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FOR MOST OF US who have ever traveled to East Asia, the trip involves a several-hour flight across the Pacific. For Lucy Horne, her first excursion to Japan took her a full two weeks. She traveled by train. “Denmark to Warsaw, Moscow, Vladivostok,” she tells me the afternoon we meet. “And then over to Japan. I don’t like plane travel. You miss what’s in between. I wanted to know what was in between.”

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JOHN WATERS’ films have spanned more than three decades of what he calls “good bad taste.” Although he cringes at the designation “openly gay filmmaker,” there’s no denying that his queer, campy, and subversive signature runs all through his body of work.

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WHAT’S WITH THE “GOOD” in the subtitle of your book? people ask me. Couldn’t you get the “best” writing? or (tongue in cheek) is it writing by “good lesbians”? The subtitle of Something to Declare: Good Lesbian Travel Writing echoes that of an earlier anthology published by the University of Wisconsin Press, Wonderlands: Good Gay Travel Writing (2004). Editor Raphael Kadushin explained in his introduction that he used “good” because he was tired of every other damn collection’s claim to be the “best” writing—which is logically impossible, after all. I admired his reasoning but avoided repeating his explanation in my own introduction—hence, the questions. Meanwhile, I’d like to address the other questions that the four-word subtitle has raised.

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THE DISCOURSE on homosexuality is a major part of current American culture, and it doesn’t show any signs of slowing. Thus, it is all the more noteworthy that a recent production of As You Like It that ran at the Brooklyn Academy of Music earlier this year, directed by Sam Mendes and cast with a bi-national troupe of American and British actors, seems to go out of its way to suppress the homosexual dynamics that are inherent in Shakespeare’s play. An eerie sense of homophobia comes across as this production unfolds.

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“I WANT to love a young man of the lower classes, and be loved by him and even hurt by him. That is my ticket,” wrote E. M. Forster in 1935, “and then I have wanted to write respectable novels.”

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“I HAVE NOTHING to declare—except my genius,” he pronounced famously on arriving in the U.S. Or did he? There’s no sign of Oscar Wilde’s notorious response to a routine Customs inquiry in any of these 48 interviews with the Irish playwright, who was then known only for his poetry, and scarcely for that. The 26-year old standard-bearer of the Aestheticist creed undertook perhaps twice that many interviews on American soil in the course of his 1882 lecture tour. The editors of this volume have collated the most significant, presenting each in its entirety, replete with fulsome notes.

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At various points in 2009—during gay pride month in June, at the October 11th march on Washington, among others—various media outlets eagerly reported criticism of President Obama by some gay leaders. The September 2009 Advocate ran on its cover a campaign image of a despondent looking Obama; in place of the word “Hope” was the question “Nope?”

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When Barack Obama was elected as the 44th president of the United States, queer people all across America cheered. We had good reason to celebrate. After all, he had the most far-reaching, pro-GLBT agenda of any presidential candidate in U.S. history: repeal DOMA, end “Don’t ask, don’t tell,” pass hate crimes legislation, lift the HIV travel ban, and increase funding for AIDS research. Not withstanding his opposition to marriage equality, candidate Obama was a strong ally for gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender folks. Time and again, he included us—“gay America and straight America”—in his bold vision of a new “United States of America.” He talked to us and he talked about us, even in places where issues of gender and sexuality were historically taboo. His rhetoric and record all pointed to the same conclusion: we would have a strong champion in the White House.

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Barely a week after his 80th birthday, which was marked by a number of productions in the New York area collectively titled “the Albee Season,” the peripatetic author graciously took a break from his busy schedule and latest projects to be interviewed in person for The G&LR.

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AS THE WORLD reaches flash-point over same-sex marriage, the United States is galloping madly in one direction-to deny civil marriage to gays. Yet many countries in Europe are galloping in the opposite direction-towards giving civil status to same-sex relationships in some way. …

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