Tag Archives: Queer Blogging

Sexing Queer Bodies

256px-Gay_Couple_togetherness_in_bed_01 Sexing Queer BodiesI write gay romance. By which I mean, I write love stories. Boy meets boy (or occasionally, boys), there’s lots of angsty goodness, then they all live happily ever after. Sometimes there’s sex, but sometimes there’s not. Yet I am classified as an erotica writer with alarming regularity.

When AJ and I were trying to find a home for my numerous DVDs the other day, I introduced her to my rather anal system of organising them by rating and genre. Some of them, she noticed, had double ratings (12/15, or 15/18). That, I explained, was because Ireland has its own classification system and usually doles out higher ratings for LGBT-themed films. These weren’t explicit movies, you understand, but because they mentioned queerness they were deemed Not For Children. Continue reading →

Dropping the T from LGB

be-a-HERO-300x300 Dropping the T from LGBLast week, a much abused and beleaguered equal rights ordinance failed to win public support in Houston. There’s plenty of background to HERO here, explaining how it seeks to protect LGBT individuals in a state which offers them no legal rights of employment, medical treatment, or housing. Without such protection, your landlord can evict you for being gay; your boss can fire you; you can’t use the appropriate restrooms if the wrong box is ticked on your birth certificate. Continue reading →

The History of Homosexuality: Same-Sex Marriage in the USA

256px-1DX0049.jpg_%288595564717%29 The History of Homosexuality: Same-Sex Marriage in the USAThe first legal challenges to the ban on same-sex couples marrying in the US came in the early 1970s, without success: Minnesota Supreme Court ruled in 1971 that a ban on SSM wasn’t unconstitutional, and the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear a case regarding SSM in 1972, “for want of a substantial federal question.” That denial blocked lower federal courts from addressing the matter of same-sex marriage for decades.

It wasn’t until 1993 that the notion of same-sex marriage was taken seriously by the courts, when a ruling from the Hawaii Supreme Court in Baehr v. Lewin suggested for the first time that refusing to allow same-sex couples to marry might be unconstitutional. The reaction to Hawaii’s ruling, rather than build momentum to allow SSM, instead resulted in a backlash in congress, who pushed through the Defence of Marriage Act, specifically prohibiting the federal government from recognising same-sex marriages. Continue reading →

The History of Homosexuality: Legal Challenges

256px-Pride_London_2009_022 The History of Homosexuality: Legal Challenges

Royal Navy marching at London Pride 2009

The queer emancipation movement has had more dealings with the courts than the decriminalisation of homosexuality and the legalisation of same-sex marriage. First after decriminalisation was an equal age of consent. It took a 1997 ruling by the European Commission of Human Rights to confirm that the UK’s unequal age of consent was a violation of the European Convention of Human Rights, a wrong which wasn’t corrected until 2000. Continue reading →

The History of Homosexuality: Beyond the Pale

256px-Gay_Rights_are_Human_Rights_%285823033786%29 The History of Homosexuality: Beyond the PaleThe early queer rights movement was flawed for many reasons. Not only did it marginalise the most visible members of the community — who had historically born the biggest brunt of discrimination and persecution — they also opted for a soft approach to addressing civil injustices which rankles with hindsight. Most of the early arguments in favour of decriminalising homosexuality posited that queerfolk led sad, miserable lives, and deserved society’s pity, not its contempt. The advocated tolerance, not acceptance. Queerfolk should be allowed to move freely in society, but nobody envisioned them ever being fully part of it. The idea of queerfolk being fully integrated into society was beyond the pale, and too much for the early activists to hope for. Continue reading →

The History of Homosexuality: Radicalisation vs Assimilation

12065533_10206446631577544_6278190033802883248_n-216x300 The History of Homosexuality: Radicalisation vs Assimilation

From my Facebook timeline yesterday

For hundreds of years when being queer was criminal in western society, the public face of queerfolk was the most visible members of the community, those who were unable to hide by passing as heterosexual and consequently, those most often brought before the law. Trans* individuals, cross-dressers, and those who eschewed the gender binary were obvious, easy targets. When the political climate became unbearably repressive, and the civil rights movement to emancipate other minorities took off, one of the first acts of the community was to change the image of queerness in the public consciousness. Continue reading →

The History of Homosexuality: The Pride Flag

Screenshot-2015-10-24-07.54.08-297x300 The History of Homosexuality: The Pride FlagThe original Pride flag was flown at the San Francisco Gay Freedom Day Parade on 25th June, 1978. It had been designed by Gilbert Baker, an artist and designer who made silk banners for gay rights and anti-war protest marches. The flag was inspired in part by Judy Garland’s “Over the Rainbow” (Garland had died a few days before the Stonewall uprising), and originally contained eight colours, each with a different meaning, the idea for which came from the Flag of Races used during the 1960s civil rights marches, which consisted of five horizontal stripes in red, black, brown, yellow, and white.

Thirty volunteers hand stitched and dyed the first two flags for the Freedom Day parade. Continue reading →

The History of Homosexuality: The Rainbow Spectrum

Screenshot-2017-06-26-21.44.15 The History of Homosexuality: The Rainbow SpectrumThrough the 1960s as homophile organisations started to form in defence of queerfolk, the community which was only just forming began to fracture. Societies like the Mattachine wanted to present an assimilationist approach to queer emancipation, representing the white, middle class, straight-passing men who politicians and lawmakers would relate to and find most sympathetic. It wasn’t these men, however, that were being targeted by the police and rounded up by the dozen, but the butch women, effeminate queens, cross-dressers, and trans*folk who were the most visible and obvious targets for prosecution, and the easiest to turn into folk devils and scapegoats. It’s no surprise it was those members who first fought back and put queer emancipation on the political agenda. Continue reading →

The History of Homosexuality: Gay Pride

Screenshot-2017-06-26-21.46.05 The History of Homosexuality: Gay PrideThe hundred-year period leading up to 1970 was a hugely significant one for queerfolk. From a series of small, disparate socio-sexual communities with no real sense of wider identity or framework for understanding their orientation, to an established subculture with a naming convention, identity, and political presence. In response to a repressive legal atmosphere in the UK and USA, “homophile organisations” such as the Mattachine Society and Daughters of Bilitis were formed with the aim of politically liberating queerfolk. While other rallys and marches had been organised in the past, it was the uprising following the botched raid of the Stonewall Inn in New York which really provided the catalyst for the modern Pride movement. Continue reading →

People in History: Harry Hay

Screenshot-2017-06-26-21.47.39 People in History: Harry HayBorn to an upper middle class American family living in England in 1912, Hay was raised in Chile, the son of a wealthy mining engineer and his Catholic wife. While an infant, Hay contracted bronchial pneumonia which left him with permanent scarring on his lungs. Shortly afterwards, his father lost a leg in an industrial accident, which resulted in his resignation and relocation of the family back to California. In 1919 Hay’s father purchased a farm just outside LA. While Hay Snr. secured the family’s income by trading on the stock market, he refused to spoil his children, and Hay Jnr. grew up working on the farm like any other labourer.

Hay resented his father, calling him “tyrannical” for the regular beatings he meted out — beating Hay believed stemmed from an attempt to “cure” him of his effeminate behaviour. Continue reading →