8 The Star/Nov. 25, 1983
International Gay News Agency
The gay movement "has had an extraordinary influence" on male fashion, according to designer Lee Wright, who recently
agreed to do an exclusive collection of
menswear for J.C. Penney.
Wright says that there has been a gradual revolution in the way men dress themselves. Traditionally men would shop for
themselves after the entire family was outfitted. Now, more and more males are
thinking about their image and taking
time to shop for themselves.
Wright attributes this change to the gay
movement. "It's a known fact that gay
men have a more esthetic sensibility about
them, and it carries over into the nongay
community," Wright said.
Wright is the third well-known designer
to join the Penney team. Halston and
Cathy Hard wick are already creating collections for the store that are geared
toward the Middle .America customer—in
other words, the budget-conscious consumer.
Smaller Cities Felt Impact of Gay Vote
By Ernie Potvin
Via Gay Press Association Wire Service
In November's municipal elections across
the country, the impact ofthe gay vote was
felt in several cities.
Also noteworthy was the fact that many
of the mayoralty winners were liberal
women and blacks who sought and
received the support of the gay community.
Big city gay political clubs supported
and helped reelect mayors Diane Fein-
stein in San Francisco and Kathy Whit-
mire in Houston. They were also deeply
involved in the election of Philadelphia's
first black mayor, Wilson Goode.
Yet another interesting story was taking place in much smaller cities where
young gay political groups were making
In Sacramento, the gay community's
six-month-old River City Democratic Club
was the city's only political organization
to support Anne Rudin for mayor in the
primaries where she won a second place
runoff spot. They supported her again,
along with the local gay press, in the Nov.
8 general election where she narrowly won
the city hall race by less than a thousand
Her opponent, Ross Relies, did take the city's first black mayor. The Lambda Cau-
opportunity to do same gay-baiting during cus, which boasts less than 12 members,
the last days of the campaign. He pub- staged three candidate nights before a
lished a widely distributed flyer which did larger gay men's social/educational
not receive prior approval from the elec- group called Acceptance. Each mayoralty
tion board, and included a brief, edited candidate appeared separately to answer
and misleading list of her backers. It was questions and state his position on gay
limited almost exclusively to gay, feminist
and environmentalist endorsements. The
River City Democratic Club, for example,
was listed as the River City Gay and Lesbian Democratic Club, and her only press
endorsement on the list was shown as
Mom, Guess What (a gay newspaper.
In the Sacramento Bee, the city's major
daily, Rudin said, "Ross Relies' list of
endorsements is woefully incomplete and
purposefully so. They were intended to get
knee-jerk reactions from voters."
Prior to the issuance ofthe controversial
flyer, Relies was believed to be leading in
the race. Whatever its effect, Anne Rudin
would not have won the mayor's seat without the strong support she received from
the gay community.
In Charlotte, N.C., a city of 300,000, the
small but influential Lambda Political
Caucus helped elect Harvey Gantt, that
Gay Events Get Noted in the Non-Gay Press
By Jim Kepner
Via Gay Press Association Wire Service
In a scattering of local elections which
saw pro-gay candidates elected in several
cities (and homophobe Kathy MacDonald
defeated in Georgia by a 3-2 majority), the
New York Times ran an Oct. 8 feature:
"Increasing Political Influence of Homosexual Citizens is Sensed Across U.S."
A quarter of the half-page story dealt
with Rich Eychaner, Republican cndidate
for Iowa's fourth Congressional seat,
including Des Moines. Eychaner, challenging a solid Democratic incumbent,
calls himself "a qualified person who
happens to be gay."
He is a Methodist Sunday School
teacher, owner ofthe state's largest moving van company, a baseball team officer,
a TV talk show host—and popular in state
The Times .article, by Dudley Clendinen,
traced the close relationship between the
gay community and Washington, D.C.'s
Mayor Barry, Houston's Mayor Whitmire
(reelected) and other* office holders in
Sacramento, Boston, San Francisco, Philadelphia and Key West, where businessman Richard Heyman this month became
the third openly gay mayor to be elected in
the U.S., joining mayors of Buncetown,
Mo., and Laguna Beach, Calif.
The article (cramped by the Times' refusal to use the word gay except in quotations) discussed how often gay voters
support black candidates and spoke ofthe
growing "rainbow coalition." It noted
former gay-baiters who now court gay
votes and discussed victories and plans of
the Human Rights Campaign Fund, the
National Association of Gay and Lesbian
Democrats and the National Gay Task
Force. Granting that homosexual efforts
to assert their political influence proceeds
"by fits and starts," the article rounded off
on college instructor David Scondras' race
for the Boston City Council. Said Scondras, "The age of bigotry is eclipsing, and
the age of coalition-building is beginning."
The gay-baiting of Bill Allain, Mississippi's Democratic gubernatorial candidate, was labeled "dirty politics" in many
newspapers and in Newsweek—and by
the son of William Spell, one ofthe lawyers
who charged Bill Allain's sexual activity
with at least three black male prostitutes.
Allain denied the "damnable" charges,
taking a lie detector test—and won election handily, proving again that gay-
baiting is no sure-fire tactic.
But gay political clout was nosed out in
Massachusetts by a 19-18 Senate vote
sending the Gay Rights bill to the state
Supreme Court for an opinon—unlikely to
be delivered before the legislature
adjourns. The only attention this got outside the state was 10 lines in USA Today
TheQuincy, Mass., Patriot Ledger (Oct.
27) quoted Rep. Gerry Studds saying that
being a closet gay is living hell: "I've been
in public life 10 years, having to deal with
everything from hysteria to irrationality
to hatred and plain ugliness ... having to
live most of your adult as a closet gay
person necessitates developing a very
tough skin, or you'd ... go stark, raving
mad." Several papers picked up bits of this
San Francisco columnist Herb Caen on
Oct. 29 reported on Don Jackson's St. Pria-
pus Church, whose slogan is "Sex can destroy evil." Jackson, who believes oral sex
is sacramental, launched the "December
'69" drive for gays to occupy underpopulated Alpine County, Calif. A St. Prjapus
Church is expected shortly in Los Angeles.
On Nov. 8, Caen reported that the gay-
oriented Atlas Savings and Loan now has
a straight president—whose wife is named
United Press International on Nov. 5
reported a University of California/Davis
study showing that 14 percent of the
women surveyed had been sexually
harassed, mostly by male faculty
members. One-point-one percent of the
men surveyed reported having been sexually harassed on campus. The study didn't
say by whom. Time on Nov. 14 reported a
more damning study released at Harvard.
The Los Angeles Times reported on Nov.
8 that four prisoners in three days had
died in local jail facilities, reportedly by
suicide or heart attacks. Three were in on
Gay news is rare in the newspaper business sections, but the Securities and
Exchange Commission's action suspending trading of shares of Gay International
for 10 days, a San Francisco-based company that publishes the Gay Areas Directory and owns several gay hotels, was
reported by the San Francisco Examiner
and the Los Angeles Times on Nov. 1. The
SEC questioned the firm's financial stability and the accuracy of publicly disseminated information. Gay International
went public in April and took over the San
Francisco based telephone directory.
Their stock has since climbed from 35* to
$3. Company officials claimed harassment. They own extensive Ut^ and
Hawaii real estate and are seeking to
acquire property in Idaho and California.
Edward Guthmann turned in a fine retrospective on poet, avant-garde filmmaker, incredibly elfin performer and
radical fairy James Broughton for theSan
Francisco Chronicle, Nov. 6. A third-
generation Californian, Broughton at 80
remains vigorous, witty and committed to
shocking his audiences, as he had early
tried to shock his conservative stepfather.
Seven days earlier, Guthmann did a fine
piece on gay Russian filmmaker Serge
Eisenstein, whose documentary Que Viva
Mexico, left unedited at some 50 hours,
was slashed up by socialist "producer"
Upton Sinclair, who objected to the filmmaker's erotic treatment of Mexican
Democrat Harvey Gantt said he would
work to add sexual orientation to Charlotte's nondiscrimination ordinance,
while his Republican opponent, Ed Peacock, felt it was not needed.
Also appearing were eight candidates
for 11 city council seats. Don King, ofthe
caucus, said it was the best turnout
Lambda Political Caucus ever had in their
Electing a liberal black mayor in a state
that has become increasingly conservative in the last 20 years is no easy feat,
especially in a city like Charlotte, where
whites outnumber blacks by three-to-one.
The Lambda Caucus met early with
Gantt at a breakfast strategy meeting,
they did widespread leafletting for him
during both the primary and general election, and finally they set up a telephone
bank to make a thousand calls to potential
gay supporters and their friends.
Gantt, a Democrat, won by 4000 votes
out of 80,000 cast. It can be safely assumed
that many of them were gay people. He
had been the first North Carolina candidate to take his campaign into a gay disco
and discuss gay issues.
In Charlotte, as in many similar cities in
the nation, some candidates are afraid to
go after gay endorsements, believing it
could harm them, but that attitude has
already begun to change. There appeared
to be a lot of cross-over voting in Charlotte
on Nov. 8, for not only did liberal Gantt
win, but a good number of the city council
seats were won by conservative Republicans.
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