We Are Missing In Action Again

Missing in Action is my terminology. The link at the bottom of this article shows a list of books recommended for everyone to read and understand the troubles!   But, both in terms of what it lists, but also in terms of what it leaves out.


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There are books covering aspects of both sides of paramilitaries, of ordinary people and how they were affected, but nothing about the military or the police, which to my mind is a shortfall. But even more glaringly obvious is the lack of any books covering the LGBT community during the trouble, either individually or as groups. For the military I suggest the following:

    • Contact by AFN Clark

  • A Long Long War: Voices from the British Army in Northern Ireland 1969-98

and for our community, possibly

    • When Love Comes to Town by Tom Lennon

    I would ask any of readers to suggest other books to cover all of our community.  But also remember to read the reviews that we have here on our own site, at NIGRA.

And just to add other spice to the mix:



Source: The Troubles: Books about Ireland, Northern Ireland and the United Kingdom

Boys On Film 2: In Too Deep

In Too Deep
Peccadillo Pictures
5 060018 651637

Boys on Film 2: In Too DeepThe title of this collection In Too Deep (sounds, well, it is, a bit ‘nudge-winkery’, but the reference is to one contribution (Kali Ma), set near a swimming pool, and implicitly to some sexual / emotional encounters in the nine movies on offer here. Two are from the USA, both set in New York City, two from Australia both set in Sydney, and one each from Sweden, Canada, France, Mexico (Bramadero, a word meaning number of – ambiguous – things. It is practically a dance piece, two beautiful men meet, it is hardly social-realism, maybe it is ‘magic realism’ in a building which was either abandoned in mid-build, or possibly it is on a major public holiday but the occupied buildings we see are not en fête; no bunting, no banners, no people, and is deserted. The men have sex, and… stirring… it is). The actors and director, as in the rest if these reviews, will be unnamed, as they are available on Peccadillo’s website.

Canada’s and one of Australia’s contributions are very short, The Island shows the Director-performer, (Trevor Anderson) trudging through northern Alberta, the snow is deep, but so packed he can walk on it – for a person from damp, ‘temperate’ Ireland, it’s just a bit seeing him walk on water. ‘The island’ is imaginary, a macho man phoning-into a US talk show suggested that all “homos” should be dumped on an island to “give each over AIDS”, and die out. Do such people think we breed? Where do Gay women fit in? And are there no bigots in Canada? If there are, no Canuck seems prepared to own up to it. While going walkabout in snowy Alberta Trevor daydreams about this “homo Utopia”, at which point the film bursts into full glorious [Techni(?)]color and animation. The full northerners’ nonsense notions about warm countries comes in full spate. Sun, check; sex, check; sangria, or vino anyway, check. There are no typhoons, hurricanes, or tsunamis. This too-short short is a real charmer.

Love Bite involves two teenage blokes (mid / late teens), in one of their bedrooms, smoking a spliff. One attempts to tell the other, very handsome, bloke, that he has a secret. For some reason said bloke thinks he is queer and is disgusted, a wee piece unlikely in a major Oz city these days, but let that particular hare sit — the boy is a werewolf. The end of the vid is very gory. The performers are Will Field and Aidan Calabria. The other item is Working It Out about the problem of a couple in a commercial gym, one is consumed with jealousy. His partner tries to calm him down. The chap isn’t having it, he is the sort of person who ‘dresses’ for the Gym, his ensemble is red, including a baseball cap he wears reversed. (Is this a ‘dig’? The fashion among US teens died the death about 1990.) Needless to say Mr. Jealous is the one who gets off with the guy who joined them on their exercise machines. The tale is a bit glib, the performers were not terribly engaging and gyms are not very photogenic. This is not an ex cathedra statement, probably everybody else who has watched this little comedy of modern manners thought it was hilarious. I was slightly bored, and would have gone on to the next item, if i were not in ‘reviewer’ mode. The actual next (and last) ‘item’ was Futures & Derivatives.

It was interesting because one could barely grasp the gist of the thing. It is, on the face of it, about a portly ‘businessman’ trying to impress a (very Big Business)-man on how up to speed is the accountancy (?) firm he works for. It isn’t, really. An outside expert is brought in to put a ‘presentation’ onto DVD, said ‘expert’ works through the night. There’s an arnacho-hippie under that suit’n’tie. He creates a serviceable DVD, though it also contains images of calm seas and cloud formations. He decorates the office walls with large paper flowers and other decs. Which turn-on the office drones when they arrive the next morning. Mr. Big, Mister Beauchamp (pronounced ‘bo champ’) seems to be able to take all the extraneous effects in his stride, and the contract (content unspecified) is given to the company.

Lucky Blue refers to a budgerigar, the pet of a travelling family, ‘carnival’ workers, in Sweden. An image of Lasse, the cute son of the family, is on the cover of this vid, behind his shoulder is the back of Kevin (Kevin? – in Sweden?) the tall, slender, blond boy he lusts after. The end of the yarn has Lasse singing a silly love song to Kevin. It is, officially, a contribution to a ‘talent show’ – the boys kind-of get away with it. And, implicitly, live happily ever after. Yes, it is sweet, but not tooth-, or mind-rottingly so.

The puzzlingly named Cowboy, from Germany, features an estate agent or surveyor, played by Oliver Scherz, sizing up a farm that has fallen on hard times; rusty machinery, a house dissolving into the overgrown vegetation. He encounters the only resident, a beautiful wild boy; tall, slender, blue-eyed, blond (any devout Nazi’s wet dream, Pit Bokowskipossibly more than metaphorically), played by Pit Bokowski, (info for impatient persons who may want to Google his ‘particulars’ asap). They meet at the ruined farmhouse and out-buildings and engage in interestingly explicit sex, the wild boy remains on the farm while the estate agent drives away to his city home, and girlfriend.

Weekend in the Countryside features the lovely Théo Frilet and Pierre Moure, and a ‘mature’ man who seems to be the owner of the farm, or small estate, the two young men are staying on. The narrative is slightly off-centre. Théo’s character is afraid of the dogs the man keeps. The latter is relaxed about the matter, (it is not stated – but the great Napoléon was, after all, – terrified of cats), but Pierre Moure’s character, apparently is not. Théo / Charles, goes to swim in the nearby river and encounters the three barking dogs. He takes to his heels, trips, and takes up a self-defensive, fœtal, posture, lying on the ground. The dogs’ master calls them off and apologises. Théo leaves the town by train, the other young man goes to the station, and sneers through the train window, “pedé”, Englished as “faggot”, but he had approached Charles in the shower. He placed his hand on Charles’s (rather lovely) bosom – and was, gently, rejected. So who was the queer? This is an interestingly ambiguous ending – it probably would not be as effective in the Anglosphere. It’s not that we are ‘superior’, or more ‘advanced’, we are actually more crude. Think of the situation bisexuals find themselves in, in the US and the UK, despite the – English, in particular, taking a high and mighty attitude to ‘America’. Incidentally, this isn’t ‘Anglophobia’, a Mortal Sin according to Ireland’s ‘revisionists’, – it is a observable fact of sexual culture.

Kali Ma is set in New York City, and features what is (or was) called in the US an ‘East Indian’ mother and son i. e. not a Native ‘Red Indian’ (a designation deeply resented by Native Americans). ‘Ma’ is played by Kamini Khanna, who is, well… oblong  She is seen, in the opening scenes dancing, singing – and cooking.  Almost simultaneously, it seems, we see her son in, presumably his High School, ogling a honkie athlete (?) showering. He then goes to the

Manish Dayal

NEW YORK, NY – AUGUST 04: Actor Manish Dayal attends the “The Hundred-Foot Journey” New York premiere at Ziegfeld Theater on August 4, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)

locker room and changes his clothes, we see his (Manish Dayal)’s fine, quite athletic, body. There is a close-up of his neat bum, wrapped in his gunks (underpants for the uncultured). He gets beaten up by a honkie (Brendan Bradley) and is seen lying in the locker room with messages written all over his naked body. One is the ambiguous “Property of Kit” (it may not be ‘Kit’ as Manish’s lovely neck is not flat), “Fag” is prominent. ‘Kit’, if my well-out-of-prescriptionBrendan Bradley specs are not failing me, is not the boy in the shower.

This is where cuddly ‘Ma’ (I hope this isn’t a Hindi or Urdu word) becomes ‘Kali’ (goddess of destruction and even death). This has happened before, and her son had told her the bullying was a thing of the past. She is seen martially tramping to the house of the honkiie boy, (on a rather grand Estate / Scheme, the kitchens are 21st century ‘state of the art’ (yes; I live in a hovel)). When she raps on his door, he (Brendan Bradley) is sneerily amused. He makes crude remarks about the boy he enjoys bullying. She chases him around his own house, and and out into a swimming pool area. There they have a (very funny) fight, choreographed by Ron Keller of KFX Entertainment. Miraculously, she ties him to a metal chair with her pashmina, and tosses him into the pool.

Her son (his name is spoken in the course of the action, but I can’t interpret it, yes, not merely poverty stricken, but ancient too) appears at this point. He dives into the water, unties ‘Kit’ and revives him.

In the next scene, the boys (in the same now very dry-looking, clothes they were seen wearing in the course of the action are sat at a table. ‘Ma’ places the feast she has prepared before them. Then orders them to “EAT!” They look slightly rebellious at first, but when she barks the order at them, they grab – at the same piece of bread. Neither of them really objects to this improper piece of table manners.

What happens next is left to the viewers’ imagination[s] – fevered in my case…

This wee gem, sorry for the cliché, – but it is, – was “Written and Directed by Soman Chainani, and was “Made in partial fulfillment of the Degree Requirements of the MFA [Master of Fine Arts – we hope] Film Program at Colombia (New York City – we hope, arís – upstart]. Not being familiar with Indian sub-continent languages, and too idle to ‘Google’, we don’t know this person’s gender, (possibly a Gay man?)
If this spritely, professional-looking movie is only ‘partially’ part of a Colombia University degree, they are clearly worth having.
There is one slip in continuity, as noted above. Other ambiguities are meant to be there.

Seán McGouran




David Bowie (né Jones) died a short time ago, as ever on such occasions, tributes ‘poured in’, and there is no doubt that Bowie was an artist who could produce very interesting material. He could also, it should be said, produce whole albums-worth of dreck. The person who first broke ranks on the adulation was the comedian (and sharp investigative television reporter), Mark Thomas.

He noted Bowie (“the Thin White Duke”)’s Hitlerian salutes and straightforward racism, shouting “Keep Britain White”, and “Get the foreigners out” in the course of early 1970s gigs. Such people don’t ‘do’ irony, the fact that he was using African-American music crudified for honkie consumption never seems to have ‘fizzed’ on him.

He was, admittedly, one of the few people who composed ‘concept albums’ worth listening to – one on the theme of travelling from Vladivostok to Moscow along the Trans-Siberian Railway. That’s the sort of thing ‘Rock Stars’ did in those days, when not molesting under-age girls or chucking televisions out of hotel windows. Bowie was a quite inconsistent artist and some of his stuff is worthless. The guitarist Eric Clapton, of the band Cream, joined in the racist fun at his own gigs.

A result of this dangerous nonsense was the founding of Rock Against Racism, at the instigation of a professional photographer ‘Red’ Saunders, in a letter to the ‘music press’, presumably mainly NME (New Musical Express) a mass-circulation journal at the time. There already was a group called Rock Against Racism an arm of the SWP (still the International Socialists, becoming a ‘party’ in 1976). The SWP was very gratified at a sudden huge extension of its youth base.

It was less enthralled to learn that the great majority of the base thought their particular analysis of society was surplus to requirements. The SWP personnel were voted out of office in RAR, though the IS / SWP were allowed to sell their wares at RAR gigs – some of which were enormous. The racist Right found that “there ain’t no black in the Union Jack” stirred most teenagers to thump them rather than nod in agreement. Ska and reggae bands were ever-present at RAR gigs and rallies. RAR’s magazine Temporary Hoarding was first published on May Day 1977.

Despite that, the racist Right looked as if it was going to make inroads in electoralist politics, it got 10% of the vote in the 1974 London’s local elections. It certainly seemed to be making determined efforts to monopolise the streets. Kevin Gateley was killed in Notting Hill in the Summer of 1976, prior to that Enoch Powell, in April claimed that ‘Britain’ was being “hollowed from within…” a portentous remark, if not a particularly clear one. England, or at least London, experienced a number of long, hot summers. In August 1977 the National Front staged an “anti-mugging” march through Lewisham. It left the south London, largely plebeian borough in a mess, but did very little to wipe out ‘mugging’ (street theft of purses and money off isolated, working class people) mostly women out shopping.

There can be little doubt that the rank and file of the police were sympathetic to the NF. The ‘blacks’ had suddenly become a majority, allegedly, in some London boroughs and parts of other cities and towns. The ‘Asians’ were a slightly more ambiguous matter, they didn’t look all that out of the ordinary, at least when they didn’t wear ‘Asian’ clothes. And they had the proper attitude to women, they should be seen and not heard, and stay in the kitchen. The ‘Blacks’ largely of West Indian origin have now become observably English. Some third, and forth generation ‘Asians’ have reverted to wearing the sort of clothes worn in the Indian subcontinent. Given that even liberals can use phrases like “fourth generation immigrants” possibly this is not too blameworthy.

Rock Against Racism rather fizzled out in the course of the 1980s mainly because groups like the National Front did, there was nothing like an invasion (you’ll recalled Mrs Thatcher used similar language in the 1990s, when she was Prime MInister) or a ‘deluge’. It was for most towns and cities more of a trickle of immigrants. The people coming into the economy proved useful, – most of the Asians were middle class and educated. They were somewhat similar to the Poles of the ‘noughties’, nearly all of whom had skills. Despite which, the Daily Mail attempted to work up grievances against them – then they all went home.

It is worth mentioning that Blair Peach, a New Zealander was killed opposing a National Front celebration of St George’s Day (April 23rd) in Southall. It is in (far) west London, and was heavily populated by Indians – the biggest Hindu temple on the planet is in the area. Peach was part of a crowd of about 3,000 – they were managed by an astonishing number of police, about 2,500. Peach was killed some streets away clearly obviously trying to get away from a baton charge.

He didn’t manage to escape, and died next day of a physical trauma – a huge injury to the back of his head. The London Metropolitan Police took years to admit that they did it. And that they had been very heavy handed dealing with a crowd that was not being physically aggressive and was not much bigger than their own body of men. This was the socio-political ambience that Bowie and Clapton decided to throw their tuppence worth of racist bilge around.

Why Star Wars Still Gives This Gay Kid Hope

Jase Peeples (Right)

“Come on, son. We’re going to be late,” my dad said as he encouraged me to slip my 5-year-old feet into my favorite pair of red KangaROOS. “You don’t want to miss the new Star Wars.” I had no idea what this “Star Wars was, but the way my father, stepmother, aunt Cindy, and uncle Bruce were talking about it, I was certain it was supposed to be something good. However, I wasn’t convinced.

Even at 5 years old I had already begun to realize I wasn’t like other boys my age. I had no interest in sports, preferring instead to dance around my room to my copy of Disney’s Disco Mickey on my Fisher-Price record player and loving any chance I got to play with my older cousin’s Easy-Bake Oven rather than the Hot Wheels toys that littered my bedroom floor. I knew what I was “supposed” to like, but the things that caught my young eye didn’t often fall into the predetermined “for boys” category. I was a sassy, effeminate, imaginative boy who felt stuffed animals were superior to toy guns and loved gathering kids together on the playground to make up our own adventures in the merry old land of Oz rather than play something boring, like cowboys and indians, with the other boys.

So when we got to the theater and began waiting in what I was certain was the longest line ever, I was sure I was going to have to suffer through a film that couldn’t possibly be as good as my family said. But as the movie began and the words “The Empire Strikes Back” started to scroll up the screen, I was immediately transported to a galaxy far, far away. For the next two hours and four minutes I sat transfixed by the sprawling space saga, but as impressive as the universe of aliens, starships, and lightsabers was, I found I was completely captivated by two characters that had a profound impact on me that day.

Luke Skywalker was unlike any of the leading men I’d seen before. The typical hero machismo that Harrison Ford played up with undeniable charm as Han Solo was nowhere to be found in Mark Hamill’s portrayal of the less butch son of Skywalker. All the ingredients that make a great hero were still there — courage, strength, honestly — but because they weren’t dripping with the trappings of traditional masculinity, Luke resonated with me on a level I’d never experienced before. Looking back, I now understand why my heart beat a little faster every time a scene of Luke training on Dagobah in his sleeveless undershirt flickered across the screen or why I gasped when Darth Vader sliced off his son’s hand during their lightsaber duel. Luke was my first crush. Hamill’s portrayal of a kinder, gentler hero made the character feel approachable, and I was infatuated with him by the time the end credits rolled.

Jase Peeples (9 Years Old)

Pictured above: Peeples (at 9) posing with his a Speeder Bike and Scout Trooper action figure on Christmas Eve, 1983.

But while the young Jedi was awakening a force of one kind in me, Carrie Fisher’s Princess Leia made my young imagination jump to light speed. Every aspect of my own personality that earned me ridicule on the playground was a strength for the rebel princess. Leia was strong without compromising her femininity. She could serve sassy one-liners that rivaled Han Solo’s, and she still managed to look fabulous whether she was running through the belly of a space worm or brandishing a blaster on Bespin. I may have adored Luke, but Leia was my hero, and I soon became obsessed with Star Wars, snapping up every bit of merchandise I could get from anEmpire Strikes Back sleeping bag and T-shirts to the awesome action figures and play sets from Kenner toys.

Star Wars became a safe space for me, a fantasy world that was acceptable to visit on the playground or at home — one that never brought the ridicule that accompanied playing with Barbie dolls or skipping down the sidewalk singing, “Follow the yellow brick road.” My Star Wars action figure collection — which included Princess Leia in every available outfit — gave me the opportunity to role-play as characters that had a wide range of personality traits. I could be the sinister Darth Vader, the prissy C-3PO, the handsome Luke Skywalker, or the fierce Princess Leia. It only depended on the mood I was in.

When Return of the Jedi was released, my love of the space opera dramatically increased. The revelation that Luke was Leia’s brother made it easier to see him as an object of affection — though at the time I didn’t fully understand that’s what he was for me — since there was now no chance of a pesky heterosexual romance getting in the way. Their relationship was one that paralleled those I was forming with girls in my life at a time when other boys my age were just beginning to notice girls in another way.

Jase Peeples (9 Years Old)

Pictured above: Peeples with the Ewok Village play set.

Topping it all off was the introduction of the Ewoks, warrior teddy bears who could take down even the biggest bullies and were about the coolest thing I had seen.  Carrying around a teddy bear at my age would elicit giggles and laughs, but a plush Wicket the Ewok? Well, that was just awesome!

Years later I would realize many other themes inherent in the Star Wars films that resonated with me as a gay kid, and I discovered many others felt those stirrings in the Force as well. While the story of a young man who leaves behind his small town to become his true self isn’t exclusive to the LGBT population, there are elements within the films that parallel our lives, and viewing the movies through a queer lens only makes the journey that much more personal. It’s this universality that has made Star Wars a pop culture touchstone for so many different people, a modern myth for anyone who needed to overcome the adversity of their own Galactic Empire.

The Star Wars universe was not only a place where I could freely express myself as a boy who often felt like an outsider, it also gave me a way to connect with my peers socially that leveled the playing field. As I sat in the theater watching The Force Awakens this week, I realized how this new installment of the franchise has the opportunity to do the same for an even greater number of young people.

Jase Peeples and family.

Pictured above: Peeples rocks his favorite Princess Leia T-shirt. 

For the first time in a Star Wars film, a person of color isn’t a supporting character like Lando Calrissian or a wise teacher like Mace Windu who helps the heroes on their journey. Instead, John Boyega’s Finn is a character at the center of the story, finally giving young people of color a way to see themselves in a galaxy far, far away like they never have before.

Similarly, women hold positions of power in this film that were only hinted at in earlier instalments. Sure, Leia and Padme were strong, brave leaders, but as wonderful as they are, they were still side characters in a man’s story. In The Force Awakens, not only is Daisy Ridley’s Rey one of the two main characters, she’s a hero who greatly surpasses her female predecessors in the Star Wars films. She needs no man to rescue her and is fully capable of handling herself in a scuffle on the ground or a dogfight behind the controls of a starship. She’s stronger than Luke and twice as smart as Anakin.

However, Rey is far from the only powerful woman in Episode VII. From the return of Leia (now a general and the leader of the Resistance) to the mysterious Chrome-clad Stormtrooper Captain Phasma and the wise Maz Kanata (played by Lupita Nyong’o), it is the women who are both the action stars and the advisers in this film.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens has changed the game. Women and people of color are no longer represented by tokens and background players in a franchise that has been a global phenomenon for nearly 40 years. Images of Finn and Rey are currently plastered around every corner of the globe, even in countries where racist and sexist attitudes are more openly expressed than in the U.S., and those images bring with them the potential for social change around the world.

Jase Peeples and Family

It makes me smile thinking that a new generation of young girls and people of color will have an even better experience than the one I did on that Saturday in 1980. Millions of kids will leave the theater with a greater sense of what they can achieve because they saw someone like themselves projected on the screen. They won’t have to dig through alternate meanings or filter the movie through a different lens to feel included. Those images are already sculpted into action figures with multiple points of articulation, plastered on bags of potato chips, and adorn multiple pieces of activewear.

The images we see in entertainment influence our world view, not only in how we see ourselves, but in how we see others who are different. Disney and J.J. Abrams have used a globally loved piece of pop culture to move the needle forward for diversity with The Force Awakens, and that gives me hope that one day a young queer kid will have the chance to see a gay Jedi on the silver screen and realize that the Force is with him too … always.

JASE PEEPLES is The Advocate‘s entertainment editor and a contributor for Out and Plus magazine. He lives in Los Angeles. Follow him on Twitter @JasePeeples.

X-Men star opens up about first on-screen gay kiss in music video

Troye Sivan had his first on-screen gay kiss in the video

Troye Sivan had his first on-screen gay kiss in the video

Actor and singer Troye Sivan has spoken about his first on-screen same-sex kiss, which took place in a video trilogy for his album Blue Neighbourhood.

The X-Men Origins: Wolverine star opened up about the emotional video trilogy which was directed by Tim Mattia.

Featuring three songs – ‘Wild’, ‘Fools’, and ‘Talk Me Down’, the videos follow a gay couple from their childhood friendship to a tragic ending.


“I heard these three songs but I just never listened to them in that particular order before”, Sivan said.

“You see a little girl and a little boy holding hands and everyone’s like, ‘Aww, sweet! When are you guys going to get married?’ I wanted to show that for young LGBT kids.’”

Of the passionate kissing scenes with co-star Matthew Eriksson, Sivan said he had not done anything quite like that before.

“I’d actually done it before with girls… It was my first time kissing a guy on screen. We had been friends on Facebook for a really long time but we had never met in person. The day after we met he was shirtless with his legs wrapped around me.”

Check out the video trilogy below:

The 10 Best LGBT Documentaries of 2015 (USA)


Best of Enemies

This documentary covers the legendary televised 1968 political debates between liberal Gore Vidaland conservative William F. Buckley Jr., in which the two intellectuals didn’t always keep their rhetoric lofty — at one point Vidal called Buckley a “pro-crypto-Nazi” and Buckley responded by calling Vidal “queer” and threatening to punch him. Directed by Morgan Neville (an Oscar-winner forTwenty Feet From Stardom) and Robert Gordon, Best of Enemies is not only a master class in debate, it’s also one of the most entertaining films of the year.


In 2012, Tig Notaro made comic history when she joked about her cancer onstage at a club in Los Angeles. The heartfelt routine launched her into fame and the national spotlight. And Tig, a new Netflix movie, chronicles the aftermath, a story of a lesbian comedian and cancer survivor who is searching for meaning, love, and perhaps parenthood through surrogacy.

Tab Hunter Confidential

Hollywood’s all-American boy Tab Hunter is setting the record straight (by coming out as gay) in his new documentary, Tab Hunter Confidential. Based on his 2005 autobiography of the same title, the film by Jeffrey Schwarz (Vito, I Am Divine) explores how Hunter dealt with decades in the closet while making dozens of films and delves into as personal details like his love affair with Anthony Perkins. Sadly, Hunter’s struggle remains relevant in Tinseltown, as A-list stars are still grappling with the love that dare not speak its name. Perhaps they will find some courage from watching this insightful documentary.

Seed Money: The Chuck Holmes Story 

For nearly 30 years, Chuck Holmes’s Falcon Studios was the world’s largest producer of gay pornography, altering the way a generation of gay men saw themselves and their sexuality. Thestory of its founder is told in this insightful new documentary, Seed Money: The Chuck Holmes Story,directed by Mike Stabile. Through archival footage and interviews with porn stars, as well as Holmes’s long-term partner, Steven Scarborough, the documentary shows how one man achieved wealth and fame by reinventing how mainstream culture perceived gay men, while navigating the dangerous early days of the adult film industry.

RELATED | An Oral History of Early Gay Porn

Do I Sound Gay?

Is there such a thing as “gay voice”? That’s what David Thorpe’s documentary explores, with input from celebs including Margaret Cho, Tim Gunn, Don Lemon, Dan Savage, David Sedaris, and George Takei. A hit at film festivals and with critics, Do I Sound Gay? features conversations with linguists, family members, and strangers on the street to weigh in about one of the most personal and perhaps revealing parts of ourselves: our voice.

Larry Kramer in Love and Anger 

It’s been a landmark year for Larry Kramer. The HIV activist turned 80, released the book The American People: Volume 1, and was nominated for a slew of awards for the recent HBO adaptation of his 1985 play The Normal Heart. And now he’s the subject of a new documentary, Larry Kramer in Love and Anger, which documents his fight as a firebrand activist to make AIDS a national issue and change public health policy. Don’t miss the making of one of the LGBT community’s great activists.

The Glamour & The Squalor

Directed by Marq Evans, The Glamour & The Squalor tells the story of the legendary rock radio DJ Marco Collins. As a gatekeeper and great lover of music, Collins helped make the careers of bands like Weezer, Nirvana, and Pearl Jam by broadcasting their songs to the public. But in his private life, the Seattle-based figure was battling demons and struggling to keep his sexuality out of the public eye. Archival footage, animated re-creations, and interviews with artists like Carrie Brownstein, Macklemore, and Collins himself help tell one of the year’s most glam tales.

The Royal Road

One of the year’s most poetic documentaries comes from filmmaker Jenni Olson, who in addition to her cinematic contributions, is known as one of the founders of Olson calls her new film, The Royal Road, “a cinematic essay in defense of remembering” as well as “a primer on the Spanish colonization of California and the Mexican American War alongside intimate reflections on nostalgia, butch identity, the pursuit of unavailable women and Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo — all against a contemplative backdrop of 16mm urban California landscapes, and featuring a voice-over cameo by Tony Kushner.” What’s not to love?

Mala Mala

Mala Mala is a timely new documentary that shows portraits of the transgender community in Puerto Rico. A hairstylist, a prostitute, an activist, and a RuPaul’s Drag Race star (April Carrion) are several of the subjects interviewed by directors Dan Sickles and Antonio Santini, who capture the discrimination and hardship that can come from one’s journey to selfhood.

A Sinner in Mecca

A gay Muslim filmmaker comes to term with his sexuality and his religion in A Sinner in Mecca. In this documentary, Parvez Sharma embarks on a hajj (a pilgrimage to Mecca) in Saudi Arabia, where it is not only a crime to be gay, it’s punishable by death. It is also forbidden to film in Mecca, making Sharma’s film an unprecedented view into a place and culture off-limits to most of the world

The 10 Best LGBT Films of 2015



i-am-michael-x750_2It’s the holiday season, which means it’s time to carol. Or at least, it’s time to sing our praises forCarol and the other LGBT cinematic standouts of the year.

Making a film with LGBT characters and themes is no easy task, even in a post–marriage equality country like the United States. Yet around the world, brave filmmakers continue to try, and they often succeed in creating stories that increase visibility and move the cultural needle for the LGBT community.

The Advocate salutes all these filmmakers and would like to give special recognition to several standout productions. Thus, here is a list of 10 of our favorite films from 2015 (in no specific order).

The New Girlfriend
Channeling Brian De Palma and Alfred Hitchcock, The New Girlfriend is a gender-bending new film by François Ozon (Swimming Pool). Set in France, the plot centers on the relationship between the characters of Claire and David. David’s wife (and Claire’s best friend) has recently died, and her passing makes David come to terms with their gender identity. Claire is at first alarmed, and then is seduced by “The New Girlfriend” in her life, as were we.

It’s New York in the 1950s. You’re working as a shopgirl in a department store, when suddenly, you lock eyes with a gorgeous older woman in a fur coat. You sell her a train set, but she forgets her gloves on the counter. Perhaps you should give her a call. So begins the electrifying romance between Therese (Rooney Mara) and Carol (Cate Blanchett), women who develop a friendship and then something far deeper in a time when same-sex love still dared not speak its name. Directed by Todd Haynes (Far From Heaven), the film was adapted for the screen by Phyllis Nagy from The Price of Salt, a 1952 romance novel written by Patricia Highsmith under the cover of a pen name. At the time, the story was highly unconventional, as its lesbian characters did not die or “meet the right man” or join a convent. It took decades before the world was ready for a film adaptation. At long last, audiences can see Carol in all its glory.

The Danish Girl
Eddie Redmayne delivers an astounding performance as 20th-century transgender icon Lili Elbe in director Tom Hooper’s The Danish Girl. An adaptation of a book of the same name by David Ebershoff, the film follows the remarkable love story inspired by the lives of artists Lili Elbe and Gerda Wegener (played by Alicia Vikander) as their relationship evolves while the two navigate Lili’s groundbreaking journey to discover her true self. “I hope others are as inspired by Lili’s story as I was and continue to be,” Redmayne told The Advocate. “At a time in which there were no predecessors that she knew of, she still had the absolute knowledge in herself of who she was and what she needed to do to liberate herself. The fact that she valued life and authenticity enough to give her everything and anything, I think that is extraordinary.”

Grandma marks Lily Tomlin’s first lead role in a film in nearly three decades, which is one reason to celebrate. Another reason? The lesbian actress portrays a lesbian character — Ellie, a poet whose partner has recently died. The film, which has generated much-deserved acclaim for Tomlin’s performance, centers on the relationship between Ellie and her granddaughter as they go on a road trip together and confront their pain. What are grandmas for, darlin’?

Tangerine is one of the year’s most acclaimed independent darlings. Directed by Sean S. Baker and Chris Bergoch, the film follows the story of two friends, who also happen to be transgender sex workers, Alexandra and Sin-Dee Rella, across the backdrop of the saturated streets of Hollywood. And it’s shot entirely on an iPhone 5s. The story goes: Sin-Dee, after being released from prison, discovers that her boyfriend has been cheating on her with a white cisgender woman. Furious, she goes on a hunt for revenge and solicits Alexandra as an accomplice. And in the process, the friends show the audience a side of Los Angeles that is rarely seen in media. Nominated for four Spirit Awards, including acting nods for its leads, Tangerine is a must-see film.

Queen Latifah stars as legendary bisexual blues singer Bessie Smith in the HBO film Bessie. Directed by out filmmaker Dee Rees (Pariah), the production charts Smith’s rise to fame through the 1920s and ’30s as one of the greatest talents of her time. It also stars Oscar winner Mo’Nique as her mentor (and rumored lover) Ma Rainey. Ooh-la-la! Don’t miss this Emmy Award–winning production.

I Am Michael
Michael Glatze, a former LGBT activist, ignited a firestorm of controversy when he publicly renounced his homosexuality and became an antigay born-again Christian. This “ex-gay” story is told cinematically in I Am Michael by writer and director Justin Kelly, who based the screenplay on a New York Times Magazine article by Benoit Denizet-Lewis. Glatze himselfpraised lead actor James Franco, whose performance he credits with being part of his own “gigantic healing process.” The rest of the cast, including Zachary Quinto as his ex-partner, do a wonderful job of telling a story that could have been quite judgmental but succeeds in recounting one man’s struggle for identity.

Eisenstein in Guanajuato
Soviet filmmaker Sergei Eisenstein, known for his 1925 classic Battleship Potemkin, is depicted in new, sensual light in the international biopic Eisenstein in Guanajuato. The film, which shows Eisenstein’s relationship with another man during his time in Mexico, has incited controversy in Eisenstein’s native Russia, which considers him a national hero from its cultural past. Directed by British filmmaker Peter Greenaway, Eisenstein in Guanajuato has been attacked for its accuracy (or lack thereof), but it has already proved itself a relevant, passionate, and much-needed film in a world that still tries to erase LGBT history.

Boy Meets Girl
Boy Meets Girl is a romantic comedy that crosses gender lines and is set (and was filmed in) rural Kentucky. The plot centers around four characters in a small town: a transgender woman (Michelle Hendley), a barista who aspires to be a fashion designer, a car mechanic (Michael Welch), a Southern belle (Alexandra Turshen), and a military veteran. As each of them grapples with love and identity, Boy Meets Girl itself becomes a quiet revolution in how a film with LGBT characters can be made.

French filmmaker Céline Sciamma is known for her coming-of-age classics like Water Lilies andTomboy, which explore how young people grapple with sexuality and gender identity. Her latest film, the acclaimed Girlhood, is no less revolutionary in its portrayal of a group of African-French teens navigating race, gender, class, and their own sexual identities in the Paris suburbs




Now this list is what The Advocate has published, the question for our readers which LGBT film do they think is the best in 2015 – please let us know by writing in on our comments board and we will gather your votes and publish them.




Holly Woodlawn – Transgender Artist


Holly Woodlawn | Getty Images | 15479

Holly Woodlawn, the transgender actress made famous by Andy Warhol and Paul Morrissey in their 1970s films Trash and Women in Revolt, has died after a battle with cancer at the age of 69 in Los Angeles. Holly was born Haroldo Santiago Franceschi Rodriguez Danhakl in Juana Diaz, Puerto Rico, in 1946.

At the age of 15, she took on the name Holly Woodlawn after running away from home and hitchhiking to New York City, where she became one of Warhol’s drag queen ‘superstars’.

These were a collection of New York personalities who appeared in Warhol’s artworks and accompanied him on social outings.
Holly’s story was immortalized in the first lines of the Lou Reed song Walk on the Wild Side.

‘Holly came from Miami, F.L.A. Hitchhiked her way across the U.S.A. Plucked her eyebrows on the way. Shaved her legs and then he was a she. She says, “Hey, babe, take a walk on the wild side.”‘

She took her first name from Holly Golightly, the heroine in Truman Capote’s novel Breakfast at Tiffany’s. The last name came from the Woodlawn Cemetery.

Holly Woodlawn, actress, born October 26, 1946, Juana Díaz, Puerto Rico, died December 6, 2015, Los Angeles.

WOMEN IN REVOLT (Paul Morrissey, 1971) (NSFW) from Spectacle Theater on Vimeo.

Now we have proof that Hollywood 'ignores gay and lesbian characters'

Brokeback Mountain

Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger in Brokeback Mountain.


Mainstream cinema remains unwilling to feature lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender characters and continues to “distort the demographic reality” of audiences, according to a new report.

Analysis of 700 films released between 2007 and 2014 found that less than one per cent of leading characters were gay.

Out of a total of 4,610 characters in the top 100 films of 2014, 10 were gay men, four were lesbian, and five were bisexual. No transgender characters featured.

Only 14 of the 100 films had one or more LGBT characters.

Virtually no lesbian, gay or bisexual characters were shown in healthy relationships, researchers noted. depictions of healthy romantic or sexual relationships were “scarce”, they said. Of 19 lesbian, gay or bisexual characters, only two were portrayed as being in a public, stable, long-term partnership and two were shown dating.

Furthermore, no lesbian, gay or bisexual characters were depicted as raising children together. “The landscape of popular cinema remains skewed and stereotypical,” the researchers said.

Breaking the Gay Code in the Movies

Before obviously gay characters were allowed on the big screen, subtle (and not so subtle) indicators were used. Here are our favorite 12.


APRIL 23 2015 5:00 AM

It took a long time for Hollywood to call a spade a spade. Then it took even longer for positive representation, so get prepared for weak but psychotic murderers and the like. Now that it’s all out in the open, the hide-and-seek aspects of these old film characters seem like risqué fun. Back then, for those in the know, there was nothing ambiguous here — like a big wink from Hollywood.

John “Plato” Crawford (Sal Mineo), Rebel Without a Cause, 1955 
In the tribute montage above (which includes some beefcake of Mineo for good measure) it’s hard to see how people didn’t understand that Plato was, well, in love with James Dean’s character. And Dean is doing nothing to discourage it. Just follow Mineo’s eyes. The mirror on his locker, with the photo of Alan Ladd, are like giant hairpins dropping. — C.H.

Luz (Mercedes McCambridge), Giant, 1956 
OK, first of all, her name is Luz. Get it? Plus Giant gets some kind of an award for the most gay and bisexual actors ever in one film: James Dean, Rock Hudson, Sal Mineo, Earl Holliman, and while Mercedes never personally came out, she played the most fiercely dykey roles on-screen to perfection.  — C.H.

Jo (Barbara Stanwyck), Walk on the Wild Side, 1966
Even the ferociously closeted actress Barbara Stanwyck admitted that her character, the madam of the bordello, Jo Courtney, is a lesbian. And in the spooky way that only Hollywood can create, the love interest/prostitute is Capucine, one of the most beautiful but icily sexless women to have graced the silver screen. Stanwyck smacks Capucine around some, which is the equivalent at the time of hot lesbian sex, at least in the male film creator’s eyes. Don’t miss the very hot Jane Fonda as a baby whore and Anne Baxter as a Mexican. — C.H.

Dill Harris (John Megna) and Scout (Mary Badham), To Kill a Mockingbird, 1962
I would love to have been on the set of this film when the director, Robert Mulligan, told John Megna, the actor playing Dill, to swish it up somewhat. Megna actually nails it without a lot of fuss. Dill Harris is based on Truman Capote, author Harper Lee’s childhood friend. Lee later helped Truman with his work on In Cold Blood. That the Harper character is named Scout and has a haircut that looks as it was done with an egg beater is sophisticated gender role-play for the time.— C.H.

Brandon (John Dall) and Phillip (Farley Granger) Rope, 1948
Alfred Hitchcock was fascinated by gay and lesbian characters, and there are sly and not so sly references in many of his films. Rope is fairly overt. The movie is based on a play, which was based on the the true story of Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb, who murdered 14-year-old Bobby Franks in Chicago in 1924. This time bi actor Farley Granger gets to be smacked around some for being hysterical and nelly, which is definitely code for gay. But the biggest whiff of lavender is that two young well-dressed male roommates are throwing an odd dinner–cocktail party hybrid. Who does that? James Stewart’s Rupert Cadell may or may not be gay in intention, but if the original casting choice of Ray Milland had played the role we would have been much more likely to see him as gay. — C.H.

Phillip Vandamm (James Mason) and Leonard (Martin Landau), North by Northwest, 1959
In another gay-inclusive Hitchcock classic, suave villain Phillip Vandamm has a thing going with Eve Kendall (Eva Marie Saint), who’s actually an American spy trying to find out how he’s exporting secrets to our Cold War–era enemies. He also may have a thing going with his devoted “right hand,” Leonard, or at least Leonard would like that to be the case. Leonard is suspicious of Eve, leading Vandamm to say, “I think you’re jealous.” “Call it my woman’s intuition,” Leonard responds. He’s undoubtedly jealous but he’s also on to her, and he ends up pursuing Eve and the film’s reluctant hero, Roger Thornhill (Cary Grant), in a climactic chase over Mount Rushmore. —T.R.

Joel Cairo (Peter Lorre), The Maltese Falcon, 1941
The effete, curly-haired, heavily perfumed Joel Cairo is among the shady characters seeking the priceless title statuette; detective Sam Spade (Humphrey Bogart) goes along with the quest in order to find out who killed his business partner. Cairo was clearly gay in the 1930 Dashiell Hammett novel on which the film is based; movies of the era couldn’t be quite so overt, but Lorre’s Cairo is so effeminate that he fits a certain stereotype of a gay man. Also, as The Peter Lorre Companion notes, he suggestively fondles an umbrella handle and gets his hand on Spade’s posterior briefly. Film experts have also observed that Kasper Gutman (Sydney Greenstreet) and his “gunsel,” Wilmer (Elisha Cook Jr.), seem to be a couple. — T.R.

Mrs. Danvers (Judith Anderson), Rebecca, 1940
In Hitchcock’s first U.S. release, soon after British aristocrat Maxim de Winter (Laurence Olivier) brings his new bride (Joan Fontaine) home to his great estate Manderley, we learn that Mrs. Danvers, the housekeeper, “adored Rebecca,” Maxim’s now-deceased first wife. That point is driven home as “Danny” fondles Rebecca’s lingerie — “Did you ever see anything so delicate?” she tells Fontaine’s character. “Look, you can see my hand through it!” She resents the presence of the second Mrs. De Winter (“Even in the same dress you couldn’t compare”) and does all she can to get rid of the new wife, and she also fondly remembers brushing Rebecca’s hair and laughing with her at the idea that Rebecca could ever love any man. Every housekeeper is that devoted, right? — T.R.

Bruno (Robert Walker), Strangers on a Train, 1951
In this Hitchcock film about a plot to trade murders , Farley Granger plays the hot straight guy that the unctuous Bruno, played by Robert Walker, inveigles into his lurid plan. Bruno’s nelliness would have been enough — plus he practically drools on Farley’s extra-wide lapels — but Hitchcock wants no ambiguity, so two-tone spectator shoes and flashy dressing gowns are used for the less-than-perceptive. — C.H.

Addison DeWitt (George Sanders), All About Eve, 1950
One of the greatest pleasures in a film with many is Sanders’s performance as drama critic Addison DeWitt, with his pitch-perfect delivery of Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s sardonic dialogue: “To those of you who do not read, attend the theater, listen to unsponsored radio programs, or know anything of the world in which you live, it is perhaps necessary to introduce myself,” he says in a voice-over as the movie begins. Addison is the ultimate condescending snob, described by one character as a “venomous fishwife”; in a less censored time, that would be “bitchy queen.” Along with his high-toned manner of speaking, his impeccable clothing and cigarette holder signal gayness, and he seems interested in women only to make them stars. “That I should want you at all suddenly strikes me as the height of improbability,” he says to the titular Eve (Anne Baxter). Addison is said to have been based on one of two acerbic New York critics of the 20th century, George Jean Nathan (apparently straight) or Alexander Woollcott, who was gay. Woollcott inspired other film portrayals as well; read on. — T.R.

Waldo Lydecker (Clifton Webb), Laura, 1944
Another character based on Woollcott, Waldo Lydecker is just as bitchy as Addison DeWitt and a lot more queeny. A powerful columnist and radio commentator, he’s helped the film’s title character to rise in the advertising business and he’s obsessed with her, but there are several indicators that his obsession isn’t of a sexual nature — those interests lie elsewhere. Key signs: the elaborately decorated apartment (“It’s lavish, but I call it home”), the walking stick, the perfection in dress and diction, and the fact that he answers questions from a hunky detective while in the bathtub. Played unforgettably by gay actor Clifton Webb, Waldo is the most fascinating character in the film, and he’d agree with that assessment. “In my case, self-absorption is completely justified,” he says at one point. “I have never discovered any other subject quite so worthy of my attention.” — T.R.

Sheridan Whiteside (Monty Woolley), The Man Who Came to Dinner, 1942
Is it a sign of our culture’s dumbing-down or just its fragmentation that we can’t think of any contemporary figure who’d inspire three fictional portrayals? Yet another character based on Woollcott is famed critic Sheridan Whiteside, a sophisticated New Yorker who gets stuck at a bourgeois Ohio couple’s home when he slips on the ice and breaks his leg while visiting. In this film adaptation of the George S. Kaufman–Moss Hart play, “Sherry” (played by gay actor Monty Woolley, a pal of Cole Porter’s) make lifes miserable for the couple, his nurse, and his secretary, and encourages his hosts’ son and daughter to rebel. Like Addison DeWitt and Waldo Lydecker, he does not lack for ego; “Is there a man in the world who suffers as I do from the gross inadequacies of the human race?” he wonders. Also like them, he has an effete manner and acid tongue that mark him as a certain type of gay man. And when a local journalist asks him how he thinks Ohio women stack up, he responds, “I’ve never gone in for stacking women up, so I really can’t say.” Whiteside entertains some showbiz visitors during his convalescence. They include playwright Beverly Carlton, who talks about seducing South Seas maidens but, as played by Reginald Gardiner, reads as pretty gay, and after all, the character is based on Noël Coward. Then there’s comedian Banjo (Jimmy Durante), inspired by Harpo Marx, with whom Woollcott was in love. Whether Harpo reciprocated is subject to debate. — T.R.