P A MagLochlainn

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P A MagLochlainn | Iced Coffee | 14332

Gay Activist is sad to learn of the passing of P A MagLochlainn of Northern Ireland. PA MagLochlainn was the first openly gay member of the executive of an Irish political party, when elected to the executive of the SDLP in the 1990s.

Over 20 years ago, MagLochlainn was one of the organisers of Belfast’s first Gay Pride march. Less than 100 attended. He kept the T-shirt he wore, wearing it at every subsequent march. He also acted as a counsellor, work which touched the lives of hundreds.

He provided training to the RUC in how they should deal with the gay community, and also in the Irish language, and how to show respect to Irish culture.

MagLochlainn was a man of great culture who spoke five languages, was a compulsive reader of newspapers, and was uninterested in material possessions. He did not care if the house was falling down round him, as long as he had a book before him.

He is survived by his partner, Barry, his five sisters and two brothers. He was predeceased by his sister Vivian Groogan.

Gay Activist sends condolences to Barry, family, friends and colleagues.

Updated 20 November 2014. Photo re-retrieved.


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Griff

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Griff as we knew him best of all | CHE | 14333

Griffith Vaughan Williams, a passionate advocate for many years for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people, was born on 9 November 1940 and died on 15 November 2010.

Griff’s involvement in gay rights work began in 1964, before the 1967 Sexual Offences Act partially decriminalised sexual acts between men, and was a leading member of the Campaign for Homosexual Equality from its earliest days. In 1974 Griff was one of the CHE members who agreed to consult on and participate in London Weekend Television’s pioneering documentary about homosexual equality called Speak for Yourself.

In 1980, Griff contributed to the research that led to CHE’s publication of Attacks on Gay People by Julian Meldrum. This helped to expose an alarmingly high number of cases of homophobic violence and abuse in Britain, some of them perpetrated by police themselves. Griff was one a of a small group of activists who approached the Metropolitan Police in the early 1990s with the purpose of working in partnership with them on policing operations and methods which impacted primarily on gay men. The London Lesbian and Gay Police Initiative met regularly with the Met throughout the 1990s.

In June 1999 Griff was one of a group of LGBT reps called into New Scotland Yard for emergency meetings in the aftermath of the Admiral Duncan pub bombing. They advised the Met on the impact of the bombing on the LGBT community in London while the perpetrator, David Copeland, was still at large. The Met decided it needed to extend its links with the LGBT communities and set up the LGBT Advisory Group.

Griff was one of the original members of the LGBT Advisory Group and continued to be an active member until two weeks before his death.


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From imprisoned to elected

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Adela Hernandez | Ramon Espinosa/AP | 14334

Adela Hernandez served two years in prison in Cuba in the 1980s for “dangerousness” after her own family denounced her sexuality. For years after the 1959 Cuban revolution, authorities hounded people of differing sexual orientation and others considered threatening, such as priests, long-haired youths and rock ‘n’ roll enthusiasts. Things have changed since none other than Fidel Castro himself expressed regret over the treatment of people perceived to be different.

She has become the first known transgender person to hold public office in Cuba, winning election as a delegate to the municipal government of Caibarien in the central province of Villa Clara, by 280 votes to 170. Her position is the equivalent of a city councillor, and her election makes her eligible to be selected as an MP in early 2013.

Since 2007, Cuba has included sex-change surgery under its free healthcare system. Last year, a gay man and a transsexual woman whose operation was paid for by the state garnered headlines for their first-of-its kind wedding.

The country’s most prominent gay rights activist is Mariela Castro, Fidel’s niece and daughter of the president, Raúl Castro.


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Lost in time: Richard Halliburton

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Richard Halliburton | Public domain | 14335

Richard Halliburton, an American traveller, adventurer, and author, was born on January 9, 1900 and was presumed dead after March 24, 1939. He was famous from the 1920s onwards for daredevil adventures, including swimming the Panama Canal. His final and fatal adventure was an attempt to sail a Chinese junk across the Pacific Ocean from Hong Kong to the Golden Gate International Exposition in San Francisco.

Wikipedia sums up a complex personality succinctly: “The words of Oscar Wilde, who in works like The Picture of Dorian Gray enjoined experiencing the moment before it vanished, inspired Halliburton to reject marriage, family, a regular job, and conventional respectability as the obvious steps after graduation. He liked bachelorhood, youthful adventure, and the thrill of the unknown.”

An explorer in the age of Hemingway and Fitzgerald, and as successful as an author, his books contained unbridled enthusiasm for whatever place his was exploring. The Great Depression put an end to such adventures and he started writing a series of children’s adventure books, called “Richard Halliburton’s Book of Marvels”. Its sales soared while taking children around the world to its wondrous sights as they sat in the comfort of their own bedrooms.

In 1939, he built an oversized Chinese junk to sail it from Hong Kong to San Francisco, to arrive during the 1939 World’s Fair. He never made it. Within months of the disappearance of Amelia Earhart, Halliburton was lost at sea, along with his crew. No trace was ever found of him.

There were rumours that he was recruited by President Franklin Roosevelt to spy on the Japanese.

Halliburton kept secret his true sexual orientation from the public and his family but film star Ramón Novarro and philanthropist Noel Sullivan are linked romantically to him, while his most enduring relationship was with freelance journalist Paul Mooney, with whom he often shared living quarters and who assisted him with his written work.

Updated 20 November 2014. Photo replaced.


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The Gay Men’s Press

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Books for kids in gay families | 14336

Amazon | 14337

The Gay Men’s Press was founded in 1979 by Aubrey Walter, David Fernbach, and Richard Dipple. GMP was the first and largest publisher of gay books in England. The company published fiction, non fiction and art books. The children’s book Jenny Lives with Eric and Martin, a translation of a Danish book, was published in 1983. The campaign against it led to Section 28 of the Local Government Act 1988 which forbade the “promotion” of homosexuality by local government.

The company was sold in 2000, and closed in 2006 due to dwindling book sales.


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Troy Perry

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Troy Perry | Austin Chronicle | 14338

Troy Deroy Perry Jr was born on July 27, 1940. He founded the Metropolitan Community Church in Los Angeles on October 6, 1968. Perry put an advertisement in The Advocate announcing a worship service designed for gays in LA. Twelve people turned up for the first service, and by 1971, their own building was dedicated with over a thousand members in attendance.

Troy Perry | Unite the Fight | 14339

Rev. Perry’s activism includes the Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations in 1973, opposing Anita Bryant in the Save the Children campaign in 1977, opposing the Briggs Initiative in California (to ensure gay and lesbian teachers would be fired or prohibited from working in California public schools) in 1978, and helped plan the National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights in 1979.

In 1978 he was honored by the American Civil Liberties Union Lesbian and Gay Rights Chapter with its Humanitarian Award. He holds a number of honorary doctorates. Rev. Perry was invited to the White House in 1977 by President Jimmy Carter to discuss gay and lesbian civil rights, and by President Bill Clinton in 1995 for the first White House Conference on HIV/AIDS. In 1997 he was invited to the first White House Conference on Hate Crimes. The Reverend Elder Nancy Wilson succeeded him at an installation service on 29 October 2005. Perry remains active.


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Lambda

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Lambda jewellery | Amazon | 14340

The lambda was selected as a symbol by the Gay Activists Alliance of New York in 1970, following the Stonewall Riots, and was declared the international symbol for gay and lesbian rights by the International Gay Rights Congress in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1974. The lambda signifies unity under oppression.

The Scottish Minorities Group hosted the first ever International Gay Rights Conference in Edinburgh from 18 to 22 December 1974. It was co-organised by Ian Dunn and Derek Ogg. Ian Dunn had organised the first meeting of what was to become the Scottish Minorities Group in 1969. Derek Ogg later founded Scottish AIDS Monitor in the 1980s.

The conference tried to provide an international sharing of experience, so that delegates could find out the social, political and legal situation for men and women from other countriesm, and included sessions on the rights of young homosexuals and of gay women. The problem of lesbian invisibility was explicitly addressed by a delegate from Campaign Against Moral Persecution in New South Wales, Australia.

Nearly 400 people attended the conference, which led in 1978 to the establishment of the International Gay Association, later to become the International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA).

The gay rights organization Lambda Legal and the American Lambda Literary Award derive their names from this symbol. Gay News offered a range of jewellery items featuring the Lambda symbol.

Updated 20 November 2014. References to unavailable photograph removed.


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How we used to be portrayed on film – by Hitchcock

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Alfred Hitchcock | 1920s | Uncredited/Daily Telegraph | 14341

James Waygood writes in SoSoGay about Hitchcock’s treatment of gay characters in his films. The British Film Institute held a retrospective of one of the greatest film directors to emerge from the UK, in 2011.

The book released to coincide with the retrospective, “The 39 Steps to the Genius of Hitchcock” has step 19 called ‘Queer Window’. It “sets out various examples of LGBT characters, from the manipulative obsessions of the de Winter’s housekeeper in Rebecca, to the more subtle suggestion of a homosexual relationship between Brandon and Phillip in Rope. But what impact does Hitchcock’s silver screen image of gay men and women have? But more importantly, should we be bothered?”

The films were made during the period of repression. Had Hitchcock dared to put in positive role models of gay men and lesbians, his films would probably have not been distributed widely. “Hitchcock’s LGBT characters are jealous manipulators, murderers, or dangerous, mentally ill people.”

Updated 20 November 2014: Corrupted html code corrected.


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2012 US Election a gay success

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Tammy Baldwin | Politico | 14342

Gay marriage won at the ballot box four times in the November 6, 2012 US elections. Four states defended marriage equality and Wisconsin elected the first openly-gay US Senator.

Maryland, Washington and Maine all voted to allow same-sex marriage; Minnesota voted down a measure designed to ban gay marriage.

In Wisconsin, openly-lesbian Congress woman Tammy Baldwin, pictured, became the first US gay Senator to gain election.

Mark Ferrandino | Associated Press | 14343

Colorado Democrats have elected the first openly gay House speaker in state history, Denver Rep. Mark Ferrandino, giving control of the chamber to a man who was the public face of a fierce debate over civil union legislation that Republicans defeated six months ago. His election won’t be official until lawmakers reconvene in January and Republicans ratify the pick. According to the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, there are currently two openly gay House speakers in state legislatures: John Perez in California and Gordon Fox in Rhode Island.


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No closet at all, just leading double lives

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George Chauncey | University of Chicago | 14344

Gay historian George Chauncey told the Chicago Humanities Festival about gay life in postwar New York City.

He thought that gay life in the past was not as secretive as we might think today. “Repression and shame have still not gone away for the gay community, but they were also not as dominant in the past as we tend to imagine, even in the highly conformist McCarthy era.”

From Andy Warhol, Leonard Bernstein and Gore Vidal to advertising executives on Madison Avenue and clerks in New York’s famous department stores, Chauncey placed gay men at the helm of New York’s postwar artistic and cultural renaissance. “What Paris was for the arts of the 19th century, New York was for the 20th, and that was due in large part to influential circles of gay men.”

After conducting hundreds of interviews with gay men during his researches, Chauncey dismissed the contrast in current terminology between gay men being ‘out’ and ‘closeted’ as anachronistic to gay life as it existed decades ago. “Instead, it was more like living a double life.” Many gay men had both impressive professional lives and vibrant night lives in New York City’s networks of artistic venues and gay bars.

Large numbers of gay men actually developed a sense of cultural superiority and became highly influential figures, rather than being shamed and silenced as many assume today.

Chauncey’s book “Gay New York”, which chronicles gay life in New York City from 1890 to 1940, was published on the 25th anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall Riots in New York City. His next book will extend that history beyond 1940 into wartime and postwar New York City.

Chauncey is currently chair of the history department at Yale University.


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