Friday, February 11, 2011

Know Your LGBT History - Hotel

Hotel was a 1980s anthology series which dealt with the comings and goings at a ritzy hotel.

In the annals of lgbt television, it should be remembered for two reasons.

The first reason is just simple gay trivia. The legendary Bette Davis portrayed the hotel owner in the original made-for-television movie. However, she was too ill to continue in the series, so the producers got Anne Baxter.

For those of us up on our lgbt movie history, Anne Baxter and Bette Davis both starred in the legendary 1950s movie All About Eve in which Davis portrayed an aging Broadway star while Baxter played the ruthless ingenue determined to replace her.

Now the second reason why Hotel should be remembered was for its lgbt storylines and there were many. Some were good, while others plain stunk.

Unfortunately the following isn't one of the good ones. I'm sure the producers meant well but this storyline in which Jan-Michael Vincent finds out that his Navy buddy, Boyd Gaines, is gay was awful on so many levels.

Vincent refuses to accept his Navy buddy, even after Gaines is bashed by a homophobic street gang. The gang tries the same thing with Vincent and he beats the crap out of them.

However, the ending is not a happy one. Vincent still refuses to accept his former friend and ends the friendship.

Okay, first of all, couldn't Gaines have gotten a shot in on the gay bashers? His character came across as a wimpy so-and-so. I mean wasn't he in the Navy?

And secondly, that ending. Would it have killed the writers to have Gaines not look so forlorn? How about a "okay, your ignorance is your problem, not mine" moment from Gaines.

Couldn't they have given Gaines at least a little gumption?

Past Know Your LGBT History postings:

Is GoProud about to be stabbed in the back and other Friday midday news briefs

GOProud undeniably won one. But what about 'one-two? - I don't really care for GoProud but it's obvious that they are about to be shafted here. Come on now - yesterday conservative blogger Erik Erikson whines that GoProud is being mean to other conservatives. And then the head of the group sponsoring CPAC just happens to echo Erikson's mess. Typical game-playing from some of those on the right.

Colorado: officer resigns - posted hundreds of racist, homophobic comments on news sites on the job - As an lgbt of color, that makes me feel sooo safe.

Mills 'tracked by armed cops for being gay'
- How very NOT SURPRISING. Homophobes in Uganda try to have an international journalist arrested for "being gay."

Dallas Couple Meets at ‘Ex-Gay’ Ministry and Marries - This awesome story is an excellent way to end today's news briefs

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PolitiFact catches anti-gay group NOM in a huge lie about gay marriage and children

The Pulitzer Prize winning site PolitiFact just called out the National Organization for Marriage for pushing a misleading statement.

And it's a huge lie - one that is central to the organization's argument against same-sex marriage:

In early January, just days after Lincoln Chafee replaced Donald Carcieri as governor of Rhode Island, advocates on both sides of the same-sex marriage debate ramped up their annual battle.

This year, the fight is taking on new intensity because, while Carcieri vowed for eight years to veto any bill to legalize gay marriage, Chafee supports it.

Recently, a leading opponent, the National Organization for Marriage, mailed brochures throughout the state that included the headline: "Imposing same-sex marriage has consequences." The brochure listed four "real consequences" of "redefining marriage to a genderless institution."

We chose to examine one of the claims: "Massachusetts’ public schools teach kids as young as kindergartners about gay marriage. Parents have no legal right to object!"

We contacted Christopher C. Plante, executive director of the Rhode Island chapter of NOM, who told us that many schools in Massachusetts -- where same-sex marriage has been legal since 2004 -- have books on the subject in their libraries.The "poster child," he said, is a picture book called "King & King," by Linda de Haan and Stern Nijland.

The book tells the story of a queen who decided it was time for her son, the prince, to marry. He rejects every princess she offers. Finally the last candidate enters, and the prince feels "a stir in his heart." But it was for the princess’s brother, Prince Lee.

The two marry, and the book says "everyone lives happily ever after." On the last page, the two princes kiss, with a red heart covering their mouths.

PolitiFact said that when they asked for examples of where this book is being taught to kindergartners, Plante referred them to Lexington, MA:

  . . .two couples -- David and Tonia Parker and Robert and Robin Wirthlin -- filed a federal lawsuit against Lexington school officials. The suit alleged that the Parkers’ son was given a book in kindergarten that depicts various forms of families, including one with parents of the same gender. And, the suit said, when the Wirthlins’ son was in first grade, he was read another book,  "King &King," in school.

PolitiFact went on to recount the Parker/Wirthlin lawsuit (a more in-depth version of the David Parker controversy is here) but was still not receiving any answers regarding the claim that "gay marriage is being taught to kindergartners in Massachusetts."

Plante referred PolitiFact to Kris Mineau, executive director of the Massachusetts Family Institute. The Massachusetts Family Institute is another so-called pro-family group. This is what Mineau told Politifact:

Mineau said he has been fighting same-sex marriage advocates for eight years and he is certain their message is being spread in schools throughout Massachusetts.

But he acknowledged he could not cite any examples other than Lexington. "I don’t have documentation of everything going on," Mineau said. "It’s very difficult to quantify."

Mineau also claimed that the outcome of the Parker/Wirthlin case (Parker and Wirthlin lost) supposedly "discouraged" parents from complaining.

PolitiFact then spoke with Jonathan Considine of the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, the Massachusetts Comprehensive Health Curriculum, the Massachusetts Teachers Association, and Thomas Gosnell, president of the American Federation of Teachers Massachusetts.

All of these groups and individuals said that they were not aware of any school, classroom, or situation in which gay marriage is being taught to kindergartners.

Politifact concluded thusly:
Bottom line: The National Organization for Marriage mailing says that Massachusetts public schools teach kindergartners about gay marriage. The wording, including the present tense verb, gives the impression this is happening now, in many schools.

But the group’s only evidence is two incidents five years ago. It’s possible that somewhere, in one of the 351 cities and towns in Massachusetts, other kindergartners have been taught about same-sex marriage. But NOM couldn’t cite any other examples. We find its statement False.

PolitiFact is the same site which called out Sarah Palin for her "death panel" lie and also the Republican party for claiming that the Obama Administration was pushing a "government takeover of health care."

Both of these claims received the PolitiFact Lie of the Year for 2009 and 2010, respectively.

Depending on the reach of its claim, it's obvious that NOM's lie regarding "gay marriage being taught to kindergartners in Massachusetts" may be a front runner for the 2011 Lie of Year.

My bottom line - NOM either needs to back up its claim with some suitable proof or take back what it said and apologize for misleading people.

Hat tip to my online buddy Bob Barnes for pointing the article out to me. I took the liberty in bolding the word "false" in the PolitiFact statement.

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