I am what I am And what I am needs no excuses I deal my own deck Sometimes the ace sometimes the deuces It’s my life that I want to have a little pride in My life and it’s not a place I have to hide in Life’s not worth a danm til you can shout out I am what I am.
In 1973 Technical Sargent Leonard Matlovich read an interview in the Air Force Times with gay activist Frank Kameny who had counseled several gays in the military over the years. He called Kameny in Washington DC and learned that Kameny had long been looking for a gay service member with a perfect record to create a test case to challenge the military’s ban on gay men. About a year later, he called Kameny again, telling him that he might be the person. After several months of discussion with Kameny and ACLU attorney David Addlestone during which they formulated a plan, he hand-delivered a letter to his Langley AFB commanding officer on March 6, 1975. When his commander asked, “What does this mean?” Matlovich replied, “It means Brown versus the Board of Education” because for Matlovich, his test of the military’s ban on homosexuals would be equivalent to that case.
At that time, the Air Force had a unique exception clause that technically could allow gays to continue to serve under undefined circumstances. (Remember this was LONG before DADT a time when if someone whispered you were gay you’d be discharged without any defense) An Air Force attorney asked Maltovich if he would sign a document pledging to “never practice homosexuality again” in exchange for being allowed to stay in the Air Force. Matlovich refused. Even though Maltovich had an unblemished military record, tours of duty in Vietnam, and was a recipient of the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star, the military ruled Leonard Matlovich unfit to serve and he was recommended for a General, or Less than Honorable, discharge. The base commander recommended that it be upgraded to Honorable and the Secretary of the Air Force agreed, confirming Matlovich’s discharge in October 1975.
Maltovich sued for reinstatement, but the legal process was a long one, with the case moving back and forth between United States District and Circuit Courts. When, by September 1980, the Air Force had failed to provide US District Court Judge Gerhard Gesell an explanation of why Matlovich did not meet their criteria for exception [which by then had been eliminated but still could have applied to him], Gesell ordered him reinstated into the Air Force and promoted. The Air Force offered Matlovich a financial settlement instead and convinced they would find some other reason to discharge him if he reentered the service, or the conservative US Supreme Court would rule against him should the Air Force appeal, Matlovich accepted. The figure, based on back pay, future pay, and pension was $160,000.
His case resulted in articles in newspapers and magazines throughout the country, numerous television interviews, and a television movie on NBC. He was repeatedly called upon by gay groups to help them with fundraising and advocating against anti-gay discrimination, helping lead campaigns against Anita Bryant’s effort in Miami, Florida, to overturn a gay nondiscrimination ordinance and John Briggs’ attempt to ban gay teachers in California and also later the fight for adequate HIV-AIDS education and treatment.
On June 22, 1988, less than a month before his 45th birthday, Matlovich died of complications from HIV/AIDS beneath a large photo of Martin Luther King, Jr. His tombstone, meant to be a memorial to all gay veterans, does not bear his name. It reads: “When I was in the military, they gave me a medal for killing two men and a discharge for loving one.”
Watch below as “CBS Evening News” legend Walter Cronkite introduces an interview with Technical Sargent Leonard Matlovich.
In 1982, Lou Maletta launched the first ever Gay Cable Network in New York City. Maletta started small with the program “Men in Films,” which explored male erotica, and soon went on to develop news programming that gave virtually the only television attention to the nascent AIDS crisis and the ongoing fight for LGBT rights.
Men & Film, Maletta’s first program, featured some jazzily cut gay pornographic material that just barely passed even early cable access censorship standards and created a space for gay lust on television. Maletta would soon expand his programming to include news, sports and entertainment, all with a gay perspective.
Maletta went out and covered everything he could in the community with a sense of mission and the conviction that “the way to educate people was with the greatest tool of all time — television.”
From 1984 to 2000, the Gay Cable Network provided team coverage of the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, with reporters on the floor interviewing political leaders from Dick Cheney, Henry Kissinger, and George W. Bush to Jesse Jackson and Ann Richards. The network also covered GLBT and AIDS demonstrations outside the conventions, as well as countless local and national protests including the 1987 and 1993 national marches on Washington and the rise of ACT UP in 1987. Maletta and GCN also covered the social, cultural, and sexual lives.
Some of the notables interviewed on the network were Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Harvey Fierstein, Tony Kushner, director Derek Jarman, Quentin Crisp, writer Vito Russo, Sara Jessica Parker, and Barbara Walters, among an eclectic mix of countless others.
Lou Maletta shut down operations in 2001, and sadly passed away at the age 74 of liver cancer in 2011, but thankfully the entire archives of the Gay Cable Network were acquired by New York University’s Fales Library for restoration, and preservation. The footage is a priceless piece of GLBT history and important for the education of future generations to come.
Although best known worldwide for her 1980’s Hi-NRG club hits, Thomas recorded and performed in disco, jazz, and gospel music styles for a decade before her successful stint in the 1980’s. Evelyn Thomas was discovered by British producer Ian Levine.
In 1984 Evelyn Thomas went to London to record a new track “High Energy“. Just few weeks after it was released, it zoomed up the charts all over Europe – peaking at No. 1 in Germany and No. 5 in the UK, selling a total of 7,000,000 copies[worldwide. In the US it hit No. 1 on the Hot Dance Club Play chart, selling 250,000 copies. The song was Thomas; only Billboard Hot 100 entry.
This has to be one of the best, if not the only song and music video’s about gay pirates. It’s simply brilliant and beautiful and was written and performed by singer/song-writer Cosmo Jarvis
Jarvis has made something of a splash in the UK where he has already generated a fair bit of buzz as a singer. Not only is the subject matter of “Gay Pirates” wildly different from any song out there, but Jarvis also plays the part of the gay pirate in his own video. In addition, he conceived of the video’s concept, and directed and filmed it himself.
In a nutshell the story of “Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge” is as follows
A male teenager named Jesse who’s a high school wrestler moves into the house where a lot of the original “Nightmare On Elm Street” took place with his family and he gets Nancy’s old room. In her closet, (and his) he finds her diary containing her secrets about the nightmares she had. He soon has the revelation he’s having the same dreams as Nancy and runs to his parents screaming that he’s ” becoming NANCY” and his parents don’t believe him and then get mad at him.
This is bizarrely as subtle as this movie gets.
From there Jesse’s S&M gym teacher stares at him working out only to later run into him in a gay leather bar (Don’t ask me how or why there is a leather bar in Springdale) ) and they end up in back in the school gym where the teacher ends up getting snapped with wet towels and attacked by his own (basket) balls.
We also have Jesse’s “Risky Business” dance scene where Jesse bumps, grinds and holds a phallic like object in front of his crotch while wearing the gayest 80’s sunglasses ever and then we have his “bromance” (And lets be honest this was the 80’s and it wasn’t a “bromance” it was a “brokeback-nance”) with his best friend that has such gayly suggestive lines as:
Jesse: “Something is trying to get inside my body.” Grady: “And you want to sleep with me?”
And in a somewhat unsurprising (after watching his performance) and ironic twist Mark Patton, who plays Jesse, was a living as a closeted gay man during that film’s production and now refer’s to himself as the “First Male Scream Queen” (Although I am sure that Roddy McDowell would beg to differ.)
All in all NES2FR is the gayest unintentional horror movie EVER! Or was it intentional? Conflicting stories muddle this point.
Well whatever its worth a watch for Homoween. Hell, it even even has Hope Lange, TV’s Ghost and Mrs. Muir, playing Jesse’s mom!
Paul Lynde who was best known for his roles as Uncle Arthur on Bewitched and Harry MacAfee, the befuddled father in Bye Bye Birdie would have been 91 years old today. Lynde, a noted character actor with a distinctively campy and snarky persona that often poked fun at his barely-in the closet homosexuality
Lynde made his Broadway debut in the hit revue New Faces of 1952 had a prestigious career on both Broardway and in television. Over the years, Lynde made regular appearances on sitcoms such as The Phil Silvers Show, The Munsters, and I Dream of Jeannie, and variety shows such as The Perry Como Show and The Dean Martin Show. Then came Lynde’s first appeared in episode 26 of Bewitched, “Driving is the Only Way to Fly,” as Samantha’s driving instructor Harold Harold, before taking on the recurring role of Uncle Arthur, Endora’s brother. He was also a frequent guest on the 1976-79 variety show, Donny and Marie and the game show The Hollywood Squares.
But despite his remarkable career Paul Lynde’s personal life was far from happy.
Paul Lynde’s sexual orientation was something of an open secret in Hollywood, although, in keeping with the prejudices and social mores of the time, it was not acknowledged or discussed in public.
In 1965, Lynde was involved in an accident in which a young actor, reputed to be his lover, fell to his death from the window of their hotel room in San Francisco’s Sir Francis Drake Hotel. The two had been drinking for hours before 24-year-old James “Bing” Davidson slipped and fell eight stories to his death, an event witnessed by two policemen, yet the event was largely kept out of the press, thus saving Lynde’s career.
Despite his campy television persona, Lynde never publicly came out as being gay and the press generally went along with the deception. In a People magazine article the magazine featured Lynde and Stan Finesmith who was dubbed Lynde’s “suite mate” and “chauffeur-bodyguard.”
In 1978, Lynde career took a downturn after he was arrested outside of a gay bar in Salt Lake City. As a result of the arrest, he lost his guest starring role on The Donny and Marie Show and acting jobs became harder for him to find, although it is unclear if this was because of anti-gay prejudice or his substance abuse problems and noted erratic behavior, which often made him difficult to work with. He had been arrested for drunk driving and, while under the influence of alcohol, he was known to make rude and racist public comments towards people. Lynde finally became sober and drug free in the early 1980s, shortly before his death.
Paul Lynde was found dead in his Beverly Hills, California, home by friend Paul Barresi on Monday, January 11, 1982.
May he find the peace and acceptance in death that he was never able to find in life.
Happy Birthday Uncle Arthur.
* Watch this rare and hysterical clip below of Paul Lynde visiting WSPD, Ch. 13, In Toledo, OH in 1978 where he does a guest weather forecast with the (now) openly gay Boston anchor man Randy Price.