David Buckel

David Buckel | Jose F. Moreno/Associated Press | r

American lawyer David S. Buckel, 60, a champion of gay rights, died after setting himself on fire in Prospect Park in Brooklyn, New York on Saturday morning. He left a note exhorting people to lead less selfish lives as a way to protect the planet. His remains were found in a field near baseball diamonds and the main loop used by joggers and bikers.

Mr. Buckel was the lead attorney in Brandon v. County of Richardson, in which a Nebraska county sheriff was found liable for failing to protect Brandon Teena, a transgender man who was murdered in Falls City, Neb. The case was used as the basis for the 1999 film “Boys don’t cry”.

While serving as senior counsel at Lambda Legal, Mr. Buckel was the strategist behind important same-sex marriage cases in New Jersey and Iowa.

G-H sends condolences to family, friends and colleagues.

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We’re better at coping with relationships, say researchers

A recent study in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology finds that being in a romantic relationship can help gay and lesbian youth feel less mental distress — even more so if they are black or Latino. This contrasts with the fact that, in heterosexual teens’ lives, romance is generally found to cause distress rather than alleviate it.

The Washington Post also notes that

the study of LGBT youth also showed romance — defined as an ongoing relationship with a lover, boyfriend, girlfriend or someone a person feels very close to — can make bisexual youth feel worse. Too few transgender youth were included in the study to determine the effects of romance on this group.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/soloish/wp/2018/04/09/how-romance-can-protect-gay-and-lesbian-youth-from-emotional-distress/?utm_term=.5b0252f3e28c

News and updates have transferred to G-H from the Gay Activist website.

New York’s Bijou

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The Bijou’s “attractive” entrance | Daniel Maurer | 18308

The Bijou was a sex club and cinema in New York’s gay district, which opened around 1990, with a colourful history. Writing in Bedford and Bowery, Lance Richardson gives us a tour.

It is an incredible space, but then the Bijou Film Forum, like the Adonis, has its own remarkable history. In the 1950s and 60s, when drag was still considered dangerously subversive (and illegal), queens performed a famous revue here in the mafia-run Club 82, “New York’s After-Dark Rendezvous.” Elizabeth Taylor was known to drop by, along with other forward-thinking celebrities, and it’s said that Errol Flynn once played the piano with his penis.

By the 1970s, the subterranean rooms were absorbing glam rock and avant garde punk, including sounds by The Stilettos, featuring an up-and-coming Debbie Harry. Ron Wood of the Rolling Stones even took a turn at the theater in 1990, launching a music club that seems to have lasted a red hot second. Since its halcyon days, in other words, the black door has hidden queers and iconoclasts, letting them do whatever they want, street-level society be damned.

The club appears to have still been trading in 2014 when the writer visited. During his visit, nobody said a word to him, until he left.

As I pushed through the turnstile to exit the theater, the man at the box office banged on his glass window. “Next time,” he said gruffly, “exit through the back door.” How clandestine! It was the first thing anybody had said to me at the Bijou Film Forum, and I loved it.

http://bedfordandbowery.com/2014/06/discovering-the-bijou-a-hidden-underground-cinema-and-cruising-den/

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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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Major collection preserved in Louisiana

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2nd left: Stewart Butler; far right: Rich Magill | Undated | Stewart Butler and LARC | 18305

The Louisiana Research Collection, housed at Tulane University now holds the letters, diaries and flyers of four prominent gay activists: Rich Magill, Alan Robinson, Skip Ward and Stewart Butler.

Leon Miller, head of the collection, called the acquisition “extremely significant.”

Magill wrote “Exposing Hatred,” a study of violence perpetrated against the gay community.

Robinson owned and operated Faubourg Marigny Books and founded many LGBTQ organizations.

Ward promoted the rights of gay people in rural areas.

Butler remains a force in the civil rights movement and his home has been a meeting place for civil rights activists since 1979. He co-founded Louisiana Lesbian and Gay Political Action Caucus of Louisiana in 1980. He advocated for the New Orleans gay rights ordinance in 1984, 1986 and 1991, and served on boards including the Lesbian and Gay Community Center, the Louisiana Lesbian and Gay Political Action Caucus and PFLAG.

The New Orleans Advocate notes:

Over the years, Butler amassed 25 boxes of documents, including letters, meeting minutes, election questionnaires and more.

“I didn’t throw things away,” Butler said. “I just kept them, because I thought maybe they could be useful in the future.”

Butler co-founded the LGBT+ Archives Project of Louisiana in 2014. Shortly thereafter, he donated his papers to the research collection, which has acquired LGBTQ materials for more than 30 years.

http://www.theadvocate.com/new_orleans/entertainment_life/arts/article_636fc462-f4d7-11e7-aadd-479ec5f36972.html

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New home for gay collection

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Heather Rousseau/Roanoake Times | 18304

The Roanoake Times reports that the local collection of gay books and artifacts has a new permanent home, after many years of being hidden from public view and moving around. The Roanoke LGBT Library has found a new home as a research collection in Roanoke Diversity Center, Roanoake, North Carolina.

Established in 2000, the collection now has a wide array of subjects, from medical and psychology books from the 1960s and ’70s, to mid-20th century lesbian pulp fiction novels. The collection was originally the personal collection of 1,200 volumes of Jim Ricketson, a gay man and retired book editor. The collection has since more than doubled to nearly 3,000 volumes, which have now been catalogued. Much of the collection is long out of print.

Members of Roanoke’s LGBT community continued to donate books, and some books came from a now-closed gay bookstore called Outward Connections.

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Last baths in Chicago

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Brittany Sowacke | 18301

Man’s Country was a Chicago bathhouse open since 1973, but it closed on New Year’s Eve 2018 following the death in 2017 of its founder, Chuck Renslow, of the city’s leather community. Mr Renslow was the founder of the International Mr. Leather contest.

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Chuck Renslow, 1977 | Quentin Dodt/Tribune | 18302

Vice sent a photographer to record the premises before it was cleared and redeveloped.

Man’s Country wore its history on its walls, with portraits of famous patrons, nude men, and other artwork throughout reminding visitors that this wasn’t some staid, humorless bathhouse. In the basement (dubbed “The Pit,”) a huge sauna—once billed as the largest in the Midwest—sat opposite a shower and wet area modeled after Parisian sewers. In its past, part of the cavernous Man’s Country space was transformed into a dance club called Bistro Too, where acts like Boy George, Divine, and major disco stars performed, shifting some focus away from sex in the wake of the AIDS crisis. It also played host to a leather bar called the Chicago Eagle.

Following its final night, everything and anything inside, from architectural elements to artwork to the disco balls that patterned its dance floors for decades, was auctioned.

Mr. Renslow died on 29 June 2017 of heart problems and pneumonia.

https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/wjpzg5/taking-the-last-tour-of-chicagos-most-historic-gay-bathhouse

Chuck Renslow obituary

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