February 10, 2010
Mike Wallace reports on homosexuality . . . in 1967
Posted by: Chris
*VIDEO available at end of the post*: It's unclear to me why the Advocate posted a grainy CBS Reports featuring Mike Wallace on the then-taboo subject of homosexuality, but the video itself makes for fascinating viewing. I'm only halfway through it myself, snowed in here in Washington, and Wallace has already reported that:
The homosexual is not interested in or capable of lasting long term relationships like heterosexuals.
That little conclusion isn't sourced to any particular source because it did't have to; it was accepted as fact at that time, when I was but a toddler. Which is not to say that there are no sources here. The psychological "expert" is Charles Socarides, whose son Richard Socarides would later come out and serve as one of Bill Clinton's liaisons to the gay community. Still sticking to his anti-gay guns despite mounds of evidence to the contrary, Socarides said back then and believed to his death in 2005:
There is no such thing as a happy homosexual. The fact that someone is an obligatory homosexual rules out any possibility of happiness.
Bleak stuff, to be sure. But in fact, Wallace's account is remarkably balanced, coming as it did two years before Stonewall. He begins the report by interviewing D.C. resident and Mattachine Society activist Warren Adkins (pictured), as articulate a spokesman for the happy homosexual as I've seen in all the years since.
Socarides' harsh views are correctly characterized as among the majority at the time, but Wallace gives the minority, pro-gay viewpoint as well. And we have to remember that, as of 1967, there really wasn't much evidence that gay men (the report is limited to the male of the species) was attempting lasting, long-term relationships, at least en masse.
All in all, it's a fascinating glimpse at the state of knowledge in the U.S. about male homosexuality at the time of the Stonewall Riots just two years later. Be sure to take a look.
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