University of wisconsin-madison archives oral history program

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Interview #943


Kathleen Nichols (1957 - )

Campaign Worker/Activist, Founder of The United, Dane County elected official, Wisconsin State employee

Interviewed: March 26, 2009

Length: 173 minutes

Interviewer: Jason Orne

Index by: Jason Orne

Series: Madison’s LGBT Community 1960’s-present

00:00:00 Start of Interview/Interviewer’s Introduction

JO: But I guess before we get into sort of your activism, if you wouldn't mind giving me a little bit of background about how you grew up, or your life before moving to Madison?

KN: This is a very good wine.

JO: Oh, I'm glad.

KN: Thank you.

JO: 87 on the Wine Spectator.

KN: The Spectator is reliable. There's a couple. Wine Enthusiast not so much.

JO: I heard something on The Splendid Table like a couple months ago about where they had sent some fake wine listings into the Wine Enthusiast. I think it's the Wine Enthusiast. And how they said that oh, they were such fantastic restaurants, and they gave their wine list a giant amount. And then they turned out to be completely fake.


KN: I grew up in Kenosha, Wisconsin. I'm the oldest of five children. My mother was born in Ireland. My father's parentage inherited this very cloaked in mystery. Very cloaked in mystery. Probably because my father's mother passed for white. She was a Pinkie. My father went to University of Chicago School of the Arts, the art school connected with the art museum, for a short period of time before he I went into the army again during the Korean conflict. And because he was German-speaking, he was assigned to the OSS. And so he was a post-war spy. When I was about 10, we actually found his spy kit. Oh, yes. The silvery graphite fingerprint powder, and the brush, and tiny, you know, the camera that was so Austin Powers.

JO: That must have been quite a fun day.

KN: Oh yeah. We dusted the house for prints. And this was way before CSI. There were five kids. My tiny mother-- never was five foot tall, my mother-- was not pleased. So we were very much working class. I mean, my mother never graduated from high school. We were working class with aspiration. Eventually my father invented something. And what he invented, the thing that he invented, was quite important in the nascent heat recovery industry, in essentially the first great energy crisis, in the very early '70s. And so the family fortunes rocketed. But they were very unhappy. We had moved to Madison because he was then offered a general manager position at the Carnes Corporation in Verona. And part of getting hired on was the agreement that they would pay for him to get a baccalaureate in engineering at the UW. But they were very unhappy with the radical politics of Madison in the late '60s and early '70s. And I was very unhappy being their daughter. And so they emancipated me.

JO: At what age was this?

KN: I was in high school. I was really young. And age of majority at that point was still 21. I went back to Kenosha, where my boyfriend, my dear friend David, still lived. And so for my senior year in high school, I lived in a granny flat and shared a bathroom with a wonderful lunatic woman who was one of those women who followed Tom Jones, the Welsh lounge lizard, around, and threw their panties at him. She was completely daft. Woke me up every single day to "WHAT'S new, pussycat?"


KN: And so I went to high school during the day, and I worked as waitress at night. And got married to my best friend, David. And threw a classic hippie wedding. There's a picture of me, if you want to see me as a hippie chick in my psychedelic wedding dress.

JO: So are you going to show me that later?

KN: And those were times of wonderful polymorphous perversity. And the first woman-- of course now it's girl. The first girl-- I had to think of it-- was my maid of honor from my wedding. And she lived with my little husband and me. She lived in our attic. And she was a big chick. She was about 5'9". She probably weight 200 pounds, which was more rare in 1970 than it is now. And she wasn't getting any nookie. And she was woofing about it a lot. And it being the time of wonderful Age of Aquarius, polymorphous nookiedom, I'm like, well, you know, I've had sex with guys whose last names I sure didn't know. I'm not sure I didn't know their first names. But you've been my best friend since we were 13 and 14 years old, and we went through a lot. So why don't we get it on? She was appalled. And when my husband and I got back from work-- we were working as maid, model, and groundsman for very wealthy family in the northern suburbs of Chicago. We got home, and everything this girl owned was gone from the house. And the David looked at me and said, Kath, what did you do? And I told him. And his reaction was, Christ. She outweighs you by 90 pounds. Wouldn't "no" have been enough? And I said, she said no. But she had moved from town. Moved back to Kenosha. We were, of course, in the true hippie fashion, living out in the country, living on, like-- ah, I won't even tell you that part of it. And poor David. He is just the nicest man. His last name is Lessman, and so there was a [? muchness ?] going around our working-class, rock and roll town of, "Yeah, Lessman, his wife's a lesbian." So that was an unhappy circumstance. And it was the end of the '60s, very beginning of the '70s. I think that must have been 1970. And no real good hippie who lived in Wisconsin had any business living anywhere but Madison, so we moved up to Madison into a commune.

JO: Sounds great.


KN: Stop me at any point.

JO: No, that's the whole point of these, is for you just to say as much of your story that you'd like. Trust me. But so it sounds like then that you really didn't have any particular coming out experience? You were sort of outed by-- is that something that you would say? Or--

KN: Oh, god. Well, when a number of your-- I mean, I guess I was outed in that. But it didn't feel like that. It was more like, how uncool. That David's just the nicest guy. What a bitch, reaction. You know? And I certainly didn't think of it as suggesting that I was bisexual, much less lesbian. It was just, you know, we had lots of fun orgies in those days. Lots of fun orgies in those days.

JO: Sounds fantastic.

KN: Oh, it was fantastic, dear. And at least you sort of know what I mean. The Age of Aquarius, and you know, love the one you're with, really was the liner notes for my live at that age.


KN: And so we-- god, I have to skip back and forth. In the time that I was here in Madison, in my junior year in high school, our Spanish teacher led us on a Magical Mystery Tour. We did things with him that were most decidedly illegal. He must have been your age. He was fresh, fresh out of college. So I know he wasn't 24. And we moved to Madison and found this co-op, you know, commune. And Estebano was essentially the guru of it, and you know, I was the cook and manager. Because I've always been the-- so I'm working two jobs, and keeping things in order, and getting very, very stoned, and having crazy wild sex. But still not really thinking anything of it other than in the context of, these are the '60s, for heaven's sakes. We're literate.


KN: And then one of the girls who lived in the commune, her friend from prep school came to visit her. And I fell so head over heels in love with that girl. I was like, oh, the [UNINTELLIGIBLE]. Oh, I saw you across the room, rock and roll. Oh my god. I was nuts crazy for this girl. And I figured, oh my God. If my best friend from years could be such a bitch, I surely better stay away from this girl. I didn't have the slightest clue. I was just like, whoa. She just absolutely made my heart skip a beat. And in one of the nearly interminable parties, we were arm-wrestling on the kitchen table. They were mashing everybody up, and Jill and I were both pretty tiny then. And so we're arm-wrestling, and I thought I felt electric current going from the palm of my hand into my earlobe.

JO: Aww.

KN: And so, you know, I really don't have much upper body strength, but I wanted to lose this one. Like, whoa! And so it skithered off the Formica table, and the next thing I knew, we were literally on the beer keg besmeared floor. I mean, it's like nasty backwash from the kitchen floor from the party. And there's Jill on top of me. And had enough clarity to look up and think, oh my god. We're turning into a porno flick. Get off me! And so she kept off me. But then I said, let's go for a drive. And it was January. And I had my first delightful sexual experience with a girl in the back of a giant blue Plymouth station wagon in the Forest Hill public cemetery here in Madison. I had no idea we were in the back of a cemetery, but it was very private.

JO: Well I mean, if you're looking for a private place, that's--

KN: Trust me. January in the back of a cemetery in 1972, you had a lot of privacy. And the problem, was she caught pneumonia.

JO: Oh no!

KN: But the good side, the upside of that was, she withdrew from the college she was in-- I was not. I really, at that point, didn't expect to go to college-- withdrew from the college she was in because she was sick, and she stayed here, and I took care of her, and you know?


KN: At that point then, my young husband starts dating Pablo. Oh, it was happy times. Happy times.

JO: This truly is the '60s, '70s.

KN: It was happy times. My god, we both had hair we could sit on when it was braided. And you know, what I had to say to David-- to whom I was heterosexual and legally wed-- was, sugar, anything and anyone since we were 14 years old has never mattered like you matter. And I mean, the proof of that is that he and I are good friend to this day. But I can't tell you that it's the same. I know something's different here. And you're really too nice a guy to be second to anybody. He gave me approval. And his second wife to whom he's been married to him all the intervening years, she adores him. I was 22. He brought her up and said, I just need you to make sure she's not lesbian. OK? OK, baby. And we went out, she and I went out shopping all day long. And afterwards, David said, well, you think? Nope, she's really straight, Davey. She's not as smart as you are. Well, after you, that'll be restful, is what he said. After you, that'll be restful. But Jill went back to East. She was a very upper class girl. There's a story. I'll tell you the story about how I first saw the ocean. It's all very vaginal. And so Jill goes back out East to her upper class family, and I'm still living my life, working class life here.


KN: And I'm working in a nursing home. As the head of housekeeping. I'd been promoted to the head of housekeeping. And I am summoned into the head nurse's office. And of course what I now know is you know, I've got Nurse Square Tits, army dyke. I mean, just the butchest thing in a bun. I don't know. And she says, Kathy. I've called you in because allegations have been made. They're very serious in nature. That kind of thing. What, what? I know this can't be true, because I met your young husband. He needs a haircut, but you know. I've met your young husband. And-- I swear, all this happened. And so of course, the upshot was that a woman there whose advances I had refused, because though I was your age, I was her supervisor. And she'd ratted me out.

JO: My god.

KN: And so here is Nurse Square Tits saying, oh, I know it can't be true. But it's been alleged than that you made homosexual overtures toward Miss Fill-In-the-Blank. And I'm sitting there. I'm practically doing that screw the knuckles into the hip. I'm going to have your job. But I had one of those hmm moments. And I said, well, what would happen if I told you that that was true? And she said, this is not a laughing matter. I know that it isn't true. And I said, yeah, but just what would happen if I told you it was true?

JO: Now she's arguing with you. Oh, no, no, it can't be true, it can't be true.

KN: And she said, well, then we would have to discharge you. And I had done enough walking the picket lines on strikes in a union town. I'm thinking, well, that's just not fair. That's just wrong. And why would you have to discharge me? Because I'm thinking, you know, I'm your age, and I'm taking care of incontinent people who are older than I am now. Why would it be a problem if the housekeeping lady was a lesbian? And I said, well, I think I might be, actually. So I got fired.

JO: Wow.


KN: And I was just dazed with disbelief. And I wandered down to-- you know, I'm speeding the tape up here. But not too many days into the future, I wandered down to City Hall and got referred into the Equal Opportunities Commission, probably called the Equal Rights Commission then. And the-- his memory is a blessing-- sainted Reverend Jim Wright was the chair. And he was the pastor of AME Mount Zion Church. And he was a very dapper, grandiloquent black man. And I came in and I told him the story, and he stood up and he put his arms around me and he said, let's talk to heal your spirits, and then let's figure out what to do about it. And so I then a part of a nucleus of people who had been discharged from their employment, or chivvied, or actively evicted out of their housing, that were case examples that served for the passage of the city of Madison's Sexual Preference Ordinance.

JO: Wow. Can you tell me the story about the passage of ordinance? Or your involvement or people that you knew?


KN: No. I don't think-- well, it's not that I wouldn't. It's just, I was-- I know this is going to sound funny you-- but I was just a kid. So I was not really involved in the political process, in the actual voting process. The person who could tell you about that would be Jim Yeadon. Jim Yeadon, despite all of the hokum-- oh, I forgot to tell you when I met Harvey Milk. I'll tell you about that later.

JO: Oh. Yeadon, like Y-A-D-E-N?

KN: Y-E-A-D-O-N. Jimmy Yeadon was the first out gay man elected to political office. He was elected to the city council in Madison way before Harvey was elected. So Jimmy, who's an attorney-- he does largely tenant law and such. He's a very quiet guy. And he lives on Williamson Street. He could tell you about the actual passage of the law. I mean, you know. I demonstrated with Paul Soglin and worked on his first campaign, and so I knew a lot of the people who-- you know, it was one of those, like, look around. Ain't we something? We're running this damn city. But I was not, as I later came to understand when I was, in fact, an elected officer, in a gubernatorial position or something. I can't tell you. Obviously there were public hearings at first, you know. Came up, sat in public hearings, and told the story. But what the aye votes were, who the aye votes were, I can't recall by my [UNINTELLIGIBLE]. But for good or for bad, I don't do much by halves. And so now I'm out, and I'm one of a group of poster children for the passage of the city ordinance. And shortly thereafter, I actually got involved with the guy whose voice you hear all the time. Jeff Golden. Lovely man. I can't tell you all his story, either. Let's just say, bi guys tend to get involved with lesbians. But the voice on public television that you hear all the time? That sort of molasses-y, syrup voice, that's Jeff Golden.


KN: And kind of like [UNINTELLIGIBLE PHRASE]. But I told him from the start, I have objection to heterosexual sex, but I'm not hetero. And it was he-- I actually lost a bet to him. He could not believe I was not in college, if not graduated. And so I lost the bet. I could no longer remember what the subject was. But the upshot was that if I lost the bet, I had to go to college for a semester. Loved college. And so then I was down on campus, and very quickly, I became president of the Madison Committee for Gay Rights. And we just were doing a lot of cutting-edge stuff. At about this time-- this is roughly contemporaneously, Lesbian Switchboard opened in-- I think it's Porchlight now. But it was the campus YMCA. So on Brooks Street, the Brooks Street Y. And that was where Lesbian Switchboard first opened, and so that really became the first separate public lesbian collective. And so that happened contemporaneously, somewhere, I at least think, about 1973. That was definitely up and running in full flower in '74. ] And Barbara Constans, Barbara Lightner-- whom I loathed. Never believe that just because you're comrades in arms, you have anything in common. But Barbara Constans and I, and Barbara Lightner were the Madison representatives at the national convention for the National Lesbian Feminist Organization. The founding meeting was in LA. I think physically we might have been in West Hollywood. And what we wanted to do was just, you know, almost a full generation ahead of the internet. So the capacity to remain in daily-- we just didn't have the technology to support the sort of standard, low-budget lesbian endeavor when it required face-to-face meetings or landline phone lines. And so that pretty much foundered. There was a Madison chapter, sort of, for a long time. I'm going to try to see if I still have my delegate tags from that.

JO: Oh, that'd be great.

KN: It was much beloved. And it was just a bunch of poor dyke activists at this conference. It was a very interesting generational mix. Because the older butch women from the '50s and very early '60s-- hardcore, butch, femme, don't be kiki-- the butch women were really there. And they were more than a little confused and bemused. Handsome older butch saying to me, "If this is what lesbian is going to be in the future, I resign. There's less sex happening here than--" It was just delightful.


KN: But you know. So we're all poor, and we're eking by. And word comes in that a famous, but refusing-to-be-named Hollywood lesbian-- much believed to be Lily Tomlin-- has paid for all of us-- a couple hundred-- to go to Yamashiro's, which still, to this day, is a very, very Tony Japanese restaurant up in the Hollywood Hills. And then I was like, oh fuck. And so of course we had to have hours of processing about whether we should accept this gift from somebody who was so self-loathing that they will not be public. And is it a rejection of our class politics? And I'm like, fuck, I'm hungry. We did go to Yamashiro's, at least, most of us did.


KN: So that was a huge endeavour of the time. It was in this same time period, since we are-- I'm in college, or I was in college. I think Paul was in-- Paul might have been in Grant's class. In business? I think maybe Paul [? Branch-- ?] Paul [? Branch ?] and Barbara Constans used to introduce themselves as, "Hi. We're the bookkeepers to the movement, because we're the only ones that can add. The rest of them talk. We add." And it was so true. It was so true. And along about this time, Judy Greenspan-- very radical. I think she might actually be paid staff for the Socialist Workers Party living in Oakland, organizing in the tow. I mean, she's hardcore. And the West High School seniors decided to do a winterim. A student-run, student-directed voluntary educational program during the winter break. These were the earnests. These were the days of earnestness. And so the children decided that they wanted to talk about gay rights, and so we were invited. When I say we, I was to be invited. Oh god, what was Hardy's last name? I can see him. From Brooklyn. [UNINTELLIGIBLE]. And Judy. The guy we thought was old, he's probably only 38. But we were going to go and do this panel at the children's request. And the principal at the school, Al Colucci, refused to admit us under a morals provision in the school rules, saying immoral persons could not be allowed on school grounds. And so he said to the kids, you cannot have these pervs on school grounds. You're going to have to come up with a different panel. And the kids refused. And so it was a stand-off. And Judy Greenspan and I figured out-- Judy Greenspan, Karla Dobinski and I-- Karla then goes on to found actually, the first feminist law office. That's just a few years in the future. But Madison's first feminist law office. But so Judy Greenspan, Karla Dobinski and I figure out by reading the school board regs that they couldn't prevent a candidate for school board from participating in the candidate debates. Which in those days were all held in the high schools. So we run Judy-- you know, I don't know why we need to, it's just a handful of signatures. But we run Judy for school board. And so thereby we get in the schools to, you know, debate the issue. It was brilliant.

JO: That's great.


KN: And so jumping back again. So now we're trying to get things-- the Women's Studies department did not exist. It was called Alice in Academia. The proto-courses we called Alice in Academia. And so those of us-- Biddy Martin, our chancellor now-- came into the picture just about this time. Just a couple of years after me. But you know, luminaries such as Ruth Bleier. Dr. Bleier was a microbiologist whose-- it seems to funny to say it. She's probably going to reach down from wherever and slap me for this. But she wrote the seminal work on deconstructing sexism in biology. And so Ruth's course becomes the absolute alternate science course for all undergraduate women. And Ruth and-- oh god, she was the dean of the History of Science area-- Judith Leavitt. Ruth, and Judith Leavitt, and, to a lesser extent, Evelyn Beck, Evelyn Torton Beck, and Jane Piliavin were making up Women's Studies at this point. And I think Biddy did her master's somewhere else, so she must have been just starting her doctoral program here then. She was more mannerly. We'll get in a libel suit. But the truth is she was more mannerly.


KN: And so we decided that we'd have to have a big old dance, because drinking age. I can't remember when drinking age switched from 21 to 18 to 19. So I think then, it was still possible to go into bars when you were 18 or 19. And the back door existed, and I certainly remember the day I stepped into the back door, but. But you know, it's a whole idea. Let's get together as age peers, largely, or at least people on campus. And it was in that context that we threw the first dance that really created the idea for the Ten Percent Society. That was wonderful. And and then we also, very earnestly, brought in various speakers. Shel Silverstein, the author of The Giving Tree. Very butch out leather man came. And--

JO: There's something I didn't know.

KN: Yeah. No, no, honey. And let's see. So I'm trying to think. This is the poster-- this is what it was, was the Harvest Ball for Human Rights.

JO: Oh, wow.

KN: And this was one of the original printings done by the artist David Elrod, who really-- he was cut down by AIDS. But he had some professional success. And so this is an original of that poster. And of course, we didn't know we were making history, so we just have the day, not the year. So this was this was first dance poster. Again, a little confused back-and-forth between the first and the second dance. But this is the first dance poster. And I think that year we brought in Harvey Fierstein and the second play in the Torch Song Trilogy. We produced them, and Harvey actually performed, as in Harvey Fierstein there. And so he actually performed in-- where were we? We were in the Wisconsin Play Circle. I think it was performed in the Wisconsin Play Circle.


KN: And that's when young Billy, the man who had been charged by the union directorate to come up with gay and lesbian programming, that was when he came out and became this flaming kid in a chiffon scarf, later to go on and become a full-out chaps-wearing leather man. And Steve Saffian, I think Steve's been retired about five years. Steve Saffian was just wonderful. Definitely to the core a straight guy who was just totally supportive. He was like the union directorate president or something at this point. He was just totally supportive. And we were doing lots and lots of coming out support groups in the dormitories. And I'm not sure where Chuck ranked. But he was management for the RAs in housing. And he was a completely out black man. He used to go up and down the halls at-- must have been Sellery-- with a toy rubber duck. Up and down the hall. And so here's this guy-- and he had to be older than you are, because he was a grad student, but he was carrying a lower class load than he was being an RA. But he said, "Come out, come out, wherever you are, children. Just come down and talk." He was just such a wild man. He was wonderful. And Saffian would get all these complaints. The parents would be calling and saying things, oh yeah, children need a safe environment. Sifting and winnowing. Sifting and winnowing. It was wonderful. Then what else? Then the next year-- oh, I should, you might want to take pictures of-- then I think it was the next year that now, we were definitely feeling our oats. We were like, with my bullets and bracelets, "Hi, I'm a [UNINTELLIGIBLE]." And we had put on such a good program. Really, it was very well-received. It was the success of student-directed programming. Then they gave us more money. And I decided to take a risk and invite the crush of my life at the time, who was Olga Broumas. She had just won the Yale Series of Younger Poets award, and then she was tout le monde at the time. And she's still highly, highly regarded, but I mean, she was hot, hot, hot. She would be-- "because of their explicit sexuality and Sapphic orientation, Broumas's poems may be considered outrageous in some quarters, but I believe they are destined to have more than a succes de scandale." And so I brought her in as the keynote speaker. And so she of course, signs the book. And she says, "Kathleen, femmes are too, too, too, too much, and as Mae West said, too much of a good thing is wonderful."

JO: Wow. That's great.

KN: So that was just two years of really successful student programming. Successful in the sense of providing academic legitimacy for the gay and lesbian students, in supporting the directorate in its decision to do gay and lesbian student programming, creating the basis that would then later officially get named the Ten Percent Society-- it was just really a big success.


KN: And again, it was in that context that we were given a lot of opportunities to, as I said, record essentially the frequently asked questions for the discreet phone-in line for kids who were questioning, and we were given faculty support for passage of the Anti-Discrimination Ordinance on the campus. Barbara Constans was extremely important in that. You know, and it was not a foregone conclusion in the faculty senate, that the faculty senate would support anti-discrimination for gay and lesbian students. A lot of them, even the gay and lesbian faculty, were still quite frightened from the purges in the mid-'60s. And so I remember Ginsburg really being way out there. Dean Ginsburg was way out there for us. And then I think Bob Skloot was very, very supportive. And almost all of the associated with what would become the Women's Studies department. We had a banner that we put up across the Memorial Union. Honey, it was a monstrous big banner that we hung on the Memorial Union for the Gay Rights of Spring II. And one of the fraternities-- I think it unfortunately was a Jewish fraternity, the Zetas-- stole the banner. They got up on top of the Memorial Union and they stole our freaking banner. And so Dean Ginsberg told the police that they had to take this seriously-- campus police-- and to take this seriously, and find the banner. So there was a great banner hunt, and the banner of located, and students were disciplined, and the banner was re-hung. God, what else we did. As well as the-- must be Karla Jay who was one of the first gay and lesbian anthropologists. She came to speak. We had her here as part of that. We screened lots of queer-themed-- you know, Madchen in Uniform and Sylvia Scarlett. And we had the very early-squirelly. Certainly not all the way out, but very queer-themed flicks at those.


KN: And of course, it was still the tail end of the anti-war movement. So you also have to backdrop this into what else is going on on campus. Becomes Madison really was one of the most radical campuses in North America. And so for instance, David Newby, who was a TA in the French department getting his doctorate. And the TAs were so badly abused. I think they still are. But the wages were just terrible and the working conditions abysmal. And so we struck. The TAs struck. And lesbians were very present in supporting that strike. I certainly remember walking that picket line. And that's how I met David, back in the day when he had the stentorian voice. He looked just like central casting. So I was the big-headed [UNINTELLIGIBLE] union leader. And David and I are good friends. He won't kill me for that. And so we were also really present in the other anti-war and civil rights struggles that were going on at that time. So while I'm sort of talking about what we were doing, it was all happening in a climate that was nothing short of fervid. One of the funnier days was the day we liberated the Red Gym. The Red Gym was still a gym and had a big old swimming pool in the middle. And it was actually a very popular cruising spot for boys because men got to swim nude in the pool.

JO: Oh!

KN: Oh yeah. Between the Red Gym and the bathrooms in the main library. Whoo, what a tea room. But we, ardent feminists, were having none of this guys have a swimming pool and the girls do not have a swimming pool. So a clutch of us, including the extremely highly-regarded Professor Bleier, we went running into the Red Gym in bathing suits. And there's a pool full of naked guys. And the guys all jump out of the pool and run away. Of course, if they just remained in the pool, nothing would have been hanging in the wind. But oh my god, the pool empties. And so that was one of those moments when there was quite a division in the community between the lesbian feminists and the gay men on campus because we had just busted the all-male club. So that was one of the funnier days.


KN: And let's see. And then Anita Bryant started to make headway. A small effort was succeeding nationally in passing what was typically called Sexual Preference Inclusions. Saint Paul, Minnesota has added it to their City Ordinance. Dane County had added it to its County Ordinances. But still, at least I thought, the far minority in even major urban areas. And Anita Bryant comes along. At first we took this typically Madisonian attitude. Hah! We're better and bigger than that. It can't happen here. It's just something that happens down south. And then they turned their guns on Saint Paul. And the ordinance was overturned in Saint Paul. And then those of us who were lead activists-- and at that time I must have been 25-- we knew if it could happen there, it could happen here. And we stopped. We stopped our attitude and said, OK, what do we got to do? Because it's hard to describe a time when you're advancing things really so rapidly for gay and lesbian rights, but the community was so divided. Because lesbian separatism was a very, very dominant ideology. There were very few lesbians who were moving in the Madison community for gay rights. The community development, for the most part, was very separatist. Whether it was ideologically separatist or it was just culturally separatist. You know, there was the softball teams, and the house parties, and things were very divided. And so the leading separatist activist really wanted nothing with men under any circumstance. And it was not unwarranted. I've never been a separatist. But it wasn't unwarranted, because most of the gay guys really have-- it's like, what are those cunts doing in the room?


KN: But I think we all realized that we had a very serious threat here. And we met in the chapel of Saint Francis House Episcopal Church. And me, Barbara Constans, Barbara Lightner, Arthur Grid Hall, A. Gridley Hall, whose memory is a blessing. He was now chair of the Equal Opportunities Commission, and the Reverend Wright might have been vice chair or chair emeritus. And Grid was, you know, not altogether comfortable in being out as a gay man. He was a little bit older than me, and from an upper-crust Southern family, really like odors of true about his life. But he was an attorney, a brilliant intellectual. And he was-- yeah, he must have been a [UNINTELLIGIBLE]. And so we, and then the very radical straight pastor of Saint Francis, and [? Lee Lewis, ?] Karla Dobinski. I think Karla was involved. I do have some primary source documents to confirm my babbling thoughts. So we hold this meeting, and we agree that we are going to put down the cudgels of accusation, and we are going to not be the Gay Men's Center, and not be the Madison Committee For Gay Rights, not be the Lesbian Switchboard, not be the Sapphic Sisters. We are going to be the United. And so we founded what was supposed to be an ad hoc organization that still, of course, exists to this day as OutReach, and was, by name, the United until the late '90s.But our purpose in uniting was to fight the Anita Bryant-like local threat, the Reverend Wayne Dillabaugh. Wayne Dillabaugh came to Madison announcing that he had been called by God to go to the new Sodom and Gomorrah and cleanse us. I mean, I don't have to make this stuff up. This is a quote. And so he founded a congregation, and he sets up a school. And he's bringing in if not Anita herself, her cat's paws and the like. And it's getting pretty scary. And we organized to infiltrate the congregation so we'd know what's going on. And we had one really fun day with Skydivers for Christ. That's its own separate story.


KN: But I don't know if we would have won, except those people know no orders of propriety, respect personal autonomy. And this Reverend whacked the crap out of a five year old student at his Christian day school. I think I really do have original sources. I think he beat her with a ping pong paddle. Anyway, this tiny child was beaten with an object, and even her true believer parents, up with that would not put. And then on top of that, there was some allegation of panky and hanky with a 16-year-old congregant girl. And so he was arrested. The parents complained, [UNINTELLIGIBLE] social services stepped in, the child was still bearing marks, serious marks of beating. And so he was jailed. And then there's-- as a cordial friend would say-- a lamous, that's locally famous, a lamous attorney. Chuck Eisenberg, no? Always wore a cowboy hat. What a thing to wear in Madison. So some lamous attorney-- damn it, can't believe I-- McManus. Comes along. And it was really, far more than those of us who are still around like to admit, it was really touch and go that we were going to lose this one. But we didn't. We did indeed drive him away. Another-- yeah, see here. The Reverend Dillabaugh, battery charges, a five-year-old kid. I really haven't looked at this. I found these about 30 minutes before you walked in.

JO: Wow. "With the gays in our schools, our children would be in physical danger."

KN: Right. That was a quote from him in court. And the other thing is, what you're looking at now are clippings from the strike newspapers. Newspapers were so important then. And the trade unionists, the labor organizers for the newspapers, went on strike, and Ron McCrea, who has been heterosexually married for many years, but was really out as a gay man then-- oh, I forgot to tell you about when he worked for the television program. But the gay response, [UNINTELLIGIBLE] the com arts department supported us. But anyway. So yeah. So these are all original sources of our battle with Wayne Dillabaugh. And this, the strike newspaper, The Press Connection, was essentially our house organ for revolution. And again, it was one of those moments where, you know, straight, middle-aged typesetters-- we had typesetters. Still wearing newspaper folded into four-cornered hats. And all of the gay and lesbians, there we are, walking the picket line. There's a picture of me doing a fashion show, a hundred years of unionism. And there I am walking around in an 1888 bustle dress for the revolution. I have a picture of that somewhere. But the reason we had so much of this stuff, is that the press connection with Ron McCrea in an editorial position really, really reported gay and lesbian culture of the '70s. And so what we're looking at now is a news story on the Madison's Olivia. This was Fallen Woman Productions. And it was through the agency of Fallen Woman Productions that Chris Williamson, and Meg Christian, and the Berkeley Women's Collective, and Lavender Jane-- it was how women's music came to Madison. You'll see. Yeah, as I said, you have "The Madison Equal Opportunities Commission has unanimously affirmed the citiy's Equal Opportunities Ordinance in its entirety, including the prohibition against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation." So that was-- "The move was in reaction to the announcement by the Reverend Wayne Dillabaugh, pastor of the Northport Baptist Church, that he will lead a petition drive for a citywide referendum on homosexual rights." So this is what was going on. And this is, as I was babbling earlier, the sainted Reverend Wright. "Not if, but which rights will fall next." And this was a Christian black man who was completely spot-on. And [UNINTELLIGIBLE] said, Alderman James Yeadon was there.


KN: And of course, David Clarenbach is fairly freshly elected to the state legislature. David was 28 years old when he elected to the county board, but he was not at all out. David's mother, Kay Clarenbach, was the dowager empress of Wisconsin feminism. Kay was one of the founders of the national NOW. David's mother was. And that's the Reverend James Wright. So we had very, very strong allies.

JO: This is excellent stuff.

KN: And of course, this was just actually, the following is the complete text of the speech delivered at the MAGIC Picnic. So the Reverend was at the MAGIC Picnic. The Reverend was straight and pretty straight-laced. And they got a whole lot of guys without a lot on parading around and the Reverend is giving this speech.

JO: Can you tell me a little bit about the MAGIC Picnic?

KN: Well, you know, it really was a bar picnic. It was Rodney Sheel, who was Adonis. Rodney might have been one of the most physically beautiful men ever to grace Madison. He was stunningly beautiful. He had almost blue-black, like Elvis Presley, hair, and he was Adonis-like in body. He was just gorgeous. And his lover was an older, I think physician. And that man was willing to capitalize. Rodney's family was sort of local business, sort of working-class business. But his lover capitalized him into The Back Door, Madison's first gay-owned gay bar. We had the Pirate Ship--oh, that was a screech. Because it was a deaf bar until 6 o'clock in the evening, and then it was a gay bar. There'd be this transition time when people would be in there, it was completely silent. And it had these wild, completely out there murals of butch pirates, tearing off the [UNINTELLIGIBLE] on the walls. And there'd be these people there, and they'd be signing to each other, so it'd be really quiet. And then the guys would come flaming in there. And so for about a half an hour, it was Dali in a bar. And I mean Salvador here. So there was the Pirate Ship, and there was the Velvet [? Sand. ?] I don't remember a lot [? about the Velvet Sand. ?] But then so the Back Door was the first gay-owned gay bar. And it was on Park Street, just going south of the overpass. And you did have to go out in the back. You don't have to shield your eyes. And so this is Karla Dobinski. She's freshly minted out of law school in this picture. And she's holding up orange juice cans, because of course, we were boycotting. No orange juice got drunk. We still haven't learned to eat grapes yet after the grape boycott. And now we're boycotting oranges, and it's surprising we didn't all get beriberi and die. But.


KN: And the other thing, of course, that was in existence then was Lysistrata. The most wonderful lesbian gathering place that ever has been, anywhere. It was built by carpenter dykes, and it was communally-cooperatively funded-- which is, of course, why it went under. And one of the bartenders was the woman who sang "Future's So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades" by Timbuk 2? Yeah, she was the bartender. I mean, it was just a wonderful place. And you know, it was burned down, and I will never believe it wasn't arson. Because of course, not so very many years thereafter, then the Hotel Washington also gets burned down. I really do not ascribe to Oliver Stone's perspective on most things, but I do believe it was arson. But so here's Karla. Karla is now with Federal Department of Justice. She's the senior manager in the Civil Rights Division with Department of Justice. So she's local girl made good. And let's see what she said. So Karla talking, and Karla said, "' was not a question for Madison's own Gay Rights Ordinance to be subjected to an attempt to repeal in the near future.' When Dobinski mentioned the possibility of Anita Bryant visiting Madison early this summer, the crowd at Lysistrata erupted in hisses. She said the Concerned Citizens of Saint Paul who are attempting to have the ordinance there repealed already have $100,000 in their campaign." So it was a lot of money then. "Dobinski then produced two empty frozen orange juice cans and asked for contributions from the opposition. The money, she said, will be sent to gay rights organizations called the Tri-City Defense Fund, so named because of its efforts in fighting attempts at repeal in three cities, Eugene, Oregon, Saint Paul, and Wichita, Kansas." We raised a lot of money and sent it. The wealth that was present in the community, we sent a lot of money to different places.


KN: And David Clarenbach, who still wasn't out. I think David still wasn't out. But at Sunday's press conference, "Representative David Clarenbach, D, of Madison, urged those present to take a half an hour every week to write to a legislator or kick in an extra five bucks to keep the anti-discrimination effort going. Clarenbach said the Sexual Privacy Bill was introduced two years ago, and was now held up in committee because of parliamentary technicality, but we might get it past next session. "Alderman James Yeadon, District 8, said the city's Anti-Discrimination Ordinance in effect since May of 1975 didn't raise one word of opposition when it was first brought up, but he couldn't tell if, in the wake of present, trends there might be an effort to repeal." So that's what was going on here and then. Obviously it was not successful. I will not tell you this story. And this is a picture of Lee Sherman Dreyfus, and David Clarenbach, and Leon Rouse. And we signed the nation's first gay rights law. Statewide anti-discrimination protection. And really, really I can't overstate how much everything who is queer in the world owes to David for being a skilled politician who completely understood how to mass political capital and being completely willing to spend it on what both coasts said couldn't possibly happen here. We were, in fact, actively discouraged by the antecedent organization to HRC from attempting to pass a gay rights law here, because surely we would fail and that would set the movement back. Um, fuck 'em all.


KN: And the other thing that happened-- so now we've been sort of walking us into 1979. Again, feeling both wounded and yet successful. Because while they got us in some communities, they didn't get us everywhere. We decided to have the nation's first gay rights march on Washington. And again, the national organization tried to dissuade us from doing it, national such as they were. Oh, this is the poster from the second Gay Rights of Spring. I think I gave the Gay Student Center a copy of this, my extra. I had one. I think I gave Eric Trekell this.

JO: I'll try to contact them to photocopy that then.

KN: Yeah. You obviously can copy anything you want.


JO: Yeah. We were going to ask you if you'd be willing to let us digitize some of these for the archives.

KN: Let's see. So this is the program for what we were doing. Yeah, here, I wasn't crazy. The International Stud, that's the middle bit, by Harvey Fierstein. So that was the year we staged that. And Jim Steakley-- I hope you're talking to Emeritus Professor Steakley at length.

JO: Well, if he's not already on the list. Which we have quite a long list, but if he's not, then he is now, so.

KN: Well, Jim Steakley-- you can see them. Look at the red Bible. The first compendious Dictionary of Gay and Lesbian History was the big red book. And that came out right about now. And Jim Steakley was a major contributor to that. And Jim was the first historian to find record of homosexual men being burned alive at the stake during the various ages of the Inquisition. Jim found record in the Vatican library-- I'm sure that's not the proper term. But found the illuminated physical record of the trials of faggots. And Jim is, I believe, still considered the world authority on gay rights activism in the Weimar. From Magnus Hirschfeld and the Weimar Professor Steakley is unchallenged as the world expert in that. He developed one of those weird diseases librarians get from breathing in old, moldy-- yeah. And so he-- Jim's older than I am, so he would probably be emeritus anyway, not that professors don't go on forever. But Jim became very, very frail. And he and his partner, who I think is an emeritus professor of chemistry, they might still live on North Franklin Street, dear. And Jim is like-- I can't tell you how important Jim Steakley is.

JO: Well, if he's not already on the list, he's getting a call soon.

KN: Steakley's slide show on the beginning of the gay rights movement in Germany and his 100 new lesbian slides. Out of respect for lesbian feminists, because a lot of his friends were German, lesbian feminists, he proceeded to really, really, really find as to then absolutely unknown lesbian history in Germany in the Weimar. It still gives me shivers. And this is the program from the 1979 March on Washington.

JO: Oh, fantastic.

KN: And we were Kevin Costner before there was ever a bill that was-- Because the national organizations were really afraid we'd throw a party and nobody would show up. And again, we were in a world where our only means of communication is the telephone and writing letters and mimeographs.

JO: I can't imagine coordinating--

KN: Yes. It was bad. And so I became the Wisconsin coordinator with again, Judy Greenspan was organizing participation from Milwaukee, and Barbara Constans and I organized the buses out of Madison, and picking people up in Milwaukee. We actually started the bus in La Crosse, at the La Crosse campus, and brought it down. So there was a huge Madison of presence. And so we're on the bus, and we're singing Holly Near songs. And we're tired as hell. And the bus driver-- we have a straight, late middle-aged African American bus driver. And he gets into this, and starts telling us about the Civil Rights movement. And so he was-- you know, I made it very clear when I met with Greyhound that we would not put up with any drivers that would be anything other than supportive or silent. And so it took them a while to find drivers who would take this on. But what it was just a tremendous to be on the bus going there. And Richard Genung was on the bus, and he-- God love him-- he died so tragically [INAUDIBLE]. There were a number of lamous, a number of folks from Madison who go on later to be famous who were on that bus. But we're all really doing this just hoping that what we get there, it won't just be, you know, three buses from Wisconsin. And so as we're getting closer and closer to DC and we're seeing cars that people have spray painted pink triangles on, and people are hanging out the school buses from [UNINTELLIGIBLE], and we were just like, it's a queer world.

JO: Man, I just can't even imagine.

KN: And so we're getting there-- oh god, it really does still give me goosebumps-- and so we get there, and we're falling off these buses because we're all totally fatigued. And we fall off these buses, and everywhere you look, the person you're looking at is queer. And you know, the park service, infamous for undercounting, said there were 30,000 of us. And the generally accepted number is about 75,000 to 80,000 in 1979. And I just remember so many people coming off the bus, or coming around the corner, as we were-- because we really were making this up and good at organizing [INAUDIBLE]. And so we were taking our experience, those of us who were there for the civil rights welfare marches. And so you've got people stationed on different avenues. And so every time the march would go by, and a cadre of people who were supposed to state in from whatever street it was, would come in, they'd see the mass of us going by, and people would sob, just sob to see that there were thousands of us in the streets.


KN: We were the Wisconsin folks. Because there's Wisconsin expats everywhere. So you know, a Wisconsin expat who was in grad school at American University had gotten us housing in the church for one of the liberal Protestant denominations. And it must have a Christian-based private university, because when they were given permission for us to stay there, they just thought it was another March on Washington. And then when they found out what it was a march on Washington about the chancellor of the university ordered that we not be allowed to stay there. And the Christian ministers for the campus took turns sleeping in front of the door, so the campus security couldn't come in and evict us. And I have a very vivid memory of a young minister, a middle 30s minister, who had fallen asleep on the staircase in front of the door, so that he would be physically wedged into the door. And he had this huge stair riser divot in his face, as we're negotiating with the police. So yeah. This is one of the treasures of my life, is to have this. [INAUDIBLE] 1979.

JO: Oh, that's just fantastic.


KN: Texas sent an entire queer marching band. It was so good.

JO: I went to the University of Texas.

KN: Oh, no. OK. Well, long before you were born, your uncles got up in their high school marching band and college marching band, in uniforms, boys and girls. And the boys were all in the cheerleader outfits. And we couldn't believe how many people came from Texas to march in this marching band in 1979. So I don't see. Oh, there I am. There I am. We're likely to be the first heads to roll in the general attack on all civil liberties. This was our founding of-- "Kathleen Nichols, coordinator for the Madison Committee for Gay Rights, said efforts must be made to keep any referendum on homosexuality off the election ballot. 'You just don't vote on civil rights.'"

JO: Wish we could've learned that by now.

KN: Yeah, right. And so we have this marvelous March on Washington. And of course, this is little [UNINTELLIGIBLE] Pines, this is the daughter of Lester Pines and Roberta Gassman. Roberta's the Secretary of Workforce Development under Jim Doyle. The daughter was brand new right here then. And these are all gay men. Rich Carillo, one of the few out Latino men who were activists in those days. And Patty [? Getzke ?] and [UNINTELLIGIBLE]. She was with women's studies. So I just made some notes of who's in the forefront on this abortion right. Because again, it's in context of, we're up there with the TA strike. We're up there with the fire department strike. We're up there and leading on Take Back the Night. Leading on the abortion efforts.

JO: And how did those organizations react to such a strong gay--?

KN: Well, there was a little bit of, you know, lavender menace crap. There's a-- Nancy Dungan. And Nancy Dungan's certainly still in town. She's with the City of Madison Department of Social Services. She might be a deputy director. D-U-N-G-A-N. Linda Earle is long gone, but. So there was a little bit of lavender menace crap going on. But this is Barb Lightman. [UNINTELLIGIBLE] I just absolutely can't stand her. That's her. So there was some, oh, all feminism will be tarred with, you know, a secret cover for lesbianism. We can't allow that. But not very much. We loved this. I saved this. Dillabaugh probed again. We wanted that to be true. Dillabaugh probed yet again. Can't remember why I [INAUDIBLE]. Stop Dillabaugh now. So this is [INAUDIBLE] This is this sort of, there was a theory we had. I can't remember-- this was fairy tale 1. I showed you fairy tale 10.

JO: Oh, that's right, yeah.


KN: OK. So now in the beginning of the '80s-- and it's just before AIDS hits the Midwest doesn't have a name yet, and even in New York. There was this spate of just hideous homophobic movies. Cruising with Al Pacino and Windows with Elizabeth Montgomery and Talia Shire as her innocent victim. And so we're organizing pickets and protests of Cruising and Windows. And my long-suffering partner, Barbara Constans, says to me, "It's my birthday, and we are not going to spend my birthday on a picket line." So we don't go march. We don't go to the first night of the Windows demonstration. And the boys got rowdy. This is Mark Hellman down the ground. The boys got rowdy, really rowdy at-- what, Four Square University, Four Square the theaters that disappeared? Yeah, were you here? No.

JO: No. I'd just moved into the area.

KN: Yeah. In what is now the private dormitory, like the Lucky or something, there was a small, ugly-- even as strip malls go-- strip mall. And there was a theater, the Four Square Theater. And so this demonstration was happening at the Four Square Theater. And the boys really did get rowdy. And so David Carter, who has written the definitive book on Stonewall-- so the field trip that the kids took from the Gay Center last year that Steven [? Cayford ?] led, he took-- when you all went out to New York, and you met with David Carter, well, David is in handcuffs, somewhere in the background of this picture. And so far Barbara and I are canoodling on the couch, and the 10 o'clock news comes on. And it's saying that there have been arrests at a violent demonstration of-- and it's like, oh, my god! And so we didn't spend her birthday on the picket line. We spent her birthday bailing David and Mark Hellman and Michael Blass, Mark's lover, and there was at least one other guy bailing them out.


KN: And I really come from the Sol Lewinsky school of organizing, that if you get two people or three people or four people arrested in a political demonstration, you must get 20 people arrested. So I spent the next day calling around to Lesbian Switchboard, and the Rape Crisis Center, and battered women's shelter, and Karla Dobinski's law office, or getting women-- and guys, but mostly women-- who will agree to protest the movie at the East Towne Theater. Because we closed down Four Square, so it's only being shown at East Towne. So we're going to go to East Towne. And so we go to East Towne. And for the most part-- that's me. I've never been arrested when I wasn't wearing nylons and heels. It's always been my rule. And so we're--

JO: Gonna get a close-up of you.

KN: Well, you can take this, dear.

JO: OK. Yeah. Sure.

KN: I will hunt you down.

JO: Oh, no. You'll get it all back.

KN: But you know, so we're locked arms, and we're organizing, and we have legal observers. And we are planning on getting about 40 people arrested. But then Attorney General Jim Doyle agrees with the request of the owners of East Towne properties that we get charged not with ordinance violation trespassing, but we get charged with the a class D or E felony under the state trespassing provision. And so a number of the people who were intending to get arrested who were in law school or pre-med-- a felony conviction will prevent them. And so a whole lot of folks get up and leave, but not me. And not Abe Rybeck, and not Gwen. She still lives in Middleton. So many of these women are still here. But so we still have a relatively substantial group. So we lock arms, and we are given-- this is now under Chief Cooper. So we now have a guy who skinny dips in his pool and meditates as our police chief. You know, somebody you know socially. Dave Cooper. And so there are the police have like, oh, crap, what do we do now? This is not tear gas city anymore. And so they dutifully-- clearly I'm the chief troublemaker. And so the police detective comes up and says, "Miss, this is your last warning. If you and the others don't leave the property, we have no choice but to arrest you." And I said, "Fine, officer. I understand, and that is our plan." And so we each go with, and we have to all be carried out. And I can still recall the female police officer making sure my skirt was down over my knees. And we get put in the Black Maria and taken off to the [UNINTELLIGIBLE]. I mean, literally, we were singing Holly Near songs, and we're pounding against the sides of the van. And most of these kids were the youngest sisters in a radical family, and so they thought they'd miss out on all this. At first, this was all great fun. It's all fun until somebody gets hurt. And there's some point at which [UNINTELLIGIBLE] realizes, fuck, we're going to jail.


KN: And so we get to jail. And they had held over the day shift to book us. And they had us in the police muster room. And my partner Barbara was working for Joel Skornicka. She was working for the mayor. And so we had to fill out all these, our arrest warrants and where we work. And she writes, "for the mayor." And she gets the shit-- you know, "This is not funny! Quit fucking around!" "I'm serious. I'm a mayoral aide." You know? And our political observers, including Karla Dobinski and Gretchen-- who went on to become a judge-- and Margie, who's a managing partner at one of the white shoe firms, I'd have to look at the-- it was she who sent me this recently. She was clearing her files. They were 20 years old, so she hadn't gone through it. Margie Schuett. And so they're all law students, and so they run off and they find Mark Frankel. This is the-- Mark is not yet a judge. Mark is retired from the bench now. But Mark is not yet judge. But he's super friends with Grid Hall, who's the gay man at the head of the Equal Opportunities Commission. So they're waking up, you know-- this is the beginning of realizing, now we ran this city, you know? That we might be under arrest, but we're the mayor's aide. And so there's a muchness going on between our attorneys and political friends and the habitues of Attorney General Doyle about whether they're really going to charge us with felony trespassing. And are they really going to hold us overnight. And everybody's getting completely giddy and silly. It was like, let's throw 20 lesbians in a cell. Yeah, yeah, women in prison. One of my delightful memories of that night was a very, very nice woman who was part of booking us. And she was taking my prints. And she looked at me, she said, "You know, fingerprinting just ruins a manicure, so let me go and get you some baby oil." So she rolls my fingers to get my prints, and then goes and gets me some baby oil so that I don't smear my polish. And, you know, I apologized to her. Because she's just a working woman who's caught up in this. And I say, "I'm sorry, I'm sure you must be very tired." And she said, "Well, I really am. But I must say, it's a better class of criminals tonight." And so we get booked, and we're in holding cells. And then we're finally released in the morning on our own recognizance. And then we have to be-- well, you know, we have to go in front of the courts the next day. And now the kids-- you know, because most of them are 18 or 19 years old-- the kids are kind of scared. And so I head to court, I stopped and bought a couple dozen daffodils, bunches of daffodils to give to the kids, because we're going to go up in front of a bench to be charged.


KN: And so what I don't have, and so I'm sorry I don't, is the newspaper, the city newspaper, trying to figure out why white daffodils were a symbol of gay rights. It was a headline.

JO: Daffodils. Symbol of gay rights.

KN: But it worked. And again, it's another thing I cannot tell you. But the charges are dropped against we , who as they said-- it was a very passive demonstration. So the charges are dropped against us, and it has the effect of dropping the charges against resisting arrest. Because Mark though, gee, he looks like he's going on the bottom. Mark and David and Michael were facing felony convictions for resisting arrest. And so that all, what I wanted to do was achieved. None of us were convicted and the charges against the guys from the prior night were dropped, essentially, to community service. And so that's 1980. That's this month in 1980. And so then I'm asked by Dick Wagner-- and I think Ann [? Kurd ?] was with him. But at any rate, Dick Wagner, who was on the county board-- I think he was elected in 1980. It seems like that would be about right. And he came to Barbara and my house to ask me to run for county board. And because I was working at Urban League, been managing Urban League, and a lot of the folks I was working with at Urban League as clients, depended upon county support. Because the welfare system came from the county then. And Dick assures me that nobody in the city of Madison is interested in the county board. All the action is on the city council. So if I run for the county board, I probably won't even have an opponent. Well, I end up in a primary. A three-way primary. Hadn't had urban district primary in a generation.

JO: It's because you said something.

KN: Well, you know. So everybody thinks, well, you know. This out leftist lesbian cannot possibly get elected. Because one of the candidates, Gene Rankin, was a really nice straight white liberal guy whose family has name recognition, because his father was one of the last boxing champions before the University of Wisconsin outlawed boxing. So Gene Rankin's dad is still lamous, locally famous. And so everybody was all, Gene's clearly going to be elected. And then it turned out he hadn't paid his property taxes for some period of time. And you know, and I really don't mean to dog the guy, because I really like Gene and his wife Kitty, who's the city planner. But all of a sudden, it doesn't seem so impossible. And did Gene withdraw? I think Gene withdrew, though his name was still on the ballot.


KN: And so it's now me and Randy [? Cabich, ?] who's not the truly remarkable loon, but he's truly remarkably loony. A sort of nutball poet. And the fellow who was the president of the meatpackers' union, because this was the second district, encompassing Oscar Mayer in the days when they slaughtered cattle over there and everything. And-- oh man. I feel so bad for forgetting his name. Oh, he was such a lovely man. And he was that the president of the meatpackers' union, was the last of those intellectual socialist trade unionists who really go from college in the 1920s and early '30s into the factories. And so I get the meatpackers' endorsement. And everybody's thinking, oh my god. This might actually happen. We might an out lesbian elected to the Dane County Board. What's the Dane County Board? I'm just stammering because I can't believe-- I can see him so clearly. He was such a gentleman, always wore a suit coat. Oh, this is killing me. Last name A-U-S-T. And then Randy [? Cabich ?] dropped a mimeographed letter in all of the primary voters' mailboxes saying that I was a Communist lesbian and all kinds of red-baiting and lavender-baiting. And then we had a terrible snowfall. Just like six inches of April snow. And everybody was like, OK. Well, this is all over. And I'm pretty down. And some of my campaign workers, friends and largely straight labor organizers, they're answering the phone for me to screen the calls. And [? Laurie ?] [? Tomoroff ?] says, no, Kathy, I think you should take this one.


KN: And so I swear, it's central casting. "Hello, Kathleen Nichols. Yes, I am the candidate for the second district county board seat. What can I do for you? "Well, I just got that flyer in my mailbox." And so I'm bracing for really getting a blast of bigotry. And I said, "Yes, sir." And he said, "I want to know if you want me to go punch your opponent's nose to the back of his head." I just sort of, huh? Huh? And I said, "Well, I really-- I appreciate your sentiment more than I can say, sir. I can't really support violence against my opponent." But I'm feeling, you know, a little bucked up by this. And also, you know, it's the old Janis Joplin, "Freedom's just another word for nothing to lose." And so I said, "Well, sir? I mean this from the bottom of my heart, that I appreciate your call. But if I told you, in substance, what's in that letter is true, would that change your mind?" And he said, "Ah, for Christ's sakes. If you don't already know that, you're too dumb to be voting." That's why I never left Madison. Because some working class at Oscar Mayer's whose, you know, intellectual union boss said, she's our kind of gal. She's a different kind of gal, but she's our kind of gal. And he threatens to do violence against this straight white man who said bad things about me. True bad things.


KN: And so I was elected. And Tony Earl-- things were not connected, although I suppose they were, in a sense of the fervency of democratic activism at the time. But so Tony Earl is elected governor. And Tony makes a commitment to the constituencies that bring him into office-- women, the environmentalists, definitely, and gays and lesbians, that he's going to have a truly diverse cabinet, and he's going to have representation. And he makes the offer to Ron McCrea, who's a very out gay pressman. Has been nominated for a Pulitzer for work he wrote on the nuclear bomb at the Sacramento Bee. I think that's true. You'd have to independently confirm that one, but I think this is the right timing for that. And so Tony names Ron, who's preeminently qualified to be the press aide, but it's just a huge-- oh my god. The governor names gay man press aide. And so there's already a flap about him hiring Ron. And Tony goes ahead on his commitment to have a gay and lesbian desk. The more conservative democrats in the state legislature are having none of that. So Tony instead decides that he'll create a council, the Governor's Council on Lesbian and Gay Affairs, with a specific charge to explain the nation's first gay rights law to the state constituency, and to assist the equal rights division, state equal rights division, in promulgating and prosecuting violations of the new gay rights law. And my heroes in this are LeAnna Ware and Mary Fran [? Trion. ?] And we have very solid backing from two straight women who are-- I think LeAnna was a supervisor. Just a freshly-minted-- might have been just a supervisor for a year. I think she's retiring as the director this year. And Mary Fran was the director. So that's our portfolio, to under the governor's imprimatur meet all around the state to speak to the gay and lesbian constituency of the state, explain the law, tell them how they can take action under the law if they are experiencing discrimination. And so we become-- Dick Wagner and I are identified as the co-chairs of the governor's council. And we go through a very careful vetting process to get men and women from all around the state, lesbians and gay men from all around the state. And so we have meetings all over. And that's a whole other evening, sort of the stories of going to Rice Lake, and the mayor has to greet us, because we are there as the official delegates of the governor. And what these things meant to the communities. It was profound.


KN: And then Dick, who was really never all that comfortable being an out activist-- Dick's a good pol, but he was never a street activist. And so he declines the second year as co-chair, and Will Handy, who-- Will Handy and Chaz Pope founded the Madison AIDS Support Network. And Will had been the psychotherapist at the Men's Center, the first gay men's organization of any duration, back in the '70s. And so Will becomes my co-chair. He's a very good friend. Lives in Texas now. And so we continue our traveling circus endeavors. But AIDS is starting to kill our people on the coasts, and it's hitting here for the first time. And so we, as the governor's council, essentially change our policy work to privacy, protection for people with diagnoses, and in conjunction with another great ally, Jeff Davis, the state epidemiologist-- I think he's still-- he's due to retire soon. But Jeff Davis. We set up the first drug trials and drug cost support programs. Among the first in the nation here under the governors' endeavours. And David Clarenbach gets privacy legislation through to protect people from discrimination after diagnosis. And so that becomes-- we did lots of important things. But mostly it was the programming and legislation. That we were there, as representatives from all across the state, to put our hand into shaping AIDS policy. And then there's a big-- it might have been a Democratic Party convention that year, in 1985, in California. And we're sort of starting to hear of a nuclei of a couple of us. There's Dick and me on the Dane County Board. And there's the West Hollywood City Council. And gee golly whiz, isn't there Scondress off in Boston? And I heard tell there's a Republican way up north in Massachusetts who's a city clerk. And so we decide that we're going to meet as gay and lesbian elected officials as an adjunct activity to the Democratic Convention in Hollywood in 1985. And we found the International Network of Gay and Lesbian Elected Officials. And what makes us international-- there's 12 of us. One sixth of the 12 founders are Dane County. God. I had this darling girl-- ooh, yummy girl-- from the New York Times. I mean, this is a big deal. Huge press. The New York Times had a reporter following us around. And she asked me how many cows I had. But what made us international was Chris Smith, who was the Shadow Minister for Economics in the British parliament. I think John Major-- the Tories were in parliament. Must have been Major. And so Chris is the Shadow Minister-- do you know what that is? It's an English pol term for if your party is not in the majority, you hold the portfolio as if you were the Minister of the Exchequer, but you're not. So you're the Shadow Minister. So Chris is the Shadow Minister of Economics in the British parliament. And his standing was Islington? So one of the slightly seedier, cooler parts of London.


KN: And Chris had gotten his doctorate in Economics from-- he'll kill me. Cambridge, but I can't remember which college. And Chris is the only out member of the British parliament. He has just come out. And he gets wind that the American gay and lesbian electeds are going to be meeting at the Democratic Convention in California, so he joins us. And so we write this elegant-- I mean, Dick has a doctorate in American history, and Chris is a gifted Canterburian writer. And I'm, you know, pretty good. And so we write this elegant charter and statement of purpose, and we create this organization that still exists. Now there are hundreds of members. But we create this gay and lesbian elected officials organization for the first time in the world. And Chris tells us stories about gay rights organizing in London. And Chris and I went dancing in LA. And I had on gold, strappy pumps and I couldn't dance any longer, and so I hung them on the back of a chair, and a drag queen stole my shoes! Ah! Must have small feet. A drag queen stole my shoes. And so there's this locally elected lesbian from Wisconsin and an MP from the British parliament trying to walk home in the crepuscular light of Los Angeles. Me with no shoes. We walk back to our hotels. And jeez. I don't know where to go from here with this. I think even I'm talked out. I could tell you what happened to Chris. Chris is now the Lord Smith of Finley. He was gazetted a life lord in 2005. He's a life labor lord. So my radical bud is in the House of Lords. Chris is definitely a radical in the House of Lords. Oh god, visiting him in England was just a scream.


KN: Now to Harvey Milk. Just so I don't forget this. After first-- actually, after a couple of girlfriends. But I was involved with a guy when I was in grad school in Urban and Regional Planning. He was just a drop dead gorgeous Puerto Rican guy. And I think he came to the mainland to get a doctorate in 19th century English, specializing in Melville. Because in those days, Walter Rideout was the be-all and end-all of Hawthorne, Melville, et cetera. For me, it was like, oh my god, what a snore. But [UNINTELLIGIBLE] was seized with a sudden political catalepsis and dropped out of the English department and went into planning, where he was just the darling of the planning department. This brown-skinned genius who knew Herbert Mumford front and backwards. And we were members of the Radical Planners Network, and a call went out to all members of the Radical Planners Network, especially those who spoke Spanish, to come to San Francisco to participate in the rezoning the city of San Francisco. It was a cyclical rezoning that happens incredibly rarely. Like Brigadoon, every hundred years or something that's completely ridiculous. And it coincided with putative increases in property tax and concomitant rent in the Mission District and the Inner Sunset, because the Bay Area Rapid Transit had just been laid out. In theory, the first shovels full of dirt had been broken, but there was no BART. It was the beginning of BART. And so all the Hispanic people and working class people, I mean white working class, in the Inner Sunset neighborhoods are getting driven out, because the property values literally octupled in a matter of a few months. And so La Raza de [UNINTELLIGIBLE] asked us to come and help with the organizing and canvassing to petition for downzoning to prevent high rises, and, we hope, preserve some of the Mission housing. The classic gingerbread Victorians, but mostly the housing for the Hispanic working class. And so there we are. This is what we're doing. And Harvey was just trying on his persona as the mayor of Castro Street. And so we had occasions when the different political entities would gather together for some common cause. And it was in that situation that I met Harvey Milk. And he did not like women. And he wasn't really a very nice man. He was politically effective. But he wasn't a very nice man. On the other hand his successor his aide and successor, Harry Britt, was a lovely man. And in this picture that I is here, which is five years after the founding of the International Network of Gay and Lesbian Elected Officials, we sponsored the conference here. And that is a very young picture of Tammy, and Harry was one of our keynotes. Harry Britt, who succeeded Harvey onto the San Francisco board of supervisors, was our keynote speaker. So that was high. I knew Harvey Milk.

JO: Fantastic. Wow. We just went and went, didn't we? So I think that that's probably a good stopping point for today. I mean, you've been going for two hours now, just straight talking.

KN: My dinner with Andre, dear. That's why I wanted to feed you.

JO: Hey! It was fantastic. It was a fantastic meal. Thank you very much.

KN: Well, but point was, I mean, it was like, oh, this child just does not know what he's asking. "Tell us your story in gay rights in Madison."

JO: "You don't know the half of it."


KN: Your blood sugar will shoot up if I don't feed you. So that's just fine, Jason, really. You know, I got us to 1985. And I mean, I haven't talk about the '83 and the '87 gay rights march, and kissing Cesar Chavez, or you know, walking with Whoopi Goldberg, holding the banner-- I know I haven't old you any of that.

JO: Well, I think we need a follow up interview to learn all about that at some time.

KN: OK. Or you can stop. I mean, it's--

JO: No, no, no. I don't want to stop. We want it all. Everything you got.

KN: So do I, but so far, it's not working out. So thank you for wanting to know this, and--

JO: Oh, no problem. I'm just going to go ahead and--


KN: [INAUDIBLE] You can't take this one, because Patrick [? Firebough ?] wants the picture. Well, if you could get it back to me before April 9, you could take this picture. This is Dick Wagner, Jim [? McBrellan, ?] Earl Bricker, Ricardo Gonzalez, me, and Tammy, and this, of course, is the famous statue. This is [UNINTELLIGIBLE].

JO: I don't know what this statue is. I'm sorry if I don't know what the statue is.

KN: Well, this is the gay rights statue. George Segal, famous statue. And he created this to have to put up at the corner of Christopher and Gay in New York. But his condition was that the city of New York had to promise that if it was vandalized, it would be repaired. And if it was vandalized beyond repair, the city of New York would pay for a casting off his original, and the city of New York would not do it. But Dick, who is quite the art maven, got enough money, essentially put together a fund drive, to get enough insurance to cover it. And so it was brought here to Madison and put up in Orton Park. Do you know where Orton Park is?

JO: No. Where is it?

KN: Do you know where Willy Street is? That sort of vest pocket park with the oak knoll, two streets in from Willy toward the lake? That's Orton Park. This statue was in Orton Park. And Madison loved this statue. And so in that neighborhood, on a regular basis, you'd go through, and in the summer, the guys would be wearing Hawaiian shirts. People had slit and either resown or velcroed Hawaiian shirts. And in the winter, everybody would have on scarves and hats. And we did a calendar, we did fundraising with a calendar, messing with the statue. And this picture was one of the pictures for the calendar. And this was, I would say, the apogee- it was the greatest number of gay electeds in the city or county at the time. And there we are, goofing with the statues.

JO: Whatever happened to them?

KN: Um, well, Tammy went on to become Congresswoman--

JO: No, I was meaning the statues, but--

KN: [INAUDIBLE] get a big [INAUDIBLE]. Segal became extremely sick, I suspect. Not mentally competent. But the statue was recalled by his legal guardian, at any rate, his estate. And so it was taken back. It was in storage for some time. And I think it is now on the corner of Christopher and Gay.

JO: Oh. Well, then--

KN: We tried to get a second casting. About three years ago, Dick tried again to get a second casting to be made, to be put here permanently. And Segal is dead now, and they said no. But that's the reason that the Madison Museum of Modern Art just got two brass castings of Segal's work, that are political in nature, but not the beloved Christopher and Gay. So I mean, do you want this, too?

JO: I mean, we'll take anything that you're willing to let us digitize.

KN: Then fine. Just don't you ever lose it. Yeah. This is 1984, Madison. An alternative to reality. So I was at the end of my first term.

KN: Ah. Yes, we don't want to forget Scott McCormick. This is a picture of Scott McCormick, who was also an out gay man on the Dane County Board of Supervisors. And I think he's president of the Union Cab Collective here. In the way that Madison has these-- Alan Ruff, PhD in English, multiple publications to his credit, and he drives cabs. Yeah. This is me when I actually had a bikini body. So that's me. That's Becky Burns, who's a masters degreed sexuality therapist working with people with developmental disabilities. So she's staff at the Wiseman Center, working on sexuality issues, people with DD. And that's Chad LaFlash, who's still a very well-known activist. I think he's still in high school in this picture. Yeah, Chad's in high school in this picture. And that's Chris, and that's Deb, and that's-- oh crap, I probably know. And this is me speaking at a Take Back the Night march in 1982. And this is Richard Kilmer and now his son's older than you. A picture of Richard and his kid. I don't know why I-- I mean, these just happen to be here.

KN: This is the first year of MAFN. I thought I'd found my MLFO painting. God, I know [INAUDIBLE], oh, for god's sake. The Minnesota AIDS Project when we went up there. OK. And-- let's see. Out and About. This is the statue.


JO: There you go. Oh, it even says it for me. Perfect. Lesbian-gay calendar?

KN: Yeah. Well, that was, you know, the picture was in it. Fancy pants, 1989, the Ten Percent Society Harvest Ball. And see, that's my proof. Everybody has amnesia, and so the kids who thought they founded it, it's like, no, no. [INAUDIBLE] is the Harvest Ball.

JO: You're like, have Harvest Ball. That's our name.

KN: : It's 1976, darling. Yeah. And I got this away from Kissing Girls. That must have been about the fourth Lesbian Variety Show. I got this away from Kissing Girls. Well, it would have been the third Lesbian Variety Show. [UNINTELLIGIBLE] what we were doing. Yeah, see, this is our stationary for Gay and Lesbian Elected Officials [INAUDIBLE]. Somewhere here I still have the original bus contract for the 1979 march. I just happen to have it.

JO: You have an election budget?

KN: No. This was for sponsoring the concert at Gay and Lesbian Elected Officials. Oh, yeah, here we are. These are the electeds, what do we need to do? Needs assessment on what we need to do.

KN: Karen Clark is Minnesota. She's now Senator Clark. John Weir of California. David-- god, just a nutball mathematician who was on the Boston City Council at the time. Brian Coyle. Oh, Bob Gentry. He is a lovely man. He was the mayor of Laguna Beach, California. I can't even remember Keith [UNINTELLIGIBLE]. I'm embarrased to admit. Brian I knew, but he was too stockbrokerish for me. But Karen Clark-- this picture, that's me and Karen Clark when she was Minnesota State Representative Karen Clark. And Tammy. I think that must be 1986. And the three of us had been doing congressional lobbying. And Joan E. Biren, who's probably the most famous lesbian herstory photographer her book Lesbians Out Front. I have it somewhere. Anyway, this picture is in that book. And so JEB-- it's her initials, and she's called JEB-- JEB has been following us around, you know, these three lesbian elected officials, all from the Midwest. And we're out there doing all this congressional lobbying. And that's, I think we're cutting out the Longfellow [UNINTELLIGIBLE] there. Are you taller than me, dear?

JO: Only minorly. I'm like 5'5''.

KN: Yeah. But your ankles are younger. Yeah. So you know. So there we are. We just come out from-- I wish I could remember who we were meeting with. But anyway, so we're coming around from the house building, having just been meeting with various delegations.

JO: What fantastic hair.

KN: I'm a girl. And oh, good. I was one of the few white officeholders to endure Jackson in '88. And so this is a picture of me with Jesse Jackson. People look at that and go, is that a cutout? No, that's really Jesse. So I don't know. I just literally--

JO: Hordes and hordes of fantastic stuff.

KN: This was the party we through recently to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the nation's first gay rights law. That was a very, very, very touching evening. God, [INAUDIBLE]. Now we comb the [UNINTELLIGIBLE] news about it. What do we got here? Aha, here's "The Wisconsin Student Association, WSA, Funds the Gay Center." Here is the article you were looking for. Here you go, dear. Here's the creation of the original Gay Center.

JO: Well, there you go.

KN: Dillabaugh. Oh yes. Dillabaugh wanted his gun returned to him.

JO: Yeah, the government's going to have it.

KN: Punishment was his specialty. Dillabaugh. And clearly I was doing a lot of Dillabaugh coverage.

JO: I know. There's quite a few of those.

KN: Yeah. Aha! See? Here's the Post coverage of the Gay Rights March. The Washington Post article from my '79 March. "Limited coverage of the October 14 March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay rights is a disservice to the thousands of gay readers of the Post." "As a minister working with Dignity, an organization for lesbian and gay Catholics, I attended the National March. I went and marched with other people as a larger number of the group that attended the papal mass." It was not a harmless picnic for sexual minorities on a Sunday afternoon. It was a Xaverian brother who wrote the article. Hmm, closeted under that skirt, not so much. I mean, I haven't seen some of this since before you were born. And I'm not kidding.

JO: I won't mention when I was born.

KN: Yeah, see? Here again. Here is the picture of Jim. And he always is in Atlanta. And this is Jim at the [INAUDIBLE].

JO: Dillabaugh.


KN: That's the better part of my life that period. Yeah, this is the politics behind it that-- you know, this is the other-- "a resolution that would prohibit the University from discriminating against faculty, staff, and students because of sexual orientation was referred to the University committee by the faculty senate." So I would assume that this, again, because it is so university-specific, would be not of great interest. "A gay-based school system." Primed visit.

JO: Dillabaugh.

KN: These are all different articles, too. Activists take on [INAUDIBLE]. Midge Miller. Midge Miller is Senator Mark Miller's mother, current Senator Mark. Midge Miller and Kay Clarenbach and Marion [? Lamont, ?] they were the founding feminists in Madison, I would say. They raised their chilluns right. Are you first generation gay?

JO: Uh, yes. Well-- I mean, there's some rumors about my grandfather, but. Apparently the secret story says that-- I've only heard this story once from my mother, but that they found some letters between him and a [INAUDIBLE]. But so he must've just been bi, because oh, he loved my grandmother dearly.

KN: Probably did.

JO: I went, yes. But he'd like that other man quite a bit. And then I have a gay cousin, too. And then a lesbian cousin who just came out a year ago.

KN: That's my friend, Will Handy, who I was talking about. That's me and him. Jeez, I don't know. Can't remember which he is. Has to have been after-- I'm fat enough in the picture that my kid must still be a toddler in this picture. So it must have been like 1993 then. So this is the man who's the founder of the Madison AIDS Network. And this is a picture of the night we almost drowned. We were camping. And this was my girlfriend in 1984, I think [UNINTELLIGIBLE]. List of registrants, so this is everybody who's here.

JO: Holy cow.

KN: Bob [? Ebersole, ?] he was a Republican. Just the nicest guy. And I was so broke when were in there, and Bob found-- he was actually going to get me reimbursed from the town of Lexington for being at this political activity. And so he said, oh, for chrissakes, I got another bed in the hotel room, just sleep in the other bed. And so he was in the shower, and the phone rang, and it rang again, and then it rang a third time. So I just answered the phone, "Hello, Bob [? Ebersole's ?] room." And Bob came running out of the bathroom, going, "Oh, god, no. You don't know how long it's taken me to convince them I'm really gay and really Republican! Oh, no, Kathleen, no." Oh, he's just a dear. Carol Migdon is a big swinging dick in the National Democratic Party. Oh, man, Migdon's hardball. She is really important nationally. Steve Schulte [INAUDIBLE]. Steve Schulte-- the way that they become mayor, the highest vote-getters in the plurality of candidates for the West Hollywood City Council becomes the mayor of West Hollywood. And Steve was actually from Davenport, Iowa, and he had been a centerfold in Drummer. This was one square-shouldered stud. And so when he was running just for City Council in West Hollywood, somebody found the pictures of him from ten years previous, when he's hanging the package in Drummer. And that gets distributed over the West Hollywood. He got more votes than any person had ever gotten in all of West Hollywood history. So he ends up being the mayor.

JO: I'm sure at the time he was like, oh, no.

KN: Oh, yes. Well, it's the same with me. What if I told you it was true?


KN: And Don Lamb is somebody you must speak to. Don is still on the OutReach board. Wasn't before. But I'd say Don is a very handsomely preserved 68. Really good-looking guy. So he's got his own '60s history. Real '60s history. Tim Cole, [INAUDIBLE]. John [? Heilman. ?] Yeah, he was this skinny, little nervous guy. He was just like, oh, I'm gonna to feed you cheese if you don't calm down, you damn Californian. That's [UNINTELLIGIBLE] Tammy and Sue [? Hynek. ?] Sue never could stand all of this politics. Sue just couldn't stand it. She's a physician, but god, she just hated political life. You have to talk to Ricardo Gonzalez. Because he was the first gay Hispanic elected-- Jesus, I don't know. Maybe nationally. But he's Cuban. He's been so involved in the [UNINTELLIGIBLE] and all of the Madison-Cuba connection that was so intense from the '70s and '80s. But I'm pretty sure-- Carolyn Henderson, I think, is still alive. Alan [? Spirus has ?] retired. He was the senator. He retired a few years ago. He must be like 10 or 12 years older than me. Who else is interesting on this list? I really haven't looked at this. I can't tell you how long. Jon Laird was totally into adorable Asian guys. He was from out east and had to go to California because pickings were slim in Connecticut. But yeah. He had a series of the most cute Asian guys. He was always showing up with the next cute Asian guy. Johnny has died. He was quite out. Sherwood Hills is just right over there. That's where the professors from the university-- oh my god, and I didn't even tell you about Harvey Goldberg. Oh please remember to remind me to tell you all about Harvey Goldberg.

JO: Oh, it's getting a star now.


KN: Oh my god, Harvey Goldberg. How could I forget the days of Harvey Goldberg? Jeri-Lynn Phillips was the first woman, the first person, to challenge the state of Wisconsin's domestic partner benefits under insurance. Here's Jimmy Carlin. He's in the picture. Svend Robinson is one of the leftist members of the Canadian parliament. He actually represented British Columbia, I believe. He's from Minnesota, but he went and moved to Canada and was very active in Canadian leftist politics. Ron Sable did not succeed in being elected to the Chicago city council. I went down and campaigned for him and gave lots of speeches in Chicago for him. The major AIDS clinic in Chicago is named for Ron, Dr. Ron. Christ Almighty. City of [UNINTELLIGIBLE]. Archdiocese of Milwaukee. That's the [? Erie Dam. ?] Founding skit-- oh my god, we did a terrible founding skit. Oh my god, we did a terrible founding skit. Here's the hotel. Don't tell everybody about the wonderful hotel [UNINTELLIGIBLE] Washington. Most of them must have been the contest packet at one time. OK then. Glad you [UNINTELLIGIBLE].

JO: Fantastic. I'm going to try to get Troy to get somebody to do this stuff as soon as possible to get it back to you. Especially this stuff.

KN: And you know, I don't think you'll lose the buttons. But you know, believe me, I'm never going to find--

JO: I know. That button is so cool.

KN: Yeah!

JO: I'm like, I wish I had a button like that.

KN: Yeah, honey. it's precious beyond belief. And I've never seen another one of its kind.

JO: I know. It's a fantastic button.

KN: I traded it with somebody who was at the-- I traded to get it at the 1970-- This is also pretty important, so. Because this is the-- that's now one-of-a-kind. Although I do think, I gave one to Eric. Because I had two.

JO: I mean, you very well might have been. They might already have it scanned.

KN: But your point, that I just have this crap just because I have this crap, because it existed. And the instant media of today does not, you know, give itself to ending up under a 57 year old's bed someday, you know?

JO: Like, oh! I happened to find-- yeah.

KN: And I don't know why I still have it.

JO: My god. I mean, I'd strip your walls bear for a couple days.

KN: You'd find just [UNINTELLIGIBLE].

JO: No.

KN: Yeah. No, I gathered you're responsible. Ooh, lady, lady, you're freaking me out.

JO: No, if anything I'm going to be like, please, try. I'm going to hand this to you, but she'll kill me. She'll kill me. Whoa.

KN: So OK. Yeah, I'll put this. Yeah, so--

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