Category Archives: Homosexual History

The history of gay love.

Men4Men Scholarship® is pleased to announce the Bart Greaton Scholarship for Gay History studies. This annual grant will be given to qualifying students of any gender or age who are pursuing a degree in gay studies, gay history or men’s studies at an accredited secondary institution.

Applicants will be judged on essays submitted for publication in Men4Men™ Magazine on the related topic that most inspires them and must also fill out an application by the August 1, 2010 deadline. This year’s scholarship will be $500 and the winner will be selected on August 31, 2010.

For additional details please email

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Sylvia & The Stonewall Rebellion

Some say she threw the (Ruby) Slipper That Was Heard Round The World, starting the Stonewall riots and the modern gay movement on the weekend of Judy Garland’s death.

Sylvia Rae Rivera (2 July 1951–19 February 2002) was an American transgender activist. Rivera was a founding member of both the Gay Liberation Front and the Gay Activists Alliance and helped found STAR (Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries), a group dedicated to helping homeless young street transwomen, with her friend Marsha P. Johnson.

Rivera was born and raised in New York City and would live most of her life in or near this city. She was of Puerto Rican and Venezuelan descent. Her birth name was Ray (or Rey) Rivera. She was abandoned by her birth father José Rivera early in life and became an orphan after her mother committed suicide when Rivera was three years old.  Rivera was then raised by her Venezuelan grandmother, who disapproved of Rivera’s effeminate behavior, particularly after Rivera began to wear women’s makeup in fourth grade.[3]  As a result, Rivera began living on the streets at the age of eleven, where she joined a community of drag queens.

Rivera’s activism began during the Vietnam War, civil rights, and feminist movements and fully bloomed around the time of the Stonewall Riots. She often spoke of her presence within the Stonewall Inn the night of the riots.[5] She also became involved in Puerto Rican and African American youth activism, particularly with the Young Lords and Black Panthers.

Activist Riki Wilchins notes in Wikipedia, “In many ways, Sylvia was the Rosa Parks of the modern transgender movement, a term that was not even coined until two decades after Stonewall”.

At different times in her life, Sylvia Rivera battled substance abuse issues and lived on the streets. Her experiences made her more focused on advocacy for those who, in her view, the mainline community (and often the queer community) were leaving behind.

Wikipedia reports “Rivera refused to have the drag culture erased from the gay rights agenda by what she considered to be assimilationist gay leaders who were, in her mind, seeking to make the community look more attractive to the heterosexual majority. Rivera’s conflicts with mainstream gay and lesbian advocacy groups were emblematic of the mainstream gay  rights movement’s strained relationship to transgender  and transvestite issues. After her death, Michael Bronski recalled her anger when she felt that she was being marginalized within the community:

After Gay Liberation Front folded and the more reformist Gay Activists Alliance (GAA) became New York’s primary gay rights group, Sylvia Rivera worked hard within their ranks in 1971 to promote a citywide gay rights, anti-discrimination ordinance. But for all of her work, when it came time to make deals, GAA dropped the portions in the civil rights bill that dealt with transvestitism and drag—it just wasn’t possible to pass it with such “extreme” elements included. As it turned out, it wasn’t possible to pass the bill anyway until 1986. But not only was the language of the bill changed, GAA—which was becoming increasingly more conservative, several of its founders and officers had plans to run for public office—even changed its political agenda to exclude issues of transvestitism and drag. It was also not unusual for Sylvia to be urged to “front” possibly dangerous demonstrations, but when the press showed up, she would be pushed aside by the more middle-class, “straight-appearing” leadership. In 1995, Rivera was still hurt: “When things started getting more mainstream, it was like, ‘We don’t need you no more’”. But, she added, “Hell hath no fury like a drag queen scorned”.

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Gay couple sentenced to maximum 14 years in Malawi

BLANTYRE, Malawi – A judge sentenced a couple to the maximum 14 years in prison with hard labor under Malawi’s anti-gay legislation, and crowds jeered the two men as they were driven from the court house to jail Thursday.

The harsh sentence for unnatural acts and gross indecency had been expected after the same judge convicted Tiwonge Chimbalanga and Steven Monjeza earlier this week under laws dating from the colonial era. The case has drawn international condemnation and sparked a debate on human rights in this conservative southern African country.

Chimbalanga, a 20-year-old hotel janitor, and his unemployed partner were arrested Dec. 27, the day after they celebrated their engagement with a party at the hotel where Chimbalanga worked — an apparent first in Malawi.

Story continues below ?

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“Maximum sentences are intended for use for worst cases,” Magistrate Nyakwawa Usiwa Usiwa said as he delivered his sentence. “We are sitting here to represent the Malawi society which I do not believe is ready at this point in time to see its sons getting married to other sons or conducting engagement ceremonies.”

The lawyer for the two, Mauya Msuku, said they would appeal.

Chimbalanga remained composed as armed police officers handcuffed him to Monjeza.

“I am not worried,” he told reporters as they were taken to a police vehicle.

Monjeza broke down upon hearing the ruling and was still sobbing as he was helped into the van.

Hundreds of onlookers inside and outside the court house showed little sympathy. There were shouts of “You got what you deserve!” and “Fourteen years is not enough, they should get 50!”

Michelle Kagari, deputy Africa director of Amnesty International called the sentence “an outrage.”

Her rights watchdog has adopted Chimbalanga and Monjeza as prisoners of conscience, and would “continue to campaign on this matter and to work tirelessly to see that they are released unconditionally as soon as possible,” Kagari told The Associated Press by telephone from her office in Kampala, Uganda.

Malawi’s government has been defiant in the face of international criticism over the couple’s prosecution.

Betsy Chirambo, an adviser to President Bingu wa Mutharika, expressed concern over calls by some activists for the West to withdraw aid to Malawi because of the case. Up to 40 percent of Malawi’s development budget comes from foreign donors.

“It is not our culture for a man to marry a man,” Chirambo said this week. “That is not even in our constitution. Some of these rights are not good for our culture.”

The government has been backed by religious leaders in the country who have equated homosexuality with Satanism.

But the debate also has emboldened some rights activists in the southern African country. The independent Centre for the Development of People was recently formed by Malawians to fight for the rights of homosexuals and other minorities.

Gift Trapence, executive director of the Centre for the Development of People, was at the court house Thursday and told reporters: “How can they get 14 years simply for loving one another? Even if they are jailed for 20 years you can’t change their sexuality.”

Homosexuality is illegal in at least 37 countries in Africa including Malawi. In Uganda, lawmakers are considering a bill under which homosexuals could be sentenced to life in prison and “repeat offenders” could be executed. Even in South Africa, the only African country that recognizes gay rights, gangs have raped lesbians.


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Mickey Mouse Propaganda War Cartoons

You are a thinking man, with your own ideas about the world. Or are you?
The popular media has always been used to create public sentiment.
Here’s the Disney characters teaching Americans to save kitchen fat
so it can be used to make bombs.  I wonder what ideas today’s cartoons push?

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Ralph Waldo Emerson

The great 19th Century American essayist, poet and philosopher apparently had a great love for a boy named, ironically, Martin Gay.  Emerson’s journal over a period of two years record his obsession with the handsome lad and even though Emerson later tried to obliterate all references to this affair, modern editors have been able to salvage enough passages to document this classic case study of adolescent homosexuality.

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Sex in the 1970s Castro

Q. Dear Men4Men, Tell me about gay relationships in those days.  Were there established couples? Today the big focus is (monogamous) marriages.  Was there a groupsex, everyman for himself, coupling norm?

Josh Answers: I don’t know what to say about relationships in those days. Like today, there were those who went from partner to partner, looking purely for sexual gratification and then there were some who sought out only primary relationships. But even that required a few “test drives” so, like now, there was a lot of promiscuity in the gay community. After all, when you have two sexual aggressors pointed at each other there’s a good chance someone’s getting laid. I’ve long been convinced that straight men would be just as promiscuous as gay men are if they could find consenting partners as readily as gay men do. Couples existed then, of course, but they weren’t as opened or obvious about their relationship, the atmosphere still wasn’t one where that was OK. I grew up in Southern California which was probably a lot more liberal than say Iowa, but you still played your cards very close to the vest and only confided in your most trusted friends. And remember in many places it was still illegal and you could be arrested just on the suspicion that you were gay. It’s curious that at that time, as a result of the civil rights movement, discrimination was being banned if you were , black, latino, asian, disabled or female, but it was still OK to beat up a fag (as long as he wasn’t , black, latino, asian , disabled or a female!). Seems that there must always be some group that it’s OK to hate openly. For a very long time that was and in some cases still is the gay community.

Today I think the move towards monogamous, primary relationships is born out of the fear of Aids and any number of incurable, sexually transmitted ailments like Hepatitis C. Then there are families like yours, a Trimary relationship. Although I’ve participated in a three-way occasionally, I never experienced a triad relationship long-term and I’m curious how you make that work. Personally, I’ve abandoned the notion that I’m incomplete without a partner. I’m old and set in my ways and I’m just as happy spanking my own monkey as I would be going to all the trouble of seeking out someone to do it for me. And, frankly, at 60 it’s not the nagging ache it was at 20. What I look for in my relationships is a lack of static. I’m old enough to realize that everyone is different with different needs and desires and I can’t fault them for having theirs if I want to have mine. I don’t expect everyone I know to agree with everything I think or do, but I most appreciate the ones that shut up about it. I find the problem with long-term committed relationships is that the participants view their “other” as a part or extension of themselves and consequently when their partner(s) does something they don’t agree with they feel compelled to rag on them about it which ultimately creates a lot of tension in the relationship. I have had the same companion for nearly a decade. The truth is we started out as fuck buddies and have never had a romantic or intimate relationship. Still we probably have sex more often that many people. Generally we have what we call “physical therapy” about once a week just to ease that “need” that often causes people to make poor decisions in an effort to find sexual relief. And you know it can’t be bad to exercise your prostate occasionally just to keep things moving. We both feel that the lack of exercise is what leads to prostate ailments in older men and we’re determined to avoid at least that harbinger of age. We don’t consider ourselves a couple in the regular sense of the word, although I’m certain it has that appearance to the outside world. But in 10 years we have never had more that an occasional, momentary tiff and very few of those. I think that is because we let each other seek out and find the solutions to our needs in whatever way we need to without feeling guilty that we’re betraying some sacred trust. My definition of true love is wanting for someone else what they want for themselves, even if it doesn’t include you.

Well, somehow I’ve wandered off the path a bit. Wow, that never happened before!?! I hope at least some of this drivel answers a few of your questions.

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Gay Culture in the Heyday of Castro

Editor’s Note: With so much ado about Harvey Milk and the Castro hey days, we asked our friend Josh to tell us what it was really like.

Photo: Castro Street Fair 1977

In the pre-Aids era The Castro was a smorgasbord of delights; physical, visual, sexual, even spiritual.  Very few people knew what a rubber was much less used them with any frequency.  Drugs were still a big part of the party scene and the bath houses were guilt palaces of sexual abandon.

I lived in San Francisco in the late 70’s (76-79) and about the time I moved to St. Thomas Aids was just beginning to rear it’s ugly head.  We were hearing about the “gay cancer”, KS, a rare cancer most common in men of Mediterranean  extraction.  No body knew what caused it and certainly no one had a clue as to how to treat it or why it was appearing with alarming frequency in the Gay community.  More than one of my friends fell victim to this horrible disease.  It was a very scary time for everyone, but especially gay men.  My departure from San Francisco, oddly enough, was prompted in part by the same forces that attracted me to the city in the first place.  It was so gay at that time that you were constantly on display, by choice or by circumstance and it was difficult to to accomplish any task in public without getting openly cruised repeatedly.  It became almost intrusive.  Eye candy is one thing, being treated like just another sexual conquest or a piece of meat is quite another.

Fortunately, although I was by no means a prude, I wasn’t big on multiple, totally faceless sexual encounters.  I at least endeavored to know the name of the owner of the dick I was sucking and only occasionally fucked with someone I hoped would remain a stranger. To this day I thank the stars for that discretion and that I left the City when I did or surely I would have joined so many of my friends in a slow and painful demise, ostracized by society in general and shunned by even my own people.  And as much as I may have complained about the sexual isolation of living on a small island in the Caribbean, that fateful decision probably saved my life.

I don’t know how much more I can tell you without responding to specific questions, so feel free to ask if you have any.  Oh, the stories I could tell you!!

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The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence

Today they are in many metropolitan areas, but the white-faced philanthropic nuns known as the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence had their start, of course, in San Francisco. Wikipedia writes:

On Easter weekend 1979, three men dressed as nuns with habits they had procured from a convent in Iowa under the guise that they were going to stage a presentation of The Sound of Music, made their appearance on Castro Street.[11] They followed with appearances at a nude beach, a softball game and the annual Castro Street Fair.[12]

A revival of religious participation in politics appeared in the late 1970s with the activism of Anita Bryant and Jerry Falwell‘s establishment of the Moral Majority. The Castro District had been publicized nationally as a major gay neighborhood and was targeted by several dozen church members who took weekly trips to preach to the residents about the immorality of homosexuality. In August 1980, a dozen men dressed in 14th century Belgian nun’s robes and habits, and according to one participant using the name Sister Missionary Position, “a teensy bit of make-up so as not to be dowdy on a Friday night”, met the proselytizers where a chase ensued and attracted an audience of gay supporters who heckled the preachers until they left.[13]

In October 1980, the dozen or so erstwhile nuns held their first fundraiser, a bingo game and Salsa dance that was well-attended in large part because of the write-up in The San Francisco Chronicle by Herb Caen the same day, who printed their organization name, the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. The benefit was for San Francisco’s Metropolitan Community Church Cuban Refugee Program, and it netted $1,500 ($3,903 in 2009).[14] The Sisters began making regular appearances at Castro events that focused on sexual tolerance or provided a showcase for drag. They also developed a mission statement:

The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence is a leading-edge Order of queer nuns. Since our first appearance in San Francisco on Easter Sunday, 1979, the Sisters have devoted ourselves to community service, ministry and outreach to those on the edges, and to promoting human rights, respect for diversity and spiritual enlightenment. We believe all people have a right to express their unique joy and beauty and we use humor and irreverent wit to expose the forces of bigotry, complacency and guilt that chain the human spirit.[15]

Over the years the Sisters have named as saints hundreds of people who have helped on various projects behind the scenes organizing, coordining actions or projects, performing at events as an artist or emcee or even serving the greater GLBTI community. Rarely but sometimes they canonize community heroes who have recently died. Some of the more notable saints include assassinated SF Supervisor Harvey Milk.

Learn more about the Sisters on Wikipedia.

Dugher looks a bit shifty on TV and Reeves sounds computer generated, but they will improve and have inner sanctum positions as leader’s fixer and Ed Balls’s deputy. Umunna divides people, including me. At times unfortunately, the media seem to enjoy the selling point of a scandal, rather than the football itself and the positive endeavors of these public figures. Thankfully, journalists like Mike Sheahan are still offering a rational opinion, such as his report in yesterdays Herald Sun.. The Bruins will head to the city of brotherly love to take on the Flyers for the first time cheap jerseys this season. It’s been a rocky start for the Flyers this season. The lights themselves feature wonderful Flash Gordon internals that wouldn’t be out of place on a 58 Ford Galaxy but the horizontal positioning renders the Paceman indistinguishable from any other similar hatchback.Therein lies the danger. Purists have long claimed Mini is suffering the curse of the Chinese takeaway menu, dishing up Mini models like so much chow mein to the point where the Mini DNA will disappear. The thinking here is that, in the war for control over your bodily functions, stimulants kick all sorts of depressant ass. If this theory had any legs, mixing cocaine and heroin would result in full on excitement instead of untimely death. Tampa Bay Buccaneers Alabama S wholesale jerseys Landon Collins: In less than a year, the Bucs dealt away starting safeties Mark Barron and Dashon Goldson. Collins is no center fielder, but he’s excellent oakley outlet inside the box and can play linebacker in sub Cheap Jerseys packages. He is ineligible to play for the Sharks in the playoffs because he has been injured for most of the Cheap NFL Jerseys season, and was injured get this playing rugby for both the Sharks and the Springboks.You can fall back on the rule book as much as you like, but Super Rugby’s administration has got this wrong wrong because if a player can play in one competition game he should be able to play in them all. You can’t suddenly get to the knockout stages and say, ‘now it counts’. Same with the ’03 cheap oakleys sunglasses ALDS against Oakland, and especially the ’04 ALCS versus the Yankees and the common thread is that the Red Sox rallied to win all of those series. I’m not saying they will do it again. But the following spring Rosa, then aged 40, lost the baby who would have been a sister to her lively daughter Savannah, nearly 10. Distraught, she was being comforted by the Princess when Diana offered what to her was a Cheap NFL Jerseys simple way in which the grieving Lawsons could stay close to their lost child..

HIS Story Tuesday Raphael

The artist Raphaello Santi, aka Raphael, was born in 1483.  The “divine painter” may or may not have been gay, but clues point to an alternative lifestyle.  A handsome youth, he lived as an adult with two of his students: bisexual Guilio Romano and Gianfrancesco Penni. Raphael left part of his fortune to these men when he died.  The New York Times noted that he never married.
Raphael was an Italian painter and architect  of the High Renaissance, celebrated for the perfection and grace of his paintings and drawings. Together with Michelangelo  and Leonardo da Vinci, he forms the traditional trinity of great masters of that period.
Raphael was enormously productive, running an unusually large workshop, and despite his death at thirty-seven, a large body of his work remains. Many of his works are found in the Apostolic Palace of The Vatican, where the frescoed Raphael Rooms were the central, and the largest, work of his career. After his early years in Rome, much of his work was designed by him and executed largely by the workshop from his drawings, with considerable loss of quality. He was extremely influential in his lifetime, though outside Rome his work was mostly known from his collaborative printmaking. After his death, the influence of his great rival Michelangelo was more widespread until the 18th and 19th centuries, when Raphael’s more serene and harmonious qualities were again regarded as the highest models.

Learn more about Raphael here.

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History Tuesday: JC Leyendecker

Joseph Christian Leyendecker was born on March 23, 1874 in Germany. JC or “Joe” Leyendecker was one of the most successful commercial artists of the 20th century, best known perhaps for the creation of the Arrow Collar Man. When he first appeared in magazine ads, the Arrow Collar company received fan letters from adoring women eager to discover the identity of the sexy model.  Unfortunately for them, the model was Leyendecker’s lover, Charles Beach.

“Leyendecker’s biographers Laurence and Judy Cutler describe his lifestyle during the teens and twenties as that of an openly gay man. In an era when such a  sexual orientation was taboo, Leyendecker’s personal life was brushed aside in the popular media in favor of focusing on his fame as an artist. Leyendecker excelled at depicting male homosocial spaces (locker rooms, clubhouses, tailoring shops) and extraordinarily handsome young men in curious poses or exchanging inexplicable glances. Leyendecker may have attempted to disguise the homoerotic content of his drawings by including women adorning the handsome men. A few images are more overtly homoerotic, such as advertisements for Gillette in which scantily clad men teach each other how to use disposable razors.” Read the rest in Wikipedia

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