Homophobia: Pathos and the Culture of Fear

Homophobia: Pathos and the Culture of Fear

Homophobia is an intensely dramatic short film by Austrian writer-director Gregor Schmidinger, which was released last week in support of The International Day Against Homophobia. The film deals with a theme that’s of major concern in our present-day political and social worlds: homophobia, the fear of homosexuals and of their way of life. Homophobia also deals with a perhaps even deeper issue: the fear of oneself being homosexual.

The film tells the story of an adolescent boy serving in the Austrian Military Forces, who experiences homosexual feelings towards one of his comrades. It’s their last night serving on the Austrian-Hungarian border, where they are socially isolated and armed with loaded weapons. On their final patrol, underlying tensions reach a climax, and the young boy must confront both the judgements of others and his own self-understanding.

Homophobia explores the difficulties faced by many young homosexuals, and, in a wider sense, by outsiders who have to fight against social disapproval. While the subject of fear, persecution and coming out is familiar territory in gay cinema, Homophobia takes this important topic and, by telling a compellingly intense story focused on a single main character, is successfully able to universalize it.

Thanks to Georg Csarmann at Short of the Week.

Homophobia: Pathos and the Culture of Fear

(Best Watched in HD Full-Screen Mode)

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Mayor Rahm Emanuel Leads Chicago’s 42nd Annual Gay Pride Parade

Mayor Rahm Emanuel Leads Chicago’s 42nd Annual Gay Pride Parade

The 42nd Annual Chicago Gay Pride Parade kicked off from the northside Lakeview neighborhood at noon on Sunday, led by Chicago’s new mayor, Rahm Emanuel. It was the first time in a long time that a sitting mayor has appeared in the parade, a salute to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. An animated Rahm Emanuel marched directly behind the parade’s lead banner and platoon of police on horseback. Dressed casually in a light blue shirt, white jeans, tennis shoes and black shades, Emanuel brought the crowd to a roar as he stopped to high-five a little girl and hoisted a young boy over the metal barricade for a peck on the cheek.

Emanuel is a regular at the parade, having appeared at the festivities almost every year while he served in Congress. He has been a relentless advocate of gay causes, including HIV/AIDS funding, civil unions and gay marriage. Joining him in the parade was Governor Pat Quinn, who recently signed the Illinois civil union legislation, as Illinois became the sixth state to allow civil unions or their equivalent, giving same-sex couples the same state-level rights that come with marriage.

The parade usually draws around a half-million celebrants, but coming right on the heels of winning the long-sought right for same-sex couples to enter into civil unions and the historic passage of the New York bill allowing same sex marriage Friday night, this parade swelled to an estimated attendance of 750,000, which was likely a record number of rainbow-clad spectators.

Viewers can read a short history of the gay rights movement in Illinois here.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel Leads The 42nd Annual Chicago Gay Pride Parade

Chicago’s 2010 Gay Pride Parade

The Chicago Gay Pride Parade Celebration

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New York Senate Votes 33-29 to Approve Gay Marriage!!

New York Senate Votes 33-29 to Approve Gay Marriage!!

The New York Senate voted on Friday to legalize gay marriage, a breakthrough victory for the gay-rights movement in the state where it got its start. New York became the sixth state where gay couples can wed, and by far the biggest. Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who campaigned on the issue last year, has promised to sign it. Gay weddings could begin 30 days after that.

Although New York is a relative latecomer in allowing gay marriage, it is considered an important prize for advocates, given the state’s size and New York City’s international stature and its role as the birthplace of the gay-rights movement, which is said to have started with the Stonewall riots in Greenwich Village in 1969.

Gay-rights advocates are hoping the vote will galvanize the movement around the country and help it regain momentum after an almost identical bill was defeated in New York in 2009 and similar measures failed in 2010 in New Jersey and this year in Maryland and Rhode Island.

NY Sen. Tom Duane’s Moving Speech for Marriage Equality

Rachel Maddow: NY Senate Passes Same-Sex Marriage Bill

Stonewall: The Stone Wall Against Oppression

The Stonewall Riots: A Night That Changed the World

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The Very Sad Confessions of a Gay Snail

The Very Sad Confessions of a Gay Snail

Sequoïa Snail is a very funny one-minute animated short film by Marcel. In the film, a poor little gay snail faces the camera to share his doubts, problems and worries about being gay in the midst of the harsh world of the animal kingdom.

The Very Sad Confessions of a Gay Snail

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Broadway Revival of Larry Kramer’s The Normal Heart Wins Three 2011 Tony Awards

The AIDS Memorial Candlelight Vigil, Washington DC, 1989

Broadway Revival of Larry Kramer’s The Normal Heart Wins Three 2011 Tony Awards

Larry Kramer’s The Normal Heart, which originally was performed at New York City’s Public Theater in 1985, won the 2011 Tony Award for revival of a play. The play is considered to be a literary landmark, contending with the AIDS crisis when few would speak of the disease afflicting gay men, including gays themselves. It remains the longest-running play ever staged at the Public Theater.

In addition, The Tony award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role went to Ellen Barkin, and the award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play went to John Benjamin Hickey, both for their performances in The Normal Heart. Producer Daryl Roth accepted the award, but it was the playwright Larry Kramer, an outspoken gay activist for many years, who received the biggest welcome from the audience. The writer exhorted the gay community to “carry on the fight,” adding that “our day will come.”

The stunning, pulse-pounding ensemble drama tells the groundbreaking story of love, rage and pride as it follows a group of New Yorkers confronting the AIDS crisis in the early 1980s. The story of a city in denial, The Normal Heart unfolds like a real-life political thriller, as a tight-knit group of friends refuses to let doctors, politicians and the press bury the truth of an unspoken epidemic behind a wall of silence. A quarter-century after it was written, this unflinching, and totally unforgettable look at the sexual politics of New York City during the AIDS crisis remains one of the theater’s most powerful evenings ever.

Tony Awards Acceptance Speech: The Normal Heart

Broadway’s Revival of The Normal Heart and The AIDS Crisis

Highlights From Broadway’s The Normal Heart

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President Obama Signs Repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell: “Out of Many, We Are One”

President Obama Signs Repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell: “Out of Many, We Are One”

With his signature today, President Obama put in motion the end of the Pentagon’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, which has hurt our military as a whole, has forced thousands of those who serve to do so under a cloud of anxiety and isolation, and has stood as a symbol of the barriers to unity and equality in our country.  As the President put it, “For we are not a nation that says, ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’  We are a nation that says, ‘Out of many, we are one.'”

During the signing ceremony in a packed auditorium at the Interior Department, President Obama said, “No longer will tens of thousands of Americans in uniform be asked to live a lie or look over their shoulder.”  Quoting the Chairman of his Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, Pres. Obama went on to declare, “Our people sacrifice a lot for their country, including their lives.  None of them should have to sacrifice their integrity as well.”

President Obama Signs Repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”

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DADT: We Have To Give Them Hope

DADT: We Have To Give Them Hope

Photography by:  Jeff Sheng, Los Angeles

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is a deeply touching series of portraits by Jeff Sheng, photographs of gay men and lesbians serving in the military, all of them in uniform and with their faces obscured in some way, by a hand, a door frame or by darkness.  The portraits are pervaded by a sense of lonely sadness and isolation.

Mr. Sheng has described his subjects, identified only by first names that are pseudonyms, as people who “didn’t want to risk their careers, but who wanted to take some kind of stand.”  Earnest and passionate about his work, Mr. Sheng said he struggles to avoid being heavy-handed as an artist.  “I merge a fight for social equality with photography, but I’m always trying to figure out how to do it intelligently,” he said.

Bright Eyes: First Day of My Life

Slide Show: DADT/We Have To Give Them Hope

(Please Click Image to View Slide Show)

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