10.28.16 / v.10 – i.24 It’s On The Qt!
Global LGBTQ Proliferation – Thank Obama
When it comes to our civil rights, President Obama needs to be hailed as a champion. What he has done in the United States to advance our equality is well known and applauded widely from members of our community. But did you know that Obama has been, since the beginning of his presidency, with the leadership assistance of his Secretaries of State, been advancing the global LGBTQ agenda of full equality for all our peoples regardless of where they live?
An Associated Press story written by Josh Lederman appearing in The Washington Times this week, titled OBAMA LEGACY: A quiet mission to export gay rights oversea, shows us just how proud you can be of President Obama and how important it is to continue his legacy of LGBTQ civil rights equality.
“While the world was watching America’s gay rights transformation, the Obama administration was pursuing a quieter mission to try to export the same freedoms overseas to places like sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and Eastern Europe,” Lederman wrote.
“The U.S. has deployed its diplomats and spent tens of millions of dollars to try to block anti-gay laws, punish countries that enacted them, and tie financial assistance to respect for LGBTQ rights. It was a mission animated in part by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s declaration that ‘gay rights are human rights.'”
But is hasn’t been smooth sailing along the way while some LGBTQ activists have asked the administration to not be so vocal publicly but rather proceed quietly with behind the scenes diplomacy.
But, “what we’ve seen in the last eight years has been 99 percent great and 1 percent horrible backlash,” said Jay Michaelson, an American author and LGBTQ activist who’s written extensively on the subject.
In Obama’s latest push to continue to use dollars as leverage, Susan Rice, Obama’s national security adviser and former U.N. ambassador, announced in a speech Wednesday that “the U.S. is enacting a rule prohibiting the U.S. Agency for International Development contracts from going to groups that discriminate in delivery of services. That means a clinic, food program or shelter can’t refuse services to a gay or transgender person.”
Lederman adds, “the growing focus on gay rights in diplomacy mirrored the shift in attitudes in the U.S. toward LGBTQ people, illustrated by seismic changes like gay marriage and gays serving openly in the military. As with its domestic efforts, the Obama administration faced objections from social conservatives and some religious groups at home and abroad who called it an inappropriate use of government to infringe on others’ cultural beliefs.”
The conservative right and some religious groups who oppose this advancement will always be with us, but they should not impede us. Like home in the USA, our rights as global citizens must advance to all nations. The reality is that no nation has a right to deny my unalienable rights to live as I am, where I am, and with whomever I am with.
Thank you, Mr. President for help to see this truth come to reality.
What It Looks Like From Here
Hick of a Women
Ever heard of Lorena Hickok? You should have but it’s never too late! Her friends knew her simply as “Hick,” and like Eleanor Roosevelt, for a time she was relegated more as a lover to the Frist Lady, than merely friend.
Eleanor Roosevelt and Lorena Hickok
The tough-minded beat reporter for the Associated Press, once been bitten by the love bug, the journalist with integrity resigned from the AP, realizing the obvious “conflict of interest” in trying to cover the leading stories of the day with the nation’s wife of the president of the United States, while having an affair with the lesbian.
But it didn’t take long for the assertive and resourceful “Hick,” according to Susan Quinn, biographer of many historical figures including Marie Curie, “all but moved into the White House” to be close to Mrs. Roosevelt, she writes in ELEANOR AND HICK: The Love Affair That Shaped a First Lady.
Hardly unemployed for more than a few days, Hick was assigned a place in Roosevelt’s federal government. Quinn writes: “Formally she [Hickok] worked for Harry Hopkins, the head of the New Deal relief programs-a job Eleanor arranged-and reported, brilliantly, from the field about the lives of those affected by the ravages of the Depression. But she also functioned as Eleanor’s increasingly necessary confidante, cheerleader and intimate partner.”
You see, Eleanor needed someone to serve in the capacity that Hick so readily and affectively fulfilled. From the very outset, Eleanor told reporters that she “never wanted to be a president’s wife. . .Now I shall have to work out my own salvation.”
While being a legendary devotee of progressive causes and veteran of political helpmates to her husband, first as assistant secretary of the Navy, then the governor of New York, prior to becoming president, Eleanor hardly “shrunk from public service,” but Quinn explains, “she was dismayed at the loss of privacy being a first lady would entail, and she worried that her position would keep her from the activism that gave meaning to her life.”
Pretty heady stuff, but back then there were “the secrets” of both Eleanor and her affairs with Hick and other women and FDR and “his infidelities” with other women, long before John F. Kennedy or Bill Clinton. I guess we’ll attribute it to “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” though neither the attitude nor phrase existed.
Hick, at the center of all of this, as a journalist gave up several scopes of the century, but always loyal to Eleanor, Quinn points out that Hick helped “the Good Wife” always to “find her equilibrium.”
Previous biographers could only describe the Hick-Eleanor relationship from the first lady’s remarks and documents as “circumspect and suggestive.”
Until now, Quinn has found evidence in private letters between the two women that “Eleanor was usually uncomfortable with physical intimacy” but there were a few excursions where the lovers went off for overnight car trips, not far from Washington, DC, but just far enough away to experience both privacy and intimacy.
In letters recounting the experience, Eleanor wrote to Hick that they were “together as a couple, all day and all night” and “No one is just what you are to me.” Those words in private letters are very romantic and explicitly stated.
Though the affair lasted for considerable time with Hick clearly steering the first lady in the right directions in her leadership roles in a wide variety of progressive causes that Mrs. Roosevelt is known for her legacy to this day, it eventually dissipated in 1938 as Hick was, Quinn observes, “needed less and less.”
How’s that for a bit of “herstory” to end the annual National LGBTQ Month of October? Now go buy the book for the full fascinating read!
Philadelphia native, African-American, and openly gay advocate and activist Joe Beam was lost to complications of HIV-related disease in 1988. At the age of 34, he might not be a household name among the average person, but the literary activists, and African-American communities are aware of an individual who was a man of creativity, inclusiveness, diversity, courage and dedication to African-American gay rights.
Everything Beam did was focused on his purpose and crusade “to foster greater acceptance of gay life in the black community by relating the gay experience with the struggle for civil rights in the United States.”
A man of ahead of his time addressing issues of sexual identity, ethnicity, race, gender, Beam published a seminal work, In the Life: A Black Gay Anthology. More than one queer literary historian has acknowledged that “the book still stands as a sacred movement text that has offered and continues to offer inspiration and magic for our tribes.”
Upon the 30th anniversary of its publication, the William Way Community Center is celebrating Beam and his contributions to queer culture, 6 pm, November 2, free and open to the public, with a discussion, appreciation and complimentary light food and drink, as part of the nationwide observance of this major writer and influential voice that is being coordinated by The Counternarrative Project based in Atlanta.
Such a man of dedication and passion to his beliefs and goals, Beam was working on a sequel to In the Life right up to the time of his death.
This work was completed by Dorothy Beam and the queer African-American poet Essex Hemphill and published under the title Brother to Brother in 1991. Both books were featured in a television documentary, Tongues Untied, in 1991, and premiered at the Philadelphia Gay and Lesbian Film Festival (now qFLIX Philadelphia).
“As a writer, Joe was more profound than prolific,” wrote his friend Craig Harris after his death. “His articles and essays were poetic, containing turned phrases and puns, metaphors in meters that made his writing musical with penetrating meaning. He took great pride in his skill and devoted time to multiple rewrites, crafting his work to create the style which other writers of the Black genre dubbed ‘Beamesque’.”
WWCC Executive Director Chris Bartlett said that In the Life “has always been a great influence on my life.” Of Beam, he observed that “he was a Philadelphian through-and-through and he’s one of our most powerful ancestors. Let’s celebrate him, the book he edited, and the community and culture that the book celebrates and continues to create as powerful celebration of black LGBT/SGL history and culture” on November 2.
In a sense of community, unity and cooperation, the event is being co-sponsored with WWC by The African American Museum in Philadelphia; The Colours Organization; The Counternarrative Project, Giovanni’s Room at Philly AIDS Thrift; Men of All Colors Together Philadelphia; and Philadelphia Black Pride.
Queer History on the Qt!
On May 30, 2014, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell stood outside the Stonewall Inn in New York City and announced private funding for a new theme study to identify places and events associated with the story of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer Americans and to explore how the legacy of those individualscan be recognized, preserved, and interpreted for future generations.
The National Park Service (NPS), as part of this LGBTQ Heritage Initiative, then engaged a team of scholars who have produced an unbelievably comprehensive 1200 page American LGBTQ study, which can be accessed online.
Here in Philadelphia, the NPS has entered in an exciting collaboration with the William Way LGBT Community Center (WWCC), funding a series of projects.
One project will be to re-imagine “Speaking Out for Equality,” the exhibit that the WWCC presented at the National Constitution Center last year, in new formats as both an online presentation on its own website and as a compact exhibit that could tour the country. The legal firm of Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney has volunteered their time to ensure that the WWCC will have clear copyright permissions to use all the visual materials necessary.
The second project is already underway – a series of walking tours that explore the amazing stories in Philadelphia. Earlier this month in observance of National LGBTQ History Month, Park Ranger Mike Doveton and myself as WWCC Archives Curator teamed up to lead tours that began at the Independence Visitor Center in the National Historic Park, wound through Center City and the Gayborhood and ended at the WWCC.
Doveton talked about the long historical connection between Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell and Philadelphia’s LGBT community, beginning with the first Annual Reminder Days in the 1960s, through the Gay Pride Parades that terminated there in the 1970s, to the demonstrations that that took place near Independence Hall during the bicentennial of the Constitution.
I highlighted the history of the Gayborhood, explaining what life was like in the 1960s and 1970s for sexual minorities in the city and how despite negative press, demonization by doctors and prejudicial anti-gay laws, LGBT people managed to create social lives and carve out urban spaces for themselves.
The themed tours will resume in the spring, although special presentations would be possible for groups by request before then. Requests can be made to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Inspired by this collaboration, I have also produced an online Mapping Project, that identifies more than a thousand places that reflect Philadelphia area LGBT history and culture.
The collaboration of the National Park Service with the William Way Center and with historians across the country is a huge milestone in the effort to make LGBT history, a permanent part of American history.
Bob Skiba is the Curator of Collections at the John J. Wilcox Jr. LGBT Archives at the William Way Community Center, co-authored of “Lost Philadelphia” and “Philadelphia Then and Now,” and recently served as the keynote speaker for the Philadelphia Public History Community Forum, the Philadelphia EPA Diversity Program and the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Humanities.
Who can resist a worthy cause when celebrities are wholeheartedly involved? And for child abuse which is shockingly on the rise. The latest is called “Polished Man Campaign” and initiated by the nonprofit, Y Generation Against Poverty (YGAP), an Australian-based charity founded and run by Elliott Costello, whose father is the CEO of World Vision International, a children’s aid organization. The cleverly conceived visual awareness campaign about child abuse of all kinds has male celebrities paint one of their five fingers, symbolizing that “the one in five children who experience physical or sexual abuse” in Australia based upon the most recent studies. What does it mean to be a member of “The Polished Man” team? “You don’t turn your back on the vulnerable. You raise your voice – and nail – to say, ‘not on my watch.’ You embrace the smirks and know it doesn’t matter; there are worse things than being embarrassed by a little man. Because nailing it isn’t about shouting the first round, or how much you lift. Nailing it is saying no to violence against children,” stated by YGAP’s web site. A spokesperson for the campaign said that more than $250,000 has been raised thus far and will directly “serve children who have experienced trauma” due to abuse. Funds will also be earmarked for the work done by the Australian Childhood Foundation, Hagar International, the New York Centre for Children and World Vision. There’s a long list of familiar names and faces of male celebrities from the entertainment and sports worlds joining this campaign. Watch for it on Instagram.
Aaron Schock. Whatever happened to him after literally his 15 minutes of fame were over? He was the young, good-looking, fashionable, buffed, single, former GOP representative from Illinois who was outed as gay about the same time that he was forced to resign for ethics violations, misappropriating of funds stemming from turning his office in the U.S. Congress into the exact republication of the set of Downton Abbey. Having made his “bigger splash” but a far cry from an aspiring political career, Jockpop recently reported that the still-single bachelor has fled Illinois for the stylish gay male mecca of West Hollywood. In the manner of TMZ, there have been sightings of all kinds to both dispel and, at the same time, confirm them. Yes, that was Schock “taking a class at Barry’s Bootcamp, spinning at SoulCycle or being brotastic at CrossFit” swears staffers at Jockpop. He has also been seen working out with a trainer at Equinox in West Hollywood. And he’s been spotted at gay hot spots in WeHo getting familiar with men at The Abbey.
Bad boy James Franco may be coming a “hot mess.” He’s been so popular for so long that fans forgive him for his indiscretions, annoyances, frustrations over admitting what his sexual orientation even is, and, perhaps, growing disappointments, over the film projects that he has been pursuing or have produced with or without him in a lead role. Then there’s the promises of exciting, major film projects like the promised biopic, a few years ago, of his playing queer iconic actor Sal Mineo with Franco to play the lead role. Where’s the film? Franco, forever the demonic pickie, likes to egg people on, including his fans, with his coyness at one minute and his deliberate tease in the next minute about his sexual orientation, deliberatly confusing the answer, admitting that he’s “played around with guys” or “wouldn’t rule out getting into the right man in a possible relationship” or not being labeled “bisexual” or even “sexually fluid” yet always dangling some carrot in front of our faces. “The gay/not gay/gay/maybe gay/no, not gay” has become simply a joke and we should, by now, be way over it. Yet Franco gravitates towards a steady diet of the last few years for “gay content” and/or gay characters as parts for himself and even, in a few cases, of late, serving as a producer of film projects in some capacity. All the buzz about KING COBRA may quickly fizzle out even after its world premiere at Tribeca as the poor reviews appear in The New York Times and elsewhere without even a mention of Franco. Based on Brett Corrigan’s porn career and deeply bizarre relationship with Cobra Video founder Bryan Kocis, the film received its first official US trailer last week and is now open in theaters nationwide. In response to a Twitter fan asking about the veracity of the film, Corrigan said, “No true telling about it. Not approved by me. It tells a story with contempt for queer culture & mockery for porn.”
James Duggan Thom Cardwell
John Adam Di Pietro Michael Feighan
David Schellenberg Matthew Paterno
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