Thanks to Suzanne Goell for correspondence, interview, and editing suggestions.
One of the important sources of information about the Celebration of Lesbian and Gay Pride that was held in St. Louis the week of April 12-20, 1980 was the newspaper, No Bad News. Colin Murphy traces the history of St. Louis LGBT Media in his Vital Voice article. He says, "No Bad News hit the streets in 1980 and ran for five years." In reconstructing the events leading up to and resulting from this first official St. Louis pride celebration, I found No Bad News to be an invaluable resource, both because it contained a detailed summary of the week of Pride events, and because of its documentation of many important LGBT events from June, 1980 to December, 1985. The purpose of this article is to describe how No Bad News came to be and its significance for the LGBT community of the time. To further that end, I studied old issues of No Bad News and in May of 2013, I initiated an e-mail conversation with Suzanne Goell.
The primary creator of No Bad News is Suzanne Goell. She grew up studying and performing piano, at one point, playing at the Arthur Prince School of Dance in Los Angeles, where she met people who changed her life. She writes, "My best friends were gay, always were, from the teen years on." Goell has been married twice and has raised children. She was living in St. Louis in the early 1970's, where Robert Duffy, Ellie Chapman and others started the community newspaper, West End Word. She was first recruited to write art and music reviews for the paper but was drawn to the workings of the paper. Some time around the end of 1973, she became Managing Editor for the West End Word. During the 1970's she continued, then, to gain publishing experience at "the Word." Goell recalls learning from Ellie Chapman who was "a fine copy editor." At some point Goell made the transition from managing editor of West End Word to publisher.
Goell was good friends with John Philips, who was Artist in Residence and later, Chair of the Music Department at Fontbonne College. They occasionally gave concerts together. One evening late in 1979 or early in 1980, at dinner, John showed her a couple of gay papers he had brought back from his travels. She began collecting "real, readable papers with real news" from other cities, and began to think about starting such a paper in St. Louis. At dinner again, Philips and Goell seriously explored the possibility of starting a gay newspaper in St. Louis. John was enthusiastic and supportive, but felt that his position required discretion from him. In a few weeks, after contacting a few people who might be interested, work began in earnest. John talked about the new paper with his community contacts in the bars. Goell started enlisting staff for such jobs as paste up, typesetting, and printing, a process that did not go entirely smoothly. It was also determined that, while eventually, the paper might make a little money, it at least had to pay for itself. At some point, she incorporated the paper and gave John Philips, Ellie Chapman, and early on, Dave Willis, stock in the paper.
"Naming the paper was difficult; we thought of a hundred things. John had his heart set on “No Bad News” quoting from a current musical [The Wiz] which had a line “Don’t give me no bad news in the morning”. I figured gays needed all the good news they could get, so we went ahead with it. AIDS had not reached our awareness yet."
Right at the beginning of the first pride celebration, April 12, Goell called Dave Willis, Manager of Club St. Louis Baths, and proposed developing a working relationship with him as associate editor. After initially checking with his superior at the Club Baths Chain, he enthusiastically joined the emerging staff of No Bad News. Goell remembers that Willis was helpful in securing advertisers and introductions, and that she called him many times for help. They became good friends.
Even though the first issue of No Bad News was not published until June, 1980, Goell had hoped to get the first issue out "by the Gay Pride Day parade and celebration." "We didn’t make it, but we took a lot of pictures, went to all events [and] put out fliers about what was to come and so forth. John was very helpful and active." Goell remembers that she wrote all the copy for the first issue.
[The 1980 Celebration of Lesbian and Gay Pride] was an incredibly important event, as you remember, and we just took a week off and didn’t do anything else during the week in order to cover it. But, we didn’t have much of a staff at that point; I think I wrote all of it. … It was exciting marching, but it was very exciting seeing the fervor and determination of all those participating. (Interview of Goell, 2013)
A significant number of pictures of that first event appeared in the first issue of No Bad News. They were taken by Mike Bono, a freelance photographer for West End Word, whom Goell employed specifically for this purpose.
Some time between the April, 1980 Celebration of Lesbian and Gay Pride and the June publication of the first issue, two people who also planned to start a gay newspaper visited Goell and tried to disuade her from starting No Bad News. They questioned her credibility, since she was not gay, and also pointed out that they had been preparing such a publication for a long time. While Goell and Philips were a bit shaken by this exchange, they remained determined and did bring No Bad News into being.
In the second half of 1980, No Bad News became the St. Louis gay community's first quality community newspaper. Primetime, published by Mid-Continent Life Services Center in 1975, and Bill Cordes' Gay Life, in 1978, preceded No Bad News. These earlier publications, while notable and useful, did not quite achieve the consistency, wider community distribution and support, and writing quality of No Bad News. From the first issue, No Bad News was refreshing fare for a lesbian and gay community not well-knit together and starved for information about itself.
Moreover, unlike earlier news publications, No Bad News actually looked like a newspaper. In its folded form, it was 7" x 12" The paper unfolded into twelve pages, each page 14" x 12", and opened and read like a book (or newspaper). Maybe there wasn't something for everyone, but both variety and representativeness were present. Several community leaders wrote articles on the activities of community groups. The paper covered national, regional and local lesbian and gay issues. There were articles on the bars, sports leagues, the drag and leather communities, church groups, political activity in St. Louis, legal advice, women's music, the military. There were also feature stories, for example, about male couples in long term relationships. There was a series on sexually transmitted diseases. There were entertainment and arts reviews.
However, though Goell persistently tried to establish contacts with the lesbian community, the paper was heavily weighted to the gay male community, and particularly to men who had at least a passing acquaintance with the bars. By the December, 1980 issue, the paper had found advertisers and established expectations. In that issue, ads take up about 40% of the space. There are two full page ads, one from Brandy's and one from Club St. Louis. Faces took out a half page ad on the back. The Bowery, Clementine's, Martin's, and Monty's had taken out quarter page ads. A few West End businesses, a couple of groups and individuals had also quarter or eighth page ad space.
There was plenty of content in that issue that was quite of interest to the St. Louis community. On the front page was a half page article giving an overview of recent decisions concerning gay and lesbian military personnel, starting with the famous case of Leonard Matlovich, whom the Air Force eventually paid $160,000. The rest of the front page was devoted to coverage of the 1981 Miss Gay Missouri Contest in November—which Georgia Brown won. Contest coverage continued with a two page spread with pictures on the inside. This particular issue also contained some news of bars, hotline raps and successful fund raisers, new lesbian magazines, and progressive developments within the U.S. Catholic community regarding the acceptance of gays [Things did look more hopeful for a time.] Rounding out the content were want ads, a community calendar, reviews of a play and a new record—and, a controversial gay male pornographic adventure series: The Adventures of Dick Hardden by Lance.
The fact is that the Dick Hardden series, which ran every issue in 1980 but the August issue, was in-your-face explicit gay male sexuality set to the tune of an adventure series. In the concluding episode (December, 1980), our hero, Dick, is being held chest down on a table by the cook and the guard, while the villain, Rico, indulges himself in a sexual fantasy prelude to a rape. Suffice it to say that we know exactly how Rico likes to stimulate his "greased, throbbing cock" by the beginning of the third paragraph. Dick does manage to extricate himself from the compromising position and escape, saving buddy, Mac, and capturing the villains. Actually, the series was an interesting read, though Goell referred to it as "a bit of fluff." And just as many gay men read the series with appreciation and interest, at least one group, IRIS, whose story is told in another article, wrote a highly critical letter to the editor, which Goell published in the January, 1981 issue of No Bad News.
Goell's reaction to this opposition from segments of the lesbian community is interesting. She has stated that her underlying motive for publishing No Bad News was to somehow be helpful. As it turned out, her readership tended more to be the gay male reader, and with Dave Willis' help in securing advertising from the bars and the baths, the support of that segment of the community quickly solidified. Still, she remained committed to publishing news for the entire community.
"Initially there was a combination of disinterest and opposition from the lesbian community. We just kept printing what we could get from them and featuring calendar items, and eventually we established good contacts."
Early in January of 1981, Joseph Di Sabato organized a founding conference of the Gay Press Association in New York City. Among the over 80 attendees of that conference were Suzanne Goell and John Philips, and No Bad News became a founding member of the Gay Press Association. The February, 1981 issue of No Bad News carried more complete coverage of this conference than did The Advocate itself, including a photograph of the Office of Ed Koch presenting to Sabato a proclamation of the week of Jan. 9-15 as Gay Press Week. Goell was seeking to find advice on how to run a successful gay newspaper. The managing editor of the Advocate, who was most probably Robert McQueen, spoke to Goell for quite a while during the conference. The following snippet from the interview with Suzanne Goell further underlines her attitude towards the women's community of the time:
Goell: I asked him [McQueen] ‘How do I better get along with the women; I can’t get information from them. I try hard. I’m willing to print anything.’ And he said, ‘Forget them. They have no money. and they won’t cooperate.’ Or words to that effect.
Andris: And so you followed his advice?
Goell: No, not really. It encouraged me, in a way, that it wasn’t just me, but it was difficult. No, I kept pursuing them, and just for calendar things, anything like that…. I gave a lot of space to singers who came to town, and that sort of thing. And, gradually things got a little better. But the bottom line, they didn’t have any money, and they didn’t want to advertise, and that made it hard.
No Bad News covered news and social events from the Metropolitan Community Church also, and through this connection, Goell met Lisa Wagaman, a transgendered male to female lesbian activist. "I liked Lisa, and we got along just fine, and things got a little easier after I got to know her. And I did everything I felt I could for the lesbian community, but it wasn’t a whole lot."
The publication, Moonstorm, had also established itself as a voice for the lesbian community starting from 1973, and there was an effective network of women's and lesbian activists centered around Washington University. Hopefully, some day historical research on the powerful and extended lesbian community in St. Louis leading up to the events of the first Pride march will give us a clearer picture of the dynamic which we are only sketching in this and other articles.
No Bad News may have had much less than optimum success in serving the needs of the lesbian community, but it was serving as a much needed channel of information about sexually transmitted diseases for the sexually active gay male community. The paper was born before AIDS had touched the awareness of all but a few, and published all during the growing AIDS crisis until December, 1985. In the first seven issues, Don Connor and William Stage regularly wrote informative articles on many topics that impacted the sexually active gay man: hepatitis B, syphilis, gonorrhea, NGU, herpes, and anal intercourse. During 1981, however, no further such articles appeared, nor did any information on the developing AIDS epidemic appear. In January, 1982, the article "Gay Diseases: Media Hype or Cause for Concern?" appeared in No Bad News. It was the first time a gay publication in St. Louis had written about what was to eventually be called "AIDS." There were no articles on this topic in the first three issues of The Gay News Telegraph, which had started publication in Oct., 1981. Then, another hiatus on reporting on AIDS until the first several issues in 1983, when every month carried some detailed article about some aspect of the disease. The people she was working with at No Bad News, including John Philips and Dave Willis, were telling her "‘No Bad News. You can’t write about that; nobody will read it.’ So I didn’t get as much in about it as I would have wanted to, but I insisted on something in every issue." Apparently, this influence accounts for both the hiatus during 1981 and the renewed emphasis on aspects of AIDS starting 1982.
Some time in 1982, Goell befriended a "down-on-his-luck" man, Jon Howard, who just turned out to have impressive layout and design skills and experience. He became interested in working for the paper. Late in 1982 the pages of No Bad News took on a sleeker, more broadly organized look, reminiscent of some of the gay lifestyle publications of the time. Goell had the idea for a changed format, but Jon Howard executed it beautifully. Broad sectional banners identified three sections: The Club Scene, The Bars, and Arts and Entertainment. John Philips, under the pseudonym, Philip Douglass, regularly contributed articles under the Arts and Entertaiment section, as did others. The Club Scene provided quite a good channel of communication for the leather scene in St. Louis. A few months after the introduction of the new format, No Bad News carried monthly interviews of male bartenders from various area bars. Jon Howard left the publication and the city around October, 1983.
AIDS was beginning to have its impact on St. Louis and eventually brought with it a crisis of enormous proportions. The first recorded death from AIDS in North America was Robert Rayford, probably a teenage male prostitute who died while under treatment at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in May of 1969. How he came to be infected is not known. However, the first publicized St. Louis death due to the AIDS epidemic of the early 1980s was David Suddeth on July 4, 1982. By the late 1980's many gay men in St. Louis found numbers of their dear friends succumbing to the disease within a year or two span.
Susan Goell was deeply affected by this epidemic, and has said that it occupied the next seven years of her life. Moreover, Goell had come under heavy pressure from stockholders in the West End Word to discontinue her use of their offices for layout of No Bad News and her association with the gay paper. Since she had a major interest in the West End Word and was at one point to be the major stockholder, this struggle occupied her energy and time and stressed out relationships with dear friends. And there were still other personal issues that required much time and energy. A young gay man, Roger Blase, was quite interested in taking over the management of No Bad News, and Goell worked closely with him to accomplish this transition. Roger's name appears on the No Bad News masthead around February, 1983, and in July, 1984, she finally sold the paper to him. Unfortunately, this partnership was to become a small part of the enlarging AIDS crisis:
Roger was very young, very eager, inexperienced, happy to learn, lived with his parents, had a boyfriend, I can’t remember exactly when he got AIDS, but he did, and … the more and more he wanted to own the paper completely and do everything, the sicker he got , and then … it took me a good year until I finally just couldn’t do it. There just weren’t enough hours in the day.
There is an article on the front page of the October, 1983 issue of No Bad News: We’ve Packed Our Bags and Moved. According to Goell, this was the culmination of the pressure from the West End Word, and the pub moved to a location on Lindell. Apparently, her influence after that was through Roger Blase, whom she was first training in the business and then assisting because of his ill health. At some as yet undetermined point in 1984, the history of No Bad News and Goell separated. She continued to work as managing editor for the West End Word, eventually acquiring the majority of the shares in the publication. Somewhere around 1986 or 1987 she sold the West End Word, but continued to work for it, and for a second owner when the paper sold again. Dedication to the care of a dear friend who had AIDS led to her leaving the area.
By December ’84, the editor of No Bad News was Chris Edwards, the Art Director was Todd Midland, and Barbara Bradley was managing director. They published No Bad News for another year. A cursory scan of the twelve 1985 issues indicates that the publication continued but with less focus and overall vision. Further research is necessary to present an overview of the last two years of the publication of No Bad News.
The story of how Suzanne Goell conceived of, brought about, and guided No Bad News through its first three years of publication is a story that needs to be told, because really, it is a story of courage and determination, full of adventure, excitement, controversy, pathos, and irony. Goell herself has shared many stories of how her complicated personal life interacted with No Bad News. One of them does demonstrate some of these qualities very clearly. I quote it from the interview:
I remember one Saturday night I was all dressed up for the Symphony but had to stop by at the baths to leave the papers. Just as I was putting them down, the string around them broke, and I had a mess in the entryway. As I picked up, I heard a customer who had had to walk around me ask as he payed, “Who’s the little drag queen?”
That was no drag queen; that was Suzanne Goell.
Murphy, Colin, "StL LGBT Media: Our History," Vital Voice
Andris, Jim and Suzanne Goell, e-mail conversation, 5/15/2013 to present.
"Gay Press Group Born at NYC Conference," The Advocate, Issue 311, Feb. 19, 1981, p. 8.
Phone interview of Suzanne Goell by Jim Andris, August 20, 2013.
No Bad News, pub. by Suzanne Goell, Vol. 1, #1-7; Vols. 2-6.
Inventory of St. Louis' historic places that highlight the region's dynamic LGBT past.
- Bellefontaine Cemetery (graves of William Burroughs, others)
- Calvary Cemetery (graves of Tennessee Williams, others)
- LGBT bars
- LGBT restaurants
- Central West End sites
- Downtown sites
- William Burroughs sites (gay author)
- Dr. Thomas Dooley statue at Saint Louis University School of Medicine (gay physician/humanitarian)
- Forest Park (former site of LGBT pride picnic and gay cruising/arrests)
- Marti Frumhoff Memorial Park (lesbian activist/business professional)
- Harriet Hosmer sculpture of Thomas Hart Benton in Lafayette Park (lesbian scluptor)
- Harriet Hosmer sculpture of Beatrice Cenci at UMSL Mercantile Library (lesbian sclulptor)
- St. Louis Walk of Fame (stars for Josephine Baker, William Burroughs, William Inge, Tennessee Williams)
- Tennessee Williams sites (gay author)
- Tower Grove Park (former site of LGBT pride picnic and gay cruising/arrests)
Preface: Wild perverted homosexual parties on St. Louis' levee were the featured topic of Dr. Charles H. Hughes’s article in the November 1907 edition of the St. Louis-based medical journal Alienist and Neurologist. An “alienist” is a nineteenth century term for a psychologist or psychiatrist. Here is the full text of the 1907 article:
Homo Sexual Complexion Perverts in St. Louis, Note on a Feature of Sexual Psychopathy
By Dr. Charles H. Hamilton
"Male negroes masquerading in woman's garb and carousing and dancing with white men is the latest St. Louis record of neurotic and psychopathic sexual perversion. Some of them drove to the levee dive and dance hall at which they were arrested in their masters' auto cars. All were gowned as women at the miscegenation dance and the negroes called each other feminine names. They were all arrested, taken before Judge Tracy and gave bond to appear for trial, at three hundred dollars each, signed by a white man.
The detectives say that the levee resort at which these black perverts were arrested, is a rendezvous for scores of west end butlers, cooks and chauffeurs. Apartments in the house are handsomely furnished and white men are met there. The names of these negro perverts, their feminine aliases and addresses appear in the press notices of their arrest, but the names of the white degenerates consorting with .them are not given.
Social reverse complexion homosexual affinities are rarer than non reverse color affinities, yet even white women sometimes prefer colored men to white men and vice versa. Homosexuality may be found among blacks, though this phase of sexual perversion is not so common or at least has not been so recorded, as between white males or whrte females. I have recorded but one male instance in my own personal observation, viz: that of gentleman."
Source: Hughes, Charles Hamilton, The Alienist and Neurologist, Vol. 28, November 1907, 857 Olive Street, St. Louis, Missouri.
Preface: "Man Seeks Castration To Cure His Homosexuality" is the sensational headline for Dr. Charles H. Hughes’s article in the February 1904 edition of the St. Louis-based medical journal Alienist and Neurologist. An “alienist” is a nineteenth century term for a psychologist or psychiatrist. Here is the full text of the 1904 article:
The Gentlemen Degenerate, A Homosexualist's Self Description and Self-Applied Title
By Dr. Charles H. Hughes
How often is there delivered from the womb of some noble and grand woman—some little soul, scarred in such manner that stigmatizes its after life and brings a stain so deeply colored as to stamp it in the eyes of the world a 'social outcast and criminal.' How thoroughly ignorant was one good mother of the burden of sorrow which was fast developing in a boy upon whom she was counting to be an exemplary character in the eyes of his fellow man and as she often expressed it, in the eyes of God—for there was no more queenly type of the true Christian spirit than that which seemed to complete and envelop this good woman. Thanks be to a God whom they say does everything for the best—this darling woman went to her grave knowing nothing of a terrible affliction which had virtually possessed this son from the date of his birth, and whose absence from her dying bedside suggested a picture of neglect.
Where was he? In a little room in the wilds of a distant part of the country, bowed in grief, realizing that he could never kneel at that bedside claiming to be the offspring of such a God-like woman, irrespective of the fact that no responsibility rested upon him and with the full knowledge that, had anyone blamed her, the son would have become a raving maniac.
"The few lines which are written above are simply the preface of a statement which is intended for such who feel that they can gain anything from it in dealing with cases of a like character. We are well aware there is ever a possibility of some good man being thrown into a dungeon for things which are a part of his being, but who is honest, upright, gentlemanly in his manner to others, and who would gladly take flight from a social evil known as sexual perversion, were his brain or mentality so constructed as to enable him to do so.
"The animals in jail for theft and murder and other like fiendish crimes would, even in their absolute indifference to everything going to make up a good man, regard the condition above referred to as honorable. Society has to be protected, of course, yet should scientific mien not exert themselves to do all in their power to save the wellmeaning from degradation and ostracism which naturally follows such affection?
Take our most charitable citizens who are ever ready to rescue the unfortunate from the slough of despond. Is it not in their own nature to shrink from those so cursed, but whom they know in other respects to be their equals in point of birth and general intelligence, and a desire to be clean? "Thirty-nine years ago there was born to a couple in one of the far eastern cities a son—the subject of this discussion. The father was a gentleman of decidedly liberal education, being born in Ireland and graduating from one of the old world's best colleges.
Being an Irish patriot he naturally figured in the rebellion of '48, which meant death to him, unless through intrigue he could escape. Such version as the son was given, of the flight, need not be mentioned here beyond the fact that my old Irish nurse assisted him to the seaport, where he was enabled to jump on board and claim protection of the Stars and Stripes—falling upon his knees at the time, looking upward, thanking God that he was a free man and enjoying the benefits of the emblem of liberty—the American Flag.
Upon reaching the United States he became interested with several other Irish patriots—whose names are watchwords with the Irish as well as the Americans familiar with Irish history—and established or edited a paper known as the Owing to the excited condition of Irish affairs these patriots separated; my father going into another city and state and being immediately taken up by an Irish gentleman and placed in business. It was not long before his attainments became known, and he was recognized as one of the leading intellectual lights of the city, which claimed the distinction of possessing a highly cultured class.
"In the course of time, it being vouched for that my father filled all the requirements of a true gentleman, he became interested in and married a woman who was almost his equal from a literary standpoint—it being almost a puzzle when any question of philosophy or any other studies amongst the older children arose, which to ask— father or mother. However, that love for mother asserted itself and we wanted our father to think that our mother was the brighter and in nine cases out of ten her solutions of problems were correct and our father had nothing to do but admit it. (The object of the writer in mentioning these points will no doubt be understood by those under whose observation this statement may come.)
The marriage was granted under dispensation of the Pope—yet as in most cases of mixed marriages unhappiness was ever conspicuous, every child, however, always sided with the mother, and her religion was courted although she herself never interfered. Aside from this my father was associated with politics, and like most of those who are ranked reasonably high in the same, the liquor habit made its appearance, also epilepsy.
This entailed great hardships upon a proud family and it is needless to say many were the trials and tribulations in that family. If I am correct it was more of the Jacksonian epilepsy than the idiopathic. There was always a peculiar noise preceding the worst of these spells, and the whole family were greatly alarmed. As young as I was at the time I knew nothing of the cause, but regarded it as due to drink. Irrespective of the family clashes over religion, he was at times very kind to his children, and many times when he saw the ship sinking, many times did he call his children to him with tears in his eyes, realizing that he had been the cause of much unhappiness and it was still lurking within reach of his children, to develop to the point of sorrow (in one) that of a social outcast in the eyes of the world, however, but not in the eyes of One whose ways are most mysterious.
This father passed away after a lingering illness due either to epilepsy or apoplexy. The priest was there to perform the last rites of the church—yet as he had not been a Catholic in good standing his remains had to be placed in Protestant burial ground. His pallbearers were men of the highest standing in the community. It was at least certain that with the last flicker of life his mind was on his dear old home in Ireland and the woman upon whom was devolved the correct rearing of the children he left behind.
Was her task easy? No. Many sacrifices were made by her and so far as the daughters were concerned there was nothing to worry about—of the sons, upon two came sorrows for which they were irresponsible, the third still remains close to his sisters and the absent one hopes this boy may be spared to give them that protection which a brother should, for the mother is no more.
With the flight of that soul some fifteen years ago went the whispered words, 'Why does my boy remain so long at the market place?' It is needless to state that when the announcement of this death was communicated to him—that his hand went up in supplication to the Almighty to give him that manliness and character that his mother wished, in order that he could be a companion for his sisters, one to whom they could look up to and take pride in. "Was this son regretful at his father's death
At that time, no; for he felt that he must have been aware of his physical condition at the time he married a grand and beautiful woman. The son a regular 'girl boy' as he was called, always afraid to tell a fib—never using bad language, never smoking nor chewing, thoroughly honest, shunning the girls and always having some boy friend he fancied for his good looks and endeavoring to show him some kindness in the way of making him presents—never cared for an ugly boy—in fact did not know why he particularly cared for any, always studious, receiving high honors at school for thoroughness in his studies and exemplary deportment.
The child mind not understanding the features of certain matters recalls his desire to bunk with any gentleman who might be the guest of his father, and to them, no doubt revelations were made, but naturally ascribed to childish innocence. I felt myself growing stronger in this way. In other words showing a preference for such society and ignoring girls—yet being timid in the presence of both male and female—was frequently twitted about it.
"This of course became an annoyance to me. 1 would never associate with girls and always felt slighted when some boy schoolmate whom I liked would run off with a crowd of boys — was never physically or morally courageous, but always terribly hurt when anyone doubted me. This was done to worry me as they all knew I was quite an honest lad. My method of resentment would usually be to run up and give the hand of the aggressor a good bite. This melancholy condition continued to grow upon me* and it was fast dawning upon me that it would be something to disgrace me in the eyes of those whom I had known all my life, and the shadow would naturally fall upon those nearest and dearest to me on earth. I recall two gentlemen — one especially handsome — whom I knew who had gone west to go into business, and seeing the danger pursuing me, I wrote to them for a position. Mark this peculiar phase of the case.
I felt in some way I could enter into some peculiar relationship with the good looking man. But upon reaching my destination 1 found the party in question prospering, yet so changed that the impression first made become a mere nothing. The writer was at this time about nineteen or twenty, had never touched a drop of liquor, never smoked, chewed, used coarse language or gambled, associated himself with the church (because his mother wished it) and led for a while a good life but was terribly homesick.
Going back to the trip, there were just a few little incidents which I recall that made an impression upon my mind. I ran out of money, with the exception of twenty-five cents, when 1 was half through the trip. I made up my mind not to borrow, so when I reached territory adjacent to that of our own country, the engine having stopped for water, I ran across the line, so 1 could say that I had been on foreign soil and bought a little bologna sausage and bread and was badly scared when some Texan said that there was smallpox over there. But 1 was very hungry and ate the bread and sausage all the same. I did however have to borrow a dollar before reaching , yet the party who obliged me, I did not care for, as it occurred to me I was in the clutches of a desperado or 'con' man. I returned the amountim mediately upon reaching my employer's headquarters, and gave him a polite farewell with thanks for his kindness. Incidentally here I was considered by the people on the train as a young man actor or priest.
"It appeared from the start that I was well liked in my new position and for some reason it occurred to me that I would make a success socially. I carried letters to some of the best families and soon discovered that for one so young and being a little extravagant I was doing well. In a non-professional way I became identified with theatrical, lyric and dramatic people and soon found myself in the social whirl—yet withal, the eye was for the man instead of the woman, that is handsome appearing men. Liquor was soon with me one of the necessities. A handsome man meant the tinkling of glasses. I will leave to those who are interested in the case from a physiological standpoint what at times would follow, in addition to frequent chastisement. Haunting the parks, seaside resorts and other localities, a lonely man afflicted, no hope of cure as intimated by physicians and neurologists, this being repeated to me in all localities, large cities and small towns.
This man who has found rest for a time on the tops of mountains with nothing but God's shelter for him, this man who has sat in the woods with only the beasts of the forest for company, this man who has been on the seashore, with not a soul or house in sight, watching the terrible dark breakers splashing and dashing with but a flickering light here and there to startle him from the great burden under which he was placed.
Why has he handled the pick beside the common foreigner, why has he exhausted himself in pulling heavy timbers over rollers in the large mills on the coasts, at night? Why has he picked the hops in the field of the Northwest and, to escape eiror, crossed the continent again and again to pick apples in an orchard in the absence of other work? Why all this? Because he wished to save his family and the name of the good mother who bore him.
"Twenty-five years of this misery is a long time for such torture, yet the struggle goes on. If the wishes of this lonely man were realized, and he trusts it may not be long before he may find the surroundings illumined and he be enabled to step into the sunlight—a clean and wholesome man—or in the absence of such bliss—his mother's arm be extended down from the region beyond into which he may be embraced and find that rest which may be emblemized as eternal."
These autobiographic reflections of a sexual pervert, with reverse sexual instinct feelings and impulses, are given place here, as contributing to complete the portraiture of the homosexual form of hereditary perversion and also to call attention to the often revealed psychic accompaniment of morbid egoism and craving for sympathy.
Such of this class who have come under my observation and care as patients, have been inclined to write up their cases, without suggestion to that effect and without urging. The morbid egoism to disclose the self-feeling is like that of Claud Hartland, another patient of the editor's, whose book was excluded from the mails.
This narrative does not give details, but were similar to those described by many of Kraft-Ebing's patients troubled by homosexuality. In this case an operation was performed on the filaments of the pudic nerve supplying the testes, but the morbid inclination still persists, notwithstanding the operation and a course of chologogues, antiseptic intestinal treatment and full bromism.
This man is a competent accountant and a cultured gentleman, much distressed still by his persisting malady and has asked to be castrated and talks earnestly of suicide as a not far distant resort in the event of failing of relief. This case appears to be in the head and not in the genitals.
Having endeavored after this operation to convince this unfortunate man that the trouble was now in his brain and mind alone and that he should do as other men have to do and do do, keep his passionate impulses in abeyance to the higher purposes of his nature and the nobler ambitions of life, he answered as follows:
"What you claim can be accomplished through efforts on my part is impossible—of course you will dispute this. Were our positions reversed for a month, you could understand. If the difficulty is with the head, all I have to say is that it has centered there with such vigor and tenacity that it would appear to me that the elimination of the trouble in one center has been doubly concentrated in another. The head of my firm has heard about my weakness and certain insinuations have been spread broadcast, resulting in my displacement from my position.
I will be upon the streets next week—to go where—the Lord only knows. "I can not change this unfortunate condition—for if I could it would be an awful stigma upon me if I did not. You are certainly a grand man—in your profession—yet there must be something about my brain construction that even is beyond you. Let me ask you—would extreme methods (you know my meaning) amount to anything? If so I will go into a charity hospital and have it done. Do something, I must. I have told you the truth. It means that or worse.
"You are the only man who can help me. Would what I have suggested accomplish anything? You may think this idle talk, but no one knows better than myself that it is not. "Save my family I must; they do not know my whereabouts." The sufferings of this unfortunate are real. The training of the inhibitory centers of the cortex over the lower centers of the brain and cord have evidently been sadly neglected in this man's youth.
The full sway of any of the passions tend to moral and physical habitual dominance of the passions in the hereditarily unstable neuropaths, with vicious and perverted passionate entailment from father to son, as appears in this unfortunate victim of congenital fate. The medico-legal aspects of these cases of homosexuality and of some other cases of perverted as well as natural, but abhorrant sexual violence, obtrude here, but we will not now discuss them.
In a letter six months subsequent to the operation he writes as follows: "I am if anything, worse than before, as I now follow in the street those who attract me." On the last of January of the present year this unfortunate neuropath wrote the following despairing letter:
"I am now convinced that from an experience in St. Louis during my last visit (an experience without consummation) that there is absolutely no avenue of escape from my trouble but to be placed under restraint, and if I can get back to St. Louis it is my intention to place myself in the hands of the authorities irrespective of the consequences, as I am certain to get into trouble, and I can not stand this thing longer.
I know just what Dr. and yourself would suggest, yet from the statement of other physicians — the trouble is of the head and there would be no certainty that the operation in question (castration) would be successful. You well know the debilitating experiences through which 1 passed after the first surgical work. I jumped on a train in St. Louis last night and followed a party clean through to South McAIester. I was expected back at the hospital that night. I spent all my money. I do not know for certain that I have a position here, as the company is in a bad way and none of the officials are in town.
"I came very near getting in serious trouble on the trip. If I am compelled to pass through another surgical operation it will have to be at the city hospital. My trunk and satchel are at the Hospital. I feel terribly over this, as I promised Dr. I would conduct myself with decorum. If the remedy he suggested is a sure cure, then I will have to accept it."
Source: Hughes, Charles Hamilton, The Alienist and Neurologist, Vol. 25, February 1904, 3857 Olive Street, St. Louis, Missouri.