The original Star Wars had its Utah debut, May 25, 1977, at the old art nouveau Centre Theater that once existed on the corner of Broadway and State Street. Looking back at the movie it seemed to me to parallel the struggle between the Utah Gay Rebels and the LDS Empire. So humor me as I tell you a tale from a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away… .
Once upon a time — 1976 to be exact — dark clouds hovered menacingly over the province south of the Point of the Mountain known as the land of Ybeu. In the lands north of Point of the Mountain in the City of Salt, the capital city of the Empire of Zion, the Emperor and High Priest of the “Church that shall Not Be Named” was desperately trying to rid the Empire of the nonconforming Gay Rebels, the guardians of the sacred “Homosexual Ring.” He feared the all powerful magic of the “Homosexual Ring” which he could not control and that he helplessly tried to completely eradicate.
The Emperor had all manner of weapons at his disposal, but the weapons of choice were electric shock torture for the body and excommunication for the soul. The Emperor of Zion and High Priest of the “Church that shall Not Be Named” used his mindless minions known as the “Powers That Be” and his Imperial Super Troopers to impose his will in the Empire of Zion, and his will was to destroy the Gay Rebels at any price.
As the black clouds loomed over the land of Ybeu, from which would descend the Imperial Supper Troopers at any moment, many of the Gay Rebels braced themselves for the full fury of the “Church that shall Not Be Named.” Many Gay Rebels had managed to use the “Homosexual Ring” cloak of invisibility to shield themselves from forces of the Empire. However Gays, without the knowledge of power of the Ring, were scorched by the “Church that shall Not Be Named” refiner’s fire and many succumbed to the inevitable death by suicides, unable to withstand the tormentors blast.
The Emperor of the Zionistic Empire had sent his Imperial troops to destroy a network of sexually active rebel Gays in the land of Ybeu. The onslaught was known as the infamous “Purge of 76.” The purge was so successful that a Ybeu Gay maestro blew his brains out rather than be taken alive, while other Gay cadets lives were ruined and some also attempted suicide. During the Purge, Imperial troops in addition managed to infiltrate Gay Rebel cells demand that informants betraying their comrades or they would themselves be exposed to their families as Gay Rebels. The land of Ybeu was steamrolled over and subdued. It was held in the rigorous vice grip of a velvet glove that covered the iron fist of a “Powers that Be” minion, Overlord Governor Dallin of Oakes.
It was good times to be a snarky Ybeu Imperial Super Troopers for sure, with Gay rebel corralled and turned over for mass interrogations. Imperial Super Troopers had carte blanche to search outlying settlements, monitor and entrap unsuspecting rebels. The purge had the effect of driving the remaining Gay Rebels deep underground or into exile. Three surviving Gay Ybeu rebels, Steven Zakharias, Bruce Barton and Ben Williams — all of which knew friends who committed suicide or attempted to do so during purge — were some of the lucky few who were able to jettison various outposts until finding their way back to The Capital of Salt, heart of the Empire. Wounded but not defeated these Rebels laid low until it was time to strike back.
To the north, in the Capital of Salt, a young Jedi named Obie-Ken Kline, a former Ybeu resistance fighter, was organizing the Gay Rebels. He had been a Ybeu freedom fighter but had rendezvous with others active in the Resistance Movement and had barely escaped the liquidation of the Gay Rebel in the land of Ybeu. In the Capital of Salt, Jedi Ken joined up with a fearless cadre of freedom fighters and was elected commander of Gay Freedom Central.
Even off the radar of the Empire, hidden in a corner of the City of Salt — home to desperados and derelicts — Freedom Central could not hold and failed from the lack of support from Capital City’s fearful Gays. They lived in constant fear and exposure by the Empire’s snitches. Not to be defeated Obie-Ken Kline and others Jedi Knights continued to keep the resistance alive by forming the Gay Rebel Service Committee underground sending out messages of hope in the Open Door journal.
Although afraid, the siren song of the Redburn Sun Cantina lured Gays out, seeking an evening or two of excitement and gaiety. The Cantina was the notorious haunt of dangerous disco characters of various orientations and genders. It was a place you would not want to bring your mother.
While the Emperor thought he had destroyed the Gay Rebels or relegated what was left to the land of Outer Darkness, an event occurred in 1977 that struck at the core of the Empire. About this time an underground Gay Rebel in the land of Ybeu named Cloy Jenkins had to attend a required malicious flagellating lecture spewed by an Empire professor named Reed Payne-in-the-Ass. Payne, a minion of the “Powers That Be” gave one heck of a rousing tirade against pansies, queers, and sodomites, only pausing own long enough to wipe the spittle from his chin. Cloy, who just happened to be a Gay Rebel was really, I mean really, pissed off. He was steaming mad and better yet he was literate.
Cloy pondered and pondered and then prepared a pensive response to the homophobe’s diatribe. For good measure, Cloy solicited help from fellow Gay academians, Jeff Williams, Lee Williams and a closeted university lecturer named Howard Salisbury to help edit his red-hot smoking response to the incendiary anti-Gay rant.
Eventually Cloys’ counter attack to Reed Payne-In-the-Ass found its way to Jedi Obie-Ken Kline who plotted with other warriors to publish the paper. Using the all-powerful “Homosexual Ring” Obie-Ken, rabble rouser and sissy divine, approached Gay Rebels, Donald Attridge, Jay Bell, and others who worked in the Great White Phallus Tower, headquarters of the Empire. He convinced them to somehow finagled printing and mailing the Cloy pamphlet out of the Church Office Building by using their “Homosexual Ring” and the cloak of invisibility. This did, and soon copies of the anonymously circulated document soon arrived in the mailboxes of the Powers That Be within the Empire.
The Emperor was agog and furious simultaneously because the Gay Rebels who pulled off this incredible and heroic deed made it appear as though the pamphlet was a Bring ‘em Young University sanctioned publication and faster than you can say zip-a-dee-doo-dah, Cloy’s dialog was circulating among Generals and Guardians of “The Church That Shall Not Be Named.” This daring feat was a stab in the cold heart of the Empire. The Gay Rebels dared published a document challenging the very core beliefs of the Empire in regard to Gays and showed that the Empire was not invincible.
Part Two: The Empire Strikes Back.