Fans know him as Tonéx. His eccentric style and vertiginous high notes helped make him one of the most acclaimed praise singers of the past decade, and, for a time, one of the most successful. ... This past September, the television host known as Lexi broadcast an interview [Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3] with Tonéx on the Word Network, a gospel channel, in which he made his clearest public statements about his sexual orientation. He is, within the church world, the first high-profile gospel singer in history to come out of the closet. Within hours, he started to realize what he had done. His relationship with the mainstream gospel industry was effectively over.From a fascinating article in the most recent New Yorker [abstract only]. This podcast [freely accessible] with the author of the article, Kelefah Sanneh, delves into the rarely discussed "secret" in the black church that many gospel musicians have been and are gay. Sanneh touches on the stories of both James Cleveland, the creator of the modern gospel sound who died of AIDS in 1991, and one of his backup singers, Carl Bean, who became famous for the 70s disco hit "I Was Born This Way." One contemporary preacher and gospel singer that Sanneh discusses in relation to Tonéx is Donnie McClurkin, a man made infamous during the Obama campaign for railing against homosexuals in Southern Black churches. McClurkin has admitted to engaging in homosexual acts for 20 years but does not identify as gay and believes a strong Christian faith can deliver a person from the "sin" of homosexuality. He recently delivered a sermon directed at young black homosexuals in the church, specifically calling out Tonéx. [McClurkin sermon Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3]
Iris Robinson [wiki] is, at the time of writing, under acute psychiatric care in a Belfast hospital, after a BBC Northern Ireland documentary revealed that she had, at the age of 59, solicited £50,000 from two property developers to help fund a business run by her 19-year-old lover, Kirk McCambley.
In Illinois, a political ad is airing on the radio. In it, former Republican Party candidate Andy Martin says current Illinois congressman Mark Kirk is a homosexual. Another ad claims Kirk is a "de facto pedophile." Jack Roeser, an Illinois businessman, is quoted in one ad as saying there is a "solid rumor" regarding Mark's sexuality. What says Roeser about Martin? "I have nothing to do with that SOB."
The Ugandan government is considering a law that would criminalize homosexuality, advocacy for gay rights, or even failing to report homosexuals to the govenment. And death for HIV+ gays. And who is behind this? An American group with purported ties to the administration called the Family. [more inside]
When it comes to roleplaying games, there are your run-of-the-mill CRPGs and then there are Bioware CRPGs. Last week saw the release of the next Bioware CRPG, Dragon Age: Origins. The game has received the expected universal acclaim. [more inside]
The lynching of gays in Iraq is on the rise, according to ambassador Christopher Hill's testimony before the house today."Hamizi, a computer science graduate, is at the cutting edge of a new wave of violence against gay men in Iraq. Made up of hardline extremists, Hamizi's group and others like it are believed to be responsible for the deaths of more than 130 gay Iraqi men since the beginning of the year alone." WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGE, POSSIBLY NSFW
NYU recently invited a Law Professor from Singapore, Thio Li-Ann to teach "Human Rights in Asia". Thio, also a former Member of Parliament, is infamous for having strong views against homosexuality. As expected, she is not warmly welcomed by NYU students. [more inside]
New Delhi legalizes homosexuality. In a landmark ruling, the Delhi High Court has for the first time in India declared the British-era law against homosexual sex unconstitutional. Is this India's Stonewall?
An incredibly long, ten-day (so far) discussion in response to a letter to the editor in regard to "'God's law' and homosexuality" from an East Tennessee newspaper.
Shuttlecock burqas to fetish wear. Some snapshots of Pakistan's struggles with its sexual identities. [more inside]
Teh gay can be cured. So declared the most influential sexologists of the late 20th century, William Masters and Virginia Johnson, in 1979, providing much-publicized scientific backing for the "conversion" theory, and dozens of right-wing efforts to prove that homosexuality is a psychological aberration that can be fixed. Or were those case studies fabricated? In his new biography of the couple who helped spark the sexual revolution, Thomas Maier uncovers the truth and the cover-up.
Brüno: Delicious Journeys Through America for the Purpose of Making Heterosexual Males Visibly Uncomfortable in the Presence of a Gay Foreigner in a Mesh T-Shirt
Trailer for Brüno, the upcoming film by Sacha Baron Cohen, formerly known for his characters Ali G and Borat.
Colm Tóibín reviews Edward Carpenter: A Life of Liberty and Love by Sheila Rowbotham a fine essay and good introduction to the life, thought and work of "the poet, socialist, free-thinker and sexual rebel" of high Victorian England, Edward Carpenter.
Prophets and politics. "The Mormon Church works to ban gay marriage in California, even as gay people in places like Rexburg, Idaho, come out of the LDS closet."
Comics With Problems Presents the first of a two part series entitled "Dick Hafer was an asshole"
The Surge is working [tm] -- but for gay Iraqis who face a murderous new spate of violence by theocrats and militiamen, notsomuch. "More than 430 gay men have been murdered in Iraq since 2003... [but] many officials say they feel that in a country at war, there are more pressing concerns than gay rights."
Orson Scott Card on gay marriage, which he says "marks the end of democracy in America". Not everyone is too happy about that.
The plague is over, lets party. Article by Elizabeth Pisani describing the troubling consequences of a gay scene in a world where HIV is treatable and AIDS is avoidable.
Cheer Up Emo Kid! Writer Ekaterina Sedia argues that the lack of a consistent definition of homosexuality, conflation of sexual orientation and gender, conflation of heritability and inherited, conflation of correlation with causation, conflation of biology and genetics, non-random recruitment for twin studies, and other factors make the argument for a genetic basis for homosexuality and other complex human behaviors "not only misguided, [but] downright foolish."
Otto Preminger died on this day 22 years ago at 79 years old, and was buried at Woodlawn Cemetery, Bronx, NY. [more inside]
The Hillsong Church has been a controversial church in Australia for quite some time (13mb mp3 link). From questions over its political influence to claims that they were stacking the votes in Australian Idol to concerns about the way it uses its donations, Hillsong continues to inspire much debate over whether it is a force for good or whether it is corrupt. In the latest controversy to surround the church, they are now claiming that they can cure homosexuality. Hardly a first for a Christian church except that Hillsong, which has a strict doctrine that teaches homosexuality is an affliction that can be cured, is so obsessed with ensuring that there are no homosexuals under their roof that it is running the program for its own disciples... even those who aren't gay. Allegedly, they are going so far as to issue "separation contracts" to young women who simply make friends with each other and which prevents any form of physical contact between residents. [more inside]
"The authorities not only discouraged Alex from pressing charges, he, his family and French diplomats say; they raised the possibility of charging him with criminal homosexual activity, and neglected for weeks to inform him or his parents that one of his attackers had tested H.I.V. positive while in prison four years earlier."(NYTimes)
Dubai upholds its inhuman tradition of neglecting, threatening, and even criminalizing victims of rape.
Dubai upholds its inhuman tradition of neglecting, threatening, and even criminalizing victims of rape.
This is the full, 81 min (embedded small screen vid) speech given today at Columbia University by President Ahmadinejad of Iran. Columbia University President, Lee Bollinger sets the stage with some critical statements about the President of Iran.
Laud Humphreys was studying to be an Episcopal priest in the mid-1950s when he learned, shortly after his father's death, that his father, Oklahoma State Representative Ira D. Humphreys, took trips to New Orleans to have sex with other men. After being dismissed as an Episcopal priest in the 1960s, Laud Humphreys then enrolled as a sociology grad student where he completed a dissertation about men who had sex with other men in public bathrooms in St. Louis, which Humphreys researched by agreeing to serve as a "watch queen", looking out for the police. After writing down the license plate numbers of the men having sex, Humphreys traced the men's addresses and contacted them in disguise, claiming to be collecting data for a public health survey. The research, which was condemned as unethical for its use of covert methods, was published in 1970 as Tearoom Trade: Impersonal Sex in Public Places. [more inside]
Sing along. Street Evangelist Robert Breaud has a special message for you.
The Most Hated Family in America (Parts 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7) The BBC spends some time with the notorious Westboro Baptist Church of Fred Phelps, et alli. (Note: Some NSFW language and tons of crazy)
Romaine Brooks (1874-1970), American expatriate artist known for her haunting portraiture and striking palette, suffered a childhood so dark that she entitled her (unpublished) memoir "No Pleasant Memories." She went on to become an important figure in early twentieth century art and earned the Legion d'honneur in 1920 for her contributions to France in World World I. A pivotal figure in the Paris lesbian salons, Brooks was the model for characters in novels by Radclyffe Hall, Compton Mackenzie and Djuna Barnes. Although said to be "fully herself only when alone," she had a fifty year relationship with Natalie Clifford Barney. Her art has enjoyed a reappreciation in recent years and her work has been featured in exhibitions at the National Museum of Women in the Arts and the Berkeley Art Museum. Her life and work have been the subject of several books and have a startling contemporary resonance.
The "Darwinian paradox" of homosexuality presents the conundrum of how a potential genetic basis for homosexual behavior could provide a survival benefit to offpsring and extend through generations, when sexual reproduction would seem to place strong selection pressure against such a "gene". Recently developed mathematical models (PDF) from researchers Sergey Gavrilets and William Rice not only show how a "gay gene" might proliferate within a population, but also provides testable hypotheses, including predictions of "widespread bisexuality" (subscription req'd).
“Allowing parents to select their children’s sexual orientation would further a parent’s freedom to raise the sort of children they want to raise.”
Cure for teh gay? I was relaxing in front of X-Men 3 when a friend mentioned that the United States "gay sheep" experiments were wrapping up (though not uneventfully), with considerable successes. Lesbian tennis champ Martina Navaratilova has been fighting to end the tests for some time, but it appears a "gay vaccine" for pregnant mothers may be inevitable. Meanwhile, the GOP's only gay congressman retires.
Anders als die Andern ("Different From the Others") [IMDB|Wikipedia] was one of a series of films on sexual issues directed by Richard Oswald in the late 1910s and sponsored by Magnus Hirschfeld's Institute for Sexual Science. The 1919 movie (photo reconstruction), "the first major gay-themed film ever made," and "the world's first homosexual emancipation film," was made in part to protest against Paragraph 175, which was added to Germany's Reich Penal Code in 1871 and prohibited sex acts "between persons of male sex." [more inside]
Jewsfilter: Rabbinic Council of America bans smoking for all Orthodox Jews "Jewish law is fully able to incorporate new realities, recognize new and reliable scientific findings, and embrace the need to change heretofore acceptable behavior." Read the full technical legal opinion here. [pdf] Now if only the Orthodox Union would stand up for the LBGT community in same the way that it has for Darfur, stem cell research, heck, even global warming...
450 Species of homosexual animals and counting ... Fascinating Seed article concerning the existence of homosexual animals and Darwin's conception of heterosexuality.
"And on the rare occasion when nonwhite heroes were included, names like Black Panther and Black Lightning telegraphed the difference" (NYT). Nonwhite and non-traditional superheroes aren't new, but a "lesbian socialite" Batwoman is. How about "The Great Ten," a "Chinese government controlled superteam" also to be featured in the ongoing "52" Series from DC comics (an alternate superverse bereft of A-league stars like Batman and Superman)? When I was a kid, it was pretty shocking to know of at least one gay superhero (and a Canadian to boot), but I wasn't aware that there were actually so many. Of course, the irrepressible Stan Lee claims he created the first gay superhero in the persona of Pvt. Percival Pinkerton. (Previous mefi discussion of Pavitr Prabhakar, the "Indian Spiderman" here.)
Army officials are investigating allegations that as many as seven members of the 82nd Airborne Division appeared on a gay pornography web site. Authorities at Fort Bragg have begun an inquiry into whether the paratroopers' actions violated the military conduct code. Although the site in question has apparently now been removed, the issue has once again highlighted the military's unofficial policy of "Don't ask, don't tell." Does this incident show that it is now finally time to drop this discriminatory policy, thus finally allowing homesexual officers to serve their country without having to stay in the closet? Or is there a legitimate need for this policy to remain in use in the armed forces?
Judge rules same-sex marriage ban in Maryland unconstitutional. The progression towards equal rights moves ever on--NPR offers further coverage and an overview of current gay rights cases in the US. Meanwhile, in Oklahoma a reminder of why this fight must be won.
Locked in a Timeless Embrace: A third possibility. First documented gay couple (manicurists to the King) or just a case of conjoined twins? Same-sex closeness in historical Egypt.
Could Tom Cruise sue South Park for suggesting he is gay? A discussion of the legal implications of a recent South Park episode suggesting Cruise was "in the closet." (Link to the clip in question) (via)
The Supreme Court heard arguments yesterday in Rumsfeld v. FAIR, a case challenging the Solomon Amendment, a US federal law that allows the government to cut federal funding to universities that refuse to allow military recruiting on campus. FAIR is a coalition of law schools challenging this law on the basis that the US military's policy of prohibiting open homosexuals from serving violates the schools' anti-discrimination policies (see section 6-3). Summing the issue up nicely, the dean of one law school said of the US military, "If it were a private employer who discriminated on the basis of sexual orientation, race or gender, we wouldn't allow them here on campus." .rm C-SPAN coverage here.
The Catholic Church reaffirmed its opposition to gay priests yesterday when it published long-awaited guidelines. But has it really faced up to the issue? The church considers homosexuality a "serious personality disorder", and the Pope's views are well documented. But according to the guidelines, it is a "tendency" that can be overcome in as little as three years. (The Guardian's Emily Wilson brilliant compares it to smoking: "a few years off the fags and you're nice and pure again".) The guidelines only applies to future priests, not the many existing closeted priests. And what exactly has it got to do with the endemic child abuse, which the report was originally conceived to address?
There's been alot of discussion, both in the mainstream media and in a plethora of links here on MeFi, about the Christian Right's view on the issues of gay marriage and abortion. But what of The Church of Scientology? Well, as it turns out, they're not big fans. But much like Christianity, there is apparently a 'moderate' Scientology as well, and at least one ex-member argues that Scientology has no strong edicts in regards to gay marriage. An interesting insight into how a big ticket issue is considered and debated within one of the world's major cults.
“Matthew Limon, the gay man at the center of a Kansas law struck down by the state Supreme Court, was freed late Thursday night, but his ordeal may not be over.
Now there's hope. Ask your doctor about Hetracil. [Honestly, I've posted this thinking it's a parody... These days, though, one never knows.]
"Yo Butt Aint Made For That!" Unintentionally hilarious sermon given by sassy black preacher who blames lesbianism for his sons inability to get a date for the prom. Rev. Willie F. Wilson of Union Temple Baptist Church is well known for being a polarizing figure. However, it appears that rampant lesbianism has not impaired Hamani Wilson’s dating life.