Tag Archives: gay

LGBT History Month – The Life and Death of Rock Hudson and His Impact on the AIDS Epidemic (November 17, 1925 – October 2, 1985)

In the 1985 Rock Hudson, a leading Hollywood actor, became the first major hollywood celebrity to die of AIDS-related complications.

While his career developed in 1950’s Hollywood, Rock Hudson and his agent Henry Willson kept the actor’s personal life out of the headlines. In 1955, Confidential magazine threatened to publish an exposé about Hudson’s secret homosexual life. Willson stalled the article by disclosing information about two of his other clients. Willson provided information about Rory Calhoun‘s years in prison and the arrest of Tab Hunter at a gay party in 1950. According to some colleagues, Hudson’s homosexual life was well known in Hollywood throughout his career, and former co-stars Elizabeth Taylor and Susan Saint James claimed that they knew of his homosexuality, as did Carol Burnett.

Soon after the Confidential incident, Hudson married Willson’s secretary Phyllis Gates. Gates filed for divorce after three years in April 1958, citing mental cruelty. Hudson did not contest the divorce and Gates received alimony of $250 a week for 10 years. Gates never remarried.

An urban legend states that Hudson “married” Jim Nabors in the early 1970s. Not only was same-sex marriage not recognized under the laws of any American state at the time, but, at least publicly, Hudson and Nabors were nothing more than friends. According to Hudson, the legend originated with a group of “middle-aged homosexuals who live in Huntington Beach” sent out joke invitations for their annual get-together. One year the group invited its members to witness “the marriage of Rock Hudson and Jim Nabors”, at which Hudson would take the surname of Nabors’ most famous character, Gomer Pyle, becoming Rock Pyle.

The “joke” was evidently already in the mainstream by the very early 1970s. In the October 1972 edition of MAD magazine (issue no. 154), an article entitled “When Watching Television, You Can be Sure of Seeing…”, gossip columnist ‘Rona Boring” (a take on then gossip columnist Rona Barrett) states: “And there isn’t a grain of truth to the vicious rumor that movie and TV star Rock Heman and singer Jim Nelly were secretly married! Rock and Jim are just good buddies! I repeat, they are not married! They are not even going steady!”  Those who failed to get the joke spread the rumor and as a result, Hudson and Nabors never spoke to each other again.

Shortly after Hudson’s press release disclosing his illness, William M. Hoffman, the author of As Is, a play about AIDS that appeared on Broadway in 1985, stated: “If Rock Hudson can have it, nice people can have it. It’s just a disease, not a moral affliction.”

At the same time, Joan Rivers was quoted as saying: “Two years ago, when I hosted a benefit for AIDS, I couldn’t get one major star to turn out. … Rock’s admission is a horrendous way to bring AIDS to the attention of the American public, but by doing so, Rock, in his life, has helped millions in the process. What Rock has done takes true courage. Morgan Fairchild said that “Rock Hudson’s death gave AIDS a face. In a telegram Hudson sent to a September 1985 Hollywood AIDS benefit, Commitment to Life, which he was too ill to attend in person, Hudson said: “I am not happy that I am sick. I am not happy that I have AIDS. But if that is helping others, I can at least know that my own misfortune has had some positive worth.”

Hudson, a friend of Ronald Reagan and his wife Nancy, made a simple plea to the White House for help to get him transferred to a hospital in France in his greatest hour of need. 

“Only one hospital in the world can offer necessary medical treatment to save life of Rock Hudson or at least alleviate his illness,” Dale Olson, Hudson’s longtime friend and publicist wrote. Although the commanding officer had denied Hudson admission to the French military hospital initially, Olson wrote that they believed “a request from the White House … would change his mind.”

First Lady Nancy Reagan denied Hudson’s the request.

On the morning of October 2, 1985, Hudson died in his sleep from AIDS-related complications at his home in Beverly Hills at age 59, less than two months before what would have been his 60th birthday. Hudson requested that no funeral be held. His body was cremated hours after his death and a cenotaph was later established at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Cathedral City, California.

Hudson’s revelation had an immediate impact on the visibility of AIDS, and on the funding of medical research related to the disease. Among activists who were seeking to de-stigmatize AIDS and its victims, Hudson’s revelation of his own infection with the disease was viewed as an event that could transform the public’s perception of AIDS.

Rest in Peace Rock.

Disappearing Gay History: The Ninth Circle Steakhouse, New York City, NY (1961 - 1990)

Disappearing Gay History: The Ninth Circle Steakhouse, New York City, NY (1961 – 1990)

Gone, but not forgotten The Ninth Circle Steakhouse which closed in early 2002 was located in the West Village on 10th Street right off Greenwich Avenue.  And yes, at one time it really was a Steakhouse that seriously rocked in the 1960’s with a quasi-bohemian clientele..

Originally opened and owned by Mickey Ruskin of Max’s Kansas City fame the Ninth Circle Steakhouse played host to array of singers and musicians and  literati including the likes Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Charlie Mingus and others who gathered there nightly to drink and eat.

But in the 1970’s what little star power and customers that remained were not enough to keep business going.  Ruskin sold full ownership of The Circle to Bobby Krivitz.  

The restaurant section downstairs was closed and became a disco starting out completely straight but realizing that there were some serious dollars to be made of the newly liberated gay crowd in NYC, The Ninth Circle literally became a gay bar overnight.

After a few years the disco floor was replaced by a pool table.   And now instead of Janis Joplin and Jimmy Hendricks the 9th Circles celebrity clientele changed to Rock Hudson and Jack Wrangler. With one of the best damn jukeboxes in NYC.

Today you’ll be hard pressed today to find out much about the Ninth Circle.  Very little can be found out about it on internet and few pictures remain.  What little info you can find calls The Circle  a hustler bar. But it was far from that and  lets be real in NYC in the 70’s and 80’s almost EVERY gay bar in NYC had a few hustlers in it. But to be honest as its business began to fade in its final few years there were more young men working the world’s oldest profession.

For over 20 years The Ninth Circle was the place to to drink and cruise in Greenwich Village.  Weekends would  literally packed people wall to wall.  And customers wanting to get in would be held at the door until some patrons left.  It was literally a sea of men on the make. All ages, all types.  Clones, twinks, and trolls all getting drunk, trying to get laid, and having a great time doing it.

The Circle was so busy that one night in the late 70’s a man walked in the front door and made his way up to the crowded bar pointed a gun at the bartender and demanded money.  The  bartender who was so busy pouring 4-5 drinks at a time glanced at the robber and  without missing a beat told the gunman that he had to wait his turn. 

The gunman was so shocked by this he turned around and left the bar.

I was a patron of The Ninth Circle and  then worked as a cocktail waiter for a few years from 1980-1982.  I was extremely young, 20  years old and this was before right before New York state raised the drinking age to 21. When they did raise it I was “grandfathered” in meaning that because I was of age to drink before they raised it. I still could.  Which made the the youngest legal worker at the bar.  But i tell you, after working there for a while I may have been young, but I was no longer naïve. (Again. Oh the stories I could tell.

Upon entering The Ninth Circle you looked at a long wooden bar leading down 1/2 the length of room.  A long wooden bench ran down the opposite wall  and over the bar was an equally long mirror so you could sit drinking your cocktail and look up at the mirror to see who entered or who might be behind you worth checking out.  At the end of the bar was the waiters station and a jukebox.  Opposite the jukebox was the entrance to the downstairs bar. (Fred Tree’s domain) On the other side of the jukebox against the wall were chairs and tables and a small square area with more chairs and tables and a pinball machine.  At the end of the room stood a doorway with a small staircase that led to the dimly candlelit patio “garden”.  Which was aptly named because there was much green in that garden being the copious amounts of marijuana that was smoked and sold back there. (Along with other various pharmaceuticals of the era: Black Beauties, Quaaludes Valium, etc.)  I cannot even tell you how many times I was tipped in joints, Nickle bags and other substances. (Ah memories. Well what I actually can remember.)

When you ventured downstairs there was a much smaller bar, a pool table, pinball machine, a video game and the bathrooms.  Theis was bartender Fred Tree’s kingdom. This is where most of the “twinks”  and a few hustlers hung out along listening to Tree who told the worst jokes in the world, celebrated Russian Christmas, and  was an all around great guy.  Tree still bartends today at The Stonewall Inn. 

It was really was the best of times to be young and gay.  But in a few years because of what was loomed on the horizon it would become the worst. 

But looking back now, even mixed in with the tragedy of the AIDS pandemic and the loss the followed the memories of The Ninth Circle  are some of the best memories of my life.  What compares to serving cocktails and hanging out with Jack Wrangler.  (Oh by the way and the reason his cock looked so big was because he was really short. I know this for a fact.) Or dancing the night away at Crisco’s Disco, or The Anvil and leaving their drenched in sweat on a Sunday morning at sunrise.  Nothing beat going to Fire Island, The Bartenders Ball or being on the guest list at Studio 54.

Tree, John Koch, Jerry, Michael, Portia, Randy, Sonny, Don and Craig (whatever happened to you man you man. You were my first huge crush) and many more I miss to this day and if you ever read this and are still around PLEASE CONTACT ME.

The Ninth Circle which was my institute of higher learning (literally) and will always be a part of who I am today.

They say what gets posted on the Internet is there forever. 

So consider this is just my way of making sure that the memory of The Ninth Circle never disappears.

Have an interesting  bon mot, humorous story, or raunchy memory of the The Ninth Circle?  Please feel free to post it in the comments section below.

Original Stonewall Participant and Longtime Gay Activist Fred Sargeant Attacked By Trans Activist @ Burlington Pride

Original Stonewall Participant and Longtime Gay Activist Fred Sargeant Attacked By Gender Identity/Trans Activist @ Burlington Pride

Fred Sargent is an original. He is one of NYC’s original gay activist. He alongside with boyfriend Craig Rodwell and others started NYC PRIDE (Christopher Street Liberation Day Protest) A member of GLF, GAA and almost any other homophile organization Sargent participated in the 1969 Stonewall Riots in New York City (verified unlike some others) And to this day he continues to fight. Just now a bit differently.

Sargeant, 74, was attacked after holding a sign with a red line through the phrases “Woman Face” and “Black Face” and “Gay Not Queer” at the 39th Burlington Pride Parade in Vermont.

Yes. Vermont.

Sargeant is against the recent “gender” ideology movement’ which he says is “homophobic and exclusive.” and some say are out of control. Especially the UK version of the Human Rights Campaign called “Stonewall”

Out of control perhaps by assaulting a 74 year old man at PRIDE?

Describing the incident on his Facebook account, Sargeant said, “Mugged at Burlington Pride. So, I went to Pride to protest their misogyny, homophobia, exclusionary policies and divisiveness. I was met by screaming, multiple assaults, ageist comments, shoving, slaps to the back of my head, pouring coffee on me and repeated attempts to steal my signs Being unsuccessful in their attempts to disrupt my protest and drive me away, the mob pushed me to the ground as the parade ended, further injuring me.” 

Via Gaynrd.com: This isn’t the first time that lesbians and gays have faced vitriol from trans activists at Pride. Lesbians have been intimidated, shouted at, surrounded and unceremoniously thrown out of Pride events in London and Cardiff. In Paris, smoke flares were thrown at lesbians who insisted that the definition of lesbian doesn’t include people with male bodies. Sargeant is also a target because he is able to call out trans activists for their attempts to rewrite gay history. It is now fashionable to erase boring old gays and foreground trans activists instead. For instance, it is now claimed that the pivotal role at the Stonewall riots was played not by gay people, but by ‘trans’ activist Marsha P Johnson. This is despite Johnson being on the record admitting that he was actually a drag queen and not trans, and that other than being a part of the hundreds and hundreds of rioters that night he played no significant part in the events.  But it is worthy in itself that Johnson was there and in the thick of it with 100’s of others

But. Marsha Johnson (or Syliva Rivera) did not start or lead the Stonewall Riots. AND THAT IS A FACT,

Differing opinions and ideologies should not be met with violence within our community. Go fight a Republican. Someone who REALY hurts you. But the fact that they attacked a 74 year old man gay man, be he a longtime gay activist or not is vile and disgusting. It also proves many of the negative things said about the trans movement right now.

Oh. And don’t forget about Bette!

Happy Labor Day Weekend! – Brought to you by: John Raitt, Doris Day and the Cast of The Pajama Game (1957)

And now we take you back to an easier and simpler time when businesses would actually have Labor Day Picnics, Christmas parties and the almost now extinct and ever elusive Holiday/Year End Bonus for their workers.

Enjoy the nostalgia and the handsome John Raitt.!

3 Men Dead In "Intentional" Hit & Run Outside Chicago Gay Bar

3 Men Dead In “Intentional” Hit & Run Outside Chicago Gay Bar

A hit-and-run car crash that killed three and injured one outside a gay bar in Chicago early Sunday morning “appears to be intentional,” police said. The attack occurred outside the Jeffery Pub at 7041 S. Jeffery Blvd., one of the oldest gay bars in Chicago.

The attack “appears to be intentional” but is not being investigated as a hate crime, Chicago police said at a news conference Monday. “It appears to be intentional,” Chief of Detectives Brendan Deenihan told reporters Monday. “We don’t have any evidence to support that somebody was trying to harm these individuals based because of their race, religion, etc. That can change once we get more witnesses and a suspect in.”

Happy 4th of July from Back2Stonewall.com! - Did You Know........

Happy 4th of July from Back2Stonewall.com! – Patriotic LGBT Trivia: Did You Know?

Did you know……..

*  Benjamin Franklin was the first U.S. military recruiter who enlisted a gay man into the Revolutionary Army. 

* George Washington in all probability was the first American to offer domestic-partner rights. He gave housing to a known homosexual couple when housing was a premium at Valley Forge. And when faced with a homosexual scandal at Valley Forge, he took the least harmful course of action and embarrassed the officer accused of sodomy rather than giving him the death sentence as Thomas Jefferson demanded. 

*  An African-American gay man, George Middleton, lead a troop of black men in the Revolution.

*  Several women dressed as men to enlist in the Revolutionary Army. After the war, when they could have taken off the drag, some chose to live out their lives as men.

*  A lesbian, Katharine Lee Bates, wrote one of the country’s most patriotic songs, “America the Beautiful.”

*  The director of Wheatland, the home and presidential library of President James Buchanan, admits for the first time that it can’t be refuted that Buchanan might have been gay. In an effort to allow historians the opportunity to fully research this, the library has taken down the portrait of Ann Coleman, the one woman Buchanan ever romanced.

*  It might also surprise many Americans that the father of the United States military was a gay man: Baron Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben. He wrote the “Revolutionary War Drill Manual” and introduced drills, tactics and discipline to the rag-tag militia, which resulted in victory over the British.

So think about that today everybody when you are stuffing a footlong in your mouth.

HAPPY INDEPENDENCE GAY TO EVERYONE!

Source:  The Gay History Project
Pride Anthem 1980 - The Story of "I'm Coming Out" sung by Diana Ross

Pride Anthem 1980 – The Story of “I’m Coming Out” sung by Diana Ross

In 1979, Diana Ross commissioned Chic founders Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards to create material for a new album after taking her daughters to see the band in concert.  Rodgers got the idea for “I’m Coming Out” after noticing three different drag queens dressed as Diana Ross at a Gay/Drag/Trans New York club called the GG Barnum Room that had a trapeze with flyers soaring over the dance floor. 

Thus, ever since the song has bee interpreted as a celebration of lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender, identity and the encouragement of self-disclosure.

#PRIDE2022 – WATCH: A Treasure Trove Of Gay Rights News Clips From The 1970’s – Video

REVIVE YOUR PRIDE!

The great Dave Evans aka SuchIsLife  has posted a veritable treasure trove of Gay Rights news clips from the 1970’s. 

This mesmerizing hour long video includes some rather rare footage from the first Gay Pride March in 1970 to the Gay Rights Rally on Capitol Hill in 1979.

This is a MUST SEE!  Not only will you see how much we have achieved but also how much has not changed. 

It’s an amazing historical collection.

List of the clips include:

* FIRST PRIDE PARADE IN CENTRAL PARK NYC 6/28/1970

* GAY CONFERENCE FILM 8/30/1970

* GAYS MARCH THROUGH NEW YORK CITY FILM 6/27/1971

* GAY CONFERENCE 8/17/1971

* NEW YORK ILLUSTRATED: HOMOSEXUALS – OUT OF THE CLOSET 2/11/1973

* GAY DEMONSTRATION OUTSIDE DNC 7/11/1976

* CARTER AIDES MEET WITH GAY ACTIVISTS 3/26/1977

* ANITA BRYANT & HOMOSEXUALS CLASH OVER EQUAL RIGHTS FOR GAYS 6/2/1977

* DADE COUNTY GAY RIGHTS REFERENDUM 6/7/1977

* GAY RIGHTS REFERENDUM DEFEATED; BRYANT ANNOUNCES ANTI-GAY CAMPAIGN 6/8/1977

* GAY RIGHTS MARCH 6/26/1977

* GAY ACTIVISTS MARCH IN SAN FRANCISCO 6/27/1977

* HOMOSEXUALS: PART 1 9/12/1977

* HOMOSEXUALS: PART 2 9/13/1977

* HOMOSEXUALS: PART 3 9/14/1977

* ANITA BRYANT PIED IN THE FACE 10/23/1977

* PROFILE OF HARVEY MILK 3/2/1978

* GAY RIGHTS BILL DIVIDES VOTERS IN ST. PAUL 4/20/1978

* ST. PAUL RESIDENTS VOTE TO REPEAL GAY RIGHTS BILL 4/26/1978

* ANTI-GAY FORCES SCORE A VICTORY IN WICHITA 5/10/1978

* GAY COMM FIGHTS TO RETAIN RIGHTS AS CITIES REPEAL ANTI-DISCRIMATION LAWS 5/21/1978

* CONTROVERSY RAGES OVER PROPOSED REPEAL OF A GAY RIGHTS ORDINANCE 5/22/1978

* GAY RIGHTS ORDINANCE DEFEATED BY 2-1 MARGIN IN EUGENE 5/24/1978

* CUT STORY ON CALIFORNIA PROPOSITION 6 / DADE COUNTY VOTE 11/5/1978

* CALIFORNIA VOTERS REJECT ANTI-GAY MEASURE 11/8/1978

* MAYOR GEORGE MOSCONE AND SUPERVISOR HARVEY MILK ARE FATALLY SHOT FORMER SUPERVISOR DAN WHITE 11/27/1978

* MEMORIAL HELD FOR SLAIN CITY ADMINISTRATOR HARVEY MILK 12/1/1978

* HOMOSEXUALITY 4/20/1979

* CUT STORY ON DAN WHITE VERDICT 5/22/1979

* WIDESPREAD VIOLENCE REPORTED FOLLOWING ANNOUNCEMENT OF WHITE VERDICT 5/23/1979

* INCREASE IN SIZE OF GAY COMMUNITY CONCERNS MANY KEY WEST RESIDENTS 6/8/1979

* GAYS MARCH IN SAN FRANCISCO 6/25/1979

* GAY RIGHTS SUPPORTERS RALLY IN NATIONS CAPITOL 10/15/1979

* GAY VOTE EXPECTED TO DETERMINE OUTCOME OF SF MAYORAL RUNOFF 12/11/1979