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South Texas Community News, Vol. 3, No. 13, August 2, 1979
File 002
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South Texas Community News, Vol. 3, No. 13, August 2, 1979 - File 002. 1979-08-02. University of Houston Libraries. University of Houston Digital Library. Web. March 31, 2020. https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/gcam/item/2531/show/2515.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

(1979-08-02). South Texas Community News, Vol. 3, No. 13, August 2, 1979 - File 002. Gulf Coast Archive and Museum (GCAM) Digital Archive. University of Houston Libraries. Retrieved from https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/gcam/item/2531/show/2515

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

South Texas Community News, Vol. 3, No. 13, August 2, 1979 - File 002, 1979-08-02, Gulf Coast Archive and Museum (GCAM) Digital Archive, University of Houston Libraries, accessed March 31, 2020, https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/gcam/item/2531/show/2515.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

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Title South Texas Community News, Vol. 3, No. 13, August 2, 1979
Publisher Gay Community News
Date August 2, 1979
Language English
Subject
  • LGBTQ community
  • LGBTQ people
Place
  • San Antonio, Texas
Genre
  • newspapers
Type
  • Text
Collection
  • University of Houston Libraries Special Collections
  • LGBT Research Collection
  • Gulf Coast Archive and Museum (GCAM) Digital Archive
Rights No Copyright - United States
Note This item was digitized from materials loaned by the Gulf Coast Archive and Museum (GCAM).
Item Description
Title File 002
Transcript By Joseph B. Baker A Gay Who Took iSL Anita's 'Cure' ## J^ nita Would Rather Cure Than Fight," the headline blared. '^M| Just when the Jokes about Our Lady of Dade County were beginning to fade ("Sleeping one night with Anita Is enough to turn anyone gay") Anita Bryant Green was offering up a new challenge: She was going to open counseling centers to "cure" homosexuals. But how was she going to do It? Shock treatment? Aversion therapy? Religious brainwashing? The joy of guilt? Take three straight pins and call me in the morning? As a professional journalist, I wanted to find out As a gay man, I had to f had out Little did I know then that Anita Bryant and her counseling center would touch me in ways I thought I could no longer be touched, raise issues I thought I bad long ago dispelled and confront me with the question of questions: If I could, wouldn't I really want to be straight? I thought I had answered that question nearly eight years ago back hi the Midwest Priests, counselors, psychologists — the whole bit When It was I 'First of all, you are not a homosexual,' he said, 'There's no such thing' over, I had to accept the fact that I was a homosexual. For some reason, I was physically attracted to males. There were far worse things to be, and I decided I could and would live with my sexual identity. But things started to change the last year. Maybe it was tbe pressures of the double life so many homosexuals lead. The fear of losing my job or not being promoted because I was gay. The fear of rejection if family and friends found out I had come somewhat out of my closet but certainly not entirely. A pleasant voice answered the telephone. I explained I wanted to set up an appointment to see the Rev. David Renf roe, the 37-year-old Baptist minister who Is the director of Bryant's counseling center in Miami Beach. Renf roe had been counseling homosexuals for the past ten years and worked with criminals in Dallas and Birmingham. Criminals? I fumed. But rshould have guessed. Bryant had said in her Playboy magazine article that she thought all homosexuals should be sent to prison to be "straightened out" Obviously, neither Bryant or Renf roe had ever been inside a prison. Renf roe came on the line, and an appointment was set up. He said he only asked one thing of prospective clients — that they agree to a minimum of five , counseling sessions. I agreed, not mentioning that I was also a journalist Entering the offices that housed Anita Bryant Ministries, I was immediately aware of her presence. The walls were covered with pictures and posters of Anita promoting Florida orange juice, plaques and citations thanking her for fighting homosexuals and newspaper clippings about her crusade. A half-dozen office workers were busily answering telephones and typing letters. The counseling center was sharing f aciliti** with the headquarters of the Anita Bryant empire. It was from these offices that her husband. Bob Green, managed her career, where volunteers sent out thousands of letters warning the world about homosexuals and asking for donations. I stood alone inside the door of the offices before anybody noticed me. I felt like a leper. A friendly woman broke into my daydream. It was the beginning of something I never expected. Not once was I ever going to be made to feel uncomfortable by the men and women working in Bryant's offices. David Renf roe turned out to be equally cordial, and I was ushered into a small front office. We made small talk at first and then Renf roe explained the purpose of Anita Bryant Ministries, its goals and operating methods. - The counseling sessions were to be private, flexible and I could control what we talked about I would pay ?25 per hour, a figure mutually arrived at and based upon my salary. Renf roe had said earlier there would be no charge if I couldn't afford to pay. Renf roe explained that more than 2000 homosexuals had called or written Bryant for help In the past year, and that was the main reason she decided to open the center. Another one would open soon in Hollywood, Fla., and, depending on contributions and community support, they hoped to expand into other major cities with large gay populations. As expected, Renfroe asked why I was at the center. I explained I was a homosexual and I was beginning to have doubts about the gay life style. I asked If I could be happier if I shed my homosexual wavs— rrtnsidering. of course, It was possible. "Definitely, if you really want to," Renfroe assured me. "But first of all, I have to tell you that you are not a homosexual. There Is no such thing. You are merely practicing homosexuality. God created only two sexes." Renfroe said God created man and woman to complement each other, and that I would never be. complete and fulfilled until I experienced the love of a woman. "That is God's plan," he said. "But even if you dont believe the religious and moral reasons against homosexuality, you should still be aide to see It is biologically wrong. You dont have the right parts to 'be' with another man." Renfroe explained that the phrase "gay lifestyle" was one of the world's cruelest hoaxes. "Whoever coined that term must have had a sick mind and a bad sense of humor," he said "What is gay about a life of rejection, depression, loneliness and hostility?" I argued that a gay lifestyle didn't have to be that way; that those emotions were brought on by a society which wouldn't let a person be who he or she was or lei them live their life the way they had to or wanted to. Renf roe calmly replied that I had been led to believe the greatest lie of the gay movement—that homosexuality is just as natural to some people as heterosexuaiity is to others. He said people were not born with homosexual tendencies. "Such a drive Is not related to the glands, genes or hormones," he said, "but Is learned behavior that usually starts early In life and affects an individual's total life and thinking process." My first session lasted nearly three hours. Driving home on Interstate 95 at its lane-changing and horn- blowing worst Renfroe's nongay reasons kept going . through my mind: loneliness, promiscuity, deceit guilt alienation from God, strong tendency toward selfishness, rejection, difficulty m«1nfrin*"g lasting relationships, difficulty with self •acceptance, increased social pressure, increased hostility, vulnerability to sadism and masochism, constant threat of aging, poor health and an early death, and greater vulnerability to depression and suicide. Was that the kind of life I was living? Was that my future? How could Renfroe stereotype all gay people like that? I knew I wasn't like that, and neither were the homosexuals I knew. Sure, we have problems In our lives, but were they any different than those of straight men and women? Still, I needed someone to talk to. Gont.Page 1**
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