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|Copyright 2013 David Hall – www.gaycelluloid.com.
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|Copyright 2013 David Hall – www.gaycelluloid.com.
In 2014 University of Warwick students officially launch their Sport Allies scheme. An initiative to promote inclusion and challenge homophobia among young people and has grown out of the success of the “Warwick Rowers” calendar. This was done as part of the Student Pride 2014, and if you are a student in Northern Ireland what have you done this year for Student Pride 2015?
From pre-decriminalisation of homosexuality to our visible emergence into a more inclusive and equal society, this local documentary explores how our hidden LGBT history in Northern Ireland, which has been locked away in records, diaries and personal memorabilia, can be remembered. It is also an exploration of how the living history of the last fifty years can be celebrated within the heritage of Belfast as a city. With local contributors Vince Creelan, Jeff Dudgeon, Brenda Murphy, Doug Sobey, Grainne Close, Shannon Sickels, David Grant and Heather Fleming.
The documentary was screened during the Outburst Queer Arts Festival (16 November 2013) between 3.30pm-4.45pm; and the screening was followed by an informal round table discussion, led by the LGBT History Archive Working Group in Belfast, around building an online public archive that shares the stories, memorabilia and key events that shaped, and continue to shape, our LGBT histories in Northern Ireland.
NIGRA is on a retro feel today, and the latest to be brought out of the archive is A Nightmare on Elm Street (2) – but Deadly Movies says … is renowned for giving My Beautiful Laundrette a run for its money for the gayest film of 1985, but let us not forget Coach Schneider’s role in this man meat fest of homoeroticism. Fond of referring to his mostly topless and often wrestling male pupils as “dirt balls“, Coach Schneider is never very far from any male nudity, and has a penchant for appearing in dreams as a leather clad bondage slave. But it’s his death by shower-locker-room-towel-ass-slap which cements his place in horror history…
But the 2010 movie of A Nightmare on Elm Street has this delightful looking body to tease you:
An astutely crafted 1985 period drama set in the gay Mecca of San Francisco, Test lovingly portrays this uniquely exciting and harrowing era as young Frankie (spectacularly lithe real-life dancer Scott Marlowe) navigates gay life in the big city alongside the travails of being an understudy in a modern dance company and his evolving relationship with fellow dancer Todd (the hunky Matthew Risch).
As the newest and youngest member of an exciting contemporary dance company Frankie faces a variety of challenges including the homophobic choreographer who commands him to, “dance like a man!” When one of his fellow dancers is injured Frankie must perform in his place. Todd, an established dancer in the same company and the bad-boy to Frankie’s innocent, helps Frankie prepare. It’s the classic test of skill and character. But a very different test looms on the horizon for both of them. As Frankie and Todd’s friendship deepens, they navigate a world full of risk… and hope.
My Beautiful Launderette is set in South London in the 1980s, the film tells the story of young British Indian Omar, who takes over the running of his uncle’s run-down launderette. In his attempt to turn it into a success, he employs former childhood friend and ex-National Front member Johnny (played by a smoking hot Daniel Day-Lewis) and the two men fall in love. But they’re soon confronted by problems caused by both Omar’s family who want him to marry an ‘Indian’ girl of a good family, Johnny’s former gang.
In its frank depiction of inter-racial gay love, there’s no question My Beautiful Launderette was way ahead of its time. It also bravely explores racism, the second-generation immigrant experience, and the new enterprise culture of Thatcher’s Britain. It launched the careers of Daniel Day-Lewis, director Stephen Frears and writer Hanif Kureishi.
There are of course issues with the movie, namely that it’s a story about two gay men that never use the word gay; but at the time it was an astonishing piece of cinema. Some of the characters are stereotypes, and some of the acting is over the top; but it is a movie that any gay couple should have on their list of watched and will watch again.
Photography by Jack Waterlot | Styling by Alison Brooks | Groomer: Abreea Saunders
For Adam Lambert, Hollywood isn’t just a metaphor for success or disillusionment. It’s a real place — his city for the last 15 years. It was his home before he ran away with all the accolades (if not the title) on American Idol, before he debuted an album at the top of the Billboard charts, before guest starring on Glee, and before fronting a stadium-rock band that ranks among the biggest of all time.
When it came time to write and record his new album, The Original High, he knew where his material would come from.
“I wanted the album to be a real snapshot of my life, my real life, my authentic life in L.A. over the past 15 years,” says Lambert. “I wanted it to sound like music I listen to when I go out or when I’m at the fucking gym or in Runyon Canyon or in my car.” He pauses. “It’s a bit of a melancholy album, you know? It’s talking about the ups and downs of life in Hollywood.”
If Lambert had been singing specifically about his time in the music industry, the ups would certainly include the debut of his sophomore album, Trespassing, at the number 1 spot on the Billboard 200 — a historic first for a gay artist; or being handpicked by Brian May and Roger Taylor to be heir apparent to Freddie Mercury as Queen’s frontman in a globe-trotting tour. The downs might include disappointingly little radio play for Trespassing’s singles, despite that auspicious launch. Or it might include the reaction from his then-label, RCA Records.
During the downtime following the release of Trespassing, Lambert was going out, going to dinners, and hanging out with friends. And his conversations with them had a new and different purpose. He began asking friends heavy stuff: What is it that you want? Why are you in this city? What are you looking for?
He says, “Most of the people that I asked weren’t able to answer it. ‘How the fuck are we supposed to know? I don’t know what I want.’ And I understood that. I was like, Exactly. What is it that we’re chasing? What is the driving force here? Is it happiness? Is it success? Is it sex? Is it love? Is it validation?”
Lambert went to RCA, armed with some new insights from those conversations and the experience of two albums, and said, “Let’s try something different.” But RCA had something different in mind as well: a 1980s cover album. Lambert thought about the proposal for a few weeks, and researched New Wave. “It didn’t feel like the right thing. So I said, ‘I don’t really want to do that,’ and they said, ‘Well, that’s what we want to do.’ And I said, ‘OK, I’m going to go.’ ”
Now a free agent for the first time, Lambert approached two of his former collaborators, the Swedish super-producers Max Martin and Shellback, who variously co-wrote and co-produced Britney Spears’s “…Baby One More Time,” Katy Perry’s “Roar,” Maroon 5’s “Moves Like Jagger,” and Taylor Swift’s “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together.” He brought a demo of a new song titled “The Original High,” about chasing the rush of first times.
“Shell got really excited,” says Lambert. “He immediately heard how he could turn it into an even stronger song.” Martin and Shellback talked with Lambert about where life had been taking him, and he says they told him, “What if we executive produce the whole thing, the whole album?”
“I breathed a sigh of relief because, at that point, I wasn’t sure what the fuck was happening next,” Lambert says. “These two guys are people I respect so much and I also really enjoy them as people. They answered my prayers.”
Lambert spent eight weeks in Stockholm, working on new songs and meeting Martin and Shellback’s collective of musicians, known as Wolf Cousins. “Habits” singer Tove Lo was a part of that group, and together they wrote and recorded the song “Rumors” in Stockholm. She says collaborating was “a lot of fun, and also easy because he can sing the shit out of anything! We kind of want to share similar emotions in our music, so we understand each other lyrically.”
Lambert calls Shellbeck the “mad scientist” of the studio. “He understands how to worm into people’s brains,” Lambert told a Stockholm audience in June. “He came up with this melody,” says Lambert, “and Tove Lo and I sat down and were like, ‘How do we make a story out of these cool sounds?’ ”
The album’s first single came from those earlier, ambivalent conversations about Los Angeles. “ ‘Ghost Town’ is kind of setting the scene,” Lambert says. “You moved to the big city, you have these ideas, you have these ambitions, and then what happens when you get to a fork in the road, or you hit a wall, and you’re like, Oh, it’s not what I thought it was going to be, or I’m not getting what I thought I wanted, and everything I thought I knew is being called into question? How does that make you feel?” He quotes his lyrics: “ ‘My heart is a ghost town.’ I feel empty. I feel unfulfilled.”
So the song wasn’t primarily about a breakup? “It rolls into that,” he says, laughing. “You can spend a lot of your energy in a place like Hollywood chasing ass.”
“Evil in the Night” — despite high-energy steel guitar, bombastic lyrics, and just a touch of Jamiroquai-esque funk — feels like a refinement of a signature Lambert sound.
“I chilled out a little bit. I don’t know if it’s just being in my 30s,” he says. “When you’re younger and you’ve got a skill, you tend to show off more — you feel like you have more to prove. Over the last few years, I’ve gotten into a place where I feel a little more confident in what I do, and I don’t feel I need to prove myself as far as ‘look at all the tricks I can do.’ Now music for me is more about wanting to prove that I can feel something.”
With a new album in full swing, Lambert had to publicly announce his parting of the ways with RCA in July 2013, simultaneously announcing that he’d signed on to appear on Glee’s fifth season. Warner Bros. contacted Lambert the next day.
“It was scary leaving the label,” says Lambert, but WB’s arrival made him feel confident. “It made me feel better about all of this, made me feel like there was a light at the end of the tunnel. That paired with Max and Shellback’s interest in doing the whole album — it was just like, This is all going to work. I know it’s going to work.”
Lambert grew up in San Diego, joining a children’s theater company at age 10. At 12, he floored the audience with a powerful operatic solo in Fiddler on the Roof.
After moving to Los Angeles, he worked in theater, including Ten Commandments: The Musical with Val Kilmer, and the first national touring company and L.A. production of Wicked. Though he’d been out since age 18, his newfound fame on the eighth season of American Idol brought the kind of scrutiny at age 27 for which an ensemble performer and Fiyero understudy couldn’t have prepared himself. His skillful reworking of Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire” and Tears for Fears’ “Mad World,” accompanying his darkly glamorous stage attire and affect (in contrast with his ultimately forgettable competition), made him an Idol audience favorite.
But before the season ended, Lambert appeared on the cover of Entertainment Weekly; the accompanying article speculated on his sexual orientation in light of his winking onstage sensibility and outré fashion. Pictures surfaced of him making out with a man (whom he later revealed was an ex-boyfriend) on a Burning Man social media site, Tribe.net. Lambert neither confirmed nor denied anything, to the frustration of many. Shortly after Idol wrapped in May 2009, and Lambert was awarded the runner-up spot, he came out in a cover story in Rolling Stone, but continued to field complaints for appearing in a Details photo shoot in which he suggestively grabbed a naked woman, and for subsequent tightly orchestrated media appearances. He essentially wasn’t being gay enough.
There’s no way to know exactly how much being out has contributed to or detracted from Lambert’s career, but it would be easy to understand why he may have felt he’d rather unfairly gone through the ringer. But he says he feels no envy for those musicians who’ve come out since he did, and may be having an easier go of it. Lambert praised gay singer Sam Smith to Attitude recently, saying, “I’m so happy for him, and I’m so happy his sexuality wasn’t a big thorn in his side.”
“It was just the way things went down,” Lambert says. “At that time, how many mainstream music artists did we have that were out? Elton John and George Michael — and his whole coming out was tabloid fun. There hadn’t been a blueprint to follow. That was the one thing I wished I’d had: a little more guidance. There were definitely moments of frustration and pressure, but there’s been a lot of goodwill as well, a lot of support from fans and media people, and it’s balanced out. I don’t have any sort of bitterness about it.”
Lambert has also forged a connection with Freddie Mercury, a queer artist of the past of whom he was a fan, and with whom he shares more than an octave-defying range. In 2009, May and Taylor performed Queen’s “We Are the Champions” live on the season finale of Idol with winner Kris Allen and runner-up Lambert in a vocal duet. Impressed with Lambert, they invited him to serve as their frontman at the 2011 MTV Europe Music Awards, on a brief European tour the next year, and on a world tour in 2014 and 2015.
“I’ve heard nothing but incredible stories about him,” Lambert says of Mercury. May and Taylor both told him that they’d have gotten on well, that he shared Mercury’s sense of humor. “From what I gathered, he seemed like a really sweet guy, actually — and a bit shy socially. I would have loved to meet him.” Lambert and his Queen bandmates have talked a lot about Mercury, including how out he was. “Technically, he wasn’t really closeted. I mean, he did interviews early on where they were like, ‘Are you gay?’ and he was like, ‘Oh, yeah, gay as a daffodil, darling,’” Lambert says and laughs. “But nobody really believed it because they didn’t want to. It was so taboo at that time that people didn’t actually think he would have been.”
In the promotion of his new album, fans have noticed Lambert’s new look, a touch easier on the velvet and mascara. “I just generally grew out of that old look and enjoyed new ones — it’s as simple as that,” he says. “There’s also a point where I was working really hard to achieve a look that I was really into, and it was really fun and I wanted to stand out and be crazy and be weird and make a statement with the stuff I was wearing. I look back on some of those red carpet looks, and I’m like, What were you thinking?”
“It’s like growing pains, but I was just trying to express myself. Looking back on it now, I can see that I was probably hiding behind it a little bit, sort of like the kid that goes to high school dressed like a goth because they’re actually really sensitive and they don’t want to interact with people and they’re a little scared.”
Though the studio work is meticulously planned, some other parts of Lambert’s life aren’t, and that’s OK. “Everybody thinks everything is so premeditated and thought-out,” he says. Some things are “just impulse…because I felt like it.”
But he says, “Six years is a while, and now I’m in a new space and time in my life, and I’m hoping that my music and my image all match where I’m at.
Stuart Hatton Jr talks dancing
After the professional dancer James Jordan spoke publicly about his dislike for same-sex couples on the hit BBC show Strictly Come Dancing there was an influx of responses on Twitter from fans and dancers alike.
Dancer, championship adjudicator and current Mr Gay UK Stuart Hatton Jr gave us his thoughts on James’ comments:
When you think of ballroom dancing, you think of sparkles, you think of glitter balls and you think of Blackpool but ultimately you think of a man twirling his partner around on the open dance floor; however, there is a new wave of Quicksteppers waltzing alongside Fred and Ginger in the shape of Fred and Ted and Ginger and Jean.
There are many who welcome this new addition to the ballroom floor of seeing two men tango the night away and two women foxtrot under the glitter ball, however there still seems to be a lot of individuals who do not want this style of Ballroom dancing to appear on the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing.
I for one do not understand this backlash against same sex dancing couples, who only just want to dance; they are not starting wars, they are not breaking the law and all they are doing is dancing with passion from the heart.
On Monday 22 June, I sat in horror and I watched James Jordan on This Morning, discuss his feelings on Same Sex Dancing Couples with Philip Scofield and Amanda Holden. I used to have the utmost respect for Mr Jordan as a fellow professional ballroom teacher and as an artiste. However, his rant live on TV against Same Sex Ballroom Dancers appearing on Strictly has left me completely upset and disappointed.
Mr Jordan said that same sex couples “would be “a joke” and that “people wouldn’t take it seriously. It would have to be comedy value, two men dancing a sexy rumba together, I don’t think it would work”. He then continued, “Ballroom and Latin dancing is about a man dancing with a woman… Ballroom and Latin dancing is 10 dances, you have 5 Ballroom and 5 Latin… I don’t believe that Ballroom and Latin dancing is about two men dancing with each other or possibly two women… on Strictly, let’s keep it traditional. Why do we have to change something to tick another box? Oh, there we go! We’ll tick that box as well! We have same sex couples dancing, fantastic! There are a lot of people in this country who would probably agree with me, that they don’t particularly want to watch Strictly and see same sex couples”
Well, where to start? I see that using the, “I’m not homophobic but…” disclaimer doesn’t make your thoughts any less outdated and by semantically inserting the word “traditional” does not make you sound any less anti-gay that you did indeed sound. If you think about it, I believe it is tradition for the Samba to be danced in the streets and carnivals of Brazil, but yet, here we are in 2015 and we’re dancing the Samba live on UK TV and in London no less; surely that’s breaking with tradition isn’t it? Things change, times move forward. This in 2015 for goodness sake! The United Kingdom proudly passed Same Sex Marriage in 2014 and here we are in 2015 listening to James Jordan ramble on about whether or not tradition allows a same sex couple to dance on TV? Let us not forget that many women go to tea dances and dance together socially, possibly because their male partners do not wish to participate, possibly because there is a shortage of male partners or maybe they have sadly lost their partners.
Same sex dancing does not just belong within the LGBTI community. It’s been going on for years. In hundreds of dance schools around the world, women have always danced with women and girls have always danced with girls due to a shortage of boys taking up Ballroom dancing. In fact, I am sure if you look at the statistics around the UK, you will see that over 70% of all ballroom dancing partnerships are made up of two women. How very dare they break the rules of tradition, well the rules of ‘tradition’ according to James Jordan. Shame on them!
Furthermore, Mr Jordan went on to say, “Ballroom and Latin dancing is about a man dancing with a woman, the way the dress moves, the feminity, the masculinty…” Hang on a a minute, as a championship adjudicator, I myself along with many of my professional peers have never once judged the validity of a dance partnership based on ‘the way the dress moves.’ When judging dancers, I take in to account technique, poise, deportment, footwork, shaping, silhouette, standard, quality, charisma, performance and togetherness and so do the majority of other dance judges; I would never mark a couple first place on the dance floor because the lady dancer was wearing a bonny frock.
On the flip side, it has been nice to read all the positive online support regarding same sex Strictly over the past few days and even Amanda Holden cut James Jordan off at the end of the interview with her thoughts, “Personally, I would love to see same sex couples [on Strictly]”. If you want to get involved then The Pink Jukebox in London have been offering dance classes for same sex partners for over 30 years. Strictly Come Dancing star, Robin Windsor offers his own same sex workshops around the country and I myself run my own same sex ballroom dancing classes at my dance studios in the North of England.
Furthermore, it is not just the dance professionals who are in support of the same sex dancers, Freed of London, one of the world’s leading companies in dance shoes will be showing support by picturing an all-male couple from now on throughout all their advertising, a shoot which I was proud to be a part of You can check out the behind the scenes video here.
Equality and diversity are very much moving forward in the UK but it’s individuals like James Jordan who voice their outdated views using the semantic shield of ‘tradition’ that will constantly leave the LGBTI community afraid that acceptance is still not, well, ‘accepted’ even on the ballroom dance floor. Just think of the many people he is influencing not only in the dancing world, but the wider general public; This gentleman has the ability to influence change for the better and yet he preaches (what many have called on social media) ‘homophobia’ hidden behind the excuse of ‘tradition’.
I hope that when same sex dancers appear on Strictly Come Dancing, because this will happen, James Jordan will maybe change his views and see the positive impact that this will have not only on the dancing world but also within the LGBTI community and really, if you think about it two women dancing together is the ‘traditional’ norm for the majority of all dance schools around the UK, so let’s get this tradition on the BBC. Until his views change, my respect for James Jordan is at an all-time low, which is a sad thing too because he is and always has been a bloody good dancer.
We hear from people who have journeyed for years across the world and those who are just starting out in their relationships. From the couple who always had to keep their relationship a secret to the parents who fear the situation where they might have to “deny being a family, or pretend like you’re a mother and an aunt.”
“Travel breaks down barriers, people see you and you’re no longer a mystery”
“My greater hope would be that beyond just being tolerated by a society we would actually being accepted.”
This video is a brilliant addition to pride and finishes with the hope that one day, all love is welcome in the world.
Words Josh Withey, @josh_withey
After just three hours of deliberation, a New Jersey jury has delivered a unanimous verdict that a Jewish group peddling so-called conversion therapy violated the state’s consumer fraud protection laws in claiming it could “cure” clients of being LGBT.
The verdict concludes that New Jersey–based nonprofit Jews Offering New Alternatives for Healing, or JONAH, violated the state’s Consumer Fraud Protection Act by marketing “conversion therapy” that has been denounced by every major medical and mental health organization in the country, notes the Southern Poverty Law Center.
The Jewish group has been ordered to pay $72,400 to the plaintiffs, which represents three times the cost of JONAH’s “therapy,” in addition to the cost of subsequent legitimate therapy one plaintiff sought to overcome the damage done by JONAH’s efforts.
The lawsuit was filed by the SPLC on behalf of three young men and two mothers subjected to the discredited therapy that tries to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. It was filed in 2012, before New Jersey became the second U.S. state to ban the unscientific practice when used by licensed therapists on minors. Republican Gov. Chris Christie signed the ban on ex-gay therapy into law in August 2013.
“This verdict is a monumental moment in the movement to ensure the rights and acceptance of LGBT people in America,” said a statement from David Dinielli, deputy legal director for the SPLC and lead attorney in the case. “Conversion therapy and homophobia are based on the same central lie — that gay people are broken and need to be fixed. Conversion therapists, including the defendants in this case, sell fake cures that don’t work and can seriously harm the unsuspecting people who fall into this trap.”
Testimony in the trial, which was presided over by Hudson Superior Court Judge Peter D. Barsio, Jr., demonstrated that JONAH counselors used abusive, discredited tactics to shame and defraud their clients, according to SPLC:
“According to testimony at the trial, the defendants’ counselors or their associates instructed young men to undress and stand naked in a circle with them; encouraged clients to undress in front of a mirror and touch their genitals while a counselor was present in a closed-door session; and organized group activities for clients to reenact past abuse and take part in violent role-play exercises. Male counselors also engaged and advocated ‘healthy touch’ with young men, including cuddling sessions lasting nearly an hour.”
In addition to the $72,400 in damages paid to the plaintiffs, JONAH has been ordered to pay “reasonable attorney’s fees” incurred by the plaintiffs, SPLC reports. The judge has yet to rule on SPLC’s additional requests that JONAH’s business license be cancelled, or that the group pay additional financial penalties.
Plaintiff Chaim Levin, 26, whose mother, Bella, was also a plaintiff, said he was relieved by today’s verdict in a statement from SPLC:
“Seven years ago, I was subjected to abusive, harmful practices by JONAH that I thought would remain secret and unnoticed despite how destructive they were — in part because they thrived on this secrecy in their so-called therapy practice. Now the world knows about their destructive, refuted practices. I took part in this lawsuit to take a stand. I don’t want another person to endure the anguish and harm JONAH put my loved ones and me through.”
Benjamin Unger, a 27-year-old plaintiff who now lives in Brooklyn, added:
“I am so grateful that the jury has decided conversion therapy organizations do not have the right to lie to and deceive people. It is a victory not just for me but for other victims of this harmful therapy.”
The first-of-its-kind case has been closely watched by advocates hoping to end the practice of conversion therapy in the U.S. In February, Hudson Superior Court Judge Peter D. Barsio Jr., ruled that JONAH could not legally present homosexuality as a “disorder” but did not determine whether JONAH had actually made that claim to its clients.
That February ruling from Barsio determined that JONAH would be in violation of the Consumer Fraud Act if it offered specific success statistics for its services when “client outcomes are not tracked and no records of client outcomes are maintained” because “there is no factual basis for calculating such statistics.” SPLC lawyers said they are confident that evidence at the trial, set for June 1, will show that JONAH has indeed engaged in such misrepresentation.
Barsio had previously ruled that several proponents of “ex-gay” therapy will not be allowed to testify as expert witnesses at the trial. They included Joseph Nicolosi, a psychologist who founded the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality, as well as other prominent voices in the movement, such as Christopher Doyle, James Phelan, and John Diggs. The judge held that their opinions are based on the false premise that homosexuality is a disorder, writing that “the theory that homosexuality is a disorder is not novel but — like the notion that the earth is flat and the sun revolves around it — instead is outdated and refuted.”
Today’s ruling affirms that JONAH did defraud its clients by telling them not only that homosexuality was wrong, but that it could be cured, despite overwhelming scientific evidence that shows such attempts at “reparative therapy” are ineffective and harmful to those subjected to it. The practice has already been condemned by the White House and top Obama administration officials, and is currently illegal to employ on minors in California, New Jersey,Washington, D.C., and Oregon.
“This jury has affirmed what victims of conversion therapy heartbreakingly already know — charlatans’ attempts to change someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity amount to nothing more than fraud,” said Human Rights Campaign legal director Sarah Warbelow in a statement. “Today’s decision is an extremely important legal victory in our march towards fairness, equality, and justice for LGBT people.”