Monday, December 10, 2007

Homosexuality in the media just this week


I wonder what we could say if we decided to do a “report” to our community/movement pioneers, most of whom left us in the last decade.
 
I can tell them several things just this last week and they are all positive.
 
The Williams Institute (UCLA Law School) has issued several important reports on their research on who “we” are and where we are.  We are everywhere, and seem to be going into the “red” areas of the nation, including as families.
 
And there is new work at the Columbia University Law School’s Sexuality & Gender Law Clinic that helped get asylum for a Jamaican who feared harm if he returned  home.
 
Several gay/lesbian publications gave their readers Lisa keen’s  column on the Human Rights Campaign’s list of gay-friendly companies/businesses. The list has grown each year. This would make Don Slater and others happy since it means that private enterprise has been ahead of the government in giving us equal/civil rights even though many governments have also worked for domestic partner benefits and civil unions over the year.
 
Obviously the most important legal advance was the ending of the sodomy laws in the Lawrence Vs Texas close decision by the U S Supreme Court. Equally important an advance is legal same sex marriage in Massachusetts and in theory the equal “marital” rights in civil unions in New Jersey and other states.
 
I believe the media has slowly gotten better. And I believe that the entertainment “industry” has gotten much better—starting with the movie of the decade, Brokeback Mountain. And intelligent homosexual characters in major television shows such as Brothers and Sisters. These shows have discussed our issues better than some of us have.
 
When C-SPAN gives us coverage of a great speech by a homosexual preacher (in this case Episcopal bishop Gene Robinson) at a university (NOVA Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale FL) there can be no excuse for homosexuals and our allies to not know what resources are available to discuss religion and homosexuality.  And we can spread news of such shows by cell phones and the Internet, neither of which were available to our pioneers. 
 
The dropping of the “T” coverage in the ENDA bill in congress has gotten our movement/community to discuss not only the relationship among our various parts—although I seldom hear anything on bisexuality—but how we can work in politics for our cause?
 
We have a dozen or so gay/lesbian libraries/archives, all of which need support from our media and community, and at least that number of really good newspapers and magazines. There are queer courses at almost every major university, as well as g/l groups at the colleges.
 
Our causes seems to have NOT been slowed no matter who was president or who controlled congress.  That is an interesting sociological fact that needs to be investigated and explained.
 
So it seems to me that we have great reasons to feel gay and celebrate the past year and look forward to the coming decade, even though we will loose more pioneers, we will hopefully add new pioneers for this century.

3 comments:

Sumshee Kirken said...

Nice observations and report on reality. It is interesting that there appeared to be a very definite jump in commercial appeals TO the gay community shortly after the last census. If I am not mistaken, that census was the first to report (or, at least seriously report) demographics on the GLBT existence.

In making it official, the census then gave American capitalism the go-ahead to reach out to the gay world in overt ways: ads with two women or two men in situations who, although not REALLY obviously, were "together". For the comfort of those still slightly uncomfortable with the approval of "gay" in the world, the characterizations and roles weren't highly definite, but rather very suggestive. (No big flambouyancies, though.)

The gay population did not suddenly appear the day before the census figures were released...they were there the whole time....duh...but MadAve acted like that was the case.

I would LOVE to present to the world, a device which would, a la "Perfect Gaydar," define graphically, where and who the "GLBT" are. The remaining populace would dump in their undies.

Do you mind if I present your communique on my website and pass it around via email?

Sumshee

Roger Henry said...

While what you write is true to a large degree, I would ask you to stop and look at the events taking place in Seattle right now. We've lost several major gay bars, either due to one “taking too much business away from the arts events” here in the city, thus their lease wasn't renewed (a once great disco Sunday afternoon event where thousands went to dance and have fun and exercise); we've lost another due to condo building (Thumpers); another is being condemned and also being made into condos; the bar on 13th is also closing from what I’ve heard and not reopening another place here; CCSeattle’s is also going to be torn down and becoming condos too I believe. This is progress? I don't think so.

I'm not very happy with the lack of gay elder services here for people who are gay/lesbian/bi/trans here either. Nor am I encouraged by the fact that it is still legal for companies to fire one for being gay here. Much more work is needed and that includes equality in all cultures and races too, as well as sexuality.

Billy Glover said...

I have heard from lots of places that seem to have bars closing and from our community having built up an area of town and then being forced out because the cost of the houses has gone up so much. Same as you say with bars having their rent raised.

There are some who think that this is a sign of progress, we are moving on into the smaller towns, and scattering, hoping that our new neighbors will be ready for us “practicing homosexuals.” There are good and bad things about ghettos. I think it was some publication I saw that said not only gay bookstores are closing, but Jewish ones, and while our g/l papers seem to be doing ok, many papers are struggling as fewer people read, but use the internet.

I don’t know if this is a gay thing or a generic thing. Hopefully black Americans are now able to move and live anywhere—my block in this southern city has 3 black families among about 20 white ones, all mainly stay to themselves, as people usually do in large cities. The only thing stopping more integration is that the larger city—Shreveport—has a majority of blacks and there is much black on black killing and robbing, etc. (even though the mayor and police chief are black and well liked by everyone). So white people don't want to live in certain areas. And that is why some high schools are losing white students—to other schools, while too many black boys and girls are dropping out, not trying, not using the opportunity that their grandparents fought so hard to get for them.

I would like to know if many homosexuals use the gay centers in most major cities. Do they read the g/l newspapers? Do they support a g/l friendly church? Are they going to vote for a person who is gay-friendly? I think the few of us that have, in the last few decades, are the ones who have changed things for the better.

Now we are helped by good tv shows that are positive and gay-friendly, even shows on C-SPAN help educate people, such as the show of Bishop Gene Robinson from Fort Lauderdale—which was repeated last night. Even a decade ago there was no way most Americans could have heard the intelligent discussion of homosexuality and religion that he gave.

My old former partner—younger than I am, and his partner almost live each summer in the Hillside Campground in PA, near the NY border. They don't go to bars and don't buy many books. That may be a part explanation. But I'm optimist, so hope you have a good new year.