James C. Hormel LGBTQIA Center

Friday, December 24, 2010

Archives December 2010

Make the Yuletide Gay

To celebrate the season, we thought it would be fun to highlight a few of the Christmas items in the Hormel Center’s archives.

The first is a photograph of the Mattachine Society Christmas social from about 1953. This image is from a scrapbook in the J. Gruber Papers. He was a member of the Society.

William Dickey wrote and printed many poems. The library's collection of his Poems contains several of his annual Christmas poems which were sent to family and friends. "Ornament" is a lovely example of his poetry and printing.

The last item is a photograph of Harvey Milk, Galen McKinley, and their dog Trick in the early 1960s. The photo is from the Harvey Milk Archives/Scott Smith Collection.

We wish you all a happy new year!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Looking Beyond Marriage

The Ninth Circuit Court has now heard the arguments from attorneys on both sides of the proposition 8, same-sex marriage debate and we await their decision as to legal standing and constitutional scruting as to how broad the scope of those rights should be. Click here for a legal analysis of the current deliberations. While we are in legal limbo, these book choices look past the tired old system of monogamyand the nuclear family to the possibility of other options.

The first book, "Beyond (Straight and Gay) Marriage: Valuing All Families under the Law," by Nancy D. Polikoff, a law professor is a brief history of the legal transformations and paramutations marriage and family law has undergone. It also is an analysis of how far it still needs to go when it comes to broadening and expanding the definitions of marriage and family. She deals with the changes radical feminism has wrought from caring fatherhood to the death of the concept of the "illegitimacy" of children. Hospital visitation and lawsuits for wrongful death by queer partners are also explored. Click here for an interview with Nancy Polikoff and here for some of her more recent articles on LGBT community issues.

Once the legal issues are squared away, we can move on to "The Ethical Slut: A Practical Guide to Polyamory, Open Relationships & Other Adventures," by Dossie Easton and Janet W. Hardy. This, more social perspective is by a marriage and family therapist and a creative writer. In this updated reissue of an old classic, the authors embrace and expand on the term "slut," a derogatory, sexist term for a woman. They posit the male equivalent as "stud."

Anyone can be an ethical slut in thier view; the key to non-monogamy and polyamory in their view is honesty. Their chapters deal with flirting and cruising, overcoming jealousy, healty sex, childrearing, making an agreement and dealing with conflict. This book is not gay or straight but rather more fluid and permeable in its definitions of sexual identity. Click here for an interview with Dossie Easton about this book.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Archives November 2010: GLBT Veterans

On Veterans Day we celebrate and remember the military men and women who have served our country. The Hormel Center houses a few archival collections of GLBT servicemen and women: the Cliff Anchor Papers, the Leonard Matlovich Papers, and the Pat Bond Papers. The Matlovich and Bond papers are on deposit from the GLBT Historical Society of California.

Cliff Anchor was a gay rights activist, military man and radio broadcaster. He was romantically involved with Dr. Tom Dooley and, later, with Leonard Matlovich. Matlovich was a United States Air Force Sergeant who was expelled from the service with a general discharge after he disclosed his homosexuality. Pat Bond was an actress and comedienne; she served in the Women's Army Corps from 1945 to 1947.

In addition, the center has the Randy Shilts Papers. Shilts was a gay San Francisco journalist and author. His book Conduct Unbecoming is about gays in the military. The Shilts collection contains the drafts of the book as well as his collected research notes and interviews with these brave men and women.

In addition to the archival collections, there are books and videos on GLBT servicemen and women and on the issues surrounding gays in the military. You might choose to explore the library's holdings starting with these: Conduct Unbecoming by Randy Shilts, Coming Out Under Fire (also on video) by Allan Berube, and Serving in Silence: The Margarethe Cammermeyer Story (also on video).

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Archives October 2010: New Leaf

After 35 years of providing support services to the LGBT community, the doors to New Leaf closed on October 15, 2010. New Leaf was a nonprofit multi-purpose counseling center for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities of San Francisco and the surrounding Bay Area.

Services included comprehensive mental health, substance abuse, HIV/AIDS and social support and were available to all income levels especially to middle and low-income individuals and families who could not afford private therapy or support services.
Staff members at New Leaf saved flyers, photographs, memoranda, promotional literature, and handbooks in order to document their work with the community. This material forms the New Leaf collection.

Of particular interest are some older materials from Operation Concern (which merged with 18th Street Services to form New Leaf), GLOE (Gay and Lesbian Outreach to Elders), and a draft of Peg Cruikshank's Fierce with Reality, an anthology of literature on aging. It is worth noting that the collection does not include any patient files.

Because the New Leaf collection is a very recent acquisition and not yet organized, it is not currently available for research. All Hormel Center archives are handled through the San Francisco History Center, 6th floor, Main Library. For questions, please contact the San Francisco History Center reference desk at 415-557-4567.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Queer Politics and the Rise of the Religious Right

At election time informed decision making becomes a top priority. Library materials can provide a research resource for a myriad of issues. These two books both deal with the rise of the religious right and the role that homophobia, quite literally fear of homosexuals, has played in shaping shaping right-wing talking points and LGBT activism.

The first book,"How the Religious Right Shaped Lesbian and Gay Activism," by Tina Fetner takes a historical approach. From the Evangelicals of the fifties, through Anita Bryant and the rising of the "moral majority" to the AIDS crisis of the eighties and culminating in the "culture wars" that persist today, Fetner takes us on a chronological journey through the right-wing battle strategies of times gone by as well as how the Gay Movement moblilized around them.

In many ways the second book,"Kingdom Coming: the Rise of Christian Nationalism" by Michelle Goldberg takes up where Fetner leaves off. She chronicles the ascendancy of evangelical fundamentalism which she renames "Christian Nationalism" because of their emphasis on the construction of a theocratic state. Goldberg details how, under the George Bush administration they congealed as a movement. Now, a thriving minority, they comprise the right wing of the Republican Party and, in many races, are taking center stage in this mid-term election.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Archives September 2010: Odd Girl In!

We are thrilled to announce the donation of the Ann Bannon Papers. Bannon is well known and loved for her pulp novels from the 1950s and 1960s: Odd Girl Out, Beebo Brinker, and Journey to A Woman to name just a few.

The Bannon Papers contain the unedited (original) carbon copy typescripts of each of her novels. A few were significantly revised and edited prior to publication by Fawcett Publications.

The Bannon Papers also contain the original contracts with Fawcett, correspondence with Barbara Grier and Naiad Press, publicity photos, newspaper clippings, writings by others about Bannon's novels, adaptations based on Beebo Brinker, and audio- and videorecordings of Bannon's interviews and public addresses. We expect future additions to the collection.

Because the Ann Bannon Papers are a very recent acquisition and not yet organized, they are not currently available for research. All Hormel Center archives are handled through the San Francisco History Center, 6th floor, Main Library. For questions, please contact the San Francisco History Center reference desk at 415-557-4567.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Basics & the Lighter Side of Lesbian Pregnancy

As a result of the baby boom in LGBT circles, books pertaining to queer reproduction have been flying off the shelves. These two,"Queering Reproduction: Achieving Pregnancy in the Age of Technoscience," by Laura Mamo and "Beyond Expectation: Lesbian/Bi/Queer Women and Assisted Conception," by Jacquelyne Luce offer concrete advice encompassing and surpassing fertility treatments, conception techniques and support groups. Mamo's book concentrates more on the psychological obstacles and cultural perceptions that lesbians must overcome while Luce's work gives more concrete advice in the legal/contractual sphere. Both books cover the fundamentals such as donor selection, fertility and insemination and both utilize the interview style. However, it should be noted that with regard to legal information, Luce is from Canada and Mamo is from the United States.

After consulting the books above, if you're looking for some lighter reading, or possibly a cautionary tale, "my miserable, lonely, lesbian pregnancy," by Andrea Askowitz is for you. It is a diary-style account of her pregnancy, loaded with biographical digressions. Her sardonic wit makes it a book worth reading, even by people who have zero interest in the female reproductive process. Askowitz with her whiny tell-all style could be the long-lost love child of David Sedaris and Sarah Silverman. She examines the detours and speedbumps of her childbearing odyssey with glib, introspective humor, exposing the inherent contradictions between the way things are and the way they "should" be.

Here is a video of her reading a passage from the book. And another one of Askovitz reading her short story called "Bound for Greatness." To the right is a photo of Askovitz in the throes of her pregnancy.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Archives August 2010 Trannyshack

Heklina's Dragging Rights

The club Trannyshack was founded in February of 1996, by Steven Grygelko known by the professional moniker Heklina. Trannyshack was staged every Tuesday at midnight at the Stud, a South of Market gay bar in San Francisco, where it ran for over 12 years. The Tuesday night Trannyshack shows ended in August 2008.

A bartender at The Stud, Heklina was invited by the manager to create an event that would bring in patrons on Tuesdays, the slowest night of the week. As a participant in Klubstitute, a notorious traveling drag show in 1990, Heklina had witnessed the fun and possibilities of Drag without bounds. Trannyshack quickly gained an avid audience, who would wait sometimes until 1:30 in the morning for the show to begin. Many first time performers grew to fame on the tiny Trannyshack stage and some such as Peaches Christ and Ana Matronic of the Scissor Sisters went on to even greater fame.

With so many creative people in such close proximity, competition was natural and spurred the performers to heights of glamour and vulgarity which challenged long-held notions of what defines “Drag”. The inclusive atmosphere encouraged experimentation of all kinds, both on stage and off: costumes and acts ranged from the extreme, to the bizarre to the hysterical, edging out but never quite obliterating the traditional canons of drag. Transsexuals, drag queens, drag kings, faux queens, and even faux kings filled the Stud along with regular folks both gay and straight who came to watch the spectacle.

As Trannyshack gained renown, it attracted some of the biggest stars in the drag pantheon, and an assortment of stars from music and television made appearances as well. The club became something of a tourist attraction, and garnered inclusion on many “Best of” lists. In fact, Trannyshack’s popularity spawned a number of unlicensed copycat “Trannyshacks”, in the U.S. and even London.

Though the Tuesday night shows at The Stud have ended, Heklina has plans to continue the Trannyshack legacy with the Easter show, and other special events, and to keep the Heklina/Trannyshack brand alive indefinitely.

The Trannyshack Collection (GLC 58) is comprised of posters, press releases, photographs, DVDs, and a series of “Historical Bulletins” written by Bobby Barber which reveal background information on the performers and a history of each of the Tuesday night shows hosted in 2008, the club’s final year. The DVDs include two documentaries, Filthy Gorgeous and Blood, Sweat and Glitter, amateur footage taken from the final Trannyshack Kiss-Off show, and a video oral history from December 2008.

The Trannyshack Collection is available at the San Francisco History Center, 6th floor, Main Library.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Same-Sex Marriage--a History of Struggle

Although Judge Vaughn Walker ruled on August 4th that preventing same-sex marriages in California violated both the due process and equal protection clauses of the U.S. Constitution, an emergency stay has been placed on these marriages at the request of proposition 8 proponents. Although the legal standing of those initiating the stay is not clear, during the week of December 6th a randomly selected, three judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court will determine the merits of Walker's ruling.

Our books this week take a look at the distance the LGBT community has traveled on this issue.

"Legalizing Gay Marriage," by Michael Mello was published in 2004. Mello, a professor of Law at Vermont Law School, chronicles the lengthy and ground-breaking struggle that made Vermont the first state to legalize civil unions in July of 2000 in the aftermath of the Baker decision a case of equal protection under the law involving three same-sex couples. In 1999, the very idea of any kind of partnership between people of the same gender was a highly controversial proposition and it was the ruling in Baker that paved the way for civil unions which many involved in the lawsuit considered unacceptable and "an erosion of the spirit" of those denied full marriage rights.

The book, "When Gay People Get Married: What Happens When Societies Legalize Same-Sex Marriage," by M.V. Lee Badgett takes the issue a step further and analyzes the ramifications of legalizing gay marriage in the Netherlands in 2001. Badgett is an Economics Professor and Director of the Center for Public Policy and Administration at University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She is also one of the expert witnesses testifying in the Perry v Schwarzenegger, Prop. 8 trial. She writes with the sociological bent of an economist examining the issues in a more personal light. The book details how broadening the definition of marriage has affected not only people's perception and attitudes toward LGBT people but also how the institution of marriage is broadened and changed by a more-incusive definition. It offers concrete evidence that equality can become law and the sky will not fall as well as interviews with people who hold a range of beliefs as to the meaning of marriage.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Archives July 2010 Gay Games

"Against the Rules: Lesbians and Gays in the Sports, a travelling exhibition about discrimination, angst and chances" will be on display at the Deutsches Sport & Olympia Museum in Cologne, Germany. This exhibition of Gay Games memorabilia runs from July 30-August 8 in conjunction with Gay Games 8.

The exhibition will include T-shirts, posters, promotional literature, pins and, of course, medals. Several items from Gay Games 1-7 were selected from the Federation of Gay Games Records at SFPL's Hormel Center. We've posted a sample of the items that will be on view in Cologne.

The Federation of Gay Games (FGG) is the umbrella organization responsible for managing the international LGBT sports and cultural event, the quadrennial Gay Games. Dr. Tom Waddell, a 1968 U.S. Olympic decathlete, envisioned the dream of a multi-sport competition as a showcase for the gay and lesbian community. In 1980 he and others in San Francisco formed the San Francisco Arts and Athletics (SFAA) and established the Gay Games as an Olympic-style event. 1,350 participants from 12 countries gathered in August 1982 to compete in 17 sports. The Games have been held every four years since and are one of the world’s largest amateur athletic events drawing an average of more than 12,000 participants.

The mission of The Federation of Gay Games, Inc. is to foster and augment the self-respect of gay men and women throughout the world and to engender respect and understanding from the non-gay world, primarily through an organized, international athletic and cultural event held every four years commonly known as the “Gay Games.”

Following the Federation’s guiding principle of inclusion, activities are inclusive in nature and no individual is excluded from participating on the basis of sexual orientation, gender, race, religion, nationality, ethnic origin, political belief(s), athletic/artistic ability, age, physical challenge, or health status.

The Federation of Gay Games Records (GLC 27) includes minutes, reports, correspondence, and administrative papers for the Federation and for San Francisco Arts and Athletics. The Records also include organizational papers and memorabilia from each of the Gay Games events. The Federation of Gay Games Records are available through the San Francisco History Center, 6th floor, Main Library.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Archives June 2010 Nancy Stockwell

In April, we received additions to the Nancy Stockwell Papers (GLC 47). Stockwell was a writer and a professional golfer. Her papers contain correspondence, subject files, diaries, and draft and print copies of Stockwell’s writings. Most of the material covers the years 1975 through 1998.

In 1966 Nancy graduated from the University of Kansas with a Master’s degree in Speech/Theatre. That same year she moved to Boston, Massachusetts and began her career as a writer. The unpublished novella “Lucky Girls” chronicles her early days in Boston.

In 1973 Stockwell moved to Berkeley, California where she became one of the founding mothers of the journals Plexus (1974-1977) and The Bright Medusa. It is at this time that she makes the acquaintance of members of the early lesbian-feminist movement. Her correspondents include Nancy Bereano, Sandy Boucher, Sandra Dasmann, Cynthia Gair, Barbara Grier, Bertha Harris, and Helaine Harris. There is a small amount of correspondence with such notables as: Jane Rule, Adrienne Rich, Eudora Welty, Minnie Bruce Pratt, Charlotte Bunch, and Margie Adam.

In 1977 Nancy returned to the east coast and in 1978 her book Out Somewhere and Back Again: the Kansas stories was published. Nancy is pictured (above) at the first (1979) gay and lesbian march on Washington, D.C. where she was living at the time. In 1980 she began managing the Lambda Rising Bookstore in D.C. and was a delegate to the Democratic National Convention.

In 1985 she was admitted into the Ladies Professional Golf Association. Stockwell became the first female golf club professional in San Francisco at Harding/Lincoln Parks in 1987.

Nancy Stockwell was born in Paola, Kansas in 1940 and was diagnosed with bronchiectasis, a congenital pulmonary disorder, in 1951. She moved back home due to failing health in 1992 and underwent successful double lung transplant surgery in 1998. Sadly, Nancy died at the Kansas University Medical Center on March 13, 1999 due to complications from the lung transplants and immuno-suppression.

The Nancy Stockwell Papers (GLC 47) are available through the San Francisco History Center, 6th floor, Main Library.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Happy Birthday Harvey Milk!

Harvey Milk was born on May 22, 1930 in Woodmere Long Island to middle-class, Jewish parents. He arrived in San Francisco in 1972, an era of massive gay and lesbian migration. Queers from all over the country were pouring into the city and, much like the way the freaks and hippies settled into the Haight Ashbury neighborhood, they were staking out territory in the mostly Irish, working-class neighborhood that was called Eureka Valley.

It was on Castro Street in this neighborhood that Milk opened his camera shop, Castro Camera in 1972.

Milk had made three unsuccesful runs for politcal office before eventually winning the job of supervisior of District 5 in 1977, becoming the first openly gay elected official in San Francisco history.

As a supervisor he fought for protection against discrimination in employment and housing for gay San Franciscans. He worked on legislation to protect the rights of workers, the elderly and minorities. Another focus of his 11 month supervisorial stint as was for the preservation of the character of San Francisco neighborhoods that were moving toward unbridled gentrification.

On November 27th, 1978 supervisor Dan White assasinated both Harvey Milk and mayor George Moscone in their respective offices in city hall. Dan White was later sentenced to only seven years in prison, claiming that his judgement was impaired due to consumption of fast food. This "legal" theory became known as the "twinkie defense."

On the night of Dan White's sentencing, outraged, mostly queer, Californians burned police cars and rioted in protest of the verdict, an event that became known as the "White Night Riot."

The San Francisco Public Library holds two separate archival collections of Harvey Milk's papers and photographs and welcomes members of the public to come in and peruse these materials. To the right is a sample of a letter from Harvey Milk to Joe Campbell, dated 1961, lamenting the end of their relationship.

May 22nd, the day that would have been Milk's 80th birthday has been declared the first Harvey Milk Day. The Biblioqueers of the Queerest Library Ever salute him on his day and commemorate his pride and determination, his great contributions to both the LGBT movement, and the city of San Francisco and his relentless dedication to equality for all people.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Archives May 2010: One Man's Labor of Love

May Day seems the most appropriate day to announce the acquisition of the Howard Wallace Papers by the Hormel Center. Wallace is a gay labor and peace activist who is perhaps best known as a co-founder of Pride at Work (PAW), previously named the Lesbian and Gay Labor Alliance. He was one of the founders of Bay Area Gay Liberation (BAGL) in 1975 and, with Harvey Milk, he led the Coors Beer boycott that began the same year. This photograph by Howard Petrick shows Wallace (in sunglasses).

Howard's activism in Denver, Colorado and in San Francisco over the last 30 years has centered on equal rights for all regardless of sexual orientation or race. He is a tireless advocate for coalition building between communities in order to forge alliances based on mutually identified goals.

A contemporary of Harvey Milk and Randy Shilts, Wallace ran for the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1975 against Milk, among others. Though neither won that election, Milk was elected in 1977.

Wallace organized the first March On Washington for Gay Rights in 1979. He is currently involved with Senior Action Network (SAN), and the San Francisco Labor Council.

Some of the interesting pieces in his Papers include materials on the Coors Boycott, the Florida Orange Juice Boycott, the anti-Briggs Initiative (i.e. No On 6) campaign regarding gay/lesbian teachers in California, materials on housing plans in San Francisco, peace activism and the Yes on N campaign to bring U.S. troops out of Iraq. He is also a long-time proponent of health care unions.

Because the Howard Wallace Papers are a very recent acquisition and not yet organized, they are not currently available for research. All Hormel Center archives are handled through the San Francisco History Center, 6th floor, Main Library. For questions, please contact the San Francisco History Center reference desk at 415-557-4567.