Friday, April 22, 2011

Know Your LGBT History - My Beautiful Laundrette

To those who claim that an actor playing a gay character is a career kiss of death, I present Exhibit A of how wrong you are.

My Beautiful Laundrette (1985) is a stunning movie on so many levels. It came out in 1985 - a time when lgbt affirming movies were rare.

It featured an interracial relationship between middle class Pakistani man (Gordon Warnecke) and working class white man (Daniel Day-Lewis) in 1980s Great Britain.

Warnecke is tasked with taking a run down laundrette and making success out it during the backdrop of Britain's international politics and conflicts between whites and Pakistanis.Lewis decides to help him.

Now the beauty of the relationship between the two, as far as I'm concerned, is the fact that it was already in existence when the film begins.

And another thing is how the film doesn't shy away from showing the two being affectionate - and not in a gritty, "we gotta have sex before we explode" manner, but in a loving, realistic way.

Lastly - and you know I have to reveal this - the movie has a happy ending.

Now about that idea that playing a gay character is the" kiss of death," if that were the case, Daniel Day-Lewis's career would have been over when this movie came out.

But as it is, he is one of the most acclaimed actors in Hollywood today with two Oscars under his belt.  This isn't surprising when viewing My Beautiful Laundrette. Lewis's talent shines through big time.

The following clip are scenes from the movie featuring Warnecke's and Lewis's characters. Check this movie out. It's a good one:

Past Know Your LGBT History Posts:

Fighting 'gay zealots' costs $29.95 and other Friday midday news briefs

Arrest Made in “Ex-Gay” Custody Case - It's a small step but it brings Janet Jenkins closer to her daughter.

Hate group lies about House DADT hearings - The Family Research Council just can't help itself.

Dobson-, FRC-backed campaign: Gay activists are 'zealots' who'll bring 'the destruction of Western Civilization' - For $29.95 you too can fight the "zealots." These turkeys have more ways of getting money out of people than all five of my exes put together.

Barber: Obama And Democrats Are "Anti-God" - I almost miss the days when Matt Barber concentrated solely on "gay sex."

Defense of Marriage Act: Attack the law, not the lawyer - Good points but it's still $500,000 partly authorized by a man (Speaker Boehner) who claims that the country is "broke."

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NOM tells blatant lie about encounter with GetEqual

Part of the National Organization for Marriage's game plan is to exploit the "gays are angry bullies who are threatening Christians" angle. Go to their blog (if your stomach can take it) and you will see this angle consistently repeated.

Or better yet, listen to a speech or read something written by NOM chairperson Maggie Gallagher and count how many times the word "bigot" comes up. Or "racism." Or "hatred."

You can almost make a drinking game out of it.

It is a deliberate attempt by Gallagher and NOM to shift attention away from the same-sex families who are discriminated against because they aren't allowed to marry.

And it's like I said in another piece - when you can paint your opponent in less than flattering light, it helps you win the battle.

The thing about the lgbt community is that those who oppose our equality make it easy for us by their words and actions to paint them in a less than flattering light (even though sometimes we don't take advantage of it.)

However, it's not that easy for NOM to do the same to us since - even though a lot of us are angry at the basic dishonest of the group and its tactics - the lgbt community doesn't tend to go off the deep end like a Peter LaBarbera or Matt Barber.

So NOM has to lie, just like it did regarding the encounter Gallagher had with a member of GetEqual before last week's Congressional hearing on DOMA.

To hear the story from Brian Brown, NOM's President, Gallagher faced the equivalent of a rabid wolf (I took the liberty of highlighting the pertinent phrases below):

Just before testifying . . . Maggie was accosted by a similarly angry gay marriage advocate who wanted to get an "ambush" interview and engage in a little fire and brimstone moral condemnation of Maggie for standing up for marriage.

Now, folks don't usually publish "ambush videos" made by the other side on their own website or newsletter, but I think Maggie did such a wonderful, graceful job of responding to this one angry dude that I want you to see it and judge for yourself.

The video Brown is speaking about is Get Equal's Michael Dixon presenting Gallagher with the "Anita Bryant" award for her part in trying to stop marriage equality.

But as Brown says, look at the video:

Vicious, just vicious. Dixon looks like he is ready to hit Gallagher with a pair of brass knuckles. And by saying that, I am being highly sarcastic.

Angry dude? I don't think so. Seems to me that the only person who got angry on that tape was Gallagher.

Granted, I'm not one for a tactic like this. However in this case, it was very useful not only unnerving Gallagher (she was forced to republish an old piece on lgbt teen suicides as a way of diverting the conversation from what Dixon asked her about), but also in showcasing the absolute phoniness of NOM's game plan.

Painting Dixon as an "angry dude" is not only a stretch, it's a blatant lie. But for NOM, it's par for the course.

Related post:

NOM wants to paint LGBT ‘crazy’ (I can prove it)
- According to former NOM member Louis J. Marinelli, the attempt to paint the lgbt community as angry people is a standard NOM tactic. Marinelli says Brown specifically asks for pictures showing lgbts in a negative light.

Hat tip to

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