The Chicago Sun-Times ( June 10 ) reviews a new graphic novel, The Salon by Nick Bertozzi, which stars most of the famous Parisians from the turn of the last century. Chief among them are Gertrude Stein and her lover, Alice B. Toklas. Among the other 'guests' are Apollinaire, Picasso, Gaughin, Matisse and Braque. You can watch the development of Cubism in Montparnasse and Alice and Gertrude getting it on. Such a deal.
Local Episcopalian congregations are part of the tour that gay Nigerian Davis Mac-Iyalla is making across the U.S., according to the Chicago Tribune ( June 4 ) . Nigerian Archbishop Peter Akinola is pushing the Anglican Communion toward a schism over issues of homosexuality. Mac-Iyalla has been threatened with death in Africa and, says the Rev. Akin Tunde Popoola, the Nigerian church's director of communications, ' [ a ] nyone relating to Davis Mac-Iyalla does so at his or her own risk.' So very Christian.
From the Straight and Narrow file, the Chicago Tribune ( June 11 ) says that those feckless 'ex-gay movement' types are at it again. The whole she-bang is coming to the fore again because of President Bush's nominee for surgeon general, Dr. James Holsinger, who helped establish a church where gays 'walk out of that lifestyle.' Perhaps because of hammerings of other psychologists and therapists who do not accept the ex-gay philosophy, groups like Exodus International are hedging their bets, indicating, as one client puts it, '... his feelings toward men will never change.' One ex-gay therapist, Betty Kalbes ( who has a lesbian daughter ) , makes sure her clients don't exchange e-mail addresses or phone numbers because they might get 'in touch.'
While we're talking retro, The New York Times ( May 13 ) reviews the recently released DVD of the '80s cross-dressing sitcom Bosom Buddies, starring Tom Hanks and Peter Scolari. The Times says that the series, about two young guys dressing as women to be able to live in an all-female apartment building, is still amusing, but the review points out a lot of subtle not-quite-out-of-the-closet touches in the plots: 'Sometimes Henry [ Scolari ] dresses like a caricature of a gay man in the '80s: tight Izod shirt, gold chains, modified Dorothy Hamill hairdo.' There are also numerous references to each other as 'wife' and 'sweetheart,' not to mention Kip [ Hanks ] saying his life wasn't quite straight.
In a file that might be called 'Dragged-From-the-14th-to-the-17th-Century,' the Chicago Sun-Times ( June 11 ) interviews Dr. Heba Kotb, an Egyptian TV ( that's television ) sexologist. Kotb says the Koran allows hot frequent sex. If ( and only if ) you're married. And straight. And don't do anal intercourse. Or have sex during menstruation. Her take on homosexuality? 'I'm totally against homosexuality being considered a gene or natural. It's a sin—they're just like the alcoholics and the drug-takers.' Kotb is considered a 'radical liberal.'
Geoffrey Stone, a University of Chicago law professor, says in the Chicago Tribune ( June 12 ) that the 10 Republican presidential candidates who refused to support 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' are either cynical or viciously prejudiced. 'Like racial, gender, age, disability, religious and ethnic discrimination, discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is grounded in ignorance and immorality. It is a deeply irrational policy...' Furthermore, those candidates are '... on the wrong side of history.'
From the 'My-My-My' file, we have the extremely hateful conservative Chicago Tribune ( May 28 ) columnist Dennis Byrne complaining about a hate crime. Some high school girls in the northwest suburbs were arrested and charged with a felony hate crime because they handed out anti-gay literature at their school. Byrne thinks they should not be treated so, because they were expressing their right of free speech, and then he goes on to take on all hate-crime laws. Byrne doesn't seem to understand public high schools. Could a pro-Nazi group hand out anti-Semitic literature in a heavily Jewish school? Does the Klan have a right to pass out its credo at Wendell Phillips High School, an all-Black institution on Chicago's South Side?
In an analysis of Tom Santopietro's Considering Doris Day, a new bio of the '50s and '60s movie star, the New York Times Book Review ( June 3 ) points out a couple of curious items: She is the number-one female box-office star of all time, and many of her movies use the plot device of '... a gay man playing a straight man making jokes about homosexuals.'
Mike Jones, who blew the whistle on the Rev. Ted Haggard for sex and drugs, is interviewed in The New York Times Magazine ( June 3 ) . He is not unhappy about putting the anti-gay hypocrisy of Haggard out to flap in the breeze, but is rather sad that he's lost all of his jobs and that very few gay groups have contacted him as to how he was doing. The interviewer pointed out the police might read his book, I Had To Say Something, as a confession ( for prostitution ) , and he said that the police don't read much.