Page 39 - Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999
P. 39

Jack Fritscher              Chapter 1                         21

             quiet gay folk hero because of the Drummer Slave Auction. Embry always
             feared being upstaged by anyone helping him. In San Francisco, Embry
             refused to talk about Gordon who saved his skin. Embry never liked to
             admit he needed help. When the famous Gordon, 94, died in 2009, a year
             before the infamous Embry died at 83, the Los Angeles Times observed on
             September 6.

                    Albert L. Gordon, an attorney who helped advance gay rights
                in the  1970s and  1980s by challenging discriminatory practices
                and laws, including a successful effort to decriminalize consensual
                homosexual acts, died August 10 in Los Angeles. He was 94. Gordon,
                a heterosexual whose twin sons were gay, became a lawyer in his
                late 40s and devoted most of his practice to defending the rights of
                homosexuals and battling the bigotry of law enforcement....“Before
                there was a straight-gay alliance in America, there was Al Gordon,”
                the Rev. Troy Perry, a longtime activist and founder of the gay-friendly
                Metropolitan Community Churches, said in an interview last week.
                “When other people wouldn’t touch us, he did. He was a hero.”
                    ...One of Gordon’s most memorable cases stemmed from a
                notorious raid on a gay bathhouse [the Mark IV] on Melrose Avenue
                in 1975 [actually, 1976], when scores of Los Angeles police offi-
                cers broke up a mock slave auction staged as part of the entertain-
                ment for a gay community fund-raiser [sic]. Apparently not amused
                by the gimmick, the police treated the [Drummer magazine] event
                as actual human slave trafficking, a felony, and arrested 40 par-
                ticipants. Gordon helped win their release. He supported a sec-
                ond mock auction, organized by Perry to raise defense funds, by
                going on the auction block himself. He went for $369 to his wife,

                Only gay historians may care, but this timeline of facts is wrong in the
             book Gay L. A. (2006) written by Stuart Timmons and Lillian Faderman
             in the way that is typical of vanilla authors confused by the texture of the
             leather subculture of which they are not a part, especially when they live
             in LA culture and do not understand at all the mise en scene of gay San
             Francisco history.
                The first editor-in-chief, Jeanne Barney, exited Drummer with issue 11
             although some of her completed work ran on through Los Angeles/San
             Francisco hybrid issues, Drummer 12 and 13. For a year after the arrest,
             April 1976 to April 1977, issues 11 to 18 were published with “Robert Payne”

               ©Jack Fritscher, Ph.D., All Rights Reserved—posted 03-16-2017
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