Archive for the ‘1960’s’ Category

California Gov. Jerry Brown on Saturday, Sept. 29, 2012 signed Senate Bill 1172 to ban “reparative therapy” for minors.

With this historic legislation, California becomes the first state to ban licensed mental health professionals from practicing psychological therapy aimed at turning gay and lesbian youth straight – a controversial practice also known as “ex-gay” therapy, conversion therapy and sexual reorientation.

To put it in plain terms – these quack therapists and their supporters want the homosexual to become the heterosexual.

I was going to research all the groups, pro and con, and inform readers on the lawsuits that we know will follow this legislation. I have chosen not to do that, and instead write from personal experience on reparative therapy: trying to change from dyke to wife.

I was born in 1952, and as far back as I can remember, I knew I was different. I knew I wasn’t the frilly little girl my mother wanted me to be. I was way more comfortable in my Sally Star cowgirl hat, boots and gun with holster. I filled my doll carriage with dirt, rocks and twigs, and I ran with the boys on the block. I was the best wrestler, the best pin-ball player, and my little blue peddle car was my pride and joy.

My family was all over the town I was raised in. Aunts, uncles, cousins were everywhere. It can be both a comfort and a curse. When I was a small child, it was a comfort to run from aunts to uncles gathering hugs and kisses as I went!

Holidays were spent together all wrapped up in bows, lights, laughter, love and food, food, food. Any picture you might have in your head about the 1950s and families gathered around a table with the roasted turkey in the middle – my family could have been that family. We were Methodists, Republicans, and very pro-country and pro-military. My brother was the oldest and the boy – so he was favored, and expected to do great and wonderful things. I was the girl and expected to get married and have babies. This was small-town life in America in the 1950s.

It was in the late 1960s that I knew for sure that I was indeed a lesbian. I had no idea what to do about it, had absolutely no one I could talk to about it, and instinctively knew that my family would never, ever understand or accept. It’s a small town, and I knew my mother would have suffered greatly from the gossip and the innuendo that would have come our way, so I chose to see my girlfriend on the sly, and while other girls were sneaking out to see their boyfriends and have their first sexual experience, I was doing the same with my girlfriend.

This was 1968, and it was certainly not safe to be gay then, and certainly not in the confines of my little town.

To keep away the gay rumors, I dated boys and pretended to be involved, but there was rarely kissing and certainly no sex of any kind. The thought of that was just more than I could bear. It actually made me physically ill to think of having sex with a boy, especially when I was enjoying sex with a girl. My life was complicated – to say the least.

Life got even more complicated as I got older, and as I understood there was nowhere to run and no life I could ever have as a lesbian in my little town, I did as my parents wished and got married. It was the 1970s reparative therapy for gays – you ignored who you were and tried to be what society, your church and your family wanted you to be. I did my best. I went to church, I sang in the choir, I had a job. I cooked, cleaned, did laundry and tried to be happy.

The thing is – I wasted over 20 years of my life, and the life of my husband, trying to be someone I wasn’t. No amount of prayer or Bible reading or laying on of hands could change who I was. No amount of pressure from family or promises from books, literature or therapy could change who I was, and in the end – everyone suffered, and I didn’t suddenly change into a straight woman wanting that heterosexual sex. The lies, however, did change every single one of us.

The “dyke to wife” therapy was a bust and certainly no one was a winner. Lives wasted, hearts broken, lies, deceit, anger – for what? Appearance? The church? The family? Society? When I finally came out and refused to partake in any more of the lies, most of my family walked away from me or followed me around reading Scripture, and friends went by the wayside. It turns out that the Scripture is more relevant to them than the human being standing in front of them.

Any gay or lesbian who has lived a life that doesn’t involve your gayness – you have been through your own version of reparative, conversion, reorientation therapy. Your own little version of hell.

We are simply who we are. We are not defined by anyone – gay or straight. I commend Gov. Brown on his courage to say exactly what this type of therapy is: “quackery.” And I’m proud to live in the State of California, which values the life of every one of its citizens.

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I’m sitting in my room on the 12th floor of the Rio All Suites Hotel in Las Vegas, NV.  My room faces The Palms Hotel and the mountains to the East.  I’m watching the clouds roll in and simply enjoying the view that Mother Nature is giving me without having to drop any money into any machine!

On the drive over this morning my son-in-law had the car radio set to Sirius 60’s on 6 and we found ourselves singing and laughing and telling stories of our lives in the 1960’s.  We tried to guess the bands and found ourselves saying what most old farts tend to say: “Now this – this was music.”

In those ten years of the 1960’s so many things happened in the United States of America that forever changed the face of who we were as Americans.

  • 1961 gave us the Bay of Pigs Invasion – The fatal CIA-lead invasion of Cuba to overthrow the government of Fidel Castro.  The Cuban forces defeated these forces in three days.
  • IN 1962 the Cuban Missile Crisis took us to the brink of nuclear-missile war with Nikita Khrushchev and the Soviet Union.
  • John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963, which ended abruptly the short period of time in our Country’s history known as Camelot.
  • The Beatles become a part of American music in 1964 and changed the face of music forever.
  • Also in 1964, President Lyndon Johnson signed into law the Civil Rights Act which was to outlaw major forms of discrimination against racial, ethnic, religious minorities and women.  It was supposed to end unequal voter registration requirements, racial segregation in schools, in the workplace, and in facilities that served the general public (i.e. – Woolworths).
  • In 1965 American starts sending troops to Vietnam – this would change millions of lives – and to this day some 47 years later, we still carry the burden of this ill-fated conflict.
  • In 1966 – “Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.”  Yes, it’s the beginning of Star Trek.
  • January 16, 1967 – Super Bowl I was played in the Los Angeles Coliseum in Los Angeles, California.   The Green Bay Packers defeated the Kansas City Chiefs 35 – 10.
  • Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King were felled by an assassin’s bullet in 1968, changing politics and civil rights as we knew them.
  • Apollo 11 landed on the moon on July 20, 1969

I was 8 years old in 1960 and by the time 1970 rolled around I was graduating High School, trying to figure out how to keep my gay self from taking over the fake Barbie that was allegedly living the American dream.

It was during the 1960’s that I fell in love for the very first time, and realized that yes; I most certainly was a lesbian when that person I so loved was another girl, and this changed who I was forever.

My brother was one of those who left for Vietnam in 1967 and came home a year later also changed forever.  Nothing in his world would ever be the same which meant nothing in our family would ever be the same.

What is it about music that transcends time and space?  I may have been in a car headed east on Interstate 15 toward Las Vegas but I was also once again a little girl struggling to grow up…

When I heard the Vogues ”Turn Around Look at Me” I was that young 16 year-old version of me aching to be with this girl, this first love, knowing it would never, ever be.  Still – I knew I loved her, and I knew those feelings were real and true no matter what I was told in 1968 about “the queers.” This morning I still knew those feelings to be real and true and hoped she had found the same happiness I have.

The Beatles – Love, Love Me Do – had me playing a wooden guitar with strings made out of twine, in the basement of a friend flipping my hair back and forth in my best Paul McCartney imitation.

“Hello darkness, my old friend – I’ve come to talk with you again…”  When I heard this – I was 15, alone in my room feeling that I just don’t fit in anywhere…

“Hang on Sloopy” had me doing that little “Sloopy” dance at the Quarryville Pool on a Friday night in 1966.

By 1969 – The Stones were singing my theme song for my life at that time… “You can’t always get what you want…”

Now this – this was music…

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