The Daily Agenda for Monday, February 18

Jim Burroway

February 18th, 2013

TODAY’S AGENDA:
Fundraising Campaign for Jamaica Anti-Gay Violence Documentary: KickstarterTwo weeks ago, I told you about Micah Fink’s documentary, An Abominable Crime: Anti-Gay Violence in Jamaica, which is currently in production and the subject of a Kickstarter campaign running through March 2. With eleven days left, they are now more than half way to the goal of raising $35,000, which will allow them to complete post-production work: editing, a musical score, sound mixing, graphics and title sequences, and promotion. Kickstarter is an all-or-nothing model. Either they raise pledges for a full $35,000 campaign or they get nothing. But now, The Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, which as been providing part of the funding for the project, has decided as of last week to match, dollar for dollar, up for $15,000 on Kickstarter contributions going forward, which means that your pledge will go twice as far.

Micah Fink is a documentary filmmaker whose credits include PBS, National Geographic, CNN, and HBO, among others. Since filming started on An Abominable Crime in 2009, five of the film’s subjects have fled Jamaica after dealing with gunfire, mob violence, and death threats. The film centers on two gay Jamaicans who were forced by homophobic violence to flee their homeland:

  • Simone Edwards is a brave lesbian mother, who barely survives a murderous attack — and then is forced to choose between a life in hiding in Jamaica with her young daughter — or a life alone as an asylum seeker abroad.
  • Maurice Tomlinson, Jamaica’s leading human rights activist and an active member of the MCC Church, is also forced to flee his homeland when he is publicly outed by a Jamaican newspaper — shortly after filing a legal challenge to Jamaica’s destructive anti-gay laws. The filmmakers follow him as he decides to risk his life by returning home to continue his work.

For more information and to contribute, please click here.

TODAY IN HISTORY:
Marquess of Queensbury Accuses Oscar Wilde of Being a Sodomite: 1895. British playwright Oscar Wilde was dining at the Albermarle Club when the Marquess of Queensbury left a calling card with the porter. It read, “To Oscar Wilde posing as a somdomite.” The misspelling may have been the product of Queensbury’s rage over the relationship between Wilde and his son, Lord Alfred “Bosie” Douglas. Queensbury had ferocious arguments with his son, trying to get him to stop seeing Wilde, but Bosie refused. Queensbury even threatened to go public with what he knew, but Bosie refused to back down. So on February 18, 1895, Queensbury followed through on his threat.

This action led to a long string of events which eventually led to Wilde’s disgrace, imprisonment, exile in France, and early death. Perhaps all that could have been avoided if Wilde had decided not to sue Queensbury for libel. His friends advised him against it, but he may have felt he had little choice. Having been called out publicly like that, declining to sue might be taken as an admission of guilt. Unfortunately, Wilde’s libel case collapsed when Queensbury’s lawyer asked whether he had ever kissed Walter Grainger in greeting. “Oh, dear no,” Wilde replied, “He was a peculiarly plain boy. He was unfortunately extremely ugly. I pitied him for it.”

Queensbury’s lawyer pounced on Wilde’s admission that attraction was the reason he didn’t kiss him.  In short order, Wilde lost the case, and was charged with gross indecency. Wilde’s first criminal trial ended in a hung jury but the second one resulted in Wilde’s conviction and sentence to two years at hard labor.

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?

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