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Gay History Lesson: Alan Turing

Posted on January 31, 2016 at 6:55 PM Comments comments (1)

By Dennis Stone


If you want a classic example of the difference between the “bad old days” and the new millennial gay world in which we now live you need look no further than the life of Alan Turing. I was reminded of that last night when I finally got around to watching “The Imitation Game,” the 2014 historical drama about Turing. The film featured a terrific starring performance by Benedict Cumberbatch and received eight Oscar nominations.

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Gay History Lesson: David Bowie - From Gay To Bisexual To Straight

Posted on January 17, 2016 at 3:15 PM Comments comments (2)

By Dennis Stone


When David Bowie declared to “Melody Maker” magazine in 1972 that he was gay, it was a sensation, in both the mainstream and gay worlds. Celebrities simply didn’t come out in that era, which helped the straight world to maintain the idea that gay people were sick and sinful oddities hiding in the dark corners of society. (All psychiatric associations still classified homosexuality as a mental illness.) But there was Bowie reveling in the...

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Gore Vidal - A New Millennial Thinker?

Posted on February 13, 2014 at 4:10 PM Comments comments (4)

By Dennis Stone


 

I remember seeing Gore Vidal on the “Tonight Show” and other talk shows when I was a kid. He was an extraordinarily intelligent man, a brilliant writer, a witty conversationalist, and a liberal of near-radical proportions. He was also monumentally pompous and, when provoked, quite vicious. I don’t recall at what point I learned he was gay (well, sort of gay; more about that shortly), but in t...

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Gay History Lesson: The Radical Faeries

Posted on February 12, 2014 at 7:55 PM Comments comments (2)

By Dennis Stone


If you are not familiar with the Radical Faeries, prepare to be amazed! There is nothing like them within the queer and alternative communities.


The self-description below by someone using the moniker “Constance Craving” gives a good feel for what the group is about. I’m quoting it at length because it is so perfect.


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Gay History Lesson - The Gay Angle In the JFK Assassination

Posted on November 26, 2013 at 2:45 AM Comments comments (1)

By Dennis Stone


The assassination of President John F. Kennedy occurred fifty years ago this past Friday. Some historians consider this event as the demarcation between the “old world” of optimism, tradition and Frank Sinatra, and the new world of protest, experimentation and the Beatles. I actually think the change in the world order occurred with the election of Kennedy, the first “modern” president. The Beat...

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Gay History Lesson - When We Were Mentally Ill

Posted on November 4, 2013 at 12:05 AM Comments comments (3)

By Dennis Stone


When I was born I was mentally ill.


That’s because when I was born I was gay (though I didn’t recognize it for 19 years), and at that time all gay people were classified as mentally ill. Not only did everyone take it for granted, but the American Psychiatric Association and all other such organizations said it was true.


ItR...

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Gay History Lesson: Bayard Rustin

Posted on October 16, 2013 at 12:50 AM Comments comments (0)

by Andy Nemec


Bayard Rustin, born in West Chester, Pennsylvania on March 17, 1912, is perhaps the most famous forgotten figure in American history. While he was known as the man who introduced the non-violent resistance concepts of Gandhi to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., he was also gay and worked for gay rights later in his life. He also lived as openly gay at a time when it was not only socially unacceptable, but when being an openly g...

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Gay History Lesson: The White Night Riots

Posted on September 19, 2013 at 12:55 AM Comments comments (4)

By Dennis Stone


The verdict came in just after 5:00 P.M. on May 21, 1979. People started to gather throughout the Castro, disbelief and rage slowly building. Soon there was a crowd of 500. Young Cleve Jones, one of Harvey’s close friends, addressed the crowd, verifying that Dan White had indeed been found guilty of voluntary manslaughter rather than first degree murder. He had killed two people in cold blood, goddammit, pumping two...

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Paul Lynde - The "Openly Closeted" Comedian

Posted on September 7, 2013 at 2:45 AM Comments comments (4)

By Dennis Stone

 

Peter Marshall, host of the television game show “Hollywood Squares”:  “What do you call a man who gives you diamonds and pearls?”

Paul Lynde:  “I’d call him darling.”

 

Peter Marshal:   "For what reason might you pound ...

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The Other Side of the Gay Coin - Roy Cohn

Posted on August 31, 2013 at 7:05 PM Comments comments (1)

by Andy Nemec

 

Everyone knows that humanity is full of every type of person – good or bad, remarkable or ignorable, engaging or dull, and everyone who sits at any point of any spectrum. Gay people are no exception, of course. We have our heroes, and our villains. As much as we admire the leaders who've fought for our rights, we also have to acknowledge that there have been others who've done quite the opposite....

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Gay History Lesson - The Sinking Of the Titanic

Posted on August 21, 2013 at 2:45 AM Comments comments (3)

By Dennis Stone


The sinking of the Titanic has always held a fascination for me. The story has it all. The massive loss of life, including many famous and/or fabulously wealthy people. The hubris of “the ship that couldn’t sink”, with lifeboats for less than half of the passengers. The band playing until almost the very end. The “unsinkable” Molly Brown, a millionairess. The cultural disparity between the we...

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History Lesson: Jonathan Katz - Chronicler Of Gay History

Posted on August 14, 2013 at 1:50 AM Comments comments (1)

By Andy Nemec


In the process of writing gay history pieces, it occurred to me that while there are plenty of stories to tell about the people who've made gay history, we don't often pay much attention to those who keep the historical record of our struggles and the evolution of gay rights throughout history.


One of my go-to sources for gay history is the book Gay American History – Lesbian...

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The Remarkable Man Who Officiated At the Baker/McConnell Wedding

Posted on August 6, 2013 at 12:00 AM Comments comments (6)

By Dennis Stone


“I now pronounce you husband and husband.”

 

With those words Pastor Roger Lynn married Jack Baker and Michael McConnell on September 3, 1971, perhaps the first legal gay marriage in the United States. The two men kissed, and Lynn had a reaction that surprised him. It was jarring, what he called a “visceral reaction”. He had never seen two men kiss before, an...

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The Baker/McConnell Story - Part 2 - Soul Mates and Social Activism

Posted on August 1, 2013 at 8:40 PM Comments comments (3)

By Dennis Stone


They met at a Halloween party in Norman, Oklahoma in 1966. Jack Baker was outgoing, passionate, overtly political. Michael McConnell was more introverted and analytical, but also had a quiet passion for social justice. They were perfect for each other, and they were soul mates.


A few months later, in March of 1967, Baker asked McConnell to “join their lives together”...

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Amazing But True: The American Gay Couple That Has Been Legally Married For 40 Years

Posted on July 29, 2013 at 10:05 PM Comments comments (8)

By Dennis Stone


Gay marriages will be happening here in Minnesota beginning this Thursday, August 1. It was less than a year ago that the outcome of the state ballot initiative to put a prohibition of gay marriage into the state constitution was seriously in doubt. The polls were extremely close, and equality opponents have historically voted in greater numbers than supporters. We all breathed a huge sigh of relief when that initiativ...

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History Lesson - The Gay Hero Of the American Revolution

Posted on July 23, 2013 at 12:00 AM Comments comments (3)

By Dennis Stone


1778 was not a good time for gay people. It was also not a good time for the soldiers of the thirteen American colonies in their fight for independence from England. But it was in 1778 that a gay military man helped turn around a war effort that was looking bleak. In fact, many historians think it likely that the Americans would have lost the war without the help of this gay hero.


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Today's LGBT History Lesson - The Transgender Pride Flag

Posted on July 13, 2013 at 1:15 AM Comments comments (1)

By Dennis Stone


The reason for the existence of this site is our belief that millions of gay people in the 21st century are living transformative lives of freedom not possible until recently. And as a result large numbers of us now see our sexuality as just one of our many traits rather than the one trait that dominates our identity.


Unfortunately, there is no “new millennial” experi...

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Today's Gay History Lesson: The Ordination of William Johnson in 1972

Posted on July 9, 2013 at 10:25 AM Comments comments (5)

By Dennis Stone

 

In America much of the most vehement opposition to gay equality has come from the Christian church. (Though religion is certainly not necessary to produce a virulently anti-gay society, as we have seen under overtly atheistic regimes such as in China and the Soviet Union.) Because Americans have been and remain overwhelmingly Christian, that is a problem.

 

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How I Knew Things Were Really Changing (It's the Hugs!)

Posted on July 5, 2013 at 2:00 PM Comments comments (1)

by Andy Nemec


There were certain things people of my generation grew up experiencing, being children of the 1950s and 1960s. Mostly, it was a social pressure to be homogenous, to fit in - to not be too terribly different. Gays were a special class of outcasts in that era. In the early part of the '60s, for example, homosexuality wasn't even talked about in polite company. Being gay was considered a breach of that homogenous decorum, a failure to be normal and be just like ev...

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The Stonewall Story - Part 3 - The Aftermath

Posted on July 3, 2013 at 12:45 AM Comments comments (0)

By Andy Nemec


Although Stonewall was the public face of the more militant side of the gay rights movement, the event did some other important things. One was to push the gay rights struggle to the forefront of public awareness. Another was to mainstream the gay rights movement among LGBT people themselves.


While these things are certainly important, the events of late June and early July in 1969...

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