internal sunshine of the spotless behind
Beefcake photo of actor George Nader, who may be best remembered by some for his role in the low budget sci-fi movie, Robot Monster (1953). When he died in 2001 at age 81 he was survived by his partner of 55 years, Mark Miller.
Trivia from IMDB:
“In their early film prime (1950s), he and fellow “beefcake” star Rock Hudson helped cover for each other in protecting their “straight” image in Hollywood.
Despite the fact Nader’s career was more or less sabotaged by Universal and sacrificed to the tabloids in order to save Rock’s much more lucrative reputation, Hudson and Nader remained life-long friends. Nader was named one of the beneficiaries of Hudson’s $27M estate when the star died of AIDS in 1985.
After Nader was finished in films, he turned to writing. His 1978 novel “Chrome” broke major ground in that it was the first sci-fi thriller to have a homosexual theme (gay robots!).”
By KAREN L. COX
October 3, 2012
Reality television often acquaints us with people we never knew existed. During last week’s season finale of “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo,” TLC’s smash hit about the small-town Georgia family of Alana Thompson, a 7-year-old pageant contestant, viewers were introduced to Alana’s Uncle Lee — affectionately known as “Uncle Poodle.” In Alana’s world, a “poodle” is a gay man, and his appearance on the show has opened people’s eyes to something many have never considered: that you can be openly gay and accepted in the rural South.
Many people assume that because the South is the nation’s most evangelical and politically conservative region, it is probably also a hotbed for hate crimes against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. But while such crimes do occur, they are less common than in large urban centers, where the absence of a tight community and the abundance of strangers make it easier to target people for their differences.
I should know: as a lesbian who has lived in the South my entire life, and in a small town in the Deep South for part of it, I’ve met many people — men, women and transgendered — whose sexual identity has not prevented them from living a life of acceptance, admiration and even respect by their families and communities.
My friend Helen and her partner, Kathleen, for example, have made an enormous impact on the small town of Louisville, Ga., in rural Jefferson County. Several years ago they bought an old fire station and turned it into an art gallery. What began as a way to showcase rural artists has expanded into a larger community endeavor in which children from the local public schools, many of whom are quite poor, are given free classes in art and art appreciation.
And the gallery openings? The last one I attended drew nearly 100 people.
It’s an unspoken truth that Helen and Kathleen are in a committed relationship, and yet they’re invited to social gatherings as a couple, and only a few months ago Helen gave the graduation address at the local high school. People know who they are and very likely understand the nature of their relationship, and it’s clear they value the investment that Helen and Kathleen have made in their community.
In the mid-1990s, while in graduate school, I lived in the small city of Hattiesburg, Miss. There I met gays and lesbians who came to Hattiesburg from nearby rural communities like Petal, Wiggins, Runnelstown and even more far-flung places to enjoy the one gay bar that was within reasonable driving distance, or simply hang out with friends. Though they came for the comforts of a larger L.G.B.T. community, their sexual orientation was often known to their communities back home.
They were gay, but they weren’t only that. Many of them were working class, from religiously conservative families and often politically conservative themselves.
One woman I met, Sandy, is what you’d describe as butch. She drives a truck and she belongs to a (nearly) all-male hunting club. She goes on coon hunts, which she’s described to me as romantic adventures with the baying of hounds in the cool of the night. Her mother, on the other hand, was a proud member of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, a prim and proper Southern lady.
Because my dissertation was about the U.D.C., Sandy took me to meet her. While at her mother’s house, Sandy went back to her old bedroom and returned with a badge she had won in the eighth grade — for sewing a dress. She seemed to take pride in the fact that as a woman who had pretty much rejected traditional femininity, she had won top prize at her school for sewing.
I don’t think her mother ever openly acknowledged her daughter’s sexual orientation, which she certainly knew, because such things usually go unsaid in the South.
Most Southerners who aren’t comfortable with homosexuality don’t use terms like “gay” or “lesbian.” They’ll use euphemisms. A gay man is a “little light in the loafers” or has “sugar in his britches.” If a lesbian has a partner, the partner is often referred to as her “friend.” But everyone knows exactly what it means.
To be sure, such acceptance is often possible because, in a small community, gays and lesbians don’t represent a large population to begin with. As my partner, who grew up in rural South Carolina, told me, “in my high school, the L.G.B.T. group had a membership of one and was taking applications.”
And there is a limit to the acceptance. In the rural South, people love their sons and daughters and they may even break bread with the florist and his partner, but they still believe homosexuality is a sin. They draw the line at a gay pride march down Main Street, and they won’t stand for gay marriage.
Still, as Alana’s Uncle Lee has shown America, there are gays living in the rural South who don’t all set out for the big city. They lead rich lives and have families, and sometimes even communities, that love them and accept them for who they are.
Karen L. Cox is a professor of history at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte, and the author of “Dreaming of Dixie: How the South Was Created in American Popular Culture.”
A version of this op-ed appeared in print on October 4, 2012, on page A35 of the New York edition with the headline: We’re Here, We’re Queer, Y’all.
Copyright © 2012 The New York Times Company.
[Illustration by Kiersten Essenpreis.]
Scenes of the bloodthirsty masses on “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day,” largely in my own state of Georgia.
Wait for the black pastor, equating the rights of black people in the segregation-era South to the right of Chick-fil-A to promote intolerance.
I know reading on Tumblr is super boring. We’ll return to our regular programming shortly, I promise…
I get a pill every day for free, because I ain’t got no money and because I was living in the right state at the right time.
This drug retails at about $25,000 a year. The most I’ve ever reported on a tax return is $21k.
In a year, I might get kicked off this sweet ride. Government funding is being cut every year for my free pill program. And if, God forbid, I ever graduate from food service to an actual income, I’ll be forced to pay the retail price.
Currently, 10 states (with over 200,000 residents with HIV and over 61,000 living with AIDS in those states alone) have waiting lists to enroll people onto this federal program…
…all to get a drug that costs less than a dollar to make.
Ever seen that commercial with Bono, kneeling in a village of mud huts in Africa, saying that for less than a dollar a day, you can save a life? He’s actually right. So can American drug companies. So can the American government.
The retail price is so high because of a patent held by Gilead Industries, which doesn’t run out until 2018. John Martin, CEO of Gilead and #10 on Forbes’ 2012 CEO compensation list, made over $200 million in the past five years. That could pay for over 9000 years of my drug regiment at its ridiculous retail cost.
We’ve stopped calling this disease “an epidemic.” But in a few years, I won’t be able to afford a pill that keeps me from dying.
You want to talk about affordable health care? End the patent monopoly on prescription drugs.
Oh and REBLOG THIS.
James Dean’s Home
19 West 68th Street
June 10, 2012
Dean rented a 12-by-12 room on the top floor of this building; one of those porthole windows would have been his. I don’t know if he was gay like we think of it today, it’s difficult to know if he was much of a sexual being at all. He died in his early twenties and in 1950s America, where did a gay boy go to get laid? Where did a straight boy go to get laid for that matter?
Still, it would have been nice to see what kind of man he turned into.
Montgomery Clift’s Home
217 East 61st Street
June 10, 2012
Clift lived here from 1960 until 1966. Supposedly, he had fourteen-foot medicine cabinet for all of his “pain relievers,” and would call out from a window at men passing below, inviting them in for a drink or “what not.”
Clift died of a heart attack on July 23, 1966. He was forty-five.
Won’t you do with me what you can?
You see, I think about it all the time.