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What a Difference a Gay Makes
The Gay and Lesbian Movement, 5, 10, 15 & 20 Years Ago
by Sukie de la Croix
1997-08-01

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What was happening in the gay and lesbian movement 5, 10, 15, and 20 years ago this month? Here's an overview to help you trigger the memories of yesteryear ...

July 27 - Aug. 2

1992: 5 Years Ago

U.S.: In Trenton, N.J., James Dale, a 21-year-old former Eagle Scout, sues the Boy Scouts of America for terminating his membership, after he appeared in a newspaper article about a seminar of lesbian and gay youth. - Capt. Pamela Mindt, of the Minnesota Army National Guard, 'comes out' as a lesbian. She tells the Star-Tribune, a Twin cities newspaper: "I've been pretty unhappy that I've been closeted, because I don't closet well. I'm a person of integrity, and it's hard for me to be silent." - A report by Dr Laura S. Allen and Dr Roger A. Gorski of the University of California, suggests that homosexuals are biologically different from heterosexuals. A cord of nerve fibers, called the anterior commisure, which allows the two halves of the brain to communicate with one another, is larger in homosexuals than in heterosexuals. - Quote Of The Week: Former New York City Mayor Ed Koch, when asked by QW if he's gay: "Fuck off! None of your business. That's a private matter." - Finland: A High Court upholds a federal law that prohibits 'encouragement of same-sex fornication.' - Australia: Richard Meldrum, the Lord Mayor of Melbourne, joins 10,000 other people for the 9th annual AIDS Candlelight Vigil. - Vatican: Kevin Calegari, president of gay Catholic group, Dignity USA, nails a note to the Vatican doors, to protest a recently published document on homosexuality. The document, prepared by the church Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, reaffirms the Vatican's long-standing position that same-sex intercourse is a sin, and also encourages American Roman Catholic officials to fight laws that outlaw anti-gay discrimination.

1987: 10 Years Ago

U.S.: Brent Anderson, an American diagnosed with AIDS while in China, is flown home on a U.S. Air Force plane, after commercial air carriers refuse to fly him. - Edward Becker, a 32-year-old from Brocton, N.Y., is arrested for aggravated harassment, and promoting prostitution, after he offered sexual favors to members of the Buffalo Bills football team, in return for season tickets. Becker wrote a letter to the team, describing himself as a 'disease-free, professional homosexual.' - Dr Laverne Wintermeyer, the head of the Iowa Health Department's Bureau of Contagious Diseases, says that there aren't many gays living in Iowa, because residents of the small rural areas are prone to shooting them. - Brigitte Neilsen, Sylvester Stallone's ex-wife, says: "There is not a scrap of truth that I am having an affair with my secretary" ... even though she did pay for Kelly Sahnger's breast and nose job.

1982: 15 Years Ago

U.S.: In Guernville, Calif., a group of tenants at the Meadows Trailer Park file a lawsuit, claiming they're being evicted, because the owners want to make the park 'gay only,' so they can double the rents. - Netherlands: A gay man in Amsterdam dies of AIDS-related Kaposi's Sarcoma, the first reported case in the country. - France: The age of consent is lowered to 15, for both heterosexuals and homosexuals.

1977: 20 Years Ago

U.S.: Champaign, Ill., becomes the 41st U.S. City to pass a human-rights ordinance banning discrimination against gay people. - The National Gay Task Force files a petition with the Federal Communications Commission, asking it to require TV and radio stations to survey the needs and interests of the homosexual community in their mandatory public-ascertainment efforts. - In Miami, Dade County's Gay Coalition endorses the national boycott of Florida citrus products, because of their continuing use of Anita Bryant as their spokesperson.

Aug. 3-9

1992: 5 Years Ago

U.S.: Fundamentalist Christian, Jerry Falwell, claims he narrowly escaped injury at the hands of a member of Queer Nation, who sent him a package of HIV-infected human urine, and 'vulgar, terribly hardcore pornography.' - Baptist preacher, Fred Phelps, who lost the Democratic primary in Topeka, Kans., continues his campaign against the winner, Gloria O'Dell, by saying she's a lesbian, who is 'promoting the homosexual lifestyle.' - Pat Robertson on feminism: "This is a socialist and anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism, and become lesbians." - Britain: A Swedish man buys an antique condom in London, which he plans to exhibit in his Museum of Eroticism. The condom was made in France in the 19th century, from the intestines of a sheep, and is decorated with pornographic illustrations. - Gay activists from direct action group OUTRAGE disrupt a Catholic Mass at Westminster Cathedral in London, by walking to the front and holding up placards reading: 'Stop Crucifying Queers' and 'The Pope says: Hate Your Lesbian Daughters.' - Iran: Ninety men are arrested in Qum, after attending the 'wedding' of two gay men. - Also in Qum, a university professor is executed for engaging in homosexual sex.

1987: 10 Years Ago

U.S.: Michigan Congressman John Conyers Jr. introduces the Hate Crimes Statistics Bill, which calls for the U.S. Attorney General's Office to collect and publish statistics for crimes based on race, religion, ethnicity, and sexual orientation. - Linebacker Tom Cousineau, of the San Francisco 49ers, holds a press conference to deny rumors that he is gay. Cousineau claims that it all started in 1985, when he suffered a severe hemorrhoid flare-up following a game in San Diego, and a rumor circulated that the doctor removed a foreign body from his rectum. - Northwest Airlines issues a bulletin to its ticket agents, saying that known PWAs are not allowed to fly on Northwest planes. - Outside the town of Chehalis, Wash., a billboard appears that says: 'AIDS is a miracle disease. It turns fruits into vegetables.' - Barbie: Her Life And Times by Billy Boy, is in the bookstores. - Britain: 120 teens visiting London for the 4th International Lesbian and Gay Youth Conference, hold a mass kiss-in, under the statue of Eros in Piccadilly Circus. - Japan: U.S. and Japanese scientists establish a new panel to foster cooperative AIDS research between the two countries.

1982: 15 Years Ago

U.S.: The Philadelphia City Council approves a gay-rights bill that prohibits discrimination because of sexual orientation in jobs, housing, and public accommodations. - The 1st International convention of P-Flag (Parents, Friends of Lesbians and Gays) takes place in Los Angeles. Parents from as far away as Britain and the Netherlands attend. - An Asian Minor: The True Story Of Ganymede by Felice Picano, is in bookstores.

1977: 20 Years Ago

U.S.: In a CBS Poll, respondents are asked whether Government should pass laws to guarantee equal job rights for homosexuals. Of those answering Yes: 18-29 year olds (73%) 30-44 year olds (50%) 45-64 year olds (43%) 65 & older (23%). - Publishers Weekly reports that more than 60 books on homosexuality, from 39 publishing houses, have been published, or will be, in 1977. Included in these are: An Idol For Others by Gordon Merrick, Coming Out by Wallace Hamilton, Gay American History by Jonathan Katz and the reissue of Rita Mae Brown's Rubyfruit Jungle.

Aug. 10-16

1992: 5 Years Ago

U.S.: The Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination orders the Boston Harbor Hotel to pay $30,000 into the estate of the late Dennis McKiley, who claimed that supervisors forced him to resign as a waiter in 1990, because he had AIDS. - Gay avant-garde composer, John Cage, dies after suffering a stroke in New York City, aged 79. - President George Bush, in an interview with Dateline, says that if he learned one of his grandchildren was gay: "I would put my arm around him, (but) I would hope he wouldn't go out and try to convince people that this was a normal lifestyle, that this was an appropriate lifestyle, that this was the way to be." - Britain: Twelve members of direct-action group OUTRAGE invade the residence of Vatican Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Luigi Barbarito, protesting Rome's new demand that U.S. bishops oppose equal rights for gays. - Mexico: A 22-year-old gay activist, Martin Belesca Dominguez, is beaten, stabbed and left for dead. This is the latest in a series of attacks in the state of Chiapas in Southern Mexico, where at least a dozen other gay men, and nine prostitutes, have reportedly been assassinated within the past year.

1987: 10 Years Ago

U.S.: The FBI investigates a series of extortion letters sent to at least a dozen gay men in Long Beach, Calif. The letters, mailed in Baltimore, and signed by 'The Community Control Group of the Lord's Order,' warn the men to pay $3000, or face 'violent pressures.' One letter accuses the recipient of 'promoting negative community examples,' by their 'sponsorship of homosexual marriages' - 'unsupervised homosexual party' - and 'promoting the employment of homosexuals.' - Calvin Culver, better known to his fans as Casey Donovan, star of movies Casey and Boys In The Sand, dies of AIDS, aged 43. - The Washington Blade movie critic describes Madonna's new movie Who's That Girl, as, 'one of the most stupefying unfunny comedies of all time.' - Gay activist Leonard Matlovich is turned away from the Northwest Airlines ticket counter at San Francisco International Airport, because he is wearing a t-shirt that reads, 'I am a human with AIDS.' Matlovich was protesting the airlines' policy of not allowing PWAs to travel on their planes. - Federal and state agencies begin an aggressive campaign against manufacturers of phony AIDS treatments e.g. snake venom, swamp water and injections of hydrogen peroxide.

1982: 15 Years Ago

U.S.: Nearly two dozen major gay-rights groups from across the country attend a national leadership conference in Dallas; sponsored by Dallas Gay Alliance, the conference is entitled 'Celebrating The Movement: Organizing For The Future.' - Ireland: In Dublin, the Irish Congress of Trades Unions vote to support legislation seeking to repeal anti-gay laws in Ireland.

1977: 20 Years Ago

U.S.: The Fraternal Order of Police vote unanimously to oppose the hiring of homosexuals as police officers. One delegate at their annual convention in Providence, R.I., says, "Homosexuals are sick people, and sick people shouldn't be policemen." - Bette Midler turns down an offer from Rolling Stone Magazine to debate Anita Bryant on the issue of gay rights. The Divine Miss M says: "She'd find passages in the Bible and try and support her position, and I'm afraid I'd end up speaking from raw emotion." - A Coconut Grove, Fla., company begins selling an Anita Bryant dartboard. On one side is a regular dartboard, on the other, 'Anita's overcoming 69 lbs of sugar and caramel sweet Sunday best expression.'

Aug. 17-23

1992: 5 Years Ago

U.S.: A measure extending health insurance, and other spousal employment benefits, to the domestic partners of gay and lesbian city employees is approved by the city council in Ann Arbor, Mich. - At the Republican Convention in Houston, gay rights and AIDS become controversial issues, after a speech by right-wing homophobe, Pat Buchanan. - Quote Of The Week: Jim Hull, a member of the Kansas City, Mo, chapter of ACT UP: "We have no intention of going to Houston to talk to the Republican's about AIDS. The time for talk is over. - Britain: Tommy Nutter, one of London's top Savile Row tailors, dies of AIDS aged 49. Nutter outfitted the Beatles, Stones, Elton John, Michael Jackson, Twiggy, Diana Ross and Andrew Lloyd Webber. - Germany: More than 250 gay couples descend on city halls in 50 cities, and demand marriage licenses. They are all turned down.

1987: 10 years Ago

U.S.: Who's That Girl by Madonna is No 1 on the Billboard Charts. - Interviewed in The Advocate, Joan Baez, who admits to once having a lesbian relationship, talks about re-launching her career and reaffirms her commitment to gay rights. - After 11 years of court battles, Miriam Ben-Shalom finally returns to her post in the Army. Ben-Shalom was serving as a tactical sergeant in the U.S. Reserves in 1976, when she 'came out' to her superiors, and was subsequently discharged from the military. - Quote Of The Week: Former Arizona Gov. Bruce Babbitt, says of Ronald Reagan: "We have a President who is tough enough to send Marines to Lebanon, tough enough to send bombers to Libya, and tough enough to send battleships to the Persian Gulf, but who can't say the word condom in public."

1982: 15 Years Ago

U.S.: The Salvation Army returns a check for $1,400 donated by gay biker group, The Chicago Knight Motorcycle Club. A letter from the S.A. says: "We couldn't in good conscience accept this contribution." - In New York City, a Staten Island construction worker is found guilty of child abuse, for repeatedly taunting his 14-year-old son by calling him 'fag,' 'faggot' and 'queer.' Judge Daniel D. Leddy Jr. of Richmond County Family Court, rules that "taunts constitute a grave and imminent threat to his (the boy's) future psychological development." The boy's mother is also found guilty of child abuse, for not protecting her son from his father. The child, known only as Shane T, is placed in the custody of the Commissioner of Social Services. - Italy: In Turin, Italia Gay, Italy's first gay guide is published, listing hotels, bars etc. One of the authors is a professor at Milan University, where he teaches a course in 'Homosexuality and Architecture.'

1977: 20 Years Ago

U.S.: 500 people march on the United Nations in New York City, to alert the world that gay men and lesbians are still being denied basic human rights. - Chicago columnist Mike Royko names Anita Bryant in his list of 'The Ten Most Obnoxious Americans,' and asks, "If God dislikes gays so much, how come he picked Michelangelo, a known homosexual, to paint the Sistine Chapel, while assigning Anita to go on TV and push orange juice." - The Rev. Robert Pierson, president of the Seventh Day Adventist Church Conference in Washington, D.C., says: "A homosexual union is contrary to nature and to God's expressed will, and is generally transitory in nature." - The 2nd annual National Gay Rodeo is held in Reno, Nev.

Aug. 24-30

1992: 5 Years Ago

U.S.: Swoon, the Tom Kalin movie, that retells the 1924 story Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb, whose sexually volatile relationship results in the abduction, and murder, of a teen boy in Chicago, is in the movie theaters. - Annie Lennox is interviewed in The Advocate, and makes it perfectly clear that she has never been to bed with a women, and doesn't want to. - The Marine Corps Chaplain, Capt. Larry H. Ellis, distributes a position paper to senior military officers, saying that homosexuals in the armed forces are a 'physical and psychological' threat to other troops. - The Atlanta Gay Center is the victim of an arson attack, which destroys its anonymous HIV testing clinic. - Your Arsenal, the latest album by British, gay and celibate songwriter, Morrissey, hits the record stores. - Denmark: Five gay men from Lithuania seek asylum in Denmark, saying that the persecution of gays in their country has worsened since the Baltic republic declared its independence from the Soviet Union in 1990.

1987: 10 years Ago This Week

U.S.: Perry Stone and Randi Rhodes, a morning radio team at Milwaukee's WQFM-FM, are suspended for a month without pay, for referring to gays as 'faggots,' and describing an AIDS fundraiser as a 'homofest.' - After 1,671 performances, La Cage Aux Folles begins its 5th year on Broadway. - The International Banana Association criticizes a PBS documentary on AIDS, which features Ron Reagan Jr. using a banana to demonstrate how to put on a condom. "The banana is an important product and deserves to be treated with respect and consideration," says Banana Association President, Robert Moore. - Sen. James Exon shares a joke about 'queers' with truckers at the Nebraska Motor Carrier Association Convention in Omaha: "Why is it there are more lawyers in Washington, D.C., and queers in San Francisco? Well, the answer is obvious. San Francisco had the first choice.' - Significant Others, by Armistead Maupin is No 1 on The Washington Blade's Men's Bestseller list. - In Seattle, an AIDS greeting card is being sold containing a gift certificate for an HIV test. The card, called PEACE OF MIND AIDS costs $30, and is the brainchild of Dr Howard J. Levine, who sells it over the counter at his private clinic.

1982: 15 Years Ago

U.S.: 'AIDS: The Mysterious Disease,' the first national TV program on AIDS, airs on PBS. - Little Richard tells reporters in L.A. that he is "no longer a homosexual," as he has now become an evangelist, and he is "looking for a woman to marry." - Former congressional page, Leroy Williams, who caused a media sensation with allegations of having homosexual relations with several members of Congress, calls a press conference to recant his story. "I have lied," he says, "I regret that I have lied." - 1,300 lesbians and gay men, from 22 countries, compete in the 1st Gay Games [then the Gay Olympics] at Kezar Stadium in San Francisco. - Australia: 400 lesbians and gay men march from Sydney's Town Hall to the Parliament Building, to call for passage of a comprehensive gay civil-rights law.

1977: 20 Years Ago

U.S.: The San Francisco Police Commission approves a new equal opportunity hiring plan that includes the recruitment of homosexuals. - John J. McNeill, a Roman Catholic theologian, is silenced by the Vatican, after promoting his pro-gay book The Church And The Homosexual. - The 2nd annual Women's Music Festival is held in Hesperia, Mich.

More 'history' in the Sept. 3 Outlines. The Sept. 3 edition of Outlines will be our first weekly Outlines since 1987.


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