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Time Magazine Cover Story 42 Years Ago Today: The Homosexual In America

by David Badash on October 31, 2011

in Bigotry Watch,Civil Rights,Discrimination,Media,News

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A controversial Time Magazine cover story, “The Homosexual In America,” dated 42 years ago today, (October 31, 1969,) stated that greater tolerance of homosexuals might lead to less of them, as society would become less strident about what constitutes manliness. The piece also asked, “Is there a homosexual conspiracy afoot to dominate the arts and other fields?,” and blamed homosexuality on “many emotionally disturbing experiences during the course of several years.”

“Though they still seem fairly bizarre to most Americans, homosexuals have never been so visible, vocal or closely scrutinized by research,” the article stated. “They throw public parties, frequent exclusively “gay” bars (70 in San Francisco alone), and figure sympathetically as the subjects of books, plays and films. Encouraged by the national climate of openness about sex of all kinds and the spirit of protest, male and female inverts have been organizing to claim civil rights for themselves as an aggrieved minority.”

Their new militancy makes other citizens edgy, and it can be shrill. Hurling rocks and bottles and wielding a parking meter that had been wrenched out of the sidewalk, homosexuals rioted last summer in New York’s Greenwich Village after police closed one of the city’s 50 all-gay bars and clubs on an alleged liquor-law violation. Pressure from militant self-styled “homophiles” has forced political candidates’ views about homosexuality into recent election campaigns in New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles. Homosexuals have picketed businesses, the White House and the Pentagon, demanding an end to job discrimination and the right to serve in the Army without a dishonorable discharge if their background is discovered.

Inevitably, the homosexual life has attracted eager entrepreneurs. A firm in Great Neck, N.Y., runs a computer-dating service for homosexuals; San Francisco’s Adonis bookstore has some 360 different magazines on display that carry everything from lascivious photos of nude men to reports on the homophile movement and lovelorn advice by “Madame Soto-Voce.” Police and homosexuals agree that operating a gay bar is still an occupation that often appeals to Mafiosi. In New York City, sleazy movie houses along Broadway now match their traditional offerings of cheesecake with “beefcake.”

A Louis Harris poll released last week reported that 63% of the nation consider homosexuals “harmful to American life,” and even the most tolerant parents nervously watch their children for real or imagined signs of homosexuality, breathing sighs of relief when their boy or girl finally begins dating the opposite sex.

Most experts agree that a child will not become a homosexual unless he undergoes many emotionally disturbing experiences during the course of several years. A boy who likes dolls or engages in occasional homosexual experiments is not necessarily “queer”: such activities are often a normal part of growing up. On the other hand, a child who becomes preoccupied with such interests or is constantly ill at ease with the opposite sex obviously needs some form of psychiatric counseling. While only about one-third of confirmed adult inverts can be helped to change, therapists agree that a much larger number of “prehomosexual” children can be treated successfully.

Time subscribers can access the complete article here. Act Up has what is presumably a complete copy on their website, here.

UPDATE 01.01.11:

Just received an email from The DC Center for the LGBT Community:

“David,

I thought you’d be interested to know that The DC Center for the LGBT Community (DC’s LGBT Community Center) is auctioning off this copy of TIME Magainze to raise money. We had a whole collection of old magazine’s with LGBT-related issues in them, but this one hasn’t gone yet. Thought you may want to update your post with a link to the auction.”
Done! Go for it, folks!
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