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Writing Liberation

University of Florida Institutional Repository
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0021723/00001

Material Information

Title: Writing Liberation A Comparison of the Newsletters Published by the Gay Liberation Front of Washington D.C. and of Ames, Iowa, in the Early 1970s
Physical Description: 1 online resource (77 p.)
Language: english
Creator: Culp, Amanda L
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2007

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords: Women's Studies -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre: Women's Studies thesis, M.A.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation

Notes

Abstract: For this project, I engage in a close reading of the newsletters produced by the Gay Liberation Front of Washington D.C. and of Ames, Iowa during the early 1970s in order to better understand the gay liberation movement. I analyze both the appearance and the content of these newsletters in order to unpack the functions these newsletters served for their authors and their readers. I argue that although both the publications served the gay male communities of which their authors were a part, they did so in different ways because the gay male communities of D.C. and of Ames were significantly different. I place the newsletters in their historical location by providing the larger context in which they were produced, as I argue that the location of production contributed to the newsletters of these two cities being significantly different from each other. Finally, I argue that these newsletters were one place where different shades of gay male identity were being created and given meaning by movement participants themselves. Looking at this identity work occurring in these newsletters allows for a more complicated view of the gay liberation movement, and it points towards the importance of newsletters as not just tools used to document the movement, but as mechanisms for movement creation.
General Note: In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note: Includes vita.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Statement of Responsibility: by Amanda L Culp.
Thesis: Thesis (M.A.)--University of Florida, 2007.
Local: Adviser: Travis, Patricia A.

Record Information

Source Institution: UFRGP
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: lcc - LD1780 2007
System ID: UFE0021723:00001

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0021723/00001

Material Information

Title: Writing Liberation A Comparison of the Newsletters Published by the Gay Liberation Front of Washington D.C. and of Ames, Iowa, in the Early 1970s
Physical Description: 1 online resource (77 p.)
Language: english
Creator: Culp, Amanda L
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2007

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords: Women's Studies -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre: Women's Studies thesis, M.A.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation

Notes

Abstract: For this project, I engage in a close reading of the newsletters produced by the Gay Liberation Front of Washington D.C. and of Ames, Iowa during the early 1970s in order to better understand the gay liberation movement. I analyze both the appearance and the content of these newsletters in order to unpack the functions these newsletters served for their authors and their readers. I argue that although both the publications served the gay male communities of which their authors were a part, they did so in different ways because the gay male communities of D.C. and of Ames were significantly different. I place the newsletters in their historical location by providing the larger context in which they were produced, as I argue that the location of production contributed to the newsletters of these two cities being significantly different from each other. Finally, I argue that these newsletters were one place where different shades of gay male identity were being created and given meaning by movement participants themselves. Looking at this identity work occurring in these newsletters allows for a more complicated view of the gay liberation movement, and it points towards the importance of newsletters as not just tools used to document the movement, but as mechanisms for movement creation.
General Note: In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note: Includes vita.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Statement of Responsibility: by Amanda L Culp.
Thesis: Thesis (M.A.)--University of Florida, 2007.
Local: Adviser: Travis, Patricia A.

Record Information

Source Institution: UFRGP
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: lcc - LD1780 2007
System ID: UFE0021723:00001


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WRITING LIBERATION:
A COMPARISON OF THE NEWSLETTERS PUBLISHED BY
THE GAY LIBERATION FRONT OF WASHINGTON D.C. AND OF AMES, IOWA
IN THE EARLY 1970s




















By

AMANDA L. CULP


A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
MASTER OF ARTS

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA

2007

































2007 Amanda L. Culp


































To the courageous folks of the gay liberation movement
and
To my fiercely beautiful mother, Marilyn M. W. Culp (1945-2006)









ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

First, I wish to thank the folks who created and participated in the gay liberation

movement. I admire their perception and their courage. Without their work, mine would not

have been possible.

I wish to thank the Center for Women's Studies and Gender Research at the University of

Florida for allowing me the opportunity to pursue my academic research and for providing a

supportive environment in which to do so.

I thank Paula Ambroso and Donna Tuckey, both of whom provided administrative

assistance without which I could not have completed my studies.

Patricia Travis and Kendal Broad deserve much gratitude not only for their intellectual

support, encouragement, and mentorship, but also for their friendship. I thank them for making

graduate school an enjoyable and rewarding experience. I want to extend a special thanks to

Patricia Travis for her patience in working with me in this project and for her finely-tuned

sarcastic wit.

I wish to thank my family who has supported me in my studies. I especially thank my

mother for instilling in me a desire to work for social change and for nurturing the strength

required to do so. I thank my mom, my dad, and my sister for their immense love and support.

Finally, I wish to thank Kevin Church for his love, understanding, patience, and humor through

out the research and writing process. He took care of our home and our cats and my health when

I did not have the time; he made sure I was fed and he kept me sane.









TABLE OF CONTENTS


page

A CK N O W LED G M EN T S ...................................................... ..............................................

ABSTRAC T ..........................................................................................

CHAPTER

1 INTRODUCTION: THE WHAT, WHY, AND HOW OF MY PROJECT ............................8

E pigraphs: In T heir O w n W ords................................................................... .....................8
Project D description and Significance.......................................................................... .... ...8
P project L ay ou t ............................................................................... 14

2 LITERATURE REVIEW: CONTEXTUALIZING THE GAY LIBERATION
M OVEM ENT AND THE GAY PRESS ........................................ .......................... 17

W hy Bother w ith a Literature Review ? ................................................ ........................... 17
A Brief History of the Gay and Lesbian Movement in the United States ............. ..............18
Stirring of a H om ophile M ovem ent....... ........ ......................................... ........ 18
H om ophile M ovem ent: A Revival ..................... .. .................. .................... 20
Rise Up, and Out: Gay Liberation Movement and Lesbian Feminism.........................23
Pride and Beyond: Lesbian and Gay Identity Movement ...........................................28
A Brief History of the Gay and Lesbian Press in the United States............ ...............30
Commonalities Amongst the Genres of the Dissident Press..................................... 30
Lisa Ben's Vice Versa: America's Gayest Magazine...............................................32
Groups Begin to Publish: One and The Mattachine Review .......................................34
The Gay Press Gets Emboldened .............................................................................35
Movement/Press Relations in Gay Liberation............................................36

3 ANALYSES OF SELECT GAY LIBERATION FRONT NEWSLETTERS
PUBLISHED IN WASHINGTON D.C. AND AMES, IOWA.............................................38

The Publications of Gay Liberation Front of Washington D.C............................................38
The Surrounding Context for Gay Liberation Front of Washington D.C. ......................38
Gay Liberation Front Form s in D .C. ......................................................................... 40
The GLF Newsletter: A Bulletin Board for the Gay Community ................................42
The Publications of Gay Liberation Front of Ames, Iowa .......................... ...............48
The Surrounding Context for Gay Liberation Front of Ames, Iowa..............................48
Gay Liberation Front Forms in Ames, Iowa ........................................ ...............49
From Gayly Forward to Sarah Bernhardt's Farewell American Tour: A Textual
M meeting Place for the Gay Community ............................................ ............... 54

4 CONCLUSION: FUNCTIONS OF GAY LIBERATION FRONT'S NEWSLETTERS
IN WASHINGTON D.C. AND AMES, IOWA ..................................................63









SELE C TED B IB LIO G R A PH Y ........................................................... ....................................72

B IO G R A PH IC A L SK E T C H .............................................................................. .....................77





















































6









Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts

WRITING LIBERATION:
A COMPARISON OF THE NEWSLETTERS PUBLISHED BY
THE GAY LIBERATION FRONT OF WASHINGTON D.C. AND OF AMES, IOWA
IN THE EARLY 1970s

By

Amanda L. Culp

December 2007

Chair: Patricia Travis
Major: Women's Studies

For this project, I engage in a close reading of the newsletters produced by the Gay

Liberation Front of Washington D.C. and of Ames, Iowa during the early 1970s in order to better

understand the gay liberation movement. I analyze both the appearance and the content of these

newsletters in order to unpack the functions these newsletters served for their authors and their

readers. I argue that although both the publications served the gay male communities of which

their authors were a part, they did so in different ways because the gay male communities of

D.C. and of Ames were significantly different. I place the newsletters in their historical location

by providing the larger context in which they were produced, as I argue that the location of

production contributed to the newsletters of these two cities being significantly different from

each other. Finally, I argue that these newsletters were one place where different shades of gay

male identity were being created and given meaning by movement participants themselves.

Looking at this identity work occurring in these newsletters allows for a more complicated view

of the gay liberation movement, and it points towards the importance of newsletters as not just

tools used to document the movement, but as mechanisms for movement creation.









CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION: THE WHAT, WHY, AND HOW OF MY PROJECT

Epigraphs: In Their Own Words

Things for Bored Faggots to do!
1. Learn to knit, sew, weave, paint, draw, crochet, etc. Don't be a man, be
creative instead! ...
3. Send letters to psychiatrists thanking them for volunteering to be subjects in
aversion-therapy studies. Sign the letters "THE GAY REVENGE SQUAD"
or "DEATH TO SHRINKS CADRE"...
6. Break into the armory and paint the guns pink ...
8. Send the football team a Valentine
9. Blackmail a straight pig. Pick someone important like the Pope or the
President. Not only is it fun, but it can also be profitable. (Donate all funds
to the Gay movement)
10. Infiltrate the Jesus Freak movements-the "come out." With luck they'll
be so demoralized that maybe they'll leave the country ...
18. Send your mother a "Do-your-own Divorce Kit."
19. Complain to the police when a mixed couple (male/female) shows affection
in public ...
22. Experiment with make-up, nail polish, jewelry, exotic clothing, feather boas,
high-heeled shoes, glitter, sparkles, body paints and other such sleazy things.
Liberate your mind, body, and soul ...
Love and Kisses,
Lyla Butch Pompadour
(Gay People's Alliance, Coleus & Dogbreath Too, Fall 1974.)

The Revolutionary Peoples' Constitutional Convention (R.P.C.C.) will be held
here in Washington in late November ... The GLF Commune will serve as the
information center for all Gay Liberation groups attending the R.P.C.C. The
Radical Caucus and the Commune will attempt to provide all of the necessary
services needed for the Convention-Housing, Food, Legal Aid, Medical Aid,
and Transportation... Those brothers who are willing] to help in any of the above
activities or able to donate cash should call the persons listed above or fill out the
form at the back of the Newsletter.
POWER TO THE PEOPLE-GAY POWER TO GAY PEOPLE.
(Gay Liberation Front of D.C., GLF Newsletter 1.12, October
1970.)

Project Description and Significance

The selections above are taken from Coleus & Dogbreath Too and GLF Newsletter 1.12,

newsletters published by the Gay Liberation Front (GLF) of Ames, Iowa and of Washington

D.C., respectively. I decided to open with excerpts from these two articles in order to let the









voices of the activists speak for themselves, for without their work, I could not have done this

project. These two excerpts greatly differ in their content, tone, and purpose. The excerpt

authored by Pompadour is written with tongue firmly in cheek. It is deceptively light-hearted in

tone, as the author's suggestions touch upon the major institutions that gay liberationists were

revolting against-psychiatry, the military, the church, the police, and gender roles. The second

excerpt from Gay Liberation Front of Washington D.C. has a serious, neutral tone to match the

informative purpose of the piece. This article is written to provide information, not to amuse the

reader or to vent on the part of the author. I chose these selections because they are generally

representative of the newsletters published by their respective Gay Liberation Front, and so the

reader can have a taste of the material I have analyzed for my project. Though these selections

differ from each other in a number of ways, they both can be seen as serving important functions

for their publishers and readers, as can the newsletters from which they were taken. The

newsletters published by GLFs not only recorded the events of the day, but also-and perhaps

more significantly-actively shaped and gave direction to those events and the social movements

they represent.

For this project, I engage in a close reading of the newsletters produced by two

incarnations of the Gay Liberation Front. Focusing on Washington D.C. and Ames, Iowa in the

early 1970s, I analyze the appearance and content of the newsletters published by the Gay

Liberation Front in both of these locations. I also place these newsletters in their historical

location by providing the larger context in which they were produced. I am particularly

interested in the way these newsletters functioned for the groups who published them and for

their readership more generally. What good were these newsletters? What did publishing them









accomplish? Why and how were these publications important to the gay liberation movement?

These are the major questions I allowed to lead my research for this project.

I was driven to this particular project for two reasons (aside from personal interest in the

subject matter). First, I intend this project as a sort of tribute to the work these activists did. The

period of the gay and lesbian movement referred to as the gay liberation movement is quite short,

spanning approximately three or four years depending on which scholar is counting.

Furthermore, the Gay Liberation Front is characterized by a distaste of hierarchical organization,

and as a result, did not keep formal, organized records of its proceedings. This, combined with

the ephemeral nature of this period of the movement, has made it a difficult subject of study, and

has contributed to my desire to help document this rich period in the movement's history. I want

these case studies to be a testament to the action taken by the activists I write about in the

following pages.

Second, and related to the first reason, I see a gap in the existing scholarship, and I see this

project as an attempt to begin filling in that gap. Much of the academic work done on the gay

liberation movement takes New York as its focus. The specifics about the Gay Liberation Front

seem to reference the New York group. Indeed, the Gay Liberation Front of New York was the

first to form, and so set a model for others like-minded groups across the nation; however, it was

by no means the only Front. I became interested in this project when I was researching GLF, and

I recall wishing for more specific examples of actions and ideals of GLFs outside of New York.

While recognizing the significance of New York to the gay and lesbian movement, I believe that

there is value in studying the liberation movement outside of this major city.

This particular project is important to scholarship for several reasons. This project

contributes to producing a historical record of liberation-oriented movement ephemera, without









which details of this period in the movement may be lost or buried. By taking seriously the work

of the dissident press, this project contributes to piecing together a more nuanced, fuller picture

of gay liberation. Also, in considering these newsletters as a legitimate subject of study, this

project helps to bring activism into academic research.

This work is also of value to social movement scholars in particular. Analyzing these

newsletters allows one to see how movement participants view themselves, and/or how they

chose to present themselves and their causes to the public. Investigating how people are

participating in social movements is one way to get at the question of why and how social

movements form. Looking at the functions these newsletters served for their authors and their

readers allows for insight into the development of the gay liberation movement; it also allows for

speculation as to the reasons for the decline of the movement by looking at the lifespan of these

publications.

In 1975, Crew wrote of some of the functions that the gay press was engaged in as he

evaluated the development of the genre thus far: "The Gay press is a vehicle for building and

affirming the very Gay Community that this society has thus actively tried to suppress and

thwart. The Gay press offers for Gays a way to break out of the prevailing homophobic pattern

of our culture... The Gay press functions to unite many of the Gays who read it."' In this article,

Crew gives a brief review/editorial about over 25 publications that are written by and for gay

males at the local and national level. These publications vary in content from those that deal

with gay news, to those that focus on social gathering spots, to those that discuss the place gay

men have and should have in the Catholic church. These publications, as Crew notes, all provide

a forum for gay folk to address each other, a way to create gay culture and gay movements.


1 Louie Crew. "Protest and Community: Gay Male Journalism Now," Margins 20.5 (1975): 25









They represent one venue where different kinds of male gayness are created as authors and

readers converse on what it means to be a gay male in various positions in this society. One

avenue into the ways different gay male identities are constructed is via these publications.

Related, one can gain insight into the formation of the gay liberation movement by examining

the meaning-making that was taking place simultaneously and the identity work that movement

participants engaged in.

One can also use newsletter analysis as a way to examine movement recruitment. The

newsletters published by different GLFs were, at least in part, designed to draw other gay folks

into the movement, into a dialogue about what it means to be a gay male. Their call for

community participation can be read just this way-as a call for new participants to join the

movement.

Newsletters are particularly important for the gay liberation movement because of the do-

it-yourself ethic that produced them, and this production ethic corresponds directly to the gay

liberation movement itself. This was a grassroots movement, one where all gay folk were

encouraged to engage in self-analysis, to think for themselves about what it means to be gay

rather than relying on "expert" opinions. Rap groups, or consciousness-raising sessions were

held during which gay folk would discuss their personal experiences and evaluate them in light

of other gay men's experiences. During this movement, gay men were encouraged to draw

theories of oppressions and how it functioned out of their own experiences, and this emphasis on

the importance of one's own experiences is embodied in the newsletters. Many of these

publications were put together quickly and cheaply by a group (or sometimes a single) of

volunteers; many of them had an open door editorial policy and would accept contributions from

any gay person. The motivation, generally speaking, was to get people talking-to each other, to









the heterosexual public, to themselves. This description also largely characterizes a goal of the

larger gay liberation movement.

This approach, using movement publications to gain insight into the movement itself and

into the movement participants' identity work, is certainly not unique to this project.2 Meeker

traces the development of the gay and lesbian movement in the U.S. using various gay and

lesbian publications that span thirty years. Herring uses two publications to discuss the anti-

urban movement of gays and lesbians, where there was a desire to return to a rural lifestyle and

incorporate that into a gay identity. Jay and Young put together an anthology of writing from the

publications of the gay press that focuses on its importance in communication in the gay

community. Young is careful to note in his introduction that the excerpted material did not just

document the creation of a vibrant gay culture in the U.S., but it also helped create that culture.

Indeed, as Chasin notes, the gay and lesbian press and the gay and lesbian movement are

inextricably intertwined.

Also, by engaging in a close reading of these newsletters form Washington D.C. and

Ames, Iowa, this project allows comparisons to be made between Gay Liberation Fronts.

Through a comparison of groups that, to varying degrees, represented the same movement, one

can look at how this movement flowed in different geographical areas. These comparisons are

useful for scholars because they allow one to consider questions of social movement

participation, development, and decline to be discussed in relation to geographical setting. The

functions and content of the newsletters I discuss in these case studies are tied to their historical

location in Washington D.C. and Ames, Iowa. In other words, the purpose the newsletters

2 Martin Meeker, Contacts Desired: Gay and Lesbian Communications and Community, 1940s-1970s, (Chicago:
The University of Chicago Press, 2006); Scott Herring, "Out of the Closets, Into the Woods: RFD, Country Women,
and the Post-Stonewall Emergence of Queer Anti-Urbanism," American Quarterly 59.2 (2007): 341-372; Karla Jay
and Allen Young, eds., Lavender Culture, (New York: New York University Press, 1978); Alexandra Chasin,
Selling Out: The Gay and Lesbian Movement Goes to Market, (New York: St. Martin's Press, 2000).









served and the articles in them are both influenced by the setting in which their authors produced

them. These case studies act as examples of how publications contribute to social movements.

Gay Liberation Fronts' newsletters not only served to document and bear witness to the goings-

on of liberation during this time, but also served to help create that liberation which they

appeared only to record. Gay Liberation Fronts' publications actively helped build the liberation

movement.

Project Layout

The second chapter of my thesis consists of a selected literature review. This literature

review is necessary to providing a context in which to place the newsletters. Surveying

scholarship mainly in the fields of history and journalism, I will discuss the historical context

that influenced the development of the gay liberation movement and of the gay press.

While the newsletters did contribute to building the gay liberation movement, they were

certainly not the only contributor. Because the gay liberation movement partially defined itself

in relation to the homophile movement in the U.S., it is necessary to provide background on the

homophile movement in order to fully understand the gay liberation movement. Thus, the first

part of the literature review will present a picture of the social and political atmosphere of the

1950s and 1960s in the U.S. as hostile toward lesbians and gays. It will include a discussion of

the homophile movement, as gay liberation in part defined itself as a movement specifically

different from the homophile organizations. This also demonstrates that the Stonewall riots are

more appropriately seen as a turning point in the lesbian and gay movement, rather than as the

starting point of the gay liberation movement, as it is sometimes portrayed. This section will

place the reader in the context within which the newsletters were produced, thereby allowing for

a fuller understanding of the material.









The second part of the first chapter will provide a different context relevant to these case

studies, as I briefly discuss the development of the gay press in the U.S. This section situates the

gay press as a genre within the larger dissident press in the U.S., and discusses commonalities

held by those genres lumped together under the label "the dissident press." It includes a

discussion of the origins of the gay press in the U.S. in a magazine published by Lisa Ben, and

moves from there to a look at the newsletters published by the first homophile groups in the U.S.

It also briefly discusses the proliferation of dissident publications that were produced in the

1960s, concurrently with the proliferation of social movements at the time, and speaks to how

the publications of the gay press were influenced by this context. It closes by noting the growth

in publications of the gay press and the direction many of these publications were taking toward

liberation in their content.

The third chapter consists of my analyses and close reading of the GLF newsletters from

Washington D.C. and Ames, Iowa. I examine three issues of the newsletter from D.C. published

in 1970 and the complete archive (six issues) from Ames that was published in 1974 and 1975.3

I include other pertinent archival material, such as newspaper articles that appeared outside of

the dissident press, as well as information culled from members' personal recollections and oral

histories as appropriate. This chapter is divided into two sections, presenting two case studies. It

begins with Washington D.C., discussing the context in which Gay Liberation Front's

newsletters appeared, as well as the direct catalyst for the group's formation. I then focus on the

functions that the newsletter served for the group and the readership at large. Next, I turn my

attention to Ames, Iowa, and discuss the same points I did for GLF of Washington D.C. I



3 I was unable to determine when or why the GLF of D.C. ceased publication of their newsletter. While I realize
this is a partial archive, I still think valuable research can be done with it. I look forward to a fuller archive being
brought to light in the future.









provide some context and the impetus behind the creation of a Gay Liberation Front at Iowa

State University. I trace this group's publications throughout their short history, focusing on

how the newsletters served GLF and the gay folks of Ames.

The final chapter of this project will bring the reader back to the larger theoretical issues

relevant to my project. It begins with a comparison of the functions of the newsletters from the

Gay Liberation Fronts of Washington D.C. and of Ames, Iowa. I discuss the purposes they held

in common, and then move on to those purposes that were unique to each group. I also offer

speculation on the reasons for those differences located in the geographical location and the

constituency of each group, as well as the intended audience for their publications. I discuss the

significance of my findings regarding the functions of these newsletters, and relate them to the

broader picture of the gay liberation movement in academic scholarship. I end this project with

ways to expand this project and suggestions for further study.









CHAPTER 2
LITERATURE REVIEW: CONTEXTUALIZING THE GAY LIBERATION MOVEMENT
AND THE GAY PRESS

Why Bother with a Literature Review?

The purpose of this chapter is twofold. First, I attempt to provide a brief overview of the

lesbian and gay movement in the United States. Recognizing the limitations of trying to address

the development, challenges, ideologies, and effects of a social movement in limited space, I

none the less try to touch on the major social and political influences, and shifts in movement

ideology, strategy, and organization. I have taken a chronological approach in this chapter,

breaking it up into sections based loosely on dates, as I think that helps draw attention to the

specific historical contexts surrounding the lesbian and gay movement.

I begin with the homophile movement at the start of the 20th century, which ended with the

Nazis coming to power. I continue with the homophile movement after World War II, realizing

that the common conception that this is the start of the homophile movement in the U.S., as the

accounts of early movement activity before that war was largely buried or lost. Then, I turn to a

discussion of the gay liberation movement and lesbian feminism, as both these movements can

be examined in relation to the homophile movement. Next, I look at the lesbian and gay identity

movement, and how this developed in dialogue with the liberation movement. Finally, I discuss

challenges to the lesbian and gay movement as we know it today.

The second purpose of this chapter is to summarize the history of the gay and lesbian press

in the U.S. Following the work of previous scholars of this topic, I am limiting this summary to

include only those documents published by gays and lesbians and had gays and lesbians as the

intended audience. I begin with a discussion of the first publication aimed at a lesbian audience,

including the author's motivation, the content, and the ways this publication set the stage for

those to follow. Then, I move to the most often mentioned historical publications, ONE, The









Mattachine Review, and The Ladder. These are often discussed in relation to the start of the

homophile movement in the U.S., as each paper was produced by a group of gay men and

lesbians respectively. I also touch upon how these publications change over time and with new

leadership. Finally, I discuss the explosion of publications that appeared in the gay and lesbian

press at the time of the Stonewall Rebellion. During this time, the number of publications and

the circulation numbers rose dramatically, as more and more people created an outlet for their

voices and helped the movement reach a crescendo. This discussion sets the stage for my next

chapter, where I present two case studies of two publications produced in the wake of Stonewall,

focusing on the functions they served for the community in which they were circulated.

A Brief History of the Gay and Lesbian Movement in the United States

Stirrings of a Homophile Movement

Some scholars date the homophile movement in the U.S. as beginning with the

appearance of groups like the Mattachine Society and the Daughters of Bilitis in the early 1950s;

however others recognize its beginnings as early as the start of the 20th century.4 In Germany,

1897, the Scientific-Humanitarian Committee was founded by a physician, a publisher, a lawyer,

and a novelist,5 foreshadowing the institutions that would soon be central to the public

discussion of homosexuality. This was the first social group established to advance the civil

rights of homosexuals, and it remained active in Germany until the rise of the Nazis.

Though started in Germany, the Scientific-Humanitarian Committee carried its ideas to

other countries, and in 1906 and 1907 representatives from the committee lectured in New York,

helping to make new forms of organization imaginable for homosexuals in the U.S. Though not

4 See Barry Adam, The Rise of a Gay and Lesbian Movement, revised ed. (New York: Twayne Publishers, 1995);
Jonathan Katz, Gay American History: Lesbians and Gay Men in the U.S.A., (New York: Thomas Y. Crowell,
1976).
5 Barry Adam, The Rise of a Gay and Lesbian Movement, revised ed. (New York: Twayne Publishers, 1995).









formally organized into social movement groups, gays and lesbians had already began to

congregate in certain social venues at this time. Edward Stevenson's 1908 book The Intersexes

identified clubs, bath houses, music halls, and cafes across the US frequented by homosexuals,6

which gave those who did not already know about these meeting places a lessened sense of

isolation and a chance to form social networks. This was the first book of its kind written by a

gay American writer. Historian Jonathan Katz has documented music, bars, and literature that

show organized gay life among black Americans prior to World War II.7 These social ties gave

early homophile groups a foundation on which to build. The Society for Human Rights in

Chicago was formed in 1924, and was the first formally organized group for the advancement of

gay rights in the United States.8

The beginnings of a social movement were budding when the Nazis came to power in

Germany. With their ascendancy came the systematic intimidation and persecution of

homosexuals, who, when forced into concentration camps, had to wear a pink triangle on their

arm as an identifier,9 and were often subject to the harshest treatment in the camps.10 The

abounding sense of fear was not confined to Germany, however, and early homophile

movements across the globe either went into hiding or were destroyed. However, as is obvious

from the re-emergence of homophile movements after World War II, whatevervr gods the Nazis

served, the genocide of a generation of homosexuals, the extermination of gay thought, and the


6 Ibid.

7 Jonathan Katz, Gay American History: Lesbians and Gay Men in the U.S.A, (New York: Thomas Y. Crowell,
1976).

8 Adam.

9 Erik Jensen, "The Pink Triangle and Political Consciousness: Gays, Lesbians, and the Memory of Nazi
Persecution," Journal of the History of Sexuality 11.1 and 2 (2002): 320.

10 Adam.









intense supervision of those who might be tempted to homosexuality were not enough to contain

the human potential for same-sex love.""

Homophile Movement: A Revival

Systematic persecution of homosexuals did not end with the defeat of the Nazis, nor did it

end with the official discovery the homosexual behavior was relatively wide-spread in the U.S.

Soon after World War II, Alfred Kinsey published his findings based on interviews with

thousands of individuals concerning their detailed sex histories (1948, 1953). Kinsey found that

homosexual acts were fairly common, if not prevalent, in the United States. Based on this

information, he described homosexuality and heterosexuality as occupying two ends of a

continuum rather than as opposite sides of a strictly exclusionary dichotomy. He concluded that

homosexuality was not a fixed individual propensity, but rather more of a general human desire,

implying that this desire may be present in varying degrees in every individual (as opposed to

only in a few exceptions) although not every individual may act on these desires to the same

extent.

The overarching social and political context in the United States after World War II was

completely unfriendly to homosexuals, to put it mildly. The climate at this time was

characterized by a generalized fear, even panic, concerning "the other" and "the foreign."12 This

was the era of McCarthy, and the House Un-American Activities, whose commission was to

weed out Communists suspected of hiding in the ranks of homosexuals. Across the country there

was a federal, state and local purge of gays and lesbians. One specific example of this occurred

in the Johns Committee's actions on college campuses in Florida, which terrorized students,

1 Ibid, 59.
12 See Adam; John D'Emilio, Sexual Politics, Sexual Communities: The Making of a Homosexual Minority in the
United States 1940-1970, (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1983); Steven Seidman, Beyond the Closet:
The Transformation of Lesbian and Gay Life, (New York: Routledge, 2002).









caused faculty to lose their jobs, and contributed to a number of persons' suicides. Homosexual

lives across the country were subject to repression, criminalization, discrimination, and

persecution; marked by police and street violence, blackmail, incarceration in jails and mental

hospitals, as "[a] growing public homosexual menace was invoked to fuel an atmosphere of

social panic and hateful politic."13

After the Cold War, the U.S. government and its institutions pushed for a return to

normalcy, which essentially meant enforcing traditional nuclear family values and heterosexual

monogamy in service of reproduction as the American ideal. This image of the American family

was held up and revered as the American ideal to which all should aspire. Indeed, this portrait

was intimately tied to the identity of the nation. In the name of fostering the development of this

national identity, any group of persons that did not easily fit into this imagined community of

wholesome America was defined as a foreign other, facilitating their marginalization and

harassment. In this way, gender/sexuality discourse and nationality became linked as

homosexuals came to symbolize the betrayal of American manhood.14 Gay men were seen as

deviant criminals whose behavior needed to be subdued and punished for the good of the nation.

This purposeful and aggressive enforcement of heterosexual dominance can be seen in

both the state and the culture. For instance, American film helped construct an image of the

polluted homosexual, by portraying gay men on the screen as child molesters and dysfunctional

individuals whose lives ultimately end (or should end) in tragedy.15 Further evidence that

homosexuality was viewed as deviant behavior can be found in the sociological literature from



13 Seidman, 26.
14 Adam.
15 Seidman.










the time,16 and in the fact that homosexuality was listed as in the psychiatric Diagnostic and

Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. During this time, when both the culture and the state

were purposefully and aggressively enforcing heterosexual dominance, the closet was built as an

accommodation to a compulsory heterosexual society and, often times literally, as a method of

survival. 17

Yet within this hateful context, a homophile social movement began to re-emerge. In

1951, the Mattachine Society, named after a court jester who tells unsightly truths from behind a

mask, emerged in Los Angeles with leftist leanings and a stated purpose to "unify, educate, lead,

assist"18 and to mobilize[] a large gay constituency and [weld] it into a cohesive force capable

of militancy."19 However, in 1953, with a change in leadership came a change in movement

strategy from gearing up for militant action to advocating a position of accommodation,

integration, and an image of respectability which they held for over a decade. The Mattachine

Society presented itself to the public as a group interested in addressing the "problems of

homosexuality," not as a gay organization. In some recent literature, "[t]he term homophile [has

become] virtually synonymous with the assimilation strategy of this time."20 In other words,

they believed the best way to accomplish their goals was by presenting themselves as "just like

everybody else," (with one insignificant difference) and by educating both homosexuals and



16 See Maurice Leznoff and William Westley, "The Homosexual Community," in Social Perspectives in Lesbian
and Gay Studies: A Reader, ed. P. Nardi and B. Schneider (New York: Routledge, 1998), 5-11; Albert Reiss, "The
Social Integration of Queers and Peers," in Social Perspectives in Lesbian and Gay Studies: A Reader, ed. P. Nardi
and B. Schneider (New York: Routledge, 1998).

17 Seidman.

18 Adam.

19 John D'Emilio, Sexual Politics, Sexual Communities: The Making of a Homosexual Minority in the United States
1940-1970, (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1983).
20 Adam.









heterosexuals. Though the society did not present itself as explicitly political, it operated using

an interest group political logic,21 one similar to that of an ethnic group that seeks legal

consideration based on minority status.22 In addition to working towards legal rights, the

Mattachine Society helped create social networks among gay men and helped lessen feelings of

isolation through their meetings and also through their publication The Mattachine Review.

Though the Mattachine Society was open to members of both genders, in practice it was a

gay male organization. In 1955, the first post-war lesbian organization arose in San Francisco.

The Daughters of Bilitis, named for Pierre Louys's poems on a lesbian theme, stated education,

development of a library of homosexual material, facilitation of public discussions of

homosexuality involving legal, psychiatric and religious professionals as its objectives. Similar

to the Mattachine Society, they advocated an assimilationist strategy and a mode of behavior and

dress that was acceptable the heterosexual America.23

Rise Up, and Out: Gay Liberation Movement and Lesbian Feminism

In 1964, the Mattachine Society in New York adopted the slogan "Gay Is Good!" and

elected leadership that stood for a more activist stance.24 This signified a shift from a strategy of

assimilation to one of public activism. Implicit in the idea that gay is good is the idea that

homosexuals need not present themselves as heterosexuals who just happened to have a sex

partner of the same gender in order to gain social acceptance and legal rights. Rather, they


21 Elizabeth Armstrong, Forging Gay Identities: Organizing Sexuality in San Francisco, 1950-1994, (Chicago: The
University of Chicago Press, 2002).
22 Stephen Murray, "The Institutional Elaboration of a Quasi-Ethnic Community," in Social Perspectives in
Lesbian and Gay Studies: A Reader, ed. P. Nardi and B. Schneider (New York: Routledge, 1998), 207-14; Steven
Epstein, "Gay Politics, Ethnic Identity: The Limits of Social Constructioninsm," in Social Perspectives in Lesbian
and Gay Studies: A Reader, ed. P. Nardi and B. Schneider (New York: Routledge, 1998), 134-59.
23 Adam.

24 Adam; D'Emilio, Sexual Politics, Sexual Communities.









should proclaim a pride in being gay. This shift from accommodation to activism, from

integration to confrontation, did not happen without resistance. The North American Conference

of Homophile Organizations in 1970 acts as a snapshot, showing how the two movement

strategies and ideologies clashed as gay liberationists confronted homophile organizations. In

the end, it is clear that gay liberation was to be taken seriously, as the conference passed motions

stating that they would support the women's movement, the Black Panthers, withdrawal of

troops from Vietnam, and a memorial in remembrance of the homosexuals persecuted and killed

under Nazi Germany.25 This shift was not specific to the Mattachine Society nor to New York;

it was indicative of a more general shift throughout lesbian and gay organizations across the

nation.

The social and political context in the United States at this time was one of contest; the

1960s was a time when virtually every major U.S. institution was being challenged. This

historical location saw the rise of the black power movement, the women's movement, the

radical student movement, the sexual revolution of the counterculture, peace movements, and

environmental movements. Though working toward different ends, and containing much

internal debate as to how to attain those ends, all these strands of social movements shared a

confrontation with the idealized picture of America. Oversimplified, these movements allowed

the public to see the gap between what this land claimed-freedom and equality-and what

actually occurred in this land. Sharing much with these social movements, and moving into the

social space that was created by them, lesbian and gay movements emerged in different dress.

In such a context of possibility and creativity, it seemed to many gays and lesbians that

"[c]ivil rights and integration seemed like endless begging for the charity of liberals who


25 Adam.









conveniently ignored the everyday physical and psychological violence exerted by homophobic

society."26 "Movement and knowledge creation were indistinguishable in a period when civil

rights, women's, and gay and lesbian movements sought to take back public and scholarly

images and stories about themselves."27 Gays and lesbians wanted self-definition, and the room

to form their own culture where gay people could be free.

"Within two years of the Stonewall Rebellion, gay liberation groups emerged in every

major city and campus in the United States, Canada, Australia, and Western Europe."28 The

Stonewall riots of 1969 are often used as a marker for the start of gay liberation; however, it is

important to remember that gay liberation built upon and interacted with an already formed

homophile movement. Gay liberation began with people who were tired of the homophile

movement's strategy and tactics, and felt a sense of urgency that could not wait for electoral

politics while violence and discrimination continued to affect gays and lesbians on a daily basis.

Liberationists sought to transform heterosexist institutions-not to be included in them. The gay

liberation movement had visions of freeing the homosexual within all individuals; movement

participants believed that everyone, not just gays and lesbians, would benefit from the

destruction of sexual repression. Liberationists saw themselves as challenging the American

standard of heterosexual monogamy, as opposed to working for civil rights based on a minority

group status, and they used tactics and internal organization structures that corresponded to their

goals. Immediate, direct, confrontational public actions, often called "zaps," promoted visibility,

and often drew media attention.



26 Ibid., 80.
27 Ibid., 16.
28 Ibid., 89.









The Gay Liberation Front (NY) is probably the most well-known gay liberation group, but

it was by no means the only one-there was Fight Repression of Erotic Expression (FREE) in

Minneapolis, Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (STAR) in New York, and Third World

Gay Revolution composed of black and Hispanic members.29 As can be inferred from this list of

groups, other marginalized persons rallied in gay liberation, though it has come to be thought of

as a mainly white movement. Liberationists saw their action as connected to broader social

change seeking an end to oppression along the lines of race, class, and gender, and of course,

sexuality, and they pressed for revolution in coalition with other progressive forces. However,

not everyone was happy with this connection to broad social issues, and some wanted to retain a

focus on gay issues. For example, in NY, the Gay Activists Alliance was formed by former

members of the Gay Liberation Front who felt that GLF was disorganized, spreading itself too

thin, and too preoccupied with revolutionary doctrine to effectively deal with the everyday

discrimination still occurring in the meantime. These groups operated with an identity political

logic as homosexuality was reconceptualized as a social and political identity-it was no longer

just about sexual object choice.30 They advocated creation and celebration of gay and lesbian

culture, which they viewed as essential to establishing lesbian and gay identity.

Though lesbians had worked in both the women's movement and in the homophile

movement, they felt their concerns were being ignored in both movements. "Men took for

granted many of the social conditions that made it possible for them to be gay. But lesbians

needed to address fundamental problems facing all women such as equal opportunity in

employment and violence against women in order to have sufficient independence to become



29 Ibid.

30 Armstrong.









lesbians."31 And though lesbians had always been present in the women's movement, they

found themselves being marginalized there too on the basis of sexuality, race, and class, as they

were seen as a threat to the possible success of the movement. As a response to this, lesbians

formed their own organizations pulling from both gay liberation and the women's movement.

This movement of lesbians toward autonomous groups, where they were sure their

concerns would be at the forefront, can be seen in the evolution of group names. For instance, in

NY, the Gay Liberation Front Women's Caucus became Gay Women's Liberation, which later

became Lesbian Feminism; the Gay Activists Alliance Women's Subcommittee became Lesbian

Feminism Liberation.3 The Daughters of Bilitis collapsed as women ceded from the gay

movement in search of their own space, and as homophile thinking was being overtaken with

talk of liberation. In 1971, the Radicalesbians in New York produced the now infamous

Woman Identified Woman Manifesto. During this time, lesbianism was redefined as a sort of

feminist nationalism. This was also a time of lesbian cultural renaissance with multiple

newsletters and journals in circulation, and music festivals abounding. There was a major

realignment of lesbian energy away from furthering the rights of women or gays, toward

specifically lesbians' (those at the intersection of 'women' and 'gay') concerns.

The emphasis on gay and lesbian pride and the celebration of gay and lesbian culture that,

for some, seems par for the course today, is the legacy of the liberation movement. Publicly

acknowledging oneself as a lesbian or gay man, or coming out of the closet is now seen as a right

of passage in the gay and lesbian community. This notion has become so central that we now

speak of 'coming out' narratives and have a National Coming Out Day. Indeed, the idea of



31 Adam, 99.
32 Ibid.









coming out of as we know it today stems from the self-affirmation promoted by gay liberation,

from the idea that 'gay is good.'33

Pride and Beyond: Lesbian and Gay Identity Movement

The challenge that gay liberation posed to the repressive gender and sexual roles of

mainstream America became the reification of gender as either gay male masculinity or lesbian

feminist nationalism at the end of the decade. The socialist challenge that the New Left posed

ironically ended up having just the opposite effect, as commercial ghettos expanded capitalism.

As the New Left declined and the revolution had not come to pass, the redistributive political

logic the New Left worked from was discredited.34 Alongside this decline, "self-professed gay

liberation fronts faded as well, leaving reformist groups in the political field and engendering a

new proliferation of gay and lesbian interest groups organized within existing institutions: in the

workplace, church, the theatre, social services, business, and sports."35

The Reagan era and the rise of the New Right made for a social and political context

hostile to the lesbian and gay movement, and left movement groups with ambivalent political

opportunities. Before the onslaught of AIDS in the early 1980s, There was a rise in violence

directed at gays and lesbians, legal gains repealed, the Briggs Initiative proposed (which was

intended to keep gays and lesbians out of schools), the ERA defeated, and Harvey Milk (the first

openly gay man elected to political office) assassinated. During this time, the lesbian and gay

movements were concerned with state power and carving out a niche for themselves within

existing institutions, and turned once again to a focus on gaining legal protection and civil rights



3 John D'Emilio, "Placing Gay in the Sixties," in Long Time Gone: Sixties America Then and Now, ed. A. Bloom
(New York: Oxford University Press, 2001), 209-29.
34 Armstrong.

35 Adam, 89.









through electoral politics. Organizations such The National Gay Task Force, The Lambda Legal

Defense and Education Fund, and Women's Studies Centers in academia gained prominence as

grassroots and direct action were quelled by a repressive political and social context. Movement

goals included the legal recognition of homosexual couples, attaining elected office, gaining

entry into the military, resisting both police and street violence, and a focus on individual

expression.

The group Queer Nation formed in New York in 1990 by folks who felt that the gay and

lesbian movement had become homogenized, mainly composed of and concerned with the needs

of white upper class males. Many people, including non-whites, bisexuals, and transfolk, did not

feel that the lesbian and gay movement was as inclusive as it claimed. Indeed, they felt

marginalized within a movement that purportedly was working for their social and political

betterment. Queer Nation brought together outcasts, which, some scholars have noted, points to

the contradiction of bringing together those made to feel odd or perverse and affirm sameness by

claiming an identity on the margin.36 Echoes of gay liberation could be seen and heard in groups

such as Queer Nation and ACT UP, as they "combined spontaneous high energy and an

anarchistic internal dynamic that resulted in a wave of high-profile challenges to heterosexism

but also in the division and dissolution of many groups after a couple of years."37 Tired of

electoral politics, and criticizing the desire for inclusion in a corrupt system, or what some saw as

the complicity in gay pride, Queer Nation used direct-action, confrontational tactics to shock the

bourgeoisie into recognizing their existence. This approach can be seen in their slogan: We're

here! We're Queer! Get used to it!


36 Adam; Joshua Gamson, "Must Identity Movements Self-Destruct? A Queer Dilemma," Social Problems 42
(1995): 390-407.
7 Adam, 163.









A Brief History of the Gay and Lesbian Press in the United States

I begin this section of the chapter with a discussion of the first publication aimed at a

lesbian audience, including the author's motivation, the content, and the ways this publication set

the stage for those to follow. Then, I move to the most often mentioned historical publications,

ONE, The Mattachine Review, and The Ladder. These are often discussed in relation to the start

of the gay and lesbian movement in the U.S., as they were all tied to one of the first gay and

lesbian organizations, including the Mattachine Society and the Daughters of Bilitis. I also touch

upon how these publications change over time and with new leadership. Finally, I discuss the

explosion of publications that appeared in the gay and lesbian press at the time of the Stonewall

Rebellion. During this time, the number of publications and the circulation numbers rose

dramatically, as more and more people created an outlet for their voices and helped the

movement reach a crescendo. This discussion leads into my next chapter, where I present two

case studies of two publications produced in the wake of Stonewall, focusing on the functions

they served for the community in which they were circulated.

Commonalities Amongst the Genres of the Dissident Press

The gay and lesbian press needs to be situated in the tradition of an underground press in

the U.S. The U.S. has a rich history of a dissident press existing along side the mainstream press

that stretches back to its beginnings as an independent nation. Indeed, one scholar emphasizes

that the U.S. has a "tradition" of an alternative press, showing that speaking out against the

mainstream in a public forum is not a "time-bound phenomenon."38 Focusing on such varied

causes as the promotion of birth control, abolition, women's suffrage, workers' rights,

communism, socialism, building a utopia, black power, free love, women's liberation, and


38 Lauren Kessler, The Dissident Press: Alternative Journalism in American History, (Beverly Hills: Sage
Publications, 1984), 16. It is this conceptualization of a dissident press that is pertinent to my case studies.









pacifism, the various genres included under the label of "dissident press" all share a couple

aspects in common.

First is the question of the views espoused in the publications of the dissident press.

Regardless of their specific focus, they all promoted ideas that ran counter to mainstream

opinions and beliefs current in their time. Their viewpoints were different from, even in

disagreement with, those in the conventional press. One scholar sharpens this point by

distinguishing between a dissident press and the larger category of an alternative press.

Streitmatter explains the difference as he sees it thus: to be considered part of the dissident press

(and thus included in his book), the publication "not only had to offer a differing view of society

but also had to seek to change society in some discernable way" (italics in original).39

Alternative publications express a view that differs from the mainstream; however, they do not

explicitly have this motivation of effecting social change. For the purposes of categorization,

Streitmatter is unconcerned with whether or not a dissident press is successful in bringing about

social change; the intention to do so is enough.40 He claims it is this explicit motivation for

change that separates a dissident press from the larger category of an alternative press.









39 Rodger Streitmatter, Voices ofRevolution: The Dissident Press in America, (New York: Columbia University
Press, 2001), xi. Kessler does not distinguish between an "alternative" press and a "dissident" press. It is
Streitmatter's conceptualization of a dissident press that is more pertinent to my case studies.
40 It is in this drive that Duncome connects publications of the dissident press with his discussion of 'zines in Notes
from Underground: 'Zines and the Politics ofAlternative Culture, (New York: Verso, 1997). It is here that he finds
one major aspect of their usefulness-in giving people "something to walk towards." In other words, it is the
striving toward the destination that is important, not the goal of reaching it, which he notes, is almost always
untenable. I would add that 'zines are also similar in their publishers' lack of access to print in mainstream
publications, and in their do-it-yourself ethic. A further comparison of modern 'zines with the documents from the
older dissident press may prove interesting for further study.









The second commonality shared by genres in the dissident press is a lack of access in the

conventional press.41 Certainly this is related to their first commonality. The conventional press

was (and largely still is) unwilling to provide a space for these dissident voices. Borrowing from

Upton Sinclair, a dissident journalist of the early twentieth century, Streitmatter notes that

"America's largest and best-known newspapers generally do not champion fundamental social

change but, in reality, construct a "concrete wall" between the American public and alternative

thinking."42 Because their viewpoints found no outlet in the conventional press, many women

and men who actively sought to transform society were forced to create their own publications as

a forum for their ideas. It was often they only way to see their ideas in print, and to put them into

a format that could be circulated. This necessity helps to account for why the publishers would

endure the harsh conditions, including harassment, financial difficulty, and exhaustion, that often

accompanied these endeavors: many of them felt that they had no choice. One member of the

dissident press puts it thus: "Publishers become publishers because they must. [...] Behind it all

is a continuing sense that each of us makes a contribution to a much greater whole."43 In the

case of the dissident press, that greater whole refers to the cause behind the various social

movements these publications triumphed.

Lisa Ben's Vice Versa: America's Gayest Magazine

The gay press started with the desires of a woman known by the pseudonym Lisa Ben, an

anagram of "lesbian," by which she is still known today (although neither that pseudonym nor

her given name were ever printed on her publication). She published the first issue of VICE


41 Kessler; Ed. Diane Kruchkow and Curt Johnson, Green Isle in the Sea: An Informal History of the Alternative
Press, 1960-85 (Illinois: December Press, 1986); Abe Peck, Uncovering the Sixties: The Life and Times of the
Underground Press, (New York: Pantheon Books, 1985); Streitmatter, Voices ofRevolution.
42 Streitmatter, Voices ofRevolution, xii.

43 Robert Fox, "Carpenter Press: A Brief Histroy, and Some Observations," in Kruchkow and Johnson.









VERSA in 1947, and by her second issue, she had added a subtitle: America's GayestMagazine.

Ben methodically typed all twelve copies of each issue (with justified right-hand margins) by

hand while working as a secretary for a boss who had little work for her to do, yet who also

informed her she must look busy at the typewriter at all times, lest others think him not

important. She then distributed each issue by hand at two local lesbian bars in Southern

California, telling the women to pass the magazine along to a friend after they were done with it.

Ben's magazine, as she called it, contained short stories that provided a positive picture of

lesbians, poetry, book and film reviews, and editorials, as did virtually all the gay and lesbian

publications that were to follow. Each issue ranged from nine to twenty pages in length.

Deviating from Streitmatter's qualification as a dissident publication, Ben did not publish VICE

VERSA to effect social change, but rather to keep busy at work and to help her get acquainted

with other women who shared her inclinations. Recently Ben recalled, "I was by myself... I

couldn't go down the street saying: 'I'm looking for lesbian friends.' So this was the only way I

could think of to do it. That's why I started VICE VERSA. It gave me a way of reaching out to

other gay gals-a way of getting to know other girls."44 Though Ben did not found the

magazine with explicitly political intentions, she admits that, looking back, she can see how her

actions were quite political at the time.

Lisa Ben put out a total of nine issues of VICE VERSA before she no longer had the

opportunity or the desire. When a new owner came to the business, her work assignment was

changed, and she no longer had access to a typewriter, paper, and much free time on the job;

however, by this time, she also had a fulfilling social life, and felt that the magazine had




44 Rodger Streitmatter, Unspeakable: The Rise of the Gay and Lesbian Press in America, (Boston: Faber and Faber,
1995), 2-3.









accomplished its original purpose. Ben says, that by February of 1948, she "was discovering

what the lesbian lifestyle was all about, and [she] wanted to live it rather than write about it."45

Groups Begin to Publish: One and The Mattachine Review

A few years later, in January of 1953, ONE was started by a group of gay men in Los

Angeles who were tired of "whispering" to each other over the problems they faced as

homosexuals. One of the founders, Dale Jennings, recalled saying at a meeting: "That's not

enough. We have to talk to more people. The newspapers won't print anything about us. So

let's create a publication of our own. Let's start a magazine."46 ONE took its name from a

quotation by Thomas Carlisle in reference to "a mystic bond of brotherhood [that] makes all men

ONE."47 Indeed, the founders took the word men literally, and by the magazine's second issue,

it was receiving letters complaining about the lack of contributions by women and the lack of

content applicable to women. This exclusion foreshadowed what was to become a major issue in

the gay and lesbian movement.

The Mattachine Society was founded in 1950 in LA as a secret society of gay men who

gathered regularly in each others' homes to socialize and offer mutual support. At the start of the

organization, many members held leftist beliefs; indeed, some were members of the Communist

party. These leftist origins of the Mattachine Society are often glossed over as more emphasis is

placed on the assimilationist viewpoint that came to dominate the magazine under Hal Call's

leadership in 1953. Although the Mattachine Society was already established by the time ONE

came out, the founders of the magazine decided to maintain its independence and to not become

officially tied to the Society. This decision largely stemmed from a disagreement over the

45 Ibid., 5.
46 Ibid., 18.

47 Ibid., 19.









content of the magazine; the Society wanted the magazine to focus on the contributions that

homosexuals had made to literature and other cultural expressions; the founder of ONE wanted

to focus on advocating and gaining equal rights for homosexuals. In January of 1955, Hal Call

founded the Mattachine Review to promote the Society's position of accommodation, in

accordance with its now right political leanings.48

The kind of male gayness these publications helped create included political aspects as

well as social ones. Both publications were concerned with bringing together a gay community,

but it can be argued that that concern was secondary to the goals of covering news that directly

affected gay folk. These publications often reported on the status of laws that affected gay folk,

and on the deliberations that were being held to discuss these laws and to push to have them

overturned. It is likely that the average reader of The Mattachine Review or ONE would not look

like the militant activist who would subscribe to the newsletters of the Gay Liberation Front in

the near future.

The Gay Press Gets Emboldened

By the mid-1960's, new publications had overtaken ONE and the Mattachine Review,

who's circulations diminished in large part because the editors were unwilling to shift their views

in-line with those of a new generation of activists who were beginning to advocate a more

emboldened view of their deserved placed in society. Influenced by the black power movement,

anti-war movement, and the counterculture, these activists who were new to the gay and lesbian

movement did not shy away from powerfully demanding their voice be heard. These new

activists were highly involved in many of the themes that came to define the counterculture. A

number of new publications that appeared in the mid to late 60's, such as Philadelphia's Drum,


48 Ibid.









the Los Angeles Advocate, and the "Homosexual Citizen" column in Screw, so that in mid-1969,

the total circulation of publications of the gay and lesbian press rose to approximately 200,000.

Just in time for the Stonewall Rebellion, the circulation numbers of the gay and lesbian press had

dramatically increased tenfold,49 and the influence from the counterculture could be clearly seen

with the focus on reorganizing sexual relationships in the society.

Movement/Press Relations in Gay Liberation

The history of the gay and lesbian movement is integrated with the history of its press.50 It

may not be wrong to assert that one would not have existed without the other. As the movement

shaped what was included in the content of the publications of what became known as the gay

press, the content of the publications served to help define what became in included in the

movement-even what would define the movement itself. It is in those pages where the

ideological issues of the gay and lesbian movement gained footing and were presented, debated,

generally hashed out by gay folks. It is in those pages where one can see the beginnings of a

community and connection.

In the following chapter, I present two case studies of the newsletters published by the Gay

Liberation Fronts of Washington, DC and Ames, Iowa. I focus on describing the appearance,

structure, content, and style of their publications in order to access how the publications served

their communities. I locate those newsletters within their historical moment by providing

background relevant to their emergence. There has been other work done on the gay and lesbian

movement as a whole, as well as work done on what GLF stood for in particular. In my case




49 Ibid.
50 Alexandra Chasin, Selling Out: The Gay and Lesbian Movement Goes to Market, (New York: St. Martin's Press,
2000).









studies, I focus on the functions of the newsletters first, then draw the larger theory out of my

observations rather then the reverse. I engage in telling history from the ground up.









CHAPTER 3
ANALYSES OF SELECT GAY LIBERATION FRONT NEWSLETTERS PUBLISHED IN
WASHINGTON D.C. AND AMES, IOWA

The Publications of Gay Liberation Front of Washington D.C.

The Surrounding Context for Gay Liberation Front of Washington D.C.

When the Gay Liberation Front of Washington D.C. formed and began putting out their

GLFNewsletter in the summer of 1970, it was not for lack of gay organizing or a gay newsletter

in the area. The Mattachine Society of Washington D.C. (MSW) published a newsletter for its

members semi-regularly from 1966 until 1970.51 In one of its last issues, The Insider announces

that The Gay Blade will soon be ready for distribution "in bars and other public places. This will

be a newsletter/community bulletin board/scandal sheet which will carry news of the D.C. gay

community and information for the gay community."52 Indeed, the first issue of The Gay Blade

appeared, courtesy of Nancy Tucker and Art Stone (pseudonym for Bart Wenger, a member of

MSW), in October, 1969. Though this newsletter was backed by the Mattachine Society, it was

officially independent of the organization.53 By this time, there were at least seven gay

organizations/groups ranging from the Mattachine Society to the Spartans, D.C.'s first gay

motorcycle club in the city, but there was no central meeting place-physical or metaphorical.

The first issue of The Gay Blade was one single sided page long and was divided into three

columns. It was distributed personally by Stone to individuals because bar owners would not





51 The Rainbow History Project, "The Insider: Newsletter of the Mattachine Society of Washington,"
Imlp \ %\ \ .rainbowhistory.org/insider.htm (accessed September 29, 2007).
52 Anonymous, "Dropping the Middle Class Bag," The Insider: Newsletter of the Mattachine Society of
Washington, October 1969, eds. Eva Freud and Richard Schaeffers, hulp \ w\ .rainbowhistory.org/insider.htm
(accessed September 29, 2007).
53 The Rainbow History Project, "Newspaper of Record: 35 Years of The Washington Blade,"
Ihp \ %\ \ .rainbowhistory.org/blade.pdf (accessed September 29, 2007).









allow stacks of the newsletter to be left in their businesses.54 True to its preview description in

The Insider, The Gay Blade contained announcements of MSW social activities, its own

roommate referral service, the availability of books and article for and about homosexuals,

contact information for Frank Kameny (then President of MSW), alerts for upcoming meetings,

and other random information pertinent to gays in the D.C. area. The first issue also contained a

piece on the formation of the Gay Liberation Front in New York and its picket that forced the

Village Voice to change its advertising policy.55 Most of the entries in The Gay Blade consisted

of no more than a couple of sentences.5

The content of The Gay Blade reflected the vision that Tucker held for the publication.

She wanted a publication that would "engender a sense of community. I felt it was very

important for gays to become acquainted with one another. Publicity encourages self-

confidence, it creates self-respect.""57 Tucker's concern for gays' self-respect is in the same line

as Kameny's desire to inform gays of their legal rights at a time when police harassment,

blackmail, and the draft were significant issues in gay people's lives. Kameny consistently

advertised his (and Mattachine's) legal services in The Gay Blade. Also, the second issue of The

Gay Blade had a flyer attached, entitled "Blackmailer at Work in DuPont Circle Area," that gave

a detailed description of how this person blackmails gays who he thinks are cruising the area,

and three detailed ways for the victim to respond to the blackmail. It even includes predictions





54 Ibid.
55 Nancy Tucker and Art Stone, eds. "Gay Liberation Front," The Gay Blade 1.1, October 1969,
lhp %\ "\ \ .rainbowhistory.org/FirstBlades.pdf (accessed September 30, 2007).
56 That is until, of course, the newsletter expanded its one page format.

57 Nancy Tucker, The Gay Blade, October 1973, quoted in The Rainbow History Project, "Newspaper of Record."









as to how the blackmailer would react to each of the three offered responses.58 Further reflecting

its focus on the local community, some of the features that have come to define The Gay Blade

are the classified, which expressly forbid ads for sex or romantic relationships, and the calendar

of local events, which was augmented with a section "Of Special Interest to Women" in 1973.59

Gay Liberation Front Forms in D.C.

When the Gay Liberation Front of Washington D.C. formed, they were hardly the first

organizing group of gay people, nor was their newsletter the first if its kind. Indeed, their

publication seemed to draw upon the feel of The Gay Blade as a community bulletin board;

however, the community it was geared towards does not seem to be the entire gay community,

but rather those members active in (or desiring to be active in) gay liberation. The group formed

approximately one year after the Stonewall riots in New York in response to a series of letters to

the editor and articles that appeared in a local underground newspaper. At the beginning of June,

1970, Mike Yarr wrote to the editor of Quicksilver Times in protest of the newspaper's use of the

word "sucks" in a headline of the previous issue, designed to express negative feelings towards

an individual. Yarr contends that use of the word "sucks" in such a manner contributes to the

oppression of gay persons, particularly in the form of self-hatred as gay individuals see the

sexual behavior of "sucking cocks" used as a euphemism to describe things as negative and/or






58 The Community Service Committee of the Mattachine Society of Washington, "Blackmailer at Work in DuPont
Circle Area" The Gay Blade 1.2, November 1969, http://www.rainbowhistory.org/FirstBlades.pdf (accessed
September 30, 2007). This topic would reappear in The Gay Blade (March 1970), and here, would include the
directive to tell one's friends about the details because many victims of this blackmailer "never go near the bars and
haven't seen the warnings," explicitly encouraging gays to watch out for each other.
59 The Rainbow History Project, "Newspaper of Record." The Gay Blade gained a famed status in D.C. as well as
a fierce loyal following. The publication, though appearing extremely different from its first issues, exists today as
The Washington Blade.









disgusting.60 Yarr maintains that "inadvertent slurs against gay people such as [the one used in

the offensive headline] within the 'liberation movement' point out the necessity in Washington

for gay radicals, militants, and revolutionaries to get our shit together."61 At the end of his letter,

Mike Yarr listed a phone number where "all gay movement people interested in forming a Gay

Liberation Front here" could contact him.62

In the following issue of the paper, Quicksilver Times ran an article by D. Aiken entitled

"Gay Liberation comes to D.C." inspired by the first Gay Pride Week, marking the first

anniversary of the "Christopher Street Riots" (now usually referred to as the Stonewall Riots, or

simply, Stonewall). Aiken's article makes reference to Mike Yarr's letter and informs readers

that many people (about 70) did respond to Yarr's call to form a "Gay Lib group." In his article,

Aiken mentions some of the things Gay Lib groups in other cities have done, such as work to

repeal sodomy laws, protest the firing of gay persons from their jobs, boycott overpriced gay

bars that pay off either the police or the mob or both to obtain protection or avoid raids, and

arrange social events where gay people can meet each other (and "right-on straights") in a

relaxed atmosphere outside of bars and public places. Aiken also emphasizes the need for a Gay

Lib group as a support network for those who are dealing or will deal with "internal hang ups"

and "the repression they feel from a society which demands conformity." Finally, Aiken touches

on an issue that will resurface throughout the years of gay liberation; he states the importance of


60 Mike Yarr, Quicksilver Times June 9-19, 1970, Letters section, lhp %\ \\ \\ .rainbowhistory.org/glf.htm (accessed
September 29, 2007). Both the use of the word "sucks" as an expression of intense dislike and the actual act of
cock-sucking appear again and again in the newsletters.
61 Ibid.

62 Ibid. It is significant to mention the Editor's Note underneath Yarr's letter: "Mike Yarr's criticism...and his
ensuing analysis are so obviously correct, all we can do is apologize and say in the future we will try to delete
idiomatic language which in fact is nothing more than unconscious predjudice." Also, please note that I will not use
the common indication of an error in a direct quote ([sic]) for this document, unless the error is one that may confuse
the meaning of the quotation.









gay men and gay women working together in Gay Lib, even though "women will almost

certainly want to have their own separate rap sessions." Aiken also closes his article by

providing contact information for himself, Mike Yarr, and Mike Gritz for anyone interested in

"rap[ping] with somebody about the idea of gay lib."63

The third article in Quicksilver Times that facilitated the formation of a Gay Liberation

Front in Washington D.C. was written by "a radical lesbian" in the July 14-24, 1970 issue. This

article, entitled "Gay Liberation," gives a description of the author's perception of her experience

at the Gay Pride Parade, including the supportive and derogatory remarks from folks on the

sidelines, the author's response to some of those remarks, the irony of having a permit and police

protection for the parade to commemorate riots which happened because of police raids the

previous year, and the various groups that came together from all over the East Coast to march.

The final sentence of this article reads: "For those sisters and brothers who are ready to 'come

out and live,' we meet Tuesdays at 8:00 pm at Grace Episcopal Church in Georgetown."64 This

is significant because it shows that in less than a month and a half, folks in DC had brought GLF

into being.

The GLF Newsletter: A Bulletin Board for the Gay Community

Once established (and I use that word loosely) as a group, GLF-DC did not waste anytime

in putting out the GLF Newsletter during the summer of 1970.65 The GLF Newsletter was

printed weekly and served as a sort of bulletin board for those interested in or already


63 D. Aiken, "Gay Liberation Comes to D.C.," Quicksilver Times, June 23-July 3, 1970,
www.rainbowhistoryorg/glf.htm (accessed September 29, 2007).
64 A Radical Lesbian, "Gay Liberation," Quicksilver Times, July 14-24, 1970, www.rainbowhistoryorg/glf.htm
(accessed September, 29, 2007).
65 By my estimation, the first issue was published at the beginning of August, 1970. As the newsletter was
published on a weekly basis, I obtained this approximation by working backwards from Vol. 1.9 (the earliest issue in
my possession), which appeared on October 6, 1970.









participating in gay liberation. The issues I have range from four (4) to six (6) single-sided typed

pages in length, and were published in October and November, 1970. They are all titled GLF

Newsletter, and the "G" in GLF is shaped like the symbol used for "male" (a circle with an arrow

pointing out from the circle on one side). The newsletters look like they were put together

hastily, sometimes containing text that runs crooked down the page, which makes sense

considering GLF produced a new issue each week. The contents of each issue include notes

from GLF general meetings, tales of plans for and results of "radical action" done by GLFers

(such as protests), comments on what was discussed in previous rap sessions, announcements for

upcoming meetings and dances and guest speakers, contact information for local gay groups,

articles taken from other newspapers that pertain to gay liberation, an open invitation to readers

to come to a meeting or participate with specific projects, and the occasional review of a

television show or a film.

One of the main functions of Gay Liberation Front's (DC) newsletter was to make the

contents of the weekly meeting accessible to readers. To that end, each issue has an informal

account of Tuesday meeting's minutes. For instance, the section entitled "Cruising Around at

Tuesday Meeting" in the October 6, 1970 issue tells readers that Kent has been distributing "The

Gay Manifesto" on campuses, Joe will be appearing on a local television show (wearing dark

glasses to protect his job) to publicize GLF, and that money was collected to fund the phone

service for the Commune, but more money is needed. Also at the meeting, one of the few

persons referred to by his full name in these newsletters, Frank Kameny, suggested that GLF and

the Homophile Social League jointly hold a dance.66



66 Gay Liberation Front of Washington D.C., "Cruising Around at Tuesday Meeting," GLF Newsletter 1.9, October
6, 1970, www.rainbowhistoryorg/glfl.9.pdf (accessed January 12, 2007).










Finally, contained in these minutes is an announcement that the "political action

committee" is planning a meeting with gay bar owners in the near future, and the writer is

optimistic about developing a "permanent working committee with the bar owners."67 Relations

between gay bars and gay liberation groups were often conflicted. On the one hand, the bars

have a history of being a public gathering place for gay persons, and having so few, many gay

patrons did not want to give up that meeting place, and many wanted to actively support those

owned and/or run by gay persons. On the other hand, these bars were far from the ideal.68 The

management was often charged with engaging in racist and/or sexist practices. Often times the

owners had to pay off the local police to avoid raids or the local mobsters to obtain some

semblance of protection. This frustrated many patrons, as did the watered-down, over-priced

drinks. So the prospect of a working relationship between GLFers and bar owners must have

been an exciting one indeed. A few weeks later, Chuck Hall reported in the newsletter that a

meeting was scheduled "with the barowners to talk over racial and sexual discrimination in the

gay bars. At present, the prospects bode well for a productive discussion."69

By mid-November, however, the prospects had closed, as Chuck reported that his final

efforts to talk with bar owners had been ignored, and that "from all indications, the barowners do

not intend to discuss this subject [the practice of racial and sexual discrimination] voluntarily."


67 Ibid.

68 Adam; Arther Bell, Dancing the Gay Lib Blues, (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1971); D'Emilio, Sexual
Politics, Sexual Communities; John Murphy, Homosexual Liberation: A Personal View, (New York: Praeger
Publishers, 1971). The dissatisfaction many gay men felt with the conditions of gay bars at this time was voiced
repeatedly, both directly and indirectly, in many of the newsletters and memoirs of the time. A number of activists
were concerned with providing an alternative to bars as a social meeting place for gay men. This was one of the
purposes of the dances sponsored by Mattachine and GLF.
69 Gay Liberation Front of Washington D.C., "October 20 Meeting," GLF Newsletter 1.12, October 27, 1970,
www.rainbowhistoryorg/glfl. 12.pdf (accessed January 12, 2007). It should be noted that when referring to sc\ul
discrimination," the author is referring to what we would call "gender discrimination" today, or the practice of
discriminating against women (or in this case specifically, against lesbians as women). The author is not referring to
discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in this case.









This led into a long discussion at the GLF general meeting about what should be done in

response to the bar owners' refusal to address their offensive practices. There was a consensus

that discrimination in bars is "palpable and real," but members were divided as to how to

respond. Some felt direct confrontation was necessary, with one member suggesting that they

burn down the offending bars; some were in favor of direct non-violent legal confrontation,

while some opposed this route, saying that legal confrontation would not be effective given that

the courts do not work for the people.70

There was an editorial in this same newsletter, giving space for other considerations

surrounding what should be done. The author of the editorial focuses on one comment made at

the meeting, forwarding the idea that "there will be such discrimination as long as a sizeable

portion of the gay community desires it." Recognizing that picketing gay bars that discriminate

against "blacks and women" may force them to change their practices, but it cannot force them

to make black and/or female patrons feel comfortable inside the establishment. Rather, this

comes from the clientele. The author suggests that if there was no desire for segregated bars on

the part of some members of the gay community in the first place, there would be no problem

with discriminatory practices. Therefore, little is gained by successful picketing of a bar because

the root of the problem lies in people's desire for segregation. As follows, the root of the

solution should be "effort directed towards 'educating' the bigoted gays whose needs create the

segregated bar."71 Whether or not this education is possible is another subject, according to the

author.



70 Gay Liberation Front of Washington D.C., Nic~\ from the Liaison Committee," GLF Newsletter 1.14,
November 10, 1970, www.rainbowhistoryorg/glfl. 14.pdf (accessed January 12, 2007).

1 Gay Liberation Front of Washington D. C., "Editorial: The Discussion at Tuesday's Meeting Regarding -," GLF
Newsletter 1.14, November 10, 1970, www.rainbowhistoryorg/glfl.14.pdf (accessed January 12, 2007).









A second important function of the newsletter was to report on both the planning of and

results of "radical actions" taken by GLF members. These radical actions include protests,

pickets, demonstrations, rallies, marches, conferences, and zaps. Frequently, the actions are tied

to what some would call a non-gay issue, or an issue that is not obviously and directly

concerning gay persons qua gay persons. In the newsletters, the GLF presence at these actions is

intended to show solidarity with other oppressed groups. For example, a piece entitled "Radical

Action" notes that members of the "GLF radical caucus" were present at the planning meetings

for a demonstration against Nguyen Cao Ky (South Vietnames Vice Premier) in Washington.

According to the author, the members were "acting on the principal that the oppression which

foreign intervention and Ky's corrupt government bring on the Vietnamese people is of concern

to gay people as an oppressed group."72 Here, GLFers extend their solidarity with oppressed

persons outside the U.S., and actually link U.S. imperialism with their own domestic oppression

by the American government.

Members of GLF need not go outside the U.S. to find oppressed groups to align

themselves with though; throughout the newsletters, there are instances where GLF members

align themselves with other oppressed groups in the U.S., including blacks, women, and Native

Americans.73 For instance, when the demonstration mentioned above was no longer useful

(because Ny decided not to go to Washington, D.C.), the GLF radical caucus turned their

attention to Mclntire, a Christian fundamentalist who spent much effort on advocating victory in





72 GLF of D.C., "Radical Action," GLFNewsletter 1.9.

73 Whether this alignment with other oppressed groups on the part of GLFers was a step towards coalition between
groups or an inappropriate parallel that over-simplifies the complexities of socio-political relations is beyond the
scope of this thesis.









Vietnam.74 They joined "the Yippies and other free souls" and put together a rock festival and

rally scheduled for the same time as McIntire's rally. The newsletter reports that "the GLF

presence was made known at the Saturday rock concert by three members dressed as Indians-

symbolizing another segment of the American population which has felt centuries of

oppression." Here, GLFers draw a parallel between Native Americans and gay individuals as

oppressed groups, and they also imply a parallel between both those groups and the Vietnamese,

as they chose to direct their action at McIntire's rally.

A later issue of the newsletter contains another example of GLF making an attempt to align

themselves with other oppressed groups. This issue reports that the general Tuesday meeting

was dominated by two general discussions, one being whether or not to send a letter of support to

Angela Davis and whether to do so in the name of GLF. Though it is unclear whether or not the

letter was actually sent to Davis at the Women's Detention Center in New York, the letter is

reprinted in the newsletter. In it, GLF expresses support and admiration for Davis, saying "Your

courage is an example and an inspiration to oppressed people everywhere on earth...No matter

what physical distances or physical appearances seem to separate us, we are one in spirit. You

deserve and have won the love and respect of all those who cherish freedom." If we sift

thorough the air of liberal humanism (and read Angela Davis as representing black folks), we can

see that GLF implies that blacks and gays are connected in their oppression. This is an idea that

reappears in newsletters from other Gay Liberation Fronts as well. Articles in the various

newsletters put forth the viewpoint that although non-gay issues do not relate to gay persons as



74 The Christian Century Foundation, "Fundamentalist gadfly Carl Mclntire dies," Christian Century, April 10,
2002, Obituary section, http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_ml058/is 8 119/ai_85106524 (accessed September,
21, 2007).
75 GLF of D.C., "Radical Action," GLFNewsletter 1.9.









gay persons, they do in fact directly concern gay individuals as members of an oppressed
76
group.

In tracing the development of gay-centered publications in Washington D.C., we being to

see that there was a diverse gay community that could, in fact, support multiple gay-focused

publications. This seems to follow from Washington D.C. being a political center of the U.S.

Activism on behalf of gay folk had been occurring in D.C. for some time before the first issue of

GLF Newsletter came to print, and there was already a gay-centered publication that discussed

relevant news items and one that acted as a social event calendar. In this context, GLF

Newsletter could come into the scene and focus on the more political and social activist concerns

of gay folk in Washington D.C. Ames, Iowa, on the other hand, was no such political center for

the country with an established community. There were no other gay-centered publications for

GLF to interact with in the early 1970s, and approximately half the population of Ames was

undergraduate students. One might expect a gay-centered publication to look, feel, and read

quite different from one in D.C., and indeed, it did.

The Publications of Gay Liberation Front of Ames, Iowa

The Surrounding Context for Gay Liberation Front of Ames, Iowa

Quite the contrast to the urban metropolis of Washington D.C., Ames is a small college

town, spanning just over 20 square miles in land mass, located in central Iowa. According to

Wikipedia, the town was originally founded as a station stop on the Cedar Rapids and Missouri

Railroad. Currently, the largest employers in Ames are state and federal institutions followed by

various manufacturers, including Barilla pasta and Ball canning jars. It is home to Iowa State


76 GLF of D.C., "The Infamous Letter," GLFNewsletter 1.12. The differing opinions among GLFers as to whether
GLF (and gay individuals more generally) should spend time and energy on non-gay issues is a major influence
behind the splintering off of members of GLF into other groups. The Gay Activist Alliance (GAA) was formed in
this way by members who were dissatisfied with the structure of GLF and the breadth of its activism.









University of Science and Technology (ISU), which began as Iowa State College of Agriculture

and Mechanic Arts in 1856. The first building on campus-the Farm House-was built in 1860.

In 2000, Ames had a population of approximately 50,000, and approximately 25,000 students

were enrolled at ISU. I realize this census data is not from the time period pertaining to my

research, yet this brief introduction serves to highlight Ames as a college town which has the

university and agriculture as its sustaining forces. As the 1970s dawned, there were no gay bars

in the town, no publications that focused on gay folk, and no readily visible gay groups for

students to join for social and/or political purposes. It is in this small college town setting that

the Gay Liberation Front of Ames, Iowa formed on the university campus.

Gay Liberation Front Forms in Ames, Iowa

The Gay Liberation Front of Ames, Iowa formed in the fall quarter of the 1971-72 school

year at Iowa State University. According to one of the founding members, "to be technically

correct, a bit wryly ironic, Iowa State University Gay Liberation meetings first took place in

married student housing" at the residence of Joey Franco located in Pammel Court.77 Gay

Liberation Front at Iowa State made its first public appearance in written form in the Letters to

the Editor section of ISUDaily newspaper. Signed by Gay Liberation Front-Ames, the letter

denounced both obvious and subtle discrimination against homosexuals on campus, and

announces that the gay community can no longer remain silent and invisible.78 The letter

specifically opposes the University's presentation of the play The Boys in the Band, which they

argue perpetuates negative stereotypes about gays and is not representative of the gay

community. The closing statement demands equality, and announces GLF's presence to the ISU

77 Dennis Brumm, "My Own Early Gay History," http://www.brumm.com/gaylib/earlybrumm.html (accessed
September 21, 2007).

8 Gay Liberation Front-Ames, "Homosexuals Discriminated Against," ISUDaily, December 1970,
hlp %\ \ .brumm.com/gaylib/boysbandl971_l.html (accessed January 27, 2007).









community: "We demand to be given the same rights and privileges as heterosexuals, and we

will begin to come out now and assume our equal status in society."79

During the fall quarter, the meetings at Pammel Court were private gatherings, but the first

open meeting did not occur until the winter quarter. The first public meeting was held at the

YMCA on Iowa State's campus and drew 11 people, both women, and men and a reporter for the

ISUDaily newspaper, Linda Kohl.80 Both Kohl's article and Dennis Brumm's personal account

of that first public meeting speak of high tension in the room and that no one really knew what to

expect at the meeting. Brumm recalls that many people were silent at the meeting because of the

real or imagined risks they felt they were taking by attending the meeting; he speaks of his own

fear in attending: "I was convinced by going to this meeting that the next day everybody would

know I'd gone and then they would inevitably beat the living shit out of me over and over

again," and was relieved when he arrived to find that "no threatening angry people were waiting

outside to kill us."81 Brumm is quick to note that this meeting was unlike any other he would (or

had) experienced) in gay liberation-there was no planned agenda, no voting on officers, no

chatting among participants, no demonstration planning. Explaining the title of his article,

Brumm writes that the meeting "was special and horrible and wonderful all mixed into one

setting. It's hard to even think of it as a meeting; it was a political statement mixed in with a

viewing: we were being viewed because we were at something that had never happened on






79 Ibid.

80 Linda Kohl, "Gay Liberation Front Organizes Here," ISUDaily, December, 14, 1971,
mhp \ \ .brunumm.com/gaylib/glforganizesl971.html (accessed January 27, 2007).
81 Dennis Brumm, "The First Public 'Meeting'," hllp \ \\ \ .brumm.com/gaylib/glforganizesl971.html (accessed
January 27, 2007).









campus or [in] Ames before and even if we were an unknown, yet rumored, minority group, the

humans came out of curiosity to see what else we might be."82

Both Brumm and Kohl agree that the tension lessened as she began to ask questions about

the group. One member, Joe Franco, said that GLF has two main goals: "the first, and most

important, is to foster a sense of community and self-respect among gay people... The second

purpose... is to inform straight people that 'we are gay people who are not ashamed of what we

are and are not sick or perverted."' Kohl's article in the Daily focuses on discrimination towards

gays taking place on Iowa State's campus, including negative remarks made by professors about

gay writers when their work is used in English classes, and a gay person being asked to resign

once the university administration discovered he was gay. The article ends with Franco speaking

about how gay liberation (and women's liberation) came out of the struggle against oppression,

and explaining that GLF did not make the group public until recently because they needed to be

prepared by other liberation groups.83

In April 1972, the Gay Liberation Front held its second open meeting, which prompted

another article in the ISUDaily. The four GLF members present at the meeting agreed that

"since some members of the group do not want to be harassed by a large number of students...no

one person should be singled out." Though no last names are used in the article, it is safe to

assume that "Joe" is Joe Franco, a founding member of the group, who had made several public

appearances by this time and had become a spokesperson for GLF of Ames, and "Al" is Allen

Bell. The purpose behind the open meetings and speaking engagements is to combat

stereotypical notions of gay persons, as a way to educate both gays and straights in the



82 Ibid.

83 Kohl, "Gay Liberation Front Organizes Here," ISUDaily.









community. The article cites three common stereotypes "that just are not true" according to GLF

members-homosexuals are feminine, promiscuous, and they attack young children. The first

question members are asked is "why?" which members find "irrelevant and stupid." According

to Al, often the response is to turn the question around and ask the straight "'why are you a

heterosexual?'" Recognizing the importance of the historical moment, Al notes that this

response is more possible now with the explosion of gay liberation groups coming into public

view, as these groups have helped dispel the notion that homosexuality is a sickness. To

continue this mission of public education, the article closes by saying that GLF would be happy

to communicate with both gays and straights and to answer any questions people may have.84

During the following school year, 1972-73, the Gay Liberation Front turned its focus

inward. Members moved away from public speaking engagements designed to educate others

about gay persons, as they spent most of their energies on each other in "rap sessions." The shift

in focus prompted GLF to change its name to Gay Men's Rap Group that year. Dennis Brumm

speculates that changing the name of the group made it more accessible for a wider range of

people, "because rapping was less scary than liberating was." This turn inward was a logical

outgrowth from the meetings GLF held last year, according to Brumm. He describes the

dynamic at the sessions as follows, "often times we spent meetings having weekly meetings to

discuss what we weren't discussing properly in the meetings and supporting each other through

all the day to day trials we were having among ourselves or the tribulations we felt up against

living in a hostile world." Here, the inward focus is clear. At these sessions, gay men would

come together to talk about whatever they were dealing with in their personal lives, including



84 Unknown, "Gay Liberation Frowns on Stereotyping," ISUDaily, April 27, 1972,
http://www.brumm.com/gaylib/glffrownsl972.html (accessed January 27, 2007). Working against stereotypes is a
common purpose for many GLF groups, and continues to be a source of controversy today.









instances of oppression, feelings and fears about coming out, and what would go on at the next

session. They expressed concerned about the group as a whole as well as the individual

members. This was a fertile time for personal growth for the new members "who didn't

necessarily feel they wanted to be overtly political animals. Joey Franco sat back some and let

grow what he started."85

On May 12, 1973, the school year came to a close on a celebratory note with the first gay

dance in Ames sponsored by the Gay Community Alliance, "a name we concocted for a group

hug between the Gay Men's Rap Group and Lesbian Alliance." The only publicity for the dance

was an advertisement in the ISUDaily that ran for the three days before the event. It seemed

appropriate to end the year with a social event, as the majority of the year had been spent not on

outwardly political actions, but on internal personal growth. Brumm recalls that the stage was

set now for the group to turn its focus back toward the public, and though the rap sessions were

vital to the group and its members, "it was time to do something besides simply talking."86

That fall semester, the group decided to formalize which meant establishing a leadership of

two co-chairmen and writing a constitution that would describe the group's goals. The reasons

behind this decision included to strengthen the group, to prepare to approach the Government of

the Student Body (GSB) for formal recognition (i.e. funding), and to appease some of the older

group members who claimed that they would quit the group if it did not formalize. As the group

discussed its constitution, members differed in opinion on what should be the central focus of the


85 Dennis Brumm, "Gay Liberation and the ISU School Year 1972-1973,"
http://www.brumm.com/gaylib/gaylibl972-1973.html (accessed January 27, 2007). These group "rap sessions"
served similar functions, and indeed were based on, the consciousness-raising sessions popular in the women's
movement. Brumm also believes that the Lesbian Alliance began in the same school year, and though there were
both women and men present at the first public meeting of GLF, after then, "the men and women were essentially
separate groups."
86 Dennis Brumm, "Gay Community Alliance Dance," http://www.brumm.com/gaylib/dance05--1973.html
(accessed September 22, 2007).









group. Some felt that "the group should be more person-oriented I helping new members to

accept their gayness, and to feel comfortable with themselves and with those around them."

Other members, particularly those who had already been "rapping" with the group for a year or

two, wanted to be more publicly activist-orientated; one member said he wanted "'to work

socially; repealing laws, and making people aware of the gay person as a worthwhile human

being.""' Here, the emphasis is on educating the public and working toward the breakdown of

stereotypes, as opposed to dealing with internal struggles. When the group decided to formalize,

they were not all in agreement concerning the group's purpose, and members differed in the level

of explicitly political activity they were willing to engage in.

From Gayly Forward to Sarah Bernhardt's Farewell American Tour: A Textual Meeting
Place for the Gay Community

The freshly-named Gay Peoples Liberation Alliance88 published three issues of its monthly

newsletter beginning in February, 1974. The first three issue are titled Gayly Forward and range

from six to ten pages in length. The amount of sketches and artwork is minimal, though it does

increase with each sequential issue. The third issue is the first to have a cover page, and it is

adorned with a sketched line drawing of the back of a nude male. This is also the first issue

where "funded by the government of the student body of iowa state university" was typed on the

cover, though the group obtained funding from the GBS earlier that semester. The issues of

Gayly Forward include reports of public action taken by members, news articles pertinent to the

gay community, articles on what gay liberation means and why it is necessary, analyses of how

oppression works against gays, poetry, personal letters, suggested reading lists that include

8 Alan Rabe, "Gay Groups Plan Goals," ISUDaily: New Dimensions, September 17, 1973,
http://www.brumm.com/gaylib/newdimensionsl973_6.html (accessed January 27, 2007).
88 I could not find an explanation as to why the name was changed again; however, I venture that it had something
to do with the decision to formalize the group and to add social change explicitly to the group's goals. The name
change is declared in the group's official constitution.









positive portrayals of gays and lesbians, and contact information for GPLA and Lesbian

Alliance.

Gayly Forward acted as an introduction to gay liberation for readers, as well as a medium

for figuring out what gay liberation means and entails. An article entitled "Gay Lib Doesn't

Draw Crowds" in the first issue anticipates and addresses readers concerns about coming to a

gay liberation meeting. The writer recognizes the fear that prevents many individuals from

attending is the "result of living in a hostile, anti-Gay society" and/or the misconception that

once a person attends a meeting, he has to come out publicly. Some also avoid coming to

meetings because they fear they will be labeled a homosexual too, and thereby lose their friends

and prestige. While this is a real risk, the author affirms, the meetings can serve an important

function in simply giving an individual someone to talk to. "This is the supportive role of Gay

Liberation, which is just as important as the political and social roles."89 Here, the writer claims

that gay liberation is about building and supporting a gay community just as much as it is about

demonstration in the streets for broad social and political change.

In the same issue, there is another article that implicitly stresses the importance of the

supportive role of gay liberation. In "The Mechanics Involved in Oppression," the author

devotes much space to internalized oppression, where often oppressed peoples believe[] the

propaganda of the oppressor." The author makes a graphic analogy about the process of

internalizing one's oppression to bring out the violence inherent in the act: "It's much the same

process as one tending to internalize knuckles from a fist shoved down one's throat." With this

image, the author gets at the invasive process of internalizing oppression in a way that calling it

"internalizing" does not. Dealing with internalized oppression, and the low self-esteem that is

89 Gay Peoples Liberation Alliance, "Gay Liberation Doesn't Draw Crowds," Gayly Forward 1.1, February 1974,
http://www.brumm.com/gaylib/newsletters/index.html (accessed January, 22 2007).









often tied to it are "the biggest battles we often have to fight," they are often more painful and

trying than those "fought with the establishment or the bigot." Before one can fight internalized

oppression, one must first see that one is being oppressed and has bought into that destructive

system. This is where the rap sessions of gay liberation start to come in and play a supportive

role; this is what one new member meant when he said he needed the group "to help [him] get

[his] head together."90 Discovering systematic oppression, and discovering that you have been

socialized to behave in a way that upholds that destructive system, can turn your world inside

out. It helps to be around other persons who have gone or are going through a similar

experience.

Related to the idea that this newsletter serves as a space to create meaning around and

about gay liberation in Ames is the emphasis placed on community participation with the

newsletter. Gayly Forward also acts as a forum for the emerging gay community at (and around)

Iowa State. The authors recognize they are doing something new and important, and they do not

want to do it without input from those they are attempting to engage. The last article in the first

issue speaks to this and almost begs for comments and contributions from readers: "This is the

first issue of GAYLY FORWARD. Though it may be haphazard, non-professional, too radical

or not radical enough, irrelevant, not newsworthy, or any of a number of other possible

criticisms, it is hopefully an important step for the consciousness of the Gay Community of

Ames and Central Iowa... If you are a Sister or Brother, Gay, Straight, Bisexual, Androgenous,

Polymorphous Perverse, unlabellable, dead or alive, or none of the above and have an opinion

about this newsletter/paper/whatever it is, send it to the above address."91 The authors are



90 Gay Peoples Liberation Alliance, "The Mechanics Involved in Oppression," Gayly Forward 1.1.
91 Gay Peoples Liberation Alliance, "Gayly Forward No. 1...What Do You Think?!," Gayly Forward 1.1. Capital
letters and other rules of standard English were not always used in the newsletters. In direct quotes, I have kept the









soliciting participation in the construction of the newsletter from readers; they are asking others

to help construct gay liberation. This emphasis on the newsletters as a community forum is not

contained to the first issue. Rather, it continues for the life of the newsletter. It is stated directly

in the third issue: "we need your criticisms if this paper is to work; write us and tell us what

you're feeling and why...g.f [Gayly Forward] is a chance for the gay voice of iowa to be heard

pro and con about anything. we have so much to talk about, so much we must do -- all of it

together. use whatever non-ism language that'll get the point across."92

The previous quote is also useful for introducing another function, found in varying

degrees, of the Ames newsletters. In making gay liberation meaningful, the members attempt to

align gay liberation with the liberation of all oppressed peoples. In other words, they attempt to

make gay liberation a non-specificly gay issue, or one that includes consciousness of other

oppressed groups and how their liberation and oppression ties into gay liberation and the

oppression of gay folks. Instructing contributors to use "non-ism language" signals to readers

that not only heterosexist, but also sexist, racist, classist, etc. language will not be tolerated in the

newsletter. The author stresses that point that gay folk are not somehow let off the hook of self-

examination by virtue of being an oppressed group: "as men in this society we're responsible for

the continued oppression of many, many people including ourselves...being gay does not

automatically relieve us from the position of white, supremacist, macho, chauvenist, capitalist

male or what has been done to most of the people of this society. we must do what we can to

bring the supremacist, chauvenist, capitalist-pig, sexist, ageist, homophobic, racist male and



form of the text as it appears in the newsletter. In the footnotes and citations, I have imposed the rules of standard
English for the sake of clarity.
92 Gay Peoples Liberation Alliance, "No Capitals," Gayly Forward 1.3, April-May 1974,
http://www.brumm.com/gaylib/newsletters/index.html (accessed January, 22 2007).









female down in all of us.93 The author wants gay individuals to be conscious of other systems of

oppression, including those involving race, gender, age, and class, and to realize that though they

are oppressed as gay persons, they may also belong to the oppressing group by virtue of their sex

or race or class.

The author of this article brings out an important implication later in the piece, albeit

possibly in a simplistic way. If part of gay liberation means understanding how systems of

oppression are interconnected, then there is also the implication that the work of liberating

persons from these various systems is interconnected. The author clarifies: we must commit

ourselves to liberation -- not partial but total. there is no freedom with women channeled into the

house, children and roles, and limited and underpaid jobs; gays channeled into the arts and roles,

and all the third world people confined and channeled to ghettos, roles and arenas of brute force.

this means that our closest allies will be with other liberation movements (women, blacks,

chicanos, puerto ricans, children, the old and any other movement that does not contain white,

atleast middle-class, heterosexual, supremacist, capitalist male. we must help them and

hopefully they will help us.94 Though the author uses a language of "us and them," which often

signals separation and value hierarchy, the intention in the article is one of advocating mutual

support if not unity in multiple causes. The author does not speculate on the specifics of how

those involved in gay liberation might go about helping other oppressed groups, nor on the

question of whether or not those groups would want "help" in the first place; however, the

central idea-that oppressed groups can be each other's strongest allies-is one that some still

find valid today.



93 Ibid.
94 Ibid.









During the fall of 1974, the publication Coleus & Dogbreath Too appeared on Iowa State's

campus, and if one did not look past the cover, one would not know that this publication was put

out by the volunteer editorial collective of Gay Peoples Alliance-the new incarnation of the

Gay Peoples Liberation Alliance that put out three issues of Gayly Forward in the past spring.95

On the cover is a drawing of a hippo-like creature standing upright, flanked by two smaller

creatures, one of which looks like a drowsy pig, the other a wary mushroom. The hippo-creature

looks cross-eyed and is wearing a crown. It is licking a large, round lollipop and holding two

flowers in its other hand. The name of the newsletter appears at the bottom of the page, without

explanation.96 This issue is ten pages long, and was distributed as a twenty page booklet, folded

over and stapled in the middle (as opposed to Gayly Forward, which was formatted as full

pages). The editorial collective would use this same format for the fourth issue, entitled burned

out, and would return to full pages for its final issue, Sarah Bernhardt 's Farewell American

Tour.

In Coleus andDogbreath Too, two authors expressed a new hope they held for the

publication. Previously, the group had included support for gays and education of the public in

their goals. And I have stated that one function of the newsletter was to introduce folks to gay

liberation. This issue of the newsletter includes two articles that differ in form and purpose, but

both express this here-to-fore unarticulated goal of gay liberation that falls somewhere between

the two: to reach out to "closety gays" and to those gay individuals who still feel isolated. The



95 There is no mention of the thought process behind this third name change, though I speculate it may have had
similar rationale to the first name change, from Gay Liberation Front to Gay Men's Rap Group. Perhaps members
thought that by dropping "Liberation" from the name, folks would be less intimidated (for various reasons) and
membership would increase. This is the last time the group changed its name; however, it is not the last time they
changed the name of their publication.
96 A search on Google informed me that "coleus" is an ornamental plant, known for its purple and green leaves,
and it is often used to treat bad breath in dogs.









first article, "Betty Lou's Magic Closet Door" by an unknown author,97 concerns the experience

of eight panelists and the outcome(s) of a call-in television talk show. Gay Peoples Alliance

objected to the "Marcus Welby, M.D." episode of the talk show Dimension 5 that aired on a

central Iowa station. In response, the station gave GPA time on the show. Their panel was made

up of four men and four women who responded to callers' questions and comments for a two

hour period. The author notes that, ideally, some viewers "who happened to be straight" learned

something about homosexuals that led to some changes in attitude, but careful not to blow the

educational value out of proportion, the author thinks that "years of ingrained bigotry" will not

be undone in two hours. S/he hopes instead "that we can help isolated unhappy gay people feel

better about themselves and give them some sort of hope for gaining positive self-concepts."98

The second article that expresses hope at reaching out to isolated gays, rather than

education the straight public, is a personal reflection by Dennis Brumm. In "Dennis' Depressed

Article," Brumm expresses frustration with the rhetoric of gay liberation, which he ties to his

writer's block via lack of motivation. He quickly moves to questioning his own writing and its

purpose. Brumm feels his writing has not reached the "closety Gays" because their experiences

are so different form his own (among other reasons). He is weighed down by a self-perpetuating

system so much so that he views the above rationale as self-delusional. Brumm writes, "I'll

continue on the education trip. We must educate the students so they'll allow us to exist, right?

So they think, I only speak to classes in the hopes that some Gay person will be there and

understand what I'm trying to say...And next year a new group of freshman students (ten percent

97 As part of GPA's editorial policy, anyone who submitted a piece to the newsletter could remain anonymous if
he/she desired. I should also note that this is the first issue where the majority of the pieces are claimed by an author
using both their first and last their names or an alias.

98 Gay Peoples Alliance, "Betty Lou's Magic Closet Door," Coleus and D., B-;,. i Too, Fall's End, 1974,
http://www.brumm.com/gaylib/newsletters/index.html (accessed January, 22 2007). This episode generated the
most calls the show had ever received, approximately 250 in a two hour period.









of which will be Gay) will come in from the educational and agricultural ghettos of this state,

with all the bigotry of their peers. The system perpetuates itself. It is futile to think

otherwise."99 Here, Brumm seems to express contradictory views of the purpose of educational

appearances in the classroom by members of Gay Peoples Alliance. He waivers back and forth

on whether or not these appearances are effective; it seems like he is dealing with being

disillusioned, realizing that anti-gay prejudice will not simply disappear with sporadic education

in college. What keeps him from giving up hope entirely, it seems, is the idea that he can (or

has) helped "closety Gays" in some way. Brumm views his writing as one vehicle for doing this,

and speaking in a classroom as another. This is another function of the newsletter, one that is

tied into the function of introducing people to gay liberation. The newsletter is a way to not only

unite the community, but also to comfort those who are not yet part of it, and perhaps entice

them to join as well.

Though the group changed its name and the title of the newsletter, the content, themes, and

functions remained much the same as those of Gayly Forward. At Iowa State, the GLF

newsletter functioned as a public forum for gay folks to figure out what gay liberation meant for

those in Ames. At first, the newsletter was open to publishing pieces from anyone willing to

contribute, and later, from anyone who was gay and willing to contribute. The editorial

collective envisioned the publication as a place where gay folks could discuss whatever was on

their minds, ranging from plans for action to depressed laments about the state of gay liberation

to a campy list of "Things for Bored Faggots to do." The newsletter introduced people to gay

liberation, linked isolated gay persons to others, and helped to shape a gay community in central

Iowa. It played a part in making social and emotional support a central aim of gay liberation,


99 Dennis Brumm, "Dennis' Depressed Article," Coleus and D. ,..l,,.ih Too.









while still emphasizing the importance of outwardly directed political and educational work.

The newsletter was a space for some contributors to try and align gay liberation with other

liberation movements, to persuade gays that they should align with other oppressed groups in

their move toward a changed society.

As can be seen in the case studies presented above, the publications put out by the Gay

Liberation Front of Washington D.C and of Ames, Iowa were extremely dissimilar. Though they

were both interested in building and strengthening a gay community, the groups went about this

in different ways. They also seemed to define that community differently. The newsletters in

D.C. and Ames were influenced by their geographical location and by their membership and

readership. The ramifications of these differences are considered in the following chapter.









CHAPTER 4
CONCLUSION: FUNCTIONS OF GAY LIBERATION FRONT'S NEWSLETTERS IN
WASHINGTON D.C. AND AMES, IOWA

The newsletters published by the Gay Liberation Fronts of Washington D.C. and of Ames,

Iowa, served many purposes for their publishers as well as for the community of readers;

however, they accomplished those purposes in different ways, ways that best suited the group

members and the readers. Both publications functioned as a sort of textual meeting place for

those involved in gay liberation.

For those activists in Washington, the GLF Newsletter acted like a bulletin board, or a

place where members would post information of use to readers. Most of the postings, or articles,

consisted of factual information, such as when and where the next fund-raising dance would be

held, or information on where to purchase a gay lib button. Each issue also included multiple

contacts for various areas of gay liberation, including the GLF Commune, the Radical Caucus,

the Women's Caucus, and Publications, thereby making it especially easy for newcomers to get

involved. The GLF Newsletter also included copies of articles pertinent to gay folk from other

news sources, such as an article taken from The Washington Daily News titled "Homosexual

Invasion: Alpine County sends for Reagan."

The GLF Newsletter was a venue where a certain shade of gay male identity was being

created and given meaning; it was one place where movement participants publicized what was

important to them, what their movement priorities were. These newsletters contributed to

constructing a specific instance of male gayness or an idea of what it means to be a gay male in

Washington D.C. in the early 1970s, for this construction was certainly tied to its spatial-

temporal location. Gay folk who evinced this specific male gayness were politically active and

interested in advocating for and creating social change. They wanted to change laws, but they

also wanted to change people's minds about traditional gender roles, sexual expression, and









living arrangements. These gay folk marched for these things in the streets and also strove to

live what they spoke as the GLF Communes demonstrate. The GLF Newsletters show one major

avenue through folks constructed a male gayness that centered on political action, or a political

male gayness.

From the content of the GLF Newsletter, we can see how a network is important to the

development of a social movement. This newsletter in D.C. found a home in the hands of

persons involved in gay liberation. The informative nature of this publication serves to

underscore this idea. This publication could take political and activist news and facilitation as its

focus because of the pre-existing community. If D.C. did not have this community, then one

would expect the publication to be more focused on defining the movement's ideology and

goals, rather than just arranging meetings and such. This is exactly what can be found in the

publications of GLF of Ames, Iowa.

For those activists in Ames, GLF's newsletters acted like a coffee house, or a place where

members and non-members could come together to converse with each other or to write in their

journals in the company of others. To push this simile further, members could simply hang out

at the coffee house and be available to talk with newcomers to gay liberation and to encourage

them to join, like the author did textually in the piece "Gay Lib Doesn't Draw Crowds."

Members could also debate on the virtues of ways to raise one's consciousness about the

oppression experienced by being forced to conform to rigid gender roles, as in an untitled piece

by Stewart that tells of how his first time wearing a dress allowed him to understand on a

physical level (as opposed to a purely intellectual level) how traditional feminine clothing is

generally more restrictive than traditional masculine clothing. Stewart makes the jump from this

experience of wearing a dress to being able to understand women's oppression. In the following









issue of the newsletter, Cecil Lee Lloyd explains how she is tired of seemingly well-meaning

men claiming they can understand women's oppression, and she refutes Stewart's claim that he

now can do so because he wore a dress in public once. These newsletters provided a place where

the gay folk of Ames could hash out what gay liberation meant; they discussed what their goals

were and the methods by which they hoped to achieve them.

From the content of the publications from Ames, we can speculate on what functions they

served for the contributors. There is a sense of surprise and frustration in many of the pieces-

surprise at how insidious systematic oppression manifests itself in nearly every facet of daily life,

and frustration at having to figure out how to deal with that oppression on your own. This leads

to one of the main functions of the publication, to draw folks together so each gets a sense that he

is not alone in these experiences. There is also a sense of playfulness in some of the pieces,

which I believe is related to the seriousness of the issues being dealt with. I think a bit of humor

and lightness is necessary to retain one's sanity sometimes when dealing with the ugliness and

destructiveness of systematic oppression on an individual and group level. Authors used the

newsletters as a space to vent their frustrations, express their fears, showcase poetry, and make

each other laugh.

In these publications from Ames, there is also evidence of much identity work being done

by the authors. There is much self-questioning, even self-berating on the part of white, middle-

class men as they see themselves being born on the side of the oppressor. These authors are in

the process of actively creating their own identities, and in doing so, they are constructing a male

gayness that is specific to this time and place. When Stewart writes about wearing a dress for the

first time, when Lloyd writes to point out the folly in Stewart's piece, when Pompadour suggests

that readers create a name for themselves, they are all engaged in self-analysis and in









determining what is meaningful for them personally. However, these authors engage in

meaning-making in the pages of the newsletters, in addition to in their private homes. This

meaning-making then goes public and becomes intertwined with movement-making that is

simultaneously occurring. The gay male identity being constructed in the GLF newsletters from

Ames is focused inward; it centers on understanding where one is located in the

oppressor/oppressed matrix, how one feels about that, and what one can do about it. There is

certainly evidence of political action taken by the authors and their cohorts, including

distributing flyers and demonstrating in front of events that they deemed oppressive to gay folk;

however, the newsletters are characterized by a self-analysis and a concentration on building a

public gay community in Ames. The male gayness expressed in those pages concerns more

private action and thought than the identity found in D.C.'s newsletters.

The picture of gay liberation in the newsletters of GLF Washington D.C. coincides with

what I had come to expect from a group involved in gay liberation based on previous research.

D.C.'s newsletters depict liberationists as militant, politically active, confrontational folk who

found the homophile movement's modus operandi outdated and ineffectual. Rather than ask to

be included in mainstream society, liberationists argued that society was corrupt and needed to

be remade. The male gayness constructed in Ames complicates this existing picture of gay

liberation as a loud, brash, militant force to be reckoned with. It adds not only a softer element

to this picture, but also a turn inward. The newsletters of Ames emphasize how important

consciousness-raising groups were to the gay liberation movement, yet we do not readily

associate the two often. To be clear, this emphasis does not make the liberationists of Ames

somehow less political than those in D.C., but it does add another dimension to the movement.









This emphasis on consciousness-raising found in the newsletters of the GLF of Ames

becomes even more significant when we look at the overall transition from the homophile

movement to the liberation movement. During the homophile movement, gay folk often relied

on various experts (psychiatrists, doctors, lawyers) to tell them what they should think and feel

about being homosexual. One important aspect of the homophile movement was this reliance on

persons in positions of intellectual authority in the U.S. Indeed, sometimes a sympathetic

authority-figure could be counted on to vouch for the character of homosexuals and push for

their inclusion in society. In the 1950s and 1960s, many homosexuals either believed they were

sick or turned to professionals for confirmation that they were not. With the development of gay

liberation in the late 1960s and early 1970s, there is a shift away from this reliance on expert

opinion concerning the state of the homosexual. Rather, gay folk began to rely on themselves

and each other for their opinions of what it meant to be gay. Here, one can see why

consciousness-raising groups would play such an integral part in gay liberation. These sessions,

or rap groups, provided a semi-structured safe space where gay folk could come together and talk

about being gay and form their own opinions. The Ames newsletters were an extension of that

space-they brought it into concrete print form. The newsletters served as a place where the gay

folk of Ames could speak for themselves, and they represented a shift from homophile

movement political to liberationist politics.

In the late 1970s, another shift took place within the movement, one I briefly spoke of in

the introduction, and one which can be seen in traces in the GLF of Ames newsletters. Though

not explicitly named as such, the Ames newsletters discuss the importance of pride as they

develop as sense of pride in their male gayness.









The late 1970s gay movement was largely one of pride, which emphasized a positive self-

image for gay folk. The focus was on celebrating (and further creating) those images, rather than

on more traditional forms of overt political action. Adam observes that "The irony of the 1970s,

then, was the ease with which gay and lesbian aspirations were assimilated, contained, and

overcome by the societies in which they originated."100 Here, he is referring to the aspirations of

the liberationists. But how did this assimilation occur? Armstrong offers a partial answer while

discussing an identity political logic. This is the logic offered by the 'gay pride' strand of gay

liberation, which she separates from the 'gay power' strand (whose redistributive political logic

was deflated with the decline of the New Left). Armstrong notes that this identity logic was able

to make sense out of the conflicting ideas on appropriate movement goals and strategies through

the idea of unity through diversity, which then presents difference as non-threatening: "By

seeing meaningful social change as a product of individual self-expression, an identity logic

suggested that positive change could occur even if differences were not resolved. Change would

occur simply through broadening the range of authentic expression possible in society."101

Differences within the gay and lesbian movement, then, could be seen as cause for celebration

rather than for anxiety.

Both of these strands, gay power and gay pride, are visible in the newsletters from Ames.

There are pieces that discuss political actions and there are those that explore ways to develop a

positive sense of one's self as a gay man. This dual focus of the Ames newsletters can be read in

two ways. First, the focus on consciousness-raising and on fostering a positive sense of self

rooted in male gayness can be seen as a precursor to more overt political action. One can argue



100 Adam, 108.
101 Armstrong, 98.









that, before engaging in direct political action, folks need to engage in self-analysis and develop

a political consciousness. Secondly, this inward focus expressed in the Ames newsletters can be

read as the beginnings of the pride movement in Ames.102 Had the student government of Iowa

State not cut off the funding of GLF of Ames, thereby forcing production of the newsletter to

halt, we might have a clearer picture of the direction the movement was taking in Ames, and a

more accurate characterization of the part these newsletters played in shaping the movement. In

light of my research on other Gay Liberation Fronts, I speculate that, had they continued to

publish, both of Armstrong's political logics would be present in future issues of the newsletters,

and both would have become more defined. I venture that, in time, this may have led to a split in

the group, as happened with many of the other GLFs, and one of the political logics would have

come to exclude and/or outlast the other.

The differences in the functions of the newsletters from GLF of Washington and GLF of

Ames, and in the kinds of male gayness they constructed, are tied to the location in which they

were published. Not only is Washington a big city, but it is also a political center of the U.S.

The GLF Newsletter was published in a context that already included homophile groups and gay

bars, in a place that had already seen protests and felt police brutality and had people writing

about it. There were multiple gay-centered publications, as well as activists who would make it

into the national scene. The publications produced by GLF of Ames came out into no such

context-there was no hotbed of political activity, no gay bars in town, and no other gay

newsletter. These folks were paving the way in Ames, and many of them (if not the majority)

were students. Ames had no Frank Kamenies to lead the way. It makes sense that this

publication strove to build community and was incessant in the call for readers' involvement in

102 However, both these readings rely on a time progression that can give the appearance of the movement
somehow getting better as the years progress. I do not intend, nor do I agree with, this conceptualization.









the production. Their newsletter functioned as a textual coffee house because there was no such

place for people to gather before it came out. GLF of Washington had a pre-existing network to

work with-there were folks who were active in gay liberation, and they would serve as a sort-of

guaranteed audience for this publication. D.C. already had coffee houses in which gay folk had

been gathering and doing the introducing and conversing and debating that the folks in Ames

were just beginning to do. Because of this pre-existing network and geographical location in an

urban political center, it made sense for the GLF of Washington to put out a publication that

readers could access quickly for new information, while they were on the go.

This project has looked at the ways newsletters published by the Gay Liberation Fronts of

Washington D.C. and of Ames, Iowa functioned for the authors and the readers. I have worked

with these newsletters as a way to better understand the gay liberation movement. I have located

the gay liberation movement in relationship to the homophile movement that came before it and

to the pride movement that followed. I think an extension of this project is needed, and I think

there are at least two ways to do so. The first is to focus on lesbian publications from the same

time period. Though GLFs did not exclude lesbians, many did not feel comfortable and did not

feel their concerns were taken seriously because of the sexist in the groups. I did not intend my

work to exclude women, but as I became more involved, I found that the majority of participants

in GLFs were gay males. So in studying GLFs, I studied mostly gay men and their newsletters.

It also would be useful to examine whether there are publications from this period in movement

history that attempted to act as a forum for open discussion between both gay men and lesbians.

Were there any publications that made a serious effort to build a gender-integrated movement?

A second way to extend this project is to do a close reading of publications that started in the late

1970s, those that could be seen as coming out at the start of the pride movement in the U.S., and









see how they compare to those publications from the gay liberation movement. Did they have

the same focus as evidenced by their content? How did the publications function for the authors

and readers? How did they function in relation to the social movement?









SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY


Adam, Barry. The Rise of a Gay and Lesbian Movement (Rev. ed.). New York: Twayne
Publishers, 1995.

Adams, Kate. "Built Out of Books: Lesbian Energy and Feminist Ideology in Alternative
Publishing." Journal ofHomosexuality 34.3/4 (1998): 113-141. The Hawthorne Press, Inc.,
http://www.hawthome press.com (accessed September 6, 2007).

Armstrong, Elizabeth. Forging Gay Identities: Organizing Sexuality in San Francisco, 1950-
1994. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2002.

Bailey, Beth. "Sex as a Weapon: Underground Comix and the Paradox of Liberation." In
Imagine Nation: The American Counterculture of the 1960s & 70s, edited by P. Braunstein
and M. Doyle. New York: Routledge, 2002.

Bell, Arthur. Dancing the Gay Lib Blues. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1971.

Bronski, Michael. "The Politics of Gay Pulp Fiction." ZMagazine Online 16.6 (2003),
http://zmagsite.zmag.org/Jun2003/bronski0603.html (accessed September 7, 2007).

Bronski, Michael. Culture Clash: The Making of a Gay Sensibility. Boston: South End Press,
1984.

Brumm, Dennis. "Gay Community Alliance Dance,"
http://www.brumm.com/gaylib/dance05-12-1973.html (accessed September 22, 2007).

Brumm, Dennis. "Gay Liberation and the ISU School Year 1972-1973,"
http://www.brumm.com/gaylib/gaylib 972-1973.html (accessed January 27, 2007).

Brumm, Dennis. "My Own Early Gay History,"
http://www.brumm.com/gaylib/earlybrumm.html (accessed September 21, 2007).

Brumm, Dennis. "The First Public 'Meeting',"
http://www.brumm.com/gaylib/glforganizes 971.html (accessed January 27, 2007).

Bullough, Vern. Before Stonewall: Activists for Gay and Lesbian Rights in Historical Context.
New York: Harrington Park Press, 2002.

Chasin, Alexandra. Selling Out: The Gay and Lesbian Movement Goes to Market. New York: St.
Martin's Press, 2000.

Clay, Steve and Rodney Philips. "A Little History of the Mimeograph Revolution." A Secret
Location on the Lower East Side: Adventures in Writing, 1960-1980: A Sourcebook of
Information, http://www.granarybooks.com.clay/clay4.html (accessed September 7, 2007).

Crew, Louie. "Protest and Community: Gay Male Journalism Now." Margins 20.5 (1975): 25.









Darsey, James. "From 'Gay is Good' to the Scourge of AIDS: The Evolution of Gay Liberation
Rhetoric." Communication Studies 42.1 (1991): 43-66.

D'Emilio, John. "Placing Gay in the Sixties." In Long Time Gone: Sixties America Then and
Now edited by A. Bloom. New York: Oxford University Press, 2001.

D'Emilio, John. Sexual Politics, Sexual Communities: The Making of a Homosexual Minority in
the United States 1940-1970. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1983.

Duncombe, Stephen. Notes from Underground: Zines and the Politics of Alternative Culture.
New York: Verso, 1997.

Epstein, Steven. "Gay Politics, Ethnic Identity: The Limits of Social Constructionism." In Social
Perspectives in Lesbian and Gay Studies: A Reader, edited by P. Nardi and B. Schneider.
New York: Routledge, 1998.

Esterberg, Kristin. "From Accommodation to Liberation: A Social Movement Analysis of
Lesbians in the Homophile Movement." Gender & Society 8.3 (1994): 424-43.

Esterberg, Kristin. "From Illness to Action: Conceptions of Homosexuality in The Ladder, 1956-
1965." In Lesbianism, edited by W. Dynes and S. Donaldson. New York: Garland
Publishing, Inc., 1992.

Foote, Stephanie. "Deviant Classics: Pulps and the Making of Lesbian Print Culture." Signs:
Journal of Women in Culture and Society 31.11 (2005): 169-190, http://www.jstor.org
(accessed February 6, 2007).

Fox, Robert. "Carpenter Press: A Brief History and Some Observations." In Green Isle in the
Sea: An Informal History of the Alternative Press, 1960-85 edited by D. Kruchkow and C.
Johnson. Illinois: December Press, 1986.

Freud, Eva and Richard Schaeffers. "The Insider: Newsletter of the Mattachine Society of
Washington," October 1969, http://www.rainbowhistory.org/insider.htm (accessed
September 29, 2007).

Gamson, Joshua. "Must Identity Movements Self-destruct? A Queer Dilemma." Social Problems
42 (1995): 390-407.

Gay Liberation Front (of Washington D.C.). GLFNewsletter 1.9, October 1970,
http://www.rainbowhistory.org/glfl.9.pdf (accessed January 12, 2007).

Gay Liberation Front (of Washington D.C.). GLFNewsletter 1.12, October 1970,
http://www.rainbowhistory.org/glfl.12.pdf (accessed January 12, 2007).

Gay Liberation Front (of Washington D.C.). GLF Newsletter 1.14, November 1970,
http://www.rainbowhistory.org/glfl.14.pdf (accessed January 12, 2007).









Gay Peoples Liberation Alliance (of Ames, Iowa). Gayly Forward, Feb. 1974,
http://www.brumm.com/gaylib/newsletters/index.html (accessed January 28, 2007).

Gay Peoples Liberation Alliance (of Ames, Iowa). Gayly Forward, Mar. 1974,
http://www.brumm.com/gaylib/newsletters/index.html (accessed January 28, 2007).

Gay Peoples Liberation Alliance (of Ames, Iowa). Gayly Forward, Apr. 1974,
http://www.brumm.com/gaylib/newsletters/index.html (accessed January 28, 2007).

Gay Peoples Alliance (of Ames, Iowa). Coleus andDogbreath Too, Fall 1974,
http://www.brumm.com/gaylib/newsletters/index.html (accessed January 28, 2007).

Gay Peoples Alliance (of Ames, Iowa). Burned Out, Winter 1975,
http://www.brumm.com/gaylib/newsletters/index.html (accessed January 28, 2007).

Gay Peoples Alliance (of Ames, Iowa). Sarah Bernhardt's Farewell American Tour, Spring
1975, http://www.brumm.com/gaylib/newsletters/index.html (accessed January 28, 2007).

Herring, Scott. "Out of the Closets, Into the Woods: RFD, Country Women, and the Post-
Stonewall Emergence of Queer Anti-Urbanism." American Quarterly 59.2 (2007): 341-
372, http://muse.jhu.edu (accessed September 6, 2007).

Jay, Karla. "A Look at Lesbian Magazines." Margins 23 (1975): 19-23.

Jay, Karla and Allen Young. Eds. Lavender Culture. New York: New York University Press,
1978.

Jensen, Erik. "The Pink Triangle and Political Consciousness: Gays, Lesbians, and the Memory
of Nazi Persecution." Journal of the History of Sexuality, 11.1 and 2 (2002): 319-349.

Katz, Jonathan. Gay American History: Lesbians and Gay Men in the U.S.A. New York:
Crowell, 1976.

Kepner, Jim. Rough News, Daring Views: 1950s' Pioneer Gay Press Journalism. New York:
The Harrington Park Press, 1998.

Kessler, Lauren. The Dissident Press: Alternative Journalism in American History. Beverly
Hills: Sage Publications, 1984.

Kruchkow, Diane and Curt Johnson. Green Isle in the Sea: An Informal History of the
Alternative Press, 1960-85. Illinois: December Press, 1986.

Leznoff, Maurice and William Westley. "The Homosexual Community." In Social Perspectives
in Lesbian and Gay Studies: A Reader, edited by P. Nardi and B. Schneider. New York:
Routledge, 1998.

Marcus, Eric. Making History: The StruC,,gle for Gay and Lesbian Equal Rights 1945-1990: An
Oral History. New York: Harper Collins Publishers, 1992.









McRuer, Robert. "Gay Gatherings: Reimagining the Counterculture." In Imagine Nation: The
American Counterculture of the 1960s & 70s, edited by P. Braunstein and M. Doyle. New
York: Routledge, 2002.

Meeker, Martin. Contacts Desired: Gay and Lesbian Communications and Community, 1940s-
1970s. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2006.

Michals, Debra. "From 'Consciousness Expansion' to 'Consciousness Raising': Feminism and
the Countercultural Politics of the Self." In Imagine Nation: The American Counterculture
of the 1960s & 70s, edited by P. Braunstein and M. Doyle. New York: Routledge, 2002.

Murphy, John. Homosexual Liberation: A Personal View. New York: Praeger Publishers, 1971.

Murray, Stephen. "The Institutional Elaboration of a Quasi-ethnic Community." In Social
Perspectives in Lesbian and Gay Studies: A Reader, edited by P. Nardi and B. Schneider.
New York: Routledge, 1998.

O'Sullivan, Sue. "Passionate Beginnings: Ideological Politics 1969-72." Feminist Review 11
(1982): 70-86, http://www.jstor.org (accessed February 12, 2007).

Peck, Abe. Uncovering the Sixties: The Life and Times of the Underground Press. New York:
Pantheon Books, 1985.

Reiss, Albert. "The Social Integration of Queers and Peers." In Social Perspectives in Lesbian
and Gay Studies: A Reader, edited by P. Nardi and B. Schneider. New York: Routledge,
1998.

Rudy, Kathy. "Radical Feminism, Lesbian Separatism, and Queer Theory." Feminist Studies
27.1 (2001): 191-247, http://find.galegroup.com.lp.hscl.ufl.edu/ (accessed February 27,
2007).

Rutledge, Leigh. The Gay Decades: From Stonewall to the Present: The People and Events that
.\sh, /' Gay Lives. New York: Penguin Books USA, Inc., 1992.

Seidman, Steven. Beyond the Closet: The Transformation of Lesbian and Gay Life. New York:
Routledge, 2002.

Spiegelman, Willard. "The Process of a Genre: Gay Journalism and Its Audience." Salmagundi
58-59 (1982): 308-325.

St. Joan, Jackie. "A Survey of Lesbian Publications." In Our Right to love: A Lesbian Resource
Book, edited by G. Vida. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1978.

Streitmatter, Rodger. Unspeakable: The Rise of the Gay and Lesbian Press in America. Boston:
Faber and Faber, 1995.

Streitmatter, Rodger. Voices ofRevolution: The Dissident Press in America. New York:
Columbia University Press, 2001.









The Christian Century Foundation. "Fundamentalist gadfly Carl McIntire dies." Christian
Century, April 10, 2002, Obituary section,
http://findarticles.com/p/articles/miml058/is 8_119/ai_85106524 (accessed September,
21, 2007).

The Community Service Committee of the Mattachine Society of Washington. "Blackmailer at
Work in DuPont Circle Area." The Gay Blade 1.2, November 1969,
http://www.rainbowhistory.org/FirstBlades.pdf (accessed September 30, 2007).

The New York Gay Liberation Front. #7569. Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections,
Cornell University Library.

The Rainbow History Project. "The Insider: Newsletter of the Mattachine Society of
Washington." http://www.rainbowhistory.org/insider.htm (accessed September 29, 2007).

The Rainbow History Project. "The Gay Liberation Front-DC."
http://www.rainbowhistory.org/glf.htm (accessed January 12, 2007).

The Rainbow History Project. "Newspaper of Record: 35 Years of The Washington Blade."
http://www.rainbowhistory.org/blade.pdf (accessed September 29, 2007).

Thorstad, David. "Homosexuality and the American Left: The Impact of Stonewall." In Gay Men
and the Sexual History of the Political Left, edited by G. Hekma, H. Oosterhuis, and J.
Steakley. New York: Harrington Park Press, 1995.

Tobin, Kay and Randy Wicker. The Gay Crusaders. New York: Arno Press, 1972.

Tucker, Nancy and Art Stone. The Gay Blade 1.1, October 1969,
http://www.rainbowhistory.org/FirstBlades.pdf (accessed September 30, 2007).

Valocchi, Steve. "Individual Identities, Collective Identities, and Organizational Structure: The
Relationship of the Political Left and Gay Liberation in the United States." Sociological
Perspectives 44.4 (2001): 445-67.

Whittier, Nancy. Feminist Generations: The Persistence of the Radical Women's Movement.
Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1995.









BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

Amanda Culp was born in Portland, Oregon, and moved to Miami, Florida in 1987. There,

she graduated from La Salle High School in 1998 and continued her education at Baldwin-

Wallace College in Berea, Ohio, in the fall of that same year. For personal reasons, she returned

to Florida in 1999 and attended the University of Miami (UM) where she pursued a double major

in English Literature and psychology as well as a double minor in sociology and philosophy for

the rest of her undergraduate career. Amanda graduated from UM in 2003, and she spent the fall

of that year on a solitary journey driving across the United States.

After a much needed break from life as a student, Amanda returned to school in the fall of

2005 to pursue a masters degree in women's studies and gender research at the University of

Florida in Gainesville. She will graduate with a perfect GPA in December 2007. During her

graduate career, she worked as a teacher's assistant, a bartender, and a teacher in the Academic

Foundations Department at Santa Fe Community College.

Upon completing her MA, Amanda intends to continue teaching at Santa Fe Community

College and catch up on aspects of her life that she had to ignore in order to make time for her

studies. Chiefly among those priorities are spending leisure time with her family and friends and

finishing the home remodeling that grinded to a halt when she began to work on her thesis.





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WRITING LIBERATION: A COMPARISION OF THE NEWSLETTERS PUBLISHED BY THE GAY LIBERATION FRONT OF WASHI NGTON D.C. AND OF AMES, IOWA IN THE EARLY 1970s By AMANDA L. CULP A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLOR IDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2007 1

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2007 Amanda L. Culp 2

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To the courageous folks of the gay liberation movement and To my fiercely beautiful mother, Marilyn M. W. Culp (1945-2006) 3

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS First, I wish to thank the folks who created and participated in the gay liberation movement. I admire their perc eption and their courage. Wit hout their work, mine would not have been possible. I wish to thank the Center for Womens Studies and Gender Research at the University of Florida for allowing me the opportunity to pursue my academic research and for providing a supportive environment in which to do so. I thank Paula Ambroso and Donna Tuckey, both of whom provided administrative assistance without which I could no t have completed my studies. Patricia Travis and Kendal Broad deserve much gratitude not only for their intellectual support, encouragement, and mentorship, but also for their friendship. I thank them for making graduate school an enjoyable a nd rewarding experience. I want to extend a special thanks to Patricia Travis for her patience in working with me in this project and for her finely-tuned sarcastic wit. I wish to thank my family who has supported me in my studies. I especially thank my mother for instilling in me a desire to work for social change and for nurturing the strength required to do so. I thank my mom, my dad, and my sister for their immense love and support. Finally, I wish to thank Kevin Church for hi s love, understanding, patience, and humor through out the research and writing proce ss. He took care of our home a nd our cats and my health when I did not have the time; he made sure I was fed and he kept me sane. 4

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TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS...............................................................................................................4 ABSTRACT.....................................................................................................................................7 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION: THE WHAT, WH Y, AND HOW OF MY PROJECT............................8 Epigraphs: In Their Own Words..............................................................................................8 Project Description and Significance........................................................................................8 Project Layout.........................................................................................................................14 2 LITERATURE REVIEW: CONTEX TUALIZING THE GAY LIBERATION MOVEMENT AND THE GAY PRESS................................................................................17 Why Bother with a Literature Review?..................................................................................17 A Brief History of the Gay and Lesbia n Movement in the United States..............................18 Stirrings of a Homophile Movement...............................................................................18 Homophile Movement: A Revival..................................................................................20 Rise Up, and Out: Gay Liberation Movement and Lesbian Feminism...........................23 Pride and Beyond: Lesbian and Gay Identity Movement..............................................28 A Brief History of the Gay and Le sbian Press in the United States.......................................30 Commonalities Amongst the Genres of the Dissident Press...........................................30 Lisa Bens Vice Versa: Americas Gayest Magazine .....................................................32 Groups Begin to Publish: One and The Mattachine Review ..........................................34 The Gay Press Gets Emboldened....................................................................................35 Movement/Press Relations in Gay Liberation........................................................................36 3 ANALYSES OF SELECT GAY LIBERATION FRONT NEWSLETTERS PUBLISHED IN WASHINGTON D.C. AND AMES, IOWA..............................................38 The Publications of Gay Libera tion Front of Washington D.C..............................................38 The Surrounding Context for Gay Libe ration Front of Washington D.C.......................38 Gay Liberation Front Forms in D.C................................................................................40 The GLF Newsletter : A Bulletin Board for the Gay Community..................................42 The Publications of Gay Liberation Front of Ames, Iowa.....................................................48 The Surrounding Context for Gay Li beration Front of Ames, Iowa...............................48 Gay Liberation Front Forms in Ames, Iowa...................................................................49 From Gayly Forward to Sarah Bernhardts Farewell American Tour : A Textual Meeting Place for the Gay Community.......................................................................54 4 CONCLUSION: FUNCTIONS OF GAY LIBERATION FRONT'S NEWSLETTERS IN WASHINGTON D.C. AND AMES, IOWA.....................................................................63 5

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6 SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY.....................................................................................................72 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH.........................................................................................................77

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Abstract of Thesis Presen ted to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts WRITING LIBERATION: A COMPARISION OF THE NE WSLETTERS PUBLISHED BY THE GAY LIBERATION FRONT OF WASHI NGTON D.C. AND OF AMES, IOWA IN THE EARLY 1970s By Amanda L. Culp December 2007 Chair: Patricia Travis Major: Womens Studies For this project, I engage in a close read ing of the newsletters produced by the Gay Liberation Front of Washington D.C. and of Ames Iowa during the early 1970s in order to better understand the gay liberation movement. I analy ze both the appearance and the content of these newsletters in order to unpack the functions thes e newsletters served for their authors and their readers. I argue that although both the publicatio ns served the gay male communities of which their authors were a part, they did so in diffe rent ways because the gay male communities of D.C. and of Ames were significantly different. I place the newsletters in their historical location by providing the larger context in which they were produced, as I argu e that the location of production contributed to the newsletters of these two cities being significantly different from each other. Finally, I argue that these newsletters were one place where different shades of gay male identity were being created and given m eaning by movement participants themselves. Looking at this identity work o ccurring in these newsletters allo ws for a more complicated view of the gay liberation movement, and it points towards the importance of newsletters as not just tools used to document the movement, but as mechanisms for movement creation. 7

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CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION: THE WHAT, WH Y, AND HOW OF MY PROJECT Epigraphs: In Their Own Words Things for Bored Faggots to do! 1. Learn to knit, sew, weave, paint, draw, crochet, etc. Dont be a man, be creative instead! 3. Send letters to psychiatrists thanking them for volunteering to be subjects in aversion-therapy studies. Sign the letters THE GAY REVENGE SQUAD or DEATH TO SHRINKS CADRE 6. Break into the armory and paint the guns pink 8. Send the football team a Valentine 9. Blackmail a straight pig. Pick someone important like the Pope or the President. Not only is it fun, but it can also be profitabl e. (Donate all funds to the Gay movement) 10. Infiltrate the Jesus Freak movementsthe come out. With luck theyll be so demoralized that maybe theyll leave the country 18. Send your mo ther a Do-your-o wn Divorce Kit. 19. Complain to the police when a mixed couple (male/female) shows affection in public 22. Experiment with makeup, nail polish, jewelry, exotic clothing, feather boas, high-heeled shoes, glitter, spar kles, body paints and other such sleazy things. Liberate your mind, body, and soul Love and Kisses, Lyla Butch Pompadour (Gay Peoples Alliance, Coleus & Dogbreath Too, Fall 1974.) The Revolutionary Peoples Constituti onal Convention (R.P.C .C.) will be held here in Washington in late November The GLF Commune will serve as the information center for all Gay Libera tion groups attending the R.P.C.C. The Radical Caucus and the Commune will attempt to provide all of the necessary services needed for the Conventio nHousing, Food, Legal Aid, Medical Aid, and TransportationThose brothers who are will[ing] to help in any of the above activities or able to donate cash should call the persons li sted above or fill out the form at the back of the Newsletter. POWER TO THE PEOPLEGA Y POWER TO GAY PEOPLE. (Gay Liberation Front of D.C., GLF Newsletter 1.12, October 1970.) Project Description and Significance The selections above are taken from Coleus & Dogbreath Too and GLF Newsletter 1.12, newsletters published by the Gay Liberation Fr ont (GLF) of Ames, Iowa and of Washington D.C., respectively. I decided to open with excerpts from these two articles in order to let the 8

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voices of the activists speak for themselves, for without their work, I could not have done this project. These two excerpts greatly differ in their content, tone, and purpose. The excerpt authored by Pompadour is written with tongue firmly in cheek. It is deceptively light-hearted in tone, as the authors suggestions touch upon the major institutions that gay liberationists were revolting againstpsychiatry, the military, the church, the police, and gender roles. The second excerpt from Gay Liberation Front of Washington D.C. has a seriou s, neutral tone to match the informative purpose of the piece. This article is written to provide information, not to amuse the reader or to vent on the part of the author. I chose these selections because they are generally representative of the ne wsletters published by their respecti ve Gay Liberation Front, and so the reader can have a taste of the material I have analyzed for my project. Though these selections differ from each other in a number of ways, they both can be seen as serving important functions for their publishers and readers, as can the ne wsletters from which they were taken. The newsletters published by GLFs not only recorded the events of the day, but alsoand perhaps more significantlyactively shaped and gave direc tion to those events and the social movements they represent. For this project, I engage in a close re ading of the newsletters produced by two incarnations of the Gay Liberation Front. Focu sing on Washington D.C. and Ames, Iowa in the early 1970s, I analyze the appearance and cont ent of the newsletter s published by the Gay Liberation Front in both of these locations. I also place these newsletters in their historical location by providing the larger context in which they were produced. I am particularly interested in the way these newsletters functi oned for the groups who published them and for their readership more generally. What good were these newsletters? What did publishing them 9

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accomplish? Why and how were these publications important to the gay liberation movement? These are the major questions I allowed to lead my research for this project. I was driven to this particular project for tw o reasons (aside from personal interest in the subject matter). First, I intend this project as a sort of tribute to the work these activists did. The period of the gay and lesbian movement referred to as the gay liberation movement is quite short, spanning approximately three or four year s depending on which scholar is counting. Furthermore, the Gay Liberation Front is characte rized by a distaste of hi erarchical organization, and as a result, did not keep formal, organized re cords of its proceedings. This, combined with the ephemeral nature of this period of the move ment, has made it a difficult subject of study, and has contributed to my desire to help document this rich period in the movements history. I want these case studies to be a testament to the ac tion taken by the activists I write about in the following pages. Second, and related to the first reason, I see a gap in the exis ting scholarship, and I see this project as an attempt to begin filling in that gap. Much of the academic work done on the gay liberation movement takes New York as its focus. The specifics about the Gay Liberation Front seem to reference the New York group. Indeed, the Gay Liberation Front of New York was the first to form, and so set a model for others like-minded groups across the nation; however, it was by no means the only Front. I became interested in this project when I was researching GLF, and I recall wishing for more specific examples of acti ons and ideals of GLFs outside of New York. While recognizing the significance of New York to the gay and lesbian movement, I believe that there is value in studying the liberation movement outside of this major city. This particular project is im portant to scholarship for se veral reasons. This project contributes to producing a historical record of liberation-or iented movement ephemera, without 10

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which details of this period in th e movement may be lost or buried. By taking seriously the work of the dissident press, this pr oject contributes to piecing togeth er a more nuanced, fuller picture of gay liberation. Also, in considering these news letters as a legitimate subject of study, this project helps to bring activism into academic research. This work is also of value to social move ment scholars in partic ular. Analyzing these newsletters allows one to see how movement pa rticipants view themselves, and/or how they chose to present themselves and their causes to the public. Inves tigating how people are participating in social movements is one way to get at the question of why and how social movements form. Looking at the functions these newsletters served for their author s and their readers allows for insight into the development of the gay liberation movement; it also allows for speculation as to the reasons for the decline of the movement by looking at the lifespan of these publications. In 1975, Crew wrote of some of the functions that the gay press was engaged in as he evaluated the development of the genre thus far: The Gay press is a vehicle for building and affirming the very Gay Community that this so ciety has thus actively tried to suppress and thwart. The Gay press offers for Gays a way to break out of the prevailing homophobic pattern of our cultureThe Gay press functions to unite many of the Gays who read it.1 In this article, Crew gives a brief review/edito rial about over 25 publications that are written by and for gay males at the local and national level. These publ ications vary in conten t from those that deal with gay news, to those that focus on social ga thering spots, to those that discuss the place gay men have and should have in the Catholic churc h. These publications, as Crew notes, all provide a forum for gay folk to address each other, a way to create gay culture and gay movements. 1 Louie Crew. Protest and Community: Gay Male Journalism Now, Margins 20.5 (1975): 25 11

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They represent one venue where different kinds of male gayness are cr eated as authors and readers converse on what it means to be a gay male in various positions in this society. One avenue into the ways different gay male identi ties are constructed is via these publications. Related, one can gain insight into the formati on of the gay liberation movement by examining the meaning-making that was taking place simultane ously and the identity work that movement participants engaged in. One can also use newsletter analysis as a wa y to examine movement recruitment. The newsletters published by different GLFs were, at least in part, de signed to draw other gay folks into the movement, into a dialogue about what it means to be a gay male. Their call for community participation can be read just this wayas a call for new participants to join the movement. Newsletters are particularly important for th e gay liberation movement because of the doit-yourself ethic that produced them, and this pr oduction ethic corresponds directly to the gay liberation movement itself. This was a gras sroots movement, one where all gay folk were encouraged to engage in self-a nalysis, to think for themselves about what it means to be gay rather than relying on expert opinions. Ra p groups, or consciousness-raising sessions were held during which gay folk would discuss their pe rsonal experiences and evaluate them in light of other gay mens experiences. During this movement, gay men were encouraged to draw theories of oppressions and how it functioned out of their own e xperiences, and this emphasis on the importance of ones own experiences is em bodied in the newsletters. Many of these publications were put together quickly and ch eaply by a group (or sometimes a single) of volunteers; many of them had an open door editori al policy and would accept contributions from any gay person. The motivation, generally speaking, was to get people talkingto each other, to 12

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the heterosexual public, to themselves. This descri ption also largely charac terizes a goal of the larger gay liberation movement. This approach, using movement publications to gain insight into the movement itself and into the movement participants identity wo rk, is certainly not uni que to this project.2 Meeker traces the development of the gay and lesbian movement in the U.S. using various gay and lesbian publications that span thirty years. He rring uses two publicati ons to discuss the antiurban movement of gays and lesbians, where there was a desire to return to a rural lifestyle and incorporate that into a gay iden tity. Jay and Young put together an anthology of writing from the publications of the gay press that focuses on its importance in communication in the gay community. Young is careful to note in his introd uction that the excerpted material did not just document the creation of a vibrant ga y culture in the U.S., but it also helped create that culture. Indeed, as Chasin notes, the gay and lesbian press and the gay and lesbian movement are inextricably intertwined. Also, by engaging in a close reading of thes e newsletters form Washington D.C. and Ames, Iowa, this project allows comparisons to be made between Gay Liberation Fronts. Through a comparison of groups that, to varying degrees, represented the same movement, one can look at how this movement flowed in diffe rent geographical areas. These comparisons are useful for scholars because th ey allow one to consider que stions of social movement participation, development, and decline to be di scussed in relation to geographical setting. The functions and content of the newsle tters I discuss in these case studi es are tied to their historical location in Washington D.C. and Ames, Iowa. In other words, the purpose the newsletters 2 Martin Meeker, Contacts Desired: Gay and Lesbian Communications and Community, 1940s-1970s (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2006); Scott Herring, Out of the Closets, Into the Woods: RFD Country Women and the Post-Stonewall Emergen ce of Queer Anti-Urbanism, American Quarterly 59.2 (2007): 341-372; Karla Jay and Allen Young, eds., Lavender Culture (New York: New York University Press, 1978); Al exandra Chasin, Selling Out: The Gay and Lesbian Movement Goes to Market (New York: St. Martins Press, 2000). 13

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served and the articles in them are both influenc ed by the setting in which their authors produced them. These case studies act as examples of how publications contribute to social movements. Gay Liberation Fronts newsletters not only served to document a nd bear witness to the goingson of liberation during this time, but also served to help create that liberation which they appeared only to record. Gay Liberation Fronts publications activ ely helped build the liberation movement. Project Layout The second chapter of my thesis consists of a selected literature review This literature review is necessary to providi ng a context in which to place the newsletters. Surveying scholarship mainly in the fields of history and journalism, I will discuss the historical context that influenced the development of the gay lib eration movement and of the gay press. While the newsletters did contribute to build ing the gay liberation movement, they were certainly not the only contributor. Because the gay liberation movement pa rtially defined itself in relation to the homophile movement in the U. S., it is necessary to provide background on the homophile movement in order to fully understand the gay liberati on movement. Thus, the first part of the literature review w ill present a picture of the social and political atmosphere of the 1950s and 1960s in the U.S. as hostile toward lesbia ns and gays. It will include a discussion of the homophile movement, as gay liberation in part defined itself as a movement specifically different from the homophile organizations. This also demonstrates that the Stonewall riots are more appropriately seen as a tu rning point in the lesbian and ga y movement, rather than as the starting point of the gay liberation movement, as it is sometimes portrayed. This section will place the reader in the context within which th e newsletters were produc ed, thereby allowing for a fuller understanding of the material. 14

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The second part of the first ch apter will provide a different c ontext relevant to these case studies, as I briefly discuss the de velopment of the gay press in the U.S. This section situates the gay press as a genre within the larger dissident press in the U. S., and discusses commonalities held by those genres lumped together under the label the dissident press. It includes a discussion of the origins of the gay press in the U.S. in a magazine published by Lisa Ben, and moves from there to a look at the newsletters pu blished by the first homophile groups in the U.S. It also briefly discusses the proliferation of dissident publicati ons that were produced in the 1960s, concurrently with the prolif eration of social movements at the time, and speaks to how the publications of the gay press were influenced by this context. It closes by noting the growth in publications of the gay press and the direction many of these publications were taking toward liberation in their content. The third chapter consists of my analyses and close reading of the GLF newsletters from Washington D.C. and Ames, Iowa. I examine three issues of the newslett er from D.C. published in 1970 and the complete archive (six issues ) from Ames that was published in 1974 and 1975.3 I include other pertinent archival material, such as newspaper arti cles that appeared outside of the dissident press, as well as information culle d from members personal recollections and oral histories as appropriate. This ch apter is divided into two sections presenting two case studies. It begins with Washington D.C., discussing th e context in which Gay Liberation Fronts newsletters appeared, as well as the direct catalyst for the group s formation. I then focus on the functions that the newsletter served for the group and the readership at large. Next, I turn my attention to Ames, Iowa, and discuss the same points I did for GLF of Washington D.C. I 3 I was unable to determine when or why the GLF of D.C. ceased publication of their newsletter. While I realize this is a partial archive, I still think valuable research can be done with it. I look forward to a fuller archive being brought to light in the future. 15

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16 provide some context and the impetus behind th e creation of a Gay Libe ration Front at Iowa State University. I trace this groups publica tions throughout their s hort history, focusing on how the newsletters served GLF and the gay folks of Ames. The final chapter of this projec t will bring the reader back to the larger theoretical issues relevant to my project. It begins with a comparison of the functions of the newsletters from the Gay Liberation Fronts of Washington D.C. and of Ames, Iowa. I discuss the purposes they held in common, and then move on to those purposes th at were unique to each group. I also offer speculation on the reasons for those differences located in the geographical location and the constituency of each group, as well as the intende d audience for their publications. I discuss the significance of my findings regardin g the functions of these newsletters, and relate them to the broader picture of the gay liberat ion movement in academic scholarsh ip. I end this project with ways to expand this project and suggestions for further study.

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CHAPTER 2 LITERATURE REVIEW: CONTEXTUALIZ ING THE GAY LIBERATION MOVEMENT AND THE GAY PRESS Why Bother with a Literature Review? The purpose of this chapter is twofold. First, I attempt to provide a brief overview of the lesbian and gay movement in the United States. R ecognizing the limitations of trying to address the development, challenges, ideologies, and eff ects of a social movement in limited space, I none the less try to touch on the major social an d political influences, and shifts in movement ideology, strategy, and organization. I have taken a chronological approach in this chapter, breaking it up into sections base d loosely on dates, as I think th at helps draw attention to the specific historical contexts surround ing the lesbian and gay movement. I begin with the homophile move ment at the start of the 20th century, which ended with the Nazis coming to power. I conti nue with the homophile movement after World War II, realizing that the common conception that this is the start of the homophile movement in the U.S., as the accounts of early movement activity before that war was largely buried or lost. Then, I turn to a discussion of the gay liberation movement and lesbian feminism, as both these movements can be examined in relation to the homophile movement Next, I look at the lesbian and gay identity movement, and how this developed in dialogue with the liberati on movement. Finally, I discuss challenges to the lesbian and gay movement as we know it today. The second purpose of this chapter is to summar ize the history of the gay and lesbian press in the U.S. Following the work of previous schola rs of this topic, I am limiting this summary to include only those documents published by gays a nd lesbians and had gays and lesbians as the intended audience. I begin with a discussion of the first publicati on aimed at a lesbian audience, including the authors motivati on, the content, and the ways th is publication set the stage for those to follow. Then, I move to the mo st often mentioned historical publications, ONE, The 17

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Mattachine Review and The Ladder. These are often discussed in relation to the start of the homophile movement in the U.S., as each paper was produced by a group of gay men and lesbians respectively. I also touch upon how thes e publications change over time and with new leadership. Finally, I discuss th e explosion of publications that appeared in the gay and lesbian press at the time of the Stonewall Rebellion. During this time, the number of publications and the circulation numbers rose dramatically, as mo re and more people created an outlet for their voices and helped the movement reach a crescendo. This discussion sets the stage for my next chapter, where I present two case studies of two publications produced in the wake of Stonewall, focusing on the functions they served for the community in which they were circulated. A Brief History of the Gay and Lesbia n Movement in the United States Stirrings of a Homophile Movement Some scholars date the homophile moveme nt in the U.S. as beginning with the appearance of groups like the Mattachine Society a nd the Daughters of Bilitis in the early 1950s; however others recognize its beginnings as early as the start of the 20th century.4 In Germany, 1897, the Scientific-Humanitarian Committee was founded by a physician, a publisher, a lawyer, and a novelist,5 foreshadowing the institutions that would soon be central to the public discussion of homosexuality. This was the first social group es tablished to advance the civil rights of homosexuals, and it remained active in Germany until the rise of the Nazis. Though started in Germany, the Scientific-Hum anitarian Committee carried its ideas to other countries, and in 1906 and 1907 representativ es from the committee lectured in New York, helping to make new forms of organization imag inable for homosexuals in the U.S. Though not 4 See Barry Adam, The Rise of a Gay and Lesbian Movement revised ed. (New York: Twayne Publishers, 1995); Jonathan Katz, Gay American History: Lesbians and Gay Men in the U.S.A. (New York: Thomas Y. Crowell, 1976). 5 Barry Adam, The Rise of a Gay and Lesbian Movement revised ed. (New York: Twayne Publishers, 1995). 18

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formally organized into social movement gr oups, gays and lesbians had already began to congregate in certain social venues at this time. Edward Stevensons 1908 book The Intersexes identified clubs, bath houses, music halls, and cafes across the US frequented by homosexuals,6 which gave those who did not already know a bout these meeting places a lessened sense of isolation and a chance to form social networks. This was the first book of its kind written by a gay American writer. Historian Jonathan Katz has documented music, bars, and literature that show organized gay life among black Americans prior to World War II.7 These social ties gave early homophile groups a foundation on which to build. The Society for Human Rights in Chicago was formed in 1924, and was the first formally organized group for the advancement of gay rights in the United States.8 The beginnings of a social movement were budding when the Nazis came to power in Germany. With their ascendancy came the sy stematic intimidation and persecution of homosexuals, who, when forced into concentra tion camps, had to wear a pink triangle on their arm as an identifier,9 and were often subject to the harshest treatment in the camps.10 The abounding sense of fear was not confined to Germany, however, and early homophile movements across the globe either went into hiding or were destroyed. However, as is obvious from the re-emergence of homophile movements after World War II, [w]hatever gods the Nazis served, the genocide of a genera tion of homosexuals, the exterm ination of gay thought, and the 6 Ibid. 7 Jonathan Katz, Gay American History: Lesbia ns and Gay Men in the U.S.A (New York: Thom as Y. Crowell, 1976). 8 Adam. 9 Erik Jensen, The Pink Triangle and Political Cons ciousness: Gays, Lesbians, and the Memory of Nazi Persecution, Journal of the History of Sexuality 11.1 and 2 (2002): 320. 10 Adam. 19

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intense supervision of those w ho might be tempted to homosexuality were not enough to contain the human potential for same-sex love.11 Homophile Movement: A Revival Systematic persecution of homose xuals did not end with the def eat of the Nazis, nor did it end with the official discovery the homosexual behavior was relatively wide-spread in the U.S. Soon after World War II, Alfred Kinsey publis hed his findings based on interviews with thousands of individuals concer ning their detailed sex historie s (1948, 1953). Kinsey found that homosexual acts were fairly comm on, if not prevalent, in the United States. Based on this information, he described homosexuality and heterosexuality as occupying two ends of a continuum rather than as opposite sides of a strict ly exclusionary dichotomy. He concluded that homosexuality was not a fixed individual propensity, but rather mo re of a general human desire, implying that this desire may be present in va rying degrees in every in dividual (as opposed to only in a few exceptions) although not every individual may act on these desires to the same extent. The overarching social and political context in the United States after World War II was completely unfriendly to homosexuals, to put it mildly. The climate at this time was characterized by a generalized f ear, even panic, concerning t he other and the foreign.12 This was the era of McCarthy, and the House Un-Ame rican Activities, whose commission was to weed out Communists suspected of hiding in the ranks of homosexuals. Across the country there was a federal, state and local purge of gays and lesbians. One specific example of this occurred in the Johns Committees actions on college campuses in Florida, which terrorized students, 11 Ibid, 59. 12 See Adam; John DEmilio, Sexual Politics, Sexual Communities: The Making of a Homosexual Minority in the United States 1940-1970 (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1983); Steven Seidman, Beyond the Closet: The Transformation of Lesbian and Gay Life (New York: Routledge, 2002). 20

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caused faculty to lose their jobs, and contributed to a number of persons suicides. Homosexual lives across the country were subject to re pression, criminalization, discrimination, and persecution; marked by police and street violence, blackmail, incar ceration in jails and mental hospitals, as [a] growing public homosexual menace was invoked to fuel an atmosphere of social panic and hateful politic.13 After the Cold War, the U.S. government a nd its institutions pushed for a return to normalcy, which essentially meant enforcing traditional nuclear family values and heterosexual monogamy in service of reproduction as the American ideal. This image of the American family was held up and revered as the American ideal to which all should aspire. Indeed, this portrait was intimately tied to the identity of the nation. In the name of fostering the development of this national identity, any group of persons that did no t easily fit into this imagined community of wholesome America was defined as a foreign ot her, facilitating their marginalization and harassment. In this way, gender/sexuality discourse and nationality became linked as homosexuals came to symbolize the betrayal of American manhood.14 Gay men were seen as deviant criminals whose behavior needed to be subdued and punished for the good of the nation. This purposeful and aggressive enforcement of heterosexual dominance can be seen in both the state and the culture. For instance, Am erican film helped construct an image of the polluted homosexual, by portraying gay men on th e screen as child molesters and dysfunctional individuals whose lives ultimately end (or should end) in tragedy.15 Further evidence that homosexuality was viewed as deviant behavior ca n be found in the sociological literature from 13 Seidman, 26. 14 Adam. 15 Seidman. 21

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the time,16 and in the fact that homosexuality was li sted as in the psychiatric Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Di sorders. During this time, when both the culture and the state were purposefully and aggressively enforcing hete rosexual dominance, the closet was built as an accommodation to a compulsory heterosexual soci ety and, often times literally, as a method of survival.17 Yet within this hateful context, a homophile social movement began to re-emerge. In 1951, the Mattachine Society, named after a court jest er who tells unsightly truths from behind a mask, emerged in Los Angeles with leftist leanings and a stated purpose to unify, educate, lead, assist18 and to mobiliz[e] a large gay constituency and [weld] it into a cohesive force capable of militancy.19 However, in 1953, with a change in leadership came a change in movement strategy from gearing up for militant acti on to advocating a position of accommodation, integration, and an image of respectability whic h they held for over a decade. The Mattachine Society presented itself to the public as a gr oup interested in addres sing the problems of homosexuality, not as a gay organization. In some recent literature, [t]he term homophile [has become] virtually synonymous with the assimilation strategy of this time.20 In other words, they believed the best way to accomplish their goals was by presenting themselves as just like everybody else, (with one insignificant differe nce) and by educating both homosexuals and 16 See Maurice Leznoff and William Westley, The Homosexual Community, in Social Perspectives in Lesbian and Gay Studies: A Reader ed. P. Nardi and B. Schneider (New York: Routledge, 1998), 5-11; Albert Reiss, The Social Integration of Queers and Peers, in Social Perspectives in Lesb ian and Gay Studies: A Reader ed. P. Nardi and B. Schneider (New York: Routledge, 1998). 17 Seidman. 18 Adam. 19 John DEmilio, Sexual Politics, Sexual Communities: The Making of a Homosexual Minority in the United States 1940-1970 (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1983). 20 Adam. 22

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heterosexuals. Though the society did not present itself as explicitly political, it operated using an interest group political logic,21 one similar to that of an ethnic group that seeks legal consideration based on minority status.22 In addition to working towards legal rights, the Mattachine Society helped create social networks among gay men and helped lessen feelings of isolation through their meetings a nd also through their publication The Mattachine Review Though the Mattachine Society was open to memb ers of both genders, in practice it was a gay male organization. In 1955, the first post-war lesbian organization arose in San Francisco. The Daughters of Bilitis, named fo r Pierre Louyss poems on a lesbian theme, stated education, development of a library of homosexual mate rial, facilitation of public discussions of homosexuality involving legal, psyc hiatric and religious professiona ls as its objectives. Similar to the Mattachine Society, they advocated an assi milationist strategy and a mode of behavior and dress that was acceptable the heterosexual America.23 Rise Up, and Out: Gay Liberation Movement and Lesbian Feminism In 1964, the Mattachine Society in New York adopted the slogan Gay Is Good! and elected leadership that st ood for a more activist stance.24 This signified a shift from a strategy of assimilation to one of public activism. Implicit in the idea that gay is good is the idea that homosexuals need not present themselves as he terosexuals who just happened to have a sex partner of the same gender in order to gain so cial acceptance and legal rights. Rather, they 21 Elizabeth Armstrong, Forging Gay Identities: Organizing Sexuality in San Francisco, 1950-1994 (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2002). 22 Stephen Murray, The Institutional Elaboration of a Quasi-Ethnic Community, in Social Perspectives in Lesbian and Gay Studies: A Reader ed. P. Nardi and B. Schneider (New York: Routledge, 1998), 207-14; Steven Epstein, Gay Politics, Ethnic Identity: The Limits of Social Constructioninsm, in Social Perspectives in Lesbian and Gay Studies: A Reader ed. P. Nardi and B. Schneider (New York: Routledge, 1998), 134-59. 23 Adam. 24 Adam; DEmilio, Sexual Politics, Sexual Communities 23

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should proclaim a pride in being gay. This shift from accommodation to activism, from integration to confrontation, did not happen without resistance. The North American Conference of Homophile Organizations in 1970 acts as a snapshot, showing how the two movement strategies and ideologies clashed as gay liberat ionists confronted homophile organizations. In the end, it is clear that gay liberation was to be taken seriously, as the conference passed motions stating that they would support the womens movement, the Black Panthers, withdrawal of troops from Vietnam, and a memorial in remembra nce of the homosexuals persecuted and killed under Nazi Germany.25 This shift was not specific to th e Mattachine Society nor to New York; it was indicative of a more gene ral shift throughout lesbian and gay organizations across the nation. The social and political context in the United States at this time was one of contest; the 1960s was a time when virtually every major U.S. institution was being challenged. This historical location saw the rise of the black power movement, the womens movement, the radical student movement, the sexual revolution of the counterculture, peace movements, and environmental movements. Though working to ward different ends, and containing much internal debate as to how to attain those ends all these strands of social movements shared a confrontation with the idealized picture of America. Oversimplified, these movements allowed the public to see the gap betw een what this land claimedfr eedom and equalityand what actually occurred in this land. Sh aring much with these social m ovements, and moving into the social space that was created by them, lesbian a nd gay movements emerged in different dress. In such a context of possibil ity and creativity, it seemed to many gays and lesbians that [c]ivil rights and integrati on seemed like endless begging for the charity of liberals who 25 Adam. 24

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conveniently ignored the ever yday physical and psychologica l violence exerted by homophobic society.26 Movement and knowledge creation were i ndistinguishable in a period when civil rights, womens, and gay and lesbian movement s sought to take back public and scholarly images and stories about themselves.27 Gays and lesbians wanted self-definition, and the room to form their own culture where gay people could be free Within two years of the Stonewall Rebelli on, gay liberation groups emerged in every major city and campus in the United States, Canada, Australia, and Western Europe.28 The Stonewall riots of 1969 are often used as a marker for the start of gay liberation; however, it is important to remember that gay liberation built upon and interacted with an already formed homophile movement. Gay liberation began w ith people who were tired of the homophile movements strategy and tactics, and felt a sens e of urgency that could not wait for electoral politics while violence and discrimi nation continued to affect gays and lesbians on a daily basis. Liberationists sought to transform heterosexist institutionsnot to be included in them. The gay liberation movement had visions of freeing the homosexual within all individuals; movement participants believed that everyone, not just gays and lesbians, would benefit from the destruction of sexual repression. Liberationists saw themselves as challenging the American standard of heterosexual monogamy, as opposed to working for civil rights based on a minority group status, and they used tactic s and internal organiza tion structures that corresponded to their goals. Immediate, direct, confr ontational public actions, often calle d zaps, promoted visibility, and often drew media attention. 26 Ibid., 80. 27 Ibid., 16. 28 Ibid., 89. 25

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The Gay Liberation Front (NY) is probably th e most well-known gay liberation group, but it was by no means the only onethere was Fight Re pression of Erotic Expression (FREE) in Minneapolis, Street Transvestite Action Revoluti onaries (STAR) in New York, and Third World Gay Revolution composed of black and Hispanic members.29 As can be inferred from this list of groups, other marginalized persons rallied in ga y liberation, though it has come to be thought of as a mainly white movement. Liberationists saw their action as connected to broader social change seeking an end to oppression along the lines of race, class, and gender, and of course, sexuality, and they pressed for revolution in coal ition with other progressive forces. However, not everyone was happy with this co nnection to broad social issues, and some wanted to retain a focus on gay issues. For example, in NY, th e Gay Activists Alliance was formed by former members of the Gay Liberation Fr ont who felt that GLF was disorg anized, spreading itself too thin, and too preoccupied with revolutionary doc trine to effectively deal with the everyday discrimination still occurring in th e meantime. These groups operate d with an identity political logic as homosexuality was reconceptualized as a social and political identityit was no longer just about sexual object choice.30 They advocated creation and celebration of gay and lesbian culture, which they viewed as essential to establishing lesb ian and gay identity. Though lesbians had worked in both the wo mens movement and in the homophile movement, they felt their concerns were being ignored in both movements. Men took for granted many of the social conditions that made it possible for them to be gay. But lesbians needed to address fundamental problems facing all women su ch as equal opportunity in employment and violence against women in or der to have sufficient independence to become 29 Ibid. 30 Armstrong. 26

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lesbians.31 And though lesbians had always been present in the womens movement, they found themselves being marginalized there too on the basis of sexuality, race, and class, as they were seen as a threat to the possible success of the movement. As a response to this, lesbians formed their own organizations pulling from both gay liberation and the womens mov ement. This movement of lesbians toward aut onomous groups, where they were sure their concerns would be at the forefront can be seen in the evolution of group names. For instance, in NY, the Gay Liberation Front Womens Caucus became Gay Womens Liberation, which later became Lesbian Feminism; the Gay Activists Alliance Womens Subcommittee became Lesbian Feminism Liberation.32 The Daughters of Bilitis collapsed as women ceded from the gay movement in search of their own space, and as homophile thinking was being overtaken with talk of liberation. In 1971, the Radicalesbians in New York produced the now infamous WomanIdentified Woman Manifesto During this time, lesbianism was redefined as a sort of feminist nationalism. This was also a time of lesbian cultural renaissance with multiple newsletters and journals in circulation, and music festival s abounding. There was a major realignment of lesbian energy away from furt hering the rights of women or gays, toward specifically lesbians (those at the inte rsection of women and gay) concerns. The emphasis on gay and lesbian pride and the ce lebration of gay and lesbian culture that, for some, seems par for the course today, is the legacy of the liberation movement. Publicly acknowledging oneself as a lesbian or gay man, or coming out of the closet is now seen as a right of passage in the gay and lesbian community. This notion has become so central that we now speak of coming out narratives and have a Na tional Coming Out Day. Indeed, the idea of 31 Adam, 99. 32 Ibid. 27

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coming out of as we know it today stems from the self-affirmation promoted by gay liberation, from the idea that gay is good.33 Pride and Beyond: Lesbian and Gay Identity Movement The challenge that gay liberation posed to th e repressive gender and sexual roles of mainstream America became the reification of ge nder as either gay male masculinity or lesbian feminist nationalism at the end of the decade. The socialist challenge that the New Left posed ironically ended up having just th e opposite effect, as commercia l ghettos expanded capitalism. As the New Left declined and the revolution had not come to pass, the redistributive political logic the New Left worked from was discredited.34 Alongside this decline, self-professed gay liberation fronts faded as well, leaving reformis t groups in the political field and engendering a new proliferation of gay and lesbian interest grou ps organized within existing institutions: in the workplace, church, the theatre, social services, business, and sports.35 The Reagan era and the rise of the New Right made for a social and political context hostile to the lesbian an d gay movement, and left movement groups with ambivalent political opportunities. Before the onslaugh t of AIDS in the early 1980s, There was a rise in violence directed at gays and lesbians, legal gains rep ealed, the Briggs Initiative proposed (which was intended to keep gays and lesbia ns out of schools), the ERA defeat ed, and Harvey Milk (the first openly gay man elected to political office) assass inated. During this time, the lesbian and gay movements were concerned with state power an d carving out a niche for themselves within existing institutions, and turned once again to a fo cus on gaining legal prot ection and civil rights 33 John DEmilio, Placing Gay in the Sixties, in Long Time Gone: Sixties America Then and Now ed. A. Bloom (New York: Oxford University Press, 2001), 209-29. 34 Armstrong. 35 Adam, 89. 28

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through electoral politics. Orga nizations such The National Gay Task Force, The Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, and Womens Studies Centers in academia gained prominence as grassroots and direct action were quelled by a repressive political and social context. Movement goals included the legal recogni tion of homosexual couples, atta ining elected office, gaining entry into the military, resisting both police a nd street violence, and a focus on individual expression. The group Queer Nation formed in New York in 1990 by folks who felt that the gay and lesbian movement had become homogenized, mainly composed of and concerned with the needs of white upper class males. Many people, incl uding non-whites, bisexuals, and transfolk, did not feel that the lesbian and gay movement was as inclusive as it claimed. Indeed, they felt marginalized within a movement that purportedl y was working for their social and political betterment. Queer Nation brought together outcasts, which, some scholars have noted, points to the contradiction of bringing together those made to feel odd or perverse and affirm sameness by claiming an identity on the margin.36 Echoes of gay liberation coul d be seen and heard in groups such as Queer Nation and ACT UP, as they combined spontaneous high energy and an anarchistic internal dynamic that resulted in a wa ve of high-profile challenges to heterosexism but also in the division and dissolution of many groups after a couple of years.37 Tired of electoral politics, and criticizing th e desire for inclusion in a corrupt system, or what some saw as the complicity in gay pride, Queer Nation used di rect-action, confrontationa l tactics to shock the bourgeoisie into recognizing their ex istence. This approach can be seen in their slogan: Were here! Were Queer! Get used to it! 36 Adam; Joshua Gamson, Must Identity Movements Self-Destruct? A Queer Dilemma, Social Problems 42 (1995): 390-407. 37 Adam, 163. 29

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A Brief History of the Gay and Lesbian Press in the United States I begin this section of the chapter with a discussion of th e first publication aimed at a lesbian audience, including the authors motivation, the content, and the ways this publication set the stage for those to follow. Then, I move to the most often mentioned historical publications, ONE, The Mattachine Review and The Ladder. These are often discusse d in relation to the start of the gay and lesbian movement in the U.S., as they were all tied to one of the first gay and lesbian organizations, including th e Mattachine Society and the Daught ers of Bilitis. I also touch upon how these publications change over time and with new leadership. Finally, I discuss the explosion of publications that appeared in the gay and lesbian press at the time of the Stonewall Rebellion. During this time, the number of pub lications and the circulation numbers rose dramatically, as more and more people created an outlet for their voices and helped the movement reach a crescendo. This discussion lead s into my next chapter, where I present two case studies of two publications produced in the wake of Stone wall, focusing on the functions they served for the community in which they were circulated. Commonalities Amongst the Genres of the Dissident Press The gay and lesbian press needs to be situated in the tradition of an underground press in the U.S. The U.S. has a rich history of a dissi dent press existing along side the mainstream press that stretches back to its beginnings as an independent nation. Indeed, one scholar emphasizes that the U.S. has a tradition of an alterna tive press, showing that speaking out against the mainstream in a public forum is not a time-bound phenomenon.38 Focusing on such varied causes as the promotion of birth control, ab olition, womens suffrag e, workers rights, communism, socialism, building a utopia, blac k power, free love, womens liberation, and 38 Lauren Kessler, The Dissident Press: Alternative Journalism in American History (Beverly Hills: Sage Publications, 1984), 16. It is this conceptualization of a dissident press that is pertinent to my case studies. 30

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pacifism, the various genres included under the la bel of dissident pre ss all share a couple aspects in common. First is the question of the vi ews espoused in the publicati ons of the dissident press. Regardless of their specific focus, they all promoted ideas that ran counter to mainstream opinions and beliefs current in their time. Th eir viewpoints were different from, even in disagreement with, those in the conventional press. One scholar sharpens this point by distinguishing between a dissident press and the larger category of an alternative press. Streitmatter explains the difference as he sees it thus: to be consid ered part of the dissident press (and thus included in his book), the publication not only had to o ffer a differing view of society but also had to seek to change society in some discernable way (italics in original).39 Alternative publications express a view that differs from the mainstream; however, they do not explicitly have this motivation of effecting social change. For the purposes of categorization, Streitmatter is unconcerned with whether or not a dissident press is successful in bringing about social change; the intention to do so is enough.40 He claims it is this explicit motivation for change that separates a dissident press from th e larger category of an alternative press. 39 Rodger Streitmatter, Voices of Revolution: The Dissident Press in America (New York: Columbia University Press, 2001), xi. Kessler does not distinguish between an alternative press and a dissident press. It is Streitmatters conceptualization of a dissident press that is more pertinent to my case studies. 40 It is in this drive that Duncome connects publications of the dissident press with his discussion of zines in Notes from Underground: Zines and the Politics of Alternative Culture (New York: Verso, 1997). It is here that he finds one major aspect of their usefulnessin giving people something to walk towards. In other words, it is the striving toward the destination that is important, not the goal of reaching it, which he notes, is almost always untenable. I would add that zines are also similar in their publishers lack of acce ss to print in mainstream publications, and in their do-it-yourself ethic. A further comparison of modern zines with the documents from the older dissident press may prove interesting for further study. 31

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The second commonality shared by genres in the dissident press is a lack of access in the conventional press.41 Certainly this is related to their first commonality. The conventional press was (and largely still is) unwilling to provide a space for these dissident voices. Borrowing from Upton Sinclair, a dissident jour nalist of the early twentieth century, Streitmatter notes that Americas largest and best-known newspapers generally do not champion fundamental social change but, in reality, construct a concrete wall between the Am erican public and alternative thinking.42 Because their viewpoints found no outlet in the conventional press, many women and men who actively sought to tran sform society were forced to cr eate their own publications as a forum for their ideas. It was ofte n they only way to see their ideas in print, and to put them into a format that could be circulated. This neces sity helps to account for why the publishers would endure the harsh conditions, including harassment, financial difficulty, and exhaustion, that often accompanied these endeavors: many of them felt that they had no choice. One member of the dissident press puts it thus: Publishers become publishers because they must. [] Behind it all is a continuing sense that each of us make s a contribution to a much greater whole.43 In the case of the dissident press, that greater whole refers to the cause be hind the various social movements these public ations triumphed. Lisa Bens Vice Versa: Americas Gayest Magazine The gay press started with the desires of a woman known by the pseudonym Lisa Ben, an anagram of lesbian, by which she is stil l known today (although neither that pseudonym nor her given name were ever printed on her publ ication). She published the first issue of VICE 41 Kessler; Ed. Diane Kruchkow and Curt Johnson, Green Isle in the Sea: An Informal History of the Alternative Press, 1960-85 (Illinois: December Press, 1986); Abe Peck, Uncovering the Sixties: The Life and Times of the Underground Press (New York: Pantheon Books, 1985); Streitmatter, Voices of Revolution 42 Streitmatter, Voices of Revolution xii. 43 Robert Fox, Carpenter Press: A Brief Histroy, and Some Observations, in Kruchkow and Johnson. 32

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VERSA in 1947, and by her second issue, she had added a subtitle: Americas Gayest Magazine Ben methodically typed all twelve copies of each issue (with justified right-hand margins) by hand while working as a secretary for a boss wh o had little work for her to do, yet who also informed her she must look busy at the typewrit er at all times, lest others think him not important. She then distributed each issue by hand at two local lesbian bars in Southern California, telling the women to pass the magazine along to a friend after th ey were done with it. Bens magazine, as she called it, contained short stories that provided a positive picture of lesbians, poetry, book and film reviews, and editor ials, as did virtually all the gay and lesbian publications that were to follow. Each issue ranged from nine to twenty pages in length. Deviating from Streitmatters qualification as a dissident publicati on, Ben did not publish VICE VERSA to effect social change, but rather to keep busy at work and to help her get acquainted with other women who shared her inclinations. Recently Be n recalled, I was by myselfI couldnt go down the street saying: Im looking for lesbian friends. So this was the only way I could think of to do it. Thats why I started VICE VERSA It gave me a way of reaching out to other gay galsa way of gett ing to know other girls.44 Though Ben did not found the magazine with explicitly politic al intentions, she admits that, looking back, she can see how he actions were quite political at the r time. Lisa Ben put out a total of nine issues of VICE VERSA before she no longer had the opportunity or the desire. When a new owner cam e to the business, her work assignment was changed, and she no longer had access to a typewr iter, paper, and much free time on the job; however, by this time, she also had a fulfilling social life, and felt that the magazine had 44 Rodger Streitmatter, Unspeakable: The Rise of the Gay and Lesbian Press in America (Boston: Faber and Faber, 1995), 2-3. 33

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accomplished its original purpose. Ben says, that by February of 1948, she was discovering what the lesbian lifestyle was all about, and [she ] wanted to live it rather than write about it.45 Groups Begin to Publish: One and The Mattachine Review A few years later, in January of 1953, ONE was started by a group of gay men in Los Angeles who were tired of w hispering to each other over the problems they faced as homosexuals. One of the founders, Dale Jennings, recalled saying at a meeting: Thats not enough. We have to talk to more people. The newspapers wont print anything about us. So lets create a publication of our own. Lets start a magazine.46 ONE took its name from a quotation by Thomas Carlisle in reference to a mystic bond of brotherhood [that] makes all men ONE .47 Indeed, the founders took the word men literally, and by the magazines second issue, it was receiving letters complaini ng about the lack of contributi ons by women and the lack o content applicable to women. This exclusion fore shadowed what was to become a major issue in the gay and lesbian movement. f The Mattachine Society was founded in 1950 in LA as a secret society of gay men who gathered regularly in each others homes to socia lize and offer mutual support. At the start of the organization, many members held leftist beliefs; indeed, some were members of the Communist party. These leftist origins of the Mattachine Soci ety are often glossed over as more emphasis is placed on the assimilationist viewpoint that came to dominate the magazine under Hal Calls leadership in 1953. Although the Mattachine So ciety was already established by the time ONE came out, the founders of the magazine decided to maintain its independence and to not become officially tied to the Society. This deci sion largely stemmed from a disagreement over the 45 Ibid., 5. 46 Ibid., 18. 47 Ibid., 19. 34

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content of the magazine; the Society wanted th e magazine to focus on the contributions that homosexuals had made to literature and other cultural expressions; the founder of ONE wanted to focus on advocating and gaining equal rights for homosexuals. In January of 1955, Hal Call founded the Mattachine Review to promote the Societys position of accommodation, in accordance with its now ri ght political leanings.48 The kind of male gayness these publications he lped create included political aspects as well as social ones. Both publications were c oncerned with bringing t ogether a gay community, but it can be argued that that concern was secondar y to the goals of coveri ng news that directly affected gay folk. These publications often reporte d on the status of laws that affected gay folk, and on the deliberations that were being held to discuss these la ws and to push to have them overturned. It is likely that the average reader of The Mattachine Review or ONE would not look like the militant activist who woul d subscribe to the newsletters of the Gay Liberation Front in the near future. The Gay Press Gets Emboldened By the mid-1960s, new publications had overtaken ONE and the Mattachine Review whos circulations diminished in large part becau se the editors were unwil ling to shift their views in-line with those of a new generation of activists who were beginni ng to advocate a more emboldened view of their deserved placed in so ciety. Influenced by the black power movement, anti-war movement, and the count erculture, these activis ts who were new to the gay and lesbian movement did not shy away from powerfully demanding their voice be heard. These new activists were highly involved in many of the th emes that came to define the counterculture. A number of new publications that appeared in the mid to late 60s, such as Philadelphias Drum 48 Ibid. 35

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the Los Angeles Advocate and the Homosexual Citizen column in Screw so that in mid-1969, the total circulation of publicati ons of the gay and lesbian pres s rose to approximately 200,000. Just in time for the Stonewall Rebellion, the circul ation numbers of the gay and lesbian press had dramatically increased tenfold,49 and the influence from the count erculture could be clearly seen with the focus on reorganizing sexua l relationships in the society. Movement/Press Relations in Gay Liberation The history of the gay and lesbian movement is integrated with the history of its press.50 It may not be wrong to assert that one would not have existed without the other. As the movement shaped what was included in the content of the publications of what became known as the gay press, the content of the publications served to help define what became in included in the movementeven what would define the movement itself. It is in those pages where the ideological issues of the gay and lesbian moveme nt gained footing and were presented, debated, generally hashed out by gay folks. It is in those pages where one can s ee the beginnings of a community and connection. In the following chapter, I present two case st udies of the newsletter s published by the Gay Liberation Fronts of Washington, DC and Ames, Iowa. I focus on describing the appearance, structure, content, and style of their publications in order to access how th e publications served their communities. I locate those newsletter s within their historical moment by providing background relevant to their emergence. There has been other work done on the gay and lesbian movement as a whole, as well as work done on wh at GLF stood for in par ticular. In my case 49 Ibid. 50 Alexandra Chasin, Selling Out: The Gay and Lesbian Movement Goes to Market (New York: St. Martins Press, 2000). 36

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37 studies, I focus on the functions of the newsletters first, then draw the la rger theory out of my observations rather then the reverse. I engage in telling history from the ground up.

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CHAPTER 3 ANALYSES OF SELECT GAY LIBERATION FRONT NEWSLETTERS PUBLISHED IN WASHINGTON D.C. AND AMES, IOWA The Publications of Gay Libera tion Front of Washington D.C. The Surrounding Context for Gay Lib eration Front of Washington D.C. When the Gay Liberation Front of Washington D.C. formed and began putting out their GLF Newsletter in the summer of 1970, it wa s not for lack of gay organizing or a gay newsletter in the area. The Mattachine Society of Washi ngton D.C. (MSW) published a newsletter for its members semi-regularly from 1966 until 1970.51 In one of its last issues, The Insider announces that The Gay Blade will soon be ready for dist ribution in bars and other public places. This will be a newsletter/community bulletin board/scandal sheet which will carry news of the D.C. gay community and information for the gay community.52 Indeed, the first issue of The Gay Blade appeared, courtesy of Nancy Tucker and Art Stone (pseudonym for Bart Wenger, a member of MSW), in October, 1969. Though this newslette r was backed by the Mattachine Society, it was officially independent of the organization.53 By this time, there were at least seven gay organizations/groups ranging from the Mattachine Society to th e Spartans, D.C.s first gay motorcycle club in the city, but there was no central meeti ng placephysical or metaphorical. The first issue of The Gay Blade was one single sided page l ong and was divided into three columns. It was distributed personally by Stone to individuals because bar owners would not 51 The Rainbow History Project, The Insider: Newsletter of the Mattachine Society of Washington http://www.rainbowhi story.org/insider.htm (acce ssed September 29, 2007). 52 Anonymous, Dropping the Middle Class Bag, The Insider: Newsletter of the Mattachine Society of Washington October 1969, eds. Eva Freud and Richard Sch aeffers, http://www.rainbowhistory.org/insider.htm (accessed September 29, 2007). 53 The Rainbow History Project, Newspaper of Record: 35 Years of The Washington Blade http://www.rainbowhistory.org/blade.pdf (accessed September 29, 2007). 38

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allow stacks of the newsletter to be left in their businesses.54 True to its prev iew description in The Insider, The Gay Blade contained announcements of MS W social activities, its own roommate referral service, the availability of books and arti cle for and about homosexuals, contact information for Frank Kameny (then Pres ident of MSW), alerts for upcoming meetings, and other random information pertinen t to gays in the D.C. area. The first issue also contained a piece on the formation of the Gay Liberation Front in New York and its picket that forced the Village Voice to change its advertising policy.55 Most of the entries in The Gay Blade consisted of no more than a couple of sentences.56 The content of The Gay Blade reflected the vision that Tucker held for the publication. She wanted a publication that would engender a sense of community. I felt it was very important for gays to become acquainted with one another. Public ity encourages selfconfidence, it creat es self-respect.57 Tuckers concern for gays self-respect is in the same line as Kamenys desire to inform gays of their legal rights at a time wh en police harassment, blackmail, and the draft were si gnificant issues in gay people s lives. Kameny consistently advertised his (and Mattachines) legal services in The Gay Blade Also, the second issue of The Gay Blade had a flyer attached, entitled Blackmailer at Work in DuPont Circle Area, that gave a detailed description of how this person blackmails gays wh o he thinks are cruising the area, and three detailed ways for the victim to respond to the blackmail. It even includes predictions 54 Ibid. 55 Nancy Tucker and Art Stone, eds. Gay Liberation Front, The Gay Blade 1.1, October 1969, http://www.rainbowhistory.org/FirstBlades.pdf (accessed September 30, 2007). 56 That is until, of course, the newsletter expanded its one page format. 57 Nancy Tucker, The Gay Blade October 1973, quoted in The Rainbow Hi story Project, Newsp aper of Record. 39

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as to how the blackmailer would react to each of the three offered responses.58 Further reflecting its focus on the local community, some of th e features that have come to define The Gay Blade are the classifieds, which expressly forbid ads fo r sex or romantic relationships, and the calendar of local events, which was augmented with a se ction Of Special Intere st to Women in 1973.59 Gay Liberation Front Forms in D.C. When the Gay Liberation Front of Washington D.C. formed, they were hardly the first organizing group of gay people, nor was their newsletter the firs t if its kind. Indeed, their publication seemed to draw upon the feel of Th e Gay Blade as a community bulletin board; however, the community it was geared towards does not seem to be the entire gay community, but rather those members active in (or desiring to be active in) gay liberation. The group formed approximately one year after the Stonewall riots in New York in response to a series of letters to the editor and articles that appeared in a local underground newspaper. At the beginning of June, 1970, Mike Yarr wrote to the editor of Quicksilver Times in protest of the ne wspapers use of the word sucks in a headline of the previous issu e, designed to express negative feelings towards an individual. Yarr contends that use of the wo rd sucks in such a manner contributes to the oppression of gay persons, particularly in the form of self-hatred as gay individuals see the sexual behavior of sucking cocks used as a euphemism to describe things as negative and/or 58 The Community Service Committee of the Mattachine So ciety of Washington, Black mailer at Work in DuPont Circle Area The Gay Blade 1.2, November 1969, http://www.rainbowhistory.org/FirstBlades.pdf (accessed September 30, 2007). This topic would reappear in The Gay Blade (March 1970), and here, would include the directive to tell ones friends about the details because many victims of this blackmailer never go near the bars and havent seen the warnings, explicitly encour aging gays to watch out for each other. 59 The Rainbow History Project, Newspaper of Record. The Gay Blade gained a famed status in D.C. as well as a fierce loyal following. The publication, though appearing extremely different from its first issues, exists today as The Washington Blade 40

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disgusting.60 Yarr maintains that inadvertent slurs ag ainst gay people such as [the one used in the offensive headline] within the liberation movement point out the necessity in Washington for gay radicals, militants, and revolutionaries to get our shit together.61 At the end of his letter, Mike Yarr listed a phone number where all gay movement people interested in forming a Gay Liberation Front here could contact him.62 In the following issue of the paper, Quicksilver Times ran an article by D. Aiken entitled Gay Liberation comes to D.C. inspired by the first Gay Pride Week, marking the first anniversary of the Christopher Stre et Riots (now usually referred to as the Stonewall Riots, or simply, Stonewall). Aikens article makes refere nce to Mike Yarrs letter and informs readers that many people (about 70) did respond to Yarrs call to form a Gay Lib group. In his article, Aiken mentions some of the things Gay Lib groups in other cities have done, such as work to repeal sodomy laws, protest the firing of gay persons from their jobs, boycott overpriced gay bars that pay off either the police or the mob or both to obtain protection or avoid raids, and arrange social events where gay people can meet each other (and right-on straights) in a relaxed atmosphere outside of bars and public pl aces. Aiken also emphasizes the need for a Gay Lib group as a support network for those who are dealing or will deal with internal hang ups and the repression they feel from a society wh ich demands conformity. Finally, Aiken touches on an issue that will resurface throughout the years of gay liberation; he states the importance of 60 Mike Yarr, Quicksilver Times June 9-19, 1970, Letters section, http://www.rainbowhistory.org/glf.htm (accessed September 29, 2007). Both the use of the word sucks as an expression of intense dislike and the actual act of cock-sucking appear again and again in the newsletters. 61 Ibid. 62 Ibid. It is significant to mention the Editors Note underneath Yarrs letter: Mike Yarrs criticismand his ensuing analysis are so obviously correct, all we can do is apologize and say in the future we will try to delete idiomatic language which in fact is nothing more than unconscious predjudice. Also, please note that I will not use the common indication of an error in a direct quote ([sic]) for this document, unless the error is one that may confuse the meaning of the quotation. 41

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gay men and gay women working together in Gay Lib, even though women will almost certainly want to have their ow n separate rap sessions. Aike n also closes his article by providing contact information for himself, Mike Yarr, and Mike Gritz for anyone interested in rap[ping] with somebody about the idea of gay lib.63 The third article in Quicksilver Times that facilitated the formation of a Gay Liberation Front in Washington D.C. was written by a radical lesbian in the July 14-24, 1970 issue. This article, entitled Gay Liberation, gives a description of the aut hors perception of her experience at the Gay Pride Parade, including the supportive and derogatory remarks from folks on the sidelines, the authors response to some of those remarks, the irony of having a permit and police protection for the parade to commemorate riot s which happened because of police raids the previous year, and the various groups that came t ogether from all over the East Coast to march. The final sentence of this article reads: For those sisters and brothers who are ready to come out and live, we meet Tuesdays at 8:00 pm at Grace Episcopal Church in Georgetown.64 This is significant because it shows that in less than a month and a half, folks in DC had brought GLF into being. The GLF Newsletter : A Bulletin Board for the Gay Community Once established (and I use that word loosel y) as a group, GLF-DC did not waste anytime in putting out the GLF Newsletter during the summer of 1970.65 The GLF Newsletter was printed weekly and served as a sort of bulle tin board for those interested in or already 63 D. Aiken, Gay Liberation Comes to D.C., Quicksilver Times June 23-July 3, 1970, www.rainbowhistoryorg/glf.htm (accessed September 29, 2007). 64 A Radical Lesbian, Gay Liberation, Quicksilver Times July 14-24, 1970, www.rainbowhistoryorg/glf.htm (accessed September, 29, 2007). 65 By my estimation, the first issue was published at the beginning of August, 1970. As the newsletter was published on a weekly basis, I obtained this approximation by working backwards from Vol. 1.9 (the earliest issue in my possession), which appeared on October 6, 1970. 42

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participating in gay liberation. The issues I have range from four (4) to six (6) single-sided typed pages in length, and were published in Oct ober and November, 1970. They are all titled GLF Newsletter and the G in GLF is shaped like the symbol used for male (a circle with an arrow pointing out from the circle on one side). The newsletters look like they were put together hastily, sometimes containing text that runs crooked down the page, which makes sense considering GLF produced a new issue each week. The contents of each issue include notes from GLF general meetings, tales of plans for and results of radical action done by GLFers (such as protests), comments on what was discus sed in previous rap sessions, announcements for upcoming meetings and dances and guest speakers, contact in formation for local gay groups, articles taken from other newspapers that pertai n to gay liberation, an ope n invitation to readers to come to a meeting or partic ipate with specific projects, and the occasional review of a television show or a film. One of the main functions of Gay Liberation Fronts (DC) newsletter was to make the contents of the weekly meeting accessible to readers. To that end, each issue has an informal account of Tuesday meetings minutes. For inst ance, the section entitl ed Cruising Around at Tuesday Meeting in the October 6, 1970 issue tells readers that Ke nt has been distributing The Gay Manifesto on campuses, Joe will be appearing on a local television show (wearing dark glasses to protect his job) to publicize GLF, and that money was collected to fund the phone service for the Commune, but more money is ne eded. Also at the meeting, one of the few persons referred to by his full name in these ne wsletters, Frank Kameny, suggested that GLF and the Homophile Social League jointly hold a dance.66 66 Gay Liberation Front of Washington D. C., Cruising Around at Tuesday Meeting, GLF Newsletter 1.9, October 6, 1970, www.rainbowhistoryorg/glf1.9.pdf (accessed January 12, 2007). 43

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Finally, contained in these minutes is an announcement that the political action committee is planning a meeting with gay bar ow ners in the near future, and the writer is optimistic about developing a permanent working committee with the bar owners.67 Relations between gay bars and gay liberation groups were often conflicted. On the one hand, the bars have a history of being a public gathering place for gay persons, and having so few, many gay patrons did not want to give up that meeting place, and many wanted to actively support those owned and/or run by gay persons. On the othe r hand, these bars were far from the ideal.68 The management was often charged with engaging in r acist and/or sexist practices. Often times the owners had to pay off the local police to avoi d raids or the local mobsters to obtain some semblance of protection. This frustrated many patrons, as did the watered-down, over-priced drinks. So the prospect of a working relations hip between GLFers and bar owners must have been an exciting one indeed. A few weeks later, Chuck Hall reported in the newsletter that a meeting was scheduled with the barowners to talk over racial and sexual discrimination in the gay bars. At present, the prospect s bode well for a productive discussion.69 By mid-November, however, the prospects had closed, as Chuck reported that his final efforts to talk with bar owners had been ignored and that from all indi cations, the barowners do not intend to discuss this subjec t [the practice of racial and se xual discrimination] voluntarily. 67 Ibid. 68 Adam; Arther Bell, Dancing the Gay Lib Blues (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1971); DEmilio, Sexual Politics, Sexual Communities ; John Murphy, Homosexual Liberation: A Personal View (New York: Praeger Publishers, 1971). The dissatisfaction many gay men felt w ith the conditions of gay bars at this time was voiced repeatedly, both directly and indirectly, in many of the ne wsletters and memoirs of the time. A number of activists were concerned with providing an altern ative to bars as a social meeting place for gay men. This was one of the purposes of the dances sponsored by Mattachine and GLF. 69 Gay Liberation Front of Washington D.C., October 20 Meeting, GLF Newsletter 1.12, October 27, 1970, www.rainbowhistoryorg/glf1.12.pdf (accessed January 12, 2007). It should be noted that when referring to sexual discrimination, the author is referring to what we would call gender discrimination today, or the practice of discriminating against women (or in this case specifically, against lesbians as women). The author is not referring to discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in this case. 44

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This led into a long discussion at the GLF general meeting ab out what should be done in response to the bar owners refusal to address their offensive practices. There was a consensus that discrimination in bars is palpable and re al, but members were divided as to how to respond. Some felt direct confrontation was nece ssary, with one member suggesting that they burn down the offending bars; some were in favo r of direct non-violen t legal confrontation, while some opposed this route, saying that legal confrontation would not be effective given that the courts do not work for the people.70 There was an editorial in this same newsletter, giving space for other considerations surrounding what should be done. The author of the editorial focuses on one comment made at the meeting, forwarding the idea that there w ill be such discrimination as long as a sizeable portion of the gay community desire s it. Recognizing that picketing gay bars that discriminate against blacks and women may force them to change their pr actices, but it cannot force them to make black and/or female patrons feel comfor table inside the establishment. Rather, this comes from the clientele. The author suggests that if there was no desire for segregated bars on the part of some members of the gay community in the first place, there would be no problem with discriminatory practices. Th erefore, little is gained by succe ssful picketing of a bar because the root of the problem lies in peoples desire for segregation. As follows, the root of the solution should be effort directed towards educ ating the bigoted gays whose needs create the segregated bar.71 Whether or not this education is possi ble is another subject according to the author. 70 Gay Liberation Front of Washington D.C., News from the Liaison Committee, GLF Newsletter 1.14, November 10, 1970, www.rainbowhistoryorg/glf1.14.pdf (accessed January 12, 2007). 71 Gay Liberation Front of Washington D. C., Editorial: The Discussion at Tuesdays Meeting Regarding GLF Newsletter 1.14, November 10, 1970, www.rainbowhistoryorg/glf1.14.pdf (accessed January 12, 2007). 45

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A second important function of the newsletter was to report on both the planning of and results of radical actions taken by GLF member s. These radical actions include protests, pickets, demonstrations, rallies, marches, conferences, and zaps. Frequently, the actions are tied to what some would call a non-gay issue, or an issue that is not obviously and directly concerning gay persons qua gay persons. In the newsletters, the GLF presence at these actions is intended to show solidarity with other oppressed groups. For example, a piece entitled Radical Action notes that members of the GLF radical caucus were present at the planning meetings for a demonstration against Nguyen Cao Ky (S outh Vietnames Vice Premier) in Washington. According to the author, the members were ac ting on the principal that the oppression which foreign intervention and Kys corrupt government bring on the Vietnamese people is of concern to gay people as an oppressed group.72 Here, GLFers extend their solidarity with oppressed persons outside the U.S., and actually link U.S. imperialism with their own domestic oppression by the American government. Members of GLF need not go outside the U.S. to find oppressed groups to align themselves with though; throughout the newsletters, there are instances where GLF members align themselves with other oppressed groups in the U.S., including blacks, women, and Native Americans.73 For instance, when the demonstrati on mentioned above was no longer useful (because Ny decided not to go to Washington, D.C.), the GLF radical caucus turned their attention to McIntire, a Christian fundamentalist who spent much effort on advocating victory in 72 GLF of D.C., Radical Action, GLF Newsletter 1.9. 73 Whether this alignment with other oppressed groups on the part of GLFers was a step towards coalition between groups or an inappropriate parallel that over-simplifies the complexities of socio-political relations is beyond the scope of this thesis. 46

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Vietnam.74 They joined the Yippies and other free souls and put together a rock festival and rally scheduled for the same time as McIntires rally. The newsletter reports that the GLF presence was made known at the Saturday rock concert by three members dressed as Indians symbolizing another segment of the Ameri can population which has felt centuries of oppression.75 Here, GLFers draw a parallel between Native Americans and gay individuals as oppressed groups, and they also im ply a parallel between both thos e groups and the Vietnamese, as they chose to direct thei r action at McIntires rally. A later issue of the newsletter contains anot her example of GLF making an attempt to align themselves with other oppressed groups. This issue reports that the general Tuesday meeting was dominated by two general disc ussions, one being whether or not to send a lette r of support to Angela Davis and whether to do so in the name of GLF. Though it is uncl ear whether or not the letter was actually sent to Davis at the Womens Detention Ce nter in New York, the letter is reprinted in the newsletter. In it, GLF expresses support and ad miration for Davis, saying Your courage is an example and an inspiration to oppressed people everywhere on earthNo matter what physical distances or physical appearances seem to separate us, we are one in spirit. You deserve and have won the love and respect of all those who cherish fr eedom. If we sift thorough the air of liberal humanis m (and read Angela Davis as re presenting black folks), we can see that GLF implies that blacks and gays are conn ected in their oppression. This is an idea that reappears in newsletters from other Gay Libera tion Fronts as well. Articles in the various newsletters put forth the viewpoint that although non-gay issues do not relate to gay persons as 74 The Christian Century Foundation, Fundamentalist gadfly Carl McIntire dies, Christian Century April 10, 2002, Obituary section, http://findarticles.com/p/article s/mi_m1058/is_8_119/ai_85106524 (accessed September, 21, 2007). 75 GLF of D.C., Radical Action, GLF Newsletter 1.9. 47

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gay persons, they do in fact directly concer n gay individuals as me mbers of an oppressed group.76 In tracing the development of gay-centered publications in Washington D.C., we being to see that there was a diverse gay community that could, in fact, support multiple gay-focused publications. This seems to follow from Washi ngton D.C. being a political center of the U.S. Activism on behalf of gay folk had been occurring in D.C. for some time before the first issue of GLF Newsletter came to print, and there was already a gay-centered publication that discussed relevant news items and one that acted as a social event calendar. In this context, GLF Newsletter could come into the scene and focus on the more political and social activist concerns of gay folk in Washington D.C. Ames, Iowa, on the other hand, was no such political center for the country with an establishe d community. There were no othe r gay-centered publications for GLF to interact with in the early 1970s, and approximately half the population of Ames was undergraduate students. One might expect a ga y-centered publication to look, feel, and read quite different from one in D.C., and indeed, it did. The Publications of Gay Liberation Front of Ames, Iowa The Surrounding Context for Gay Li beration Front of Ames, Iowa Quite the contrast to the urban metropolis of Washington D.C., Ames is a small college town, spanning just over 20 square miles in land mass, located in central Iowa. Accordin to Wikipedia, the town was originally founded as a station stop on the Ceda r Rapids and Missouri Railroad. Currently, the largest employers in Am es are state and federa l institutions followed by various manufacturers, including Barilla pasta and Ball canning jars. It is home to Iowa State 76 GLF of D.C., The Infamous Letter, GLF Newsletter 1.12. The differing opinions among GLFers as to whether GLF (and gay individuals more generally) should spend time and energy on non-gay issues is a major influence behind the splintering off of members of GLF into othe r groups. The Gay Activist A lliance (GAA) was formed in this way by members who were dissatisfied with the structure of GLF and the breadth of its activism. 48

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University of Science and Technology (ISU), whic h began as Iowa State College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts in 1856. The first building on campusthe Farm Housewas built in 1860. In 2000, Ames had a population of approxi mately 50,000, and approximately 25,000 students were enrolled at ISU. I realize this census data is not from the time period pertaining to my research, yet this brief introduction serves to hi ghlight Ames as a college town which has the university and agriculture as its sustaining forces. As the 1970s dawned, there were no gay bars in the town, no publications that focused on ga y folk, and no readily visible gay groups for students to join for social and/or political purposes. It is in th is small college town setting that the Gay Liberation Front of Ames, Iowa formed on the university campus. Gay Liberation Front Forms in Ames, Iowa The Gay Liberation Front of Ames, Iowa formed in the fall quarte r of the 1971-72 school year at Iowa State University. According to one of the founding member s, to be technically correct, a bit wryly ironic, Iowa State Universi ty Gay Liberation meetings first took place in married student housing at the residence of Joey Franco located in Pammel Court.77 Gay Liberation Front at Iowa State made its first publi c appearance in written form in the Letters to the Editor section of ISU Daily newspaper. Signed by Gay Li beration FrontAmes, the letter denounced both obvious and subtle discrimi nation against homosexuals on campus, and announces that the gay community can no longer remain silent and invisible.78 The letter specifically opposes the University s presentation of the play The Boys in the Band which they argue perpetuates negative stereotypes about gays and is not repres entative of the gay community. The closing statement demands equa lity, and announces GLFs presence to the ISU 77 Dennis Brumm, My Own Early Gay History, http://www.brumm.com/gaylib/earlybrumm.html (accessed September 21, 2007). 78 Gay Liberation FrontAmes, Homosexuals Discriminated Against, ISU Daily December 1970, http://www.brumm.com/gaylib/boysband1971_1.html (accessed January 27, 2007). 49

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community: We demand to be given the same ri ghts and privileges as heterosexuals, and we will begin to come out now and assume our equal status in society.79 During the fall quarter, the meetings at Pammel Court were private gatherings, but the first open meeting did not occur until th e winter quarter. The first pub lic meeting was held at the YMCA on Iowa States campus and drew 11 people, both women, and men and a reporter for the ISU Daily newspaper, Linda Kohl.80 Both Kohls article and Dennis Brumms personal account of that first public meeting speak of high tension in the room and th at no one really knew what to expect at the meeting. Brumm r ecalls that many people were silent at the meeting because of the real or imagined risks they felt they were taki ng by attending the meeting; he speaks of his own fear in attending: I was convinced by going to this meeting that the next day everybody would know Id gone and then they would inevitably be at the living shit out of me over and over again, and was relieved when he arrived to fi nd that no threatening angry people were waiting outside to kill us.81 Brumm is quick to note that this m eeting was unlike any other he would (or had) experience(d) in gay liberationthere was no planned agenda, no voting on officers, no chatting among participants, no demonstration pl anning. Explaining the title of his article, Brumm writes that the meeting was special and horrible and wonderful all mixed into one setting. Its hard to even thi nk of it as a meeting; it was a poli tical statement mixed in with a viewing: we were being viewed because we were at something that had never happened on 79 Ibid. 80 Linda Kohl, Gay Liberation Front Organizes Here, ISU Daily December, 14, 1971, http://www.brumm.com/gaylib/glforganizes1971.html (accessed January 27, 2007). 81 Dennis Brumm, The First Public Meeting, http://www.brumm.com/gaylib/glforganizes1971.html (accessed January 27, 2007). 50

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campus or [in] Ames before and even if we were an unknown, yet rumored, minority group, the humans came out of curiosity to see what else we might be.82 Both Brumm and Kohl agree that the tension le ssened as she began to ask questions about the group. One member, Joe Franco, said that GL F has two main goals: the first, and most important, is to foster a sense of commun ity and self-respect am ong gay peopleThe second purposeis to inform straight pe ople that we are gay people w ho are not ashamed of what we are and are not sick or perverte d. Kohls article in the Dail y focuses on discrimination towards gays taking place on Iowa States campus, includi ng negative remarks made by professors about gay writers when their work is used in English classes, and a gay person being asked to resign once the university administration discovered he was gay. The article ends with Franco speaking about how gay liberation (and womens liberation) came out of the struggle against oppression, and explaining that GLF did not make the group pub lic until recently because they needed to be prepared by other liberation groups.83 In April 1972, the Gay Liberation Front held its second open meeting, which prompted another article in the ISU Daily The four GLF members presen t at the meeting agreed that since some members of the group do not want to be harassed by a larg e number of studentsno one person should be singled out. Though no last na mes are used in the article, it is safe to assume that Joe is Joe Franco, a founding me mber of the group, who ha d made several public appearances by this time and had become a spoke sperson for GLF of Ames and Al is Allen Bell. The purpose behind the open meetings and speaking engagements is to combat stereotypical notions of gay persons, as a way to educate both gays and straights in the 82 Ibid. 83 Kohl, Gay Liberation Front Organizes Here, ISU Daily. 51

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community. The article cites three common stereot ypes that just are not true according to GLF membershomosexuals are feminine, promiscuous, and they attack young children. The first question members are asked is why? which me mbers find irrelevant and stupid. According to Al, often the response is to turn the question around and ask the st raight why are you a heterosexual? Recognizing the importance of the historical moment, Al notes that this response is more possible now w ith the explosion of gay liber ation groups coming into public view, as these groups have helped dispel the notion that homosexuality is a sickness. To continue this mission of public education, the ar ticle closes by saying that GLF would be happy to communicate with both gays and straights and to answer any questions people may have.84 During the following school year, 1972-73, the Gay Liberation Front turned its focus inward. Members moved away from public spea king engagements designed to educate others about gay persons, as they spent most of their ener gies on each other in r ap sessions. The shift in focus prompted GLF to change its name to Gay Mens Rap Group that year. Dennis Brumm speculates that changing the name of the group made it more accessible for a wider range of people, because rapping was less scary than liber ating was. This turn inward was a logical outgrowth from the meetings GLF held last ye ar, according to Brumm. He describes the dynamic at the sessions as follows, often times we spent meetings having weekly meetings to discuss what we werent discus sing properly in the meetings and supporting each other through all the day to day trials we were having among ou rselves or the tribula tions we felt up against living in a hostile world. Here, the inward fo cus is clear. At these sessions, gay men would come together to talk about whatever they were dealing with in their personal lives, including 84 Unknown, Gay Liberation Frowns on Stereotyping, ISU Daily, April 27, 1972, http://www.brumm.com/gaylib/glffrowns1972.html (accessed January 27, 2007). Work ing against stereotypes is a common purpose for many GLF groups, and continues to be a source of controversy today. 52

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instances of oppression, feelings and fears about coming out, and what would go on at the next session. They expressed concerned about the gr oup as a whole as well as the individual members. This was a fertile time for personal growth for the new members who didnt necessarily feel they wanted to be overtly political animals. Joey Franco sat back some and let grow what he started.85 On May 12, 1973, the school year came to a clos e on a celebratory note with the first gay dance in Ames sponsored by the Gay Community Alliance, a name we concocted for a group hug between the Gay Men's Rap Group and Lesbia n Alliance. The only publicity for the dance was an advertisement in the ISU Daily that ran for the three days be fore the event. It seemed appropriate to end the year with a social event, as the majority of the year had been spent not on outwardly political actions, but on internal personal growth. Brumm recalls that the stage was set now for the group to turn its focus back to ward the public, and though the rap sessions were vital to the group and its members, it was time to do something besides simply talking.86 That fall semester, the group decided to forma lize which meant establis hing a leadership of two co-chairmen and writing a constitution that w ould describe the groups goals. The reasons behind this decision included to strengthen the gr oup, to prepare to approach the Government of the Student Body (GSB) for formal recognition (i.e. funding), and to appease some of the older group members who claimed that they would quit th e group if it did not formalize. As the group discussed its constitution, members differed in op inion on what should be the central focus of the 85 Dennis Brumm, Gay Liberation and the ISU School Year 1972-1973, http://www.bru mm.com/gaylib/gaylib19721973.html (accessed Janu ary 27, 2007). These group rap sessions served similar functions, and indeed were based on, the consciousness-raising sessions popular in the womens movement. Brumm also believes that the Lesbian Alliance began in the same school year, and though there were both women and men present at the first public meeting of GLF, after then, the men and women were essentially separate groups. 86 Dennis Brumm, Gay Community Alliance Dance, http://www.brumm.com/gaylib/dance05-12-1973.html (accessed September 22, 2007). 53

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group. Some felt that the group should be more person-oriented I helping new members to accept their gayness, and to feel comfortable w ith themselves and with those around them. Other members, particularly thos e who had already been rapping with the group for a year or two, wanted to be more publicly activist-orient ated; one member said he wanted to work socially; repealing laws, and making people awar e of the gay person as a worthwhile human being.87 Here, the emphasis is on educating the p ublic and working toward the breakdown of stereotypes, as opposed to dealing with internal struggles. When the group decided to formalize, they were not all in agreement concerning the groups purpose, a nd members differed in the level of explicitly political activity they were willing to engage in. From Gayly Forward to Sarah Bernhardts Farewell American Tour : A Textual Meeting Place for the Gay Community The freshly-named Gay Peoples Liberation Alliance88 published three issues of its monthly newsletter beginning in Fe bruary, 1974. The first three issue are titled Gayly Forward and range from six to ten pages in length. The amount of sketches and artwork is minimal, though it does increase with each sequential issue. The third issue is the first to have a cover page, and it is adorned with a sketched line draw ing of the back of a nude male. This is also the first issue where funded by the government of the student body of iowa st ate university was typed on the cover, though the group obtained funding from th e GBS earlier that semester. The issues of Gayly Forward include reports of public action taken by me mbers, news articles pertinent to the gay community, articles on what gay liberation means and why it is necessary, analyses of how oppression works against gays, poetry, personal lett ers, suggested reading lists that include 87 Alan Rabe, Gay Groups Plan Goals, ISU Daily: New Dimensions September 17, 1973, http://www.brumm.com/gaylib/newdimensions1973_6.html (accessed January 27, 2007). 88 I could not find an explanation as to why the name was changed again; however, I venture that it had something to do with the decision to formalize the group and to add social change explicitly to the groups goals. The name change is declared in the groups official constitution. 54

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positive portrayals of gays and lesbians, and contact information for GPLA and Lesbian Alliance. Gayly Forward acted as an introduction to gay libera tion for readers, as well as a medium for figuring out what gay liberation means and en tails. An article entitled Gay Lib Doesnt Draw Crowds in the first issue anticipates a nd addresses readers concerns about coming to a gay liberation meeting. The write r recognizes the fear that pr events many individuals from attending is the result of living in a hostile, anti-Gay society and/or the misconception that once a person attends a meeting, he has to co me out publicly. Some also avoid coming to meetings because they fear they will be labele d a homosexual too, and ther eby lose their friends and prestige. While this is a real risk, the auth or affirms, the meetings can serve an important function in simply giving an individual someone to talk to. This is th e supportive role of Gay Liberation, which is just as important as the political and social roles.89 Here, the writer claims that gay liberation is about build ing and supporting a gay community just as much as it is about demonstration in the streets for br oad social and political change. In the same issue, there is another article that implicitly stresses the importance of the supportive role of gay liberation. In The M echanics Involved in Oppression, the author devotes much space to internalized oppression, where often oppressed pe oples believ[e] the propaganda of the oppressor. The author ma kes a graphic analogy about the process of internalizing ones oppression to bring out the viol ence inherent in the act: Its much the same process as one tending to internal ize knuckles from a fist shoved down ones throat. With this image, the author gets at the invasive process of internalizing oppression in a way that calling it internalizing does not. Dealing with internalized oppression, a nd the low self-esteem that is 89 Gay Peoples Liberation Alliance, G ay Liberation Doesnt Draw Crowds, Gayly Forward 1.1, February 1974, http://www.bru mm.com/gaylib/newsletters/index.ht ml (accessed January, 22 2007). 55

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often tied to it are the biggest ba ttles we often have to fight, they are often more painful and trying than those fought with the establishment or the bigot. Before one can fight internalized oppression, one must first see that one is being oppressed and has bought in to that destructive system. This is where the rap sessions of gay liberation start to come in and play a supportive role; this is what one new member meant when he said he needed the group to help [him] get [his] head together.90 Discovering systematic oppression, and discovering that you have been socialized to behave in a way that upholds that destructive sy stem, can turn your world inside out. It helps to be around other persons who have gone or are going through a similar experience. Related to the idea that this newsletter serves as a space to create meaning around and about gay liberation in Ames is the emphasi s placed on community participation with the newsletter. Gayly Forward also acts as a forum for the em erging gay community at (and around) Iowa State. The authors recognize they are do ing something new and important, and they do not want to do it without input from those they are atte mpting to engage. The last article in the first issue speaks to this and almost begs for comments and contributions from readers: This is the first issue of GAYLY FORWARD. Though it may be haphazard, non-professional, too radical or not radical enough, irrelevant not newsworthy, or any of a number of other possible criticisms, it is hopefully an important step for the consciousness of the Gay Community of Ames and Central IowaIf you are a Sister or Brother, Gay, Straight Bisexual, Androgenous, Polymorphous Perverse, unlabellabl e, dead or alive, or none of the above and have an opinion about this newsletter/pap er/whatever it is, send it to the above address.91 The authors are 90 Gay Peoples Liberation Alliance, The Mechanics Involved in Oppression, Gayly Forward 1.1. 91 Gay Peoples Liberation Alliance, Gay ly Forward No. 1What Do You Think?!, Gayly Forward 1.1. Capital letters and other rules of standard English were not always used in the newsletters. In direct quotes, I have kept the 56

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soliciting participation in the cons truction of the newsletter from readers; they are asking others to help construct gay liberation. This emphasis on the newsletters as a community forum is not contained to the first issue. Rather, it continues for the life of the newsletter. It is stated directly in the third issue: we need your criticisms if this paper is to work; write us and tell us what youre feeling and whyg.f. [Gayly Forward] is a chance for the gay voice of iowa to be heard pro and con about anything. we have so much to talk about, so much we must do -all of it together. use whatever non-ism la nguage thatll get the point across.92 The previous quote is also useful for in troducing another function, found in varying degrees, of the Ames newsletters. In making ga y liberation meaningful, the members attempt to align gay liberation with the libe ration of all oppressed peoples. In other words, they attempt to make gay liberation a non-specificly gay issue, or one that includes consciousness of other oppressed groups and how their liberation and op pression ties into ga y liberation and the oppression of gay folks. Instru cting contributors to use nonism language signals to readers that not only heterosexist, but also sexist, racist, classist, etc. langua ge will not be tolerated in the newsletter. The author stresses that point that gay folk are no t somehow let off the hook of selfexamination by virtue of being an oppressed group: as men in this society were responsible for the continued oppression of many, many people including ou rselvesbeing gay does not automatically relieve us from the position of wh ite, supremacist, macho, chauvenist, capitalist male or what has been done to most of the people of this society. we must do what we can to bring the supremacist, chauvenist, capitalist-pi g, sexist, ageist, homophob ic, racist male and form of the text as it appears in the newsletter. In the footnotes and citations, I have imposed the rules of standard English for the sake of clarity. 92 Gay Peoples Liberation Alliance, No Capitals, Gayly Forward 1.3, April-May 1974, http://www.bru mm.com/gaylib/newsletters/index.ht ml (accessed January, 22 2007). 57

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female down in all of us.93 The author wants gay individuals to be consci ous of other systems of oppression, including those involving race, gender, age, and class, and to realize that though they are oppressed as gay persons, they may also belong to the oppressing group by virtue of their sex or race or class. The author of this article brings out an im portant implication later in the piece, albeit possibly in a simplistic way. If part of ga y liberation means understa nding how systems of oppression are interconnected, then there is also the implication that the work of liberating persons from these various systems is interconnected. The author clarifies: we must commit ourselves to liberation -not partial but total. there is no freedom with women channeled into the house, children and roles, and limited and underpaid jobs; gays channeled into the arts and roles, and all the third world people confined and channeled to ghettos, roles and ar enas of brute force. this means that our closest allies will be w ith other liberation movements ( women, blacks, chicanos, puerto ricans, childre n, the old and any other movement that does not contain white, atleast middle-class, heterosexual, supremacist capitalist male. we must help them and hopefully they will help us.94 Though the author uses a language of us and them, which often signals separation and value hierar chy, the intention in the article is one of advocating mutual support if not unity in multiple causes. The au thor does not speculate on the specifics of how those involved in gay liberation might go a bout helping other oppressed groups, nor on the question of whether or not thos e groups would want help in the first place; however, the central ideathat oppressed groups can be each others strongest a lliesis one that some still find valid today. 93 Ibid. 94 Ibid. 58

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During the fall of 1974, the publication Coleus & Dogbreath Too appeared on Iowa States campus, and if one did not look past the cover, one would not know that this publication was put out by the volunteer editorial collective of Gay Peoples Alliancethe new incarnation of the Gay Peoples Liberation Alliance that put out three issues of Gayly Forward in the past spring.95 On the cover is a drawing of a hippo-like crea ture standing upright, flanked by two smaller creatures, one of which looks lik e a drowsy pig, the other a wary mushroom. The hippo-creature looks cross-eyed and is wearing a crown. It is licking a large, round lollipop and holding two flowers in its other hand. The name of the news letter appears at the bottom of the page, without explanation.96 This issue is ten pages long, and was di stributed as a twenty page booklet, folded over and stapled in the middle (as opposed to Gayly Forward which was formatted as full pages). The editorial collective would use this same format for the f ourth issue, entitled burned out and would return to full pages for its final issue, Sarah Bernhardts Farewell American Tour In Coleus and Dogbreath Too, two authors expressed a new hope they held for the publication. Previously, the group had included support for gays a nd education of the public in their goals. And I have stated that one function of the newslett er was to introduce folks to gay liberation. This issue of the newsletter includes two articles that differ in form and purpose, but both express this here-to-fore unarticulated goal of gay liberation that falls somewhere between the two: to reach out to closety gays and to those gay individuals who still feel isolated. The 95 There is no mention of the thought process behind this third name change, though I speculate it may have had similar rationale to the first name change, from Gay Li beration Front to Gay Mens Rap Group. Perhaps members thought that by dropping Liberation from the name, fo lks would be less intimidated (for various reasons) and membership would increase. This is the last time the grou p changed its name; however, it is not the last time they changed the name of their publication. 96 A search on Google informed me that coleus is an ornamental plant, known for its purple and green leaves, and it is often used to treat bad breath in dogs. 59

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first article, Betty Lous Magic Closet Door by an unknown author,97 concerns the experience of eight panelists and the outco me(s) of a call-in television ta lk show. Gay Peoples Alliance objected to the Marcus Welby, M.D. episode of the talk show Dimension 5 that aired on a central Iowa station. In response, the station ga ve GPA time on the show. Their panel was made up of four men and four women who responded to callers questions and comments for a two hour period. The author notes th at, ideally, some viewers who ha ppened to be straight learned something about homosexuals that led to some ch anges in attitude, but ca reful not to blow the educational value out of proportion, the author thinks that years of ingrained bigotry will not be undone in two hours. S/he hopes instead that we can help isolated unhappy gay people feel better about themselves and give them some so rt of hope for gaining positive self-concepts.98 The second article that expre sses hope at reaching out to isolated gays, rather than education the straight pu blic, is a personal reflection by Denni s Brumm. In Dennis Depressed Article, Brumm expresses frustrat ion with the rhetoric of gay lib eration, which he ties to his writers block via lack of motivation. He quick ly moves to questioning his own writing and its purpose. Brumm feels his writi ng has not reached the closety Gays because their experiences are so different form his own (among other reas ons). He is weighed down by a self-perpetuating system so much so that he views the above ratio nale as self-delusional. Brumm writes, Ill continue on the education trip. We must educate th e students so theyll allow us to exist, right? So they think, I only speak to classes in the hopes that some Gay person will be there and understand what Im trying to sayAnd next year a new group of freshman students (ten percent 97 As part of GPAs editorial policy, anyone who subm itted a piece to the newsletter could remain anonymous if he/she desired. I should also note that this is the first is sue where the majority of the pieces are claimed by an author using both their first and last their names or an alias. 98 Gay Peoples Alliance, Betty Lous Magic Closet Door, Coleus and Dogbreath Too, Falls End, 1974, http://www.bru mm.com/gaylib/newsletters/index.html (accessed January, 22 2007). This episode generated the most calls the show had ever received, approximately 250 in a two hour period. 60

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of which will be Gay) will come in from the educational and agricultural ghettos of this state, with all the bigotry of their peers. The system perpetuate s itself. It is futile to think otherwise.99 Here, Brumm seems to express contradictory views of the purpose of educational appearances in the classroom by members of Gay Peoples Alliance. He waivers back and forth on whether or not these appearances are effectiv e; it seems like he is dealing with being disillusioned, realizing that anti-gay prejudice will not simply disappear with sporadic education in college. What keeps him from giving up hope en tirely, it seems, is the idea that he can (or has) helped closety Gays in some way. Bru mm views his writing as on e vehicle for doing this, and speaking in a classroom as anot her. This is another function of the newsletter, one that is tied into the function of introducing people to gay liberation. Th e newsletter is a way to not only unite the community, but also to comfort those who are not yet part of it, and perhaps entice them to join as well. Though the group changed its name and the title of the newsletter, the content, themes, and functions remained much the same as those of Gayly Forward. At Iowa State, the GLF newsletter functioned as a public forum for gay fo lks to figure out what gay liberation meant for those in Ames. At first, the newsletter was open to publishing pieces from anyone willing to contribute, and later, from anyone who was gay and willing to contribute. The editorial collective envisioned the publicati on as a place where gay folks could discuss whatever was on their minds, ranging from plans for action to depr essed laments about the state of gay liberation to a campy list of Things for Bored Faggots to do. The newsletter in troduced people to gay liberation, linked isolated gay persons to others, and helped to shape a gay community in central Iowa. It played a part in making social and emotional support a central aim of gay liberation, 99 Dennis Brumm, Dennis Depressed Article, Coleus and Dogbreath Too. 61

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62 while still emphasizing the importa nce of outwardly directed polit ical and educational work. The newsletter was a space for some contributor s to try and align gay liberation with other liberation movements, to persuade gays that th ey should align with othe r oppressed groups in their move toward a changed society. As can be seen in the case studies presente d above, the publicati ons put out by the Gay Liberation Front of Washington D.C and of Ames, Iowa were extremely dissimilar. Though they were both interested in buildi ng and strengthening a gay commun ity, the groups went about this in different ways. They also seemed to define that community differen tly. The newsletters in D.C. and Ames were influenced by their geogr aphical location and by their membership and readership. The ramifications of these differe nces are considered in the following chapter.

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CHAPTER 4 CONCLUSION: FUNCTIONS OF GAY LI BERATION FRONTS NEWSLETTERS IN WASHINGTON D.C. AND AMES, IOWA The newsletters published by the Gay Liberatio n Fronts of Washington D.C. and of Ames, Iowa, served many purposes for their publishers as well as fo r the community of readers; however, they accomplished those purposes in different ways, ways that best suited the group members and the readers. Both publications f unctioned as a sort of textual meeting place for those involved in gay liberation. For those activists in Washington, the GLF Newsletter acted like a bulletin board, or a place where members would post information of use to readers. Most of the postings, or articles, consisted of factual information, such as when and where the next fund -raising dance would be held, or information on where to purchase a gay lib button. Each issue also included multiple contacts for various areas of gay liberation, including the GLF Commune, the Radical Caucus, the Womens Caucus, and Publica tions, thereby making it especially easy for newcomers to get involved. The GLF Newsletter also included copies of articles pertinent to gay folk from other news sources, such as an article taken from The Washington Daily News titled Homosexual Invasion: Alpine County sends for Reagan. The GLF Newsletter was a venue where a certain shade of gay male identity was being created and given meaning; it was one place wher e movement participants publicized what was important to them, what their movement priori ties were. These newsletters contributed to constructing a specific instance of male gayness or an idea of what it means to be a gay male in Washington D.C. in the early 1970s, for this c onstruction was certainly tied to its spatialtemporal location. Gay folk who evinced this specific male gayness were politically active and interested in advocating for and creating social change. They wanted to change laws, but they also wanted to change peoples minds about tr aditional gender roles, sexual expression, and 63

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living arrangements. These gay folk marched for th ese things in the street s and also strove to live what they spoke as the GL F Communes demonstrate. The GLF Newsletters show one major avenue through folks constructed a male gayness that centered on pol itical action, or a political male gayness. From the content of the GLF Newsletter we can see how a networ k is important to the development of a social movement. This news letter in D.C. found a home in the hands of persons involved in gay liberation. The inform ative nature of this publication serves to underscore this idea. This publication could take political and activist news and facilitation as its focus because of the pre-existing community. If D.C. did not have this community, then one would expect the publication to be more focu sed on defining the movements ideology and goals, rather than just arranging meetings and su ch. This is exactly what can be found in the publications of GLF of Ames, Iowa. For those activists in Ames, GLFs newsletter s acted like a coffee hous e, or a place where members and non-members could come together to converse with each other or to write in their journals in the company of others. To push this simile further, members could simply hang out at the coffee house and be available to talk with newcomers to gay liberation and to encourage them to join, like the author did textually in the piece Gay Lib Doesnt Draw Crowds. Members could also debate on the virtues of ways to raise ones consciousness about the oppression experienced by being forced to conform to rigid gender roles, as in an untitled piece by Stewart that tells of how his first time wearing a dress allowed him to understand on a physical level (as opposed to a purely intellectua l level) how traditional feminine clothing is generally more restrictive than traditional mascul ine clothing. Stewart makes the jump from this experience of wearing a dress to being able to understand womens oppression. In the following 64

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issue of the newsletter, Cecil Lee Lloyd explains how she is tired of seemingly well-meaning men claiming they can understand womens oppressi on, and she refutes Stewarts claim that he now can do so because he wore a dress in public once. These newsletters provided a place where the gay folk of Ames could hash out what gay liberation meant; they disc ussed what their goals were and the methods by which they hoped to achieve them. From the content of the publica tions from Ames, we can spec ulate on what functions they served for the contributors. There is a sense of surprise and frustration in many of the pieces surprise at how insidious systematic oppression mani fests itself in nearly ev ery facet of daily life, and frustration at having to figure out how to de al with that oppression on your own. This leads to one of the main functions of the publication, to draw folks togeth er so each gets a sense that he is not alone in these experiences. There is also a sense of playfulness in some of the pieces, which I believe is related to the seriousness of the issues being dealt with. I think a bit of humor and lightness is necessary to retain ones sanity sometimes when dealing with the ugliness and destructiveness of systematic oppression on an individual and group level. Authors used the newsletters as a space to vent their frustrations express their fears, showcase poetry, and make each other laugh. In these publications from Ames, there is also evidence of much identity work being done by the authors. There is much self-questioning, even self-berating on th e part of white, middleclass men as they see themselves being born on th e side of the oppressor. These authors are in the process of actively creating th eir own identities, and in doing so, they are constructing a male gayness that is specific to this time and place. When Stewart writes about wearing a dress for the first time, when Lloyd writes to point out the fo lly in Stewarts piece, when Pompadour suggests that readers create a name for themselves, th ey are all engaged in self-analysis and in 65

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determining what is meaningful for them pe rsonally. However, these authors engage in meaning-making in the pages of the newsletters, in addition to in their private homes. This meaning-making then goes public and becomes intertwined with movement-making that is simultaneously occurring. The gay male identity being constructed in th e GLF newsletters from Ames is focused inward; it centers on unde rstanding where one is located in the oppressor/oppressed matrix, how one feels about th at, and what one can do about it. There is certainly evidence of political action taken by the authors and their cohorts, including distributing flyers and demonstratin g in front of events that they deemed oppressive to gay folk; however, the newsletters are characterized by a self-analysis and a conc entration on building a public gay community in Ames. The male gayne ss expressed in those pages concerns more private action and thought than the id entity found in D.C.s newsletters. The picture of gay liberation in the newsletters of GLF Washington D.C. coincides with what I had come to expect from a group involved in gay liberation based on previous research. D.C.s newsletters depict liberationists as milita nt, politically active, confrontational folk who found the homophile movements modus operandi outda ted and ineffectual. Rather than ask to be included in mainstream society, liberationists argued that soci ety was corrupt and needed to be remade. The male gayness constructed in Am es complicates this existing picture of gay liberation as a loud, brash, militant force to be re ckoned with. It adds not only a softer element to this picture, but also a turn inward. The newsletters of Ames emphasize how important consciousness-raising groups were to the gay liberation movement, yet we do not readily associate the two often. To be clear, this em phasis does not make the liberationists of Ames somehow less political than thos e in D.C., but it does add anothe r dimension to the movement. 66

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This emphasis on consciousness-raising found in the newsletters of the GLF of Ames becomes even more significant when we look at the overall transition from the homophile movement to the liberation movement. During the homophile movement, gay folk often relied on various experts (psychiatrists, doctors, lawyers) to tell them what they should think and feel about being homosexual. One important aspect of the homophile movement was this reliance on persons in positions of intellectual authority in the U.S. Indeed, sometimes a sympathetic authority-figure could be counted on to vouch fo r the character of homosexuals and push for their inclusion in society. In the 1950s and 1960s, many homosexuals either believed they were sick or turned to professionals for confirmation that they were not. With the development of gay liberation in the late 1960s and early 1970s, there is a shift away from this reliance on expert opinion concerning the state of th e homosexual. Rather, gay folk began to rely on themselves and each other for their opinions of what it meant to be gay. Here, one can see why consciousness-raising groups would play such an in tegral part in gay liberation. These sessions, or rap groups, provided a semi-structured safe space where gay folk could come together and talk about being gay and form their ow n opinions. The Ames newsletter s were an extension of that spacethey brought it into concrete print form. The newsletters served as a place where the gay folk of Ames could speak for themselves, a nd they represented a shift from homophile movement political to liberationist politics. In the late 1970s, another shift took place within the movement, one I briefly spoke of in the introduction, and one which can be seen in tr aces in the GLF of Ames newsletters. Though not explicitly named as such, the Ames newsletters discuss the importance of pride as they develop as sense of pride in their male gayness. 67

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The late 1970s gay movement was largely one of pride, which emphasized a positive selfimage for gay folk. The focus was on celebrating (and further creating) those images, rather than on more traditional forms of overt political action. Adam observes that The irony of the 1970s, then, was the ease with which gay and lesbian aspirations were assimilated, contained, and overcome by the societies in which they originated.100 Here, he is referring to the aspirations of the liberationists. But how did this assimilation occur? Armstrong offers a partial answer while discussing an identity political logic. This is the logic offered by the gay pride strand of gay liberation, which she separates from the gay pow er strand (whose redistri butive political logic was deflated with the decline of the New Left). Armstrong notes that this identity logic was able to make sense out of the conflicting ideas on a ppropriate movement goals and strategies through the idea of unity through diversity, which then presents difference as non-threatening: By seeing meaningful social change as a product of individual self-expression, an identity logic suggested that positive change c ould occur even if differences we re not resolved. Change would occur simply through broadening the range of authentic expression possible in society.101 Differences within the gay and lesbian movement, then, could be seen as cause for celebration rather than for anxiety. Both of these strands, gay power and gay pride, are visible in the ne wsletters from Ames. There are pieces that discuss political actions and there are those that explore ways to develop a positive sense of ones self as a gay man. This dual focus of the Ames newsletters can be read in two ways. First, the focus on consciousness-raising and on fostering a positive sense of self rooted in male gayness can be seen as a precursor to more overt political action. One can argue 100 Adam, 108. 101 Armstrong, 98. 68

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that, before engaging in direct political action, folks need to enga ge in self-analysis and develop a political consciousness. Secondly, this inward focus expressed in the Ames newsletters can be read as the beginnings of the pride movement in Ames.102 Had the student government of Iowa State not cut off the funding of GLF of Ames, th ereby forcing production of the newsletter to halt, we might have a clearer picture of the di rection the movement was taking in Ames, and a more accurate characterization of the part these newsletters played in shaping the movement. In light of my research on other Gay Liberation Fr onts, I speculate that, had they continued to publish, both of Armstrongs political logics would be present in future issues of the newsletters, and both would have become more de fined. I venture that, in time, th is may have led to a split in the group, as happened with many of the other GLFs and one of the political logics would have come to exclude and/or outlast the other. The differences in the functions of the news letters from GLF of Washington and GLF of Ames, and in the kinds of male gayness they cons tructed, are tied to the location in which they were published. Not only is Washington a big city, but it is also a political center of the U.S. The GLF Newsletter was published in a context that already included homophile groups and gay bars, in a place that had already seen protests and felt police brutality and had people writing about it. There were multiple gay-centered publi cations, as well as activists who would make it into the national scene. The publications produced by GLF of Ames came out into no such contextthere was no hotbed of political activity, no gay bars in town, and no other gay newsletter. These folks were paving the way in Ames, and many of them (if not the majority) were students. Ames had no Frank Kamenies to lead the way. It makes sense that this publication strove to build communi ty and was incessant in the cal l for readers involvement in 102 However, both these readings rely on a time progression that can give the appearance of the movement somehow getting better as the years progress. I do not intend, nor do I agree with, this conceptualization. 69

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the production. Their newsletter functioned as a textual coffee house because there was no such place for people to gather before it came out. GLF of Washington had a pre-existing network to work withthere were folks who were active in gay liberation, and they would serve as a sort-of guaranteed audience for this publication. D.C. already had coffee houses in which gay folk had been gathering and doing the introducing and co nversing and debating that the folks in Ames were just beginning to do. Because of this pr e-existing network and geographical location in an urban political center, it made sense for the GL F of Washington to put out a publication that readers could access quickly for new in formation, while they were on the go. This project has looked at the ways newsletters published by the Gay Liberation Fronts of Washington D.C. and of Ames, Iowa functioned for the authors and the readers. I have worked with these newsletters as a way to better understand the gay liberation movement. I have located the gay liberation movement in relationship to the homophile movement that came before it and to the pride movement that followed. I think an extension of this projec t is needed, and I think there are at least two ways to do so. The first is to focus on lesbian publications from the same time period. Though GLFs did not exclude lesbians many did not feel comfortable and did not feel their concerns were taken se riously because of the sexist in the groups. I did not intend my work to exclude women, but as I became more i nvolved, I found that the majority of participants in GLFs were gay males. So in studying GLFs, I studied mostly gay men and their newsletters. It also would be useful to examine whether ther e are publications from this period in movement history that attempted to act as a forum for open discussion betw een both gay men and lesbians. Were there any publications that made a serious effort to build a gender-integrated movement? A second way to extend this projec t is to do a close reading of publi cations that started in the late 1970s, those that could be seen as coming out at th e start of the pride movement in the U.S., and 70

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71 see how they compare to those publications from the gay liberation movement. Did they have the same focus as evidenced by their content? How did the publications function for the authors and readers? How did they function in relation to the social movement?

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SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY Adam, Barry. The Rise of a Gay and Lesbian Movement (Rev. ed.). New York: Twayne Publishers, 1995. Adams, Kate. Built Out of Books: Lesbian En ergy and Feminist Ideology in Alternative Publishing. Journal of Homosexuality 34.3/4 (1998): 113-141. The Hawthorne Press, Inc., http://www.hawthorne press.com (accessed September 6, 2007). Armstrong, Elizabeth. Forging Gay Identities: Organizing Sexuality in San Francisco, 19501994. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2002. Bailey, Beth. Sex as a Weapon: Underground Comix and the Paradox of Liberation. In Imagine Nation: The American C ounterculture of the 1960s & 70s, edited by P. Braunstein and M. Doyle. New York: Routledge, 2002. Bell, Arthur. Dancing the Gay Lib Blues New York: Simon and Schuster, 1971. Bronski, Michael. The Politics of Gay Pulp Fiction. Z Magazine Online 16.6 (2003), http://zmagsite.zmag.org/Jun2003/bronski0603.html (accessed September 7, 2007). Bronski, Michael. Culture Clash: The Making of a Gay Sensibility Boston: South End Press, 1984. Brumm, Dennis. Gay Community Alliance Dance, http://www.brumm.com/gaylib/dance 05-12-1973.html (accessed September 22, 2007). Brumm, Dennis. Gay Liberation and the ISU School Year 1972-1973, http://www.brumm.com/gaylib/gayli b1972-1973.html (accessed January 27, 2007). Brumm, Dennis. My Own Early Gay History, http://www.brumm.com/gaylib/earlybrumm.html (accessed September 21, 2007). Brumm, Dennis. The First Public Meeting, http://www.brumm.com/gaylib/glforganizes1971.html (accessed January 27, 2007). Bullough, Vern. Before Stonewall: Activists for Ga y and Lesbian Rights in Historical Context New York: Harrington Park Press, 2002. Chasin, Alexandra. Selling Out: The Gay and Lesbian Movement Goes to Market New York: St. Martins Press, 2000. Clay, Steve and Rodney Philips. A Little History of the Mimeograph Revolution. A Secret Location on the Lower East Side: Adventure s in Writing, 1960-1980: A Sourcebook of Information http://www.granarybooks.com.clay/clay4.html (accessed September 7, 2007). Crew, Louie. Protest and Commun ity: Gay Male Journalism Now. Margins 20.5 (1975): 25. 72

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Darsey, James. From Gay is Good to the Sc ourge of AIDS: The Evolution of Gay Liberation Rhetoric. Communication Studies 42.1 (1991): 43-66. DEmilio, John. Placing Gay in the Sixties. In Long Time Gone: Sixties America Then and Now edited by A. Bloom. New York: Oxford University Press, 2001. DEmilio, John. Sexual Politics, Sexual Communities: Th e Making of a Homosexual Minority in the United States 1940-1970 Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1983. Duncombe, Stephen. Notes from Underground: Zines and th e Politics of Alternative Culture. New York: Verso, 1997. Epstein, Steven. Gay Politics, Ethnic Identity : The Limits of Social Constructionism. In Social Perspectives in Lesbian and Gay Studies: A Reader edited by P. Nardi and B. Schneider. New York: Routledge, 1998. Esterberg, Kristin. From Accomm odation to Liberation: A Soci al Movement Analysis of Lesbians in the Homophile Movement. Gender & Society 8.3 (1994): 424-43. Esterberg, Kristin. From Illness to Ac tion: Conceptions of Homosexuality in The Ladder 19561965. In Lesbianism edited by W. Dynes and S. Donaldson. New York: Garland Publishing, Inc., 1992. Foote, Stephanie. Deviant Classics: Pulp s and the Making of Lesbian Print Culture. Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 31.11 (2005): 169-190, http://www.jstor.org (accessed February 6, 2007). Fox, Robert. Carpenter Pr ess: A Brief History and Some Observations. In Green Isle in the Sea: An Informal History of the Alternative Press, 1960-85 edited by D. Kruchkow and C. Johnson. Illinois: December Press, 1986. Freud, Eva and Richard Schaeffers The Insider: Newsletter of the Mattachine Society of Washington, October 1969, http://www.ra inbowhistory.org/insider.htm (accessed September 29, 2007). Gamson, Joshua. Must Identity Movements Self-destruct? A Queer Dilemma. Social Problems 42 (1995): 390-407. Gay Liberation Front (of Washington D.C.). GLF Newsletter 1.9, October 1970, http://www.rainbowhistory.org/glf1.9.pdf (accessed January 12, 2007). Gay Liberation Front (of Washington D.C.). GLF Newsletter 1.12, October 1970, http://www.rainbowhistory.org/glf1.12.pdf (accessed January 12, 2007). Gay Liberation Front (of Washington D.C.). GLF Newsletter 1.14, November 1970, http://www.rainbowhistory.org/glf1.14.pdf (accessed January 12, 2007). 73

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Gay Peoples Liberation Alliance (of Ames, Iowa). Gayly Forward Feb. 1974, http://www.brumm.com/gayl ib/newsletters/index.html (accessed January 28, 2007). Gay Peoples Liberation Alliance (of Ames, Iowa). Gayly Forward Mar. 1974, http://www.brumm.com/gayl ib/newsletters/index.html (accessed January 28, 2007). Gay Peoples Liberation Alliance (of Ames, Iowa). Gayly Forward Apr. 1974, http://www.brumm.com/gayl ib/newsletters/index.html (accessed January 28, 2007). Gay Peoples Alliance (of Ames, Iowa). Coleus and Dogbreath Too, Fall 1974, http://www.brumm.com/gayl ib/newsletters/index.html (accessed January 28, 2007). Gay Peoples Alliance (of Ames, Iowa). Burned Out Winter 1975, http://www.brumm.com/gayl ib/newsletters/index.html (accessed January 28, 2007). Gay Peoples Alliance (of Ames, Iowa). Sarah Bernhardt's Farewell American Tour Spring 1975, http://www.brumm.com/gayl ib/newsletters/index.html (accessed January 28, 2007). Herring, Scott. Out of the Closets, Into the Woods: RFD Country Women and the PostStonewall Emergence of Queer Anti-Urbanism. American Quarterly 59.2 (2007): 341372, http://muse.jhu.edu (accessed September 6, 2007). Jay, Karla. A Look at Lesbian Magazines. Margins 23 (1975): 19-23. Jay, Karla and Allen Young. Eds. Lavender Culture. New York: New York University Press, 1978. Jensen, Erik. The Pink Triangle and Political Consciousness: Gays, Lesbians, and the Memory of Nazi Persecution. Journal of the History of Sexuality 11.1 and 2 (2002): 319-349. Katz, Jonathan. Gay American History: Lesbians and Gay Men in the U.S.A New York: Crowell, 1976. Kepner, Jim. Rough News, Daring Views: 1950s Pioneer Gay Press Journalism New York: The Harrington Park Press, 1998. Kessler, Lauren. The Dissident Press: Alternative Journalism in American History Beverly Hills: Sage Publications, 1984. Kruchkow, Diane and Curt Johnson. Green Isle in the Sea: An Informal History of the Alternative Press, 1960-85 Illinois: December Press, 1986. Leznoff, Maurice and William Westle y. The Homosexual Community. In Social Perspectives in Lesbian and Gay Studies: A Reader edited by P. Nardi and B. Schneider. New York: Routledge, 1998. Marcus, Eric Making History: The Struggle for Gay and Lesbian Equal Rights 1945-1990: An Oral History New York: Harper Collins Publishers, 1992. 74

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McRuer, Robert. Gay Gatherings: Re imagining the Counterculture. In Imagine Nation: The American Counterculture of the 1960s & 70s edited by P. Braunstein and M. Doyle. New York: Routledge, 2002. Meeker, Martin. Contacts Desired: Gay and Lesbian Communications and Community, 1940s1970s Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2006. Michals, Debra. From Consciousness Expansion to Consciousness Raising: Feminism and the Countercultural Politics of the Self. In Imagine Nation: The American Counterculture of the 1960s & 70s edited by P. Braunstein and M. Doyle. New York: Routledge, 2002. Murphy, John. Homosexual Liberation: A Personal View New York: Praeger Publishers, 1971. Murray, Stephen. The Institutional Elabora tion of a Quasi-ethnic Community. In Social Perspectives in Lesbian and Gay Studies: A Reader edited by P. Nardi and B. Schneider. New York: Routledge, 1998. OSullivan, Sue. Passionate Beginnings: Ideological Politics 1969-72. Feminist Review 11 (1982): 70-86, http://www.jstor.org (accessed February 12, 2007). Peck, Abe. Uncovering the Sixties: The Life and Times of the Underground Press. New York: Pantheon Books, 1985. Reiss, Albert. The Social Inte gration of Queers and Peers. In Social Perspectives in Lesbian and Gay Studies: A Reader edited by P. Nardi and B. Schneider. New York: Routledge, 1998. Rudy, Kathy. Radical Feminism, Lesbian Separatism, and Queer Theory. Feminist Studies 27.1 (2001): 191-247, http://find.galegroup.com.lp.hscl.ufl.edu/ (accessed February 27, 2007). Rutledge, Leigh. The Gay Decades: From Stonewall to th e Present: The People and Events that Shaped Gay Lives New York: Penguin Books USA, Inc., 1992. Seidman, Steven. Beyond the Closet: The Transformation of Lesbian and Gay Life New York: Routledge, 2002. Spiegelman, Willard. The Process of a Genre: Gay Journalism and Its Audience. Salmagundi 58-59 (1982): 308-325. St. Joan, Jackie. A Survey of Lesbian Publications. In Our Right to love: A Lesbian Resource Book edited by G. Vida. New Jersey : Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1978. Streitmatter, Rodger. Unspeakable: The Rise of the Gay and Lesbian Press in America Boston: Faber and Faber, 1995. Streitmatter, Rodger. Voices of Revolution: The Dissident Press in America New York: Columbia University Press, 2001. 75

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76 The Christian Century Foundation. Fundamentalist gadfly Carl McIntire dies. Christian Century, April 10, 2002, Obituary section, http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1058/is 8_119/ai_85106524 (accessed September, 21, 2007). The Community Service Committee of the Mattac hine Society of Wash ington. Blackmailer at Work in DuPont Circle Area. The Gay Blade 1.2, November 1969, http://www.rainbowhistory.org/FirstBlades.pdf (accessed September 30, 2007). The New York Gay Liberation Front. #7569. Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library. The Rainbow History Project. T he Insider: Newsletter of the Mattachine Society of Washington. http://www.rainbowhistory.org/insider.htm (accessed September 29, 2007). The Rainbow History Project. T he Gay Liberation Front-DC. http://www.rainbowhistory.org/glf.htm (accessed January 12, 2007). The Rainbow History Project. Newspaper of Record: 35 Years of The Washington Blade. http://www.rainbowhistory.org/blade.pdf (accessed September 29, 2007). Thorstad, David. Homosexuality and the American Left: The Impact of Stonewall. In Gay Men and the Sexual History of the Political Left edited by G. Hekma, H. Oosterhuis, and J. Steakley. New York: Harrington Park Press, 1995. Tobin, Kay and Randy Wicker. The Gay Crusaders New York: Arno Press, 1972. Tucker, Nancy and Art Stone. The Gay Blade 1.1, October 1969, http://www.rainbowhistory.org/FirstBlades.pdf (accessed September 30, 2007). Valocchi, Steve. Individual Identities, Collectiv e Identities, and Organi zational Structure: The Relationship of the Political Left and Gay Liberation in the United States. Sociological Perspectives 44.4 (2001): 445-67. Whittier, Nancy. Feminist Generations: The Persisten ce of the Radical Womens Movement Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1995.

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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Amanda Culp was born in Portland, Oregon, and moved to Miami, Florida in 1987. There, she graduated from La Salle High School in 1998 and continued her education at BaldwinWallace College in Berea, Ohio, in the fall of that same year. For personal reasons, she returned to Florida in 1999 and attended th e University of Miami (UM) wh ere she pursued a double major in English Literature and psychology as well as a double minor in sociology and philosophy for the rest of her undergraduate career. Amanda gr aduated from UM in 2003, and she spent the fall of that year on a solitary journe y driving across the United States. After a much needed break from life as a student Amanda returned to school in the fall of 2005 to pursue a masters degree in womens studies and gender res earch at the University of Florida in Gainesville. She will graduate with a perfect GPA in December 2007. During her graduate career, she worked as a teachers assistan t, a bartender, and a teacher in the Academic Foundations Department at Sa nta Fe Community College. Upon completing her MA, Amanda intends to continue teaching at Santa Fe Community College and catch up on aspects of her life that she had to ignore in order to make time for her studies. Chiefly among those priorities are spending leis ure time with her family and friends and finishing the home remodeling th at grinded to a halt when she began to work on her thesis. 77


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