Remembering Brendan Behan

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Brendan Behan | Public Domain | 15011

Irish Central remembers Brendan Behan, the bisexual writer.

Brendan Behan’s … image of ex-IRA man, saloon-loving iconoclast, contrasts almost violently with his affection for young boys, revealed first by Ulick O’Connor in his Behan biography, Brendan. Despite having a devoted wife and fathering a child, Behan’s homosexuality, which first blossomed when he was serving time in a British borstal for young boys, frightened and disturbed him until his premature death in 1964.

Brendan Francis Aidan Behan (Irish: Breandán Ó Beacháin) was born on 9 February 1923 and died on 20 March 1964. He is best remembered for his 1954 play “The Quare Fellow” which, when produced at Joan Littlewood’s Theatre Workshop in Stratford, London in 1956, gave him recognition and success. Behan’s autobiographical novel, Borstal Boy, was published the same year and became a worldwide best-seller.

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Gay Marriage in the Navajo Indian Nation

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“Peggy and Buck. Peggy said to be intersex.” Photographer: Ben Wittick | 1880-1890 | Palace of the Governors Photo Archives, New Mexico History Museum | 15010

Writing in Fusion, Jorge Rivas notes:

The Navajos have a rich, documented history of accepting and even honoring people that identified with different genders and sexual preferences. … “We were recognizing same-sex unions between a man and a man and a woman and a woman long before white people came on to this land,” Alray Nelson, lead organizer at the Coalition for Navajo Equality, a local community group working to end the ban on gay marriage, told Fusion.

There are drawings, photographs, oral histories, and even language that may be evidence LGBT Navajo tribe members were once accepted. The Navajo language has at least one term for tribe members that don’t fit traditional heterosexual roles: nádleehí.

“Historically our society was more accepting of a person who was nádleehí,” said Dr. Jennifer Denetdale, a University of New Mexico associate professor and a member of the Navajo Humans Rights Commission.

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London’s Black Cap

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Fancy a Pint | 15008

The Black Cap pub in Camden Town has been a landmark on London’s gay scene for decades. Famed for its drag shows, both Danny La Rue and Hinge and Bracket started their careers at the Black Cap.

Writing in The Guardian, Ben Walters notes:

… Camden council considers another application that would convert the upper bar of The Black Cap – where drag acts such as Danny La Rue and Hinge and Bracket started their careers – into flats.

The pub goes back to 1751, is named after a witch, and has been a gay bar since around 1965.

The application to close and convert the upper bar is particularly significant to gay history. It is called the Shufflewick Bar after one of the legendary performers, Mrs Shufflewick (Rex Jameson) whose performances were often attended by Charles Hawtrey, Barry Humphries and Barry Cryer.


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