In September 1969 I noticed all the gay ads in the Georgia straight. I wrote each person a hand-typed letter telling of my experiences. There was certainly no need to place gay ads when there were gay clubs! Each letter took me several hours, but I felt that it was time well invested — after all my whole life had been miraculously transformed by this small bit of information.
I suppose you were expecting me now to shout Hallelujah brothers and praise the lord.
One week there were about 10 gay ads. I did not have time to write each one a 7 page letter, so I wrote one long letter and made Coronastat copies of it. I then hit upon the idea of putting in my own ad for people who would be too frightened to place their own. To my surprise I received mountains of letters in response. I rewrote my letter. I put in more ads. I got even more response. After a while I was going broke at about $1.10 a letter sent out so I discovered offset printing. Later on I discovered how to use IBM (International Business Machines) punch cards to make changing the blurb simpler. People started to help out and I started weekend parties to help new people come out and to help people new to town to get acquainted.to raise the money to print this eleventh revision of the blurb. Other people wrote me letters suggesting additions and improvements to the tenth revision. Other people helped with the keypunching (typing). Others still helped by collating and folding the sheets into booklets. I don’t think you could possibly realise how much work so many people put into producing this booklet.
Because we found not everyone could fit into the club scene we organized the special interest groups. But recently the project is taking a different turn. Originally the whole purpose of the booklet was to help un-come-out gays, but we found it was also helpful in educating straight people. We are shifting our emphasis to educating the straight world — which as a by-product helps the un-come-out gay.
Lately we have done a fair bit of radio and T.V. work — mainly just letting the straights get a good look at an honest to gosh gay so that they can see we that we have two heads. We wrote an essay for the magazine Thursday’s Child. Designed specifically for straight people. The local establishment papers are even beginning to print excerpts from our letters. We have all kinds of plans — enough to keep us busy for the next so years.
Editions one through ten of the blurb were completely free. I financed them completely out of my own pocket. I got no kick-back from any of the clubs and I had to pay admission just like anybody else. I could afford hobby of mine because I had a good summer job as a computer programmer and because I picked up a bit of extra money teaching a couple of computer science tutorials at UBC (University of British Columbia). Some people blow their money on stereos or cars; I spent mine on my project.
But when I discovered that the printing bill for the eleventh edition would be about $405.00, I found I just did not have the money. We asked for contributions from everyone who had been given a previous edition of the booklet and they came through with more than enough money. But we decided that if we were to put a par value of $1.00 on the booklet, we could make the project self-supporting. Here is how the costs of a single blurb break down:
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There are other costs involved with the project e.g. post office box rental, two phone lines, advertising and especially entertaining, but those costs cannot be broken down on a cost per blurb basis.
I do several things to economize — the most obvious example is the microscopic type used to print the blurb. But this way my printing costs are cut in quarter and my mailing costs is are reduced. Cheap Coronastat copies are used for the letter instead of crisp Xerox ones. Everything is bought in bulk this printing will be a run of 3000 copies.
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