Monday, May 29th, 2023

Regarding John D’Emilio’s Lost Prophet

Billy Glover

April 11, 2008.

It’s sort of like the old days with Don Slater, but Paul Harris, Ron Tate, and I are talking about various issues of homosexuality, starting even with the definition—Kinsey versus…?

Don of course, like Kinsey, said it is an act. I agree. But it is complicated by people like me, who have no sex, even for 20 years, but we are still homosexual.

And some people have a homosexual act but are not homosexual. That is why I think I’ve said the person is homosexual if he or she has even the slightest number of acts over 50% of the time with someone of the same sex, by choice, or would have, if they could. (I think it has been said that if you even dream of a homosexual act, that also is an indication.)

Lost Prophet
Lost Prophet: The Life and Times of Bayard Rustin, by John D’Emilio

But what is still on my mind is the current discussion on the black civil rights movement, the core people mainly, brought on by the 40th anniversary of Dr. King’s death and my finding John D’Emilio’s book on Bayard Rustin, Lost Prophet: The Life and Times of Bayard Rustin, telling of how hard life was for him being black, trying to travel around the nation promoting pacifism — not even sexual or racial issues.

And how many “liberals,” black and white, refused to help the movement people for fear of themselves being hurt. And then how some black ministers seemed to be jealous of Dr. King et al. getting too much power and publicity.

And how some movement people had trouble “confusing” the public by trying to take on more than one issue—Bayard Rustin was first into Communist Party work because it seemed to be supportive of helping the blacks and trying to fight the American government. And the Party’s secret support of England, etc., against Germany, which then changed when Germany invaded Russia saying it didn’t want to “undermine” the Americans since they would be helping Russia fight Germany, so they no longer supported the black civil rights cause.

Both Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert last night covered this issue, a hot topic now because of Obama and his preacher. Jon had coverage of black speakers pointing out how the media and historians, and people with motives/agendas, have tried to “Santa Claus” Dr. King and subtract from the truth, that he did not always get support and many people didn’t like him. He was not a saint, and he said America was bad towards blacks and talked against the Vietnam war, etc. They said this does not make him un-American, that patriotism is not in just saying America is perfect but in striving to make America more perfect.

And it seems to me this is the same thing for women’s rights, our rights, etc. We acknowledge the great progress made, and each generation builds on what it receives and adds to, builds on that work, so that future generations will have an even better life.


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  1. Frank Kameny

    NO. It is NOT acts—behavior. It is entirely a matter of orientation—desires and inclinations.

    The celibate Catholic priest, true to his vows, who never in his life has had ANY sexual activity nor is ever going to, but is conscious of his attraction to women, or men, as the case may be, is not one whit less a heterosexual or a homosexual than his sexually-active parishioner who (if heterosexual) may have parented a dozen children.

    And with respect the closeted gays—once the universal condition—the nature of the actual activity tells us nothing about the orientation.

    So, no, it is not a matter of acts. It is a matter of desire—orientation.

  2. Frank Kameny

    Of course behavior and acts are the same and I was using them interchangeably in responding to the opening of your email. My point is that engaging or not engaging in any particular acts or behavior does not define whether or not one is a homosexual or a heterosexual.

    It is all a matter of orientation which is solely a matter of mind, thought, emotion, and desire. It is completely in the brain, whether of not it moves into acts and behavior (aside perhaps, from masturbation and accompanied by fantasies, which might step over into the area of the definitive).

  3. Billy Glover

    I think we agree.

    I was in a hurry to get ready to start a trip with Ron Tate and Paul Harris from here (San Antonio) to visit Tony R. in the house he and Don Slater bought in the early ’70s (I think) in the Four Corners area, in Dolores CO, where Tony moved permanently when Don died in 97. He looked good for the mid ’70s I am sure he is, and had fixed up the stucco house which Don had refused to do as he-I’m sure you will recognize this aspect of Don- said this was their “retreat” and he didn’t want any thing special. So, he refused to have a phone, to get heat—the old coal furnace worked off and on. I bought an electric furnace-to show how times change—from Montgomery Ward in Durango and he never got it installed, and a year later the basement was flooded so that ended that.

    So, back to point, I saw later that I had said that about behavior and action and should have said something else. But after a thousand mile trip, it seems not that important now.

    It does seem “interesting” today now that I’m “back in the world” and hearing the media, that the two main subjects are sex, we in fact drove through San Angelo TX at the time the hearing was being held on the polygamists having sex with young girls and the Pope talking about priests having sex with young people.

    And to push the nonsense of the media’s priorities, one station actually stopped coverage of the news of the earthquake to say the Pope was landing in New York.

    My thoughts about life are the strange ways people and things seem to go. Who would have thought that Tony would end up seemingly happy and gay in a small town in SW CO after being in what I think of as the momentous movement to change people’s thinking about sex.

    As I think I/we have pointed out in our history at ONE/Tangents/HIC, Don and I would not have been able to work in the office, and Dorr too, if we had not had personal support, Tony dancing on Olvera Street and working to make it able for them to buy the two houses and put money in the organization in its various forms, and my family paying for my expenses and Melvin Cain working while we were working in the office. This is why I admire your work so much as you had to fight the personal issue on your own. (Not that I’m forgetting the later support of Barbara Gittings, Jack Nichols and Lige, and Mattachine people, etc. but that didn’t help your personal problems and costs.)

    So I hope I’m right that we are now enjoying a little of the results of the movement we participated in, one that will make life a lot better for young homosexuals coming after us.

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