No less than Vito Russo himself, speaking with the utterly charming Barbara Gittings and a dashing Harry Hay.
If you don't already watch Modern Family (as good as Glee!) this should encourage you to tune it. (And Alec…I think you ought to give Jesse and shot.)
Stephen Wayne Foster is almost a Native Floridian. Though born in Virginia in 1943, he moved with his family to Miami a year later and grew up in Miami Shores. Foster studied at Miami-Dade College and the University of Miami, where he received a Bachelor of Arts in English with a minor in History. Now retired, Foster lives in an apartment in Coral Gables that he first occupied in 1975, having lived through almost a century of South Florida gay history and culture.
When Foster was 17-years old and in high school, he discovered gay history. "I came across Sir Richard Francis Burton's [in picture, left] translation of the Arabian Nights from 1880 which included a very long article about the history of homosexuality. But for many years I didn't know where else to look for it [gay history]. In 1969 I went to Washington, D.C. I went to a newsstand and bought a copy of GAY, the Jack Nichols publication. I took the issue home with me and read an article by Dick Leitsch of New York Mattachine about gay history in which he said that nobody was writing about gay history and that there was a need for this. So I felt that if anybody was going to do it I should do it."
"At that time I was still a student at the University of Miami. So I took a notebook and a pen and I went into the student library and saw thousands of books before me and I didn't even know where to begin. But on the very first day I came across a book written a century ago called The History and Development of the Moral Ideas by Edward Westermarck. And this contained a long essay about gay history and anthropology and it formed the structure for all of my research after that."
"My mother died in 1970 and I moved away from home. And my father died in 1973. At some point I developed a habit of going down every Saturday to the University of Miami and spending the whole day at the Library doing research. I also went to the public libraries, to the medical library, the law library, every important library in Dade County and collected a vast amount of information. Eventually I gathered notes from at least 5,000 books."
Though Foster realized that he was gay when he was 13, he did not come out til 1969 when he first met other gay people and discovered Miami's "gay beach" on 21st Street and Collins Avenue. That was a time when the Miami Beach police ("real bastards" in Foster's opinion) used the laws as excuses to raid gay bars and make gay folks' lives miserable in so many ways. For this and other reasons, it took time for Miami gays to get organized. When activist Frank Arango came down from New York in 1972, Foster remembers, he Awas dismayed to find that there was no political base so he had to create one. Word got out and we met at the house of Barry Spawn," another local activist. Out of this meeting was born the Gay Activists Alliance of Miami (GAA-Miami).
According to Foster, GAA-Miami met at Spawn's home for a while before moving to the Center for Dialog, an activist group connected with Miami's St. John Lutheran Church that Foster dubbed "the center for all radical activity in Miami." (Miami's MCC also met at that Church.) Its founders, all white men (except Arango), formed the Executive Committee: "The president of the group was Bob Barry. The Vice President was Barry Spawn, I was the Treasurer and Bob Basker [best remembered for his later work with the Dade County Coalition for Human Rights] was Secretary. Frank Arango helped us out but I don't think he had a position. And the reason that they gave me the position of Treasurer is because I had to take the money of the organization and put it in my own private banking account under my own name since I was the only person they trusted with the money," he says.
library. Foster approached the Rev. Don Olson, pastor of St. John's Lutheran Church, and "asked him if I could use the room on the second floor. Olson gave me the go-ahead. He put some shelving into a small room on the second floor of the Center for Dialog and I took my private collection of books and publications and put them there. But three weeks later he came to me and said that he was embarrassed if straight people might walk past the open door of the library and see that it contained gay material so he wanted me to keep the door shut. I felt very insulted by that and I took all the material and took it home. So the gay library was the first one that we had but it only lasted maybe three weeks." This was a year before Mark Silber founded the Stonewall Library.
In 1972 GAA-Miami filed a class action suit against Miami Beach that led to the overturn of that city's law against cross dressing. Foster contributed to this victory by providing GAA-Miami with incriminating information about the Miami Beach Police Department that he had collected. Later that year Foster and other GAA-Miami members joined other activists to protest both the Democratic and Republican conventions that were being held on Miami Beach. To accommodate all the protesters, the City of Miami Beach opened Flamingo Park and let the protesters camp there. "There was a special area off to one side in the Park that became the 'gay area,'" Foster adds, one that attracted its share of queer notables.
One of those notables who visited Flamingo Park was Dr. Frank Kameny, whom Foster had met previously through their mutual friend Bob Basker. Dr. Kameny came to Miami for the conventions and Foster joined
him on a tour of the Park. One of the colorful creatures Kameny encountered in the gay section was "a somewhat overweight gay teenage boy known as Corky. He was in the gay area of Flamingo Park and he was persuaded to put on some sort of outrageous costume, complete with feathers. And he paraded up and down and some tourists stopped by to take pictures of him. And all of a sudden Kameny showed up and said, 'Corky! What are you doing? You are giving homosexuality a bad name! Take off those feathers!' I thought that was priceless," he laughs.
Unfortunately, GAA-Miami did not long survive the 1972 conventions. As Foster recalls, "the thing that killed it was simply that people were showing up during the conventions and then when the conventions went away and the antiwar demonstrators went away and the whole thing died down and returned to normal then the people lost interest." Foster himself lost interest when he "got into an argument with a member of the Executive Committee and resigned. And I sent them their money that was in my account. And they took the money and sent out an emergency letter to all 250 people who were on their mailing list, asking them to show up for an emergency meeting so they can get the organization going again. And they [the EC] showed up at the meeting place and waited two hours and nobody showed up. Nobody!" By the end of 1973, GAA-Miami was history.
After Foster left GAA-Miami, he "was involved in the creation of a gay student group at the University of Miami," which was also short-lived. Unfortunately, in 1974 Foster developed a severe case of agoraphobia, which discouraged his participation in Miami's growing LGBT movement though of course he kept up with new developments. (Foster has since recovered from his agoraphobia.)
Foster's withdrawal from the political arena allowed him to return to his first love, gay history. By the late seventies, Foster had become a major contributor to the growing field of gay studies. Foster's "introduction as a gay historian" was an essay on Sir Richard Francis Burton. ["The Annotated Burton"] that appeared in the anthology The Gay Academic, edited by Louie Crew [ETC, 1978]. "At the same time I was helping Jonathan Ned Katz write his book Gay American History [Crowell, 1976]. I gave him very significant help." In his groundbreaking book, Katz gave credit to "Foster's inspired research assistance [which] led to the discovery of numbers of important documents." Through the years, Foster "helped many other gay scholars write their books. And my name is mentioned in at least thirty books, usually in the form of footnotes saying 'I wish to thank Stephen Foster for his help.' " Foster also contributed original essays and translations to the pioneer gay journal "Gay Sunshine."
Though Foster was never a member of the Gay Academic Union, he contributed to the GAU's periodical "The Cabirion," aka "Gay Books Bulletin" [1979-85]. Through the efforts of "Cabirion" editor Wayne Dynes, Foster contributed an article on gay communities for The Encyclopedia of Southern Culture [Edited by Charles Reagan Wilson and William Ferris, UNC, 1990]. Foster followed that achievement by writing, for the Dynes-edited Encyclopedia of Homosexuality [Garland, 1990], articles on such diverse topics as Adelswärd Fersen, Afghanistan, Sir Richard Burton, Ralph Chubb, Charles Fourier, Henry B. Fuller, Robert de Montesquieu, Pirates, Poetry, Travel and Exploration, Edward Perry Warren and Oscar Wilde. Though some of the other contributors to the Encyclopedia of Homosexuality used pseudonyms (which caused a bit of a controversy at that time), Foster is quick to assert that in this case, as "in all of my writing, I used my real name." All in all, Stephen Wayne Foster should be credited for some of the most notable contributions to our culture.
This is the second of a series of articles about the history of South Florida’s LGBT community. The first one was a personal account of the Miami bar scene in 1974. I invite other veterans of South Florida's LGBT community in the 1970s and 1980s to share their experiences with us. You may reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
WE can (and should) debate whether or not Marriage Equality is a fight worth fighting for or not. The assimilation of gay folk into an “institution” of such questionable history and stability has never really been talked about in a larger venue, as it needs to be.
But this video breaks it down in the simplest matter of equality. And if one should, or would, choose to be married, then, dammit, one ought to be entitled to all the same rights and responsibilities as the next person.
Bill Bowersock was with his beloved Harvey Frand for 32 years. Both paid into the Social Security system over that time and, in their retirement planning, they counted on both checks to get them through those later years. When Harvey passed away, Bill was not entitled to any of Harvey’s benefits, benefits that are granted to heterosexual couples.
Here is a video that was created to tell their story that has been picked up by numerous sources.
Thanks to David Mixner for bringing this to our attention.
White Crane friend, advisor—and
all round mensch—Malcolm Boyd, will give a concert reading of his prayer-poems
accompanied by a jazz trio at the 2010 Sausalito
International Film Festival on August
14. Musicians appearing with Boyd are guitarist Johnnie Valentino, composer
Scott Page-Payter on keyboards and percussionist
Boyd's words are combined with musical themes by the late legendary
jazz musician Vince
Guaraldi. "The Anatomy of Vince Guaraldi," a new film in
which Boyd appears, will be screened at the festival. Over four weeks in 1966 a
remarkable series of performances at the hungry i
nightclub in San Francisco's North Beach captured the imagination of hip
audiences and resonated around the world. Dick Gregory gave the stage to
Guaraldi and Episcopal priest-author Boyd. Prayers, Beat poetry and jazz
fused. Though covered by global media the performances were never
recorded. Very few had an opportunity to experience this happening. Until
now. The prayer-poems are from Boyd's bestselling classic "Are You
Running with Me, Jesus?"
White Crane Books offers two other titles by Boyd Take Off The Masks, his classic spiritual biography and coming out story and A Prophet in His
Own Land: The Malcolm Boyd Reader, collected writings
from five decades.
Faderman of the book Gay LA. As members of this listserv, you may also recall that about two and a half years ago, Stuart suffered a
massive stroke that left him at death's door for what seemed like a very long
time. White Crane was involved in raising the funds necessary for the additional therapy Stuart was going to need. We knew then it was going to be a long hard road to recovery.
So it is with no small amount of pride and joy we report that with the attention and loving care of his family, especially his
sister, Gay, and friends like as Mark Thompson – he's really made a remarkable
recovery! So much so that it looks like he's going to help with the
celebration of what would have been Harry Hay's 100th birthday. Nice to get
some good news!
Thompson, a member of the White Crane Advisory Board, and former editor at The
Advocate, sent this wonderful news about historian Stuart Timmons:
friends of author and community activist Stuart Timmons gathered last week
to celebrate his remarkable recovery from a major stroke two-and-a-half
years ago. Timmons, 53, is still wheelchair bound, but is now fully
mentally alert and with the ability to speak and move about with assistance.
He is expecting a return to his research and writing about GLBT
history and is especially delighted with the invitation
to participate in Centennial celebrations honoring the life and
work of gay movement founder Harry Hay.
two-day conference at City University New York and a major exhibition at the
San Francisco Public Library are in the planning stages, with other
cities soon to be included. Stuart wrote the award-winning biography on the
legendary gay rights leader, The
Trouble With Harry Hay, in 1990. Harry Hay was born on Easter
Sunday, April 7, 1912, in Worthing, England, although he lived many decades
of his life in Los Angeles.
Lee Mentley added:
is doing amazing well…, had a great lunch at “The Coffee Table” and he was
alert with full memory correcting us on our history and although speaking
slowly was participating in the conversation. Well on his way to full
recovery! He spoke with Joey Cain on the phone and will be on the planning
committee for the 100 Year Celebration for Harry Hay in San Francisco and
New York City. It was a joy to be with him!
of you gave support for Stuart's recovery, so we wanted to let you know
that it was money well spent. Stuart Timmons is a walking library of
GLBT history and of Harry Hay and John Burnside in particular. We need
him and we need his genius.
in the photo are: (left to right) Mark Thompson, Stuart Timmons, Robert
Croonquist and HRH Lee Mentley.
Brose is an experimental film artist and has created over thirty films since
1983. His films have been shown at international film festivals, museums, art
galleries, and cinematheques in the United States, Europe, Asia, Australia and
South America. Brose’s most recent film, De Profundis has been greeted with
critical acclaim and has been screened at more than eighty venues and festivals
worldwide since its release. De Profundis is a 65-minute experimental film
based on Oscar Wilde’s prison letter with an original score for the film by the
American composer Frederic Rzewski. In 1989 he began a series of film
collaborations with contemporary composers to explore the relationship between
the moving image and music.
The issues here are fundamental: freedom of speech, freedom of
expression, and artistic freedom. The case is precedent-setting, and
will help determine whether anyone exercising their right to free speech
can be criminalized merely for their ideas—a fundamental violation of
the United States Constitution.
The case of Lawrence Brose is a prime example of the contemporary
abuse of power by Homeland Security and the Justice Department. The
charges brought against Brose essentially make engaging a difficult
issue a criminal offense and recall the government’s tactics during the
McCarthy trials of the 1950s. Like that infamous challenge to
Democracy, this case questions how far the government can reach,
unopposed, into artists’ studios, galleries, museums, and even our homes
to silence free speech, thought, and inquiry.
Case For Support
Lawrence Brose is not a criminal, he is an artist, doing what artists
do best: asking difficult questions about our life and times in order
to illuminate a new perspective as we struggle to move forward as a
culture. His experimental cinema has a distinguished track record of
engaging issues that affect the gay community, such as AIDS and
hostility from certain segments of the public. Facing problematical
subjects is precisely the job that people like Brose carry out in our
society – they explore unexamined dilemmas and present them for our
contemplation. It is truly tragic to see him attacked with the blunt,
and misguided legalistic weapon of pornography prosecution.
Lawrence Brose is working in a well-established tradition of image
appropriation, drawing specifically on images of masculinity in home
movies, old films, Gay erotica and documentaries. Brose collects found
still images, which he then processes and re-processes to find more
depth in the picture, producing complex layers of imagery that are
highly conceptual and offer a poignant commentary on normative
conventions of gender and sexuality. The final product is as abstract as
the paintings of Willem de Kooning, and a seizure of source material
entirely misrepresents the final outcome.
As experimental filmmakers Kenneth Anger and Andy Warhol before him,
Brose’s work pushes the envelope to create space for new expression.
For our society to remain open and vibrant, the answer is not to
criminalize that space for investigation, but rather to welcome it into
the marketplace of free ideas for examination.
The case against Lawrence Brose demonstrates an inappropriate
application of laws intended to protect children, and in the process
victimizes an experimental artist seeking to comment on societal woes.
The fact that he is under indictment for using images made by others to
examine the taboos that the laws are meant to prevent–is as
overreaching as it is troubling. It is so far from the intent of the
law, that it serves only to create a climate of fear. The result is
censorship and a chilling effect on the free expression of all artists
and all people. Censorship of this nature, and in all of its many forms,
occupies a realm of self-righteous presumption that abjures complexity
and results only in contradiction. It is very important that as
individuals living in a democratic society, we contribute to and speak
out openly in Brose’s defense, in essence defending our own lives and
our fundamental rights to think, work, and create freely.
This is the first time a case of this nature will be taken to trial.
It is important to note that Brose was not searching for the alleged
images nor is he accused of producing, distributing, buying or selling
pornography. This suit will be a protracted and expensive ordeal; one
that will have a profound impact on all artists. Your support is
greatly needed and much appreciated.
This website has been published by friends, colleagues and supporters
of Lawrence Brose, an artist and arts curator who has recently been
alleged to possess purportedly illicit digital images. One hundred of
the listed images are film frames from his highly acclaimed film De
Profundis, based on Oscar Wilde's prison writing. The purpose of the
website is to attest to Lawrence’s innocence, to provide a forum for
testimony on his behalf, and, importantly, to collect funds needed for
his legal defense.
We are in the process of collecting testimony from individuals, many
of whom are artists, academics and curators significant to the fields of
art and culture.
The Lawrence Brose Legal Defense Fund is a Class A Non-Profit
Corporation registered with the State of New York. Donations are not
tax deductible. To donate please send a check payable to "Lawrence Brose
Legal Defense Fund" and mail your check to PO BOX 501, Callicoon, NY
12723. Please see the Donate Now page for additional information. Or make a donation using Paypal.
Argentine Republic’s legalization of same-sex marriage July 15 came as
a complete surprise to those of us who think of Argentina as the land of
machismo, meat-eaters – Argentines are the world's biggest carnivores,
70 kilos (154 lbs.) of beef per person – and military coups. According
“Completely Queer: The Gay and Lesbian Encyclopedia” (1998),
endured some of the most brutal campaigns of official and unofficial
of lesbians and gay men anywhere in the 20th century.” After the
coup of March 24, 1976, “some 400 gay men were ‘disappeared’ – kidnapped,
barbarically tortured, and executed . . . Encouraged by Roman Catholic
leaders, the dictatorship raided and closed gay bars, arresting as many
men in a particularly brutal 1978 campaign that took place on the eve of
World Cup soccer tournament in Buenos Aires. In 1982 and 1983, the last
two years of the dictatorship, paramilitary groups assassinated a number
men working in the arts. . . .” But with the re-establishment of
democracy in the 1990s, “Buenos Aires emerged . . . as the gay capital
America, with vocal rights organizations and a lively gay and lesbian
to lead Latin America in the field of LGBT rights and equality. Civil
unions are already recognized in Buenos Aires (2002), the Province of
(2003) and the cities of Villa Carlos Paz (2007) and Rio Cuarto (2009). On
November 12, 2009 a Buenos Aires court approved the marriage of Alex
José Maria Bello. (Though the Buenos Aires government blocked the
the two men were married on December 28 in Ushuaia, in Tierra del
In late 2009 the Argentine Congress took up a bill to change Article 172
Civil Code to legalize same-sex marriage. The Chamber of Deputies
the measure on May 5 and the Senate on July 15. President Cristina
Fernández de Kirchner, a friend of the LGBT community, ratified the
which took effect a few days later.
Maria Rachid, president of the Argentine Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and
Federation. The law "not only recognizes the rights of our families, but
the possibility of having access to health care, to leave a pension, to
our assets to the people with whom we have shared many years of life,
our children," she said.
celebrate it. But it would be a mistake to think that Argentina has
a queer paradise. For one thing, machismo is still rampant in
country. Diego Maradona (left), Argentina’s soccer god, reacted the way many
Argentinian men would when a reporter at the World Cup – where Maradona
the Argentinian Team – seemed to question Maradona’s fondness for his
players. “No, I have not gone limp wristed," Maradona protested,
vehemently. “But I like to acknowledge and congratulate my players when
they play as well as they did today. That was a pleasing result and
was a job well done. I still prefer women. I am dating Veronica, who is
and 31 years old." Though Maradona never misses an opportunity to
us he’s a jerk, his eyebrow-raising reaction to a reporter’s innocent
indicates that not everything is peachy-keen down Argentine way.
the land. What goes well in Buenos Aires might not go well in the
countryside, where folks are more religious, macho, and carnivorous. The
same-sex marriage bill was hotly opposed by the Roman Catholic, Mormon
evangelical churches, which organized a 60,000-person march on Congress
protest the measure. The Cardinal Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Jorge
Bergoglio, led the fight against same-sex marriage, saying that
to have the right to be raised and educated by a father and a
mother." Another opponent, Senator Juan Perez Alsina, called
marriage between a man and a woman "essential for the preservation of
species." Opponents tried to derail the measure by proposing a weak
unions law as an alternative to “gay marriage,” but they were blocked by
parliamentary maneuvers. “I'm proud that we never tried for civil
always for complete equality," said Esteban Paulon, the LGBT
country in the world to legalize “gay marriage.” (The others are
Canada, Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain
Sweden). It also puts to shame the United States, where the Defense
Of Marriage Act is on the books and a majority of states have
amendments barring same-sex marriage. “Today's historic vote shows how
Catholic Argentina has come, from dictatorship to true democratic
how far the freedom-to-marry movement has come, as 12 countries on four
continents now embrace marriage equality," said Evan Wolfson, Executive
of Freedom to Marry. “America should lead, not lag, when it comes to
treating everyone equally under the law." Perhaps it helps that
Argentina’s religious lobby is not as powerful as the one in the States,
opposition to same-sex marriage is not a cornerstone of one of its major
political parties, as it is with the Republican Party in the U.S. Here
have a long way to go before we catch up to the “carnivores” of the
South-Florida based freelance writer. Jesse thanks Daniel Curzon, author
1978 gay novel “Among the Carnivores,” for inspiring the title of this