Friday, June 27, 2008

Happy Gay Pride to All!


As usual we will give you the dates for this special weekend

June 27


1869 - EMMA GOLDMAN, anarchist and feminist (d. 1940); an anarchist known for her political activism, writing, and speeches. She was lionized as a free-thinking "rebel woman" by admirers, and derided as an advocate of politically motivated murder and violent revolution by her critics. Although she was hostile to first-wave feminism and its suffragist goals, Goldman advocated passionately for the rights of women, and is today heralded as a founder of anarcha-feminism, which challenges patriarchy as a hierarchy to be resisted alongside state power and class divisions. In 1897 she wrote: "I demand the independence of woman, her right to support herself; to live for herself; to love whomever she pleases, or as many as she pleases. I demand freedom for both sexes, freedom of action, freedom in love and freedom in motherhood." A nurse by training, she was an early advocate for educating women concerning contraception. Like many contemporary feminists, she saw abortion as a tragic consequence of social conditions, and birth control as a positive alternative. Goldman was also an advocate of free love, and a strong critic of marriage. She saw early feminists as confined in their scope and bounded by social forces of Puritanism and capitalism. She wrote: "We are in need of unhampered growth out of old traditions and habits. The movement for women's emancipation has so far made but the first step in that direction."

Goldman was an outspoken critic of prejudice against homosexuals. Her belief that social liberation should extend to Gays and Lesbians was virtually unheard of at the time, even among anarchists. As Magnus Hirschfeld wrote, "she was the first and only woman, indeed the first and only American, to take up the defense of homosexual love before the general public." In numerous speeches and letters she defended the rights of Gays and lesbians to love as they pleased and condemned the fear and stigma associated with homosexuality. As Goldman wrote in a letter to Hirschfeld, "It is a tragedy, I feel, that people of a different sexual type are caught in a world which shows so little understanding for homosexuals and is so crassly indifferent to the various gradations and variations of gender and their great significance in life."

1926 - FRANK O'HARA, poet, born (d: 1966); This poet, playwright, and art critic died just two days before his 40th birthday in a freak accident on New York's Fire Island in which he was struck and seriously injured by a man speeding in a beach vehicle during the early morning hours. He died the next day of a ruptured liver at the age of 40 and was buried in the Green River Cemetery on Long Island.His talents, diverse but minor, seem to recede with the passing years, just as much of the art that he championed when he was with the Museum of Modern Art seems like so much ancient history. Frank O'Hara's poetry was published in a collected edition, posthumously in 1971. In recent years, the painter Larry Rivers, in discussing his own bisexuality, said that he was for a time, one of O'Hara's lovers.

1940 - TROY PERRY, Metropolitan Community Church founder born; Happy Birthday Troy! The Reverend Elder Troy Deroy Perry is the founder of the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches, a Protestant denomination devoted to ministering to the spiritual needs of GLBTQ people. A charismatic preacher and leader, Perry has built the religious organization into one of the fastest growing denominations in the world, with over 300 churches in some 18 countries. Perry obtained a GED and enrolled at a Bible college in Illinois, at the same time serving as pastor of a congregation of the Church of God. Perry was excommunicated from the Church of God after church officials learned that he had had a consensual sexual relationship with a man.

After reading Donald Webster Cory's The Homosexual in America (1951), Perry decided that he could no longer live as a "pseudoheterosexual ." He revealed his sexual orientation to a church official. Shortly thereafter he was dismissed by his bishop. Perry's wife left him, taking their sons with her. She eventually divorced Perry and remarried. She kept the boys from having any contact with Perry until 1985, when the younger son, James Michael Perry, sought out his father and was happily reunited with that side of his family.

Perry soon began to discover the Gay community in Los Angeles and to become acquainted with other Gay men, whom he viewed "as part of [his] extended family." When Perry was drafted into the United States Army in 1965, he acknowledged that he was Gay, but the Army inducted him anyway. He was stationed in Germany, where he worked as a cryptographer, a job requiring a high-level security clearance.

Eventually, Perry felt called to start a new church. He spoke to members of the Gay community and took out an advertisement in a newspaper announcing a worship service. Twelve people attended the first meeting of the Metropolitan Community Church, which was held in Perry's living room. Perry preached a sermon entitled "Be True to You," enunciating three important tenets of his faith: 1) salvation--which comes through Jesus Christ and is unconditional; 2) community--which the church should provide, especially to those without caring family and friends; and 3) Christian social action--a commitment to fight oppression at all levels. These principles have guided the Church as it has matured from an evangelical, Pentecostal organization into a more liturgical and ecumenical denomination that welcomes heterosexuals as well as homosexuals and that empowers women and minority groups.

1969 - The STONEWALL RIOTS that mark the beginning of the Gay liberation movement begin in Greenwich Village in Manhattan. The Stonewall Riots were a series of violent conflicts between LGBT people and New York City police officers that began during a June 28th 1969 police raid, and lasted several days. They were centered at the Stonewall Inn and are widely recognized as the catalyst for the modern-day movement towards LGBT rights. Also called the Stonewall Uprising, Stonewall Rebellion, Stonewall Revolution or simply Stonewall, the clash was a watershed for the worldwide Gay rights movement, as Gay, lesbian and transgender people had never before acted together in such large numbers to forcibly resist police harassment directed towards their community. Many also credit the events as igniting a movement to celebrate Gay pride with events such as pride parades and dyke marches.

Contrary to popular belief, activists had been fighting for homosexual rights for years prior to the Stonewall Riots. In 1950, a Gay man named Harry Hay and a group of Gay activists decided that they were tired of unequal treatment because of their sexual orientation. They launched the Mattachine Society, which unified isolated Gays and also encouraged them to fight for their rights. The activism of the Mattachine Society served as an inspiration for the first student Gay rights organization. Students at certain colleges began to see the importance of equal rights for LGBT people. The first student Gay rights group was formed in 1967 at Columbia University. The group began because of a student, Stephen Donaldson, who identified himself as bisexual. After the discrimination that he faced for being honest about his sexual orientation, he decided to form a Mattachine-like group called the Student Homophile League (SHL) that advocated for Gay rights.

On Saturday morning, June 28, 1969, police raided the Stonewall Inn, a bar in Greenwich Village where gay people frequently gathered to socialize on Christopher Street, just off Sheridan Square. A number of factors differentiated the raid that took place on June 28 from other raids at the Stonewall Inn. Because raids had occurred at the Stonewall Inn in the past, managers usually knew what to expect when a raid was about to occur. Likewise, raids tended to occur earlier in the evening, which allowed the bar to continue with normal business for the busiest hours of the night. On June 28th, however, an unexpected raid unfolded at the Inn. At approximately 1:20 am, eight police officers entered the bar with a warrant authorizing a search for illegal sales of alcohol. Of the eight policemen, only one was dressed in his uniform. The police questioned the customers and made many of them show identification. Many were escorted out of the bar, and some were even arrested. The escorted crowd became very angry and began to cause chaos outside of the Inn. While the police loaded arrested patrons into the police van, the existing crowd responded with catcalls and then, eventually erupted into violence. They threw bottles at the officers, and even used a parking meter as a battering ram. Heterosexual folk singer Dave van Ronk, who was walking through the area, was grabbed by the police, pulled into the bar, and beaten. The crowd's attacks were unrelenting. Word quickly spread of the riot and many residents, as well as patrons of nearby bars, rushed to the scene. When the police officers went inside the bar, the angry clients blockaded the Inn and then torched it. Eventually, the protesting crowd was so strong that each time the police would disperse the mob, a new group would re-form behind the police's back, preventing them from actually breaking up the riot. Over the course of five days, the crowd of 400 protesters continued throwing bottles and lighting fires around the Inn. Police attempted to capture some of the violent rioters. If the rioters did not act fast enough, they were pushed and shoved and even clubbed to the ground by officers. Protesters in the crowd began to scream "Gay Power" and some activists dressed as drag queens started chanting:

We are the Stonewall Girls

We wear our hair in curls

We wear no underwear

We show our pubic hair

We wear our dungarees

Above our nelly knees

Throughout the night the police singled out many transgender people and gender nonconformists, including butch women and effeminate men, among others, often beating them. On the first night alone 13 people were arrested and four police officers, as well as an undetermined number of protesters, were injured. It is known, however, that at least two rioters were severely beaten by the police. Bottles and stones were thrown by protesters who chanted "Gay Power!" The crowd, estimated at over 2000, fought with over 400 police officers.

The police sent additional forces in the form of the Tactical Patrol Force, a riot-control squad originally trained to counter Vietnam War protesters. The tactical patrol force arrived to disperse the crowd. However, they failed to break up the crowd, who sprayed them with rocks and other projectiles. Eventually the scene quieted, but the crowd returned again the next night. While less violent than the first night, the crowd had the same energy as it had on the previous night. Skirmishes between the rioters and the police ensued until approximately 4:00 a.m. The third day of rioting fell five days after the raid on the Stonewall Inn. On that Wednesday, 1,000 people congregated at the bar and again caused extensive property damage.

Numerous books on this North American gay civil rights flash point have been written. In 2004, St. Martin's Press published Stonewall: The Riots That Sparked the Gay Revolution by David Carter, a frequent contributor to White Crane. Based on ten years of research and interviews with participants, in the book Carter examines inconsistencies of historical record, debunking a number of myths that have surrounded the events of June 1969, including the oft-repeated urban legend that it was the death of Judy Garland that sparked the riots.

For a brilliant history: Riots-That- Sparked-Revoluti on/dp/0312200250


June 28

1929 - EDWARD CARPENTER, English poet and Gay pioneer, died (b: 1844); Edward Carpenter was a pioneering socialist and radical prophet of a new age of fellowship in which social relations would be transformed by a new spiritual consciousness. The way he lived his life, perhaps even more than his extensive writings, was the essence of his message. It is perhaps not surprising that his reputation faded quickly after his death, as he lived much of his life modestly spreading his message by personal contact and example rather than by major literary works or through a national political career. He has been described as having that unusual combination of qualities: charisma with modesty. His ideas became immensely influential during the early years of the Socialist movement in Britain: perhaps Carpenter's most widely remembered legacy to the Socialist and Co-operative movements was his anthem England Arise!

A leading figure in late 19th and early 20th century Britain, he was instrumental in the foundation of the Fabian Society and the Labor Party. A poet and writer, he was a close friend of Walt Whitman and Rabindranath Tagore, corresponding with many famous figures such as Annie Besant, Isadora Duncan, Havelock Ellis, Roger Fry, Mahatma Gandhi, James Keir Hardie, J K Kinney, Jack London, George Merrill, E D Morel, William Morris, E R Pease, John Ruskin, and Olive Schreiner.

But it is his writings on the subject of homosexuality and his open espousal of this identity that makes him unique. If you are unfamiliar with Carpenter, find him…read him. He is one of the formative, foundational Gay philosophers in the late 19th and early 20th century. His influence was widespread at the time, and is no less innovative and profound, today. His important writings include:

Towards Democracy (1883)

England's Ideal (1887)

Civilisation: Its Cause and Cure (1889; reissued 1920)

Homogenic love and its place in a free society (1894).

Love's Coming of Age (1896)

Days with Walt Whitman (1906)

Iolaus — anthology of friendship (editor, 1908)

The Intermediate Sex: a Study of Some Transitional Types of Men and Women (1908)

The intermediate types among primitive folk (1914)

My Days and Dreams (autobiography, 1916)

Pagan & christian creeds: their origin and meaning (1920)

A strong advocate of sexual freedom, living in a Gay community near Sheffield, he had a profound influence on both D H Lawrence and E M Forster. On his return from India in 1891, he met George Merrill, a working class man also from Sheffield, and the two men struck up a relationship, eventually moving in together in 1898. Merrill had been raised in the slums of Sheffield and had no formal education. Two men of different classes living together as a couple was almost unheard of in England in the 1890s, a fact made all the more extraordinary by the hysteria about alternative sexualities generated by the Oscar Wilde trial of 1895 and the Criminal Law Amendment Bill passed a decade earlier "outlawing all forms of male homosexual contact". But their relationship endured and they remained partners for the rest of their lives. Their relationship not only defied Victorian sexual mores but also the highly stratified British class system. Their partnership, in many ways, reflected Carpenter's cherished conviction that same-sex love had the power to subvert class boundaries. It was his belief that at sometime in the future, Gay people would be the cause of radical social change in the social conditions of man. Carpenter remarks in his work "The Intermediate Sex": "Eros is a great leveller. Perhaps the true Democracy rests, more firmly than anywhere else, on a sentiment which easily passes the bounds of class and caste, and unites in the closest affection the most estranged ranks of society. It is noticeable how often Uranians of good position and breeding are drawn to rougher types, as of manual workers, and frequently very permanent alliances grow up in this way, which although not publicly acknowledged have a decided influence on social institutions, customs and political tendencies". p.114-115

(Note: The term "Uranian", referring to a passage from Plato's Symposium, was often used at the time to describe someone who would be termed "Gay" nowadays. Carpenter is counted among the Uranians himself.)

1942 – DAVE KOPAY, professional football player, born; A former American football running back in the National Football League who in 1975 became one of the first professional athletes to come out as Gay. After he retired from the NFL, he was considered a top contender for coaching positions, but he believes he was snubbed by professional and college teams because of his sexual orientation. He went to work as a salesman/purchaser in his uncle's floor covering business in Hollywood. He is also a board member of the Gay and Lesbian Athletics Foundation. His 1977 biography, The David Kopay Story, written with Perry Dean Young, offers insights into the sexual proclivities of heterosexual football players and their homophobia. In 1986, Kopay also revealed his brief affair with Jerry Smith (1943–1986), who played for the Washington Redskins from 1965–1977 and who died of AIDS without ever having publicly come out of the closet.

1970 - On the one-year anniversary of the Stonewall riots, more than 2,000 people march in New York City as part of the first Gay Pride parade in the United States.

2000 - In the case of BOY SCOUTS V. DALE, the US Supreme Court rules the Boy Scouts of America can discriminate against Gays and bisexuals saying it is a private organization and not bound by local human rights laws. There has been opposition to BSA's membership policies from organizations and individuals. Some within the Scouting movement, as well as long-time Scouting supporters, parents, chartered organizations, and religious organizations have expressed opposition to the policies in ways ranging from protests to forming organizations that advocate inclusiveness. Some push for a voluntary change within the BSA, others seek involuntary change by filing lawsuits, still others choose to disassociate themselves from the BSA or encourage others to do so. Some public entities and private institutions have ceased financial or other support the BSA, primarily as a result of conflicts between their nondiscrimination policies and the BSA's membership policies. About 50 of the 1300 local United Ways, including those in Miami, Orlando, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Seattle, have withdrawn all funding. The BSA has also lost all funding from several large corporations that had been regular donors, such as Chase Manhattan Bank, Levi Strauss, Fleet Bank, CVS/pharmacy, and Pew Charitable Trusts. For example, Pew Charitable Trusts, which had consistently supported the BSA for over fifty years, decided to cancel a $100,000 donation and cease future donations. A number of public entities (including the cities of Chicago, San Diego, Tempe, Buffalo Grove, Berkeley, and Santa Barbara, as well as the states of California, Illinois, and Connecticut) have canceled charitable donations (of money or preferential land access) that had historically been granted to the Scouts.

Eagle Scout filmmaker Steven Spielberg had been a long-time supporter of Scouting, depicting a young Indiana Jones as a Boy Scout in the 1989 film Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and helping to create the Cinematography merit badge. Spielberg resigned from the BSA Advisory Council in 2001, saying, "it has deeply saddened me to see the Boy Scouts of America actively and publicly participating in discrimination. "

2005 - BRENDA HOWARD, American LGBT activist died (b. 1946); a bisexual rights activist and sex-positive feminist, who was an important figure in the modern LGBT rights movement. A militant activist who helped plan and participated in LGBT rights actions for over three decades, Howard was a leader of the Gay Liberation Front and for several years chair of the Gay Activists Alliance in the early post-Stonewall era. She is known as the "Mother of Pride", for her work in coordinating the first month anniversary rally and then the "Christopher Street Liberation Day March" to commemorate the first year anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion. Howard also originated the idea for a week-long series of events around Pride Day which became the genesis of the annual LGBT Pride celebrations that are now held around the world every June.

A fixture in New York City's LGBT Community Howard was active in the Coalition for Lesbian and Gay Rights which helped guide New York City's LGBT rights law through the City Council in 1986. In 2005 the Queens Chapter of PFLAG announced the creation of the "Brenda Howard Award". This is the first time a major American LGBT organization has named award after an out bisexual member of the LGBT Community. The award, to be given yearly, recognizes an individual or organization whose work on behalf of the LGBT Community best exemplifies the vision, principals and community service exemplified by the late Brenda Howard and who serves as a positive and visible role model for the Bisexual Community.

June 29

1855 – JEAN LORRAIN, French journalist, born, (d: 1906); born Paul Duval, was a French poet and novelist of the Symbolist school. Lorrain was a dedicated disciple of dandyism, and (for the times) openly gay. Lorrain wrote a number of collections of verse, including La forêt bleue (1883) and L'ombre ardente, (1897). He is also remembered for his decadent novels and short stories, such as Monsieur de Phocas (1901) and Histoires des masques (1900), as well as for one of his best novels, Sonyeuse, which he links to portraits exhibited by Antonio de La Gandara in 1893. The once famous journalist worked only because he had to. He preferred to spend his life sleeping with the sailors along the Paris, Nice and Marseilles waterfronts. "Fucking," he once wrote, "is basically a sport for idle minds. When you work, it's good-bye ass!" Although his works are largely forgotten today, they should be revived and vigorously pursued. How can one ignore…I mean, ya gotta love! author who, in a fashionable Parisian restaurant, once shouted at the top of his lungs the following couplet: "I spent the night between two fellows from the docks, / who took turns, and cured me of the hots!"

Lorrain's work often evokes a seamy urban underworld of sodomy, lesbianism, drug-addiction, and crime. His best novels appeared in his final years. Monsieur de Bougrelon (1897), Monsieur de Phocas (1901), and Le Vice Errant (1902) center on men mired in decadence, vice, and (implicitly) homosexuality; La Maison Philibert (1904) gives a picture of life in a provincial brothel and a panoramic tour of Parisian prostitution and criminality.

Most of Lorrain's income derived from journalism. Beginning in the mid-1880s, he wrote regular columns for a series of mass-circulation newspapers, most notably Le Courrier français, L'Événement, and L'Écho de Paris. He chronicled Parisian life of the day--the literary, theatrical, and artistic worlds, as well as French society, both high and low--using his savage wit to attack and ridicule many of the era's leading figures. In the process, he made countless enemies. Edmond de Goncourt wondered in 1895, "What's Lorrain's dominant trait? Is it spite or a complete lack of tact?" (Most people thought it the former.) But as Sarah Bernhardt once wrote Lorrain, "inside the abominably depraved being that you are, there beats the heart of a great artist, a genuinely sensitive and tender heart."

1962 - AMANDA DONOHOE, British actress, born; An English actress who first came to attention of the worldwide audience in 1986 when she was cast opposite Oliver Reed as Lucy Irvine in Nicolas Roeg's Castaway (where she appeared nude in some sequences of the movie). She followed this up with roles in two Ken Russell films The Lair of the White Worm, based on a Bram Stoker novel, and The Rainbow, based on a D.H. Lawrence novel. In 1981, Amanda appeared in the music video for the song, "Stand & Deliver" by Adam & the Ants. She has been open about being bisexual telling Diva magazine "My first sexual experiences were with women and if a woman comes into my life who is absolutely stunning and satisfies me emotionally, intellectually and sexually I'm not going to draw the line and say 'I can't because you're a woman'". She has been romantically linked to Sandra Bernhard and Jim Carrey.

1982 - PIERRE BALMAIN, French fashion designer died (b. 1914); a French fashion designer. Known for sophistication and elegance, he said that "dressmaking is the architecture of movement." Balmain was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Costume Design and won the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Costume Design for Happy New Year (1980). Additional Broadway theatre credits include costumes for Katharine Hepburn in The Millionairess (1952) and Josephine Baker for her eponymous 1964 revue. He also was a costume designer for 16 films, including the Brigitte Bardot vehicle And God Created Woman, and designed on-screen wardrobes for the actresses Vivien Leigh and Mae West. Balmain's 1964 autobiography was titled My Years and Seasons. His companion was the Danish designer Erik Mortensen, who worked as a designer at Balmain from 1948 until 1991.

1999 - ALLAN CARR, American film producer died (b. 1937); was an American film producer and manager of actors and musicians. His reputation for hosting expensive and lavish parties and creating spectacular production numbers led the producers of the 61st Annual Academy Awards to hire him to create the show based on his promise that he would turn it around from the dry, dull show it had been in previous years. Promising "the antithesis of tacky" it turned out to be a disaster culminating in the infamous pairing of Snow White (played by Eileen Bowman) and Rob Lowe singing "Proud Mary". The telecast also featured a production number featuring what was introduced as "the youth of Hollywood", with all the participants in their 20s or early 30s. The show became a laughing-stock and has gone down in history one of the worst moments in awards show and television history. Adding to the misery, the Walt Disney Company sued for illegal use of Snow White's image. Carr's reputation never recovered, although his decision to change the award announcement from "And the winner is..." to "And the Oscar goes to..." has become the norm, not just for the Oscars, but for awards shows in general. He never worked in Hollywood again and at the time of his death, was employed in an office in Brentwood, California.

2007 - The day before London Pride, British police were tipped off about a suspicious car parked on Haymarket Street (in London's West End) along the route of the Gay Pride parade. Inside a Mercedes they found gas containers and a large number of nails, unnerving Londoners who planned to attend tomorrow's event. Police described the bomb as similar to those used by Iraqi insurgents. The bomb was defused and the area cordoned off, with nearby subway stations closed.

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