photo of the day 6/26/2011
I am posting these two photographs from the early 1970s for Gay Pride, in honor of Herb Dermody, or Herbie as he liked to be called. We became best gay friends when we both came out in 1969 soon after the Stonewall Riots. His drag name was Crystal and he was rather fey. I was one of the few gay men in Madison who refused to choose a drag name. We were as different as day and night, jewish/catholic, leather/vanilla, university/vocational school although we both liked MEN and we hung out at the Gold Coast in Chicago as often as possible. The pix on the right is Herbie pretending he was one of the column maidens at the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry. I probably took the photo with Herbie's camera.
In those days, Herbie kept a diary of who he had sex with and what they did, with the numbers 1, 2 and 3 beside each name. You see, in Madison, Wisconsin you were only allowed to do three things sexually. It shouldn't be too hard to figure out what those were. ;) Herbie would go weekly to confession and in confessional admit to the sin of homosexuality. The priest would tell him to say Hail Marys, do his catechism or something like that and absolve him of his sin. The next week he would do the same thing again. Finally, the priest caught on and asked him if he intended on committing the sin of homosexual sex again. Of course, Father, Herbie replied. The priest gently suggested that he not return to confession since he had no intention of trying to stop sinning. So Herbie stopped going to confession, but didn't stop going to church. I don't know if he stopped receiving communion or not.
A few years later I moved to San Francisco and a few years after that Herbie moved to LA. I was definitely a San Francisco boy and he was definitely an LA boy, working and living in the valley. He died from AIDS many years ago now. It would be nice to have someone who knew me from when I was 19 and coming out so that I could share those memories with him. Happy Gay Pride, Herbie!