All posts by timalderman

About timalderman

Gay, visually-impaired guy writing professionally (and freelance) about disabilities, being gay, articles, opinion pieces, poems and short stories for over 15 years, mainly for small, local magazines. Obtained my Graduate Certificate in Writing from the University of Technology, Sydney in 2004.

Australian Storytelling: Australian Folklore – An Interview with Peter Dargin

Again, the Captain Pickles mentioned in this interview is my Great Grand Uncle, Captain George Rickinsom Swan Pickhills. The misspelling of his surname was common – and evidently infuriated him.

A question asked of me at the Mudgee workshop conducted by Helen McKay, was “Where do you get your folklore?”

Sometimes I take known stories from the universal folklore and adapt them to a local setting. “Swagman’s Stone Soup” is an example. Further to this is the development of stories around a particular Australian theme – bush-rangers. Stories that adapt the history of Outback N.S.W. during the 1870’s-80’s.

The first introduces Silly Billy Brown. He demolishes the family toilet trying to shoot a crow stealing eggs from the chookyard. Billy runs away on a one-eyed horse (at a similar age and time to Sidney Kidman) to become a bushranger but is bushranged by Captain Twilight. They meet up with Captain Daylight and become the Daylight Gang, living at their secret Rocky Billabong Hideout. This is a traditional use of three characters.

Extended stories bring in The Three Troopers: Sergeant Flashman, Trooper O’Kane and Trooper Crump. Mrs Kate Brown, Molly Brown and Miss Elizabeth Goodheart, of Dunlop Station, feature as strong characters. Captain Daylight and Sergeant Flashman compete for the heart of Miss Elizabeth Goodheart.

These characters have their place on a Time Line — from the New Calendar 1752 to the 21st century. It starts in England before the First Fleet: shows the Crimean War, for Sergeant Flashman; the death of Daylight, then follows Silly Billy Brown, who, as William Browne MP, fails in his attempts to get the railway through the Outback. Captain Twilight just fades away, but, there is a link with the present.

At Terrible Tiny Tilpa, Lizard McGinnis, Old George and a smelly swagman provided volumes of information, mystery and unbelievable history, for a similar volume of ale, when I was researching “Around the Pubs” for ABC 2CR.

They took me to a long, low, mud house on the banks of the Darling River to meet first child of Daylight and Elizabeth Goodheart. Miss Day (Captain Daylight’s real surname), never married. The young man she loved and her two brothers died in the horrible mess that was Gallipoli.

She was waiting for the mailman to bring her a telegram from the Queen telling her she was 100 years old.

Don Day is remembered as a dashing bushman, not as a bushranger. He drowned rescuing a woman and her three children. Their horse bolted tipping them into the river. He rescued the people then dived down to cut the horse from the dray. He never came up. The horse did, more dead than alive, but the Great Grey-green Darling River kept Don Day.

After shearing, his friends made a memorial at Daylight Point. It’s a sight that brings tears to the eyes and a lump to the throat. I know, because Miss Dianna took me there.

She sat straight in her side saddle as the horses trotted up a rise overlooking one of the grandest waterholes on the Darling River.

And there it was, a big black billycan on a fire of bronze logs.

It sat on a large flat rook, dragged for miles by bullock team. Engraved into the billy can is:-

“In Memory of Donald Francis Day 1850-1896 — Elizabeth Day, Twilight, Cpt. Rtd. Dianna Day, William Brown, JP Frank Day, Judge Long, Rtd. Gordon Day, Ned O’Kane, Insp.” Little crosses are punched after Frank and Gordon.

“Even Captain Pickles was here. He brought people down from Bourke on the wandering Jane.”

I helped Miss Dianna down. The horses trotted into a small broken-down yard, lush with grass. I made a fire, then filled our billy from the river. We had jolly jumbuck, boiled potatoes, johnnycake and billy tea.

Red cloud bars turned grey. Frogs and night insects started chatting. I dropped another log onto the fire, showering red sparks and stirring the low flames. When I looked up small silver twinkles dotted the sky and Miss Dianna and a curlew were both talking at once.

She told how Aboriginal women saved her life, and her mother’s, when she was born. How, in the 1890 flood, Joey Quartpot rescued them, one by one, in his bark canoe. Of her brothers, young and wild, riding all the way to Sydney to join the Light Horse to fight for King and Country. And her mother, going to live in a flat in Manly where she knitted socks and made Christmas Puddings for the ANZACS, only to die of a broken heart.

The past flickered through the flames, as she went further back to tell about Daylight and Twilight.

She laughed about William Browne MP. “He became rather fat, bald and pompous. But his heart was in the right place. He stuck up for the Outback.”

The tail of the Southern Cross was hanging low over the river. “I come here every year for the morning of the day Dad drowned.” She walked stiffly to the bronze billy can, lifted the lid then pulled the end off one of the logs. It was hollow.

Night melted. The first ray of daylight speared down the long waterhole into the bronze log, striking a large crystal in the bottom of the billy can. A shaft of light shot upwards, through the overhanging coolabah, scaring the hell out of the black and red cockatoos and blinding the last stars.

“Bushranging, booze and battle took the best of our youth, Peter.”

That night gave me the folk lore and a store of stories – fact, fiction and fantasy – to last me a lifetime.

Miss Day received her telegram from the Queen. She rests beside the long, low, mud-brick homestead. No one lives there but, at times, a swagman calls, tidies the garden then disappears towards the Tilpa Pub.

Peter Dargan, Travelling Writer, Dubbo, NSW. © 1995

Reference

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Hard Cases and Horrible Brutes: Australian Shearers of the 1890s

The Captain Pickhills, interviewed by Charles Bean in paragraph four of this extract, is actually my Great Grand Uncle, Captain George Rickinson Swan Pickhills. A Yorkshire man who came to Australia in the 1860s, he captained a steamer along the Darling River from Bourke in NSW to Goolwa in South Australia. He towed barges of wool bales down the river with his steamer. It is rumoured that Charles Bean’s Book “The Dreadnought of the Darling” is largely based on his interviews with, and recollections of, Captain Pickhills.

By 1890, a sheep population of nearly 100 million (it peaked at 106 million in 1892) was spread across a third of the Australian continent, from central Queensland to Tasmania, across into South Australia and down the western side of Western Australia. The shearers who shore them travelled by every conceivable means of transport: horse, train, bicycle, paddle-steamer and on foot.

Many stations and shearing sheds were great distances from railway lines or even roads. In the more settled areas of the more populous states, many shearers could work locally and only travelled for more work when the urge took them. However, in the vast outback regions of Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia and Western Australia, even local work involved large distances. Consequently, even good shearers faced long weeks without work as they wandered from shed to shed. When the largely seasonal work came to an end, there was no work at all. The situation was, in short, a shambles for all involved.

Nevertheless, as wool emerged as the premier industry in Australia, the shearer emerged as the embodiment not just of the industry but of a sense of freedom few occupations could equal. Shearers were often more worldly than other rural workers. They were more skilled and physically fitter.

However, opinion was still divided over whether they were heroes or villains. When Charles Bean (journalist and, later, official war historian) interviewed an old-time steamboat captain, Captain Pickhill, about the shearers he had seen in his years plying his trade on the Darling River, Pickhill recalled:

‘Lots of those shepherds and shearers near Bourke, were ‘old hands’ [meaning ex-convicts]. Some of them were decent good fellows; and the rest — well, they were horrible! Unmitigated rascals, fearing neither God nor the devil. The language I have heard in Bourke made a man wonder the heavens did not drop down and crush the fellow. They were great, coarse, horrible brutes of men.’

Others took a different view. A German political sociologist, Dr Robert Schachner, went and lived among shearers, miners and factory hands in an attempt to ascertain which of them had the best life. He concluded that shearers had a better standard of living, were better read and were more intelligent. He wrote: ‘If the spicy air of the bush gives the shearer new life and energy for thought and reading it is far different in the factory… Scarcely fit to leave school, the boy enters the horrid gloom of the machine rooms… What wonder if his brain dries up?’

In his memoirs Julian Stuart gave a nostalgic view of what it was like to be a shearer, describing a night in the quarters on Northampton Downs, where he and his colleagues were ‘disrobing 150 000 jumbucks’. Whistling Dick played on his tin whistle, Bungeye Blake sang, and Piebald Moore and Cabbagetree Capstick told some tales, but it was when Dusty Bob took the floor that Julian paid more attention. He considered Dusty to be ‘the most fluent liar that ever crossed the Darling’:

‘His anecdotes about “Crooked Mick” began and ended nowhere and made C.M. appear a superman… with feet so big he had to go outside to turn round. It took a large-sized bullock’s hide to make him a pair of moccasins [preferred footwear for shearers]. He worked at such a clip that his shears ran hot and sometimes he had half-a-dozen in the water-pot to cool. He had his fads and would not shear in sheds that faced North. When at his top it took three pressers to handle the wool from his blades and they had to work overtime to keep the bins clear. He ate two sheep each meal… that is, if they were small merinos… but only one and a half when the ration sheep were Leicester crossbred wethers. His main tally was generally cut out on the breakfast run. Anyone who tried to follow him usually spent the balance of the day in the hut. Between sheds he did fencing. When cutting brigalow posts he used an axe in each hand to save time, and when digging postholes a crowbar in one hand and a shovel in the other.’

Stuart also described the different kinds of mateship that existed among shearers. A pen mate, for example, was hardly a mate at all. The shearers drew lots to see which stand they’d get and it was pure luck who they were paired with. However, the two had to cooperate as they went about catching sheep from the same pen.

Then there were grinding mates. As he explained:

‘In the old blade-shearing days, when the “keeping” of shears was a large item for the shearer’s consideration, it was necessary for each man to have a mate to turn the grindstone for him… in fact, each pair turned for one another; they were grinding mates and very often it was Hobson’s choice on both sides, if you could believe them when they started arguing… they nearly always did.’

Last came real mateship, which according to Stuart was a thing that could last a lifetime but was sometimes difficult to understand:

‘Two hard old cases, Peter and Fred, mates of long standing, were knocking down their cheques in the good old-fashioned way, and quarrelled about some trifle. It looked as if it would end in a fight to a finish and the fracture of a lifelong friendship, so a bystander tried to act as peacemaker and started to lead Peter away, but was straightaway woodened out by old Fred. The two old battlers, reconciled, went back to the bar to resume the main business of life, cutting out their cheques.’

This story is an edited extract from The Shearers by journalist Evan McHugh, published by Penguin Books Australia.

Reference

Here is Why Hollywood Also Has an LGBT Diversity Issue

PLEASE NOTE: This article is from 2016.

Mya Taylor, left, and Kitana Kiki Rodriguez, in “Tangerine.”(Magnolia Pictures )

It is no secret that Hollywood has a diversity issue — just take a look at the past two years of #OscarsSoWhite. But more than some may have expected, the industry’s exclusion problems extend past the conventional conversation about race/ethnicity and sex. According to the latest study from GLAAD, released Monday, LGBT representation in film needs improvement as well.

“Hollywood’s films lag far behind any other form of media when it comes to portrayals of LGBT characters,” said Sarah Kate Ellis, GLAAD’s president and CEO, in a statement. “Too often, the few LGBT characters that make it to the big screen are the target of a punchline or token characters. The film industry must embrace new and inclusive stories if it wants to remain competitive and relevant.”

GLAAD is the leading lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender media advocacy organization. Their fourth annual Studio Responsibility Index maps the quantity, quality and diversity of LGBT people in films released by the seven largest motion picture studios: 20th Century Fox, Warner Bros., Lionsgate Entertainment, Walt Disney Studios, Sony Columbia Pictures, Universal Pictures and Paramount Pictures. Below are eight highlights from the study:

Only 22 of the 126 major releases in 2015 included characters identified as LGBT.

Julianne Moore, left, and Ellen Page in a scene from “Freeheld.” (Phil Caruso / Lionsgate/AP)

That’s only 17.5%, and not a change from 2014’s 17.5% value. Some of these films include Lionsgate’s “American Ultra” and “Freeheld” and Warner Bros.’ “Magic Mike XXL” and “Get Hard.” In those 22 films, there were 47 LGBT characters, up from 28 last year.

When movies do have LGBT characters, they are usually gay men.

Taron Egerton, Charley Palmer Rothwell and Tom Hardy in “Legend.” (Universal Pictures)

Male characters outnumbered females by a ratio of more than three to one. More than three quarters of inclusive films (77%) featured gay male characters while less than a quarter (23%) included lesbian characters. As for the representation of the rest of the queer community, only 9% included bisexual characters while only one film was trans-inclusive, Warner Brothers’ “Hot Pursuit.”

But they’re also usually white.

In 2014, 32.1% of LGBT characters were people of color. That number dropped to 25.5% in 2015. Of the LGBT characters counted in 2015, 34 (72.3%) were white, five were Latino (10.6%), four were black (8.5%) and three (6.4%) were Asian or Pacific Islander. One character was non-human, Fabian in Lionsgate’s “Un Gallo con Muchos Huevos.”

When there are LGBT characters, you might miss them if you blink.

Just looking at the number of LGBT characters on the big screen isn’t enough. With 73% of the few queer characters having less than 10 minutes of screen time, their impact is additionally limited.

Of the seven studios, not even one is doing “good.”

Since the study’s inception, GLAAD has given each studio a rating of good, adequate or failing. None of them received a rating of “good” for their 2015 releases. Fox, Lionsgate, Sony and Universal all received ratings of “Adequate”, while Paramount, Disney and Warner Bros. all received a “Failing” grade.

The most inclusive major studio was Lionsgate, as eight of its 2015 releases were LGBT-inclusive.

Warner Bros. followed with five then Universal with four. Sony only had three and Fox two. Neither Disney nor Paramount included any LGBT content in their 2015 slates of 11 and 12 films, respectively.

That’s probably because LGBT depictions are getting worse.

Last year saw a resurgence of outright offensive images of LGBT people; more films relied on gay panic and defamatory stereotypes for giggles. Though humor can be a powerful tool to challenge the norm, when crafted problematically, it has the opposite effect.

The depictions are so bad that only eight of the 22 LGBT-inclusive films passed the “Vito Russo Test.”

The “Vito Russo Test” is GLAAD’s set of criteria analyzing how LGBT characters are represented in fictional work named after GLAAD co-founder and film historian Vito Russo. Inspired by the “Bechdel Test,” these criteria represent a standard GLAAD would like to see a greater number of mainstream Hollywood films reach in the future.

In order to pass the Vito Russo Test, a film must include having an identifiably lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender character that is not solely or predominantly defined by their sexual orientation or gender identity and is tied into the plot in such a way that their removal would have a significant effect. Only eight of the 22 major studio films that featured an LGBT character passed the test in 2015, the lowest percentage in this study’s history.

Luckily, the major studios have more progressive imprints.

Last year, GLAAD began examining the film releases of four smaller, affiliated studios to draw a comparison between content released by the mainstream studios and their perceived “art house” divisions. Those smaller studios are Focus Features, Fox Searchlight, Roadside Attractions and Sony Pictures Classics.

Of the 46 films released under those studio imprints, 10, or 22%, were LGBT-inclusive. That’s a notably higher percentage than the parent studio counterparts and an increase from 2014’s 10.6% (five of 47) of films from the same divisions. Some of the films from these smaller studios include “The Danish Girl,” “Grandma” and “Stonewall.”

Reference.

Gay History: June 5, 1981. Pneumocystis Pneumonia. Los Angeles.

In the period October 1980-May 1981, 5 young men, all active homosexuals, were treated for biopsy-confirmed Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia at 3 different hospitals in Los Angeles, California. Two of the patients died. All 5 patients had laboratory-confirmed previous or current cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection and candidal mucosal infection. Case reports of these patients follow.

In honor of National Gay Men’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, I’m republishing my article on the first report documenting the emergence of the HIV/AIDS pandemic. That article, published in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report on June 5, 1981, describes five cases of an unusual form of pneumonia in atypical patients, all young men. The broader social and public health implications of these five cases were not understood at the time of the article’s publication, but would be in just a few unnerving months. In short time, it would become clear that this pneumonia, caused by a tiny fungal organism, was part of a constellation of diseases associated with a novel and highly unusual viral infection that was spreading rapidly through a subset of the American population.

This MMWR article is the first record of an emerging outbreak that, in just one decade, would be the second leading cause of death in young American men 25 to 44 years and have infected over 8 to 11 million people worldwide. As I note in my article, “the June 5th report is a symbol of a time before HIV/AIDS became ubiquitous, before it became a pandemic, before a small globular virus became mankind’s biggest global public health crisis … June 5th marks the beginning of a radical transformation in how disease surveillance and medicine was conducted.” The HIV/AIDs outbreak, since this report’s publication and the growing awareness of the virus, has profoundly changed medicine, public health, virology, and the lives of millions of people.

It often seems that gay men are disproportionately, and perhaps unfairly, bludgeoned with HIV educational and awareness campaigns. After all, this virus is an equal opportunist infector infecting both genders of all sexual orientations. And, yes, men that report having sex with other men represent a truly tiny proportion of the United States population, a slim 2% of the three-hundred million that live in this country.

However, as the CDC reports, gay men account for 63% of all newly diagnosed HIV infections in the United States and make up 52% of the current population of people living with a HIV diagnosis. Stopping the continued transmission of HIV/AIDS in this country critically relies on affecting change and promoting awareness among these men. In 1981, we just became aware of the HIV/AIDS virus. Today, we continue to bring awareness to prevention, testing, and treatment of a virus that continues to percolate through the same vulnerable population that was brutally affected nearly thirty years ago.

June 5, 1981. Pneumocystis Pneumonia. Los Angeles.

“Pneumocystis Pneumonia — Los Angeles,” in the June 5, 1981 edition of the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, was an economical seven paragraph clinical report cataloging five observed cases, accompanied by an explanatory editorial note on the rarity of this fungal disease. It seemed to be nothing out of the ordinary from MMWR, a publication that has been issuing the latest epidemiology news and data from around the world for 60 years. The report was included in that week’s slim 16 page report detailing dengue in American travelers visiting the Caribbean, surveillance results from a childhood lead poisoning program and what measles had been up to for the past five months.

Since 1978, Dr. Joel Weisman, a Los Angeles general practitioner, had been treating dozens of gay men in the city presenting with a motley collection of uncommon illnesses – blood cancers, rare fungal infections, persistent fevers and alarmingly low white blood cell counts – typically seen in the elderly and immunocompromised (1). In 1980, he was struck by two profoundly ill men and by the similarity of their symptoms, their prolonged fevers, dramatic weight loss, unexplained rashes and swollen lymph nodes. He referred them to Martin Gottlieb, an immunologist at UCLA who just so happened to be treating a gay patient with identical symptoms.

All three men were infected with Pneumocystis pneumonia, caused by the typically benign fungus Pneumocystis jirovecii, and soon Gottlieb would hear of a two more patients with the fungal infection from colleagues (2). The MMWR editorial note accompanying the report of these cases would mention that Pneumocystis pneumonia, or PCP, is “almost exclusively limited to severely immunosuppressed patients” and that it was “unusual” to find cases in healthy individuals without any preexisting immune system deficiencies. The disease would later be cataloged on immunological graphs illustrating the awful decline of the infected – first the CD4+ T-cell count falls as the viral load ascends, then a marching band of viral, fungal, protozoan and bacterial infections capitalizing on the loss of CD4+ T-cells. PCP is now known as a classic opportunistic infection of those infected with HIV/AIDS.

In the first sentence, the report would note that the young men were “all active homosexuals.” These five were all “previously healthy” men in their late 20s and 30s. They did not know each other, they did not share common contacts and they did not know of any sexual partners suffering with similar symptoms.

Three of the men were found to have “profoundly depressed” numbers of CD4+ T-cells. All five reported using inhalant drugs, or “poppers,” common in that era among gay men, which would later serve as a lead into this new syndromic disease (3). Cytomegalovirus, found in the five men, was also suspected as a culprit behind this strange outbreak. The editorial note stated definitively that “the fact that these patients were all homosexuals suggests an association between some aspect of a homosexual lifestyle or disease acquired through sexual contact and Pneumocystis pneumonia in this population.”

By the time the very first report on this acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, which we now know as AIDS, had been published by Gottlieb and Weisman and three fellow physicians in the MMWR, two of the patients had already died.

New reports showed up after the June 5th report, the list of cancerous malignancies and bizarre diseases killing young gay men blossoming in number, seemingly inexhaustible in scope and variety. The first reported cluster was in Los Angeles but by the summer and fall of 1981, reports would trickle in from San Francisco and New York City, and then Miami, Houston, Boston and Washington, D.C. would represent new epicenters.

The July 4th report on 26 cases of Kaposi’s sarcoma, a rare cancer that only appeared in elderly men of Mediterranean descent, in California and New York City was another pivotal report on this new syndromic disease. The entire December 1981 issue of The Lancet was dedicated to the disease and hypothesized on the origins of this immunological deficiency but, tellingly, none of the articles proposed an emerging infectious disease as the culprit. The disparate constellation of diseases seemed to be linked only by their aberrational appearance in men in what should have been their prime, their gay lifestyle, and abnormally low CD4 cell counts. It had no apparent origin, and physicians were scrambling to find an appropriate treatment to decelerate the rapid progression to death.

By December 1981, it became clear that this disorder wasn’t limited to gay men but also affected intravenous drug users, recipients of transfused blood products and immigrant Haitians. The escalating numbers of cases reported daily and the disastrous mortality rate – 40% of patients were dying within a year of diagnosis – began to sow panic in the public health and medical world that soon spilled into the public (4).

It would take three years before the virus was detected and AIDS was definitively linked to an infection caused by a novel virus, human immunodeficiency virus or HIV. In just a decade, AIDS would be the second leading cause of death in young men 25 to 44 years in the United States and would have infected over 8 to 11 million people worldwide (5). The most recent estimate for the number of people worldwide living with HIV/AIDS is 34 million in 2011, with 68% residing in sub-Saharan Africa (6). That year, there were 2.5 million new HIV infections and 1.7 million AIDS-related deaths.

Though the June 5th, 1981 report was overlooked at first, for many years it would be “one of the most heavily quoted articles in the medical literature” (2). And since its publication, we have seen a cataclysmic shift in how the interrelated worlds of public health and medicine view infectious diseases, especially how to prevent, control and educate the public about them.

June 5th marks the beginning of a radical transformation in how disease surveillance and medicine was conducted. In the seventies, the scientific consensus on infectious diseases was that they were largely eradicated, that they were finished. Vaccines had diminished their presence in modern society, and antibiotics and antivirals would sort out the rest. HIV/AIDS changed that mentality and reality. It seemed to come from nowhere, the blossoming epidemic completely unforeseen and unprecedented in its scope. The June 5th report is a symbol of a time before HIV/AIDS became ubiquitous, before it became a pandemic, before a small globular virus became mankind’s biggest global public health crisis.

Author’s note: This article was originally published in January 2013 at the Pump Handle blog as a part of a series on “public health classics,” exploring some of the classic studies and reports that have shaped the field of public health. Check out the original article here

References
(1) E Woo. (July 23, 2009) Dr. Joel D. Weisman dies at 66; among the first doctors to detect AIDS. Los Angeles Times [Online]. Accessed November 16, 2012 athttp://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-me-joel-weisman23-2009jul23,0,7095313.story

(2) E Fee & TM Brown (2006) Michael S. Gottlieb and the Identification of AIDS. Am J Public Health; 96(6): 982–983.http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1470620/

(3) S Israelstam et al. (1978) Poppers, a new recreational drug craze. Can Psychiatr Assoc J;23(7): 493-5

(4) V. Quagliarello (1982) Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome: Current Status. Yale J Biol Med; 55(5-6): 443–452

(5) Centers for Disease Control (CDC) (1991) The HIV/AIDS epidemic: the first 10 years. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep; 40(22): 357. Accessible athttp://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/00001997.htm

(6) UNAIDS (2012) UNAIDS World AIDS Day Report. UNAIDS. Accessible athttp://www.unaids.org/en/resources/campaigns/20121120_

Article Reference

Why Do So Many of Us Date Our Clones?

The answer lies in the makeup of a man as well as LGBT people at large.

If you have ever taken a walk down Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood, Boystown’s North Halsted Street in Chicago, or even Chueca’s Gran Vía in Madrid, you have likely seen it: the attack of the clones. And I am not talking about some gaymers going crazy over the latest George Lucas screening.

 

We have all seen our share of guys in the gay world who cross a seemingly incestuous line between looking so similar they could be brothers and boyfriends. Whether it is some gym bunny who is dating another protein-obsessed jock, a hipster with another skinny-jeans-wearing, glasses-clad ironist, or a twink who is dating another boyish-looking guy, there are lot of guys who tend to date what seems like a mirror image of themselves. 

 

And that is not to disparage any of the aforementioned groups. However, it leads one to question: Why is this such a phenomenon among gay men? 

 

The answer, I believe, lies deep in the struggle of coming out. While growing up, many of us — especially those of us from small towns — tried fitting into a straight paradigm. We grew up with our straight friends, assuming that we would grow up, fall in love with a woman, get married, and procreate. For this reason, some of us around puberty had a hard time reconciling what was hardwired in our brain and what our genitalia was telling us, because in all other aspects, we are just like our straight counterparts. 

 

I can recall the exact moment in my middle school years when I tried to reconcile these two aspects of my life. At the time, I most certainly had a crush on this one guy named Kyle who I swam with on my year-round club team. I would often have to avert my stares at him when he looked my way, embarrassed that I had just caught a glance of his muscly features in a Speedo.

 

Yet, at an awkward tweenage party — the kind that only acne and newfound hormones could create — I saw all my friends “falling in love” with girls. It suddenly hit me that I had never felt about a girl in that way. Feeling left out, I decided I needed a girl crush. So I looked over at my nearby friend’s newly developed boobs and decided I was head over heels for her. After all, that was what I was supposed to find attractive, right? 

 

Naturally, I was lying to myself due to social pressures. And this is a common occurrence in the gay world. There is a reason that the term “gold star gay” — a gay man who has never slept with a woman — exists. We all take our own path to realize that when it comes to sexuality, we are different. And for some of us, it takes a relationship with a girl.

 

But when we get out of this straight paradigm, most gay men seem to seek perfection in a relationship. After finding how much easier and natural same-sex relationships are for us, some of us raise our standards so incredibly high that only a clone of ourselves will do. 

 

Yet, this unfortunately can, and often does, invite a variety of problems. Above the tendency to serial date, the search for perfection causes a social strata among gay men, starting with the infamous “Masc4Masc” category on dating sites. Wanting only a “real” man, this guy goes out of his way to act “straighter” than straight men and date only those who are the same — he forgets, of course, that straight men want a vagina and not his penis. 

 

Then there are the racially motivated messages on dating profiles and hookup sites, such as “no Asians” or “no black guys,” etc. Wanting only to date a guy of a particular race (most likely his own), this man swears he is not racist, but rather that skin color is a preference just like one’s personality or astrological sign. 

 

Last but not least, there is the message that says “no fats.” While it is understandable that this guy may be simply concerned that a potential partner could just die of a heart attack at age 40, that is probably not his motivation. A guy with a healthy body image who has a little bit of pudge disgusts him, as he seeks only a man with the abs of a go-go dancer and the arms of a construction worker or lumberjack.

 

Of course, many believe that these three examples are really just preferences and not problematic. After all, gay clone couples show the happiness and fulfillment of standards, right? I choose to respectfully disagree — rejecting anyone who is not Prince Charming riding down Santa Monica Boulevard, you are rejecting reality for a fairy tale. Enjoy a man who is exactly like you or a man who is your polar opposite, but always acknowledge that no man or relationship is perfect.

 

Reference

Crimes of the Popes

For a religion that loves to lecture on right and wrong, involving itself in social issues it should keep its nose out of, and just generally being sanctimonious – it has an incredible history of abuse of power, wars, violence, sexual indiscretion, sexual abuse, hypocrisy, manipulation, discrimination, accumulation of wealth – and being just downright evil…and I’m not just talking about the Catholic variant! You’d think the following list was a story of fiction…but it’s not! Truth is always stranger than fiction!

WE now give a rapid summary of the crimes and vices with which many of the popes disgraced the chair of St. Peter; and before we conclude, the reader will see that every villainy the imagination can conceive has been practised by the vicegerents of God. Peculation, theft, cruelty, murder, fornication, adultery, and incest, not to mention still darker crimes, have all been notoriously committed by the supreme rulers of Christendom, who sat in the seat of infallibility, and claimed universal jurisdiction over the thoughts and consciences of mankind.

ST. DAMASUS (366-84). He was the first to assume the title of Pontiff. His election was opposed by Ursicinus, whose partisans accused Damasus of adultery. [122:1] Riddle says:

“After some deadly conflicts between the followers of the two rivals, Ursicinus was banished from the city; and a similar sentence was about to be carried into effect against seven presbyters of his party, when the people interfered, and lodged them for safety in one of the churches. But even here they found no shelter from the fury of their opponents. Armed with fire and sword, Damasus, with some of his adherents, both of the clergy and of the laity, proceeded to the place of refuge, and left no less than a hundred and sixty of their adversaries dead within the sacred precincts.” [122:2]

That this was a massacre and not a faction fight is shown by the fact that on the side of Damasus not a single person was killed. [123:3] Ammianus Marcellinus, the contemporary historian of the event, says of the contention between Damasus and Ursicinus:

“I do not deny, when I consider the ostentation that reigns at Rome, that those who desire such rank and power may be justified in laboring with all possible exertions and vehemence to obtain their wishes; since after they have succeeded, they will be secure for the future, being enriched by offerings from matrons, riding in carriages, dressing splendidly, and feasting luxuriously, so that their entertainment surpassed even royal banquets. [123:4]

Damasus gained the title of Auriscalpius Matronarum, ladies’ ear-scratcher. [123:5] He died of fever, and the Romish Church still invokes the aid of this saintly vicar of God in fever cases. [123:6]

Pope Damascus I

SIXTUS III (432-40). This pope, according to both Baronius and Platina, was accused of debauching a virgin, but was acquitted by a Council under the Emperor Valentina, who is said to have referred the pronouncing of the sentence to the Pope himself, “because the judge of all ought to be judged by none.” It was without doubt to establish this maxim that the “acts” of the Council were forged. [123:7]

ST. LEO THE GREAT (440-61). Jortin calls him “the insolent and persecuting Pope Leo, who applauded the massacre of the Priscillianists, and grossly misrepresented them.” [123:8]

SYMMACHUS (498-514). His election was violently opposed by the antipope Laurentius, and three Councils were held to decide the schism. Accusations of the most heinous crimes were laid against Symmachus. Bower says:

“This gave occasion to the rekindling of the war between the two parties in Rome; and several priests, many clerks, and a great number of citizens, fell daily in the battles that were fought in the different parts of the city. No regard was shown by either party to rank or dignity; and not even the sacred virgins were spared by the enraged multitude in their fury.” [123:9]

Eunodius declared that the Pope was “judge in the place of the most high, pure from all sin, and exempt from all punishment. All who fell fighting in his cause he declared enrolled on the register of heaven.” [124:1]

ST. HORMISDAS (514-23). He was a married man, and had a son, who was raised to the popedom. He was full of ambition, and insolent in his demands to the emperor, whom he exhorted to the persecution of heretics.

BONIFACE II (530-32). His election was disputed by the antipope Dioscorus. Each accused the other of simony, but Dioscorus opportunely died. Boniface “began his pontificate with wreaking his vengeance on the memory of his deceased competitor, whom he solemnly excommunicated, as guilty of simony, when he could not clear himself from the charge, nor retort it on him, as perhaps he otherwise might.” [124:2] This sentence was removed by Pope Agapetus.

SILVERIUS (536-38). He was accused of betraying the city of Rome to the Goths, and was in consequence expelled from his see.

VIGILUS (537-55). He was a deacon elected by bribery. He engaged himself to obey the Empress Theodora, who gave him money to gain the suffrages of the clergy. Anastasius tells us that he killed his own secretary in a transport of passion, and caused his own sister’s son to be whipped to death. He is considered to have been accessory to the banishment and death of Silverius. When banished himself by the emperor, he speedily repented, in order to save his seat.

PELAGIUS (555-60). He was accused of poisoning his predecessor. This is uncertain; but it is certain that, like most of his predecessors and successors, he incited the civil powers to the persecution of heretics.

ST. GREGORY THE GREAT (590-604). According to Gibbon, this pontiff was “a singular mixture of simplicity and cunning, of pride and humility, of sense and superstition.” [124:3] Jortin’s picture is still less flattering:

“Pope Gregory the Great was remarkable for many things — for exalting his own authority; for running down human learning [125:4] and polite literature; for burning classic authors; for patronising ignorance and stupidity; for persecuting heretics; for flattering the most execrable princes; and for relating a multitude of absurd, monstrous and ridiculous lies, called miracles. He was an ambitious, insolent prelate, under the mask of humility.” [125:5]

Draper says that Gregory not only forbade the study of the classics, mutilated statues, and destroyed temples but also “burned the Palatine library, founded by Augustus Caesar.” Gibbon, however, throws doubt on this destruction, while admitting that it was generally believed. [125:6]

Gregory does not appear to have been fond of women and wine, like so many other popes; but he possessed the darker vices of bigotry and ambition. His congratulations on the usurpation of the cruel, drunken and lascivious Phocas, after a wholesale massacre of the emperor’s family, simply because the successful villain favored the pretensions of Rome (p. 109), are a sufficient proof that Gregory would scruple at nothing to advance the glory of his see.

SABINIAN (604-6). Bower says he rendered himself so odious to the Roman people by his avarice and cruelty to the poor, that they could not forbear abusing him whenever he appeared. In a dreadful famine he raised the price of corn to exorbitant rates. He accused St. Gregory of simony; but according to Baronius, that departed saint having vainly reproved him in three different apparitions for his covetousness, gave him in a fourth apparition so dreadful a blow on the head, that he died soon after. [125:7]

Pope Sabinian

BONIFACE III (607). By flattering Phocas as Gregory had done, he induced him to take the title of universal bishop from the bishop of Constantinople, and confer it upon himself and his successors.

THEODORUS (642-49). He commenced the custom of dipping his pen in consecrated wine when signing the condemnation of heretics, [126:8] thus sanctifying murder with the blood of Christ. Of Adeodatus, Donus I, Agatho, and Leo II, we only know that they carried on fierce contests with the archbishop of Ravenna for refusing to acknowledge their supremacy. Leo II anathematised his predecessor, Pope Honorius, for heresy. [126:9] Neither Benedict II, John V, nor Conon, lived a whole year after assuming the tiara.

ST. SERGIUS I (687-701). He had to purchase his seat from the exarch of Ravenna by pawning the ornaments of the tomb of St. Peter. He was accused of adultery, but his innocence was strikingly proved; for, upon the child of whose parentage he was accused being baptised when but eight days old, he cried out, “The pontiff Sergius is not my father.” Bruys, the French historian of the Papacy, says, “What I find most marvellous in this story is, not that so young a child should speak, but that it should affirm with so much confidence that the pope was not its father.” [126:1]

CONSTANTINE (708-15). He is said to have excommunicated the Emperor, Philip Bardanes, for being of the same heresy as Pope Honorius. To oblige Constantine, Justinian II cut out the tongue and blinded the eyes of the Archbishop of Ravenna, who refused to pay the obedience due to the apostolic see. [126:2]

ST. GREGORY II (715-31). He was chiefly noted for his endowing monasteries with the goods of the poor, and for his opposition to the Emperor Leo’s edict against image worship. [126:3] Rather than obey the edict, he raised civil war both in Italy and elsewhere. He prayed that Christ might set the Devil on the emperor, and approved the barbarous murder of the imperial officer. [126:4] Yet the priests place in the list of saints a pontiff who, to establish the Christian idolatry of image worship, filled Italy with carnage.

STEPHEN III (768-72). When elected he found on the pontifical throne a lay pope, one Constantine, who, after a violent struggle, was dislodged and punished with the loss of his eyes, [127:5] many of his friends sharing the same fate. [127:6]

ADRIAN I (772-95). He made a league with Irene, the murderess of her son, to restore image worship, and presented to Charlemagne the pretended donation of Constantine. [127:7] Avarice was the vice of this able pontiff. He left large sums to his successors.

ST. PASCAL I (817-24). At the Diet of Compeigne this pope was charged with being accessory to the mutilation and murder of two Roman priests. The Pope denied the charge, but refused to deliver up the perpetrators of the crimes, alleging that they belonged “to the family of St. Peter.” [127:8]

EUGENIUS II (824-27). He had the honor of inventing the barbarous practice of ordeal by cold water.

NICHOLAS (858-67). He excommunicated Photius, the Greek patriarch, and the emperor Michael as his abettor, and threatened King Lothaire with the ecclesiastical sword if he suffered any bishop to be chosen without his consent. [127:9]

ADRIAN II (867-72). He was a married priest. He congratulated Bazilius, the murderer of the emperor Michael, and entered into alliance with him. [127:1]

JOHN VIII (872-82). The meek and holy nature of this worthy successor of St. Peter may be judged by his ordering the Bishop of Naples to bring him the chief men among the Saracens in that city, and cutting their throats in the presence of his legate. [127:2] A letter of John is extant, in which he justifies Athanasius, Bishop of Naples, for having plucked out the eyes of Sergius, Duke of Naples, who favored the Saracens in despite of the papal anathemas. He even cites the Gospel text as to plucking out offending eyes. Cardinal Baronius declares that this pontiff perjured himself, and that he rather deserved the name of a woman than that of a man. [128:3] The annals of the Abbey of Fulda relate that John VIII was poisoned by the relations of a lady whom he had seduced from her husband. [128:4]

FORMOSUS (891-96). He had been repeatedly excommunicated by John VIII. He invited Arnulf, the German emperor, to invade Italy, which he did, committing great atrocities. Formosus, however, had a great character for piety. He is said to have been well versed in scripture, and to have died a virgin in his eightieth year.

BONIFACE VI (896). Even according to Baronius, he was a man of most infamous character. He had been deposed for his scandalous life, first from the rank of sub-deacon, and afterward from the priesthood. [128:5]

Pope Boniface VI

STEPHEN VI. (896-7). He intruded into the see in the room of the intruder Boniface. Being of the opposite faction to Pope Formosus, he caused the body of that pontiff to be taken out of the tomb and to be placed, in the episcopal robes, on the pontifical chair. Stephen then addressed the dead body thus: “Why didst thou, being Bishop of Porto, prompted by thy ambition, usurp the universal see of Rome?” After this mock trial Stephen, with the approbation and consent of a Council of bishops, ordered the body to be stripped, three of the fingers (those used in blessing) to be cut off, and the remains to be cast into the Tiber. At the same Council all the ordinations of Formosus were declared invalid. [128:6]

Then followed what Riddle calls “a rapid succession of infamous popes,” of whom we may mention that Leo V (903) was deposed and cast into prison by his chaplain, Christopher, who was in turn ejected and imprisoned by Sergius III (904-11). This pontiff also had been excommunicated by John VIII. He was, says Baronius, “the slave of every vice and the most wicked of men.” [128:7] Riddle says:

“This Sergius III was a monster of profligacy, cruelty and vice in their most shameless and disgusting forms. But it was this very character which made him useful to his party, the duration of whose influence at Rome, could be insured only by a preponderance of physical power, and this again only by violence which should disdain all restraints of morality and religion. Sergius was the man for this purpose, who, while he lived in concubinage with Marozia, did not hesitate to yield all the treasures of the Roman Church as plunder to his party.” [129:8] To him succeeded other paramours of Marozia and of her mother the prostitute Theodora. John X, for instance (914-28), received his chair because he was the lover of Theodora, while Leo VI and Stephen VIII (929-31) were creatures of Marozia. Adultery and assassination form the staple of the annals of their pontificates.

JOHN XI (931-36). He was the son of Pope Sergius III. by Marozia, and if possible he surpassed his parents in crime. Elected pope at the age of eighteen, Alberic, his half brother, expelled him from Rome and imprisoned their mother Marozia. Stephen VIII (939-942) made himself so obnoxious to the Romans that they mutilated him. [129:9]

JOHN XII (956-64), the son of Alberic, was the first to change his name, which was originally Octavian. He nominated himself pope at the age of seventeen. Wilks says: “His profaneness and debaucheries exceeded all bounds. He was publicly accused of concubinage, incest, and simony.” This pope was so notorious for his licentiousness that female pilgrims dared not present themselves in Rome. [129:1] Bower says that he had changed the Lateran Palace, once the abode of saints, into a brothel, and there cohabited with his father’s concubine; that women were afraid to come from other countries to visit the tombs of the apostles at Rome; that he spared none, and had within a few days forced married women, widows, and virgins to comply with his impure desires. He was at length deposed by Otho, at the solicitation of a council of bishops and laymen, on charges of sacrilege, simony, blasphemy, and cruel mutilation. He had deprived one deacon of his right hand and made him a eunuch. He put out the eyes of Benedict, his ghostly father, cut off the nose of the keeper of the archives, and scourged the Bishop of Spires. [130:2] On the deposition of John, Leo VII was put in his place. John fulminated anathemas against his opponents, and soon after died, from a blow on the head while in bed with a married woman. [130:3] Jortin remarks that “Baronius says, from Luitprandus, that it was the Devil who gave John that blow; but it seems not probable that Satan would have used his good friend in such a manner. It is more likely that it might be the husband of the adulteress.” [130:4]

Mosheim says “that the history of the Roman pontiffs of this century [the tenth] is a history of monsters, a history of the most atrocious villainies and crimes, is acknowledged by all writers of distinction, and even by the advocates of popery.” [130:5]

Pope John XII

BONIFACE VII (974). The old authors in derision call him Maliface. Having had his predecessor Benedict murdered, he plundered the Basilica and escaped with his spoils to Constantinople, whence he afterwards returned and murdered John XIV (984), then on the papal throne.

GREGORY V (996-99). He was turned out of his see by Crescentius, who elected the antipope John. Upon Gregory’s restoration he had this unfortunate creature deprived of sight, cut off his nose, and tore out his tongue. He then ordered him to be led through the streets in a tattered sacerdotal suit, and mounted upon an ass with his face to the tail, which he held in his hand. [130:6]

SERGIUS IV (1009-12). This pope was called Os Porci, or Swine’s Mouth. Of his doings little is known, but he is asserted to have gravely declared “that the pope could not be damned, but that, do what he would, he must be saved.” [130:7]

BENEDICT VIII (1012-24). He saved the city of Rome from a great storm, which it seems was caused by some Jews. The Jews being immediately executed the storm ceased. [131:8]

JOHN XIX (1024-33). He was a layman, brother of Benedict, yet he was raised to the see. Wilks says:

“It was by gold, and not by imperial power, that the Romans consented to this uncanonical election. The rapacity of this pope was so great that he offered to sell the title of ‘Universal Bishop’ to the see of Constantinople for a sum of money!” [131:9]

By his exactions, debauchery and tyranny, he became so odious to the Romans that he had to flee for his life.

BENEDICT IX (1033-46). A nephew of the last two pontiffs. Some say he was raised to the papacy at the age of twelve — others, at eighteen. He “stained the sacred office with murder, adultery, and every other heinous crime.” [131:1] Desiderius, afterwards pope under the name of Victor III, styles Benedict the successor of Simon the sorcerer, and not of Simon the apostle, and paints him as one abandoned to all manner of vice. [131:2] Being eager to possess the person and property of a female cousin, he sold the papacy to John Gratianus, “the most religious man of his time,” for a sum of money, and consecrated him as Gregory VI. Benedict afterwards poisoned Pope Damasus II. The Romans, weary of his crimes, expelled him from the city, but he was reinstated by Conrad. “But,” says Jortin, “as he continued his scandalous course of life, and found himself despised and detested both by clergy and laity, he agreed to retire, and to abandon himself more freely to his pleasures.” Stipulating therefore to receive a sum of money, he resigned his place to Gratianus, called Gregory VI, and went to live in his own territories. [131:3]

Mosheim calls Benedict IX “a most flagitious man and capable of every crime.” [131:4]

We have already seen how Benedict, Sylvester, and Gregory, were alike declared unworthy of the pontificate, and Clement placed in the see, and by what means Hildebrand contrived to extend the papal power. This great pontiff, Gregory VII (1073-85), has been accused of poisoning his predecessors in order to obtain the popedom, and also of committing adultery with Matilda, Countess of Tuscany, who bestowed all her possessions on the pope. But these accusations probably arose from the spite of the many enemies aroused by Hildebrand’s high-handed measures.

Pope Benedict IX

PASCAL II (1099-1118). He was a disciple of Hildebrand, and inherited his ambition without his talents. He compelled Henry IV to abdicate, but on his son Henry V marching against him, after a sanguinary struggle, he gave up to the emperor the right of investiture. Afterwards he excommunicated all who should declare his own grant to be valid. [132:5]

ADRIAN IV (1154-59). The only Englishman who ever became pope. He caused Arnold of Brescia to be burnt at the stake (1154) for preaching against papal corruption. The Irish should remember that it was this pope who, in virtue of the pretended Donation of Constantine, made over to Henry II of England the right to take and govern Ireland on condition of the pope receiving an annual tribute of one penny for each house. [132:6]

ALEXANDER III (1159-81). The Lateran Council (1179) declared war against all heretics, and a crusade against them was sanctioned by this pontiff. [132:7]

CLEMENT III (1188-1191). He published the third crusade (1189).

INNOCENT III (1198-1216) also preached a crusade. He claimed for his see universal empire and established the Inquisition to support the claim. He excommunicated Philip II of France and put the whole nation under interdict. Afterwards he placed England under interdict, excommunicated John, bestowed the crown on Philip of France, and published a crusade against England. He also instituted a crusade against the Albigenses, butchering them by tens of thousands with every circumstance of atrocity. [132:8]

GREGORY IX (1227-41). He formally established the Inquisition; and, to support his ambition and the unbridled luxury of his court, raised taxes in France, England and Germany, excommunicated kings, and incited nations to revolt; finally causing himself to be driven from Rome. [133:9]

INNOCENT IV (1243-54). He conspired against the life of the Emperor Frederic, through the agency of the Franciscan monks. To avoid confronting his accuser, he retired to France, summoned a council at Lyons (1244), and excommunicated and deposed the emperor, whom he coolly denominated his vassal. He also excommunicated the kings of Arragon and Portugal, giving the crown of the latter to the Count of Bologna. He persecuted the Ghibellines, and pretending to have the right of disposing of the crown of the two Sicilies, offered it to Richard, Earl of Cornwall, brother to Henry III of England. Innocent made exorbitant claims to the bishoprics and benefices in England. [133:1]

Pope Innocent IV

BONIFACE VIII (1294-1303). He had his predecessor, Celestine, put in prison, where he died. [133:2] He openly styled himself “King of Kings,” trafficked in indulgences, and declared all excluded from heaven who disputed his claim to universal dominion. He persecuted the Ghibellines, and ordered the city of Bragneste to be entirely destroyed. He was publicly accused of simony, assassination, usury, of living in concubinage with his two nieces and having children by them, and of using the money received for indulgences to pay the Saracens for invading Italy. [133:3]

CLEMENT V (1305-1314). He is noted for his cruel suppression of the order of Knights Templar, so as to appropriate their property. He summoned the grand master of the Templars under false pretexts to his court, and issued a bull against the order in which he brought against it the most unfounded and absurd charges, and finally pronounced its abolition, having the Grand Master and many leading members burnt alive. [134:4] After sharing the spoils of the Templars with the king of France, Clement V fixed his court at Avignon, and gave himself publicly to the most criminal debaucheries. He preached a new crusade against the Turks and gave each new crusader the right to release four souls from purgatory. Dante places him in hell.

JOHN XXII (1316-34). Like his predecessors, he persecuted and burnt heretics. He anathematised the emperor of Germany and the king of France, and preached a new crusade. Money was raised in abundance by the sale of indulgences, and was misappropriated by the pope. He left enormous treasures. Villani, whose brother was one of the papal commission, states that this successor of the fisherman amassed altogether twenty-five million florins. [134:5] Gieseler says: “He arbitrarily disposed of the Benefices of all countries, chiefly in favor of his own nephews, and the members of his curia.” [134:6]

URBAN VI (1378-89). In his time occurred what is known as “the great Western schism,” which lasted from 1378 till the Council of Constance (1414). There were during that time two popes, one residing at Rome and the other at Avignon. But which of the popes was the true one and which the antipope has not yet been decided. Urban VI was a ferocious despot. He ordered six cardinals, whom he suspected of opposing him, to be brutally tortured. [134:7] Nor was his competitor, Clement VII, behind him in violence and crime. For fifty years they and their successors excited bloody wars and excommunicated one another. The schism, which cost thousands of lives, was ended by the deposition of John XXIII (1415), who was found guilty of murder and incest. He was accused before the Council of having seduced two hundred nuns. Theodoric de Niem informs us that he kept two hundred mistresses in Bologna, and he is described by his own secretary as a monster of avarice, ambition, lewdness and cruelty. [135:8] The same author says that an act of accusation, prepared against him, presented a complete catalogue of every mortal crime.

Pope Urban VI

MARTIN V (1417-31). His crimes were not of a kind to be censured by a Council of bishops. He had John Huss and Jerome of Prague burnt alive, and to put down their heresies excited civil war in Bohemia. He wrote to the Duke of Lithuania: “Be assured thou sinnest mortally in keeping faith with heretics.”

EUGENIUS IV (1431-47). His first act was to put to torture the treasurer of his predecessor, Martin V. He seized that pontiff’s treasures and sent to the scaffold two hundred Roman citizens, friends of the late pope. [135:9] The Council of Basle was called and deposed the pope, setting up an antipope, Felix V. Civil war and much cruelty of course followed.

PAUL II (1464-71). He broke all the engagements he had made to the conclave prior to his election. He persecuted with the greatest cruelty and perfidy the Count of Anguillara. He strove to kindle a general war throughout Italy, and excommunicated the king of Bohemia for protecting the Hussites against his persecutions. He also persecuted the Fratricelli. “His love of money,” says Symonds, “was such that, when bishoprics fell vacant, he often refused to fill them up, drawing their revenues for his own use, and draining Christendom as a Verres or a Memmius sucked a Roman province dry. His court was luxurious, and in private he was addicted to all the sensual lusts.” [135:1] The same writer says that “He seized the chief members of the Roman Academy, imprisoned them, put them to the torture, and killed some of them upon the rack.” [135:2] He died suddenly, leaving behind him an immense treasure in money and jewels, amassed by his avarice and extortion. [135:3]

SIXTUS IV (1471-84). He strove to excel his predecessors in crime. According to Symonds, “He began his career with a lie; for though he succeeded, to that demon of avarice, Paul, who had spent his time in amassing money which he did not use, he declared that he had only found five thousand florins in the papal treasury.” The historian continues:

“This assertion was proved false by the prodigality with which he lavished wealth immediately upon his nephews. It is difficult even to hint at the horrible suspicions which were cast upon the birth of two of the Pope’s nephews and upon the nature of his weakness for them: yet the private life of Sixtus rendered the most monstrous stories plausible, while his public treatment of these men recalled to mind the partiality of Nero for Doryphorus … The Holy Father himself was wont to say, A Pope needs only pen and ink to get what sum he wants.’ … Fictitious dearths were created; the value of wheat was raised to famine prices; good grain was sold out of the kingdom, and bad imported in exchange; while Sixtus forced his subjects to purchase from his stores, and made a profit by the hunger and disease of his emaciated provinces.” [136:4]

Ranke declares:

“He was restrained by no scruple from rendering his spiritual power subservient to his worldly views, or from debasing it by a mixture with those temporary intrigues in which his ambition had involved him. The Medici being peculiarly in his way, he took part in the Florentine troubles; and, as is notorious, brought upon himself the suspicion of being privy to the conspiracy of the Pazzi, and to the assassination which they perpetrated on the steps of the altar of the cathedral: the suspicion that he, the father of the faithful, was an accomplice of such acts! When the Venetians ceased to favor the scheme of his nephew, as they had done for a considerable time, the pope was not satisfied with deserting them in a war into which he himself had driven them; he went so far as to excommunicate them for persisting in it. He acted with no less violence in Rome: he persecuted the Colonnas with great ferocity: he seized Marino from them; he caused the prothonotary Colonna to be attacked, arrested and executed in his own house. The mother of Colonna came to San Celso in Branchi, where the body lay — she lifted the severed head by the hair, and cried ‘Behold the head of my son! Such is the faith of the pope. He promised that if we would give up Marino to him he would set my son at liberty; he has Marino: and my son is in our hands — but dead! Behold thus does the pope keep his word.'” [136:5]

Jortin says that “Sixtus IV erected a famous bawdy-house at Rome, and the Roman prostitutes paid his holiness a weekly tax, which amounted sometimes to twenty thousand ducats a year.” [137:6]

Pope Sixtus IV

INNOCENT VIII (1484-92). Schlegel, in his notes to Mosheim, says he “lived so shamefully before he mounted the Roman throne, that he had sixteen illegitimate children to make provision for. Yet on the papal throne he played the zealot against the Germans, whom he accused of magic, and also against the Hussites, whom he well-nigh exterminated.” [137:7] Wilks says: “He obtained the votes of the cardinals by bribery, and violated all his promises.” [137:8] The practice of selling offices prevailed under him as well as under his predecessors. “In corruption,” says Symonds, ” he advanced a step even beyond Sixtus, by establishing a bank at Rome for the sale of pardons. Each sin had its price, which might be paid at the convenience of the criminal: one hundred and fifty ducats of the tax were poured into the Papal coffers; the surplus fell to Franceschetto, the Pope’s son.” [137:9] The Vice-Chancellor of this rapacious pontiff, on being asked why indulgences were permitted for the worst scandals, made answer that “God wills not the death of a sinner, but rather that he should pay and live.” It must be added that “the traffic which Innocent and Franceschetto carried on in theft and murder filled the Campagna with brigands and assassins.” [137:1] The Pope’s vices cost him so much that he even pledged the papal tiara as a security for money.

ALEXANDER VI (1492-1503). Roderic Borgia was one of the most depraved wretches that ever lived. His passions were so unbridled that, having conceived a liking for a widow and two daughters, he made them all subservient to his brutality. Wilks calls him “a man of most abandoned morals, deep duplicity, and unscrupulous ambition. Like his predecessors, he had but one object at heart, the temporal and hereditary aggrandisement of his family.” [138:2] Mosheim says: “So many and so great villainies, crimes and enormities are recorded of him, that it must be certain he was destitute not only of all religion, but also of decency and shame.” [138:3] This pope, at a certain feast, had fifty courtesans dancing, who, at a given signal, threw off every vestige of clothing and — we draw a veil over the scene! “To describe him,” says Symonds, “as the Genius of Evil, whose sensualities, as unrestrained as Nero’s, were relieved against the background of flame and smoke which Christianity had raised for fleshly sins, is justifiable.” [138:4] His besetting vice was sensuality; in oriental fashion he maintained a harem in the Vatican. He invited the Sultan Bajazet to enter Europe and relieve him of the princes who opposed his intrigues in favor of his children.

In regard to his death we follow Ranke:

“It was but too certain that he once meditated taking off one of the richest of the cardinals by poison. His intended victim, however, contrived, by means of presents, promises and prayers, to gain over his head cook, and the dish which had been prepared for the cardinal was placed before the pope. He died of the poison he had destined for another.” [138:5]

JULIUS II (1503-13). He obtained the pontificate by fraud and bribery, [138:6] and boldly took the sword to extend his dominion. [138:7] Mosheim says:

“That this Julius II possessed, besides other vices, very great ferocity, arrogance, vanity, and a mad passion for war, is proved by abundant testimony. In the first place, he formed an alliance with the Emperor and the King of France, and made war upon the Venetians. He next laid siege to Ferrara. And at last, drawing the Venetians, the Swiss and the Spaniards, to engage in the war with him, he made an attack on Lewis XII, the king of France. Nor, so long as he lived, did he cease from embroiling all Europe.” [138:8]

Pope Julius II

PAUL III (1531-49). He was as much a man of the world as any of his predecessors. He acknowledged an illegitimate son and daughter. [138:9] The emperor once remonstrated with him on having promoted two of his grandsons to the cardinalate at too early an age. He replied that he would do as his predecessors had done — that there were examples of infants in the cradle being made cardinals. [139:1]

 

We now close this horrid list of criminals. Since the Reformation the popes have been obliged to live more decently, or at least to conceal their vices instead of flaunting them before the world. Should the Protestants object that they are in no way responsible for the crimes of the Papacy, we shall cheerfully concede the plea; but at the same time we beg to remind them that Catholics are also Christians, and that the historian must deal with the whole system through all the centuries. Besides, as Michelet observed, Protestantism is after all only an estuary, and Catholicism the great sea.

Citations

[122:1] Bale’s Pageant of Popes, folio 26.

[122:2] History of the Papacy, vol. i., p. 143.

[123:3] A. Bower, History of the Popes, p. 84.

[123:4] Bk. xxvii., chap. iii., § 14.

[123:5] Jortin, vol ii., p. 300.

[123:6] G. A. F. Wilks, The Popes, p. 20.

[123:7] Bower, vol. ii., p. 188.

[123:8] Vol. II., p. 425.

[123:9] Vol. I., p. 298.

[124:1] Wilks, p. 32.

[124:2] Bower, vol. i., p. 331.

[124:3] Chap. xlv.

[125:4] So intense was Gregory’s hatred of learning, that he angrily rebuked the Archbishop of Vienna for suffering grammar to be taught in his diocese, and contemplated burning all the writings in existence that were not devoted to the cause of Christianity.

[125:5] Vol. III., p. 169.

[125:6] Chap. xlv.

[125:7] Bower, vol. i., p. 425.

[126:8] Jortin, vol. iii., p. 56.

[126:9] 682 A.D., Jortin, vol. iii., p. 62.

[126:1] Bruys, Histoire des Papes, vol. i., p. 499; Bower, vol. i., p. 496.

[126:2] Bower, vol. ii., p. 14.

[126:3] See p. 112.

[126:4] Bower, vol. ii., pp. 63, 65.

[127:5] Wilks, p. 64.

[127:6] La Châtre, Histoire des Papes, vol. i., p. 350.

[127:7] Wilke, p. 66.

[127:8] Wilke, p. 69.

[127:9] Ibid, p. 74.

[127:1] H. Foulis, p. 134.

[127:2] Bower, vol. ii., p. 292.

[128:3] Brays, vol. ii., p. 176.

[128:4] La Châtre, vol. i., p. 463.

[128:5] Bower, vol. ii., p. 299.

[128:6] Bower, vol. ii., p. 300; Jortin, vol. iii., p. 105.

[128:7] Bower, vol. ii., p. 300.

[129:8] History of the Papacy, vol. ii., p. 36.

[129:9] Bower, vol. ii., p. 313.

[129:1] Wilks, p. 87.

[130:2] Wilks, p. 88; Bower, vol. ii., p. 317.

[130:3] Bower, vol, ii., p. 320.

[130:4] Vol. III., p. 309.

[130:5] Vol. II., p. 278.

[130:6] La Châtre, vol. i., p. 570.

[130:7] Wilks, p. 96.

[131:8] Bower, vol. ii., p. 336.

[131:9] P. 99.

[131:1] Wilks, p. 100.

[131:2] Bower, vol, ii., p. 340.

[131:3] Vol. III, p. 124.

[131:4] Vol. II, p. 328.

[132:5] Wilks, p. 120.

[132:6] Ibid, pp. 127 and 286.

[132:7] Mosheim, vol. ii., p. 455.

[132:8] Wilks, p. 231.

[133:9] La Châtre, vol. ii., p. 117; Mosheim, vol. ii., p. 548.

[133:1] Wilks, p. 137.

[133:2] Bower, vol. iii., p. 45.

[133:3] Wilks, p. 145, and La Châtre.

[134:4] McClintock and Strong’s Encyclopaedia, Clement V; and La Châtre.

[134:5] Wilks, p. 149.

[134:6] Vol. IV., p. 84.

[134:7] Bower, vol. iii., p. 137.

[135:8] Wilks, p. 158.

[135:9] Wilks, p. 161.

[135:1] Renaissance in Italy, vol. i., p. 318.

[135:2] P. 320.

[135:3] Wilke, pp. 166, 167.

[136:4] Symonds, vol. i., pp. 321-328.

[136:5] The Popes of Rome during the 16th and 17th centuries, vol. i. p. 31; 1886.

[137:6] Vol. III, p. 384.

[137:7] Vol. III., p. 31.

[137:8] P. 169.

[137:9] Vol. i., p. 338.

[137:1] Symonds, vol. i., p. 339.

[138:2] Vol. III., p. 31.

[138:3] P. 170.

[138:4] Vol. I, p. 346.

[138:5] Ranke, vol. i., p. 35. See also Waddington, p. 655.

[138:6] Mosheim, vol. iii., p. 84.

[138:7] Ranke, vol. i, pp. 36, 37.

[138:8] Vol. III., p. 84.

[138:9] Ranke, vol. i., p. 163.

[139:1] Ranke, vol. i., p. 164.

Reference

 

The Truth About Gay Men, Sex and Penis Size

The surprising facts prove we have bigger things to worry about.

What is it with some gay guys…and huge cocks! I have to say I just don’t get it! My NewTumbl feed is full of them…as was my old Tumblr feed! I can’t seem to get away from them! I don’t know about you, but the sight of an elephant’s trunk dangling between some guy’s legs is not my idea of sexy …or hot! No…it does not turn me on! The vast majority of them are either Photoshopped, deformed looking, or just downright ugly! The very prospect of sex in any shape or form with these huge things repulses me! Not only would oral sex be almost impossible, but having anal with them would be so uncomfortable for both parties. If guys really are hung in such a way…and despite the proliferation of photos I don’t think it’s as common as the posters make out…I truly feel sorry for them. Buying underwear and clothes must be an absolute nightmare, let alone what to do with it when not undressed. How the hell could you ever sit comfortably with such a huge appendage constantly in your way! As a gay man, I’ve handled a large variety of cocks in my day, and most have been – average or just above. One boyfriend back in the 80s had a cock no bigger than my little finger…but boy… didn’t he know how to use it. It wasn’t ever about his cock, though…he was a genuinely beautiful man. My recent ex – who I spent 16 years with – was undoubtedly the biggest, clocking up around 8″…big, but not hideously huge. As for me…well…I always considered myself average, but am told differently. We’ll just leave it at that! No, give me your nice, sexy Mr. Average, thanks! A guy I can play with, have fun sex with…and not grit my teeth!

What is the ideal penis size?

We all know that penis size is one of men’s greatest obsessions but most don’t know the surprising truth behind the size myths.

Did you know, for example, that humans are better endowed than all our primate cousins? You may expect a gorilla to be better hung than you but you would be wrong, both in terms of absolute and relative size.

The subject has been firmly on the agenda with a couple of big stories over the last few weeks.

Over the weekend we heard a penis transplant on a 21-year-old in South Africa had apparently been a success. He had lost his penis in a botched circumcision at age 18 but now has a fully functioning member, capable of urination, erection, orgasm and ejaculation.

It makes you wonder if one day, lab-grown or donated penises will be grafted on to men who have extreme concerns over size.

And at the start of March we learned about a study of 15,000 penises, finally answering the question of average size.

The typical penis is just 13.12cms (5.16ins) long and 11.66cms (4.6ins) around when erect.

The study also busted the myth that size varies with race. While scientists say the sample wasn’t quite big enough to reach a firm conclusion on this, they found no link between size and race.

Most people assume average size is much bigger. 6ins or even 7ins are commonly quoted figures.

Despite everyone wanting to be big, we tend to underestimate our own size too. The angle at which you look down on your penis leads you to think it’s smaller than it really is and if you have any fat on your belly, that only makes it worse.

There’s evidence gay men take all this particularly seriously. A study by Utrecht University in the Netherlands around a decade ago showed penis length had a big impact on gay men’s self esteem.

In the worst cases men – gay, bi and straight – can suffer from body dysmorphic disorder. This can even lead to anti-social behavior, depression and suicide.

No wonder newspaper and web advertising continuously pushes various methods to increase size. Of course, it is very well established none of them work. The fact we keep trying, however, is the clearest signal of all that most of us believe bigger is better.

For me the kisses and embraces are the most important part. The love and the quality of the time you give each other means more than size.

But perhaps the biggest question of all is not about average size but about how important it is in sex.

Let’s start with the assumption you can’t dismiss this notion of being ‘big’ as entirely worthless. After all, on the internet there are rather more searches made for ‘world’s biggest dick’ but very few links for the shortest.

In my last article I looked at the imbalance of power between tops and bottoms, provoking some very interesting comments from GSN readers.

I have noticed in particular that bottoms tend to look for ‘more hung’ men and I often seen tops boasting about their size and capacity on dating sites.

I have often seen gay relationships fail after three or four sex meetings. After this it seems everyone wants to put their hands in a new man’s underwear, wondering what new and big thing they will find there. Can this size worship be one reason gay romances are so fragile?

My first relationship was with someone I met online was with a guy I met on Facebook. We chatted a lot on phone, including talking about sex and he boasted about his size a lot.

So when we met in person I was a little shocked to see his little master. Not shocked that it was anything unusual but only because of the mental picture he put in my mind.

Despite this, I have to say I really enjoyed myself with him and the smaller-than-advertised size of his penis made no difference at all. Frankly I can say we had some of the best sex I’ve ever had in my life.

I’ve met plenty of guys in my time, of all different sizes, but honestly as a bottom I can’t agree that bigger is always better. I simply can’t say that I have had better experience with larger guys.

The law of averages means, of course, that most of the sex I’ve had has been with guys with an average penis. And from that, I’ve taken the very clear lesson that having sex is not just about the sex – it’s an important moment, which is only good when you feel safe with someone and your partner treats you well.

For me the kisses and embraces are the most important part. The love and the quality of the time you give each other means more than size. Sex is not limited to physical intercourse. Mental satisfaction is what it’s all about. And I can promise you – if you are worried about your own size – that in bed, it’s not your partner’s length or girth but their performance that matters.

To me, the idea that size is important in gay sex is just a myth. If you are craving for a bigger penis for yourself, or for your lovers, remember that ‘bigger is better’ is not always true.

Reference

Gay History: Franklin Edward (Frank) Kameny – Prominent Gay Rights Leader, 21 May 1925 – 11 October 2011

Frank Kameny, 86, a persistent and often brash activist who was one of the leading figures of the gay rights movement in the Washington area and in the nation, was found dead Oct. 11 2011 at his home in Northwest Washington.

His death was confirmed by Charles Francis, a founder of the Kameny Papers Project, and by Marvin Carter, a longtime friend. The cause of death could not immediately be learned.

Mr. Kameny, a Harvard PhD whose homosexuality led to his discharge from a federal government job more than half a century ago, lived to see his years of determined advocacy rewarded through the success of many of his campaigns and through his ultimate welcome by a political establishment that had rejected him.

His death, apparently on National Coming Out Day, occurred in a year when gay men and lesbians were accorded the right to serve openly in the armed forces, which the D.C. Council’s first openly gay member, David A. Catania (I-At Large), noted Tuesday night.

April 17 1965. Frank Kameny leads the first Gay & Lesbian protest at the White House

Through his efforts over the years, Mr. Kameny deserved to be known as one of the fathers of that shift from the policy of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” Catania said.

Mr. Kameny enlisted in the Army during World War II; in an interview last year with Richard Sincere on the Charlottesville Libertarian Examiner Web site, he said, “They asked, I didn’t tell.”

In what appeared to be one of the great triumphs of Mr. Kameny’s often lonely, uphill struggle, protest signs that he once carried in front of the White House were put on display in the Smithsonian Institution four years ago, to be viewed along with the museum’s other reminders of the course of U.S. history.

Mr. Kameny said he created the slogan “Gay Is Good.” In their pungent succinctness, the words both suggested his rhetorical skills and embodied the beliefs that he championed.

Years before the gay rights movement existed in any widely recognized form and in an era in which open assertion of homosexuality could invite physical harm, Mr. Kameny worked to increase the acceptance of gay men and lesbians in mainstream American society and to win recognition of their equality under the law.

Rather than shrink from revealing his sexual orientation, Mr. Kameny made it plain. He won attention and respect by the vigorous but unsuccessful campaign he waged 40 years ago for election as the District’s non-voting delegate to Congress.

“Out for Good,” a history of the gay rights movement in the United States, made Mr. Kameny the central figure in several chapters.

One of the book’s co-authors, Dudley Clendinen, has called him an “authentic hero” of American culture. In summarizing Mr. Kameny’s precarious position after the loss of his job, Clendinen noted that Mr. Kameny subsisted on a diet of baked beans. But, the author said, “he didn’t despair.”

In addition to the White House, he picketed at the State Department and at Independence Hall in Philadelphia. He did not accept his federal dismissal without a fight, appealing through the courts, and writing his own briefs.

“He was a stubborn and impatient person, and that was the recipe for his success,” Catania said. “He was never going to be content with second-class citizenship.”

Known for shunning blandness and apology in favor of outspoken militancy, Mr. Kameny was credited with playing an important part in the achievement of what were regarded as several signal milestones passed by gay men and lesbians on the road to full inclusion in American society.

With more than a hint of irony, he once described Dec. 15, 1973, as the date on which “we were cured en masse by the psychiatrists.” That was the date associated with the decision of the American Psychiatric Association to stop classifying homosexuality as a mental disorder. Mr. Kameny was credited with a major role in the effort to bring about that change.

Among other victories for gay rights with which he was associated was an executive order signed by President Bill Clinton that permitted gays to be given security clearances.

Frank Kameny made the Gay Rights movement happen

He considered the District’s repeal of an anti-sodomy law in early 1990s to be another achievement. In addition, he was credited as a co-founder of the Mattachine Society of Washington in 1961, a pioneering gay activist group.

The federal government, which had cast him aside, issued a formal apology in 2009 for letting him go.

The story of his struggle, chronicled in 77,000 pages of papers and memorabilia, was accepted in 2006 by the Library of Congress.

Living into his 80s, he was able to recognize and revel in the turnaround of American actions and attitudes towards the gay community.

Although he was aware that obstacles remained, he told a reporter last year that “it’s like a storybook ending.”

“Frank was active at a time when he had no backup,” said Rick Rosendall, a longtime gay rights activist in the District. “There was no significant organizational support. It was his sheer nerve, his patriotic indignation” that carried him.

His home, the site of the interview in which he reflected on the turnabouts in his life, was, in a further testament to the esteem in which he was held, designated as a D.C. Historic Landmark.

Franklin Edward Kameny, was born in the New York area on May 21, 1925. In the interview with the Charlottesville Libertarian Examiner, he told of enlisting in the Army at the height of World War II, a few days before he turned 18.

In discussing how he had been “asked,” but “didn’t tell,” he said that “as a healthy, vigorous teenager,” there were indeed “things to tell.” (Although, he said, there were not many.)

I have resented for 67 years that I had to lie in order to serve in a war effort that I strongly supported,” he said. “I did serve and I saw combat in Europe.”

Mr. Kameny was born in New York. After his Army service he received a doctorate in astronomy in 1956.

He came to Washington to work for the Army Map Service. His dismissal from that job came in 1957.

Published accounts say the dismissal was based on his homosexuality. One report said that he was arrested in Lafayette Square, which was known at that time as a place for cruising.

The loss of the job subjected him to deprivation, and he recalled surviving on 20 cents’ worth of food a day in some of the most difficult times. It forced his life into new paths.

On one occasion, he permitted himself to speculate on how things might have turned out if he had not been dismissed at a time when interest in space exploration was growing.

He suggested that he might have become an astronaut.

“I might have gone to the moon,” he said.

Survivors include a sister.

Staff writer Mike DeBonis contributed to this report.

Reference

Gay History: Oliver Sipple

Oliver Wellington “Billy” Sipple (November 20, 1941 – February 2, 1989) was a decorated U.S. Marine and Vietnam War veteran, who was left disabled by the war. On September 22, 1975, he grappled with Sara Jane Moore as she fired a pistol at U.S. President Gerald Ford in San Francisco, causing her to miss. The subsequent public revelation that Sipple was gay turned the news story into a cause célèbre for LGBT rights activists, leading Sipple to unsuccessfully sue several publishers for invasion of privacy, and causing his estrangement from his parents.

Oliver Wellington Sipple was born in Detroit, Michigan. He served in the United States Marine Corps and fought in Vietnam. Shrapnel wounds suffered in December 1968 caused him to finish out his tour of duty in a Philadelphia veterans’ hospital, from which he was released in March 1970. Sipple, who was closeted in his hometown of Detroit, had met Harvey Milk in New York City and had participated in San Francisco’s gay pride parades and gay rights demonstrations.[1][2] Sipple was active in local causes, including the historic political campaigns of openly gay Board of Supervisors candidate Milk. The two were friends and Sipple would also be later described as a “prominent figure” in the gay community who had worked in a gay bar and was active in the Imperial Court System.[3][4]

He lived with a merchant seaman in a fourth-floor walk-up apartment located in San Francisco’s Mission District. He later spent six months in San Francisco’s VA hospital, and was frequently readmitted into the hospital in 1975, the year he saved Ford’s life.

Sipple was part of a crowd of about 3,000 people who had gathered outside San Francisco’s St. Francis Hotel to see President Ford on September 22, 1975. Ford, just emerging from the building, was vulnerable despite heavy security protection. Standing beside Sipple in the crowd was Sara Jane Moore. She was about 40 feet (12 m) away from President Ford when she fired a single shot at him with a revolver, narrowly missing the President.[5] After realizing she had missed, she raised her arm again, and Sipple dived towards her; he grabbed her arm, possibly saving President Ford’s life. Sipple said at the time, “I saw [her gun] pointed out there and I grabbed for it. … I lunged and grabbed the woman’s arm and the gun went off.”[5][6] The bullet ricocheted and hit John Ludwig, a 42-year-old taxi driver; he survived.[7] The incident came just three weeks after Lynette Fromme’s assassination attempt on Ford. Reporters hounded Sipple who at first did not want his name used, nor his location known.[1]

The police and the Secret Service immediately commended Sipple for his action at the scene, as did the media.[1][8] The national news media portrayed Sipple as a hero, and noted his status as a former Marine.[9]

Though he was known to be homosexual among members of the San Francisco gay community, and had even participated in gay pride events, Sipple’s sexual orientation was a secret from his family. He asked the press to keep such personal information off the record, making it clear that neither his mother nor his employer knew he was gay.[10]

The day after the incident, two answering machine messages outed Sipple to San Francisco Chronicle’s columnist Herb Caen. One was from Reverend Ray Broshears, the head of a gay activist group called the Lavender Panthers.[11] The other message was from local gay activist Harvey Milk, a friend of Sipple and on whose campaign for city council Sipple had worked.[11] While discussing whether the truth about Sipple’s sexuality should be disclosed, Milk told a friend, “It’s too good an opportunity. For once we can show that gays do heroic things, not just all that caca about molesting children and hanging out in bathrooms.”[10] Milk outed Sipple in order to portray him as a “gay hero” and so to “break the stereotype of homosexuals” being “timid, weak and unheroic figures”.[2][3][6] According to Harold Evans, “[T]here was no invitation to the White House for Sipple, not even a commendation. Milk made a fuss about that. Finally, weeks later, Sipple received a brief note of thanks.”[12] Three days after the incident, Sipple received a letter from President Ford. It read:[13]

I want you to know how much I appreciated your selfless actions last Monday. The events were a shock to us all, but you acted quickly and without fear for your own safety. By doing so, you helped to avert danger to me and to others in the crowd. You have my heartfelt appreciation.

Two days after the thwarted assassination attempt, unable to reach Sipple,[11] Caen wrote of Sipple as a gay man, and of a friend of Milk, speculating Ford offered praise “quietly” because of Sipple’s sexual orientation. Sipple was besieged by reporters, as was his family. His mother refused to speak to him. Gay liberation groups petitioned local media to give Sipple his due as a gay hero. Caen published the private side of the Marine’s story, as did a handful of other publications.[3] Sipple then insisted to reporters that his sexuality was to be kept confidential.[1] Reporters labeled Sipple the “gay ex-Marine”, and his mother disparaged and disowned him.[4] Later, when Sipple hid in a friend’s apartment to avoid them, the reporters turned to Milk, arguably the most visible voice for the gay community.[1] Of President Ford’s letter of thanks to Sipple, Milk suggested that Sipple’s sexual orientation was the reason he received only a note, rather than an invitation to the White House.[6]

Sipple sued the Chronicle,[7] filing a $15-million invasion of privacy suit against Caen, seven named newspapers, and a number of unnamed publishers, for publishing the disclosures. The Superior Court in San Francisco dismissed the suit, and Sipple continued his legal battle until May 1984, when a state court of appeals held that Sipple had indeed become news, and that his sexual orientation was part of the story.[6]

According to a 2006 article in The Washington Post, Sipple went through a period of estrangement with his parents, but the family later reconciled with him. Sipple’s brother, George, told the newspaper, “[Our parents] accepted it. That was all. They didn’t like it, but they still accepted. He was welcomed. Only thing was: Don’t bring a lot of your friends.”[7] However other sources indicate that Sipple’s parents never fully accepted him. His mother, just after news broke of Sipple’s sexual orientation, hung up on Sipple saying she never wished to speak to him again. His father is said to have told Sipple’s brother to “forget [he had] a brother.” Finally, when his mother died, his father did not allow him to attend her funeral.[14]

Sipple’s headstone at Golden Gate National Cemetery

Sipple’s mental and physical health sharply declined over the years. He drank heavily, was diagnosed with schizophrenia, fitted with a pacemaker, and gained weight.[15][16] The incident brought him so much attention that, later in life, while drinking, he would express regret about grabbing Moore’s gun. On February 2, 1989, an acquaintance, Wayne Friday, found Sipple dead in his San Francisco apartment, with a bottle of Jack Daniel’s next to him and the television still on.[14][15] The San Francisco coroner estimated Sipple had been dead for approximately 10 days.[14] He was 47 years old. Sipple’s funeral was attended by about 30 people.[citation needed] President Ford and his wife sent a letter of sympathy to his family and friends. He was buried in Golden Gate National Cemetery south of San Francisco.

His $334 per month apartment near San Francisco’s Tenderloin District was found with many newspaper clippings of his actions on the fateful September afternoon in 1975, including a framed letter from the White House. A letter addressed to the friends of Oliver Sipple was on display for a short period after his death at the New Belle Saloon:

Mrs. Ford and I express our deepest sympathy in this time of sorrow involving your friend’s passing …

— Former President Gerald Ford, February, 1989

In a 2001 interview with columnist Deb Price, Ford disputed the claim that Sipple was treated differently because of his sexual orientation, saying,[17]

As far as I was concerned, I had done the right thing and the matter was ended. I didn’t learn until sometime later – I can’t remember when – he was gay. I don’t know where anyone got the crazy idea I was prejudiced and wanted to exclude gays.

According to Castañeda and Campbell:

The Sipple incident has been referred to, in passing, in a major motion picture and in a prime-time television program. Several law review articles and more than a dozen books and commentary pieces have also mentioned the perplexing ethical dimensions of the case.[18]

A September 2017 episode of the radio program Radiolab covered Sipple’s act of foiling the assassination of then President Ford. The episode goes into Sipple’s act of heroism, his outing by Harvey Milk and Herb Caen and the news media, and the ethics of his outing in spite of his opposition.[19]

References

  • https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oliver_Sipple
  • 1 Castañeda, Laura; Shannon B. Campbell (2006). News And Sexuality: Media Portraits of Diversity. Sage Publications Inc. ISBN 978-1-4129-0999-0. Retrieved February 19, 2008.
  • 2 ^ a b Shilts, Randy (2005). Conduct Unbecoming: Gays and Lesbians in the U.S. Military. Macmillan. ISBN 978-0-312-34264-7. Retrieved February 19, 2008.
  • 3 ^ a b c Sadler, Roger L. (2005). Electronic Media Law. Sage Publications Inc. ISBN 978-1-4129-0588-6. Retrieved February 19, 2008.
  • 4 ^ a b Johansson, Warren; William A. Percy (1994). Outing: Shattering the Conspiracy of Silence. Haworth Press. ISBN 978-1-56024-419-6. Retrieved February 19, 2008.
  • 5 ^ a b Radiolab Podcast (September 23, 2017), Radiolab – Oliver Sipple [Daryl Lembke, Daniel Luzer, Ken Maley, Sarah Jane Moore, Dan Morain], retrieved October 3, 2017
  • 6 ^ a b c d Morain, Dan (February 13, 1989). “Sorrow Trailed a Veteran Who Saved a President and Then Was Cast in an Unwanted Spotlight”, The Los Angeles Times, p. 1.[dead link]
  • 7 ^ a b c Caught in Fate’s Trajectory, Along With Gerald Ford, Lynne Duke, The Washington Post, December 30, 2006, p. D01.
  • 8 ^ “Archived copy”. Archived from the original on August 31, 2007. Retrieved May 23, 2007. “Oliver Sipple 1941-1989”. Accessed May 23, 20

1 “Oliver Sipple 1941–1989”. Accessed May 23, 2007. Archived February 13, 2007, at the Wayback Machine

2 ^ a b Shilts, Randy (1982). The Mayor of Castro Street: The Life and Times of Harvey Milk, St. Martin’s Press. ISBN 0-312-52330-0 p. 122.

3 ^ a b c Oliver Sipple – Radiolab especially from around 16:30 to 20:00

4 ^ Harold Evans, The Imperial Presidency: 1972–1980′, Random House, 1998.

5 ^ “The Oliver Sipple Page”. web.archive.org. August 31, 2007.

6 ^ a b c “Oliver Sipple – Radiolab – WNYC Studios”. Retrieved September 9, 2018.

7 ^ a b MORAIN, DAN (February 13, 1989). “Sorrow Trailed a Veteran Who Saved a President and Then Was Cast in an Unwanted Spotlight”. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 9, 2018 – via LA Times.

8 ^ Rangel, Jesus (February 4, 1989). “O.W. Sipple, 47, Who Blocked An Attempt To Kill Ford in 1975”. The New York Times. Retrieved September 9, 2018.

9 ^ “The Frontlines: A President Committed to ‘Unity'”.

10 ^ Laura Castañeda, Shannon B. Campbell, “News and Sexuality: Media Portraits of Diversity”, SAGE, 2006, ISBN 1-4129-0999-6, page 66. The movie referenced (chapter notes in the book) is Absence of Malice, and the TV program is an episode from L.A. Law from May 1990.

11 ^ “Radiolab, Oliver Sipple”. WBEZ 91.5 Chicago. September 22, 2017. Archived from the original on September 22, 2017.