Turbulence within BAPHR, 1984-1985


There's a period when BAPHR seems to question its goals. There is an editorial, for example, written in June of 1984 during the bathhouse crisis, which referred to "...two months of turbulence within and without" BAPHR. And then in February of '85, BAPHR held a forum called "Community in Crisis: What is BAPHR's Role?", and you were one of the speakers.

32. Robert Akeley. "Many voices." The BAPHRON, vol. 7, #2, March/April 1985, 302.

It seemed to be an attempt by the membership to decide if it wanted to play a political role, and if it did, in what areas did it want to play a role. Do you remember?


Yes. I think that was a meeting of the general membership of BAPHR. I don't think it was open to the public. That was a rather difficult meeting, as I recall.


"The meeting was a direct outgrowth of the perception that the membership was restive because of recent public actions taken by BAPHR leaders." That quote comes from an article in The BAPHRON about the meeting that had taken place the previous month.

33. Ibid.

The article went on, "The guidelines for safe sexual practices, a 'position paper' on the bathhouses, and recent public recommendations about HTLV antibody testing have thrust BAPHR into the public arena." What the article implies but doesn't state is that BAPHR's political stance caused some unrest within BAPHR itself. Some of the membership questioned whether taking a political stance was an appropriate role for BAPHR.


Yes. I think probably Denny McShane was one of the chief spokespersons. He probably replaced Bob Bolan as president-elect, and Denny McShane was very much in the other direction from Bob Bolan.