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Media Watch
by JIM EDMINSTER
2008-11-12

This article shared 2268 times since Wed Nov 12, 2008
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From the 'MYOB' file, the Chicago Tribune ( Oct. 9 ) quotes Queen Latifah: 'I don't have a problem discussing the topic of somebody being gay, but I do have a problem discussing my personal life. I don't feel like I need to share my personal life, and I don't care if people think I'm gay or not. Assume whatever you want. You do it anyway.'

The New York Times ( Oct. 6 ) profiles Pape Mbaye—a gay, singing, dancing storyteller from Dakar, Senegal, who has gotten refuge status in the U.S. because of his sexual orientation. Mbaye straddles two eras: He was, and is, a griot—a traditional teller of folk tales and songs who worked at weddings and other events. He is also a more-than-a-little flamboyant openly gay man who has been chased by mobs and threatened with death in Africa. The article about him highlights the fact that ' [ f ] or the past few years, anti-gay hysteria has been sweeping across swaths of Africa, fueled by sensationalist media reports of open homosexuality among public figures and sustained by deep and abiding taboos that have made even the most hateful speech about gays not just acceptable but almost required.' Joel Nana of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission said, 'In most countries there is poverty and instability, and usually homosexuality is used as a way of shifting the attention from the actual problem to this thing that is not really the problem but can distract the public.'

From the 'Don't-Ask-Don't-Tell-Reaches-Hollywood' file, the New York Times ( Sept. 28 ) tells of the situation of gay actors and actresses in the film industry. In a nutshell, gay people have advanced from 20th-century closets to 21st-century out-among-friends-but-mum-to-the-media. ( See paragraph #1, above. ) The article stated, 'Why? For both men and women, being openly gay, at least for now, means giving up any hope of superstardom.' This is a double-edged sword: Sean Penn ( liberal but straight ) is the lead in Milk, the film biography of slain gay hero Harvey Milk. 'There are not enough famous gay actors to play these roles,' according to the article ( although the film has a gay writer, gay producer, gay director and a number of gay actors ) .

From the 'Lesbian-With-a-Male-Porn-Star-Name' file, The Chicago Sun-Times ( Oct. 7 ) interviewed Ky Dickens, who is making what she calls an 'ani-doc,' an animated documentary. Her film, still in process, will be called Fish Out of Water and deals with the collision of homosexuality and religion in America.

From the 'There-They-Go' file, the Associated Press ( Oct.6 ) had an article on the Sworn Virgins—'women [ in Albania ] who dress, act and are treated as men.' The article quotes Drene Markgioni, 85: 'I am happier like this. I don't regret it at all. Not a hair on my head does.' In medieval times women in the area had virtually no rights, but as a sworn virgin, usually brought about because a family had no male leader ( killed in feuds, likely ) , a woman-qua-man could 'inherit property, work for a living and sit on the village council.' ( Ahem, but there's no sex. On the other hand, even in a knock-down kill-'em-all feud, no one could shoot/stab/hang/garrote her/him. )


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