Friday, February 18, 2011

Know Your LGBT History - All About Eve

All About Eve (1950) is one of the greatest films of all time and THE movie to watch for all of us old-school gay men.

The simple story, a Broadway actress by the name of Margo Channing (Bette Davis) who is nearly done in by an evil understudy, Eve Harrington (Anne Baxter) after her career and man, is legendary in gay circles for a myriad of reasons.

1. The cast, led by gay icon Bette Davis is top notch. And the addition of another gay icon, Marilyn Monroe before she became a huge star, only made things better.

2. The stories behind the making of this film could be a film in itself. The feud between cast members Bette Davis and Celeste Holmes, the fact that Davis was going through an ugly divorce in the middle of the film, the fact that she and co-star Gary Merrill ended up getting married after the film - after an embarrassing incident which led Merrill's wife to divorce him, Zsa Zsa Gabor coming on the set after her husband George Sanders, etc. etc.

3. The writing was also amazing and it holds up even 50 years after this film was made.

However just like another legendary gay favorite film I talked about a while back, i.e. The Women, the campy quality of All About Eve blinds us to a certain fact about one of the characters.

There has been much written about the simple fact that the character of Eve Harrington was a lesbian. This was something which was hinted at throughout the entire movie in certain ways. Most specifically the fact that while Harrington slept with two men in the movie and tried to seduce a third, her character was only using them to advance her career.

The only time in which she showed any affection was to her female roommate after the woman helps her in one of her escapades and in the ending where she takes in a stowaway (the open ending of the movie was hinting on the fact that the stowaway will backstab Eev like she did Channing).

Then there is the scene in which Channing confronts Eve at a party and hints on the fact that maybe Eve would like to do more than simply be her helper.

But for now, here is a scene in which Eve unsuccessfully tries to hit on Channing's boyfriend, Bill. See if you can see the subtlety in the words Bill uses when he rejects her advances:

Past Know Your LGBT History Postings:

GLAAD, Essence, and Ebony make black history and other Friday midday news briefs

Guest column by Rev. Irene Monroe: GLAAD makes history with black media - This story should get more press. It's a remarkable achievement on the parts of GLAAD and Essence and Ebony magazines.
VIDEO ROUND-UP: In NH, Opponents Claim Marriage Equality Would Facilitate ‘Sharia Law’ - Watch and read ONLY if you have a strong stomach and barf bag handy. The good news is that this mess totally destroys the Maggie Gallagher "stop calling us bigots because we simply want to 'protect marriage'" lie.

Don't Filter Me!
- That's right. Don't keep our lgbt children away for the online sources they need.

Fischer: My Bigotry Is Absolutely Genuine - Well duuuuh!

Wikileaks Posts Cables from US Embassy in Uganda Concerning Anti-Homosexuality Bill - Just sad.

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Family Research Council's 'detailed response' to SPLC's charges leave much to be desired

Tony Perkins, head of the Family Research Council
Supposedly, the Family Research Council has finally given a "detailed response" to the Southern Poverty Law Center's charges that it uses distortive tactics to demonize the lgbt community.

However, the group did not direct the answer to me or the SPLC, but allegedly to a reader of this blog. This is what the person wrote me:

I asked them for a detailed response, and the reply I received was as follows:

Dear C,

Thank you for contacting Family Research Council.

Please refer to Tony Perkins's op-ed, "Christian compassion requires the truth about harms of homosexuality" at for an explanation of our motives behind opposing homosexuality.


Your Friends at the Family Research Council

If this is accurate, then the Family Research Council has a very warped idea of a "detailed response."

The link is to a piece written by FRC head Tony Perkins entitled Christian compassion requires the truth about harms of homosexuality. It was published in October of last year in The Washington Post, causing a lot of consternation because it was published on National Coming Out Day AND it contained many distortions.

In the piece, Perkins complained that "homosexual activists" were "exploiting" the recent suicides of lgbt teens. He tried to make the case that homophobia didn't lead to these suicides but that homosexuality itself was a "dangerous lifestyle:"

There is an abundance of evidence that homosexuals experience higher rates of mental health problems in general, including depression. However, there is no empirical evidence to link this with society's general disapproval of homosexual conduct. In fact, evidence from the Netherlands would seem to suggest the opposite, because even in that most "gay-friendly" country on earth, research has shown homosexuals to have much higher mental health problems.

However, Media Matters for America called him out for distortions:

Perkins suggests that these tragedies are not caused by the homophobic attacks these individuals were subjected to, but rather because "homosexuals experience higher rates of mental health problems in general, including depression," and, according to Perkins, there's no "evidence to link this with society's general disapproval of homosexual conduct." Unfortunately for Perkins, the article he links to says no such thing.
Perkins links to a February 2002 American Psychologist article, which reported on the "results of several breakthrough studies are offering new insights on gay men, lesbians and bisexuals." While Perkins is right, "Several studies suggest that gay men, lesbians and bisexuals appear to have higher rates of some mental disorders compared with heterosexuals," he's totally wrong that these rates have nothing to do with discrimination. In fact, the article immediately goes on to report that "[d]iscrimination may help fuel these higher rates." The article reported: "In a study that examines possible root causes of mental disorders in LGB people, [Susan] Cochran [PhD] and psychologist Vickie M. Mays, PhD, of the University of California, Los Angeles, explored whether ongoing discrimination fuels anxiety, depression and other stress-related mental health problems among LGB people. The authors found strong evidence of a relationship between the two." Several other studies back up this finding.

Jim Burroway of Box Turtle Bulletin pointed out this error in Perkins's piece regarding his "evidence" from the Netherlands:

While the study’s authors notes that the Netherlands is generally more tolerant, it doesn’t mean that LGBT people there are free from anti-gay bias and stress. After all, “more tolerant” is not the same as tolerant. And as for the study’s findings, the authors offered this explanation:
The effects of social factors on the mental health status of homosexual men and women have been well documented in studies, which found a relationship between experiences of stigma, prejudice, and discrimination and mental health status. Furthermore, controlling for psychological predictors of present distress seems to eliminate differences in mental health status between heterosexual and homosexual adolescents.

Someone should tell the Family Research Council that if you are accused of distorting legitimate science, it's probably not best to lodge a defense by citing a piece you wrote which was publicly called out for distorting legitimate science.

It makes you look like a huge liar.

Related posts:

Peter Sprigg won't address hate group charges but will lie about same-sex households

Family Research Council has yet to come out with 'detailed response' against SPLC charges

Will the Family Research Council ever fulfill its promise and address SPLC's charges?

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