Friday, June 26, 2009

Know your lgbt history - The Killing of Sister George

I've had several requests for this movie.

The Killing of Sister George is one of the most controversial lgbt-oriented movies ever made.

It told the story of June Buckridge, an actress who loses her lover, Alice "Childie" McNaught and her job as the lovable matronly figure on a BBC soap opera because she is in reality a hard drinking coarse lesbian who will not compromise her life.

Sister George was originally a play written by Frank Marcus in 1964. Interestingly enough, the entire play took place in Buckridge's and McNaught's apartment, there are only four characters, and the word lesbian is never uttered. The relationship between Buckridge and McNaught is only hinted at.

The motion picture, created in 1968, took a lot of liberties, including creating new scenes (like the one below in a lesbian pub), adding new characters, and emphasizing the relationship between Buckridge and Childie as that of a lesbian nature.

The biggest change had to be the make up of the character Mery Croft, the BBC executive who has to give Buckridge the news of her dismissal as well as the one who "steals" McNaught away from her.

In the play, her orientation is hinted. In the movie, it's clear due to a controversial sex scene between her and McNaught. The sex scene led the movie to be rated X (I kid you not - it is shockingly steamy).

The actress who played McNaught in the movie (Susannah York) had a very hard time with scene and gave the actress who played Croft (Coral Browne) a hard time. There were times that York even rushed from the set in tears. She finally did the scene after alleged repeated threats regarding her job in the movie industry by the director Robert Aldrich.

Here is another interesting backstory - Bette Davis supposedly wanted to play Buckridge. Angela Lansbury was asked to play her but refused. The part went to British comedian Beryl Reid, who portrayed Buckridge in the play and won a Tony for it.

I'm divided by this movie. I enjoyed everything about it (except for the sad ending) but I felt conflicted by the characters. I think I was supposed to feel sorry for Buckridge but I don't. She did cause her own problems by her behavior, which was at times very bullying and highly brash.

And the character of Mercy Croft was supposed to come across as an in-the-closet monster but I don't know. As much as I wanted, I couldn't totally dislike her. Particularly in the last scene where she goes verbally toe-to-toe with Buckridge and annihilates her (I have her speech memorized. It's one of the most vicious verbal smackdowns I have ever seen), she does come across as slightly distasteful but you have a grudging admiration for her.

Despite her proper manners, Mercy is not someone you would fuck with.

Anyway, judge for yourself by the two clips I have included; one in the lesbian club and the other with the controversial sex scene between York and Browne and the climax with Browne's total verbal destruction of Reid.

This movie deserves a remake with a happier ending:

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Another ex-gay group, another batch of lies and other news briefs

The group JONAH (Jews Offering New Alternatives to Homosexuality) is another one of those annoying ex-gay groups.

This one however is centered on the Jewish community. But that is the only difference is has from the other ex-gay groups.

The similarities as seen in the piece Gay ‘Marriage’: Bad Science, Bad Politics is how they incorporate religious right distortions in their claims about homosexuality.

Rather than break it down for you (you can read the piece if you want), I decided to show you the letter I emailed to Arthur Goldberg and Michelle Cretella, the authors of the piece:

Dear Arthur Goldberg and Michelle Cretella,

I read your piece, Gay marriage: Bad science, bad politics. I want to make you aware of the fact that it contained a huge amount of errors. Allow me to go through them one by one:

You said:

Dr. Robert Spitzer, changed his own lifetime view. He published a study in 2003 confirming that many dissatisfied homosexuals are able to make substantial long-term changes in orientation.

However, in a 2006 interview with the Los Angeles Times, Spitzer said that he now believes that some of those he interviewed for his study may have been either lying to him or themselves. - Ex-Gays Seek a Say in Schools, Los Angeles Times, May 28, 2006

You said:

Drs. David McWhirter and Andrew Mattison, both openly homosexual, studied 156 male couples who had lived together for 20 years or more. To their dismay, they found that the longest period of sexual monogamy for those couples was five years; the average was under two years.

You omitted the fact that McWhirter and Mattison in their book (published in 1984) said their research could not be used to generalize about the entire gay community :

“We always have been very careful to explain that the very nature of our research sample, its size (156 couples), its narrow geographic location, and the natural selectiveness of the participants prevents the findings from being applicable and generalizable to the entire gay male community.”

3. You said:

"During the 1990s many gay-affirming countries legalized same-sex marriage. The instability of homosexual relationships, however, remained unchanged. For example, a 2003 Dutch study found the average male homosexual partnership lasted only 1.5 years "

While you did not indicate where you got this information from, I suspect you took it from a study conducted by one Maria Xiridou of the Amsterdam Municipal Health Service.

If this is true, then again you are inaccurate. You see, Dr. Xiridou received her information from the Amsterdam Cohort Study of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and AIDS Among Homosexual Men. To gain this information, researchers studied 1,800 gay men between the years of 1984- 2001.

Same sex marriage was legalized in the Netherlands in 2001, thus making the information irrelevant to your points about gay marriage. - Overview of the Amsterdam cohort studies among homosexual men and drug users,

You said:

Inherent health risks of the gay lifestyle present another issue. Life expectancy for men who have sex with men, according to a 1997 International Journal of Epidemiology study is eight to 20 years less than that of heterosexual men.

You omitted the fact that in 2001, the six authors of that study went on record complaining about how their work was being distorted by folks like yourself - Gay Life Expectancy Revisited, International Journal of Epidemiology,

Basically what I am trying to say is that your work is shoddy. Might I suggest that in the future, you do the actual work and not plagiarize from religoius right studies. They tend to be very phony.

With these folks, it's like unlumping cooking oatmeal. Every time a lump appears, you have to beat it down.

Onto other news briefs:

Chicago school to march in Pride Parade - And these children did get their parents' permission. I don't know what I like best about this story; the fact that the next generation is supporting us or the fact that it's sure to drive my friend Peter LaBarbera nuts.

State votes to end gay bias - Good for Delaware and congratulations to those who pushed this bill. They fought for it for over a decade.

Perdue to sign gay-inclusive bully bill - Way to go North Carolina!

The Right's Hate Crimes Opposition in a Nutshell - More lies. It's enough to make you sick.

Speaking of which, the religious right is definitely scared about the possibility of hate crimes legislation passing. One News Now has three pieces on the subject and all are biased lies:

Hate Crimes Prevention Act has far-reaching effects

Proposed federal law would be a hate crime against America - Robert ("Yes we have used Paul Cameron's work. So what.") has to add his standard nonsense.

Holder fails to explains why 'hate crimes' legislation is necessary

Keep up the pressure with the phone calls to the Senators. It's obvious that the right is scared!

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SC gay groups organizing response to DeMint letter

While South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford is facing a wall of fire for his adultery, SC Senator Jim DeMint is being criticized for some untruths of his own via a letter he wrote last week about hate crimes legislation.

Earlier this week, I wrote that Sen. DeMint sent a letter to various religious leaders saying that hate crimes legislation will lead to pastors being arrested for preaching that homosexuality is a sin.

On Wednesday, the South Carolina gay rights advocacy group SC Equality sent out an email blast to its members and allies calling DeMint's charges false:

DeMint says the law will "criminalize biblical truth as 'hate speech,'" that pastors will be prosecuted for hate speech, and that the law takes away freedom of speech. He says the law will "take away your right to say some things are wrong." THIS IS SIMPLY NOT TRUE. NO PASTOR WILL BE ARRESTED FOR TEACHING THAT HOMOSEXUALITY IS WRONG. The law includes language that explicitly prevents this, guaranteeing that it cannot be used to inhibit freedom of speech. DeMint's claims are wrong, and only perpetuate lies currently used by the anti-gay right.

DeMint further assumes religious leaders condemn homosexuality and oppose hate crimes legislation. THIS IS NOT TRUE. We know that many faith leaders support gay and lesbian civil rights and support hate crimes legislation.

DeMint claims that homophobic "religious principles and biblical teaching" are responsible for America's goodness and prosperity. He implies that legislation protecting gay and lesbian people and our families will contribute to the decline of our country. THIS IS OFFENSIVE. We know that America's success is based on beliefs in freedom, democracy, separation of church and state, and fundamental human rights, not on religious teachings or the suppression of gay and lesbian people.

SC Equality especially criticized DeMint's citing of religious right group Family Research Council as a credible source for information about hate crimes legislation:

At the end, DeMint cites the Family Research Council as an important source of information on hate crimes. THIS IS MISLEADING. The Family Research Council is a prominent anti-gay organization that supports "the traditional family unit" and most recently opposed President Obama's extension of federal benefits to same-sex couples. Indeed, the FRC is one of the organizations sponsoring a "Values Voter Summit" in Washington in September that will focus on "protecting marriage" and will include such speakers as Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee, and Laura Ingraham. For a useful resource on hate crimes legislation and what it will and will not do, please visit

On Thursday, another South Carolina gay rights group, The SC Pride Movement, also sent a letter out to its members and allies.

Both groups encouraged folks to contact Senator Lindsey Graham and urge him to support hate crimes legislation as well as Sen. DeMint and demand that he "stop lying about hate crimes legislaton."

Now some of you may want to throw up your hands and say "big whoop" seeing that this action is coming from South Carolina where both Senators will probably oppose lgbt inclusive hate crimes legislation.

However, be aware that not every facet of the lgbt struggle for equality is in New York, California, or any of the other "metropolitan places."

Our struggle is everywhere in this country (even in the so-called backwards South).

So while your impulse may be to push this aside, how about a little encouragement for a change. No matter where we reside, all lgbts must stand up for themselves. And any organization that encourages this should be commended

That is how we win.

If you want to contact Sen. DeMint, click below to:

Contact Senator DeMint by email.

Contact Senator DeMint by phone.

If you reside in another state, go here to contact your Senator and encourage them to support hate crimes legislation

Other stories:

Tell Senator DeMint to stop lying about hate crimes legislation

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