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Montrose Voice, No. 152, September 23, 1983
File 017
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Montrose Voice, No. 152, September 23, 1983 - File 017. 1983-09-23. University of Houston Libraries. University of Houston Digital Library. Web. October 24, 2020. https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/montrose/item/1601/show/1588.

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.

(1983-09-23). Montrose Voice, No. 152, September 23, 1983 - File 017. Montrose Voice. University of Houston Libraries. Retrieved from https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/montrose/item/1601/show/1588

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.

Montrose Voice, No. 152, September 23, 1983 - File 017, 1983-09-23, Montrose Voice, University of Houston Libraries, accessed October 24, 2020, https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/montrose/item/1601/show/1588.

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 Montrose Voice, No. 152, September 23, 1983
Contributor
  • McClurg, Henry
Publisher Community Publishing Company
Date September 23, 1983
Language English
Subject
  • LGBTQ community
  • LGBTQ people
  • Gay liberation movement
Place
  • Houston, Texas
Genre
  • newspapers
Type
  • Text
Identifier OCLC: 22329406
Collection
  • University of Houston Libraries Special Collections
  • LGBT Research Collection
  • Montrose Voice
Rights In Copyright
Note This item was digitized from materials loaned by the Gulf Coast Archive and Museum (GCAM).
Item Description
Title File 017
Transcript 16 Montrose Voice / Sept. 23,1983 The Mayor Who Happens to be Gay By Arthur S. Lazere, C.P.A. In 1980, the town of Bunceton, Missouri (population: 419), elected an openly-gay mayor. There were no gay issues in the town before, during or after the election. The impression that observers carried away was that of a mayor who just happened to be gay. In April 1983, the City Council of La- guna Beach, California (population: 17,950), elected councilperson Bob Gentry as mayor. A month later, Gentry came out publicly in a story about gays in Orange County which appeared in the Los Angeles Times. When Gentry ran for City Council in 1982, he was closeted, but the closet door stood considerably ajar. The political insiders who approached him to run for City Council knew he was gay, he told me recently, and they came to him for that reason. The time was right for a gay councilperson. The informal local gay network knew that the candidate was gay, but there were no gay issues in the campaign, and nothing was said publicly about Gentry's sexual orientation. Indeed, the Los Angeles Times quoted Gentry: "My running for office was separate from being gay. I am not now and never have been the gay mayor of Laguna Beach. I am the mayor, who happens to be gay." Gentry, 44, was raised in comfortable suburban towns, first near Boston, later in the Chicago area. He was the middle child of three in a middle class, professional, Anglo-rooted family. At Hanover College in Indiana, he earned a bachelor's degree in psychology. He was active in student organizations and assumed leadership roles. In his senior year, he managed the freshman residence hall, the first direct step in his career in the "student affairs profession." Finding that he liked the work, Gentry went on for a master's degree in higher education administration and counseling at Indiana University. He built a successful career starting in Chicago and later relocating to southern California. He has been at the University of California's Irvine campus since 1970 and now holds the position of Associate Dean of Students. Gentry says that he knew he was gay even before puberty. ("Being gay was very natural for me.") His lover of nine years owns a hairdress- ing salon in nearby Newport Beach. ("We are a real team when it comes to politics.") In his academic career, however, his closet was carefully maintained, his gay and non-gay social networks carefully orchestrated to prevent overt disclosure of The Laser Memory Card Computer technology is about to take another quantum leap, this time into the laser age, says the Boardroom Reports Newsletter. California scientist Jerome Drexler has developed a laser memory card which may one day make today's methods of storing information obsolete. Though it looks like a regular credit card, the laser memory card can hold as much as 800 pages of data. Information can't be accidentally erased because it can't be erased at all. And, Drexler says, a fully encoded card will cost less than six dollars. Experts see a variety of possible uses for the card, which will hit the market in about a year. It would allow you to carry your entire medical history in your wallet,, or it could be used as an extra-secure ID card, imprinted with your photograph, physical description or voice print. And Drexler says updating today's computers to make them compatible with laser cards will be relatively inexpensive. his sexual preference unitl the Los Angeles Times article. (It wasn't until a month after Gentry came out in the Times that the University of California adopted a policy of nondiscrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.) Somewhat ironically, Gentry thinks hiB gayness led to his choice of career: "If you are going to survive being gay, you have to have real sharp skills of perception. You have to be able to work in diversity. You have to be able to think of yourself as a minority group member and how you are going to get what you want, being a minority group member. You have to have a great deal of intuition and a great deal of persuasive ability, building those skills as a human being, functioning in a world that diavalued me. With a great desire to be successsful, I had to learn those skills and hone them. That's why I went into the people business." It is not coincidental that these same skills are key elements in a political career as well. Indeed, those with experience in the contentious politics of academia come to the arena of governmental politics well armed. Gentry's initial political foray concerned a real estate development in Laguna which threatened the survival of some old trees. He got involved in the neighborhood association during the battle to save the trees and was elected president of the association. From there it was a logical next step to the city council. Gentry is a conservation-minded progressive, a proponent of carefully limited development in Laguna Beach. When elected in 1982, he was part of a slate of three candidates of similar mind, all of whom won seats on the council. In that election, the main opposition came from an incumbent Republican, stockbroker Howard Dawson. Dawson claims that he was unfairly branded as "a tool of the developers." He avers that conservation is not an issue in Laguna Beach due to the geographical limits of the area. "The Lord laid it out that way. There's not much you can do," he said to me. DawBon resigned his council seat two weeks before the 1982 election in protest against the "ultra liberals" he saw taking over. Since his election, Gentry has been instrumental in the establishment of two important gay organizations. Laguna Outreach is a community service, educational and networking group which attracts some 100 attendees from all over the south coast to its monthly meetings. The Election Committee of the County of Orange (ECCO) is a political action committee styled after Los Angeles' phenomenally successful MECLA. Gentry has also led his city council to take supportive positions on the gay employment rights bill in the state legislature and on AIDS issues. I asked councilman Dawson if Gentry's coming out had impacted on his effectiveness as mayor. "No," he said, "the gays have been here a long time, and it has never been an issue. It would have been nice," he went on, "if he admitted it when he was running. He got elected and then started working on gay issues. Some people think they've been had. I'd prefer if he'd concentrate on issues that affect everyone, not just gays. Gay issues are not of concern to the majority." Dave Bishop is the publisher of the Laguna Beach Tide and Times, a weekly newspaper. He speaks positively of Gentry and cites a changed tenor at the city council, a shift of focus from strictly local issues to issues that were previously dealt with only at the county, state or even federal levels. Gentry has done "a real good job," according to Bishop on issues such as offshore drilling and the dangers of a local nuclear power station. Dawson, in contrast, characterized this activity of Gentry's as "tilting at windmills." Bishop thinks that the key to Gentry's "remarkable rise to political importance" has been his strong grass roots organization. Will Gentry's upfront stance have any effect? "I do hear a bit of snide comments on his being gay but not in public. It is a minor undercurrent; most people don't care." Jim Lyon heads up the Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce from which one would expect a conservative view. He said that Gentry has "conducted himself admirably," despite the fact that he "leans toward conservation and is negative on growth." He also expects that being openly gay will have no effect on Gentry's performance or chances for reelection. "It's no big deal down here," said Lyon. Gentry has been approached by some local influential Democrats to seek a Congressional seat which comes up next year. But the Congressional district extends well beyond heavily gay Laguna Beach and into conservative, Republican Orange Couty heartland. Gentry is cautious and thinks the time is not right yet. "You've On the Job got to pay your dues, learn the ropes, get to know who's who. You've got to serve out your term," he said. In 1982, the town of Bunceton, Missouri, reelected its mayor who just happened to be gay. There are still no gay issues in Bunceton. Despite his similar claim, Bob Gentry is no longer a mayor who just happens to be gay. He has taken an activist's stand on gay issues, and that is part of the package he will next have to sell to the voters, whether in Laguna Beach or in Orange County. Lazere is on the board of the San Francisco Industrial Development Authority. His column originates at the "Bay Area Reporter," a San Francisco gay newspaper. C0S' V' KKIflK 2 WELCOMES o$?s The Incomparable PETER ALLEN LIVE! IN CONCERT! THE TOWER THEATRE OCT 10 & 11 8:00 PM TICKETS AVAILABLE AT ALL TICKETRON AND TICKETMASTER OUTLETS INCLUDING SOUND WAREHOUSE AND ALL JOSKE'S STORES! ORDER BY PHONE I CALL TELETRON (713J 526-1709 CHARGE TO MASTER CARD OR VISA Produced by PACE Concerts and the Tower Theatre THE TOWER THEATRE 1201 Westheimer - Secured Parking Available
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