Friday, January 13, 2012

Know Your LGBT History - Michael Jeter

Today, I am announcing a different direction in my Know Your LGBT History segments. I've focused on movie and television portrayals, but now I want to focus on famous lgbtqs throughout history.

In the coming weeks, I will be featuring people who you may know to be lgbtq and a few that you probably didn't. My first person will be one of my favorite actors, the late Michael Jeter. From wikipedia:

Michael Jeter was born in Lawrenceburg, Tennessee. His mother, Virginia (née Raines), was a housewife. His father, William Claud Jeter (March 10, 1922 – March 1, 2010),was an optometrist. Jeter had one brother, William, and four sisters, Virginia, Amanda, Emily, and Larie.[2] Jeter was a student at Memphis State University (now the University of Memphis) when his interests changed from medicine to acting. He performed in several plays and musicals at the Circuit Theatre and its sister theatre, the Playhouse on the Square, in mid-town Memphis. He left Memphis to further pursue his stage career in Baltimore, Maryland.

His woebegone look, extreme flexibility, and high energy led Tommy Tune to cast him in the off-Broadway play, Cloud 9, and again on Broadway in a memorable role in the musical Grand Hotel, for which he won a Tony Award in 1990. Much of his work specialized in playing eccentric, pretentious, or wimpy characters, as in The Fisher King, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, and Drop Zone. Occasionally, Jeter was able to stay away from these types of roles for more diverse characters like those he portrayed in Jurassic Park III (where he was killed by a dinosaur), Air Bud, The Green Mile, and Open Range. He won an Emmy award in 1992 for his role in the television sitcom Evening Shade as math teacher and assistant football coach Herman Stiles. In the Evening Shade episode "Chip Off the Old Brick" Brian Keith plays his macho truck driver father, Brick Stiles. He was also a favorite with younger audiences in his role as Mr. Noodle's brother, Mr. Noodle on Sesame Street from 2000 to 2003. The movies The Polar Express and Open Range are dedicated to his memory. He appeared in an episode of Touched By An Angel in 1999 as Gus an Insurance Salesman who arrives in Las Vegas in the episode, 'The Man Upstairs'.

Jeter died of AIDS on March 30, 2003, Jeter was found dead in his Hollywood home at the age of 50. Jeter was HIV positive but had been in good health. He was cremated and his ashes were scattered.

Jeter was my dreamboat and for this post, I am going to feature the memorable speech he made after winning a Tony in which he admitted his past problems with alcohol and drugs, as well as the show stopping performance he did in Grand Hotel:

Past Know Your LGBT History posts:

'Legislator threatens the transgender community with violence' and other Friday midday news briefs

Tennessee Bathroom Bill Sponsor: ‘I Would Stomp A Mudhole’ In A Transgender Person - No he didn't! I don't believe in violence but if I ran across a scene like this, a certain person would get handed his ass. This man's comments is the epitome of all religious right rhetoric about the transgender community.

Today in heavy-handed Fox Nation headlines (*and by heavy-handed, I mean blatant lie) - Fox News deliberately lies in a headline. So what else is new?

READ: NOM 'Marriage Anti-Defamation' project served with removal demand
- This was so good that I had to post it again, this time with some background information.

Background info - NOM accused of distorting controversy in Canada

Obama opposes laws ‘designed to take rights away’ - Well good for him!

School Board Moves to Fire Viki Knox, NJ Teacher Who Called Homosexuality a 'Perverted Sin' on Facebook - The comment she made was about her place of employment and it dealt with students. She deserves what she gets.

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Phony expert Glenn T. Stanton can't stand up to scrutiny

From time to time, I have the opportunity to go one-on-one with religious right talking heads. When this happens, I am able to ask them certain questions that I feel the media misses.

Today, I bring you Glenn T. Stanton of Focus on the Family.

Last week, I featured a blog post from Think Progress which accused Stanton of  dog whistling a study to denigrate same-sex families. Now the study said nothing about same-sex families and neither did Stanton per se. But the religious right semantics of "children do better with a mother and a father" was clear. Generally when religious right groups feature studies such as these, there are implied negative digs to same-sex family situations. In my post, I also brought up another incident in which he was rebuked by the American Anthropological Association. Needless to say, Stanton wasn't happy about that and wrote about it on his blog:

Getting falsely accused and innuendo’d by gay bloggers is nothing new, but this has been an interesting week. See here, here, and here.  I wasn’t going to respond – the reaction such things deserve. But a friend at National Review Online asked me to respond, so I did.

Here’s my piece on the silly games played regarding this very serious topic.

His piece was a long-winded big piece of nonsense which avoided Think Progress's accusation. I felt the need to write the following back to him:

Oh stop it, Glenn. You weren’t falsely accused. You were called out for being inaccurate. And by the way, I noticed that you didn’t say a word about the rebuke you received from the American Anthropological Association a while back. And while I have your attention, I would like you to address something you wrote a while back called “Why Homosexuality Falls Short of the Ideal.” In that piece, you cited, via third hand, the discredited work of Paul Cameron (I’m sure you have heard of him) and claimed that gays suffer from something called “gay bowel syndrome.” Now you know that term doesn’t exist. It’s things like that which lead us to call you out. Not falsely accuse you, my friend. But call you out for the charlatan that you are.

He did not like that at all and took the time to write me back:

Not sure who I am responding to exactly since there wasn’t a clear name, but I thought you deserved a reply out of personal respect.

I was accused of being dishonest by a number of sites, starting with ThinkProgress. They got it wrong. They made the connection to ss parenting. I didn’t. I was not dishonest. I represented the study honestly and correctly….as well as the larger body of research on how family impacts the educational attainment of children.

And I fully debated the anthropological thing in multi-part exchange with an anthropologist from your fold at Box Turtle a few years ago. I don’t believe he ever proved me wrong, (he would say otherwise, I am sure) nor did he convince me that same-sex or homosexual marriage or parenting has ever been a notable part of the anthropological record of a culture.  There is not good record of it. I believe the AAA ‘s statement about gay families is weak and unfounded. I address that in the exchange.

And I don’t have an article entitled “Why Homosexuality Falls Short of the Ideal” to my knowledge. If you can tell me where it published, then I can dig it up and we can talk. But I don’t find anything like that in my archive or memory.  And I have never quoted Cameron and will not. How do you know I quoted him “third hand”? I would very much like to see that bread-crumb trail.

If gay bowel syndrome or GRID doesn’t exist, what are these article about:

And I don’t know what I would have written about this, but many of these studies that I found via quick search just now on google scholar indicate the things I know of the malady.

And the term is not used today, and this article from the Wash Blade explains some of the reason why:

And it is not nice to call people names….like charlatan. If you have problem with my research and/or line of reasoning, lets discuss it. But calling names is just cheap.

And of course I had to answer him back:

Oh Glenn, Glenn, Glenn,

you seem to have this need to justify yourself but when you attempt to do such, you only make it worse.

All of those citations about "gay bowel syndrome" were from the late 70s or early to mid 80s. That was before doctors realized that gay bowel syndrome had nothing to do with the bowels, nor did it only affect gay men, or did it fit the definition of a "syndrome."

And that last link you sent merely confirms what I said, particularly this sentence:

An official with the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention said LGV is not "gay bowel syndrome." The rare chlamydia strain has been around since the 1970s, and may have once been considered among the various diseases doctors loosely referred to as "gay bowel syndrome," according to Jessica Frickey, a spokesperson for the federal health agency.

But it's difficult for the CDC to know -let alone track - which diseases used to be included in "gay bowel syndrome" because the term was so informal and has since gone out of use at the CDC, Frickey said.

Now in terms of Cameron, you did cite him - third hand - in your piece "Why Homosexuality Falls Short of the Ideal." In that piece is the following passage:

HIV is the most notable infection associated with homosexual sex and other promiscuous behaviors, but it is important to realize that this is only part of the problem. Professor Thomas Schmidt, in his excellent study of homosexuality, Straight & Narrow?, explains, "Doctors who work with homosexual men are now trained to look regularly for at least 15 common afflictions apart from HIV/AIDS and we could double or triple the number by taking into account less common problems."

In that book, Straight and Narrow, Schmidt cited Paul Cameron in various places. And one more thing. Schmidt is a theologian, not a credible medical researcher.

Didn't you read his book. If you had, you would have known. Or did you read it anyway and cited the information without caring?

Basically Mr. Stanton, I called you a charlatan because I feel that you are one. You and others like yourself have built a nasty house of cards based on junk science, cherry-picked studies, and outright lies against the lgbtq community. If I were you, I would be prepared to be ready for that house to fall because it will sooner or later.

And for the record, I have a copy of his piece "Why Homosexuality Falls Short of the Ideal" in my files. I didn't indicate that to him in my letter but I found it interesting while he denies writing the piece, he defended the existence of "gay bowel syndrome," a term which figured heavily in the piece.

Needless to say that Stanton didn't write me back. And I really don't blame him. He debates me with archaic medical terms and pretends not to remember writing pieces that he clearly did which used junk science. It was a pitiful performance.

Stanton is the perfect face of phony religious right research.

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