Category Archives: Political

Gay History: ONE, Inc.

ONE, Inc. was an early gay rights organisation in the USA.

The idea for a publication dedicated to homosexuals emerged from a Mattachine Society discussion meeting held on October 15, 1952. ONE Magazine’s first editors included founders of Mattachine Societyand also  The Knights of the Clock, a support group for interracial gay couples that had begun in Los Angeles in 1950.

ONE Inc.’s Articles of Incorporation were signed on Nov. 15, 1952 and were signed by “Tony Sanchez” (a pseudonym), Martin Block, and Dale Jennings. Other founders were Merton Bird, W. Dorr Legg, Don Slater, and Chuck Rowland. Jennings and Rowland were also Mattachine Society founders.

In January 1953 ONE, Inc. began publishing ONE Magazine, the first U.S. pro-gay publication, and sold it openly on the streets of Los Angeles. In October 1954 the U.S. Postal Service declared the magazine ‘obscene’. ONE sued, and finally won in 1958, as part of the landmark First Amendment case, Roth v. United States.[1] The magazine continued until 1967. 

ONE also published ONE Institute Quarterly (now the Journal of Homosexuality). It began to run symposia, and contributed greatly to scholarship on the subject of same-sex love (then called ‘homophile studies’).

ONE readily admitted women, and Joan Corbin (as Eve Elloree), Irma Wolf (as Ann Carrl Reid), Stella Rush (as Sten Russell), Helen Sandoz (as Helen Sanders), and Betty Perdue (as Geraldine Jackson) were vital to its early success. ONE and Mattachine in turn provided vital help to the Daughters of Bilitis in the launching of their newsletter The Ladder (Magazine) in 1956. The Daughters of Bilitis was the counterpart lesbian organisation to the Mattachine Society, and the organisations worked together on some campaigns and ran lecture-series. Bilitis came under attack in the early 1970s for ‘siding’ with Mattachine and ONE, rather than with the new separatist feminists.

In 1965, ONE separated over irreconcilable differences between ONE’s business manager Dorr Legg and ONE Magazine editor Don Slater. After a two-year court battle, Dorr Legg’s faction retained the name “ONE, Inc.” and Don Slater’s faction retained most of the corporate library and archives. In 1968, Slater’s faction became the Homosexual Information Center or HIC, a non-profit corporation that survives today.

In 1996, ONE, Inc. merged with ISHR, the Institute for the Study of Human Resources, a non-profit organization created by transgendered philanthropist Reed Erickson, with ISHR being the surviving organization and ONE being the merging corporation. In 2005, the HIC donated many of its historic materials, including most of ONE Incorporated’s Blanche M. Baker Memorial Library, to the Vern and Bonnie Bullough Collection on Sex and Gender, a special collection within Oviatt Library at California State University, Northridge. 

A Timeline History of ONE, Incorporated 1947–1967

This timeline links to several primary documents, such as court records, corporate minutes, letters of resignation, and correspondence between several of the pioneers of the early movement for homosexual rights in the United States. It ends in 1967 after the division of ONE, Inc. was finalized after a grueling two-year court battle.

White’s book Pre-Gay L.A.: A Social History for the Movement for Homosexual Rights, published by the University of Illinois Press in May of 2009, discusses many of the documents linked to this page.

1947

  • June: Edythe Eyde publishes Vice Versa: America’s Gayest Magazine, the first regularly published newsletter in the United States dedicated to homosexual issues. The newsletter was typewritten at her employer’s, RKO Studios in Los Angeles. Eyde distributed 16 copies to friends such as Jim Kepner between June 1947 and February 1948. Eyde later became know to readers of The Ladder through her pen-name, “Lisa Ben,” an anagram for Lesbian.
    Note: The HIC secured official right to use Eyde’s true name in print, in the summer of 2015.

1948

  • Alfred Kinsey et al.’s Sexual Behavior in the Human Male is published, asserting that one in three American males had experienced some form of homosexual encounter in their lifetime and that between four and eight percent were exclusively homosexual.
  • February: final (ninth) issue of Vice Versa distributed.
  • August: Harry Hay attends a beer bust near the University of Southern California campus, where the idea is sprung to start a political organization called “Bachelors for Wallace.” Upon returning home that night, Hay began his first draft of a prospectus to form an organization dedicated to the welfare of homosexuals.

1949

  • Publication of Nial Kent’s The Divided Path.

1950

  • Physique Pictorial magazine is first published, by Bob Mizer.
  • (Future activist) Betty Berzon moves to Los Angeles.
  • James Barr’s Quatrefoil published by Greenberg.
  • President Eisenhower signs Executive Order 10450, citing “sexual perversions” as reasons for preventing homosexuals from being employed by the federal government.
  • Nov 11: Harry Hay, Rudy Gernreich, Chuck Rowland, Dale Jennings, and Bob Hull meet at Hay’s home in Silver Lake to discuss his Preliminary Concepts for unifying homosexuals into social action. The group meet again two days later, on Nov. 13th.
  • Dec: A Senate subcommittee issues a report stating that homosexuals working within the Federal government could be considered a threat to national security.
  • Dec. 11: First organized discussion group of Hay’s secret society, which would later become known as Mattachine.

1951

  • Jim Kepner moves to 2141 Baxter Street in Echo Park, where he is to reside for the next 21 years.
  • Donald Webster Cory’s The Homosexual in America—A Subjective Approach is published by Greenberg.
  • Fritz Peters’s novel Finistère is published by Farrar, Straus & Company.
  • April: Lovers Konrad Stevens and James Gruber (christened collectively as “Stim” by Dale Jennings) join Harry Hay’s “Society of Fools.” The organization decides to call itself “Mattachine.” First Missions and Purposes of the Mattachine Society are written.
  • June: Dorr Legg (known as Bill Lambert), Merton Bird, and others found Knights of the Clocks, an organization of interracial homosexuals.
  • July 20: Missions and Purposes of the Mattachine Society are ratified.

1953

  • UCLA psychologist Evelyn Hooker contacts Mattachine in search of subjects for her study of differences between male homosexuals and heterosexuals.
  • January: Premier Issue of ONE Magazine, edited by Martin Block, Dale Jennings, and Don Slater, with William Lambert as Business Manager and Donald Webster Cory as Contributing Editor.
    • Jim Kepner attends his first Mattachine meeting by invitation of his friend Betty Perdue.
  • February 7 [Sa]: ONE, Incorporated’s Articles of Incorporation filed with the Secretary of State in Sacramento, CA, signed by Martin Block, Dale Jennings, and Tony Reyes, the First Directors of ONE, Inc. Also on this day: a Business Meeting
  • March 21 [Sa]: Business Meeting
  • April 11–12 [Sa–Su]: Mattachine Conference to create a new constitution.
  • Spring: Irma “Corky” Wolf, known in print as “Ann Carl Reid,” begins working for ONE, Inc.
  • May 27 [We]: ONE, Incorporated’s Charter Granted by the State of California.
  • June: Martin Block resigns as editor of ONE magazine; Dale Jennings takes over.
  • June 7 [Su]: Business Meeting
  • August: An issue of ONE magazine dealing with homosexual marriage is confiscated by the Los Angeles Postmaster.
    Attorney
     Eric Julber later secures the magazine’s release.
  • Sept: ONE is first distributed in New York City.
  • October 16 [Fr]: By-Laws for ONE, Incorporated are filed with the Secretary of State in Sacramento, California.
  • Nov. 1 [Su]: First Official Board Meeting for ONE, Incorporated. Martin Block is elected Chair, Tony Reyes Vice Chair, and Dale Jennings becomes the Secretary-Treasurer.
  • The cover of the November issue of ONE reads “The Homosexual Magazine” for the first time.
  • Nov. 14 [Sa]: Dale Jennings addresses the Mattachine Society Banquet for having received the 1953 Achievement Award, for his work on ONE magazine
  • By year’s end, Mattachine-like discussion groups are being held throughout Los Angeles and in Long Beach, Laguna Beach, Fresno, San Diego, San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley, and Chicago.

1954

  • January 22 [Fr]: Annual Business Meeting.
    The Board of Directors of ONE, Incorporated elect
     William Lambert as Chairman, Irma Wolf as vice-Chairman, and Dale Jennings as Secretary-Treasurer, each to serve a three-year term.
  • Feb.: Dale Jennings resigns as editor of ONE. Irma Wolf is recruited to the editorial board.
  • March 31 [We]: Don Slater becomes interim director of ONE, Inc.
    Jim Kepner, as “Lyn Pedersen,” publishes his first article in ONE, “The Importance of Being Different.”
  • May: Jim Kepner, as “Lyn Pedersen,” becomes a member of the Editorial Staff for ONE,replacing Ben Tabor.
  • July: Irma “Corky” Wolf, as “Ann Carll Reid,” becomes Managing Editor of ONE magazine.
  • October: Los Angeles Postmaster Otto K. Oleson refuses to deliver the October issue of ONE, calling the content “obscene.” Attorney Eric Julber agrees to help ONE engage Oleson in a lawsuit.

1955

  • January: ONE’s Education Division, called ONE Institute for Homophile Studies, sponsors its first public meeting, a Midwinter Institute.
  • Feb. 27 [Su]: Date of Jim Kepner’s (first) Letter of Resignation from ONE, Incorporated.

1956

  • ONE Inc. begins its ONE Institute of Homophile Studies program, lead by Jim Kepner, Merritt Thompson, and W. Dorr Legg. This is the first educational institution in the United States dedicated to the study of homosexuality.
  • ONE Confidential launched and distributed to the Friends of ONE in response to the onslaught of mail and increased public attention.
  • ONE, Incorporated’s Publications Division publishes Homosexuals Today: A Handbook of Organizations & Publications, with William Lambert [Marvin Cutler], as Editor.
  • Jim Kepner contributes over 400 books to ONE Incorporated’s library, more than doubling the size of the collection. Don Slater becomes ONE’s first librarian.
  • Jan. 27–29: Second annual Midwinter Institute. Harry Hay is a featured speaker.
  • March 1 [Th]: Chuck Rowland resigns from ONE’s Social Services Division.
    • Irma “Corky” Wolf, as “Ann Carll Reid,” is promoted to Editor of ONE Magazine.
    • U.S. District Judge Thurmond Clarke rules that the October 1954 issue of ONE Magazine had contained “filthy and obscene material obviously calculated to stimulate the lust of the homosexual reader” and was thus unmailable. ONE’s attorney Eric Julber appeals.

1957

  • The Wolfenden Report is published, recommending that homosexuality be decriminalized in England.
  • Harry Benjamin coins the word “transsexual.”
  • A Navy committee investigating homosexuals in the military publishes The Crittenden Report, stating that there was no legitimate basis for excluding homosexuals from the armed forces.
  • Federal government astronomer Frank Kameny is fired for being a homosexual.
  • UCLA Psychologist Evelyn Hooker publishes a study proclaiming that homosexual men are just as well adjusted as heterosexual men.
  • Jan. 25–27: Third annual Midwinter Institute.
    Theme: “The Homosexual Answers His Critics.”
    Harry Hay presents a paper titled “The Homophile in Search of an Historical Context and Cultural Continuity.”
  • Dale Jennings, as Jeff Winters, again appears in ONE magazine, as author of the short story “The Little Guy.”
  • March: California’s Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Judges Barnes, Hamley, and Ross uphold Judge Clarke’s ruling from a year prior that the October 1954 issue of ONE was obscene and thus not mailable. Julber decides to appeal.
  • June 13 [Th]: Eric Julber files a nine-page petition with the U.S. Supreme Court (with appendix) on behalf of ONE, Incorporated.
  • June 24 [Mon]: Supreme Court rules in Roth vs. United States that “obscenity” is not protected by the First Amendment and that “The standard for judging obscenity…is whether, to the average person…the dominant theme of the material, taken as a whole, appeals to prurient interests.”
  • Summer: “The Homosexual Viewpoint” first printed on the cover of ONE magazine.
  • Oct. 17 [Th]: Irma “Corky” Wolf resigns as Editor of ONE due to health issues and continued conflicts with W. Dorr Legg [William Lambert].

1958

Barbara Gittings founds a Daughters of Bilitis chapter in New York.

  • Jan. 13 [Mo]: The United States Supreme Court rules that the October 1954 issue of ONE Magazine was not obscene and should be protected as an exercise of free speech. The court battle between ONE Inc. and Los Angeles Postmaster Otto Oleson is over.
  • Jan. 31 [Fr]: Annual Business Meeting. Don Slater elected a Director to fill the unexpired two-year term of Ann Carll Reid.
  • Jan. 31–Feb. 2: 4th annual Midwinter Institute. Theme: Homosexuality: A Way of Life.
  • June 6 [Fr]: ONE Institute Quarterly for Homophile Studies first published, by W. Dorr Legg, Merritt M. Thompson, and Jim Kepner.

1959

  • Jan. 29–31: 5th annual Midwinter Institute.
    Theme: Mental Health and Homosexuality.
  • Sept. 4–7: 6th annual Mattachine Convention in Denver. Theme: New Frontiers in Acceptance of the Homophile. Jim Kepner is a featured speaker. Billy Glover attends and decides to work for the movement.
  • Late December: Jim Schneider contacts Don Slater at ONE’s offices in downtown Los Angeles and becomes an active volunteer for the organization.

1960

  • Jan. 29–31: ONE’s 6th annual Midwinter Institute.
    Theme: “The Homosexual in the Community.”
  • Feb. 2: [Mon]: Board of Directors Meeting.
    Jim Kepner is elected Chairman, Don Slater Vice Chairman, and William LambertSecretary-Treasurer.
  • Nov. 1 [Tue]: Jim Kepner’s letter explaining his resignation to the Members of ONE, Inc.
  • Nov. 15 [Sat]: Date of Jim Kepner’s second letter of resignation from ONE, Incorporated, and from the editorial board of ONE magazine. Ross Ingersoll takes his place.
José SarriaJosé Sarria at the Black Cat Bar

1961

  • Wayne Placek introduces Joseph Hansen to Don Slater, to see if Slater would publish one of Hansen’s poems or short stories.
  • San Francisco drag artist José Sarria becomes the first openly gay person to run for political office in the nation.
  • Jan. 28–29: 7th Annual Midwinter Institute and “Bill of Rights” fiasco.
  • Jan. 27 [Fr]: Fred Frisbie (known as “George Mortenson”) becomes a director of ONE, Incorporated, replacing Jim Kepner, who had resigned the prior November.
  • Jan. 28 [Sa]: Frank Kameny writes to ONE, Inc. advising them of the Writ of Certiorari he had filed with the Supreme Court the day before.
  • July 12 [We]: Stella Rush, known as “Sten Russell,” resigns from ONE magazine’s editorial board in a phone conversation with Don Slater.
  • July 23 [Su]: Date of Stella Rush’s Letter of Resignation from ONE’s board and as Associate Editor of ONE magazine.
  • Dec. 11: Psychologist and long-time friend of ONE Blanche M. Baker dies.

1962

  • Joseph Hansen joins ONE’s Editorial Board.
  • Jan. 26 [Fr]: 10th Annual Business Meeting for ONE, Incorporated. Fred Frisbie (known as “George Mortenson”) becomes ONE’s Chairman. Don Slater is elected Vice-chair and W. Dorr Legg becomes Secretary/Treasurer. Actor Morgan Farley is elected to membership.
  • Jan. 26–28: 8th Annual Midwinter Institute. Harry Hay is an honored speaker.
  • March: Joseph Hansen makes his debut in ONE.
  • May 1: ONE, Inc., moves to Venice Blvd. after being evicted from its Hill Street office due to earthquake retrofitting.
    Actor Morgan Farley helps to secure the new office for ONE Inc.
  • May 1: Mattachine founder Bob Hull commits suicide.
  • Sep. 7: Fall semester begins at ONE Institute for Homophile Studies, with courses taught by Don Slater, Morgan Farley, and W. Dorr Legg.
  • Dec. 2: Morgan Farley resigns from corporate membership.

1963

  • John Rechy’s novel City of Night published by Grove Press.
  • The Society for Individual Rights [SIR] founded in San Francisco to help organize the gay community.
  • In Britain, a group of Quakers publish a pamphlet titled Toward a Quaker View of Sex that argued that society “should no more deplore homosexuality than lefthandedness.”
  • Jan. 25–27 [Fr–Su]: 9th Annual Midwinter Institute
  • Jan. 25 [Fr]: ONE Inc.’s Annual Meeting. Monwell Boyfrank becomes a director.
  • Feb. 1 [Fr]: ONE’s election of officers. Joseph Aaron is elected Chairman. W. Dorr Legg is elected Vice-chairman, and Monwell Boyfrank becomes Secretary/Treasurer.
  • Feb. 11 [Mo]: Spring semester begins at ONE Institute for Homophile Studies.
  • May: Harry Hay moves in with Jim Kepner in Echo Park. (They had started dating earlier in the year.
  • May 31 [Fri]: Joseph Arron resigns as Chair of ONE Incorporated’s Promotions Committee. Jim Schneider is installed in his place.
  • July 28 [Sun]: Joan Corbin, known as “Eve Elloree,” is dropped from corporate membership due to poor attendance.
  • Sept: Harry Hay meets John Burnside and the two begin living together two months later. Hay and Burnside remain lovers until Hay’s death on Oct. 24, 2002.
  • Nov. 12 [Tue]: Corporate meeting. ONE, Inc. becomes divided over who should be elected into membership at the next annual meeting in January. Slater, Reyes, and Steinert favor electing Billy Glover to corporate membership; Lambert, Aaron, and Boyfrank reject Glover in favor of others. It is decided to submit the names of Harry Hay, John Burnside, and Billy Glover as candidates.
  • Nov. 22 [Fri]: President John F. Kennedy assassinated in Dallas. Billy Glover meets Melvin Cain later that afternoon, and they become lovers and friends.

1964

  • Joseph Hansen, as “James Colton,” publishes his first novel, Lost on Twilight Road.
  • Jan. 15: Monwell Boyfrank submits a formal letter of resignation, due to health reasons, at a board meeting chaired by Bill Lambert. Jim Schneider elected to Board of Directors of ONE, Inc.
  • Jan. 25 and 26: ONE Inc.’s Annual Business Meeting, chaired by Joe Weaver (a.k.a. Joseph Aaron). Manuel Boyfrank was Secretary. Other members present: Antonio Reyes, Rudolf Steinert (“Stuart”), Bill Lambert, and Don Slater. Harry Hay and John Burnside are elected to serve as Directors then resign shortly after due to a conflict over whether or not to elect Billy Glover as a director.
    • Don Slater’s account of the 1964, 1965 Elections at ONE, Incorporated.
  • June 26: ONE, Inc., is featured in a Life magazine article titled “Homosexuality in America.”
  • June 28: Erickson Educational Foundation founded by Reed Erickson in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
  • July 4: Louisiana millionaire Reed Erickson contacts ONE Inc. to offer financial assistance to the organization.
  • August 15th: Monwell Boyfrank’s letter to Don Slater stating that no compromise was possible and that ONE Inc. was in deadlock.
    • The Institute for the Study of Human Resources (ISHR) founded by Don Slater, Antonio Sanchez, and W. Dorr Legg.
  • Rudi Steinert’s letter to Chairman Joe Aaron requesting a Corporate Meeting, dated Sept. 9, 1964 (signed “R. H. Stuart”).
  • Sept. 21: ISHR granted exemption from franchise tax by the State of California Franchise Tax Board, as a non-profit organization dedicated exclusively to scientific research and education.

1965

  • Joseph Hansen, as James Colton, publishes his second novel, Strange Marriage.
  • Jan. 29th and 30th: ONE Inc.’s Annual Business Meeting. Meeting adjourned on the 29thwith no business conducted and resumed on Sat., without quorum Second meeting adjourned with no time or place set for a follow up meeting.
  • Feb. 5: Dorr Legg convenes a meeting as a continuation of the adjourned Corporate Meeting despite Slater’s protest that it was instead a “special meeting,” citing Roberts Rules of Order and the California Civil Code. Slater again protested the 1964 “election” of Winn and Bonham. Legg announced that Rudi Steinert, who was away conducting ONE’s business in Europe, would not be allowed to vote by proxy even though substantial changes in the bylaws were being prepared. Legg further announced that they were going to elect additional members and that Slater would be dismissed as a member of the corporation. Slater withdraws in protest.
  • March 2 [Tu]: Corporate meeting. Tony Reyes attends to address new members, but the chair, W. Dorr Legg, does not allow him the floor.
  • March 7 [Su]: Attorney Stuart Simke presents a lecture on “The California Sex Laws: Prospects for Reform” as part of the 1964–1965 ONE Institute Series.
  • April 12 [Mo]: W. Dorr Legg storms into an editors’ meeting and forces the resignation of the editors of ONE Magazine, telling them they had no right to discuss or attempt to influence corporate policy.
  • April 14 [We]: Ross Ingersoll, known as “Marcel Martin,” resigns as Associate Editor of ONE magazine. Ingersoll had served as an editor since the resignation of Jim Kepner in November of 1960.
  • April 15 [Th]: Don Slater signs a lease for office space on Cahuenga Blvd. in Universal City.
  • April 18 [Su]: Don Slater, Tony Reyes, and Billy Glover move ONE’s library and office from Venice to Cahuenga Blvd. “for the protection of the property of the corporation.” They soon begin calling themselves The Tangent Group, after a regular news column in ONE magazine usually written by Jim Kepner, and maintain that they are indeed “the majority of legally elected board members of ONE.” Kepner and others dub the event “The Heist,” but Slater describes the event as more of a mutiny.
  • April 20 [Tu]: Jim Schneider’s letter to Don Slater expressing concern over the recent split of ONE, Incorporated.
  • April 21 [Wed]: Jim Schneider sends a letter to ONE Inc. members calling for an informal meeting in his home and demanding the resignation or reconciliation of W. Dorr Legg and Don Slater.
  • April 23 [Fr]: Joe Aaron resigns from ONE, Inc. due to “the present corporate dilemma.”
  • April 23 (or 25): Legg’s faction votes in a special meeting to remove Don Slater from membership in ONE, Inc.
  • May 11 [Tu]: Don Slater sends a Letter to “Former Friends and Subscribers” of ONE Magazine, announcing ONE Inc.’s move from Venice to Cahuenga Blvd., in Hollywood and asking for help and “moral support.”
  • May 12 [We]: Jim Schneider sends a letter to Don Slater.
  • May 16 [Su]: Rudi Steinert and Tony Reyes are removed from membership in ONE, Inc. by W. Dorr Legg’s faction.
  • May 18 [Tu]: Monwell Boyfrank’s letter to Jim Schneider advising him that ONE’s board of directors had removed him from membership in the corporation.
  • June 5 [Sa]: The Institute for the Study of Human Resources [ISHR] is incorporated and granted tax exempt status under §501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
    • Don Slater voted off the board of ISHR based on allegations made by W. Dorr Legg.
  • July 27 [Tu]: First public meeting of Mattachine Midwest
  • Sept. 16th [Th]: Don Slater’s deposition taken in the law offices of Hillel Chodos, in Beverly Hills.

1966

  • Jan. 26 [We]: W. Dorr Legg answers Don Slater’s interrogatories in the law offices of Hillel Chodos, in Beverly Hills.
  • Feb. 19–20: Don Slater attends the National Planning Conference of Homophile Organizations held in Kansas City, Missouri, where it was decided to launch a national campaign to protest the exclusion of homosexuals by the U.S. Military. Forty leaders attend from fourteen different homophile organizations.
    The organizations unite to form NACHO, the North American Conference of Homophile Organizations.
  • March 18 [Fr]: Committee to Fight Exclusion of Homosexuals from the Armed Forces issues a statement and a press release.
  • May 21 [Sa]: Los Angeles Motorcade in protest of the exclusion of homosexuals from the U. S. Armed Forces.
  • Nov. 3 [Th]: Odorizzi v. Bloomfield School District resolved. (This case was sponsored by the HIC.)

1967

  • Jan. 1 [Su]: Los Angeles Police raid the Black Cat Bar within minutes after midnight New Year’s eve.
    Six male patrons are charged with kissing, and sixteen people are arrested. Several bar-goers are injured, leading to future protests and a legal case.
  • Feb. 11 [Sa]: Rally outside of the Black Cat Bar in Los Angeles. (Jim Kepner helped to organize.)
  • April 25 [Tu]: Agreement of Settlement between the parties to the action of ONE, Incorporated vs. Slater, et al.
  • April 27 [Th]: Dismissal entered for case number 864 824 without prejudice, as to all defendants and cross-defendants, and as to all causes of action in the complaint and in the cross-complaint. The court battle between ONE, Incorporated and Don Slater, et al., is officially over, the organization permanently divided.
  • ROTH V. UNITED STATES

    The U.S. Supreme Court, in Roth v. United States and Alberts v. California, 354 U.S. 476, 77 S. Ct. 1304, 1 L. Ed. 2d 1498 (1957), issued a landmark ruling on obscenity and its relation to the first amendment. The Court held that obscenity was not a protected form of expression and could be restricted by the states. In addition, the Court announced a test for courts to use in evaluating whether material was obscene.

    The Court consolidated the appeals of Samuel Roth and David Alberts. Roth had been convicted of violating a federal statute (18 U.S.C.A. § 1461) that made it a crime to mail obscene advertising and reading materials

    Justice william j. brennan jr., in his majority opinion, reviewed the history of freedom of expression and concluded that not every type of utterance was protected in the thirteen original colonies. libel, blasphemy, and profanity were among the statutory crimes. In addition, that every state and the federal government had obscenity statutes showed that the First Amendment “was not intended to protect every utterance.” Obscenity is denied protection because it is “utterly without redeeming social importance.”

    Having ruled that obscenity is not within the area of constitutionally protected speech or press, Brennan noted that sex in art and literature was not, by itself, obscene

    Indeed, “sex, a great and mysterious motive force in human life” had interested “mankind through the ages; it is one of the vital problems of human interest and public concern.” In the past, however, mere sexual content was enough to have a novel banned under the test courts used in assessing whether something was obscene.

    For a legal definition of obscenity, U.S. courts looked to the English case of Regina v. Hicklin, L.R. 3 Q.B. 360 (1868). The Hicklin test was “whether the tendency of the matter charged as obscenity is to deprave and corrupt those whose minds are open to such immoral influences, and into whose hands a publication of this sort may fall.” This test permitted prosecutors and judges to select objectionable words or passages without regard for the work as a whole and without respect to any artistic, literary, or scientific value the work might have.

    Brennan rejected the Hicklin test as being “unconstitutionally restrictive of the freedoms of speech and press.” It was essential that the work as a whole be evaluated before being declared obscene

    Brennan endorsed the test used in both Roth’s and Alberts’s trials: “whether to the average person, applying contemporary community standards, the dominant theme of the material taken as a whole appeals to a prurient [lewd or lustful] interest.” The new test was applicable to both state and federal government obscenity prosecutions.

    The Roth test did not settle the question of what is obscenity, however. In fact, the Court was drawn into a long-term inquiry over virtually every element of the new obscenity test. The Court has never reached full agreement on what constitutes an appeal to “prurient interest.” The phrase “redeeming social importance” has also failed to generate a consensus. Nor, in the years immediately following Roth, could the Court agree on whether “community” referred to the nation as a whole or to individual states or localities

    References

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    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.

    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

     

    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: June 14, 2004 – The Gay & Lesbian Kingdom of Coral Sea Islands Is Founded Off the Coast of Australia

    Seal of the Gay and Lesbian Kingdom of the Coral Sea Islands

    On June 14th, 2004, a micronation called The Gay and Lesbian Kingdom of the Coral Sea Islands was founded as a symbolic political protest by a group of gay rights activists as a response to the Australian government’s refusal to recognize same-sex marriages.

    The idea for the founding of a gay kingdom was taken during the Brisbane Gay and Lesbian Pride Festival in 2003. 

    via Wikipedia:

    Gay activists believed that change in the marriage law, in particular the government’s plan to amend the marriage act so as to prevent homosexual couples who were married overseas to have their relationship recognised, had taken from homosexual people the right to be treated equally, “whether it be marriage, superannuation, hospital visits, adoption or IVF treatments”. 

    Based on the law of “Unjust Enrichment” (“If something is unjustly taken compensation must be made.”) and with reference to international law, which states “Oppressed people of overseas territories have a right to self government and self determination”, the activists claimed “territorial compensation” by establishing an independent gay state, claiming The Coral Sea Islands as its territory.

    So after sailing on a ship called “The Gayflower” to a group of small, uninhabited tropical islands in the Coral Sea northeast of Queensland, activists declared Cato Island an independent gay and lesbian state. The newly proclaimed Emperor Dale raised the gay rainbow flag and claimed the island in his name as homeland for the gay and lesbian peoples of the world. 

    The new nation’s declaration began, 

    “Homosexual people have honestly endeavoured everywhere to merge ourselves in the social life of surrounding communities and to be treated equally. We are not permitted to do so. In vain we are loyal patriots, our loyalty in some places running to extremes; in vain do we make the same sacrifices of life and property as our fellow citizens; in vain do we strive to increase the fame of our native land in science and art, or her wealth by trade and commerce. In countries where we have lived for centuries, we are still cried down as strangers…. In the world as it is now and for an indefinite period…. I think we shall not be left in peace.”[

    The activists founded a camp site on Cato Island which they named “Heaven” after the famous gay nightclub in London as the claimed capital, and “I Am What I Am” was set as the Kingdom’s national anthem.

    The kingdom issued its first stamps in July 2006 “with the aim of creating a high and distinctive reputation amongst the philatelic fraternity”. The kingdom’s website stated that tourism, fishing and philatelic sales were its only economic activities. However, swimming, reef walking, lagoon snorkelling, bird-watching, seashell-collecting, and shipwreck-exploring were all gay government-sanctioned non-economic activities.

    After Australia’s decision to legalise same sex marriage, though, Emperor Dale declared the kingdom dissolved on November 17th, 2017.

    References

    Gay History: The (Sodomy) Law in England, 1290-1885

    There was no royal or parliamentary law against homosexual activity in England until 1533, but a number of medieval legal sources do discuss “sodomy:.

    Fleta, xxxviii.3: Those who have dealings with Jews or Jewesses, those who commit bestiality, and sodomists, are to be buried alive after legal proof that they were atken in the act, and public conviction” 

    [Fleta, seu Commentarius Juris Anglicani, (London: 1735), as trans in Derrick Sherwin Bailey, Homosexuality and the Western Christian Tradition, (London: Longmans, Green, 1955), 145] 

    Bailey notes that it is improbable that the penalty or burial alive was ever inflicted in medieval times [although Tacitus refers to it among ancient Germans in Germania 12].

    Britton, i.10: “Let enquiry also be made of those who feloniously in time of peace have burnt other’s corn or houses, and those who are attainted thereof shall be burnt, so that they might be punished in like manner as they have offended. The same sentence shall be passed upon sorcerers, sorceresses, renegades, sodomists, and heretics publicly convicted” 

    [Britton, ed. F.M. Nichols, (Oxford: 1865), Vol 1:41-42 and Bailey, 146]

    Bailey notes that this implies a process in which ecclesiastical courts made the charges and convictions and the state put them into effect. There do not seem, however, to have been serious efforts made to put theory into practice. The preamble to the 1533 Law seems to make this clear.

    25 Henry VIII. C6

    Le Roy le veult
    “Forasmuch as there is not yet sufficient and condign punishment appointed and limited by the due course of the Laws of this Realm for the detestable and abominable Vice of Buggery committed with mankind of beast: It may therefore please the King’s Highness with the assent of the Lords Spiritual and the Commons of this present parliament assembled, that it may be enacted by the authority of the same, that the same offence be from henceforth ajudged Felony and that such an order and form of process therein to be used against the offenders as in cases of felony at the Common law. And that the offenders being herof convict by verdict confession or outlawry shall suffer such pains of death and losses and penalties of their good chattels debts lands tenements and hereditaments as felons do according to the Common Laws of this Realme. And that no person offending in any such offence shall be admitted to his Clergy, And that Justices of the Peace shall have power and authority within the limits of their commissions and Jurisdictions to hear and determine the said offence, as they do in the cases of other felonies. This Act to endure till the last day. of the next Parliament” 

    [Bailey, 147-148, and H. Montgomery Hyde, The Love That Dared Not Speak Its Name: A Candid History of Homosexuality in Britain, (Boston: Little, Brown, 1970) [British title: The Other Love] 

    Note that the law only ran until the end of the next Parliament. The law was reenacted three times, and then in 1541 it was enacted to continue in force for ever. In 1547, Edward VI’s first Parliament repealed all felonies created in the last reign [I Edw. VI. C.12]. In 1548 the provisions of the 1533 Act were given new force, with minor amendments – the penalty remained death, but goods and lands were not forfeit, and the rights of wives and heirs were safeguarded. Mary’s accession brought about the repeal of all Edward’s acts in 1548 [1 Mar c.1]. It was not until 1563, that Elizabeth I’s second Parliament reenacted the law [5 Eliz I. C.17] and the law of 1533 (not 1548) were given permanent force. 

    In 1828, the statute of 1563 was revoked by a consolidating act, but the death penalty was retained. In 1861 life imprisonment, or a jail time of at least ten years, was substituted for the death penalty. All these laws were against buggery, and indeed the law of 1828 had discussed matters of proof in terms of penetration. Note that other sexual activities were not specifically criminalised.

    In 1885 Mr. Labouchere introduced an amendment to the Criminal Amendment Act of 1885. It read:-

    48&49 Vict. c.69, 11: “Any male person who, in public or private, commits or is party to the commission of, or procures or attempts to procure the commission by any male person of any act of gross indecency with another male person, shall be guilty of a misdemeanour, and being convicted thereof shall be liable at the discretion of the Court to be imprisoned for any term not exceeding two years, with or without hard labour” 

    So for the first time private acts were brought under the scope of the law, as were acts other than anal penetration. This became the famous blackmailer’s charter, and was the law used to convict Oscar Wilde.

    [for all the above see Bailey 145-152]

    It was the Act of 1533, then, which first made buggery an offense under English criminal law. This law survived in various forms England until 1967, although it was amended in 1861 to substitute life imprisonment for the penalties of death and forfeiture of property. 

    But the direct effects of this law were not restricted to England. Because of England’s success as a colonial power, and its tendency to impose its entire legal structure on the ruled areas, legal prohibitions against homosexual activity derived from this law extended well outside England. In Scotland, for instance, (which has a separate legal system) the law was not changed until 1979. In many American states “sodomy” laws are still on the books, as also in former British colonies in the Caribbean.

    .[ref. H. Montgomery Hyde, The Love That Dared Not Speak Its Name: A Candid History of Homosexuality in Britain, (Boston: Little, Brown, 1970)]

    Reference

    Gay History: Mitt Romney’s Teen Years: A Time of Homosexual Panic in America

    Whether or not what Mitt Romney did as a teenager matters now, the way some conservatives are defending him, you’d think homosexuals didn’t exist until Halston, Calvin Klein, and Liza were discovered dancing at Studio 54 circa 1978.

    “For those to the premises more recently arrived, a quick primer on 1965, when this occurred,” wrote syndicated columnist Kathleen Parker, responding to critics who’ve described Romney’s forcible cutting of the dyed-blond hair of a nonconforming student as anti-gay bullying. “Nobody knew who was or wasn’t ‘gay,’ a word that wasn’t yet in popular circulation as a noun and generally meant ‘merry.’ Homosexuality wasn’t on most high-school kids’ radar, period. If anything, Romney may not have liked Lauber’s ‘hippie’ locks, which is the more likely case given the era.”

    Really? Check out the synopsis for the 1956 film by a much earlier Minnelli, Liza’s dad Vincente. Tea and Sympathy was adapted from the popular 1953 Broadway play of the same name, and Romney and his prep school buddies might as well have been acting out the plot: “Tom Robinson Lee, a 17-year old student at a boy’s prep school, is at odds with the other boys who like sports, talking about girls, and listening to pop music. Tom prefers classical music, reads books, can sew, goes to the theater, and generally seems to be more at ease in the company of women. The other boys torment him for his ‘unmanly’ qualities and call him ‘sister boy.’”

    I don’t know what kind of sheltered life Kathleen Parker led, but homosexuality has been on high-school kids’ radars — particularly the radars of high-school boys — for as long as masculinity has been on their radars, which in Western culture would take us back to the ancient Greeks and the Roman gladiators, I imagine. But even if we don’t want to go back that far, suffice it to say that queer boys were defined in American culture surely since Oscar Wilde was carted off to prison for being a “sodomite” in 1895.

    While there were times in the early part of the 20th century when homosexuality was more accepted in some cities (as historian George Chuancey describes in Gay New York, in which he also shows that the word “gay” most certainly existed then), the 1950s saw a homosexual panic that gripped American politics, media, and culture. In 1950 Sen. Joseph McCarthy began his investigations that led to the purging of alleged Communists and homosexuals from the government. In 1951 a popular book called Washington Confidential, co-written by New York Mirror columnist Lee Mortimer, captured the tenor of the time in a chapter titled, “A Garden of Pansies”:

    If you’re wondering where your wandering semi-boy is tonight, he’s probably in Washington. The good people shook their heads in disbelief at the revelation that over 90 twisted twerps in trousers had been swished out of the state department. Fly commentators seized on it for gags about fags, whimsy with overtones of Kinsey and the odor of lavender. We pursued the subject and found that there are at least 6000 homosexuals on the government payroll, most of them known, and these comprise only a fraction of the total of their kind in the city.

    Tea and Sympathy premiered on Broadway and was made into a film in the midst of that panic. (And you can read all about the context in this paper by film historian David Gerstner, who also happens to be my partner). The McCarthy era and the targeting of homosexuals spurred the first gay and lesbian activists, like the recently deceased pioneer Frank Kameny, who was ejected from the Army Map Service for being gay in 1957.

    That first brave but tepid organizing only escalated the panic, which continued well into the 1960s. In 1963, two years before Romney’s prep school “prank,” the anti-gay metro editor of The New York Times, Abe Rosenthal, became alarmed after returning from overseas and seeing so many gay men on the streets of Manhattan. In response he commissioned a piece that was put on the front page of the paper of record, which blared with this headline: “Growth of Overt Homosexuality in City Provokes Wide Concern.”

    Those years, the mid-‘60s, were in fact a critical time for the gay-rights movement: It was going to either burst forth, as it eventually did in 1969, with the Stonewall riots, or be suppressed further by the kind of attitudes that empowered high-school boys of the time to hold down a kid perceived as gay and forcibly cut his hair.

    It matters today what Mitt Romney did then, even as a high-school student, because the country has moved on from that time of panic into a different place. It would tell us a lot about him, and the kind of leader he would be, if, rather than denying it or suppressing it, he were able to explain how he moved on and, as others have said, if he were able to use his story to shed some light on the anti-gay bullying we still see today.

    Reference

    Gay History: The Linguistic Turf Wars Over the Singular ‘They’

    The use of the word “they” has been debated by linguists and copy editors alike. (Photo: zebicho/shutterstock.com)

    Of all the turf wars that have complicated the landscape of grammar over the past few hundred years, the most complicated and frustrating may be that of the singular they.

    It may be the most controversial word use in the English language—because it highlights a hole where a better-fitting word should go.

    It creates a conflict between writers and editors who want things to follow the natural symmetry of Latin, and people who find they the only logical option for referring to a single person without a gender attached.

    And there has been a lot written about it—it’s something of a hot topic this year, thanks to a vote by the American Dialect Society to name they its word of the year for 2015.

    “In the past year, new expressions of gender identity have generated a deal of discussion, and singular they has become a particularly significant element of that conversation,” Ben Zimmer, the chairman of ADS’ New Words Committee, explained back in January. “While many novel gender-neutral pronouns have been proposed, they has the advantage of already being part of the language.”

    The group voted the way it did in part because of they’s increasing importance as a way to make room for people who don’t fit a predefined gender binary. (It helps that the word drops the added complication of “he or she.”)

    If the English language did permanently embrace a singular gender-neutral pronoun, it would be far from alone—254 of the 378 languages tracked by the World Atlas of Language Structures Online don’t specify for gender at all with their pronouns.

    Alas, this problem isn’t as easy to solve as a vote from a dialect society. The problem is something of an emotional one—and it’s sparked debate for centuries.

    For some word purists, the singular they is the linguistic equivalent of an ingrown hair, but for others, the solutions for getting around the problem are way messier.

    Geoffrey Chaucer, user of the singular they, along with Shakespeare and Jane Austen. (Photo: Public Domain)

    For centuries, the singular they was not only accepted by the public but by some of our most famous authors—Geoffrey Chaucer, Jane Austen, and Shakespeare, just to name three.

    But around the late 18th and early 19th century, something happened: Critics of this specific usage appeared. The reason for this critical reassessment came about partly out of prescriptive vibes around the English language at the time. Long story short: We wanted English to be more like Latin, and that meant rethinking the use of plural nouns in singular contexts.

    In 1975, researcher Ann Bodine broke this down in a landmark paper, Androcentrism in Prescriptive Grammar: Singular ‘They,’ Sex-Indefinite ‘He,’ and ‘He or She’. The text, republished in the 1999 book The Feminist Critique of Language, notes that the influence of Latin grammar played an important role in the increase of rules around the English language—and specifically gave the world the “generic he,” a term that followed Latin form but didn’t mesh with modern concerns about gender equality.

    Around the time of Bodine’s paper, things started to turn against the generic he. Students started complaining about its use at Harvard. But they faced resistance from the professors who taught them.

    “The fact that the masculine is the unmarked gender in English (or that the feminine is unmarked in the language of the Tunica Indians) is simply a feature of grammar,” a group of 17 professors and teaching fellows wrote in a 1971 open letter published in the Harvard Crimson.

    And Bodine noted that the then-recent attempts to ditch the generic he were really attempts to roll back a controversial change.

    “Intentionally or not, the movement against sex-indefinite ‘he’ is actually a counter-reaction to an attempt by prescriptive grammarians to alter the language,” she wrote.

    Grammarians didn’t give up on squashing the singular they easily. Some who tried to remedy the problem caused by this attempt to make English more like Latin have been tried to patch things up. For hundreds of years, English-speakers have tried to invent words that fill the language’s most unsightly gap. Nearly all of them have failed.

    The New Words Committee of the American Dialect Society decided to make the singular they its word of the year. (Photo: PSD photography/shutterstock.com)

    University of Illinois professor Dennis Baron, a longtime supporter of the singular they, has long maintained a list of gender-neutral pronouns that people have attempted to add to the English language, the most recent example from 2015, but most of the interesting ones from the 19th century. Terms like “thon,” “e,” and “um” were among the most prominent attempts to improve the language. Additionally, Baron notes, people complaining about the common use of the singular they were fairly common during the 19th century.

    “If only occasionally found in the best writings, it is because the proofreader interposes his correction before the sentence reaches the public, for every editor [knows] how often even careful writers make the mistake,” a writer for the Findlay, Ohio Jeffersonian wrote in 1877.

    Baron, in introducing the concept in an essay, is quick to stick a knife in its heart before it even had a chance to fly:

    These pronouns fill a need, but none has been widely adopted, hence they are the words that failed. What has succeeded is singular they, which arose naturally in English hundreds of years ago, and is used both by speakers and writers concerned that their pronouns be inclusive, and also by many who don’t give the matter much thought at all.

    Even in the modern day, some critics of the word use persist. Blogger Freddie deBoer, meanwhile, argues in an essay that the singular they issue is an infrequent problem at worst.

    “Using ‘their’ for singular antecedents is one that I think people need to [just give into],” deBoer writes in his essay. “As I’ve argued, it only occurs in a very limited set of circumstances, and those circumstances very unlikely to produce confusion about what is meant.”

    Over at the dearly departed site the Toast, linguist Gretchen McCulloch blames the root cause of this fissure on “a series of historical accidents,” but suggests that the issues raised by grammarians are practical in nature, even if the solutions are in many ways worse than the problems in the first place.

    Really, if this problem is ever to go away, it’s going to be up to professional copy editors to speak up. And at least some of them appear to have made peace with the change.

    Last year, prominent Washington Post copy editor Bill Walsh (who was not a football coach for the San Francisco 49ers) drew a line in the sand in favor of the singular they, revealing in a deeply nerve-wracking blog post that he had been wanting to make the big change for years, despite how divisive it was for some.

    “What finally pushed me from acceptance to action on gender-neutral pronouns was the increasing visibility of gender-neutral people,” he wrote.

    Walsh, the author of some popular books read by copy editors, is seen as something of a trailblazer on this issue, even though he pledges his desk will use the term sparingly.

    Still, it won’t be easy to win over everyone else in the journalism world. The issue is that many copy editors simply struggle with the conundrum that the word creates, some treating it as a pet peeve even though it’s common in regular speech.

    In a blog post last year, the Baltimore Sun’s John E. McIntyre noted the lingering controversy, citing one Facebook feed that called the singular they an “idiot epicene.”

    “I know any number of editors who share this visceral dislike of the singular they,” McIntyre wrote. “It cuts no ice with them that linguists have demonstrated widespread use by reputable writers for centuries … or that we somehow contrive to use you in both singular and plural senses without growing red-faced and shouting.”

    Copy editors have differing views on the use of a singular they. (Photo: Billion Photos/shutterstock.com)

    Copy editors may never find peace on this issue, even though the American Copy Editors Society has been laying the groundwork for such a change, noting with positivity last January the American Dialect Society’s move to make the singular they its word of the year.

    But a shift like that isn’t enough to convince one of the toughest copy editors in the business—Mary Norris, the “comma queen” at The New Yorker.

    “Many ACES stalwarts—copy editors, journalists, grammarians, lexicographers, and linguists—stand ready to embrace the singular ‘their.’ But not us. We avoid it whenever we can,” Norris wrote earlier this year.

    In that same blog post was a video where she discussed how her desk replaced an instance of the singular they in a George Saunders story with a generic he. (The linguistics blog Language Log had a field day with this whole saga.)

    And, sooner or later, the Associated Press Stylebook will probably weigh in as it has in other linguistic controversies, like, recently, when it decided to allow “more than” and “over” to be used interchangeably.

    Reference

    Gay History: The Most Surprising LGBTI Stats And Facts From Around The World

    This couple spent a year collecting fascinating LGBTI data to answer every question you can dream of

    Pride in London: One couple has gathered LGBTI data from around the world to get to know the crowds better. Photo David Hudson

    My husband and I spent a year collecting LGBTI data from hundreds of surveys, polls, reports, studies and monographs.

    And the result is our new book, LGBTQ Stats: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer People by the Numbers.

    Ever wonder how many people around the globe live in countries where same-sex activity remains subject to criminal prosecution? Or how many trans people have been elected to public office? What relationship style lesbians prefer? Which US state was the first to elect an openly bisexual governor? Or what the top-grossing films are with LGBTQ content?

    We answer these and about 1,000 other questions.

    Noted economist and professor MV Lee Badgett, of The Williams Institute, says the book is ‘the most comprehensive portrait of LGBTQ life around.’

    There are plenty of surprising facts and eye-opening figures.

    My husband David Deschamps explains: ‘I was especially struck by the change in attitudes among young people. There has been a huge generational shift in a remarkably short span of time – from revulsion and derision to acceptance and marked casualness.’

    Here is some of the most interesting LGBTI data, stats and facts we found:

    Shifting attitudes

    In 1994, 51% of college freshmen in the US believed lesbians and gay men should try to be heterosexual. Today, an astonishing 31% of 18- to 29-year-olds in the US and a whopping 49% of 18- to 24-year-olds in the UK describe themselves as ‘not 100% heterosexual’.

    In 1985, 24% of Americans said they personally knew a lesbian or gay person. By 2015, that number had risen to 88%.

    LGBTIs and the law

    There is no country on earth in which LGBTI citizens enjoy the same legal rights that their heterosexual counterparts take for granted.

    More than 2.7 billion people live in countries where being LGBTI is punishable by imprisonment, violence, or death.

    The UN Security Council’s first meeting dedicated to addressing the persecution of LGBTI people took place In August 2015.

    73 countries and 5 entities imprison consenting adults for homosexual acts. In 45 of these nations, the law is applied to women as well as men. In 14 countries, including Uganda and India, the potential penalty for engaging in same-sex activity is life in prison.

    France became the first European country to decriminalize same-sex activity between consenting adults of the same gender in 1791. The following countries repealed sodomy laws in the years indicated:

    • Brazil in 1830.
    • Mexico in 1871.
    • Russia in 1917 (recriminalized in 1933 and decriminalized in 1993).
    • Poland in 1932.
    • Switzerland in 1942.
    • England in 1967 (partial decriminalization); gay men achieved full decriminalization in 2003.
    • Spain in 1979.
    • All of Australia in 1997.
    • All of the US in 2003.

    Homosexuality remains a crime in 37 of the 52 nations that make up the Commonwealth of Nations (formerly the British Commonwealth).

    North Korea, South Korea, Taiwan and Vietnam have never had Western-style sodomy laws.

    Japan holds the distinction of having one of the shortest-lived sodomy laws in the world. The statute was in place from 1873 to 1883. Samurai warriors, who had a long tradition of same-sex relations, mounted strong opposition to the law and helped to get it repealed.

    South Africa’s post-apartheid constitution of 1996 was the first in the world to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

    Lesbian, gay and bi people in the armed forces

    LGB people can serve openly in the military in 49 countries, including Albania, Germany, Israel, Japan, and Thailand. Two additional countries, Mexico and South Korea, don’t ban LGB people from serving in the military, but they are often harassed and/or discharged.

    Transgender people can serve in the military in 19 countries, including Australia, Canada, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

    Shocking HIV stats

    Globally, trans women are 49 times more likely to have HIV than other adults of reproductive age.

    As a result of homophobic laws, lack of sex education, and the absence of needle-exchange programs, the size of Russia’s HIV-infected population nearly doubled between 2010 (when it stood at 500,000) and 2015 (when it reached 930,000).

    The AIDS Memorial Quilt was first unveiled at the Second National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights on 11 October 1987. It is composed of more than 48,000 panels. Each panel is a tribute to someone who has died of an AIDS-related illness. It is the largest piece of folk art in the world. The quilt covers 1.3 million square feet (or about 50 miles or 80 kilometers) and weighs more than 54 tons. More than 14 million people have seen it at thousands of displays worldwide. It was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989.

    Lesbian and gay prime ministers

    Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir
    became Iceland’s first female prime minister — and the world’s first openly lesbian head of government — on February 1, 2009. She served until 2013. There have been three other openly LGBT heads of state:

    • Elio Di Rupo, prime minister of Belgium from 2011 to 2014.
    • Xavier Bettel, prime minister of Luxembourg from 2013 to the present.
    • Leo Varadkar, who at 38 made history in 2017 by becoming Ireland’s youngest and first openly gay prime minister.

    The first bisexual governor and trans politicians

    On February 18, 2015, Kate Brown became the first openly bisexual governor in American history. Brown was sworn in as Oregon’s governor following the resignation of her predecessor. She became the first openly bisexual person to be elected governor in the US after her victory in a 2016 special election.

    According to a Washington Post analysis published in December 2015:

    • Since 1977, 139 transgender candidates have run for more than 200 races in 31 countries.
    • 52 transgender candidates were elected.
    • Nearly 90 percent of these candidates were trans women.
    • As of December 2015, 20 transgender elected officials were in office.

    The ‘gay happiness index’ winners are…

    In a 2015 study of 115,000 of its members, Planet Romeo – an international social network for GBT men – created a ‘gay happiness index’. It had three criteria:

    • How do gay men feel about society’s view of homosexuality?
    • How do gay men experience the way other people treat them?
    • Are gay men satisfied with their lives, and do they accept themselves?

    Based on these criteria, of the 127 countries rated, the top nations in the gay happiness index were:

    1 Iceland
    2 Norway
    3 Denmark
    4 Sweden
    5 Uruguay
    6 Canada
    7 Israel
    8 Netherlands
    (The UK ranked 23rd and the US ranked 26th.)

    The lowest-ranked nations (in descending order) were:

    8 Cameroon
    7 Iran
    6 Nigeria
    5 Iraq
    4 Kyrgyzstan
    3 Ethiopia
    2 Sudan
    1 Uganda

    What kind of relationship do lesbian and bi women want?

    Lesbian website Autostraddle asked 8,566 self-selected lesbian, bisexual, and trans women about their preferred relationship style in a 2015 survey:

    • 61.7% of respondents chose monogamy.
    • 22% chose ‘mostly monogamy’ – which, in the words of the survey authors, ‘means many different things to many different people’.
    • 6% chose an open relationship.
    • 5.3% chose polyamory.
    • 1.4% chose ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’. That means partners are free to do whatever they want with whomever they want as long as it doesn’t become known to the other partner.
    • 0.58% chose polyfidelity. If you are in a relationship with more than one other person and you are all emotionally and sexually faithful to each other.
    • 0.39% chose triad — a closed relationship that involves three people, also called a ‘thruple’.

    Where are all the LGBTI families?

    The US states with the highest proportion of same-sex couples raising children are:

    • Mississippi – 26%
    • Wyoming – 25%
    • Alaska – 23%
      What LGBTI films are box office hits?

    Two LGBTI-themed films share the title of winning the most Oscars. This year Moonlight won Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor, and Best Adapted Screenplay. And in 2006 Brokeback Mountain won Academy Awards for Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Score. The Academy also nominated Brokeback Mountain for Best Picture but it missed out.

    At $83,043,761
    in US earnings, Brokeback ranks as the fourth-highest-grossing LGBTI film. The Birdcage is first ($124,060,553), Interview with a Vampire comes second ($105,264,608), and The Imitation Game is third ($91,125,683). To date, Moonlight has grossed $27,854,932.

    Which city in the world has the biggest Pride?

    According to estimates from organizers, police, and media accounts, the largest LGBTI Pride events, calculated by the number of attendees, include:

    1 São Paulo Pride Parade (2006) – 3 million people.
    2 Madrid Europride Festival (2007) – 2.3 million.
    3 New York City Pride Parade (2016) – 2 million.
    4 San Francisco Pride Parade (2014) – 1.7 million.
    5 New York City Pride Parade (2015) – 1.6 million.
    6 Cologne Europride Parade (2002) – 1.4 million.
    7 Toronto Pride Festival (2012) – 1.2 million.
    8 Madrid National Pride (2012) – 1.2 million

    And some ‘firsts’ from LGBTI history

    Dr Magnus Hirschfeld founded the first ‘homosexual emancipation organization’ on 15 May 1897. It was called the Scientific-Humanitarian Committee and was in Berlin.

    The first formally organized LGBTI movement group in the United States was the Society for Human Rights in Illinois in 1924. A few months after its founding, the group ceased to exist in the wake of several members’ arrests.

    According to historian Susan Stryker, ‘the first known incident of collective militant queer resistance to police harassment in US history’ took place in August 1966. Transgender people staged a rebellion outside Compton’s Cafeteria in San Francisco’s Tenderloin district to protest mistreatment and abuse by the police.

    A world of LGBTI data

    LGBTQ Stats: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer People by the Numbers is published by The New Press. Husband-and-husband team of David Deschamps and Bennett Singer are the authors

    Reference

    Gay History: Why My Own Father Would Have Let IS Kill Me

    The group that calls itself Islamic State (IS or Isis) has a special punishment for gay people – it kills them by throwing them off high buildings. Taim, a 24-year-old medical student, tells the story of how he only escaped this fate by fleeing from Iraq to Lebanon.

    In our society, being gay means death. When Isis kills gays, most people are happy because they think we’re sick.

    I first realised I was gay when I was about 13 or 14. I too thought homosexuality was a sickness and I just wanted to feel normal. During my first year of college, I started having therapy for it. My therapist told me to tell friends that I was going through a “difficult phase” and to ask for their support.

    I’m of Muslim background but my ex-boyfriend was from a Christian background and I had a bunch of Christian friends, whom I used to hang out with. In 2013 I got into a fight with a fellow student, Omar – who later joined Isis – about hanging out with Christians. A friend of mine told him to go easy on me because I was going through a hard time, having treatment for being gay. That’s how people knew. I think my friend’s intention was noble but what happened as a result ruined my life.

    Still from an IS video

    In November 2013, Omar attacked me with two of his friends. I was just walking home after a really lovely day. They beat me, threw me to the ground and shaved my head, saying to me: “This is just a lesson to you for the moment, because your father is a religious man. Watch what you do!” He meant that I wouldn’t be killed then and there out of respect for my dad, because I’m from a religious family.

    I left town for a few days and didn’t go to university but then I went back, and in March 2014 I made Omar angry again, this time by suggesting that non-Muslims shouldn’t have to pay the “jizya”, the tax paid by non-Muslims to a Muslim government. I was washing my hands in the university bathroom when he and others attacked me again. They came at me from behind, but I recognised one of them from his green watch. It was the same group. They kicked me half-unconscious. I was barely able to walk and stopped going to university for a month.

    Then, in the middle of final exams, Isis took over. Omar called me and asked me to repent and join them. I hung up the phone.

    Taim with shaved head

    On 4 July, a group of fighters from Isis came to my home. My father answered the door and apparently they said to him: “Your son is an infidel and a homosexual and we have come to carry out God’s punishment on him.”

    My dad is a religious man and luckily for me he was able to tell them to come back the next day, to give him time to find out whether the accusation was correct. He came inside the house and started screaming. Finally, he said: “If these accusations are true, I will hand you over to them myself, happily.” And I just stood there, not knowing what to do and what to say, or how to defend myself.

    I was in shock. But my mother decided that I should leave the house immediately, and she started working on getting me out of Iraq for good. It was midnight and she said to me: “We’re leaving right now.” She took me to her sister’s house. The next day she booked me a plane ticket to Turkey and got me a visa. But I had to travel via Erbil and they wouldn’t let us into Kurdistan. I stayed in a village near Erbil for two weeks, trying to get in but I never managed it. I tried to leave via Baghdad but there were clashes on the road and the driver wouldn’t go on. I tried to get out so many times, and failed.

    Eventually, in August, after weeks in hiding, my mum arranged somehow for me to get to Kirkuk, driving there through fields and on unpaved roads. From there, I went to Sulaymaniyah. I’d planned to go to Turkey but the first available flight was to Beirut and I didn’t need a visa – so here I am.

    If I’d stayed, Isis would have come for me and killed me the way they’ve killed others. If Isis didn’t get me, members of my family would have done it. A few days after I left, I learned that my uncle – my father’s brother – had taken an oath to cleanse the family honour.

    Recently, I received an anonymous Facebook message – but my mother thinks it was from my uncle. It said: “I know you’re in Beirut. Even if you went to hell, I would follow you there.”

    All I want now is to be in a safe place, unreachable by my dad or anyone with extremist thoughts. I want to be safe, to be free, and to be myself – to get my degree and start living… I just want to start living.

    Human rights lawyers from the Iraqi Refugee Assistance Project have helped me get refugee status and are working on getting me resettled in another country, where I want to continue my studies. Here I’m living in one room, the size of my bathroom back home. I’m in limbo.

    I think I will recover eventually but there will always be a memory of this dark period when I literally had to run for my life to avoid being killed. It was very stressful, but luckily I made it.

    I’ve lost contact with most of my family. A month after I fled, my younger brother sent me a Facebook message saying: “I have had to leave town. The family is shattered and it’s all because of you.”

    I was angry and didn’t reply. But then on New Year’s Eve I missed him, so I wrote to him, saying: “It’s not my fault that I was born this way. They (Isis) are the criminals.” And after that we had a long conversation on Facebook about our childhoods.

    I’ve not spoken to my father. What he did was very hurtful. He’s my father. He’s supposed to protect me and defend me, no matter what. But when he said that he’d hand me over to Isis, he knew what they were going to do to me. He knew. Maybe in the future I can forgive him, but right now I don’t even want to think about him. I want him out of my life.

    I talk to my mum every week, though. It’s hard for her because there’s no network coverage and she has to go out of town to get a signal. She’s the most amazing woman in the whole world. She’s cultured, respectful – very bright. She loves me and when she was trying to smuggle me out, we never discussed my homosexuality. She was just focused on getting me to safety. Because she is my mother, I think she always knew that I was gay. But all I felt from her was her love, her ultimate love. I never said goodbye to her because when I actually managed to escape, there had been so many failed attempts that I was sure I would be back and see her again.

    All I need is a hug from her.

    I still have gay friends at home but we’re not in contact any more, for their own safety.

    Earlier this year one of my best friends, who stayed behind, was killed.

    He was thrown off the main government building.

    He was a great man – a very kind person. He was 22 years old, a medical student, and he was really calm and really smart – a bit of a genius. He used to talk to me about the latest scientific discoveries.

    He always got straight As. You never saw him without a book.

    We met first online – gay Iraqis hang out a lot in online communities – and then face to face. In person, he was quite quiet – but online he never stopped talking. Sometimes he would chat until the power went off and we lost the internet. He shared his deepest secrets with me. As gay men, we all had to lead secret lives. But he was the kind of person you love to talk to.

    I don’t know how he was outed because he was very careful – but maybe through a text or online message. When Isis capture people, they go through all their contacts.

    The last time I saw him in the flesh was a few days after Isis took over our town, but we continued talking online until I fled.

    When I first saw the pictures of him, I can’t describe what I felt. The video images follow me in my nightmares. I see myself falling through the air. I dream that I’m arrested and then thrown from a building – facing the same fate as my friend.

    It was devastating to see him go in that brutal way. He was blindfolded but I knew it was him from his skin tone and from his build. It looked like he died immediately but a friend told me he didn’t – perhaps the building wasn’t high enough. The friend said he’d been stoned to death.

    I wanted to break down. I couldn’t believe it. One day he was alive, active, just living his life.

    And now he is gone.

    Isis are professional when it comes to tracking gay people – they hunt them down one by one

    Even before Isis arrived, I was living in constant fear. There are no laws to protect you. Militiamen were killing people in secret, and no-one would say anything. To them, we’re just a bunch of dirty criminals they need to get rid of because we bring God’s anger and are – as they see it – the source of all evil.

    For the past few years it’s been really, really hard. There were militiamen or security men who – if they found out someone was gay – would arrest him, rape him, torture him. There were lots of murders supervised by the Iraqi army. Videos came out of people being burned alive or stoned and you can see soldiers there. I have seen a video where some gay men had ropes put around their necks and they were dragged around the streets and people were throwing stones at them and when they were half-dead they were set on fire. Some people had their rectums glued up and were then left to die in the desert.

    Before Isis, I think that maybe the power of my family protected me. But let’s assume that Isis disappeared this second, the threat to my life would be just as serious, now that I’ve been identified as gay.

    The difference now is that Isis has only one horrible method of killing people – throwing them off buildings and, if they don’t die, stoning them. I know that if Isis had captured me, that would have been my fate.

    What’s also changed is that the media are focusing on what Isis is doing, because it’s Isis. And Isis films everything and releases the video and says: “We killed these people for being gay and this is their punishment according to our Holy Book.”

    Isis are also professional when it comes to tracking gay people. They hunt them down one by one. When they capture people, they go through his phone and his contacts and Facebook friends. They are trying to track down every gay man. And it’s like dominoes. If one goes, the others will be taken down too.

    We have feelings and we have souls – stop hating us just because we’re born different

    It’s devastating to see the public reaction to the killings. Usually, when Isis posts pictures online, people sympathise with the victims – but not if they’re gay. You should see the Facebook comments after they post video of the killings. It’s devastating. “We hate Isis but when they do things like this, we love them. God bless you Isis.” “I am against Isis but I am totally with Isis when they kill gays.” “Amazing news. This is the least that gays deserve.” “The most horrible crime on earth is homosexuality. Good job Isis.” “The scene is ugly but they deserve it.” “Those dirty people deserve Isis.”

    And there are thousands of people agreeing with these comments full of hate. That is what is so disturbing. This is the society I fled from.

    Islam is against homosexuality. My father made me study Sharia law for six years because he wanted me to be a religious man like him. There is a hadith [an ethical guideline thought to be a saying of the prophet] that instructs gay men to be thrown off a cliff and then it’s up to a judge or the Caliph to decide if they should be burned or stoned to death.

    Imam and Islamic scholar Dr Usama Hasan from the Quilliam Foundation says there are many hadiths and traditions ascribed to the Prophet Muhammad and his disciples on the subject of punishment for homosexuals. “However, all are disputed and there has never been any consensus on them, especially since they seem to contradict the Koran, 4:15-16.” He adds that some scholars have argued that Muhammad could not have given any such ruling since no confirmed case of homosexuality was ever brought to him.

    I think Isis is throwing gay men from buildings because our society hates us and it’s a way of gaining support.

    I try not to look at Isis’s videos. But to be honest I do look for their martyrdom videos. I want to see if I can see Omar, the man who ruined my life.

    I worry a lot about the gay men still left there. I have dozens of friends who can’t leave because they can’t afford to. But, after our friend’s death, I said goodbye to them online and blocked them, for their own safety.

    I’m speaking out to honour my friend who was killed – and for the gay men I know who are still in Iraq. I want Iraqis to know that we’re human beings, we’re not criminals. We have feelings and we have souls. Stop hating us just because we’re born different.

    I was lucky to get out. I saved my soul. But what about them? Will they be lucky enough to survive? And, if they survive, will they recover from the trauma of being hunted? It’s a disaster. They’re all targets.

    Taim told his story to the BBC’s Caroline Hawley. Taim is not his real name, nor is Omar the real name of his persecutor.

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