James C. Hormel LGBTQIA Center

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Archives March 2010

Word Is Out (or Who Are We?)
The Peter Adair Papers (GLC 70) is now open to the public to coincide with the release of the DVD version of Word Is Out. Peter Adair and the Mariposa Film Group’s ground-breaking film from 1978 explores the lives and feelings of 26 gay men and women. The new DVD includes “extras” drawn from the Peter Adair Papers—still photographs, edited footage, and some of the pre-interviews.

The working title of the film was “Who Are We?” a title which deftly conveys Adair’s and the Mariposa Film Group’s goal. It is interesting how universal the stories are and how they continue to resonate more than 30 years later.

The Peter Adair Papers includes the filmed interviews with all of the people in the film, as well as the videotaped interviews of all of the people considered for the film. Over 100 people were interviewed including such notables as Tom Ammiano, Canyon Sam, Pat Parker, Carole Migden, Blackberri, and Hank Wilson. The Papers also includes background paperwork, the filmmakers’ notes on cuts and edits, and the drafts of Nancy and Casey Adair's book Word Is Out. A small portion of the collection contains the videotape of The AIDS Show, a Theatre Rhinoceros production filmed by Peter Adair and Rob Epstein.

Many of us are drawn to historical materials to define ourselves within the context of previous generations. The Adair Papers began as means to answer the question “Who Are We?” Lacking a library or archives to explore that question, Adair and the Mariposa Film Group went to the community itself to find answers. Thirty years later, the Peter Adair Papers allows us to respond with both “who we were” and “who we are.”

All Hormel Center archives are handled through the San Francisco History Center, 6th Floor, Main Library.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Queerest News Ever--March 2010

Health Care Insurance reform has been approved by the House and Obama has signed the bill into law. But House representative Tammy Baldwin pointed out that some specific provisions for LGBT people which address access to care and discrimination issues were excluded from the final version. There is still hope, according to Baldwin, who says that while the bill while lacks the proposed protections, it "keeps the legislative door open" to future changes.

In other medical news, a study which appeared March 18th in the New England Journal of Medicine indicates that gays and lesbians have been systematically excluded from studies of sexual health without any concrete reasons being provided for this omission.

The federal Housing and Urban Development Department (HUD) is conducting a study of housing discrimination against LGBTs and are enlisting the help of queers in New York, Chicago and San Francisco for ideas on how the study should be conducted.

A judge has issued a warrant in the strange custody case of former lesbian couple Lisa Miller and Janet Jenkins. The two were joined in a civil union in 2000 and gave birth to daughter Isabella in 2002 through insemination. They moved from Virginia to Vermont to raise their child. When Isabella was a year old, Miller took her and moved back to Virginia. There she became a born-again Evangelical Christian and proceeded to deny Jenkins all visitation rights. In 2009 Judge Cohen tired of Miller's refusal to grant Jenkins access to the child and charged her with contempt. He then ordered Miller to turn over custody to Jenkins. Instead of complying, Miller took off with Isabella and hasn't been seen or heard from since.

In other parenting news, being a lesbian couple can disqualify your child from attending pre-school in Boulder Colorado's Sacred Heart of Jesus Church because that church holds that gays are sexually "disordered" and " inherently evil."

Mississippi teenager Constance McMillen who caused the administation to cancel the entire high school prom rather than allow her to attend wearing a tuxedo with her girlfriend by her side, has won her fight in court, although the high school sponsorer prom won't be reinstated, a private non discriminatory prom will take its place. She was represented by the American Civil Liberties Union.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Honoring Inner Landscapes

Susan Krieger's poetically titled, "Things No Longer There: A Memoir of Losing Sight and Finding Vision," is a work of observation in the truest sense; a collection of stories about her progressive loss of eyesight due to disease, intermingled with "visibility" issues concerning her lesbian identity. Her writing is permeated with a nostalgic poignancy that is grounded, not cloying, and sometimes even amusing. She states, "People look increasingly young because my vision blurs out the fine lines and subtle skin tones...everyone looks about 35."

Beyond chronicling her loss of sight, the book includes the development of an affair Kreiger had with a previously heterosexual woman, her evolving awareness of her disability and her observations and insight into the ways lesbians interract with a world that does not see or recognize them. Her writing is lush and lyrical as she takes us on a journey of transformation and transcendence.

Click here for the web site: Blind LGBT Pride.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Education and Homophobia

Education budget cuts combined with tuition increases in California have impacted students from elementary school level through college. On March 4th protests organized by students occurred throughout the state. For lesbian, gay bisexual and transgender young adults, as for members of ethnic minority communities, budget concerns are only a fraction of the story.

James T. Sears' book, "Gay, Lesbian and Transgender Issues in Education: Programs, Policies, and Practices," the voices of LGBT young people recount their personal experiences as do educators and counselors who also have both an intimate understanding of anti-gay bullying and harassment and the high cost of allowing it to run rampant in an educational setting.

Arthur Lipkin's, "Beyond Diversity Day: A Q&A on Gay and Lesbian issues in Schools" is structured in a question and answer format that includes actual quotations, press clippings of actual incidents and statistics. In an accessible yet analytical style. Lipkin documents the homophobia that he finds to be pervasive throughout the American educational system.

This video "Larry's Law: Fostering Safe and Hate Free Schools is about a California Assembly bill was named after 14 year old Larry King of Oxnard California, an openly gay eighth-grader who was murdered in his classroom by a fellow student.