June 20, 2010.
I think the best part of these exchanges is getting us to look at our lives and the history we lived through and the little bit we helped make.
I must admit now, although I guess I knew it all along, how easy my life has been compared to a lot of us.
I had a good early life — was having sex but never thought about it as an “issue.” And none of the boys were homosexual. Most are dead now. The only part abut sex I remember — other than when parents caught four or five of us under a small wooden bridge in the alley behind our house (when I was about four years old, checking ourselves out) is that I was reading in a magazine a story of Flicka, the horse, and apparently it mentioned birth of a colt. I asked my mother what that was about, and she told me how babies were born. It was totally unimportant to me — I’m guessing I was about 11.
I first thought about the subject in a psychology class at LSU in 1954. I went into the Army in Feb ’55, never thought about sex the first eight weeks, and only later had sex.
And then I got kicked out late ’56, went to Los Angeles, got regular job —had not told anyone where I was going — having left with about $200.
I found a place/bed in a rooming house on Mariposa at 3rd, near Normandie, immediately got a job, and for about two years only got in the movement as far as reading ONE magazine.
I finally got in contact [with the Mattachine Society and ONE, Inc.] in late ’59, then went to Mattachine’s convention/conference in Denver, and I think I’ve said the rest.
My parents knew about me being homosexual, after the Army. But I was alone and on my own for only less than a year — all other times I had their financial support and their support otherwise even though they never really understood the homosexual part.
We got back together when I joined the Methodist Church in L.A. which told the Bossier church where I was. They gave money to Tangents/HIC when I asked for it.
I had lots of sex with marines and sailors, one of each on a long-term basis. When in Louisiana, I picked up airmen from Barksdale AFB.
I settled down for the about 13 years Melvin and I were together, starting in 1963 — the day JFK was killed — having met walking down 6th Street. And don’t worry about sex now.
I’m retelling this to point out that I never had any problems with being homosexual. I never had a job to lose, or lost a family, etc. I did work temp jobs mainly to be able to get Social Security and thus Medicare. Otherwise I gave all money I had to Tangents/HIC. Never planned ahead. So I also lucked out that from the family I have the house and car, which makes me able to live on a small SS income.
So that affects in a sense how I look at the issues. It sure makes a difference from what you and others had to face. And I had to learn this.
But it is sure what was in the mind, and was the intention, of the founders: to make life better for young people so that they would not only not have to face what you did, but if they did, to have resources to help them.