Please: vote against amendment one if you live in NC.

29 04 2012

This is a horrible thing coming to our state. Please vote against it on May 8th (or earlier if possible).
Protect NC Families.

The Curious Case of Harvey Milk

11 11 2008

On the way home today, I was listening to NPR where they had an interesting program about a man I had never heard of before: Harvey Milk. No technically, I am a little off topic because I have no direct connections between him and the Lifestyle.  However, as he was the first openly gay person ever to be elected to office in the United States, I think that his story is very important in these days after California’s rejection of Prop 8.

Harvey Bernard Milk (May 22, 1930 – November 27, 1978) was an American politician and the first openly gay man to be elected to public office in California, as a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. Milk was born and raised in New York where he acknowledged his homosexuality as an adolescent, but chose to pursue sexual relationships with secrecy and discretion well into his adult years. His experience in the counterculture of the 1960s caused him to shed many of his conservative views about individual freedom and the expression of sexuality.

He was compelled to run for city supervisor in 1973, though he encountered resistance from the existing gay political establishment. His campaign was compared to theater; he was brash, outspoken, animated, and outrageous, earning media attention and votes, although not enough to be elected. He campaigned again in the next two supervisor elections, dubbing himself the “Mayor of Castro Street”. Voters responded enough to warrant his running for the California State Assembly as well. Taking advantage of his growing popularity, he led the gay political movement in fierce battles against anti-gay initiatives. Milk was elected city supervisor in 1977 after San Francisco reorganized its election procedures to choose representatives from neighborhoods rather than through city-wide ballots. Milk served almost eleven months as city supervisor and was responsible for passing a stringent gay rights ordinance in San Francisco. On November 27, 1978, Milk and Mayor George Moscone were assassinated by Dan White, another city supervisor who had recently resigned and wanted his job back. Both Milk’s election and the events following his assassination demonstrated the liberalization of the population and political conflicts between the city government and a conservative police force. Milk has become an icon in San Francisco and “a martyr for gay rights”, according to University of San Francisco professor Peter Novak.[1] While established political organizers in the city insisted gays work with liberal politicians and use restraint in reaching their objectives, Milk outspokenly encouraged gays to use their growing power in the city and support each other. His goal was to give hope to disenfranchised gays around the country. In 2002, he was called “the most famous and most significantly open LGBT official ever elected in the United States”.[2] Writer John Cloud remarked on his influence, “After he defied the governing class of San Francisco in 1977 to become a member of its board of supervisors, many people—straight and gay—had to adjust to a new reality he embodied: that a gay person could live an honest life and succeed.”[3]

While Wikipedia finds him to be a very significant figure in history, it is obvious from the NPR story (listen to the audio part) that many younger gay men and women have never heard of him, nor do they find it relevant. Well this is my part to change that.

One final interesting note, Dan White, the former city supervisor that assinated Milk and the Mayor, only got 5 years as a sentence.  Using a odd ball, yet somewhat famous,  “Twinkie defense“, White managed to convince a jury that he was of diminished capacity due to junk food.

The expression derives from the 1979 trial of Dan White, a former San Francisco, California (U.S.) Supervisor who assassinated Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk on November 27, 1978. At the trial, noted psychiatrist Martin Blinder testified that White had been depressed at the time of the crime, and pointed to several factors indicating White’s depression: he had quit his job; he shunned his wife; and normally clean-cut, he had become slovenly in appearance. Normally a fitness fanatic and health food advocate, White had also been consuming Twinkies and Coca-Cola. As an incidental note, Blinder mentioned theories that elements of diet could worsen existing mood swings.[2] Another psychiatrist, George Solomon, testified that White had “exploded” and was “sort of on automatic pilot” at the time of the killings.[3] The fact that White had killed Moscone and Milk was not challenged, but in part because of the testimony from Blinder and other psychiatrists, the defense successfully argued for a ruling of diminished capacity. White was thus judged incapable of the premeditation required for a murder conviction, and was convicted of voluntary manslaughter instead. The verdict was unpopular, leading to the White Night Riots.

In stories covering the trial, satirist Paul Krassner had played up the angle of the Twinkie,[2] and he would later claim credit for coining the term “Twinkie defense”.[4] The day after the verdict, columnist Herb Caen wrote in the San Francisco Chronicle about the police support for White (a former policeman himself) and their “dislike (understatement) of homosexuals” and mentioned “the Twinkie insanity defense” in passing.[2] News stories published after the trial, however, frequently reported the defense arguments inaccurately, claiming that the defense had presented junk food as the cause of White’s depression and/or diminished capacity, instead of symptomatic of and perhaps exacerbating an existing depression.[5]

As a result of the White case, diminished capacity was abolished in 1982 by Proposition 8 and the California legislature, and replaced by “diminished actuality”, referring not to the capacity to have a specific intent but to whether a defendant actually had a required intent to commit the crime with which he was charged.[6] Additionally, California’s statutory definitions of premeditation and malice required for murder were eliminated by the state’s legislature, with a return to common law definitions. By this time, the “Twinkie defense” had become such a common referent that one lawmaker had waved a Twinkie in the air while making his point during a debate.[2]

Some things are just too amazing for words.

Oh, all this is coming out due to a movie, titled Milk.


Triad Pride Week 2008 – Pride without prejudice

9 05 2008

If you are looking for something to do and you will be in the NC area…why not attend the Triad Pride Event happening 5/7 – 5/11.

On Saturday they will be having a Pride festival in Festival Park from 11:00am – 3:00pm. At 8:00pm come and enjoy the sounds of the Triad Pride’s Men’s Chorus.

Check out the website and find all of the other interesting events scheduled for the rest of the weekend.

According to their site: The mission of Triad Pride is to further empower those in the Triad that identify with the GLBTQA community, create a greater sense of awareness of GLBTQA issues and further the advancement of all members of the Triad community.

interested in finding out more…click here.

If you do decide to attend I would appreciate a comment or two about what you thought.


“Cruising” Released to DVD

21 03 2008

I was at a local BDSM club a few months back during a special presentation of pictures take at the Mine Shaft, a gay leather club in the famous meatpacking district of New York. (OK It was actually a year ago last February, I had to look it up.) He started it off by showing a clip of this film that was actually shot in the club, featuring real patrons of the club and scene. This film which takes a peak into the leather lifestyle at the time before AIDs has finally been released on DVD. You can find a review of it here and the IMDB info here.

From the review:

The film stars Al Pacino as a cop who goes undercover in the New York leather bar scene in order to solve a series of murders and ends up, well, becoming a little sexually confused.

Its director, William Friedkin, had already produced one of the seminal gay films of the ’70s with ‘The Boys in the Band’, but here he was dealing with a gay world where people didn’t just go to have drinks and polite chats; it was overtly, defiantly sexual. That was liberating in the mid-’80s as Britain definitely looked to America as a kind of paradise for gays, especially places like New York and San Francisco.

‘Cruising’ is carefully constructed and Friedkin visited some notorious clubs to do his research. Also, a lot of the people in the film are real gays, so in some ways it does have an authentic feel, similar to his previous ‘The French Connection’ (1971). It almost works as
a nostalgic look back to the golden age of pre-Aids New York, but there are a few too many muscle men dressed in PVC police uniforms and licking their truncheons in the background.

It is an interesting movie, and a part of our culture and history in the Lifestyle.


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