News and Views
August 1966 • Vol. 1 No. 12
Originally published in the September 1966 issue of Tangents
England—A study group of the British Council of Churches, which represents virtually all Protestant denominations in Great Britain, brought down the wrath of its more traditional and dogmatic colleagues in the council by declaring that all sexual intercourse outside marriage cannot be condemned as wrong. It appeared certain that the radical report, whose theme is that chastity is an inadequate basis for judging morality, will be rejected by the council. The document gave qualified and cautious approval of such historical taboos as masturbation and contraceptive advice for unmarried persons. The report on masturbation: “Immense mischief has been done by grossly overemphasizing the harm done by masturbation. It is not at all clear to us that any harm need be done when it is used, in absence of other means, as a relief for physical tensions. But…sexual self-expression is properly understood as part of a total encounter between persons, and masturbation can therefore never be more than an impoverished and incomplete substitute for the real thing.”
A former naval officer described on British television recently how he found his “correct role in life” at the age of 37—as a woman. Mrs. Georgina Somerset, a blonde housewife, was George Turtle, a pipe-smoking dentist and one-time surgeon-lieutenant in the Royal Navy. She appeared on a program on sex changes, involving the hermaprodite [sic] and the trans-sexualist [sic]. Mrs. Somerset’s conclusion: surgery can do far less than was thought.
In Bradford, England, initiation week at Bradford Institute of Technology meant rainbow hair for male student Mike Baker, 20. As he walked around town with his hair done up in ringlets of green, purple, pink, rose, orange and blue, he said, “The only thing that has upset me so far has been a wolf whistle.”
In London As You Like It will be presented with an all-male east at the National Theatre next spring in a production by Mr. John Dexter. The idea for this came from an essay, “Shakespeare’s Bitter Arcadia,” by Jan Kott, the Polish scholar and critic. Professor Kott believes that in As You Like It, where the plot depends on sexual imposture, Shakespeare’s purpose is best served if the female roles are played, as the author intended, by male performers. In the National Theatre production Rosalind will he played by Mr. Roland Pickup, with Mr. John Stride as Orlando.
Fashion magazines stay “in” by being increasingly way-out, reported Newsweek, August 29, 1966. In five photographs in an issue of Britain’s Queen magazine, female impersonator Danny la Rue, 38, wore a wig and modeled furs and frocks along with a real mannequin. The sixth picture showed la Rue laughing it up and wearing a man’s suit. “It was meant as a joke,” said fashion editor Anne Trehearne. “We weren’t making any social comment on the reversal of roles.”
The fury in London over a new book published by Beverly Nichols was reported recently by Lewis Nichols in The New York Times Book Review. It concerned the portrait of the late Somerset Maugham in Mr. Nichols’ book A Case of Human Bondage. In the book, Mr. Nichols said he wasn’t trying to attack a dead man, rather that the work was “the refutation of a libel upon a dead woman,” Maugham’s ex-wife, Syrie, whom Maugham attacked in his last book, Looking Back. Mr. Nichols added that the adder which destroyed the marriage was the young American homosexual George Haxton, Maugham’s companion and secretary for many years. Cyril Connelly, reviewer in The Sunday Times, said “Mr. Nichols did not publish his defense while Maugham was still alive: the vulture keeps his distance from the dying lion.” In The Sunday Telegraph, Nigel Dennis quoted the camp prose that had been Nichols’ hallmark down the years, then remarked, “When a knight-errant tells you what he smells of and where he buys his pants, you get the impression that his pants mean more to him than his wronged lady ever did. Syrie gets her crumb in this book, but Beverly and his gossip take the cake.”
Yemen—Time, August 12, 1966, re- ported that homosexuality is something of a tradition in backward Yemen, where bedouin herdsmen roam the rocky hills for months on end with only each other and their animals for company. Male brothels flourish in San’a, the capital, and the late Iman Ahmad, who ruled the country for 14 years before his death in 1962, established an international reputation for overzealous camaraderie. But early in August a Moslem religious court convicted Ahmed El Osamy, a 60-year-old government worker who ran one of San’a’s lop boydellos, of being a practicing pederast, and sentenced him to death. Under ancient Yemeni law, the execution should have been carried out by throwing him from “the highest place”—but the judges allowed Osamy to be shot instead. “They thought of throwing him from a plane,” ex- plained Minister of Education Mohammed el Khalidy, “but that’s expensive.”
Belgium—Antwerp hairdressers, trying to promote longer hairdos for women this fall and winter, staged a beauty contest to select the longest locks in town. The first two prizes were won by men. “This is not what we had in mind,” commented coiffeur Andre Schutz, “but it gives us something to think about.”
Rumania—Rumania’s world champion high jumper, Iolanda Balas, failed to compete in the European athletic championship events held in Budapest in September. She declined to attend the medical examination now required to determine the sex of competitors in the women’s events. She said that trouble with a leg muscle had obliged her withdrawal from her event. Budapest restaurants and nightclubs were buzzing with the rumors and facts of what was happening in the athletes’ village nearby. The problem of sexing athletes is not new. At the second European championships in Vienna in 1938, Dora Ratjen, of Germany, won the women’s high jump. A few days later the German Athletic Federation announced that Fraulein Ratjen “has no right to participate in women’s competition.” Her world record was taken away from her. She is now a Hamburg waiter named Hermann.
Australia—Sex is rearing its head in Australia’s popular magazines. The Bulletin, whose format reminds one of Time, recently featured an article titled “Morals—The Sexual Revolution.” A color reproduction of a provocative painting “Adam and Eve” by John Perceval graced the cover. Another periodical, Life-size People, ran a Victorian oriented, frightening article “The Making of a Homosexual.” The cover headline read: “DANGER: You might make your son a sex deviate.”
New York—The Department of Licenses has dropped charges against the owners of 41st Street Theatre, outlet for experimental films, for showing films said to be obscene. ACLU represented the theatre and said the license depart had admitted it “did not have power to investigate content of films in determining whether to grant, review or revoke licenses.” The department had charged that some films shown “portrayed acts of sexual immorality, perversion, lewdness and homosexuality.”
Washington, D.C.—Parade magazine, the newspaper supplement, has been publishing a series of articles on government snooping. A story by Washington columnist Jack Anderson said the federal government has collected dossiers on millions of Americans “readily available to political and other parties seeking data on a particular individual. The Defense Department alone has collected 14 million life histories in the course of its security investigations. These are loaded with derogatory comments — true statements, deliberate lies, idle gossip….The Civil Service Commission keeps in its secret files another eight million dossiers on people who have applied for federal jobs. These files hold the darkest secrets of many people who at some time in the past may have committed improper or questionable acts.”
The article told of a teen-age daughter of an Army colonel who applied for a summer job with the State Department. During a four-hour “grilling,” she was asked the following about a boyfriend: “Did he abuse you? Did he do anything unnatural with you? There’s kissing, petting and intercourse, and after that did he force you to do anything to him, or did he do anything to you?” Sen. Sam Ervin, D-N. C, commenting on growing governmental curiosity about the private lives of individuals, said, “All of these increasingly shrink the realm of personal liberty and violate individual privacy.”
The State Department is now bluntly asking job applicants if they are homosexuals in an effort to reduce its hiring of security risks. “It is surprising how many admissions we get to direct questions,” said William.J. Crockett, deputy undersecretary of state for administration. The State Department reported 28 homosexuals—including two women—were dismissed in 1965. They held jobs ranging from $4,000-a-year clerk to a 820,836 Foreign Service officer in the second-highest pay grade. Of those fired, eight had more than 10 years service with the department. Those of long service were detected because of a “reinvestigation program” which checks on people who have been with the State Department for many years.
President Johnson has signed a bill permitting servicemen who have been released from the armed forces with other than honorable discharges to obtain an exemplary rehabilitation certificate. Johnson said the law would allow a veteran to obtain the certificate from the secretary of labor “whenever he can justify to the secretary that he has led an exemplary life of at least three years since the date of his discharge.” Each applicant will have to present statements from the chief law enforcement officer of his community, from his employer and from at least five others who can attest to his conduct, Johnson said there were about 500,000 men and women who have been separated from the military without honorable discharges.
Baltimore—Operations to change sex, a surgical procedure that traditionally has been taboo in the U.S., are being undertaken at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, under sponsorship and financial arrangements of the Erickson Foundation of Baton Rouge. Mr. Erickson claims he is a voting member of ONE, Inc. Dr. John E. Hoopes, assistant professor of plastic surgery at the hospital and chairman of a recently-formed gender identity clinic, said, “After exhaustively reviewing the available literature and discussing the problem with people knowledgeable in this area, I arrived at the unavoidable conclusion that these people need and deserve help.”
About 2,000 persons have undergone this type of surgery in Europe over the past 15 years. Dr. Hoopes described the patients who undergo such an operation as “transsexual.” [sic] He said that such a person is normal physically and biologically, at least insofar as can be determined at present, but, he feels, behaves and dresses as if he were of the opposite sex. Dr. Hoopes continued, “Our patients are not psychotic, but do have extreme adjustment difficulties because of their problem; they feel that nature has somehow gone awry, almost as if their mind is in the wrong body. The transsexual looks, dresses and acts exactly like a woman, and the same is true for his female counterpart. They are not simply people who receive pleasure from just wearing the clothes of the opposite sex; nor are they homosexuals, as commonly defined.”
The gender identity clinic screens the applicants, which already number more than 100. The operation, coupled with hormone treatments, is a three-and-one-half hour procedure. The male-to-female operation consists of removing the external genital organs and creating a vaginal passage. The hormone treatments reduce male characteristics, such as body hair, and enhance female characteristics such as breast development and widening of the hips. Thus far, the hospital has performed two of the operations—both on males in their 20’s. Both patients are reported to be recovering normally.
Raleigh, N.C.—An article by Laurie Holder, Jr. in the Oct. 19, 1966 issue of The News and Observer reported that a recommendation to leave North Carolina’s “crime against nature” statute unchanged was handed to a commission studying the State’s public morality laws. The subcommittee’s report has apparently killed hopes of some com- mission members that the next legislature would be asked to make legal acts of homosexuality between consenting adults. The present law bans homosexuality or any other act of deviation. An offense is punishable in the judge’s discretion, but prison terms cannot ex- ceed ten years. Prior to 1965, the penalty was five to sixty years.
Columbia, S.C.—This state’s vocational rehabilitation agency spent four years and $3,921 to switch the sex of a 21-year-old woman to that of a man. A copyrighted story by Tom Billington told that “Marty” had never been examined by a doctor from the date of her birth until she was almost 20 years old. A Baptist minister sent “Marty” to a doctor who “advised me to get some men’s clothing, have my hair cut and make the change.”
The doctor who performed the corrective surgery wrote: “At 10 or 11 she noted she was more like her brothers than the girls with whom she played. At age 14 she developed ‘fuzz on her face’ and a change in her voice. At age 15 she began to shave, both her legs and her face. She was teased by boys and girls in high school. ‘Marty’ made nine trips to the hospital for corrective surgery between the winter of 1962 and April 1966. Between trips he attended business college and attained better than average grades.” Soon after his treatments ended “Marty” married and settled into a new job and a new home.
Georgia—The proposed new criminal code for Georgia has stirred up controversy especially by Fulton County Solicitor General Lewis Slaton, who says certain provisions “are detrimental to law enforcement” and will benefit only criminals. He does not like it that possession of obscene materials will no longer be a crime and that punishment for exhibiting obscene materials is no longer a felony but a misdemeanor. In the area of sex crimes, the new code would—for the first time in Georgia—include lesbian acts of sexual gratification in the definition of sodomy. This section previously only included acts by men.
After some initial stalling, accompanied by one cry of “Affront!”, Atlanta aldermen approved a proposal to hire a man who is to investigate charges of wrongdoing by all city employees—aldermen included. Alderman Richard Freeman, who helped formulate the proposal, insisted that the proposal didn’t mean the city was launching an inquisition designed to victimize particular individuals. He said it was just to check out all the rumors that go the rounds.
In DeKalb County the Grand Jury has named a committee to investigate charges that Sheriff Lamar Martin has a list, which he tried to keep secret, of approximately 1,000 special deputies, some with criminal records of such things as passing worthless checks, suspicion of burglary, lottery, possession of pornographic photographs and violation of a state firearm act. One member of Sheriff Martin’s special deputy force was arrested and charged with sodomy after being reported by two teenagers. When arrested, special deputy E. E. Gorge, 59, had a personal arsenal including a sawed-off shotgun, a loaded pistol, blackjack, brass knuckles and wiretapping equipment. He also admitted that he was a member of the KKK.
At Georgia State College, David, a 23-foot-tall, 3,500-pound replica of Michelangelo’s original statue is having troubles. The $20,000 statue, originally made for a store “Italia Magnifica” promotion last year and given to the college, is stored in the basement of the school’s Courtland Building. It now has cracks in both the right leg and arm and some missing chunks of plaster. A spokesman for the college insisted that they were just waiting to find an appropriate place to display David. Students have voiced suspicions that David’s banishment to the basement was a because “he didn’t have a fig leaf.”
Denver—An editorial by Frank Morris in The Denver Catholic Register discusses the evils of the world. On homosexuality, Morris says
Homosexuality—or at least its very practice—has been recognized as an abomination from the very beginning. Yet today its clients swarm through certain preserves, as perhaps they always have, but now with defenders in the highest places of society who maintain it is man’s right to be abnormal in his sexual expression. At what point this state of affairs might merit certain modern cities—or even the whole modern world—the fate of Sodom we can only speculate. But it is a chilling type of speculation.
[Cowboys] Seattle—An estimate of 12,000 homosexuals in Seattle was termed conservative by a Seattle-King County Health Department official. John Wilson, writing for The Seattle Times, reported that police confirmed that Seattle has become known nationally as being tolerant toward homosexuals. Police Chief Frank Ramon disclosed that the city is going to move against establishments catering to homosexuals. Ramon, who pointed out there is no law against being a homosexual, said that in 1958 the operator of such a tavern had successfully instigated legal action to prevent police from bothering his customers.
The health Department said half of its cases of syphilis involved male homosexuals and that steam baths are havens of infection. Although Ramon said he will move to revoke city licenses of some of the offending premises, the Police Department as late as early this year voiced no objection in its report on a cabaret license being issued to one of the steam-bath operators mentioned by the Health Department. The man got his license and set up an operation that has reportedly become an after-hours place for dancing and drinking by homosexuals. Although an establishment with a cabaret license and its customers must obey standards of morality and decency, M. E. Cook, assistant police chief, said he felt no police action would be taken where couples of the same sex dance or make physical contact in other ways in public.
In a later issue, The Seattle Times reported that city councilmen may be willing to write into the License Code standards of conduct for male and female homosexuals frequenting a limited number of cabarets. Richard E. Kane, attorney for two cabarets whose licenses Police Chief Ramon has asked not be renewed, asked for the conference with city councilmen. He presented views on local homosexuality by Dr. E. Mansell Pattison, instructor in psychiatry at the University of Washington School of Medicine; Dr. Goodhue Livingston, clinical psychologist, and the Rev. Mineo Katagiri, metropolitan minister for the United Church of Christ. Mr. Katagiri, who said he has been working with groups of homosexuals, urged the Council not to direct the closure of all establishments catering to them. Dr. Pattison said, “If the homosexual is not given appropriate means of social outlet, he is drawn further to the fringes of society, and to a more flagrant manner of behavior.”
San Diego—A $100,000 judgment against Lorens H. Good of Del Mar, Calif., accused of emotionally damaging two teenagers by teaching them about sex, was overturned by the 4th District Court of Appeals. The father of the children, Paul Spackman, filed the suit and was represented by noted San Francisco attorney Melvin Belli. It was alleged that Good caused emotional and psychological damage to the pair by giving them lectures on sex. The girl was 17 and the boy 15 at the time.
[Highway] Los Angeles—Eleven book and magazine dealers asked Superior Court help in setting up a “board of review” to pass on the obscenity of films, books and magazines. The plaintiffs, who all have been arrested in the past for allegedly selling obscene magazines, directed their suit against the City Attorney, the District Attorney, the Police Chief, the County Sheriff and the State Attorney. The dealers, who claimed they had been “vexed and harrassed” [sic] by arrests and criminal prosecutions, said they wanted time to either remove the offensive material or to defend themselves before being arrested. The suit was filed through attorney Burton Marks.
A 38-year-old bachelor signed himself “Helpless” in his letter to syndicated Dear Abby in the Los Angeles Times. He lives with his mother. His brother and his family come to supper every night and leave without even helping with the dishes. “Helpless” said his mother has threatened him if he leaves, and “I would consider Thanksgiving in Vietnam a blessing. Is there any help?” Dear Abby told him he would have a hard lime passing a mental test to get to Vietnam. Her advice. “There is no law that can force a man to live with his mother even though she is a hardship case, so if you don’t like the set-up there, move, and contribute to your mother’s support some other way.”
San Francisco—A five-page poem that has drawn the censure of the police obscenity squad is heading toward a legal test in the courts. The poem, tilled “The Love Book” and written by Lenore Kandel, a 34-year-old housewife, deals with the ecstasy of a woman in the act of love. The description is vivid, liberally sprinkled with generally tabooed four-letter words and leaves little to the imagination. “I’m no prude,” says Inspector Peter Maloney, “and I guess I’m like most people. But where is the redeeming social importance in this book?” Two years ago the San Francisco municipal courts were faced with a similar controversy after police arrested about 40 topless dancers, waitresses and their bosses in raids on North Beach night clubs. The judge decided that the police were wrong in accusing the defendants of outraging public decency—and bare-bosomed entertainment reigns in San Francisco’s North Beach today.
UPI reporter Paul R. Jeschke writes from San Francisco, “Don’t wear a bathing suit to San Gregorio Beach. You’ll feel strangely out of place. Proper attire at San Gregorio, located about 40 miles south of San Francisco, is skin—lots of it, and fully exposed.” The two miles of while sands and brown skins along the Pacific has become famous as an unofficial headquarters for nude bathers. Students, bankers, teachers and even a probation officer are among the happy throng. By far the biggest danger comes from low-flying planes from nearby Half Moon Bay airport. Curious pilots buzz the beach and some of them “get so excited they almost fall out of their planes,” a sheriff’s deputy said.
Originally published in the September 1966 issue of Tangents magazine
©1966, 2018 by The Tangent Group. All rights reserved.