thumbnail of Political Gayness
Hide -
and this evening uh replacing our scheduled tape on l communism we have instead a surprise for you you and a rare treat Igal Roodenka world renowned pacifist and humanitarian is here this evening in the parachute room with Columbia's own larry eggleston and this evening they're going to discuss the current war about political gayness between umc, their lawyers, Columbia's gay liberation group and included is the state legislator so without further introduction let me uh present you with Igal Roodenko and Larry Eggleston This um, this is Igal Roodenko and I've just gotten in to Columbia about an hour ago and um one of the things I'm very curious about briefly over the last year or so is the controversy with the university authorities about recognition of a gay group here on the campus i wonder if you could give me a little more detail about what's been happening and, and where the
where the situation is right now. Well in the simplest of words where it is right now now is in the courts, but uh it might be a good thing if I kind of went over once over lightly what's happened since things started it's been uh over three years now it's been about 40 months since things started in town with a group off campus and uh one of the first things we ran into was a and since I was active in the student government at the time and trying to set something up i was kind of assigned as ambassador to the university student government and so on and uh as a member of the executive board which i've been since inception of gay lib but uh about April of 1971 we applied to MSA, the student government at the university through the rules committee were approved there constitution filed the ?inaudible? on a statement of purpose and fulfilled all those requirements were approved by the rules committee by the full MSA
senate, the next step was to go to a faculty student committee S.O.G.A. committee student organizations governmental activities which is ordinarily a rubber stamp, uh I don't mean to demean the committee but really for practical purposes when an organization gets up there it's approved usually in a matter of extended discussion of something like fifteen minutes. Uh gay lib ran through nine months of hearings and brought in expert witnesses uh ?inaudible? counseling, metal health, the director of student health came in the university's general counsel jackson wright was consulted where he says there's no legal problem and uh there was a hard core of three faculty members who were really pretty hung up about the whole thing and uh most of the time we had a student majority and my feeling at the time was we'll get more accomplished by letting these people talk themselves out and letting their arguments and hang ups fall at their own weight given enough time, finally
came to vote in December of '71 and was voted 8 to 5 to approve so that uh, up to that level level gay lib still stands as approved by those channels the dean of students at the time, Dean ?inaudible? vetoed immediately Does he have the authority to do that? He had the authority to do so yeah this this was a formal final veto as a matter fact i knew it was coming i'd been working with him for months i'd made a pretty cordial relationship except he had his official politically bound position and his hands were pretty much tied So uh the next step then was uh well look for his formal rationale he delivered this to the committee about a month later three page single spaced typed document which said that there's no legal problem there's no psychological problem the other angle was political, and he said well that's not
necessarily a specific problem to lay our fingers on the reason i can't go along with it is that there wasn't unanimity in the committee which i'd rather doubt that youd that you'd ever have on an emotional issue like this and the uh there wasn't enough time studying all the ramifications of it, and so I don't know what the exact proportion between nine months and fifteen minutes but it's i'd say it's a bit more time in the meantime the student government president president of the student government at the time is now governor Bond's administrative assistant but he got pretty upset about this and so MSA created a committee on sexual freedom, appointed me chairman and took the statement of purpose purpose for gay lib which had been expanded quite a bit during the hearings and adopted it just changed the title and said alright this is a permanent part of MSA it will function in spite of the veto. Uh we went through that spring on the basis that if we do have if time will kind of cool
things off and uh you know feel so much political pressure can go on from there as long as we've got options, if we can get funds, if we can program fine because I really have never given a damn about the name i'm enough of a political conservative myself so i was kind of uptight about some of the things national gay lib would do I didn't feel pertinent to Columbia i thought a lot more could be done by discussion than confrontation as long as it was possible to work somehow without just saying well you're right and uh you know you're the power structure therefore you're wrong, I just don't believe in black and white things the amazing thing is that you know there's nothing like you have done maybe you would've done you would've done more if there, if you had had a larger and and and more more um angry group but everything that you've told me was you know the the gentlest, quietest negotiating going going through the routines that are set up and the procedures that are set up and
and just hitting one blind wall after another And, and i'm, and i'm quite certain that you know underneath as you pointed out or as you guessed in many situations and know in many situations that underneath an official hostility is uh, is uh that there's sort of a using bureaucratic structures to hide behind If this town ever got over its fear and its image consciousness you'd probably be amazed I think we're gradually getting greater candor I uh,i used an interesting analogy last fall, I think we're dealing with a problem of candor too or really do, uh, I was everyday people and during freak week and uh I posed the the premise that when i was in the army, 5,6,7 years ago
masturbation was not admitted to by anyone everyone you know, no one did that they never had to they'd had their first girl when they were 13 if not younger and they'd always had plenty since hell no I don't do that. Well you know everyone knew what the statistics were but this is what the individuals were saying and just illustrate how the attitudes have changed about being honest. I grabbed about twenty people at random walking into a doorway, said hey you I don't know you, do you masturbate? oh of course I do two people said no out of 20 and You must have some very interesting dreams every and ?inaudible? and this is KOPN Columbia, Missouri the uh, you know we've got all these statistics from ?inaudible? and all kinds of other people about the number of people who have at least at one time or another had incidental
homosexual activity, and uh just like our ninety eight ninety nine percent on male masturbation one of these days we're gonna get to the point people are gonna say well yeah sure i've done that you know, of course probably every other person around has done it The president will never admit it. Well that's probably true but there've been rumors about a good many of the presidents but we're, you know we're dealing with the people being able to be honest with themselves about a lot of things. Some of the good things that have happened were in places were small consciousness raising groups where four or five or six or eight people sit down and it takes time but week after week building up a sense of, of mutual trust where you can, where you can even verbalize the things that you're, that you don't even want to think about and then then you discover that you're not unique, that everyone is going through you know other fearful things or frightening things. Or beautiful
things that they thought were not normal or afraid to mention and, and I know women's groups have benefited enormously i mean beginning to accept people, for people to accept themselves in gay groups ?inaudible?. That is that is one thing that you almost have to have an organizational framework to get people together to do A meeting place. Yeah and uh of course the logical place is the university there has been, uh one thing that really pleased me gradually i've seen other little barriers crumble here as far as what groups felt they dared to ask for a gay speaker or a gay discussion in this town. The uh one the most recent groups I spoke to this spring was the wesley foundation at the methodist church downtown. This is a town group not a university group. Well its a college, college group from a town church and uh the first time that a church group per say had ever handled the subject and i was told in advance that this was a bunch of basically farm boys and girls that
very cordial group, good questions and uh, you know if i said something which would've been pretty hot stuff couple years ago said well yeah sure, course. We have, we have that problem in a somewhat different sense, Dave McReynolds who's on our staff the War Resisters League went through several months of absolute torture to to write a piece for Win magazine, this was about three years ago about his being gay and the first page and a half of this was the description of the of the turmoil he went through did he have the right to expose an organization that he was working for, and what the repercussions would be and but the thing was published it wasn't it wasn't a very enlightening objectively speaking very, it was not a very enlightening article it was very enlightening in terms of this one person and his hang ups and his fears and so on
uh but the only repercussions we had was from one old man in his eighties who couldn't understand the importance of the article and if it was important why did he have to mention that he had had syphilis at one time. But i ran into a lot of young people in the months after that article appeared and they just couldn't understand those first two pages of apology, they said what's the big deal He was coming from a different generation they just couldn't relate to it it's funny the uh, its ironic i don't know whether it's typical I've said a good many times that we're kinda in a little microcosm here which isn't well of course it's very different when you cross the state line to Illinois. Gay lib is utterly routine there its on every major campus and only only in the state of missouri you know would this become a, could it be a big political issue but uh still you uh it's strange that
as far as you, you, you have a theoretical model that it's the young that uh are going to be the activists that are gonna be on the ramparts and so on the older people are gonna stand back. I'm a lot older than a lot of people that are standing back You, you, you see this as I see this as an enormously important issue with enormous political overtones whereas the youngsters growing up into, growing up don't see it as a political issue you know. Of course some of the fortunate kids who come to the campus now have not gone through it they don't its ever not been as mellow as it is now, its, its not the east or west coast or san francisco but boy compared to 1970 it just the garden of eden, kind of a the tropic
College in 1930s, mid 1930's, I don't even have to describe that one admitted to nothing of course not homosexuality of course not masturbation of course not mental illness, even in the family of course not venereal disease of course not, um a jail sentence well that with a smirk but someone else you know. Yeah well you didn't do it [sniffle] well in a peculiar way you're you're you're failure will be your success as a ?inaudible?
it stops being an issue and gay liberation as a-. I think gay lib's greatest goal is to not need to exist, you couldn't have a-. Well that's the way we feel about the War Resisters League Says uh that's where everyone should be going. I'll be very sad if they get to the point they feel they have to grind an axe just to, just to find their existence I think it's, I think it's very good that gay lib is a very uh unorganized thing in a sense it's very highly autonomous Oh , oh of course, of course-. Well we actually know of one which would work at minnesota or a good many other places would probably just bring in the riots squad here. In um, in another context jean debbs in the time of world war 1 a big labor rally said to, to the working people he said if I could lead you into the promised land I wouldn't because if i could lead you into it someone else could come along and lead you out of it and uh in all the liberation movements]
our, our precociousness, our inability our inability to to to accept leadership and sort of if there is a leader being very suspicious and very jealous and deposing him and i mean sometimes it's very discouraging but but i mean this this is an indication of the strength of, of i mean of the i don't want to say of the biological vitality the people involved in movements that that that was like the beginnings of the big civil rights movement when these three students said it wasn't a big political decision that they're just sick and tired of being second class citizens they're not going to sit in the back of a lunchroom they're going to sit up front. I said that at the MSA senate quite a while ago when I was a senator. I said we all know the model that you mentioned earlier that when the blacks had to ride in the back of the bus theres a lot of gay people that aren't even allowed to come up to a bus stop in public, much less get on that bus and uh
there's damn little protection at all of the law there's all kinds of angles you can be screwed but there's very little were you can stand up and demand your rights and we're talking very civilly about civil rights and uh a lot of the media there was a thing in the paper this morning about intro 2 in New York and how really this is plain and simple a civil rights issue just as much as as ERA and just as much as the civil rights legislation, civil rights act of '64 and you know the uh, integrating the schools 20 years ago you know i think the gay issue specifically and and and women's issue and so on that that one of the, the very good consequences which we weren't planning for I mean this was not part of the program but what one of the very good consequences is to, is to force or to help mainstream america re-examine the whole question of morality
Now watergate is doing that and what in effect we're trying to say i think is that what is moral is not whether you, is not whether you you observe a certain written rule what makes for morality is an attitude immorality is not whether you go to bed with someone else's wife morality is you if you go to bed with anyone without love without affection without tenderness without care. Very true. And um in other words what has happened over a long period of time is that we've we've thrown out the spirit for the latter and when you throw out the spirit for the latter then you find a you know political administration which might technically be, be innocent of charges but it's playing games [splitting atoms] and whether it's in politics or in international affairs or community affairs, or school structure, or family
relationships and personal relationships, the whole thing as to be re-examined in these terms I mean what is decent and right and yes the word hypocrisy which is which to me is much more significant We never have been able to reconcile reality with our theoretical puritan high minded ethic in this country and we, you know we hang out in these theoretical absolute values [as long as it looks right] Yeah and, it doesn't make, well and the very thing that one thing which i think is a uh, an excellent example of hypocrisy in Watergate, these cries of righteous indignation at the president using curse words, and most people who have known the last 3 or 4 presidents said that Nixon is the lousiest swearer of the bunch he couldn't hold a candle to any of his predecessors Like the president of the United States uses words like that, well of course he does ?inaudible? one of the comments I saw was that's the first human thing they've seen out of Nixon you see the people who are getting up and come up with these big
shows of how really offended they are over the deleted expletives and yet we're doing it there's so many cases like that, its about time we start to look in the mirror once and a while and be realistic, get to know ourselves and try to get to like ourselves and if we can like and respect ourselves then we can reach out to others. But you've got to handle yourself first. My reaction most people running around you know, carefully not looking me in the eye in this town, boy you've got a personal problem I know where I am. Exactly bringing out the something in you that you're scared stiff of and you've really got a problem I'm sorry for ya. I'd like to try to help you with it but obviously you're too scared to ask for any help but its their problem. And if we can help to solve their problem with some education then it's good for everyone concerned. And of course the discovery that one has a problem can be a very explosive
situation. But it's halfway to cure. Well it's necessary for the cure but that moment of discovery can be a horrible one both for the person them self and for people near them. Yeah I, I think there's been some very good awakenings on realities with the racial attitudes on something like that that came a little bit earlier perhaps. I think a person who says well alright yeah I admit I've got some prejudice and im working at it, but I honestly admit yes there are some groups I am uncomfortable with and I don't like, I've got ten times the respect for that person than someone running around saying look at me I'm a neat phony liberal I like everybody. Hey he's black he's the neatest of of all, and that's nonsense you you know you're uh you're running around taking something which shouldn't be important as saying it's a good instead of saying it's a bad and I don't think either of them should have any validity. Here's a human being and this human being's got this good about them and this bad about them and that's why I like them or I don't like them
because he's a human being. He's got a compatible personality, he's got an annoying personality. What the hell difference does it make what he does in bed or what color he is where he goes to church good or bad Yeah I can, i can imagine a couple hundred years ago when the quakers and the methodists in england refused to go to the king's church and the good proper people were certain that society british society was gonna fall absoluted, absolutely the pieces of people were permitted to worship god their own way and one thing after another when, when the question of free press in america, you know still in the colonial times with peters anger there in New York the authorities, the establishment, the good proper people were certain that if a newspaper editor could could print what he thought was the truth the entire fabric of society would be rent asunder and chaos would rail would reign and one situation after another you know
?inaudible? same hypocrisy on these very people ?inaudible?. If women were allowed to vote, if workers, if people without property were allowed it would be the end of civilization. We got mythology of that whole thing there too. My ancestors were quakers and uh we have the great myth in the history books about religious freedom in rhode island and that was fine as long as you weren't roman catholic or quaker because my ancestors were driven out of rhode island too ?inaudible? you know they got away from established church and then they came along fine you know, find out where the established church that will call the shots This was after Rodger Williams uh-. This was during Rodger Williams this is roger williams doing? I thought he was-. No he had two hangups fortunately I have found by and large that established churches now got its head together pretty well at least on gay lib and on women
and blacks. you know I'm Episcopalian and I'm very comfortable with my churches down to earth on the one to one basic handling of things. no problem problem at all. which is good i'm not that's one I was saying to my rector a few weeks ago he's known I was gay since he first met me and I've known him fourteen years. I've been very very close to his son. in fact I think if we've been lovers it would've been with his blessing remarkable clergyman and a remarkable father too but I was talking about the MCC churches and the thing that got this going is I understand there's the next MCC church in Missouri now there's one in Kansas City and St. Louis and this is going to be in Cape Gerardo and I'm kinda thinking my god Cape well they need it but uh i just didn't figure that would be the next likely place to start a mission and uh i asked him you know well i wonder if you agree with me about MCC because theologically I
am bothered by MCC as an anglican you know theologically I've got problems but- I've got bigger problems than you because I'm a Pagan and I don't believe in any of that-. ok but it's a hell of an indictment organized Christianity that there has to be a need for a church thank god there is a church ministering openly to gay people it's really sad to think that there has to be one and turn around and say well why don't we change the perish in Fulton to an MCC church? well I don't think the congregation is quite ready for that missions you know I'm not in this situation as in many other situations not too much concern about not those who are absolutely closed to any kind of awareness of what we're even trying to say -they've got an identity problem.- it's the people who are understanding and sensitive and liberal open minded and so on
but who who can't see themselves moving in any way and who out of certain fears tend to look upon having any kind of overt action as shaking the boat you know it's a kind of feeling that viewed martin luther king and the very beginnings of the civil rights movement from good substantial black people in the south who were working and legitimately creatively but in a very gentle and soft invisible ways and saying here we've been working a long time to deal with the problems of racism here and you are you're exposing all of us you are making things worse and he said indeed I am exposing us there is a deep abscess and it's scabbed over and people refused to be aware it and it has to be brought out and into the open and it'll be difficult and people will get hurt but then we'll come out of it that much- and people will have
to learn that they won't like what they see and they'll go do something. I'm wondering if eventually we're gonna get to the point where metropolitan areas are going to face this the Kansas City papers have not covered anything yet even though this is a Kansas City group involved here. Kansas City papers have not covered the gay liberation?- At all see after the hearing were completed here they went an held a day of hearings at UMKC and I never saw a word there's been a little reaction from St. Louis but not much well my suspicion of such things is that they had a talk to the room as just one big plaza.- well that's probably pretty close to the truth. I know there's, well everyone runs around it of course it's much easier for them to sit there in their editorial office and say well yeah we know about the musicians and actors and theater people but of course there's none of them look at the firemen in New York. I'm sure that
they've now declared that firemen in New York are automatically heterosexual I'm sure they probably get some rude awakenings I've said a good many times a day on which everyone wore an appropriate color to announce what they had really was you'd be shocked at who was wearing what. it would be a delightful day. All the people you've been wondering about all this time. If a thing like that wouldn't be necessary. if it could happen, it wouldn't be necessary well the only reason I ever site well known examples of underground well known publicly not known gay people is to illustrate to some naive people on the group we're talking about people that you know and people who are perfectly respectable and you know film heroes and things like that who are coming across as being very respectable to middle america on the silver screen and well they are very respectable and yet they're
gay so what? but we've gotten to the point I think is even possible to accept the idea that there can be gay athletes although in this town there is no admitted which is really kind of ironic given all the studies done on the subject but it has gotten to the point now where the last time i got hassled and it's a relatively rare occasion it was just metal or something that's very heavy by a football player another football player found out about it second hand and jumped all over one of his peers and was really very uptight about it and stayed on this kids back for a month and will publicly identify himself with me anywhere in public because he's made a good friend given the image in this town, theoretical things you got you get really progressed he's a brave person in columbia
[background chatter] [background chatter] [background chatter] we have a caller now alright let me see if i can address myself to this. you want to hang on or do you want us to listen on the radio are you gonna have it.. oh ok, well the question was how did i become a homosexual that's a very difficult question to ask, I don't think anyone really knows a nice neat answer to that uh there's many many theories i don't really subscribe to a particular one i think that for one thing saying becoming is kind of like something you arbitrarily choose like becoming a democrat or republican and i don't think that's a valid premise other, one school of thought holds that people are simply born gay.
Ah, I think people are born at least bisexual and partly the born sexual... Ah, and I've never really run into a, ah, fork in the road that I had to choose to be one way the other. The current statements on the subject by the experts like Masters and Johnson, Dr. Masters a year ago December here in Colombia when asked about homosexuality he said, "Well, I'm not gonna speak in depth because we're not publishing our book until 1968. What I will say is it's natural and it's normal." And if it's natural and normal there's no worry about becoming. I think it's, ah, to a certain extent inherent and call it a component in everyone. Now, whether it's a majority or not is, it's hard to tell why it's been ever in there. There are theories but I don't think with, all the answers aren't in yet. I don't think it's important to worry about how you get it. It's not infectious
disease. There's not a cure and it shouldn't be considered in that kind of light. No, yeah, I think that some anthropological studies and in some, in some societies where homosexuality is not a problem it happens. No one feels guilty about it and a person can be homo... can be behave or homosexually under one set of circumstances and heterosexually under another set of circumstances. And it seems only in societies where there's a big guilt trip laid on us... I think this is pretty much what happened to me. I went through, you know, from the time that I discovered that I was homosexual about when I was twelve or thirteen until I was twenty five I went through, you know, absolute agony. And, so determined to not be this dreadful thing that the more I like tried to shake loose of it the more I got in an enchained in it.
Where as if it had been, ah, I have no way of telling what, you know, what the alternative would been but I think that if it hadn't been an issue my sexual patterns [cough] would't have been so exclusively one way or the other. I don't think that they are necessarily accepted to the extent there's tendencies toward polarization. The thing we were talking about labeling and pigeon holing. I think most people, given a neutral cultural background can function sexually with, but as a human being they're really relating to others on a more intellectual plane. I think people, anyone can touch and can hold people and caress people and if something sexual happens fine. Accept to the point you're told this is right and this is wrong. This helps the population explosion and this doesn't, was handled comfortably in Greece. No one seems to come up with any theories and why someone like Alexander the Great was gay and yet he was and I hardly picture him with a gay stereotype and so many
people's mind. I just don't see Alexander running around hitting the Persian armies with his purse He was a man's man as very few people have ever been and conquered, in fact, all the known world by the time he was twenty five. Where the only people he related to really strong emotionally were people of his own sex. Yeah, but careful there. You're getting onto a macho. Well, that's true. That's true. We answered you? Any more questions like that? [laughs] Yeah, well, no, well, I don't think you are on directly. You're on the phone. He's going to go get Good as radio but it's good to have someone asking questions, though. You begin to wonder if you're talking into a great ethereal void, after a while. It's very frustrating because it's like sitting in a class and talking for two hours and everyone just sits there, uh huh, or just stares at you with little beady eyes staring back and not moving and not blinking. It's a very frustrating experience.
You know you're getting so if you talk for three or four minutes and something Hey, I want to ask you something. Then you're getting something. Or I've done a lot of talking for the world sisters league and I don't have to have that kind of verbal outburst but, ah, after few minutes I'll see a pair of eyes light up. Yeah. And then I talk to that person and, ah, whatever the others can pick up is fine. But then there's, you know, a good situation there. Of course, sometimes you get a group, people are very quiet while you're talking and then afterward they come to you very quiet and say, hey, I'm really glad I came. I was against things before, before you came but I really learned something. Thank you for coming. That really makes you feel like everything was worthwhile You back? Do you have any more questions for us? You think I could fill this dead time with limericks
Sure. You gotta keep your voice respectable. Alright. Perhaps as a listener, I could ask something also. Well, ah, maybe I should wait until this other question you don't mind if I, well not if I put that over the air. It's a good question. Although I can't put, I'll still challenge your same becoming. Go ahead and address myself to that. Hang on, do you want to ramble further? The question was, the guy that called in said he's thinking of becoming a homosexual. I don't buy the premise of one all of sudden, you know, you go to a training school and after you graduate you have a BS in homosexuality or something but in effect, I suppose what we're dealing with, I'm not putting him down in any
sense but, ah, let's put it in the most common term. You're thinking about coming out. Perhaps adding, relating on a homosexual level to a sexual repertoire what kind of groups can he contact This is one of the relative voids in town, unfortunately. but, uh, the people While, I'm always glad to talk to people. There are a few other people that I know of who are comfortable dealing with, who, who can talk well People who want to deal on a relatively anonymous basis which is an unfortunate way to deal. It's kind of hard to deal with something you're feeling over a phone line, ah, can call every day people get my number and perhaps a couple of other people's numbers to talk anonymously on the phone. That is about the extent of contacts for specifically talking about this in this town You know, he, you made it may not be as
specific a situation as considering coming out. It might be that that, here's a person who, who is uneasy or troubled because he feels a certain warmth to another male. [Agrees] Which isn't necessarily homosexual at all. And it may or may not be. And it's a troublesome thing because... if you're really love another male or another human being on a friendship level, really it doesn't make a damn bit of difference. If, if you're really communicating and you're not terribly running around hung up about what label might be attached to you by others or what label you might attach to yourself and something sexual does come out of it, whether it's incidental or regularly, it's the neatest sex in the world because you, really is an act of love. But uh, I really should incidentally qualify that while some people loosely use something like coming out I don't run around talking about those of us that are out and everyone else as a closet case. Ah, only in the terms of I was only
using it here in terms of coming to grips with another another potential within, within a human being and, uh, I think the answer to the question is there are very few people besides, I suppose, I suppose really for practical purposes. It's a male coming out or asking questions about himself or rapping about where his head might be going or where it is is really gonna have to talk another male about it. It's probably gonna be me, uh, gay girls, ah, probably give, my number is the one you're probably gonna give everyday people but i do know at least one gay girl that'd be glad to talk any girl that needed to. Whether it's a gay girl that's out or someone that wants to find out what's happening or find out what's, you know, what may be developing or whatever or am I? I have brought people out. I've got a lot of people wherever their heads were sexually to be more comfortable with their own sexuality. And I have also come up with
people that I've known who've said, "Hey, I'm gay." And I've gotten to know them and said, "No, you're not." You know, you've been told that you and you're kind of functioning superficially and you're not, you know, you're, you're you're not gay, at all. So, it's kind of the same as thing as what the counseling services say at the university now, they didn't used to, there are now. Find out where your head is. Now people can be comfortable where that is. A truism. The, the old approach, I think, was and still a very prevalent approach is what I call the Cinderella sister syndrome. That one I haven't heard. Yeah, Cinderella goes to the ball and a prince falls in love with her and she has to leave at midnight and she leaves a little glass slipper behind. Ah, loses it. And so the next day he's tearing up and down the kingdom looking for someone whose foot will fit the slipper. Now, Cinderella has these two sisters who were big and ugly and nasty. Trolletta. [Laughs] And they got big feet and they're just
dying to marry the prince. So, one cuts off her heal and the other cuts off her toes and their feet are still too big and not only in terms of homo or heterosexuality but in any kind of emotional or psychological well being. It's as if we have posed a, a picture of perfection and then we try to distort ourselves to fit that picture. Yes. To fit into that slipper instead of saying, "Now, who am I? And how can I relate to myself and the people around me most creatively and most joyously?" No. Right. Why can't I fit that glass slipper? There's some people that just look tacky in glass slippers. [Laughs] Well, yeah. [Laughs] That's a very good analogy. Yeah. I have often wondered about about normal. You know, what on earth is normal? I feel sorry for these normal families some of these that got these three point two children. I have, really feel for that point two child. Ya know? A problem that none of us
ever have to face. What on earth is normal? What's normal for one person is really a bum trip for for the next person. And even more, what is considered normal in one society is considered absolutely, eh, ah, you know, insane in another society. Yeah, that's true. On an awful lot of levels. Ironically, for all the turmoil we're going through the daily european interaction I've gotten even Watergate is so what. The governments, you know, this happens in governments. People have got their failings. You get crooks in once in a while and you get smears and it's just a fact of political life. We're kind of afraid to politic because politics isn't the purest of snow. So, therefore it doesn't jive with our nice Puritan ethic. We've got problems coping again. Uh, essentially, uh, my question is one, uh, in regards to an answer for, to a gay friend of mine who as, uh, we mentioned briefly
before, ah, is living, ah, in constant fear because of his his, ah, sexuality. And, ah, I find it very hard to, ah, help him because, ah, I'm straight and I don't share the the, the tremendous social stigma that gay people in this society have to contend with. So, I think what I'm asking Golem Larry what kind of answers or what we're kind of solutions or what kind of help can you give, ah, individuals that that, ah, are very withdrawn very intimidated, are very afraid to express themselves sexually in society? On an individual basis to answer the question directly in terms of you're asking the question it is very possible, very feasible, and I think very desirable for you to be comfortable enough so you're not coming across as a phony liberal to him saying, "Well, you know, I tolerate you and I'm not
offended by you," pat your-, you know, coming across like you're patting yourself on the back. "Aren't I really broad minded," because it's very easy to overplay the theoretical arbitrary differences in sexuality. They don't mean a damn thing. And in terms of the losing to a Relatively recent film. Some of my my best friends are. It's, it's an awful cliche and yet most of my best friends and my closest friends on every level have been straight. And, uh, I can't relate to the stereotype, for instance. And it's the easy, the easiest kind of gay person to find is a stereotype. Because it's most visible and someone who gets off on, ah, you know, a living a stereotype with into such a trip that they'd like to be flamboyant and known. They love to wreck people and they're living a plastic little game. But the more, uh, the
typical gay is no different except he's probably scared about am I the only one? And the important things about a friendship, really good friendship have got nothing to do with sexuality. One of the closest friends I've had when I was in this town was a guy that used to be my roommate who was straight. And we could be affectionate. We could sleep together. It wasn't, it wasn't a sexual trip. I'm not saying you could sleep with him necessarily but the overriding thing which was there was there's nothing more beautiful than being close, on whatever level, to a person that you love that loves you as a human being. And getting across those vibes with sincerity is going to really help. It's difficult, though, as, as someone who was gay to, say John Q Straight is really not just being liberal and coming across and isn't really scared of me. You've honestly got to get over any, you know, "oh my god is it infectious?" kind of thoughts in the back of your mind to come across with real
sincerity. And, uh, my kind of rule of thumb that I try to live in situations like this, my best friend right now is straight, is I try to establish a premise between theoretically a different pair human beings like this I am not looking at the human being as someone that I must, yeah, I not saying I must get into your pants to prove a point. Prove that you can be made. Proof I can do it. On the same premise, I think it's fair to ask in return that don't run around defensively saying, "my god I've got to make sure to let down my guard." And if we both live up to that, there's no problem. Yeah, as a matter of fact this is this a problem of heterosexual relationships. Well, sure it is. The fact that a man speaks to a woman doesn't necessarily mean that, that has to be consummated sexually. Sure, and yet we're project the pause. And, right. And it's really a shame. I think, ah, in addition the, ah,
it's very important to be in, when you're in a minority, particularly in a persecuted minority, it's very easy to feel like you're the only one. It can be a terribly lonely life. And peer support when the whole culture and your background subconsciously at least you say, "you're wrong. you're different," and our culture says, "it's nasty to be different," ah, it's very important to find out that there are other human beings who share the same trip and, ah, here again who aren't necessarily, you're going by another myth that people throw one gay people an awful lot. That we're all compulsively jumping into every bed and the only reason to meet someone is to seduce them. Yeah. But to find out here is someone whose, whose head is the same place, is relating to the same kind of human beings, who feels the same emotions, and I'm not alone and get to know enough, ah, they're gonna be gonna be, are they gonna be some lonely gay people who would get off on a
partying, getting out, you know, hey, I can dance another guy and, you know, no one's gonna step on me down for. Other people would really only on a cerebral level, you know, every human being's different. mass produced in an assembly line. But he's got to find some people he can trust, that he could be perfectly comfortable and open about his his emotions and his fears and his joys as a gay human being himself so he can feel confident himself. I think he will find once he does that and meets some people that, ah, it's not necessary, really nearly as much as it used to be to go through purely gay situations like trying to meet people only in gay bars and so on. you go people ask, ah, one of the myths is that gay bars are radically different from straight bars. A bar fly is a bar fly and most people go to bars because they're lonely trying to get over something. They're
trying to meet another human being, you know, and the only difference is whether it's the opposite sex or the same sex. But, ah, i think it's more important that someone find someone that they can trust. I think this is one reason why i wish there was more numbers listed. But I'm not trying to grab all the people. You see it I agree with most of what you say but a slightly different emphasis and that maybe because I come out a long period of self suppression and so on and that is that I think that someone who does come out of that kind of situation or who does live in that kind of situation has a higher or more frequent constant preoccupation with what he's afraid of. Yeah, sure. And that therefore the the part of that stereotype that the gay is sort of more eager is- more constantly on the hunt has a certain validity
except for one thing and that is that straights are just much constantly on the hunt Or their respectable forms of it I know one of the great frustrations of somebody that is gay is that not only are the usual avenues not open or respectable but you don't know who's available and who would like to find out that you're gay you really don't you can't run around and say "well there's a female I've got at least a fifty-fifty chance" you run around figuring "wow, there's an attractive human being." you've got a very physical thing. Well yeah, or here's a person who's really charming and interesting and I would really like to be really close to, do I have to be horribly defensive? making sure that nothing sexual happens or he doesn't find out i'm gay or could he cope with it? You know you can get all kinds of trips like that that that the heterosexual doesn't run into they can be sure, hell, they really can. And you never really know given their culture being still quite hung up. If you mention that you're
gay that might not be the freak out point for that other human being. As long as you don't say anything about you know you may even have a passionate love affair and the "Christ, i was drunk last night," level they can't quite openly cope with and ya know you can have all kinds of sex. But if you say "hey you know that was fun last night, we really hit it off." Phew, forget it! You're running into all kinds of silly things like that and they're intensified for gay people. and they i guess the answer is just time and people growing up but they're horribly frustrating. There are also cases where people for some people it might be a terrible problem because it's trying to live two different lives at the same time. and his image or his concept of what is acceptable life would be or what he wants to be what he's studying for, preparing for uh, professionally and so on. There's just no room in his understanding of how he could be gay in that life
so that on the one hand it means giving up one or the other or ideally, and this is what we're talking about. In a free-ish sexuality of saying "why do I have to give up either one or the other?" the other way may be an easier way of approaching it. One thing which is unfortunate that a lot of people again dealing with the stereotype. There's a study done in '72 indicating that in lower socioeconomic and lower educational groups, stereotype more prevalent because you're given, ya know you've got to be either the fish or foe and if you're not a rabid enthusiastic heterosexual well, here's you're like your wrist must be limp and you got to be an absolute, screaming faggot. And if this is the only image to a lonely naive about what it is to be gay
Well alright if I'm coping with reacting to other men and this is what I'm going to be like if I come out. Well of course it would scare the hell out of them, it would scare the hell out of me! and i still don't like the idea. And if it's somebody's trip, fine. and like I'm fighting as much for their right to do their thing is anyone else is. But i do not buy the theory that this five percent statistically is typical. It's not any more than you know any other kind of exhibitionist i don't mean that in a flasher sense. But you know, a very extrovert attention getting kind of personality is typical. That would be like judging all heterosexuals by the guys who stand on street corners and whistle at girls. Right, or judging all blacks by Muhammad Ali and there some people who would love to do that write them all off as loud mouths. Well that's ridiculous but here again this is one place where any kind of educational effort has got to accomplish
it is very easy I use the analogy again, the racial analogy I talked to a class one day with one black student out of about forty people. I said alright now suppose you were the only black that all these kids in this class have ever run into their projection of what black people are like would be based on you. and if you know if you're a loud mouth or you're ignorant or you know whatever they would get a bad impression. If you're very intellectual and handled yourself well and you really came across as a beautiful human being they think well yeah we know a black and he's neat. All blacks are great! That's a tremendous weight on a very small segment you've got to judge on what you run into. And a lot of cases you also run into a question like "well what if my friend find I've got friends you know and if I come out they'll find out and I'll loose them all?" If they're real friends, you're not going to lose any of them. Because you're going to be a human being that they
care about and appreciate and like and admired they happen to find out one more thing about I think we're dealing, everything you say is true and then you will run into people and I was this way for a very long time and probably still am somewhat that way i know I have all the intellectual understanding of these things and yet, the ability to act really act on my understanding my insides there are frequently moments when I just freeze up. Oh sure, everyone does that. One of the real problems is trying to square theory and altruism with the reality of human frailty there's times when as much as i'd like to always be compassionate and understanding and mellow and so on, I can really get, you know I get a nasty streak and really get down on people. And Uh, I'm going through kind of a bitter phase right now about a lot of people, but uh, and I don't consider you know it does mean any credit even if it's deserved on
their part it still doesn't do me any good to sink to their level. Reporter: Right, right yeah. [Interviewee] And be petty. unfortunately we've gone off a lot of petty people there in the majority. There don't there haven't been allowed to be anything more than petty. If they learned how, they'd probably be great! People are so scared of simple things like emotion. "I love you" and meaning it is quite a trip for a lot of people. I know of people who could spend fifty, sixty years together man and wife You know and have ninety great grandchildren, and yet never have gotten as close as I've got with some of my friends being able to really communicate it's right from our hearts what we've felt without cen-censoring it. What is that, what is that sound like? What is that going to make me look like? People are learning to communicate with that more now and you have to learn to. That's got nothing to do with sexuality but I think a lot of gay people because they had to come through to a lot more hassles . Maybe you've gotten a lot further on things like that. Interviewer: I think so. Interviewee: And I think a lot of gay males for instance have a lot more comfortable honest attitude toward lot of females than a lot of straight males do. Because they don't have to look at them as something to conquer and play a macho image. Here's a neat human being that I
may or may not relate to sexually. And a lot of girls have gone to predominantly male, gay parties figured hey I was a human being for a change, that felt nice! [Host] Yeah, yeah, I know, I've known that many for many years- i thought that that's very encouraging that's really a lot more with it. So the stereotype that the male gay puts down on women because they present some type of threat to him is erroneous or a stereotype? No I think that's true too. [Overlapping: No, uh huh.] That's true in some cases, I've had the other side of that same coin. I was quite uh, in terms of stereotype and I would get pretty tired of it. I was considered the proverbial "other woman" by a girl who was insecure and she thought I was a threat. You know I was competition for her boyfriend. He didn't, I didn't, but as long as she did, it became a real hassle. And that's too bad. That's her insecurity, not her femininity. Yeah I think the the the uh
that diminution of insecurity is the real problem and, and this is a problem for everyone [stutter] to be able to accept one's self and no I remember sort of a very specific week when I was 24 when [coughs] I intellectually similar, you know, there's no point in fighting this anymore. I've gotta, got to live with me for the rest of my life. And there may be some people who will be turned off by discovering that I am not what I seem to be. It was even difficult to even think the the words you see. And it may be very rough.
Political Gayness
Contributing Organization
KOPN-FM (Columbia, Missouri)
If you have more information about this item than what is given here, or if you have concerns about this record, we want to know! Contact us, indicating the AAPB ID (cpb-aacip/518-ws8hd7q00z).
Episode Description
Discussion between Egal Redenko and Larry Egelston concerning Gay Liberation conflict with University of Missouri.
Copyright New Wave Corporation/KOPN Community Radio. Licensed under a Creative Commons Non-Commerical 4.0 International License (
Media type
Embed Code
Copy and paste this HTML to include AAPB content on your blog or webpage.
AAPB Contributor Holdings
KOPN-FM - KOPN Community Radio
Identifier: rrw0120 (KOPN)
KOPN-FM - KOPN Community Radio
Identifier: cpb-aacip-518-ws8hd7q00z.wav.mp3 (mediainfo)
Format: audio/mpeg
Generation: Proxy
Duration: 01:02:46
If you have a copy of this asset and would like us to add it to our catalog, please contact us.
Chicago: “Political Gayness,” 1974-05-16, KOPN-FM, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed July 25, 2024,
MLA: “Political Gayness.” 1974-05-16. KOPN-FM, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. July 25, 2024. <>.
APA: Political Gayness. Boston, MA: KOPN-FM, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from