LGBT History: The Slide

I think this year I’m going to delve more into LGBT history. Not just The Stonewall Riots, but lesser known events in other areas of the country. If you know of something I should cover, please let me know.

As moral as the general public has tried to be over the centuries, we who love someone of the same sex have always been around and no matter what anyone does to us, we continue to rise like majestic phoenixes out of the ashes. Several months ago, a friend of mine recommended that I tune into a podcast called The Bowery Boys because I love history and they cover the history of New York City from its days as a Dutch colony right up to the present. These guys have over 250 podcasts as well as some blog posts that cover bits of history. One such post I recently read is about New York’s notorious “fairy resort” – a place called The Slide. They discuss this club as part of an analysis of the accuracy of the limited television series The Alienist.

You can read about it here and I hope something else will grab your attention on the BB site and you can learn more about NYC.

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Stonewall Revisited

I recently discovered a podcast series to listen to here at work, which makes the time go by faster. It’s about New York City history, but as I’m a lover of history, I find it fascinating. These two guys – Greg and Tom – are fantastic in their thoroughness of research, finding photos to go along with a lot of the information they provide. The format is conversational and I really feel they do each subject justice. They also have regular blog entries without a podcast that also give a lot of historical information about various sites around this massive city. If they talk about a particular neighborhood, you’re given the history from the time of the Dutch settlement all the way to today. Today I’m listening to a follow up podcast on something they did in 2008 about the Stonewall Inn and the Stonewall Riots so I thought something like that should be known and remembered by all in the LGBT community and those who support us.

Revisiting the Stonewall Riots: The Evolving Legacy of a Violent Night

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Book Review

This is not my book review, but one written by a dear friend who read the book and also told me about it.

51wjddkgfjl-_sx327_bo1204203200_ To read this story of Kitty Genovese is to learn much about ourselves, but not the lessons one might think.

The popular narrative which held for many years about the 1964 murder case in the New York City borough of Queens was “38 witnesses” who stood by as a young woman was stabbed to death and did nothing to help. This led to genuine research into what was coined the “bystander effect”, but it was not wholly accurate of what happened that night.

The real story teaches us to look critically at our insatiable need for outrage with the false superiority it provides. Sensationalism may get the world talking about something, however it is often at the price of a much deeper truth.

What happened to Kitty was a horrific tragedy for reasons much more complex than the reported apathy of people who heard her screams. The investigation into her death involved things about her personal life completely irrelevant to how she died.

When the detectives discovered she was a lesbian, their attitudes changed as well as their handling of the case. In 1964, same sex relationships were against the law in many places, which made for tensions between the police and the LGBT community. Although her killer was caught and convicted, the fact that her life and partner were placed under prejudicial scrutiny should never be forgotten.

The New York Times published a story about the case that painted the Kew Gardens neighborhood in Queens with a broad brush of callous insensitivity. It was not a fair assessment of the actual reactions, which the author explains in carefully researched detail. Cook is critical of the Times for sensationalizing the story, however he does give a nod to them for bringing what had been a footnote in most papers to national news status.

There is much to learn here, not the least of which includes an examination into the bystanders. Rather than simplifying that people didn’t care or believed someone else had called for help, we are shown individual responses. We are shown that our brains don’t take in all of what is happening, that reports of what people were able to see were mistaken, and how past experience in an environment affects how a situation is viewed.

We are taken back to a time before the 911 emergency call system with many people not having instant access to a phone. We are reminded that acts of compassion are not always acknowledged. We learn about her killer and his twisted motives. We see that sometimes a bystander is a friend who “doesn’t want to get involved”.

Kitty Genovese deserves to be more than a sensationalized textbook case of a behavioral effect. This book gives her story and memory a most prestigious honor–the truth.

A Year After Trans NYC Murder, Community On Edge

It really makes one (me) lose faith in the justice system when Justice’s wheels turn instantly for some and seemingly not at all for others. I hope someday Dolores Nettles finds the answers and justice her daughter deserves.

It’s been a year since Dolores Nettles rushed to the hospital and listened to her daughter’s heart beat for the last time. Since then, she has been waiting for the results of an investigation into her daughter’s death. Police say they’re on the case, but Nettles is skeptical. “What’s taking so long?” she asked. “I’m not really understanding what’s really going on.”

Nettles is the mother of Islan, the transgender woman who died on Aug. 17, 2013, after a group of men allegedly fought with her outside a police precinct in Harlem, a New York City neighborhood. The police initially brought assault charges against Paris Wilson, who allegedly delivered the blows that would eventually kill her. But authorities later dropped the charges, saying they intended to pursue the case as a homicide investigation.

At a court hearing last November, Assistant District Attorney Nicholas Viorst said the case “turned out to be a uniquely complex one.” A spokeswoman for the district attorney declined to comment on the open investigation. The Nettles family says it heard little from the investigators until a few week ago, when a representative from the district attorney’s office called with an update, and to assure Nettles that they were still pursuing leads.

Full story

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Boy Scouts Lead Thousands In New York City Pride Parade

This is AWESOME!

A contingent of active and former members of the Boy Scouts of America led thousands Sunday in New York City’s 44th Annual Pride Parade — a historic move in celebration of the organization’s inclusion of out gay youth and in protest of its existing ban on out gay adult members.

The group of over a dozen — spanning generations of Boy Scouts, Eagle Scouts, leaders in uniform, and volunteers — presented the American flag and acted as the parade’s color guard, leading over 14,000 parade participants through Manhattan. Crystal Bueno, a Cub Scouts leader from Brooklyn, said their service in the march was “emotional and bittersweet.”

Full story

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Guinness Drops Out of NYC St. Patrick’s Day Parade Over Anti-LGBT Policy

I may think that the drink Guinness is the most foul tasting drink on the earth, but the company is high on my favourable list. I’m so glad NYC lost a huge sponsor like this. It warms my heart.

Guinness announced Sunday it is dropping its sponsorship of the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade in New York City due to the parade’s rule that effectively bars LGBT groups from participating in the parade.

“Guinness has a strong history of supporting diversity and being an advocate for equality for all,” the company said in a statement. “We were hopeful that the policy of exclusion would be reversed for this year’s parade. As this has not come to pass, Guinness has withdrawn its participation. We will continue to work with community leaders to ensure that future parades have an inclusionary policy.”

The move comes just days after Heineken announced it is backing out of the parade, which kicks off at 11 a.m. on Monday in Midtown, and is expected to draw more than one million people. In a similar boycott due to LGBT exclusion, Sam Adams Beer skipped the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Boston on Sunday.

Full story

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Gay Marine’s Amazing Journey From Homeless Shelter to Ivy League

This guy is proof anything can happen if we work hard enough.

U.S. Marine veteran Elegance Bratton left his New Jersey home at age 16. “If I were to describe my relationship with my family in one word, is silence. Meaningful, heavy silence and the silence revolved around my sexuality,” says Bratton.

He says he started having problems in school and wouldn’t show up for class. The school called his mother to discuss the troubles Bratton was having. “When she confronted me about it, I ended up letting her know what was wrong and my mother’s response was to slap me and say I don’t want a [expletive deleted] in this house,” he says.

After that Bratton decided to leave the house. “In my household, a slap can turn into an hour-long ordeal of violence. I just panicked. I didn’t know what to do and didn’t know how to process it. So I grabbed my book bag, wallet and just left,” he says.

Bratton’s situation is not that uncommon. Every night, more than 1.6 million homeless teens between the ages of 12 and 17 sleep in public areas or shelters in the country. According to a report, LGBT youth make up 40 percent of the homeless youth population.

Full story

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Bill De Blasio Won’t March In New York’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade

I’m sorry, but it’s the St Patrick’s Day Parade, not the gay pride parade. Why does every parade have to have rainbow flags? We have our day and I think the Irish should have theirs, without strings.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said today he will sit out the nation’s largest St. Patrick’s Day parade because of organizers’ refusal to allow participants to carry gay-pride signs.

LGBT New Yorkers are allowed to walk in the parade, but they aren’t allowed to identify themselves by their sexual orientation.

“No, I am not planning on marching in the parade,” de Blasio said at a City Hall press conference. “I will be participating in a number of other events to honor the Irish heritage of this city, but I simply disagree with the organizers of that parade.”

His predecessors, Michael Bloomberg and Rudy Giuliani, marched every year that they were in office.

Full story

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Transgender Woman Dies After Beating in Front of NYPD Precinct

Tragedies like this tell me that there are still plenty of people who are very willing to turn a blind eye to crimes against the LGBT Community. I may not understand what transgendered people are going through or even why they are doing it, but I’ll be damned if any individual M-to-F or F-to-M deserves anything remotely like this. What the FUCK is wrong with the NYPD? Too busy stuffing donuts in your hole?

Islan Nettles was out in New York City with friends when a group of young men approached her, learned she was a transgender woman and began taunting and maliciously beating her—right in front of a police precinct in Harlem.

The fashion design student with delicate features was punched in the face, knocked to the ground and beaten until she lost consciousness on the night of August 16.

“They were called f****, they were called he-she’s, she males, things of that nature,” Nettles’ mother told a local newscast.

Islan Nettles, born Vaughn Nettles, fell into a coma she would never awake from. She died Thursday after being taken off of life support. She was only 21.

Full story

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