Happy birthday to The Well of Loneliness, the pioneering lesbian novel published 84 years ago today in Britain. It hit mainstream bookshelves at the end of July, and initially drew praise from critics who appreciated its empathetic, psychologically acute depiction of "sexual inverts" (of which the author, Radclyffe Hall, was one.) From Wikipedia:
James Douglas, editor of the Sunday Express newspaper, did not agree. Douglas was a dedicated moralist, an exponent of muscular Christianity, which sought to reinvigorate the church by promoting physical health and manliness. His colorfully worded editorials on subjects such as "the flapper vote" (that is, the extension of suffrage to women under 30) and "modern sex novelists" helped the Express family of papers prosper in the cutthroat circulation wars of the late 1920s. These leader articles shared the pages of the Sunday Express with gossip, murderers' confessions, and features about the love affairs of great men and women of the past.
Douglas's campaign against The Well of Loneliness began on Saturday, August 18, with poster and billboard advertising and a teaser in the Daily Express promising to expose "A Book That Should Be Suppressed". In his editorial the next day, Douglas wrote that "sexual inversion and perversion" had already become too visible and that the publication of The Well brought home the need for society to "cleans[e] itself from the leprosy of these lepers". For Douglas the sexological view of homosexuality was pseudoscience, incompatible with the Christian doctrine of free will; instead, he argued, homosexuals were damned by their own choice – which meant that others could be corrupted by "their propaganda". Above all, children must be protected: "I would rather give a healthy boy or a healthy girl a phial of prussic acid than this novel. Poison kills the body, but moral poison kills the soul" ...
[The book's nervous publisher] Jonathan Cape sent a copy of The Well to the Home Secretary for his opinion, offering to withdraw the book if it would be in the public interest to do so. The Home Secretary was William Joynson-Hicks, a Conservative known for his crackdowns on alcohol, nightclubs and gambling ... He took only two days to reply that The Well was "gravely detrimental to the public interest"; if Cape did not withdraw it voluntarily, criminal proceedings would be brought.
Cape announced that he had stopped publication, but he secretly leased the rights to Pegasus Press, an English language publisher in France ... With publicity increasing demand, sales were brisk, but the reappearance of The Well on bookstore shelves soon came to the attention of the Home Office. On October 3 Joynson-Hicks issued a warrant for shipments of the book to be seized ...
Singapore's lovely alternative to a Pride Parade: A huge pink dot.
200 PhD's against that ridiculous Regnerus study about gay parents:
... the author is unable to distinguish between the impact of having a parent who has had a continuous same-sex relationship from the impact of having same-sex parents who broke-up from the impact of living in a same-sex stepfamily from the impact of living with a single parent who may have dated a same-sex partner; each of these groups are included in a single “lesbian mother” or “gay father” group depending on the gender of the parent who had a same-sex relationship. Specifically, this paper fails to distinguish family structure and family instability. Thus, it fails to distinguish, for children whose parents ever had a same-sex relationship experience, the associations due to family structure from the associations due to family stability. However, he does attempt to distinguish family structure from family instability for the children of different-sex parents by identifying children who lived in an intact biological family ...
New tween fad: Burning yourself with ice and salt. What happened to planking?
Jennifer Keeton, counseling student program expelled for refusing to provide secular counseling to LGBT students, loses her discrimination case.
A rather sunburnt looking Richard Dawkins gets 35 minutes on Al Jazeera.
By living in sin, are you breaking the law?
On the import of Massachusetts's new HIV testing rules.
The destruction of ancient Sufi holy sites in Timbuktu continues amain.
Yesterday was Dublin Pride, and it wasn't just a good time. It was an historic time. As revelers reveled from the Garden of Remembrance through Merrion Square, Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore, Ireland's Deputy Prime Minister, became the most senior member of the Irish government ever to endorse marriage equality, which he called the "civil rights issue of our time."
Gilmore spoke just as the Dublin festivities were dying down. Here's a transcript of his remarks:
As the event draws to a conclusion today, I would like to congratulate the organisers of Dublin Pride 2012 for a very successful week.
Dublin Pride dates back to 1983 and has become an important part of the city's social calendar. It is also becoming an increasingly important attraction, bringing thousands of people to the city, and I would like to warmly welcome these visitors to our capital.
But while the event is primarily a social and cultural one, it also has a political dimension.
As leader of Labour, a Party for whom the politics of personal freedom is so central, I acknowledge that when it comes to promoting understanding and respect, progress has been made in recent years. However, there are some outstanding matters, and if we as a Party are serious about building a new progressive society, these are matters that we will have to resolve.
I believe that in certain key areas, our laws are out of step with public opinion. I don't believe for example, that it should ever be the role of the State to pass judgement on whom a person falls in love with, or whom they want to spend their life with.
That is why the issue of same-sex marriage is to be included for consideration by the Constitutional Convention. I believe in gay marriage. The right of gay couples to marry is, quite simply, the civil rights issue of this generation, and, in my opinion, its time has come.
No similar declaration was forthcoming from Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Ireland's Prime Minister and head of the center-right Fine Gael party (which was nevertheless represented by a float at the Pride Parade). It shouldn't be long, now: Fine Gael has officially supported civil unions since 2003, and party leaders hope to make marriage equality a platform plank in 2012.
Yesterday afternoon, roughly 150 Latter Day Saints publicly resigned en masse from their church in Salt Lake City. The defectors ventured from Utah, Idaho, and Arizona to convene in a public park and tender their formal letters of resignation, which they gathered in a large basket to be mailed to LDS HQ by one of their soon-to-be-ex-co-religionists. They they hiked from the park up to Ensign Peak, where Brigham Young stood 175 years ago to gaze down at the place where he'd soon build a city. Once there, the defectors hugged and laughed and cheered, and yelled: "Freedom!"
The reasons for defection were numerous. From Reuters:
Among the reasons cited by those resigning are the church's political activism against gay marriage; doctrinal teachings that conflict with scientific findings or are perceived as racist or sexist; and inconsistencies in the church's explanation of its own history, including the practice of polygamy.
The church, which renounced plural marriage over a century ago as Utah was seeking statehood, often downplays the prevalence of the practice by early faith leaders, including Smith, who some scholars say was married to more than 30 women.
But it was in fact polygamy that John Larsen said began him on his journey out of the church. When doing research on the Larsen family tree, he was disturbed to find that a female ancestor had married Smith, likely while she was still married to another man, he said.
Zilpha Larsen said her questions began when she discovered that the veracity of an allegedly accurate translation of ancient Egyptian writings that were included in sacred Mormon texts were in doubt. "Once you start doubting one thing, then everything becomes suspect," she said.
This is a very 2012 sort of story, in the gruesomest possible way.
Michael Marin was once a Wall Street trader, and he must have made a lot of money. In the waning years of the last decade he lived in Arizona, where he was on the hook for almost $20,000 in monthly mortgage payments. In 2008 he had a million dollars in the bank; by the end of 2009 he had nothing. He tried a novel raffle scheme to pay down some of his several millions of dollars of debt. It didn't work. Very soon Marin's mansion burned down, and he was arrested for arson. On Thursday, in Maricopa County, he was convicted as charged. His offense was punishable with up to 16 years in prison.
Video from the courtroom shows Marin surreptitiously gobbling a pill just after the verdict is handed down. He washes the pill down with a sports drink, and a few minutes later begins convulsing. Marin died on his way to a hospital.
See Newsy's coverage of Marin's apparent suicide AFTER THE JUMP ...
You must remember Maureen Walsh. She's the Republican legislator from Walla Walla, Washington, who delivered a break-your-heart-into-a-gazillion-pieces endorsement of marriage equality on the the floor of the state capital last February. (If you don't remember or didn't see Ms. Walsh's speech, please check it out AFTER THE JUMP.)
Well -- while it's always risky for Republican politicians to endorse marriage equality, and while Ms. Walsh's break from party orthodoxy has earned her a primary challenger, she seems pretty well-positioned for reelection. And it's because of the gays. From the Seattle Times:
With the general election still months away, records from the Public Disclosure Commission show that more than 60 percent of Walsh's individual contributions have come from out-of-state backers, amounting to just over $5,000. It is a small amount compared to the money she has received from political groups, but it is coming in at a faster pace than previous elections.
In 2008, before Walsh became a known champion of gay rights, she raised just $3,800 from individual contributors. Almost none of them were from outside Washington.
Among the contributors to Ms. Walsh's reelection campaign: Gay philanthropists Mel Heifetz and Weston Milliken and east-coast lesbian activist Urvashi Vaid.
Ms. Walsh's opponent is a teacher and former marine named Mary Ruth Edwards, who says she was inspired to run because of her staunch opposition to marriage equality. She's raised $804 for her campaign so far, though the Seattle Times notes that she could get much richer should the National Organization for Marriage fulfill its promise to drop a quarter million dollars into the campaign coffers of primary challengers bent on ousting pro-equality Republicans. Until that money materializes, Ms. Edwards may unhypocritcally criticize Ms. Walsh for accepting out-of-state financial contributions, and does. But Ms. Walsh is unfazed. From the Seattle Times:
Walsh acknowledged that taking money from "out-of-towners" may turn off some, but added that she was happy people had been moved by her story.
Soon after her emotional vote, Walsh received a phone call from a gay teenager from the Midwest who had just come out of the closet and was contemplating suicide. He had seen her video and decided not to harm himself.
"Win or lose, my next campaign — and I certainly want to win — but when you hear things like that, you think, 'My work is done.' "
Passengers onboard the MS Nieuw Amsterdam for an all-gay Mediterranean cruise will not be making their scheduled stop today in Casablanca. Why's that? Because, according to trip organizers RSVP Vacations and cruise company Holland America, "local authorities" in Casablanca have revoked the ship's permission to dock, presumably because she's full of gays.
The Moroccan tourist ministry denies everything. From Reuters:
Morocco's Tourism Minister Lahcen Haddad said no official decision had been made to prevent the ship from stopping in Morocco.
"We don't ban cruise ships here and we never ask our visitors about their sexual preferences," he told Reuters. Asked if the MS Nieuw Amsterdam could still visit Morocco, he said: "They can if the organisers want to".
While the tourism ministry may be unruffled by the private sexual lives of day-tripping cruisers, Reuters notes that the same cannot be said of the Moroccan media. Apparently, several news outlets last week reported nervously on the imminent arrival of the MS Nieuw Amsterdam and her fabulous human cargo, and it seems conceivable that cruise organizers may have become worried about their passengers' safety. (In Morocco, homosexuality is punishable by up to three years in prison.)
The MS Nieuw Amsterdam set out on Friday from Barcelona. On her week-long gay cruise, Casablanca was to be her only non-European port of call.