Thursday, May 22, 2008

Gay Wisdom: Just how different are gay men from other men?

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GAY WISDOM for Daily Living...

from White Crane a magazine exploring
Gay wisdom & culture http://www.Gaywisdo

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May 22

334 BCE - The Greek army of ALEXANDER THE GREAT defeats Darius III of Persia in the BATTLE OF THE GRANICUS. It was the first of three major battles fought between Alexander the Great and the Persian Empire. Fought in Northwestern Asia Minor, near the site of Troy, it was here where Alexander defeated the forces of the Persian satraps of Asia Minor, including a large force of Greek mercenaries. Alexander the Great (unlike Oliver Stone's cinematic "per-version" of history) was in actual fact very much a man who loved men. Alexander's lifelong companion was Hephaestion, the son of a Macedonian noble. Hephaestion also held the position of second-in-command of Alexander's forces until his death, which devastated Alexander.

1907 - English actor, director, and producer and the recipient of scores of awards, SIR LAURENCE OLIVIER was born. Although married three times, there are numerous stories about Olivier's relationships with men. One comes courtesy of actor David Niven who, during the filming of "Streetcar Named Desire" (1951), discovered Olivier with Marlon Brando in the garden of his second wife Vivien Leigh's mansion. They were swimming in the pool. Olivier was kissing Brando. "I turned my back to them and went back inside to join Vivien. I'm sure she knew what was going on, but she made no mention of it. Nor did I. One must be sophisticated about such matters in life." The other story comes from Olivier's third wife, the actress Joan Plowright who documented Olivier's 10 year long relationship with actor Danny Kaye. Although many of his biographers have attempted to refute the claim, Joan Plowright confirmed it, stating, "I have always resented the comments that it was I who was the homewrecker of Larry's marriage to Vivien Leigh. Danny Kaye was attached to Larry far earlier than I."

1930 - Gay rights pioneer, martyr and San Francisco city supervisor HARVEY MILK was born on this date. Milk (1930 – 1978) was an American politician and gay rights activist, and the first openly gay city supervisor of San Francisco, California. He was, according to Time magazine, "the first openly gay man elected to any substantial political office in the history of the planet." What is not as well-remembered was his amazing ability to bring communities and neighborhoods together for progressive ends.

1939 - Also born on this date was the actor PAUL WINFIELD (1939 – 2004). The Emmy Award-winning and Academy Award-nominated American television and film actor was known for his portrayal of a Louisiana sharecropper who struggles to support his family during the Great Depression in the landmark film "Sounder" and as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the television miniseries "King." Winfield died of a heart attack in 2004; he was 64. His partner of 30 years, architect Charles Gillan Jr., preceded him in death in 2002.

1967 - the American writer and Harlem renaissance poet LANGSTON HUGHES died on this date.

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Gay Sensibility
By Bob Barzan

Just how different are gay men from other men?

How do gay men in industrial urban societies compare with those who live in agrarian, rural, tribal or other types of societies? Is there a universal gay sensibility that goes beyond our desire to fomr affectional and sexual relationships with other men? If there is such a sensibility, what are its characteristics, and what effect does oppression and homophobia have on how we express our gayness?

Much is being written and said about these questions in books, talk shows and journal articles. Dean Hamer and Peter Copeland's new book, "The Science of Desire: The Search for the Gay Gene and the Biology of Behavior," approaches the question from a genetics point of view and their findings are challenging religious, sexual, social and legal thinking. In time their discoveries may set the stage for a major transition of how humans understand their sexuality, but as they also point out, religious and social biases often keep people from believing, and often denying, their own experiences.

This issue of White Crane focuses on the notion of gay sensibility with several provocative articles. First is an essay from the noted commentator on contemporary culture, Jamake Highwater. He brings the discussion of gayness beyond the myopic U.S. perspective, and challenges the notion of a transcultural, transtemporal gay sensibility. He reminds us that we have more in common with other humans than we have differences from them, but that gay men in our society have a special role as outsiders. The essay comes from his new book, The Language of Vision: Meditations on Myth and Metaphor.

Following Highwater's article is an interview with Collin Brown, director of Body Electric School. Collin discusses the long forgotten spiritual role of sacred intimates and how they teach the use of the erotic as a doorway to our emotions and creativity. Of course, it's gay men who are on the cutting edge of this practice. Why? Is there something about us, or about our experience, or both, that primes us for such activity and experimentation in the area of sex? Collin also discusses how certain men, those who are erotically gifted, are treated as dysfunctional. Are these men another type of outsider?

Next is an excerpt of Edward Carpenter's remarkable essay "Intermediate Types Among Primitive Folk," written in 1914. What's exceptional about his essay is not so much the noteworthy anthropological look at the religious role of gay men in primal societies world-wide, but rather his methodical and well thought out speculations about an explanation for this role. Carpenter speculates that it is not necessarily because of any intrinsic quality that may make us suited as spiritual guides, but rather a consequence of our position as outsiders.

It seems to me that some elements of contemporary gay society have focused on this difference from the norm in their use of the word "queer." Unfortunately it sometimes seems that many of us who use this word are fixated on being different, and both Edward Carpenter and Jamake Highwater remind us that there is a mythical and prophetic role in being an outsider; being different is not enough.

An excerpt from White Crane Editor's Note, Issue #23, Winter 1995

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OutWrite, a new readers series, is beginning this month in Washington , DC .
Featuring the work of Gay authors and co-sponsored by White Crane Institute and the LGBTQ Center in DC, the "OUTWRITE Writers Program"

OutWrite provides a space for GLBT authors to share and discuss their work with the community through book readings, lectures, and community discussions. This new initiative is a partnership between The DC Center and White Crane Institute. Anyone who is interested is welcome to be part of this project.


OutWrite is pleased to present "Honky Tonk Diva," the first in a series of book readings and discussions featuring gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) Authors.

from and discuss his book,
Honky Tonk Angel
The Intimate Story of Patsy Cline.

This event takes place on

Thursday May 29th
8:00 to 9:00 PM
at Artfully Chocolate Kingsbury Confections
1529C 14th Street, NW.

Ellis Nassour, author of Honky Tonk Angel was the very first to write about Patsy Cline and did so with the cooperation of the stars who knew and loved her – including Jimmy Dean, Jan Howard, Brenda Lee, Loretta Lynn, Roger Miller, Dottie West, and Faron Young. He was the only writer to interview Cline's mother and husbands. Nassour is a veteran of the New York Times and an entertainment writer who has devoted the past 15 years to promoting the legacy of Patsy Cline and has been involved in two musicals of her story. He lives in New York City .



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A Special Request

1930 LGBT friends have been working in San Francisco for four years to place a memorial sculpture of Supervisor Harvey Milk in San Francisco City Hall . (Go to www.milkmemorial. org for complete details.) It has taken that long to raise the funds, choose the artists and haggle with City Hall about where to place it. But all will come to fruition this May 22nd when, on what would have been Harvey 's 78th birthday, the memorial will be unveiled in a free public event at S.F. City Hall . There is only one remaining problem; the sponsoring group is about $10,000 short of the cost for the event. They have extended the date to make donations.

White Crane is asking for assistance that will help the Milk Memorial project and also pay tribute to Harry Hay. We have pledged $1,000 to contribute to the collection from our readers and Harry's friends and admirers so that we can collectively be a sponsor of the unveiling under the name In Memory of Harry Hay. We offer $1,000 as a challenge matching grant to this effort, and challenge you, our readers, to match it so we can support the Milk Memorial to the amount of $2,000.

Harvey Milk's dogged insistence that LGBT people represent and speak for themselves as a People who are a valued part of the larger
society is the same spirit that drove Harry to start both Mattachine and the Radical Faeries.

Harvey and Harry are part of the same historical narrative of radical change and social justice that is at the heart of the LGBT movement.
It's a narrative that can be easily forgotten in the rush to "normalize" the queer agenda. For White Crane, Harvey 's statue in San Francisco City Hall is one of a string of projects over the next decade that we hope will help to preserve and pass on to future generations that story and vision.

For every contribution of $100 we will offer (or extend) a subscription to White Crane by one year. All contributions are tax-deductible to the fullest extent of the law.

To contribute through White Crane, make checks payable to: White Crane Institute and note Harvey Milk memorial fund in the memo
portion of the check. Checks can be sent to: White Crane Institute, 172 Fifth Avenue, Suite 69 , Brooklyn , NY 11217 .

Contributions can also be made through PayPal. Note "Milk Memorial" at the donation page at www.gaywisdom. org

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A Gay Perspective at Easton Mountain

Facilitated by Toby Johnson
Friday, August 8 - Sunday, August 10, 2008

There is a certain enlightenment that goes with being gay.

Gay spiritual writer and former White Crane Journal editor, Toby Johnson, PhD will present a weekend of talks, introspective exercises and conversations about "Gay Perspective, " that is, gay men's natural insights into the nature of myth, religion and the meaning of life.

An entertaining - and occasionally moving - speaker and storyteller, Johnson will relate the "Myth of Avalokiteshvara, " revealing the whimsical, but profound, answer to why gay men reincarnate; explain fellow writer Christian de la Huerta's "Ten Roles Gay People Play in Society," calling participants to locate their own vocation among these; and lead a Guided Mediation practice to achieve brain hemisphere synchrony and - hopefully - a direct insight experience of "seeing God" (based in Meister Eckhart's aphorism: "The eye with which I see God is the eye with which God sees me)."

Lecture and brainstorming will be complemented with playful ritual, sacred singing (including familiar hymns, Hindu & Buddhist chants and just a little Gregorian Chant) and a round of Sufi Dancing.

About the Facilitator
Toby Johnson, PhD is past editor and publisher of White Crane Journal and auther of eight books: three non-fiction books that apply the wisdom of Joseph Campbell, his teacher and the "wise old man" of his personal journey, to modern-day social and religious problems, three Gay genre novels that dramatize spiritual issues at the heart of gay identity, and two books on Gay men's spiritualities and the mystical experience of homosexuality.

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Share this with your friends...

/ / | \ \ | / / | \ \

Gay Wisdom for Daily Living...

from White Crane
a magazine exploring
Gay wisdom & culture

Share this with your friends...

\ \ | / / | \ \ | / /

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