Archive for October 2009
I recently discovered this photo wedged into an old book that had been found in moldy garage which was being cleared out. I have no idea who the book belonged to nor who is depicted in the picture. On the back of the photo are these handwritten words:
Prince – Bob
Alice in Wonderland – Kay
Red Riding Hood – Dotty
Cinderella – Judy
Prince – Tommy
Snow White – Ann
Photo by Jerry Hazen
The picture was so vivid (click on it to see the full-size extra-vivid version) and so poignantly captured another era that I thought it deserved to be brought back to life 58 years later.
Things are a little different now. Halloween 1951, meet Halloween 2009.
(“Jerry Hazen” was apparently not a member of the family but was rather a professional photographer brought in to take pictures at a kids’ costume party. The Internet being the amazing thing that it is, I discovered after one minute of searching that Jerry Hazen also had the “Picture of the Week” published in the July 30, 1951 isssue of Life Magazine, showing a mouse nibbling an ear of corn in front of a picture of a mouse nibbling the same ear of corn [click the link for an explanation and see the image]. The Halloween photo above was taken just a few months afterward.)
On a recent trip to Berkeley I encountered this remarkable crew of young street preachers:
One held up a large sign that said (referring to a drawing of a “white” Jesus),
“This is the Devil.
This Image is not Biblical
Jesus is a negro
Not a whiteman
Jesus es negro
Though the message is a little confusing, I took it to mean: “The ‘white’ Jesus is the Devil. The Victorian-era drawings of Jesus as a blue-eyed European are not biblically accurate. The real Jesus was black, not white.”
While the street preachers did have a point about Jesus being overly Europeanized in art during the 19th and early 20th centuries, perhaps they took their point a little too far the other way? Contemporary scholars almost universally agree that the historical Jesus was a Middle-Eastern Jew, and likely had brown hair and brown eyes, along with what is is called an “olive-complexioned” Middle Eastern skin tone.
What I found most intriguing is that while the preachers seemed to be Christian (with one of them reading aloud from the Bible), they still were OK with calling Jesus “the Devil.”
Meanwhile, their next sign listed the 12 tribes of Israel as being various New World nations and ethnic groups — most of which didn’t even exist in pre-Columbian times. (That is to say, the modern nations listed, such as Uruguay and Haiti, didn’t develop until thousands of years after the tribes of Israel were first listed in the Bible; and ethnicities such as “Mexican” or “Dominican” only arose after the European arrival in the New World.)
And the final sign said “America’s destruction is at hand!” along with a picture of a Soviet-era nuclear-tipped ICBM hurtling across the sky.
So: What are we to make of all this?
Combined, the messages say:
- Jesus (or at least “white Jesus”) is the Devil.
- Jesus was actually black.
- The 12 tribes of Israel were actually from the Caribbean, South and Central America.
- The USSR will destroy the United States with nuclear missiles.
I’m trying to piece this all together into a cohesive worldview, and not succeeding. Any suggestions?
(The photo below came out a little better than the top photo, but I missed part of the sign. Sigh.)
What’s it all mean?
As mentioned in previous zomblog posts, Harry Hay (the activist who had “always inspired” Safe Schools Czar Kevin Jennings) once wrote a promotional blurb for a book put out by NAMBLA, the group which seeks to legalize sexual relations between adult men and young boys.
Although there is already a great deal of conclusive evidence showing that Harry Hay was a vigorous supporter and outspoken advocate for NAMBLA and its goals, proof of this additional detail arrived too late to be included in either of my two previous posts on the topic. And so, although it is just a minor component of the case for Hay’s deep connection to NAMBLA, I’ll present it here as a separate post.
I was finally able to track down a copy of the book in question, called A Witchhunt Foiled: The FBI vs. NAMBLA, in the law library at Stanford University (enter the title in the search box at the linked page to see the catalog listing). I obtained the following photographs of the book which indeed do prove beyond any doubt that Harry Hay wrote a promotional blurb for the back cover.
This is a photo of the entire book laid flat. You can see Harry Hay’s blurb in situ at the bottom of the back cover.
And this photo shows a close-up of Hay’s pro-NAMBLA blurb. The quote itself is fairly rambling, but concludes with,
“Thank you, NAMBLA, for giving me the space to express my appreciation for your travail.”
Inside, NAMBLA printed its self-described mission statement, which is to help and facilitate “men and boys involved in consensual sexual and emotional relationships with each other,” a stance which Harry Hay apparently endorsed.
A Witchhunt Foiled was written and published by the North American Man/Boy Love Association in 1985. It concerned an FBI investigation of NAMBLA in relation to an early-’80s missing-child case — an investigation which eventually turned up nothing relevant (which is why NAMBLA refers to it as a “witchhunt”).
As an interesting sidenote, unconnected to the Harry Hay blurb…
I just noticed that famed “in-your-face” sex activist Pat Califia was one of the other people who wrote a blurb for the book’s back cover.
Pat Califia is well-known as a NAMBLA supporter and pedophilia advocate who once wrote “Instead of condemning pedophiles for their involvement with lesbian and gay youth, we should be supporting them.”
That part is common knowledge.
What is less known is that when Kevin Jennings sought out a publisher for his first three books, he chose — of all the publishers in the world — Pat Califia’s publisher, Alyson Publications. As a result, Kevin Jennings’ books came out under the same imprint as Pat Califia’s books such as Macho Sluts, a collection by Califia which contains a short story about an incestuous S/M sexual relationship between a mother and her 13-year-old daughter, now considered a classic of taboo sadism porn.
Alyson was also famous as just about the only publisher in America that would release pro-pedophilia books by other authors, such as Pedophilia: The Radical Case by Tom O’Carrol, and The Age Taboo: Gay Male Sexuality, Power and Consent, by Dan Tsang.
Why Kevin Jennings thought it was appropriate to have his books published by the same company that also publishes pro-pedophila books is anyone’s guess. While it is true that Alyson has since that time published more titles aimed toward the mainstream by other well-known activists, it still seems to be a serious lapse in judgment on Jennings’ part. Authors can often be “typecast” by the publishing company they choose: for example, if you chose to have your book published by the imprint Sentinel, you would be generally identified as a conservative or right-wing author. And so on, with many specialized imprints and publishing houses. Jennings was a good enough writer that he undoubtedly could have approached any number of other, less controversial publishing companies.
Jennings continues to exacerbate the growing scandals by remaining silent on all these issues. With new stories breaking almost every day (including, for example, his connection to the radical activist group ACT-UP), he would be well-advised to publicly disassociate himself from his past and make a clean break with some of the questionable associations that continue to dog him.
Th following two images, of the book’s cover and title page, are only provided here as an appendix, and to dispel any doubts that this is a real book:
Barack Obama came to San Francisco on October 15 to attend a private fundraiser at the St. Francis Hotel — where he was greeted by an unexpectedly large and boisterous “Tea Party” protest.
(Other groups showed up as well, and I cover the full event at zombietime: San Francisco Obama Fundraiser Protest.)
Since I had never before encountered an actual “Tea Party” (i.e. an anti-Obama protest by conservative, libertarian and/or right-wing voters), I was curious to see if the partiers lived up to their reputation as “extremists” (at least as portrayed by the media). But instead of scary extremism, what I found was a surprising and piercing sense of humor (something that had been mostly lacking from the angry protests of the Bush era).
And so for your entertainment I present this gallery of the 20 best signs at the San Francisco Tea Party. And when you’re done, make sure to visit my full report on the day’s events to get the complete context for the rally.
The 20 Best Signs at the San Francisco Tea Party
Want more? See my complete coverage of the October 15 protest at zombietime:
[Note: After zomblog's previous post about Safe Schools Czar Kevin Jennings' misguided praise of NAMBLA supporter Harry Hay, the advocacy group Media Matters has attempted to extinguish the story, issuing a series of press releases dismissing the allegations as "smears." And so my second memo is addressed directly to Media Matters themselves.]
Media Matters –
You have recently assumed the attack-dog role in the Jennings/Hay/NAMBLA scandal, releasing a nonstop barrage of announcements condemning what you characterize as “right-wing smears.” Before you continue down this road, pause to consider the consequences of this strategy.
|The sign Harry Hay carried at the 1986 L.A. Gay Pride Parade (full photo below).|
Don’t you understand that your efforts are counter-productive?
Why are you taking actions that will damage Kevin Jennings’ career and get the Obama administration entangled in an embarrassing scandal?
While some of the right-wing posts you cite (which you set up as strawmen to knock down) do indeed go overboard in their criticism of Jennings, that doesn’t mean that all the evidence in this case can be accurately dismissed as “smears.” Because at the core of the scandal, there are some very inconvenient facts which cannot be wished away (see below).
By advising Jennings to dig in his heels on a story that is only bound to grow in intensity, you are only exacerbating the problem. Enough evidence has already emerged (with more to surely emerge in the near future) that you should recognize the need for Jennings and the Obama administration to enter “crisis management mode”: In other words, they should get in front of the story, apologize, acknowledge mistakes, and vow to never repeat them.
Furthermore, your defense of Jennings is so weak, and so easily debunked, that you have now put your own reputation on the line, not just Kevin Jennings’.
But it’s not too late. I invite you, Media Matters, to join me in encouraging Kevin Jennings to make a public statement condemning Harry Hay in no uncertain terms, and to retract his earlier praise of him. Any action short of that — especially denying that the scandal has any substance at all — will only make the crisis grow.
Since almost all of the pro-Obama blogs which have covered this story have entirely relied on Media Matters’ supposed rebuttals as the final conclusive word on this scandal, we should look at your rebuttals more closely; and in so doing, we see that they are much, much flimsier than the accusations they claim to be debunking.
Out of all Media Matters’ bulletins on this scandal, in fact only two have any substance: they are called
Stripped of their overheated language, both rebuttals can be summarized with the following four points:
1. When Kevin Jennings gave his speech praising Harry Hay, he didn’t know that Hay supported NAMBLA.
2. Kevin Jennings was praising the admirable side of Harry Hay, not the reprehensible side of Harry Hay.
3. None of the mainstream media’s obituaries of Harry Hay mentioned his NAMBLA connections, therefore he must not have been a bad guy after all.
4. Harry Hay once said he wasn’t an actual member of NAMBLA.
All of these points are rather feeble arguments and can be easily counter-rebutted. Let’s look at each in turn:
Media Matters’ Attempted Rebuttal #1:
When Kevin Jennings gave his speech praising Harry Hay, he didn’t know that Hay supported NAMBLA.
As also pointed out on Professor Warren Throckmorton’s blog, Jennings chose a chapter from the 1990 book The Trouble with Harry Hay, by Stuart Timmons, to include in the 1994 anthology Becoming Visible, which Jennings compiled and edited. This means that it is beyond doubt that Jennings had read The Trouble with Harry Hay, since he would have no other way of knowing which chapter to select for republication in his own book. Yet The Trouble with Harry Hay contains a section about Hay’s support of NAMBLA. So by the time Jennings gave his “I was inspired by Harry Hay” speech in 1997, he must have known full well that Hay supported NAMBLA, having learned it from reading the Timmons book (if he hadn’t already known about the connection earlier).
To make this a little clearer, let’s break it down into a timeline:
1990 – Stuart Timmons writes and publishes a biography of Hay called The Trouble with Harry Hay. The book contains a section about Hay’s connection to NAMBLA.
1993/4 – Kevin Jennings reads The Trouble with Harry Hay, in order to choose which chapter about Hay he wants to include in an anthology he’s putting together called Becoming Visible.
1994 – Jennings purposely chooses a section about Hay which doesn’t mention NAMBLA, and republishes it in Becoming Visible.
1994 – Jennings also writes an introduction to the Hay chapter in his book, as well as several study questions about Hay, in both of which he pointedly makes no mention of the NAMBLA connection he learned of from reading The Trouble with Harry Hay.
1997 – Despite his knowledge of Harry Hay’s NAMBLA support, Jennings praises him in a speech in which he said that Hay had “always inspired” him.
The only conclusion one can reach from this is that by 1997 Kevin Jennings knew of Harry Hay’s involvement with NAMBLA — yet praised him anyway.
As mentioned in an update to my earlier memo, Kevin Jennings’ book Becoming Visible — about the history of gay activism, including an entire chapter about Harry Hay — is partly searchable on Amazon: Click here for a link to the Amazon “Peek Inside” feature for the book, and scroll to its table of contents. Or click here or on the small image to the right to see a clear screenshot of the book’s Table of Contents, including the chapter on Harry Hay.
I have scanned several pages from Jennings’ Becoming Visible as proof that a. The book contains a chapter about Harry Hay; b. Kevin Jennings wrote the introduction to that chapter, as well as the study questions about the chapter; and c. The book and the questions are intended for high school students to read. Rather than clog up this essay with a lot of very large images, I will instead link to them here:
Scans from the book Becoming Visible:
Page 162: The first part of Kevin Jennings’ introduction to the Harry Hay chapter.
Page 163: The conclusion of Jennings’ introduction, and the first portion of the Hay chapter itself.
Page 16: Author’s note from Jennings saying he provided the introduction.
Page 17: Jennings saying the study questions are addressed to students for in-class assignments.
Page 178: Jennings’ study questions about Harry Hay.
Page 179: More study questions about Harry Hay.
Page 180: Conclusion of study questions about Harry Hay.
How can you compile and edit a book that includes an extensive chapter about Harry Hay — a chapter for which you wrote the introduction and study questions — and then later claim complete ignorance of Harry Hay’s past? Especially considering that you are known as a leading scholar of the history of gay activism?
And it should be noted that everything Jennings wrote about Harry Hay in this book portrays him in a positive light. In the book, he doesn’t write specifically that Hay inspired him, but it’s obvious if you read the book itself that Jennings is holding up Harry Hay as a role model.
The final link in this chain of evidence is proof that the book The Trouble with Harry Hay did in fact mention Hay’s connection to NAMBLA. Since we know that Kevin Jennings must have read this book in 1993 0r 1994, if we can show that the book discusses Hay’s support of NAMBLA, then it’s beyond any doubt that Jennings knew of it. And we can indeed provide the proof:
First of all, these two photographs were included in the book, showing Harry Hay’s front and back signs at the 1986 Los Angeles Gay Pride Parade. But the photos were not given without context: accompanying text explained in detail how Hay came to NAMBLA’s defense at the parade, something which (according to the book) became famous as “The Harry Hay Incident.” (Valerie Terrigno was a scandal-rocked politician who was also excluded from the parade, as was NAMBLA.)
Here are photos of some relevant pages from The Trouble with Harry Hay, in which the author discusses some of Hay’s connections to NAMBLA:
Photos from the book The Trouble with Harry Hay:
Page 295: Description of “The Harry Hay Incident” and his support of NAMBLA (first part)
Page 296: Description of “The Harry Hay Incident” and his support of NAMBLA (second part)
Photo insert (center of book): Picture (same as the one shown above) of Harry Hay in his “I Walk With NAMBLA” sign, including identifying caption.
Want more? OK.
There’s also strong circumstantial evidence that Jennings almost certainly learned of Hay’s involvement in NAMBLA another way, also in 1994:
According to numerous sources (including for example the Queer Resources Directory and Gay Today; any number of additional links describing the incident can be found on this search results page), Harry Hay got into a very public spat with major mainstream gay organizations over their planned decision to ban NAMBLA from marching in the “Stonewall 25″ pride march in New York on June 26, 1994. Hay, who was slated to be honored as one of the celebrities in the march, instead insisted that NAMBLA be included in the celebration. When Hay was snubbed and NAMBLA was banned despite his objections, Hay broke away from the organizers and formed his own group called Spirit of Stonewall, which then proceeded to march in the parade with NAMBLA anyway — to the great chagrin of the march’s organizers and the larger gay community. This back-and-forth fight between Hay/NAMBLA and the mainstream of gay activists lasted for months and was a major topic of discussion in the gay community, especially among gay political activists living in New York. (Hay also wrote about this incident extensively in his own autobiography, which we will look at later in this memo.)
So: What does any of this have to do with Kevin Jennings? Well, according to his own autobiography, Mama’s Boy, Preacher’s Son, Kevin Jennings was himself living in New York at the time, and was deeply involved in gay activism and politics. (The passage in question occurs on pages 211, 212, and 213 of the book. Click on the following links to see scans of those pages taken directly from Mama’s Boy, Preacher’s Son in which Jennings discusses at length his presence and activities in New York in 1994: page 211, page 212, page 213.) Considering that the Hay/NAMBLA spat was a hot topic in Jennings’ professional and personal circles, it seems extremely likely that he at least became aware of it at the time. Which means that a full three years before he gave his speech praising Harry Hay, Jennings again knew of Hay’s defense of NAMBLA.
Media Matters’ Attempted Rebuttal #2:
Kevin Jennings was praising the admirable side of Harry Hay, not the reprehensible side of Harry Hay.
Assessment: ILL-ADVISED BLUNDER
If someone told you they really admired Adolf Hitler, you would naturally assume that they had Nazi sympathies. But if that same person later told you, “No, you misunderstand, I don’t admire Hitler because he was a Nazi: I admire him because of his love for dogs! Boy, that guy sure did love his dogs,” you probably would still harbor suspicions that something was amiss.
I use this rather hackneyed comparison not because I think Harry Hay was like Hitler, but rather because because in our modern hierarchy of moral turpitude the only thing that equals supporting the Nazi Party is promoting pedophilia. And even if you truly did admire Hitler solely for his love of dogs, and not for his other actions, you’d be an absolute fool to walk around praising him to strangers. Because they’d inevitably assume the worst. In a similar vein, if you publicly announce your admiration for someone known to vigorously promote pedophilia — well, what do you expect the public to think? You can’t separate the two halves of Harry Hay and say you were inspired by his good side and make no mention of his bad side. Some beliefs and actions are so beyond the pale that they overwhelm and contaminate anything else the person might have done, and make him off-limits to declarations of admiration.
And this goes straight to the heart of the matter. Even if Kevin Jennings only praised Harry Hay for his earlier activism, it’s still a major public relations blunder. The American public no more wants their Safe Schools Czar to praise a known pedophilia supporter than they want their military commanders to express admiration for Osama bin Laden (“No, really, I meant I was just inspired by the stylish way he trims his beard!”).
And if you think that this is all just a misunderstanding, then why don’t you join me in calling for Kevin Jennings to clarify matters by denouncing Harry Hay and disassociating himself from Harry Hay’s beliefs? Jennings could put a stop to the Hay scandal in a flash if he just took this simple step — which is exactly what I advised in my first memo. Instead, you, Media Matters, have now become part of the problem, because by defending Jennings in his silence, you are only serving to prolong the scandal. Ignoring it won’t make it go away. Criticizing and maligning anyone who points out easily verifiable facts only makes it look like Jennings has something to hide.
This whole affair is nothing but a misundertanding? Then let Jennings come out and say so. Don’t encourage him in his career-threatening silence. The longer he remains mute on this issue, the more the public’s uneasiness will grow.
Hay’s support of NAMBLA was only one of many potentially embarrassing aspects to his life and career which led many mainstream gay advocacy groups to distance themselves from him. Among them were the revelation that Hay’s Mattachine Society was based on Stalinist principles and was consciously organized like a communist “cell”; that his later “Radical Faerie” movement — which promoted Native American spirituality as the “correct” religion for all gays — was in fact based on faulty and flawed scholarship; and Hay’s relentless insistence that gay culture was not just equal to “straight” culture but was actually superior.
But above all, Harry Hay famously clashed with mainstream gay groups over his support of NAMBLA. Hay wanted NAMBLA to be included in the “big tent” of gay umbrella organizations; he wanted NAMBLA to be encouraged to march publicly at gay pride events; and he lashed out at gay groups which shunned pedophiles, which Hay saw as surrendering to oppressive mainstream social expectations.
In this battle against Hay were arrayed any number of leading gay rights groups, including ILGA (the International Lesbian/Gay Association, the largest gay rights organization in the world). And yet, just a short time after a major public spat between ILGA and Harry Hay (at the 1994 Stonewall 25 march), Keving Jennings announced in a speech that he was especially inspired by Harry Hay — thereby choosing sides in the conflict and rejecting ILGA’s position (of ostracizing Hay and NAMBLA) and instead embracing Hay and what he stood for.
This was a risky and ill-advised proclamation to make in 1997, and it remains even moreso today. If Kevin Jennings wants to maintain his political viability, he needs to retract his earlier words, and “throw Harry Hay under the bus,” metaphorically speaking. And every ounce of effort that you, Media Matters, spend on trying to defend Jennings’ position only makes the situation worse, day by day.
Media Matters’ Attempted Rebuttal #3:
None of the mainstream media’s obituaries of Harry Hay mentioned his NAMBLA connections, therefore he must not have been a bad guy after all.
Assessment: SPURIOUS ARGUMENT
This is perhaps the most ludicrous of your excuses. Just because mainstream media outlets chose to conveniently ignore a fact and sweep it under the rug doesn’t mean the fact disappears. As I conclusively demonstrated in my previous memo, there’s absolutely no question that Hay was not just a NAMBLA supporter, but that his support of NAMBLA was well-known in New York, so that the omniscient New York Times certainly knew of his affiliation — yet chose to bury the info. They were too busy joining the push to canonize Harry Hay, as were Kevin Jennings and many other activists seeking to construct a new political hero.
But even though the New York Times and other major papers to their eternal shame chose to glorify a NAMBLA supporter, that doesn’t mean all papers joined the conspiracy of silence. For example, an excellent 2002 obituary of Hay in the Boston Phoenix headlined “The Real Harry Hay” chastised mainstream media outlets and gay rights groups for glossing over Hay’s well-known NAMBLA connections. After describing some of Hay’s seriously problematic ideas and actions, including his “notorious promiscuity” and “rabid communism,” the author writes,
“In death, though, Harry Hay’s critics have finally been able to do what they couldn’t do when he was alive: make him presentable. … Neither of the long and laudatory obits in the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times mentioned his unyielding support for NAMBLA.”
The author then notes his own observation of Hay once at a party, saying that instead of a legendary champion of civil rights as he had been expecting, Hay
“came across as nothing but a cantankerous old queen who was more interested in speculating about what some of the younger party guests would be like in bed than discussing the connections between 1950s communism and gay-community organizing.”
The mainstream media no longer has a stranglehold on the national dialogue nor on the spigot of truth, and citing their conformity to a particular deception in no way legitimizes that deception.
Media Matters’ Attempted Rebuttal #4:
Harry Hay once said he wasn’t an actual member of NAMBLA.
Media Matters, you cite in both of your press releases a statement by Harry Hay printed in the Fall 1994 issue of the Gay Community News in which he says, “I am not a member of NAMBLA.” But whether or not Hay was an official “member” of NAMBLA is completely beside the point, because it’s beyond any doubt that Hay was NAMBLA’s #1 public supporter and advocate, who himself called for the normalization of “man/boy love.” (In fact, it’s not clear that NAMBLA even maintains an official membership list; and if they did, they certainly wouldn’t make it public — so there’s no way to verify Hay’s claim.) With the advent of sophisticated search tools on the Internet, it takes less than a minute for anyone to uncover the extensive connections between NAMBLA and Harry Hay — official member or no official member. The links to NAMBLA pages mentioning Harry Hay which I provided in my earlier report were just the tip of the iceberg. A simple search for Harry Hay’s name on the NAMBLA domain reveals many more examples of articles by or about Hay on the NAMBLA site, in all of which he expresses his approval of intergenerational sex between pubescent boys and older men. So it becomes a futile exercise for you to try to discount or downplay Hay’s defense of pedophilia (or pederasty, to use the precise word), since it can be easily documented.
Above in this memo I linked to a press release written by Harry Hay in 1994 and still preserved at the Queer Resources Directory. It might be a good idea for you to read what Harry Hay actually had to say about NAMBLA before you rush to his defense with a technicality about whether of not he was a dues-paying member. These are Harry Hay’s own words — decide for yourself if Harry Hay was a NAMBLA supporter:
Spirit of Stonewall (SOS) calls on Stonewall 25 and the gay and lesbian movement to return to its roots. The Christopher Street uprising was an outcry by those at the bottom and on the margins of society against puritanical self-righteousness and bigotry. It was a cry for full sexual liberation as part of the struggle for social justice. Stonewall was the spontaneous action of marginal people oppressed by the mainstream — of teenaged drag queens, pederasts, transsexuals, hustlers, and others despised by respectable straights and “discreet” homosexuals. They did not call for their rights, they seized their own freedom. They did not ask for integration into middle-class America, they screamed against its pretensions of propriety.
SOS is an ad hoc committee of lesbian, gay and other individuals and groups formed to bring Stonewall 25 back to the principles of gay liberation. We focus on one of the most glaring departures from those principles: the attempt to exclude the North American Man/Boy Love Association (NAMBLA), and possibly other groups, from the Stonewall 25 March and from their place within gay/lesbian space and discourse.
Red-baiting, scapegoating, censorship and exclusion have been hallmarks of American society. Just as unions, the civil rights and peace movements were pressured to cleanse themselves of suspected “communists,” the lesbian/gay movement is now expected to rid itself of social misfits, the vulnerable pederasts first of all. Never before has such an ostensibly progressive movement jumped so quickly through the hoops of its enemies. …
We find this the height of hypocrisy – to invoke the name of Stonewall to cast out the alleged molesters among us. The issue is not, first of all, intergenerational sex – although that is one the movement needs to confront honestly rather than avoid. SOS takes no stand specifically on age of consent laws or sex between adults and those deemed legally “children.”…
NAMBLA’s record as a responsible gay organization is well known…. NAMBLA believes the interests of young people demand not paternalistic protection, but empowerment to make real choices. Every organization within Stonewall 25 need not endorse every one of the other organization’s positions. NAMBLA’s call for the abolition of the age of consent is not the issue. NAMBLA is a bona fide participant in the gay and lesbian movement. NAMBLA deserves strong support in its rights of free speech and association and its members’ protection from discrimination and bashing.
SIGNED: Harry Hay, Pat Califia, Gayle Rubin, Chris Bearchelli, Scott O’Hara, Charley Shively, David Thorstad, Tom Reeves, Jim Becker
By all accounts, Hay was the primary author of this document, which is why his name is listed first. (Click the link above to read the full press release.)
Remember that in my earlier Memo to Kevin Jennings, I ascertained that:
• Harry Hay gave speeches and presentations at several NAMBLA conventions
• Harry Hay hosted panel discussions at NAMBLA meetings
• Harry Hay wrote a blurb for a book published by NAMBLA
• Harry Hay marched either with or in support of NAMBLA in gay pride parades
• Harry Hay wrote long impassioned and eloquent essays in defense of man/boy love
• NAMBLA considers Harry Hay one of their leading champions
• Harry Hay once wrote these words: “The relationship with an older man is precisely what thirteen-, fourteen-, and fifteen-year-old kids need more than anything else in the world.”
Isn’t that enough for you? Or do you require more…and more and more and more evidence of Hay’s connection to NAMBLA until the pile is so high it can be seen from coast to coast? But why do you want an endless stream of additional evidence to be dug up on this story? I can’t even grasp your motivation. It seems like you’re trying to turn this into a bigger scandal than it already is. Wouldn’t it be infinitely wiser — and healthier for Kevin Jennings’ political position — for Media Matters to just admit the self-evident truth that Harry Hay was a long-standing fierce public advocate for NAMBLA and everything it stood for, rather than stir the pot of controversy by flatly denying the obvious? I get the feeling that Media Matters just has knee-jerk reactions to anything you perceive as an attack on the Obama administration, and you respond with vitriol and deception — without putting much thought into the ruinous consequences of your actions.
An article in the American Spectator called “When Nancy Met Harry” said that Harry Hay’s predilection for pedophilia “was common knowledge,” at least in San Francisco (and by extension other gay communities) — despite the trend by those who praised him to “blithely give a wink-and-a-nod to ole Harry and his interest in little boys.” This is exactly what Kevin Jennings seems to have done.
The autobiographical book Radically Gay: Gay Liberation in the Words of Its Founder By Harry Hay contains several references to Hay’s support of NAMBLA as well — eliminating any doubt as to Hay’s position on this topic. The book reprints a long essay written by Hay in defense of NAMBLA called “Our Beloved Gay/Lesbian Movement at a Crossroads.” It is far too long to reprint here in full, so I will only present two short excerpts from the book to give the flavor of it. And accompanying them are scans of the relevant pages in the book to prove the text really did appear as transcribed here.
The first passage was written by Hay’s co-author and editor Will Roscoe in his introduction to Hay’s essay, in which he summarizes Hay’s main intellectual argument in favor of pederasty:
“…[Harry Hay] was once a young Gay man, well under the age of consent, who sought out sexual contact with an adult man and found it. To call this “child molestation” only stigmatizes homosexuality further and makes it more difficult for young Gay people to make contact with others like them.”
The second passage comes from Hay’s essay itself, featuring his typically counter-intuitive definition of “child molestation”:
“Insofar as child molestation is concerned, the most common, yet unrecognized, form is the sexual coercion of Gay and Lesbian youth into heterosexual identities and behaviors. This is practiced daily by the whole national and international Hetero community–parents, families, teachers, preachers, doctors, lawyers, and Indian Chiefs, not to overlook U.S. Senators and the pooh-bah news media. This outrageous coercion of Gay kids into heterosexual identities and behaviors is not only sexually abusive, it is a spiritually devastating rape because the child, unknowingly, is led into self-loathing at the same time!
For this gigantic criminal trespass–against not only today’s youth, but all of us since childhood, from the Queers my age, 82, down through all the generations of Queers now reading this page, to the Gay kids still being bedeviled by heterosexual coercion–we, the international Gay and Lesbian People, should unite to sue the whole guilty hetero community for compensation!“
You can see from this essay that Hay was not some doddering old man unaware of what he was saying: He fully grasped the significance of his arguments. And what’s particularly interesting about this passage is that the arguments it presents are not wildly different from the arguments presented today by many mainstream advocacy groups — minus, of course, any mention or support of NAMBLA. Harry Hay’s manner of thinking has indeed been influential, even if his promotion of pederasty has at the same time been conveniently ignored.
Having read all this, Media Matters, do you still think it wise to flatly deny that Harry Hay was a NAMBLA supporter, and even if he was, to deny that Kevin Jennings knew anything about it?
Don’t you think it would be a better course of action for you to join me in my call for Kevin Jennings to disassociate himself from Harry Hay and Hay’s philosophy as quickly and unambiguously as possible?
[Note: Kevin Jennings is the current "Safe Schools Czar" for the Obama administration.]
Mr. Jennings —
Please read my plea. Your shining career may soon be tarnished. You’re about to be blindsided. And I’d like to help you save your reputation.
You’ve done many admirable things which earned you your position as the Safe Schools Czar. You founded GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, a support group for teens. You have been a champion against discrimination in schools. And you’ve brought nationwide attention to the problem of bullying against students. All of these are worthy of praise, and I support your efforts in these areas.
But all that is about to be swept away by a scandal of your own making. Yet there’s hope: Because the scandal has not yet become national news, you still have a chance to stop it from spreading, and in the process safeguard your political career.
(And no, I’m not talking about the earlier uproar over your advice to a student.)
Instead, I’m talking about something new — something which up until now has been a minor footnote to that scandal. Something that seems poised to explode into public consciousness any minute. And you still have a brief window of opportunity to get in front of it and defuse the scandal before it breaks.
I’m talking about the revelation that in a speech you gave in 1997, you praised gay rights icon Harry Hay and claimed you were “inspired” by him.
According to various blogs and smaller news outlets, when you addressed the GLSEN Mid-Atlantic Conference on October 25, 1997 in New York, as reported in the January-February 1998 edition of the Lambda Journal, you said:
“One of the people that’s always inspired me is Harry Hay, who started the first ongoing gay rights groups in America. In 1948, he tried to get people to join the Mattachine Society. It took him two years to find one other person who would join. Well, [in] 1993, Harry Hay marched with a million people in Washington, who thought he had a good idea 40 years before. Everybody thought Harry Hay was crazy in 1948, and they knew something about him which he apparently did not—they were right, he was crazy. You are all crazy. We are all crazy. All of us who are thinking this way are crazy, because you know what? Sane people keep the world the same [shitty] old way it is now. It’s the people who think, ‘No, I can envision a day when straight people say, “So what if you’re promoting homosexuality?”‘ Or straight kids say, ‘Hey, why don’t you and your boyfriend come over before you go to the prom and try on your tuxes on at my house?’ That if we believe that can happen, we can make it happen. The only thing that will stop us is our lack of faith that we can make it happen. That is our mission from this day forward. To not lose our faith, to not lose our belief that the world can, indeed, be a different place. And think how much can change in one lifetime if in Harry Hay’s one very short life, he saw change from not even one person willing to join him to a million people willing to travel to Washington to join him.“
So — what’s the problem? The problem is that Harry Hay, despite whatever else he did in his life, was deeply involved with NAMBLA, the North American Man/Boy Love Association — a group which advocates for legalization of sexual relations between adult men and underage boys. In other words, it’s a pro-pedophilia group.
How deeply was Harry Hay involved with NAMBLA? As I discovered: very deeply. Much deeper than almost anyone seems willing to admit. He gave keynote speeches and led panel discussions at several NAMBLA conferences. He openly told stories about how wonderful his own experiences were as a young teenager having sex with adult men. He encouraged the gay rights movement to not exclude NAMBLA from the united front of rights for all sexual minorities. And that 1993 march you recalled in your 1997 speech in which Harry Hay was joined by one million other protesters? Well, just one year later, in 1994 — just three years before you gave your speech — Harry Hay marched in the Stonewall 25 parade in front of the NAMBLA banner, for the stated purpose of bringing NAMBLA into the mainstream of the gay rights movement. Now, obviously NAMBLA doesn’t publish lists of its members, so we have no way of ever knowing for sure, but from all the evidence I’ve learned (presented below on this page), I wouldn’t be surprised if Harry Hay was at some point somehow affiliated with NAMBLA.
How could you not know any of this? What were you thinking when you praised Hay in public? Aren’t you by your own self-description an expert in the history of the gay rights movement? How else would you know the obscure details of Harry Hay’s activist career, which you mentioned in your speech? I’m no expert myself, but Harry Hay’s proclivities were quite well-known, and the photos, links and quotes presented below were uncovered after a mere 30 minutes of searching.
Yes, I know that many mainstream media outlets showered praise on Harry Hay in their obituaries about him when he died in 2002. And nary a mention of his NAMBLA activities was made at the time. But as a prominent gay rights activist yourself, and as a fan of Harry Hay’s early activism, weren’t you of all people the kind of person who should have known of Harry Hay’s unsavory later affiliations? Just because his NAMBLA connection was swept under the rug for a mainstream audience, doesn’t mean it would stay hidden forever.
But if you get out in front of this story and admit your error, rather than trying to cover it up, you can defuse the inevitable controversy that will arise once the info shown below hits the nightly news.
Gay teens need to feel safe — not just from bullies their own age, but also from adult predators seeking to take advantage of them. You’ve done such a great job thus far in encouraging a nurturing and bully-free environment for gay teenagers; do you want to undermine your own goals by fostering the impression that you’re not as diligent as you possibly could be when it comes to protecting them from adults? Speak up. Don’t let your silence turn into a tragedy.
Here is evidence of Hay’s NAMBLA connections; and following that, I make some recommendations for how you can defuse this controversy and distance yourself from Hay. Please read all the way to the end.
Harry Hay’s connection with NAMBLA: the evidence
Here’s a photo of Harry Hay participating in a panel discussion at the 1984 NAMBLA conference in San Francisco — he’s on the far right of the speakers’ table, in the cap and glasses:
The caption on the original NAMBLA source page definitively identifies Hay as the man on the far right:
Jesse (center), age 16, addresses a NAMBLA forum.
Other speakers included (left to right) David Thorstad, Jim Kepner, Morris Kight, and Harry Hay.
The photo above is clearly Harry Hay, but the NAMBLA banner, while identifiable, is partly cut off. However, the next photo in the series shows the banner clearly. The photo below shows a wide-angle shot of Hay at the speakers’ table (on the right in the leather cap) at the same conference, with the NAMBLA banner clearly visible behind him:
[Source link for this image: nambla.org - HARRY HAY San Francisco, 1984]
Caption at the NAMBLA source page for this photo:
The following comments by Harry Hay are from a public forum on the topic “Man/Boy Love and Sexual Liberation” held during a NAMBLA conference at the Pride Center in San Francisco, October 7, 1984.
But wait, there’s more:
Photo of Harry Hay (center) marching in the “Spirit of Stonewall” contingent along with NAMBLA (notice the partially obscured NAMBLA banner behind him) at the Stonewall 25 march in New York in 1994:
[Source link for this image: nambla.org - Histories of Man/Boy Love]
Caption for this photo on the NAMBLA source page:
Left to right: John Burnside, Harry Hay and Jim Kepner marching in the Spirit of Stonewall demonstration, New York, 1994.
Aside from the photos, there are many links to Harry Hay material prominently displayed on NAMBLA’s own site.
According to a NAMBLA Web page called “A Quest for Knowledge: HARRY HAY at NEW YORK UNIVERSITY 1983,” Hay wrote the promotional blurb for a NAMBLA book:
The episode is documented in the book, A Witchhunt Foiled: The FBI vs. NAMBLA (New York: NAMBLA, 1985), for which Harry wrote a promotional blurb.
[UPDATE: A photo of Hay's pro-NAMBLA book blurb can be found here.]
Then, on the same page, after recounting his own early man/boy experiences (as the boy half of the equation), Hay goes on to make the most astonishing statement:
I also would like to say at this point that it seems to me that in the gay community the people who should be running interference for NAMBLA are the parents and friends of gays. Because if the parents and friends of gays are truly friends of gays, they would know from their gay kids that the relationship with an older man is precisely what thirteen-, fourteen-, and fifteen-year-old kids need more than anything else in the world. And they would be welcoming this, and welcoming the opportunity for young gay kids to have the kind of experience that they would need.
Kevin Jennings, we know you do not support this kind of statement, and you are not “inspired” by the kind of activism Harry Hay exhibits here. For the good of the gay community, PLEASE condemn this publicly and emphatically.
The NAMBLA page called “HARRY HAY on MAN/BOY LOVE” explains some of the political in-fighting between Hay and other NAMBLA supporters against mainstream gay groups and politicians who wanted to ostracize NAMBLA. It also discusses how at least two early Mattachine Society members were both later affiliated with NAMBLA — which begins to cast a bit of a shadow on the Mattachine Society itself:
I was lucky to have spent more time with him than I could have hoped for, yet far less than I would have liked—at Phil Willkie’s Wisconsin cabin and his St. Paul apartment; at the Stonewall 25 demonstration in New York in 1994, where Harry and John, as well as the late Jim Kepner (another early member of the Mattachine Society and a gay archivist) marched with the Spirit of Stonewall contingent that included NAMBLA; and at the International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA) conference in New York that same week, which expelled NAMBLA (despite Harry’s vocal protests and subsequent disgust) under pressure from U.S. Senator Jesse Helms, the Clinton administration, gay congressman Barney Frank, and the gay and lesbian assimilationist organizations; at his and John’s apartment in San Francisco; at a Faerie event in Stuyvesant Square Park in New York; at several NAMBLA conferences…
And speaking of the “several NAMBLA conferences” which Harry Hay atttended…:
Harry Hay spoke again at the 1986 Los Angeles NAMBLA Conference:
The following comments were made by Harry at a panel on censorship and pornography at the NAMBLA conference in Los Angeles on November 8, 1986. …
“I think this is a place where we have to find very imaginative ways to reach all kinds of elements of the community that we up to now haven’t thought of touching. Not only to reach all kinds of elements of our own community, but to find the weak spots, shall we say, within the left, within the progressive forces in the hetero community who might find themselves in parallel with where we are, or in parallel with the way that we feel we are going to go, and make of them willing—or even unwilling—allies in this whole regard.”
And in 1994 — just three years before you praised Harry Hay as your inspiration — Hay gave yet another speech at the 1994 New York NAMBLA Conference:
Harry made the following remarks on June 25, 1994, to the NAMBLA conference in New York held during the Stonewall 25 commemorations.
In fact, I have been unable to find information about any NAMBLA conference which Harry Hay didn’t attend.
I don’t know what it takes to be considered “in NAMBLA” or a “NAMBLA member,” but someone who makes appearances at and gives speeches at every known NAMBLA conference, and who speaks out publicly in NAMBLA’s defense, and who writes blurbs for NAMBLA books, would seem to be a likely candidate.
I strongly recommend that you take one of the following steps IMMEDIATELY, before this story gets out of control.
a. Publicly condemn Harry Hay for his involvement with NAMBLA, apologize for praising him, and say it was a terrible mistake for someone such as yourself who is involved with the safety of children in schools to have praised an advocate for child sexual predators.
b. Deny, while supplying proof, that you ever gave any speech praising Harry Hay in the first place. (The speech was supposedly given on October 25, 1997 in New York and transcribed in the Jan.-Feb. 1998 issue of the Lambda Report. The problem for me is that I’ve never seen a copy of this journal myself, and before I commit myself to a fact, I generally try to dig up the primary sources. I don’t like relying on third-party claims [such as from news articles or blogs] without photographic proof. And I tried to track down a copy of that Lambda Report, with no success. The only library that seems to have it is the Library of Congress. So: I myself cannot say for sure that the transcription is accurate. And if it isn’t accurate, you need to tell us.) If you have never praised Harry Hay, then the scandal will immediately evaporate.
c. Issue an official statement that you were completely unaware of Harry Hay’s proclivities and advocacy for NAMBLA, but now that you’ve learned of it, you condemn him unequivocally, and vow to never praise him again. (However, this option will still leave the issue open to doubt, since it’s not entirely credible you wouldn’t know about Hay’s NAMBLA connection; so I don’t really recommend this one as your best option.)
But — unless you want to self-destruct your own career — by no means should you:
d. Continue to praise Harry Hay’s actions with the Mattachine Society, but try to distance yourself from his later involvement with NAMBLA. (No matter how much you try to spin this, and distinguish the good Harry Hay from the bad Harry Hay, the public will almost certainly still perceive that you were “inspired” by someone who was known to promote adult/child sexual relations.)
e. Remain silent, hoping the scandal will go away; because it won’t.
And the worst option of all is to,
f. Deny that Harry Hay was involved with NAMBLA at all. (Because the evidence for it is overwhelming, as shown above.)
Mr. Jennings, you’ve worked hard to get where you are. Don’t jeopardize it all now. Distance yourself immediately from Harry Hay. Or prove that you never mentioned him in a speech. Because if you dither, or try to rationalize your praise of Hay, you run the strong risk of tarring not just your own self by association, but the entire Obama administration as well. (Imagine the headlines if you don’t extinguish this scandal ASAP: Obama appoints activist “inspired” by NAMBLA supporter to protect the nation’s children. Do you really want to see that?)
From what i understand, you never even met Harry Hay. You didn’t actually know him. It’s not like he was a personal friend of yours; you just knew his reputation. And yes, because of his role setting up the country’s first gay political organization, there was a drive to protect that reputation, and as a result he was often held up as the Founding Father of the gay movement. So perhaps you can claim ignorance, that you never really looked into who Harry Hay was (beyond the headlines) when you said you were “inspired’ by him. You should have done your due diligence, but didn’t. And that’s fine. We all make mistakes. But now that the due diligence has been done for you, you can no longer pretend that the elephant is not in the living room. For the sake of your own political viability, you need to disavow your earlier statement and cross Harry Hay off your list of heroes. Otherwise, you will be forever linked with him, and that link may well prove an unbearable burden if you don’t sever it. The sooner the better.
Is this entire ridiculous affair nothing but guilt by asssociation? Certainly. But guilt by association has sunk many a politician. You’re in a highly sensitive, very visible political position. And NAMBLA is a very, very bad association. In fact, for someone with your title — “Safe Schools Czar” — even a peripheral connection to NAMBLA is about the worst connection you can possibly have.
That’s why you need to nip this in the bud, and now.
I can only hope that you never really did praise Harry Hay or say you were inspired by him. If that entire issue of the Lambda Report is a hoax, please issue the proof, and I will post an update here showing that proof and exonerating you. That would be the best option of all. And if you did once praise Hay — which is understandable, because a lot of people have praised Hay over the years — then please condemn him now. If you do, I will also gladly update this post right at the very top with your statement.
But if you remain silent on this issue, or continue defending Harry Hay — well, you’re on your own after that. At least I can say I tried to help.
Please, Mr. Jennings: Get in front of this scandal and stop it while you still have a chance.
Oh dear. Looks like Kevin Jennings edited and co-wrote a book called Becoming Visible about the history of gay activism in which there is an entire chapter about Harry Hay! It is partly searchable on Amazon: Click here for a link to the Amazon “Peek Inside” feature for the book, and scroll to its table of contents. Or click here or on the small image above to see a clear screenshot of the book’s Table of Contents, including the chapter on Harry Hay.
This is not good news.
I hate football. I really do. But yesterday, while passing by the University of California campus in Berkeley, I noticed thousands upon thousands of people swarming toward the football stadium. Half of them seemed to be wearing red-and-gold clothing — not the Cal colors. I asked what was going on, and was informed that Cal was playing an important game against USC. And that USC fans had arrived en masse to cheer on their team.
I shrugged my shoulders and was about to continue on my way when I noticed one USC fan with a particularly noteworthy anti-Cal shirt:
I get the feeling these wouldn’t be very popular in Berkeley clothing shops.
And that is the first (and last) post I’ll ever make about football.
P.S. — USC beat Cal, 30-3. Looks like Cal really does suck after all.