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September 08, 1977 - Image 15

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Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1977-09-08

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t

Thursday, September 8, 1977

THE MICHIGAN DAILY

Page Three

Breaking from

the

Word

of God

By IANI JORDAN
When I look back, I find it
hard to believe the whole thing
happened to me. I mean, I just
wasn't the type .. at least I
didn't think so. True, I had al-
ways had the strongest religious
beliefs of anyone in my family
or among most of my friends,
but still, it was always some-
thing of a personal thing that I
didn't really share with anyone.
I just never thought I would
get"involved with anything like
the Word of God. I never liked
the idea of super-organized re-
ligion. Church. was okay, but I
liked to take my beliefs with
me the rest of the week and
more or less .do my own thing
as far as religion was concerned.
MY FIRST TERM freshman
year was, for all purposes, noth-
Lani Jordan is Cc,-Editor-in-
CIief of this, Frosh Edition of
too Daily.

ing more than a trauma. To look
at me, you never would have
thought I was falling apart in-'
side, but I was. It was hard to
make friends; I couldn't find
anyone I felt was a real person.
It all seemed like one party af-
ter another and a big contest
for grades. I fell into the usual'
pitfall of getting involved with
someone too soon and ended up
getting uninvolved just as quick-
ly. Life was a mess.
About December of that term,
just when everything was at its
blackest, I met Judy (not her
real name). It was just a casual
conversation on the North Cam-
pus bus, but it really meant a
lot to me. She was a real per-
son. I could tell just by the way
she acted that she was genuine-,
ly concerned about me. We de-
cided to get together again.
A few weeks later, after I had
returned from Christmas vaca-
tion, Judy told me she was part
of a "Christian community" in
Ann Arbor, and asked if I would
like to go with her to one of their

Thursday night prayer meet-
ings. At first I backed off. "A
religious fanatic," I thought.
But then I dwelled on it for a
while, and decided why not.
AND SO I found myself at a
Word of God prayer meeting
with about 500 other people
(there were two similar meet-
ings going on in different loca-
tions at the same time, I was
told).
They sang h appy songs.
Everyone there seemed to be
genuinely enjoying themselves.
I found it a bit disconcerting
when they prayed aloud, but I
figured I could get used to it.
When it was over, Judy led
me around and introduced me to
an incredible number of people
who glanced at my name tag
and struck up friendly conver-
sations.
I REALLY liked it and wanted
to come back. Suddenly it seem-
ed as if 1'd found the type of
people I'd long been looking for.

So I went again and again. I
began taking the first in a long
line of "courses," introductions
to the beliefs of the Word of
God community. The i d e a s
weren't that different from my
own, perhaps a little more de-
fined and stricter, but I thought
I could live with them.
After a few months, I was
becoming very involved with the
group and finding out more
about its basic structure. The
Word of God is unbelievably well
organized. The whole commu-
nity, about 1550 people in the
Washtenaw County area, is di-
vided into geographic districts,
subdistricts a n d households
(groups of people living togeth-
er-sometimes all men, some-
times all women, sometimes a
married couple with single men
and women living with them)
and non-residential households-
groups which get together about
once or twice a week. For the
most part, the leaders of these
groups and of the community
are all men, and. everyone

seems to accept this. Women
are not looked down upon, but
are considered to have a differ-
ent role in the community than
leadership.
I LIVED in Bursley Hall with
about 30 other Word of God peo-
ple, both men and women. We
were divided into households-
according to sex-and met each
morning to pray. We usually ate
together and studied together,
and each night groups of two or
three would "share" together.
I really didn't like all of this
very much-I was used to com-
ing and going when I felt like it.
The necessity of being too many
places at too many times made
me feel very nervous and con-
strained. But I thought I'd get
used to it.
It seemed that almost every
day was filled with some sort of
activity or another. This meet-
ing or that meeting. Recrea-
tional activities with the house-
hold or the North Campus sub-
district or the 200 others in the,

rest of the Dorm District, which
encompasses all of the dormi-
tories on the University campus.
All the people were so nice-
some of the nicest people I'd
ever met. My "brothers and sis-
ters" would do anything for me
and I would do anything for
them. We were all considerate
to each other, and' caring for
each other, and with each other
all the time.
SUFFOCATING. T h a t was
how it was starting to get for
me. "It will change," I told my-
self. "I have studying and my
job and this. It's too much." I
thought things would be better
when summer arrived.
Summer came and things
were better. Most of the other
Word of God people stayed in
Ann Arbor and moved into sum-
mer "households" where they
could live a very ordered life
with each other. Everyone had
certain responsibilities; life was
scheduled and arranged.

Loca gays: A lively Comm

By LAURA SKY BROWN
and LIONEL A. BIRON
If Anita Bryant's highly pub-
licized anti-gay crusade "Save
Our Children (From Homosexu-
als)," 'pulled into Ann Arbor
someday soon, it might expect
local lesbians and gay males to
cower in fear lest they, too, be-
come targets of this latest anti-
gay hysteria.
But this is certainly not the
case here. Ann Arbor gays,
proud of their local history and
united in a broad-based com-
munity, would be ready to op-
pose any attempt to rescind
their limited but hard fought ci-
vil rights.
WHAT ANITA WOULD find
here ranges from the Gay Com-
munity Services Center, to the
University's Lesbian and Gay
Male Advocates, to Woman-
space, a feminist bookstore and
women's center.
The gay liberation movement
has been a heavily publicized
and controversial subject in the
past few years. One might ask
why a person's preference of sex
partner should cause such a
stir.
But that, according to many
gays, is not the sole issue. One
gay male activist explains:
"Gay liberation concerns the
rights of all people to be free,
and to love whomever they
please, irrespective of their gen-
der.
"ONCE WE UNMASK the cha-
rade of gender boles," he ex-
plains, "the heterosexual world-
view will be seen as just another
lifestyle among many, instead
of being the only acceptable one,
as is the case today."
A staff member of The Leap-
ing Lesbian, a local journal, puts
it this way: "The lesbian move-
ment is much more than just a
fight to change the sex laws. It's
tied into the wlgole broader
struggle for women to be free,
strong individuals."
The Gay Liberation Front
(GLF) of Ann Arbor, an import-
ant focal point of community
political and social activities,
was organized in 1970 with the'
help of Jim Toy, who had been
active in the formation of a De-
troit GLF. In 1970 the Male Lib-
eration Collective, the first pro-
feminist male 'collective, was
founded in Ann Arbor.
IN 1972, LOCAL lesbians sep-
arated from GLF to form the
Gay Awareness Women's Kollec-
tive.
The struggle for Gay Rights in
Ann Arbor has set important
precedents. Ann Arbor was the
first city in the country to have
an officially declared Gay Pride
Week (June,' 1972), and that
same year, the broadest anti-
discrimination ordinance of its
time was passed locally.
In 1974, Ann Arbor was also'
the first U.S. city to elect an
open lesbian candidate, Kathy
Kozachenko, to public office (to
City Council).
Laura Sky Brown is a senior
'n journalism who is active in
he local women's community.
Lionel A. Biron, a Ph.D. candi-
ate in French literature, has
lad works published in the Mid-
vest Gay Academic Journal
.nd Gay Sunshine.
T:WTHE
BELL
TOWER

UNDER PRESSURE f r o m
University students and local
gays, two quarter-time Gay Ad-t
vocate positions, bureaucrati-
cally titled "Human Sexuality
Advocates," were approved by
the University in 1971.
Recognizing the needs of hun-
dreds of students, the Univer-f
sity upgraded the lesbian and
gay male advocates to half-time
positions in January, 1977. s
A number of forums dealing
with gay issues have been held
on the University campus, in-t
cluding a "Human Sexuality"
conference in 1973, a "Gay is;
Mental Health" conference the
following year, and the midwest1
conference of the Gay Academic
Union (GAU).
IN EARLY 1975, a small group
of feminist women organized A1
Woman's Bookstore, a collec-
tively run business. The book-'
store attempted to serve the<
needs of'both lesbian and heter-
osexual women by providing a
place for women to be together.
and learn about women's issues.
A number of gay courses havej
been offered at the University
over the past fewtyears, includ-
ing a course entitled "The Les-
bian and Gay Experience," co-
taught by Dan Tsang, a local{
gay activist, and Mary Spooner.
Tsang reports that the 30 stu-
dents in the class were helped
to a greater understanding of
gay issues, and some were able
to come out through the class.
The Gay Advocates' offices,
located at 3405 andt3415 Michi-
gan Union (South Wing), pro-;
vides a good reference point for{
students.
"We don't try to solverpeople's
problems," explains Gay Male
Advocate Jim Toy, "we try to
help people find and work out
their own solutions to their con-
cerns . . . or oppression." Stu-
dents and others are encouraged
to drop by or call, at 763-4186 or
764-0207:1
THE GAY ADVOCATES also
co-ordinate a Gay Speakers Ser-
vice. Its purpose, the advocates
explain, is to help people get in
touch with their feelings con-
cerning homosexuality, and to
p r o v i d e factual information
about homosexuality and gay
people.y
For many, the most important
service provided by the gay
community remains the 24-hour
Gay 'Hotline. Calls received at
the Hotline (662-1977) are strict-
ly confidential. "I think the Hot-
line has helped many people
who are in the process of com-
ing out and need support," says
Lee Eastridge, who helped or-
ganize the service in the fall of
1972.
The Gay Community Services
(GCS) Center, located at 612 S.

Forest, Suite B, just off S. Uni-
versity, is a "gay space" open
to lesbians and gay males.
THE CENTER opened in Aug-
ust, 1976 on the strength of pled-
ges from 30 local gays. It is a
non-profit organization, support-
ed entirely by contributiora and
fundraising activities.
Gay Community Services, be-
sides being a drop-in 'center,
serves many other functions. It
houses' a free lending library as
well as a gay archives. The Cen-
ter also publishes a' bi-weekly
GCS newsletter. Gays in Support
of Youth Liberation, Gay Alco-
holics Anonymous and the Gay
Academic Union (GAU) have al-
so used the Center as a meeting
place.
The local GAU's Midwest Gay
Academic Journal recently dis-
cussed an amendment to the all-
campus constitution of the Mi-
chigan Student Assembly which
supported the rights of students
against discrimination on the ba-
sis of sexual preference. The
amendment was passed by a
large majority in student elec-
tions held in April.-
THE GAY COMMUNITY Ser-
vices Center is open every eve-
ning filom 7-11 p.m. Regular
community business meetings
are held every other Monday at
7:30 p.m. GCS's phone number
is 665-8838.
Womanspace (formerly A Wo-
man's Bookstore), while not spe-
cifically a lesbian center, is the
resource, center for both lesbian
and heterosexual feminists lo-
cally. "Womanspace is where I
came when I was first coming
out," says Myra Cohen, a visitor'
on one afternoon. "I met all
kinds of wonderful women who
were interested in political is-
sues ... it was just what I was
looking for.'
Womanspace, located at 211
N. Flourth Ave. (across from the
People's Food Co-op), is a fem-

inist bookstore with posters,
journals, records, etc. In addi-
tion, the past year has seen'its
expansion to include the Com-
monwoman Library, a women's
art gallery and common room
space.
WOMANSPACE began pre-
senting feminist political forums
in June, on issues ranging from'
racism to working in collectives.
In addition, there is a women's
community bulletin board which
is always crammed with an-
meuncements of meetings, con-
certs and other events.
Womanspace is open from 12-8!
Monday through Thursday, and
from 12-5 Friday and Saturday.
It can be reached at 995-3400.
One outgrowth of Womanspace
has been a lesbian support group
which began in early May. Poe-
try readings and other events
are occasionally presented in the
Womanspace common room.
NEW GAY MALE coming out'
and support groups were organ-
ized this spring by Jack Ellis
and Tom Iott for "males begin-
ning to deal with their gayness."
Each group, they explain, meets
for a weekly three-hour session
for ten weeks. New groups are
formed whenever enough people
indicate interest.
The Leaping Lesbian is a free
monthly publication dovering po-
litical issues, cultural events,
and the lives and activities of
local lesbians. It is directed to-
ward both the local and national
women's communities.
The four women who comprise
the editorial collective explain
that contributions of articles,
poetry, fiction, graphics, an-
nouncements or ads are always
welcome. The Leaping Lesbian
may be reached through the les-
bian advocate's office.
OTHER GAY organizations in
Ann Arbor include the Lesbian

BECAUSE of the nature of my
job-very unstructured and un-
scheduled-my "head" (the per-
U n it son directly responsible for me
L'and my life's direction) and ,)
(A u? WJPdecided it would be better if I
did not live in a household, but
Writers' Collective, the Basic instead got an apartment and
Education Project (formerly the spent a few evenings a week
Male Liberation Collective), a with a household as a non-resi-
c h a p t e r of S.T.A.R. (Street dential member.
Transvestite Action Revolution- That was fine with me. I lived
aries), Lutherans Concerned for with a non-Word of God person.
Gay People, and Reconciliation, I came and went when I pleased.
a gay Roman Catholic group. A I still participated in most of
gay radio program, "Closets the group's functions, but for
Are for Clibthes," is broadcast the most part I was on my own.
each Thursday evening at 6:30 It was as if I was living a
p.m. on WCBN, 89.5 FM, a cam- double life. When I was with my
pus station. roommate, she and I would
In the late evening, some gays' party and carry on. When I was
(mostly male) like to meet at with Word of God people, I was
the Flame bar. Lesbians and j another kind of person.
See ANN, Page 6 See TURNING, Page 6
sMAKERsDEALER
U INSTRUMENT S TY IC
DOMESTIC
x~e~~x~s RENTAL
NEW
IccES0111S USED
LESSOS MUSIC
ICUSTOM Lt EETI
I Ji~58 Iiii HOURS:
209 S. STATE, ANN ARBOR (UPSTAIRS)

Daily Photo by CHK IINA SCHNEIDER
Word of God members assemble at one of their weekly prayer
meetings at St. Thomas school.
*
Do von want to t1
Face it ... you've always wanted to fly! Most of us remember that
feeling ... and for a lot of us it has never gone away.
You're in luck. Air Force ROTC can set you winging. Our Flight
Instruction Program (FIP) is designed to teach you the basics of
flight and includes flying lessons in light aircraft at a lvilian-
operated flying school.
The program is an EXTRA given to cadets who can become Air
Force pilots through Air Force ROTC. Taken during the senior
year in college, it is the first step up for the cadet who is going on
to Air Force jet pilot training after graduation.
Air Force ROTC also has a scholarship program to pay for books,
fees, and full tuition, along with $100 a month. This Is all reserved
for the cadet who wants to get his life off the ground ... with Air
Force flying.
CONTACT:
Air Force ROTC, North Hoal, 764-2403
Air Force ROTC -Gateway to a Great Way of is

mmw Iljj Ell

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S In RRBOR CIVIC THaTRE

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'October 12-15, 1977 Waltz of the Toreadors

L

a

December 14-17, 1977 You Never Can Tell
February 8-11, 1978 Look Homeward, Angel
April 19-23, 1978 Carousel
May 19-23, 1978 Finishing Touches
July 26-29, 1978 You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown
AACT 1977=78 Seas6n

Name

Phone

Address

Seating
preference:
Q orchestra
Q balcony

City.

State Zip

hull Season Without No. of Dollar
Day and Shaw TimtePrice "C Brown" Tickets Amount
Wednesday -8 P.M. 18.00 15:00 __
Thursdav, 8 P.M. $18.00 $15.00
Friday, 8 P.M. $21.00 $18.00
Saturday. 8P.*M. $21.00 $1800
AACT Membership $5/individual, $8/Couple, $25/Patron

I!

I %ODUFbe cVUlUUtIvns, VIu f AW111*, E

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I

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