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Sassy political buttons from the frontlines of the fight for LGBT rights
06:10 pm



“NOT TONIGHT, DEAR ... IT’S A FELONY” pinback, c. 1990
One of the most invigorating struggles of our time has been the fight to secure dignity and legal protection from the law for people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans (LGBT). In the modern era, the history of gay awareness can be said to start with Oscar Wilde, and the progressive engagement for human rights has had many ups and downs, the rambunctious disco/bath-house 1970s followed by the harrowing advent of AIDS in the early 1980s.

The last 12 years or so has seen AIDS somewhat corralled by the medical community as well as the institutionalization of gay marriage in the federal legal code. A wide array of figures played key roles over the decades, including Quentin Crisp, Harvey Milk, Rock Hudson, Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner, Divine, Brad Davis, Martina Navratilova, Andy Warhol, Ron Vawter, Ellen DeGeneres, Ru Paul and Keith Haring.

The LGBT History Archive keeps active accounts on Instagram and Tumblr, and even the briefest perusal of either yields an emotionally resonant wave of memories and associations. Only a small percentage of the images posted there are buttons, but over time it adds up—there are many more where these came from

The struggle continues to this day, as legal rulings are issued addressing the right of trans people to use restrooms of the appropriate gender (unfortunately largely as backlash to the progressive position). As I say, the fight continues.

“BATMAN & ROBIN” pinback, design by Randy Wicker, c. 1969

“FUCK YOU I’M GAY” pinback, c. 1974
More after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Love Saves the Day: An interview with the legendary NYC club pioneer and DJ David Mancuso
07:02 am


David Mancuso
The Loft

As if 2016 didn’t suck enough already, Monday night saw the passing of one of the most influential (yet unheralded) figures in late 20th century popular culture. That man’s name was David Mancuso, and if you’ve ever danced to great records on a great sound system in a room full of smiling people and thought “could Heaven ever be as good as this?” then David Mancuso is the person you have to thank.

Mancuso, a one-time follower of LSD guru Timothy Leary structured his parties into three stages, and borrowing from The Tibetan Book Of The Dead (as Leary had for his guided LSD sessions) he termed them “Bardos”:

“The first Bardo would be very smooth, perfect, calm. The second Bardo would be like a circus. And the third Bardo was about re-entry, so people would go back into the outside world relatively smoothly.”

The parties Mancuso started throwing in his Manhattan home in 1970–which eventually picked up the moniker “The Loft”—are the absolute ground zero for dance culture as we know it today. This isn’t some hyperbolic statement: practically every one of the great NYC DJs who emerged during the 1970s and 80s—from Larry Levan to Frankie Knuckles to Danny Krivit to Kool Herc to Afrika Islam to David Morales to Junior Vasquez to Danny Tenaglia—are indebted in one way or another to Mancuso’s work (many being regular attendees at his Loft parties). And that’s just the DJs. Plenty of club owners were inspired to open their own nightclubs after visiting The Loft, often with the same shared values as Mancuso’s: peace, love, unity and diversity. While music was the main focus, socially the Loft was incredibly mixed. From day one the majority of the patrons were both homosexual and non-white. The freedom that could be found on The Loft’s dancefloor helped attendees fully express their (often marginalized) personalities, bond with people from both their own social circles and further afield, and helped them shape a vision together of the kind of world they would like to live in once the party had ended and they had left Mancsuo’s home. All to a spellbinding soundtrack carefully chosen by Mancuso himself, music that would later be classified as “disco,” but which was, in reality, simply the very finest in funk, soul, jazz, rock and electronica.

I was lucky enough to meet and interview David Mancuso, for my Discopia fanzine, back in 2003. He had recently come out of a period of relative inactivity, and was touring the world, trying to set up each and every venue he played in to be as close as possible to his New York home. I met him in Glasgow’s CCA, in between testing out the specially-hired audiophile event PA and beginning to blow up the hundreds of balloons that would become his party’s’ signature decoration. What follows is an abridged version of that interview, and while I would have liked for there to have been a happier occasion for digging this talk out and dusting it off, it’s still a fitting tribute to a man who changed not just my own life, but the lives of countless others. Rest in peace, David!

Dangerous Minds: You’ve been DJing for a long time. What is it that makes you still want to do it?

Mancuso: Well, actually, that was the last thing I wanted to do! And to this day it’s the thing that scares me the most.

What, DJing?!

Mancuso: Yeah. I mean it’s not something I fantasized about or wanted to do. But as I started doing my own parties I sort of found where I could be the most help. Also I was into sound systems, so there was a whole relationship there. But the DJ part of it really, and not to be vague, but the music really plays us. Really it’s an opportunity where one can shed their ego. Sort of like having an out of body experience. So I feel there’s a responsibility with the sound, with certain aspects and so forth, that I can contribute to.

Is it still going in New York?

Mancuso: Yeah, I’m about to do my 33rd anniversary. I don’t do it as frequently, as I don’t have a permanent location. The last four or five years the rents and things have gotten so astronomical and the parties are not designed to make a lot of money, okay? And I’m not into having a bar. It’s a very private, very personal thing that’s me and my friends. That’s what this is all about, it’s not about being a club. It’s not out there in the commercial world. The music relates to all these situations, yes, but it’s a very personal thing.

Can you tell me a bit about the sound system and how it is set up?  

Mancuso: Well basically it’s set up around the fundamentals of physics, of sound. And this is not magic, some kind of formula for having, you know, a really great sound system. It’s not about that at all. It is set up and designed to be honest and respectful to the music. You wanna hear the music not the sound system. Usually what happens is, you’ve probably seen this yourself, they put four stacks up, then face them toward the middle.


Mancuso: Well that’s just not how things work. Your voice is coming from there, my voice is coming from here… You get my point? It’s not coming from [over there], there’s not two more of us. But that’s a formula people have used and in some cases they just don’t know, but it’s got nothing to do with music standards. I mean if you take two flashlights and you switch two beams at each other they cancel.

So you start with the centre ‘cos there’ll be three speakers. The centre channel is mono. It has a lot to do with the vocals. You come down the room, and there’s two more, one in each corner. Then two on the sides which are delayed, but reinforce the sound. So whatever the artist is doing [it replicates], just as my voice is travelling from this point down that room as if you were sitting down there and vice versa. You relay exactly what’s happening. It’s all mathematics. So it’s set up to be as though there people, standing there playing instruments.

An action man styled as David Mancuso by Reggie Know
Over here [UK] we get told a lot about certain clubs and the Loft is one of them…

Mancuso: Correction, it’s not a club, please! Sorry, I got a little out of hand…

That’s okay.

Mancuso: ...but once you start going in that direction you start getting away from what the Loft is all about. I mean I’m here on a tour, but this is not the Loft. First of all the Loft is a feeling. While there are certain aspects that reflect the Loft and how it develops, it’s not the same. The name “The Loft” itself is not a name I gave it, it’s a given name. People eventually started saying that, ‘cos what is it? Oh, it’s my house! This is not about the club scene. I find some of them are really good, but that’s not what this is about. Sorry, I’m not trying to give you a hard time.

No that’s cool, it is a distinction that need to be made. But in terms of the clubs that people hear about over here, especially the New York stuff like the Paradise Garage and the Gallery, did you go to any of them?

Mancuso: Yeah, of course. I mean, I know Nicky [Siano] very well,  I knew Mike Brody very well, I knew Larry [Levan] very well, and the bar for quality as far as a sound system goes was much higher. Part of what the Loft did was contribute to that. People started, in about ’73, opening up other lofts and things, and they had to have a good sound system ya’know. So that’s one of the things the Loft has done. But these days the quality has gone down, in a lot of situations.

In terms of general quality?

Mancuso: Yeah, be it musical, or less musical. I mean you ever go into a place and you can’t make out the words, or you can make out some of them? It should be very precise.

Continues after the jump…

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
A new super-gay video game challenges you to wash a guy’s back in the gym showers
10:44 am


video games

Video game designer Robert Yang has has quite the homoerotic resume. He developed Cobra Club, the game where you try to alter a dick pic to optimum beauty, and Stick Shift, a game where you pleasure your gay car. There’s the (consensual) spanking game, Hurt Me Plenty, and Succulent, where you watch a man fellate an popsicle. Rinse and Repeat is Yang’s latest, and it’s surprisingly subtle on the homoeroticism (relatively speaking). The object?  Wash a man’s back in the gym shower. That’s it. Just a super-gay locker room fantasy with a healthy dose of camp, and not half-bad graphics, either!

Yang lays out the scenario on his site thusly:

Was he in your Tactical Zumba class, or was it Blood Pilates? Usually you wouldn’t risk a shower right after class, they already talk enough shit about you, but the other day—a cough then a smirk and then a knowing glance, that’s all it ever takes until you start hoping against hope.

Don’t fuck it up. Show up when he’ll show up, right after class. Set multiple alarms on your phone, mark your calendar, clear your schedule. What is this terror? What is this ecstasy? What is it that fills you with this extraordinary excitement?... Boy, it’s the promise of a workout.

The whole thing is really funny and cheeky (get it?), right down to the aviator sunglasses your bathing buddy leaves on during his shower. You can download Rinse and Repeat here (for free!) and watch a preview below. All dicks are pixelated, but do I really need to tell you that it’s NSFW?

Via Kotaku

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
‘Never any sympathy for the wild ones’: Trans pioneer and Warhol superstar Holly Woodlawn is dying
10:20 am


Andy Warhol
Holly Woodlawn

Queer historians know Holly Woodlawn as a transgender pioneer and consummate wild child—she was once arrested in New York for impersonating the wife of the French Ambassador to the U.N. The art crowd knows her as a supremely talented Warhol superstar who gave amazing performances in both Trash and Women in Revolt. But Holly Woodlawn was most famously celebrated in the first lines of “Take a Walk on the Wild Side”:

Holly came from Miami F.L.A.
Hitch-hiked her way across the U.S.A.
Plucked her eyebrows on the way
Shaved her legs and then he was a she


Portrait of Holly Woodlawn by EP Holcomb

Despite her icon status, Woodlawn is unable to pay for her mounting medical expenses as her health deteriorates. The outlook is not good, but she doesn’t want to die in a nursing home, and hopes to return home with the help of donations. Performance artist and playwright Penny Arcade is running a crowdfunding campaign for 24-hour at-home care and eventual funeral expenses; you can contribute here. Arcade is quick to point out that, despite the recent visibility of trans people and trans issues, no one seems quite as interested in the foremothers of the movement and their unglamorous, real-world problems.

Many people have commented that they are waiting to see Caitlin Jenner, LaVern Cox or one of the other high profile transgendered people with high profile step up to call attention to Holly’s situation forgetting that most Hollywood people live far away from the reality of renegades like Holly and probably have not yet heard of Holly’s situation and may not..It may go straight to their dead mail! What I find far more curious is that cadre of so called Transactivists that make so much noise about words like Trannie or NightClubs with the word Tranny that were of our community and opened before they were in elementary school. Where is GLADD and other single issue organizations who love to be associated with trans issues when it suits them?

The truth is Holly is Beyond Theory and always has been…she lived her politics on the street with her body not on a velour couch with 8 people who took the same Gender studies class as her! Truth is: There’s never any sympathy for the wild ones.


You can read more about Holly in her amazing memoir, A Low Life in High Heels: The Holly Woodlawn Story. To catch a glimpse of her raw talent, see the clip below from Andy Warhol’s Trash. Woodlawn’s performance was so intense that the great director George Cukor petitioned the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to nominate her for best actress.

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
What if heterosexuals were a bullied minority?
04:21 pm




Why the hell were there no After School Specials like Love is All You Need? The short film by Kim Rocco Shields depicts an alternate reality where heterosexuality is a societal taboo. “Breeders” are denigrated, even the proud ones with pink and blue bumper stickers on their cars, harassed on a daily basis, constantly told they are going to hell and have disgusting, perverted, sinful lifestyles, and subjected to violence. The main character, Ashley, is a young girl who is horrified to realize that she is attracted to boys.

In her review of the film blogger Jennifer Coté said:

The world of this film is one in which the perfect nuclear family consists either of two moms or two dads, and any kid who dares to dream of a future that looks different from this runs the risk of merciless bullying. As you can probably guess from my description thus far, this short film carries some weighty messages about sexually-motivated bullying and suicides, but the fact that the story is set in an alternate universe somehow enables the flick to come off as neither preachy nor heavy handed…  This is to say: the way that writer Kim Rocco Shields thinks to put every heterosexual viewer into the shoes of a bullied kid is absolutely brilliant, and it left me itching to get this movie shown in schools everywhere.

Shields made the film a few years ago at the beginning of Dan Savage’s It Gets Better campaign to illustrate to flummoxed adults why so many LGBT preteens and teen-agers were committing suicide after being mercilessly bullied.

The Daily Californian’s Matthew Kirschenbaum took issue with the predominantly white suburban setting of the film:

First of all, it is important to recognize that the video portrays problematic (mis)appropriations of queer identity and unrepresentative portrayals of only white, middle-class folk. Still, it is beneficial because it puts sexuality-based oppression into a different lens — one for the oppressor to relate to. I don’t believe the target audience of the video is the queer crowd fighting for queer agenda and equality, but rather non-queers who are dubious of change.

The video implicitly advocates issues such as marriage equality and calls hatred into question. Personally, it took me a few minutes to realize what was really happening in the video, and it strikingly resembled something familiar to me, being one of those kids coming to realization. Although unfortunately extreme and dramatic, the common themes of bullying and realizing difference play out to highlight the opposers of queer agenda and their unjustified, harmful acts and sayings.

In an interview with Sonoma SunTV’s Rick Love Shields said:

Actually my first draft of the script, I wrote it for a little boy that was bullied, and I realized that our society is so used to seeing violence against men in general. Our society is very used to seeing violence, so I thought, well, what better way to open people’s eyes is to get a female protagonist who looks like the girl next door, who’s relatable in every way and show her being bullied as a boy would. So in one scene she is hit across the face by an older guy, and that happens to boys all the time. It brings awareness when you’re seeing it happen to a young girl.


Posted by Kimberly J. Bright | Leave a comment
Dusty Springfield bravely comes out as bisexual in ‘The Evening Standard,’ 1970
12:30 pm


Dusty Springfield

Damn straight
I adore Dusty Springfield—the voice, the pathos, the wigs, everything. But it wasn’t until I read Dusty!: Queen of the Postmods (amazing book, if you ever get the chance), that I learned about her affairs with women. That part wasn’t particularly shocking—she’s one of the great gay icons, though I assumed it was more due to her drag-ready femininity. I was, however, surprised to learn that her Sapphic tendencies were such an open secret. Of course, gossip mainly travels by whisper, and the scandalmongers often exaggerated her exploits, but Dusty’s love of the ladies was apparently quite common knowledge.

Kind of puts her appearance on The Dating Game in a whole new perspective, doesn’t it?

It wasn’t until a 1970 interview with Ray Connolly of The Evening Standard, that she decided to get candid and set the record straight. The interview is uncomfortable in places, partially because Dusty herself doesn’t seem totally comfortable with characterizing her sexuality—the language of “gay” and “bisexual” doesn’t really enter into it, and she certainly didn’t consider loving women a part of her identity at the time; she was a super-femme lady who also purported to desire men.

Tragically, Dusty’s career took a hard hit after the interview (Ironically, copping to his bisexuality was a huge boost for David Bowie’s career just two years later). Feeling hounded by the British press, she left for the US. For 15 years she didn’t have another hit, and her romantic life was incredibly turbulent. It wasn’t until a 1987 collaboration with Springfield super-fans Pet Shop Boys that her career got a boost again. She died of breast cancer in 1999, the day she was scheduled to receive the Order of the British Empire, and two weeks before her induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Dusty Springfield looks as though she’s playing at doctor-during-consulting-hours sitting in a white walled room at Philips Records, meeting the all and sundry members of the musical press.

I’ve never met her before, and the first thing she says is: ‘You’re sinister. Would you mind if I go to the loo before we start?’ And then with her tassles tinkling like summer 1967, she goes off down the corridor in a Mini-Ha-Ha embroidered suit, and wearing a great chunk of fancy iron and brass work around her neck which looks like something she might have pinched off a Russian Orthodox altar.

She’s thirty and hasn’t really had a big hit record for some quite considerable time. It’s a cliché but it’s true. Pop does have an awful lot of obsolescence hanging over it. She’s still singing as well as ever, dreamy and romantic, and I like her very much, but the public aren’t buying her records in the volume they used to.

Her new one is called ‘How Can I Be Sure?’ and was originally a hit in America for the Rascals. She’ll be surprised if it’s a hit for her in Britain.

‘That,’ she says, ‘comes from a backlog of doubts in myself because the last few records have gone wrong. And I’m always a bit surprised to sell records anyway. It would be a souring experience if I were not to have any more hits, but I would survive. It would be a test of character for me. I very seldom think about it, but if it did happen I’d probably get out unless I could find some other direction to go in. I don’t particularly want to be a cabaret type of entertainer. Whether or not I could be defeated into accepting that type of existence I don’t know.’

She’s plumper than I’d expected (‘I’m nine stone and I should be eight-two or eight-four. But I’m too lazy to bother about slimming’), and amazingly she still apparently buys her eyelashes by the yard, and mascara by the hundredweight. Her eyes aren’t as black as they were, she insists, looking short-sightedly through a pinkish coloured Perspex ruler at me.

‘This,’ she squints, ‘is the best colour in the world. It’s really erotic. I supposed I’ve got very erotic tastes. I like purple and magenta and all the tarty colours. I don’t wear them any more. I should go back to them because I’ve become very sedate. I’m all talk and no action. I’ve been very un-newsworthy recently. Haven’t been throwing any custard pies at anyone or anything.’

She was brought up a Catholic but never goes to Mass now. ‘It’s about six years since I made my Easter Duties. My mother’s going to love this. I still think that because I don’t go to confession I’m going to go to hell but I haven’t really done anything evil. I’m just lazy and self-indulgent.’

She’s a strange lady of contradictions. She wants me to send her a copy of an old Maureen Cleave article but she won’t give me her address. She never gives it, she insists, and then in the next breath tells me. She has a pretty, lumpy little face which looks best when she smiles. I notice she has a big shiny grey filling in her pre-molar bottom left. Her hair is the colour of dried leaves.

I think she’s a bit sad, but she says no, not at all. The last thing she wants is to be pitied. Only occasionally, when she needs someone to lean on is she lonely. Much of the time she shares her house with songwriter/painter Norma Tanega.

She is concerned that whatever I may ask her will make her sound conceited. So I suggest that she tells me her little vices, and with an enthusiasm which is almost self-destructive, she sets about it, giggling from time to time at her own ability to rattle me.

‘Well, I don’t pick my nose, but I burp like everyone else. I don’t cut my toe nails, but I pull at them and tear them off. And I’m promiscuous. Not often, but when I am, I really am. I’m not a nymphomaniac. In fact, I could do with a lot more action really. I think my laziness even spreads so far.

‘It’s an effort to be promiscuous. I don’t mean that I leap into bed with someone special every night, but my affections are easily swayed and I can be very unfaithful. It’s fun while it’s happening, but it’s not fun afterwards because I’m filled with self-recriminations. The truth is I’m just very easily flattered by people’s attentions, and after a couple of vodkas I’m even more flattered.’

She’s giggling a lot now. ‘I suppose to say I’m promiscuous is a bit of bravado on my part. I think it’s more in thought than in action. I’ve been that way ever since I discovered the meaning of the word. I used to go to confession and tell all my impure thoughts.’

Suddenly she becomes serious again, and begins to space her words out carefully and thoughtfully. ‘There’s one thing that’s always annoyed me – and I’m going to get into something nasty here. But I’ve got to say it, because so many other people say I’m bent, and I’ve heard it so many times that I’ve almost learned to accept it.

‘I don’t go leaping around to all the gay clubs but I can be very flattered. Girls run after me a lot and it doesn’t upset me. It upsets me when people insinuate things that aren’t true. I couldn’t stand to be thought of as a big butch lady. But I know that I’m as perfectly capable of being swayed by a girl as by a boy. More and more people feel that way and I don’t see why I shouldn’t.

‘There was someone on television the other night who admitted that he swings either way. I suppose he could afford to say it, but I, being a pop singer, shouldn’t even admit that I might think that way. But if the occasion arose I don’t see why I shouldn’t.

‘And yet, I get such a charge out of walking down a street and having a guy who’s digging the road give me a whistle. This business makes me feel very unwomanly sometimes and I love to be admired just for being a woman. I don’t feel masculine. If I did I’d have more drive. But being a woman is very precious to me, and that’s probably why I could never get mixed up in a gay scene because it would be bound to undermine my sense of being a woman.

‘I’ve had this reputation for years, but I don’t know how I got it. I’m always hearing that I’ve been to this gay club and that gay club. But I haven’t. I sometimes wonder if it would be nice to live up to my reputation.

‘I got raided the other day by the police. But they didn’t find any drugs. I’ve hardly ever smoked as a matter of fact. As it happens I think I know who tipped them off, and it relates to what I’ve been saying. There was a rather hysterical lady who was upset because I didn’t fancy her. I think it was her.’

She is not involved with anyone at the moment, and I wonder if she fears that she may never have a family.

‘I don’t know whether I want children or not,’ she says. ‘The urge to reproduce is always there, of course, but then I think “what for?” I probably wouldn’t be a terribly good mother. It would be great spasmodic moods of affection which don’t last and that wouldn’t be very stable.

‘I would like children psychologically and physically, although there’s something which stops me from just reproducing. But there has to be something more than what I do. There just has to be something more for me.’

I offer to take her home and out we go through the doors past the Philips records executives who smile and wave goodbye to their lady star in great hearty fashion.

‘D’you realise,’ she laughs, ‘what I’ve just said could put the final seal to my doom. I don’t know, though. I might attract a whole new audience.’

POSTSCRIPT Dusty Springfield was then, and remains, one of my favourite singers. She was one of the true witty originals of the Sixties with a beautiful voice and I hope she never regretted saying some of the things printed in this piece.

Via Ray Connolly

Below, Dusty doing “How Can I Be Sure?”

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
Emotional scene as trans teenager is crowned high school homecoming queen
11:28 am



According to the Los Angeles Times, Cassidy Lynn Campbell, a 16-year-old trans girl who attends Marina High School in Huntington Beach, was elected its 2013 homecoming queen. Campbell won the title on Friday night. When her win was announced at the football game’s halftime show, students in the bleachers chanted, “Cassidy! Cassidy!” and a numner of her friends rushed the stage to wrap her in a group hug.

Before the game started, Cassidy Campbell told the media assembled for the event that she wanted to make a statement:

“If I win it would mean that the school recognizes me as the gender I always felt I was. But with all the attention, I realized it’s bigger than me. I’m doing this for the kids who can’t be themselves.”

“She was stunned. She kind of broke down on the podium,” school district spokesperson Tom Delapp told the LAT. “She was shocked. She cried a lot.”

Cassidy told reporters after the ceremony:

“I was so proud to win, not just for me but for everyone out there, I think it really shows the progression of the times.”

Yes, it most certainly does!

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Golden Years: The world’s first LGBT retirement community—in the South of France
10:00 am



Imagine one of those annoying TV commercials for The Villages retirement community in Florida… but with fit, active, happy-looking, well-groomed, silver fox gay and lesbian couples frolicking in the sunshine, on golf courses, tennis courts, boats, and beaches.

The U.K.-based Villages Group (not connected to The Villages in Florida), has planned the world’s first LGBT-friendly retirement community, Le Village – Canal du Midi, in the South of France in Salleles-d’Aude near Narbonne. They received official permission to build a generic £20 million gated community of 107 eco-friendly homes for seniors this year, with a hotel, restaurant, bar, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, golf, saunas, gym, jacuzzis, tennis courts, housekeeping service, and concierge. That development didn’t receive much initial interest, thanks to the lackluster real estate market…that is, until the company added rainbow flags to the marketing literature and wording specifically targeting the British and French LGBT communities.

Then the inquiries started flooding in at thousands of e-mails a day.

It’s illegal in France to market solely to a particular sexual orientation, so the company was quick to point out that heterosexuals are welcome in the village. (This would make Le Village one of the few places where one could boast about being “the only straight in the village,” a la Little Britain).

The town’s mayor, Yves Bastie, who only learned about the change in marketing after the construction was approved, said he was “flabbergasted” and was worried the effect Le Village would have on the image of the town. On the other side, the secretary of the Association of Retired Gays (l’association Les Gais Retraités) disapproves of the idea of LGBT’s self-segregating. “Gays must fit into society and not go it alone.”

The outrage following France’s legalization of gay marriage this year and the fact that anyone is surprised by this brilliant marketing plan shows how deeply ingrained homophobia still is. And perfectly illustrates why an aging LGBT couple would want to choose such a place to retire.

Or, should I say, a rather wealthy retired LGBT couple: the house prices start at €236,000 (about $320,000), not including €70 ($95) weekly service charges.

The Villages Group’s promotional video for its “rainbow village,” below:

Posted by Kimberly J. Bright | Leave a comment
Meet Anton Kraskovsky, the brave Russian newscaster who came out on live television

Back in May, a Russian newscaster, Anton Kraskovsky, was fired from his job at KontrTV for coming out on live TV, on a government-backed cable network that Mr. Kraskovsky had in fact helped to launch himself. Video of his statement “I’m gay, and I’m just the same person as you, my dear audience, as President Putin, as Prime Minister Medvedev and the deputies of our Duma,” was posted and then immediately pulled down from both YouTube and KontrTV’s website. Then later they returned, apparently, with no explanation.

Kraskovsky told CNN that he knew he would lose his job for coming out. Via The Advocate:

“Somebody should do it,” he said. “I decided it’s time to be open for me. That’s it.”

He told that he felt like a hypocrite after covering the so-called gay propaganda law on a show.

“The meaning of this whole story we are discussing now is that throughout my whole life, I’ve been struggling with myself,” Kraskovsky said. “And this — as you call it — coming out is just another battle with myself, with my own hypocrisy, my own lies, and my own cowardice.”

He said after making the announcement at the end of the show, Angry Guyzzz, the audience and the crew applauded. He said he then went into his dressing rom and cried for 20 minutes before being fired a few hours later.

“They immediately blocked all my corporative accounts, my email. Literally immediately, overnight,” Kraskovsky said.

“They deleted not only my face from the website, but also all of my TV shows, as if I’d never really existed. The next day I wrote to [network head Sergey] Minaev that I was totally shocked. Because it takes them half a day to put up a banner when I ask them to, and here we had such efficiency. One could say they can when they want to. Now they’ve put everything back, but you couldn’t say why, really.”

Good on Anton Kraskovsky, he’s a very brave man. You can read an in-depth interview with him, here.

Personally I’m not one to make a lot of Hitler comparisons—I’ll leave that to the Tea partiers—but if there is anyone who doesn’t think that the Russian crackdown on LGBT people has ominous parallels to Germany back in the day, you need to have your head examined.

(Surely I can’t be the only one watching this clip who wishes the CNN newscaster would just spontaneously combust, am I?)

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Ask a Homosexual: Historically important call-in TV show from 1972
06:31 pm


Randolfe Wicker

This is one hell of an extraordinary document of the immediately post-Stonewall gay rights movement. It was posted by Randolfe Wicker himself, the very fellow you see here speaking so articulately, intelligently and engagingly about homosexuality for a mainstream Pittsburgh audience that, for the most part, were pretty unlikely to have had much of an idea of “what” a gay person really “was” or “did.”

In 1972, gays answering blunt questions on television was new territory. I was the first homosexual to appear on television, full-faced & undisguised, in NYC on The Les Crane Show in 1965.

I went to Chicago to be on the Kupcinent show in the 1960s because there was no homosexual willing to appear on TV in Chicago.

I used the first money I made in the hippie-oriented anti-war slogan-button business to buy the first portable Sony CV video system. Using that equipment saved this one Pittsburgh appearance from the trash-bin of history. TV stations didn’t save tapes of even nationally broadcast shows, so virtually none of the early appearances by LGBT activists even after Stonewall and into the 1970s have survived.
I consider this my best appearance as an early activist—taking on all callers. I always could talk grin. Even the Hotline host made a joke about that.

The first thing that most people would say about Randolfe Wicker and this clip is that he was “brave” to go on television and represent his community in this way, and at that time. It surely was, but it’s more than that. What’s so fantastic about this and seeing it some 40+ years later in a vastly different context really brings this quality to the fore, is this young man’s open, engaging and generous attitude towards gently and respectfully educating people about homosexuality, a topic most folks were probably blissfully unaware of at that time. [Few people wondered if Elton John was gay then, I remind you. The thought simply did not occur to most people.]

This is an absolute must-see, I thought. Really incredible. It belongs in a museum’s collection. (Wicker’s papers are at the New York Public Library. Aside from his longtime activism, he was the co-author, with Kay Tobin Lahusen of The Gay Crusaders, an influential collection of in-depth interviews with fifteen homosexual people.).

Note that when the host asks Mr. Wicker what the gay rights movement wants, he lists a lot of things—like simple respect, as homosexual acts were still outlawed in many states at that time—but being able to be married and all of the legal protections (and tax breaks) that come along with that aren’t mentioned. It probably seemed almost inconceivable back then, even to most gays.

I also love the anecdote he tells about the article that no one else would publish save for the great hero of the underground press Paul Krassner in The Realist. You can hear that bit at about 7:30 in.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
‘Goodbye, Dad’: Son comes out as gay; father does something shitty and small

Redditor RegBarc posted a scan of the seriously misguided letter that his father sent him when he revealed that he was gay on reddit/r/atheism:

“5 years ago, I was disowned via letter when I came out to my father. This is how hate sounds.”

If you’re having trouble reading the letter, you can find a larger version here.

The most popular response came from the father of an adopted gay son, who goes by the handle, newvideoaz, apparently his first post on reddit. I think you’ll agree that it’s a pretty remarkable retort:


I’m the adoptive dad of a kid who came out when he was about 15. Yeah it’s sometimes difficult when this happens because no parent wants to see a kid we love get hurt - and like it or not - being gay can mean some people will wish you ill simply for who you are.
And that’s hard for any parent. But it’s no excuse.

As an adoptive parent, I’m not my kids “father.” That’s biological. But I am his Dad. Because “Dad” isn’t something that’s actually biological, it’s something you have to earn.

With my son , I started to earn it the day he was born, but it was pretty easy until his second year when he had an accident and got hurt. The doctor in the ER strapped him to the “papoose board” to immobilize him and was about to start stitching up his head when he told me it was time for me to let go of his little hand. He looked up at me and whatever he saw in my face, he instantly said “or you can stay I guess.” I have no clue what he saw, except the fact that getting me to let go of that tiny hand was about as possible one of us jumping up through the ceiling to the moon.

The lesson for me that day is that any idiot can be a father (and clearly many are) but you’ve got to EARN being a Dad.

When my son came out to us, same deal. I was concerned, because I never had to deal with it before in someone I love. But we simply hooked him up with 1 in 10 and went on with our lives.

So here’s the opinion of someone who’s been in your dad’s shoes, but didn’t have his sad mental baggage.

Your dad failed a really huge parenting test. Period.

So now he’s self selected to be your father, but not to be your Dad. That sucks. And the really sad thing is that he has absolutely no freaking clue about the real value of what he’s tossed away.

He’ll always be your father. That’s biology. But biology is fickle. We know this because while he has perhaps passed a lot to you via DNA, he did NOT pass along intolerance or stupidity. He can “disown” you in his brain all he likes, but that doesn’t mean much because he’s already proved that whatever his strengths might be, he’s allowed his thought processes and natural instincts to become seriously flawed. How you feel about him. Hurt, sad, angry, disappointed, that’s yours to shuffle as you see fit.

But trust me, this is about him, not you. I actually hope that someday he gets a change to look deeply in his heart and comes to understand how horribly, terribly he screwed this up. If so, he’ll maybe have a chance to start some personal redemption and healing. But he needs that. You don’t.

Cuz there’s nothing wrong with you. At all.

Stay strong. Take care. The world is changing fast. And for more people than ever, gay and straight, it’s changing more toward love and away from fear - at least in this particular area.

Take care.

As they say on the Internet: ONIONS!

Of course, reddit being reddit, a couple of quipsters threw in some zingers:

“You should to his funeral and read that letter as your speech.”

“This would be the greatest ‘fuck you’ ever. Oh my god I’m so giddy right now.”

“And have it buried with him.”

“Burn it. And while it’s on fire, throw it in his casket. That guy doesn’t deserve the casket he’s in.”

Can’t say I disagree. What a fucking small-minded dickhead. I sincerely hope that he is made aware of how he’s being ridiculed. He, at the very, very least deserves that knowledge.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Haters hate ‘disgusting’ gay pride Oreos

All it took was Kraft Foods merely posting an illustration of its Oreo brand cookies in the “pride” colors of the gay rights movement on their Facebook page, and this brought out the wingnut hater bots.

Via the Washington Post

The post on Oreo’s Facebook page encouraged a high-volume debate rife with misspellings, indignation and hysterical punctuation.

One commenter: “this is absolutely disgusting!!! Vote with your dollar, I will NEVER buy anything Kraft Foods again.”

Another: “Don’t worry about them people boycotting you Oreo - I never bought a single cookie from you and now I will.”

Christians with no objection to same-sex marriage dunked the issue in Matthew 7 (“Judge not, that ye be not judged”). Christians opposing same-sex marriage cited Romans 1 (“Males committed indecent acts with males, and received within themselves the appropriate penalty for their perversion”).

And cookie fiends were more concerned with what the graphic means for their dessert options: “So like are we actually getting rainbow Oreos?”

That was honestly MY first thought. Fine print under the picture reads: “Made with creme colors that do not exist.” I was disappointed to find out that it was not happening. I wanted to make Slutty Brownies with them.

Note to Kraft Foods, even a limited edition of the pride Oreos would make millions.

Considering that these newly-minted Oreo haters (whose number apparently include Jesus himself) were interested enough in fuckin’ Oreo cookies to follow them on Facebook in the first place, I really can’t imagine that many of them will continue their goofball boycotts for very long.

Big win for Kraft Foods. Kudos to them for hiring marketing professionals who know which way the wind is blowing.

Somebody might want to explain to these bigoted asshats that there are some other LGBT-friendly companies who they might want to include in their boycotts. If you’re going to refuse to give your money to Kraft Foods, what about Levis, Nike and Google? What’s that you say? You’ll just use Bing as your search engine? Guess again…. And if it comes down to your computer, are you going to toss out your PCs and Apple products, too?

No iPhone for you, closet case!

HT Esquire Politics

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
PARENTAL FAIL: Bigoted Girl Scout wants national cookie boycott over transgender scouts

A 14-year-old California Girl Scout named Taylor is attempting to start a nationwide boycott of Girl Scout Cookies due to a 7-year-old transgender child being allowed to join the Girl Scouts in Colorado.

I watched this video posted at Joe.My.God this morning and my expression turned into the same one I always sport when I listen to a close-minded bigot speaking, but this seemed even worse because it was coming from a child…

From what I can make of her argument, young Taylor here seems to think that high school age boys are suddenly going to want to wear drag and join the Girl Scouts so they can rape her or something?

Taylor, there are far, far easier ways for teenage boys to get laid!

No surprise, the loopy contingent at WingNutDaily is all for it:

After controversy arose over the potential admission of Colorado 7-year-old Bobby Montoya last month, The Girl Scouts of Colorado released a statement explaining, “We accept all girls in kindergarten through 12th grade as members. If a child identifies as a girl and the child’s family presents her as a girl, Girl Scouts of Colorado welcomes her as a Girl Scout.”

Rachelle Trujillo, vice president for communications of the Colorado Girl Scouts, added, “If a child is living as a girl, that’s good enough for us. We don’t require any proof of gender.”

According to a report in the Baptist Press, Trujillo also affirmed transgendered children are currently serving in Girl Scout troops across the U.S., though she declined to give details.

Taylor, however, cites in the video GSUSA materials that outline the importance of the Scouts’ all-girl format and expresses concern about 12th-grade boys passing themselves off as girls.

“The real question is, why is GSUSA willing to break their own safety rules and go against its own research institute findings to accommodate transgender boys?” Taylor asks. “Unfortunately, I think it is because GSUSA cares more about promoting the desires of a small handful of people than it does for my safety and the safety of my friends and sister Girl Scouts, and they are doing it with money we earned for them from Girl Scout cookies.”

No Taylor, the real question is “What do YOU personally hope to gain from this?” That’s the question I think all intolerant people should ask themselves before the go on record with their tiny thoughts on YouTube. Taylor, did you really think this through? Do you really want to be the Rebecca Black of intolerance? For the rest of your life?

Pretty soon, Taylor’s last name is going to come out. It seems inevitable that she’s going to face an Internet backlash for this obnoxious video. The Internet has a rather long and unforgiving memory. It’s going to come up every time some one will do a Google search for her. To all future employers, college admission officers, potential boyfriends, she’s going to be this girl. No matter what her thoughts on this matter might evolve into when she’s an adult (not that I have especially high hopes that Taylor is ever going to be a tolerant or open-minded person, but who knows?) is she prepared for her new life with an Encyclopedia Dramatica entry?

And then there is the matter of how she replied to someone a few minutes ago on YouTube. It’s not her chastity that she’s worried about, is it, despite what she says in the video?

@AgentHaun Now, who’s the “hater?” I have to say, I approved this comment to reveal what the Gay-Lesbian-Transgender-Inters­ex-Questioning activism is full of. Intolerance for religion, intolerance for straight people, intolerance for Truth, especially when the facts are presented before them. I have deleted so many of these types of comments, but the Truth is, you all cannot disprove the facts in this video, which makes you angry and hurtful. I’ll just keep deleting.
HonestGirlScouts 4 minutes ago

“Intolerance for religion, intolerance for straight people, intolerance for Truth…” that gets to the heart of why this is so annoying:  Christians who think THEY are somehow the victims of the LGBT community.

Taylor’s an idiot, but she’s also just a stupid kid. Her parents are the ones at fault here for raising such a petty, close-minded child.

“Jesus loves the little children, ALL the children of the world” or doesn’t he?

I’m directing that question to you, Taylor’s parents.

They taught her this way of looking at the world and gave her their approval and full support when she decided she was going to go ahead and do this. I blame them. They are the ones who should have told her—even if they agreed—that this was a bad idea and will have unforeseen consequences for her in future.

Yuck. Yuck. Yuck. I’m still making that face as I type this.

If you want to show your support for the Girl Scouts of America for being an open-minded organization, why not buy extra cookies this year just to spite the haters!

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Uganda: Stop the ‘Kill the Gays’ Law Now
05:04 pm

Current Events


Time is running out to stop a Ugandan parliament from passing “a bill that would make being LGBT in Uganda a crime punishable by death.”

All Out are running an online petition to stop this horrific bill. Their petition asks Ugandan President Museveni to stop the human rights violations by publicly vowing to veto the “Kill the Gays” bill:

In the next 72 hours, conservative lawmakers could move a bill that would make being LGBT in Uganda a crime punishable by death.

This hateful bill is part of a pattern of the Ugandan government’s violent repression of pro-democracy forces within the country - and time is running out to stop it.

The All Out petition has an open-letter to President Yoweri Museveni, which states:

President Yoweri Museveni:

The world is united with human rights activists in Uganda, in asking that you publicly declare your intention to veto the “Anti-Homosexuality” bill.

Don’t let this law, and the worsening human rights situation in the country, make Uganda in to a pariah nation in the international community.

You can add your name to the petition here.

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Guest editorial: On the use of the word ‘tranny’

Candy Darling, still looking beautiful on her deathbed.
A few weeks ago I posted an article on DM that used the word “tranny,” and which sparked some debate in the comments section. The use of the word is a hot topic in the LGBT community at the moment, after the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) made a statement criticizing Glee over their use of “tranny” in their Rocky Horror Picture Show episode. Susan Sarandon, star of Rocky Horror lest we forget, in turn made a statement criticizing GLAAD, saying they were getting out of control

Even though my article used the term “queen” wrongly, I asked Elizabeth Veldon (the commentator who called me out) to write a guest editorial for us on the how the word should be used. Here it is:

Recently Dangerous Minds ran an article on a film called Ticked Of Trannies With Knives and it led to a debate on the page over the use of language. No, let’s rephrase that: it led to an all out cyber-brawl with much swearing and pissyness.

First things first: In my opinion, calling a Gender Variant Person (possibly the only non-offensive term I can think off) a “tranny” is no better than calling a Jewish person a “kike” or a black person by the “N word.” Indeed a Jewish Gender Variant friend of mine often suffered combined “kike” and “tranny” abuse and I myself have been “accused” of being Jewish when wearing a black suit on a Saturday. Are transgendered citizens all part of some Zionist conspiracy? Sometimes I wonder…

“Tranny” has its roots in drag performances, which is a fine and upstanding tradition, but not one Gender Variant People, on the whole, wish to aspire to. In fact Gender Variant People are not drag queens, drag kings, cross dressers (god bless ‘em), “poofs” who have gone too far or dykes who couldn’t cope with it and became men. Neither are we defenders of patriarchy, oppressors of women or a drag on the queer scene.

Gender Variant People should be of interest to radicals and liberals everywhere damned as we are to suffer violence, constant discrimination and to have our very bodies commandeered by systems of power beyond our control. But we have been left behind, labeled “trannies” (or worse), and left to the tender mercies of a medical establishments that insist we label ourselves as mentally ill before we are “allowed” to carry out body modification surgery (should we wish to). We are most certainly not mentally unstable crazies muttering over knives in our unheated bed sits.

Genderphobes take ownership of our deaths, medics of our bodies, “queer theorists” of our Identities and anything we have left is destroyed by the catch all term of abuse “tranny.”

So what should you say when you meet a “tranny”? What name should you use? The first problem is that you shouldn’t need a name, or a catch all term for other people. The desire to name, as Adam named the animals, and the name he gave them became their name, is to the desire to determine the nature of a thing. Why not ask? Some people are “transpeople,” some transexuals, some “gender trash,” some “gender queer,” some queer, some gay, lesbian, butch, femme. Just ask.

Finally in response to Isrial Luma [director of TOTWK] I offer a new vision of revenge – not ticked off trannies with knives but Diamanda Galas’s “Wild Women With Steak Knives” (with an apology to the guys I know):

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
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