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March 25, 1973 - Image 4

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1973-03-25

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

A

BY

SPECIAL
FEATURE

SUNDAY

MOR

ROBERT
BARKIN

Number 79

Page Four

Sunday, March 25, 1973

Taking

a

s

"WAIT UNTIL BERNADINE comes,
we'll get the whole story from
Bernadine.'
Sitting in a small meeting room on
the third floor of the Union, nestled
among the offices of the various stu-
dent advocates, I wondered why Ber-
nadine was so special.
The meeting I was attending had.
hardly begun, when the mystery sur-
rounding Bernadine began to unravel.
Those with views outside the room be-
gan to whisper, then cheer, as Berna-
dine walked into the hallway and fi-
nally through the door.
All in the room anxiously antici-
pated Bernadine's arrival so they
could hear the true story of the day's
events.
Finally Bernadine entered the
room, tall and slender, and body

are tired of
bars", given'
eilities. And
gay bar, it is

being releg
"separate b
after havi
easy to und
* *

" LIKE THIS BAR," sa
a conversation. "But
gets depressing."
The bar I visited hasa
reputation for being gay
ter it almost any night
and find another gay wi
an evening. Many.gays a
a way of life! others sco
The bar was illuminate
eerie soft, glowing red.l
on the walls was a rusty
floor was layered with d
The atmosphere of ti
numbing. It was morose
vitality; as if the people

traight iC
;ated to "gay "I guess that I was afraid," he said.
ut equal" ta- "It's just much easier to try to con-
ng visited a vince yourself that you are straight."
lerstand why. "I still don't know if I'm exclusively
gay. I might be bisexual."
id one gay in How did he know if he was gay or
sometimes it straight or bisexual?
"Well, I have various hang-ups. I
a well-known can have casual sex with a woman.
One can en- But I never had satisfaction. As an
of the week undergraduate I had no trouble. I
lling to share liked my roommate, but I convinced
accept this as myself that he was just a good friend.
orn it. "I should have know that I was
ed in red-an gay because most of my mastabur-
The paneling tory fantasies were male. I had sev-
y brown. The eral girlfriends during those under-
irt. graduate years. They would probably
he place was be very surprised now if they knew
in its lack of that I was gay.
present were "There was a 'screaming queen' in
my dorm, but he really turned me oftf.
Perhaps if I had a homosexual en-
counter then, one that satisfied me,
I would have come out."

iok

at

t

msexuality

I wanted to know what it was like
when he first acknowledged to him-
self that he was gay.
"When I first came out," Art re-
called, "the gay community just ac-
cepted me. There was no suspicion.
But it was more difficult for me per-
sonally.
"At first, it was like entering pu-
berty, when every girl would turn
you on. Well, every gay man turned
me on. I related to them as sex ob-
jects, not as other people.
"I' never felt guilty about being a
homosexual. At one stage I was pro-
miscuous but never guilty. 1 guess, I
just buried my guilt."
Could a man really love another
man?
"At first, I thought that I could
only go to bed with a man if I was in
love with him. Then it changed and
I was in love with him only if I went
to bed with him. But now it doesn't
matter. 1 don't see any stark line be-
tween like and love,"
Could you see yourself in a mar-
riage situation?
"I've seen so many unhappy people
in a pair bond. I don't know that it's
the best for me. 1 don't know that I
would mind having a love relation-
sip, but not marriage.
"But I have no feelings about the
action of others. Anything they want
to do, they should go ahead."
How is your family taking your
gayness?
"I decided not to tell my mother. I
thought that she would feel that she
was guilty. Perhaps she was. I've been
a lot closer to my brother since I told
him. He and his wife were afraid that
I was asexual which they thought
would be worse."
Do you have any regrets?
"Only that I did not come out ear-
lier. Now we have the GLF. If they
had it then, I might have come to a
meeting to see what it is like."

GLF is more than just a political-activist group. It is a social organization

z.

IT IS AN UNCOMI"OR TABLE situa-
tion for a straight at a meeting
of gays. All the old stereotypes imme-
diately flash through one's mind.
You expert to see every man waltz
about the room, trading recipes, and
whispering gossip.
But this is only a stereotype. There
are as many types of gays as there are
types of straights. Each has its own
personality just as anyone else. It is
cruel to categorize them as a "bunch
of fairies."

Photography
by
Randy Edmonds

Indeed, the majority of an evenings
agenda is devoted to social funcaions.
One of the lighter moments of the
evening was a discussion on the need
for a new place to hold the Friday
evening coffeehouse. According to its
organizers, the Presbyterian Church
presently being used was just not ade-
quate.
"The minister came down and be-
gan to lecture us on sex and sin," the
leader recounted. "He told us that
marriage is consummated at the
point of intercourse. I replied if that
were the case all my friends were
married to each other. ,I guess he
doesn't want us back."
Thus, the GLF has a dual role of
political activity and social organiz-
ation, with one central goal in mind.
"WE WANT GAYS to learn how to
help themselves," said Jim Toy,
"so they will be better off when they
get out of the University. God knows
its enough of a jungle here."
Toy, along with Jean Hasler, are
the human sexuality advocates in the
Office of Student Services' advocate
program. They are also central fig-
ures in the Gay Liberation Front and
its female counterpart, Gay Aware-
ness Women's Kaucus (GAWK).
The Human Sexuality program, ac-
cording to its fact sheet, is a "re-

Finally Bernadine entered the room, tall and
slender, and body swaying.

swaying. Hair, auburn in color, flow-
ed well below the shoulders. Slung ov-
er one arm was a purse, probably con-
taining the rouge and lipstick heavily
apparent on Bernadine's face.
With Bernadine were two compan-
ions, all three seemingly on intimate
terms. Each held an arm as the cen-
ter of attention moved across the
room. When Bernadine sat on the
table, legs crossed with some care,
both friends sat there also. The three
were close together,, almost snug,
their arms stretched loosely over each
other's shoulders.
Bernadine and two friends then told
the details of their being kicked out
of a bar for dancing too closely and
the subsequent radio appearance ear-
lier in the day.
Only on close examination, only by
conscious scrutiny could I tell that all
three of the people on the table, Ber-
nadine and two friends, were all un-
questionably male. This was not un-
usual to the audience, an assembled
group of homosexuals at the weekly
meeting of the Gay Liberation Front
(GLF).
** *
TE MAIN TOPIC at the GLF meet-
ing was Bernadine's confrontation.
All were upset not only for the fact
that Bernadine was removed, but also
the grounds for the removal.
Bernadine had gone to the bar in
drag (female dress) with his compan-
ions. This in itself is not surprising.
The significant aspect is that Berna-
dine had not gone to a gay bar; he
had gone to "liberate" a straight bar.
This, according to the straight bar
owners. was reason for removal.

there only by necessity. There was not
a happy face in the crowd.
The bartender, Leo, moved slowly
across the bar, taking orders and
mixing drinks. He said very little.
From one ear, hung a double ringed
earring and on his right hand were
two rather gaudy rings.
As we walked into the bar (I was
with another reporter) two men seem-
to invite our company with their
glances. We moved to the other end
of the bar.
After a couple of drinks, I ventured
into the bathroom. Over its entrance
hung red satin curtains. Almost ev-
ery expression scrawled on the bath-
room walls was a reference to fella-
tio. "Don't blame me that I'm gay,"
read another, "blame my mother."
I went back to the bar and told
my friend I wanted to leave. I had
had enough.
S** *
AFTER HAVING MET GAYS on a
very casual basis, I wanted to
speak with a homosexual.
I interviewed Art (not his real
name) a graduate student in the bio-
logical sciences. He was very willing
to talk and I found myself transfixed
by his comments.
"It's much easier being straight,"
he said philosophically. "You just get
married, have kids. But it's not that
way with me.
'T'here is no good explanation why
I am gay. There doesn't have to be a
good reason to be gay or to be
straight."
He said that he had been at the
University for three years before he
decided to "come out"

Subtle things strike you most whife
watching the meeting. A man will
refer to another as "dear", or rest
his hand comfortably on another's
knee, as casually ask another to spend
Friday evening with him. To them it
is natural, to me it is quite different.
GLF, it becomes quite apparent, is
more than just a political activist
group. It is also a social organization.

sponse to the socio-sexual needs of
gay students." The present objectives
are "to help students work out pro-
grams relating to their gayness" and
to educate both gay and straight per-
sons to the nature, rights, and op-
pression of gays. They hope to event-
ually establish a gay community cen-
ter and gay studies courses to fulfill
these objectives.
The advocates want people to feel
unashamed of their sexuality, but
find that this is difficult at the Uni-
versity. The atmosphere at the Uni-
versity, they say, is "oppressive."
They cite as evidence the Univer-
sity's insistence that their title be
"human sexuality advocates." They
would prefer to be called "gay rights
advocates."
"'T'he University has an unwritten
policy to eliminate homosexuals from
sensitive positions," Hasler alleges.
"If a homosexual is found in a sensi-
tive area, he or she is transferred to
a non-sensitive position."
However, Allan Smith, vice-presi-
dent for academic affairs, says that
the University does not do this. "We
have no such policy," he says. "It
would not surprise me however, if
you could document subtle situations
(at the University). A huge segment
of society does not understand nor
wants to understand the homosexual,
and cling to ancient ideas."
Furthermore, Hasler charges that
the medical school is "very oppressive
and gay students are not admitted
into the medical school.
In response to the charge the Uni-
versity's medical school admissions
committee said that "the persons
sexual identity does not ordinarily
come up in the normal course of ad-
missions. However, if it does come up
as a factor, it (the person's sexual
identity) is weighed in with other
factors on an individual basis."
Besides allegations of discrimina-
tion at the University, there are also
state laws that many believe attempt
the task of conrolling human sexual-
ity. Many of these laws are designed
explicitly against gays.
But the situation for gays, while
filled with charges, arrests and dis-
crimination is not entirely bleak.
The Human Sexuality Program, be-
cause it receives University funding,
is unique in the country. And, last
summer, the City Council passed an
ordinance forbidding discrimination
on the basis of sex or marital prefer-
ence.
And. most significant of all, a

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