An Inclusive Litany


State Senator James West introduced a bill in the Washington state legislature that would have made sexual intercourse illegal for unmarried teens under 18. The legislature's senate health care and corrections committee gave the restrictive bill serious consideration as an AIDS-prevention measure.

In Martinez, California, crew members of a U.S. Navy train that severed an antiwar protester's legs in 1987 sued him, alleging post-traumatic stress disorder. The protester went on to win a settlement in his own suit against the government, after he purposefully put his body in front of the train at a distance at which it was physically impossible for it to stop in time to avoid injuring him.

In Los Angeles, at least three police officers who witnessed the notorious videotaped beating of Rodney King have filed for worker's compensation, claiming that they suffered anxiety and stress.


The owner of a thirty-six-unit apartment building in Milwaukee wanted very much to create a drug-free environment, evicting ten tenants suspected of drug use, giving a master key to local beat cops, forwarding tips to the police, and hiring two security firms to patrol the building. The city responded by seizing the property because, as Milwaukee city attorney David Stanosz declared, "Once a property develops a reputation as a place to buy drugs, the only way to fix that is to leave it totally vacant for a number of months. This landlord doesn't want to do that." The owner had encouraged the police to send undercover agents into the building, but the police claimed they were too short of officers.


Asked whether the $400 a month he paid for a six-room rent-controlled apartment on New York's swanky Central Park South was a fair price, tobacco-store owner Nat Sherman replied, "I use the apartment so little, that I think it's fair."

Sting, the political conscience of rock and roll and father of five children, told Rolling Stone, "We have too many people—we have to use birth control."

Donna Minkowitz reports from the floor of the National Lesbian Conference in the Village Voice, May 21, 1991:
Some things have changed in the lesbian world: political purism apparently no longer extends to the bedroom. The first of four scheduled workshops celebrating s&m was one of the best-attended and least tense events, attracting a multiracial crowd of 350 with lots of self-identified incest survivors. When a muscular, gorgeous 20-year-old complained that "it's not enough to learn about s&m from books, I need experience!" 349 women looked blissful. "Do I hear her calling for teachers?! With shoulders like that, you're not gonna have any problem," one called out soothingly. Most postmodern line from the conference, also from the s&m workshop: "A beating that I had two years ago is what enabled me to get through Saudi Arabia, because it taught me I could withstand pain."

After a few days, many of us wished we'd had a similar preparatory experience. Censorship started on Day Two, when a local photographer and a cartoonist handed out 300 copies of a drawing chiding the policy prohibiting the use of flash cameras. (Conference organizers claim they can cause seizures in epileptics.)

The Washington Post, June 22, 1991:
Minutes into "Sex/Love/Stories," Tim Miller's solo program at Dance Place last weekend, it's abundantly clear why this ardent and unshackled performance artist was denied a National Endowment for the Arts grant by NEA Chairman John Frohnmayer and his advisory council.

"Sex!" Miller bellows, entering from the rear of the space. "Love!" Then, in a quieter voice: "War ... AIDS ..." With these big, resonant, scary words, he offers up an outline of all that is to come bursting forth from his oh-so-clever mouth... He yanks down his pants and has a very frank, emotionally charged discussion with his bared anatomy about the importance of celebrating the flesh, especially in the midst of disease and censorship and death.