The Daily Agenda for Wednesday, June 18

Jim Burroway

June 18th, 2014

Pride Celebrations This Weekend: Barcelona, Spain; Biarritz, France; Beaumont, TX; Berlin, Germany; Butte, MT; Chicago, IL; Columbus, GA; Columbus, OH; Denver, CO; Durango, CO; Edinburgh, UK; Ft. Myers, FL; Houston, TX; Huntsville, AL; Iowa City, IA; Juneau, AK; Knoxville, TN; Lancaster, PA; Lander, WY; Lisbon, Portugal; Longview, TX; Louisville, KY; Nanaimo, BC; Napa, CA; New Orleans, LA; Oklahoma City, OK; Oldenburg, Germany; Olympia, WA; Oslo, Norway (Europride); Portland, ME; Providence, RI; Salem, MA; Salisbury, NC; Sardinia, Italy; Saskatoon, SK; Shanghai, China; Schenectady, NY; Sioux Fall, SD; Springfield, MO; Syracuse, NY; Thessaloniki, Greece; Toronto, ON (WorldPride); Wilton Manors, FL; Wuppertal, Germany; York, UK.

Other Events This Weekend: Durban Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, Durban, South Africa; AIDS WAlk, Oakland, CA; Frameline 38 International LGBT Film Festival, San Francisco, CA.

TODAY’S AGENDA is brought to you by:

From The Los Angeles Advocate, May 1968, page 10.

Animal print swimming trunks, a matching “swim coat,” and a “swim cup of foam rubber for under swimwear” to finish out the ensemble. What more could you want? Ah Men was both a West Hollywood clothing store and a line of clothing that was sold from 1962 through the early eighties. They eventually had additional stores in the Silver Lake area and in Houston, but they did most of their business through their catalogue which, because of its special appreciation of the male body, was especially popular with gay men throughout the country. In that way, Ah Men set the standard for the International Male clothing catalogues of the 1980s and 1990s.

 Daytime Soap Introduces First Gay Teen Character: 1992. The daytime dramas known as soap operas had been a staple of radio, and then television, for some sixty years, but by the 1990s, the genre was looking increasingly tired and outdated thanks to the popularity of daytime talk shows like Jerry Springer, Sally Jesse Rafael and Rikki Lake. With the soaps now competing with real-life drama (or at least a facsimile thereof) from these sensationalistic talk shows, producers understood that they needed to bring their story lines to the 1990s or loose whatever audience they still had.

ABC’s One Life to Live, which had been on the air since 1968 with a story line tackling women’s issues and race, seemed the obvious candidate to run a new story line exploring homophobia and the difficulties of being a gay teen. Billy Douglas (played by Ryan Phillippe), a newcomer to the town of Lianview, was reluctant to tell anyone about his homosexuality, especially his parents. He did, however, confide in the town’s compassionate pastor, Rev. Andrew Carpenter. But a scheming woman who Carpenter scorned (there’s always at least one in a soap opera) began circulating rumors around town that the pastor had been molesting Billy. In a dramatic scene, the entire town, led by Billy’s parents, confronted Carpenter and demanded that he resign, the pastor delivered a riveting sermon against the evils of prejudice and homophobia. This led Billy to take a public stand in support of Carpenter — and to come out to his parents.

In 2010, Phillippe talked about what it was like to play a gay teen in 1992:

Me and the guy who played my boyfriend might’ve held hands once or twice, but that was it. The age of those characters had something to do it, but things also weren’t as liberal in 1992. Still, I felt lucky to play the first gay teenager on television — not just daytime but television, period. What was so amazing about that for me was the response I got through fan letters that my mother and I would read together. Kids who’d never seen themselves represented on TV or in movies would write to say what a huge support they found it to be. One kid said he’d considered suicide before seeing a character like him being accepted. I also heard from a father, a mechanic, who hadn’t spoken to his son since he came out. When our show came on in his shop, it gave him some insight and understanding as to who his son was, so it opened up communication between them. As much as you can write off how silly the entertainment industry can be, it can affect change and make people see things differently. That’s beautiful.

Phillippe’s character left Lianview to attend Yale later that summer, and Phillippe left One Life to Live for good in 1993. ABC announced One Life to Live’s cancellation in late 2011, with the last episode airing on January 13, 2012.

Agnes Goodsir (top), Girl With Cigarette, 1925 (bottom)

 Agnes Goodsir: 1864-1939. An Australia-born painter, Agness Goodsir joined a mass exodus of artists from down under seeking the artistic stimulation and freedom that had blossomed in Paris in the early 20th century. That’s where Goodsir studied at the Académie Delécluse, the Académie Julian and then the Académie Colarossi.

Her constant companion was Rachel Dunn, who was depicted in several of her paintings, including Morning Tea (1925), Girl with Cigarette (1925), The Letter (1926) and The Chinese Skirt (1933). She was best known for her portraits including, reportedly, one of Mussolini. When she died in 1939, she left her remaining paintings to Rachel Dunn, who sent about forty to Agnes’s family in Australia and others to Australian galleries. The Agnes Goodsir memorial scholarship at the Bendigo Art Gallery, where her work first appeared, is named in her memory.

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?

Eric Payne

June 18th, 2014

Open thread, right?

About a month ago, Bill and I were approached about joining, as plaintiffs, the lawsuit challenging the state of Georgia’s constitutional ban on same-gender relationships. Passed in 1984, the ban was one of the 10 states proposing such a ban. All 10 passed. The “Protect Marriage” drive in those states was a “get the voting base out” strategy of the National GOP, spearheaded by Ken Mehlman, himself a gay man.

One of the questions asked of us in our telephone interview, because of our circumstances, was if Bill’s job was secure enough to withstand his taking time off, the media publicity, and subpoenas from the defendants, the state of Georgia. We said Bill and I would talk about that, and let them know “in a few days.”

The very next day, Bill was demoted. There was no change in job duties (except for Bill now having to also do the duties of someone else in the department) nor a reduction in pay… but his title was changed, and the “someone else in the department” was given Bill’s title… but none of the duties of that title; Bill is still expected to perform those duties as well.

I just called Bill at work, on his direct line. After 4 rings, it went to voicemail… but not Bill’s voicemail. Instead, I got the generic corporate voicemail. So I called him on his cell; he answered. I asked where his boss was, and got the reply, “he’s standing right behind me, why?” I told him: “Leave. Leave now, and call me when you’re off company property.”

He called. He’s on his way home. I told him what happened… he said “Jesus.” We hung up and will be home soon.

Georgia is an “at will” employment state. Georgia’s DOMA amendment bars any type of recognition of a same-gender couple, and nullifies any contractual provisions the two of us have between each other. If Bill loses his job, I lose my healthcare. If I lose my healthcare, I die — but before I do, Bill will spend every penny we have in a futile attempt to keep my heart beating.

So, Mr. Mehlman — what do we do now? While you’re all comfy-cozy in a marriage equality state, what do those of us living in states like Georgia do? I know you’re “sorry” for the “pain” you caused — or at least that’s what your press releases have said… but, then, magnamity is easy enough when you live in marriage equality New York, isn’t it?

And we won’t be plaintiffs in the suit against Georgia. For a couple of decades, I was a semi-functioning alcoholic… I mean falling-down-drunk every day. Behind that, I committed crimes against employers… friends… organizations, you name it, I stole from them. As a result, I did 13 months in California’s prison system on a 2-years bid, then went back for another year when I tested dirty and violated parole. So, I don’t have the squeaky-clean image the lawyers want.

So, what do we do?

Eric Payne

June 18th, 2014

Oops. Error correction:

“Passed in 1984” should read: “Passed in 2004”.


June 18th, 2014

Eric Payne: I m not a lawyer, and I don’t know all your circumstances, but it seems to me that it might be best to seek legal advice before your husband does anything.

I wonder if the upcoming executive order prohibiting anti-gay discrimination for employers with contracts over $10,000 with the federal government has something to do with this.

I thought that, under Obamacare, everyone was entitled to health coverage.

Eric Payne

June 18th, 2014


Yes, under the Affordable Care Act, not only is everyone entitled to health care… it’s illegal for a person not to have health care.

In states that did not accept Medicare expansion, however, there’s no government assisted pool/funding, so we’d have to get health insurance in the private marketplace, at the premium cost the insurer sets. I’m 55, and have been living in heart failure 15 years. It’s not going to be cheap.

UPDATE: We have an appointment Friday afternoon with counsel. They’ve already told us the Executive Order by Obama might have some input here as the company has some federal contracts, though Bill’s department doesn’t. Bill’s planning on going to work tomorrow… so we’ll see what happens.

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