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Electronical program number one full electronical program number one full program. The following program is intended for an adult audience. It deals with the subject and contains language which may offend some viewers of. The book and. There's no way you can take people and say no you're not going to be part of this world because we know that we were born we have a right to be looking. For. The. Real faggots to them. No matter which organization we may belong to. Him. The room was. A low. I'm Michael Boyle welcoming you to the first in a series of weekly
programs called electronical a word we coined to describe our goal a chronicle of human events using an electronic form television a magazine to be watched during the coming weeks and months we will look at ideas and questions that may prove uncomfortable or touching or even funny. We want for 10 to explore all the possible aspects of our topics and a half an hour. But we will search for new understanding by examining public issues through the eyes of the people involved in and affected by them. Our inaugural program involves a sensitive and often explosive issue gay and lesbian rights. In April of 1978 national attention was focused on one of the Twin Cities when voters in St. Paul approved overwhelmingly the withdrawal of the so-called gay rights section from the city charter Human Rights Amendment. In the subsequent year and a half there have been a series of protest demonstrations in both cities. Incidents of harassment and assaults on homosexuals have been reported with regularity. Three
homosexuals have been murdered. The withdrawal of gay rights by St. Paul voters was appealed to the state Supreme Court which said in so many words we won't comment on whether the voters action was right or wrong. But the voters did have the right to make the decision they did. And in St. Paul it is today legal to discriminate against people on the basis of sexual or affectional preference. Throughout this week homosexual men and women from all over the country will be going to Washington to protest what they see as the erosion of their rights. Some of them will come from the Twin Cities which in the past year have witnessed tensions between homosexuals and the straight world comedienne and lesbian rights activist Robin Tyler tells us what to expect. I think what you can expect is a lot of people saying what are they doing. I don't want to call out how many numbers are going to be I know that they were talking in terms of a hundred thousand people. I'm hoping we have killed a pope of the pope.
Certainly our issues are better. I think what we're going to show them is that we are strong and that we're not going to take it anymore and I think there are going to be a little more afraid to tell you I'll tell you why I'm doing it. I can't answer for the whole march. If 10 to 12 percent of the little kids growing up now are going to be gays and they are going to be lesbians. I don't want them to grow up with what we had to grow up with being called faggot and dyke and Fairy and queer and freak I'm out to save our children because they're our children. And they're going to happen to them they're not going to do to them what they did to us. So I'm on a real save my children campaign and I'm also doing it for me because it feels great to fight back to have cars outside of yourself to have cost of something you believe in. It's it's it's the most uplifting wonderful fulfilling thing. So my life is fantastic. So I'm going to Washington to show that they can't run us over anymore. And also to show them that they're not going to do it to our next generation. They're just not going to do it. If you don't get the number of people you are hoping that you get is this going to be a
setback for the movement. You know I'll tell you something. I know that numbers matter depressed but even with press mostly they lie about numbers. I think what's important is that people care enough to organize and whether they want people in the streets or not the 1980s say hello to the streets again because people are going to be out on the streets over the gas situation I mean I had a dollar and I went in to a gas station I said Will a dollar get me let me get out and sniff the pump in San Francisco when there were gay rights demonstrations. Gay and lesbian rights demonstrations after a sentence was handed down in the Harvey Milk murder. There was violence lots of it very visible. Is there a possibility that this will happen in Washington. So what the question is is are we going to stand up and fight for rights. And I certainly I'm not looking for a fight but I certainly will not never allow anyone to run me over again ever. I'm a survivor.
On this program we're going to ask two basic questions. How has the 1978 St. Paul initiative vote affected homosexuals in the 18 months that have passed and perhaps more significantly should the civil and human rights of any group of citizens be put to a vote of the people. Our first story deals with three homosexuals the two women were recently fired from their jobs. Now they can't prove it was because they are lesbians but they are convinced it is so. The man was beaten and robbed by another man who kept calling him faggot and queer. These people and in fact every homosexual with whom we've talked to feel they have never received their human rights and that the St. Paul vote only served to legalize that discrimination. When I walk down a street I'm aware of what I have on. I'm aware if I have shoes that I can run in I'm aware of which way the traffic is going. I'm aware of who's in front of me and who's behind me. I'm aware of how much traffic there is I'm aware of what time of the day or night it is. I'm aware if I'm walking or from walking to my car
or if I'm walking to a bus or where I'm going wrong that's wrong. It's really important to know where we're going and what we're going to get there. You know it's a feeling of being in control. Part of this world. I'm an intimate active. Very visual sometimes goofing sometimes great part of our world and that's why the referendum probably just won't work. There's no way you're going to take people and say no you're not going to be part of this world because we know that we were born we have a right to be a homo for you bitch queer Dyke lezzie pervert. Those are words that have that have been oppressive for homosexuals for you know for god knows how long those words are so hard for us even to swallow because for so many years there's been stereotype that lesbian is bad dirty I had to work off your ravenous terms before you know before a human would see and I am a lesbian
was rough. I mean I was saying all that God that junk that I've been taught to me that was that was dirty and something to be ashamed of. The real problem was that I was gay people have. It is based on ignorance ignorance and the straight community about what Dana says and about what gay people are and the primary thing is that gay people are no different from any other human being that they have the same kind of needs wants problems and concerns that any other person has. And it's lonely. That's a damn lonely because all yeah all the people I have to talk to are those people that are in the same position. This is who I am and and I'm proud of who I am and I'm being told of by all sides. Be ashamed of who you are. I mean say you're part of the small city and I have I'm relate related to a lot of people just like everybody else the same and so
I don't know you talk to. There isn't much room. You don't have the right to keep me from wearing what I want to wear. You don't have the right to keep me from walking out on the street at night. You don't have the right to keep me from walking on the street during the day. You don't have the right to keep me from not going to your church. From not worshipping your God from not going to your shopping centers. You don't have the right to force me into what you think you need me to be so that you'll feel good about your own bigotry. You don't have that right. I'm not going to give it to you. Last year when the St. Paul initiative was in the news backers of the gay rights repeal effort warned voters that homosexuals schoolteachers could be dangerous. Emotions run very high over whether homosexuals ought to have any contact with impressionable children. Many favoring the repeal argue that schools ought to have the legal right to dismiss or refuse
employment to teachers who are either admitted to being or were discovered to be homosexual. That argument seems to have been crucial and convincing. The St. Paul vote was 2 to 1 for repeal. A lesbian teacher who spoke out against the repeal of sense left the Twin Cities a male teacher recently lost a legal battle when the court ruled it could not interfere with the Catholic schools position banning homosexuals from teaching. But many heterosexual parents are obviously concerned about the prospect of their children being in close contact with homosexual teachers. Our next story is about an openly homosexual man whose job involves dealing with lots of people many of them are children. This is an A-plus from me. No more. Do you. Think Muslim live in Minnesota. My work is is is really important to me. But of those thing that's very important to me as people and as relating the excitement that I feel about the natural world to people around me. So essentially what the job of the naturalist is as opposed to other kinds of biologists is that you're a biologist
communicator. You're a biologist educator you can start with them young before they've started develop a lot of myths and fears about what animals. It's essentially about the unknown. I mean it's not just animals and plants it's anything new and frightening in our life. I'm twenty eight now. I came out when I was 25 when it's really easy to just become a gay person. You may have other aspects of your life but essentially you're a gay person. I don't consider myself that I consider myself a person who is successful in my job was to get a good education who relates to people well who enjoys his life and who happens also to be gay. But it's not a major overriding thing in my life it's just there. I don't lot of people have have thoughts about gay people that you know they are different and I think the essential difference that straight people unknowledgeable straight people would feel about gay people is that we are sexual animals. Sex is on our mind all the
time. Sex is on my mind no more and no less than the average person anywhere else in society. A lot of people ask what it's like To love someone of the same sex and there's no way that you can explain the person that it's no different. It sounds like rhetoric. It sounds like well it's something of a book it's not. It is for me to love a man different than it was to love a woman. It's more. There's more depth there's more involvement I recognize the same feelings the same confusions jealousies anxieties fears. In those buoyant feelings that is so wonderful when you're head over heels in love the confusion all that is the same. I hear a song on the radio a love song that you know some man wrote for a woman and I feel those exact same feelings for the person that I love. You can use Crystal. I'm not involved in a long term love affair right now and live alone. I
have a fairly wide circle of friends. I think my closest one or two friends that I have now are closer than any friends I've had in my entire life. Thank you. Have you found your snake yet. No I haven't. Actually all three of them I go out with my straight friends in from work or from outside of work. I go out with my gay friends or mixtures thereof. I'm on the board of directors of a gay political educational group called Minnesota committee for gay rights. There are meetings involved with that. I work at a social service agency called Gay Community Services which is counseling and crisis online and I do volunteer work there. These are all things that are important to me they involve me in my community the gay community in the community at large.
Q. When was that. When did you sold it. Yeah there is there is a price to being gay. There's a lot of second guessing within yourself that you do when so many just momentary situations you know I'm walking down the street with a friend of mine you know. Do I reach out and put my arm around that person or do I not. You can never quite relax in the long since I think it's helping all us all parts of my life it's made my work better in terms of working in front of the public. If I'm working with one person with an animal maybe that person is a little bit afraid of the animal and say a snake appoint a snake people generally have a special especially strong reactions to snakes. I'll pull it out and a particular child will just pull back in fear or come out with a standard Oh it kind of comment and I think they learn those or learn things and if they can learn that I think they can learn the truth too.
My cat doesn't mind I'm a lesbian. When I stroke her golden white fur. She closes her eyes and arches. She doesn't ask me well. What are you in that. Really nice mean. You may be wondering how did they get those people to appear on television. I mean it's one thing to come out of the closet at work or among friends. Quite another to do it with thousands of people watching. Well these men and women see themselves as victims of discrimination. Some of it legally sanctioned. They are increasingly eager to speak out and be heard. We have some people in downtown St. Paul how they feel today about the rights of homosexuals to work and live in their community. Well. Letter. Writer they do their own thing and stay away from me. It's all right. They didn't value me that I don't like it. I think they should have the same rights
Yablon with them. They're still human beings you know and pay taxes like everyone else. If I had one in my organization. From this standpoint. You. Know. It would last 15 seconds. I feel like there's a lot of misunderstanding. On the part of both the gay and straight communities. I feel like that they're having a real hard time understanding each other and I don't know what it will take or really they can communicate. Each can understand the other day. Now let's see. References good address phone previous work experience good education then marital status. And here on the marital
status it says single. Yes that's right single. Well we don't get too many single types through here. Look Now let's be frank about this. What is your. That is due with their sexual preference. We yes this that C et cetera for a sexual. I knew it. I can spot them a mile away. I can tell by the way you waltz in the door. Well I can tell you we have no room for a person like that in our organization Oh sure. You can just turn right around and hit the street. But wait a minute. Just so happens that most of your staff is heterosexual. We're going to about that bar all of them. You let me worry about that pal. We'll weed him out. Bisexual homosexual. A sexual nonsexual mold high sexual hetero Whatever will we do him out and put all the normal folks in the jobs you just wait. Yeah but the day. And you know it may have been the intention of the backers of the St. Paul gay rights
repeal effort to drive homosexuals back into the closet or off the streets or out of town. Instead a backlash of sorts is occurring. You know Oscar Wilde spoke of his own homosexuality as the love the Tao not speak its name. An observer viewing today is high visibility of the gay rights issue quipped the loved ones dare not speak its name. I won't shut up now. The passage of the repeal initiative created a rallying point for a new and highly vocal homosexual rights activism. Now approaches may differ in emphasis but their purpose is the same as we see in this report from producer Bill Lann Lee Hooker you're. Really. You're you're this is good good you you gave yesterday your name to you. Let's do gay politics in Minnesota. Characterized by the now familiar sights and sounds of dissent but behind the images
and slogans beyond the symbols in the songs lies a diverse gay community. Still stinging from its past political defeats and deeply divided over its future political course now in Minneapolis where. The perspective. Of the. Three major candidates. Democratic primary standing to. The right. Of the oldest and largest faction within the Minnesota gay community is the Minnesota committee for gay rights. Because of its open support of major political party candidates over the years has been labeled conservative by its more radical critics. Traditionally we have tried to work within the established political institutions. One of our in continuing one of our continual roles now is to monitor City Hall in Minneapolis and St. Paul. One of the problems I see and some other people is that they overreacted. They saw us as selling out to the DFL because we encouraged our membership to go to precinct caucuses. We encouraged our membership to become active in the party of their choice. And most of our membership is in the Twin Cities. Most of our membership is in poor
parts of town and those parts of town are have a heavy DFL representation. Radical gay leaders also criticize MC G.R. for its policy of allowing still closeted gays to contribute to and participate in the organization a policy which Mc Gee our leaders say is meant to allow participation by all gays. It's true. It has been true that often people who for a variety of reasons can't take a public role of variety of gay and lesbian persons who can't take that public role. Some of them are mothers who are concerned about we continuing custody of their children. Some of them are divorced fathers who want to have access to their children and realize that the homophobia rampant in our court systems. There was people contributing money and their time and I for one resent the implication that there is a correct strategy. Once again voters in St. Paul have repealed the gay rights law by a margin of over two to one man. For one the biggest single setback for moderate gay lesbian politics in Minnesota
came last year with repeal of St. Paul's human rights ordinance widely viewed as a stunning indication that in order to be successful gay lesbian politics had to become more radical and chief among the radical groups is the target city coalition. I think that we are into not taking over and we will not take no for an answer. And I will not be told no I will not be told and I don't care whether it is the Minnesota Supreme Court I'm not going to be told that I'm a second class citizen in this in this country. In the longer they keep saying that the more we're just going to be go back and get in their face and I have no desire in particular to be polite to people. Through their support of gay activist political campaigns like Tim Campbell's race in last month's DFL main oral primary target city coalition leaders hope to impress the straight community and particularly the straight political community that they are a force to be reckoned with the kind of political activity that we're involved in by running your own candidates is among other things too
soon to withdraw a large segment of the vote from candidates who aren't always assume that it was going to be there. You know I mean as long as a candidate can assume that that is a particular voting bloc is simply going to trot out to the polls every election and vote for them. They don't have to do anything. If Mc G.R. in target city represent two distinct factions within the gay lesbian community a third faction can be found within the lesbian community itself seeing themselves as oppressed as a result of both their sexual preference and their gender. Many lesbians view their problems as in stark contrast to those of gay men.
It's political to sing a lesbian love song. My music is very powerful because as I become more powerful myself my music reflects that as I become more angry about what's happening to the women of the world as my awareness increases. My music becomes more powerful and more angry. The differences between the gay community the men's community and the lesbian community are representative of the positions in society of men and women. Gay men have male privileges. In a lot of ways I don't see gay men as having to be as political as lesbians because they can. Other than the sexual preference the affectional preference issue there. They're able to work within the system and they're able to to survive quite
well. Lesbians have a hard women in general have a harder time getting good paying jobs and being a lesbian only makes it doubly difficult especially in St. Paul. But despite the differences which do exist within the gay lesbian community the goals of all the groups remain identical. Equality under the law and following a summer of violent assaults which threaten the security of the gay community as a whole. There are no indications that some of those old differences may be dissolving. Right now you're in fall 79. I see a lot fewer divisions and certainly a lot less hostile hostility within the divisions than was true two years ago or three years ago this summer when. When the when the queer bashing started when these same ones came out of the bushes that Loring park they didn't distinguish between a gay person who was a member of MC G.R. or a gay person who was a member of target city were all faggots to
them. And matter which organization we belong to the most grassroots political thing that we can do is to be who we are and be proud of in the politics of gay rights resemble all other politics in this respect. Success breeds imitation. The St. Paul vote followed a similar action in Dade County Florida. Local communities in many other states followed suit. And here in Minnesota Coon Rapids persued St. Paul's lead the city council voted to exclude homosexuals from its affirmative action plan which had been on the books since 1975. Battle lines are currently being drawn in Santa Clara County California over a referendum that would put the issue of gay rights to a popular vote. You know perhaps the crucial question is should the rights of any citizen be put to a vote of the people. Black leaders Julian Bond and Andrew Young among others have speculated that if jobs and housing rights for blacks had gone to a popular vote they would have
lost in many places and still might lose today. We end our program as we often will not with an answer but with questions. How does the homosexual rights situation in St. Paul relate to all of us. How much attention should we pay to next week's protest march in Washington and why if we find it relatively easy to withhold or deny rights to one group of people now in the future will someone find it easier to abridge other civil and human rights. How many of our rights could survive a vote of the people. Thank you for joining us and please come back next week for another edition of electronical. I'm Michael Boyle. Rand landed in the California in the New York Redwood to go green water
for you and me. And that I thought of me and then let me go. This new land the land is mine.
Episode Number
Gay Rights
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KTCA-TV (Television station : Saint Paul, Minn.)
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Twin Cities Public Television (St. Paul, Minnesota)
The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia (Athens, Georgia)
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Electronicle is weekly magazine exploring a specific social issue each episode.
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Producing Organization: KTCA-TV (Television station : Saint Paul, Minn.)
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The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia
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Chicago: “Electronicle; 101; Gay Rights,” 1979-10-09, Twin Cities Public Television, The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 26, 2022,
MLA: “Electronicle; 101; Gay Rights.” 1979-10-09. Twin Cities Public Television, The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 26, 2022. <>.
APA: Electronicle; 101; Gay Rights. Boston, MA: Twin Cities Public Television, The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from