Mark Thompson

gh160814

16293ga

Thompson, right, in 2013. Photo by Cleo Dubois via Facebook | 16293ga

Gay Activist is sad to record the passing of Mark Thompson, the author and former senior editor of The Advocate, who died on Friday evening from natural causes.

Thompson, 63, was raised in Northern California and lived in San Francisco.

Thompson’s husband, Malcolm Boyd, an Episcopal priest and author, was one of the Freedom Riders during the African-American Civil Rights Movement. Mr Boyd died 18 months ago.

Gay Activist sends condolences to friends, family and colleagues.

http://www.thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/stephaniedonald/gay_pioneer_and_former_editor_of_the_advocate_mark_thompson_dies

SP

Dublin’s gay secrets!

gh160731

Dublin in the late 1970s had a secret gay scene, based on the local coffee shops and pubs, explains Liam Collins.

There was an underground scene comprised of married men, priests and prominent public figures who lived in constant fear of being ‘outed’.

The more obvious gay scene was centred around the theatre and RTE, which was known by some in both the gay and political communities as ‘Fairyhouse’. Bartley Dunne’s pub, along with Rice’s and Tobin’s nearby, formed a triangle of ‘gay-friendly’ pubs before the term was widely in use. None of them were strictly gay and they liked to keep an eclectic clientele so that prominent figures in the legal profession, actors and the like would not stand out as being obviously homosexual at a time when it was illegal.

The response by the authorities to the murder of a gay man called Charles Self “was to round up 1,500 known gay men and build a data bank of fingerprints and photographs and ask who they slept with and for their partners’ names,” according to Brian Merriman, director of the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network. “This action traumatised and destroyed many lives.”

The Garda file notes: “Many of his friends and acquaintances can best be described as an arty set with different attitudes and behaviour patterns from that of ordinary and conventional members of society.”

in 1993, homosexuality in the Republic was decriminalised by the Minister for Justice Maire Geoghegan-Quinn after a successful legal challenge by David Norris, who is now a Senator.

http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/special-reports/dublins-gay-scene-was-hidden-but-it-was-thriving-34925814.html


SP

The Toronto gay bath house raids, 1981

16242ga

Police officers stand on the steps of the Ontario Legislature in Toronto in the early hours of Feb. 7, 1981 after gay rights demonstrators marched there in protest of the arrests on Feb. 5, 1981 of 253 men in four city steam baths | The Canadian Press/UPC/Gary Hershorn | 16242ga

Toronto police Chief Mark Saunders made a historic apology today for raids on four gay bathhouses in the Canadian city that took place 35 years ago. The events caused activists to mobilise for gay rights in Canada. He called the raids “one of the largest mass arrests in Canadian history.” The February 1981 event was notable for its “destructiveness” and that the raids did not occur on only one night.

“The 35th anniversary of the 1981 raids is a time when the Toronto Police Service expresses its regrets for those very actions. It is also an occasion to acknowledge the lessons learned about the risks of treating any part of Toronto’s many communities as not fully a part of society.”

“Recognizing diversity requires consistently renewed practice strategies and reaching out to communities and vigilance in challenging stereotypes. Policing requires building mutual trust and that means forging links with the full range of communities that make up this extraordinary city. The Toronto Police Service recognizes the lessons from that period have continuing relevance for the creation of a more inclusive city.”

Lorrie Goldstein of the Toronto Sun and a colleague paid a visit to one of the bath houses at the time, in search of a story.

…Subsequent to the raids on the four bathhouses in which 300 men were arrested for being found-ins or operators of a bawdy house, I was assigned by the Sun to spend the night in one with fellow reporter John Paton. …On the night of our own Operation Soap, I was nervous lining up to get into the Romans II bathhouse on Bay St., mainly because I didn’t know what to expect.

The fact you had to check-in and be admitted through a secured door after paying your entry fee and receiving a towel didn’t help.

What would I say if I was propositioned? Would there be orgies? If I saw someone underage being compelled into sexual acts, wouldn’t I have a moral obligation to intervene?

Nothing like that happened.

Aaaah.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/police-apology-raids-1.3647668

http://www.torontosun.com/2016/06/22/my-night-in-a-gay-bathhouse

The Orlando shooting

gh160619

On June 12, 2016, at around 2 am, security guard Omar Mateen walked into the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, and killed 49 people, taking hostages, and injuring 53 others. He was shot dead by Police when a SWAT team ended the incident at around 5.00 am.

16236gh

Phelan M Ebenhackz, Associated Press/CNN | 16236 gh

Three of the injured casualties were Police.

Steve Sesius/Reuters | 16237gh

Vigils were held by the gay community around the world in response to the outrage, including in London’s Old Compton Street.

16231ga

Yui Mok/Press Association | 16231ga

The LGBT Community Center of Central Florida provided grief counselling for the survivors. A victims’ assistance center was opened at Camping World Stadium.
Facebook activated its “Safety Check” feature in the Orlando area following the attack, allowing users to mark themselves as “safe” to notify family and friends—the first use of the feature in the United States.

Following the shooting, gay pride festival organizers made plans to mark the outrage in their Pride Marches, and increase the security of Pride events.

16234viega

Vienna | C Bruna/Picture Alliance/DPA | 16234viega

In Vienna around 130,000 people turned out for the Rainbow Parade. A minute’s silence was held before the festivities got underway. The march was led by a black-clad group called “Victims of Hate Crimes – Marching for those who can’t,” holding a rope around a space where normally a float full of dancers would be, representing “those lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender and inter-sex people who lost their lives in Orlando and who can’t be marching with us”.

16238gh

Omar Mateen | 16238gh

More information will be added to this article when available.

SP

Harold O’Neal and amateur gay films

gh16051501

16216gh

Still from “Vallejo,” 1947 | The Harold T. O’Neal Collection | The G.L.B.T. Historical Society | New Yorker | 16216gh

During the post war years and into the sixties, positive portrayals of gay men and lesbians living happy and successful lives were completely absent from films. During the British film boom from 1955 to 1965 there were a number of films which shed light on homosexual lifestyles (in Britain) but again the characters portrayed “had flaws”. For a more accurate reflection of what life was really like for gay men and lesbians, it is necessary not to look at the portrayals of mass media, but to look at the private films made on home movie cameras by amateur film makers of the time.

The New Yorker sheds more light on the matter.

Harold O’Neal was an amateur film maker who lived in San Francisco. Born in Stockton, California, in 1910, he was a reserved, somewhat shy man who worked for the Veterans Administration and in personnel for the Army Corps of Engineers. He kept his sexuality closely guarded, but made dozens of home movies which captured the rhythms and intimacies of gay social life long before it was allowed to flourish in the open.

One home movie shows a telegenic group of men on a getaway at a shoreline cabin in the Bay Area town of Vallejo, in 1947. The friends sunbathe, laugh together, mug for the camera with more than a touch of theatricality. A man picks some orange flowers and tucks them behind his ear; another wears a grass skirt and dances the hula.
Another movie, from 1946, shows a house party where guests in suits and ties smoke cigarettes and drink from dainty glasses. Men dance in pairs, hands clasped, a head against a cheek. One giddily air-claps to music the viewer cannot hear.

A fascinating article.

http://www.newyorker.com/culture/culture-desk/the-moving-revelations-of-gay-home-movies

SP

A day in May

gh16051401

16215gh

Easons | 16215gh

Veteran Irish journalist Charlie Bird has just published his new book “A day in May” about the historic referendum last year in the Republic of Ireland which paved the way for gay marriage.

The book chronicles the lead-up to the historic Marriage Equality referendum last May.

The book includes 50 powerful interviews with members of the LGBT community in Ireland and their family and friends, which was inspired by his involvement chairing the ‘Yes Campaign’ in last year’s referendum.

http://www.independent.ie/entertainment/television/tv-news/charlie-bird-labels-himself-one-of-the-most-heterosexual-men-in-the-world-ahead-of-marriage-next-week-34692560.html

http://www.easons.com/p-4254000-day-in-may.aspx

SP

Canada’s gay tests

gh160409

In 1961, at the height of the Cold War, the Canadian government hired professor Frank Robert Wake to devise a scientific test to determine whether a person was gay.

At the time the view was that homosexuals suffered from a character weakness that could make them disloyal and easy to manipulate. In the United States, in the grips of McCarthyism, homosexuals were seen as communist sympathizers.

The Canadian government compiled a list of people alleged, suspected or confirmed to be gay.

Wake, who was the chair of Carleton University’s psychology department, was asked to devise an easy and cheap method for determining a person’s sexual orientation. He came up with the “fruit machine” – a collection of psychological tests including one designed to detect how a subject’s pupil responds to images of naked or semi-naked men and women.

It never worked, and the project was eventually abandoned. Hundreds of people were fired or demoted from positions in the military or civil service after taking such “tests”.

http://www.ottawasun.com/2016/04/08/carleton-called-on-to-apologize-for-gay-testing

SP

Guido Westerwelle

gh160319

16177ga

Guido Westerwelle (left) with Angela Merkel | Reuters | 16177ga

Guido Westerwelle, the former chair of Germany’s Free Democratic Party, German Foreign Minister from 2009 until 2013, and  Vice Chancellor of Germany from 2009 to 2011 has died from acute leukaemia in Cologne. He was 54. German media reported that Mr Westerwelle had been diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia and had undergone a bone marrow transplant. His foundation said he died as a result of complications associated with his treatment.

Guido Westerwelle was the first openly gay man to hold high office in Germany. He and his long-term partner Michael Mronz entered a civil partnership in 2010.

Gay Activist sends condolences to Mr Mronz, family, colleagues and friends.

Westerwelle was born on December 27, 1961 near Bonn, the capital of former West Germany. His parents were both lawyers who divorced when he was only 10. He grew up living with his father and his three brothers.

He was not popular at school. His teachers remembered him as someone who liked to take center stage, but who also came across as well-mannered and conservative as well as vain, loud-mouthed and opinionated.

At 19 Guido Westerwelle became a member of the liberal, pro-business FDP, and soon took over as chairperson of the party’s youth organization, the “Young Liberals.” At the age of 39 he became FDP party chairman, which he was to remain for 10 years from 2001 to 2011. He experimented with new campaign tactics, traveling through the country in his yellow “Guidomobile” van and appearing in the “Big Brother” reality TV show.

His speeches in parliament were the highlight of debates. His hard work resulted in the FDP reaching 14.6 percent in general elections in 2009, making it possible for conservative chancellor Angela Merkel to enter into a conservative coalition with the FDP after four years of grand coalition with the SPD.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-35842927

http://www.dw.com/en/guido-westerwelle-a-fine-orator-who-became-germanys-chief-diplomat/a-19127506

SP