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22nd July, 2001 (# 4) News Clippings Digest.

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  • grahamu_1999@yahoo.com
    22nd July, 2001 (# 4) News Clippings Digest. 1. LOS ANGELES TIMES Two letters: Stars and Sexuality 2. MYRTLE BEACH (SC) SUN NEWS Gay residents say census
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 13, 2001
      22nd July, 2001 (# 4) News Clippings Digest.

      1. LOS ANGELES TIMES Two letters: Stars and Sexuality
      2. MYRTLE BEACH (SC) SUN NEWS Gay residents say census figures a
      start
      3. THE OBSERVER (U.K.) Column: What a difference a gay makes (to a
      straight woman)
      4. KNIGHT RIDDER TRIBUNE John D'Emilio: Slow march toward gay
      rights: A lot has changed in 50 years; a lot more still must change
      4. ASSOCIATED PRESS Gay man who is challenging Florida adoption law
      may lose the boy he raised
      5. CHICAGO TRIBUNE Books: "The Rose City," a collection of stories
      by David Ebershoff

      Los Angeles Times, July 22, 2001
      Times Mirror Square, Los Angeles, CA, 90053
      (Fax: 213-237-7679 or 213-237-5319 ) (E-Mail: letters@... )
      ( http://www.latimes.com )
      Letter: Stars and Sexuality
      Richard Natale's "A Glimpse Outside the Closet" (July 15)
      fails to
      mention the main character in Hollywood's closet drama, Rock Hudson,
      one of
      the greatest of all leading men, who was a gay man in real life
      passing as
      heterosexual.
      Studio publicists went to great lengths to cover up the truth,
      making
      up stories of womanizing and even faking a marriage in order to
      fortify his
      public image. If his sexual orientation were known, would Rock have
      starred
      in romantic roles such as "Giant" and "Pillow Talk"? Probably not.
      It seems that moviegoers can accept a straight person playing a
      homosexual but, to this day, most moviegoers cannot accept an openly
      gay
      person playing a romantic role.
      - WARREN GARFIELD, Studio City

      Natale writes, "The more open discussion of homosexuality in
      the
      media has not eliminated ingrained prejudices based on often sincere
      moral
      and religious convictions."
      These prejudices are not "sincere." They are unexamined
      reactions to
      personal preferences that have been conveniently given the "cover" of
      organized religion.
      - GENE TOUCHET, Cathedral City


      Myrtle Beach Sun News, July 22, 2001
      Box 406, Myrtle Beach, SC, 29577
      (Fax: 803-626-0356 ) ( http://www.thesunnews.com )
      (Online Mailer: http://www.thesunnews.com/cust/contact.htm )
      http://web.thesunnews.com/content/myrtlebeach/2001/07/22/front/A11-
      2022401.h
      tm
      Gay residents say census figures a start
      By Elaine Gaston, The SUN NEWS, egaston@...
      For the first time, gay people living along the Grand Strand
      have a
      proven presence with the Census 2000 count, though it's likely
      understated,
      say some gay residents.
      "Given ... [that] we live in the Bible Belt, you're going to
      have a
      number who aren't going to publicly declare they're a gay couple,"
      said Dan
      Walsh of Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays of Horry County.
      "I don't think it's a real accurate count, but it's a heck of
      a lot
      better than the kind of stats we've had in the past."
      More than 15,000 people in South Carolina live with same-sex
      partners, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
      In Horry County, there were 425 same-sex couples, 107 in
      Georgetown
      County and 134 in neighboring Brunswick County, N.C.
      According to the census, Charleston County has the most same-
      sex
      live-ins of any county in the state, with 1,598 people.
      The city of Charleston also has more gay residents with 540
      than any
      other S.C. city.
      In 1990, gay and lesbian couples who listed themselves as
      married
      were put into the roommate or boarder category.
      For Census 2000, those responses were placed in the "unmarried
      partner" category, along with unmarried heterosexual couples.
      David Elliot, communications director for the National Gay and
      Lesbian Task Force in Washington, D.C., said that, while the number is
      rising, "It's still a tremendous undercount. That's just gays and
      lesbians
      willing to say they are living together."
      North Myrtle Beach resident Vicki Woodard, who has lived with
      her
      partner for 20 years, said she was excited about the census figures.
      "It basically tells us that the government is actually
      starting to
      realize we're out here, and we're not going away. Unfortunately, our
      community does not."
      Standing up to be counted in the census is important for
      federal
      funding, for recognition of same-sex marriages and for fair political
      representation, Walsh said.
      "When they start reporting, it makes a place like Myrtle Beach
      more
      viable for getting funding," Walsh said.
      "I think in general it may give the general population some
      idea of
      the fact there is a gay community in Myrtle Beach," Walsh said.
      "Some probably don't want to know about it."
      Walsh suspects the Grand Strand's count is understated because
      some
      gays and lesbians fear reporting their lifestyles.
      "It's a very close-knit and closed community in Myrtle Beach
      as a
      result of negative reactions you get from extremely conservative
      groups,"
      Walsh said.
      Counting same-sex couples will also help other gay members
      feel more
      part of a community, Walsh said.
      "In the gay community, people tend to change their personal
      feelings
      about homosexuality once they finally realize" there are other gay
      people,
      he said.
      Gay people living in the community will likely always be
      undercounted, Walsh said.
      "There is always going to be those people who are going to
      remain in
      the closet, and nothing will ever convince them it's safe," Walsh
      said.
      . Knight Ridder contributed to this report.


      The Observer, 22 July 2001
      119 Farringdon Rd., London EC1 3ER
      (Fax: 0171 713 4250) (E-Mail: letters@... )
      ( http://www.newsunlimited.co.uk/observer )
      http://www.observer.co.uk/comment/story/0,6903,525514,00.html
      What a difference a gay makes
      Laura Marcus
      Gay men are fabulous dancers who smell nice, dress well and,
      let's be
      honest, have far nicer bodies than any heterosexual man you'll ever
      meet.
      And, currently, they are the accessory for single, urban women,
      according to
      Will and Grace, the Emmy-award winning US hit sitcom which began here
      last
      week.
      But what's new? Before I moved up north from London, where
      men are
      plentiful so women do the picking, I, too, was a city gal who took gay
      friends instead of lovers because, hey, it's male company. And safe,
      right?
      You don't get screwed, but then you don't get screwed.
      It's fine while you share diet tips and he complains: 'How
      could he
      think that outfit works?' over Hello! magazine. But then the git
      gets a
      boyfriend and you're left watching Lily Savage, alone, wondering if
      she has
      a point -- who wants a right-on man? Far better to be chased down
      the hall,
      pushed against the stairs and have your vest ripped off you for a
      quick shag
      by a bloke who smells of beer and vindaloo. Well, far better than
      nothing
      at all.
      But until you're ready for the real thing, gay men are a great
      substitute because women who like them assume, ha ha ha, that they're
      sexless, thus safe. Like a terrific female friend but male. Yet why
      are
      these men gay? Because they like men, usually a lot more than their
      female
      friends do. Their home-improvement knowhow is useful when you move
      into a
      new flat, but what really floats their boats, we have to admit, are
      male
      bits.
      A friend of mine who enjoyed a friendship with a gay man far
      too long
      into her thirties once whispered to me that all was fine so long as
      you
      didn't think about the sex you were missing. I hadn't a clue what she
      meant -- I was far too busy discussing wallpaper patterns with my own
      gay
      best friend.
      Gay men may give us all the talk and tears, but when they get
      together with other men it's knowing nods, winks, have you seen my
      six-pack
      and see you in a minute, boys. When they scoot off to the dancefloor
      for
      the fifty-eighth time that evening we just think, ah bless, he cares
      so much
      about his jive, doesn't he?
      What a refreshing change from other men, what great company he
      is, or
      was, and where has he gone now? Where? One minute he's with you --
      'Yes,
      yes, quite agree, you're far too sweet' -- and then he's off again,
      acting
      the way most men would act, oh, if only most women would let them.
      Not much chance of discussing your latest ideas for interior
      design
      now. His designs are clearly elsewhere. And he's likely to have
      snapped up
      the only other man in the room you thought was drop-dead handsome,
      with a
      flat stomach, a firm chest and eyes to die for.
      Yes, gay men do make great friends but why, oh why, do they
      insist on
      spoiling it by having sex with other men?


      Knight Ridder Tribune, July 22, 2001
      Slow march toward gay rights
      A lot has changed in 50 years; a lot more still must change
      By John D'Emilio
      Fifty years ago this month, a group of gay men in Los Angeles
      put the
      finishing touches on a plan for a new organization called the
      Mattachine
      Society.
      The prime mover was Harry Hay, a longtime member of the
      Communist
      Party; the other founders all had a history of engagement in
      progressive
      causes. They set as their goal "the heroic objective of liberating
      one of
      our largest minorities" from persecution.
      Operating mostly in secret to protect the identities of
      members, the
      Mattachine Society ran a series of consciousness-raising groups in
      Southern
      California at which gay men met to discuss their situation.
      The organization launched a magazine, ONE, which militantly
      questioned the treatment of homosexuals. The group also defended gay
      men
      against entrapment, a common police practice in the 1950s. Though the
      organization grew more conservative under the pressure of McCarthy-era
      politics, its creation set in motion an unbroken history of activism
      by gay
      men and lesbians in the United States.
      At the time the Mattachine Society was founded, every state had
      sodomy laws prohibiting most sex acts between men and between women.
      Urban
      police forces routinely raided gay and lesbian bars. They arrested
      patrons
      for dancing, holding hands or simply being there. Newspapers often
      published the names of those arrested. Jobs were lost, and lives
      ruined.
      In Washington, the Senate held an investigation into the
      employment
      of "sexual perverts" by the federal government. Soon thereafter, in
      1953, a
      presidential executive order prohibited the employment of lesbians,
      gay men
      and bisexuals in all federal jobs. The FBI investigated any
      government
      employee suspected of homosexual inclinations and had informants in
      the gay
      world. The U.S. Postal Service put tracers on the mail of men
      suspected of
      receiving gay-related materials.
      Young gay women and men found themselves institutionalized
      against
      their will and subjected to electroshock. Even for consensual gay
      sex, men
      and women sometimes received indeterminate sentences in state
      institutions
      for the criminally insane.
      Fast forward 50 years, and fortunately much has changed.
      Fewer than
      a quarter of the states still have sodomy laws. Many large cities
      and a
      dozen states have added sexual orientation to their civil-rights
      codes to
      protect gay men and lesbians from job discrimination. Corporations
      like
      Chevron, Microsoft and Disney extend benefit packages to the domestic
      partners of their lesbian and gay employees.
      On television, gay characters parade across our screens night
      after
      night. Lesbians run for elective office and win. In high schools
      across
      the country, students are forming gay-straight alliances.
      Most of all, the texture of gay and lesbian life has been
      revolutionized. Lesbians and gay men across the country have created
      a
      dense web of organizations and institutions that sustain a rich
      social,
      cultural and civic life.
      There are gay Democratic and Republican clubs, and gay
      political
      action committees to elect candidates. For recreation, there are
      bowling
      and softball leagues, running and swimming clubs and outdoor adventure
      groups.
      Many large cities support major gay film festivals each year,
      and
      there are theater companies, bookstores and choral groups. Mention an
      occupation, and one is likely to find a lesbian and gay caucus:
      doctors,
      teachers, computer programmers, nurses, lawyers, firefighters and
      journalists each have one.
      More and more synagogues and churches sustain a spiritual life
      for
      gays and lesbians. Many of today's younger lesbians and gay men
      think,
      mercifully, that closets are for clothes.
      I wish I could claim that, five decades after the Mattachine
      Society
      was born, the need for such organizations had vanished. But I can't.
      Sodomy laws still exist.
      Ugly homophobic violence is still too common.
      Religious leaders rail against the wages of sin.
      And many youths suffer through a period of intense loneliness
      and
      emotional struggle as they come to terms with their emerging sexual
      identity.
      Still, all in all, the amount of change that has occurred in
      50 years
      is pretty impressive. And most of this change has occurred in the
      last 30
      years, in a political environment that has grown ever more
      conservative.
      It gives me hope that we can make the impossible happen.
      . John D'Emilio teaches in the Gender and Women's Studies
      Program at
      the University of Illinois at Chicago and is the author or editor of
      several
      books on the history of sexuality. He can be reached at
      pmproj@..., or by writing to Progressive Media Project,
      409 E.
      Main St., Madison, WI 53703.


      Associated Press, July 22, 2001
      Gay man challenging state adoption law may lose boy he raised
      MIAMI - The Florida Department of Children & Families has told
      a gay
      man challenging Florida's ban on adoption by homosexuals that it
      plans to
      place his 10-year-old foster son with another family.
      Steven Lofton learned of the department's intentions on Friday
      during
      a court hearing. Lofton is a plaintiff in an upcoming federal court
      trial
      in Key West that will challenge Florida's 1977 law that prohibits
      adoption
      by homosexuals.
      Lawyers from the American Civil Liberties Union and a Florida
      child-welfare group will argue that the law unconstitutionally
      discriminates
      against gays and limits opportunities for the 3,000 Florida foster
      children
      awaiting adoption. Conservatives contend the law is the state's only
      way of
      protecting traditional families.
      The department's bid to find a new family for Lofton's foster
      son was
      not explained during the court hearing. Both sides came to court to
      argue a
      motion by the department for a summary judgment, or a dismissal under
      the
      law.
      U.S. District Judge James Lawrence King called the controversy
      "one
      of the very difficult social issues" and said he could take up to a
      month to
      rule. If he denies summary judgment, the case would continue to
      trial.
      While Florida bars adoption by gays and lesbians, it doesn't
      prevent
      them from being foster parents.
      LaNedra Carroll, spokeswoman for the Department of Children &
      Families in Tallahassee, said the pending litigation restricted her
      comments. In general, she said the agency's goal is to seek
      permanent homes
      for foster children.
      "And if there is a case where a child is being removed from a
      foster
      home, that would indicate permanency is not an option in that foster
      home,"
      she said.
      Leslie Cooper, an ACLU lawyer, said she had written the
      agency's
      lawyers asking for assurance that Lofton's child would not be removed
      while
      the lawsuit makes its way through the legal system.
      "The only assurance they would give is that he wouldn't be
      removed
      until they found a suitable adoptive family," Cooper said. "You can
      imagine
      how that went over."
      Lofton declined comment when reached in Oregon, where he lives
      with
      his foster son by special agreement with Florida officials.
      Lofton's lawyers said they have asked the child welfare agency
      for a
      meeting to explore other options.


      Chicago Tribune, July 22, 2001
      435 N. Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL, 60611
      (Fax: 312-222-2598 ) (E-Mail: ctc-tribletter@... )
      ( http://www.chicagotribune.com )
      http://www.chicagotribune.com/leisure/books/article/0,2669,SAV-
      0107220017,FF
      .html
      More explorations of life on the sexual margins
      A new story collection from David Ebershoff
      By Wilton Barnhardt. Wilton Barnhardt's most recent novel is "Show
      World."
      . The Rose City, By David Ebershoff; Viking, 220 pages, $23.95
      Pasadena, Calif., has more than a whiff of the East Coast
      about it.
      There are fine old families, sprawling mansions and grand boulevards,
      turn-of-the-20th-Century architectural splendors, an elite university
      (Caltech), the Norton Simon and Pacific Asia Museums, and the
      Huntington
      Library close by.
      But its Eastern feel derives from more than its old-money
      tone. I
      think it's the deciduous trees. The moist Pacific clouds bunch up
      against
      the mountains of the Angeles Crest all spring long, depositing more
      moisture
      on Pasadena than on its deserty neighbor, Los Angeles, a mere 11
      miles away.
      In virtually seasonless southern California, I know I am not alone in
      driving Pasadena's residential streets each autumn seeking a leaf fix,
      basking in the unexpected crimsoning maples.
      Pasadena native David Ebershoff, publishing director of The
      Modern
      Library and author of a splendid debut novel last year, "The Danish
      Girl,"
      returns with an excellent collection of seven stories, "The Rose
      City." As
      in "The Danish Girl" (the freely adapted account of Einar Wegener, who
      underwent the first male-to-female sex change in the early 1930s),
      Ebershoff's new cast of characters falls between the sexual cracks.
      Half the stories are set in the Boston area, with Pasadena
      being only
      a mention, a distant dream of the characters. But the last three
      stories
      are set there, including the title story. "The Rose City" introduces
      us to
      Pasadena snob Roland Dott, someone who venerates the seedy, unrestored
      Pasadena of his childhood, before the civic powers spiffed up Colorado
      Avenue, once a thriving portion of Route 66. Roland particularly
      mourns the
      destruction of the old Pasadena Athletic Club:
      "Down came the club, and several blocks with it, clearing the
      way for
      the Pasadena Plaza, a shopping mall built of beige brick, anchored by
      a JC
      Penney where a few years ago a woman murdered her sister in the
      changing
      room; fighting over a pantsuit, 40 percent off, according to the Star
      News.
      Trannies, the newspaper reported, but what can you expect?"
      Roland nurtures his greatest disdain for the "trannies," the
      transplants from elsewhere who don't share his Pasadena pedigree. But
      Roland isn't facing the transience of his own life, his advancing age
      and
      failing health, his foolish pretensions that whitewash his memory of
      a great
      love squandered and blind him to a final love still possible.
      In "Living Together," we meet Alex, a young gay man with a
      father
      fixation who is recovering from the selfishness of a suicidal
      sister. After
      a lifetime of her begging him to share the details of his life with
      her,
      after his tentatively mentioning one promising young man met on
      foreign
      shores, she cuts him to the quick with, "Oh, Alex. . . . I don't want
      to
      hear about you and your fags." Family relations also pass the point
      of no
      return in "The Dress," a funny-if-it-weren't-so-excruciating tale of a
      teenage boy deciding to try on an old-fashioned debutante gown from
      the back
      of the closet when his parents and sisters are away, only to get
      stuck in it
      thanks to a sash with an implacable knot.
      In "The Charm Bracelet," we follow Billy, a fresh-faced
      teenager
      flush with arrogance after his first night in a Boston gay bar,
      besotted
      with admirers, free drinks and slipped phone numbers. On the way
      home he
      meets Regina, a faded prostitute who is on the run from a pursuing,
      violent
      husband (or perhaps, pimp). It takes Billy awhile to work this out,
      and
      along the way he tells her he, too, is a hustler, and as they search
      for her
      lost charm bracelet, Regina gives him some tips of the trade while
      Billy
      contemplates the rich, exotic life ahead of him. The true lesson of
      Regina's wretched descent is lost on Billy, who will be in Regina's
      world
      sooner than he knows.
      The real gems are the other Pasadena stories, "Regime" and
      "Trespass."
      The tensely crafted "Trespass" has the suspense of a ticking
      bomb.
      Mitch, an adolescent, is breaking into a neighboring gay man's house
      while
      the man is away on vacation. Mitch finds communion there, as every
      artifact
      and choice in decor has significance for his own gay self-discovery.
      But he
      has done one terrible thing: opened a piece of the man's mail, which
      turns
      out to be an essential letter from the man's mother, a life-altering
      missive
      that Mitch now must somehow confess to opening. As in "The Dress,"
      Ebershoff suggests getting caught and humiliated is a gay rite of
      passage,
      but in "Trespass" the humiliation is actually triumph.
      "Regime" is one of the best, rawest gay stories I have ever
      read.
      Lyrical yet searingly graphic, it is truly original literary
      territory. Jon
      is a once-fat high school kid who knows he's gay but has successfully
      hidden
      it, just as he has hidden his determination to starve himself down to
      105.
      He faints in gym class and becomes his basketball team's center of
      brotherly
      attention -- no small incentive to keep refusing food. Twenty-four
      hours
      without nourishment, he assures us, "means nothing. Forty-eight is a
      start.
      Seventy-two is when I feel like the most powerful boy in the world.
      When I
      haven't eaten for three days I feel, at last, content; I no longer
      hunger
      for anything. Instead, I think of myself as a hammered piece of gold,
      pretty, so thin and airy I could blow away."
      Despite Jon's best efforts to deny his hunger for love as well
      as for
      food, love comes looking for him anyway. How he turns from it, and
      what he
      settles for instead, will leave the reader reeling. Jon's begrudging
      accession to his life is at once liberating and a consignment to a
      kind of
      hell of compulsion and longing.
      Ebershoff reportedly is at work on a Pasadena novel. Let's
      hope The
      Modern Library can spare him for the occasional sabbatical. His
      hometown is
      clearly the inspiration for what is beginning to be an important body
      of
      work about American life on the sexual margins, a talented and welcome
      addition to the gay literature canon.
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