The Daily Agenda for Tuesday, June 2

Jim Burroway

June 2nd, 2015

TODAY’S AGENDA is brought to you by:

From The Body Politic (Toronto, ON), January 1986, page 36.

From The Body Politic (Toronto, ON), January 1986, page 36.

Rumours was owned and operated by Halifax’s Gay Alliance for Equality (GAE) which was later renamed the Gay And Lesbian Association (GALA) of Nova Scotia. It was located on Granville Street from 1982 to 1987, when it moved to 2112 Gottingen Street, the site of what had been the Old Vogue Theatre. A few years later, Rumours was the catalyst for quite a controversy for Halifax’s gay community. Here’s a synopsis:

DanielMacKay writes: I don’t have time to write a complete OR NeutralPointOfView story so here’s the reader’s digest version as I understand it:

  • Pre: ’91: some guys at Rumours in decided that going shirtless was fun. Some say it was a kind of religion – they had to do it.
  • Some women also wanted to go shirtless, saying if the men could do it they should be able to as well. On Pride Day 1991 the women take off their shirts in the bar too.
  • The Nova Scotia Liquor Licencing Board was and is quite fussy about the behaviour of clientele in bars. They said, “If you do not have control over your clientele, you will not be able to sell liquor.” This decision is not appeal-able and not arguable in court. I’ll repeat that. The Liquor Licensing Board’s decision is not appeal-able and not arguable in court.
  • The community broke into four camps (five if you count I don’t give a damn.)
    1. The shirtless men’s camp said, “Too bad, women, but we’ll keep doing the shirtless thing.”
    2. An enthusiastic and militant camp said “Women, continue to go shirtless, we will fight the evil Liquor Licensing Board.” (despite this being impossible, see repeated message above)
    3. Cooler heads pointed out that if the bar was not allowed to sell liquor there would be no money to fight anything even if it could (which it couldn’t) and very shortly, no bar either; the mortgage on 2112 Gottingen St was paid hand to mouth, so to speak, by liquor sales.
    4. Yet other people said, “If the women can’t go shirtless, the men shouldn’t be able to either.”

These groups tore at each other mercilessly, sapping the limited energy of GaeGala, until the organization, and the bar, wound down in late 1994.

“Mama’s Boys” Deemed Unfit For Military Service: 1942. At a meeting in Boston of the American Psychiatric Association, Dr. Alexander Simon of St. Elizabeth Hospital in Washington, D.C., described the kinds of people who were more likely to end up in the psych wards after induction in the military:

…the chronic A.W.O.L’er; the lad who can’t stand the social gap between a private and Private First Class, the man or officer who can’t stand promotion, and the one who cant stand not to be promoted, the ‘Mama Boys’ who in peacetime (when there is no selective service) chose invariable the Navy and find that though the sea may be ‘Mama’ the Navy is definitely ‘Papa,’ and blow up promptly in the training station with the shock of the discovery; the lonely, the homesick, the timid, the despondent, the one who never took an order in his life; the one who can’t stand teasing, cussing, and dirty jokes, the alcoholic, the bad actor, the unexpectant father who gets a letter from the girl who met the fleet, the boy who didn’t know he was adopted until he went to get his birth certificate and who must find his own mother instead of fighting a war, the boy who wanted to study Diesels, but who was made a sergeant and had to keep drilling others, the Reserve Officer who thought the sergeant knew more than he did, the man with psychotic episodes prior to service and the man whose best friend went down on his sister ship.”

Dr. Simon commended the Boston draft board for being particularly adept at turning down those who he believed would later become troublesome in the military. According to the press report from Science Service, “This board not only turned down obvious mental disorders but also psychopathic personalities, asocial and criminal types, chronic alcoholics and homosexuals. In other words, Boston selectees were turned down if they seemed more likely than the average (1) to break down under strain or (2) to be trouble makers.”

Candace Gingrich-Jones: 1966. The lesbian advocate and kid sister to former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Candice publicly called her brother to task during his 2012 campaign for the GOP nomination for President over his support for California’s Prop 8. “What really worries me is that you are always willing to use LGBT Americans as political weapons to further your ambitions,” she wrote. “That’s really so ’90s, Newt. In this day and age, it’s embarrassing to watch you talk like that.” Things didn’t change much for Newt, certainly not while he was courting votes from the party’s Tea Party base. He spent much of that year running like it was still 1994. (It was only after the campaign was over that Gingrich conceded that the Republican party should begin to think about coming to grips with a distinction between a “marriage in a church from a legal document issued by the state.”)

Candice has long been an outspoken advocate for gay rights, going as far back as 1995 when she became the Human Rights Campaign’s spokesperson for the National Coming Out Project. In 1996, she published her autobiography, The Accidental Activist: A Personal and Political Memoir, where she talked about growing up in a supportive family with a politically-active half-brother who treated her and her girlfriend with the utmost respect. It wasn’t until 1994, when the Republicans took control of the House and propelled Newt Gingrich to the Speakership that she noticed that his politics included close alliances with the likes of Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson. When an enterprising reporter wrote about the lesbian half-sister of an anti-gay Speaker, she decided it was time to challenge her brother on his discriminatory politics. That propelled her on the road to political activism. In addition to her work at HRC, Candice made numerous appearances in print and on television, including in an episode of Friends where she officiated over a commitment ceremony. Today, Candace is married to her wife, Rebecca, and works as the HRC’s Associate Director for the Youth and Campus Outreach Program.

Zachary Quinto: 1977. He grew up in a suburb of Pittsburgh, raised by his mother after his father died of cancer when Zachary was only seven, attended Pittsburgh’s Central Catholic High School (where he won the Gene Kelly Award for best supporting actor in his school’s production of Pirates of Penzance), and graduated from Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Drama in 1999. In 2000, he made his first appearance on the short-lived NBC series The Others, which opened the way to guest appearances on several other programs before becoming a regular on Fox’s third season of 24 in 2003.

In 2007, it was announce that he would play the young Spock on the first installment of the Star Trek reboot. Leonard Nimoy, who played the original Spock, had casting approval over who would play his younger self. “For me Leonard’s involvement was only liberating, frankly,” Quinto said. “I knew that he had approval over the actor that would play young Spock, so when I got the role I knew from the beginning it was with his blessing.” His portrayal was widely praised, and he returned to the Star Trek reboot in 2013 with tar Trek Into Darkness He has remained busy on the stage, with appearances in Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, Tony Kushner’s Off-Broadway revival of Angels In America, and more in the American Repertory Theatre’s production of The Glass Menagerie.

Quinto came out publicly as gay in 2011 in response to the suicide of Jamey Rodemeyer, a Buffalo high school freshman. “[I]n light of jamey’s death,” Quinto wrote in his blog, “it became clear to me in an instant that living a gay life without publicly acknowledging it – is simply not enough to make any significant contribution to the immense work that lies ahead on the road to complete equality.” Even before he came out, Quinto was an active supporter of the Trevor Project, the nation’s leading organization for suicide prevention among LGBT youth.

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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