Browsing: Ransacking History

January – February, 2011

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“PHOTOGRAPHY is a kind of primitive theater, a kind of tableau vivant,” Roland Barthes remarked, shifting attention away from the medium’s significance as an evolutionary event in the history…More

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NEARLY 200 YEARS AGO, the French novelist Honoré de Balzac created a remarkable character, Vautrin, a charming, hyper-masculine master criminal, and a man who loves men. In three of Balzac’s most popular novels, an important part of the plot turns on Vautrin’s love for an exceptionally handsome, much younger man …

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YOU CAN GET TO Hide/Seek, the groundbreaking exhibit of gay art at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington D.C., which runs through February 13, 2011, in one of two ways. The first is down a corridor lined with photographs of Elvis Presley. The second is through an exhibit called The Search for Justice displaying black civil rights figures, Earl Warren, and two white feminists.

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GEORGE GORDON, LORD BYRON (1788–1824) was the reigning male sex symbol of the early 19th century. His sporadic personal beauty (alternating between plumpness and emaciation), his flamboyant lifestyle, and his real and imagined affairs with women all fed the image. But Byron’s love life also included males. His bisexuality was known, not only within his own close circle, but “on the street.”

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THE “REVULSION LETTER” is on its way to the Supreme Court. Triggered by gay and lesbian Americans picketing the White House in 1965, and hidden away in the attic of pioneer gay civil rights activist Frank Kameny until he donated it to the Library of Congress in 2006, this single-spaced, three-page letter established a viciously discriminatory federal policy toward homosexuals that lasted for decades.

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Takes on news of the day.

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Joan Schenkar is an award-winning wrier and dramatist (see her website at “http://www.joanschenkar.com/). In the following interview, conducted in person last October, she comments on the strange life and even stranger psychology of a novelist whose stories have enthralled millions of readers.

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THE FALL OF 2010 saw a number of widely publicized teen suicides linked to anti-gay bullying across the country. The national GLBT community responded with candlelight vigils, “die-in’s,” and heartfelt homemade videos promising at-risk young people that “It Gets Better.” Kudos to Dan Savage for launching this project; still, it is difficult to lay healing hands on an isolated population through YouTube.

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WHEN FUTURE GENERATIONS look back on gay liberation’s role in the greater creation of human consciousness, and what ideas helped shepherd civilization from its most primitive tendencies to more noble evolutionary possibilities, they will, in my opinion, have to spend substantial time studying the Radical Faerie movement, which was launched in 1979.

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