The Election: Facing Facts, Fighting Back
“SURREAL” is a good descriptor for the sensory experience of the 2016 presidential election. Consider the contrived chaos akin to a “reality show,” the cartoonish quality of much of the discourse, and the shrill rhetorical attacks on various constituencies—though seemingly not the LGBT community.
Letters to the Editor
Boyd McDonald Captured a Generation To the Editor: Andrew Holleran’s “Lewd” article about pornographer Boyd McDonald sent me to my bedside table. On the bottom shelf behind a crumpled electric heating pad I found McDonald’s Straight to Hell (Nos. 39, 49, 50, 51, 52) and his Cum, Skin, Filth, Cream, Smut, Scum, Meat, Flesh,More
Jack Out of the Box When former Will & Grace costar Sean Hayes came out as gay last fall, it wasn’t exactly earthshattering news; most people had assumed as much. However, Hayes had been studiously coy about his sexuality up to that point, and it would be wrong to confuse his flamboyantly gay character,More
Honoring Those Who Left Us in 2016
IN KEEPING with our annual custom, we remember here the lives of some notable GLBT activists, artists, and writers who passed away this past year. Please note that all deaths occurred in 2016 unless otherwise indicated. In addition to those listed by name, we also mourn the loss of the 49 people who were massacredMore
Who Wrote A Scarlet Pansy? The Plot Thickens
FORDHAM UNIVERSITY PRESS deserves our gratitude for making available the original 1932 version of A Scarlet Pansy, a minor classic of Modernism attributed to “Robert Scully.”
Kirstein’s Letters, Part 1: Balanchine
LINCOLN KIRSTEIN was born in 1907 to a newly prosperous Jewish couple—his father Louis had risen to a top executive post in Filene’s, the famed department store. As a young man, Kirstein was precocity personified.
A Farewell to Edward Albee
Edward Albee died on Friday, September 16th, 2016, at the age of 88. He passed away at his summer home in Montauk, New York, after a short illness. He was one of the most important and iconic American playwrights of the 20th century.
What Is Sex? What Is Gender?
“Gender,” as distinct from sex, is normally thought of as pertaining uniquely to humans, something that’s constructed by culture and finding highly divergent expression in different cultures.
On the Medicalization of Gender
Sex Science Self … is a legitimate and earnest expression of cultural anxieties (particularly in the gay community) about the prominence of transgender issues and the role of the pharmaceutical-industrial complex in the medical construction of gender.
Postcards from the Fringe
CULTURAL TRANSFORMATIONS swept across this country in the mid-20th century, affecting every aspect of American life, including the arts. A new wave of outsider artists underscored the mood of restlessness through powerful photography and filmmaking.
Gender Fluidity in Hawaiian Culture
In pre-Christian Hawaii, Māhū was a category of revered and admired individuals. Māhūs were regarded as the keepers of certain customs, and they played a vital role in passing on their wisdom to the next generations through traditional practices, such as hula and chant. They were what we would term transgender
Karla Jay: The Making of a ‘Lavender Menace’
GAY AND LESBIAN READERS in the 1970s devoured After You’re Out (1975) and, years later, Out of the Closets: Voices of Gay Liberation (1992), books that Karla Jay co-edited with her close friend Allen Young. Younger generations have encountered Jay in She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry, Mary Dore’s 2014 documentary about mid 20th-century feminism.
He Wrote the Book of ‘Similisexual’ Love
[This] novel is filled with coded homoerotic hints and references. Perhaps the most overt is when Jennison says to Philip: “Nice youngster that Master Gerald is! Not extraordinary that strangers should take a fancy to him, eh? Pretty boy!”
When John Cage Composed in Words
ONE OF THE MOST eclectic artists of the 20th century was avant-garde composer John Cage, who was also a philosopher, a visual artist, and a writer.
The Taxidermy of Short Fiction
Dave Madden, in his late thirties, holds a doctorate in creative writing and teaches at the University of San Francisco. His work to date has been nonfiction, and it has won critical acclaim.
And Tell Sad Stories of the Death of Queens
Nevertheless, Ibell tries hard to rescue the plays that the critics serially panned after his last commercial hit, The Night of the Iguana. Plays like And Tell Sad Stories of the Death of Queens, Steps Must Be Gentle, and Now the Cats with Jeweled Claws were experimental, openly concerned with homosexuals, and mostly one-acts.
Vita Sexualis discloses how Ulrichs was more than just a gay rights pioneer, as important as he was in that role. According to Leck, Ulrichs was “the first modern European thinker to propose that a spectrum of cultural and individual variations … is natural.”
The Man Who Loved Oliver Sacks
AT AGE 48, brokenhearted over the death of his partner, Bill Hayes moved to New York City in order to reinvent himself. “I had simply reached a point in my life where I had to get away from San Francisco—and all the memories it held—and start fresh.” During that first fresh-start summer, Hayes began seeingMore
A Foremother of Lesbian Publishing
notes, and a useful index. Joanne Passet has done justice to a complex personality who played an indispensable role in the development of lesbian publishing. Barbara Grier loved books and was on a mission to make lesbian-oriented books readily available to their intended readers. Her relentless drive to fulfill this mission led to conflict, whichMore
A Second Look at Bernard Perlin
Michael Schreiber’s One-Man Show is an exhaustive chronicle of Perlin’s life and work, a kind of hybrid monograph–biography, sumptuously illustrated with reproductions of the artist’s drawings and paintings, as well as many photographs of Perlin and his circle, including the work of his friend George Platt Lynes.
Berlin As Metaphor
Goodbye Heiko, Goodbye Berlin: A City Divided Then Reunited After Fall of Infamous Wall by Owen Levy BookLocker.com, Inc. 281 pages, $18.95 WHAT IS IT that one loves about a person or a city? Does loving a person or a place mean that you’ve found something there that corresponds to something deep withinMore
Doctors without Protocols
For Americans in their thirties and younger, all of this is ancient history, which is why it is good to have Sensing Light, a novel written by a physician who first began working with AIDS patients in San Francisco in 1986.
Canada ≠ Utopia
Rather than just offering jingoistic flag-waving, McCaskell measures his celebration of what is clearly a better situation for Canadian GLBTs with a more complex discussion of the limitations of activist organizations around equality on the basis of gender, race, and class.
Two Novels Set in the ’50s
[Sarah] Schulman’s The Cosmopolitans is loosely based on a French novel of the 1840s, Cousin Bette by Honoré de Balzac, in which a middle-aged spinster, exiled to Paris from her home in the provinces many years before, plots the downfall of the extended family that rejected her.
The Afterlife of a 1950s Sex Symbol
Tab Hunter Confidential tells a story of social significance and perseverance; it supplements the memoir of a decade ago. The film allows Hunter the last word in his own story
Years of Transition
THIS 2016 DOCUMENTARY recounts four years—from late adolescence to young adulthood—in the life of Bennett (né Rachael) Wallace. Real Boy is an enthralling, intimate, and poignant film, and it is a pleasure to watch. Director Shaleece Haas, who tirelessly followed Bennett on his literal and figurative journey, slept on floors, hung out at music clubs,More