Browsing: Stonewall Hits the Big 4-0

July – August, 2009

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ON SEPTEMBER 22, 1975, Sara Jane Moore tried to kill Gerald Ford. It

was not Ford’s life that changed that day; he would go on, only a few

minutes off schedule, back to Washington. It was the man standing next

to Moore, Oliver Sipple, an overweight, 33-year-old gay man, who would

be changed forever by the assassination attempt.

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PERFORMER AND AUTHOR Staceyann Chin made her debut two months early, as she explains in this new memoir. Her mother, Hazel, who claimed that she didn’t know she was with child, gave birth on the floor of their small, rented house in Lottery, Jamaica, in her seventh month of pregnancy.

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IN LIGHT OF the myriad books about Bette Davis that are out there, one might question the need for another look at the grande dame of the big screen and her body of work. But author Peter McNally would rightly disagree, having written an exhaustive and even original book about the legendary actress’s most memorable turns.

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… Moz (as he’s known by his legion of queer-friendly fans) has found a reason to believe. And yet, in his newly released album, Years of Refusal, he sings that “only stone and steel accept my love.”

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… In the aftermath of an unexpected death, the surviving spouse faces a jumble of legal responsibilities, emotional reactions, and practical considerations. At 42, I never expected to find myself planning a memorial service for the 39-year-old love of my life. …

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IN THE FORTY YEARS since the Stonewall Rebellion, an event that achieved legendary status almost before it was over, its power as a symbol has continued to rise more or less unabated. Four decades later-after two books, one film, several radio documentaries, countless articles and news stories; after hundreds of gay events and organizations named in its honor; and after becoming the first gay and lesbian site to be designated a national historic landmark-Stonewall retains its power to fascinate and inspire.

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The movement that followed Stonewall represented a sharp break with the past; the impact over time would transform the world in ways unimaginable to earlier activists. What’s more, scale of change over the ensuing forty years has been breathtaking. What, then, was so special about Stonewall?

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