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Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘glbt issues

[BLOG] Some Friday links

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  • Apostrophen’s ‘Nathan Smith has a two part review of some of the fiction that he has recently read.
  • blogTO looks at Casa Loma lit up for the holidays.
  • Dangerous Minds notes The London Nobody Knows, a documentary of the grim areas of late Victorian London.
  • Language Hat looks at how 16th century Spanish linguists represented Nahuatl spelling.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes the iatrogenic transmission of syphilis via unsterile instruments during the Civil War.
  • The LRB Blog notes the many conflicting contracts signed by the KGB with different television groups at the end of the Cold War.
  • Marginal Revolution notes Rio de Janeiro’s attempts to deal with tourism-targeted crime by compensating victims with a tourist-directed tax.
  • Maximos62 looks at the geological reasons for Indonesia’s volcanism.
  • Progressive Download looks at the all-woman Homeward Bound expedition to Antarctica.
  • Peter Rukavina looks at the backstory behind the creation of the village of Crapaud.
  • Spacing Toronto looks at how signs asking people to go slow in children-inhabited zones.
  • Torontoist looks at where Suicide Squad was filmed in Toronto.
  • The Understanding Society Blog looks at the specific experiences which molded the French tradition of sociology.

[URBAN NOTE] “How a homophobic 20th-century book conjured up the ghosts of Paris’ queer past”

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At Daily Xtra, Michael Lyons describes how his discovery of a vintage book from the 1920s at Trinity College’s used book sale opened him up to new discoveries about LGBT history, despite its homophobia.

Probing the depths of Trinity College’s rare books sale can yield some queer finds —in every meaning of the word. When I browsed through hundreds of dusty tomes last month, I ended up selecting a modern English translation of a turn-of-the-century French book, Le Troisième Sexe. It’s an odd book, in turns amusing and awful, conjuring up the ghosts of homosexuality past haunting the streets of Montmartre, Paris.

Le Troisième Sexe, published in 1927, is something between a personal essay, literary criticism, a treatise on “homosexuality’s scabrous banners” and a voyeuristic travelers guide for heterosexuals fascinated by the underworld of “pederasts,” “inverts,” “uranists,” “men-women” and “ephebes” of early 20th-century Paris and beyond (the author uses the terms almost interchangeably, so he’s generally not calling all homosexuals pedophiles).

The book is published under the name Willy, the nom-de-plume of Henry Gauthier-Villars, a cultural critic and author, who co-signed his name on “collaborations” with at least 50 known writers. Like previous collaborations, the translator notes that Le Troisième Sexe was written by an unknown author, with Willy interspersing the text with his own (terrible) witticisms.

The tract starts with an overview of homosexual bastions in the world, like Italy and America. Willy also refers to the particularly militant organizing homosexuals of Germany — he seems astounded that queer people could like hiking — and the foundational works of Dr Magnus Hirschfeld and his Institute of Sexual Research in Berlin.

[. . .]

This sort of dualism of informational writing with a sneering, titillated, judgmental reflex is the essence of Le Troisième Sexe. Looking through the eyes of the author, one would think all Parisian homosexuals were excessively rouged, simpering, mincing effetes who writhed for heterosexual spectators, plying sugar daddies with cocaine and caresses.

Written by Randy McDonald

December 7, 2016 at 8:45 pm

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

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  • blogTO reports on the Union Station Holiday Market.
  • The Broadside Blog’s Caitlin Kelly writes about how she has fled toxic environments.
  • Centauri Dreams considers the next generation of observational astronomy with Alpha Centauri in mind.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze looks at how foreseeeable advances may mean that Proxima Centauri b’s atmosphere could soon by studied for indirect signs of life.
  • Far Outliers notes how, in the dying ways of the War of American Independence, British forces were setting slaves free.
  • Language Log shares Chinese science fiction writer Ken Liu’s thoughts about the Chinese language and Chinese literature.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money warns about the potential threat posed to indigenous peoples in the United States by the Trump Administration.
  • The LRB Blog considers the likely fates of Italy after Renzi.
  • The Planetary Society Blog describes the impending launch of a solar sail craft into orbit.
  • Savage Minds considers ways in which the different subfields of anthropology can more profitably interact, looking at scholarship and politics both.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy argues that the American left should make the Trump Administration cause to advocate for a renewed federalism.
  • Arnold Zwicky writes about the art of being camp and its selective deployments.

[URBAN NOTE] “LGBTQ Community Mourns ‘Family’ Lost in Oakland Ghost Ship Fire”

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Writing for NBC News, Mary Emily O’Hara looks at the queer casualties of the Oakland Ghost Ship disaster.

The fire at an Oakland artists’ warehouse on Friday night was so devastating, officials said the current death toll of 36 people comes after only 70 percent of the building was searched.

[. . .]

As of Tuesday, 22 victims had been positively identified and their families notified. Most of the bodies were so badly burned in the fire, identification has been difficult to accomplish.

On social media and in shared Google Docs, people are still searching for their missing family and friends. The LGBTQ community has been especially impacted by the realization that many who attended the ill-fated event on Friday identified as queer or transgender. In a year that saw the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history take place at an Orlando gay bar, the mass casualties at Ghost Ship have left many in the LGBTQ community distraught.

San Francisco resident Elisa Green told NBC Out she had planned to attend Friday night’s music show at Ghost Ship but was tired and decided to stay home at the last minute.

“If I had gotten more sleep the night before or if my friend had called and encouraged me, I would have been there,” said a stunned Green, who counted multiple friends among the Ghost Ship community and said she was grieving.

“It was such a positive, open community of people,” Green added, “At this time in the world, it really hurts.”

Written by Randy McDonald

December 6, 2016 at 6:30 pm

[URBAN NOTE] “The life cycle of a gay refugee in Vancouver”

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Daily Xtra carries Ahmed Danny Ramadan’s lovely autobiographical essay drawn from his experience of how he, a refugee, came to feel himself Canadian and Vancouverite.

Butterflies are beautiful creatures. Their journey from caterpillar to cocoon to colourful butterfly illustrates the beauty and dynamism of life.

Like butterflies, refugees to Canada have their own evolution, one I’ve experienced first-hand living for the last two years in Vancouver.

I think we should respect that evolution. An assumption that gets on my nerves is that gay refugees will shed their old skin, covered in scars from the homophobic communities they left behind, and replace it with a new colourful skin that fits into Canadian society.

I can tell you this is not true; this change takes time, effort and painful transformation. This is not because Canadian LGBT society is not welcoming, or because refugees don’t want to integrate. It’s a simple fact of life: Change is not easy. Immigration is a sudden change, and accepting and celebrating it requires time and hard work, from both the newcomer and society.

I believe this change happens in three stages, just like the transformation of a butterfly.

Written by Randy McDonald

December 5, 2016 at 6:00 pm

[BLOG] Some Saturday links

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  • At Apostrophen, ‘Nathan Smith talks about how he made a tradition out of Christmas tree ornamentation over the past twenty years.
  • blogTO notes that Toronto’s waterfront has major E Coli issues.
  • Crooked Timber notes the potential for the recent by-election in London, fought on Brexit and lost by the Tories, to mean something.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze reports on a search for radio flares from brown dwarfs.
  • The Dragon’s Tales notes that China has been installing ecologies on its artificial South China Sea islands.
  • The Everyday Sociology Blog considers what it means to be an ally.
  • The LRB Blog looks at the complex peace negotiations in Colombia.
  • The Map Room Blog shares a map of American infrastructure.
  • Marginal Revolution notes a one-terabyte drive passed from person to person that serves as a sort of Internet in Cuba.
  • Towleroad notes a film project by one Leo Herrera that aims to imagine what prominent AIDS victims would have done and been like had their not been killed by the epidemic.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy notes the complexities surrounding Brexit.
  • Arnold Zwicky has had enough with linguistic prescriptivism.

[LINK] “Is the queer community ready to defend public sex?”

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Steven Maynard’s article in Daily Xtra offers some interesting arguments about the police crackdown in Marie Curtis Park and its wider import. Are there things we are forgetting, I wonder, traditions or entire populations?

Marie Curtis Park has its own history. Even the police know this, with one officer noting that “we’ve really got our work cut out for us. This has been something that has been so ingrained in the area for decades.”

When it comes to policing and public sex, it’s the same as it ever was. Or is it?

I detect some subtle but significant shifts in the way police are framing their practices in “Project Marie.” In particular, I’m struck by how the police are at pains to point out this is not about “sexual orientation,” to use their phrase. As the spokesperson for Toronto police put it, “I don’t think this has anything to do with the sexual orientation of those involved.” Rather, she says it’s a “type of behaviour that is not welcome in our public spaces.” Another officer said, “I want to make it very clear that the purpose of this project is not to target any one specific orientation or anything like that.”

In a certain way, the police are right. Men who cruise parks for sex, then and now, have a range of erotic identifications, not all of them gay. But I’m fairly certain the police aren’t offering a primer on the non-identitarian notion of MSM, or “men who have sex with men.” Rather, the police are anxious to reassure us this is not about sexual orientation in order to avoid accusations of homophobia and harassment.

According to police, it’s about “lewd behaviour” and “sexual activity in public,” irrespective of the erotic preferences of those engaged in such activities. Activists have countered that this is a smokescreen designed to obscure “an old-school queer-catching crackdown.” This is undoubtedly true, but if our analysis stops here, I worry we may be missing something important.

Written by Randy McDonald

December 2, 2016 at 8:15 pm