Browsing: March-April 2010

March-April 2010

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Writing a memoir is fundamentally a ritualizing experience, a literary rite-of passage that tends to occur when a writer is facing—and challenging thereby—the implacability of mortality. Gore Vidal wrote that Tennessee Williams “could not possess his own life until he had written about it.” Of his own life, Vidal snarled when asked if he would be remembered, “I don’t give a god-damn.” In a more contemplative mood, he once mused, “As for life? Well, that is a hard matter. But it was always a hard matter for those of us born with a sense of the transiency of these borrowed atoms that make up our corporeal being.”

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Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisconsin) took the lead in formulating this letter to President Museveni of Uganda when that country’s parliament was considering a bill to make homosexuality a capital crime. The same group of legislators sent a similar letter to President Obama urging him to act on this matter.

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At various points in 2009—during gay pride month in June, at the October 11th march on Washington, among others—various media outlets eagerly reported criticism of President Obama by some gay leaders. The September 2009 Advocate ran on its cover a campaign image of a despondent looking Obama; in place of the word “Hope” was the question “Nope?”

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As is our custom, we pay our respects-belatedly this year-to some of the prominent writers, artists, and activists from the GLBT community who left us during the past year.

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Disillusionment set in for the GLBT movement even before Barack Obama took office. The incoming President’s decision to accord a central role in his inauguration to the fundamentalist Rev. Rick Warren suggested that reaching out to the religious right was a higher priority for the new administration than GLBT inclusion. The Obama Inaugural Committee’s last-minute choice of openly gay Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson to deliver the invocation at an inaugural concert failed to allay concerns when his appearance was mysteriously left out of the television coverage. Civil rights advocates were also disappointed that highly qualified, openly gay candidates were passed over in the selection of the President’s cabinet. Openly gay Rep. Barney Frank’s optimistic assertion that GLBT people would now be part of America’s governing class was already ringing hollow by Inauguration Day.

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For older GLBT adults and others concerned with aging issues as they affect our community, the progress we need in federal policy is in some ways a matter of simply “getting to neutral.” Of course, there is nothing simple about it.

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Reviews of Beauty Salon, Andy Warhol by Arthur C. Danto, and And Baby Makes More: Known Donors, Queer Parents,and Our Unexpected Families.

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June 28,1969. In the early morning hours, police raid a mafia-run Greenwich Village bar named the Stonewall Inn that catered to an assortment of patrons including drag queens, transgendered people, homeless youth, middle class gays, and hustlers. …

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