Do you have any of this memorabilia?
Tom Yates is leading a project to visually document highlights in Dignity’s nearly 50-year history for the July 2019 Conference in Chicago. If you have any of the following items, please notify Tom at firstname.lastname@example.org or Mark Matson at email@example.com. These items will also enrich our Archives. Thank you!
Photographs of People (actual photo or high-resolution digital copy):
- Father Patrick Nidorf
- Bob Fournier
- Joe Gilgamesh
- Larry Collison
- Bill Washburn
- Charlie Wells
- Father Tom Oddo
- Jim Bussen
- Mary Ross (and her lover Jeannie DiClementi)
Photographs of Events:
- October 1979 Pope John Paul II tours the United States with stops in Miami, New Orleans, San Antonio, Phoenix, Los Angeles, Monterey, San Francisco and Detroit. Peaceful, prayerful, Dignity gatherings greet him at most stops along his journey.
- April 28 1980, President Carter invites representatives from 21 lesbian and gay religious groups to the White House to meet with his religious liaison, Rev. Robert L. Maddox, Jr. Representing Dignity national officers are Frank Scheuren, Elinor Crocker and Joseph Totten as well as Insight Magazine managing editor Gabriel Lanci.
- July 25 1992, DignityUSA President, Kevin Calegari travels to Rome for a private meeting with Msgr. Michael Swalina, American assistant to Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. During this meeting, he presents Msgr. Swalina with a five-page letter addressed to Cardinal Ratzinger detailing DignityUSA’s objections to the CDF document.
- June 25 1992, Kevin Calegari and other members of Catholic Organizations for Renewal (COR) meet at the White House with members of the Clinton administration to discuss issues of domestic and foreign policy.
- Dignity conventions
- Dignity participation in Pride parades
- Dignity participation in national marches
Publications [some of these are pretty obscure but perhaps some archivist with extensive clippings]:
- Dignity first ad in January 1970, The Advocate: “Catholic Gays Join DIGNITY, a Catholic group of intelligent gay men and women. We share successful ways of bringing dignity into our lives. Honest talk/sensitivity/sincere people. Applicants screened. Write: Fr. Pat, Box 4486, N. Park St., San Diego, CA 92104.”
- Ad in the September 5 1971 newsletter looks for people outside the Los Angeles area to organize Dignity chapters: “OUTSIDE LOS ANGELES: If you live outside the Los Angeles area, why not try to organize a chapter of Dignity for your area. Write to Joe Gilgamesh for particulars. It would be a great thing if gay Catholics could be organized throughout the country. Our voice would be much more effective in the Church if coming from one organization. We would have a common clearinghouse of ideas and eventually a national Board of Directors. Think about it. Contact others. Let’s hear from you.”
- Article on Dignity in “The Reporters Notebook” column of the National Catholic Reporter June 1972
- Commonweal February 15 1972 an article by theologian Gregory Baum entitled “Catholic Homosexuals.”
- Our Sunday Visitor, March 17 1974, a national Catholic weekly, recommends to a reader in its question and answer column that Dignity be contacted for information on ministry to homosexuals.
- Time magazine September 8 1975 has a cover story on homosexuality which mentions Dignity and has a picture of Dignity/Boston celebrating Eucharist.
- People Magazine 1979 does a story in conjunction with the Papal Visit entitled: “Nine Americans the Pope Won’t Want to Meet … and Why.” Pictured as one of the nine: DignityUSA President, Jim Bussen.
- In August 1982, the magazine U.S. Catholic runs a cover story entitled: “Why Gay Catholics Won’t Be Locked Out of the Church.”
- February 19, 1984 Ann Landers column encourages a closeted gay man to contact Dignity, Inc saying: “You’ll meet compassionate and understanding people there who will calm your fears and help you find a comfortable niche in society.” (Dignity receives over 600 letters in response to being mentioned in the column.)
- April 27 1987, DignityUSA full-page ad in Newsweek magazine in response to the Vatican Letter and the expulsion of chapters from Church property.
- September 16 1976, Paul Diederich and Father John McNeill on the Phil Donohue Show
- November 1, Jim Bussen on CBS This Morning to respond to the Letter before flying off to Washington DC where DignityUSA and other concerned groups hold a press conference outside of the residence of Apostolic Pro-Nuncio Archbishop Pio Laghi in Washington, DC to protest the Vatican Letter.
Brief Personal recollections/reflections on Dignity’s (local and national) impact:
- 1977 Miami, Anita Bryant with the help of Archbishop Coleman S. Carroll of Miami, is launched in response to the ordinance. In the largest special election of any in Dade County history,
- March 1978, San Francisco city council signs the U.S.’s most comprehensive homosexual rights bill.
- April 1978, St. Paul, Minnesota becomes the second U.S. city to repeal its gay rights ordinance after Anita Bryant’s successful 1977 anti-gay campaign in Dade County, Florida.
- Dignity/Wichita, a chapter in formation headed by Martin Mendoza, joins forces with the Catholic Worker movement and asks Dignity national and regional to help fight the overturning of a gay rights ordinance. Dignity/Chicago responds by printing 50,000 pamphlets. Region VI brings in a busload of volunteers to help leaflet Wichita churches the Sunday before the election. Dignity National Officers Madeline Ritchie and Carla Kaesbauer fly in along with Bud Guiles, National newsletter editor, and Jim Wolfe, Social Action Committee Chair. Sister Jeannine Gramick and Father Robert Nugent come from Washington DC. Dignity/Los Angeles sends Father Jim Fleck and a check to pay for an ad in the Wichita paper the day before the election. May 1978, a gay rights ordinance is repealed in Wichita, Kansas.
- A Gay rights ordinance in Eugene, Oregon is repealed by the voters in May 1978.
- 1978 California State Senator John Briggs to get Proposition 6 (an anti-gay teacher proposal) on the November ballot. Jim Highland assisted by Sister Eileen DeLong and Father Jim Fleck, forms Catholics for Human Dignity (CHD), the first statewide political lobby for Catholics advocating human rights for gay and lesbian people.
- 1978 gay rights ordinance passes in Seattle assisted by the tireless efforts of Dignity activists.
- July 1979, Los Angeles passes its gay and lesbian civil rights bill.
- General and specific impact(s) of HIV/AIDS on Dignity communities.
- On October 30 1986, the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith releases a “Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons,”
- Eviction of Dignity chapters as a result of the Vatican Letter from Church property.
- LGBT civil rights initiatives.
- Marriage equality efforts.