"In their youthful days, they took each other as companions for life, and... this union, no less sacred to them than the tie of marriage, has subsisted, in uninterrupted harmony, for forty years, during which they have shared each other’s occupations and pleasures and works of charity while in health, and watched over each other tenderly in sickness."
At 10AM Mountain Time on Tuesday, October 21, Wyoming began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The U.S. Supreme Court had announced its decision to "let stand appeals court rulings allowing same-sex marriage in five states," including Wyoming, on October 6—16 years since gay college student Matthew Shepard was abducted, tortured, and left to die outside Laramie, WY, in a homophobic attack that galvanized LGBT activism across the country. The Matthew Shepard Foundation posted today: "Congratulations, Wyoming. Thirty-two down, 18 to go." [Previously: The 10-year anniversary of Matthew Shepard's death.]
"Pride", a critically-acclaimed new film given a limited release in the US today, tells the true story of how a small group of LGBT activists became the biggest fundraiser for the year-long British coal miner's strike of 1984-85. The miners faced a pre-meditated, organized, thuggish, dishonest, deceptive, and illegal surveillance and smear campaign by the Thatcher government, which froze all mining union funds, cancelled their unemployment, and denied food and housing welfare to their wives and children, in an attempt to starve them out. For the first time, the British government trained Britain's police into a paramilitary force, bused in at great expense and in great numbers to overwhelm the protesters, using violent, repressive, and corrupt tactics against non-violent protesters, with prolonged police detentions and the indiscriminate arrest of over 11,000 British citizens. The government was supported by the rightwing tabloid media, who used sensationalist, crude headlines to shape public opinion. LGBT activists reclaimed one such headline as the name of their most successful benefit. Although the miner's strike was broken by the Thatcher government, the miners kept their promise to support the LGBT community, by marching alongside them at the front of London's 1985's Pride parade.. Later that year at the Labour Party conference, a motion was tabled that supported adding equal rights for gays and lesbians as part of the Party's platform. This motion was opposed by Labour's executive committee, but the motion went to a vote – and passed, thanks to the votes of the National Union of Mineworkers and their allies.
Why I Stay Closeted In Asia (SLBF)
I denied it, as my father and sister begged me to.
I couldn't exaggerate to you how much my mother's face lit up, or how much I wanted, for a shameful second, for my lie to be true. I began to tell her a story, got into the groove, told it with what could be called pizzazz, or maybe just mercy. A monthlong fling with a Korean girl became a year ("I liked her; she had a cocaine problem"). Immediately she laughed with relief.
"I wouldn't know how to deal if you were, you know, that" she said.
放浪息子 Hourou Musuko (often translated as Wandering Son) is one of the better depictions of transgender life in manga and anime (and maybe in any medium). It's a slice of life drama about two young people who are trans and starting middle school in Japan. The manga is being published in English by Fantagraphics, and the anime is officially licensed in English subs on Crunchyroll. [more inside]
Since February of this year, Autostraddle ("News, Entertainment, Opinion and Girl-On-Girl Culture") has been running a very interesting series of articles about trans experience (primarily focused on trans women) called Trans*Scribe. [more inside]
The county where no one's gay. The 2010 Census of Franklin County Mississippi shows no same sex couples. (pdf). CNN videographer Brandon Ancil and human rights columnist John D. Sutter tried to determine if the census was wrong, and see if they could find gay men and women willing to speak about "what keeps them hidden." Video
Conservative Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) came out in favor of marriage equality today, in an interview on CNN and an Op-Ed in the Columbus Dispatch. This reversal comes via Portman's son, who came out as a gay man to his parents two years ago. Reaction has been mixed.
During his tenure as George W. Bush's campaign manager and later as chairman of the Republican National Committee (RNC), Ken Mehlman helped push an anti-gay agenda which eventually led to legislation that banned same-sex marriage in 21 states. He came out of the closet in 2010. Since then, he's openly supported gay marriage. Now, his newest endeavor, Project Right Side, is trying to attract conservatives to the fight for marriage equality. He discusses the non-profit's goals in a WSJ editorial: Making the Same-Sex Case. [more inside]
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]
"Look, goddamn it, I’m homosexual, and most of my friends are Jewish homosexuals, and some of my best friends are black homosexuals, and I am sick and tired of reading and hearing such goddamn demeaning, degrading bullshit about me and my friends." - Merle Miller.In 1970, two years after Stonewall, Joseph Epstein wrote a cover story for Harper’s Magazine, Homo/hetero: The struggle for sexual identity, that came to chilling conclusions: "I would wish homosexuality off the face of this earth." His incendiary language prompted author/journalist/writer Merle Miller to come out of the closet in the New York Times Magazine, with an angry and poignant plea for dignity, understanding and respect: "What It Means to Be a Homosexual." 40 years later, that essay helped inspire the launch of the "It Gets Better" campaign. Via [more inside]
Late last month, after vocally anti-gay evangelical author and blogger Jonathan Merritt's essay defending Chick-Fil-A appeared in The Atlantic, Azariah Southworth outed Merritt on his blog. An interview with Merritt about his sexual orientation. Follow-up column from Southworth: Why I outed a Christian star. [more inside]
Today, November 20, is the Transgender Day of Remembrance, a day to remember all the people who've been killed in the past year out of transphobia. As before, the vast majority are poor trans women of color. Also as before, the true numbers are almost certainly far higher than the reported numbers. Ceremonies are being held around the world; see the website for details.
Don't get me wrong, yeah I think you're alright; But that won't keep me warm in the middle of the night
Miss Gender — A Video Podcast About my Transition From One Gender to Another [via mefi projects] [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]
Going Straight: My Ex-Gay Friend Also: Living the Good Lie: Therapists Who Help People Stay in the Closet. (Both links NYT, via)
Earlier this week, the Republicans in the Minnesota House of Representatives asked Bradlee Dean to give the morning prayer. [more inside]
Fort Worth city councilman Joel Burns shares his own anti-LGBT bullying story before Fort Worth city council this past Tuesday. [via Victory Fund] This is yet another successful video of Dan Savage's It Gets Better campaign. [previously]
Lesbian Hipster Chic "I represent a small community of high fashion dykes, and I’m not talking about femmes or lipstick lesbians, to use the terms so popularized in culture today. We are often mistaken for straight fashionistas. We are the women who popularized chic undercuts, skinny jeans with patent leather wingtips, sexy flannel, fitted motorcycle jackets, Doc Martens and James Dean vibes minus the James. We are grrls, we are bois, we are young women with a taste for rock n’ roll, a penchant for sex appeal and an undying love for Alexander McQueen, may he rest in peace... It is our duty, as (NSFW) model lesbians, lesbian models, (NSFW) hipster dykes and purveyors of lesbian chic to establish ourselves as a force within the canon of high fashion... We’re fashion fagettes and we’re taking over the runways of New York, London, Milan and Paris. So let’s wrangle the model lesbians like Freja, Cat McNeil, Milou, Myf, Nimue editors like Kate Lanphear... and show fashion that as gay ladies, we not only epitomize the high fashion street style that has taken the world by storm, but we invented it." [more inside]
The Florida Family Policy Council, a conservative Christian organization, sent out an alert to its members about judge’s ruling to allow a lesbian couple to adopt a relative’s child that they had been fostering. It included an image that was purported to be of the couple. It wasn't. [more inside]
Yesterday, US President Obama signed a $680bn military policy bill, which cuts military spending, including $2bn in funding for new F-22 fighter jets. However, the bill also contained the first major piece of federal gay rights legislation, and fulfilled an Obama campaign promise: acts of violence against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people have now been added to the list of federal hate crimes.
In the heart of Greenwich Village, New York City at 1:20 a.m. on Saturday, June 28, 1969 eight New York City police raided a gay bar, the Stonewall Inn (later deemed a National Historic Landmark). "As the police raided the bar, a crowd of four hundred patrons gathered on the street outside and watched the officers arrest the bartender, the doorman, and a few drag queens [see: police arrest reports]. The crowd, which eventually grew to an estimated 2,000 strong, was fed up."* Thus began three days of rioting and the advent of the modern gay rights movement. In honor of the Stonewall Riots, many gay pride celebrations around the world are held during the month of June, including this week(end)'s NYC Pride, celebrating 40 years of Stonewall's impact on seeking to bring civil rights to all, including the LGBT community. Happy Pride! [more inside]
What with all the changes lately, sometimes I'm not sure where my right to marry whomever I want to has been ensured. Can I Marry Gay? is a handy reference with state by state information, and keeps me up to date. Worried about recent state Supreme Court decisions forcing you to join teh gay? Must I Marry Gay? is for you. [via mefi projects]
Homophobia is still alive and well in... San Francisco?! The DNA Lounge, the high-tech nightclub of former Mozilla/Netscape wunderkind Jamie Zawinski, has apparently run afoul of the local Alcohol Beverage Control board. In 2008, during a period of time when the DNA Lounge -- with SFPD and neighborhood approval -- successfully appealed an ABC decision blocking the club from offering all-ages live music, the ABC sent agents into the club during their GLBT nights, and are now trying to shut the club down for "lewdness", "discrimination", and "running a disorderly house injurious to the public welfare and morals".(NSFW!) The DNA is determined not to go quietly into this goodnight.
Mercedes Allen looks at who's in charge of deciding the fate of Gender Identity Disorder in the DSM-IV. The APA (American Psychological Association) has announced it's intention to revise the DSMV (Diagnosis and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders). The expert they've named to chair revisions on sexuality and gender is Kenneth Zucker. Zucker is the major remaining proponent of Reparative Therapy for LGBT folks. [more inside]
If it looks like a duck and it smells like a duck and it sounds like a duck it's a . . . . Holy Union?