Coming out in 1973 and life before AIDS - Email exchanges among Bill Glover and others

From William A. Percy
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I hope young glbt people today have a good time and life. I think in our own way we did in the times you describe. By 1973 there were so many places and people, we never met each other. I didn't go to Laguna Beach, but did go to the Red Raven in L. A., The Topanga Canyon Club, etc. Some people stuck to the bars on Main Street. And for a while some bar owners met at Tangents (HIC) to form the Tavern Guild, as they had in San Francisco.

Some of us spent less time in the bars and more in the "thinking" part of the movement/community, speaking to groups, churches, etc and that may be why most of us missed the AIDS problem.

Date: Thu, 31 Jan 2013 08:51:02 -0800
Subject: Re: Paul Lynde/RE: One good reason for liking the coverage of old glbt people now comking out/RE: Why did the media cover this old news?/RE: Privacy as an issue, like Jodie Foster? But Don Slater's reasons were valid. AND, marrige is a private matter???


I finally came out in the early 1973 at age 26. I looked barely 21. It was a time in L.A. when West Hollywood had no boundaries. There was Studio One, a 3 story dance bar with 3 different bars, and a theater called the Back Lot. Cheta Rivera and the likes of which were always making appearances and gays loved it. Even straight actors and actors went to the shows. Saw Carol Burnett there once. At 2:00 Am people either left with a trick or went to the 8709 bath house. There were neighborhood bars, leather bars, western bars, preppy bars, many gay restaurants with great food at cheap prices. At that time gays set the trend for dressing, interior design, and really brought the age of disco into the limelight. We were getting pretty powerful in L.A. and San Francisco and New York. I think the straight community saw us as a threat. Later in the '70s the bars all had signs posted urging people to get a hepatitis vaccination. I never did as I didn't like the idea. Just struck me odd. It was created by the CDC. To this day I believe that vaccine had a marker in it from SIDS, Simian Immunodeficient Virus. Most of the people who first got AIDS had taken the vaccine and were bottoms which made them very susceptible to absorbing the virus. By the early 1980s many interior designers starting getting sick. It completely changed the business. Companies were afraid to hire gay men as designers. They started hiring women. Many businesses went under and a single young male was feared by most design firm owners. I remember after the firm I worked for for 13 years went under. I had to take a job with a design firm that staffed mostly straight female designers. Since I wasn't effeminate not many knew I was gay. But some had the guts to ask, I never lied. And all were accepting. But not much comradely. I could go on but your know the drill. Very sad turn of events. In 1990 my best friends succumbed to AIDS. I was living in Laguna Beach at the time and it had been such fun. By the late 1990s all the gay bars and restaurants in Laguna closed. It became a haven for trendy straights. The magic was gone. Good gay places were few and far between. Life really changed for those of us who were fortunate enough to not be HIV+.


From: billy glover
Sent: Thursday, January 31, 2013 8:13 AM
Subject: Paul Lynde/RE: One good reason for liking the coverage of old glbt people now comking out/RE: Why did the media cover this old news?/RE: Privacy as an issue, like Jodie Foster? But Don Slater's reasons were valid. AND, marrige is a private matter???

That is interesting-you have seen part of the "community" I/we never did. Such people kept the activists at a distance, as you say, for fear of being labeled, AND then risked their lives by doing such things. A strange view of life, afraid to be on a glbt organizational list, but going to gay bars risking arrest, and knowing that often cops took down the license numbers of cars parked nearby, etc.

Date: Thu, 31 Jan 2013 08:06:17 -0800
Subject: Re: One good reason for liking the coverage of old glbt people now comking out/RE: Why did the media cover this old news?/RE: Privacy as an issue, like Jodie Foster? But Don Slater's reasons were valid. AND, marrige is a private matter???
To: billyglover and others

I think Paul Lynde was another of that generation who was so loved by many. What a wit he had! He died of AIDS related causes at a time when coming out was not good. Everyone was afraid of gays an paralleled all gays with AIDS. He led quite a risky life style. I went to a party of his once in West Hollywood with a friend who knew him back in the late 1970s. The place was full of young hustlers, mostly trade. Paul loved hustlers, and caught himself right in the middle of the most dangerous and virulent time of AIDS. He could have come out at that time. I don't think he cared to, nor did he care who knew if he was gay or not. I think it would have been overlooked. Had he come out at that time before he died, his revelation would have had more relevance than Nabors coming out now.


From: billy glover
> To: friends
Sent: Thursday, January 31, 2013 7:44 AM
Subject: One good reason for liking the coverage of old glbt people now comking out/RE: Why did the media cover this old news?/RE: Privacy as an issue, like Jodie Foster? But Don Slater's reasons were valid. AND, marrige is a private matter???

I forget if it was ABC or another network news last night who did it and MSNBC, but I do think one good result, as I'm sure you know , is that it tells people of my generation who didn't know any "gays" that they DID, and they watched Nabors and liked him-that in a sense is what people who support coming out mean. I doubt that Liberace supporters would understand even now, but those old ladies are dead.

To: billyglover and others
Subject: Re: Why did the media cover this old news?/RE: Privacy as an issue, like Jodie Foster? But Don Slater's reasons were valid. AND, marrige is a private matter???
From: Paul
Date: Thu, 31 Jan 2013 10:34:17 -0500

I think it might have been because of the old Rock Hudson/Jim Nabors "wedding" rumors from the 1970s (I think). As you know, that was a time when gay news and "outings" were uncommon. Coming out is almost commonplace these days. I also think it might have to do with Nabors's age -- it is more unusual for anyone to come out at 82 than to come out at 28. pdc



Original Message-----

From: billy glover
To: Paul and others
Sent: Thu, Jan 31, 2013 6:50 am
Subject: Why did the media cover this old news?/RE: Privacy as an issue, like Jodie Foster? But Don Slater's reasons were valid. AND, marrige is a private matter???

I don't care if it makes me a curmudgeon, I still Ask the obvious question-why did the media jump to cover this "news? Did you know 2 network news shows rushed to cover it and "congratulate' the two men? For what? Millions of people marry and it is not a private affair according mainly to the bigots who think it is the duty of people to marry to "save" society (sort of like Hitler thought), and make men settle down.

From: Russell
To: Billy and others
Subject: RE: Privacy as an issue, like Jodie Foster? But Don Slater's reasons were valid. AND, marrige is a private matter???
Date: Thu, 31 Jan 2013 08:18:56 -0600

Very hard to argue with that Paul. Good incite


From: paul
Sent: Wednesday, January 30, 2013 9:25 PM
To: billyglover
Subject: Re: Privacy as an issue, like Jodie Foster? But Don Slater's reasons were valid. AND, marrige is a private matter???

I can't imagine how awful it would be to wait until you were 82 years old to openly live your life as you see fit. One could argue that's Nabors has lived his life as he has seen fit for at least the last 38 years. But his partner and he clearly had to live in some kind of closet (even if it was a glass one) for an awfully long time -- even if it's in as beautiful a place as Hawaii. Lying -- or just not telling your truth -- is bad for your soul. Best, pdc

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