Major celebrities call for world without nuclear weapons.
New calls for ENDA directive as White House LGBT reception approaches.
Graham Norton splits with boyfriend Trevor Patterson, seeks solace from his labradoodle.
Fairyland: a girl grows up in San Francisco's gay community. "You can't overestimate how exciting it was to be openly gay in San Francisco in the 1970s. I mean, Stonewall had happened in 1969, gay civil rights legislation was passing in different states, and, you know, for the first time you could love openly and not be considered sick, not be arrested. It was a very exciting, heady time, and naturally my father would want to take part in that."
Taylor Kitsch looks pretty amazing on the set of The Normal Heart.
ACLU files lawsuit over NSA phone logs: "The lawsuit could set up an eventual Supreme Court test. It could also focus attention on this disclosure amid the larger heap of top secret surveillance matters revealed by Edward J. Snowden, the former N.S.A. contractor who came forward Sunday to say he was their source."
Carey Mulligan passes on Hillary Clinton biopic.
Two more gay couples have joined New Mexico's marriage equality lawsuit. "At an event last night held by ACLU-NM, the two Farmington couples spoke about their decision to join the lawsuit. Greg Gomez, who has been with his partner A.D. Joplin for seven years, told the crowd that same-sex couples “need to demand the respect that all married couples receive.” The other couple, Leaming and Taulbee, have been together for 15 years."
Robert Pattinson is the new face of Dior Homme fragrances.
Cristiano Ronaldo has a new 'do.
Will Grand Forks be the first city in North Dakota to ban employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity? We'll know June 17.
Bloomberg unveils superstorm plan for NYC: "Removable floodwalls would be erected in lower Manhattan, and levees, gates and other defenses would be built elsewhere around the city under a nearly $20 billion plan proposed Tuesday by Mayor Michael Bloomberg to protect New York from storms and the effects of global warming."
John Horne Burns: The great (gay) novelist you've never heard of.
Gay intrigue in Teen Wolf?
Maine Supreme Court to decide transgender bathroom case: "Most people don't question this form of separate-but-equal, perhaps because there don’t appear to be inequalities engendered by gendered bathrooms. (This, despite the fact that there often seem to be much longer lines to use women’s rooms.) The controversy over transgendered students, however, may force us to reconsider our sex-specific bathrooms."
Justin Timberlake's "Tunnel Vision" artwork.
Joe Manganiello is pumped.
New Zealand rugby fans tell woman that anti-gay slurs are "just part of the game." NZ Herald: "Hannah Spyksma, 24, was at the All Blacks versus France test on Saturday with her family and the three men were sitting in the row behind. The men, believed to be in their early to mid 20s, were yelling at players, calling them 'homos and faggots'. When Ms Spyksma complained they yelled back: 'If you don't like us using the word faggot then don't come to the footy because it's just part of the game.'"
Romania rejects constitutional amendment declaring marriage between a man and a woman.
Nepal court orders government to alter passports for transgender citizens: "Nepal’s Supreme Court has ordered the government to alter passports so that transgenders no longer have to describe themselves as male or female, a court spokesman said, a move welcomed by rights activists. The court made the decision on Monday following a petition from a transgender who wanted a third category introduced on passports for people who identify themselves neither as male nor female, the spokesman said."
A woman living alone in an old, unfamiliar house; a sinister caretaker making unwanted advances; severe, largely unpeopled landscapes; a circle of stones; a small, dying town; the titular, mysteriously dwindling geese: in a different kind of book, these elements would portend a gothic thriller. And this new novel by the Dutch writer Gerbrand Bakker, which was recently awarded the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize, has much of the feel of a thriller, with a tense atmosphere that makes for a brisk, immersive read.
But in fact very little happens in this eerie and utterly compelling book. A scholar calling herself Emilie, fired after an affair with a student and informed of an illness the details of which are unclear, leaves her life in Rotterdam and flees to Wales, where she rents a house that she finds almost by chance. She begins to work on the overgrown grounds, ignoring as best she can the chronic pain she keeps at bay with increasingly powerful medication. Eventually she’s joined by a young hiker, Bradwen, who arrives seemingly by accident, and they develop an odd but entirely banal domestic intimacy, sharing meals and watching television and pruning the trees.
Instead of incident or event, what drives this novel is a slow and sometimes menacing erotic burn. Bakker’s characters don’t declare their feelings, and they can seem at times hardly aware of them, acting in a kind of obliviousness of their own impulses. Through most of this book we’re privy to Emilie’s thoughts, which communicate her annoyance with the locals, her memories of family, and her ruminations on Emily Dickinson, the subject of her unfinished dissertation. But to convey a pitch of longing, Bakker often retreats from this interior voice to the observation of surfaces, seldom describing emotion directly. When Emilie thinks that Bradwen has gone on his way, Bakker communicates the intensity of her feeling through gesture: “In the kitchen the breakfast things were still on the table. She picked up his plate and smelt it, then put his mug to her lips.”
This emotional muteness is also evident in the strand of the novel that returns us to Rotterdam, where a man identified until nearly the end of the book only as “the husband” seeks help from the police in finding Emilie. This relationship, too, takes on an odd intimacy and eroticism as the husband and the policeman (also unnamed for much of the novel) travel together in search of her.
The policeman makes no attempt to hide his interest in the husband, whose answering fascination goes unnamed and undeclared. Bakker treats his characters with a certain wryness, and there is a strain of humor here that in the context of this sometimes severe book had me laughing out loud. “The policeman took one hand off the wheel and laid it on the husband’s leg,” Bakker writes in a particularly lovely scene. “He didn't move it away because the policeman was the driver.”
Emily Dickinson, that recluse whose solitude made room for a humor and eroticism not unlike Bakker’s, is a kind of tutelary spirit for this novel. Emilie, whose unwritten dissertation intends to unmask what she sees as Dickinson’s mediocrity, speaks of the poet with disdain—she’s “a puling woman,” “a whimpering child.” But she finds herself unable to put Dickinson’s poems out of mind, especially the one that begins “Ample make this bed”:
Ample make this bed.
Make this bed with awe;
In it wait till judgment break
Excellent and fair.
Be its mattress straight,
Be its pillow round;
Let no sunrise’ yellow noise
Interrupt this ground.
Dickinson’s bed is of course a grave, and as in so many of her poems eroticism and death lie hand in hand. (This is the particular power behind the famous use of the poem at the end of the film Sophie’s Choice.) A similar conjunction of desire and mortality helps explain the almost overwhelming urgency of the final movement of Ten White Geese, as Emilie both orchestrates and succumbs to her fate, surrendering to and defying it at once.
I’m still haunted by Bakker’s astonishing first book, the IMPAC Dublin Award-winning The Twin, with its story of an aging gay man trying desperately to lay some claim to his life. This new book is both stranger and more confident in its craft. Bakker’s prose can resemble the landscapes he’s drawn to: bare, stripped of all ornament, at times breathtakingly beautiful. Against such a landscape, it’s extremely moving to watch these characters come together so briefly and blindly, almost like objects colliding in the dark, taking from each other whatever consolation they can find.
Garth Greenwell is the author of Mitko, which won the 2010 Miami University Press Novella Prize and was a finalist for the Edmund White Debut Fiction Award and a Lambda Award. Beginning this fall, he will be an Arts Fellow at the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop.
America's Best Christian Mrs. Betty Bowers would know, wouldn't she?
Find out, AFTER THE JUMP...
The NFL Players Association has launched a line of 'LGBT Pride' t-shirts to benefit (all proceeds) the anti-homophobia group Athlete Ally. Supporters have the option of adding the jersey number and name of Brendon Ayanbadejo, Connor Barwin, Scott Fujita, Steve Gleason, Chris Gocong, Chris Kluwe, Donte' Stallworth, Terrell Suggs or Eric Winston to the shirts, which sell for $24.99.
Said Oakland Raiders punter Chris Kluwe: “I am extremely proud to be a part of this collaboration between Athlete Ally and the NFLPA’s One Team Shop to raise awareness both of Pride month and the issue of tolerance and respect within the NFL itself. As players, we are role models to a wide variety of people, and this is a great way to send a message of empathy to those who love and watch the game. Also, I'm pretty stoked that people can buy something with my number on it.”
The Southern Baptist Convention blasted the Boy Scouts in a resolution approved by its members on Wednesday, the AP reports:
The resolution was voted on by members at the denomination's annual meeting in Houston. It also calls on the Boy Scouts to remove executive and board leaders who tried to allow gays as both members and leaders without consulting the many religious groups that sponsor Scout troops.
While the resolution does not recommend that Southern Baptists drop ties with the Scouts, it expresses support for those churches and families that decide to do so. It also encourages churches and families who choose to remain with the Scouts to work toward reversing the new membership policy.
More from the Baptist Press:
Opening Scouting to openly homosexual youth "has the potential to complicate basic understandings of male friendships, needlessly politicize human sexuality, and heighten sexual tensions within the Boy Scouts," the proposed resolution states.
The Southern Baptist Convention's statement of faith, the Baptist Faith and Message 2000, meanwhile, states that "Christians should oppose ... all forms of sexual immorality, including adultery, homosexuality, and pornography." Southern Baptists "consistently have expressed their opposition to the normalization of homosexual behavior in American culture through more than a dozen resolutions over the past thirty years," the proposed resolution states.
The proposed resolution states that Southern Baptists "declare our love in Christ for all young people regardless of their perceived sexual orientation, praying that God will bring all youth into a saving knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ."
Minneapolis news anchor Bill Lunn fumbled over his words, announcing "I pledge allegiance to the fag" as he segued into a story about Gay Pride.
Tweeted Lunn: "4 years and they couldn't get me on the KSTP blooper reel. I guess they've got me now."
Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...