PHOTO: Astonishingly, my local "family newspaper," as it has been called by both its professional newspaper editors and its readers over the years, directly opposite the comic page, which of course is read by many children, printed a Dear Abby advice column concerning the etiquette of a lesbian and her female-to-male transgender partner correcting somebody about the proper pronoun to use when referring to him. I say "astonishingly" because it was only a few decades ago when this newspaper was inundated with angry letters to the editor, including some threatening to cancel their subscriptions, after the newspaper printed in 1976 an article about two women who wanted to be married. The person asking Dear Abby for advice admitted to accidently using the wrong pronoun for her FTM friend and then she asked Dear Abby, "I told them their correcting me bothered me. All weekend I could tell they were irritated with me, and I felt it was uncalled for." Abby sensibly replied, "How else is a person to learn that a mistake was made if it isn't pointed out?"(See Abigail Van Buren, aka Jeanne Phillips, "Dear Abby: Old habits linger in gender transition," Gazette-Times, Oct. 12, 2015, p. B4-B5)
Given how newspapers are usually laid out in an outline form, it is likely the editor did not see how the "Family Circus" comic strip looked like next to a FTM sex advice column, however, I still find this layout significant because as recently as 15 years ago the editor of this newspaper was still skittish about publishing any mention of homosexual sex acts due to her fear of offending readers, especially those with children who would read the newspaper.
PHOTO: A 1976 feature article by Anne Wood, "Gay women: Coming out of the closet in Corvallis, 'Now I want to marry this woman,'" Corvallis Gazette-Times, Jan. 9, 1976, p. 7-8. One of the women profiled in the article came out in a letter to the editor of her student newspaper and she was active in early gay women's groups at Oregon State University. (See previous post Gay 1976 newspaper controversy (5/3/06))