Tag Archives: Los Angeles

Gay History: July 2 – McCarthy, Cohn and “Sex Perverts”, Rex Gildo and the IRS

July 2nd.

1939:  Ludwig Alexander Hirtreiter, aka Rex Gildo, German singer of ‘schlagers’, born in Munich.  Hirtreiter aka Gildo  reached the height of his popularity in the 1960’s and 1970’s, selling over 25 million records and also starring in film and television roles.

Gildo died in 1999 aged 63, having spent three days in an artificially-induced coma after attempting suicide by jumping from the window of his apartment building. He was said to have been suffering “psychological problems”. After his death, it was reported that he had been gay and involved in a relationship with Dave Klingeberg, his secretary with whom he lived, for seven years.

1953:  The Los Angeles Herald-Express reports that the state department in California had fired 531 sex perverts and other security risks. The number of homosexuals fired was 425. Note: during the McCarthyist period from 1947 to 1953 more people lost their jobs for being homosexual than for involvement with the Communist party in which McCarthy was aided by the ice cold sleaze queen and deeply closeted homosexual Roy Cohn

1969:  Responding to the fourth and final night of ongoing Stonewall riots on Christopher Street New York police arrived and beat the demonstrators with nightsticks, leaving many many victims bleeding but in the end more then double the amount of police were injured during the riots than LGBT activist.

1970:  A group of American Lutheran leaders issues a statement calling for an end to sodomy laws and the passage of legislation prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation

1974:  In Winnipeg, Manitoba, Derksen Printers refuses to print Understanding Homosexuality, an educational publication by Gays for Equality. Group pickets printing plant.

1975: During a joint meeting of the National Organization of Women, the Austin Women’s Political Caucus and Women’s Equality Action League, the Austin Lesbian Organization is invited to give a presentation on lesbianism.

1985:  The first meeting of Heterosexuals Unafraid of Gays (HUG) is held in Wellington, New Zealand.

1986:  By only a single vote New Zealand’s parliament allows final debate to begin on a proposed law to lower the age of consent for gay sex to 16 and legalize gay sex. The bill eventually passes.

1989:  Employees of the US Internal Revenue Service who were members of the National Treasury Employees Union receive a new contract which included protection from discrimination based on sexual orientation. But to this day it does not appear in internal ethics material.

1994:  Italy’s “First National Demonstration of Gay and Lesbian Pride” takes place in Rome.

 

 

 

 

 

Gay History - May 1: Legendary Disco “Studio One” Opens in West Hollywood

Gay History – May 1: Legendary Disco “Studio One” Opens in West Hollywood

On May 1, 1974: “Studio One” (formerly The Factory) opens in West Hollywood. The labyrinthine establishment, one of the biggest of its kind (it has four bars, a dinner theater, a jewelry concession, and a game room), quickly establishes itself as L.A.’s premier gay nightclub, the disco to end all disco.

In the 1979 edition of the Bob Damron guidebook, during the height of the disco years, Studio One was characterized by its young crowd and entertainment, which included cabaret performances. It was called a “top super bar” 

The secret to Studio One was its specificity and excellent execution. The owner, Scott Forbes, was dubbed “Disco King” by the Los Angeles Times in a 1976 feature. He was quoted saying “Studio One was planned, designed and conceived for gay people, gay male people” (LA Times, 1976).  Forbes also fixated on the issue of “the Door,” (much like Steve Rubell and Studio 54 in NYC.) which he thought was the demise of many discos, unwelcome patrons gaining entry. This is apparently what made Studio One what it was: a sort of gay male haven.

Studio One was a large and lavish space. Pictures show huge dance spaces, large bars, and hundreds of people and throughout its history, the club has been associated with the gay rights movement. Also many celebrities graced the club either as guests or performers, especially during the late 1970s and most of the 1980s. Photos of those people were displayed in the hallway between the disco and cabaret. Including: Chita Rivera, Sylvester, Waylon & Madam,  Bernadette Peters, Ike & Tina Turner, Patti LaBelle, and Joan Rivers. And this is just a partial list.

Studio One did have it’s share of controversies. Since its opening, the club catered almost exclusively to upper-class, white gay men. And that did not go unnoticed. In 1976. The Los Angeles Times ran a story about the accusations of discrimination. , Scott Forbes doubled down on his position, stating that his nightclub simply had strict standards and that it was “probably the finest run establishment in the city as far as control of people is concerned.

Times change and disco died. On Saturday, Nov. 9, 1988 . West Hollywood bid a bittersweet farewell to Studio One

The space continued to operate under it’s original name “The Factory” until eventually it was sold for acreage.

Today there is nothing at the address but a big hole in the ground where great times were had and memories were born. It soon to become a 250 room hotel, but beware, some of the ghosts of The Factory and Studio One may still be there.

Gay History – March 9, 1969: The Tragic Death of Howard Efland By The L.A.P.D. At The Dover Hotel

The Dover Hotel was a rundown five-story brick building located in downtown Los Angeles.  The hotel operated as an early version of the soon to become popular bathhouse scene.  Gay men checked in, removed their clothing, and laid on their beds with the doors ajar waiting for others to walk by in the hopes of meeting someone.

The Dover not surprisingly, was also the scene of a number of raids by the LAPD’s Vice Squad and was known to them as an easy bust for “faggots”.

During a raid by the Vice Squad on March 9th, 1969, just 4 months shy of the Stonewall riots in NYC, Howard Efland, a male nurse who checked into the hotel under the pseudonym of J. McCann.  By the end of that day Efland would be brutally beaten outside the hotel by police in front of numerous witnesses and would later die.

LA vice officers Lemuel Chauncey and Richard Halligan claimed that Efland groped them so they arrested him, dragged him naked, bleeding and screaming down a flight of stairs by his feet and into the street.  In front of several witnesses the two police officers who were well over 6’2 inches  started beating the slightly built, unarmed and and non-resisting gay man to death while he screamed  “Help me! My God, someone help me!” The two police officers kicked him repeatedly, did  knee drops onto his stomach, and savagely beat him.

While several witnesses claimed that Howard Efland died at the scene. Chauncy and Halligan stated that Elfland was alive as they “threw” the body into the back of the police wagon. The claimed that halfway down to the station from where they had arrested him that Efland  had kicked open the door and fell out onto the Hollywood Freeway.

The Admissions Officer who was on duty at County General Hospital testified at the Coroner’s inquest that when they received Efland, they tied him down to the bed and he was in bad shape. The Nurse testified that she went into the other room with the cop because the guy had bitten his finger. Forty minutes later while she’s still working on the cop (?) another nurse came and said ‘hey, the guy in the other room died.’

The L.A.P.D. first informed Efland’s parents that their son had merely died of a heart attack. Later the L.A. County Coroner ruled Elfland’s death an “excusable homicide” and the story was withheld from the mainstream media. However the once great gay newspaper the Advocate picked up the story and responded strongly by calling the L.A.P.D. “psychotics” 

The  Rev. Troy Perry, founder of the Metropolitan Community Church would lead 120 marchers in a rally to the the site of Dover to commemorate Efland’s fatal beating and murder.

“I had told my congregation over and over that our church was built on a three-prong gospel: the gospel of Christian salvation,  the gospel of Christian community and the gospel of Christian social action. Absolutely: Christian social action. We are meant to go out and bring deliverance to people. So I told them ‘I want you to come and march with me’. Perry said.

In the end no one was ever held accountable for the murder of Howard Efland.

After publishing this story in 2014 the nephew of  Howard Eflland contacted Back2Stonewall.com  Being very young when it happened he was never told the true nature of his Uncle’s death.

Back2Stonewall has attempted to call the L.A.P.D. numerous times in the hopes of  getting an apology for Howard Elfland’s surviving family.

There has never been an official response to any of them.

We continue to try.

#NeverForget.

Gay History – January 1, 1967: The Black Cat Tavern in Los Angeles Raided

On New Year’s Day in 1967, undercover officers arrested 14 patrons of the Black Cat Tavern, one of a number of gay bars that lined Sunset Boulevard at the time.  The bar attracted a largely working class clientele and was nestled among a number of businesses friendly to gay men and lesbians.

According to Tangents – a local gay newspaper – “The Black Cat was happy and hooping” before undercover police arrived and started beating patrons as they were ringing in the New Year: “There were colored balloons covering the ceiling … and three glittering Christmas trees”  Moments later, “all hell broke loose.” 

That night the Black Cat was packed, the barroom strung with Christmas lights. A trio called the Rhythm Queens was performing, and when the costume contest concluded at New Faces

As the clock stuck midnight balloons tumbled from the ceiling. The Rhythm Queens belted out “Auld Lang Syne,” and for a moment there was time to grab a kiss. But not all the revelers were there for the same party. At five minutes after midnight, plainclothes policemen began swinging clubs and pool cues, dragging patrons out the door and into the street. They pulled the bartender over the bar, lacerating his face on broken glass. Two patrons ran across Sanborn and took cover in the crowd at New Faces, where Circus of Books now stands. Officers followed, breaking one bartender’s nose, leaving another with a ruptured spleen. Sixteen people were arrested that night—six of them charged with lewd conduct, also known as kissing.

Two of the men arrested for kissing were later convicted under California Penal Code Section 647 and registered as sex offenders. The men appealed, asserting their right of equal protection under the law, but the U.S. Supreme Court did not accept their case.

On February 11, 1967 hundreds of people;  gays, lesbians, bisexuals, drag queens and straight allies gathered outside the Black Cat to protest police antagonism, harassment, and violence toward the city’s gay and lesbian community.

Witness accounts indicate the demonstration was peaceful, if not a little tense because of heavy police monitoring.

While the Stonewall Riots of 1969 is the milestone that we commemorate and remember to mark of our liberation.  There are lesser remembered protests and pickets that happened before Stonewall that were just as important to our visibility and our fight for our rights that should always be remembered.

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50 years ago the first major gay rights demonstration happened in Silver  Lake - Curbed LA

Gay History - June 20, 1951: Mattachine Society Officially Adopts It's “Missions and Purposes”

Gay History – November 11, 1950: The Mattachine Society Holds It’s First Meeting In Los Angeles

A rare rare group photograph of the Mattachine Society . Pictured are Harry Hay (upper left), then (l–r) Konrad Stevens, Dale Jennings, Rudi Gernreich, Stan Witt, Bob Hull, Chuck Rowland (in glasses), Paul Bernard. Photo by James Gruber.
A rare rare group photograph of the Mattachine Society . Pictured are Harry Hay (upper left), then (l–r) Konrad Stevens, Dale Jennings, Rudi Gernreich, Stan Witt, Bob Hull, Chuck Rowland (in glasses), Paul Bernard. Photo by James Gruber.

On November 11th. 1950,  Harry Hay and a group of Los Angeles friends formed The Mattachine Society, a group to protect and improve the rights of gay men and lesbians.

Hay conceived of the idea of a “homosexual” activist group in 1948 after signing a petition for Progressive Party presidential candidate Henry A. Wallace. Hay had planned to call this organization “Bachelors Anonymous” and wrote the organizing principles that night, a document he referred to as “The Call”. 

Hay met fashion designer Rudi Gernreich in July 1950 and the two became lovers. Hay showed Gernreich The Call and Gernreich said: “You know that I’m an Austrian refugee. This is the most dangerous thing I have ever read. And, yes, I’m with you 100 percent.” and became an enthusiastic financial supporter of the venture, although he did not lend his name to it going instead only by the initial “R” when signing it.

Finally on November 11th, 1950, Hay, along with Gernreich and friends Dale Jennings and lovers Bob Hull and Chuck Rowland, held the first meeting of the Mattachine Society in Los Angeles, at Hay’s apartment under the name of The Society of Fools.  

The Mattachine Society name was  suggested by member James Gruber, inspired by a French medieval and renaissance masque group.

In a 1976 interview with Jonathan Ned Katz, Hay was asked about the origin of the name Mattachine. He mentioned the medieval-Renaissance French Sociétés Joyeuses:

One masque group was known as the “Société Mattachine.” These societies, lifelong secret fraternities of unmarried townsmen who never performed in public unmasked, were dedicated to going out into the countryside and conducting dances and rituals during the Feast of Fools, at the Vernal Equinox. Sometimes these dance rituals, or masques, were peasant protests against oppression—with the maskers, in the people’s name, receiving the brunt of a given lord’s vicious retaliation. So we took the name Mattachine because we felt that we 1950s Gays were also a masked people, unknown and anonymous, who might become engaged in morale building and helping ourselves and others, through struggle, to move toward total redress and change.

The Mattachine Society existed as a single national organization headquartered first in Los Angeles and then, beginning around 1956, in San Francisco. Outside of Los Angeles and San Francisco, chapters were established in New York, Washington, D.C., Chicago, and other locales.

The primary goals of the society were to

  1. “Unify homosexuals isolated from their own kind”;
  2. “Educate homosexuals and heterosexuals toward an ethical homosexual culture paralleling the cultures of the Negro, Mexican and Jewish peoples”;
  3. “Lead the more socially conscious homosexual to provide leadership to the whole mass of social variants”; and
  4. “Assist gays who are victimized daily as a result of oppression”

The Mattachine Society existed as a single national organization headquartered first in Los Angeles and then, beginning around 1956, in San Francisco. Outside of Los Angeles and San Francisco, chapters were established in New York, Washington, D.C., Chicago, and other locales. Due to internal disagreements, the national organization disbanded in 1961. And each group became its own single entity

In 1963 Congressman John Dowdy introduced a bill which resulted in congressional hearings to revoke the license for solicitation of funds of the Mattachine Society of Washington; the license was not revoked.

During the 1960s, the various unaffiliated Mattachine Societies, especially the Mattachine Society in San Francisco and the Mattachine Society of New York, were among the foremost gay rights groups in the United States, but beginning in the middle 1960s and, especially, following the Stonewall riots of 1969, they began increasingly to be seen as too traditional, and not willing enough to be confrontational.

The  Mattachine Society eventually lost support and fell prey to internal division.

Mattachine review

Police Charge Trans W Spa Member With 5 Counts of Indecent Exposure.

Police Charge Trans Wi Spa Member With 5 Counts of Indecent Exposure.

The incident that we reported on in June at the W Spa in Los Angeles over a transgender customer “exposing ” her male anatomy to other women in young girls which led to complaints and protests that many believed was a “Proud Boy/Right Wing” anti-trans set-up may just might not be.

Darren Agee Merager, a registered sex offender was charged last Monday with five counts of indecent exposure, relating to an incident inside the Wi Spa on June 23, according to a news release issued by the Los Angeles Police Department. 

Merager, who spoke to The New York Post (of all papers), denied the allegations and insists that she is actually the victim of transphobic harassment.

“Everything about the Wi Spa was a bunch of garbage and lies,” Merager said in an interview. She says she is legally female in California and was in a jacuzzi in the women’s section when she was accosted by “Cubana Angel.” 

“She never saw me naked. I was underwater with water all the way up to my chest.” Merager denies ever being erect or around children at the spa. She says she is actually the victim of sexual harassment by transphobic women at the Wi Spa.

Merager is a tier-one registered sex offender with two prior convictions of indecent exposure stemming from incidents in 2002 and 2003 in California. 

California replaced the state’s lifetime registration requirement to a tiered system. This allows lower-tiered sex offenders to petition to be removed from the list. Merager is not eligible due to ongoing criminal charges. She also has a long criminal history in California that includes nearly a dozen felony convictions for crimes ranging from sex offenses to burglary and escape.

Protests, Violence at LA’s Wi Spa After Video of Complaints Against Trans Customer Goes Viral.

Protests, Violence at LA’s Wi Spa After Video of Complaints Against Trans Customer Goes Viral.

Violence broke out as protestors clashed at the Wi Spa on Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles yesterday over a video which was posted a week ago and went viral which showed a group of women complaining about a trans customer in the female locker room because her penis was visible to them and other young girls.

The scuffle broke out as zealot anti-LGBT protestors clashed with what looks like younger BLM/queer activist. Anti-transgender protesters chanted ‘Save our children,’ while wearing shirts that read ‘Fuck Pedowood.’

A spokesperson for the Los Angeles Police Department said on Saturday that ‘no arrests had been made but at least five crimes had been reported against five separate victims.’

‘Three of them were victims of assault and battery, and the other two were assault with deadly weapon,’ he said.

Wi Spa said in a statement that California’s anti-discrimination law protects transgender people but said it would not tolerate ‘lewd conduct’ by customers. ‘Like many other metropolitan areas, Los Angeles contains a transgender population, some of whom enjoy visiting a spa. Wi Spa strives to meet the needs and safety of all of its customers, and does not tolerate harassment or lewd conduct by any customer, regardless of their sex, gender, or other characteristic. As a spa located in Los Angeles, Wi Spa complies with California law prohibiting discrimination by a business, including the Civil Code provision set forth above

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Farrah Fawcett and Ryan O'Neal's Son Accused of Attacking Gay Man

HATE CRIME: Farrah Fawcett and Ryan O’Neal’s Son Accused of Attacking Gay Man

Farrah Fawcett’s and Ryan’O’Neal’s son Redmond O’Neal on Thursday was accused of a homophobic hate-crime: He’s being sued by a man who says the late actresses son attacked him, beat him up and called him a gay slurs as he walked on a Los Angeles street in May. 

This is the second lawsuit, in addition to felony criminal charges, filed against O’Neal stemming from an alleged crime spree earlier this year. O’Neal is accused of attacking five men in unprovoked confrontations starting on May 2 through May 5. Two of the five men were seriously injured, with one man found in a pool of blood with stab wounds to his face and upper body.

Ken Fox on Thursday at his lawyer Gloria Allred’s Los Angeles office announced his lawsuit alleging assault and battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, violation of civil rights, negligence, loss of consortium and negligent infliction of emotional distress.

Fox said that he was headed to a nearby laundromat, when he saw a young man approaching dressed in a hoodie and carrying a bottle in a paper bag.

Fox said the man snarled, “What are you looking at,” adding a common gay slur. “I was not dressed provocatively. All I did was look up when I saw him approach me.” 

Fox said the slur the man used amounts to “hate speech” and is “just one of many offensive terms used to make gay men feel ashamed of themselves.”  

He said the man, later identified by police as O’Neal, rushed at him, bashed him on the nose with a beer bottle, then stood over him as he lay on the ground bleeding. He said the man continued to taunt him with slurs, throwing punches and threatening to hit him with the bottle.

“I felt trapped. I literally thought I was going to die,” Fox said.

O’Neal was later arrested; prosecutors have filed one count of attempted murder against O’Neal, plus two counts of assault with a deadly weapon, one count of brandishing a knife and one count of battery, all related to the alleged crime spree.

O’Neal was left a total of $4.5 million by this mother, according to the late actress’s trust documents and has a long history of legal troubles and was last in prison in 2016 for a heroin-related incident.

Los Angeles Father Kills Son For Being Gay

LGBT Hate Crime Attacks Continue In Dallas, TX With 5 More Happening In 3 Weeks

Los Angeles prosecutors on Friday charged a 69-year-old man with fatally shooting his son outside the family’s North Hills home because his son was gay.

The shooting occurred Tuesday when police responded to a call at the family home and found the bodies of Amir Issa, 29 and his mother, who was not identified. Officers later arrested the Issa’s father, Shehada Khalil Issa, who faces one count of premeditated murder.

Shehada had previously threatened to kill his son, because he was gay, according to Los Angeles County prosecutors.

Investigators told the Los Angeles Daily News Issa had initially said he found his dead wife in the bathroom of their house and had shot his son in self-defense after being threatened with a knife.

Later, Issa made “incriminating statements” and was subsequently charged with murder. A detective told the paper: “It was a horrible family tragedy”

Shehada Khalil Issa is being held without bail at Men’s Central Jail. His arraignment is scheduled for April 11 at the San Fernando branch of Los Angeles County Superior Court.

There been no word if Amir Issa’s murder is linked to being an “honor killing”.

LA Dodgers’ Kiss Cam Features Gay Kiss, To Cheers And Applause – Video

Between innings of Saturday’s game, the stadium’s Kiss Cam team found two men, not as a joke, but a couple. And when they kissed the fans broke into cheers and applause.

Via Deadspin:

Back in 2000, two women were kicked out of Dodger Stadium for kissing. The team and the world have changed since then. Between innings of Saturday’s game, the stadium’s Kiss Cam team found two men, not as a joke, but a couple. It’s cool that this wasn’t the still-prevalent homophobic gag of forcing two platonic male friends to awkwardly recoil at the thought of kissing another dude. It’s also cool that the reaction from the crowd was a genuine cheer. Reader Steven, who was in the ballpark, says he was “proud of the loud, enthusiastic response from the crowd. Not one person around me groaned or made derogatory remarks, and seemed genuinely pleased with the moment.” The Dodgers have held LGBT nights in recent years, and while it’s great to publicly announce that everyone’s welcome, there’s nothing quite like being normalized by dorky in-stadium entertainment to make everyone feel included.

Watch the video below.