Thursday, 31 May 2012

Rainer Fassbinder

Film Director
b. May 31, 1945
d. June 10, 1982
“I’d like to be for cinema what
Shakespeare was for theatre, Marx for politics and Freud for psychology: someone after whom nothing is as it used to be.”

Actor, director and screenwriter Rainer Fassbinder made over 40 films in his 15-year career.  He is among the most important figures in New German Cinema.
Born in the small Bavarian town of Bad Wörishofen, Fassbinder was raised by his mother. Her long hours at work left Fassbinder to occupy himself, which he did by going to the cinema. “The cinema was the family life I never had at home,” he said.
Leaving school before taking his final exams, Fassbinder immersed himself in film.  He made his first short films at age 20, persuading an older lover to finance and act in them.
In 1967, Fassbinder joined a radical theater troupe in Munich. He directed and acted in productions with Peer Raben, Kurt Raab, Hanna Schygulla and Irm Hermann, who became regulars in Fassbinder productions. The next year, Fassbinder directed “Katzelmacher,” his first play.
Fassbinder’s most prolific years as a director, writer and actor in film, theater, television and radio began in 1969. On average, he released one film every hundred days. 
A major theme of his work focuses on the individual’s tragic longing for love. Among his popular films are “Love Is Colder Than Death” (1969), “Ali: Fear Eats the Soul” (1973) and “I Only Want You to Love Me” (1976).  Often considered his best work, “Berlin Alexanderplatz” (1980) was a 15-hour television drama.
Several Fassbinder films deal with homosexuality, a taboo subject for major directors of the time. Films such as “Querelle” (1982) and “The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant” (1971) focus on gays and lesbians as societal outsiders.
Fassbinder’s radical behavior, drug and alcohol addiction, frequent public appearances in the New York City leather scene, and violent relationships with lovers, both male and female, were followed in tabloids and gossip columns.
At age 37, Fassbinder died from an overdose of drugs and alcohol. His death marked the end of New German Cinema.
Rainer Werner Fassbinder Foundation. 29 April 2009
"Rainer Werner Fassbinder." Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 30 April 2009
Love Is Colder Than Death (1969)
Katzelmacher (1969)The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant (1972)
Ali: Fear Eats the Soul (1974)
I Only Want You to Love Me (1976)
The Marriage of Maria Braun (1979)
Berlin Alexanderplatz (1980)
Lola (1981)
Veronika Voss (1982)
Querelle (1982)
Video Interviews
On honesty in Filmmaking
On politics and his film "Berlin Alexanderplatz"
On relationships
Books By Rainer Fassbinder
The Anarchy of the Imagination: Interviews, Essays, Notes (1992)

Fassbinder: Plays (1992)

Chaos as Usual: Conversations About Rainer Werner Fassbinder by Marion Schmid, Herbert Gehr, and Juliane Lorenz (1999)
Fassbinder's Germany: History, Identity, Subject by Thomas Elsaesser (1996)

Fassbinder: Life and Work of a Provocative Genius by Christian Braad Thomsen (2004)

Rainer Werner Fassbinder (Museum of Modern Art) by Harry Baer, Georgia Brown, Thomas Elsaesser, and Jeanne Moreau (1997)

Understanding Rainer Werner Fassbinder: Film As Private and Public Art by Wallace Steadman Watson (1996)

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Wednesday, 30 May 2012

May 30th,Bertrand Delanoë, Gay Mayor of Paris

b. May 30, 1950

“Any time there are Parisians fighting for more freedom ... I’m with them.”

In 2001 when Bertrand Delanoë was elected mayor of Paris, the city became the world’s largest to have an openly gay mayor. In March 2008, he won reelection.

Delanoë grew up in Tunisia, a French colony at the time. His first political interest came during the Battle of Bizerte. Watching as French soldiers opened fire on Arab citizens, he felt that “an Arab should be equal to a Frenchman.” Delanoë claims it is because of colonialism that he began to identify with the left.
During his days at the Université de Toulouse, where he graduated with a degree in economics, Delanoë became involved in politics and joined the Socialist Party. At the age of 23, he was elected deputy secretary of the Aveyron Socialist Federation. Between 1973 and 2001, Delanoë held various political positions, including national secretary of the Socialist Party and member of the Paris City Council.

As mayor of Paris, Delanoë pushed an agenda for change. In an effort to reduce city traffic and pollution, Delanoë started a low-cost program that encourages Parisians to rent bikes. He worked to provide more affordable housing to encourage economically disadvantaged people to stay in the city.
In October 2002, Delanoë was stabbed. His assailant told police he targeted Delanoë because of his homosexuality.

Despite France’s political tradition of keeping one’s personal life out of the public, Delanoë came out in a French television interview in 1998. In his book, “La vie, passionnément” (“Life, Passionately”) (2004), Delanoë says he made that decision because he thought it could help, even if in a small way, “lighten the burden of secrecy borne by so many people.” On the topic of gay marriage Delanoë writes, “In the name of what can one reject this demand for equality?”

“Gay Paris Mayor Hits Out at French Homophobia.” Expatica. September 20, 2004
Rapp, Linda. “Delanoë, Bertrand.” GLBTQ: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, & Queer Culture. 2007
Stevens, Andrew and James Monaghan. “Bertrand Delanoë: Mayor of Paris.” City Mayors. May 29, 2008
Bennhold, Katrin. “A New French Revolution’s Creed: Let Them Ride Bikes.” The New York Times. July 16, 2007.
Lichfield, John. “Politics on Course for a Left Turn in Gay Paree.” The Independent. December 17, 2000.;col1
Pour l’honneur de Paris (For the Honor of Paris) (1999)
La vie, passionnément (Life, Passionately) (2004)
De l’audace! (Audacity!) (2008)
Bertrand Delanoë Website

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

May 29th, Bishop Gene Robinson

b. May 29, 1947 
“It’s not so much a dream as a calling from God.”

In 2003, The Rt. Rev.V. Gene Robinson was elected bishop of the diocese of New Hampshire, making him the first openly gay Episcopal bishop. His ordination caused a global rift within the Episcopal Church and led to international debate about the inclusion of gay clergy in church hierarchy. In the weeks leading up to his consecration, Robinson received hate mail and death threats, triggering the FBI to place him under 24-hour protection.

Gene Robinson grew up outside Lexington, Kentucky. The son of poor tobacco sharecroppers, he was raised without running water or indoor plumbing. He recalls his childhood as rustic and religious, with Sunday school and services at a small Disciples of Christ congregation.

Robinson earned his bachelor’s degree in American studies from the University of the South and his Master of Divinity from the Episcopal General Theological Seminary in New York. He was ordained a priest in 1973. 

Despite doubts about his sexual orientation, Robinson married in 1972. He and his wife moved to New Hampshire where they raised two daughters. Robinson worked as youth ministries coordinator for the seven dioceses of New England and cofounded the national Episcopal Youth Event. Robinson divorced his wife and came out in the mid-1980’s.

Robinson is the coauthor of three AIDS education curricula. In Uganda, he helped set up a national peer counseling program for AIDS educators working with religious institutions. 

The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force honored Robinson with a Leadership Award in 2004.  In 2007, he received the Flag Bearer Award from Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) for leadership and inclusion in faith communities.

In 2008, Bishop Robinson and Mark Andrew, partners for more than 19 years, exchanged vows in a civil union ceremony in New Hampshire.

“Episcopalians Approve Gay Bishop.” CNN. August 6, 2003

“Gene Robinson Biography.” Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire. June 20, 2008

Monroe, Rev. Irene. “Perspective: Gene Robinson.”  Windy City Times. June 11, 2008

Steele, Bruce C. “Robinson Redux.” The Advocate. July 17, 2007

Burns, John F. “Cast Out, but at the Center of the Storm.”  The New York Times. August 3, 2008

Costello, Andrew. “Let God Love Gene Robinson.” GQ. June, 2008

Goodstein, Laurie.  “Episcopalians are Reaching Point of Revolt.”  The New York Times.  December 17, 2006

Goodstein, Laurie. “Gay Bishop Plans His Civil Union Rite.”  The New York Times.  April 25, 2008

Keizer, Garret. “Turning away from Jesus: Gay Rights and the War for the Episcopal Church.” Harper’s Magazine. June, 2008

Lawton, Kim. “Interview: Bishop Gene Robinson.”  PBS. May 2, 2008

Millard, Rosie. “Interview: The Rev. Gene Robinson.” The Sunday Times. July 27, 2008

In the Eye of the Storm: Swept to the Center by God (2008)

For the Bible Tells Me So (2007)

Other Resources
Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire Website

Melissa Etheridge, Singer

b. May 29, 1961
“What do they know about this love anyway?”

Melissa Etheridge is a Grammy and Academy Award-winning singer and songwriter. She came out at the 1993 Triangle Ball, the Clinton administration’s inaugural gala for gays and lesbians, when she exclaimed, “Gee, I’m really excited to be here, and I’m really proud to have been a lesbian all my life!” 
She was born in Leavenworth, Kansas, and studied at The Berklee School of Music in Boston. Etheridge moved to Los Angeles and evolved from a bluesy sound to her renowned rock/alternative style.

Etheridge shot to stardom with her trademark blues-rock hit “Come to My Window,” for which she received a Grammy Award in 1994 for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance. With its powerful lyrics, the song became an anthem for gay rights. 

In 2004, Etheridge was diagnosed with breast cancer. At the 2005 Grammy Awards, she gave one of her most memorable performances with Janis Joplin’s hit, “Piece of My Heart.” She exposed her head, left bald from chemotherapy. 

Etheridge’s songs have not only entertained, but have helped heal in times of tragedy. Her songbook includes “Scarecrow,” a tribute to Matthew Shepard; “Tuesday Morning,” dedicated to the memory of Mark Bingham, a hero of 9/11; “Four Days,” about those devastated by Hurricane Katrina; and “I Run for Life,” an anthem for breast cancer survivors. 

Julie Cypher, Etheridge’s long-term ex-partner, gave birth to their two children. After their breakup, Etheridge exchanged vows with actress Tammy Lynn Michaels. In 2006, Michaels had twins.

In 2006, Etheridge received the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) Stephen F. Kolzak Award, which honors openly lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender media professionals who have made a significant difference in promoting equal rights for the community. “I Need to Wake Up,” featured in the film “An Inconvenient Truth,” won an Academy Award for Best Original Song (2007).

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Chris Colfer – Actor, Glee

b. May 27, 1990

American actor and singer known for his portrayal of Kurt Hummel on the television series Glee, for which he won a 2011 Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor and was also nominated twice for an Emmy.
Colfer was named in Time magazine's 100 most influential people in the world in 2011

Very few actors, especially ones just out of their teens and in popular shows, are willing to come out so early into their careers. But Glee star Chris would have been forced to act both on and off-camera if he’d wanted to remain in the closet. Instead, the 21-year-old has embraced his sexuality and had us in tears of laugher and sadness playing gay Kurt in the musical comedy drama. He’s fought homophobia, bullying, unrequited love and coming out – and all in just two series. His portrayal won him the 2011 Golden Globe award for Best Supporting Actor.
“I think it’s extremely important for gay youth out there to see that it’s actually OK and that they are being represented in these shows,” he says.

He was named at number 3 on the DS "50 Most Influential Gays", 2011:

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Adrienne Rich

b. May 16, 1929
Adrienne Rich is one of the leading American poets. Her ability to combine poetry with politics has made her a model for poets and activists.
" The connections between and among women are the most feared, the most problematic, and the most potentially transforming force on the planet. "
Adrienne Rich became a published poet in 1951 at the age of 21, when W. H. Auden selected her first book, A Change of World, for the Yale Younger Poets Prize. She has published nearly twenty volumes of poetry and several books of non-fiction.
Rich's poetry has been honored with numerous awards including the Academy of American Poets Fellowship, two Guggenheim Fellowships, and a MacArthur Fellowship. Her collection of poems Diving into the Wreck received the 1974 National Book Award. The American Academy of Poets bestowed the Wallace Stevens Award on Rich in 1997 for "outstanding and proven mastery in the art of poetry."
"When We Dead Awaken: Writing as Revision," Rich's 1971 celebrated address to the Modern Language Association, challenged many traditional assumptions of literary scholarship and prompted the inclusion of women's studies and feminist criticism in academia. Rich advocated equality for women, gays, and those disenfranchised by race and class.
Rich is active in movements for GLBT rights, reproductive freedom, and the progressive New Jewish Agenda. In 1981, she received the Fund for Human Dignity Award of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.
In 1997 Rich declined the National Medal of Arts, saying, "Art . . . means nothing if it simply decorates the dinner table of the power which holds it hostage. The radical disparities of wealth and power in America are widening at a devastating rate. A president cannot meaningfully honor certain token artists while the people at large are so dishonored." In 2003, Rich joined other poets in protesting the war in Iraq by refusing to attend a White House symposium on poetry.
Selected works by Adrienne Rich:

Friday, 25 May 2012

Ian McKellen

b. May 25, 1939
Ian McKellen is one of the world's most highly-regarded actors. Since the late 1980's, he has been an activist for gay rights.
" Try and understand what part you have to play in the world in which you live. . . . Discover what part you can play and then go for it. "
Ian McKellen is best known for his movie roles as the wizard Gandalf in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, as Dumbledore in the Harry Potter films, as Magneto in the X-Men films, and in the title role in Richard III. He has made more than 40 other features films over five decades. For much of his career he was primarily known for his work in London and New York theatre and as a preeminent Shakespearean actor.
McKellen's acting has been recognized by more than 40 major international acting awards, including two Academy Award nominations, a Tony Award, the Screen Actors Guild Award, a Cable ACE Award, a Golden Globe Award, and most recently, a Lifetime Achievement Golden Bear from the 2006 Berlin Film Festival.
His legendary performances as Shakespeare's "Richard II" and Marlowe's "Edward II" stormed the 1969 Edinburgh Festival. As leading man for the Royal Shakespeare Company, he played Macbeth opposite Dame Judi Dench, as well as Romeo, Iago, and Toby Belch, and performed in plays by Brecht, Chekhov, Ibsen, Jonson, Shaw, and Stoppard.
On Broadway he was Saliere in "Amadeus" and most recently, the captain in Strindberg's "Dance of Death." Last year he achieved two long-time ambitions: a visiting role in the soap opera "Coronation Street" and a turn as Widow Twankey, the dame role in "Aladdin" at the Old Vic Theatre in London, where he lives.
He was knighted for services to the performing arts in the Queen's New Year Honours of 1990.
In 1988 McKellen he announced on BBC radio that he was gay, debating the UK government's "Section 28" legislation that criminalized the "promotion of homosexuality."
Since 1994, McKellen has performed a one-man show, "A Knight Out," about his parallel journeys as an actor and a gay man. The Los Angeles Times called the show "a moving and witty assessment of the conflict between our public and private selves."
McKellen will return to the Stratford stage in March 2007 in the role of King Lear, in the final production for the Royal Shakespeare Company's Complete Works Festival, followed by a world tour.
Selected works by Ian McKellen:

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

22 May: Peter Gomes, Theologian

b. May 22, 1942
There can be no light without the darkness out of which it shines.

Peter Gomes offers a look at religion from a distinctive perspective. Gomes, a Reverend and Professor at Harvard University, argues that the Bible is neither anti-Semitic, anti-feminist nor anti-gay.
In 1991, Peninsula, a conservative Harvard magazine, published a 56-page issue largely critical of homosexuality. Gomes denounced the magazine and came out publicly at Harvard's Memorial Church. A small group called Concerned Christians at Harvard immediately called for his resignation, but Gomes received support from the Harvard administration.
Renowned for both his teaching and his preaching, Reverend Gomes is the Plummer Professor of Christian Morals at Harvard and the Pusey Minister at Harvard's Memorial Church. A graduate of Bates College in 1965 and Harvard Divinity School in 1968, he also studied at the University of Cambridge, where he is an Honorary Fellow and where the Gomes Lectureship was established in his honor. Gomes holds thirty-three honorary degrees. Religion and American Life named him Clergy of the Year in 1998, and he won the Phi Beta Kappa Teaching Award from Harvard in 2001. Gomes offered prayers at the inaugurations of Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.
Gomes is a widely published author. Of the ten volumes of sermons and numerous articles and papers he has written, two of his works - "The Good Book: Reading the Bible with Mind and Heart" (1996) and Sermons: "Biblical Wisdom for Daily Living" (1998) - were New York Times and national bestsellers.
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Monday, 21 May 2012

21 May: Frank Kameny, Gay Pioneer

 b. May 21, 1925
d. Oct 12, 2011
The momentum is there, and that's not going to be stopped. It's moved from hopes of a grass-roots movement, to the actuality of a grass-roots movement. And it's taken 40 years to do it.

In 1957, the Army Map Service in Washington, D.C. dismissed astronomer Frank Kameny. Though a WWII veteran with an M.A. and Ph.D. in astronomy from Harvard University, Kameny was discharged because he was gay. Rather than accept a common practice of the times, Kameny fought for his rights. He successfully challenged anti-gay policies of the American Psychiatric Association (APA), the US Department of Defense and the US Civil Service Commission.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

May 19: Carolyn Bertozzi, Scientist

b. May 19, 1966
Hopefully people can look at me and realize that it's okay to be open in their lives and be themselves and do great work and make contributions to the world as scientist.
Carolyn Bertozzi is the youngest scientist to receive the MacArthur "genius" award. A Professor of Chemistry and Molecular Biology at Berkeley, she oversees a cutting edge research lab. She has a reputation as an outstanding professor and mentor.
The daughter of a physics professor, Bertozzi worked summer jobs at MIT. Her early interests included sports and music.
Bertozzi found her niche in organic chemistry during her sophomore year at Harvard University. She graduated summa cum laude and received an award for best senior thesis. She completed her graduate studies at University of California, Berkeley, receiving her Ph.D. in 1993.
In 1996, Bertozzi joined the UC Berkeley faculty. Her research focuses on the glycobiology underlying diseases such as cancer and inflammatory disorders. Believing she can link sugar molecules' structures with the presence or absence of disease, Bertozzi developed a unique system to track cell development. Her research team has published over 98 articles. Nature and Angewandte Chemie, an influential chemistry journal, have praised Bertozzi's work.
Co-editor of "Glycochemistry: Principles, Synthesis, and Applications," Bertozzi is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator. In 2001, UC Berkeley honored her with its prestigious Distinguished Teaching Award.


“Body Stuff: Carolyn Bertozzi.” Chemical Heritage Foundation: Women in Chemistry. June 30, 2007
Carlson, Brian. “Bertozzi Research Group.” University of California, Berkeley. June 30, 2007
Gardiner, Mary Beth. “The Right Chemistry.” HHMI Bulletin. Vol. 17, Winter 2005. June 30, 2007
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Bachardy, Don. American portrait painter

b. May 18, 1934

American portrait painter

"Much of the public attention garnered by American painter and draftsman Don Bachardy has been the result of his long relationship with the late novelist and memoirist Christopher Isherwood. But Bachardy is an accomplished artist in his own right, and his talent has earned him considerable success on his own, as evidenced by his frequent solo exhibits, inclusion in many museum collections, and numerous reproductions and collections of his work.
Nonetheless, Bachardy has forthrightly acknowledged that the encouragement and support of Isherwood--the most frequent subject of his drawings and paintings--helped him gain the confidence to become a full-time artist. Moreover, Isherwood's distinguished reputation as a writer and his contacts in the film industry gained Bachardy access to many of the celebrities whom he was to draw."

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Annise Parker, Mayor of Houston

b. May 17, 1956

"The voters of Houston have opened the door to history. I know what this means to many of us who never thought we could achieve high office."

In 2009, when Annise Parker was elected, Houston became the largest city in the US with an openly gay mayor. Houston is the fourth most populous city in the United States.

Annise Parker was born and raised in Houston. Her mother was a bookkeeper, and her father worked for the Red Cross. Annise received a National Merit Scholarship to Rice University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in anthropology and sociology.  

After graduation, Parker began a 20-year career as a software analyst in the oil and gas industry. In 1997, she won a seat on the Houston City Council, making her Houston’s first out elected official. In 2003, Parker was elected city controller. She served two additional terms before being elected mayor.
Parker’s mayoral triumph didn’t come without a fight and controversy. Conservative groups criticized Parker for her “gay agenda” and distributed fliers featuring Parker and her partner, asking the question, "Is this the image Houston wants to portray?" Parker campaigned with her partner, Kathy Hubbard, and their three children.

Despite the attacks, Parker won the election in a city that denies its employees domestic partner benefits, and in a state where gay marriage and civil unions are constitutionally banned.

Parker was recognized as Council Member of the Year by the Houston Police Officers Union. In 2008, Houston Woman Magazine named her one of Houston’s 50 Most Influential Women. 

"Annise Parker.” Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 3 June 2010.
"Houston Elects Annise Parker.” The Advocate. 3 June 2010.
James, Randy. "Bio: Annise Parker, Newly Elected Mayor of Houston. TIME. 3 June 2010.
McKinley Jr., James C. "Houston Is Largest City to Elect Openly Gay Mayor.” The New York Times. 3 June 2010.
Olson, Bradley. "Houston Makes its Choice; Parker Makes History.” Houston Chronicle. 3 June 2010.

Videos of Annise Parker

City of Houston Mayor’s Office             

Annise Parker’s Social Network
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Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Kevin Jennings, Educator/Activist

b. May 8, 1963

"We know that students learn best in a school where they feel truly safe. I am here to make that happen for more kids."

A monumental leader and crusader, Kevin Jennings has dedicated his career to ensuring safe schools for all students. In 1990, he founded the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), the nation's first organization combating discrimination against GLBT students. Jennings currently serves as the assistant deputy secretary for the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools at the U.S. Department of Education.

The youngest of five children, Jennings experienced a childhood deeply rooted in conservative ideology. Poor and in a continual state of transition, his family moved so often that Jennings attended 11 schools in four states. While he displayed impressive academic aptitude, he suffered daily from mental and physical abuse by classmates. “School was a place I both loved and hated,” recalls Jennings. “I loved it because I loved learning. I hated it because I was targeted at a pretty young age for bullying and harassment.”

In 1985, Jennings earned a bachelor's degree magna cum laude from Harvard University, becoming the first member of his family to graduate from college. Later, he earned master's degrees from both Columbia University and New York University.

Following his graduation from Harvard, Jennings pursued a career in education. In 1988, while he was a history teacher at a Massachusetts high school, Jennings spearheaded the country's first Gay Straight Alliance (GSA), a coalition of students fighting against harassment based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Two years later, Jennings expanded the movement to encompass parents, teachers and community members, creating GLSEN.  Beginning as a grassroots volunteers group, GLSEN has developed into a national organization with more than 40 chapters and over 4,500 schools nationwide.

As co-chair of the Education Committee of the Governor's Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth, Jennings challenged the Massachusetts State Board of Education to adopt new policies protecting GLBT students. In 1993, his efforts led to the country's first state law prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation in public schools.

Named by Newsweek one of the top 100 people likely to make a difference in the 21st century, Jennings has authored six books and received a Lambda Literary Award for "Telling Tales Out of School." He co-wrote and produced the documentary "Out of the Past," which won the 1998 Sundance Film Festival Audience Award for Best Documentary.

"The process of change is like a relay race," says Jennings. "My job is to ensure that we're further ahead in the race and, like a good relay team member, ready to pass that baton to the next person with a lead toward the end goal of a safe school for every child.”

Archibold, Randal C. "Public Lives: A Gay Crusader Sees History on His Side. The New York Times.6 July 2010.
"Kevin Jennings, Assistant Deputy Secretary for Safe and Drug-Free Schools.” U.S. Department of Education. 6 July 2010.
"Kevin Jennings.” 19 May 2010.
"Kevin Jenning’s Biography.” GLSEN: Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network. 9 June 2005.
Thomas, Katie. "When Tradition and Taunts Collide: Gay Hockey Fans Criticize Garden.” New York Times. 6 July 2010.

Books by Kevin Jennings
Becoming Visible: A Reader in Gay and Lesbian History for High School and College Students(1994)
Telling Tales Out of School (2000)
Always My Child: A Parent’s Guide to Understanding Your Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgendered or Questioning Son or Daughter (2002)
One Teacher in 10 (2005)
Mama’s Boy, Preacher’s Son (2007)

Department of Education
Support Kevin Jennings Fan Page
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Thursday, 3 May 2012

Emanuel Xavier, Poet

b. May 3, 1971  
"Being Latino and gay gives me much to write about. Anything that oppresses us as artists is always great fodder for art."

Emanuel Xavier is a poet, author and editor. He is one of the most significant openly gay Latino spoken word artists of his generation. 

Xavier was born in Brooklyn, New York, the child of an Ecuadorian mother and a Puerto Rican father who abandoned the family before his son was born. When Xavier was three, he was sexually abused by a family member. At 16, when Xavier came out to his mother, she threw him out of the house.

A homeless gay teen on the streets of New York, Xavier soon turned to sex and drugs for money. He became a hustler at the West Side Highway piers and sold drugs in gay clubs. After landing a job at a gay bookstore, A Different Light, Xavier began to write poetry and perform as a spoken word artist.

"Pier Queen" (1997), Xavier’s self-published poetry collection, established him in the New York underground arts scene. "Christ Like" (1999), Xavier’s novel, was the first coming of age story by a gay Nuyorican (Puerto Rican living in New York) and earned him a Lambda Literary Award nomination. Fellow author Jaime Manrique said, "Once in a generation, a new voice emerges that makes us see the world in a dazzling new light. Emanuel Xavier is that kind of writer."

"Americano" (2002), another poetry collection and Xavier’s first official published work, advanced his prominence within the literary community of color. Xavier edited "Bullets & Butterflies: Queer Spoken Word Poetry" (2005), for which he received a second Lambda Literary Award nomination. 

In 2005, Xavier was the victim of a random attack by a group of young men. As a result of the beating, he lost all hearing in his right ear, but continued to write and perform.

Xavier reflects on the assault in his poem "Passage":


Books by Emanuel Xavier

Article about Emanuel Xavier

Recordings by Emanuel Xavier

Videos of Emanuel Xavier


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