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March 13, 2023 59 mins

Margaret talks with Shereen Younes about the early fight for LGBT rights and how it was a literal fight, fought on every front.

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Speaker 1 (00:00):
Hello, and welcome to Cool People Did Cool Stuff, the
podcast that doesn't have a tagline because the title conveys
the general purpose well enough on its own. I'm your host,
Margaret Kiljoy, and with me today is Shrine Uness who rules. Hi, Shrine, Thanks,
thanks for thinking I rule. I'm hi, I'm good. Hi.
Are you all right? Good to know you're hi? Cool? Okay,

(00:22):
moving up? Sharin? You you make stuff? What kind of
stuff do you make? I make films. I make even
saying art is weird quote unquote art. Yeah, I just
make things. I just made a film like a little culte,
like a video essay thing that I think is not
too bad, which is a lot because I hate everything
I do. But yeah, it's I just make things. I

(00:45):
make things cool. I appreciate that today we are running
without a producer. Oh yeah means to men, means we
can say anything we want. This goes heywire. That's why.
So the way they build the Moltoft cocktail is and
then you oh really yeah yeah no, it's it's different

(01:11):
than people in my thing And the most important thing
is no matter what never ever, Ian as our audio
engineer and on woman, wrote or theme music. So Sharine Margaret,
did you know that a lot of people are queer, gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans,

(01:34):
two spirit asexual intersects or otherwise don't line up into
the nice heterosexual binary sex system that Western society tries
to fit everyone into. I do know that. I do
you know that? Excellent? Well that will make this conversation.
Was like, no, what do you mean? Yeah, you're like
one man and one woman. Yeah, did you know that

(01:56):
some people don't like that? Were like that, like they
don't like queer people? Yeah? Yeah, I think they. I mean,
I think everyone is on the queer spectrum. Even the
people that say they hate they hate it because they
are on it. Yeah. I think that's fairly true. Yeah.

(02:16):
I remember the first time of a gay friend of
mine sat me down, was like, the reason people say
the sexuality is a choice is that for them it's
a choice. Who oh my god, well, how I never
thought of that. That is very very good point. Yeah, friend, Well,
today we're going to talk about some of the queer

(02:38):
people who did something about the people who don't like
queer people. Hell yeah, it will eventually get to Molltop cocktails. Actually,
although this is our first four partner on the show. Um,
it felt timely to talk about this stuff, and I
couldn't find a simple way to do it. So it's
four parts, so it's going me by the end of

(03:00):
So buckle up, strap in, folks. Yeah, today we're going
to talk about how in June nineteen sixty nine, in
Greenwich Village in New York City, someone bit a cop
so hard that the cop had to go to the
hospital and the gay Pride movement was born. Wow, wish
that was me. That is amazing. I know, I want
to bite a cop so hard that he just like

(03:22):
loses an arm. That is amazing, just zombie a cop. Yeah,
today we're gonna talk about motherfucking Stonewall. And by today
I mean in this four part series that will encompass
both this week and next week. You have you heard
much about Stonewall? Yeah, I've heard of it. It's a
thing that was really important. Yeah, it was. It was

(03:43):
a very important thing. And before we get into it,
we're gonna use my favorite thing in the world, context
aka backstory, or as I call it when I'm talking
about my show, to my friend's side quests. Oh wow,
a lot of side quests today, tomorrow, next, Monday and
next Wednesday. It's good to understand the main quest. How

(04:06):
else are I'm going to understand it? I know exactly
that L adds flavor, and I don't know. So there's
two things that regular listeners are probably tired of hearing
me say. First, queer people have always been here. Second,
the ways in which we define things like same sex
attraction and having a gender identity or presentation different from

(04:26):
your sex assigned at birth. Those definitions are socially constructed,
and they change over time. The concepts of homosexuality and heterosexuality,
for example, in the Western context, were invented in the
late nineteenth century, and a lot of who we're going
to be talking about today would not don't map to
today's definitions and labels, or didn't at the time, but

(04:48):
are still alive today, or were alive recently and then
like later talked about it. So it's like we're going
to talk about like a lot of for example, like
drag queens, many of whom would have identified as gay men,
many of whom later identified as trans women. We're going
to talk about transvestites, which is a word that a
lot of people don't use anymore, but a lot of
people used at the time. I used to use for

(05:10):
myself actually before I came out as trans, because I
consider myself across dresser for a very long time who
just happened to have a woman's name and never not
wear women's clothes, you know. So things are different and
they change. That's my that's my background. In our episode
about gay resistance to fascism, that was with you, I think,

(05:30):
wasn't it. I think, yeah, we talked about all the
yeah they ruled everyone should go back and listen to that.
That was a good one. I love being here for
the gay ship, that's share. But yeah. So we talked
about some of the earliest homophile organizations as they might
have called themselves, and we talked about how they were
violently repressed under the Nazis and how they didn't they

(05:53):
also violently unrepressed against the Nazis when they could. We
talked about queer people were putting to camps, and about
how kind of importantly at the end of the war
when the camps were liberated, both the capitalist block and
the Soviet Block immediately through the queer prisoners back into
prison because being gay was illegal and ikey and whatever

(06:17):
that's where we left off. We're going to pick up
that thread with the Cold War nineteen forties America just
after World War Two. It's gonna be a situation that
is going to be completely unfamiliar to the modern audience.
Acceptance of gay gay lifestyles was flourishing in some places,
especially Yeah wow, yeah extus to me. Actually, well, that's

(06:41):
actually kind of one of the things is that, like
we have this way of talking about gayness as if
it was like everything was bad and then someone threw
a brick at a cop at a place called Stonewall
and everything became good, you know. But so acceptance of
gay lifestyles was flourishing in cities, while I'm Arican culture
more broadly was moving in a more conservative direction. So

(07:03):
everything got set up for conflict. So the cops and
all that shit are getting more and more conservative, and
the government's getting more and more conservative. But more and
more gay bars are opening, more and more people are
finding each other, and more and more people are starting
to be like, there's literally nothing wrong with who I
am except for the fact that the cops ain't me.
I mean that sounds like present day, like it sounds
like we're still doing that. So yeah, a number of

(07:25):
fucking just one to one comparisons about what's happening right now.
It's people don't change. It feels like history just repeats
itself or just like stays the same rather even end
and start again. It just like keeps yes sackness, Yeah, totally. Well,
you know, a little tiny micro loops. Right, so we'll

(07:48):
talk about some of this conflict we've all heard of
the Red Scare. Really there were two reds maybe the podcast?
Sorry what if I all thought it was a podcast
is not an actual thing. I'm I'm kidding, I'm kidding. Wait,
what's the podcast? Uh, I've never listened to it. To
be fair, I just I kind of make fun of

(08:08):
it a lot. This is part's a podcast with it's
not really historical. It's just like a it's just a
podcast with two gals. And that's all I'm gonna say
about that, because I don't want to get it all right, Yeah,
fair enough, Well there's I was going to say there's
two and a half Red Scares, but there's actually three
and a half because one of them is a podcast.

(08:30):
The first Red Scare was nineteen seventeen to nineteen twenty
when the US freaked out about the Russian Revolution and
they started deporting the anarchists, which is funny because at
the same time the Russian Bolsheviks also were freaked out
about the anarchists and we're shooting them. Wow. And so
they passed the US past this anti Anarchist Sedition Act

(08:53):
of nineteen eighteen, which is part of why I'm very
mad that people are calling the January six rioters seditionists
because I literally have the word sedition tattooed on my knuckles.
Oh my god, you do, Oh my god, she does.
I'm looking at her knuckles now in the camera. I
did not know you had that tattoo. Yeah, I got

(09:13):
it a while ago. That's hilarious. As so mad when
they started calling anyway um sedition being the crime of
speaking against the government essentially, which is they called they
called January six people that I didn't realize they would
call it. That's not that's stupid, I know. I know.

(09:34):
Also during this Red Scare, there was the Palmer Raids
which made use of UM. Did you know that in
the United States it is still illegal to be a
foreign born anarchist? What about so you can be a
national National National Yeah, nation board are anarch Yeah. Because
of free speech, it's legal to be born in the

(09:54):
US and become an anarchist. But um, there's this law,
the Immigration Act of nineteen oh three that specifically is
like kick out all of the foreign born anarchists. That
is so interesting. I did not know that. It's like
you can be It's the line they draw as far
as where you're born is like anarchy and president that's

(10:15):
what it sounds like. And so it's not enforced anymore,
but it'll be interesting because it's still on the books.
And so anyway, they raid and deport a bunch of people,
and immediately people are like, that's an infringement of free speech.
Even at the time people are like, I don't think

(10:35):
you're allowed to do that. In the government's like we
don't care, you know, and we get it into a bit.
If you want to hear more about this in the
birth control episodes we did last year with Katie Stole,
then you get the mini Red Scare, the half red Scare,
or as I like to call it, or at least
I wrote it into the script, the Red Thrill, because
the thrill feels like a half scare. Right, Oh yeah

(10:57):
it does good. Yeah, good call on that. Thank you,
thank you. This one was exclusive to New York City.
It took place in nineteen between nineteen forty nineteen forty two.
And it's particularly funny that this happened because overall during
these years, there was some other stuff happening in the
world right between. That's why I'm surprised. I mean, I

(11:18):
guess like when you you forget that other stuff was happening, though,
when you only know that it was like World War two,
I forget that there was other stuff happening because it
sounds like the whole world was doing this was in
World War two, because but um, it's interesting to hear
that this was all happening at the same time, I know.
And it's particularly interesting because at the time, the USSR

(11:41):
was the United States's ally. Oh my god, and so
it was like actually a time when like even the
government was like, like, we don't trust communists, but they're
not our enemy. The Nazis are. Well what a time
unless you're in New York City. It's called the rap
Cod Codare Committee. It's a name of two people. Basically,

(12:04):
they investigated the public universities to make sure they didn't
find any pinko's teaching kids, and refusing to testify before
this committee was grounds for immediate firing. And they got
one ex communist to read out fifty four other teachers
and whoa, if you're the word pinko much. I really
liked this word. No you said it, and I was

(12:25):
going to just pretend I what you what you meant,
but please explain it, okay. So pinko is this pejorative
word for communist, and it's it's an old timey word.
It's our like grandparents pejorative word for communist, and it
goes back to nineteen twenty five, I think, um, but
it actually being like pink salons was a way to

(12:46):
talk shit on communist gathering places even before that. And
they used pink because it's for two reasons. One, it's
a softer shade of red, and therefore these are like
the soft communists, the socialists. And so that we can
understand how this ties into why am I talking with
the red scares. If we're talking about anti gayshit they
basically we're calling all the socialists gays. They were being

(13:09):
like these effeminate men, these like pink men. That's so interesting,
and communism is effeminate. Yeah, you know, nothing's effeminate like
seizing the means of production, Yeah, exactly, or like millions
of you charging German tanks. Yeah, I mean like whatever

(13:31):
that is. Gays did that too, but like, yeah, it's interesting.
I did not know that. Yeah. No. And it's like
one of the politicians who liked using the word pinko
in the twenties, I think he would. Basically he had
these quotes about how like these soft handed men they
were working, but they didn't use their hands, you know,
just funny because guys, we know how to use our hands.

(13:53):
And Okay, I know you were thinking, you're thinking, can
Margaret tie the UNI bomber into this supisode? I think
exactly what I was thinking. Actually the answer is yes, wow,
please continue. Yeah, okay, cool. This one I'm gonna be
This one is from my memory of being involved in

(14:14):
social movements and not something I can directly source. Ted
Kazinski the unibomber, he goes to jail, and for a
while a bunch of environmentalists supported him because he was
trying to dismantle industrial civilization and all of that stuff.
But then he wrote this like public letter complaining about
pinko's and one publisher was like, oh, we can't use that.

(14:34):
That's an anti gay word, and Uncle Ted was like, what, No,
it's not about gays. It's an anti communist word. I
hate the left, and while I'm at it, I hate
gay people too, But that's not why I said it.
Oh my god, I did not know that even half it. Yeah,
it's incredible, that's incredible, and I'm paraphrasing this, so please
don't assume me, mister unibomber. That's so funny that like

(14:58):
it's like, no, it's not the hates through the you
think it is. It's the other hatesler or is the same.
I don't know it. Of course I hate that minority,
but that's not what I was saying right now, Yeah, exactly. Yeah,
back to the mini red scare. I just wanted to
talk about pinkos as a word. We should bring it back.
I mean, I maybe other people know about it. I

(15:18):
had never really heard it, So you have educated me.
I'm sure someone else is like me, being like, oh wow,
new word that we can all use. Yep. So it
wasn't illegal to be in the Communist Party this time,
but the main reason they had this mini red scare.
It was pretty much to destroy the teachers union, and

(15:41):
they fired more than four hundred union teachers and blacklisted
them because they were teaching things that they didn't want
them to teach. Yeah, because they like possibly had any
like leftist inclinations at all. And this of course meant
firing the first black faculty member ever hired by a
New York City public college, whose name was Max Jurgan.

(16:01):
And to tie everything into what's happening now in this
case in Florida, he was teaching a class called Negro
History and Culture at City College of New York. So
you know what we're like, nineteen forty to nineteen forty two, okay, Yeah,
so he gets fired basically for teaching black studies. Well,
and also it was also an anti gay panic. The

(16:25):
judge said about why it was important to fire teachers
who teach that being gay is okay, that the court
will quote not tolerate academic freedom being used as a
cloak to promote the popularization in the minds of adolescence
of acts forbidden by the penal law. Penal law. That
was funny. I know what, I know what you need,
but it's funny just to hear it in that the

(16:46):
end of that sentence. Uh yeah, what I said earlier,
history repeats itself in just different clothing. Yep. What I
came up with while writing this was, you know, people
say that history doesn't repeat it ryan times, but then
I actually think it's more like we just keep going
back to the chorus, Yeah, where the verse has changed,

(17:06):
and then the chorus of kill all the minorities keeps
coming on. I love that That's exactly what it is.
It's also it's maybe it's even just like you mess
up and you have to go back to the beginning,
and then you keep like messing up different places, so
you go back to the beginning. Oh my god, civil
rights is groundhog Day. Yeah, exactly. Fuck. The bronx Borough

(17:29):
president said, quote, the colleges would either be godly colleges
American colleges, or they would be closed. Well, good old America.
That was red Scare one point five. Now it's talking
about the big one, Red scare two point zero. Mm.
The second red scare is the one that most people

(17:49):
know about. If someone says the red scare, they probably
mean the second one. This is the one that gets
called McCarthyism right nineteen forty seven to nineteen fifty seven.
It's target was more communist an anarchist this time, but
both red scares went after both. This Red scare, for example,
included the anarchist Charlie Chaplin being forced in exile away
from the US. And I really only include this because

(18:10):
I like leaving threads to other episodes. So if you
want to see the app hear more about that. The
episode of Anti Fascism and Film with Caitlin Durante talks
about that is marketing genius. Thank you, Thank your job. Yeah,
I just get really excited about this, like really intensely
dense web of anyway. No, it's a great way to
just be like this the same the same way that

(18:30):
you're like, I had no idea this is happening. At
the same time, it's good to know that like there's
all these threads that just like, oh, this is all intermingled,
because that's fucking history. It's not just like I don't know,
totally traded somewhere. And also that our struggles have like
always been tied together in all of these ways, right,
like the specifically crysto fascist, like you must be a
godly college thing, the firing of the gay teachers, the

(18:53):
firing of the like the black studies professor, like it's
all been tied together forever. Yeah, I think that's why,
Like when people are shocked about stuff, sometimes it's a
little bit like this has been happening. That's not how
I feel like. It's just like it's not like, how
do we get this way? What happened to people? It's
like we've always been this way. It's just been like

(19:16):
bolstered in certain people because it's been so long. I
don't know if that makes sense. I just think it's like,
I don't know. Yah. For flavors of the same thing, well,
if you want different flavors of the same thing, you
should try American capitalism, where you can go to the
store and buy a million types of oreos, most of

(19:36):
which a vegan. Yeah they they are. And also you
can consume these products and services the support this show. Okay,
we are back, and we're talking about this mass hysteria

(19:56):
about communists take over the US or whatever the House
on American Activities Committee. But and it's famous stuff, and
I'm sure we'll talk about it more sometime, or if
only there was like a podcast that was like about
bad stuff instead. But hmm, get on that. Yeah we should,
we should make a proposal for that. Yeah, I heart

(20:17):
would love it. Yeah, I think it would do. Really
want nothing like it out there. Yeah, So importantly to
our story, the Red Scare has this shadow the Lavender Scare,
which targeted gay folks of all stripes, and as far
as I can tell, it was just as wide reaching
and impactful as the Red Scare in terms of number

(20:38):
of people who were like fired and shit as a result.
Is that is this something that people know about? Or
am I? Am I just a dummy? Like this is
not known about? Okay, because I've never heard that before.
It's that's fascinating. Yeah it um, it doesn't get called
this or anything at the time. It's just happening. It's
just the government fucking up gay people's lives. In two

(20:59):
thousand and four, a guy named David K. Johnson wrote
a book on the whole thing, called the Lavender Scare,
and this kind of cemented the name. Then the name
comes from one of the bigots responsible for this repression.
This one happened to be a Republican. I've run across
Democrats and Republicans, both being his very bipartisan. This guy's
name is Everett Dirkson, and he's famous for being the

(21:21):
Republican who help pass the nineteen sixty four Civil Rights Act,
crossing the party lines to devote the Democrats. He hated
gay people, and he liked to use a somewhat popular
anti gay phrase at the time, and he called gay
men lavender lads. That's kind of sick. I don't think
he means it that way. That's kind of sick. Thanks, dude.

(21:43):
I know I'm not a gay man, so I can't
tell you what slurs to reclaim. But imagine the street
gang called the Lavender Lads. You would want to go
to their parties. You would not want to fucking cross them,
and you wouldn't want to bring your boyfriend because he's
going home with a lavender lad instead of that is
I mean, you can't. I feel like you can't get
mad at that. Like it's all like he chose anything

(22:05):
negative in either of those words. It's all like lavender losers.
It's not like lavender anything bad. It's just like lads. Yeah,
you know, but despite its sick name, the Lavender scare
was a bad thing. Right. Its main task was to
root out and fire all the gay folks in the government,
in the military. And I don't like the government or

(22:28):
the military, but that's still fucked up. In the first
three years of the Scare alone, four hundred and twenty
people were fired from government jobs on suspicion of homosexuality.
Seventeen hundred others had their applications denied, four thousand, three
hundred and eighty people were kicked out of the military.
That's so, how does who's deciding who's gay and who's not. Well,

(22:50):
this is that's part of the thing about anti gay repression,
and we see this also with what the Nazis did,
is that when you decide to go against gay people,
you can call anyone gay. It's really hard to prove that,
Like you don't like scissorin, you know, like it's just
like your word against theirs. And if the person that

(23:11):
is calling you gay has more power than than you're
fucked even if you are or are not gay. Yeah, yeah,
and so many people's so I mean, obviously it's a
lot of people, but like it's just crazy that there's
always someone deciding something for everyone else. I don't know
if that makes sense. It's just like we there are

(23:32):
so many huge decisions and all throughout history that is
like one or two people, just like some dude deciding
on something. I always think about that when it comes
to like fucking like taxes or something. Yeah, someone someone
chose this, you know what I mean, Like someone shows
this and now we're suffering because of it. But anyway, no, no,
I like some of the markers that they used to

(23:54):
determine if someone was gay and should therefore be fired
was being unmarried and talking gay. Rude. Yeah, I mean
kind of I relate, but rude, I know, I know. Also,
around this time, I think it was the late forties.
This didn't end up in the script. It almost didn't.
I So now I'm my memory might be faulty. But

(24:16):
around this time, the first Kinsey report comes out, and
these are these studies about the percentage of In this case,
it was a study of like several thousand men, and
it was like representative of the US population, which is
obviously not true. But of these several thousand men in
the late forties, only fifty percent were I had only

(24:36):
had heterosexual sexual experiences, only fifty percent. Yeah, So in
the nineteen forties, there were medical studies saying that half
of the US population is somewhere on the gay spectrum.
That's incredible. Yeah, And I think about this a lot
because I'm down with the way that we currently have
like gender as an identity and stuff like that. I'm

(24:58):
fine with being a trans woman whatever, you know. But
when you didn't have these identities, people probably were like
maybe doing more fucking of because there's like less like
because now if you are a man, you're gay. Yeah,
but before you probably weren't gay unless you were mostly

(25:21):
having sex with men, or you were a bottom or
all kinds of other shit, you know, right, I mean,
like all throughout history, you see, at least, like I
always paid attention to the close relationships that men had
with each other. Like even like my father his like
pictures from like his college days, Like men like loved
each other like it just like a different more like touchy,

(25:44):
Like they never would think like no homo kind of way.
They just like that's just how they operated until probably
it was labeled as something that made them feel shame. Yeah, totally.
And it's such a fucking shame because there's this like
massive problem in the US at least of like um
loneliness among males, and like, yeah, I'm sure a lot

(26:07):
of it is that you're not allowed to open up
about your emotions to anyone except the one woman you're
dating or whatever, which it puts in sorry if that
I know. And then even so I feel bad for
the one woman you're dating who suddenly you're a fucking
free therapist and the only person you talked to anyway,
the lavenger. It's hard. Sorry, no, I mean it's funny

(26:27):
because it's like but I'm kidding, and you know what
I mean. Yeah, yeah, And the and the reason it's
hard is patriarchy and homophobia. You know, like we we
all have the same oppressor. It's patriarchy, you know, a phobia.
And like so the government had an excuse about why
I was going after gays. It was really that they
just like didn't like gays. But it was the idea

(26:49):
that closeted homosexuals since they were hiding a shameful secret,
were vulnerable to blackmail and might like give information about
government ship to the the russ skis interesting. Okay, that's
a loophole I ever heard one? Okay, yeah, yeah, one
Democratic politician put it this way, it is generally believed

(27:10):
that those who engage in overt acts of perversion lack
the emotional stability of normal persons. Or McCarthy himself, who
basically was like, communism and homosexuality are both men. I'm paraphrasing.
Communism and homosexuality are both mental and balances and are
kind of the same thing. It was McCarthy's take on it,
which is funny because I was thinking this through. Okay,

(27:31):
it's a real problem if people are have to hide
the fact that they're gay or be shamed by their society,
and therefore they're vulnerable to blackmail. What if instead of
firing them all, you create a society where people aren't
afraid to be outed because no one cares. Yeah. Yeah,

(27:52):
I'm just I can't. I'm still kind of like processing
everything that you said about I don't know. I was
stuck on the fact that like people were gay and
then they were like in their heads, you know what
I mean, Like the clips. But the FBI and cops
kept list of suspect homosexuals and their hangouts. The United
States Postal Service tracked where gay mail got sent and

(28:13):
passed that information along to the government, and even though
the whole like main thing was to fire people who
worked for the government, this led to this massive anti
gay backlash. Cities banned cross dressing time as a flat circle,
bars were rated and shut down. Professors lost their jobs.
All this shit happened by nineteen fifty three, President Eisenhower

(28:36):
signed Executive Order ten zero whatever one zero four five zero,
which included quote sexual perversion on a list of bad
qualities that were bad for government employees. Wow, and more
gay folks were fired from their jobs and some killed themselves. Yeah,
that's tragic. One fired employee his name was Frank Kameni

(29:00):
and he's today's first protagonist. Hell yeah, okay, Frank, let's go. Yeah.
He was born a Jewish parents in New York in
nineteen twenty five, which a lot of people who end
up as protagonists on this show are Jewish New Yorkers
from this era. Hell I love that. Yeah, love that.
By seventeen, he's like mom, Dad, I'm an atheist. In

(29:23):
nineteen forty one, he ships off and is part of
one of the best things humans have ever done, kill
the shit out of the Nazis. He comes home, he
finishes undergrad he gets his doctorate in astronomy. Then in
the fifties, I think nineteen fifty six, he gets arrested
for homosexual behavior. And this is part of AM I
think this happens in LA. There is this thing that

(29:45):
the cops would do where basically anyone who's suspected to
being gay, they would like and trap them, like since
I'm going to be like, yeah, what's up? You want
fuck in person? Be like oh yeah, yeah maybe, and
they'd be like maybe it's enough. You're going down, motherfucker,
you know right. I think in this case, literally someone
came up at a fucking bus stop and grabbed his
dick like groped him, and then the cops arrested him

(30:07):
for having his dick groped. Huh that's curious. Yeah, it's
like not my favorite thing that's ever happened. Um. Yeah.
In nineteen fifty seven, he's hired for the Army map service.
But then they're like, because he's an astronomer and he
makes maps, I guess he's related somehow. I'm not smart
enough to totally get it. And they're like, oh, you

(30:30):
got arrested for doing a gay thing. Never mind, fuck off,
and they fire him, and they blacklist him from all
employment in the federal government. This fucking war hero doctor
at astronomer who wants to work in the public sector
because this is part of it. Like my grandfather worked
in the public sector. He was you know, worked for
the Navy and shit, and is not how to get rich.

(30:53):
It just isn't like the people who do public like
public servant work a fucking doing it because they care
about it. And I guess he really cared about the stars.
Oh until this point, our guy Frank, he's like this
upstanding citizen, right, But they kick him out, so he sues.

(31:15):
So we lost, so we took it to a higher court.
He tried to take it the Supreme Court and they
were like, now we're good. We don't give a shit. Yeah,
So he becomes a gay rights radical and he coined
the phrase gay is good, which was controversial among gay
rights activists at the time. Oh why what Yeah, because
this is like one of the kind of complicated things
we'll touch on a little bit. But I is basically

(31:37):
a lot of the gay rights movement before the forties
and fifties, and even during the fifties and early sixties,
it was very assimilationist, and it was and some of
it was even like we are a bit ashamed that
this is the way we are, and we would like
to be better, and you know kind of like we
would like to be straight or if not, we would

(31:57):
like version therapy kind of, yeah, or at least like
except that we're deviance and be ashamed and stuff. You know. Yeah,
And he was one of the first like really prominent
people being like, no, there's literally nothing wrong with the
way I am. And he was fairly assimilationist and stuff,
but he fucking did a lot of really important good work.

(32:19):
And there's kind of these like way of looking back
at this history and I'm I will do this a
little bit by accident throughout here, where I think that
the direct action stuff was a lot more effective. And
so this assimilation is stuff where they just want to
be part of mainstream society I'm like less interested in.
But it's really worth understanding that they did a fuck
ton of work. And so his name won't come up

(32:42):
a ton of the rest throughout the episode, but basically
everything that isn't a riot, Frank is there and helping
make it happen. I love you, Frank. Yeah, Frank is
a good dude. Yeah, he just wants to talk about
stars and learn about stars, and they didn't let him
do that. You know. Yeah, that's a like sorry, you

(33:05):
like dick too much to study the stars. Yeah, that's
off air. It's just like it's also just like such
a very specific expertise, you know what I mean, Like
did they really have a big line of people that
wanted to do that, Like, yeah, go work for the
map service. Yeah. The lavender scarce slowed down in the sixties,

(33:26):
but the damage was done. In the nineteen seventies, gay
people were allowed to become spies for the Imperial nightmare
called US government again and in nineties. I love that
they're allowed to do stuff that's like bad purely, I
like purely would benefit them and like put the gay
people at risk of like danger, like totally. It's like
like no gays in the middle, like like, yeah, you

(33:48):
care about whether you're cannon fodder likes anyway. In nineteen
ninety five, Clinton signed an executive order saying that gay
should be allowed at the highest level of security clearance,
and then John Kerry, when he was Secretary of the State,
put a public apology on the State Department website about
the Lavender Scare. Basically within days of Trump's inauguration, the

(34:11):
apology came down. Oh my god, it was like on
January twenty third, people noticed that it was just suddenly
missing from the website. That's crazy. I know, someone is
like tracking that over the century, just being like up down, yeah,
edited down, that's crazy. Yeah, the Lavender Scare isn't often forgotten.

(34:33):
Peace of the context for gay rights in the US,
there's this attitude that's like, yeah, as we talked about
this attitude when it was the Dark Ages, when everyone's homophobic,
and then the gay rights changed all of that. But
even though it wasn't good for queer folks before the
Lavender Scare, it was a specific and intentional destruction of
the power of homosexual people done by the federal government

(34:54):
and local governments, as well as the usual random bigots.
And I think we need to understand it from that
point of view. So let's talk about some early gay
rights organizations. Hell yeah, who all had sick fucking names.
I can't fucking quit. I mean, lavender lads, it's already great,
and that wasn't even their choice, I know, I know, Yeah, Okay,

(35:14):
for the most part. The idea that all gays are
communists or whatever is bullshit. Gays or people, people have
all kinds of political leanings. Um, you know, in our
Nazi Gays Versus Nazis episode we talked about his name
is rom Right, the gay Nazi who got murdered and
all that shit. But one of the first groups, maybe
like the first it's kind of called the first group

(35:36):
for gay rights in the US, but whatever, Yeah, who
knows what the first yeah? Yeah, it was formed by
a gay communist hell yeah. And the first gay magazine
was in Germany. We talked about this before. It was
made by an anarchist because political organizers know how to
get shit started. And so this guy, his name is
Harry Hey, and he was a Mary Hey. I know, great, Yeah,

(36:02):
he was a Marxist labor organizer and he's the He
was in the Communist Party and he worked hard in
fights against anti Semitism and anti Jim Crow, which is
credit where it to do what the Communist Party was
up to during the Red Scare. That's probably part of
why there was a Red Scare. Is the fucking Communist Party. Again,
I'm not the biggest fan. They were fighting hard against
racism as one of the only organized groups of people doing. Yeah.

(36:27):
Harry knew he was gay from a young age. He
tried being straight for a while. He went to the
doctor and the doctor was like, you know, I've helped
a lot of you people. Get over it. People, you
just need to marry a lady and buy Year five.
You're just gonna fucking love it. So he married this
communist lady and it didn't work out. Eventually they get separated.

(36:50):
I don't think on bad terms. He starts a gay
right gay rights group and it's called Mattachine and it
could not have a gayer origin for its name. I
love I can't wait to know what that means. Harry
Hay was into workers education, which is basically popular education.
He was like, I'm gonna go teach the fucking working
class stuff. But instead of being like, here's like how

(37:11):
to balance your checkbook, he's like, let's teach you about
medieval French costume in theater. And there was Oh that
is so gay, I know, sokay, I love it. There
was a sixteenth and seventeenth century thing. Um, it's more
early Renaissance as much as is late Medieval, but I

(37:31):
hate typing the word renaissance, so because I can't spell it,
so I'm gonna. And it's called mask the style of
dancing with a que, not a k. And these are
elaborate pageants with singing and dancing and costumes and shit,
and they end up courtly like for rich people. But
the rich people are incapable of inventing their own entertainment,

(37:52):
so they steal ours. So there was this mask group
called I can't pronounce French, so siete Madachine, who gets
its name from an from an Arabic word madachine. It
comes from an Arab Arabic word that means mask wears,
which was a more a Moorish costumed and masked sword dancing.

(38:12):
It's not the word, isn't madaschine. I should have written
down the Arabic word. Um, It's okay. I can imagine
the origins of it, just based on like the sill,
like the sounds in it. Okay, manash, I don't know
what I'll think of it, okay. And so that because
there's this Moorish costumed and masked sword dancing called Madishine

(38:33):
or called something like Madishine, to quote Jonathan Katz from
gay American history. These societies lifelong secret fraternities of unmarried
townsmen who never performed in public, unmasked aka probably gay man.
We're dedicated to going out into the countryside and conducting
dances and rituals during the feast of fools at the

(38:55):
vernal equinox. Sometimes these dance rituals or masks were peasant
protests against depression, with the maskers and the people's name
receiving the brunt of a given lord's vicious retaliation. So
we took the name Madachine because we felt that we
nineteen fifty gays were also a masked people unknown and
anonymous who might become engaged in morale building and helping

(39:15):
others and ourselves through struggle to move towards total redress
and change. So they found seventeenth and sixteenth century gay
French social revolutionaries who are into singing and dance, and
that's amazing. Yeah. I think like it's one of those
words that like, if you know what it means, you're

(39:37):
like wow, yes, Yeah. If you don't, you're just like wow,
that's intense sounding, I know, because it was like a
machine gun or something, you know, it sounds like machine
gun if it have machine gun was sounding like a
machine gun like you Yeah, yeah, sorry, that's that was
again high. But so they start the Matachine Society first

(39:57):
in Los Angeles, and according to Harry Hey, they didn't
call themselves gay or homosexual. They called themselves temperamental. All.
He has a quote, all us temperamental guys, we should
organize I mean big safe. I mean I love that.
I know. There's this quote from Harry about why he
did it, why he started this group that I like.

(40:18):
I was an older brother, so I had to do
a lot of things. First. My father was a self
made man and he would beat me senseless. But he
was a Scotsman and stubborn. I'm his son, and I'm
stubborn too. I go on being stubborn. If you, one
of the fellow temperamental guys, if you have to wait
until I can make it safe, okay, I'll make it safe.

(40:39):
And if I have to use myself as a battering ram,
I'll do that too the best I can. I'll tell
you a deep, dark secret underneath that facade. I'm a
terrified little sissy, just like everyone else. But I never
let it show. Well, I fucking like that's like, that's
like poetry. Yeah, yeah, that's beautiful, and that's what we need.

(41:00):
We need this bravery and we owe it what we
have to the fucking human battering rams that came before us. Yeah. Well,
his partner who helped him start it romantically and in
starting this was a fashion designer named Rudy Gernreich who
was an Austrian Jewish refugee from the Nazis who later
went on to invent the thong bathing suit, the first

(41:23):
woman's swimsuit without a built in braw. So anytime you're
swimming in a swimsuit without a built in bra, you
can thank a gay Jewish probably communist, or at least
dating a Communist refugee from the Nazis who started the
first gay rights organization in the United States. Talk about
a power couple. That is so sick, big shit. I

(41:44):
love that. And they only dated for a couple of years,
but he kept funding it for a time. Yeah, no, totally. Yeah,
And his whole thing as a fashion designer was to
get rid of the idea that nudity was shameful and
even inherently sexual, and he designed a lot of unisex
clothing later in life, he got really into making soup
he likes, stopped being a fashion designer and just like

(42:05):
made soup recipes. What an endearing man. Oh my gosh.
And Rudy helped start Madachine Society with his boyfriend. Gays
are the best, really. Yeah. For the first few years
Madachine Society was really fucking neat. In La gay men
were getting routinely entrapped out went out cruising, this kind
of stuff we were talking about, you know, cops would

(42:26):
solicit them for sex and then arrest them for lude behavior.
Madachine fought one of these cases, I think the first
time anyone fought one of these, but I'm not one
hundred percent on that, and they won. They deadlocked the
jury despite the defendant admitting his homosexuality. That's an improvement
or like a progress if you want to call it that. Yeah.
Madachine Society here and then in New York did a

(42:49):
lot of work to specifically stop the entrapment of gay
men by cops. Most of its founders were Communists anyway,
so they started in a similar way to the Illegal
Communist Party. They had like cells, oaths of secrecy, multi
tiered membership like all that, like revolutionary organization you hear
about in like twentieth century shit. But there's a problem

(43:12):
with that style of organization. They were infiltrated, like right
the fuck away. Within six months, every chapter ended up infiltrated,
and they never figured out who any of the infiltrators were. Wow,
So I will say that the twentieth century cell structure
of resistance is outdated for a reason. Wait, so infiltrated

(43:33):
by like, yeah, maybe local cops as well. I actually
I'm not actually certain whether there's local cops or FEDS.
So they're infiltrating to like dismantle and like at least
provide information on it. Well, but then the Madachian society,
Actually I wonder if these are related. They probably aren't.
What you just said about the infiltration pretty quickly got

(43:55):
really normy and middle class and assimilationist. Early Madaschian goals
were to basically unify homosexuality and see society dramatically transformed
as a result. Soon enough people were like, actually, I
just wanted to be legal to get my dick wet,
which is I'm sure how they phrased it. And so
they kicked out the founders, including Harry Harry it might

(44:18):
be that driven out is more accurate. I've read a
couple the ways of relating it. It seems like maybe
they all resigned after basically they were told like, get
the fuck out of here, and so they went a similationist.
I'm not trying to entirely shit on them or anything,
but like from and apparently, one thing I heard was
that they would like invite psychologists to come to meetings
to talk to everyone about how they were like sick

(44:39):
and how therapy could help. And it was like and
they wanted to, you know, they wanted to change the
laws to make it more okay, but they also like
were like whatever, I mean, that definitely sounds like an
infiltrator tactic in my opinion, right, I don't know, it's possible,
I don't ye. Or it's just like it was so

(44:59):
hard to keep up being radical that like they had
to water it down to the most simple thing. Yeah,
it's it's one of those to me, or like, I
think a lot of things get started by political radicals.
Both cultural things and political things get started by political
radicals and then become popular and then as people join it,
they're there for the like esthetics or they're there for

(45:21):
in this case, the like society of men, and they're
not interested in the thing that started at the seed.
So the machine society adopted non confrontation as a strategy,
and as far as I'm concerned, non confrontation as a
non strategy, because strategy is how you do confrontation. Yeah,

(45:41):
never works. Also, yeah, fucking Quaker ship does not fucking work. No, no.
And when the Quakers did do good shit, it was
when they would like smuggle slaves to freedom. Not yeah
they did stuff, yeah, yeah, exactly, confrontational shit that got
them killed. Yeah, they were just like pacifists forever they
had to actually do something. Yeah, I don't know. But

(46:01):
and what's interesting is when it got more assimilationist, the
membership actually dropped. People were like, just not as interested,
I guess. And I think this happens a lot. You know,
people who are like, oh, we'll reach more people by
being watered down, and people are like, no, the spiciness
is what fucking drew us here, right, It's not cool
to be in that group anymore. It's like NORMI yeah, yeah,

(46:24):
Harry Hay He gave an interview in nineteen ninety eight
with the progressive that I learned a lot from. If
you're feeling like reading some fucking wise words, I think
this is where the battering ram quote comes from too.
Just look up Harry Hay the Progressive. So what he
said about all of this assimilation of stuff quote assimilation
is the way you excuse yourself. It absolutely never worked

(46:46):
at all. You may not think you are noticeable, but
they know who you are. They know you're a degenerate,
and they've never forgotten that. You won't find out until
the push comes to shove, and then you'll find out
fast because they're respectable in the eyes of God and
you aren't. And so the journalist in response, I love
the way this guy talks. I mean, Harry is a
fucking poet. Yeah, that's his words are like they make

(47:08):
me feel things, yeah, and I don't feel anything. So
and so the journalist is like, no, no, no, like, look,
we've we've made it. You know, which is funny is
nineteen ninety eight we don't have a gay marriage yet, right,
And he's like, no, we've assimilated whatever they am not
quoting in paraphrasing. No, we've assimilated. Whenever they want, they
can rewrite the laws and fuck us up, or to

(47:30):
quote him, if people become frightened, if something all of
a sudden goes wrong in our economy, and it can,
and the preachers start blaming the sin around them on you,
saying that God's judgment is on you. Little by little,
they haven't anything to hang on to except that, and
they'll listen, just as they did in Germany. It may
take four or five years, but it'll work well. Which

(47:52):
is that's haunting to hear spelled out that way? Yeah,
because that's what's happen. Yeah, I mean, it's like fucking
predicting the future. Yeah. It's also just so silly that
the people, like the journalist in nineteen ninety eight was like,
we did it because I'm pretty sure, like note president
even said the word gay or homosexual until like Obama

(48:15):
or something. Right, it was just like I have to
look that up. I'm pretty positive. It was like in
recent times like the hold on, well, while we're looking
up the truth, you can learn the truth from these products,
say services, and we're back. Yes I was correct. President

(48:38):
Obama was the first president to use the word gay
in in inaugural address to reference sexual orientation, So fuck yeah,
that was like ten years after that interview ish, probably
more because he was probably president for a minute, but
was an inauguration would have been two thousand and nine,
so yeah, oh yeah, okay, yeah, unless he did any

(49:00):
second inauguration. But no, I think Harry Hayes's words going
back to like the actual crux of that stuff before
the break, it's I don't know, it's it's really it's
really frightening to see it all spelled out so correctly
and so scary. It's it's scary to just to read

(49:22):
and hear and then it's happening. Yeah, it's just like
I don't know, it drives me insane. No, no, and
that you know. But it's like, okay, so the lavender
scare sucked, right, but it wasn't Nazi death camps, and
so I think that we need to look at the
bad that's coming. Couldn't be somewhere on a spectrum. Part

(49:42):
of where we end up on that spectrum is like
how much we all get together and fight, you know,
like all of us, like who are marginalized or people
who care about people are marginalized, how much we work
together to stop it. I think we can. We can
have some control. I don't know. I mean, we only try.

(50:02):
I think. What really scares me is that the technology
is just like at an astronomical place that it wasn't
at before. Like people are doing deep fakes of drag
shows where drag queens are like like I don't know,
doing like doing things in front of children that they
weren't doing, and like, I don't know, there's there's all

(50:22):
these deep fakes that I'm saying there aren't actually true.
One in particular was like this, all these parents and
their children are sitting on the floor and it was
apparently an event with a drag queen reading a story,
but instead they've made a deep fake with them like
dancing kind of like risque and all that stuff, and
it looks real. Yeah, And that's what's scary to me.

(50:44):
It's like, unless you were told, like pay more attention
to this, this isn't actually happening. People are gonna like
see that and like run with it. And that's what's
scary to me. It's like the control we have is
so fickle. That's that's I don't know. No, I mean, yeah,
I sorry, that was just it's gonna be messy. And

(51:05):
the other future is gonna be fucking complicated. That's what
that just means. How that's just like emphasizes how important
it is to actually like fight the good fight and
like not give it up because then the fucking weirdos
are gonna win. Yeah, hateful of meanis hateful Meanis I
really like that? Um? Because I don't want to. I

(51:27):
don't want to call them weirdos. I think weirds are great.
And I said hateful so well. The temperamental folks of
the Matachine Society, Yeah, they keep going and they do
a lot of work, building connections with other groups. Frank Kameny,
the guy, the astronomer guy, he gets involved actually before

(51:48):
the split, UM, and he starts the DC chapter and
he starts pushing to get DC sodomy laws changed in
nineteen sixty three, starts pushing. It takes thirty years. The
laws against sodomy in the District of Columbia weren't taken
off the books until nineteen ninety three. But he worked
at it the whole time, right, because I don't want
to be like earlier. I was like, Oh, they just

(52:09):
want to get their dicks wet, Like people should be
allowed to get their dicks with that is like one
of the base human desires that approximately fifty percent of
the population has. And like anyway, so the founders who left,
including Harry, they go on to start another group called
One Incorporated, which is less metal of a name but
is fucking weird. One Incorporated, Like, Okay, it's kind of vanilla.

(52:34):
One Comma Incorporated, I know, but it's vanilla, but it's
like almost like creepy. The number one spelled out or
the number one spelled out, yeah spelled out Okay, and
One Incorporated let women in actually Mattershian Society was letting
women in by this point too, I think. And One
Incorporated they found the first LGBT center in the US basically,
which is their office. It's very similar to what later

(52:57):
became LGBT social Centers essentially. And in nineteen fifty three
they published the first pro gay US magazine. It was
called One, which is a fucking culty name, no shade,
but that is fucking culty. They got the name from
the fact that gays referred to each other as one

(53:19):
of us, huh and interesting. Their magazine got banned from
being mailed in nineteen fifty three, same year that it
made because it was obscene and it had an article
about gay men and straight marriages and that was what
was obscene, apparently, And they sued and five years later

(53:41):
they won the right to mail their magazine. So the
entire fucking fifties, but the place that One incorporated got
its money. This is one of my favorite stories of
all of this. I'd never heard of this guy. There's
this transman philanthropist. His name is read Ericson. Read Ericson.

(54:02):
He you know, he inherited his dad's company and he
invested in real estate and a success successful business man,
and he you know, made a bunch of money. He
gave a bunch of money away his legal transition. Uh
you know, he's a trans transmasculin person. Helps set precedent
in Louisiana in the fifties about how to get your
ID change all that shit. But he also used the
fact that he was rich to be weird, which is

(54:24):
objectively what you should do when you are rich. The
only thing you should do when you have money is
to do that, yeah, be fucking weird, yeah, and help people.
But you know, yeah, yeah, well he did both. And
that's what's so cool about him. Like yeah. I mean, like,
I'm sure his businesses did bad things, but but he
was really good to his pet leopard named Henry. Repeat,

(54:47):
what were time? His pet leopard named Henry Henry? Yeah?
Oh my god, Yes, I mean I heard you that
time for a real but I needed to hear it back. Yeah,
we're time. Yeah, Okay, that's that's a rich ass think
if I've ever heard of. That's just that's something you
would only do with an obscene amount of money. Yeah,
it's got a fucking pet leopard named Henry. Yeah, who
came with him everywhere, including on airplanes. No, I assume

(55:11):
they were a private jet. I assume it was a
private jet. That's a well trained leopard. I mean, in
my head, like the leopard fights back eventually and like
eats him by. This is just like the kind of
animal revenge story that probably never happened. Friends for life.
What it feels really good? Yeah? No, maybe it's like
Calvin and Hobbs, they were like close. Oh um, I
don't know, I don't really treated is he a leopard?

(55:33):
Now he's a tiger? On? Oh he's a tiger okay, sorry,
you know my mind for a second. Um, oh my god, yeah. No. Um.
The other thing he did was financed a ton of
LGPT stuff, including one incorporated and various gender identity clinics
throughout the country. I think more or less, if you
were a trans person in the nineteen fifties and sixties,

(55:57):
it was read Ericson who was paying the people who
were helping take care of you. That's pretty cool. They published,
He financed a ton of information and counseling resources for
trans people. They published pamphlets about how to access resources,
all that shit. And then he died. How every in

(56:19):
nineteen ninety two, he was in his seventies and he
was a fugitive from justice from the US for drug
charges because he used drugs recreationally, and so he was
hiding out in Mexico and that's where he died. That's
just the fact that he used drugs recreationally and that
was what made him go into hiding is one depressing, Yeah,

(56:39):
but two, I mean, seventiesel, it's a long life. It's
longer than most. So now he did great, he did.
He did a lot. He did a lot. If you're
going to be a capitalist, be read Ericson, yes. And
if you're going to get a leopard and help people. Yeah,
that's all you can do. Yeah. And also I would argue,
I think if you're a rich guy with a pet leopard,
your us of dying in Mexico as a fugitive go
up to eighty. Yeah. Yeah, yeah, that's so. Uh. I

(57:07):
don't know. I want to happen to that leopard. I
wonder what the leopard's name was. I'm getting off a
tangent just because I'm imagining this man like with a
leopard next to him. Wait, the leopard's name was Henry.
Oh you did tell me? God damn, my brain is
really on display in this episode, and I want everyone
to take pity on me. I know someone else is
out there that is as dumb as I am. So

(57:29):
I'm representing that one person. Both Mashing and One Incorporated
provided material support for another group, the first lesbian political
organization in the US, which had another sick fucking name,
The Daughters of belitis Um sometimes the Daughter of Bliss.
It's sometimes called d OB or the Daughters. And I'll

(57:49):
tell you what the name comes from. On Wednesday. Oh
what a Cliffhanker. That was great. Thanks, they have to
come back. I know you're gonna need to know where
the daughter can't google? Thank God forbid. Don't google until Wednesday,
yeah or at all. Yeah, but what people should google

(58:12):
is sharene UNEs. No, No, you shouldn't. Don't do that.
But you can follow me on the internet if you
want to. My Twitter is shiro Hero six six six
and my Instagram is just shiro Hero. I'm around sometimes.
That's that's about it. Have you ever googled your name
plus controversy? No, but now I will. I haven't either.

(58:38):
All right, well, ye see you all. Oms As to
plug things, I have another podcast. It's called live like
Doorld's Dyne. If you think things are bad, I do too.
I have a podcast about how to get prepared and
get together with your friends. Don't live like Doorld's Dyne.
We'll see you on Wednesday. Cool People Who Did Cool
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(58:59):
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