Browsing: Winter Reading

November – December, 2008

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AS A BIOLOGIST, I have found the arguments against same-sex marriage

misguided—not because the evidence hints at homosexuality being based,

at least in part, on biological roots, but because the same arguments

that are used to keep same-sex marriage illegal could also be applied

to some ostensibly opposite-sex marriages. It may be shocking for some

people to hear that the sex and gender of every individual in our

population does not fit into a conventionally defined box that can be

labeled “male” or “female.”

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THE COVER of Terence Kissack’s book depicts a rainbow flag overlaid with the portraits of Benjamin Tucker, Alexander Berkman, Emma Goldman, John William Lloyd, and Leonard Abbott-five important figures within the American anarchist movement during the early years of the 20th century.

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Michael may have lost a small part of his audience after the arrest, but gay and straight fans alike turned out to see him perform on his recent tour celebrating the 25th year of his recording career.

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THE HEART of this little book is a 72-page essay, Poulenc’s Priest, by the British novelist Paul Bailey. The title stems from an anecdote about the gay composer Francis Poulenc that appeals to Bailey’s “sense of what is right and wrong”: “[Poulenc] confessed to his priest that he’d had a sexual encounter in a park with a stranger, and the priest-exasperated-stopped him short with the admonition: …

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THE PASSING of Larry Townsend on July 29th at the age of 77 has robbed the gay, lesbian, and leather communities of one of their pioneering writers, editors, and publishers. Larry Townsend-which was a pseudonym, as it turns out-is perhaps best known as the author of the erotic novel Run Little Leather Boy and of The Leatherman’s Handbook.

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Commentary on current events

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IN A POEM called “The Dump,” one of the last published by the late Thom Gunn, he describes a dream in which he wanders around a lifetime’s worth of ephemera left behind by a departed friend and fellow author. He sees vast mounds of paper, collections of every note and draft and manuscript the writer ever produced. But he also peruses the more common refuse of the man’s life: “I went in further and saw/ a hill of match covers / from every bar or restaurant/ he’d ever entered.” I thought of this poem as I read Donald F. Reuter’s Greetings from the Gayborhood, because …

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DEL MARTIN, whose name was inextricably tied to that of her life partner, Phyllis Lyon, for 55 years, died on August 27 in San Francisco at the age of 87, after several years of declining health. The couple was married in San Francisco in early 2008, the first couple to be hitched officially after the California Supreme Court overturned the state’s ban on same-sex marriage.

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