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Studs Terkel talks with members of the Mattachine Midwest organization

BROADCAST: Feb. 19, 1970 | DURATION: 00:58:20

Synopsis

Content Warning: This conversation includes racially and/or culturally derogatory language and/or negative depictions of Black and Indigenous people of color, women, and LGBTQI+ individuals. Rather than remove this content, we present it in the context of twentieth-century social history to acknowledge and learn from its impact and to inspire awareness and discussion. Discussing homosexuality and American society and interviewing members of the Mattachine Midwest organization: Jim Bradford, Valerie Taylor (pen name of Velma N. Tate, 1913-1997), and Henry Weimhoff.

Transcript

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Studs Terkel What were you saying Henry?

Henry Weimhoff I was just saying [shoot?] they always mentioning the relationship of of kids to their parents and older generations in some sense felt obligated towards their parents. And I was just saying that Wednesday night and going home talking to my parents and confronting them, I felt a certain sense of individuality and independence regarding them because of my economic situation. And it was easier for me to, to confront them and tell them what was going on because I've had the feeling that I was me and I was independent of them economically as well as psychologically. And I suppose one could say that people that went through the Depression and all were much more aware of the interrelationships economically and the dependence there.

Studs Terkel Henry Weimhoff is talking. Henry is 23, student at the University of Chicago and Jim Bradford who is one of the executives, the Mattachine Society. It's an organization of homosexuals in Chicago. It's part of many groups throughout the country. And I don't know if your position is right there about the matter of executive in it. Jim Bradford and Valerie Taylor a member of the society and there is a generation, a slight generation gap involved here. Valerie could well be the mother of of, of Henry and Jim is over 30. We're really talking about freedom, aren't we? The quest for freedom and the quest for openness in an open society as to who we are, as individuals, physically, politically, socially, sexually. Isn't that what it's about? And we know that we've come a long way from the time Lillian Hellman's "Children's Hour" first played. And there was a discussion rather soft about two women who may have been lesbians and one admitted she was. It was a stark, marvelous play by Lillian Helman but perhaps a bit dated today and all the way from "Tea and Sympathy" that has a cop out theme on the boy needed the love of a good woman and he'd have been a heterosexual until "Boys in the Band" which deals with certain milieu today. And we're talking about this theme today and. People of all minority groups I suppose. Could you, Valerie, would you describe being a lesbian, a homosexual, being a member of a minority group.

Valerie Taylor To some extent I suppose it is the best estimate I know is it from one-twentieth to one-tenth of the population have act- have or have had active homosexual experience. It's impossible really to get any, naturally you're not going to take a census and get honest answers on a matter like this. But I think that the male homosexuals feel this much more than women do.

Studs Terkel Why do you think that is?

Valerie Taylor Society seems to be dreadfully hung up on the sex life of males, at least in this country. I don't know how it is in other places. Men are not supposed to have affectional friendships and they're not supposed to stay single and they're not supposed to share apartments and it's only now that Henry's generation is coming out with long hair and ruffles on its shirts and so on and confessing to an interest in gourmet cooking and so on.

Studs Terkel [laughter]

Valerie Taylor A lot of these things which we believe to be socially conditioned have been regarded until recently as being sexually conditioned.

Studs Terkel When Jim Bradford, you're over 30. I was thinking as Valerie is talking and Henry of course is 23 and apparently Henry's generation, there's a slight gap in, today a generation is no longer 20, 25 years. It's five, 10 years, you know. If you Jim, Henry is much prettier than you were when you were his age, isn't he?

Jim Bradford Oh definitely than I was at that age. Yes. I think I have sort of loosened up as I've gotten older and had more experience. One thing I sometimes tell about. Well you know, people don't know whether the cops are going to raid the first homophile meeting that they go to or not. I remember the first meeting I went to was Mattachine of New York in 1959 and the cops didn't raid the first meeting, the second meeting, so I decided it would be all right. Now, a year ago, I was out in San Francisco and several active organizations out there planned a support demonstration in front of the federal building on July 3rd as a gesture of support for the annual picketing of Independence Hall. It's called an Annual Reminder Day and I knew the president of SIR, Society for Individual Rights. He said, "Why don't you come and join us on the podium?" Well, I gulped once or twice but I said, "All right, I will". What's the net effect and I was televised when a couple years before I would never even appeared on radio. So there's a certain liberation that comes with this, this sort of participation. You simply feel that these things are your own business and helping other people free themselves becomes part of your business, and it's just great to do.

Henry Weimhoff Shelley, Shelley made the point. Shelley's a roommate of mine. She's also gay; that so much of, of what gay people are afraid of is the result of an internalization and almost an exaggeration and distortion of what society has told us about ourselves and about our place in society. So much of liberation in that sense comes from just standing up and saying I'm gay and seeing that you know you don't have a heart attack on the spot or you don't, you weren't murdered by someone.

Studs Terkel I'm thinking of the phrase, "Power". See, they have the button, "Gay power". Do you think this liberation, this openness came out this less fear? We can talk about the matter of fear in a moment and what a norm is in a society and how. You think it came about as a some[where? way?]related to the Black revolution?

Henry Weimhoff Oh I think, I think clearly if nothing else than the matter of taking one's cues and not necessarily one's ideas but one's cues from, from the Black, Black Revolution. I was in Mississippi in 1966 with the Meredith Freedom March and had done quite a bit of civil rights work in Chicago and around and it gradually became quite clear to me that in some sense it was I don't want to say hypocrisy because I don't think it was hypocrisy. But there was something, there was something wrong when I could work for what I felt right, for other people. And yet couldn't do the same for myself. And I think the situation of the gay person in society is very similar to that of the Black person. Of course the gay guy doesn't necessarily manifest his gayness the way the Black person can't help but be Black and everything that he does. But in some way it's, it's, it's worse to be able to hide it because in hiding it and running away from it and pretending, one's mind gets all messed up in the process when one tries to be something that one either isn't or can't be. And the frustration and the guilt and the anxiety that go with that are much worse than if one just confronted the fact that one is gay and one, you know, has a right to be gay in society.

Jim Bradford I think probably in some ways those of us who aren't obvious are in the same position as a Black person who is so light and so Caucasian in complexion that he's passing.

Studs Terkel Pass.

Jim Bradford Yeah, and of course the move now is for people to to whatever extent they to just simply not pass any longer and to declare themselves as openly and as publicly as they can. Now, this is easier for some people than others and some can do it to a greater extent than others. So it's not quite the same thing-

Henry Weimhoff But in doing it, one realizes that, that so much of that fear is internalized and that in coming out and saying I'm gay,

Studs Terkel Is the change al- also do this openness, this more freedom and not fear to say this is what I am? Isn't this Valerie Taylor you were suggesting before we went on the air that a certain economic independence enters into the picture.

Valerie Taylor I think there is that and I think society in general is a little more permissive. I think people, middle-class people, no longer regarded as truly dreadful, to go to jail because if their kids are not going to jail for refusing to be drafted for example their neighbor's kids are and we are not quite so afraid of being busted as we were 20 years ago because we know that a lot of perfectly good people are getting busted all the time. 'Course I grew up in the labor movement.

Jim Bradford It's a graphic term in Chicago to say

Valerie Taylor Yeah. I grew up in the labor movement, so this

Jim Bradford No 'cause you're really likely to get busted when it happens here.

Studs Terkel Wanna hear. Oh! [laughter] Busted in that sense! You, you mean. You're referring of course to that to that particular week in, a balmy week in

Henry Weimhoff Right. Right.

Studs Terkel Now Valerie you were saying you grew up in the labor movement.

Valerie Taylor Right. So the idea of going to prison which I may say I have never done this is all theoretical. I know.

Studs Terkel [laughter]

Valerie Taylor I sometimes feel a little ashamed about it you know. I've never been in jail. It has never has seemed shocking to me because I always sort of knew where it was at.

Studs Terkel And you know Thoreau's crack, you know, Thoreau's crack?

Valerie Taylor Why aren't you here? Yeah.

Studs Terkel Behind bars and Emery Emerson said, "What are you doing to behind-?' Hello. Cliche by now and yet there it is. What are you doing behind bars and Thoreau said, "What are you doing outside?"

Jim Bradford Right

Studs Terkel So, back to the, the changes that have happened. Perhaps we can go back to beginnings. The very nature of our society and these fears of someone who is different. If we for the moment the idea of lesbianism and male homosexuality. Valerie was saying that authority [a cough] is not quite as rough with lesbians. Is it perhaps because women themselves are considered less important in society?

Valerie Taylor Partly that and partly I think women, gay women are a little better if they don't wish to say I'm a lesbian. I joined Mattachine or I'll join the Daughters of Bilitis. It's a little easier for them to conceal their identity.

Henry Weimhoff Val, don't you think it has something to do [a cough] with the fact that affection and tenderness expressed between women [unintelligible] is accepted by society?

Valerie Taylor Yes.

Jim Bradford It's considered un-masculine for guys to respond toward one another [coughing] the same, with the same degree of affection and openness of feeling as women are expected to.

Henry Weimhoff I was just thinking of the dance that we went to at the Eleanor Club. We, this was one of our first radical actions at the University. We went as gay people and we decided that this was part of personal as well as social liberation. And the girls took to it just like ducks to water. They went in and they were dancing together. And the reaction of the other people at the dance was, "Well. These girls are really hard up for partners and all they can do is dance with each other." [cough] And very gallantly they asked if they could dance with the girls and of course they would turn down the girls who were perfectly happy dancing with each other which was very interesting. The reaction, however, to us dancing together, that is the males in the group, was considerably different. This was something that was not accepted. This was something that was not-

Studs Terkel Isn't it something that I would call the John Wayne syndrome?

Jim Bradford Oh yeah.

Studs Terkel And this is. Isn't this it, it's the fact that masculinity is associated with violence with anti-affection with anti-tenderness.

Henry Weimhoff Competition.

Studs Terkel Now there in a sense is that terrible fear. Whatever is inside all men, so-called men. Isn't that? Yeah.

Henry Weimhoff This, this sense that in order to be male, in order to be masculine you have to be able to compete and you have to be able to fight and and express whatever, whatever feelings you feel towards another male in terms of, of, of aggression rather than in terms of affection or-

Jim Bradford It's this colossal fraud that society has perpetrated on, on everybody and this is what keeps the Pentagon in business and this is what keeps the people streaming over to Vietnam and I just hope by getting enough people who are waking up to themselves not only in our area but just in general, we can keep going to the streets and screaming, "Hell no! We won't go". And finally these idiots in the White House will open up their ears and turn off their TV sets and get out of the ballgame they shouldn't be watching anyway and do something about it. Today's headlines say that Senator Goodall is announcing that Nixon really has intentions of keeping 300,000 troops there

Studs Terkel You know as you're, as you're talking, Jim Bradford, and you're over 30. This is interesting, I was listening because in my mind, this my-correct me if I'm wrong, that the homosexual in the past been regard as rather conservative in

Jim Bradford Well there all points of view on this. Now my honest feeling is that when we do public speaking, I usually start elaborating the types of jobs homosexuals have held, simply to show that you find homosexuals from all, in all backgrounds-- religiously speaking, economically, socially and so on. Without getting into the question of origin, no one seems to really know whence we come. But the point is we're found in all these social levels. So it's really impossible to say they're conservative, they're liberal, they're middle of the road. I think there may be a slight tendency toward some degree of conservatism simply because of this need to hide problem.

Henry Weimhoff Yeah I think that's really-

Jim Bradford But

Henry Weimhoff a pretty important point.

Jim Bradford I, I think that, that might tend in this direction. But on the other hand, it has gone the opposite way with me. I've been concerned about social justice since I was a kid. The first thing I consciously remember that woke me up was when I was reading a Reader's Digest account of an execution. But from that day at about age 12, I've been violently opposed to capital punishment and I've been in the movement to abolish it in about two and a half states. And I never got into the homophile movement until I realized well here's something that's suddenly growing up in our area but it was more from the social justice aspect than from the me, too aspect.

Studs Terkel But, what about the many who are over 30? This the point. They don't quite have your social con-do or am I wrong? Am I?

Jim Bradford Some do and some don't. It's sort of hard to generalize. I would say a certain percentage do. A certain percentage can be reached. We were considering the possibility of having to picket the police headquarters several months ago because we just couldn't seem to get an answer out of them. That's cleared up somewhat in the meantime but at that point-

Studs Terkel You talking about entrapment now?

Jim Bradford Well-

Studs Terkel Talking about the idea of entrapment?

Jim Bradford The specific point was that several bars had been raided and we thought it was unjustified and we're having trouble getting through to headquarters to get an appointment to talk with them, that panned out so we dropped the threat to picket. But when we were talking about an amazing assortment of people some of whom had been at the same job for a great number of years and really had an investment in keeping hidden because they were worried, came forward and said, "You can count me in if you're going to do it. I'm not the least bit afraid it's about time we stood up and started doing things like this." So there's a certain rugged individualism still coming out when they see others. I think the effect of others seeing what you're doing is important. It, it helps them rally around to what they really feel they should have been doing all along. And so it's important even if you don't think you'll get very far to raise these

Henry Weimhoff I think that's important to a lot of people have felt isolated and been afraid and since it's, it is easy to hide one's homosexuality, many people have. And in the process of trying to be straighter than all the straight people around them, this aspect of conservatism which you've brought up comes into play. One tries to be more normal than all the normal people around one including you know, political conservatism, the attempt to be accepted in that point. And what, what these people need is, is a sense that there are other people that are not willing to put up with all this anymore. And once they realize that, their true feelings will then come into play.

Studs Terkel As we're talking, go back now to. I would guess that Henry then, being 23 and in the midst of the changes taking place, had an easier time than you, Jim. Wo-Di- Can you look back now? You know without being sentimental now. I'm not going to [unintelligible] sentiment. I mean, without sentimentality, I should say. The difficulties I suppose, the question of having to hide. That's been the big factor, hasn't it, in the past?

Jim Bradford Yeah, I think until recently the, the thing was getting caught and not necessarily legally but socially, economically, perhaps. You know, it was considered an embarrassing [match strike] and decandent thing and although I never felt this was true, I realize that others felt so. So there was a certain investment of time and energy and not getting found out. And now there's a minimum of this.

Henry Weimhoff Especially since the society that employs you and and judges you and in legal terms and social terms is increasingly subject to criticism and more and more we're becoming aware that many of the things that have been accepted as, as normal quote normal are, are in fact repressive. You look at the whole situation of the Black in society and the place of the Black man. And now the place of woman in society and, and the whole question of woman's relationship to a man in marriage and that housewife and everything. More and, more we're becoming aware of things that have just been accepted in the past, have large elements of repression and oppression and can in fact be subject to criticism and change. And the more people realize that the less afraid they are of, of analyzing their own situation in those terms, too.

Studs Terkel Valerie, you were nodding.

Valerie Taylor That's true. Well I think Henry is right. I was just going to remind him not to forget my cousins, the Winnebago and Pottawatomie, [there?]

Everyone [laughter]

Henry Weimhoff No one's

Studs Terkel Go ahead.

Valerie Taylor But I was also thinking that lesbians don't seem as inclined to organize as male homosexuals do and this maybe not because they're afraid to but because they feel more secure and they don't feel what they need to.

Studs Terkel Wasn't there? I remember. What was it 20s? Radclyffe Halls, "The Well of Loneliness".

Valerie Taylor Yeah.

Studs Terkel The phrase "loneliness".

Valerie Taylor That was a pioneer book, you know. It's a very badly written book. It's so almost embarrassing to read it's written so badly. But was the first book that came out and said, "Here are all these people. Aren't they human? Aren't they entitled to consideration?" She had some very weird ideas, too, like you were born you know. There was a genetic thing and, and her heroine was very, very butch indeed. And you know just had to be that way. It's. She was a very extreme person. But, she was the first person who spoke up and said, "Here it is," in our time.

Studs Terkel The word that affected me, was the wor, "loneliness.

Valerie Taylor Loneliness.

Studs Terkel Now we come to this [match strike] matter. This often is associated, is it not? With, we'll come to the question of age and youth in a moment to, perhaps.

Valerie Taylor Well, kids write to us. I had a letter last week from a young man, 21, who said in effect,"I am a homosexual. I don't know any homosexuals. I'm afraid to go to the bars. How can I meet somebody?" He'd read a letter of mine in a newspaper.

Henry Weimhoff I'm just thinking of that quote from, from Stan Leonard from "Division Street America," in which he says he's avoided gay bars.

Valerie Taylor Yeah.

Henry Weimhoff Cause they act as a depressent and he goes on, says "Nobody's having fun. Nobody seems really human. I've seen older homosexuals. I don't really like what I see in them. There's nothing more ugly than loneliness". This kind of hits at the whole problem with the homosexuals

Studs Terkel Were you affected in reading

Henry Weimhoff Oh. Oh, very much so. Very much. He seems to represent many of the problems that have been forced on gay people in society. The whole problem of isolation, sense of inferiority and guilt that, that that's been forced on gay people and they don't have to take it. I mean, especially now, they're realizing they don't have to take it but in the past. Well until, I guess, the Kinsey Report had a great effect in showing that there were you know there were these percentages of people in society and the sense of, of not being in some sense of freak, had a great effect on people. When you realize that there are other people that are in fact going through the same thing you're going through even though you may not know who they are.

Studs Terkel Is that an amazin-what you just said, Henry said something, [unintelligible] opened up an avenue of thought. Rememeber James Baldwin was saying something about a feeling of, he wasn't talking about homosexuality or about being Black just about being alone. Feeling he was alone. And he says one to open the book by Dostoyevsky. So he felt as I did. What a liberating moment it is when you realize someone else whom you did not know of another time feels exactly as you did. And so the realization comes that there are many who feel as you do and you feel less alienated then.

Henry Weimhoff We, we are thinking of the group on, on campus at the University of Chicago that perhaps one of the best things gay people can do right now is to form something, buy a house, [match strike] maybe. And I hesitate to use the word, "a commune", but a group living experience in which gay people can prove to themselves that they can function effectively living closer together. I know this was quite an experience to me. I put an ad for gay roommates in "The Maroon," and Shelley called. And Shelley's female and I hadn't realized that quite

Valerie Taylor [laughter]

Henry Weimhoff consciously that females can be homosexual, too. And Shelley moved in. And the sense of, of living together and being able to share, you know, our experiences in, in talking during the day, eating dinner together. The sense of loneliness then becomes, becomes something we hold in common and are able to do away with.

Studs Terkel What happened when you had the ad in The Maroon? Was there any,

Henry Weimhoff Was there any, any repercussions? There were a couple of crank calls. I expected them but mostly I got calls from people on campus that weren't looking for a place to stay but felt extremely isolated and frustrated and afraid on campus and didn't know how they could meet other people, how, who they could talk to about it and kids that had just come to the campus, first time away from home and just had to talk to someone and didn't have anyone to talk to. Here was this ad for gay roommates in the newspaper. And so they called and I'd, I'd spend hours talking with some of them. It was then that I realized that there was a real need for a liberation wider sense than just a personal liberation.

Studs Terkel Jim, you you you a, thinking of something as Henry was talking just then? I was thinking as, as Henry was talking about the feeling of having to prove one's self. That in itself is rather sad. You know you, you spoke of the possible, possiblly forming a commu-. Why? You see, we come to that, don't we? Who has set this?

Henry Weimhoff Exactly

Studs Terkel Who has defined [a cough] what humanhood is? You see we come to that,

Henry Weimhoff And it's not something that's uniquely unique to gay people. It's something all people go through. And, and, and anybody has to prove themselves and there's really no reason why they should. One should be oneself no matter what one is. I think, I think of so many people at the University of Chicago because that's where I live and I suppose it's true in any context. Kids that just don't know who they are, what they are, but feel that they ought to be something, some kind of ideal that someone or somebody has set and they try and live up to it and sometimes they're not capable of living up to it but they're capable of all kinds of other things and they ought to be those other things.

Studs Terkel Could we go back to beginnings in each case. Doesn't matter any way. The, the early feelings of having to be apart. When did you first sense for example that somebody kept you apart or you are considered different? Valerie, would you?

Valerie Taylor Well I don't think that my experience is typical of lesbians because in the first place I have been married. I have three sons slightly older than Henry, so if I act maternal towards him [laughter], I hope you'll forgive me. Ahh in fact, I have two grandchildren whom I dote on. Also, I, of course I have seven published lesbian novels and this gives me a very good out. I have never been picked up in a gay bar but if I were you see I could say I was doing research.

Everyone [laughter]

Valerie Taylor And of course now I'm 56 years old and the younger generation will never believe that anyone 56 years old has any libido left [laughter] unless they read Johnson and

Studs Terkel Now Valerie, as you're talking about, you could say you're a writer and you're doing sociological work if you're picked up in a lesbian bar. I can't help but think of some guys going to a peep show or a stag show and these are writers saying, "I'm here for sociological reasons".

Valerie Taylor Sure. Sure.

Studs Terkel Parallel applies. That's interesting. See, isn't Valerie touching on something rather interesting here. The ambivalent nature, too, of man, aren't you?

Valerie Taylor Yeah.

Studs Terkel Androgynous nature of man.

Valerie Taylor And it has always seemed to me perfectly normal that you love whom you love. There's a very good book whose author I can't remember called, "Ladies' Close", C, L, O, S, E., and it deals with lesbianism to some extent. And in it, the college girl said, "But I don't see why everyone should be," I'm paraphrasing, "Why everyone should be so upset? I like boys. I like girls. You love people for what they are and not just for their fitments". And I've always thought [laughter] that's a very, if you have a whole personality relationship.

Henry Weimhoff I, I think the real question isn't, you know, "Why are we gay? or "Why are other people straight?" But perhaps the real question I think only psychiatry and the social sciences in general are only beginning to realize that is the real question, "Why is it that we're restricted in our, in our abilities to love on, on an emotional and physical level both; people as people regardless of gender or sex?". This this struck me as something that's a really significant question. I really don't know how one would approach it but it seems that society is, is repressive of, of sexual feelings. And one is given a very narrow and restricted ideal and model that one is supposed to fit into, when in reality we have the potential of of loving people as people and.

Valerie Taylor Well, doesn't a lot of this go back to property and inheritance in the old days where wife was her husband's property and he had to be sure that she wasn't laying someone else because the children had to be his. Jim, I'm sorry if that word offends you. I could have said worse words. [laughter] Can you say lay

Everyone on [laughter]

Studs Terkel Jim Unrath in the control room was howling, as I am [unintelligible] marvelous.

Valerie Taylor To be sure well having sexual relations sounds so terribly sterile so now.

Everyone [laughter]

Henry Weimhoff Right on.

Valerie Taylor Because the children were the husbands' inheritors of his property. And it was a big property deal.

Studs Terkel I wonder if Valerie isn't touching on something, very terribly strange, you know, Ashley Montagu, an anthropologist. We're talking about an inquisitive world. And often we hear the cliche, "Man is by nature aggressive," Robert Ardrey rubbish that came out as a result of Lorenz's work that's been clobbered by many anthropologists, that man, millions of years ago or the animals, the anthropoid were really cooperative. It's only when city states were formed and property came into being that I. So really come, come in. Perhaps at this moment. This is a rather critical and exhilarating though traumatic moment in the history of man, isn't it?

Henry Weimhoff I, I think we're at a, at a crisis stage and I think perhaps you can think of the Reformation and the Renaissance. You can think of any other crisis stages. I think we're going through a crisis stage that's really pretty, pretty deep seeded. We're we're challenging a lot of things that we've inherited that are becoming increasingly irrelevant. And if we're going to survive, we're gonna have to deal with these and reformulate these thought systems and structures so that they're truly human. And I

Jim Bradford The, the thing that bothers me most about society's reaction to this, is it always is first to deny it and then to try to squash out the people that persist. Psychiatry and psychology have a whole bunch of lies. Lying explanations are built right into explain us away in terms of psychopathology. Now as they calm down a little bit and start to look at us as human beings and especially some of those of us who forced themselves upon them, that they wouldn't ordinarily see on their analyst's couch or in their reclining chair. They're starting to really look at the phenomenon and start to have less ready made explanations the same with society. Those people that shriek "Law and Order" may well bring down a fascist regime in this country simply because they won't fa-, face up to the fact that Black people have been enslaved, even today 100 years after the Emancipation. And that while we haven't probably suffered the exact same situation, that our situation, is parallel, and there many groups that just aren't going to take it anymore. Well, all right if society is not going to give it and we're not going to give out, there's going to be a terrific struggle and you know you're just not going to wipe people out. You're not going to wipe the struggle out. You may squash individuals but you're not going to struggle out. People just aren't going to quit until they've got their rights.

Valerie Taylor We get the same thing in women's liberation, to the point where we have a lot of active women's liberation people saying, "You have to hate men". I don't hate know how you can hate half the [match strike] human race. But they put this up. This is a big conspiracy of men against women. Now, I see. I'm the fourth generation in my family to be a feminist. I'm very keen on all this. But I see men as victims equally with women. They're certainly victims of consumerism. You know, the primary victims of militarism, aren't they? And you can't-

Jim Bradford And usually the last to shriek about it.

Henry Weimhoff The person that's so hung up on their masculinity and they have to prove it every day is really in a worse situation than the gay person that has finally come to terms with themself and doesn't feel any need to pretend anymore. The person that has to, has to try and accommodate himself to models that really don't fit is oppressed equally as much as the person that goes down the street and says I'm gay and I'm being oppressed and is hit over the head.

Studs Terkel You know what I find exhilarating about this conversation how it relates itself to all aspects of our life today. We are not simply talking now about homosexuality, about lesbianism and male homo- We're talking now about the very life we live, aren't we? Militarism entered the picture. Economics entered the picture, the rights of women entered the picture. The rights of Blacks entered the picture. The opening up of what? Perhaps the idea of a new age enters a. Now, let me introduce subject of theology.

Everyone [laughter]

Studs Terkel And now we come to the question, Sam [Stan] Leonard whom I knew, who is in "Division Street America". This is a pseudonym. See, in the case of Henry and the case of Jim, there's no need for pseudonym but he says he was conscious of the sin bit when I was very young. He's happened to be Roman Catholic and he was very. He felt he was overwhelmed with a sense of guilt.

Valerie Taylor [Do you feel it?]

Henry Weimhoff I've, I don't really think I've ever felt guilt. I felt anxiety and perhaps anxiety that wasn't quite proportionate to the consequences of of my being homosexual. I do think though that Stan Leonard represents a lot of people that do feel a tremendous sense of guilt. And I think the responsibility for that has to be squarely laid on the shoulders of the church. The church has said that if you want to be truly religious, you have to be this, and gay people just can't be that. What do they do? I don't know. I feel very sorry for the gay people that I've seen that truly attempt to be religious and just can't, just

Studs Terkel You're talking about that church, of course, you mean any church?

Henry Weimhoff I mean the

Studs Terkel Religion generally?

Henry Weimhoff Religion. Christianity, specifically Judeo Christianity.

Studs Terkel In your case, Jim?

Jim Bradford I think probably roughly the same thing has applied to me. I've felt anxious but not particularly guilt-ridden and I've always felt which probably says more for the family I was raised in my parents than anything else, that I've always felt that when it came to showdown, well, the preacher was wrong not me. But you mustn't let him know about it or you'll be the butt of his sermons or whatever you want to call it, you know. Thou shall not. I'm no expert on the theology of it but we have a member who has done a lot of reading and he usually points out that, that when we are doing public speaking that usually the parts that talk about homosexuality and other things in the Bible largely are found in the Old Testament not exclusively but usually are in the same section where witches and sassy children are being put to death for their sins so that you can't really separate the one from the other.

Studs Terkel Yeah. So we come to the question again all aspects of society that come back to beginnings again. Family. I suppose this question often comes up. Discovery on the part of family. Was there, was there a problem here? [unintelligible] case, Henry.

Henry Weimhoff Well of course, homosexuality is something that every family may talk about. Occasionally it comes up in conversations and I can remember specifically my family was rather skitterish about the subject when it ever came up; snide remarks perhaps, something like that. I think the important thing is that most people don't have to confront it in a personal way and they can afford to, to beat around the bush or or make snide comments as long as it doesn't affect them personally. But as soon as the issue hits the family or hits a close friend, then one for the first time in one's life has to confront it in a personal way. And I was very, very much taken with the fact that my family when they, when they were confronted with it, didn't know anything about it. But were very much concerned and wanted to know what it meant. What did it mean to be gay? What was it that they could do to support, support me in that kind of situation. Moral support whatever kind of support was necessary. I think really the problem in large part is the problem of ignorance. And people don't, don't realize what the problem is.

Jim Bradford They think, well for example, if you ever traveled abroad, the first time, you don't know what to expect. You expect everything to be different and once you sort of get used to it or maybe by the second trip you realize that the similarities outweigh the differences. I think that's it with us. People think that we are incapable of love. We're incapable of long term relationships. We're capable of holding down a job. They know there are some differences so they assume that everything is totally different. Of course it's not so.

Henry Weimhoff It's like having a Black person to dinner for the first time-

Valerie Taylor Yeah.

Henry Weimhoff If you're a middle class white family in, in the suburbs somewhere and everyone's all.

Studs Terkel Well, Henry of course. Henry [unintelligible] represents something new on the horizon. Are you? I'm sure you're acquainted Henry's acquainted with the article appeared in Esquire recently, "The New Homosexuality," that was putting down the play, "The Boys in the Band" as old hat. Do you feel that was justifiable?

Henry Weimhoff Uh, what was justifiable?

Studs Terkel That putting down "The Boys in the Band," as

Henry Weimhoff Well of course, there have been, there have been all kinds of reactions to the play. There's been the outraged reaction of many of the gay liberation people that this is a a stereotype and perpetrates the the image that society has. I think that the play in fact represents a large number of of people that have been, been oppressed by society, that frustration and that guilt that they manifest are, are the internalized manifestations of, of what's been thrown at them. I think similarity the parallel with with Black people is very good. We lived at 61st and Ellis in Woodlawn and every night you could hear ambulances going down to 63rd street to get people that had been cut up, in the bars, that inward turned hostility and frustration that, that that rips up the individual and that he takes out on, on the people that are closest to him. I think that same kind of phenomenon is represented in "The Boys in the Band," that bitchiness, that, that frustration, that, that anxiety. A person has to come to terms with himself and then realize what the real problem is and work outward from there. And in doing that one, one then becomes whole. I I don't-

Jim Bradford I think.

Henry Weimhoff That's my own feeling.

Jim Bradford I agree with you. I think more good than harm was done by it. I can see how some people might be concerned about the average person's interpretation. But again I think the average person is really quite ignorant of the whole area and to the extent he's been brought into this living room that afternoon evening and seen what goes on in the lives of some people. He's been enlightened. Now there were people that should have been there that weren't, the old bromide or whatever the right word is. That. Well, well-adjusted people don't make good drama. It wouldn't have hurt to thrown in a couple. But.

Studs Terkel Yeah. You know, something quite beautiful. That opening night [unintelligible] Mattachine Society bought out a good portion of the house. I heard another guy saying and my wife heard someone saying, "One of the guys [sang?] "Just like home".

Everyone [laughter]

Jim Bradford I've never seen a show that I so totally identified with as that one. I, I was sort of turned off by Emery a bit at first but once he got going I really liked it.

Studs Terkel But almost could be as though Black people unlike, had seen "Raisin in the Sun" for the first time, in a way, you see. It's-

Henry Weimhoff I, I, I must admit that I feel ambivalent about the play, to the extent that people have never thought about homosexuality and then see that play and see that as in some sense representative or typical homosexuality. I would resent very much Mark Crawley's having written the play and it's being performed in Chicago to the extent that that brings up the whole question of people then want to know more about it. That's a different thing. I would really be curious how many people that saw that play were motivated then to find out more or just accepted that as the last, the last word on homosexuality.

Studs Terkel Or instead of the heterosexual, the respectable heterosexual with a fast slumming, in a sense.

Jim Bradford Yeah.

Studs Terkel Sexually slumming. There's something else by the way you mentioned the gay liberation front. That's an interesting phrase. Is there such a group?

Henry Weimhoff Yes, they're, especially in New York and San Francisco where it started. The word "Gay Liberation Front" has been used as I don't know, identifying to some extent the struggle of all oppressed people as one would say, the Gay Liberation Front is then just one aspect of the struggle. People to become free and to become truly themselves.

Jim Bradford The meeting that I attended in late December in New York remind me of a Quaker business meeting. It was done very informally. One guy was sitting over in the corner with his knitting.

Everyone [laughter]

Jim Bradford It was very sedate. Everyone was there with vague, vaguely the same value virtually the same values the same ideas and they were just sort of seeing what they could do about what was going on. I felt very much at home.

Valerie Taylor What pleased me about the newspaper reviews of "Boys in the Band" was that most of the reviewers said, "Now this does not represent the entire homosexual community". This is just one aspect of life and we tend not to like people to say homosexual community although we use it sometimes because it's a handy phrase because you'll get just as many different backgrounds and attitudes and abilities and tastes among homosexuals as you do among heterosexuals, you know.

Studs Terkel This raises a point and this is perhaps a delicate point here. It's a point worth discussing. Stan Leonard, homosexual says, "I don't feel guilty anymore but I feel homosexual is wrong". And, and dig this. This is interesting, "It's wrong because the upheaval it creates within a person. I don't know how rich a life can be under these circumstances. It's wrong in that it limits the richness. It dulls it. What I want to do, I feel cheated to a degree, is push towards something where I can have this outdoor [unintelligible] good life". Do you agree with what he says

Henry Weimhoff That's a very interesting point. I think the same thing could have been said 20 years ago about being Black in this, in this country. To, to to look at at Black culture and, and the Black family, one could have said almost exactly the same thing about being Black in this country. The thing is one has to realize why it is that way. And having realized that and having a sense of responsibility both towards oneself and towards the society in general, what can one do about it? I'm not willing to pretend anymore that I'm any different than I am. I have found that in not pretending and not trying [a cough] to play a game anymore, that I can live a full life and be happy and there's no reason why other people can't do the same thing.

Jim Bradford I think that. What was his name again?

Studs Terkel Well, the name in the book says Stan Leonard.

Jim Bradford Stan Leonard. I think he's mis-identified the problem. It's not homosexuality. It's the way society has taught him to feel about himself. [background chatter] And that's the problem.

Valerie Taylor Also. Excuse me. I shouldn't have interrupt you. Straight people have the same hang ups. This is something that gay people, not ever having been straight, some of them, don't. [laughter] Well, I'm sorry but really if you're bisexual it's much simpler to understand some of these things by sexual experience. Straight people get all hung up. A lot of straight men are, are very mixed up about their sexual emotions. And you know, they, they get involved with their secretary and then they're ashamed to face their wife and so on. And straight girls are supposed to be popular and do a lot of making out but they're supposed to remain technical virgins if possible and then the minute they get married they're supposed to be, you know, just one great torch of passion and they can't always make it because they've been. Well I mean they're all apart from the problems that we do NOT have like am I or am I not pregnant? They have all the same hangups.

Studs Terkel So we come to the question of pretending, don't we again?

Valerie Taylor Yeah and it's so [unintelligible}

Studs Terkel Monogamy, polygamy, homosexuality, heterosexuality. Pretending to be that which you are not.

Valerie Taylor Kids used to be taught about masturbating. Is, are we allowed to discuss masturbation on your

Studs Terkel Well, you've done it.

Everyone [laughter]

Valerie Taylor That it was a perfectly. Parents used to think, you know, it was a perfectly terrible thing and you tied the kids hands up or something and slapped him and you taught him his brain was going to decay or something. And now, I'm pleased to find from my daughter-in-law, that the baby books tell you all, all little children masturbate and you shouldn't pay any attention to it.

Jim Bradford Some of them still say unless done excessively, and of course Dr. Kinsey-

Valerie Taylor Well,

Jim Bradford Hasn't even learned yet whether, what

Valerie Taylor But I mean, there, too, the people used to have all these terrible guilts and the whole thing was based on a misconception. You see, there is a parallel, I think.

Studs Terkel So it come back to the question of guilt.

Valerie Taylor Yeah.

Studs Terkel We come back to the question of who has, who has established this matter of guilt and innocence? Who is it? Who? We come to that again. Who determines the values of a society? We come back to that again.

Henry Weimhoff Well we're all participants in the process and to the extent that one accepts one's parents or one's peer group or one's friends and internalizes what one picks up from it, one is a participant in the process. If you feel guilty, you feel guilty and if you don't have to feel guilty, you shouldn't have to feel guilty and one has to go through the process of them exercising that guilt. Exorcising that guilt.

Jim Bradford This is really the democratic process carried to its ultimate. To its ultimate because I've often said at Friends Meeting, especially, I like to stir some of them up, that are a bit conservative, that the thing that impresses me most about this generation and about the responsibility of Quakers because they are take themselves very seriously and they do feel that they should do very responsible and outgoing things, that we should be thankful for the challenge of ex, external authority. That again, we must look within and we must see what we think is right and act on this and don't take the President's word for it. Don't take Mayor Daley's word for it. Don't take anybody else's word for it. Intro, through introspection, take your word for it and then go out and preach this. Because this is the way to liberate people. This is a way to get, what is it? The fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man into the streets and it's a meaning rather than just some word above the alter.

Studs Terkel Well Jim, since you raised, raised this matter of authorities and power. Has there been a lessening or what has been the attitude toward authorities specifically police toward homosexuals, toward lesbians obviously less. I don't know about policewomen. I am not up on them.

Valerie Taylor Oh, there are a lot of wonderful butch policewomen in this town,

Everyone Studs. [laughter]

Jim Bradford Valerie, they'll never speak to us

Everyone

Valerie Taylor What were you saying Henry? I was just saying [shoot?] they always mentioning the relationship of of kids to their parents and older generations in some sense felt obligated towards their parents. And I was just saying that Wednesday night and going home talking to my parents and confronting them, I felt a certain sense of individuality and independence regarding them because of my economic situation. And it was easier for me to, to confront them and tell them what was going on because I've had the feeling that I was me and I was independent of them economically as well as psychologically. And I suppose one could say that people that went through the Depression and all were much more aware of the interrelationships economically and the dependence there. Henry Weimhoff is talking. Henry is 23, student at the University of Chicago and Jim Bradford who is one of the executives, the Mattachine Society. It's an organization of homosexuals in Chicago. It's part of many groups throughout the country. And I don't know if your position is right there about the matter of executive in it. Jim Bradford and Valerie Taylor a member of the society and there is a generation, a slight generation gap involved here. Valerie could well be the mother of of, of Henry and Jim is over 30. We're really talking about freedom, aren't we? The quest for freedom and the quest for openness in an open society as to who we are, as individuals, physically, politically, socially, sexually. Isn't that what it's about? And we know that we've come a long way from the time Lillian Hellman's "Children's Hour" first played. And there was a discussion rather soft about two women who may have been lesbians and one admitted she was. It was a stark, marvelous play by Lillian Helman but perhaps a bit dated today and all the way from "Tea and Sympathy" that has a cop out theme on the boy needed the love of a good woman and he'd have been a heterosexual until "Boys in the Band" which deals with certain milieu today. And we're talking about this theme today and. People of all minority groups I suppose. Could you, Valerie, would you describe being a lesbian, a homosexual, being a member of a minority group. To some extent I suppose it is the best estimate I know is it from one-twentieth to one-tenth of the population have act- have or have had active homosexual experience. It's impossible really to get any, naturally you're not going to take a census and get honest answers on a matter like this. But I think that the male homosexuals feel this much more than women do. Why do you think that is? Society seems to be dreadfully hung up on the sex life of males, at least in this country. I don't know how it is in other places. Men are not supposed to have affectional friendships and they're not supposed to stay single and they're not supposed to share apartments and it's only now that Henry's generation is coming out with long hair and ruffles on its shirts and so on and confessing to an interest in gourmet cooking and so on. [laughter] A lot of these things which we believe to be socially conditioned have been regarded until recently as being sexually conditioned. When Jim Bradford, you're over 30. I was thinking as Valerie is talking and Henry of course is 23 and apparently Henry's generation, there's a slight gap in, today a generation is no longer 20, 25 years. It's five, 10 years, you know. If you Jim, Henry is much prettier than you were when you were his age, isn't he? Oh definitely than I was at that age. Yes. I think I have sort of loosened up as I've gotten older and had more experience. One thing I sometimes tell about. Well you know, people don't know whether the cops are going to raid the first homophile meeting that they go to or not. I remember the first meeting I went to was Mattachine of New York in 1959 and the cops didn't raid the first meeting, the second meeting, so I decided it would be all right. Now, a year ago, I was out in San Francisco and several active organizations out there planned a support demonstration in front of the federal building on July 3rd as a gesture of support for the annual picketing of Independence Hall. It's called an Annual Reminder Day and I knew the president of SIR, Society for Individual Rights. He said, "Why don't you come and join us on the podium?" Well, I gulped once or twice but I said, "All right, I will". What's the net effect and I was televised when a couple years before I would never even appeared on radio. So there's a certain liberation that comes with this, this sort of participation. You simply feel that these things are your own business and helping other people free themselves becomes part of your business, and it's just great to do. Shelley, Shelley made the point. Shelley's a roommate of mine. She's also gay; that so much of, of what gay people are afraid of is the result of an internalization and almost an exaggeration and distortion of what society has told us about ourselves and about our place in society. So much of liberation in that sense comes from just standing up and saying I'm gay and seeing that you know you don't have a heart attack on the spot or you don't, you weren't murdered by someone. I'm thinking of the phrase, "Power". See, they have the button, "Gay power". Do you think this liberation, this openness came out this less fear? We can talk about the matter of fear in a moment and what a norm is in a society and how. You think it came about as a some[where? way?]related to the Black revolution? Oh I think, I think clearly if nothing else than the matter of taking one's cues and not necessarily one's ideas but one's cues from, from the Black, Black Revolution. I was in Mississippi in 1966 with the Meredith Freedom March and had done quite a bit of civil rights work in Chicago and around and it gradually became quite clear to me that in some sense it was I don't want to say hypocrisy because I don't think it was hypocrisy. But there was something, there was something wrong when I could work for what I felt right, for other people. And yet couldn't do the same for myself. And I think the situation of the gay person in society is very similar to that of the Black person. Of course the gay guy doesn't necessarily manifest his gayness the way the Black person can't help but be Black and everything that he does. But in some way it's, it's, it's worse to be able to hide it because in hiding it and running away from it and pretending, one's mind gets all messed up in the process when one tries to be something that one either isn't or can't be. And the frustration and the guilt and the anxiety that go with that are much worse than if one just confronted the fact that one is gay and one, you know, has a right to be gay in society. I think probably in some ways those of us who aren't obvious are in the same position as a Black person who is so light and so Caucasian in complexion that he's passing. Pass. Yeah, and of course the move now is for people to to whatever extent they to just simply not pass any longer and to declare themselves as openly and as publicly as they can. Now, this is easier for some people than others and some can do it to a greater extent than others. So it's not quite the same thing- But in doing it, one realizes that, that so much of that fear is internalized and that in coming out and saying I'm gay, sense Is the change al- also do this openness, this more freedom and not fear to say this is what I am? Isn't this Valerie Taylor you were suggesting before we went on the air that a certain economic independence enters into the picture. I think there is that and I think society in general is a little more permissive. I think people, middle-class people, no longer regarded as truly dreadful, to go to jail because if their kids are not going to jail for refusing to be drafted for example their neighbor's kids are and we are not quite so afraid of being busted as we were 20 years ago because we know that a lot of perfectly good people are getting busted all the time. 'Course I grew up in the labor movement. It's a graphic term in Chicago to say "busted". Yeah. I grew up in the labor movement, so this isn't No 'cause you're really likely to get busted when it happens here. Wanna hear. Oh! [laughter] Busted in that sense! You, you mean. You're referring of course to that to that particular week in, a balmy week in August, Right. Right. Now Valerie you were saying you grew up in the labor movement. Right. So the idea of going to prison which I may say I have never done this is all theoretical. I know. [laughter] I sometimes feel a little ashamed about it you know. I've never been in jail. It has never has seemed shocking to me because I always sort of knew where it was at. And you know Thoreau's crack, you know, Thoreau's crack? Why aren't you here? Yeah. Behind bars and Emery Emerson said, "What are you doing to behind-?' Hello. Cliche by now and yet there it is. What are you doing behind bars and Thoreau said, "What are you doing outside?" Right So, back to the, the changes that have happened. Perhaps we can go back to beginnings. The very nature of our society and these fears of someone who is different. If we for the moment the idea of lesbianism and male homosexuality. Valerie was saying that authority [a cough] is not quite as rough with lesbians. Is it perhaps because women themselves are considered less important in society? [coughing] Partly that and partly I think women, gay women are a little better if they don't wish to say I'm a lesbian. I joined Mattachine or I'll join the Daughters of Bilitis. It's a little easier for them to conceal their identity. Val, don't you think it has something to do [a cough] with the fact that affection and tenderness expressed between women [unintelligible] is accepted by society? Yes. It's considered un-masculine for guys to respond toward one another [coughing] the same, with the same degree of affection and openness of feeling as women are expected to. I was just thinking of the dance that we went to at the Eleanor Club. We, this was one of our first radical actions at the University. We went as gay people and we decided that this was part of personal as well as social liberation. And the girls took to it just like ducks to water. They went in and they were dancing together. And the reaction of the other people at the dance was, "Well. These girls are really hard up for partners and all they can do is dance with each other." [cough] And very gallantly they asked if they could dance with the girls and of course they would turn down the girls who were perfectly happy dancing with each other which was very interesting. The reaction, however, to us dancing together, that is the males in the group, was considerably different. This was something that was not accepted. This was something that was not- Isn't it something that I would call the John Wayne syndrome? Oh yeah. And this is. Isn't this it, it's the fact that masculinity is associated with violence with anti-affection with anti-tenderness. Competition. Now there in a sense is that terrible fear. Whatever is inside all men, so-called men. Isn't that? Yeah. This, this sense that in order to be male, in order to be masculine you have to be able to compete and you have to be able to fight and and express whatever, whatever feelings you feel towards another male in terms of, of, of aggression rather than in terms of affection or- It's this colossal fraud that society has perpetrated on, on everybody and this is what keeps the Pentagon in business and this is what keeps the people streaming over to Vietnam and I just hope by getting enough people who are waking up to themselves not only in our area but just in general, we can keep going to the streets and screaming, "Hell no! We won't go". And finally these idiots in the White House will open up their ears and turn off their TV sets and get out of the ballgame they shouldn't be watching anyway and do something about it. Today's headlines say that Senator Goodall is announcing that Nixon really has intentions of keeping 300,000 troops there anyway. You know as you're, as you're talking, Jim Bradford, and you're over 30. This is interesting, I was listening because in my mind, this my-correct me if I'm wrong, that the homosexual in the past been regard as rather conservative in nature. Well there all points of view on this. Now my honest feeling is that when we do public speaking, I usually start elaborating the types of jobs homosexuals have held, simply to show that you find homosexuals from all, in all backgrounds-- religiously speaking, economically, socially and so on. Without getting into the question of origin, no one seems to really know whence we come. But the point is we're found in all these social levels. So it's really impossible to say they're conservative, they're liberal, they're middle of the road. I think there may be a slight tendency toward some degree of conservatism simply because of this need to hide problem. Yeah I think that's really- But a pretty important point. I, I think that, that might tend in this direction. But on the other hand, it has gone the opposite way with me. I've been concerned about social justice since I was a kid. The first thing I consciously remember that woke me up was when I was reading a Reader's Digest account of an execution. But from that day at about age 12, I've been violently opposed to capital punishment and I've been in the movement to abolish it in about two and a half states. And I never got into the homophile movement until I realized well here's something that's suddenly growing up in our area but it was more from the social justice aspect than from the me, too aspect. But, what about the many who are over 30? This the point. They don't quite have your social con-do or am I wrong? Am I? Some do and some don't. It's sort of hard to generalize. I would say a certain percentage do. A certain percentage can be reached. We were considering the possibility of having to picket the police headquarters several months ago because we just couldn't seem to get an answer out of them. That's cleared up somewhat in the meantime but at that point- You talking about entrapment now? Well- Talking about the idea of entrapment? The specific point was that several bars had been raided and we thought it was unjustified and we're having trouble getting through to headquarters to get an appointment to talk with them, that panned out so we dropped the threat to picket. But when we were talking about an amazing assortment of people some of whom had been at the same job for a great number of years and really had an investment in keeping hidden because they were worried, came forward and said, "You can count me in if you're going to do it. I'm not the least bit afraid it's about time we stood up and started doing things like this." So there's a certain rugged individualism still coming out when they see others. I think the effect of others seeing what you're doing is important. It, it helps them rally around to what they really feel they should have been doing all along. And so it's important even if you don't think you'll get very far to raise these I think that's important to a lot of people have felt isolated and been afraid and since it's, it is easy to hide one's homosexuality, many people have. And in the process of trying to be straighter than all the straight people around them, this aspect of conservatism which you've brought up comes into play. One tries to be more normal than all the normal people around one including you know, political conservatism, the attempt to be accepted in that point. And what, what these people need is, is a sense that there are other people that are not willing to put up with all this anymore. And once they realize that, their true feelings will then come into play. As we're talking, go back now to. I would guess that Henry then, being 23 and in the midst of the changes taking place, had an easier time than you, Jim. Wo-Di- Can you look back now? You know without being sentimental now. I'm not going to [unintelligible] sentiment. I mean, without sentimentality, I should say. The difficulties I suppose, the question of having to hide. That's been the big factor, hasn't it, in the past? Yeah, I think until recently the, the thing was getting caught and not necessarily legally but socially, economically, perhaps. You know, it was considered an embarrassing [match strike] and decandent thing and although I never felt this was true, I realize that others felt so. So there was a certain investment of time and energy and not getting found out. And now there's a minimum of this. Especially since the society that employs you and and judges you and in legal terms and social terms is increasingly subject to criticism and more and more we're becoming aware that many of the things that have been accepted as, as normal quote normal are, are in fact repressive. You look at the whole situation of the Black in society and the place of the Black man. And now the place of woman in society and, and the whole question of woman's relationship to a man in marriage and that housewife and everything. More and, more we're becoming aware of things that have just been accepted in the past, have large elements of repression and oppression and can in fact be subject to criticism and change. And the more people realize that the less afraid they are of, of analyzing their own situation in those terms, too. Valerie, you were nodding. That's true. Well I think Henry is right. I was just going to remind him not to forget my cousins, the Winnebago and Pottawatomie, [there?] [laughter] No one's forgetting Go ahead. But I was also thinking that lesbians don't seem as inclined to organize as male homosexuals do and this maybe not because they're afraid to but because they feel more secure and they don't feel what they need to. Wasn't there? I remember. What was it 20s? Radclyffe Halls, "The Well of Loneliness". Yeah. The phrase "loneliness". That was a pioneer book, you know. It's a very badly written book. It's so almost embarrassing to read it's written so badly. But was the first book that came out and said, "Here are all these people. Aren't they human? Aren't they entitled to consideration?" She had some very weird ideas, too, like you were born you know. There was a genetic thing and, and her heroine was very, very butch indeed. And you know just had to be that way. It's. She was a very extreme person. But, she was the first person who spoke up and said, "Here it is," in our time. The word that affected me, was the wor, "loneliness. Loneliness. Now we come to this [match strike] matter. This often is associated, is it not? With, we'll come to the question of age and youth in a moment to, perhaps. Well, kids write to us. I had a letter last week from a young man, 21, who said in effect,"I am a homosexual. I don't know any homosexuals. I'm afraid to go to the bars. How can I meet somebody?" He'd read a letter of mine in a newspaper. I'm just thinking of that quote from, from Stan Leonard from "Division Street America," in which he says he's avoided gay bars. Yeah. Cause they act as a depressent and he goes on, says "Nobody's having fun. Nobody seems really human. I've seen older homosexuals. I don't really like what I see in them. There's nothing more ugly than loneliness". This kind of hits at the whole problem with the homosexuals Were you affected in reading Stan? Oh. Oh, very much so. Very much. He seems to represent many of the problems that have been forced on gay people in society. The whole problem of isolation, sense of inferiority and guilt that, that that's been forced on gay people and they don't have to take it. I mean, especially now, they're realizing they don't have to take it but in the past. Well until, I guess, the Kinsey Report had a great effect in showing that there were you know there were these percentages of people in society and the sense of, of not being in some sense of freak, had a great effect on people. When you realize that there are other people that are in fact going through the same thing you're going through even though you may not know who they are. Is that an amazin-what you just said, Henry said something, [unintelligible] opened up an avenue of thought. Rememeber James Baldwin was saying something about a feeling of, he wasn't talking about homosexuality or about being Black just about being alone. Feeling he was alone. And he says one to open the book by Dostoyevsky. So he felt as I did. What a liberating moment it is when you realize someone else whom you did not know of another time feels exactly as you did. And so the realization comes that there are many who feel as you do and you feel less alienated then. We, we are thinking of the group on, on campus at the University of Chicago that perhaps one of the best things gay people can do right now is to form something, buy a house, [match strike] maybe. And I hesitate to use the word, "a commune", but a group living experience in which gay people can prove to themselves that they can function effectively living closer together. I know this was quite an experience to me. I put an ad for gay roommates in "The Maroon," and Shelley called. And Shelley's female and I hadn't realized that quite [laughter] consciously that females can be homosexual, too. And Shelley moved in. And the sense of, of living together and being able to share, you know, our experiences in, in talking during the day, eating dinner together. The sense of loneliness then becomes, becomes something we hold in common and are able to do away with. What happened when you had the ad in The Maroon? Was there any, Was there any, any repercussions? There were a couple of crank calls. I expected them but mostly I got calls from people on campus that weren't looking for a place to stay but felt extremely isolated and frustrated and afraid on campus and didn't know how they could meet other people, how, who they could talk to about it and kids that had just come to the campus, first time away from home and just had to talk to someone and didn't have anyone to talk to. Here was this ad for gay roommates in the newspaper. And so they called and I'd, I'd spend hours talking with some of them. It was then that I realized that there was a real need for a liberation wider sense than just a personal liberation. Jim, you you you a, thinking of something as Henry was talking just then? I was thinking as, as Henry was talking about the feeling of having to prove one's self. That in itself is rather sad. You know you, you spoke of the possible, possiblly forming a commu-. Why? You see, we come to that, don't we? Who has set this? Exactly Who has defined [a cough] what humanhood is? You see we come to that, don't And it's not something that's uniquely unique to gay people. It's something all people go through. And, and, and anybody has to prove themselves and there's really no reason why they should. One should be oneself no matter what one is. I think, I think of so many people at the University of Chicago because that's where I live and I suppose it's true in any context. Kids that just don't know who they are, what they are, but feel that they ought to be something, some kind of ideal that someone or somebody has set and they try and live up to it and sometimes they're not capable of living up to it but they're capable of all kinds of other things and they ought to be those other things. Could we go back to beginnings in each case. Doesn't matter any way. The, the early feelings of having to be apart. When did you first sense for example that somebody kept you apart or you are considered different? Valerie, would you? Well I don't think that my experience is typical of lesbians because in the first place I have been married. I have three sons slightly older than Henry, so if I act maternal towards him [laughter], I hope you'll forgive me. Ahh in fact, I have two grandchildren whom I dote on. Also, I, of course I have seven published lesbian novels and this gives me a very good out. I have never been picked up in a gay bar but if I were you see I could say I was doing research. [laughter] And of course now I'm 56 years old and the younger generation will never believe that anyone 56 years old has any libido left [laughter] unless they read Johnson and Masters. Now Valerie, as you're talking about, you could say you're a writer and you're doing sociological work if you're picked up in a lesbian bar. I can't help but think of some guys going to a peep show or a stag show and these are writers saying, "I'm here for sociological reasons". Sure. Sure. Parallel applies. That's interesting. See, isn't Valerie touching on something rather interesting here. The ambivalent nature, too, of man, aren't you? Yeah. Androgynous nature of man. And it has always seemed to me perfectly normal that you love whom you love. There's a very good book whose author I can't remember called, "Ladies' Close", C, L, O, S, E., and it deals with lesbianism to some extent. And in it, the college girl said, "But I don't see why everyone should be," I'm paraphrasing, "Why everyone should be so upset? I like boys. I like girls. You love people for what they are and not just for their fitments". And I've always thought [laughter] that's a very, if you have a whole personality relationship. I, I think the real question isn't, you know, "Why are we gay? or "Why are other people straight?" But perhaps the real question I think only psychiatry and the social sciences in general are only beginning to realize that is the real question, "Why is it that we're restricted in our, in our abilities to love on, on an emotional and physical level both; people as people regardless of gender or sex?". This this struck me as something that's a really significant question. I really don't know how one would approach it but it seems that society is, is repressive of, of sexual feelings. And one is given a very narrow and restricted ideal and model that one is supposed to fit into, when in reality we have the potential of of loving people as people and. Well, doesn't a lot of this go back to property and inheritance in the old days where wife was her husband's property and he had to be sure that she wasn't laying someone else because the children had to be his. Jim, I'm sorry if that word offends you. I could have said worse words. [laughter] Can you say lay on [laughter] Jim Unrath in the control room was howling, as I am [unintelligible] marvelous. To be sure well having sexual relations sounds so terribly sterile so now. [laughter] Right on. Because the children were the husbands' inheritors of his property. And it was a big property deal. I wonder if Valerie isn't touching on something, very terribly strange, you know, Ashley Montagu, an anthropologist. We're talking about an inquisitive world. And often we hear the cliche, "Man is by nature aggressive," Robert Ardrey rubbish that came out as a result of Lorenz's work that's been clobbered by many anthropologists, that man, millions of years ago or the animals, the anthropoid were really cooperative. It's only when city states were formed and property came into being that I. So really come, come in. Perhaps at this moment. This is a rather critical and exhilarating though traumatic moment in the history of man, isn't it? I, I think we're at a, at a crisis stage and I think perhaps you can think of the Reformation and the Renaissance. You can think of any other crisis stages. I think we're going through a crisis stage that's really pretty, pretty deep seeded. We're we're challenging a lot of things that we've inherited that are becoming increasingly irrelevant. And if we're going to survive, we're gonna have to deal with these and reformulate these thought systems and structures so that they're truly human. And I don't- The, the thing that bothers me most about society's reaction to this, is it always is first to deny it and then to try to squash out the people that persist. Psychiatry and psychology have a whole bunch of lies. Lying explanations are built right into explain us away in terms of psychopathology. Now as they calm down a little bit and start to look at us as human beings and especially some of those of us who forced themselves upon them, that they wouldn't ordinarily see on their analyst's couch or in their reclining chair. They're starting to really look at the phenomenon and start to have less ready made explanations the same with society. Those people that shriek "Law and Order" may well bring down a fascist regime in this country simply because they won't fa-, face up to the fact that Black people have been enslaved, even today 100 years after the Emancipation. And that while we haven't probably suffered the exact same situation, that our situation, is parallel, and there many groups that just aren't going to take it anymore. Well, all right if society is not going to give it and we're not going to give out, there's going to be a terrific struggle and you know you're just not going to wipe people out. You're not going to wipe the struggle out. You may squash individuals but you're not going to struggle out. People just aren't going to quit until they've got their rights. We get the same thing in women's liberation, to the point where we have a lot of active women's liberation people saying, "You have to hate men". I don't hate know how you can hate half the [match strike] human race. But they put this up. This is a big conspiracy of men against women. Now, I see. I'm the fourth generation in my family to be a feminist. I'm very keen on all this. But I see men as victims equally with women. They're certainly victims of consumerism. You know, the primary victims of militarism, aren't they? And you can't- And usually the last to shriek about it. The person that's so hung up on their masculinity and they have to prove it every day is really in a worse situation than the gay person that has finally come to terms with themself and doesn't feel any need to pretend anymore. The person that has to, has to try and accommodate himself to models that really don't fit is oppressed equally as much as the person that goes down the street and says I'm gay and I'm being oppressed and is hit over the head. You know what I find exhilarating about this conversation how it relates itself to all aspects of our life today. We are not simply talking now about homosexuality, about lesbianism and male homo- We're talking now about the very life we live, aren't we? Militarism entered the picture. Economics entered the picture, the rights of women entered the picture. The rights of Blacks entered the picture. The opening up of what? Perhaps the idea of a new age enters a. Now, let me introduce subject of theology. [laughter] And now we come to the question, Sam [Stan] Leonard whom I knew, who is in "Division Street America". This is a pseudonym. See, in the case of Henry and the case of Jim, there's no need for pseudonym but he says he was conscious of the sin bit when I was very young. He's happened to be Roman Catholic and he was very. He felt he was overwhelmed with a sense of guilt. [Do you feel it?] I've, I don't really think I've ever felt guilt. I felt anxiety and perhaps anxiety that wasn't quite proportionate to the consequences of of my being homosexual. I do think though that Stan Leonard represents a lot of people that do feel a tremendous sense of guilt. And I think the responsibility for that has to be squarely laid on the shoulders of the church. The church has said that if you want to be truly religious, you have to be this, and gay people just can't be that. What do they do? I don't know. I feel very sorry for the gay people that I've seen that truly attempt to be religious and just can't, just can't. You're talking about that church, of course, you mean any church? I mean the church Religion generally? Religion. Christianity, specifically Judeo Christianity. In your case, Jim? I think probably roughly the same thing has applied to me. I've felt anxious but not particularly guilt-ridden and I've always felt which probably says more for the family I was raised in my parents than anything else, that I've always felt that when it came to showdown, well, the preacher was wrong not me. But you mustn't let him know about it or you'll be the butt of his sermons or whatever you want to call it, you know. Thou shall not. I'm no expert on the theology of it but we have a member who has done a lot of reading and he usually points out that, that when we are doing public speaking that usually the parts that talk about homosexuality and other things in the Bible largely are found in the Old Testament not exclusively but usually are in the same section where witches and sassy children are being put to death for their sins so that you can't really separate the one from the other. Yeah. So we come to the question again all aspects of society that come back to beginnings again. Family. I suppose this question often comes up. Discovery on the part of family. Was there, was there a problem here? [unintelligible] case, Henry. Well of course, homosexuality is something that every family may talk about. Occasionally it comes up in conversations and I can remember specifically my family was rather skitterish about the subject when it ever came up; snide remarks perhaps, something like that. I think the important thing is that most people don't have to confront it in a personal way and they can afford to, to beat around the bush or or make snide comments as long as it doesn't affect them personally. But as soon as the issue hits the family or hits a close friend, then one for the first time in one's life has to confront it in a personal way. And I was very, very much taken with the fact that my family when they, when they were confronted with it, didn't know anything about it. But were very much concerned and wanted to know what it meant. What did it mean to be gay? What was it that they could do to support, support me in that kind of situation. Moral support whatever kind of support was necessary. I think really the problem in large part is the problem of ignorance. And people don't, don't realize what the problem is. They think, well for example, if you ever traveled abroad, the first time, you don't know what to expect. You expect everything to be different and once you sort of get used to it or maybe by the second trip you realize that the similarities outweigh the differences. I think that's it with us. People think that we are incapable of love. We're incapable of long term relationships. We're capable of holding down a job. They know there are some differences so they assume that everything is totally different. Of course it's not so. It's like having a Black person to dinner for the first time- Yeah. If you're a middle class white family in, in the suburbs somewhere and everyone's all. Well, Henry of course. Henry [unintelligible] represents something new on the horizon. Are you? I'm sure you're acquainted Henry's acquainted with the article appeared in Esquire recently, "The New Homosexuality," that was putting down the play, "The Boys in the Band" as old hat. Do you feel that was justifiable? Uh, what was justifiable? That putting down "The Boys in the Band," as Well of course, there have been, there have been all kinds of reactions to the play. There's been the outraged reaction of many of the gay liberation people that this is a a stereotype and perpetrates the the image that society has. I think that the play in fact represents a large number of of people that have been, been oppressed by society, that frustration and that guilt that they manifest are, are the internalized manifestations of, of what's been thrown at them. I think similarity the parallel with with Black people is very good. We lived at 61st and Ellis in Woodlawn and every night you could hear ambulances going down to 63rd street to get people that had been cut up, in the bars, that inward turned hostility and frustration that, that that rips up the individual and that he takes out on, on the people that are closest to him. I think that same kind of phenomenon is represented in "The Boys in the Band," that bitchiness, that, that frustration, that, that anxiety. A person has to come to terms with himself and then realize what the real problem is and work outward from there. And in doing that one, one then becomes whole. I I don't- I think. That's my own feeling. I agree with you. I think more good than harm was done by it. I can see how some people might be concerned about the average person's interpretation. But again I think the average person is really quite ignorant of the whole area and to the extent he's been brought into this living room that afternoon evening and seen what goes on in the lives of some people. He's been enlightened. Now there were people that should have been there that weren't, the old bromide or whatever the right word is. That. Well, well-adjusted people don't make good drama. It wouldn't have hurt to thrown in a couple. But. Yeah. You know, something quite beautiful. That opening night [unintelligible] Mattachine Society bought out a good portion of the house. I heard another guy saying and my wife heard someone saying, "One of the guys [sang?] "Just like home". [laughter] I've never seen a show that I so totally identified with as that one. I, I was sort of turned off by Emery a bit at first but once he got going I really liked it. But almost could be as though Black people unlike, had seen "Raisin in the Sun" for the first time, in a way, you see. It's- I, I, I must admit that I feel ambivalent about the play, to the extent that people have never thought about homosexuality and then see that play and see that as in some sense representative or typical homosexuality. I would resent very much Mark Crawley's having written the play and it's being performed in Chicago to the extent that that brings up the whole question of people then want to know more about it. That's a different thing. I would really be curious how many people that saw that play were motivated then to find out more or just accepted that as the last, the last word on homosexuality. Or instead of the heterosexual, the respectable heterosexual with a fast slumming, in a sense. Yeah. Sexually slumming. There's something else by the way you mentioned the gay liberation front. That's an interesting phrase. Is there such a group? Yes, they're, especially in New York and San Francisco where it started. The word "Gay Liberation Front" has been used as I don't know, identifying to some extent the struggle of all oppressed people as one would say, the Gay Liberation Front is then just one aspect of the struggle. People to become free and to become truly themselves. The meeting that I attended in late December in New York remind me of a Quaker business meeting. It was done very informally. One guy was sitting over in the corner with his knitting. [laughter] It was very sedate. Everyone was there with vague, vaguely the same value virtually the same values the same ideas and they were just sort of seeing what they could do about what was going on. I felt very much at home. What pleased me about the newspaper reviews of "Boys in the Band" was that most of the reviewers said, "Now this does not represent the entire homosexual community". This is just one aspect of life and we tend not to like people to say homosexual community although we use it sometimes because it's a handy phrase because you'll get just as many different backgrounds and attitudes and abilities and tastes among homosexuals as you do among heterosexuals, you know. This raises a point and this is perhaps a delicate point here. It's a point worth discussing. Stan Leonard, homosexual says, "I don't feel guilty anymore but I feel homosexual is wrong". And, and dig this. This is interesting, "It's wrong because the upheaval it creates within a person. I don't know how rich a life can be under these circumstances. It's wrong in that it limits the richness. It dulls it. What I want to do, I feel cheated to a degree, is push towards something where I can have this outdoor [unintelligible] good life". Do you agree with what he says there? That's a very interesting point. I think the same thing could have been said 20 years ago about being Black in this, in this country. To, to to look at at Black culture and, and the Black family, one could have said almost exactly the same thing about being Black in this country. The thing is one has to realize why it is that way. And having realized that and having a sense of responsibility both towards oneself and towards the society in general, what can one do about it? I'm not willing to pretend anymore that I'm any different than I am. I have found that in not pretending and not trying [a cough] to play a game anymore, that I can live a full life and be happy and there's no reason why other people can't do the same thing. I think that. What was his name again? Well, the name in the book says Stan Leonard. Stan Leonard. I think he's mis-identified the problem. It's not homosexuality. It's the way society has taught him to feel about himself. [background chatter] And that's the problem. Also. Excuse me. I shouldn't have interrupt you. Straight people have the same hang ups. This is something that gay people, not ever having been straight, some of them, don't. [laughter] Well, I'm sorry but really if you're bisexual it's much simpler to understand some of these things by sexual experience. Straight people get all hung up. A lot of straight men are, are very mixed up about their sexual emotions. And you know, they, they get involved with their secretary and then they're ashamed to face their wife and so on. And straight girls are supposed to be popular and do a lot of making out but they're supposed to remain technical virgins if possible and then the minute they get married they're supposed to be, you know, just one great torch of passion and they can't always make it because they've been. Well I mean they're all apart from the problems that we do NOT have like am I or am I not pregnant? They have all the same hangups. So we come to the question of pretending, don't we again? Yeah and it's so [unintelligible} Monogamy, polygamy, homosexuality, heterosexuality. Pretending to be that which you are not. Kids used to be taught about masturbating. Is, are we allowed to discuss masturbation on your program? Well, you've done it. [laughter] That it was a perfectly. Parents used to think, you know, it was a perfectly terrible thing and you tied the kids hands up or something and slapped him and you taught him his brain was going to decay or something. And now, I'm pleased to find from my daughter-in-law, that the baby books tell you all, all little children masturbate and you shouldn't pay any attention to it. Some of them still say unless done excessively, and of course Dr. Kinsey- Well, Hasn't even learned yet whether, what excessively But I mean, there, too, the people used to have all these terrible guilts and the whole thing was based on a misconception. You see, there is a parallel, I think. So it come back to the question of guilt. Yeah. We come back to the question of who has, who has established this matter of guilt and innocence? Who is it? Who? We come to that again. Who determines the values of a society? We come back to that again. Well we're all participants in the process and to the extent that one accepts one's parents or one's peer group or one's friends and internalizes what one picks up from it, one is a participant in the process. If you feel guilty, you feel guilty and if you don't have to feel guilty, you shouldn't have to feel guilty and one has to go through the process of them exercising that guilt. Exorcising that guilt. This is really the democratic process carried to its ultimate. To its ultimate because I've often said at Friends Meeting, especially, I like to stir some of them up, that are a bit conservative, that the thing that impresses me most about this generation and about the responsibility of Quakers because they are take themselves very seriously and they do feel that they should do very responsible and outgoing things, that we should be thankful for the challenge of ex, external authority. That again, we must look within and we must see what we think is right and act on this and don't take the President's word for it. Don't take Mayor Daley's word for it. Don't take anybody else's word for it. Intro, through introspection, take your word for it and then go out and preach this. Because this is the way to liberate people. This is a way to get, what is it? The fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man into the streets and it's a meaning rather than just some word above the alter. Well Jim, since you raised, raised this matter of authorities and power. Has there been a lessening or what has been the attitude toward authorities specifically police toward homosexuals, toward lesbians obviously less. I don't know about policewomen. I am not up on them. Oh, there are a lot of wonderful butch policewomen in this town, Studs. [laughter] Valerie, they'll never speak to us again [laughter] Sorry.

Jim Bradford I would say and this I think is something that the faint of heart should ponder. Since we have stood up to the police department and said, "Look, you're really overstepping your bounds. You're really violating our rights. Cut it out or we're going to bring suit against you. We'd rather sit down and discuss it with you. We'd rather see, we'd rather see what areas we can agree on and what your legitimate functions are. Let's do this. But we can't do it any other way we'll bring you into court because you really have overstepped your bounds. You've taken our rights away and we're not going to put up with it one bit more".

Henry Weimhoff I think though that we hit when we start talking about the police department, hit a really deeper problem and that is the police really couldn't be doing a lot of the things they're doing if they in some sense didn't have the sanction of society and social attitudes. And I think really it gets down and I don't know how one would analyze how social attitudes are formed or why they're formed the way they are and how one best confronts them. But I think in the end analysis that's what we're going to have to deal with and we as a group at the University of Chicago are trying to formulate our thoughts and our actions around this really basic problem of social attitudes. The attitude of the schools. Now we're having sex education courses in schools. Kids 10, 11 years old are bringing home lists, unbelievable lists of terms that they have to find out the meaning of. To what extent do these sex education courses then deal with same sex behavior as they put it or, or homosexuality? What kinds of things are said? What is the church doing? What, what do employ? What extent do, do employers and the government specifically contribute to social attitudes? The whole question of authority especially in the formation of personality, the child as he grows up.

Studs Terkel Comes back again to society and the values, doesn't it? Police obviously being a, in sense a servant, in a sense a servant of what seems to be the prevalent code.

Henry Weimhoff Somewhat autonomous. Somewhat autonomous but still intimately linked with the social

Jim Bradford I think, really, the reception that we got when we actually made appointments and spoke with these two captains was that they both claimed not to have any particular feelings of hostility toward homosexuals and I think on the basis of our hour and half talk with each other, this is true. But I do think somewhere along the chain of command the word has not been completely passed along that the police must not make the first move in trying to get prostitution convictions. There's an intricate game that some of them play. I do believe now that it's some individual officers overstepping their bounds. That they will raise the question of money and then allege when you get to court that you accepted. Now the average homosexual isn't interested in making money this way. It's just as alien to our psychology. If it happened to me I would now know what the game was and that it was probably a cop pulling it. The average gay person who finds himself in a situation starts to laugh and say oh you can't be serious or just doesn't know what to say.

Studs Terkel By the way, how did the word "gay," this is interesting. You know, I'm thinking about Stan Leonard here and this. So he's he's at a gay bar saw nobody laughing. How did this word "gay" come into being? I'm curious.

Valerie Taylor Nobody seems to know,

Henry Weimhoff It does seem to be a product of the quote gay subculture, though.

Jim Bradford Everyone started using it. I became aware of it when I was first in college around 1949, 50 and I don't know.

Henry Weimhoff It's, it's almos, it's ironic because the gay subculture has been anything but gay. It's this kind of reverse psychology when, when you're really stomped on trying and make a joke out of

Studs Terkel I'm thinking the very word. Perhaps I'm thinking, you know, the word, "fairy" itself. We think in fairy tales. Kids. Fairy someone light butterfly and that sense gave possibly that, even the word. They use a very good word by the way, a lovely and beautiful word has become a word of, a pejorative word in this quote unquote hetero, heterosexual society. You could even talk about the day that, too, the ambivalence in man and woman, you know, the androgynous nature. Jonathan Miller recently directed an Oxford Cambridge version of "Twelfth Night". And Viola and Sebastian he and his mind represented the androgynous nature of one person, you see. So we come the. That. Isn't it funny how we use words? That's why I'm curious, you know. Henry Higgins and me right now. How'd that word came to be, you know.

Valerie Taylor Sometimes words start out to be complimentary and then turn out to be very unflattering like the word "Wop" for an Italian, which originally started you know when the Italian workers went to Spain and they were very handsome and people said, "Ah, guapo! Guapo!"

Henry Weimhoff Oh.

Valerie Taylor Yes. I have read that and it was a very flattering term and then it, you know. And sometimes it's a reverse process like Quakers for Jim's Society of Friends. [laughter] It was meant. It was they, they sti- they said it to scoff at them, and now it's a respected.

Jim Bradford Someone had said that they should live such upright lives that it cause the earth to tremble for miles around, so some judge called them Quakers.

Studs Terkel Yeah.

Jim Bradford And it stuck.

Studs Terkel Amazing how a word can be twisted and used around.

Henry Weimhoff It depends on whether one exceeds to the pejorative use of a word like that. I, I feel quite proud of the word "gay" myself now. We've been discussing these different terms in the group and whether or not the word "gay" is something we should accept because it is a subculture term and has been used in the pejorative sense. I don't know. You can take a word and make it mean what

Studs Terkel Well, Dick Gregory. Dick

Henry Weimhoff Yes, the word "nigger". Yes that's an excellent example.

Valerie Taylor Somebody, obviously gay, has suggested "glom" as the heterosexual alternative.

Studs Terkel [laughter]

Valerie Taylor I was sitting. I was siting in this "glom" bar.

Everyone [laughter]

Studs Terkel Valerie, you're

Valerie Taylor I didn't invent it. I wish I had.

Studs Terkel The fact is, isn't the fact is that Valerie is much more free. Much more free than that cute Southern belle. Much more free than that sweet middle class all-working woman, who is her husband's hand maiden. You know. In a sense, you're quite free, aren't you?

Valerie Taylor Well, of course I'm a sweet, little grey-haired grandmother and this gives me a lot of freedom and I can always, you know, if I lose a job, which I never have, I could always write another book. You know. I mean this all helps. This all helps.

Studs Terkel You remind me of a Black woman in Division Street. I hate to mention this book. No! I'll

Valerie Taylor mention It's a good book. Mention it. We like

Studs Terkel Her name is. I call her Lucy Jefferson and she says, "I am Black. [I have to] be because I'm independent".

Valerie Taylor Yeah.

Studs Terkel "I can do things a middle class white woman can't do because of the charade she's playing, the facade. So they look at me, 'Oh that woman!' And then I go ahead and I do. Why me?".

Valerie Taylor Sure.

Studs Terkel She's a woman of great strength of course, and independence, you know. Isn't that interestng? It applies here, too, doesn't? The parallels. Henry been bringing this up [regularly]. The parallels apply, don't they? Back and forth.

Henry Weimhoff They really do. The, the sense of independence and and autonomy that you have when you don't feel threatened at a job or threatened in school or threatened at home. You can be much more yourself and be proud of it.

Valerie Taylor Incidentally, if we have time just to mention this. We tend, I think all of us tend to feel that people who are very antagonistic to hi-, to homosexuals. You know, the guy who wants to beat up on all the queers and so on, are afraid of their own homosexual component, basically. That fellow who has a happy heterosexual love life of his own, isn't going around beating up on other people. He says, "Well, that's not my way. I mean he can do it his way and I'll do it my way. He should only be happy".

Studs Terkel Yeah. Of course we come to that again, don't we.

Henry Weimhoff The reaction to our gay liberation group. We wrote an article in "The Maroon" and we've been running ads regularly and it's very interesting to see the differentials in, in responses as to what straight people that, I use the term straight. That's another subculture term and a lot of people

Everyone [are], [laughter]

Henry Weimhoff Those people that are well-adjusted are all for it. They say, you know, "Yes. We agree you're an oppressed minority. Why don't you do something about it?" You know. And they've been very receptive even to the point of being willing to wear the buttons that we're making, say, "Out of the closets and into the streets".

Studs Terkel Give me one of those buttons!

Henry Weimhoff [laughter] They'll be, they'll be ready on the, on the 6th of February.

Studs Terkel Yeah, I'm thinking of something that Valerie said. You're, we've been touching this, on the brutal quote, unquote "male", quote, unquote more than that, "heterosexual". The th- we think of many military men, one in particular during World War II, who slapped the soldier, was hysterical. Known for his brutishness and for the two guns at his belt. Rather interesting. I think several studies were made of him.

Valerie Taylor Yeah.

Studs Terkel This terrible fear within him, possibly, you know.

Valerie Taylor Sure.

Jim Bradford I think anybody that has to wear two guns

Studs Terkel Yes, they do. But the slapping someone and ruffishness and a variety of axes. It goes back again to the question of the, that powerful violent man.

Valerie Taylor Yeah.

Henry Weimhoff One, one of the people in the discussion we had on WHPK, the news announcer who, who is heterosexual was telling an experience of his own that he had a close male friend that he felt very, very, very, humanly close to. And yet they couldn't express that, that closeness until they had gotten into a fight, until they, until they could hit each other. [laughter]

Valerie Taylor Well, you know Lawrence's men. Lawrence, I've always been fascinated by the fact that Lawrence recognizes in own incest motive but never his own homosexuality and he's always having these two guys wrestling and all or nearly all of Lawrence's books. These two guys who are attracted to each other are wrestling and he goes into a lot of anatomical discussion but he never says you know, "They loved each other. They wanted to be lovers". But then they always get real buddy, buddy but they show it by wrestling.

Studs Terkel Also, thinking of all in in the various military skills read about in various books. Guys I know went the- that the hazing the matter the brutal sadistic hazing of the under classman, you know, continuously. You know it's a question I think we should raise in the world of arts. This is I know you've heard it's come up a lot. You know, objections by some heterosexuals again this question have with quotes about it. About the phrase I can use a pejorative phrase they use, "A limp-wristed society, in control of the arts", you've heard this, no doubt.

Valerie Taylor Oh

Studs Terkel In control of plays. So they speak of playwrights because there's some. You know. Their point is that it diminishes the possibilities, you know. Obviously, you can demolish his argument, I'm sure. You hear this quite often, don't you?

Jim Bradford Yeah I think it's an exaggeration to start with. They somehow feel threatened but I don't know why. Certainly you know, the heterosexuals haven't been chased out of the field. I think that the few instances they can conjure up are really outweighed by sheer numbers alone of all the other types of plays that are coming out and being produced.

Studs Terkel Maybe this- more do you want to say Henry.

Henry Weimhoff Yeah I was just thinking that so much of the literature. I'm thinking of literature, specifically. Innovating literature has been produced by people that have been forced to go through harrowing experiences of one kind or another. You think of, of novelists. On the contemporary scene you think of, of many Jewish novelists and many Black novelists, Baldwin specifically. Or, or Southern novelists, too. People that have had to in some sense go through an identity crisis and perhaps this accounts for the fact that many gay people have have been artists or, or are playwrights or what

Studs Terkel Isn't it also the fact that perhaps in our society we've looked upon the arts as sissified too, that's part of it too. Again this fear, of, fear of creativity.

Henry Weimhoff Not only creativity but expressing one's emotions and expressing one's feelings.

Studs Terkel You know before, quickly, the hour goes as, as Estragon says to Gogo, in "Waiting