidal than anyone else [see “Suicide and the Homosexual” in this magazine, May 1965]. We deplore writer Lester David’s failure to consult a wider group of experts on his subject. We are sorry for the children of parents who read and believe this article.
A new, digest-size magazine, Companion, printed in its January issue an article titled “The Hidden Homosexual,” aimed at frightening young women with the question, “Will you marry one?” and giving a lurid picture of the future they can expect if they do so. Authority most cited in this one? Dr. Edmund Bergler. Classic quote: “The girl who has been seduced by an experienced lesbian rarely, if ever, returns to the arms of a man…”
While Companion’s circulation is doubtless only a fraction of that of Good Housekeeping, that of Tangents is even smaller. This is a sobering note for the beginning of 1966. There is so much ignorant hostility to combat. When will U.S. homosexuals finally throw their support to the handful of men and women speaking and fighting for them?
TALLAHASSEE, FLA. — Even the ugliest of rumors sometimes turn out to be true. For months gossip had it that the police were paying college students to entrap homosexuals. It seemed too bizarre to believe. But in Florida police methods have been in recent years nothing if not grotesque. And finally even college authorities heard the rumors and lodged protests.
“As great as the need may be to expose sexual deviates, the procedure of involving college students in the process seems altogether wrong,” said Dr. Harry Day, Dean of Students. “It is hoped this practice will not be continued.”
Police Chief Frank Stoutamire and Assistant Chief Robert Maige confirmed reports that students are paid $10 each for part-time work as informers against sex offenders, provided conviction results. The students work in teams of two and three members each. Their main beat is the bus station.
State Governor Haydon Burns said he could not condone use of college students as informers in morals cases, and Chester Ferguson, chairman of the University Board of Regents, protested lamely that students should not be hired for police work “without prior knowledge and approval of University authorities.”
Captain Maige said the student informers are “carefully screened” before hiring and that in no case was a student under 20 used. Most are 21 or over, “mature, sound, trustworthy youths.”
If this is how “mature, sound, trustworthy” youths choose to earn pocket money in Tallahassee, one wonders how the delinquents there manage.
LONDON — For what it is worth, we conscientiously report on two recent studies by Eva Bene, published in the British Journal of Psychiatry—one titled “On the Genesis of Male Homosexuality: an Attempt at Clarifying the Role of the Parents,” and the other “On the Genesis of Female Homosexuality.”
“The results of [comparing 83 homosexuals and 84 married men] give the added support to studies according to which the lack of good relationship between sons and fathers foster the development of homosexuality,” writes Dr. Bene. However, she admits that some of her control group “might not have been exclusively heterosexual.” But “homosexual tendencies among the married men would not invalidate the results,” she insists, “as they would tend to reduce rather than enhance the differences found between the two groups.”
In such case, might they not tend completely to randomize the results? We believe a trained statistician would think so. Nor does the paper on the female homosexual show any firmer grasp of scientific procedure. Here the sample of lesbians was 37 and the control group 80 married women—and there is no comment as to how many of these “might not have been exclusively heterosexual.” They were drawn from “panels of companies engaged in market research.” In any case, Dr. Bene concludes that
female homosexuality tends to be connected with unsatisfactory relations between the girl and her weak and incompetent father… The results also point towards a relationship between the parents’ wish for a son and the homosexuality of their daughter.
We wonder often at the kind of mentality that can devote itself year after year, decade after decade, to “proving” the same theories by using the same outworn approaches, and never see the absurdity of it all.
NEW YORK — Reporting on the Harlem Negro theatre project run by poet-playwright Le Roi Jones with Federal anti-poverty money, Associated Press said:
All the productions seethe with rage against “Whitey,” an all-inclusive term for whites, who are usually portrayed as homosexuals…”
Negroes like Jones seem to take perverse delight in alienating every potential friend. Luckily for his people, most whites (including homosexuals) have the good sense to realize he is not a representative spokesman.
LONDON — Maximillian Schell, star of John Osborne’s controversial A Patriot For Me, that shows among sights “half-naked men embracing on stage” and whose second act Status magazine describes as “a pastiche of high camp, high heels, powdered wigs, lipstick mouths and limp wrists”—asked why be took the lead role, answered:
I’m an actor. I’d play a Negro nun if it were a decent part. In Judgement at Nuremberg I played a man who defended Nazis, and they gave me an Academy Award, and you know the movie industry is loaded with Jews. They didn’t call me a Negro because I played Othello. But just play a homosexual and you’ve bad it…
Why the hell shouldn’t a man embrace another man on stage? Isn’t the theatre supposed to portray life the way it really is? We’re supposed to be living in an advanced age, yet if one were to believe today’s plays and films, one would suppose all prostitutes have hearts of gold and homosexuals are dirty old men who bang out in Greyhound bus stations. The trouble with the London critics is that some of them are homosexuals themselves. They just couldn’t take it. It’s the first time they’ve come face to face with it, and the intimacy of the scenes ceased to be a theatrical expression for them. They went away buckling at the knees and hating Osborne for what be had exposed…
LOS ANGELES — Supervisor Warren Dorn announced in December that more than 52,000 petitions are now being circulated throughout California for an initiative Constitutional amendment which would return to cities and counties the authority to pass stricter laws governing morals offenses. So reports the L.A. Examiner. The laws Dorn is referring to affect prostitution and “criminal aspects of sexual activity,” which includes homosexuality. A number of efforts to get such legislation passed have failed recently in the California legislature (see Tangents July 1965) — but it appears the blue-noses, though a tiny minority, will never give up trying to tell the rest of us how to run our sex lives.
TOPEKA, KANSAS — the other 49 states may be content to let the movies corrupt them, but not Kansas—no, sir. It bas a State Review Board. And Attorney General Robert C. Londerholm has decided to establish the State’s right to review all movies “for possible obscenity” before allowing the public of Kansas to see them. Is be talking about those sexy French and Italian flicks? Not at all. The products under his magnifying glass are to be those of dear old Columbia Pictures Corp.
NEW YORK — A strong series of articles titled “Our Penal Code” by Joseph Kahn, ran in December in the Daily Magazine Section of the New York Post. Part 4 discussed homosexuality fairly and reasonably and contained a vigorous attack on police entrapment methods. It quoted Dick Leitsch of the New York Mattachine Society:
Hundreds of plain clothes men do nothing but prey on homosexuals. There are robberies and muggings every night. Where are the cops? They’re up on Central Park West and Riverside Drive cruising around looking to nab some lonely creature who isn’t hurting a living soul.
NEW YORK — Troubles began for ABC-TV’s Batman before he even appeared on the picture tubes of the sub-adolescents.
“Bruce Wayne,” reported Newsweek, “has never had a girl friend, and because he lives with Robin, some social pundits have suggested the comic had homosexual overtones. ‘To forestall any of that,’ says producer William Dozier, ‘we have put Aunt Harriet into his house, and she watches everything.’” Closely?
CHICAGO — C. B. De Loach, F.B.I. Director J. Edgar Hoover’s right hand man, lumps those who practice civil disobedience in protest against social ills, “with racketeers, narcotics peddlers, and other criminals.” In a speech to the American Farm Bureau Federation, De Loach attacked “the lawless demonstrators, the draft-card burners, the raucous exalter of the four-letter word…the arrogant nonconformists.” We hope by the latter he means homosexuals. It is a pleasure to upset the Gestapo.
LOS ANGELES— House Organ Two, “a forum for the discussion of half-baked ideas and anything else related to the drive to legalize abortion,” has been issued in Los Angeles. This is but part of a nation-wide drive to eliminate the laws of most states against abortion, laws fully as cruel and unhealthy and unrealistic as those against homosexuality. Legalize Abortion, as the Los Angeles group calls itself, is distributing reprints of an impressive article by Lawrence Lader, published last year in the New York Times Magazine, titled “The Scandal of Abortion Laws.” Tangents welcomes this effort to bring into open discussion another sexual subject long taboo. We feel that not only will much personal misery, sickness, even death be aleviated [sic] by reform of the laws against abortion, but a more rational approach to the validity of sexual expression as a need quite apart from procreation is bound to result. Homosexuals must benefit from this.
SAN DIEGO— Mrs. Geri Turner Davis won a prize last May with her play A Cat Named Jesus, but it began to look as if, because of protests against the “sacrilegious” nature of the title and the “controversial” content of the play, involving a young Negro prisoner and the white daughter of the Southern sheriff who has locked him up, that Mrs. Davis might lose her High School teaching credential. The State Credentials Committee launched an investigation as a result of 54 complaints “from parents and citizens,” reported Dr. Max Rafferty, State Superintendent of Schools. The President of the State Board of Education, Thomas Braden, termed such an investigation “ridiculous and incredible.” Mrs. Davis has decided to defend her right to teach before the State Credentials Committee in Sacramento, Jan. 18.
WATSONVILLE, CALIF. — Police didn’t like the look of five photographs of nude men and women by Walter Chappell, displayed in the window of the Hip Pocket Book Store, and hauled booksellers Peter Demma, 28, and Ronald Bevirth, 26, into court. “I think it’s shameful photography,” Police Captain Dick Overton testified. “I wouldn’t permit it in my house.” But Santa Cruz art teacher John Duarte called the pictures “an artistic attempt and a fairly good one,” and Judge Harry Brauer dismissed the charges.
BERKELEY — Response to the series on homosexuality on the campus (see Tangents News, January) may have contained protests, but the letters column of the Daily Californian reflects overwhelming acceptance of the articles’ vitality if not of their journalistic level. The December 8 letters column of the paper was devoted to missives from anonymous homosexual campus men and women protesting that only the irresponsible and pathic [sic] side of homosexuality was shown, with no effort to present the real problems of the self-respecting and socially able homosexual. The same issue of the Californian carried an editorial beginning, “A homosexual shouldn’t have to hide,” that is commendable for discrediting the homosexual stereotype and demanding law reform, but which erred when it alleged the Wolfenden recommendations were made law in England. Alas, they were not, and the next day the Californian printed a correction.
REIDSVILLE, GA. — Separate facilities to house homosexuals at the prison here are being asked for, along with a pair of horses to facilitate patrolling the enormous grounds, a milk pasteurization plant, two corn-picking machines, new uniforms for the guards, and the hiring of a psychologist. In order of importance, we assume ?
© 1966, 2016 by The Tangent Group. All rights reserved.