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Homosexuality at the Catholic Worker by Judith Gregory - Catholic Worker odds & ends
January 29th, 2017
07:41 pm

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Homosexuality at the Catholic Worker by Judith Gregory
Michael (Harank) has asked me to write something of the feeling about and conversation about homosexuality at the CW when I was there. I arrived at the CW in March 1959, stayed through the summer of 1960, returned in the fall of 1961 and stayed through until spring. I had several short visits with Dorothy after that, and one long drive with her from Tennessee to Tivoli (CW farm in Duchess Co. NY) in the fall of 1974. We spent two nights on the way and had much conversation as you can imagine. I've always wished I'd  had a tape recorder with me, but no.

While I was at the CW, I heard virtually no talk about sexuality of any kind. Can that be true? Yes, none of the group when i was first there, Charlie Butterworth, Beth Rogers, Bob Steed, Deane Mowrer, Jean Walsh, others whose names at the moment I can't recall---none of us was into such conversation, as we say now. It was different in 1961-62. I don't  doubt that such talk was going on then, but I didn't join in it.  Bob and I  acknowledged later that we were gay. I don't know if any others did. I never talked with Dorothy about my sense of myself, my sexuality. In the mid-seventies I wrote a book that was in a way a coming-out story and I sent it to Bob. I got the impression that he showed it to Dorothty, but I never knew for sure. She never spoke of it. I definitely did not feel like sending it to her directly---shy, I guess.

I did, on that long drive, talk with her about the women's movement. She seemed to know little about it. I remember her saying that she thought "women's liberation" meant promiscuity. I told her not at all, and that much disucussion of community went on among women---and not only discussion, the gathering of women and founding of communites.

What led me to feel that Dorothy disliked homosexuality, that she felt an unexamined revulsion from it, I'm not sure. I heard what other people said about her feelings and views. I'm fairly sure I never heard her speak of them herself. I may have read remarks in her column and articles that gave me this notion. The subject, homosexuality, which later became one of such contention, did not exit among us.

Judith Gregory died on January 20th, 2017, aged 84, in Jaffrey, N.H.

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