With thanks to the trustees of the Monette-Horwitz Trust
Category Archives: Culture
NY Times Lesbian Alerts
Some editor in the Sunday edition of the Times Entertainment section ought to be slapped for allowing Allesandra Stanley's comments about Ellen Degeneres to get printed. I quote:
"Ellen Degeneres leaves no opportunity untapped, not even a few seconds of chat on "American Idol."
And then Ms. Allesandra goes immediately to a clever comment Ellen happened to make to Casey James about how, "for most women, their hearts are going to start racing just looking at you, right, but then for people like me…" She paused, holding the beat while judges and audience members tittered over the implied allusion to her being a lesbian. As the laughter swelled, Ms. Degeneres held up a finger, prolonging the joke with a knowing grin…delivered the punchline: "…blondes…"
Yeah…Allesandra?…that's called being clever. Not "taking every opportunity to make sure everyone knows she's a lesbian."
Frankly, the joke seems to be on Ms. Allesandra, who goes on to talk about how, whenever possible, Ellen makes comments about the performers outfits. And this is yet another way for her to make the point that she is a lesbian!
Really!? I mean really?…if only! Ellen is perhaps the most un-in-your-face gay person anyone would ever hope to see (or not hope to see, frankly). Honestly, I wish she was a lot more out about it all.
I'm sorry, but if that isn't outright, garden-variety homophobic (and some kind of me-thinks-she-doth-protest-too-much latency on Ms. Allesandra's part, one can only suspect) it's just plain stupid. And it is so typically hetero-stupid… Kara what's-her-name (had anyone ever heard of her before she was on this show?) is drooling all over blond boy-toy Casey James and no one seems to think that's making some kind of issue about her sexual preferences. She sits there and paws Simon Cowell and rubs up against him every few seconds or so. To say nothing of Simon making all kinds of homo innuendos to that Ken-doll cypher-host (I can never remember his name.) and no one's writing Sunday features about all the displays of heterosexual heat on American Idol.
But should Ellen make a comment about an outfit one of the performers is wearing (you know…like Randy Jackson manages to do every now and then with his 15 word vocabulary of "dog" "dude" "pitchy" "cool" and "you know what I'm sayin'?" and then he blurts out something about "the outfit you're working") and suddenly this is, in Ms. Allessandra's world "a quick way to remind the audience that [Ellen] is a lesbian."
Because, you know, only gay people are fashion conscious, right?My friend Jerry in Salt Lake City said he thought it was the kind of article he'd only see in the Salt Lake City papers, not the New York Times (which, for the record, didn't see fit to even use the term "gay" until 1987.)
Whatever. Someone needs to throw some cold water on Allessandra Stanley…I think she's getting the hots for Ellen.
What an utterly sophomoric piece of writing.
(left to right: Lola Pashalinski, Mario Montez, Linda Chapman)
theater scene from the early 1960s until the mid-1970s.
Presented by the NYU Tisch Department of Performance Studies
Mario Montez and Marc Siegel (he is a Berlin based archivist and found Mario in
Orlando Fl and invited him to the Berlin Film Festival when the Jack Smith documentary
was being shown in 2009…)
in conversation with Ela Troyano and Lola Pashalinski
Tuesday April 6th
7 to 8:30PM
34 Stuyvesant Street
The Barney Building
New York City
Seating is limited and is on a first come basis. Please arrive early.
This is a historical event .. two
authentic legends talking about the creation of underground theater ,,,off off
Broadway .. and the queerness of the Ridiculous Theater company etc.. Mario is
75 and Lola ageless so who knows when next they will be in the same place
chatting about history, He worked with Jack Smith and Warhol as well in Vain Victory, She was an original
Ridiculous Theater member and most recently played Gertrude Stein
Why Ricky Martin Matters
So a closeted Gay kid growing up in Caracas, Managua or Corpus Christi, Texas, just got another model for living his life openly. That model is Ricky Martin. And unlike the hundreds highlighted by our global media, Martin shares a language and culture with that closeted Gay kid.
Ricky Martin has come out of the closet and a lot of the commentary around the internet and blogosphere mirrored that of Nathan Lane's anti-climactic coming out years ago. I recall a comedian at that time commenting that Lane's disclosure amounted to "tea leaves" that did not need to be read. Certainly Lane, already known for playing flamboyantly Gay characters, didn't surprise many. But we brush these statements aside at our peril: the peril of hardening ourselves to jade. In Lane's case it was a long path that included a mother who reportedly told him she preferred him dead than gay. Lane came out when he could and that decision was his to make. He hurt no one by his timing. In Martin's case he has said he came out now because he has two kids and didn't want them to live with that kind of duplicity. On a side note I'm struck at how Martin, like another prominent singer long-rumoured to be Gay, chose to be honest because of his kids. I'm speaking of the American Idol contestant-singer Clay Aiken's who came out because he didn't want to lie to his children. It's as if they reached a threshold where the containment units of the closet couldn't hold anymore. I think we can all relate to that if we're honest.
But what many comments in the English language press (and internet) don't get is how much of a big deal Ricky Martin's coming out is for Latin America and for Latino GLBT people. I can't think of a popular Latin-American entertainer with Martin's track record to come out of the closet like this.
Now that last statement might hit some people in the United States as funny.
I realize that in the United States' he's basically known for Menudo and Livin La Vida Loca. But consider for a moment that Ricky Martin has sold more than 60 million albums in his career. Ponder that figure for a minute. Those are albums. Not singles. That's more albums than Christina Aguilera's sold worldwide. This isn't "Livin' La Vida Loca" one-hit wonder territory. He's an enormous star in most other parts of the world. In 1998 Martin was chosen to sing the anthem of the FIFA World Cup. That recording of "The Cup of Life"/"La Copa de la Vida" reached number one on the charts in 60 countries. I bet you've never heard this song before. Probably because the United States, not being a soccer-playing country, wasn't among those 60 countries. But this is all to say that he was a huge star in Latin America and Europe before he appeared in the American consciousness and continues to be for rest of the world.
Some of the response to his coming out reveals the real ignorance on the part of many people in this country about Latino subjects or continents beyond Europe and the Northern half of North America. And it's this lacuna of understanding by many in this country that reveals to me why his coming out is so important for Gay Latinos in this culture. It provides one proud out Gay person of color for those of us who are not helped by a monoracial or monocultural understanding of what it means to be gay. This paltry understanding was brought home for me a few days ago by a comment I read in response to Martin's coming out. Something to effect that the story made him hear Lucille Ball's voice intone "Riiicky" from the old "I Love Lucy" show. The "Ricky" in that case was the character of "Ricky Ricardo", played by Desi Arnaz. Not surprising really because in my experience as a Gay Latino man, I can attest to the fact that for many non-Latino people, gay and straight a like, there are few Latinos in the popular consciousness. If you're Cuban, your very existence evinces in word-association are to Ricky Ricardo/Desi Arnaz, or the Italian-American Al Pacino's Scarface impression. It's pretty much the same for other Latino nationalities. If you're Gay and Latino the circle pretty much shrinks to nothing.
A little side story to make my point: When I came out of the closet in that far-ago time of the early 1990s, my mother struggled mightily with the announcement. While she has come a long way and become supportive of me and my partner, at the time it was hard for her to come around to it. Certainly there was the religious bias and misinformation. But a big part of it was cultural. I've written before about the feeling my mother had that my being "Gay" was some weird American thing. Like a virus I'd picked up here. I believe the turning point for her was coming to understand what my "being Gay" meant. Which for her happened when she was able to connect my "being Gay" with the many Cuban intellectual and cultural figures she knew and loved. People like Ernesto Lecuona and Lezama Lima.
Looking at the public impressions of out Gay culture at the time my mother could be forgiven for thinking that there were no Gay Latinos in existence. I can only remember Pedro Zamora, the Latino character on MTV's The Real World who had HIV and became an AIDS educator. The situation hasn't improved that much in the insuing years. For someone of Ricky Martin's starpower to come out makes a difference for people trying to ground their understanding of what it means to be Gay in a Latino context.
I also love the fact that Ricky Martin came out of his own accord. There was no George Michael-like tea-room sting, no spurned lover suing him for support. Martin chose his own moment to speak his own truth. He also wrote eloquently about his timing and his decision to be honest. I'll let his own words speak for themselves:
"Many people told me: 'Ricky it's not important,' 'it's not worth it,' 'all the years you've worked and everything you've built will collapse,' 'many people in the world are not ready to accept your truth, your reality, your nature.' Because all this advice came from people who I love dearly, I decided to move on with my life not sharing with the world my entire truth. Allowing myself to be seduced by fear and insecurity became a self-fulfilling prophecy of sabotage. Today I take full responsibility for my decisions and my actions,"
Know that these eloquent statements have been translated and read and talked about in Spanish throughout Latin America. So a closeted Gay kid growing up in Caracas, Managua or Corpus Christi, Texas, just got another model for living his life openly. That model is Ricky Martin. And unlike the hundreds highlighted by our global media, Martin shares a language and culture with that closeted Gay kid. Martin has created music that this closeted kid and his family have danced to for years. Martin has been a source of pride for Latino people — you don't get the FIFA gig for being some washed up musician. A lot of Gay Latino people just received a point of pride and identification of sorts. May he emboldened more people to come out of the closet and live openly. This is an incredibly important thing that has just happened.
Good for him.
Put A Ring On It
I think this about tops every other version:
A Skeptic Comes Out
People may or may not be aware of the magician and professional skeptic, The Amazing Randi, but he has recently decided to come out and we think it's a fascinating conversation…listen here. He comes out as a gay man and has a rather nice conversation about it with the interviewer. He has always been a personal favorite of mine, a debunker of scams shams and magical thinking, including the $1,000,000 Paranormal Challenge...which has yet to be awarded.
I can't help but wonder if the caricature portrait of Arthur C. Clarke (another gay man and long-time White Crane subscriber) in the background on the right might be an old boyfriend?
The conversation in the interview takes some interesting turns when they posit that rationalism (i.e. non-deism) might be as powerful a tool in the gay rights struggle as assimilationist gay religiosity and gay "spirituality"; Both have an interest in debunking pseudo-science (i.e. Right Wing creationism). Here's the quote:
lot of cultural conservatives use a kind of pseudo
science to argue against gay wrights. And people who rail against pseudo science
should want to argue against it even if it has to do with culture war
questions like gay rights. Cultural conservatives use junk science to
argue that gay parenting leads to mentally ill children.
They use fake
science to argue that being gay is not natural; that homosexuality
is an aberration when in fact you find it widely among many different
species. So, in a real way I think gay issues are skeptic's issues."
D.J. Grothe, President of the James Randi Educational Foundation, the
international educational non-profit founded by celebrated social critic
and activist James Randi.
The Monette-Horwitz Trust Award
We're pleased to announce…heck, we're tickled pink…that White Crane has been honored by The Monette-Horwitz Trust with their 2010 award. Along with co-honoree, RFD, White Crane is acknowledged by the Trust as reader-written-and-produced
quarterlies celebrating queer diversity. White Crane is celebrating 20 years of publishing; RFD is celebrating 35 years.
Other honorees this year include activist and author, Leslie Feinberg, the oral history film project Impact Stories, the civil rights group Iraq LGBTQ, the Reverend Eric P. Lee, President of the Los Angeles Chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the Indian NGO AIDS care organization The NAZ Foundation.
The Trust has been presenting these awards for the past twelve years.
We're pleased and honored to be in such company.
Writer, Paul Monette and his lover, attorney Roger Horwitz, moved from Boston to Los Angeles in 1977. Both men were strongly associated with the LGBT activities of that city until their deaths. Horwitz succumbed to HIV-AIDS in 1896, which inspired Monette to write his groundbreaking memoir, Borrowed Time (1988). Monette went on to win the National Book Award for Becoming A Man: Half A Life Story (1992) and dedicated himself to the writing and activism for which he will remain known, capturing in poetry, prose and public speaking the hopes dreams and rage of a generation of gay men.
Time For The Stick
Sex & The City. Indeed.
Rock For Equality
Rock for Equality is a national event to demand equal Social Security benefits for LGBT Americans. This year there will be a rally on April 11th in Los Angeles to demand equal benefits for LGBT seniors.
Please join us in raising awareness about one of the most under recognized and harshly consequential issues in the LGBT movement! Join us at www.rockforequality.org
Queer The Census
Okay. We know it's a little clichéd – but here's what we want to tell the Census: We're here. We're queer. And we want you to ask us about it.
It's crazy – the Census wants an accurate count of everyone in the country, and yet, there's NO question in the Census survey that asks if you are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender!
You read that right: LGBT people are basically invisible in THE survey that is designed to accurately reflect the diverse reality of America's population – and beyond being downright ridiculous, it's also a big problem.
The census isn't just a numbers game. The data collected every ten years has a direct impact on issues that are critical to every American – issues like health care, economic stability and safety. Census data tells us where we live and how we create family. And when LGBT people are not counted, then we also don't count when it comes to services, resources … you name it.
The good news is that you and I can do something about it. It's time to Queer the Census! Join me and sign the petition from The Task Force urging the Census Bureau to make sure everyone is counted.
Visit Queer the Census to take action now.
Thanks for your help,