Browsing: March-April 2007

March-April 2007

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PUBLIC OPINION on same-sex marrage and adoption show enormous variation from one European country to the next, according to a large-scale survey that covered all 25 current members of the European Union (EU), two countries in the process of joining, and two candidate countries. For all of the countries surveyed, under half of the sample populations favored same-sex marriage and a third approved of gay adoptions, but this finding may be misleading in light of this high level of variance.

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THE IMAGE you see below was the first page of my biography at my website, TomBianchi.com. for the last seven years. This short version of my life from birth to graduation from law school told what I saw as most relevant about who I am. Recently, the company that provides banking services to my site (they collect membership subscriptions) informed me that this was a picture of an underage person and had to be removed. A law known as 18 U.S.C. 2257 has made companies like my banking agent the censoring instruments of the State. I was told that any representation of any kind of a minor is banned if it is associated with an “adult” site. Period.

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AFTER SEVENTEEN YEARS as an activist for the American Civil Liberties Union in San Francisco, Marcia Gallo started graduate school at the City University of New York, working with Martin Duberman and other luminaries at the center for lesbian and gay studies. Ten years later, at the age of 55, Marcia has published the results of her research, Different Daughters: A History of the Daughters of Bilitis and the Rise of the Lesbian Rights Movement.

The DOB was the first lesbian organization in the U.S., founded by Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin in San Francisco in 1955. Taking its name from the lesbian-themed “Songs of Bilitis” by French poet Pierre Louÿs, the DOB would soon start publishing a monthly magazine, The Ladder, which helped organize a national lesbian readership and eventually a political movement. Gallo’s book, which is the first full-length history of the DOB, is based on the author’s intensive archival research and interviews with surviving members of the group.

I conducted this interview with Marcia in my apartment in Manhattan in November 2006. – Sarah Schulman

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CHRISTINE M. CANO begins her fascinating book on just how Proust’s novel was published with a remark by Anatole France that seems doubly cruel, considering that Proust had once considered France his mentor: “Life is too short, and Proust is too long.” However, that is how many people regarded In Search of Lost Time when Proust tried to find a publisher for his enormous manuscript in the fall of 1912.

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BRITISH QUEER CINEMA? What’s that? This substantial collection of academic essays appears under a title that is less self-evident than it may appear, in respect of all three of its terms.

Pretty much all the contributors are obliged to discuss the knotty term “queer,” conceding that the word has invariably been applied to Amer-ican and continental European filmmaking, with the single exception of the late Derek Jarman’s oeuvre. They make such a meal of this rather unnecessary problem-establishing what “queer” is, and/or insisting it can’t be defined, and then meas-uring selected movies against sundry definitions and non-definitions-that the reader simply wants to say: “Get on with it!” Ultimately, characters, actors, directors, and writers are shunted under collective umbrella terms such as “lesbian/gay/ queer” anyhow. Everything I found interesting in these pieces had nothing to do with abstract or definitional crises.

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JUST AT A MOMENT when the study of gay history and literature is flourishing, social critics have declared the death of the GLBT subculture due to the rapid assimilation of gay people, especially those born after Stonewall. The last major gay civil rights battle, marriage, should be won within a generation. Does this mean that the hidden gay worlds some of us inhabited well into the 1970’s are now nothing more than artifacts to be studied? Or do stories from those years resonate with a human significance beyond time and place and circumstance? These questions are raised by Brett Josef Grubisic’s ambitious first novel, The Age of Cities.

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