PGN Special Edition Coverage

‘Sodomy’ repeal to be delayed

Adapted from reporting

by Harry Langhorne

State Sen. Louis G. Hill was considering delaying the introduction of his bill to repeal what became known as Pennsylvania’s “sodomy” statute because too many legislators considered it “dangerous politically” to support the measure during an election year. More than half of the Senate was up for election.

According to an informal poll Hill conducted among his colleagues, six of 22 senators would vote in favor of the repeal. Twenty-six votes were needed for it to pass.

In the Judiciary Committee, where the repeal would be assigned once introduced, Neeley said five members were in favor of reporting it out with a recommendation to pass it, four were opposed, three were undecided and three did not respond to the informal poll.


New owners at Giovanni’s

Adapted from reporting by PGN staff

On June 1, the city’s gay-liberation bookstore changed hands.

Dyan Dreisbach and Jennifer Turner purchased Giovanni’s Room from Pat Hill, who owned and managed the story for the previous two years. Hill said she wanted to devote more time to her painting.

Dreisbach and Turner lived openly as a couple in their dorm at Sarah Lawrence College in New York. Dreisbach was president of the freshman class and previously volunteered at Giovanni’s Room and the Lesbian Coffeehouse.

The new owners hired author Dolores Klaitch to take over the day-to-day management of Giovanni’s Room. Klaitch said she hoped to start a series of book-related cultural events.

The store stood at the time at 232 South St. Giovanni’s Room now has a building at 345 S. 12th St.

— compiled by Paige Cooperstein

*Editor’s Note: In reviewing the PGN archives in preparation for our 40th anniversary, we were struck by this account of what life was like for gay men dying of AIDS in 1983. The writer, Stanley Ward, and photographer, Harry Eberlin, have both since passed, so in lieu of sharing their thoughts on the groundbreaking story, we decided to bring the story itself to our modern readers. We hope you find it as powerfully moving as we did.

•       On June 5, 1981, the Centers for Disease Control issues a warning about pneumocystis carinii, a rare form of pneumonia, after five gay men in Los Angeles contract the disease.

•       PGN’s first story regarding HIV/AIDS runs in the July 10-23, 1981, issue under the headline “The latest gay disease: Cancer.”

In the second half of the 20th century, the Center City neighborhood that became known as the Gayborhood formed in the vicinity of 13th and Locust streets. The community and the geographical spaces it occupied played a vital role in the social and political struggles of LGBT people locally and in the nation.

PGN has undergone many changes in its 40 years, but has always remained committed to being a community-focused publication. The local LGBT community — which itself has undergone innumerable evolutions in the last four decades — is largely driven by the many organizations that offer information and resources, bring us together for community-building events and advocate for our rights.

Here are some history highlights of the LGBT and HIV/AIDS organizations serving our community today.

Two years ago, Jason Landau Goodman heard whispers about a Council for Sexual Minorities established through the governor’s office. He took a trip to the tall concrete slab that houses the state’s historical documents in Harrisburg. The staff pulled records from Gov. Milton Shapp’s administration in 1976, revealing meeting minutes and letters pertaining to the council.

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