Friday, February 05, 2010

Know Your LGBT History - Paris Is Burning

In celebration of Black History Month, I wanted to focus on a positive movie featuring lgbts of color.

Unfortunately there aren't many out there but one which should be on the top of everyone's list is Paris Is Burning.

Paris Is Burning (1990) is a documentary which centers on the ball scene in New York City during the late 1980s. It tells the story of how various young African-American gays and transgenders unite themselves in "houses"  and compete for trophies during that they call "balls." Balls are competitions in which they showcase their style, fashion, and dance movies.

The documentary gives a window into the world of people seemingly deserted by both the black and gay communities. It shows how they love and support each other, giving each other what both the gay and black communities are failing to deliver - appreciation and empowerment.

I love this movie and the personalities in it from Pepper LaBeija to Angela Xtravaganza to Dorian Corey; especially Dorian Corey.

And there is an interesting story regarding Corey. When she died, folks went through her apartment looking for old costumes and the like and found a mummified body with a note which said:

"This poor soul broke into my apartment and I was forced to shoot him."

As morbid as this story is, it emphasizes what I liked about the gays and transgenders in Paris Is Burning. Faced with a double negative of criticism from black community and unintentional omission from the gay community, they learned to take care of themselves and do it well.

The following is a clip from Paris Is Burning:

And be on the lookout tomorrow as I will start a weekend series looking at lgbts of color in celebration of Black History Month

And to kick it off, I am offering a $25 gift certificate to the first person who can give the identity of tomorrow's first spotlighted hero.

I will give you a hint. He is the first black gay man to be nominated for an Oscar. Here is another hint - it's not Lee Daniels. Daniels was the second black gay man to be nominated for an Oscar.

The first person who posts the answer as a comment on this blog wins the gift certificate.

Past Know Your LGBT History postings:

Know Your LGBT History - The Women

Know your LGBT History - Soul Plane

Know Your LGBT History - The Player's Club

Special Know Your LGBT History - Fame

Know Your LGBT History - Welcome Home, Bobby

Know Your LGBT History - Barney Miller

Know your lgbt history - The Jerry Springer Show

Know your lgbt history - Martin Lawrence and that 'gay guy' on his show

Know your lgbt history - The Ricki Lake Show

Know your lgbt history - Which Way Is Up

Know your lgbt history - Gays in Primetime Soaps

Know your lgbt history - Boys Beware

Know your lgbt history - The Boondocks

Know your lgbt history - Mannequin

Know your lgbt history - The Warriors

Know Your LGBT History - New York Undercover

Know Your LGBT History - Low Down Dirty Shame

Know Your LGBT History - Fortune and Men's Eyes

Know your lgbt history - California Suite

Know your lgbt history - Taxi (Elaine's Strange Triangle)

Know your lgbt history - Come Back Charleston Blue

Know your lgbt history - James Bond goes gay

Know your lgbt history - Windows

Know your lgbt history - To Wong Foo and Priscilla

Know your lgbt history - Blazing Saddles

Know your lgbt history - Sanford and Son

Know your lgbt history - In Living Color

Know your lgbt history - Cleopatra Jones and her lesbian drug lords

Know your lgbt history - Norman, Is That You?

Know your lgbt history - The 'Exotic' Adrian Street

Know your lgbt history - The Choirboys

Know your lgbt history - Eddie Murphy

Know your lgbt history - The Killing of Sister George

Know your lgbt history - Hanna-Barbera cartoons pushes the 'gay agenda

'Know your lgbt history - Cruising

Know your lgbt history - Foxy Brown and Cleopatra Jones

Know your lgbt history - I Got Da Hook Up

Know your lgbt history - Fright Night

Know your lgbt history - Flowers of Evil

The Jeffersons and the transgender community    

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Florida 'pro-family' group offers 'apology' for picture and other Friday midday news briefs

Stemberger: Wrong pics of gay couple was ‘mistake’ - Organization responsible for posting a rude picture of lesbian couple (see earlier post) issues an "apology." Scott Maxwell of the Orlando Sentinel sees it for the distortion that it is. This column is almost better than the first one.

Iowa Republicans Want To Exclude LGBTQ Students From Safe Schools Law - South Carolina, meet your twin.

Bronze Star recipient Benjamin Ford, accused in West Side gay bashing, is stripped of rank - A gay basher gets what he deserves.

RedState's Erickson brings conservatives' witch hunt to HRC's Knox - HRC's Harry Knox being jumped for his comments about the Pope.

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Religious right group push phony photo to make the case against gay adoption

The picture above symbolize how religious right groups demonize the lgbt community. According to the Orlando Sentinel's Scott Mawell:

On the left is the picture that the Florida Family Policy Council of Orlando, used to illustrate the gay couple that was awarded custody of a relative. It appeared under the headline: "FL judge violates law, places child in homosexual adoption" (on the right) is the actual couple.

 Maxwell writes an excellent piece on the recent situation involving a lesbian couple being awarded custody of one-year-old boy.

I wrote about the situation, focusing on how the right-wing Florida group the Liberty Counsel was attacking the ruling. But Maxwell includes some important details about the case which even I wasn't aware of:

Florida is the last state in the U.S. with an outright ban on gay adoption. And three court rulings in recent months suggest the archaic law may be on its last legs.

The rationale for preventing balanced, loving parents from adopting children — when the state has a backlog of needy children, no less — is hard to justify in concept.

And when you actually look at the specifics of human lives involved in real cases — the way Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Maria Sampedro-Iglesia did last month — it's darn near impossible.

In considering the case, Judge Sampedro-Iglesia heard from family members, a child psychologist, the boy's preschool administrator, a social worker and the state-appointed Guardian ad Litem.

All of them, the judge wrote in her order, "testified in support of the adoption as being in the best interest of the child."

The state did not offer a single witness to rebut that claim.

"The only testimony elicited today," the judge said at the end of the hearing, "was that [the 1-year-old] is loved by these parents more than they even thought that someone could be loved."

So the judge ruled that he could stay with the two women — one of whom is related to the boy. (Child-welfare workers had taken him shortly after he was born. Alenier and Leon stepped up, offering to raise him — much to the delight of their extended family.)

I could say a lot about what the Florida Family Policy Council tried to do but Maxwell says it much better than I ever could:

These are the dirty tactics of Christianity's far-right warriors.

Not the majority of mainstream Christians, mind you. Not those who are focused on caring for their own families and practicing their own faith — but those who are obsessed with homosexuality.

These extremists wage their campaigns of intolerance based on deception and misrepresentation.

And they have the gall to do it in God's name.

On some twisted level, you can see why they have been reduced to misleading histrionics.

Because they are losing the fight.

Amen, Maxwell.

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