22nd July, 2001 (# 4) News Clippings Digest.
- 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
3. THE OBSERVER (U.K.) Column: What a difference a gay makes (to a
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)
mention the main character in Hollywood's closet drama, Rock Hudson,
the greatest of all leading men, who was a gay man in real life
Studio publicists went to great lengths to cover up the truth,
up stories of womanizing and even faking a marriage in order to
public image. If his sexual orientation were known, would Rock have
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
person playing a romantic role.
- WARREN GARFIELD, Studio City
Natale writes, "The more open discussion of homosexuality in
media has not eliminated ingrained prejudices based on often sincere
and religious convictions."
These prejudices are not "sincere." They are unexamined
personal preferences that have been conveniently given the "cover" of
- 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 )
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
proven presence with the Census 2000 count, though it's likely
say some gay residents.
"Given ... [that] we live in the Bible Belt, you're going to
number who aren't going to publicly declare they're a gay couple,"
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
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
County and 134 in neighboring Brunswick County, N.C.
According to the census, Charleston County has the most same-
live-ins of any county in the state, with 1,598 people.
The city of Charleston also has more gay residents with 540
other S.C. city.
In 1990, gay and lesbian couples who listed themselves as
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
willing to say they are living together."
North Myrtle Beach resident Vicki Woodard, who has lived with
partner for 20 years, said she was excited about the census figures.
"It basically tells us that the government is actually
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
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
viable for getting funding," Walsh said.
"I think in general it may give the general population some
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
gays and lesbians fear reporting their lifestyles.
"It's a very close-knit and closed community in Myrtle Beach
result of negative reactions you get from extremely conservative
Counting same-sex couples will also help other gay members
part of a community, Walsh said.
"In the gay community, people tend to change their personal
about homosexuality once they finally realize" there are other gay
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
the closet, and nothing will ever convince them it's safe," Walsh
. 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 )
What a difference a gay makes
Gay men are fabulous dancers who smell nice, dress well and,
honest, have far nicer bodies than any heterosexual man you'll ever
And, currently, they are the accessory for single, urban women,
Will and Grace, the Emmy-award winning US hit sitcom which began here
But what's new? Before I moved up north from London, where
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,
You don't get screwed, but then you don't get screwed.
It's fine while you share diet tips and he complains: 'How
think that outfit works?' over Hello! magazine. But then the git
boyfriend and you're left watching Lily Savage, alone, wondering if
a point -- who wants a right-on man? Far better to be chased down
pushed against the stairs and have your vest ripped off you for a
by a bloke who smells of beer and vindaloo. Well, far better than
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
these men gay? Because they like men, usually a lot more than their
friends do. Their home-improvement knowhow is useful when you move
new flat, but what really floats their boats, we have to admit, are
A friend of mine who enjoyed a friendship with a gay man far
into her thirties once whispered to me that all was fine so long as
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 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
and see you in a minute, boys. When they scoot off to the dancefloor
the fifty-eighth time that evening we just think, ah bless, he cares
about his jive, doesn't he?
What a refreshing change from other men, what great company he
was, and where has he gone now? Where? One minute he's with you --
yes, quite agree, you're far too sweet' -- and then he's off again,
the way most men would act, oh, if only most women would let them.
Not much chance of discussing your latest ideas for interior
now. His designs are clearly elsewhere. And he's likely to have
the only other man in the room you thought was drop-dead handsome,
flat stomach, a firm chest and eyes to die for.
Yes, gay men do make great friends but why, oh why, do they
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
finishing touches on a plan for a new organization called the
The prime mover was Harry Hay, a longtime member of the
Party; the other founders all had a history of engagement in
causes. They set as their goal "the heroic objective of liberating
our largest minorities" from persecution.
Operating mostly in secret to protect the identities of
Mattachine Society ran a series of consciousness-raising groups in
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
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
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.
police forces routinely raided gay and lesbian bars. They arrested
for dancing, holding hands or simply being there. Newspapers often
published the names of those arrested. Jobs were lost, and lives
In Washington, the Senate held an investigation into the
of "sexual perverts" by the federal government. Soon thereafter, in
presidential executive order prohibited the employment of lesbians,
and bisexuals in all federal jobs. The FBI investigated any
employee suspected of homosexual inclinations and had informants in
world. The U.S. Postal Service put tracers on the mail of men
receiving gay-related materials.
Young gay women and men found themselves institutionalized
their will and subjected to electroshock. Even for consensual gay
and women sometimes received indeterminate sentences in state
for the criminally insane.
Fast forward 50 years, and fortunately much has changed.
a quarter of the states still have sodomy laws. Many large cities
dozen states have added sexual orientation to their civil-rights
protect gay men and lesbians from job discrimination. Corporations
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
night. Lesbians run for elective office and win. In high schools
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
dense web of organizations and institutions that sustain a rich
cultural and civic life.
There are gay Democratic and Republican clubs, and gay
action committees to elect candidates. For recreation, there are
and softball leagues, running and swimming clubs and outdoor adventure
Many large cities support major gay film festivals each year,
there are theater companies, bookstores and choral groups. Mention an
occupation, and one is likely to find a lesbian and gay caucus:
teachers, computer programmers, nurses, lawyers, firefighters and
journalists each have one.
More and more synagogues and churches sustain a spiritual life
gays and lesbians. Many of today's younger lesbians and gay men
mercifully, that closets are for clothes.
I wish I could claim that, five decades after the Mattachine
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
emotional struggle as they come to terms with their emerging sexual
Still, all in all, the amount of change that has occurred in
is pretty impressive. And most of this change has occurred in the
years, in a political environment that has grown ever more
It gives me hope that we can make the impossible happen.
. John D'Emilio teaches in the Gender and Women's Studies
the University of Illinois at Chicago and is the author or editor of
books on the history of sexuality. He can be reached at
pmproj@..., or by writing to Progressive Media Project,
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
man challenging Florida's ban on adoption by homosexuals that it
place his 10-year-old foster son with another family.
Steven Lofton learned of the department's intentions on Friday
a court hearing. Lofton is a plaintiff in an upcoming federal court
in Key West that will challenge Florida's 1977 law that prohibits
Lawyers from the American Civil Liberties Union and a Florida
child-welfare group will argue that the law unconstitutionally
against gays and limits opportunities for the 3,000 Florida foster
awaiting adoption. Conservatives contend the law is the state's only
protecting traditional families.
The department's bid to find a new family for Lofton's foster
not explained during the court hearing. Both sides came to court to
motion by the department for a summary judgment, or a dismissal under
U.S. District Judge James Lawrence King called the controversy
of the very difficult social issues" and said he could take up to a
rule. If he denies summary judgment, the case would continue to
While Florida bars adoption by gays and lesbians, it doesn't
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
for foster children.
"And if there is a case where a child is being removed from a
home, that would indicate permanency is not an option in that foster
Leslie Cooper, an ACLU lawyer, said she had written the
lawyers asking for assurance that Lofton's child would not be removed
the lawsuit makes its way through the legal system.
"The only assurance they would give is that he wouldn't be
until they found a suitable adoptive family," Cooper said. "You can
how that went over."
Lofton declined comment when reached in Oregon, where he lives
his foster son by special agreement with Florida officials.
Lofton's lawyers said they have asked the child welfare agency
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 )
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
. The Rose City, By David Ebershoff; Viking, 220 pages, $23.95
Pasadena, Calif., has more than a whiff of the East Coast
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
Library close by.
But its Eastern feel derives from more than its old-money
think it's the deciduous trees. The moist Pacific clouds bunch up
the mountains of the Angeles Crest all spring long, depositing more
on Pasadena than on its deserty neighbor, Los Angeles, a mere 11
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
Library and author of a splendid debut novel last year, "The Danish
returns with an excellent collection of seven stories, "The Rose
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
a mention, a distant dream of the characters. But the last three
are set there, including the title story. "The Rose City" introduces
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
destruction of the old Pasadena Athletic Club:
"Down came the club, and several blocks with it, clearing the
the Pasadena Plaza, a shopping mall built of beige brick, anchored by
Penney where a few years ago a woman murdered her sister in the
room; fighting over a pantsuit, 40 percent off, according to the Star
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
failing health, his foolish pretensions that whitewash his memory of
love squandered and blind him to a final love still possible.
In "Living Together," we meet Alex, a young gay man with a
fixation who is recovering from the selfishness of a suicidal
a lifetime of her begging him to share the details of his life with
after his tentatively mentioning one promising young man met on
shores, she cuts him to the quick with, "Oh, Alex. . . . I don't want
hear about you and your fags." Family relations also pass the point
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
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
flush with arrogance after his first night in a Boston gay bar,
with admirers, free drinks and slipped phone numbers. On the way
meets Regina, a faded prostitute who is on the run from a pursuing,
husband (or perhaps, pimp). It takes Billy awhile to work this out,
along the way he tells her he, too, is a hustler, and as they search
lost charm bracelet, Regina gives him some tips of the trade while
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
sooner than he knows.
The real gems are the other Pasadena stories, "Regime" and
The tensely crafted "Trespass" has the suspense of a ticking
Mitch, an adolescent, is breaking into a neighboring gay man's house
the man is away on vacation. Mitch finds communion there, as every
and choice in decor has significance for his own gay self-discovery.
has done one terrible thing: opened a piece of the man's mail, which
out to be an essential letter from the man's mother, a life-altering
that Mitch now must somehow confess to opening. As in "The Dress,"
Ebershoff suggests getting caught and humiliated is a gay rite of
but in "Trespass" the humiliation is actually triumph.
"Regime" is one of the best, rawest gay stories I have ever
Lyrical yet searingly graphic, it is truly original literary
is a once-fat high school kid who knows he's gay but has successfully
it, just as he has hidden his determination to starve himself down to
He faints in gym class and becomes his basketball team's center of
attention -- no small incentive to keep refusing food. Twenty-four
without nourishment, he assures us, "means nothing. Forty-eight is a
Seventy-two is when I feel like the most powerful boy in the world.
haven't eaten for three days I feel, at last, content; I no longer
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
food, love comes looking for him anyway. How he turns from it, and
settles for instead, will leave the reader reeling. Jon's begrudging
accession to his life is at once liberating and a consignment to a
hell of compulsion and longing.
Ebershoff reportedly is at work on a Pasadena novel. Let's
Modern Library can spare him for the occasional sabbatical. His
clearly the inspiration for what is beginning to be an important body
work about American life on the sexual margins, a talented and welcome
addition to the gay literature canon.
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