Tag Archives: Queer

PRIDE MONTH: The Hidden Gay Activism and Sexuality of Singer-Songwriter Rod McKuen

The Erased Gay Activism and Past of Singer Rod McKuen

“Rod” McKuen (April 29, 1933 – January 29, 2015) was an American singer-songwriter, musician and poet. He was one of the best-selling poets in the United States during the late 1960s. Throughout his career, McKuen produced a wide range of recordings, which included popular music, spoken word poetry, film soundtracks and classical music. He earned two Academy Award nominations and one Pulitzer nomination for his music compositions. McKuen’s translations and adaptations of the songs of Jacques Brel were instrumental in bringing the Belgian songwriter to prominence in the English-speaking world. McKuen’s songs sold over 100 million recordings worldwide, and 60 million books of his poetry were sold as well, according to the Associated Press.  This is known to many.  But what’s not widely known about is McKuen’s queer past and his gay activism work.

Rod McKuenMcKuen was a longtime supporter of gay rights. not many know that in the 1950s, he held a leadership role in the San Francisco chapter of the Mattachine Society.  McKuen also publicly opposed Anita Bryant and dubbed her:  ‘Ginny Orangeseed’—and gave benefit performances gay discos in Miami, New York, and LA to raise money for gay rights groups to fight her. He also engaged in AIDS activism for well over a decade, participating in numerous fundraisers in support of AIDS related charities.

The cover for his 1977 album  Slide… Easy In album, (pictured left), depicts the arm of 1970’s gay porn star Bruno, his fist filled with Crisco, hovering above a can with the label “disco” on it. The so-called “Crisco/Disco” album featured the song “Don’t Drink the Orange Juice,” released during the national “gaycot” of Florida orange juice in response to the Anita Bryant campaign.

Later that same year the Associated Press asked McKuen if he was gay. He responded: “I’ve been attracted to men and I’ve been attracted to women. I have a 16-year-old son. You put a label on.” By the end of the year, the Baltimore Sun casually described McKuen as a homosexual. While the gay newspaper, The Advocate, in 1976, it had gave McKuen the dubious “Something You do in the Dark” closet case award for refusing to identify as gay.

In 2004, a reporter asked  McKuen once again if he was gay. As with his AP interview two decades earlier, McKuen refused to label his sexual activities:

Am I gay? Let me put it this way, Collectively I spend more hours brushing my teeth than having sex so I refuse to define my life in sexual terms. I’ve been to bed with women and men and in most cases enjoyed the experience with either sex immensely. Does that make me bi-sexual? Nope. Heterosexual? Not exclusively. Homosexual? Certainly not by my definition.

I am sexual by nature and I continue to fall in love with people and with any luck human beings of both sexes will now and again be drawn to me. I can’t imagine choosing one sex over the other, that’s just too limiting. I can’t even honestly say I have a preference. I’m attracted to different people for different reasons.

I do identify with the Gay Rights struggle, to me that battle is about nothing more or less than human rights. I marched in the 50’s and 60’s to protest the treatment of Blacks in this country and I’m proud of the fact that I broke the color barrier in South Africa by being the first artist to successfully demand integrated seating at my concerts. I am a die-hard feminist and will continue to speak out for women’s rights as long as they are threatened. These, of course, are all social issues and have nothing to do with my sex life (although admittedly I’ve met some pretty hot people of both sexes on the picket line.)

Singer Rod McKuen died on January 29, 2015 with many new outlets erasing the fact that for over half a century McKuen selflessly and  proudly advocated for gay rights while refusing to put a sexual label on himself.

And now you know.

"The Good Place" Actress Jameela Jamil Comes Out As Queer

“The Good Place” Actress Jameela Jamil Comes Out As Queer

“The Good Place” actress Jameela Jamil came out as “queer” yesterday on Twitter after addressing a backlash started by tran-actress Trace Lysette over Jamil’s involvement in “Legendary,” an upcoming HBO Max ballroom competition show.

“I kept it low because I was scared of the pain of being accused of performative bandwagon jumping, over something that caused me a lot of confusion, fear and turmoil when I was a kid.” Jamil said.

It is not clear what part of the community she identifies with as of this posting,

The drama started when “Transparent” trans-actress Trace Lysette criticized the decision to hire someone who was not part of the culture. (As she often does with every role she loses a roll she wants or feels slighted by casting “I interviewed for this gig. As the mother of a house for nearly a decade it’s kind of kind blowing when ppl with no connection to our culture gets the gig. This is not shade towards Jameela, I love all that she stands for. If anything I question the decision makers,” Lysette said on her Twitter.

“I know that my being queer doesn’t qualify me as ballroom,” Jamil has said. “But I have privilege and power and a large following to bring to this show, (as does the absolutely iconic Megan Thee Stallion,) and its beautiful contestants and ballroom hosts.

Jamil posted the following on Twitter:

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Study Shows Only 6% of the LGBT Community Identifies as "Queer"

Study Shows Only 6% of the LGBT Community Identifies as “Queer”

new report from the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law has put scientific data behind the number of the population of “queer” self-identified people in the United States. According to its findings, only 6 percent of the LGBT community identify as queer, while 47 percent identify as lesbian or gay, just over 40 percent identify as bisexual (Eighty-five percent of the women who were polled reported being attracted to both men and women.) and about 7 percent identify as “other.”

The data’s age demographic characteristic shows that od the 6% of the LGBT community that identify as “queer” Ninety-eight percent of queer people are ages 18 to 44, with the vast majority (76 percent) ages 18 to 25, or Generation Z. The study found that just 2 percent of queer-identified people are ages 52 to 59, the oldest age cohort in the study.

Despite the push by the younger generation of the LGBT community to “reclaim” the word “queer” many older members of the community resist doing so because the pain and harm both physical and emotional that the it caused many over the past 100 years and believe it is incredibly insensitive and selfish to reclaim the word.

An unofficial poll ran by the Gay UK website in 2018 found that 60% of those polled said that using the term “Queer” to describe members of the LGBT community is deeply offensive”, particularly to men who identified as gay.

Only seven percent of gay men surveyed thought that the term “queer” was acceptable

White Queer Black Lives Matter Protester Disrupts Black Leaders Endorsement of Pete Buttigieg - VIDEO

White Queer Black Lives Matter Protester Disrupts Black Leaders Endorsement of Pete Buttigieg – VIDEO

A meeting of Black Leaders in Indiana to showcase black support and endorsements for Pete Buttigieg took a trip on the crazy-train Wednesday night when a white, queer, Black Lives Matter protester rushed the stage to hi-jack the event and was nearly clobbered by a cane-wielding elderly lady.

Caught on camera by local network WSBT 22, the protester charging toward the front of the room where South Bend Councilwoman Sharon McBride was speaking.

“Who chose these people as black leaders?” the man yelled out — as a person in the audience stood up, positioned a cane over their head and took aim at the belligerent event crasher.

McBride and others managed to thwart the cane attack.

The protester then wrestled the microphone away from McBride, shouting into it, “Who organized this? We have a police crisis in this town. Why are we talking about Pete Buttigieg? What kind of nonsense is this?”

Less than a dozen other Black Lives Matter protesters stood silently with signs in the back of the room and did not get involved.

Buttigieg who himself wasn’t present at the event, but his campaign did help organize it.

Oh Thursday the 2020 Presidential nominee contender said of the ruckus.

“It shows kind of where politics has come to, especially for somebody to interrupt an African American woman who was speaking about her truth and in her experience,” the 2020 hopeful told NBC.

“But this is the climate that we’re in and we need to continue making sure that everyone is empowered to speak their truth, their experience, and in particular, when it comes to South Bend’s story,” he added.

Too bad the elderly black lady with the cane missed.

DC Dyke March Bans Jewish and Israeli Symbols on Pride Flags

DC Dyke March Bans Jewish and Israeli Symbols on Pride Flags

Israeli symbols and Pride flags with the Star of David, will be banned at the Washington, D.C. Dyke March which is set to take place on Friday

DC Dyke March organizers say that while Jewish symbols would be allowed in general, rainbow flags with a Star of David appearing in the center are banned because they are “almost entirely reminiscent” of the Israeli flag.

“We are asking people to not bring nationalist symbols because violent nationalism does not fit with our vision of queer liberation,” they wrote. “And because we need the march to be a space that is as welcoming to Palestinian Dykes as it is to Jewish Dykes. The ‘Jewish Pride Flag’ seemed to only rise in popularity after the Chicago Dyke March — it was never a flag that we felt directly connected to, and it does not represent all Jewish Dykes,” they continued, referencing controversy that erupted in 2017 when the Chicago Dyke March ejected participants who carried such flags.

The event, which will take place in the capital after a 12-year hiatus, is not affiliated with the annual Pride Parade, as it rejects “the corporate sponsorship of Pride.”

In an interview with the Washington Post, one of the march’s organizers Laila Makled said the ban is intended to help create a welcoming space.

“All people should have a space to celebrate themselves, but I feel like at this moment in D.C. there is definitely a demand for a more inclusive way to display pride and protest,” she said.

The Anti-Defamation League criticized the ban, calling it “outrageous” and saying: “Banning the Star of David in their parade is anti-Semitic, plain and simple.

If this is what “QUEER”really is. Perhaps those out there that call themselves and identify as “queer” might want to think twice about that.

Study Shows Only 6% of the LGBT Community Identifies as "Queer"

LGBT Website Survey Finds That 93% Of Gay Men Polled Don’t Want To Be Labeled “QUEER”

A recent survey done by the website The Gay UK has found that 60% of those polled find using the term “Queer” to describe members of the LGBT community is offensive and inappropriate.

The poll which was done in July 2017 asked over 200 people whether they thought queer as an umbrella term for the LGBT+ community was acceptable and sixty percent did not. Some commented that the word was “deeply offensive”, particularly to men who identified as gay.

The word queer is still used as a slur against many people in the community, particularly gay and bisexual men, and although some may refer to themselves in this way, the website says it’s probably best not to use language that causes offence to others.

Only seven percent of the gay men surveyed thought that the term “queer” was acceptable

Case in point: John Kichi, a 66-year-old writer and marketing expert in Sewickley, Pa., recalled how decades ago he was thrown out of an apartment and later lost a prestigious job because he was gay.

So when he began an online application for a job at Colorado College recently, he was shocked by a question that asked applicants to check one of five genders: “not disclosed,” “male,” “female,” “transgender” — or “queer.”

 “It would be like if they put down for race: ‘white,’ ‘Latino,’ ‘black’ and then the ‘N’ word,'” Kichi told ABCNews.com. “Every one of my gay friends is appalled by this.

 “I think queer harkens back to a time when being gay was a documented medical abnormality,” he said. “Queer is also not a gender, and if you want to list sexual orientation, that’s even more egregious.

While certain direct action groups began in the late 1980’s like Queer Nation used the word in the militant vernacular. Lately many QPOC (LGBT people of color), and millennial have begun to reclaim queer in response the ever widening LGBTQ!A+ umbrella without any thoughts or concern to those in the LGBT community that were harassed and harmed in the past and many  who still are in the present by the word “queer”.

 With PRIDE month coming fast everyone should be proud of who they are. Gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, transgender.

I am a proud gay man. 

Proud of the word “queer”? 

 Not so much.

 How do you feel about the queer?  Sound off in the comments below.

 

 

Stonewall Veterans Association Accuse Cynthia Nixon for 'Ripping off gay history' For Campaign Purposes

Stonewall Veterans Association Accuse Cynthia Nixon of ‘Ripping off gay history’ For Campaign Purposes

The Stonewall Veterans Association, which was formed in the aftermath of the Stonewall riots in 1969 by those who fought and were involved in the 4 nights of rioting are insulted that Cynthia Nixon launched her gubernatorial campaign with a fund-raiser at the Stonewall Inn on Wednesday without any recognition of the history or the group that many say started the fight for our civil rights.

Williamson L. Henderson, the Stonewall Veterans Association director has said that Nixon “Is ripping off gay history to promote herself.”

The group which boasts roughly about 40 surviving members of that historic night has been subbed by Nixon before.  At a  2013 campaign event at the Stonewall she stumped for Mayor de Blasio with a dozen Stonewall vets in the front row.

“It’ll be five years in June, they (Nixon and her companions) were on a little stage that was about 2-feet high for show … they never even acknowledged us,” he said. “She was talking about gay rights, gay pride, and there were a dozen of us there. Fast forward to the other night — she doesn’t invite the Stonewall Veterans?”

Nixon, who was 3 years old at the time, also prides herself as an advocate for LGBT rights and spoke about the challenges LGBT people face under the Trump administration at the fundraiser. “Being queer and being visible has been one of the unexpected joys of my life. And I must say, as a community, we’re at a thorny moment in our LGBTQ journey,” she said. We may have repealed Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and passed marriage equality, but, the sun is not shining equally on all of us. Queer people who are also African-American or Muslim or Latino or working class are being targeted brutally on a daily basis.”

Williamson and the SV’s were further enraged after watching the coverage of Nixon’s event where it was reported supporters who contributed as little as $1 could attend.

Ironically $1 was the same cost of admission to the Stonewall inn in 1969. 

Oh, Miranda.

TRIGGERED: Madison, WI Police Banned From Marching in PRIDE Parade

Professor Declares Millennial Snowflakes and Their Victim-hood Is Destroying Gay Culture

 

Cynthia Belmont, a professor at Northland College, in a new op-ed published by Salon, states that in the last few years, she’s seen an uptick in students who seem to take offense at things that have defined LGBTQ culture for decades.

We deserve all the rights, obviously. We deserve to be who we are and who we want to be and not to be harassed or killed for it, and we deserve to have and keep our children and set up shop in the suburbs if we want. We deserve to pee in peace in the bathroom that suits our identity and serve in the military. Obviously. I myself have lived in fear as a parent with no legal rights. But. Apparently, in the pursuit of rights and respectability, we have somehow shifted as a culture from the celebration of eros to the celebration of victimhood — to comfortably inhabiting a state of being prickly and appalled — and apparently we now have to be and feel like victims in order even to deserve rights. This worries me.

Are we going to become so focused on our legal standing and our feelings, so invested in queer culture as a culture of rights, respectability and sensitivity, that we lose our playfulness and the toughness that used to define survival? Do we just not want to be tough anymore? Are we too emotionally exhausted, or just too bourgeois, to appreciate a classic bitchy drag emcee? Her sensibility was always at the cultural fringe — is there no room for it now? Or are we the truly bitchy ones, ever ready with the political upper hand raised to slap down those among us who still want to play around the edges, where things are a little less comfortable and correct?

Who cares? I do. Because my queer students are so fragile, so easily hurt, and I am worried about them — and not in the way that they want me to be. Because when I say to one of them, “Being a victim is not hot, and in my day a political platform based on being a victim would never have gained traction,” she seems startled but retorts that on the contrary, victimhood is hot, adding, “What about BDSM?” And so I explain that BDSM is not about being a victim, it’s about moving beyond and transforming  victimization — for those who come to it that way — and it’s about destabilizing the grounds of victimization, through playing with power. Which is also what drag is about in its way. And I am shocked to find myself in the position of defending, to a queer, the value of hotness — as shocked as she seems to be at the idea that hotness could be the point of queer culture.

I don’t believe her. I don’t believe that she really finds victimhood hot, unless . . . is this a new fetish that is hopelessly lost on me since I’m almost 50? I won’t — I can’t — believe in the victim as the new face of queer culture. What were all those drag queens at Stonewall fighting for, anyway? If victimhood is hot, then we have lost.

 So in a nutshell.  We fought for our rights so millennials can be offended.

So are millennial snowflakes are ruining LGBT culture? Share your thoughts in the comments…

Los Angeles: Controversial John Fleck Film “John Fleck Is Who You Want Him To Be” Screens July 18

This Saturday, July 18, Brand Library & Art Center  in Glendale, California presents a free screening of the yet-to-be-released documentary John Fleck Is Who You Want Him To Be which delves into the work of controversial performance artist and award-winning actor John Fleck.

10015010_10152304737575027_613484043635628837_nJohn Fleck, a radical gay performance artist, gained notoriety as one of the NEA Four, a quartet of artists–Fleck, Karen Finley, Holly Hughes and Tim Miller–whose National Endowment for the Arts grants were vetoed by agency head John Frohnmayer in 1990.  The artists’ works were considered by Frohnmayer (but not by the NEA’s peer review) to be offensive. This was at the height of the AIDS crisis. The NEA reversed funding to these artists who utilized body imagery and radical forms of expression to make art that confronted the government’s reluctance–fueled by fear and apathy–to deal with the AIDS crisis. Fleck and his compatriots fought back, and the face of public funding for the arts changed forever, with the Supreme Court ultimately upholding a vague “decency clause” on government arts funding that still limits our freedom of speech today. At that very different and extreme time, much concern was expressed about “the chilling effect” the decision could have on our culture.

During and after the Supreme Court case, Fleck worked in film and television, appearing in Falling Down, Waterworld, and Howard the Duck, and on the series Star Trek: Enterprise, Star Trek: The Next GenerationStar Trek Deep Space Nine, Murder One, Carnivale, and True Blool. He also continued to create performance art,  winning  four LA Critics Circle Awards, eight DramaLogue, seven LA Weekly and two Backstage West awards, all for outstanding performance.

Fleck debuted his fine art in January 2014,  at Coagula Curatorial in the show “Two Johns and Whor10268624_553721054762209_5096812462146475193_ne,” hanging his paintings across from art by queer filmmaker John Roecker whose documentary Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Gay Porn Stars… was at one point banned by Amazon. Fleck hung a series of nine paintings made by covering his buttocks and related regions with paint and pressing them on paper and canvas. The series, “Assy-Nine” provided the backdrop for an opening night performance piece involving Fleck wrapped in toilet paper–a reference to both the art work and his NEA-shocking piece–and his operatic, prophetic arias, all captured in Duffy’s film.

Now the film, John Fleck Is Who You Want Him To Be, which intercuts archival video and current footage from a range of performances and an interview with Fleck, appears to be caught in a chilling effect because of its content, not unlike his piece in 1990. According to an email exchange between the film’s director, Kevin Duffy  and Frameline San Francisco International LGBTQ Film Festival, the longest-running and largest queer film festival in the world requested a copy of the film for consideration. Just days before the festival, Duffy learned the film would not be shown, even though Frameline claimed to “love it.” Further queries by Duffy led to him to learn that that the reason was the film’s “construction.” In an interview posted on Duffy’s Facebook page,  Penelope Boyer,  who worked for the National Association of Arts Organizations, a co-plaintiff in the NEA 4 Supreme Court case, says:

Construction is a veiled term for content, and content in this case refers to content that was controversial and that angered  and frightened John Frohnmayer, the chairman of the NEA twenty-five years ago. It is this same content that is frightening a queer film festival now.

Despite Frameline’s rejection of  John Fleck is Who You Want Him to Be, Duffy has screened the film at California State University, Long Beach and California Arts Institute, and on Saturday, July 18 will showing the film, with question and answer following, at the Brand Library & Art Center, in Glendale, CA, just minutes away from Hollywood and Downtown Los Angeles. The screening marks start of a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for the film’s licensing and distribution. The reception at 6:30 pm will be followed by the 7:00 pm screening and discussion with the artists.  Admission is free and open to the public (18 years of age and older, due the mature subject matter).  Complimentary parking is available in Brand Park adjacent to the library and an accessible entrance and parking is available on the east side of the building.

FLECK DOC POSTER FINAL BRAND

Anti-Gay Russian Gunmen Open Fire In Moscow Gay Night Club

Moscow Central Station

Two armed anti-gay vigilantes opened fire at a gay club in Moscow over the weekend, releasing a string of bullets into the crowd and onto the building itself.  Fortunately no one was hurt.

Occurring at Central Station around 5 a.m. on Nov. 16, the two men reportedly began harassing patrons standing in line for the club, and then turned violent when security personnel denied them entry.

According to club administrators, the two men came for only one reason: “to shoot the club visitors,” Queer Russia points out.

The gunmen fled the scene but their attack was caught on video surveillance footage.

Its also being widely reported that other anti-gay vigilantes empowered by Russia’s draconian anti-gay “propaganda” law  have been attacking other gay establishments throughout Moscow and their owners have appealed to local police for additional protection.

Meanwhile the IOC remains silent and to sticks to the message that Russia is a wonderful country to host the 2014 Winter Olympics.