Friday, January 29, 2010

Know Your LGBT History - The Women

What can be said about this movie - one of the greatest of all time and one of my top favorites.

So many gay men of my generation and the one before can repeat the majority of lines in it by heart.

The Women (1939) needs no introduction but I will try anyway. It amazes me that the back story behind this movie (a film about relationships in New York high society that featured no men but women dealing with their relationships with men) didn't garner either a book or a movie.

In some ways, the back story is more interesting than the movie. In one corner, you have Norma Shearer, the queen of the movie lot who was the star of the movie guarding her territory and status. She portrays Mary Haines, a woman who suddenly finds out that her husband has been stepping out on her.

In the other is Joan Crawford who needed this movie to be a hit because she was recently labeled as "box office poison." She took the role of man-stealing Crystal Allen on a hunch that it would revitalize her career. And it did.

Then there is Rosalind Russell who, after it was all over, was believed to have been the actual winner. In the middle of the battle between Shearer and Crawford, her character, Sylvia Fowler (the comically evil instigator of the entire situation), stole the show. And it gave her a reputation as a comic actress - one which she rode into screen history.

Those of us who are movie buffs know the story behind The Women - the fights, the petty battle for position between Shearer and Crawford, and how gay director Michael  George Cukor held it all together.

But in the middle of all of this, one story has been omitted.

The movie contained  what could be seen as a thinly veiled lesbian character. Her name was Nancy and she was portrayed by actress Florence Nash.

It being 1939, the movie couldn't come out and designate Nancy as a lesbian, so a lot of hints were thrown around. She was an "old maid," a "liberated woman who had her own career," etc. etc.

To me, the most telling comes in an exchange she has with Russell's character in the first scene. The exchange starts at 7:40:


Nancy: You just can't bear Mary's happiness, can you? It gets you down.

Sylvia: How ridiculous. Why should it?

Nancy: She's contented to be what she is.

Sylvia: Which is what?

Nancy: A woman.

Sylvia: And what are we?

Nancy: Females.

Sylvia: Really? And what are you, pet?

Nancy: What nature abhors. An old maid. A frozen asset.

And for the benefit of the brothers and others who love this movie (and those who have never seen it), the following clip features some of the funniest lines:

Past Know Your LGBT History Posts:
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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Janet Jenkins/Lisa Miller case gets Nightline treatment and other Friday midday news briefs

Janet Jenkins/Lisa Miller case featured on ABC's Nightline

Youth Radio: Young, gay and homeless - Let's not forget our lgbt children in our rush for marriage equality and the repeal of DADT

Union school board backs book - Some good news for Friday.

Republican U.S. Rep Mike Pence: marriage equality will result in societal collapse
- Mercy!

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It's time for the lgbt and black communities to start listening to lgbts of color

I want to do something different today.

Monday is February and the beginning of Black History Month, so I'm starting early on it.

It occurs to me that in both the lgbt community and the black community, lgbts of color never seem to be able to get in the conversation. We are boggarted because it seems that both communities don't see us as people, but as commodities.

So I am posting clips from an old episode of In Focus, news magazine show in Atlanta, GA.

The episode is talking about homosexuality in the black church. And what makes this episode excellent is that it is doing something that neither the black or gay community can never seem to do - letting lgbts of color get a word in edgewise.

I would ask those who claim to be for lgbt or African-American equality to view the clips and ponder one point - how in the hell are you working to secure my rights if you won't listen to what I have to say?:

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