Upcoming Events Listed In Old Issues Of "The Ladder," In Order Of How Badly I Wish I Could Have Attended

All event descriptions via Alexander Street Press’ searchable Ladder archives here.

Just one year ago the Daughters of Bilitis was formed. Eight women gathered together with a vague idea that something should be done about the problems of Lesbians, both within their own group and with the public.

The original idea was mainly that of providing an out let for social activities, but with discussion came broader purposes and the club was formed with a much wider scope than that originally envisioned, as can be seen from the club “Purpose” on page 4.

The eight charter members, with a constitution, by-laws and a name, started out to find more members. And this has been the biggest problem in this first year. As our President has so aptly pointed out in her message, “the Lesbian is a very elusive creature…”

And what will be the lot of the future Lesbian? Fear? Scorn? This need not be — IF lethargy is supplanted by an energized constructive program, if cowardice gives way to the solidarity of a cooperative front, if the “let Georgia do it” attitude is replaced by the realization of individual responsibility in thwarting the evils of ignorance, superstition, prejudice, and bigotry.

Tuesday, March 26 — “Monthly discussion meeting at 465 Geary Street. Kenneth C. Zwerin, attorney, will discuss the legal status of the Daughters of Bilitis and answer questions those attending may have relating to the Lesbian and the law.”

Before “be gay, do crimes,” there was Kenneth C. Zwerin.

Saturday, April 27 — “Bowling at the Sports Center, 3333 reservations by Thursday night, April 25, to Fill more 6-0404 so alleys may be reserved. You don’t have to be a professional to bowl with this group. We get them from the low 70s to the almost 300s. Come on out and join the fun.”

The bowling invitations appear in almost every issue, and more than once do the writers stress that this is becoming a regular event, repeatedly stressing the importance of calling ahead so they know just how many lanes to reserve. It’s nice to know that even in ‘57, Bay Area gays had a tough time getting a final head count before the day of.

Monday, Dec. 31 — “Come and welcome the New Year at the Daughters’ annual New Year’s Eve Party. A $1.50 donation per person will insure you a memorable evening. The place is 651 Duncan Street, the time 8:30pm. Please phone for reservations by Sunday, Dec. 30.”

An assuredly memorable evening for the low, low price of $1.50! Those who cannot afford the door charge are still welcome to attend, but the memorability of the evening can no longer be guaranteed.

“Why not circle the above dates on your calendar? It is easy to forget from issue to issue of THE LADDER just when a certain event is scheduled. By marking your calendar you'll be sure not to miss a single activity of the Daughters of Bilitis. We’d be very happy to see you at any of the gatherings. How about it?”

How about it indeed! Why not draw a circle? They’d be very happy. It’s so easy to, why not forget you mark? It’s easy to gather, and easy to miss. Forget from issue to issue. How about sure not to miss? It is easy to circle a certain event. It’s very easy to be happy of the Daughters.

Tuesday, Oct. 23 — “Panel discussion at 465 Geary St., Studio 51, at 8:15pm. Subject will be ‘What Are You Afraid Of?’, the first in a series of discussions on Lesbian fears — both real and imaginary. On the panel will be Pat Hamilton and Del Martin, Dr. Vera Plunkett will act as moderator.”

Come on in! The water’s fine! Come on in! The water’s moderated! We know you’re afraid. It’s real. We know you’re afraid. It’s in your imagination. We know you’re real. We’ve imagined it. We’re discussing it. This is the first of a series of imaginary discussions and real panels. Dr. Vera Plunkett will be there to discuss your firsts. With a name like Plunkett, how could any Lesbian, real or imagined, remain afraid for long? Act. Dr. Vera Plunkett will act.

Tuesday, June 25 — “Basil Vaerlen, psychotherapist, will lead a public discussion on ‘Is A Homophile Marriage Possible?’ at 465 Geary St. Those of you who didn’t get a chance to take Mr. Vaerlen to task after his lecture in December will have a second whack at him. Get your ammunition ready — he has!”

Ladies! Ladies, please settle down — you’ll all get a chance to brawl with Dr. Vaerlen if you line up in an orderly fashion and wait your turn.

Saturday, May 18 — “Daughters’ party celebrating the month of Taurus the bulls. At the Matador Room, 655 Duncan Street. 8:30pm. Reservations should be made to Fillmore 6-0404 by Friday, May 17. Donation is $1.50 per person.”

I don’t have anything funny to say about astrology, but I imagine this was very charming!

Tuesday, May 28 — “Public discussion meeting at 465 Geary St. will feature a debate on the controversial book We Walk Alone by Ann Aldrich.”

Embarrassingly, I thought Patricia Highsmith sometimes wrote under the name Ann Aldrich (boy, did I ever think that!!) but it was her erstwhile-girlfriend, Marijane Meaker, I was thinking of, and boy did those Daughters ever get their ammunition ready for her.

Tuesday, September 24 — “Public Discussion meeting at 465 Geary St., Studio 51 (5th floor) at 8:15pm. William Baker, national president of the American Graphological Society, will speak on ‘Handwriting As It Relates To The Personality.’”

Your handwriting says you are gay, etc; it writes itself.

Saturday, May 4 — “The Mattachine Players will present ‘The Reluctant Dragon,’ a puppet play based upon the Kenneth Grahame fairy tale, at 8pm. at the Friends’ Society auditorium, 1830 Sutter Street. Tickets are $1.00 and may be obtained at the Mattachine Society office, 693 Mission Street. Audience is limited to 100.”

I would pay every dollar I have to have seen this. The reluctant dragon!!! The Mattachine Players! The gay puppeteers and the all-lesbian audience members who support them financially! 69(3) Mission Street! This event really had it all.

Thursday, August 1 — “Panel discussion. Another ‘Battle of the Sexes’ between members of the Mattachine Society and Daughters of Bilitis. Mattachine monthly meeting, 1830 Sutter Street. 8pm.”

It’s the blasé “Another” that does it for me – the idea that these boxing matches have become so frequent as to become commonplace between those old-timey homophiles. “Never mind, I’ll catch the next swan boat for the 10pm show.”

“What’s on this Thursday?”

“More twink-boxing with the boys from the Mattachine Society. Ho-hum.”

“Ah, well, there’s nothing good on TV tonight anyways. Might as well oil up and see how many of the boys we can take down before bowling.”

In conclusion, thank you lesbians, let’s go lesbians.

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