Browsing: Venerability

January-February 2007

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This article first appeared on Jill Johnston’s website (www.jilljohnston.com) as her “Johnston Letter” for September 2006 (volume 2, number 3).

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There is much in Jennings’ book that I admire. He deftly sifts through existing scholarship to recover the terms and forms of ancient Israel’s worship of a “hypermasculine divinity” whose ravishing of his male followers provided a model both for the warrior-leader’s sexual relations with his male attendant and for the healer’s cure of the sick through the infusion of phallic energy. Likewise, he shrewdly analyzes the transvestite implications of the Chosen People being repeatedly imaged as a lovesick or adulterous female yet invariably represented by a male hero like Moses and Jacob, whose wrestling with the Lord becomes a form of rape …

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GLBT ELDERS experience a number of particular concerns as they age. In a recent study (Shippy, et al., 2001), three in four gay elders reported not being completely open about their sexual orientation to healthcare workers. Discrimination following disclosure of sexual orientation has been reported in nursing homes and senior centers. Social Security and retirement plan regulations deny gay elders access to funds from systems they pay into throughout their working lives, but cannot access due to the unequal treatment of same-sex couples.

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Short reviews of Women with Mustaches and Men Without Beards, Independent Queer Cinema, and Putnam Camp.

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FIFTY. I stretch all I’ve got around it, but barely grasp its half. I thought that cresting at the half-century mark might spark a wrenching essay or clever poem but, so far, the whole thing leaves me flat. Another Monday. Another Monday at the office. Another paycheck on Wednesday I’ll spend on … let’s see … pen refills, shaving cream, jam, and another dozen legal pads that somehow seem to be disappearing with alarming regularity. My pharmaceuticals are due for a refill too, and are pricey, but I can’t have my blood pressure spiking or my gastrics acting up. Certainly not on my birthday. …

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JOHN CAMERON MITCHELL has discovered a secret and he wants to share it with you. It is this: sex is good for what ails you. Whatever your problem-loneliness, a failed marriage, crippling shyness coupled with voyeurism, repressed lesbianism, suicidal depression-all you have to do is go to a sex club, have a few heart-to-heart conversations, watch some drag performers, and get laid; and then life will be rosy.

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INTERGENERATIONAL RELATIONSHIPS—those in which the two partners are at least twenty years apart—seem to thrive in the gay male world, greatly surpassing the corresponding rate of occurrence in the straight world. It’s a phenomenon that many people have noticed informally, though there isn’t much hard data to confirm its existence or its prevalence.

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NORTHERN GERMAN market towns don’t get much more idyllic and sleepy than Schwerin. All that changed this last summer when the authorities agreed to stage this, the first exhibition dedicated to Hitler’s favorite sculptor. This latter fact guaranteed there would be controversy: the exhibit’s curator Rudolf Conrades defended the show on the grounds that people deserved a chance to see the works, many of which were custom-designed for the Führer’s extensive building projects. Still, the manner of their presentation caused outrage in Germany’s artistic circles.

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IN 1950, playwright André Gide wrote that “in the theater, homosexuality is always a false accusation, never a fact of life.” Vincente Minnelli’s film Tea and Sympathy, which opened on movie screens fifty years ago last fall, revolves around precisely such a false accusation. Rumor and innuendo destroy the reputation of a student at a boys’ boarding school; the boy’s road to redemption challenges postwar conformity, group masculinity, and smothering mothers-but never, of course, the closet. …

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