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[Gay History Document that speaks to today's gay men from July 1978] [c. 4,400 words] [End]
[Clickable Contents (for items that follow the announcement of speaker and discussion topic): Letters: Gay writer Donald Cameron Scot replies to comments on extended excerpts from three articles by him in the prior newsletter; editor responds; Media (department); Canapes for Thought (department)]
H2 MEETS Sunday, July 30, 1978, at 7:00 p.m., in the apartment of L. Craig Schoonmaker, 446 West 46th Street, 1R, Manhattan. Call 265-1081 from corner for entry (bell at door is out).
SPEAKER Henry Weiss of the organization Gay Daddies will lead off a discussion of "Feelings About Fatherhood" and provide information about the activities of Gay Daddies. This is a multifaceted topic relating to basic attitudes regarding fatherhood or, in the case of many of us, childlessness.
This week saw the birth of the first test-tube baby, and the pace of scientific advance is such that same-sex reproduction is almost certain to be feasible by the year 2000, and perhaps much sooner. [In 1999, it seems unlikely that hopeful projection will come true. We need (a) more openly gay scientists and (b) more funding for homosexual research.] Those of us unwilling or unable to wait that long have various options if we wish to become fathers: (1) turn straight; (2) go "bisexual"; (3) arrange artificial insemination with a woman, lesbian or other; (4) adopt. Each alternative, and childlessness itself, carries satisfactions and problems. Come prepared to deal with such questions as: Is the desire to reproduce vain, primitive, narcissistic or it that just "sour grapes" propaganda? Is there any reason one should not be both homosexual and a father? Are we devoid of or immune to paternal feeling? Is being a father important enough to turn straight? Can a man be a good father tho homosexual? Would you want a won or a daughter? Would you want your son to grow up homosexual? Would you want to have a child with another man, were that to prove possible? What about adoption? Is a two-father family advantageous or harmful to a child? Is a mother necessary?
If you are a father, other questions warrant discussion: If your son is heterosexual, howe do you feel about his being different? Are you afraid to let your children know about your homosexuality? do you feel yourself finally becoming heterosexual in a son who grows up straight? If your son is gay, how do you feel about that?
There's a lot to talk about, so please be on time.
LETTERS I find two glaring contradictions in something you [Craig Schoonmaker] said [in the May Newsletter]: "each of us DOES make that choice [to be homosexual] every day we live . . . . we do not advance by disclaiming responsibility for our acts" and "I have always known that I was drawn to boys (when a boy)/men . . ." The contradiction is that "drawn to" carries the definite denotation of a force outside yourself pulling you toward something, while "choice" indicates that, all things equal, you chose one or the other.
Based on the same premise of your claim of "choice", you yet "marvel to this day that the biological imperatives fail with us." Again, it is not possible to have it both ways. In making a choice, the assumption is that there is an alternative, while the claim that something outside of yourself "failed" dictates that the alternative was not there. After, all, if your car's battery is dead you cannot claim that you "chose" not to start it when it wouldn't start in the first place, no matter what you may have "desired".
On your comment "Anita Bryant is sincere . . . She certainly is not motivated by the desire to do 'evil' even tho she does end up so doing." I have no doubt she is sincere. But evil is as evil does. There is no other way to measure it.
As for "It is possible to 'convert', if the desire is strong enough and the pains of being homosexual grave enough . . ." Is that why so many gays commit suicide because the desire to 'convert' is not strong enough and the pains of being homosexual grave enough? I should hardly think that the choice between heterosexuality and death would be so difficult to make, assuming, of course, that there is such choice.
I am not about to sit quietly by while you and Anita Bryant keep harping on my "choice to be gay". You chastise me in one paragraph, wanting to know how I could have taken 20 years to adjust to being gay, and I can answer only that it did take 20 years. There was no choice; in fact, had there been a choice I would have chosen not to have been gay (you see, strange as it may appear to you, I had always assumed that I would simply grow up with my peers and take my place alongside them in our community until I found out that it was not our community and that I would never merely grow up to take my place alongside them because I was not OF them). It may be true that biological imperatives failed me, but in that failure, the biological imperative took away any alternative I might have had, and left me with no choice. And, as much as you may want to live in that fantasy-world, you will go a long, long way to find any other gay who will claim to have made such a "choice".
Donald Cameron Scot
San Francisco, California
[Return to Contents]
[Schoonmaker responds, in his Fcnetik respelling to restrict his audience to people who might understand his very different point of view.] [In 1999, as a convenience to a wider audience than this newsletter was originally intended for, I present a transliteration into Traditional Orthography ("T.O.") alongside the Fcnetik text. My original "Fcnetik" spelling system has been revised to a "Fanetik" spelling system in the intervening years in any case, to improve its readability to people who already read T.O. and minimize the change that users of English would have to make, thus increasing the readability into the future after spelling reform of materials produced before.]
|Puer witool Doncld, and aul them uther witool giez hu fel viktim tu a montrcs faur beeyond thair kcntroel. Tri tho I have oever theez laung yeerz tu simpcthhiez withh them, in the end I just kan't. Az Stanley Hauser koments on last ishu:||Poor wittle Donald, and all them other wittle guys who fell victim to a monstrous force beyond their control. Try tho I have over these long years tu sympathize with them, in the end I just can't. As Stanley Hauser comments on last issue:|
|"Re your mystification about Donald Cameron Scot, he has occasion to be even more mystified about you he's highly representative, and thus not very mystifying; you're exceptional in the good sense thus more than a little mystifying. He's archtypical of a species so to speak; you're atypical, in a sense a mutant of that particular 'species.' It makes little sense for a red mutant of a blue strain to ask why 'the others' are blue it's existential: they are blue because they are blue."|
|I did not faulsifi mi lief hiscre tu maek mieself look good. I reele wuz out handing out leeflcts at aej 20 and deefieing pclees at 23 and augacniezing a kolcj hoemoesekshuecl gruep at 24 and I reele aulwaez did reezent peepool hu csertcd that hoemoesekshuealite wuz 'raung'. So I just kan't understand eneebude hu woloed in gilt faur 20 yeerz. I doen't understand self-haetrcd and never hav beekauz I have never been 'bad' I hav never had justifikaeshcn faur haeting mieself, and hav, kwiet tu thc kontrere, csuemd that if I wontcd tu be hoemoesekshuecl, then hoemoesekshuealite must be aulriet, beekauz if it wuzn't aulriet, I woodn't wont it.||I did not falsify my life history to make myself look good. I really was out handing out leaflets at age 20 and defying police at 23 and organizing a college homosexual group at 24 and I really always did resent people who asserted that homosexuality was 'wrong'. So I just can't understand anybody who wallowed in guilt for 20 years. I don't understand self-hatred and never have because I have never been 'bad' I have never had justification for hating myself, and have, quite to the contrary,a assumed that if I wanted to be homosexual, then homosexuality must be alright, because if it wasn't alright, I wouldn't want it.|
|At leest 15 yeerz cgo I deesiedcd tu be Crinjincl. I wontcd tu criev at mi perscnalite bi mieself and kum up witth mi oen valyu sistcm and politics and evreethhing els. So I stopt reeding and stopt liscning tu eneethhing but fakt infermaeshcncl inpoot, frum hwix I wood drau mi OEN kcnkluezhcnz. Hwiel in praktis I did reed uther peepool'z vyuez and liscan tu hwut uther peepool had tu sa, in lorj mezher I hav held tu mi praktis aul this tiem, and for frum maeking me naro and shalo, it haz braudcnd and deepcnd me. I hav a kompreehensive werld vyu, a kompreehensiv mauralite, a kompreehensiv aurgcnizaeshcncl fraemwerk withhin hwix I kan fit eex pees uv infermaeshcn az it kumz in, and staur it faur fyuexer yues. Those 15 yeerz cgo I arcgcntle csuemd that thair wuz noebude cliev nou aur ever hu wuz beter preepaird tu liv mi lief than I, and that I wuz goeing tu be mi oen man.||At least 15 years ago I decided to be Original. I wanted to arrive at my personality by myself and come up with my own value system and politics and everything else. So I stopped reading and stopped listening to anything but fact informational input, from which I would draw my OWN conclusions. While in practice I did read other people's views and listen to what other people had to say, in large measure I have held to my practice all this time, and far from making me narrow and shallow, it has broadened and deepened me. I have a comprehensive world view, a comprehensive morality, a compre- hensiv organizational framework within which I can fit each piece of information as it comes in and store it for future use. Those 15 years ago I arrogantly assumed that there was nobody alive now or ever who was better prepared to live my life than I, and that I was going to be my own man.|
|It haz not aulwaez bin eeze tu be me, but in this wun thhing I jenyueinle had no xois. In evreethhing els I did hav xois and I perscncle maed xoiscz cbout mi lief aulwaez in thc kleer konfidcns that I am giedcd bi a divien destine (uv hwut naexer, I du not no; but I beeleev in it nunthcles). Hwither- soewerver I go, I go bi xois, giedcd interncle bi mi oen perscncl destine (hwix ma be port uv me aur not). If Doncld Kamercn Skot iz not giedcd frum withhin, then he must be kcntroeld frum withhout; I wood fiend sux eksterncl kcntroel kcmpleetle unakseptcbool. If this be dcluezhcn, profit frum it. If ever yu run intu problcmz, yu hav in thc last cnalisis oenle wun plaes tu tern: tu yaurself. In yaurself yu wil fiend evreethhing yu need tu no. Thc trubool withh thc DKS'z uv thc werld iz that tha doen't trust themselvz; tha doen't beeleev in themselvz; tha eether doen't understand themselvz aur doen't beeleev that tha or scfishcntle liek utherz aur az wiez az utherz tu set a kaus valid faur themselvz. Bi kontrast, hwen I sa that I am inkaepcbool uv understanding DKS, it iz not beekauz hiz Self iz reele mux difrcnt frum me but beekauz he iz out uv tux withh himsel faur wuz oeverhwelmd bi inpoot in aireecz in hwix he shood not hav cloud inpoot.||It has not always been easy to be me, but in this one thing I genuinely had no choice. In everything else I did have choice and I personally made choices about my life always in the clear confidence that I am guided by a divine destiny (of what nature, I do not know; but I believe in it nonetheless). Whithersoever I go, I go by choice, guided internally by my own personal destiny (which may be part of me or not). If Donald Cameron Scot is not guided from within, then he must be controlled from without; I would find such external control complete unacceptable. If this be delusion, profit from it. If every you run into problems, you have in the last analysis only one place to turn: to yourself. In yourself you will find everything you need to know. The trouble with the DCS's of the world is that they don't trust themselves; they don't believe in themselves; they either don't understand themselves or don't believe that they are sufficiently like others or as wise as others to set a course valid for themselves. By contrast, when I say that I am incapable of understanding DCS, it is not because his Self is really much different from me but because he is out of touch with himself or was overwhelmed by input in areas in which he should not have allowed input.|
|This probcble soundz aul vere sile, beekauz I am strugooling withh a konsept I havn't adikwctle eksprest cloud beefaur. I kood eezile anser Skot's points, but that wood be meer deebaeting. I'm trieing tu du maur than that. Faur thc saek uv reejoinder, houwever, I wil breefle anser hiz points.||This probably sounds all very silly, because I am struggling with a concept I haven't adequately expressed aloud before. I could easily answer Scot's points, but that would be mere debating. I'm trying to do more than that. For the sake of rejoinder, however, I will briefly answer his points.|
|1. I spoek uv "akts", and csueming reesponsibilitie faur them. Tu parcfraez DKS, "Hoemoesekshuecl iz az hoemoesekshuecl duz." If wun feelz an ctrakshcn but reefyuezcz tu akt on it, he haz maed a xois; if he induljcz it, he haz maed a difrcnt xois. But boethh or xoiscz, and that meenz thair iz xois. Peepool or cmaezingle plastik, in thc sens uv maleecbool. Habits faurm prefercnscz, and xoiscz faurm habits. Xaenjing akts faurms difrcnt habits, faurmz difrcnt prefercnscz.||1. I spoke of "acts", and assuming responsibility for them. To paraphrase DCS, "Homosexual is as homosexual does." If one feels an attraction but refuses to act on it, he has made a choice; if he indulges it, he has made a different choice. But both are choices, and that means there is choice. People are amazingly plastic, in the sense of malleable. Habits form preferences, and choices form habits. Changing acts forms different habits, forms different preferences.|
|2. I "morvcl" at aul saurts uv thhingz cbout bieolcje. I morvcl that thc seks driev ever setolz cpon so yuesfool a thhing az reeprcdukshcn tu, thair beeing so mene waez uv gratifieing it that du not leed tu baebeez. Cparcntle thc priem fungkshcn, bieclogjikcle speeking, uv a seks driev iz reeprcdukshcn. Cmaezingle, it seemz tu fiend its wa tu that perpcs in moest peepool moest uv thc tiem; eekwcle cmaezing, it duz not in mene peepool mux uv the tiem. Thc kontrcdikshcn iz maur cparcnt than reel.||2. I "marvel" at all sorts of things about biology. I marvel that the sex drive ever settles upon so useful a thing as reproduction too, there being so many ways of gratifying it that do not lead to babies. Apparently the prime function, biologically speaking, of a sex drive is reproduction. Amazingly, it seems to find its way to that purpose in most people most of the time; equally amazing, it does not in many people much of the time. The contradiction is more apparent than real.|
|3. Eevool iz az eevool iz intendid. Utherwiez thc man hu haz an aksidcnt iz eevool. It iz abserd and unfair tu kcndem cnuther perscn faur not having yaur oen mauralite. Yu kan impoez yaur vyu if yu hav thc pouer tu du so, but that duzn't meen, autcmatikle, that yu or riet and the uther perscn raung. Aul it meenz iz that miet deefienz riet.||3. Evil is as evil is intended. Otherwise the man who has an accident is evil. It is absurd and unfair to condemn another person for not having your own morality. You can impose your view if you have the power to do so, but that doesn't mean, automatically, that you are right and the other person wrong. All it means is that might defines right.|
|4. Sueisied pruevz nuthhing but deepreshcn and laus uv toomoro. Sueisied ma hav nuthhing tu du withh sekshuecl aureeyentaeshcn, and a lot uv sueisied iz du tu dicpointmcnt in luv ene kiend uv luv. Sueisied aulso haz mux tu du, yuezhuecle, withh thhingz goeing raung in sevrcl aireecz at wuns. It iz an irelcvanse.||4. Suicide proves nothing but depression and loss of tomorrow. Suicide may have nothing to do with sexual orientation, and a lot of suicide is due to disappointment in love any kind of love. Suicide also has much to do, usually, with things going wrong in several areas at once. It is an irrelevancy.|
|[1999: I have known two gay suicides. The first had been my best friend for perhaps ten years, but he gradually worked himself away from me and his other friends always with good excuses (he had to deal with many people all day at work and needed some time to himself, etc.) and, unbeknownst to me, descended into heavy drug use, which aggravated a melancholy streak in his nature. Then one night he filled his bathtub with hot water, zonked himself on alcohol and drugs, got into the tub and slit his wrists without calling anyone, without seeking help of any kind. To this day I have no idea what went so wrong in his life as to make him want to die. The other gay man I know who committed suicide was a co-worker on the evening shift at a downtown Manhattan law firm who worked two jobs for several years so he could support his nonworking male lover. Their relationship soured, and his no-longer-young boyfriend decided to leave him. When Hank discovered his loss, he threw himself out the window of his upper-floor apartment in Brooklyn Heights. Oh, wait! I just realized I know a third gay suicide, another co-worker at a different downtown law firm (maybe we should avoid downtown law firms). He had been beautiful, but timid. I scarcely knew him, but ran into him in a gay bar a couple of years after I had left that firm for one Midtown. He'd gained a lot of weight but still had a handsome face (and I don't throw the word "handsome" around loosely). His weight was apparently causing him problems in his relationship with his boyfriend or ex-boyfriend. He wasn't very forthcoming about his personal life in the bar, any more than he had been at the office, but he plainly had self-confidence problems, which are hardly unique to homosexuals. A few months after our game, I heard from someone who had worked with both of us that he took a room on an upper floor of the Inter-Continental Hotel on Park Avenue, got plastered on room-service champagne (as I recall), and threw himself out the window to his death. But I have no information as to why. In none of these cases, though, did the desire to be heterosexual have anything to do with these men's deaths, since they had all long accepted homosexuality as integral to their personality and lives. It was something else, some unhappiness having nothing to do with their basic orientation, that caused them to end their one unique and precious life.|
|5. I reefyuez tu beeleev that I du not hav fundcmentcl xoiscz cbout mi lief. Tu reebut DKS'z cnalcje, if mi kor'z batere iz ded [that iz, if I had wun; I liv in Midtoun Mcnhatcn, hwair a kor iz maur ekspens and trubool than it's werthh], I kan reexorj it, yuez jumper kaeboolz, push it, get sumbude els tu poosh it, ets. od infinitoom. In sertcn baesiks we truele hav no xois: jender (dcspiet myuetilaeting kamcflozh operaeshcnz), raes, plaes uv berthh, famile that saurt uv thhing. Hwether hoemoeskshuealite iz wun uv thoez thhingz NOEBUDE noez. Frangkle, I doen't mux kair. I no hwut I am; I aulwaez hav; and I xuez tu be hu and huwt I am. I hav maed miself mux uv hwut I am bi liscning tu mieself, saurting thhingz thhru cgenst mi oen valyu sistcm. I'v maed jujmcnts, and enfaurst thoez jujmcnts on mieself. I am in vere lorj mezher a kcmpyueter and a juj. I navigaet mieself and ruel mieself.||5. I refuse to believe that I do not have fundamental choices about my life. To rebut DCS's analogy, if my car's battery is dead [that is, if I had one; I live in Midtown Manhattan, where a car is more expense and trouble than it's worth], I can recharge it, use jumper cables, push it, get somebody else to push it, etc. ad infinitum. In certain basics we truly have no choice: gender (despite mutilating camouflage operations), race, place of birth, family that sort of thing. Whether homosexuality is one of those things NOBODY knows. Frankly, I don't much care. I know what I am; I always have; and I choose to be who and what I am. I have made myself much of what I am by listening to myself, sorting things through against my own value system. I've made judgments, and enforced those judgments on myself. I am in very large measure a computer and a judge. I navigate myself and rule myself.|
|I hav paed and kcntinyu tu pa a vere hi pries tu be mieself and liv bi mi standerdz, no mater thc standerdz uv utherz cround me. But in thc proses I hav establisht a solid bedrok uv self-reespekt and perscncl mauralite. If this maeks me insensitiv and intolercnt, kcmtempxuecs uv thc self-haeterz and self-reejekterz, that's tuf. Thc tru Mr. Nies Gi duzan't enkercj self-kcntempt bi reespekting it. He helps dcstroi it bi daming it.||I have paid and continue to pay a very high price to be myself and live by my standards, no matter the standards of others around me. But in the process I have established a solid bedrock of self-respect and personal morality. If this makes me insensitive and intolerant, contemptuous of the self-haters and self-rejecters, that's tough. The true Mr. Nice Guy doesn't encourage self-contempt by respecting it. He helps destroy it by damning it.|
[This discussion continues, with different participants, in the August 1978 newsletter.] Return to Contents]
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"The Connecticut legislature has tried hard to be nonsexist when it changed the word girls to folks in its new state song, YANKEE DOODLE. The lyric 'and with the girls be handy' has always conjured up the picture of Yankee Doodle as something of a ladies' man. What is he now, bisexual? I didn't think Connecticut was that liberal."
(Letter, Dennis Frazier, Evansville, Indiana, in TIME, 6/19/78)
"News Update" on divorce of [Britain's] Princess Margaret: "Princess Margaret has been openly seeing rock singer Roddy Llewelyn. Lord Snowdon has been secretly seeing rock singer Roddy Llewelyn." (On NBC's SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE, 5/20/78) [Return to Contents]
CANAPES FOR THOUGHT
"It would be impossible for us to list all the gay places in the USA for one thing, it would treble the size of the Guide and the price . . . [so] we do not plan to list the gay scene of the USA as we do the rest of the world." SPARTACUS INTERNATIONAL GAY GUIDE 1978
Ergo, there are TWICE as many gay places in the United States as in ALL THE REMAINDER OF THE WORLD PUT TOGETHER.
"[W]ith all of the protests and complaints about Anita Bryant and referenda in St. Paul, we cause more pain and unhappiness to each other than do all of the rightists and self-righteous put together.
"I recognize that many of the social pitfalls of being gay result from exclusion on levels which are political, psychological, and economic. Yet the daily cruelties and indifferences of gay male to gay male are responsible for an overwhelming amount of unhappiness, pain and disappointment . . . . How do we survive these games? Why is there such a barrage of little pains? I am tired of meeting people who can't tell me their vocation. One friend told me he was with a man who was terrified that someone might know he was a postman. What does he expect? Will we call the Postmaster General and tell him that there is a gay mail carrier?
"I think that my point is that we could pass all the gay rights legislation we could possibly think of, and still be left standing there, alone and afraid, ignored and taunted, on Christopher Street."
David Rothenberg, "Another Voice", GAYSWEEK 6/26.
"When he died in 1965, . . . Somerset Maugham was the most famous writer in the world. Eighty million copies of his books had been sold . . . Yet he was miserable . . . . The author's greatest regret was his marriage . . . to a woman he felt had tricked him into an alliance that violated his basically homosexual nature. 'You see, I was a quarter normal and three-quarters queer, but I tried to persuade myself it was the other way round. That was my greatest mistake.' . . . Gerald Haxton, a handsome young American . . . was for 30 years . . . my chief care, my pleasure, and my anxiety. Without him I am lost and lonely and hopeless . . . I am too old to endure so much grief.'"
Isn't it odd that not one of those books in 80 million copies was about homosexual relationships? Odd.
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