Browsing: Heroes and Martyrs

January – February, 2012

Malcolm X
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TWO MAJOR BIOGRAPHIES about larger-than-life 20th-century political figures were published this year, Great Soul: Mahatma Gandhi and His Struggle with India, by Joseph Lelyveld, and Malcolm X, by Manning Marable. The subjects of the books share a common destiny, although not contemporaneously, as victims of assassination, and both became global legends dedicated to the struggle for human rights on different continents …

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EARLY in Gore Vidal’s novel The City and the Pillar is a scene that gay men who have read the book remember vividly. Two close friends, Bob and Jim, have gone camping. Bob graduated from high school the day before; Jim is a year behind him. As night falls, the two boys, both athletes, remove their shirts and wrestle. Their contact suddenly turns sexual, and Vidal, in ‘poetic’ language, implies that both reach orgasm. Afterwards, embarrassed, they repudiate the ‘kid stuff” that just happened, but through the rest of the novel Jim, who is gay, will search for Bob, who is not. Much of Recruiting Young Love, Mark Jordan’s seventh book on religion and homosexuality, is encapsulated in this scene.

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ON AUGUST THIRD, 2011, Rudolf Brazda passed away at age 98 in a nursing home in the northeast of France. In December of 2008, the French gay magazine Têtu heralded Brazda, who survived three years at Buchenwald concentration camp, as “Le dernier ‘triangle rose.’”* After the passing of Pierre Seel, a survivor of the camp Schirmeck-Vorbrück, Brazda became the last documented survivor of the Nazi persecution of homosexuals. …

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… Mixner’s stories from Turkey Hollow will be of interest to those who wish to learn more about his illustrious political career. Harvey Milk, Bill Clinton, Paul Newman, and numerous other political figures and celebrities pepper Mixner’s reminiscences. …

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RATHER than attempt a roundup of the year’s major events, the editors would like to highlight one event that stands out as a major milestone: the United Nations Human Rights Council’s adoption of a resolution last June 17 on violence and discrimination against GLBT people. …

What follows is the introductory statement for the resolution by South African Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador J. M. Matjila.

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THE POLITICS OF ILLINOIS from the 1830’s to 1850’s can provide a good case study of attitudes toward gays-partly because the region was then a part of the American West, where political discussion was almost unrestrained, and partly because participants included some of the most famous characters in American history.

Stephen Douglas, Abraham Lincoln’s famous political adversary and debating opponent, could be quite uninhibited in public in his physical contact with men. …

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… Author Wesley Gibson follows eight characters through great personal transitions, which are staged in the deep South in 1969. …

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… In his fourth book, Fork on the Left, Knife in the Back (Vantage Point), [Michael] Musto rants about the celebrity culture to which he has harnessed his career, waxing philosophical on everyone from Grace Jones and Madonna to Sarah Silverman and Lindsay Lohan. …

I spoke with Michael Musto by phone from New York last October.

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Sebastian Leslie
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… Saint Sebastian: From Martyr to Gay Starlet was on display last fall at Friday Cottage Art Space, a gallery in one of Columbia’s historic downtown homes. Scheduled to open as part of a week of events leading up to the South Carolina Pride Festival in early September, the show featured the work of García-Lemos and Pierce, as well as work by media and performance artist Santiago Echeverry (from Tampa, Florida), filmmaker Betsy Newman, and a poet, to wit this writer. Other local artists contributed work as the project gained momentum. …

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