This page along with the previous, which is the transcript of the first hour, were originally broadcast October 8, 1974 on WOI-TV in Ames, Iowa. Questions were phoned in and host Betty Lou Varnum read them to the panel which consisted of a total of four members of Gay People's Alliance and four members of Lesbian Alliance (only six total on the set at any one time). If a question was her own, it is not single quoted below, otherwise it was the question of a viewer and within single quotes ('why do …?').
I said 'I didn't,' I never have. Communication broke down between me and my parents quite a long time ago, before I started telling anyone that I was homosexual, and I can't see anything too constructive in my particular situation about telling them. I don't think they would feel any better if I told them, than if I didn't.
So it was not your homosexuality that caused the original breakdown in communication?
I don't feel that it was. It's possible, of course.
I think in my case, once again, I'm sort of similar to Harold, I felt like I owed it to my father to tell him myself, rather than to have someone else tell him. I was aware of the consequences as a possibility, but I could have been pleasantly surprised also, and he could have reacted favorably. It's a possibility you have to think about.
Not only that but it eases a burden.
That you don't have to keep hiding from your parents who brought you up and who, at times, have been the closest people to you.
'Do you, some of you, have still close relationships with your parents?' [pointing at David Windom] You said that you do not…
I don't think my relationship with my father was really that close before. This didn't help communication, admittedly, but we disagreed on many things before this—sort of the generation gap thing.
Somewhere 'down in the sack' too is the question of, whether or not this is just a… whether your homosexuality and open avowal isn't just another type of vote against parental authority and relationships… and you might have taken to drugs, might have done something else, …
The ??? case is certainly a lot healthier than drugs
You don't feel that this is a response to…
It might be for individual people once again, but I don't think that that's necessarily the case. I think we have a basic idea of what we're trying to change in society, and what we're trying to restructure. And if we can further those goals by being open, then that's what we'll have to be.
'What are your opinions of the gay and glitter rock bands?' [silence]
I think they mean like the Edgar Winter Group…
Some of them are pretty good.
Just a way of expressing their art through music.
There are like gay individual singers now who are putting out albums, of music and things, which I don't think fit into the category that that person was talking about. I'd be more positive about that.
It's kind of off, but it isn't, I was reading an old Time magazine where they did many pictures on Flip Wilson in drag as Geraldine, and Geraldine seems very popular, and yet I don't know any female comedian who dresses so masterfully masculine and has support. I just thought that was very interesting. Gay and glitter. And Geraldine. Everybody loves Geraldine, we all know that's just another side of Flip Wilson.
Directed to the women: 'What are your feelings in a straight bar or lounge if a man tries to pick you up?'
Well that depends! Sometimes if he's really pushy, it's 'Guy, get away!' But a lot of times it's just boredom. Because, you know, this happens, … a lot. … Just get rid of him, that's all.
We'll be back, after this message.
All right, we're continuing our discussion with members of the Gay Peoples' Alliance and the Lesbian Alliance, and [we have] a lot of questions, and, OK—'Why do the panel seem so sad, why don't they smile more?' [panel members smile broadly] Um, there's one here I want to ask, here we go. 'I've just found out that my husband is a homosexual. Should I confront him with it, quietly divorce him, or what do you suggest?' Let's take it as a serious question, all right, and we'll assume that it is.
If I were talking to that person and it something that were really disturbing her and that is her husband, with whom she has a relationship, I would certainly try to talk to him about it. Just personally…
Yeah, I wouldn't confront in the way some people use that term, as accusingly, but as something that they may need to talk about and something they need to work out.
So you do think the business of talking, at least bringing it out in the open? Rather than just…
That's the best way to make a decision, to make it mutually and talk about it.
[to David Windom] What is the significance of the word 'Hector' on your T-shirt?
It has no connection with the gay movement, it's a magazine, some friends of mine are putting out. It's called 'Hector… and Hector,' which is also on the back of the T-shirt, and it will be coming out around the end of October, if you're interested. [laughter]
All right, you did a plug for that, we'll send you a bill! 'Do you feel you're fighting a losing battle as far as gaining public acceptance of homosexuality?'
No, not at all. We wouldn't have been here, two years ago, even; we've accepted ourselves…
…Yes, yes, well we did a program…
I'm talking about us [hits microphone inadvertently]
We would not have felt as much support two years ago, and I don't know how public that is but just in our personal lives of being open with the people we know, we've received enough support to come here.
This goes back once again to an interest in your early training and your early actions. 'Have your parents talked openly with you about sex, and in general were your parents happily married?'
What's happily married? You know, people see the marriage from different points of view. There were times I didn't think my parents were happily married at all, not that they should get a divorce, but that's just because I'd been raised on TV and all the couples on TV are so happy and they never fight and all this stuff. [pause] My parents never talked about sex.
It was talking about early training and it's kind of a sidelight but in terms of guilt and in terms of those things which are instilled, becoming pregnant before legal marriage, was made such a stigma when I was a child, that even though I was married, I was pregnant and somehow I thought I had done something wrong. There was no other discussion about sex in my training other than you don't get pregnant before marriage.
Uh, sex wasn't discussed much at all by my parents. I did remember asking my mother, when I was ten years old, how are babies made, and she said well wait until your younger sister's older, and then I'll tell you. And so, she told my younger sister but somehow never managed to tell me, so I never found out from my parents, I found out other ways. But sexuality is very much a closed subject at our house.
I think once again I'd have to go along with the crowd. Sex wasn't talked about hardly at all in my family. If at all.
Yeah, I feel the same way. Except some book was placed prominently in some spot where I would see it, but I don't remember my parents actually talking to me about it.
To answer both parts of the question, I think my parents were happily married, but they never talked to me about sex.
Are any of you from broken homes?
A foster home… But I think more than just sex, and the act of sex, I'm wondering about how much physical display of affection. Parents are often very embarrassed, even to hug or give a little peck. Many parents are very reserved in front of their children, so that children observe their parents as almost non-sexual beings, or non-touching beings.
Yeah, I think you can't generalize just because of us, you have to realize many heterosexuals, once again, grow up in the same environment, where sex isn't discussed. From my peer group when I was growing up, I knew that was the big thing. 'Are our parents going to talk to us about it,' you know. I remember that. And for most people, it never happened.
'What would you do if your parents were trying to force you to go straight against your will?'
That's what my father has been trying to do. I broke off communication for awhile, because we both needed time to think. He wanted me to go to a psychiatrist to be 'cured' (quote end quote) and I made the suggestion that I might go if he would go along too, because I thought he was having more problems dealing with this than I was, at the time. You know, in this state, you can be committed to a mental institution by members of your family with doctors' signatures, and that was threatened once on me. Fortunately that never happened. I might have to go underground if he really, really made an all-out effort.
Essentially, of course, this is what all parents are trying to do, whether they realize it or not, I mean all parents are trying to make their children grow up straight. And they may not realize that their child is developing as a homosexual, but, the atmosphere in homes is, to be heterosexual, isn't it?
I don't know if it is an effort so much as just a presumption. And then the things that parents do that they may think is reinforcing a heterosexual attitude is actually creating just the opposite, the way your parents relate to each other, in some cases, that could be, … or the child can see … it's just presumed that a child will pick up the attitudes of the parents and, it's a presumption more than an effort.
No, I didn't mean it's a conscious effort, cause they may not know, that the child has…
Hopefully as more of the 'humanistic' movements keep going, this will not be the case. I think I've seen some changes in the past few years.
'Jean Paul Sartre says that homosexuality reveals itself through a frustration and hatred to society. What do you think of the statement, bearing in mind that Satre is one of the most adamant homosexuals in Europe?'
I think he's speaking from another generation and another culture, for one thing, and I imagine any group, homosexuals, women, black, Chicanos, any group might present only a frustrated, angry, front to the group that has power, that is excluding them, oppressing them. Frustration and anger would seem a very normal response.
There are many gay people who do hate themselves, perhaps he is one of them. If you look at the reasons why, perhaps it is not because he is a homosexual, because of what he's been told about being a homosexual. I don't think we have to defend his position.
I don't think it's a matter of hating society, it's a matter of constructively changing society.
'Do you have any estimate of the number of homosexuals in the United States?'
Kinsey statistics are about the best that I know of to go by, and they state, that at any one time, 10% of the population is engaged in predominantly homosexual behavior, which would be over 20 million people [in the US] who are engaged in predominantly homosexual behavior in the country right now. Those studies have been backed up by studies that came since.
'Have the members of the panel experienced both physical and tender relationships? This would be the only way to really know if they are homosexual.'
I don't know about that because I ran into some women who call themselves lesbians who have never quote 'been to bed with a woman,' but that doesn't disturb them. They don't see that as the essence of their identity. There are many virgins, I mean, in this country, who may never have a sexual experience but they still can have an identity. Your sexual identity is not necessarily indicative of what your experience is. Here there's the emphasis on the sexual act, and the way you experience life, and I think they're separate, at times.
That is talking about activity to some extent. You can be homosexual and celibate, of course.
There's a question that would like to have you deal a little bit more with the emotional relationships, rather than just the physical relationships, um… would you discuss this type of thing, other than the physical relationships.
I think there's a common myth in society once again when they think of homosexual, as Connie said, they just think of sex, they don't give us credit for having human emotions, they don't give us credit for being human beings, often times. And heterosexuals don't have a corner on all of the human emotions. It's important for them to realize we feel the same things, we even go through the same jealousy trips, the same power trips, often times, because we've been raised in this society. What can you say, we feel love, we feel hate, anger, hurt
Yes, one girl [in a class] once asked if her friend told her that she were homosexual, her first worry would be, 'well why does this woman want to hang around with me?', does she want to… is she simply interested in sex, and I think many women who are heterosexual, have emotional needs met by men with whom they certainly don't go to bed. They simply have emotional support from that group of people. And the same thing with women, there are many strong emotional relationships, which do not involve sexual activity.
Connie, this question goes back to you again, it's the concern over your three sons. 'You do not have custody of the children?'
And is it the experience of lesbian mothers, that they cannot keep custody of the children.
That was definitely a threat, and a reason for not fighting it, since both my ex-husband and I wanted the children, but there are other considerations, his ability to provide for, and many things were thought of besides that, when we made a decision.
But certainly it would be entirely possible… to lose custody.
Well, entirely possible, that if the lesbian issue were not a threat, I certainly would have considered fighting for them, rather than…
The viewer is interesting in knowing, in addition, if you had custody of them, would you rear them as heterosexual or homosexual?
I would simply rear them as the individuals they are. I have no hopes that they go in either direction. Even now that I'm not primarily rearing them, I still have a great deal of contact, and I certainly put no pressure either way, I hope they find themselves as individuals.
'How do you feel about a homosexual flaunting his or her feelings in front of heterosexuals?'
I think heterosexuals have been 'flaunting' their feelings in front of us for too long. I think, you know, it is a very very positive thing. And with that ?? I do have a bit of bitterness in my voice.
I think that depends upon the individual. Some people are really fond of displaying affection publicly, whether they're heterosexual or homosexual, but for a homosexual who wants to touch someone they know in public, they could be bitter, or that would be called 'flaunting,' but if it were not flaunting, it were simply a natural act of tenderness which is considered flaunting to a group of people who aren't used to seeing that behavior.
Because I think perhaps that it was missed, 'Would you re-state your feeling about the Marcus Welby program. as it relates to the molesting of children?'
I don't think anyone here would want to excuse child molesting. I think the objection was the confusion, and the fact there was no effort in that program to make a distinction between homosexuality and child molesting. But a program that was on 15 minutes before Marcus Welby, in which some girl running down the beach in a bathing suit was shot by a man, I should think many heterosexual men would feel maligned, so then we have a question of the media, and the messages which are aired, not only the Marcus Welby show… But the Marcus Welby show immediately affects us at this time.
'Do any of you have any sexual drives at all toward the opposite sex?'
I don't. I've been told I should worry about that, but it doesn't particularly bother me. I have emotional drives towards women, but that doesn't mean they have to be sexual also.
To put that in a less loaded line, does that simply mean are there members of the opposite sex that we might consider making love with were so inclined?
I would think…
Because sexual drive, that's for me, I'm not that promiscuous a person, I tend to be very slow, very committed, and there are men whom I've found attractive and who have been very good friends and were I in such a position, would consider making love with a person with whom I was in love with.
In my case I've had several heterosexual dreams that I can remember. They sort of freaked me out because I wasn't expecting them to happen. Those are the basic heterosexual impulses of my life.
All right, anyone else? 'How can a man who is married and has children suddenly turn around and fall in love with another man?'
That's assuming that you can only love one person. Perhaps it is not out of reach to love more than one person, even in a sexual way. It's another myth that our society has perpetuated upon us that we tend to accept without thinking about.
And the having children part of that question brings a lot of questions to my mind. First of all, does having children… if a man has children is that a way of proving that he is definitely heterosexual, or does it exclude other experiences or is she, he, or whoever wrote that question simply talking about responsibility to the relationship and not the affections and feelings that the man may be feeling?
Question. 'If you have any deep, religious feelings, what is the reason for god's making two sexes if it's normal to live as one?'
Well, they can't prove that for one thing. And like I said, religion is based on faith, and you can't prove it either way. People have to make their own personal judgments when it comes to religion.
I think there's sort of a threatened… the person who wrote that sounds like they're a bit threatened, like they're… they think we're saying that everyone should be a homosexual, and that's not what we're saying at all, we're saying sexuality is viable no matter what lifestyle you choose.
They also seem to presume that reproduction is somehow connected with love, and it is not always thus. Children may be produced without love, and people may love each other without… etc.
This is a viewer who has called in with a quote from the Bible about homosexuality. "What do you think of what the Bible says against homosexuality, 1st Timothy I, 10-11; 'Yes these laws are made to identify as sinners all who are immoral and impure: homosexuals, kidnappers, and liars, and all others who do things that contradict the glorious good news of the blessed God, whose messenger I am.' This is from the Living Bible."
That's also from Paul, who was probably…
You're saying that…
Paul's the person who wrote that in the Bible, St. Paul.
He was the one who also wrote that women should not cut their hair, and remain quiet in church. He created what I consider to be a lot of the problems with our society now, today. I mean I don't personally, myself, believe the Bible was divinely inspired. I'm not speaking for gay people at all. There are gay people who would try to defend that position.
They also seem to be taking the viewpoint that all homosexuals are Christian. But a lot of them aren't. There are Jewish homosexuals, …
Being non-Christian does not necessarily mean that one is an atheist. And there are many Christians who accept the Pauline doctrines with reservation because you have to look at the texts in the Old Testament on which the New Testament texts were composed.
We will be back for the final segment of our program after this message.
We still have a stack of questions but we've reached the point where a number of them have been answered, earlier in the program, so we will get rid of some of those. This is a question about what the heterosexual person's response can be as far as being of help to the homosexual in the community.
Once they find out that a friend of theirs or a relative, or someone that they're close to, I think the best thing that they can do is to treat them the same way that they treated them before. This has been, for me, the best response I've had from anyone. And it's happened several times. The thing to remember is that when you find out that someone you know is homosexual, it doesn't mean that they're different, it means that you're different, because now you know something about them that you didn't know before. But, they're probably not going to act any differently if you don't.
'Did any of your parents have homosexual traits?'
What's a homosexual trait? I'm not sure what they mean by that, at all.
The answer is, most probably. Growing up in this society, they probably had feelings, now if they had identifiable traits as to how they moved their hands or how feminine or masculine either one of them acted, they probably had homosexual tendencies, as most people do. Or experiences or feelings. But by the time they were married there probably wasn't anything.
Sometimes when the questions are taken down, because especially when we have a lot of them, the questions aren't quite clear, so, allow for that if you will, please. 'Do the people on the panel feel more paranoid, that they must identify the character on the Welby program as a homosexual first and a child molester second, when the crime was child molesting?' Is that a sign of you paranoia, I guess they…
I don't think we identified him…
I don't think we identified him as a homosexual, but we were listening carefully as to how Dr. Welby and the other people were dealing with the boy's fears. I think very definitely the boy was afraid of what that experience meant… that his friends would think he was homosexual, and the father, I really question what the father meant when he said that 'I think you ought to throw all those creeps in jail,' I was wondering if he meant child molesters or if he simply meant, you know, homosexuals. At that point Dr. Welby tried to calm him, but he didn't calm him specifically enough to make it clear.
'In a lesbian relationship where one tends to act like the man, what is the difference between this and a heterosexual relationship?'
I've never been in a lesbian relationship where one tries to 'act the man'. That's another presumption, that that's how lesbian relationships work.
This is a little late in the program to do this but perhaps it would be well to take the time. 'Would you give a clear concise definition of a homosexual and a lesbian?'
I'm not sure if there is a 'clear, concise definition.'
It's different for every person.
I'm not trying to sound evasive, I think this sounds evasive.
A lesbian certainly would be a female homosexual, but I think some books that have been written define lesbian as a woman whose primary emotional and erotic and…>
identity needs are met primarily, not necessarily exclusively but primarily by women but not men, which is still vague.
I think the object of your affection is a person of the same sex.
Wouldn't that apply?…
No, I'm not sure because there are people who haven't ever dealt with their homosexual feelings, who still are probably homosexuals, even though they're acting on heterosexual…
He said 'object of affection,' he didn't say 'going to bed with' or saying I (????)
No, no… not at all…
Well there are people who have even hide that from themselves but they still may have, quote 'sexual attractions' to members of the same sex that they haven't dealt with.
I don't think you can come up with a really clear, concise, good definition, because people are so different. And that's as true of the homosexual community as it is of the heterosexual.
'Why does the male try to become more feminine to attract other males, if he is interested in the male sex?'
Those are myths and stereotypes again, coming through. That's not necessarily the case. And, you know there are heterosexual men who fit into the category of 'feminine,' as society defines it, once again. And they're trying to attract women.
Unfortunately many effeminate men are wrongly accused of being homosexual simply because they exhibit mannerisms which are reserved only for women in this culture.
'Wasn't the sin of homosexuals the contributing factor in God's destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah?'
No it was not because the original words for 'know' in the English Bible, and translating that passage, all words 'know' are written down as 'know' but there are different verbs for the word 'know' and the word[s] 'we want to know them' which was used in the original texts was not the sexual 'know' it was the acquainted 'know.'
I've recently been told, that in Ezekiel 35 (I haven't checked it myself, so someone else can if they want to look it up) it says that Sodom and Gloria were destroyed because of the way they treated their poor, rather than because of their homosexual sins.
I had heard that it was the way they treated the guests.
Yeah, that too. That's one interpretation. There are so many different possible interpretations to almost any Biblical passage…
The one that that's based on, it's based on 'we want to know them,' and they presumed that that was the sexual 'know.'
'How can a parent determine or what can a parent look for to determine if a child has homosexual tendencies?'
I think if the parent-child relationship were open and loving, and sex were talked about, perhaps the child would talk about their feelings, homosexual or heterosexual. I think that's the only way the parent can really determine, because otherwise the child will probably have defense mechanisms up and not talk about his or her sexuality, regardless of what it is.
And even construct very elaborate dating fronts and clothing habits to persuade the fearful parent that he or she is not homosexual.
So you would say that the open relationship, which wouldn't make it necessary to look…
And are there homosexual traits among the people sitting here, even? Can you identify one particular trait which automatically defines us as homosexual? Then how can you go back and transfer that to a child?
This goes back to the very beginning of the program, 'how do you tell a homosexual?' and I don't know, we don't even know! [laughter]
All right. 'Would you repeat the box number that you gave earlier and would you repeat your address?'
The Lesbian Alliance box number is P.O. box 1287, ISU Station, Ames, Iowa.
Dennis, would you…
OK. We presently have an office in room 3 of the Memorial Union on campus, since we're a student-recognized group. We have a phone number which is 294-5237. And what's our post office box?
OK, our post office box is 1001 ISU Station, if anyone wants to write. And it's important to remember that if you come to our organizational meetings or if you write to us, it doesn't mean that you're necessarily going to have to come out in the open such as we have, because we don't force that upon anyone.
The same is true of our organization.
…that if they do wish to remain anonymous…
Confidentiality is respected…