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Collection #78

Insight Magazine Records

Date:1976 - 1983
Size:1.5 feet


INSIGHT: Magazine, the editorial record of Gabriel Lanci, Managing Editor.

Scope and Content

INSIGHT: A Quarterly of Gay Catholic Opinion was published from the Fall of 1976 to Summer of 1979 and from 1979 to Summer 1981 as INSIGHT: A quarterly of Lesbian/Gay Christian Opinion. The magazine is in the National History Archive of the LGBT Center Periodical collection and in collection 074 Dignity New York. This collection came from Gabriel Lanci in 1997, the managing editor. Gabe gave a history of the newsletter (included in the History section of this finding aid). The newsletter had articles from various leaders in the gay Catholics Association as well as the ecumenical LGBT religious movement. Well known persons wrote, submitted poems, did book reviews, etc. The history outlines several, but Malcom Boyd, Patricia Warren and others also contributed. The editorial staff moved from New York City area in 1980, also some of the financial support was withdrawn from Dignity. The magazine in 2004 is still considered a ground breaking source of LGBT religious opinions. The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Religious Archives Network has complete copies of at least tow issues on its website, LGBTRAN.ORG. The collection size is 5 inches, plus the periodical collection.

History or Bio

INSIGHT: Magazine – A Short History
by Gabriel Lanci, Boston,
March 18, 1997

In the fall of 1976, a mailing was sent out from Dignity’s New York chapter to members of the Priests’ Council of the Archdiocese of New York, explaining the need for a bill guaranteeing civil rights to gay and lesbian people in New York City. The Dignity letter was in response to a letter from New York’s Cardinal Cooke that was read from pulpits in the Archdiocese’s churches against passage of the bill. Whatever the influence was on the vote for the bill, no one knew, but the response from parish priests to Dignity’s availability for information and religious guidance in dealing with gay and lesbian Catholics was enlightening. Here were people on the line, dealing with the problem of counseling deeply troubled Catholics, and the guidelines given them by the Archdiocese were cruel and unreal. The practices were to comfort and console and avoid the issue — which in the end caused more concern. Watching the increase of new members and inquiries at Dignity’s New York chapter — a cause of the Priest’s Council letter, a group of people who worked in publishing, members of the Chapter, came up with the idea of an outreach publication to the non-gay community. The name INSIGHT: was developed form the original name of the Chapter’s newsletter, “A Quarterly of Gay Catholic Opinion” was added for definition. Later this would change also. Two years later women were telling us they were not “gay” but lesbian. Some one on the staff said, “can we say that in print?” And we did, INSIGHT: became “A Quarterly of Gay/Lesbian Christian Opinion” to the end of its days.

One of the reasons for starting a publication of gay Catholic opinion was that there was so much of it around. People like Gregory Baum, Peter Fink, John McNeill and Jeannine Gramick were writing and being published in major religious periodicals, speaking creatively on the growing needs of gay and lesbian people in the Catholic Church. There were ministries to gay and lesbian people building. In 1976 most of them were hidden away from whatever authoritarian sources would silence them. Dignity, the national Catholic movement, harbored many of the clergy and religious who sought to work in this area of ministry. Ideas were in the air, and things were being said that had to be recorded so that others in the future could benefit from them.

The writers that came to us were gay, lesbian and non-gay, concerned, militant, and outside the movement looking in. All were articulate, probing, questioning, and deeply concerned with the issue of being gay and lesbian in today’s society. During the first year of publication interest in the magazine grew beyond New York, and we soon had subscribers across the country as well as from Australia, England and Canada.

Looking back now, 1976 was like a time in the catacombs. Some of the clergy who lent their names and support to Dignity were silenced by their superiors, or they left the religious life, the better to work unhindered in their chosen ministry. Which brings the second reason to light for INSIGHT: magazine’s beginning, an even more important one as it developed, was to inform and educate those non-gay people who heard only rumor, believed the myths, and saw only stereotypes as representing gay men and lesbians.

Each issue of INSIGHT: was designed to explore a topic on as many levels as we could reach, with as many viewpoints as we could find to publish. Subsequently, each series of four issues was planned to give scope and definition to a range of concerns, so that one issue naturally led into the next.

We began first with the most obvious subject to approach the non-gay community with: COMING OUT. After recognizing ourselves we attempt to understand the prejudice of society in HOMOPHOBIA. We band together for strength and comfort and ministry: THE GAY CATHOLIC MOVEMENT, and then as a body with a voice, concerns and mission we attempt to address the Church: THE RIGHTS OF GAY PEOPLE IN THE CHURCH; GAY WOMEN IN THE CHURCH. We also sought to address each other as Christians on a journey, GAY SEXUALITY. Clergy and religious involved with us attempt to develop a ground plan for approaches to the Church and community: GAY MINISTRY IN THE CHURCH; EDUCATING THE NON-GAY COMMUNITY; and TOWARD A GAY CHRISTIAN ETHIC.

This was the first three years, from COMING OUT to A GAY CHRISTIAN ETHIC — that’s quite a journey — one we never envisioned when we started out, one that grew out of the foundations we set from the simple need to inform, educate — “to make the gay and lesbian experience understandable.”

In our third year, we realized the issues we were concerned with and covering in the magazine were not just “Catholic” issues, but issues in every Christian church. In fact we learned more about the politics of religion and maneuvering within a hierarchical organization from our non-Catholic brothers and sisters, who were eager to join us in getting the message out. From the beginning our approaches had been ecumenical, our writers from various denominational backgrounds. We learned over the years that gay Christians’ needs were the same, our goals were the same and the educational process to attain those goals can only be stronger and more certain when we join hands and hearts and minds to attain them.

To be able to gather all this new exciting idea and opinion Ed Prucha, Michael Kolakowski and I created an editorial board for INSIGHT: Joining us on that board A Brief History of Insight: Page 3 were, Virginia Ramey Mollenkott of Evangelicals Concerned; Rev’d Michael Collins of United Methodists; the Rev’s Donald Bitticks and Michael Koonsman for the Episcopal Church; Sandy Brawders, Rev’s Lawrence Gibson and Ted Yaple of Presbyterians for Gay Concerns; Howard Erickson of Lutherans Concerned; Rev’d Bill Johnson of United Church of Christ; Rev’d Paul Wood from Dignity/Brooklyn; and Karen Zeigler from the Metropolitan Community Churches.

The magazine lasted just three years more — missing some issues in the process to survive. It had to leave the Dignity organization, where because of its success it had become a political issue, and there was a desire to control its viewpoint. Surprisingly we discovered it could support itself. We always broke even, but never were in debt. The real need came in the editorial staff, important editorial staff moved away from New York City, where the magazine was produced, until only one was left — me. I had support from very devoted people who believed in the magazine. But it was impossible to carry it further without the essential input we previously had.

Our last issue was in 1991 [sic 1981], GAY, BLACK AND CHRISTIAN, it was guest edited by the late James Tinny at Howard University in Washington, DC, production supervised by me from Philadelphia, and finally printed and distributed from New York City. Many people were saddened by the closing of the magazine. They came to talk and encourage us to continue, others offered to take over the publication, but could not. A publication is a living thing, and needs constant care –not everybody is equipped to do that. And so, I as the only one left, decided to put INSIGHT: A Quarterly of Gay/Lesbian Christian Opinion “to bed.”

What would INSIGHT: be today? I can’t say. When I get to consider it now, I feel it was a need of its time, and it fulfilled what it had to. The issues it explored and raised were needed at the time. I think a good portion of them have now been more deeply developed, and are more extensively discussed. Perhaps if INSIGHT existed now, it would find a home on the internet somewhere. But then it couldn’t be passed around, or “stolen” as it was from the library at Catholic University, where the librarian ordered replacements and asked for permission to photo copy. The act of acquiring the magazine in desperation, says more about the need for it then quietly reading it privately on a screen.

Additional information from:
Rev. William R. Johnson, EdD.
January 6, 2001

The last Editorial Board of INSIGHT: A Quarterly of Lesbian/Gay Christian Opinion was comprised of the following persons:
Mr. Gabriel Lanci, 32 Baltimore St., Lynn, MA 01902
Mr. Edward J. Prucha, Washington, ME 04574
Mr. Michael Kolakowski, 3601 Connecticut Ave., NW, #317, Washington, DC 20008
Mr. Tom Liotta/Mr. Jim Mahoney, P.O. Box 303, 197 Main St., Salem, NY 12865-0303
Sr. Mary Lou Steele, 241 W. 103 St., # 2A, New York, NY 10025
Rev. William R. Johnson, 1318 West Boulevard, Cleveland, OH 44102
Rev. Michael Collins, Deceased
Mr. Patrick Moriarty, Deceased

Folder List

Box 1

1. Insight: General Correspondence
2. Insight: Editorial Correspondence #1, 1977
3. Insight: Editorial Correspondence #2, 1977
4. Insight: Editorial Correspondence #3, 1977
5. Insight: Editorial Correspondence #4, 1978
6. Insight: Editorial Correspondence #5, 1978-79
7. Insight: Meetings, Board, Staff, Editorial
8. Insight: description “New Look” 1982
9. Insight: Mailing lists
10. Insight: Mailing lists Advisors, Staff
11. Ecumenical Lesbian/Gay Christian Conference 1982
12. Photos, Gay Pride NYC 1979
13. Photos, March on Washington 1979
14. Photos, Dignity National Convention, San Diego, CA 1979
15. Photos, Dignity Regional Conference, Atlanta, GA, 1978
16. Photos, Dignity National Convention, Chicago, IL, 1977

Box 2

17. Associated Church Press Directory
18. Associated Church Press Membership
19. Address Change Card
20. Authors’ Bios
21. Bishops Support
22. Bookstore Purchases
23. Bookstore Promo
24. Bookstore List
25. Catholic Press Association
26. Christmas Cards
27. Copyright
28. Dignity: Chapter Contacts
29. Dignity: Communications Committee
30. Dignity International Convention: September 2 – 5, 1977: Insight and Dignity Promos and Photos
31. Dignity International Convention: September 2 – 5, 1977; Dignity Mid-Atlantic Conference: August 28, 1977: General Information
32. Dignity/New York and Dignity Brooklyn; Dignity/Brooklyn Board Report: December 6, 1977
33. Dignity/New York Board Minutes 1976 – 1977
34. Dignity Newsletter 1976- 1978 and Dignity Calendar June 1978
35. Dignity Space Proposal June 1978
36. Diocesan Mailings and Mailing Lists
37. Editorial Correspondence, 1976 – 1981; Undated
38. Farewell Letter to Subscribers, January 23, 1983
39. Financial Statements 1979- 1980
40. Forked Tongues Questionnaire
41. Funding: National Endowment for the Humanities
42. Gay Black Christian Issue
43. Gay Image Project
44. Gays in Professions: Newspaper Clippings, 1978
45. Gift Promos
46. Jeannine Gramick Correspondence, May 1980
47. H.R. 2998: Poster Mock-Up Urging Action on H.R. 2998
48. Incorporation Procedure
49. Insight: Ad Placement
50. Insight: Advertisers
51. Insight: Advertisers’ List
52. Insight: Advertising
53. Insight: Advertising Promos
54. Insight: Advertisement: National Catholic Reporter (NCR)
55. Insight and Dignity: Correspondence, 1977 – 1978
56. Insight: Board Presentation, May, 1977
57. Insight: Copy
58. Insight: Copyright Information
59. Insight: Costs
60. Insight: Editorial Meetings, 1976 – 1978
61. Insight: Editors’ Memos, 1976 – 1978
62. Insight: Foundation Grant Inquiries
63. Insight: Future Issues
64. Insight: Gay Mystique Issue
65. Insight: Gay People-Church Issue
66. Insight: Ideas
67. Insight: Loans to the Magazine
68. Insight: Magazine Costs
69. Insight: Press Releases
70. Insight: Proposals
71. Insight: Publicity
72. Insight: Publicity List—Names
73. Insight: Reception: October 16, 1977
74. Insight: Second Issue
75. Insight: State of the Publication, January – March, 1977
76. Insight: Women’s Issue
77. Last Ditch Efforts to Save Insight: 1980
78. Legal Matters
79. Letters to the Editor
80. Library Subscriptions
81. Listings—Directory
82. Listing Requests for Magazine
83. Lists Purchase
84. Brian McNaught Correspondence 1976 – 1977
85. National Projects
86. Newspaper Clippings, 1978, 1980, undated
87. Pamphlets on Gay Christian Ministries
88. Posters
89. P.R. Ideas
90. Press Releases
91. Printer
92. Promotions
93. Publications
94. Quantity Promo
95. Quantity Sales
96. Reception List, October 16 (undated year)
97. Report to Staff, undated
98. Review Requests
99. Saints Calendar
100. Subscription Promos
101. Subscription Renewals
102. Swap Issues
103. Three Years of Catholic Opinion: Selections from Insight: A Quarterly of Gay Catholic Opinion, 1976 – 1979: Unpublished Manuscript of Proposed Book of Articles from Insight
104. White House Meeting: Open Letter to National Gay Task Force, Undated
105. White House Meeting Participants, April 28, 1980
106. Brother William Roberts: Unpublished Article Manuscripts, 1977