James C. Hormel LGBTQIA Center

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

James Baldwin in Turkey

Literary luminary and pioneer, James Baldwin has done much to pave the way for African-American and gay writers who have come since. This book, "James Baldwin's Turkish Decade: Erotics of Exile," by Magdalena J. Zaborowska expounds on his years in a country that straddles both Europe and Asia, where he came to view his status as "other" as part nemesis and part inspiration. According to Zaborowska, it was in Istanbul, where Baldwin learned to embrace the warmth of the Turkish people as well as his identity as a perpetual traveler, a foreigner in every nation.

Here is an additional online biograpical sketch of James Baldwin and an essay from the New Yorker that goes into more depth about his years abroad.

A Compassionate Eye: World AIDS Day 2009

The Hormel Center of SFPL will present "A Compassionate Eye: World AIDS Day 2009". Curator Adam Stoltman and photographer/author Thomas McGovern will present slides on the local and global side of AIDS. Stoltman will show the work of the late photographer Victor Arimondi (the subject of our current exhibition in the Hormel Center on the Third floor of the Main Library), and McGovern will discuss his book documenting AIDS worldwide (Bearing Witness). Tuesday December 1 at 6:00 PM. Lower Level Room LH58.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Change and American Family Law

The absence of laws regarding non-traditional couples and families has proved to be both a conundrum for judges and the source of much courtroom confusion. At times, the existence of this vast gray area, can lead to tragedy as in the case of Lisa Pond, Janice Langhbehn and their children. On a vacation to Florida, Pond sufferered an aneurysm. Her partner of 18 years and the children they raised together were denied access to her bedside as she lay dying. A hospital social worker told Langbehn point blank, as she denied her request, that the family were now in "an antigay city and state." By the time Langbehn and her daughter gained admission to her room Lisa Pond had lost consciousness. This past September Langbehn's lawsuit was dismissed by federal court.

The case of Sharon Reed and Jo Ann Ritchie was quite similar. Reed was barred from her partner, Ritchie's intensive care unit for extended periods of time preceding Ritchie's death. The two women had been together for 17 years.

To help explain, clarify and prevent these incidents from ocurring in the future Kimberly D. Richman has written, Courting Change: Queer Parents, Judges, and the Transformation of American Family Law. Her goal is to shed light on the "indeterminate and discretionary area of American Law," that encompasses issues surrounding partnership, parenting, child custody and visitation rights, to name but a few. Her book provides insight into the rationale behind court decisions and ways the law can be re-interpreted and changed to better meet the needs of the diverse families of the 21st century.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Queer Punk Panel Discussion

Queer Punk Panel Discussion
Tuesday, Nov. 17th, 7 p.m.
at the Eureka Valley/Harvey Milk Memorial Branch Library

The panel will discuss how being Queer influenced their music and will share memories of playing the San Francisco punk scene in the 80s and 90s. Panelists include KD Davis, bass player for Wilma and Impulse F, Debbie Hopkins, drummer for the Contractions and Jon Ginoli, founder of Pansy Division!

This program is part of PUNK PASSAGE:
San Francisco First Wave Punk
The Photography Of Ruby Ray at the Jewett Gallery, Main Library

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Real Cost of "Don't Ask Don't Tell"

Lt. Daniel Choi was discharged as an Arabic translator in the New York National Guard, after he came out as gay on the Rachel Maddow Show. In that interview Mr. Choi said, "By saying three words to you today, I am gay, I am in violation of title 10 of the U.S. code." Sandy Tsao, a lesbian, was also discharged that week for uttering the very same three words.

In his book, Unfriendly Fire: How the Gay Ban Undermines the Military and Weakens America, Nathaniel Frank provides a historical overview of the relationship LGBT folks have had to the U.S. Armed Forces since World War II. He debunks the notion that the inclusion of gay troops would interfere with necessary bonding. Frank categorically states, "There has never been any empirical evidence that openly gay service undermines unit cohesion." His work is a meticulously researched and compelling analysis of both the human and strategic costs of this piece of legislation.