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October 23, 1979 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1979-10-23

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Page 4--Tuesday, October 23, 1979-The Michigan Daily


Ninety Years of Editorial Freedom

Homophobia blossoms in San Francisco

Vol. LXXXX, No. 41

News Phone: 764-0552

Edited and managed by students at the University of Michigan

-Dayan's resignation

HE SUNDAY resignation of
Israeli Foreign Minister Moshe
Dayan in a dispute over future
Palestinian home rule once again puts
the international spotlight on the
Mideast, and on the still unsettled issue
of the fate of the indigenous Palestine
people. That Dayan resigned while
questioning the Begin government's
resolve to grant some form of
:Palestinian autonomy on the West
Bank and Gaza is in itself enough to
under'score the necessity of some
radical change to break the current
impasse and speed the pace and com-
nitment to true Palestinian self-rule.
The Israeli government's refusal to
recognize or talk to the Palestinian
Liberation Organization has been as
much an obstacle to the eventual
solution to the Mideast crisis as the
P.L.O.'s stubborn refusal so far to
recognize Israel's right to exist in
peace. The current deadlock, like the
on-going negotiations for Palestinian
autonomy under the Egyptian-Israeli
treaty, ignore some basic realities of
the current Mideast situation.
First, the Palestine Liberation
Organization, is the only represen-
tative group to speak for the
Palestinian people. The current
negotiations for Palestinian autonomy,
being carried on in the absence of the
P.L.O., are meaningless negotiations
at best, and at worst, negotiations in a
vacuum. Israel's reluctance to
negotiate with a gang of terrorists that
gained its legitimacy at gunpoint is an
understandable, yet unrealistic, reluc-
tance. If the Begin government is
serious about granting autonomy to
Palestinians, then the P.L.O. will even-
ttally have to be the party with which
to negotiate. The P.L.O. will not, as
Jimmy Carter once suggested, just go
With that realization, there comes the
present deadlock-Israel will not talk
to the P.L.O. until that group
recognizes Israel's right to exist. And
the P.L.O., under Yassir Arafat, has
refused to recognize Israel's right to
exist as long as the Jewish state
refuses to recognize and accept the
need for an independent Palestinian
state. While Israel is currently
Dngaged in negotiations for autonomy
in the occupied areas, the word "in-
dependent" has been conspicuously
acking from Prime Minister Begin's
vocabulary. The P.L.O. has-refused to
join in the negotiations until Israel
makes a commitment to a truly in-
dependent Palestinian state.
It thus becomes obvious that there
will be no solution in the Mideast
unless and until one of the two
sides-either the P.L.O. or
Israel-makes a radical break from
their current, stated positions. The
side that must move first is Israel.
: Israel must move now, accept and
make a firm public commitment to an
independent Palestinian state on the

territory currently occupied. Then, on-
ce Israel's commitment is made clear,
the Palestinians, and the P.L.O., will
have no excuse left not to join in the
current negotiations. Once Israel has
made a commitment to an independent
state, it must then become incumbent
upon Arafat's PLO to recognize
Israel's right to exist, to denounce
their own terrorist tactics, and to make
a commitment that Palestinians will
be satisfied with the West Bank and
Gaza, and will pledge not to seek any
further encroachments of Israeli
This pledge is imperative because
the PLO's charter calls for the one
secular state, implying the destruction
of the Jewish state. Since that group
initiated its terrorist actions in the last
decade, it has refused to change its
charter. And if we are to take the PLO
at its word, then we must still believe it
is determined to destroy Israel.
Therefore, the PLO must renounce
that part of the charter, and pledge to
live peacefully next-door to the
Only such a move should force Israel
to sit down and negotiate with the
Once these commitments are made,
then the current obstacles to face-to-
face Israeli/PLO negotiations will
have been removed. The matters of
timing the Israeli military withdrawal,
and the form of the transition gover-
nment, can all be left to negotiation.
But until there are Israeli/PLO
negotiations, the current chances for a
peaceful soltion remain in doubt.
Of course, such a solution places an
almost impossible burden upon the
current Israeli government. For Begin
to commit Israel now to an indepen-
dent Palestinian state would be a
radical break from the past for a man
who, until now, has defined autonomy
in his own narrow terms. But with the
two sides at an impasse, someone must
make such a break, and it is clear that
Israel, being in the position of strength
in the Mideast, is the only party which
can move and still retain the
bargaining chip of military
Such a move is unlikely now, under
the current Likud coalition gover-
nment. Perhaps a no-confidence vote
later this week will replace that gover-
nment with one more responsive to the
realities of the Mideast.
However the move comes about, the
necessity of such a change would toss
the burden of concession squarely into
the P.L.O.'s camp, and force that
group to once and for all end their
terrorism and prove that they are
committed to peace.
The initial burden is on Israel, but af-
ter that first painful step, the eventual
solution to the Palestihian question and
to the entire mideast equation then
becomes the best step possible for en-
ding the warfare. And such a move can
only be in Israel's best interest.

ISAN FRANCISCO - Here in what some
call a homosexual pardise, a gaymalenamed
Ray answers the Gay Help Line and braces
for another voice screaming "I'll kill you,
faggot." Or he tenses for the sob of someone
who just got beat up by "queer bashing"
gangs of young punks.
"It's unbelieveable," he says. "We're get-
ting at least four obscene calls a night. And all
last year we only got three calls about
assaults. Now we get over three a week."
On buses, outside bars, in parks-gays are
the targets of increasing incidents of violence
and harrasssment by male heterosexuals who
p-sychologists say are in the throes of
"homophobia," or hatred of gay men.
THE GAY HATERS have been coming out
of the closet, especially in the last year. They
include everyone from poor blacks and
Latinos to wealthy white kids cruising in dad-
dy's Caddy, and their targets are almost
always white gay males.
According to city supervisor Harvey Britt,
a gay, attacks average about five a week, and
some of the attacks are quite blatant," says
Sharon Long, Britt's aide.
The Community United Against Violence,
another gay organization, also keeps
statistics. Says Andrew Nicholas, the group's
co-chair: "the attacks average one a day. The
odds are usually three-to-one against the vic-
tims. Most of the attackers are kids between
15 and 20." It's all been happening in the last
year, he adds.
Police figures on gay beatings are much
lessi but gays claim they're afraid to tell
police they've been assaulted because, in the
words of one victim, "they won't do anything
about it anyway." The police, meanwhile,
claim they can't do anything about the at-
tacks unless they're reported.
No matter whose statistics you look at, gays
and police both say that attacks on gays are
up from a, year ago. And for gays who flock
here like refugees thinking San Francisco
awaits them with open arms, it's just hard to
This is a city with 100,000 gays - nearly 20
per cent of the population and a decisive
voting bloc. It has four gay newspapers, two
daily columns of gay massage ads, gay mat-
chmakers, travel agents, and at least 200
blatantly gay bars and restaurants. (Accor-
ding to the Tavern Guild, an association of
gay bar owners, that's nearly double what it
Was 10 years ago.)
It's the world's only city which gives iutself
over to drag queens on Halloween. But more
importantly, it's where some 80 gays a
day-mostly white middle class
males-arrive to find housing, jobs, lovers
and the unfettered lifestyle they've heard
about. And many non-gay- San Franciscans
are beginning to feel squeezed out.
"THEY'RE EVERYWHERE," grumbles a
pin-striped businessman in one of the city's
straight bars.) Many bars here arecnow
mixed-straight and gay.)
San Francisco Mayor Diane Feinstein even
said it last March is a Ladies Home Journal*
interview: "The right of an individual to live
as he or she chooses can become offensive.
The gay community is going to have to face

By Rick Gladstone
this. It's fine for us to live here respecting
each other's lifestyles, but that doesn't mean
imposing them on others. I don't want San
Francisco to set up a backlash."
Her words were oddly prophetic, because
the backlash is happening. But the question
remains: Why now? San Francisco has had a
huge, visible gay community for many years.
Why the attacks, the verbal abuse, the men
who turn their eyes or spit when a gay walks
Some psychologists have their own
"homophobia" answer. Many think the sheer
numbers of gays now on San Francisco's
streets act like a slap in the face to a straight
young male, searching for a masculine role
they say doesn't exist anymore.
"It's an extraordinarily difficult time for
men nov," says Dr. Steve WalchI a Berkeley
psychologist. "The male myth has changed.
There are no models for what it means to a
man." So, he and others say, young straight
men feel vulnerable, fearful-especially
when they're around gays, whom they see as
thieves of whatever masculinity they've got
left. And they resent gays because of it.
Young straight macho men aren't the only
ones who have become openly hostile to gays.
There's also a vast section of the city's
population-working parents with kids-who

Most observers agree that tensions have n-
creased since the riots. "After the riot, fear of
homosexuals rose," says one gay leader. 'The
breeders (gay slang for heterosexuafs)
.thought we were trying to take over the city
and turn them all queer." I
But even before the riot, other factors had
begun to create hostility to gays. Black and
Latino leaders, for instance, see increasing
numbers of well-to-do white gays buying 'Up
ghetto homes, forcing out poor families. They
say gay entrepreneurs buy up bars in the
Mission and Haight districts, luring in drag
queens from their Castro stomping grounds.
And as the gay ghettos mushroom in all
directions, it brews hatred among . surround-"
ing minorities. Some black preachers now
tell their flocks that gays are an immoral ip-
fluence on their children. And black activists
who once tacitly agreed gays were an op-
pressed minority now say most gays-thie
white ones-are no different from other
"Don't tell me you're oppressed when you
own my neighborhood," warns Idaree West-
brook, a Black Leadership Forum member
who's lived in the Haight for 20 years.
Ida Strickland of the Third World Fungi
agrees. ,'There's resentment for,
gays-because they say to blacks 'we're one
of you,' they're also exercising their white
male privilege."

see gay couples moving into their neigh- GAY LEADERS don't deny their ghetto is
borhood as yet another threat to their family spreading; in fact they defend it. But they
lifestyle. Many parents who wouldn't nor- also say many gays are poor themselves, and
mally mind gays now wonder who their rent from white heterosexual landlords.
children will play with, now that the family "It's too simple just to say gays are
next door has moved out and two older males speculating in housing," says Jim Dykes, a
moved in. Many parents see gay couples as pastor at the gay Metropolitan Community
invaders-and it's uneartiing resentment Church. "I know black speculators too. And,"
many never realized they had before. he adds, "blacks had a ghetto before they
And then there's the police. reached out. We're creating a ghetto too, and
that's okay."
THEIR CRACKDOWN on gays really blew But to those teenagers who don't agree,
up five months ago, after thousands of gays there's only one solution: "go out and queen
rioted when ex-,cop Dan White got only seven dash," as one victim calls it.
years for killing Mayor George Moscone and "We've had a continuing and ongoinig
supervisor Marvey Milk, a gay. On May 21, problem with these punk kids," says Duke
gay gangs torched police cars, smashed city Smith. an editor of the Sentinel, a gay
hall windows, and screamed "Dan White got newspaper. "While I can't prove it, I think
away with murder." At first, on orders from one reason is that they're hearing negative
above, police did nothing. But when several things at home."
got their heads smashed by bricks and flying In the minds of many straight San Fran-
glass, they moved in on the gay rioters anid ciscans, the fear is that their city is becoming
broke some heads themselves. Later, they in- the nation's gay closet, the place where all
vaded a gay bar and trashed it. And in the gays gravitate. And what concerns Irish
riot's aftermath, one officer was heard to Catholics, blacks, Chicanos, Chinese,
say: "The faggots are having their day now, Filipinos-who all have strong family
but we'll get our turn." traditions-is the belief that gay couples have
Since then, Mayor Feinstein has fired police no sense of family. "They don't know what it
chief Charles Gain, whom gays considered takes to raise kids, nor do they care," snarls
sympathetic, in a move widely interpreted as one father, a factory worker with Irish roots.
placating the anti-gay police. Several alleged In what the postcards here describe as
gay rioters were arrested and charged with "everyone's favorite city," the fear is that
assaulting police with bricks and rocks.'And. .this value clash will get more violent. And as
generally, since the riot, many gays report a gays continue flocking here, they'll'have to
dramatic increase in police "harassment," ask themselves: "Is this a mecca or a bat-
including arrests,.'tlefield?",
Says police officer Ed Pecinovski, who ___.
patrols the city's largely gay Castro district, Rick Gladstone, a former staff reporter
"A lot of these gays come to San Francisco for the South China Morning Post now
expecting a free pass, thinking they can do freelancing in San Francisco, reporte
anything. And when we have to make arrests, from the gay rights battleground 's front
they say we're harassing them." lines.

Fromthe rawingU

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~'fll~MS4.J.IM44 ~ -

Sue Warner..... .................... EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
Richard Berke, Julie Rovern............MANAGING EDITORS
Michael Arkush, Keith Richburg..... EDITORIAL DIRECTORS
Brian Blanchard.......................UNIVERSITY EDITOR
Judy Rakowsky............................CITY EDITOR
Shelley Wolson....... ..........PERSONNEL DIRECTOR
Amy Saltzman....................... FEATURES EDITOR
Leonard Bernstein.......................SPECIAL PROJECTS
R.J. Smith, Eric Zorn.....................ARTS EDITORS
Owen Gleiberman, Elizabeth Slowik..... MAGAZINE EDITORS
STAFF WRITERS-Sara Anspach, Julie Brown, Richard Blan-
chard, Mitch Cantor, Sefany Cooperman, Amy Diamond, Mari-
anne Egri. Julie Engebrecht, Mary Faranski, Joyce Frieden,
Greg Gallopulos, John Goyer, Patricia Hagen, Marion Halberg,
Alison llirschel, Steve Hook, Elisa issacson, Paula Lashinsky.
Marty Levine, Adrienne Lyons, Tom Mirga, Mark Parrent,
Beth Bersky. Beth Rosenberg, William Thompson, Charles
Thomson, Howard Wit, Jeff Wolff, Tim Yagle.

GEOFF LARCOM............ ..................Sports Editor
BILLY SAHN......................Executive Sports Editor
BILLY NEFF.......................... Managing Sports Editor
DAN PERRIN .........................Managing Sports Editor
\MAUREEN O'MALLEY..................Chief Photographer
CYRENA CHANG..........................Staff Photographer
PAUL ENGSTROM.......................Staff Photographer
I)AVID HARRIS............................Staff Photographer
LISA KLAUSNER..........................Staff Photographer
JIM KRUZ..................................Staff Photographer
.10 SEIDLER..............................Staff Photographer
LISA UDELSON........................Staff Photographer
LISA CULBERSON.......................... Business Manager
ARLENE SARYAN.............................Sales Manager
BETH WARREN..............................IDislay Manager
ROSEMARY WICKOWSKI................Operations Manager
BETH BASSLER......... ............Classified Manager
STAN BERKMAN............... National Advertising Manager
PETE PETERSEN.................... Advertising Co-ordinator


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