Page 111 - Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999
P. 111

Jack Fritscher              Chapter 4                         93

                activities of H.E.L.P. Inc., I have decided that it is time for me
                to speak frankly about some of the practices and people involved.
                My name is Steve Schoch. I was personally involved with H.E.L.P.
                Inc. by serving two years as Vice Chairman of the T.G.A. (Tavern
                & Guild Association of H.E.L.P. Inc.), and eight months as Vice
                President of the Board of Directors of H.E.L.P. Inc.

             Schoch stated that because the rank and file at H.E.L.P. were apathetic
             about the operations of the organization, the control of it fell “...into the
             hands of a select few who can control and manipulate.” He admitted his
             own complicity:

                I know; I participated in some of these decisions....All it really takes
                is for a few individuals to contact their friends and solicit or even
                mark their ballots for them. I know, because this was how Larry
                Townsend and I defeated Cliff Lettieri in last year’s elections.
                    I ran in the most recent election...and because I refused to be
                a lackey of Larry Townsend’s and refused to participate in ballot
                stuffing and refused to write a mud-slinging campaign letter to the
                members, I was defeated. So be it.

             Even if disgruntled from eating sour grapes, Schoch accepted his personal
             loss by rising to the larger issue of conceptualizing, organizing, and preserv-
             ing pioneer organizations: “But H.E.L.P. Inc. as a concept and H.E.L.P./
             Drummer as a concept and the T.G.A. must somehow be preserved from
             what is happening to them because either the members do not care or will
             not participate.” Digging into specifics of pride, prejudice, class, gender, and
             embezzlement, Schoch passionately alleged:

                Now we have H.E.L.P. in its present form, purporting to represent
                many thousands of very conservative and upper-middle-class Gays!!!
                Bunk...H.E.L.P. is a mixture of everybody including ‘the long-haired
                Hippy freaks’ that Larry Townsend is so afraid of. Afraid to the point
                that he and Jerry Howard did everything they could to discourage the
                Gay Community Services Center’s “Funky Dance” held for awhile
                at the H.E.L.P. Center. The income derived from the rental of the
                Center’s facilities was $75.00 per week. Gone now, it went quite a
                way in defraying the $750.00 per month rent on the Center.
                    While working for both the California Committee for Sexual
                Freedom law reform and The Whitman-Radclyffe Foundation, I

               ©Jack Fritscher, Ph.D., All Rights Reserved—posted 03-14-2017
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