Windy City Times makes 25 years


Chicago’s gay newspaper Windy City Times has reached the grand old age of 25, a huge achievement for a gay newspaper especially in todays challenging market for gay publications.

Windy City Times was founded in September 1985 at the height of the AIDS crisis. Two of the four original founders have passed away. Co-founder and current publisher Tracy Baim says 25 years is an important milestone because the modern gay rights movement had just begun its strongest push in the 1960s and 1970s. She says now that gay issues are covered better in the mainstream media, niche publications are crucial for covering the community in more meaningful ways.

Windy City Times is notable for their extensive online archives, with a quarter century of the history of Chicago’s gay community accessible.

Chicago Tribune



Joel Weisman



Joel Weisman | AMFAR

The Independent reports on the death of physician Joel Weisman, who alerted the world to the first cases of HIV. He had been suffering from heart disease and was being looked after by his partner of 17 years, the singer and actor Bill Hutton.

Gay Activist sends condolences to Joel’s partner Bill and to all family, colleagues and friends.


Bette Bourne, “Bloolips”


Pleasant to read a perceptive review today in the Guardian of Bette ‘Bloolips’ Bourne, famed drag act, who was there at the start of the gay liberation movement in the UK and is still out there batting for us approaching the grand age of 70. Bette is appearing at the Edinburgh Festival.


Bette Bourne | Murdo MacLeod/The Guardian | 14008

There are some filthy jokes and blissful moments, including an occasion when Bourne, dressed in drag, was up in court on obstruction charges relating to a gay lib demo. The judge demands that Bourne remove his hat because he is a man, and Bourne refuses. “Why?” barks the judge. “Because it matches my shoes,” replies Bourne.

Bloolips were so influential they appear in the American Museum of Vaudeville.

Gay Activist sends congratulations and best wishes to Bette.

The source document at The American Museum of Vaudeville is no longer available.


James Stoll



James Stoll, 1959 | Photographer unknown | 14010

The New York Times remembers Rev. James Stoll, one of America’s first priests to come out, in 1969. Mr Stoll died in 1999 probably of tobacco smoking related conditions.

Mr. Stoll, one of the first openly gay ministers in America, had a difficult life, and his demons seemed to follow him to an early grave. But he was hugely responsible for introducing American churchgoers to gay rights. … Over the next year, newly emboldened, Mr. Stoll wrote articles about gay rights and delivered guest sermons at several churches.

In July 1970, at their general assembly in Seattle, Unitarians passed a resolution condemning discrimination against homosexuals and bisexuals. Other churches soon liberalized, too. In 1972, for example, the United Church of Christ ordained an openly gay man, and today there are openly gay Episcopal priests and Lutheran ministers. Having pioneered an important change in American Christianity, Mr. Stoll never returned to the ministry. In fact, it seems that he could not. According to letters kept at Harvard, sent in 1970 between church members and Unitarian officials, Mr. Stoll had been suspected of drug use and of inappropriate sexual advances toward young people in the Kennewick congregation. The circumstances of his departure made it unlikely he would find another pulpit.


Edwin Morgan



Edwin Morgan OBE | Chris Watt/Telegraph | 14011

A biography of gay poet Edwin”>Edwin Morgan, by James McGonigal, details the late poet’s sometimes violent and hazardous experiences in Glasgow’s gay scene as a young academic, when his sexuality was a secret and the gay scene was largely underground. During the repression years of the 1950s it is revealed that Morgan, like many, considered suicide. Morgan died in August 2010.
The book is hugely valuable for the light it throws on gay life in Glasgow in secret during the repression.

There was a stark divide between his respectable professional life as lecturer in an ancient university and his night life of gay activity in bars, cafes, parks, toilets and waste ground. Venues for such illicit activity included the Oak Cafe, in St Vincent Street, the Good Companions near Blythswood Square, and the Royal Bar on West Nile Street. Of the Oak Cafe, Morgan… said: “[It] was somewhat louche, even very louche, but very interesting, you never knew what was going to happen there.”

…“The curious business of public activity, semi-orgies, no doubt very much disapproved of, but it’s surprising how much of that there was going on, even at that time just after the war. I never seemed to have any hesitation in joining in that kind of activity. There was a cafe, near Buchanan Street bus station, gone now … an upstairs place with a toilet, and really pretty well anything went on. It was obviously very, very risky, but people did go there and enjoy this, and you could see a dozen or more people there at any one time.”