"Last week the Empire State Pride Agenda, one of the nation's largest LGBT advocacy groups, announced its closure. This came on the same day that staff members of Freedom to Marry finished packing up their cubicles, and a few weeks after cutbacks had been announced by other gay equality groups. For decades the LGBT movement has advocated for legal equality. The new LGBT movement should recognize that equality is necessary, but it is not enough." [more inside]
Most people are familiar with the handkerchief code, which uses different colors of bandannas[NSFW: sexual language] to signal coded messages between queer people. Mostly the province of gay men in the 1970s, today femmes of all gender identities are bringing flagging back in a new movement known as "femme flagging", a way to use style to fight heteronormativity and invisibility in the queer community. While most femmes "finger flag" with nail polish, Queer Fat Femme offers a few more suggestions as well as some conversation starters in the event you see someone else femme flagging.
How do Mennonites handle gay people in their congregation? Depends on the church. This is the story of the Allegheny Mennonite Conference, as they debated what to do about Hyattsville Mennonite Church--let them back into the conference, remove them from it, or dissolve the conference altogether. Hyattsville had been previously disciplined for accepting gay and lesbian members, which they have been doing for decades. [more inside]
"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."
The Lesbrary - "The humble quest to read everything lesbian: a lesbian book blog." Also see sidebar for links to other lesbian book blogs, websites, and online resources. [more inside]
Oklahoma. This was a place where Kathryn's workplace had a cussing jar, a quarter per swear, and the words written on it, “Let Go and Let God.” Here, Christianity was the religion — Tracy and Kathryn were believers — and Oklahoma football was the religion — Tracy and Kathryn were believers — and people could be decent and kind and judgmental, sometimes all at once, which was why, when Tracy told some Rotary Club friends that she and Kathryn were getting married, she kept her eyes planted above their heads so she wouldn't have to look at their faces.
Snapshots of LGBT life in Midcentury America Coursey of the ONE national gay and lesbian archives at the University of southern California libraries.
With only 4 more episodes before the end of the first season, now is the perfect time to catch up on the web series Carmilla, a modern take on the 1872 Gothic novella that launched a thousand lesbian vampire ships. [more inside]
"What a bizarre day. I'm sitting here watching my email fill up with message after message from people from so many different times and places of my life, all congratulating me for the astonishing good fortune of receiving a MacArthur Fellowship. Not to mention a flurry of texts and tweets, and I haven't had the energy to even look at Facebook." Cartoonist and Graphic Memoirist Alison Bechdel (previously on MetaFilter: 1, 2, 3, 4) has won the prestigious MacArthur Genuis grant, giving her the opportunity to dig into her archives for a previous comic she drew in 2004 to conclude her reaction blog post. [more inside]
30 Bisexual Women Discuss Their Long-Term Relationships With Men. Even though more people self-identify as bisexual than gay and lesbian, there is a widespread belief that those who identify as bi are either in a transitional stage or are lying to themselves or others.
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]
Equaldex: the collaborative LGBT knowledgebase! A crowd-sourced, verified, beautifully presented representation of equal rights (and how they are specifically denied) for LGBT folks. [via reddit]
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.
Rory and Paris: The Real Gilmore Girls
I am going to make you want something that you may or may not have already known that you wanted. I am going to make you realize that the real love story at the heart of Gilmore Girls took place between two tightly-wound, highly-strung, overachieving rivals-turned-roommates who wore matching ties and skirts and engaged in sexually charged fencing sessions. The mutual respect, admiration, and trust that sprang up between Rory Gilmore and Paris Gellar was hard-fought and slowly earned; theirs was a friendship forged and refined slowly over the years. They grew into the shape of one another. Put aside your dreams of Jess, that human sneeze; let Logan sail away on his yacht of indifference into the sunset: Rory/Paris are endgame.Femslash Friday is a series on The Toast ... [more inside]
In the Shadows. The healthcare and human rights challenges of the LGBT populations of Malawi -- where homosexuality is outlawed. Via
Before Jason Collins, there was her. "Owning The Middle: Brittney Griner wears bow ties, dates women and dunks with abandon. Call her names if you like -- she is done hiding from haters."
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
Odawa Indian tribe hosts Michigan's first legal same-sex marriage (and the third among all US Native nations). It was a historic day. Not just for them and not just for the tribe that [Tim] LaCroix belongs to, but for Michigan too. News story from UpNorthLive.
In Malaysia's continuing efforts to persecute and combat the "deviant wave" of homosexuality, after banning a LGBT rights event claiming a threat to "public order" and training parents and educators to spot "LGBT behaviors" in school children for possible entry into a gay rehabilitation centre, they are now producing and presenting Asmara Songsang, a musical where LGBT people live lives fuelled by sex, drugs, and rock and roll...only to be struck by lightning and go straight or die. [more inside]
Yesterday, the Nielsen Company released a report showing that same-sex partnered households in America shop about 16% more than the average US household. Broken down into categories, Nielsen observes that gay couples drink a ton, while lesbian couples eat an awful lot of cottage cheese.
"The experience of same-sex attraction is a complex reality for many people. The attraction itself is not a sin, but acting on it is. Even though individuals do not choose to have such attractions, they do choose how to respond to them. With love and understanding, the Church reaches out to all God’s children, including our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters."The Mormon Church has launched a new initiative that encourages compassion towards the LGBT community.
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]
Today, the Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit ruled that "we conclude that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act violates equal protection and is therefore unconstitutional" [PDF of decision]. Plaintiff Edie Windsor has also petitioned the US Supreme Court to hear her case. [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]
The Advocate has compiled a list of all of the openly LGBT athletes who will be competing in the 2012 Olympics. Considering that 10,500 competitors will be traveling to London this summer, it's a very short list. (Warning: gratuitous pagination)
During the Global LGBT Workplace Summit of July 5 and 6, 2012 in London, Google announced the "Legalize Love" campaign . Launched in Poland and Singapore and eventually intended for every country where the company has an office, it will focus on places with homophobic cultures, where anti-gay laws exist. [more inside]
"Portia Simpson Miller, the former and newly re-elected Prime Minister of Jamaica and representative of the People's National Party, recently took an historically significant position by openly supporting GLBT legal protection in Jamaica, a country internationally notorious for a "culture of homophobia." Miller's statements come at a time of great cultural change in both Jamaica and dancehall music. This is for her." This is a mixtape of dancehall music and some of it is NSFW.
On December 6th, 2011, International Human Rights Day, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton delivered a speech in front of the United Nations proclaiming freedom and equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons (transcript included). [more inside]
Pioneer and tireless activist for the LGBT civil rights movement, Frank Kameny was fired from his job as an astronomer for the US government in the late 1950s because he was gay. He co-organized the Mattachine Society of Washington, campaigned for equal treatment of gay employees in the Federal government, was the first openly gay candidate for Congress and worked to remove the classification of homosexuality as a mental disorder from the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. The Library of Congress holds his papers, the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History includes in its collections Kameny's picket signs carried in front of the White House in 1965, his home has been made a DC Historic Landmark, and a street near Dupont Circle was declared Frank Kameny Way in 2010. In 2009, John Berry, Director of the Office of Personnel Management, formally apologized to Kameny on behalf of the United States government. Frank Kameny died on National Coming Out Day this October 11, 2011. [more inside]
Why A Heterosexual, Married, North Carolinian Father Of Three Cares About LGBT Equality. Married father of three boys writes eloquently about the reasons why he opposes the proposed constitutional amendment banning any legal relationship recognition for same-sex couples. The amendment goes before voters in May primary election, when heavy Republican turnout is expected. Meanwhile Senator Goolsby says that it is all about "empowering voters" "so no activist judge is able to decide on his or her own what marriage is." [original]
Don't let your kids watch Chaz Bono on Dancing with the Stars, warns Dr. Keith Ablow (a forensic psychiatrist and "street therapist"), or the depiction of transgender reassignment as a heroic journey rather than tragedy may normalize it and affect their burgeoning sexual identities (a kind of observational learning effect). Transgender advocates vociferously disagree.
"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]
Gay Pride in New York in the 1970s - a collection of photos.
Earlier this week, the Republicans in the Minnesota House of Representatives asked Bradlee Dean to give the morning prayer. [more inside]
Right before the 10th anniversary of the first same-sex marriage in Canada, Saskatchewan's highest court has ruled that a proposed law allowing provincial marriage commissioners to refuse to wed same-sex couples is unconstitutional. Thecourt.ca gives its thoughts on the decision and the social context surrounding it.
Photos of US soldiers and vets engaged in non-violent protest against "DADT" in front of the White House.
"Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is an exhibit of photographs by Jeff Sheng that is currently on tour in the US. A sharp contrast to his previous work: Fearless, which highlighted young Canadian and US athletes who openly identify as gay, lesbian or transgendered, this new exhibition shows gay American servicemen who cannot, so they have been photographed in uniform with their faces hidden or outside the photo's frame to protect their anonymity. Flash Galleries: DADT 1, DADT 2. [more inside]
Cloture to force a vote on the fiscal 2011 defense authorization bill has not been achieved. DADT will stand. Chances are not better in a possibly more Republican Senate post-November, and the bill is unlikely to pass before then. Republican voters against cloture: Every single senator; Democratic voters against cloture: Blanche Lincoln and Mark Pryor.
Not all queer or LGBT people are for legalizing gay marriage. The Against Equality collective argues that legalizing marriage values one type of relationship over another (.pdf), doesn't do enough for queer people of colour, and plays into the larger class struggle. Beyond Marriage calls for "access to a flexible set of economic benefits and options regardless of sexual orientation, race, gender/gender identity, class, or citizenship status". Queer activists in Maine consider the marriage issue a "distraction from improving the lives of gay people", and Questioning Transphobia argues that "marriage by its very nature is an exclusive practice, its purpose is to ennoble some relationships and by default render other relationships to be less meaningful and less worthy of legal and social recognition". Mainstream queer women's website Autostraddle ponders all this and asks: does gay marriage make gays straight?
With a ruling scheduled today on Prop 8 — the California ballot measure that took away the right to marry from same-sex couples — Dave Fleischer has an in-depth analysis of all of the polling data on Prop 8, and his findings include some counter-intuitive numbers, like that the confusing wording actually ended up helping the No vote more than the Yes.
Choice of Broadsides is a choose-your-own-adventure game set in an alternate 19th Century world that is much like our own, where Albion and Gaul fight for naval supremacy. You can choose to be a gentleman in a standard patriarchal society, or a gentlewoman in a matriarchal one. Later on in the game you can choose your sexual orientation. Originally there were no options for a same-sex relationship, but after demands from players, it was added in. Spoilers below the cut. [more inside]
A nearly 25-year study has concluded that children raised in lesbian households were psychologically well-adjusted and had fewer behavioral problems than their peers. Results were published this month in Pediatrics: the Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics. (Abstract. Free PDF. Scribd). [more inside]
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]
Cul-de-sac is a new independent film (trailer, briefly NSFW) by London-based directors Ramin Goudarzi Nejad & Mahshad Torkan. It tells the story of Kiana Firouz, a filmmaker, actress, and lesbian activist who fled Iran after authorities learned of her attempt to make an underground documentary about the lives of Iranian gays and lesbians. According to this interview, Firouz didn't write the film, but plays herself. Earlier this month, her asylum petition was allegedly denied. The denial shouldn't have been surprising according to statistics in a report (pdf) by the UK Lesbian and Gay Immigration Group, which states that the refusal rate for lesbians and gay men is as high as 98-99%. Although the Home Office claims it takes the sexual orientation of asylum seekers into consideration, laws which permit deportation of gay and lesbian asylum seekers have recently been challenged in the supreme court.
"We know it's a little clichéd – but here's what we want to tell the census: We're here. We're queer. And we want you to ask us about it."
The 2010 United States Census will be able to count gay marriages and partnerships. George Takei and his husband tell you how. Even with the restrictions placed on that data by the Defense of Marriage Act, that's good news for the LGB part of the spectrum, but what about T? If you're transgender, despite what the Census might tell you, it's not so simple to be counted. (hat tip to nadawi) [more inside]
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