Tag Archives: legend

May 19, 1948 - Grace Jones: An Icon of Music and a Champion of the LGBT Community Is Born.

May 19, 1948 – Grace Jones: An Icon of Music and a Champion of the LGBT Community Is Born.

The bisexual music icon and legend is a true warrior in the war for individuality and inclusion.

Grace Jones, the Jamaican-born singer, model, and actress, is a true icon of the music industry. With her unique androgynous style, powerful voice, and fierce stage presence, she has captivated audiences for decades. However, beyond her undeniable talent and success, Jones has also cultivated a strong and devoted following within the gay community, becoming an emblematic figure for queer individuals around the world.

Born on May 19, 1948, in Spanish Town, Jamaica, Grace Jones embarked on her journey to stardom in the 1970s. From the beginning, she defied conventional norms of femininity, embracing a bold and androgynous style that challenged traditional gender roles. Her striking looks, coupled with her fearless attitude, quickly caught the attention of the fashion world, leading to a successful modeling career.

Jones’s entrance into the music industry came in the late 1970s with her debut album “Portfolio.” Blending disco, new wave, and reggae influences, she established herself as a unique and boundary-pushing artist. Her subsequent albums, including “Nightclubbing” and “Slave to the Rhythm,” showcased her versatility and experimental nature, fusing genres and pushing artistic boundaries. Jones’s music resonated with the LGBTQ+ community, offering an anthem for self-expression, liberation, and nonconformity.

Jones’s connection with her gay fan base is rooted in more than just her music. She has been a vocal advocate for LGBT rights and a staunch supporter of the community throughout her career. Her presence in LGBT spaces, such as gay clubs and pride events, has fostered a deep sense of connection and admiration. By unapologetically embracing her own individuality, she has become an inspiration to many LGBT individuals who have faced societal pressures to conform.

Moreover, Jones’s fearless and bold approach to fashion has been celebrated within the LGBT community. Her elaborate costumes, extravagant makeup, and avant-garde hairstyles have made her an icon of fashion. Her willingness to take risks and challenge societal norms of beauty and gender has resonated deeply with queer individuals, who often find solace and empowerment in expressing their true selves through fashion.

Jones’s influence on the LGBT community extends beyond her music and fashion choices. As an openly bisexual woman, she has shattered taboos surrounding sexual orientation and continues to inspire queer individuals to embrace their identities fully. Her openness about her own experiences and her support for queer rights have made her a beloved figure within the community.

In recent years, as conversations about inclusivity and representation have gained prominence, the importance of figures like Grace Jones cannot be overstated. Her unapologetic embrace of her own identity and her unwavering support for LGBT rights have paved the way for a more accepting and diverse world. By using her platform to amplify queer voices and experiences, she has fostered a sense of belonging and acceptance within the LGBT community.

Grace Jones is much more than a talented singer and model; she is a beacon of empowerment and acceptance for the LGBT community. Her music, style, and advocacy work have resonated deeply with queer individuals, offering inspiration, encouragement, and a sense of belonging. Grace Jones’s impact extends far beyond the stage, leaving an indelible mark on both the music industry and the fight for LGBT rights. As we celebrate her incredible career and influence, we also recognize the profound importance of representation and visibility in shaping a more inclusive society for all.

Gay History: Remembering NYC's "Ice Palace 57" Gay Disco (1977 - 1985)

Gay History: Remembering NYC’s “Ice Palace 57” Gay Disco (1977 – 1985)

Not to be confused with Fire Island’s Ice Palace of course.

Ice Palace 57 was a gay discotheque located in New York City’s Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood that operated from 1977 to 1985. The club was a popular destination for the gay men in the community during a time when being openly gay was not widely accepted.

The club was founded by two brothers, Anthony and Michael Joffe, who were inspired by the disco movement that was sweeping the city in the late 1970s. They wanted to create a space that would be welcoming to gay men and allies, and they succeeded in doing so..

Located on West 57th Street in Manhattan, Ice Palace 57 faced many challenges during its eight-year run. The club was located in an area that was known for its high crime rate, and the owners had to take measures to ensure the safety of their patrons. They hired security guards and installed metal detectors at the entrance to the club. the club became a symbol of the city’s vibrant gay community and a safe haven for those who wanted to dance and express themselves freely.

The interior of Ice Palace 57 was designed to be a spectacle. The club’s interior was designed to resemble an ice palace, with walls made of white, glittering tiles and floors covered in white carpeting. The lighting was dim, with disco balls and strobe lights providing a pulsating and energetic atmosphere. The bar was located in the center of the club, with a large dance floor surrounding it. On either side of the dance floor were seating areas, where people could take a break from dancing and socialize with friends. The club’s sound system was state-of-the-art for the time, with speakers strategically placed throughout the room to create an immersive audio experience.

Ice Palace 57 was known for its music, which was a mix of disco, funk, and soul. The club had a roster of talented DJs who knew how to get the crowd moving. Some of the most famous DJs to play at Ice Palace 57 included Frankie Knuckles, Larry Levan, and David Morales.

One of the unique features of Ice Palace 57 was its drag shows. The club had a stage where drag queens would perform, entertaining the crowd with their outrageous costumes and over-the-top personalities. These shows were a major draw for the club, and many people came specifically to see the performers. Performers included: Lady Bunny, RuPaul, and Lypsinka. One of the most famous drag queens to perform at Ice Palace 57 was Divine, who went on to become a cult figure.

Ice Palace 57 also faced discrimination from the outside world. The club was frequently raided by the police, who would arrest patrons for “lewd conduct” or other offenses. The owners had to fight back against these attacks, hiring lawyers to defend their club and their patrons in court.

Ultimately, the club’s run came to an end in 1985, when Ice Palace 57 was forced to close due to financial difficulties as the AIDS crisis was began to take a more serious term. But its legacy lives on as a symbol of the gay community’s fight for acceptance, equality, and the right to be fabulous.

Do you have any memories of Ice Palace 57? If so post them in the comments and help keep gay history alive.

Harry Belafonte, Music Legend and Civil Rights Activist Dies at 96.

Harry Belafonte, Music Legend and Civil Rights Activist Dies at 96.

Harry Belafonte, the iconic musician and civil rights activist, passed away today, April 15th, 2023, at the age of 95. Belafonte was a pioneering figure in the music industry, known for his distinctive voice and his ability to blend different genres and cultures. He was also a passionate advocate for social justice, using his platform to raise awareness about issues such as racial inequality and poverty.

Born Harold George Belafonte Jr. in Harlem, New York, on March 1st, 1928, Belafonte was raised by his mother, a Jamaican immigrant. He had a difficult childhood, marked by poverty and a turbulent relationship with his father, who was absent for most of his life. Despite these challenges, Belafonte excelled in school and became interested in acting and music. He served in the US Navy during World War II and afterwards attended the New School for Social Research, where he studied drama.

Belafonte began his career as a performer in the 1950s, singing in nightclubs and coffeehouses in New York City. He quickly gained a following for his smooth voice and his repertoire of folk songs and calypso music. In 1956, he released his breakthrough album, “Calypso,” which became the first LP in history to sell over a million copies. The album included the hit song “Day-O (The Banana Boat Song),” which would become one of Belafonte’s signature tunes.

In addition to his music career, Belafonte was deeply involved in the civil rights movement. He was a close friend and ally of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and helped to organize the March on Washington in 1963. He also worked with other prominent activists such as Sidney Poitier and James Baldwin, using his fame to raise awareness about issues such as police brutality and voter suppression. Belafonte was a vocal opponent of the Vietnam War, and participated in anti-war demonstrations throughout the 1960s and 1970s.

Belafonte’s activism did not come without personal cost. He was blacklisted by the entertainment industry during the McCarthy era, and was subject to surveillance and harassment by the FBI. Despite these obstacles, he continued to use his platform to speak out for justice and equality including LGBT rights.

In addition to his music and activism, Belafonte was a successful actor, appearing in films such as “Carmen Jones,” “Island in the Sun,” and “Buck and the Preacher.” He also served as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, working to raise awareness about global poverty and children’s rights.

Belafonte was widely recognized for his contributions to music and social justice. He received numerous awards throughout his career, including a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, the National Medal of Arts, and the Kennedy Center Honors. In 2018, the Harry Belafonte Jr. Library for the Performing Arts was established in his honor at his alma mater, the New School.

Belafonte is survived by his wife, Pamela Frank, and his children, Adrienne and David. His legacy as a musician, activist, and humanitarian will continue to inspire future generations.

Grand Marshal Harry Belafonte leads the 2013 New York Gay Pride Parade as it makes it’s way down Fifth Avenue in New York, NY, on June 30, 2013. Belafonte is one of the few straight men who have ever been chose as Grand Marshall

Lesbian Tennis Legend Billie Jean King Backhands Florida's Governor Ron DeSantis

Lesbian Tennis Legend Billie Jean King Backhands Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis

‘He probably has gay kids in his family’” – BJK

Lesbian tennis legend Billie Jean King has spoken out against Florida governor Ron DeSantis over the state’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law.

King who was in Florida for the 2023 Billie Jean King Cup on Friday (14 April), spoke out against the state’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law – which bars public schools from teaching about LGBT+ topics and gender identity from kindergarten through third grade .

“If you heard my personal journey, which I thought I was straight, I realized later in life I wasn’t. I had to figure out who am I, who is my authentic self. Going through that journey just for me personally, the important thing is to be welcoming to everyone. I have no control over what the governor is doing. He probably has gay kids in his family. He’ll say he doesn’t probably, but I bet he does. Most people have gay relatives, even if they don’t know it. I’m about inclusion. I think you should have different people on the (school) board.  Shouldn’t just be the people like you, that look like you, think like you. I think it’s important to have people who think differently. That’s how you really win.
Billie Jean King

The Biden administration’s press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre called DeSantis’ plan to extend the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law “completely, utterly wrong”.  “Make no mistake, this is part of a disturbing and dangerous trend we’re seeing across the country, of legislation that [is] anti-LGBTQI+, anti-trans, in a way we have not seen in some time. We’re talking about students, we’re talking about educators, we’re talking about individuals.” 


1. Many new sites will lazily call King “queer”. Billie Jean King openly identifies as a Lesbian and should be noted as such. Not “queer’. PLEASE be respectful of how people identify.

2. BJK should really push for her tournament to be moved out of Florida permanently.

Barbara Streisand: Happy 80th. Birthday Gorgeous! (April 24, 1942 )

Singer, actress and filmmaker. Oscar winner, Tony recipient, great at the Grammys and excellent at the Emmys, there is no doubt that Barbra Streisand is the epitome of a Hollywood legend. The legendary entertainer turns 80 today on April 24 and to celebrate lets take a look at her most best performances and songs that truly makes Babs’ a gay icon.

Legendary Gay Porn Director William Higgins Has Passed Away at Age 74

Legendary Gay Porn Director William Higgins Has Passed Away at Age 77

Legendary golden age of gay porngraphy film director William Higgins best known for his works, A Married Man (1974), Pacific Coast Highway (1981), and Pizza Boy: He Delivers (1985) died from a heart attack in Prague on his way to hospital on early Saturday morning, December 21st.

Higgins started his career as gay porn director and producer in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, when sellers of pornographic movies at that time, including Falcon refused to mail them to customers in many southeastern states for legal reasons.

In an interview Higgins said that he got into the porngraphy business because gay porn movies were “so bad” in the mid 70’s that he decided to begin making them himself.

In 1978, Higgins had his premises raided and was arrested. Although the charges were later dropped, Higgins decided to go on a “world tour” looking for a better legal environment for his films.

First he went to Australia, and then on to Thailand, and while he was happy with the product, but didn’t see any future opportunities there. 

Ultimately, Higgins ended up in Amsterdam and also Prague where his European distributor was located.

Photographer and Back2Stonewall reader David Jarrett:

He (Higgins) lived in an apartment at 50 Zborovska, Prague 5.   Higgins opened Drake’s Club Prague in 1993 at 50 Zborovska.   Prior to that, Michael Genger opened up American Club (or America) in 1989, which he sold to Higgins in 1993.   Higgins changed the name.  Drake’s is also listed in a 1996 gay guide at 5 Petrinska (same building),  Around 2013, Higgins sold Drakes to Travers Davies.  Higgins had a porn shop business in Amsterdam in the 1980’s, before he moved to Prague.

Drake’s has a variety of activities, including male hustlers, food and drink, dark rooms, glory holes, porn video cabins, porn video rooms, and an extensive dungeon and labyrinth in the basement for S&M activities.

Higgins also had a porn studio in the same building.  

Higgin’s first film, “A Married Man” starring Jack Wrangler, was produced in 1974. He had since produced over 140 internationally distributed titles. His films have won several Grabby Awards and he is in the GayVN Awards Hall of Fame. Higgins was also the founder of the film production company Catalina Video.

Rest In Peace William Higgin’s your movies as well as yourself will be remembered.

WATCH: Excerpts from A Married Man (1974) below – EXTREMELY NSWF – ADULTS ONLY.

Gay History Month - October 11th: The Life and Death of Heroic Gay Rights Activist Frank Kameny (May 21, 1925 – October 11, 2011)

Gay History – October 11: The Life and Death of Heroic Gay Rights Activist Frank Kameny (May 21, 1925 – October 11, 2011)

Frank Kameny was one of the most significant figures and iconic figures in the American gay rights movement.

 In 1957, Frank Kameny was dismissed from his position as an astronomer in the Army Map Service in Washington, D.C. because of his homosexuality leading him to begin “a Herculean struggle with the American establishment that would transform the gay rights movement” and “spearhead a new period of homosexual rights movement of the early 1960’s.

Kameny appealed his firing through the judicial system, losing twice before seeking review from the United States Supreme Court, which turned down his petition for certiorari.  After devoting himself to activism, Kameny never held a paid job again and was supported by friends and family for the rest of his life. Despite his outspoken activism, he rarely discussed his personal life and never had any long-term relationships with other men, stating merely that he had no time for them.

 In August, 1961 Kameny and Jack Nichols co-founded the Mattachine Society of Washington,[an organization that pressed aggressively for gay and lesbian civil rights. The goals of the Mattachine Society were “to unify, to educate, and to lead.”

Kameny and the Mattachine worked diligently for fair and equal treatment of gay employees in the federal government by fighting security clearance denials, employment restrictions and dismissals, and working with other groups to press for equality for gay citizens.

In 1963, Kameny also launched a campaign to overturn D.C. sodomy laws; he personally drafted a bill finally passed in 1993. He also worked to remove the classification of homosexuality as a mental disorder from the American Psychiatric Association’s manual of mental disorders.

Kameny launched the first organized public protests by gays and lesbians with a picket line at the White House on April 17, 1965 and  expanded the picketing to the Pentagon, the U.S. Civil Service Commission, and to Philadelphia’s Independence Hall for what became known as the Annual Reminder for gay rights.

In 1971, Kameny became the first openly gay candidate for the United States Congress when he ran in the District of Columbia’s first election for a non-voting Congressional delegate. Following his defeat by Democrat Walter E. Fauntroy, Kameny and his campaign organization created the Gay and Lesbian Alliance of Washington, D.C., an organization which continues to lobby government and press the case for equal rights. 

Kameny realized that the battle had to be fought on more than one front; that the negative images of homosexuals, which had even permeated the self-identity of gay and lesbian people themselves, also had to be challenged. In 1966, he coined the slogan, “Gay is Good.” Then in 1971, he demanded microphone time at the annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association where he challenged their speculative theories as being entirely unscientific and harmful to the psychological well-being of millions

He described the day – December 15, 1973, when the American Psychological Association finally removed homosexuality from its manual of mental disorders – as the day “we were cured en masse by the psychiatrists.”

Kameny suffered from heart disease in his last years, but maintained a full schedule of public appearances, his last being a speech to an LGBT group in Washington DC on September 30, 2011.

In 1975, he was appointed a Commissioner of the D.C. Commission on Human Rights, thereby becoming the first gay municipal appointee.

Frank Kameny was found dead in his Washington home of a heart attack on October 11th, 2011 National Coming Out Day.

Frank Kameny was and always will be one of the greatest gay american activists and heros that our movement will ever have.  And many today would be well served to use him as a role model in our fight for equality.

Frank Kameny young

Matt Bomer To Star In HBO Biopic About The Tragic Life Of Closeted Gay Movie Star Montgomery Clift

Matt Bomer Monty Clift


Matt Bomer is soon to return to HBO in the premium cable network’s biopic “Monty Clift”.

 Bomer, an openly gay man and heartrob to many men and women alike  won critical praise for his work in HBO’s The Normal Heart.  Ira Sachs and Mauricio Zachariasto to rewrite the script originally penned by Christopher Lovick that centers on the complicated life and hidden gay life of Clift (Bomer), who finds himself deeply involved with a young Elizabeth Taylor following the filming of A Place in the Sun.

Via Deadline Hollywood

“To see the kind of intense vulnerability and realism that he brought to his work at a time when that was not the style—it’s profound,” Bomer said in an interview last year. “He knew everything he was feeling inside—or if he didn’t, you wondered, why was he feeling that when the scene was this? To get to portray someone who was so formative to me as an artist would be terrifying and daunting and thrilling.

Clift’s performance in A Place in the Sun is regarded as one of his signature method acting performances. He worked extensively on his character and was again nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor. For his character’s scenes in jail, Clift spent a night in a real state prison. He also refused to go along with director George Stevens’ suggestion that he do “something amazing” on his character’s walk to the electric chair. Instead, he walked to his death with a natural, depressed facial expression.   Charlie Chaplin called the movie “the greatest movie made about America.” The film received added media attention due to the rumors that Clift and Taylor were “dating” in real life. They were billed as “the most beautiful couple in Hollywood.” Many critics still call Clift and Taylor “the most beautiful Hollywood movie couple of all time.”

On the evening of May 12, 1956, while filming Raintree County, Clift was involved in a serious auto accident when he smashed his car into a telephone pole after leaving a dinner party at the Beverly Hills home of his now close friend Elizabeth Taylor and her second husband, Michael Wilding. Alerted by friend Kevin McCarthy, who witnessed the accident, Taylor raced to Clift’s side, manually pulling a tooth out of his tongue as he had begun to choke on it. He suffered a broken jaw and nose, a fractured sinus, and several facial lacerations which required plastic surgery

Although the results of Clift’s plastic surgeries were remarkable for the time, there were noticeable differences in his appearance, particularly the right side of his face. The pain of the accident led him to rely on alcohol and pills for relief, as he had done after an earlier bout with dysentery left him with chronic intestinal problems. As a result, Clift’s health and physical appearance deteriorated considerably from then until his death.

Elizabeth Taylor was a significant figure in his life. He met her when she was supposed to be his date at the premiere for The Heiress. They appeared together in A Place in the Sun, where, in their romantic scenes, they received considerable acclaim for their naturalness and their appearance. Clift and Taylor appeared together again in Raintree County and Suddenly, Last Summer.

Clift never physically or emotionally recovered from his car accident. His post-accident career has been referred to as the “longest suicide in Hollywood history””.   Because of his alleged subsequent abuse of painkillers and alcohol.  He began to behave erratically in public, which embarrassed his friends, including Kevin McCarthy and Jack Larson. Nevertheless, Clift continued to work over the next ten years.

But despite earning a nomination for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for portraying Rudolph Peterson, a victim of forced sterilization at the hands of Nazi authorities in the Stanley Kramer film Judgment at Nuremberg Monty was considered unemployable in the mid 1960s, Taylor put her salary for the film on the line as insurance, in order to have Clift cast as her co-star in Reflections in a Golden Eye.

Clift also had a relationship with legendary choreographer Jerome Robbins

Clift and Taylor remained good friends..

Montgomery Clift died on on July 22, 1966.  The autopsy report cited the cause of death as a heart attack brought on by “occlusive coronary artery disease”


Gay History: The Lost and Forgotten Art of Gay Disco Fan Dancing Featuring: Bret Lacquement [Rare Video]

Late Disco Legend Sylvester’s Estate Gives Two AIDS Groups 140K

The late disco diva Sylvester James, a flamboyant and openly gay disco superstar from San Francisco died over 21 years ago at the age of 41 from complications due to AIDS  Shortly before his death Sylvester had bequeathed his future royalties to local AIDS groups, but Sylvester died deeply in debt there was no money to distribute until the late 90s. Once his advances were repaid, his early-career label Fantasy Records then kept the money in an account until its proper recipient could be legally determined..

Last week that the AIDS Emergency Fund and Project Open Hand split a check from the drag performer’s estate totaling nearly $140,000. “When I came into this job seven and a half years ago, I inherited three bankers’ boxes filled with all of the early records from Sylvester’s estate. The documents were page after page of all the financial records of his estate, which clearly showed we had tremendous amounts of help with debt and a clear path to having them paid off,” said Mike Smith, executive director of the AIDS Emergency Fund. “AEF never expected this estate to pay out the way it just has.”

With he advent of iTunes and the recent usage of Sylvester’s music in movies means that more money will be coming. Project Open Hand reports that their 25% share of the first distribution will buy 13,000 meals for people with AIDS.

Sylvester would be estatic.