Tab Hunter

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Tab Hunter and one of his beards | Dated: 1967 | Associated Press | 18319

Gay Actor Tab Hunter, who rose to fame in the 1950s, died on Sunday at the age of 86.

Hunter, real name Arthur Gelien, was born in 1931. He kept his sexuality a secret for the bulk of his career, and came out in his 2005 autobiography Tab Hunter Confidential: The Making of a Movie Star.

The 1950s was inhospitable to gay entertainers, so Hunter kept up secret romances with film star Anthony Perkins and figure skater Ronnie Robertson while actresses Natalie Wood and Debbie Reynolds bearded for him.

Hunter’s sexual orientation, like that of his contemporary Rock Hudson, was an open secret among journalists covering Hollywood stories. The Guardian notes:

The gossip columns of the day, penned by Louella Parsons and Hedda Hopper, “made subtle references” to his sexuality, as Hunter wrote in the Hollywood Reporter in 2015, “wondering when I was going to settle down with a nice girl and then, after the studio began pairing me with my dear friend Natalie Wood on faux-dates, asking if I was ‘the sort of guy’ she wanted to end up with”.

Ultimately, Hunter would end up with producer Allan Glaser, his partner of 36 years.

https://www.theguardian.com/film/2018/jul/10/tab-hunter-how-hollywoods-boy-next-door-became-a-gay-icon

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Germany’s President apologises

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3 June 2018 | Frank-Walter Steinmeier at the ceremony | R. Hirschburger | Alliance/DPA | 18317

On 3 June 2018, Germany’s President, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, asked forgiveness for the suffering inflicted on homosexual men by the German state under Nazi rule and after 1945.

He was speaking at a ceremony in Berlin which marked the 10th anniversary of a monument to commemorate homosexuals who were persecuted by the Nazis.

Steinmeier admitted that mistreatment of gays had continued after the war in both East and West Germany. “The German state has inflicted heavy suffering on all these people, particularly under the Nazis, but also after that, in East Germany and also under the Basic Law.”

The ceremony was for “the many tens of thousands of people whose private spheres, lives, love and dignity were infringed upon, denied and violated.” More than 50,000 men were persecuted by the Nazis, and were “tortured, sent to prisons and to concentration camps.”

Paragraph 175 was abolished in 1994.

http://www.dw.com/en/steinmeier-asks-for-pardon-for-germanys-injustices-toward-homosexuals/a-44058320

Australia’s attempts to cure us of homosexuality

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It’s pronounced metrosexual | 18313

Not six months after Australia voted to legalise same-sex marriage, a proposal to debate gay conversion therapies at the Liberal Party’s State Council was quashed by party president, Michael Kroger. Australia has long used gay conversion therapies to control homosexuality.

New South Wales Police Commissioner Colin Delaney, claimed in 1958 that homosexuality was “Australia’s greatest menace”. Homosexuals convicted for consenting sexual acts with other adult men were segregated and medicalised within the prison system.

Sydney-based Dr Neil McConaghy used conversion therapy during the 1960s and 1970s with what Michael Kirby has described as “the most energetic attempts”. Leading LGBTIQ figures of the time including Sue Wills and John Ware protested against the dangers of this therapy, and said it was a key motivation for their activism.

McConaghy’s practices included apomorphine therapy. This involved the injection of up to 6 mg of the morphine derivative to induce severe nausea when patients were shown photographs of men. He also required patients to read pleasurable words on homosexuality aloud, after which he applied electrical shocks to them.

There is still no scientific or medical evidence which supports or validates the use of conversion therapies. Hhomosexuality was removed as a disease from the third edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders in 1987.

http://theconversation.com/treatments-as-torture-gay-conversion-therapys-deep-roots-in-australia-95588

Billy Graham

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Billy Graham | Undated file photo | Getty Images | 18307

The American evangelist preacher Billy Graham KBE – yes, he was an honorary recipient of the British award “Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire” – died on 21 February 2018, aged 99 years.

You could describe him as a “Marmite” type of person – some people liked him and others did not. He toured the world preaching in large venues on his “crusades” from 1947 to 2005 – a total of 417 crusades in 185 countries and territories on six continents. And you thought Mormons were a problem.

John Paul Brammer for NBC summarises his career and its effect in a sentence:

For many lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people, however, Graham was a crusader against them, one whose efforts shaped the religious right into an anti-LGBTQ political force.

That force continues to challenge advances such as employment rights, the right to foster children, to hold down a job, to marry your partner, to this day.

Graham himself had few specific words on LGBTQ people, compared with the rest of society, but his disapproval of homosexuality was unequivocal. “Let me say this loud and clear! We traffic in homosexuality at the peril of our spiritual welfare.” Homosexuality was a “sinister form of perversion” that was contributing to the decay of civilization.

Advocates argue that he may not have been extremely outspoken on LGBTQ people, but he left behind an institutional apparatus that has done structural damage to the gay community.

https://www.nbcnews.com/feature/nbc-out/billy-graham-leaves-painful-legacy-lgbtq-people-n850031

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Cuba – improved but not yet free

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2016 Photo | Agence France Press/Getty Images | 18300

In 1959, Fidel Castro came to power after leading a revolution that toppled the corrupt government of Fulgencio Batista. Police began to round up gay men. During the 1960s and 1970s LGBT people were imprisoned or forced into “re-education camps”.

Homosexuality was viewed as going against the ideal of the hyper-masculine revolutionary. “We would never come to believe that a homosexual could embody the conditions and requirements of conduct that would enable us to consider him a true revolutionary, a true communist militant,” Fidel Castro told an interviewer in 1965.

During the 1980s HIV-positive Cubans were quarantined in sanitariums. The conditions were harsh.

In 2010 Fidel Castro admitted responsibility for the injustices suffered by LGBT people after the revolution, apologising: “If someone is responsible, it’s me.”

Today Cuba’s constitution bans “any form of discrimination harmful to human dignity” and healthcare and visibility has improved. Since 2008, gender reassignment surgery and hormone replacement therapy have been available free of charge under Cuba’s national healthcare system; condoms are distributed, sex education and access to antiretroviral drugs have improved.

In 2013 Cuban law banned workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation but Cuba has yet to legalise same-sex marriage.

All this comes at a price. The only LGBT activism allowed is that which is controlled by the state.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/cuba-lgbt-revolution-gay-lesbian-transgender-rights-havana-raul-castro-a8122591.html

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Canada’s gay purge

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The Canadian government building | Canadian Government Executive | 17119

The Canadian government is expected to become the next country to apologise to former gay staff in the federal civil service, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Canadian Armed Forces who were interrogated and harassed from the 1950s to the 1990s because of their sexuality.

During the Cold War, hundreds of gay men and lesbians in Canada lost government and military jobs because of their sexual orientation during the “LGBT purge”.

Gay men and lesbians in the civil service and the military were believed to pose a security risk, and thought to be vulnerable to blackmail by Soviet agents.
Hundreds of people are believed to have lost their jobs during four decades. Others were demoted, transferred, or denied promotion. Some were given the choice between being dismissed or undergoing psychiatric treatment.

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A lie detector | Canadian War Museum | 17118

A notorious “fruit machine”, similar to the lie detector pictured, was developed by researcher Frank Robert Wake. It was a crude detector which was intended to identify homosexuals by monitoring the dilation of their pupils when they were shown pornography. Plagued with problems, the project was mothballed.

Activists have been working for many years in Canada to remedy the situation. In 1992, Michelle Douglas, a former army officer, helped bring an end to discriminatory policies towards gays and lesbians. After being discharged from the army because she was a lesbian, she launched a legal challenge. On the eve of the trial the military settled the case and changed its personnel policies.

In 1996 the Canadian Human Rights Act was amended to include sexual orientation. In June 2017 Canada added gender identity and gender orientation to the Act.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-40268010

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Polari explained

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Julian and Sandy, 1970s, LP Cover | Copyright control | 17032

Paul Baker, an authority on Polari, having studied it for some time, has provided Scroll/The Conversation with a brief history of the language. To summarise:

Polari has now largely fallen out of use, but was historically spoken by gay men and female impersonators.

Polari developed first in the world of entertainment, West End theatres and 19th-century music halls, travelling entertainers and market-stall holders, and was based on Parlyaree which had roots in Italian and rudimentary forms of language used for communication by sailors around the Mediterranean, which found its way into Britain, especially London and port cities, and gradually became used by gay men and female impersonators, especially during the first half of the 20th century. In England, gays added Cockney Rhyming Slang, backslang (pronouncing a word as if it was spelt backwards), French, Yiddish and American airforce slang to Polari.

It was useful as a means of conducting conversations in public spaces, which would have alerted others to your sexuality at a time when homosexual acts were illegal.

“Vada the naff strides on the omee ajax” meant look at the awful trousers on the man nearby. Inserting a Polari word – such as bona (good) or palone (woman) – into a sentence could act as a coded way of identifying other people who might be gay. The language itself, full of camp, irony, innuendo and sarcasm, also helped its speakers to form a resilient worldview in the face of arrest, blackmail and physical violence.

In the 1970s, in a gay magazine called Lunch, activists branded Polari as ghettoising and it gradually became surplus to requirements. In 2000, Baker carried out a survey of 800 gay men and found about half the respondents had never heard of Polari.

In recent years however, there has been renewed interest in Polari. The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence created a Polari Bible, running a Polari wordlist through a computer program on an English version of the Bible.

Paul Baker is the Professor of Linguistics and English Language, Lancaster University.

https://scroll.in/article/828942/a-brief-history-of-polari-a-language-for-gay-men-and-its-curious-afterlife

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