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Saturday, March 22, 2014

Book: 1912 Portland 'Vice Clique' gay sex scandal, OSU football player, and possible Women's Suffragists linkage

George Hastings (top row, left) and the 1910 Oregon Agricultural College (former name of Oregon State University) football team as pictured in 'The 1912 Orange' yearbook, p. 159.

PHOTO: (above) George Hastings (top row, left) and the 1910 football team at Oregon Agricultural College (former name of Oregon State University) as pictured in "The 1912 Orange" yearbook, p. 159. See previous posts OSU gay football player 1908 (6/19/08) and Oregonian on 1912 gay panic arrests (4/25/10)

Esera Tuaolo on cover of The Advocate, Nov. 26, 2002, cover headline reads 'Gay in the NFL, A football star for nine years, former Vikings lineman Esera Tuaolo reveals the truth about homophobia in the locker room and the dangers of the pro sports closet. PLUS: His boyfriend tells his side of their romance' PHOTO: former Oregon State University football player Esera Tuaolo came out on the cover of The Advocate. ("Tackling football's closet," By Bruce C. Steele, The Advocate, Nov. 26, 2002, cover story, pp. 3, 30-39). See previous posts OSU Esera Tuaolo gay football star (8/12/06) and OSU alum on CBS 'Face the Nation,' Jason Collins comes out, and Boy Scouts in local paper (5/7/13).

Research done by George Painter of the Gay and Lesbian Archives of the Pacific Northwest, which connected an Oregon State University football player in the 1910 and 1912 football seasons to men arrested in the 1912 Portland Vice Clique scandal, was referenced in the history by Thomas Kraemer, "Corvallis, Oregon State University gay activism 1969-2004," printed to PDF from in 2010 that is permanently stored by the OSU Scholars Archives@OSU. (Note: I originally wrote it for the Corvallis, Oregon State University exhibit and donated it for public access to the site founded by gay historian Jonathan Ned Katz at the City University of New York CLAGS, which is now hosted by John D'Emilio of the University of Illinois Chicago. My OSU gay history is also linked to from the Oregon State University Pride Center history page. (See previous post OSU gay history at site (1/16/12))

I am looking forward to reading the new book by George Painter, "The Vice Clique," 296 pages, self-published via On Demand Books available through Espresso Book Machine.

(As an aside, this will be my first customer experience with this particular on-demand publishing system, which I dreamed about having access to decades ago before it was technically possible. A printed copy of the book is scheduled to come in the mail to me in a few days, but it may take me some time to find a friendly grad student to read it to me because there is no accessible digital copy available for sale.)

A short review of George Painter's new book was printed in a Portland, Oregon gay newspaper. Selected quotes from Robin Will's book review that caught my attention are listed below:

". . . In November of 1912, The Portland News was selling extra editions on the street, with stories of queer sex and suicide at the YMCA. . .

Historian George Painter documents the events and their repercussions in his book, The Vice Clique: Portland's Great Sex Scandal, self-published in December 2013, available through Espresso Book Machine. . .

The News' coverage was barely factual, as George Painter discovered when he started digging through police records, trial transcripts, and accounts from competing newspapers. . .

Painter also examines the legal legacies of this uproar, which included a law that allowed for neutering of undesirables in Oregon until its repeal in 1983. . .

Historians will be using this book for reference; but Painter's prose style is accessible, and the book could conceivably be read for background or entertainment. . .

. . .in the mindset of 1912, apparently there was no such thing as consensual gay sex: there were only perpetrators and "boy victims." A boy victim in one crime could become a perpetrator elsewhere, if his subsequent "victim" was younger. . .

As a direct result of the Vice Clique scandal, the definition of sodomy was ludicrously broadened, and the maximum penalty tripled-from 5 to 15 years. That law stood until 1971. . . ."

(Quoted from Robin Will, "Vice Clique: An Old-Fashioned Gay Sex Scandal," (Portland, Oregon) PQ Monthly posted Mar. 19, 2014. Or see "George Painter's Vice Clique book is available now!" accessed Mar. 21, 3014 for another copy of this book review)

The anti-gay laws in the early part of the 20th Century were fueled, in part, by the well-meaning attempt to improve "social hygiene" as a means of stopping the spread of sexually transmitted diseases in addition to improving the moral standards of men and women.

Ironically, it appears to me, given my reading of history, that it was a gender queer woman, employed as a police officer in Portland, Oregon, who was a key leader of the anti-sex social hygiene movement in Oregon to protect women from men's bad sexual behavior. She was also a women's suffragist who fought for the rights of women to vote in Oregon. (Note: See various definitions of suffrage) This possible connection between anti-gay laws and women suffragists occurred to me after watching two very interesting documentaries:

In a future post, I hope to share my notes on what I learned from reading George Painter's new book. In addition, I hope to better understand the Portland Vice Clique scandal's linkage to the 1912 Women's Suffrage movement and how this later influenced homophile activists in the 1950's, as well as 1960's Stonewall era gay liberationists and the contemporaneous Women's Liberation movement.

My current hypothesis is that the biological "disgust reaction" that many homophobic heterosexual humans exhibit in Functional MRI machines when thinking about gay sex, along with the historical discrimination against women by heterosexual men, is at the root of both secular and biblical laws against sexual activities, including laws prohibiting homosexual behavior, which have historically been used to legally sanction discrimination against gay men and women by citing public health concerns and or Darwinian evolutionary survival of the fittest theories.

Speaking of disgust reactions, I had a disgust reaction to the following story about heterosexuals having public sex, which ironically is what gay men are often accused of doing by those who want to discriminate against both gay men and women. The social construction theory behind gay men and public sex is very rich and it is often referenced in gay porn and scholarly essays and books written on the subject of gay tearooms, such as in the recent case of a U.S. Senator Larry Craig from Idaho who was arrested for tearoom homosexual behavior. (Note: my local, mainstream newspaper regularly prints nearly all of the local police reports because they have found it to be popular with readers and it costs them virtually nothing to fill the space):

This log includes incidents in which there might have been a public disturbance or a risk to the public. Information comes from the Corvallis Police Department and the Benton County Sheriff's Office.

Corvallis Police Department


PUBLIC INDECENCY: 2:42 p.m., Northwest Highland Drive and Spruce Avenue. Police arrested 47-year-old Mary Mazely and 51-year-old Paul Antonio Martin -- neither with listed addresses -- on a charge of public indecency after a nearby resident reported that a woman was performing oral sex on a man at the bus shelter. Martin also had a Polk County warrant for his arrest for a parole violation.

(Quoted from "Police Log (March 22)," Gazette-Times (Corvallis, Oregon) posted Mar. 22, 2014)

Of course, it is amusing that this was printed in what the paper's own editor recently described as a "family newspaper" and it is the same newspaper that in the 1970's printed numerous letters to the editor by angry readers threatening to cancel their subscriptions to what they called a "family newspaper" after the newspaper had printed an article profiling two lesbian women who loved each other so much they wanted to get married. (See previous post Gay 1976 newspaper controversy (5/3/06) on gay women in Corvallis wanting to get married)

Saturday, March 15, 2014

OSU Solidarity March from Pride Center

OSU Barometer 3/13/14 Solidarity March on front page and page 4

PHOTO: The official student newspaper of Oregon State University gave front page coverage to a march from the OSU Pride Center that was joined by the Oregon State University President Ed Ray and progressed to other cultural centers on campus. See Kate Schaake, "We, Too, Are OSU, Solidarity March raises awareness, joins community against hate," OSU Barometer, Mar. 13, 2014, p. 1, 4, Megan Campbell, Managing and news editor, "Students, allies to march for solidarity," posted Mar. 12, 2014 and "OSU students march for unity," posted Mar. 13, 2014.

I note that this march comes 10 years after when OSU President Ed Ray cut the ribbon at the official opening on October 11, 2004 of the OSU Pride Center at 1553 SW 'A' Avenue, Corvallis, Oregon, on the "National Coming Out Day." See Thomas Kraemer, "Corvallis, Oregon State University gay activism 1969-2004," Oregon State University Scholars Archives as printed to PDF 9/6/2010 2:44 PM from

I continue to be impressed with the leadership of OSU President Ed Ray over the last 10 years and I suspect he must be near retirement even though he is still providing vibrant leadership at OSU. I have also been glad not to be knowledgeable about the insider OSU politics surrounding major changes in leadership at OSU. It is clear that OSU leadership is undergoing major changes and the positive or negative consequences of these changes will be unknown for years. However, as somebody well versed in organizational politics for decades, I am confident that any needed course corrections will be made for the better, given enough time. See previous post OSU leaders fired and student view of genderism today (3/1/14).

Some related links and articles of interest about key leaders of the OSU Pride Center and other OSU cultural centers:

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Oregon gay marriage politics 2014

PHOTO: The Oregon State University Beavers basketball team was featured in a headline printed in red on the top of the local Corvallis, Oregon newspaper's front page above an upper left headline for the wire story by Maria L. La Ganga, Los Angeles Times, "Initiative Expected: Same-Sex Marriage election shapes up, Oregon's latest battlefront over legalizing gay wedlock," Corvallis Gazette-Times, Mar. 3, 2014, p. 3, which described the gay marriage politics in Oregon that was the topic of my previous letter to the editor. The editor had asked for timely letters and I accidently delivered! (See previous posts Letter on plutocrats and theocrats are not victims of liberals or gay marriage (2/23/14) and Oregon gay marriage advocates focus on the family while religious groups play the victim role (2/9/14)).

After my letter was published, a later letter writer objected to the Oregon Attorney General's decision not to defend the anti-gay marriage laws in Oregon: See letter to the editor by Ron Prevost, "Letter: Oregon's A.G. should do her job, defend ban on same-sex marriage," posted Mar. 3, 2014. (I don't know if he is the same Ron Prevost who has served as an engineering manager at Hewlett-Packard -- this is a small town and so it is likely.)

Some other links of interest:

The founder and former publisher of a longtime Portland, Oregon gay newspaper wrote the following history of anti-gay ballot measures in Oregon in her opinion piece for a new online gay newspaper: Renee LaChance, "Nothing Left to Lose: A Look at Oregon's Fight for Same-Sex Marriage," posted Feb. 27, 3014. Although her piece was criticized by a commenter for bragging too much about the accomplishments, or lack thereof, by Basic Rights Oregon, I thought it was a good history of some of the efforts to fight anti-gay ballot measures in Oregon over the last few decades. LaChance provided the following links to a streaming videos documentary on Ballot Measure 9. I haven't been able to watch them yet:

See my previous posts:

Computer monitor arm for my low vision accessibility

HP computer workstation with M8 monitor arm

PHOTO: Thomas Kraemer's current computer setup, which he designed to provide him with better low vision accessibility, includes a HP Dreamcolor monitor display (the same one used by professional motion picture animation studios, such as DreamWorks) with 1920 by 1200 pixels spaced at 100 dots per inch so that the actual visible physical display height is 12 inches and the Microsoft Windows 7 operating system's global magnification can be set to 150 percent instead of its software imposed limit of only 125 percent on the more common 1920 by 1080 pixel 16:9 aspect ratio TV sets and computer monitor displays that sometimes have more dots per inch and thus an even smaller physical display height. With my current low vision blindness, the 150 percent magnification of the MS Windows 7 OS is sufficient for me to do simple things and get into the standard Microsoft Windows Internet Explorer Web Browser display, where I can use its text size and magnification settings to read Websites -- at least the Websites that haven't overridden the MS IE browser's accessibility features, perhaps due to ignorance of the Website designer or art director who wants total control over the display for artistic reasons or to make it easier to code by avoiding having to test the numerous permutations of text and display sizes (Of course, if this is done right, the Website will work even on mobile phone displays). The HP Dreamcolor monitor is shown mounted to an articulated arm that can be adjusted closer or farther away from my eyes to correct for presbyopia, the very common old-age inability for eyes to focus close-up and accommodate different distances, which most people can easily solve with inexpensive reading glasses. The standard HP Workstation table includes a pullout keyboard at the proper height for good ergonomics to avoid repetitive stress injury, due to typing at an awkward angle, and the standard USB keyboard has LED backlighted characters that make it easier to see with low vision blindness, although I usually depend on touch typing because my vision is bad enough now that I have to bend over to see the keyboard. The shelf above holds a DSL modem to connect to the internet and a network accessible hard drive that connect to the gigabit per second network switch on the wall that is wired via CAT-5E cables to all the rooms in the house so that I do not have to depend on noisy and slower Wi-Fi connections. Not shown is the ergonomically designed office chair with adjustable seat angles and heights, also to prevent ergonomic injury from working at the computer too long. On the adjacent wood file drawer and credenza can be seen a Brother printer that I use to print out text with enlarged text size when it is the only way I have to read something. Eventually, I may have to move to screen readers, but I can tell they are even less supported by most Websites than is text size. (See previous post Still alive after 'upgrade' to Windows 7 HP Workstation and Dream Color Monitor (1/26/14))

During the three decades worked at HP, I championed the software and hardware components necessary to provide better accessibility for all types of human limitations. When I was younger and more arrogant, I optimistically assumed I would never need to use these computer accessibility features. However, I am now forced to use some of these computer accessibility features in order to accommodate my low vision blindness, which has been progressively going worse each year despite my optimism it will stop getting worse! I never learn! Fortunately, I have been able to use standard computer components and software -- so far! Hopefully, advances in technology for computer accessibility software and hardware will keep pace with my increasing limitations. After all, I am planning on living another 28 years because the IRS is making me use this life expectancy for an actuarial tax calculation that determines the taxes I will owe on one of my retirement accounts.

Speaking of the IRS, so far the IRS has not yet sent me the large print version of the tax documents I ordered, except for one of them, and the IRS plain text HTML Web pages still override the user's accessibility settings in the MS IE browser in a manner that a user can't enlarge the text and have it wrap to his window display width so that he doesn't have to scroll left and right to read each line. See previous post IRS tax documents belatedly provide low vision accessibility to comply with ADA law (1/9/14).

Saturday, March 1, 2014

OSU leaders fired and student view of genderism today

Thomas Kraemer sitting on the lap of Santa Claus pointing to his bushy eyebrows circa 1950s PHOTO: (click on photo to enlarge) Thomas Kraemer was fascinated with Santa's bushy eyebrows. When the Barbie Doll was first introduced several years after this photo was taken, his request to Santa Claus for a Barbie Doll was never fulfilled, despite his sister receiving one. See previous post Asking Santa for a Barbie doll was gay 50 years ago - A Christmas Story (12/21/10).

Most young female college students in 2014 have been raised in an environment created by the 20th Century Women's Liberation Movement, which encouraged girls to ignore sexist gender roles and, if they wished, "play with Tonka trucks or pretend to be a dinosaur on the playground," according to a college student newspaper opinion piece by Cassie Ruud, "Anti-femininity causes gender equality to backslide," posted Feb. 26, 2014

OSU student Cassie Ruud shared her experience from childhood and observed that "I could play with Tonka trucks but (my brother) couldn't play with nail polish," which prompted her to ask, "But what about the little boys who want to play with Easy Bake Ovens?" It reminded me of asking Santa for a Barbie Doll more than a half-century ago and it saddens me if she is right that the situation for boys hasn't changed much.

Oregon State University for decades has implemented affirmative action programs to correct the past wrongs of both race and gender discrimination, especially in the academic area of engineering, which historically has attracted and graduated only a few females in each class along with very few students with a minority race or ethnicity (other than foreign students).

This is why it is culturally significant that until recently both the Dean of Engineering at OSU and the Head of the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science School were both women.

Then both the female Dean of Engineering at OSU and the female head of the OSU EE and CS department were fired recently, it quickly led to angry accusations about the competence of OSU administrators from both industry and alumni leaders, who often recruit graduates from OSU and also fund research at OSU.

Needless to say, because Corvallis, Oregon is the home of Oregon State University and a small college town of less than 50,000 residents, it is not hard for me to hear the gossip associated with the firing of two female engineering school leaders.

As somebody who has no insider knowledge of the firing, nor any close knowledge of the competence of the two women, I will avoid taking sides, however, I had previously formed the opinion that both women were not doing as good of a job as previous Deans and Department Heads due to their not being as good at communicating with alumni and industry leaders and bringing in new research funding and industry support for OSU. Also, I do not have any opinion about how the role of OSU Provost, who fired these women, plays in it, but agree that he ultimately bears responsibility, especially if things do not improve after he has replaced these two women.

For my friends who are miles away from OSU and who may be curious to read about the soap opera erupting on campus, listed below are links to the student newspaper coverage and also a professional local newspaper story: