Red Letter Day

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

43 years ago

43 years ago, CBS News aired this 45-minute "news special" about the "homosexual problem" in America.

David White of the Advocate watched and took notes:

This weekend, for my second visit to The Homosexuals, I took notes. And when I was done my pad of paper was a laundry list of every horrible thing you’ve ever heard about the gays: smothering mothers, mental illness, animalistic sexual gratification, society’s repulsion, promiscuity, recruitment, etc.

Some quotes, some from Wallace, some from clergy and other “experts” on the subject:
“They frequent their own bars ... where they can act out…”
“The average homosexual isn’t capable of love.”
“Homosexuality is, in fact, a mental illness.”
“The church has a great deal of sympathy for those who are handicapped in this way.”
“[Being a homosexual] automatically rules out that [the man in question] will remain happy.”

The men (no mention of lesbians is ever made) who aren’t on camera as representatives of fledgling gay rights groups at the time, like the Mattachine Society, are interviewed in shadow or behind plants, and say things like, “I know I’m sick inside ... immature.”

Watching this video is wild. It is such a relic of a primitive time, but that time was only 43 years ago! Lots of people from then are even still alive today and can remember those times.

The closest thing I can compare this report to would be like a TV broadcast from the Salem Witch Trials in which the reporters and audience just assumed that yeah, there were witches and of course you needed to have trials to punish them. The CBS story just assumes lots of stuff that is patently ridiculous now. It makes me wonder what people 43 years in the future will look back at us and think how primitive we are.

Did any of the brave gay folks marching in that little picket line back then think that in 40 years they could get legally married in part of America? It would be fun to be a time traveller and go back and let some of them know what amazing things their efforts would bring forth only a few decades later.

Luckily, at least one of the gay leaders of that time is still alive to see the fruits of his labor.

(hat tips to Todd and JoeMyGod.)

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  • Dad and I were in our 20's back then and I honestly don't remember any of this. The only "homosexuals" I knew were my hairdressers and they were rather cool. We were so naive! How very sad.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 1:31 PM  

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