"In 1979, a gay rights activist, communist and Angeleno named Harry Hay — a founder of a neo-pagan countercultural movement called the Radical Faeries — urged gay men to ‘‘throw off the ugly green frog skin of hetero-imitation.’’ Instead of fighting for the rights that straights had, like marriage and adoption, the faeries believed that to be gay was to possess a unique nature and a special destiny apart from straight people, and that this destiny would reach its full flowering in the wilds of rural America. " -- Out Of The Woods, After decades of semi-secrecy, a commune for L.G.B.T.Q. nonconformists has slowly begun to join the mainstream, by Alex Halberstadt for New York Times Magazine
"At Pyramid, die-hard leather clones inhaled amyl nitrate with nuclear goths and industrial transvestites."
Larry Kramer’s The American People: Volume 1: Search for My Heart: A Novel (previously) is now on the shelves. [more inside]
83 year old Chicano author John Rechy (City Of Night, The Sexual Outlaw, Rushes) talks to Lambda Literary about gay assimilation, being mistaken for white, melding truth and fiction, the post-Stonewall peroid, and hating the word 'queer.'
Les Invisibles: Vintage Portraits of Love and Pride is a collection of found photographs by film-maker Sébastien Lifshitz showing (mostly anonymous) gay couples together in the early years of the 20th century. 'He found most of his collection in the US and western Europe, but none in the UK: “Maybe the British think such photographs have no value, or are too private to sell.”'. In 2012, Lifshitz released Les Invisibles, a related documentary exploring the lives of 11 gay and lesbian individuals over the age of 70. [more inside]
Deviates, Inc is a tumblr devoted to exploring the visual culture of LGBT history ranging from Gilded Age drag queens, classic Hollywood lesbians, to militant gay activism.
In 2008 the actor Rupert Everett hosted (seemingly from his apartment) a rather strange documentary: The Victorian Sex Explorer ( 2 3 4 5 ), an attempt to follow in the footsteps of famed Explorer, translator, and author Sir Richard Burton and convince us of Sir Burton's passion for sexual experimentation while laying in lots of bathhouses and visiting brothels. [more inside]
First noticed on tumblr but now available to all, Alex Clayden's paper "Same-Sex Desire in Pharaonic Egypt" which, among other things, tells you about the connection between lettuce and semen and the Ancient Egyptian for "You have a nice ass."
However long it takes for a real victory to be certified—no matter what happens on Election Day, it will be too early to unfurl a "Mission Accomplished" banner—the once ragtag march of lovers has acquired an air of inevitability. Edith Eyde's prophecy is almost fulfilled: gays are more or less regular folk. All the same, many who came out during the Stonewall era are wondering what will be lost as the community sheds its pariah status. They are baffled by the latter-day cult of marriage and the military—emblems of Eisenhower's America that the Stonewall generation joyfully rejected. The gay world is confronting a question with which Jews, African-Americans, and other marginalized groups have long been familiar: the price of assimilation.—Love on the March by Alex Ross. [more inside]
Queer Music Heritage is a sprawling website about the history of queer music. You can listen to twelve years' worth of monthly radio shows (link goes to the first year, 2000); take a look at the Queer Music History 101 overview; check out the extensive photo galleries in the female impersonators section; or read through the blog, which features interesting tidbits from gay musical history, like this overview of the Sissy Man Blues. [more inside]
In 1971, "decades before any state had seriously considered legalizing gay marriage, long before anyone had thought of creating—never mind repealing—a policy called “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,” before Reagan, before AIDS, before the American Psychiatric Association determined that homosexuality was not a mental illness, and before half the people currently living in America were even born, a man named John Singer stepped into the King County marriage license office in Seattle." Meet Faygele ben Miriam, the radical activist who pioneered the fight for same-sex marriage in Washington State, 41 years ago. Via.
The Brixton Fairies and the South London Gay Community Centre, Brixton 1974-6 "This fascinating story about Brixton’s legendary gay community of the 1970s was posted up on the urban75 bulletin boards, and thanks to the author Ian Townson, I’m now able to repost an illustrated version, giving a wonderful insight into a long lost part of Brixton life."
The Invention of the Heterosexual: In a new book, author Hanne Blank explains the surprisingly short history of the concepts of hetero- and homosexuality. [more inside]
"I finally said, you know what, I'm going to tell my story. The first American injured in the Iraq war is a gay Marine. He wanted to give his life to this country." ~Eric Alva, 40, former Marine and veteran of Operation Iraqi FreedomTell: An Intimate History of Gay Men in the Military [more inside]
The last man to have been imprisoned in a concentration camp for being homosexual under the Nazis has died, his obituary is more interesting than that sounds.
Diseased Pariah News started in 1990 as "a patently offensive publication of, by, and for people with HIV disease (and their friends and loved ones). We are a forum for infected people to share their thoughts, feelings, art, writing and brownie recipes in an atmosphere free of teddy bears, magic rocks, and seronegative guilt." It ran for 11 issues over the next 9 years, 8 of which can be found here. (NSFW, irritating interface) [more inside]
A treasure trove of gay and lesbian documentaries to watch online. Our course begins with a brief overview. (9m05s) [more inside]
1969: The Year of Gay Liberation is an online exhibit of the New York Public Library focusing on the radical gay rights movements of the late sixties and early seventies, focusing on the organizations The Mattachine Society of New York, Daughters of Bilitis, Gay News, Gay Liberation Front, Radicalesbians, Street Transvestites Action Revolutionaries and the Gay Activists Alliance, and the events of the Stonewall Riot and Christopher Street Liberation Day. This is but one part of the NYPL's fine LGBT collection, which includes, among other things, resources for teens, AIDS/HIV collections, and digital collections on ACT UP, Barbara Gittings and Kay Tobin Lahusen, Bessie Bonehill, Gertrude Stein, Gran Fury, Julian Eltinge, Richard Wandel and Walt Whitman.
Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon were the first to wed in California -- again. Martin and Lyon are best known for founding the Daughters of Bilitis, the first lesbian rights organization in the U.S. Congratulations, Del and Phyllis!
People with a History is "an online guide to lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans history." Ranging from the first stirrings of civilization to the modern day, People with a History gathers together original sources and academic articles dealing with queerness throughout history. To give you a feel for the wealth of material on the site, here are a few pages that caught my interest: The Vikings and Homosexuality, Coptic Spell: Spell for a Man to Obtain a Male Lover, an acount of a gay marriage ceremony described by Michel de Montaigne, But Among Our Own Selves (an 18th Century gay ballad), a chapter from The Life of St. Theodore of Sykeon, a 7th Century Byzantine monk and bishop, which mentions adelphopoiesis, or the rite of brothermaking, Wu Tsao, 19th Century Chinese lesbian poet, and finally Polari: The Lost Language of Gay Men.
In 1955, at least twelve men in Boise, Idaho were arrested for "infamous crimes against nature.". In the resulting dragnet, the vice president of the Idaho First National Bank was sentenced to seven years in prison, while national magazines fomented a McCarthyite Lavender Scare with headlines such as Male Pervert Ring Seduces 1,000 Boys. This dark chapter in Idaho gay history was documented in both John Gerassi's 1966 book, The Boys of Boise and the recent film, The Fall of '55, by documentarian Seth Randal, but neither Gerassi nor Randal could identify The Queen, a closeted but politically connected homosexual who allegedly used his massive clout to stop the witch hunt.
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]
The Kameny Papers Project preserved and presents the papers of gay rights pioneer Franklin Kameny, who had activists picketing the White House in 1965, well before Stonewall. The website includes a nice archive of his papers, including correspondence, a small photo gallery, and some charming hate mail from members of Congress. See also the Franklin Kameny pages at the Rainbow History Project. Yesterday, the Library of Congress accepted Kameny's papers. [via Andrew Sullivan]
The Great Queers of History - I am sometimes asked, ‘But does it really matter that some historical figure, for example Tchaikovsky, was gay? ... But I like to pose some questions of my own in response: ‘If it doesn't really matter, why has society taken such great pains to conceal Tchaikovsky’s sexuality, maybe even murder him for it? from Lists of famous homosexuals ( ... and a prior related post by anastasiav, Homosexuality in 18th Century England)
The Uses of Canaries--and what canaries need to do --...Why go to all that trouble when we have reduced the homosexual, himself, to nothing more than a body part? Remove the homo -- he's just a diseased body part, after all -- and the problem is solved. Of course there will always be those so pathologically sex-panicked that they have to rely on their Think Pieces to get their pornography fix. Not worth worrying about, generally. But when United States Senators start in with the Depravity Fillip, and the DF starts showing up in the campaign literature of various groups... well, you want to keep your eye on that sort of thing. You maybe want to start thinking about that famous canary in the mine-shaft. ...
Homosexuality in 18th Century England :: an amazing compilation of primary source material from newspaper reports and other sources.
If you're in New York City or LA between now and June 27th, the Museum of Television and Radio is presenting "Not That There's Anything Wrong With That --The History of Gay and Lesbian Images on Television" (via the Queer as Folk section of Showtime's site) (Anyone else remember Robert Reed playing a transsexual on Medical Center?)
Fifty years ago this month, then-19-year-old George Mansour was arrested for having sex with a sailor at a private party -- his name was published in the paper and his acceptance to Boston University was revoked. This fascinating slice of recent history (don't miss the hilarious interview) coincides interestingly with current privacy-related news at home and abroad. [via uffish]