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Issues Archives: The Arc of History

March – April, 2009

The Obama Inauguration: Signals and Prospects

THE January inauguration of President Barack Obama saw unprecedented levels of GLBT participation. With hope in the air, expectations for forward movement on civil rights ran high. But the Obama transition sent mixed signals, leading some to question prospects for follow-through on promises made to the GLBT community.

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Hello, South of France

“THE MIDDLE WEST is nowhere; an abstract no-where. However earnestly writers proud of being natives of it may endeavor to give it form and character, it remains out of focus, amorphous, and a mystery,” wrote Glenway Wescott in the introductory essay to his collection of stories Goodbye, Wisconsin, originally published in 1928 and recently reissued in a beautiful edition by Borderland Books.

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British Sodomy Laws Linger in Former Colonies

MORE THAN half of the world’s remaining sodomy laws-laws that criminalize consensual homosexual conduct-are relics of British colonial rule. This is the conclusion of a major study by Human Rights Watch released late last year in a 66-page report titled “This Alien Legacy: …

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When Arthur Met Paul

In 1873, when French poet Arthur Rimbaud was staying in London with his

more famous lover Paul Verlaine, the spark-striking and strategically

untruthful nineteen-year-old added two years to his age so that he

could pass through a set of doors normally closed to minors. …

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The Choice of Skin

… Skin Lane, set in 1967 London, centers on Mr F, as the book calls him, a 46-year-old man who is a cutter at a furrier’s. His solitary, regimented life is disturbed by a recurring dream of a dead, dark-haired, white-skinned boy hanging in his bathtub.

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Lebanon: At Best a Virtual Gay Community

PRIOR TO moving to Lebanon, I’d joke with my friends, saying that I was traveling back in time to a world that resembles that of the late 1960’s in North America: a country that lacks openly gay public spaces and where the vast majority of homosexual men are closeted due to a strict patriarchal system. Unlike the Americans in the 60’s, however, these men have on-line chat sites, the most popular of which are Manjam.com and Gaydar.co.uk.

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“If They Know Us…”

Harvey Milk was working for an insurance company in New York City

before he became the flamboyant politician portrayed in Gus Van Sant’s

recently released movie, Milk; he lived on the Upper West Side, voted for Goldwater, and loved to go to the opera. …

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Places in the Notebook

IN HIS INTRODUCTION to Big Trips, Raphael Kadushin-a senior editor for the book’s publisher, the University of Wisconsin Press-affirms his hope that the sixteen entries in this anthology will address two unfortunate tendencies in today’s travel writing.

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How Harvey Milk Recruited Me

… The first feature-length documentary on gay themes to win an Oscar, The Times of Harvey Milk depicts with startling frankness and immediacy Harvey Milk’s political ascendancy as the first openly gay politician elected to public office in a major U.S. city.

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How “Gay” Were the Stars of the 30’s?

Book review

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