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Best wishes for the next 50 years! LL L LLL BOOk PeOPle A Community Bound By Books. PEW4111i, widespread that at one time, a group was using the TO office to hold CRconsciousness raisingsessions. These were popular, feminist sex-culture par excellence. The idea was that you didn’t have to be an intellectual or a movement heavy to connect your private lifeeverything from who did the dishes to who had the orgasmsto a political critique of male chauvinism. Northcott was a member of the TO group. “It was just mainly complaining about men,” she recalls. “I was mainly furious about them not helping with housework. The group made me feel good, but I was embarrassed about our vehemence. It never occurred to me to publish anything about this in the Observer. When we wrote about men, it was about how they treated Molly and me when we went to the legislature.” Northcott remembers covering “early gay and transvestite civil liberties lawsuits out of Houston”precursors of the recent, momentous gay-marriage and sodomy cases. But that sort of coverage had stopped by the time Denison followed the editorship of Jim Hightower, during the late 1970s. “As a populist, Hightower never wanted to focus much on social issues,” remembers Denison. “And by the ’80s, people were becoming discomfited by cultural politics like gay, Chicano, and African-American rights. Maybe gay issues weren’t a priority for me because of a sense that it was a marginal issue. I think I was nervous about stuff that wasn’t part of building a strong majority politics.” The trad-populist legacy has continued. Dubose, the 1990s editor, notes a certain censorship of sex-pol writing, though “it’s unconscious rather than conscious. Which maybe is worse.” As an editor in 2001, Karen Olsson followed the white-guy-populist tendency to emphasize the statehouse. “There’s a history of expectation that certain things have to be covered,” she says. “Sex is not part of that expectation. The main thing is the legislaturewe absolutely had to focus on it.” Olsson does remember a fascinating detail about Texas’ Capitol. “There are always rumors there about how ‘This one is gay, that one is gay: It’s all about man-love at the legislature. But there’s no room for that in TO.” Too bad, because a perfect writer for the subject would have been former Aus tinite Lars Eighner. In the literary mainstream he’s acclaimed for Travels with Lizbeth, a brilliant, early-1990s chronicle of his experience of homelessness. But Eighner has another reputation: as one of the finest writers of gay male erotica in the English language. Much of it is set in Texas, and he’s posted it in the adult section of his website \(check out . Here’s a snippet, about covert public masturbation, which easily qualifies him to parse the androgen-anthropology of the Lege: Homosexuality was a serious crime. Some men scarcely disguised their distaste for homosexuality. But no one complained to the authorities. What could one say: “I was playing with my cock in the park when I was grossly offended to witness a faggot go down on a young soldier’s meat”? No. That would not do. It was a conspiracy of cock. Whatever you saw, whoever did it, whether you approved or not, what happened in the park was every virile man’s secret. Butand though Eighner \(who now 12/3/04 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 29