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Letters to GayToday

1994: Spending Stonewall 25 with Harry Hay

Harry Hay (right) and his longtime partner, John Burnside (left) with Randolfe Wicker (center). A poster (left) shows Magnus Hirschfeld, Germany's pioneer Stuart Timmons' obituary of Harry Hay was poignant and accurate. An earlier draft of this piece inaccurately said that Harry Hay had been allowed to address the great gathering in Central Park

Harry Hay had requested permission to convey "his greetings" to the assembled crowd but the establishment activists running the show refused to let him speak.

This might have been because Harry Hay had chosen to march with NAMBLA, not as a member but "in support of" that group which had been officially banned from the parade.

I carried a video camera and recorded Harry Hay's adventures that day. He leaned on my arm the entire way and explained to me why he had chosen to march with NAMBLA.

Harry Hay felt that no group of homosexuals should sit in judgment of another group. He had been exiled from the fledgling homosexual movement in the mid 1950s because he was a communist. The "respectable members" of the Mattachine Society were afraid of guilt by association.

The homophobic Culture & Family Institute could do nothing but focus on the Stonewall 25 event and a similar protest Harry Hay had staged in 1986 in Los Angeles' Gay Pride Parade.

The homophobes also made much of Stuart Timmons "sympathetic biography" The Trouble with Harry Hay in which Harry Hay described his first homosexual lovemaking encounter, when he was only 14 years old with a 25-year-old sailor named Matt.

"As a child,"(Hay) explained, "I molested an adult until I found out what I needed to know." Far from being an experience of "molestation," Harry always described it as "the most beautiful gift that a fourteen-year-old ever got from his first love!"

Indeed, death has a way of sanitizing all political figures. A long analysis of Harry Hay and other political figures by Michael Bronski in the Boston Phoenix provided some illuminating points in this regard.

Thomas Jefferson is remembered as a revolutionary genius, not as a slave owner who had kids with one of his laves and left them in slavery. Rosa Parks is remembered as a tired seamstress who simply wanted to sit down instead of as the secretary of the NAACP that planned the bus boycott long before she took that action.
Harry Hay and John Burnside with Irish Gay Activist Brendan Fay (center)

Martin Luther King Jr. is remembered as almost saintly even though he was promiscuous and adulterous.

The contemporary establishment could deal with Harry Hay's communism. He was just a passionate activist and romantic. However, the issues raised by Harry Hay's views on age of consent were completely untouchable.

Today when a news story talks about "child abuse" and the reader is left to wonder if that means the child was beaten nearly to death or groped by an adult.

The sex scandals involving priests do not separate the sixteen-year-old willing participant from the pre-pubescent altar boy who is violently raped.

The idea that any fourteen-year-old could, like Harry Hay, be a willing participant in sex with an adult is beyond the comprehension of the law. By legal definition, the older participant is guilty of committing statutory rape.

Indeed, American society seems to becoming more puritanical regarding age of consent every day. No one seems to recall that the proposed Model Penal Code of the American Bar Association suggests age of consent be sixteen, fourteen if the other party is not more than four years older.

Sex education is being restricted in schools at the same time that studies are showing some girls commence menstruating as early as the age of nine due to today's better nutrition.

The assimilationist gay leadership has probably made a wise political decision to avoid tackling the knotty issues involved in the age of consent debate. Their main concerns are survival and success.

Harry Hay put truth and justice first. That is what made him special.

Cloningly yours,
Randolfe H. Wicker

Something is Queer about Psychology Today

Robert Epstein, editor-in-chief of Psychology Today, justifies ex-gay therapy by citing the June 2002 "Professional Psychology: Research and Practice" article by Warren Throckmorton, but he failed to mention this was part of a special section that begin with an article coauthored by a student at Regent University, which has been actively sponsoring anti-gay Judeo-Christian biased research papers. Apparently, ex-gay activists, posing as scholars, have duped Epstein and the American Psychological Association into endorsing ex-gay propaganda.

Something is queer about Robert Epstein's response to Martin Thomas, Ph.D. (Gay Today Pen Points, 10/28/02 http://www.gaytoday.com/penpoints/102802pp.asp ) because Epstein defensively mimics the Regent University belief that Judeo-Christian conservatives are "victims" of intolerance and religious discrimination by gay activists.

Anti-gay Christians are not "victims" of intolerance. They are perpetrators of scientific frauds and theocratic laws, which harm homosexuals.

Epstein's ethical obligation to "respect the rights of others to hold values, attitudes and opinions that differ" does not require him to endorse harmful ex-gay therapies by publishing them in scientific based journals or commercial magazines. No credible publication would defend publishing neo-Nazi's ex-Jew research because they have a "right" to hate those who "choose" to be Jewish.

Epstein's excuse that his editorial decisions are separate from advertising decisions is hollow because few magazines lack editorial standards for advertisements. Psychology Today has also published ads from a possibly unsafe or illegal offshore pharmacy. This apparently low standard for advertisements undermines the credibility of Epstein's editorial statement, "For the record, we are fanatical at PT about interpreting research studies accurately and conservatively."

Oddly, in the same December 2002 issue of Psychology Today that ran the ex-gay ad for "Preventing Homosexuality" is an "Ask Dr. E" question "Is homosexuality a kind of sickness?" Epstein's seemingly supportive answer also said, "one study suggests that 50 percent of the young women who believe they are homosexual end up declaring themselves to be straight within a few years."

The second question for Dr. Epstein was "Where can I find articles on gender identity disorder?" His answer is an indirect assault on transgender individuals who have never had their "mental disorder" taken out of the psychiatrists' "Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders."

On the www.psychologytoday.com website Dr. Epstein sympathetically answers the question "How do you feel about homosexuals adopting children? Won't these kids be harmed in some way?" His choice of questions is curious at best.

A Mar/Apr 99 article, "Gay No More?" features therapists that convert gays to straight. The article attempts to be balanced, but it fails to document those who have been harmed by ex-gay groups.

A short article "Gay Debate" (Sep/Oct 2000) incorrectly reports that Robert Spitzer, Ph.D. "led the American Psychiatric Association's decision to remove homosexuality from the mental disorders list in 1973."

In fact, Spitzer successfully proposed in the November 1973 issue of The American Journal of Psychiatry to keep sexual orientation references to allow the treatment of homosexuals who wanted to change because they were disturbed by their sexual orientation. My October 28 Gay Today Pen Points http://www.gaytoday.com/penpoints/102802pp.asp letter described how these references are being misused by ex-gay conversion therapists to fraudulently bill insurance companies.

Last year, the mainstream press widely misreported Spitzer had proven gays could convert to straight. They failed to accurately report that ex-gay groups provided his research subjects, which biased his findings. Ex-gay groups are actively trying to manipulate the scientific process by recruiting sympathetic researchers, such as Spitzer.

I agree with Rev. Mel White http://gaytoday.com/garchive/viewpoint/051302vp.htm and Bob Minor http://gaytoday.com/viewpoint/093002vp.asp that we must stop the debate. However, I am concerned that AIDS has decimated the ranks of the mid-career scientists who have the power to stop these anti-gay pseudo-scientists from polluting the mainstream scientific literature with religious-based beliefs.

Regent University may have succeeded in getting their pseudo-scientific articles placed in an American Psychological Association journal, but they failed earlier this year to get the prestigious Stanford Law & Policy Review to publish articles that equate homosexuals with pedophilia. The rejected articles were published in the 2001-2002 Regent University Law Review http://www.regent.edu/acad/schlaw/lawreview that bills itself as "a forum for Christian perspective on the law."
The Rev. Mel White

This anti-gay Regent University Law Review issue whined that they were "victims" of a conspiracy by mainstream publications to cover up the "facts" that "homosexually-molested children are likely to become homosexual" and that "homosexuals disproportionately molest children." They misrepresented the source of this data, Dr. Kurt Freund, who experimentally demonstrated that this "would not indicate that (homosexual) males have a greater propensity to offend against children."

Open-minded and compassionate publications are not ignoring any homosexual pedophilia "facts," but they are properly discounting the unscientific conclusions of Regent University, which are aimed solely at discrediting gay people instead of protecting children. Their work is rejected, not because publications are intolerant of their dissent, but because of their scientific misrepresentations.

The Czechoslovakian Dr. Kurt Freund became famous in the 1950's and 1960's for his unsuccessful research on electrical and chemical shock aversion therapies to cure homosexuals. When homosexuality was decriminalized and removed as a mental disorder in the 1970's, Freund immigrated to Canada and redirected his research toward homosexual pedophiles and sex criminals. Tragically, some therapists are still using his unproven aversion therapies on homosexuals.

Anti-gay groups that propagate the homosexual molestation myth are cruelly silencing abused boys by making them fear rejection because the molestation made them gay. Notice how many victims of Catholic priests could not reveal their abuse until they were heterosexually married adults.

If Robert Epstein is serious about being "fanatical at PT about interpreting research studies accurately and conservatively," then he should acknowledge the bias ex-gay therapists have instead of defending them. If his current experiment to find true love proves to be successful, maybe he will be able to understand the psychological harm that ex-gay groups are causing many gay people.

Thomas Kraemer


J.G. Benedict, Gary R. VandenBos, Mary Beth Kenkel, editors, "Special Section: Responding to Sexual Orientation Issues," Professional Psychology: Research and Practices published by the American Psychological Association, Vol. 33, No. 3, June 2002, pp. 235-276

Professional Psychology: Research and Practices June 2002 Table of contents http://www.apa.org/journals/pro/602tc.html viewed on 10/29/02

Mark A. Yarhouse, Lori A. Burkett (Regent University), "An Inclusive Response to LGB and Conservative Religious Persons: The Case of Same-Sex Attraction and Behavior," Professional Psychology: Research and Practices published by the American Psychological Association, Vol. 33, No. 3, June 2002, pp. 235- 241

Warren Throckmorton, "Initial Empirical and Clinical Findings Concerning the Change Process for Ex-Gays," Professional Psychology: Research and Practices published by the American Psychological Association, Vol. 33, No. 3, June 2002, pp. 242-248

Psychology Today, December 2002, "Preventing Homosexuality" ex-gay ad on p. 78, "Q&A by Robert Epstein, Ph.D." p. 86, "Letters" criticism of offshore pharmacy ad p. 8, "Editorial by Robert Epstein, Ph.D." saying "For the record, we are fanatical at PT about interpreting research studies accurately and conservatively," p. 7

www.psychologytoday.com viewed on 10/25/02, "Gay No More?" by Barry Yeoman Mar/Apr 99, "Gay Debate" by Rachel Rokicki Sep/Oct 2000, "Ask Dr. E, How do you feel about homosexuals adopting children?" Aug. 2, 2002

Steve Baldwin, "Child molestation and the homosexual movement," http://www.regent.edu/acad/schlaw/lawreview/articles/14_2baldwin.PDF viewed 9/15/02, from special issue "Homosexuality: Truth be told," Regent University Law Review, Vol. 14, No. 2, 2001-2002

Kurt Freund, "The proportions of heterosexual and homosexual pedophiles among sex offenders against children," Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, Vol. 18, No. 1, Spring, 1992, pp. 34-43

Robert J. Stoller, M.D., Judd Marmor, M.D., Irving Bieber, M.D. Ronald Gold, Charles W. Socarides, M.D., Richard Green, M.D. and Robert L. Spitzer, M.D., "A Symposium: Should Homosexuality Be in the APA Nomenclature?" The American Journal of Psychiatry, November 1973, Vol. 130, No. 11, pp. 1207-1216, Spitzer's proposal is on pp. 1214-1216

Rev. Mel White, "Why We Can't Wait . . . To End This Debate!" GayToday http://gaytoday.com/garchive/viewpoint/051302vp.htm viewed on 10/30/02

Bob Minor, "The Psychological Debate is Over," GayToday http://gaytoday.com/viewpoint/093002vp.asp viewed on 10/4/02
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