Billy Glover

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Revision as of 16:00, 18 March 2008

Cofounder of the HIC

By C. Todd White

William Edward Glover
BillyMelvin.jpg
Born September 16, 1932
Died:
Role: Board Member

William Edward “Billy” Glover was born September 16, 1932, in Shreveport, Louisiana. He grew up in Bossier City and attended Bossier schools, the high school being four blocks from his home on Monroe Street. He played flute in the band, which traveled over the summers to Lion Club meetings. Glover graduated in 1950 and went to Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, where he says he “had more fun than learning.” He had been religious throughout high school and most of college, but by the time he left LSU he sought elsewhere for answers to complex issues such regarding race, gender, and sexuality.

Out of the Military, Into the Movement

Glover graduated in 1955 and was immediately drafted into the Army, training at Camp Chafee, Arkansas. He was transferred to Fort Riley, Kansas at the time the 10th Division was being deployed to Germany and the 1st was returning. He later went to Fort Benjamin Harrison for further training, with the understanding that he would go to Germany for his time remaining. When that didn't happen, he got upset and started “acting up,” as he put it. In 1956, he was caught in an alleged sexual encounter with another man and was promptly discharged.

Glover had seen ONE Magazine on the newsstands, so now he contacted the publishers at ONE Inc., first meeting Jim Kepner at the original office on Hill Street in Los Angeles. He decided to attend the 1959 convention of Mattachine in Denver, then spent a few weeks working with Hal Call and Don Lucas and Mattachine in San Francisco. He soon returned to Los Angeles and started volunteering at ONE, becoming the first paid employee shortly after Jim Kepner left in late 1960. His first assignment was the unglorious task of painting the library floor (bright red—the only color on hand).

Billy Glover met Melvin Cain on the day of President Kennedy’s assasination, Nov. 22, 1963, and became lovers and life-long friends. (Glover is on the right in the photo above, with Cain on the left.)

Glover worked in all areas and might be considered the office gofer, but he found the proofreading sessions tedious. He was most helpful when it came to distributing issues of ONE to the local newsstands, as Don Slater and Dorr Legg were often without a car. He was also a part of the committee that slipped the magazines into their brown paper wrappers, and it was often Glover who toted the bundeld magazines to the post office.

Division and Loyalty

When the differences between Slater and Legg came to a head in the Spring of 1965, Glover’s loyalties remained with the magazine. He joined with Don Slater, Tony Sanchez, Joseph and Jane Hansen, and Jim Schneider to incorporate the Homosexual Information Center, founded as a Calfiornia non-profit organization in 1968.

It was decided that Glover, who over the years had also worked through temporary jobs to support himself and to raise funds for HIC, should return to Louisiana. Until recently, he lived in his boyhood home, close to his old school and surounded by old friends and neighbors. He still works daily on behalf of the HIC and for the gay rights movement, distributing information on homosexuality through the Internet from his home in Bossier.

Glover is proud to have participated at meetings at all of the locations of ONE and HIC, some of which he moderated as business manager. He recalls the excitement of picketing of the Los Angeles Times and Fort MacArthur, and he was a key organizer for the Motorcade in 1966 over homosexuals and the military, appearing afterward on television shows such as Regis Philbin and Louis Lomax. He is proud to have worked shoulder-to-shoulder with such as activists as Joe and Jane Hansen, Bob Waltrip, Vern Bullough, Harry Hay and John Burnside, as well as Dorr Legg, Morgan Farley, Fred Frisbie, Susan Howe, Rodney Riggall, J. J. Belanger, Bob Haugen, Betty Perdue, Jim Kepner, Peter Blumer, Rudi Steinert, David Kennedy, and his long-term partner Melvin Cain.

As a youth, Billy Glover had no idea what work he would do as he graduated from high school, college, and the military, but he now considers himself destined to have become an advocate for homosexual rights and causes. He considers himself fortunate to have found so many wonderful places to serve and so many good people to serve with. He hopes that young people of this new century will be so fortunate.

This entry is part of the featured exhibit The Pre-Gay Era in the USA curated by C. Todd White. As it is content created by a named author, editor, or curator, it is not open to editing by the general public. But we strongly encourage you to discuss the content or propose edits on the discussion page, and the author, editor, or curator will make any changes that improve the entry or its content. Thanks.


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