The Daily Agenda for Saturday, June 30
June 30th, 2012
TODAY’S AGENDA (Ours):
“A Missionary Position”: Los Angeles, CA. Ugandan-American playwright and actor Ntare Guma Mbaho Mwine’s A Missionary Position,which premiered Thursday at the Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater in the Walt Disney Concert Hall complex, continues its run tonight. A Missionary Position tells the story of Uganda’s LGBT community as seen through the eyes of a Ugandan government official, a transgender sex worker, a gay priest and a lesbian activist, and portrays their resistance to state-sponsored homophobia and repression. The curtain rises this evening at 8:30 p.m, with an additional performances tomorrow evening. Tickets are $20-$25 for general admission, with discounts available for students and groups. You can find more information here.
Pride Celebrations This Weekend: Albuquerque, NM; Arraial, Portugal; Bangor, ME; Barcelona, Spain; Cagliari Italy; Cincinnati, OH; Delémont, Switzerland; Dublin, Ireland; Edinburgh; UK; Helsinki, Finland; Istanbul, Turkey; Lexington, KY; London, UK (World Pride); Madrid, Spain; Naples, Italy; Omaha, NE; Oslo, Norway; Paris, France; St. Petersburg, FL; Salem, MA; Sofia, Bulgaria; Swansea, UK; Toronto, ON; and Winnipeg, MB.
Other Events This Weekend: Canadian Rockies International Rodeo, Strathmore, AB; Creativity and Crisis: Unfolding The AIDS Memorial Quilt, Washington, D.C. Eurogames 2012, Budapest, Hungary.
TODAY’S AGENDA (Theirs):
Family “Research” Council’s Values Bus Tour: Columbus OH. The Family “Research” Council, an SPLC-certified hate group, continues its Values Bus Tour with the Heritage Foundation today. The tour is part voter registration drive and part propaganda tour where they will disseminate “materials on defending life, marriage and religious liberty.” Today, the tour is spending its second day in Columbus, Ohio as part of the “We the People” Tea Party convention, taking place at the Ohio Expo Center on the Ohio State Fairgrounds.
Exodus Freedom Conference: St. Paul, MN. Today is the final day of Exodus International’s annual Freedom Conference on the campus of Northwestern College in St. Paul, Minnesota. I’ve been attending this conference, talking to a lot of people and attending workshops and general sessions. I can say that everyone I’ve met has been very friendly and, yes, tolerant. I’m checking in regularly on my Twitter feed, although I haven’t been very active on it myself. If you’re in the neighborhood, whether at the conference or elsewhere, give me a shout @jfburroway.
TODAY IN HISTORY:
Urban Renaissance Blighted by “Parading Homosexuals”: 1969. We like to think that gentrification of older urban neighborhoods is something new. For most cities, it is, and for many cities it has been gay people leading the way in rehabbing run-down homes and bringing entire blocks back to life. But New York’s neighborhoods have been in a constant state of reinvention ever since the Indians moved out and the Dutch moved in. In the 1960s, Manhattan’s West Side was in a serious state of decline. In 1969, New York magazine published an article touting the Upper West Side’s “renaissance,” brought on by a new band of urban settlers moving into the very rough neighborhood who were attracted by cheap rents and readily available housing:
“I was ready for war,” one recent brownstone buyer said. “You know, German shepherd, barbed wire, burglar alarms, punji sticks, the works. But we were delighted to find that with a little caution it could be a relaxed place to live.” … Business, of course, has joined and helped to stimulate the movement to the West Side. Flower vendors who set up their cardboard cartons at the top of the neighborhood’s subway stairs claim business is booming. “Only a year ago,” Monroe, a West 86th Street vendor, said between sales, “flowers couldn’t live on the West Side.”
High end stores, restaurants, theaters were returning to the Upper West Side amidst a $700 million building boom. But the transition from a down-in-the-heels neighborhood to a sought-after address was far from complete:
The same kind of young, successful and relatively affluent middle-class families that moved to the suburbs 20 years ago and to the East Side 10 years ago are moving to the West Side today, and while the neighborhood still has an ample supply of teenage muggers, parading homosexuals and old men who wear overcoats in July, the over-all mood of the area seems to have changed.
This article was published just two days after the Stonewall Rebellion, which took place just four short miles to the south in Greenwich Village. Those riots were barely mention in New York’s respectable press, and “parading homosexuals” were still seen as a sign of decay. But just a decade later a new generation of “parading homosexuals” would become highly sought-after pioneers in reviving dying neighborhoods, where today their efforts are often praised by city leaders as evidence of renewed economic and creative vigor.
[Thanks to BTB reader Rob for providing a copy of the New York magazine article.]
Bowers v. Hardwick: 1986. It all started in August, 1982, when Michael Hardwick threw a beer bottle into a trash can outside of an Atlanta gay bar. A police officer cited him for public drinking. When Hardwick failed to arrive for his court date, a warrant was issued for his arrest. Several weeks later — after Hardwick realized his error and paid the ticket — a police officer went to Hardwick’s apparent to serve the arrest warrant. The police officer entered the apartment (accounts differ on how he got in), and discovered Hardwick and a male companion engaged in oral sex, which Georgia defined as “sodomy” under the law. Both men were arrested, but the local district attorney decided not to press charges. Hardwick then sued Georgia attorney general Michael Bowers in federal court seeking to overturn the state’s sodomy law. The ACLU agreed to take the case on Hardwick’s behalf.
A federal judge in Atlanta dismissed the case, siding with the Attorney General. Hardwick appealed to the Eleventh Court of Appeals, which reversed the lower court’s ruling. Bowers then appealed the case to the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled on this date — during pride week — in 1986 that Hardwick’s right to privacy did not extend to private, consensual sexual conduct — at least as far as gay sex was concerned. Justice Byron White, writing for the majority, barely concealed his contempt for gay people. He wrote, “to claim that a right to engage in such conduct is ‘deeply rooted in this Nation’s history and tradition’ or ‘implicit in the concept of ordered liberty’ is, at best, facetious.” Chief Justice Warren Berger, in a concurring opinion, piled on: “To hold that the act of homosexual sodomy is somehow protected as a fundamental right would be to cast aside millennia of moral teaching.”
Justice Lewis Powell was considered the deciding vote. It has been reported that he originally voted to strike down the law but changed his mind after a few days. In 1990, after Powell had retired three ears earlier, he told a group law students that he considered his opinion in Bowers was mistake. “I do think it was inconsistent in a general way with Roe. When I had the opportunity to reread the opinions a few months later I thought the dissent had the better of the arguments.” His mistake would remain the law of the land for another seventeen years, until Bowers itself was held to be “not correct” in Lawrence v. Texas.
If you know of something that belongs on the agenda, please send it here. Don’t forget to include the basics: who, what, when, where, and URL (if available).
And feel free to consider this your open thread for the day. What’s happening in your world?