News and Views
May 1966 • Vol. 1 No. 8
Originally published in the May 1966 issue of Tangents
LONDON—Confusion is rampant in America concerning the legal status of homosexual acts in England. The London Daily Mirror clarifies the question in its May 11 issue. The House of Lords on May 10 voted 70-29 to make homosexual practices between consenting adults legal and to give Lord Arran’s bill a necessary second reading. A similar bill passed through the Lords last year and also won the promise of a second reading in the House of Commons, but was “lost” because of the General Elections. Thus, voting procedures have had to be inaugurated again under the new Labor Government.
Lord Arran, who has campaigned with tenacity and compassion for a change in the law, said: “It is estimated that there are between half a million and a million men in this country who practice homosexuality. Some are sad, some are ridiculous, some morally evil, but to the law they are all criminal.” He pointed out that his bill simply asked that adult men should not be labeled criminals because they were as they were; and that if they found others of like nature, they should not be branded by the law.
Lord Kilmuir, who led the minority of peers in bitter opposition, said: “Imagine the disciplined services, imagine the police, the fire service, or the Merchant Navy, if it is known that officers are sleeping together and committing sodomy! What possible respect can they have from other ranks who look to them for guidance?”
Backing the bill, the Bishop of St. Albans, Dr. Edward Jones, stated that most Christians “regard the homosexual act as morally wrong,” but reform is needed to see that homosexuals are “reasonably and justly treated.”
ATHENS—Because there is now a surplus of women in Greece, the Greek man of today is apt to relate the value of a woman he might choose as his wife to the size of her dowry. The accepted minimum for a dowry nowadays has become the price of an apartment or a plot of land. Since 1956, a dowry fund, run under the auspices of the Greek Sovereigns, has been distributing “dowry savings deposit books” to needy girls. Statistics show that each year about 71,000 Greek men, mostly between the ages of 25 and 34, get married. Other figures indicate the men are less inclined to get married, and divorce is on the increase. Both factors are attributed by sociologists to changing moral values in modern life.
MELBOURNE—American business is expanding across the Pacific to Australia. The Aussie Police Vice Squad is cooperating with American police in efforts to locate an organization to sell obscene literature to Melbourne people through the mail. The leaflets advertise books dealing with sexual sadism and homosexuality. Detective-Sergeant J. Whitehead said: “They are all sick books and anyone who innocently (sic) writes away for them will get a terrible shock, as they deal freely with perversion and contain full illustrations and photographs.”
VIRGINIA CITY, NEV.—Bon vivant Lucius Beebe, chronicler of cafe society, left the bulk of his estimated $2 million estate to his friend Charles Clegg, with a $15,000 trust fund for T-Bone Towser II, a huge St. Bernard, so that the dog can be “maintained in comfort for the remainder of his natural life.” The will was filed in Nevada since Beebe maintained his legal residence in Virginia City, admittedly because Nevada has no state income or inheritance tax. Beebe, 63, died Feb. 4, in his Hillsborough, Calif, home.
COLORADO—Our friend who marked “Men” in the “I like” column of a questionnaire from one of those computer companies that promises the “selection and meeting of a new life-long friend in a safe, dignified and strictly confidential manner” finally got some action. To his surprise, he received a long distance call from the corporation to set up an appointment with one of its representatives. Upon keeping the appointment, however, it was discovered that the corporation had “slipped up,” and could not be of assistance. The representative explained that their specialty is marrying off—heterosexually, that is.
BERKELEY, CALIF.—Now it has been documented that bachelors are not so gay. A study by psychiatrist Genevieve Knupfer and associates of the Mental Research Institute in Berkeley shows that the single man is more likely to be dissatisfied and out-of-step with the world around him than his married brother. The bachelor is nearly three times as likely to report that he is unhappy as the single girl, and four times as likely to dislike his job. Single men, more than other adults, were unsure as to whether their parents had loved them, and had resented their parents’ authority over them. Single women, on the other hand, enjoyed the happiest childhood—happier than persons who married and happier than men who remained single. The study notes cuttingly that since most women are eager to get married, those men who escape are more likely to be rejects.
PALO ALTO—“Recent investigations have revealed…that sexual differentiation…cannot be explained solely in terms of hormones. There is not considerable evidence that the brain is also involved.”
So reports Seymour Levine of Stanford University, in the April Scientific American. He continues: “There are distinct differences between the male brain and the female brain in a mammal, differences that determine not only sexual activity but also certain other forms of behavior.” Research work by Dr. Levine and others at the University of Kansas and at Stanford shows that “the brain of a mammal [is] essentially female until a certain stage of development”—in the laboratory rat shortly after birth, but in more complex animals before birth. “If testosterone [is] absent at this stage the brain [will] remain female; if testosterone [is] present, the brain will develop male characteristics.”
Scientists were able to determine male or female behavior patterns in experimental animals by the withholding or injecting of testosterone at the critical development moment, whatever the actual physiological sex might be.
Concludes Dr. Levine: “Human homosexual behavior undoubtedly involves many psychological factors that do not apply to the lower animals but it may also depend in a fundamental sense on what the hormonal makeup of the individual happens to he during the development of the nervous system.”
LAS VEGAS, NEV.—Columnist Paul Price in the Las Vegas Sun says he hesitates “to curl anybody’s hair,” but is all upset about hairdressers on the Strip. He complains that the town is infested with homosexuals, female impersonators and “wild or immoral characters who are getting to be a little too obvious. They screech themselves into tantrums, toss combs and hurl four letter words with abandon.” He admits they represent only a minor segment of male hairdressers, but thinks it’s a damaging segment to Las Vegas visitors. Besides, he thinks some of them are working without licenses. Price ends his comments with: “Scratch my eyes out over that one, dearie.”
SAN FRANCISCO—Two sailors, both age 19, from the aircraft carrier Hornet, drydocked in Long Beach, Calif., reports the San Francisco Chronicle, April 1, have been arrested for the slaying of a merchant ship’s purser, age 37. Inspector Rudolph Seimssen of the San Mateo county sheriff’s office said both men gave statements admitting the murder—committed after the purser allegedly had made an homosexual advance. The sailors said they met the purser in the San Francisco Tenderloin district. The purser drove them to the Twin Peaks area where the dispute developed over the alleged homosexual overtures. The sailors took upward of $60 from the purser, drove down the coast and dumped the body over sheer Devil’s Slide, where it was spotted by a truck driver the next morning. Discovery of the purser’s sports car near Long Beach led to the break in the case.
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Columnist Fulton Lewis, Jr. took a slap at the anti-poverty program by relating a titillating tale from Camp Atterbury, Indiana. It seems an attractive young woman recently hailed a cab in Brazil, Ind., and asked the driver to take her to nearby Terre Haute. There she pulled from her purse a small pistol, ordered the driver to disrobe, shoved him naked into the street and drove off. A description of the stolen vehicle was flashed, Indiana State troopers gave chase and arrested the driver. The woman was immaculately groomed, her hair teased, her lip- stick and fingernail polish the perfect shade. She wore a fashionable shift. However, she turned out to be a 17-year-old youth, a runaway from the Camp Atterbury Job Corps Center. Fulton, Jr. reports that Rep. John Ashbrook, R-Ohio, is shocked. “Are standards so low that flagrant homosexuals and transvestites are signed up as Job Corps members?” Ashbrook will demand answers from the anti-poverty boss, R. Sargent Shriver. The Ohio lawmaker notes Camp Atterbury corpsmen have been involved before in morals cases.
The U.S. Supreme Court recently made one of its oddest obscenity decisions regarding nude photographs sent through the mails. Time, June 3, reports that in 1964 a Nashville, Tenn. married couple answered a magazine ad for a North Carolina correspondence club called “Identification” that appealed to “broad-minded persons.” The club’s services included developing films of members and introducing like-minded members. The Redmonds photographed each other, took shots of their genitalia, sent the films to the club, and got back their prints and negatives. U.S. postal authorities raided the club and arrested the Redmonds for having tainted the mails. Found guilty, the husband was sentenced to nine months in prison, the wife to six. A U.S. appeals court upheld their convictions. The Redmonds appealed to the Supreme Court on the grounds that “receipt of obscenity for personal use has never been labeled a crime.” The Comstock Statute, argued their lawyers, was “directed solely at those engaged in the dissemination of obscenity to others.” Since private recipients “obviously outnumber disseminators many times over,” this would involve the Government in enormous enforcement problems. The Justice Department stepped in and agreed that since the Redmonds were not repeated offenders, their convictions should be reversed “in the interests of justice.” The Supreme Court reversed the convictions in a brief, unsigned order. In a curt note, five Justices added that they “would reverse this conviction, not because it violates the policy of the Justice Department, but because it violates the Constitution.”
NEW YORK—In answer to a question, Parade, the Sunday Newspaper Magazine, says that Soviet agents reportedly have forged J. Edgar Hoover’s signature on a letter purporting to link him with former White House aide Walter Jenkins who resigned after being arrested on a morals charge.
In another issue of Parade, someone asks why Somerset Maugham decided to leave England in 1928 and move to France. The editor explains that Maugham’s American secretary, Gerald Haxton, had been arrested in London on a charge of gross indecency. Haxton was declared an undesirable alien and banned from England for life. It was then that Maugham bought the Villa Mauresque on Cap Ferrat where Haxton lived with him for years. Maugham’s wife, Syrie, found out about the relationship and divorced him. Haxton died in New York in 1944. The late Maugham’s villa is up for sale for $1,175,000.
Two New York psychologists. Dr. Ralph E. Gundlach and Dr. Bernard F. Reiss, are conducting the first large-scale study of female homosexuals at the Postgraduate Center for Mental Health. The doctors have found that female homosexual backgrounds are similar to those of other women and are lacking in the kind of pathological family situations often found in studies of homosexual men. The psychologists said they had found no evidence that lesbians came from homes that reflect “mirror images” of the dominant mother-withdrawn father pattern identified in the background of many male homosexuals. Among the women’s answers to hundreds of questions only three distinguished between the lesbian and heterosexual groups. Twelve per cent of the lesbians, compared with 27 per cent of the heterosexual women re- ported that father made the family decisions. Twelve per cent lesbians versus 24 percent of the others said they had spent a great deal of time with their mothers. Thirty-five per cent lesbians compared with 4 per cent heterosexual women expressed fear of or aversion to the sexual organs of men. In an earlier study of males, 34 per cent of the nonhomosexual men were reported to have an aversion to the female genital organs, while 71 per cent of the homosexual men said they shared this aversion. The 226 lesbians who participated in the study were recruited with the cooperation of The Daughters of Bilitis.
Los ANGELES—In nearby Downey recently, Attorney Kenneth Golden, defending five persons charged with outraging the public decency, turned the tables in Municipal Court by bringing in two Playboy magazines, “taken from the public waiting room of the district attorney’s office.”
Golden told Judge Carroll Dunnum he wanted the magazines marked as evidence, “indicating the moral fiber of the fair city of Downey and the rest of Southern California.” A surprised deputy district attorney, Roland Fairfield, would not substantiate that the magazines had been taken from his office. Golden was sworn in and under cross examination, admitted that he took the magazines “without asking anyone, although a receptionist was in the room at the time.” Fairchild told the court that “the district attorney’s office doesn’t plan on filing a charge of petty theft at this time.” Golden answered that he “certainly did not want to deprive the district attorney of the magazines for any length of time, and that they would be returned.”
ATLANTA—The Atlanta aldermanic board voted on May 16 to curtail parking in Piedmont Park between the hours of 1a.m. And 6a.m. as a means of helping to “curb the activities of perverts there.” The PTA of Grady High School, which is across the street from the park, had asked that the city take steps to blunt the impact of perverts on the city-owned property. A fly sheet accompanying the PTA petition stated that after a recent basketball game a student was “accosted and pursued by an evident pervert in Piedmont Park” and that on one night, a former student body co-president and the battalion commander of the school’s ROTC program were “attacked.” The Georgia chapter of the ACLU agreed that: “Indeed we would welcome court cases against those who are breaking the law by attempting to molest either children or adults.” However, the ACLU also stated: “Our feeling is that round-ups of those not guilty of wrongdoing are not an adequate substitute for the arrest of those who are guilty of breaking the law.”
RALEIGH, N.C.—V. Lee Bounds, state prison director, is mounting a “multiple attack” on the problem of homosexual and other sexual assaults on prisoners by fellow inmates. He wants more single cell facilities and changed procedures for personnel to keep “predators” among the criminals from making homosexual assaults on prisoners, particularly the youthful offenders. He is afraid, however, that under the twisted but stern code of the prisoners themselves, occupants of the individual cells might be stigmatized, or even subject to attack during the daylight hours when they mingle with the rest of the prison population. Even if the experiment does not achieve all that is desired, it will be, said Bounds, “at least a beginning.”
Originally published in the May 1966 issue of Tangents magazine
©1966, 2016 by The Tangent Group. All rights reserved.