Browsing: Elsewhere

May – June, 2004

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Taher (not his real name) was eighteen, a law student, and terrified when I met him. One of his best friends had just been arrested, charged with consensual homosexual conduct-a crime under Egyptian law. …

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THE ONE THING that the average, educated Brit tends to know about Sarah Churchill, the first Duchess of Marlborough and ancestor of both Sir Winston Churchill and Princess Diana, is that she had an intimate relationship with Queen Anne, … Therefore, the first question they tend to ask me, as Sarah Churchill’s most recent biographer, is: “Did they or didn’t they?” …

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FIRST you fall in love with the title. You imagine mismatched pieces of fragile china, translucent, in delicate greens and floral pinks. Your mind hand-feeds you memories of sweet petit fours, frosted pastel lavender and yellow, you smell jasmine tea steeping in a perfectly shaped tea pot, steam blooming from the spout like fragrant ghost petals.

Then …

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GAY PENITENTS would have found Fra Luigi Sinistrari an understanding confessor, in spite of all that scary talk about torture and flogging and burning at the stake. When you get past the fierce rhetoric of the Inquisition, you find a childlike innocence and the gentle spirit of Saint Francis. It runs contrary to stereotype, but Fra Luigi was a kindly old inquisitor. …

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THE TITLE of Brian Teare’s debut volume of poetry, The Room Where I Was Born, proves apt: it is indeed about origins, about confronting how the room, house, family, town, and finally trauma of our childhood can shape our relationship to self, language, and even our view of history. …

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The “Hawaiian Renaissance” began in the 1970’s as a rediscovery of the Islands’ native cultural heritage and a revival of the Hawaiian language, arts, and hula. And yet, all this revitalization of the past has strangely overlooked one little-known component of Hawaiian culture before European contact: its blatantly bisexual and homosexual social institutions. …

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… In Liquor, Poppy Z. Brite has set out to chronicle the lives of some New Orleans residents in a more realistic way than most other writers, including Brite herself, have done in the past. …

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“The Women’s Movement is a historical and cultural necessity. Homosexuality is a historical and cultural necessity, and homosexuality is an obvious and natural bridge between man and woman.” With this pronouncement in a speech delivered just one century ago, in Germany, Anna Rüling became the first known lesbian activist. …

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CIVIL WARS is a chronological account of Vermont’s landmark adoption of a law mandating civil unions in December 1999. …

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… In William Burroughs and the Secret of Fascination, a critical study of Burroughs’s early writings, Oliver Harris attempts to map out new critical territory around the career of this unique writer. …

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