The film Philadelphia marked a turning point in Hollywood history–the moment when mainstream movies could finally tackle the proverbial elephant in the room: AIDS. Said beast had long cast a shadow over Tinseltown when the movie finally hit cinemas in 1993. Celebrities like Rock Hudson had already died of the disease, and the Reagan & Bush White Houses had done their best to ignore the epidemic. It was the crime of the century, writing HIV/AIDS off as a “behavior-based” condition, which allowed it to become an international pandemic which actually hit many more straight people than gay men.
With Philadelphia, Hollywood joined the cry of the LGBTQ community for empathy, with major stars like Denzel Washington and Tom Hanks (who won his first Oscar) appearing in the movie, which became a major hit with audiences and changed the way many people thought about the disease.
Now Coca-Cola has partnered with the noted anti-AIDS charity (Red) to produce a new video recalling that pre-Philadelphia world, the impact of the film, and how American progress since Reagan (yes, even President George W. Bush became a champion in the fight) has helped stem the spread of HIV, especially in sub-Saharan Africa.
Featuring interviews with Hanks, Washington and co-star Mary Steenburgen, the emotional short film reminds viewers of one powerful truth: even in the most desperate of times, we can still find hope.
Written by: David Reddish
The month of October is LGBT History Month — but why is it that, who said it is, and how did it come about?
What we now call LGBT History Month began in 1994 as Lesbian and Gay History Month, though it quickly added bisexual to the name, then later switched to the LGBT acronym.
The event was the brainchild of Rodney Wilson, a high school teacher and the founder of the first chapter of GLSEN — the LGBTQ organization dedicated to students and educators — outside of the group’s home state of Massachusetts.
In the early 1990s, Wilson was teaching history and government at Mehlville High School in suburban St. Louis.
It was while teaching at Mehlville, while lecturing on the Holocaust that Wilson came out to his students, explaining that had he been in Germany during World War II, he would likely have been imprisoned and killed under the Third Reich.
This humble beginning led University of Missouri-St. Louis — with Wilson as the founder on the first coordinating committee — to host the initial Gay History Month Event. Wilson chose October as National Coming Out Day was already established at the 11th of October.
It also commemorated the anniversary of the National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights, the first of its kind, held on the 14th of October, 1979.
The Paris city council plans to open an archive center in 2020 that will preserve documentation of the LGBT movement in France from the 1960s onwards.
The idea was conceived by the former Socialist mayor Bertrand Delanoë 20 years ago but, due to disagreements with LGBT associations, a center failed to materialize. The recent success of Robin Campillo's 120 Beats per Minute—about the Act Up group who were prominent figures in Aids activism in the 1990s—has given fresh impetus to the creation of the center.
“The film's critical and public success has enabled us to accelerate the process, which has dragged on for 15 years,” says Bruno Julliard, the deputy mayor of Paris in charge of culture. The film won the Grand Prix of the jury at Cannes Film Festival this year.
While the plans are at the consultation stage, the archive is likely to be in the town hall of the third or fourth arrondissement in the Marais district, which is the centre of France’s LGBT culture. The aim is to make the historical archives accessible to researchers. “The City of Paris has a concrete commitment towards appropriating the heritage of this activist battle and preserving its archives, and if there's a city that is legitimate in archiving this activist battle, it's Paris,” Julliard says. “Paris has a historic relationship with human rights and LGBT rights.”
The center will include a collection of magazines and posters, a community space, meeting rooms and potentially an exhibition space. “It's important that the documentation will be as large and diverse as possible, and I hope there will be funds for photographs and artworks to enable the collection to be enriched,” Julliard says.
Julliard adds that there is potential for partnerships with foundations and museums, highlighting the work of artists such as Keith Haring, Pierre et Gilles and photographers who have worked on LGBT issues. “Everything needs to be reflected upon but I'd like art to contribute to the archives and put the LGBT fight in France and around the world into perspective,” he says.
The archive centre is being financed by the French state, the City of Paris and private partners.
#Gay Rights # LGBTHistory
California becomes the first state in the nation to recognize LGBTQ military veterans.
On Monday Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law a bill designating the LGBTQ Veterans Memorial at the Desert Memorial Park in Cathedral City, and making it the state’s official LGBTQ Veterans Memorial. The memorial park will assume the maintenance of the monument.
In 2001 the memorial was established by Frank Moulton AMVETS Post 66 which is based in Palm Springs but was not recognized by the state until now. It is an obelisk of mahogany granite from South Dakota with the logo of the Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Veterans of America. According to a press release it was the nation’s first memorial to be dedicated to LGBTQ veterans.
“Our memorial has become a holy place for people who want closure; people who were excluded from the military funerals of their loved ones, excluded from saying goodbye and having an opportunity to gain closure,” Tom Swann Hernandez, founder and current commander of Post 66.
Hernandez testified before the state legislature to argue for the memorial to be officially recognized by the state. Legislation such as this was introduced and passed before, but Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) voted the bill in 2004.
It was said that, “People said, ‘Well, if you have a gay veteran’s memorial, then we’ll have one for left-handed veterans one day, for right-handed veterans,’” at an event in July Hernandez said “that there are people who try to diminish the importance of the memorial, but we will not give up.” Assembly Bill 2439 passed with bipartisan support, whereas before it was opposed by Republicans.
Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia the chief sponsor of AB 2439 stressed the importance of honoring LGBTQ veterans because of the struggles many had to endure to serve in the military. Hernandez successfully fought the Navy when they attempted to discharge him after he came out in 1992. Today Donald Trump’s administration is trying to prevent transgender people from serving. . “It doesn’t seem to be getting any easier for our LGBTQ community to continue to fight for the inclusiveness that you — the men and women in uniform — have fought to ensure,” Garcia said
A special dedication ceremony will be held in November hosted by Post 66 and they have invited Gov. Brown.
The former proprietor of a Hollywood filing station brothel during the Golden Age of Hollywood has released the Secret History of Hollywood, a documentary about his career and life, on July 27. Scotty was known as a self-described procurer of prostitutes and hookers to the elite in Hollywood during the 1940s. The documentary about his life, he talks about everyone from Cary Grant to Katherine Hepburn to Marlon Brando, even Charles Laughton, revealing who did what with who and what they were into.
The city of West Hollywood awarded Scotty the key to the city at a formal ceremony for his work in creating a safe space and his defense of the LGBT community long before the Stonewall Riots. Believe it or not, at the age of 95 he is still working as a hooker and private bartender. Hey, if you really love your job why quit?
Scotty has also opened his personal archives, showing the public dozens of hereto-unseen images of himself, friends and associates.
Here are a few images released, a small glimpse into homo-eroticism from the past.
Halloween is considered one of the best holidays in New Orleans. For the LGBT Community, it’s about sharing its love of showmanship, and culture.
Halloween New Orleans for 35 years has been one of the most successful events in New Orleans. The sole mission of HNO is to raise money for Project Lazarus an organization that provides health care, support services, and housing for those living with HIV/AIDS (both men and women). HNO has raised approximately $4.5 million for Project Lazarus, 100% of all donations go directly to Project Lazarus, and is one of the few donation/volunteer events left in the United States.
HNO weekend is something to experience, after attending last year’s event at the House of Blues I was amazed at the transition. There are few events that impress me, however, I can’t stress how this one truly did. You come to realize that behind the scenes there is a lot of work put into this event. Each year they select a different theme, and according to Dustin Woehrmann, President of the HNO Board “the planning and execution of the Halloween event is planned right down to the smallest detail.” Furthermore “It’s about having fun, but also raising money for Project Lazarus, which is getting harder to do each year. We must reach a younger crowd and that can be difficult.”
But make no mistake HNO works hard to raise what money they can, last year they raised approximately $30,000 for Project Lazarus. For the board, it’s not just about raising money, but a desire to foster a supportive community here in New Orleans. HNO will also host mini-events during the year to keep the group engaged.
Most people know that I’m not a fan of large LGBT parties. It’s been my experience that most turn into another boring circuit party, with stuck up half-dressed men, loud music, overpriced drinks and me wondering what the hell I'm doing here. However, for some reason, the HNO Halloween Party was different for me, maybe because I was there to take pictures, but I was impressed with the creative costumes and the effects were impressive (did I say that already?) either way I look forward to next year’s events.
For more information visit: Halloween New Orleans
TO SEE ADDITIONAL IMAGES VISIT THE ARCHIVED PICTORIAL BLOG
Lost home videos were discovered by Geoff Story, a filmmaker from St. Louis. Telling Nancy Fowler from St. Louis Public Radio he explained that he stumbled upon them 20 years ago at an estate sale of the Buddy Walton.
Walton often referred to as St. Louis' "hairdresser to the stars", including Eleanor Roosevelt and Ethel Merman if they happened to pass through St. Louis, but was also known for having lavish pool parities at his home.
“These men are still in their 20s in the sun, swimming, like they always will,” Story says. “There’s a real sweet pain, and when you watch it, there’s a happiness but you can’t believe it’s so long ago and you can’t touch it–it’s gone.”
Finding the footage inspired the idea for a documentary, which lead Story to set out and find gay men who were alive in the 1940's and talking to them about their experiences and lives. Story's new film Gay Home Movie, which he is currently working on, give us a rare look into an invisible world when LGBT individuals were forced to love and live in the dark. His documentary has already sparked the interest of gay Hollywood exec Brain Graden. “It speaks to a wide array of people on a very deep level,” Graden tells Fowler. “What are the chances someone would go to an estate sale and pick up these canisters of old footage? It’s almost like these men are trying to talk to us from beyond the grave.”
h/t: St. Louis Public Radio
Believe it or not, there was a time that if you wanted to meet someone you had to actually go to a bar and start a conversation. Long before social app sites like Grindr, Adam4Adam, Scruff, the interaction between two gay men could be told by the hanky code or “flagging”. This was more prevalent during the 60’s and 70’s in the leather and BDSM to covertly signal their sexual interests; this was at a time when being gay could get you arrested, beaten up or fired (one can still be fired for being gay).
In the past 10 years this method has somewhat fallen by the wayside; however, in the leather community, you can still find men that will flag their back pockets. I never understood the hanky code until I became more involved in the leather community, and trust me I asked questions. I found it fascinating that what originated in the 60’s and 70’s was still around. However, you can understand why it still exists; for some, it might be the tradition of the past, and for some, it might be the mystery of using one. Either way, it is a fading practice.
This history of the handkerchiefs is very interesting and while it is believed to have originated in New York City, in fact, it is based on a San Francisco tradition that date backs to the mid-1800. They were commonly used in the American West by cowboys, miners and rail engineers. When gold was discovered in 1848 the style was carried on by prospectors that flocked to California. In 1846 San Francisco’s population was about 200, however, after the Mexican-American War, the population would explode to roughly 36,000. But the percentage of the population were mostly men; therefore, men were forced to dance together at social, with some men wearing a blue bandanna to show that they were assuming the male leading part in the dance while others wore red bandannas to show they were taking the female following role in the dance.
It is a tradition that has seen many changes, but the basic colors and meaning will never change. Especially within the leather community. J. Franklin
The modern use by gay men appears to date back to the early 1970’s when a journalist for the Village Voice joked that instead of using keys on the left or right pocket to indicate top or bottom in the bedroom – the prevailing custom of the time – instead, men should use colorful handkerchiefs that could be used to signal more specific interest.
Many variations still exist, but the following from Larry Townsend’s 1983 book The Leatherman’s Handbook II (2nd edition) seems to be the most commonly followed for the core colors. Here are a few examples:
Since then there are have been several variations with regards to the color of handkerchiefs for example; white = racists, gray = boring, baby blue = mother issues, pink = ingrained homophobia, and mustard = you drink too much. So it appears that like anything in life the hanky code is changing to meet the different terms of the gay community as it expands to include more within the community. Regardless of how you feel, the past meets the present and move forward to the future. It is these traditions that define our culture and allows us to express ourselves in different and unique ways.
GLBT Historical Society Archives & Museum. Archives & Research Center. San Francisco, CA. Online. 19 July, 2017.
The Village Voice. Archives. New York City, NY. Online. 19 July, 2017.
Images: istockphoto.com. Purchased for commercial use.