Friday, June 18, 2010

Know Your LGBT History - Ode to Billy Joe

Ode to Billy Joe is a legendary song by Bobbie Gentry which told the story of the reaction (or lack thereof) of a small town when a young resident commits suicide.

The reason for Billy Joe's suicide was never given in the song and it remained a mystery.

That is until 1975 when the movie Ode to Billy Joe premiered. It was sad, complex movie which explained the young man's suicide:

Billy Joe McCallister killed himself because he was gay.

Two scenes in the movie stand out in hearbreaking detail. The following scene is Billy Joe (played by Robbie Benson) coming out to the heroine and eventual narrator of the song (played by Glynnis O'Connor).

His "confession" starts at 5:37 and I defy you to watch it without tearing up just a little:

The second scene is the final scene in the movie. Now the only people who knew why Billy Joe killed himself are O'Connor, Benson . . . and the man whom he had sex with who turned out to be Billy Joe's boss (played by James Best). O'Connor's character is running away in an attempt to save Benson's reputation. Apparently the word around town is that Billy Joe got her pregnant and committed suicide so as to not deal with the responsibility. Supposedly that makes him a legend amongst the young men.

On her way out of town, O'Connor meets Billy Joe's boss. All I can say is that the scene proves that the closet is NOT a good place to live. The gist of the scene starts at 1:50:

Past Know Your LGBT History postings

Know Your LGBT History - Adorable Adrian Adonis

Know Your LGBT History - The Night Strangler

Know Your LGBT History - All in the Family

Know Your LGBT History - Tongues Untied

Know Your LGBT History - The Celluloid Closet

Know Your LGBT History - Querelle

Know Your LGBT History - Theatre of Blood

Know Your LGBT History - Strange Fruit

Know Your LGBT History - Designing Women

Know Your LGBT History - The Children's Hour

Know Your LGBT History - Sylvester

Know Your LGBT History - Once Bitten

Know Your LGBT History - The Boys in the Band

Know Your LGBT History - Christopher Morley, the crossdressing assassin

Know Your LGBT History - Midnight Cowboy

Know Your LGBT History - Dracula's Daughter

Know Your LGBT History - Blacula

Know Your LGBT History - 3 Strikes

Know Your LGBT History - Paris Is Burning

Know Your LGBT History - The Women

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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Sarah Palin endorses anti-gay activist for Congress and other Friday midday news briefs

Palin's Newest Endorsement: Star Parker - take the hint. Sarah Palin don't like gay people. For the record, I don't care about Palin's hair, outfit, cute tone of speech, or how she has that "Lonesome Rhodes squeezed into a tight dress" mentality going on. This woman just endorsed a crazy woman for Congress.

School Board Votes to Bring Back Gay-Straight Alliance - Good news for a Friday.

Norquist Assailed For Supporting Gay Conservative Group
- I do love it when those on the right tear at each other.

Malawi president: We need children rights, not gay rights
- Silly me. Here I thought the two overlapped at times.

Queen Latifah discusses not discussing her sexuality - Not a celebrity based blog here but I couldn't resist with this one.

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Is the lgbt community plotting to make children 'crossdress?' Of course not

An incident is taking place in a private New York school which lgbts are being blamed for.

But the thing is that we had nothing to do with it.

Here is what we know: according to New York Post columnist Andrea Peyser, a private New York school staged a student production of  La Cage aux Folles, the famous Tony-award-winning Broadway play about a gay couple and their meeting with the parents of their son's fiance.

Or as Peyser called it:

 . . .a cross-dressing, limp-wristed, gay comic romp whose main characters are a pair of "married" men.

Peyser's column in general is ignorant and goes for the jugular from the beginning:

A Manhattan dad nearly choked on his Wheaties when his 14-year-old son timidly asked:

"Dad, do I have to wear a dress to school?"

No joke. These conversations went on in kitchens and living rooms around the city, as a top school that educates learning-disabled and autistic children staged a student production of "La Cage aux Folles" -- a cross-dressing, limp-wristed, gay comic romp whose main characters are a pair of "married" men.

As the show packs in adult audiences on Broadway with campy star Kelsey Grammer and a cast of drag queens (right), the kiddie version of "La Cage" was cooked up by the executive director of Child School, a private institution on Roosevelt Island that takes on youngsters from kindergarten through middle school.

Other than the words of a very nasty columnist, I really don't know what happened here. And if the reports turn out to be as she described, I am NOT defending the school.

The problem I have with Peyer's piece are the comments it encourages, like such:

A big swing back to the right is coming to America because of things like this. Gays, you have the right to do whatever the hell you want to do to yourselves, but now that's not good enough. Kids have to be taught to accept your perversions, and that's not right. Say what you want but being gay is unnatural. Basically it's a crime against nature.

. . . I'm not anti-gay but I don't go nor take my kids to the village gay pride parade every year. I'm not anti- African American but I didn't go to the million man march. This isn't about hate. That's what the left always cries when anyone disagrees with them. This is about standing up for what's right, looking out for kids. Simply put, La Cage is an adult play and not appropriate for 10 to 14 year olds. Hate? This is about Love, loving our kids enough to speak out.

What the hell does the lgbt community in general have to do with this situation other than the fact that the play had lgbt characters? What's with this implication that somehow lgbts secretly plotted to "indoctrinate" children into crossdressing?

I'm sure that - barring what the truth may actually be in this case - there are as many lgbt parents as appalled by the staging of the very mature La Cage aux Folles as heterosexual parents.

And that is what reasonable people in general should be concerned about - a mature play being put on by children.

Again please bear in mind that I say "barring what the truth may be," because Peyser seems to be more about inducing shock rather than telling the real story.

Were parents made aware of the play?

Did the school make participants sign permission slips?

Were there changes made to the play to address the fact that children were playing the characters?

You see these are the types of questions which needed to be asked and they would have been asked . . . by a columnist who is up to her job.

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