Tag Archives: 1972

Gay History – July 12, 1972: First Gay Delegates Speak at the Democratic National Convention. Sort Of….

In 1972, after the Alice B. Toklas Memorial Democratic Club delivered one-third of the signatures needed to secure George McGovern the first position on the California Democratic primary ballot, gay rights and political activist James Foster was added to the list of speakers at the 1972 Democratic National Convention in Miami, Florida. Originally, Foster had been given a prime time speaking slot, but George McGovern’s campaign manager, future U.S. Senator and presidential candidate Gary Hart, changed it to a 3:00 a.m. speaking slot. The campaign had decided they needed to tone down their radical image. Foster and fellow delegate Madeline Davis were the first openly LGBT people ever to address a national party convention. He called upon the Democratic Party to add a gay rights plank to the party platform, saying:

We do not come to you begging your understanding or pleading your tolerance. We come to you affirming our pride in our lifestyle, affirming the validity of our right to seek and to maintain meaningful emotional relationships and affirming our right to participate in the life of this country on an equal basis with every citizen.

Foster and other gay rights activists got a minority report to the floor, but the plank was defeated. Instead he Democrats included “the right to be different” in their 1972 platform. According to the party, this right included the right to “maintain a cultural, ethnic heritage or lifestyle, without being forced into a compelled homogeneity”

Interestingly in 1973 Foster was approached by fledgling gay politician Harvey Milk . Milk sought Foster’s endorsement for his first campaign for Supervisor. Foster, who through the Alice B. Toklas Democratic Club had staked out a position that it was best for the gay community to work with liberal establishment politicians than try to elect gay candidates, refused to support Milk’s campaign. This led to an animosity between the men which lasted until Harvey Milk’s assassination in 1978. It has been suggested that this event led to the founding of the alternate Harvey Milk-founded San Francisco Gay Democratic Club. 

SXSW – Burt Reynolds Says He Regrets Doing Cosmo’s Famous Nude Bearskin Rug Centerfold

Burt Reynolds Regrets Doing Nude Cosmo Centerfold

During AOL’s What To Watch session at SXSW now, four decades later, former hairy heartthrob Burt Reynolds says he regrets posing for the 1972 Cosmopolitan nearly nude centerfold that sold over 1.5 million copies and helped cement both Cosmo and Reynolds’ name in popular culture. (And also became masturbation fodder for generations of gay men and women. Don’t be a prude.  You know its true.)

Reynolds revealed that he thinks he did the naked shoot because he didn’t want people to think he was afraid to do it.  “The only rules I had… I wanted a lot of drinks before. I have to be truthful, I was totally zonkered when I did the picture. That stupid smile, that’s what it is you know.”

From Cosmopolitan.com:

On the way to the photo shoot, I stopped for two quarts of vodka and finished one before we got to the studio, which was freezing cold (bad for a naked man’s self-esteem).

The famed Francesco Scavullo photographed me on a bearskin rug. He took hundreds of shots: with a hat in front of my … tallywacker, with a dog in front of it, with my hand in front of it. (If I was trying to prove something, why would I cover it up with my hand? I have very small hands.) They promised to burn the outtakes and give me the negatives

Reynolds was the first male nude “legitimate” centerfold in publishing.

It wasn’t until later that Reynolds found out that Helen Gurley Brown, the longtime editor of Cosmopolitan and author of the best-selling book Sex and the Single Girl had asked Paul Newman to do it first.