Ifti Nasim


Ifti Nassim | Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame | 14444

Gay Activist is sad to learn of the death of Ifti Nasim, the Pakistani-American gay poet and gay activist. Nasim, who died Friday at the age of 64, helped many Pakistani and Indian gays and lesbians migrate to the US. Resident in the US since 1971, Nasim established Sangat, a gay and lesbian organization, and was inducted into the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame in 1996, and was a close friend of several lyricists and actors of Hindi cinema. Nasim’s activism transcended religious and political borders.

Updated 23 November 2014: The source article in the India Daily Times is no longer available.



The ending of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell


Don’t Ask Don’t Tell ended on July 20 2011 and there were celebrations soldiers coming out to mark the day.

Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times | 14445

Reporting from Washington and Raleigh, N.C.—When Air Force Staff Sgt. Jonathan Mills woke up Tuesday, he posted a pointed message on his Facebook page about the secret he has kept since he joined the military seven years ago. “I. Am. Gay. That is all. … as you were,” he wrote. Thus did Mills, 27, mark a milestone — the day America’s ban on gays and lesbians serving openly in the military ended, reports the LA Times.

Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images | 14446

After years of bitter debate, repeal of the 18-year-old “don’t ask, don’t tell” law went into effect at 12:01 a.m, making soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines free to declare their sexual orientation without risking being thrown out of the military. Many rushed to do so. The result was an outpouring of euphoria and relief that some compared to the end of racial segregation in the military in the 1950s or the admittance of women to the service academies in the 1970s.

Gregory Bull / Associated Press | 14447

Randy Phillips | Youtube | 14448

Randy Phillips, 21, was one such soldier silenced by the policy. Stationed at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, he remained closeted but kept an anonymous log of his journey on YouTube – until Monday night. Phillips, showing his face for the first time to his viewers, posted a video documenting his coming out to his father – giving a rare insight into the bravery those like him possess.


David Kato


David Kato | BBC | 14449

Gay Activist David Kato of Kampala, Uganda was killed on January 26, 2011. The local police said he had been killed in an attempted robbery but local gays were adamant that Kato was killed because he was gay.

Guardian | 14450

One of the few openly gay men in Uganda, and the most vocal local critic of the proposed legislation, Kato had told close friends of increased harassment since the court victory on 3 January, and of receiving warnings that people were going to “deal with him”. Frank Mugisha, a close friend and colleague at the human rights group Sexual Minorities Uganda, where Kato was the advocacy officer, said: “He mentioned increased threats – a lot more than usual. He was even directly threatened outside the court.”

Mr Kato’s funeral | Guardian | 14451

Kato began campaigning for gay rights in Uganda in 1998 when virtually nobody was “out”. Homosexuality was illegal, and offensive to most Ugandans. The gay rights movement in Uganda grew, with Kato and his colleagues at Sexual Minorities Uganda calling for gays to be included in national HIV-awareness and treatment programmes. The higher profile created enemies. Local religious leaders launched campaigns alleging that the gay community was seeking to “recruit” schoolchildren. Their efforts were boosted by visits from several homophobic American preachers.

Ugandan politicians then joined in. MP David Bahati introduced the anti-homosexuality bill to parliament in 2009. Besides calling for life imprisonment and the death sentence for gay people, the bill requires all Ugandans to report “homosexual activity” within 24 hours or face police action.


Jean Harris


Jean Harris | Public Domain | 14453

Gay Activist is sad to learn of the death of activist Jean Harris who helped elect openly gay candidates in California and who set up major equality organisations. She was 66.

Harris was involved in mobilizing support for the “lavender sweep of 1990” when voters elected two lesbian supervisors and a gay school board member in San Francisco; held prominent leadership posts in Democratic circles, including chief of staff to Supervisor Harry Britt, who succeeded Harvey Milk after his assassination in 1978, and deputy to Mayor Frank Jordan in 1992; was the founding director of Basic Rights Oregon, in 1996; and was executive director of the Alliance for Pride and Equality (Equality California). In 2001 she worked with then-state Assemblywoman Carole Migden to pass AB 25, a landmark bill that granted domestic partners many of the same rights as married couples.

Gay Activist sends condolences to Ms Harris’ partner Denise, family, friends and colleagues.

Updated 23 November 2014: Original source article no longer available.


Gay bars vanish


Slate wonders whether gay bars can survive.

“The total number of gay bars in the US dropped from 1,605 to 1,405—a 12.5 percent decrease—in the last six years”. … “In major cities, the number of gay bars has declined from peaks in the 1970s; but they haven’t dwindled down to nothing just yet. In 1973, Gayellow Pages placed 118 gay bars in San Francisco; now there are 33. Manhattan’s peak came in 1978, with 86; the current tally is 44. The decline in both gay-friendly cities may be attributable to how welcome gays are everywhere; as Gatta, who lives in the Bay Area, put it, “Every bar in San Francisco is a gay bar.”

Slate | 14454

June Thomas decided to deal with the depressing findings by doing some field research.

“As I was doing the research for this series, I visited a few bars on my own. The experience was dispiriting. It takes an unusual degree of social confidence to take a solo strut into a bar, much less to enjoy the experience. In New York, at least, unaccompanied drinkers seem to be left alone, or at least I was. (I’m aware that the ideal gay bar customer is young and cute, descriptors that don’t apply to me.) When I persuaded a friend to come along, we usually wished we were somewhere more suited to catching up.”

The Stonewall Inn | 1998 | Robert Giard/Jonathan G. Silin | 14453

The feature on The history of America’s gay bars and the Stonewall Riot is well worth reading and features a number of historic photographs.


“Dishonourable discharge”


Nearly 70 years after expelling Melvin Dwork for being gay, the US Navy is changing his discharge from “undesirable” to “honorable” — the first time the Pentagon has done so for a World War II veteran since the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell.”

The Navy notified the 89-year-old former corpsman last month that he will now be eligible for the benefits he had long been denied, including medical care and a military burial. Dwork spent decades fighting to remove the blot on his record. ”

I resented that word ‘undesirable,'” said Dwork, who was expelled in 1944, at the height of the war, and is now a successful interior designer in New York. “That word really stuck in my craw. To me it was a terrible insult. It had to be righted. It’s really worse than ‘dishonorable.’ I think it was the worst word they could have used.”

For Dwork, victory came with a heartbreaking truth: Last year, when the Navy finally released his records, he learned that he had been shopped by his own boyfriend of the time.

About 100,000 US servicemen in the Navy and Army were given dishonourable discharges because they were gay.

In January 2016, Donald Hallman received his honorable discharge after once being given an ‘undesirable’ discharge and removed from the Army in 1955.

Original source article and photo are no longer available.



Updated 30 January 2016


Arthur Evans


Arthur Evans | Jeffrey Schwarz/Vito | 14455

Gay Activist records the passing of Arthur Evans, who helped form and lead the movement that coalesced after gay people and their supporters protested at the police raid on the Stonewall Inn in 1969. Mr Evans died on Sunday of a heart attack at his home in San Francisco. He was 68. Mr. Evans was not at the Stonewall disturbances, but they fueled in him a militant fervor and inspired him to join the Gay Liberation Front, an organization started during the wave of gay assertiveness that followed. Mr Evans found the activities of the GLF too tame for his liking and in December 1969 with like minded companions split off to found the Gay Activists Alliance. The GAA quickly became known for its ‘zaps’ and protests backed up with quiet and persuasive lobbying, and established a working, effective and much copied model for gay organisations that has served well to this day.

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


Harvard’s Secret Witchhunt


Nick Westrate (centre) plays the corrupting Congressman’s son, Ethan Roberts | New Civil Rights | 14456

In 1920, when a one-time student of Harvard committed suicide, it sparked a secret investigation and witch hunt to weed out all “inverts” and “homosexualists” from campus, ultimately damaging or destroying dozens of lives. A series of articles in the Harvard Crimson about the files of “Secret Court, 1920,” sparked national attention in 2002 and ultimately this play by Plastic Theatre, writes reviewer Michael Glitz on the play Unnatural Acts.

“We quickly meet the circle of friends who congregate in Perkins 28, a room where gay romps take flight or more to the point, where the men feel free to discuss the possibility of gay romps or just be themselves. Edward Say (a nicely fey Jess Burkle) is the clearly gay sort of man who brazens it out by never trying to hide his specialness, to the point of wearing rouge. His stiff but curious roommate Joseph Lombard (played by Will Rogers, who has a great name and an appropriate understated delivery to go with it) both warns Edward about seeming “too much” but is also drawn to the brash boys almost as much as he’s silently drawn to unattainable jock Kenneth Day (Roe Hartrampf, convincing in every way as a conflicted object of desire).”


UN decides to protect gays and lesbians


UN | BBC | 14457

On 16 June 2011 the U.N.’s main human rights forum condemned discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. The 47-member Human Rights Council voted 23 in favor and 19 against today, with 3 abstentions, for the resolution put forward by South Africa which establishes a panel to review discrimination against gays and lesbians around the world.

The resolution was backed by the United States, the European Union, Brazil and other Latin American countries. African and Islamic countries, led by Nigeria and Pakistan, voted against.

Updated 23 November 2014: One of the original source articles is no longer available from the United Nations.


Bay Area Reporter



Bay Area Reporter | 14458

Bay Area Reporter is celebrating its 40th birthday.

“If San Francisco is the national epicenter of gay culture, then the Bay Area Reporter newspaper is the pinpoint within it – the place to discover what matters most to the gay folks living within the most influential gay city in America,” writes the San Francisco Gate.

This year, the BAR officially hits middle age. After 40 years of covering what was then known as the gay liberation movement, from early police harassment, to political efforts to ban gay teachers, the City Hall assassinations, the AIDS epidemic and now marriage equality, the free weekly paper is taking a pause to celebrate its evolution as the USA’s longest continuously published gay newspaper.