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literature

Alpha Index:  A-B  C-F  G-K  L-Q  R-S  T-Z

Subjects:  A-B  C-E  F-L  M-Z

     
Journalism and Publishing  
 
page: 1  2  3  4  5  6  

ONE

ONE magazine was the most provocative and most significant of the early publications. Established in 1953 as a forum for gay men and lesbians to speak to one another, it outspokenly challenged the dominant views and stereotypes of homosexuals and homosexual behavior. Although formally independent of the Mattachine Society, its first editor, Dale Jennings, and most of its editorial board were members.

Sponsor Message.

ONE was especially courageous in challenging the infringement of the civil rights of homosexuals and publicizing "witch hunts" around the country. Perhaps not coincidentally, it soon found itself at the center of a major battle for homosexual civil rights. In 1954, the Los Angeles postmaster seized copies of ONE and refused to mail them on the grounds that the magazine was "obscene, lewd, lascivious and filthy."

The seizure set the stage for a protracted court battle with significant consequences for the gay and lesbian movement. In 1956, a federal district court upheld the postmaster's action; the next year so did an appeals court, which characterized the magazine as "cheap pornography" simply because it discussed homosexuality.

In January 1958, however, the United States Supreme Court unanimously reversed the findings of the lower courts. This major victory was crucial to the growth of the homophile movement. ONE continued publication until 1972.

Mattachine Review

In 1955, the Mattachine Society, now grown more conservative, launched its own magazine, the Mattachine Review, which was published by the Society's San Francisco chapter. Less confrontational than ONE, the Review tended to focus on gay history and culture and to urge a moderate rather than radical approach to civil rights issues.

The Review was printed by a small business owned by its editors Hal Call and Don Lucas, the Pan-Graphic Press, which published other work of interest to gay and lesbian readers, including Bob Damron's Address Book, a directory of gay bars and meeting places that is still periodically updated and reissued. Mattachine Review ceased publication in 1966.

Ladder

The Daughters of Bilitis, which was founded in 1955 by eight women, including Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin, launched the Ladder in 1956. Although closely allied with the Mattachine Society, the Daughters of Bilitis was especially attuned to the distinctive problems and particular situations of lesbians.

The Ladder self-consciously attempted to reach out to lesbians away from the large cities and avoided an overtly political stance, concentrating instead on poetry, fiction, history, and biography. One of its most valuable features was a column by Barbara Grier entitled "Lesbiana" that contained succinct summaries of current lesbian literature.

The magazine was transformed in 1968, when Grier became editor and made it into a more polemical, lesbian-feminist journal. Torn apart by the tensions between old-time moderates and new radicals, the Daughters of Bilitis dissolved in 1970, and the Ladder ceased publication a short time later.

The Importance of the Early Homophile Journals

These early homophile journals were published under enormously difficult conditions. The organizations that sponsored them were themselves tiny and constantly embattled, endangered from without by vicious homophobia and from within by personality conflicts and differing visions.

Deprived of advertising revenues and ordinary distribution channels, these magazines were subsidized by their editors, writers, and sponsoring organizations, and they heavily depended on subscriptions and gifts from readers.

Although their circulation figures remained very small (probably no more than 5,000 subscribers for ONE in its heyday, and many less for the others), the homophile journals nevertheless made crucial contributions toward the development of a national mass movement for gay rights.

By facilitating dialogue among gay men and lesbians, these publications created a sense of minority identity, even as they also performed a crucially important educational activity. They informed their readers of gay and lesbian history and literature as well as of police raids and civil rights abuses across the country.

Gay Journalism and Publishing in the 1960s

Gay journalism and publishing in the 1960s grew out of the early homophile organizations and publications. The Mattachine Society spread from the West Coast. A newsletter called The Gazette was published irregularly in the early 1960s by the Mattachine Society of Washington, D. C., a group established by activists Frank Kameny and Jack Nichols but which, despite its name, was not affiliated with the Los Angeles-based national organization. The Eastern Mattachine Review was also published in Washington in the mid-1960s, and SIR (the Society for Individual Rights), a San Francisco homophile organization, began Vector, a monthly, in 1965.

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