tagged w/ Lesbian Rights
Los Angeles Times...
Barbara Grier dies at 78; co-founder of lesbian publishing house
Grier, who wanted to provide lesbian readers with stories that could help them lead happier lives, and her longtime partner launched Naiad Press in 1973 and built it into a $1-million business.
Barbara Grier | 1933-2011
Photo's Caption: Barbara Grier challenged mainstream prejudices to make literature by and about lesbians widely available in the U.S. and abroad. Her publishing house's top-selling book was the nonfiction “Lesbian Nuns: Breaking Silence” (1985) by Rosemary Curb and Nancy Manahan, which presented the accounts of 51 women, most of whom had been Roman Catholic nuns. (Urscia Mahring / November 12, 2011)
By Elaine Woo, Los Angeles Times
November 13, 2011
Barbara Grier, a pathbreaking publisher who challenged mainstream prejudices to make literature by and about lesbians widely available in the United States and abroad, has died. She was 78.
Grier, a founder of Naiad Press, died of lung cancer Thursday in Tallahassee, Fla., said her longtime partner, Donna McBride.
Grier and McBride launched Naiad Press in 1973 with a $2,000 loan and built it into a $1-million business. By the time it folded in 2003, it had published more than 500 titles by authors such as Rita Mae Brown, Katherine V. Forrest, Jane Rule and Sheila Ortiz Taylor.
"She created Naiad Press because the mainstream would not publish any of our books," Forrest, whose career was launched by Naiad in 1983 with the publication of her novel "Curious Wine," told The Times on Friday. "Her accomplishments are just monumental, given the obstacles she faced. There was such virulent homophobia. Barbara was nothing if not fearless."
Before she and McBride, a former librarian, started Naiad, lesbian literature consisted primarily of pulp fiction written by men whose protagonists generally ended up one of three ways: They married a man, went crazy or killed themselves.
Grier wanted to provide lesbian readers with stories that could help them lead happier lives.
"I have always believed that the best thing I might leave behind is a world in which any woman, anywhere, might say to herself 'I am a lesbian' and be able to go to a nearby store or library and find a book that will say to her, 'Yes, you are a lesbian, and you are wonderful,' " she told gay historian Jim Kepner some years ago.
Naiad published primarily romances and mysteries, but its top-selling book was the nonfiction "Lesbian Nuns: Breaking Silence" (1985) by Rosemary Curb and Nancy Manahan, which presented the accounts of 51 women, most of whom had been Roman Catholic nuns. It sold 500,000 copies and gave Naiad Press a national profile.
Born in Cincinnati on Nov. 4, 1933, and reared in Detroit, Grier was aware of her sexual orientation as a girl. When she was 12, she told her mother she was a homosexual — a word she learned from her physician-father's medical books.
Her mother, who came from a theatrical family, took an enlightened view of her daughter's declaration.
"Because Mother and I were always open with each other, I told her immediately," Grier said in the book "Before Stonewall: Activists for Gay and Lesbian Rights in Historical Context" by Vern L. Bullough. "Mother said since I was a woman, I wasn't a homosexual, I was a lesbian. She also said that since I was 12 I was a little young to make this decision and we should wait six months to tell the newspapers."
When Grier was 18, she entered a long-term relationship with a woman 20 years her senior. They moved to Denver and later to Kansas City, Kan., where they both worked for the public library.
In 1957, Grier began writing a column for the pioneering lesbian magazine The Ladder. She became its editor in 1968 and publisher in 1970. When she tried to give the magazine a more feminist orientation, its benefactor withdrew funding and the publication closed in 1972.
She met McBride in 1971 and soon after ended her relationship with the older woman. They launched Naiad Press two years later with financing from a retired attorney, Anyda Marchant, and Marchant's partner, Muriel Crawford. The first book they published was a romance novel Marchant wrote under the pseudonym Sarah Aldridge called "Latecomer."
Forrest, who worked as Naiad's supervising editor from 1984 to 1994, said Grier and McBride overcame many obstacles, including homophobic printers and cover artists who refused to work for a lesbian press. But it gradually established itself as a major force, creating a market for lesbian writing, including Rule's classic "Outlander," a collection of stories and essays about the lives of lesbians.
Other specialized presses and bookstores emerged in the wake of Naiad's success, including Bella Books, the Tallahassee press that took over Naiad's inventory and authors when Grier and McBride retired eight years ago.
In addition to McBride, Grier is survived by two sisters, Diane Grier of Willard, Mo., and Penni Martin of Denton, Texas.
.Los Angeles Times...
Barbara Grier dies at 78; co-founder of lesbian... more
Jean Harris dies at 66; forceful gay-rights organizer
The longtime Democratic Party activist campaigned in favor of gay candidates, pushed California to expand domestic-partnership rights and helped block an Oregon bill that would ban talk of homosexuality in schools.
Political activist Jean Harris was called “the lesbian Al Sharpton” for her colorful personality and confrontational style. (Denise Penn)
By Elaine Woo, Los Angeles Times
July 2, 2011
Jean Harris, a feisty advocate for gay and lesbian rights and longtime Democratic Party activist who helped elect openly gay candidates in California, has died. She was 66.
Harris, who had a number of serious health problems, was found June 25 in her Palm Springs home by her partner, Denise Penn. An autopsy to determine the cause of death is underway.
An Orange County native, Harris played a key role in mobilizing support for the so-called lavender sweep of 1990, when San Francisco voters elected two lesbian supervisors and a gay school board member.
She held prominent leadership posts in Democratic circles, including chief of staff to San Francisco Supervisor Harry Britt, who succeeded gay icon Harvey Milk after his assassination in 1978, and deputy to Mayor Frank Jordan after he took office in 1992.
Known as a savvy organizer, Harris became the founding director of Basic Rights Oregon, the state's largest gay-rights organization, in 1996. Under her guidance, the group collaborated with environmental, labor and abortion-rights groups to build a base of 125,000 gay and pro-gay voters that became a decisive force behind the defeat of a 2000 ballot measure to prevent discussions of homosexuality in Oregon schools.
Following the victory in Oregon, she returned to California to serve as executive director of the Alliance for Pride and Equality (now called Equality California), which became one of the state's most influential advocacy organizations for the rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals. In 2001 she worked with then-Assemblywoman Carole Migden (D-San Francisco) to pass AB 25, a landmark bill that granted domestic partners many of the same rights as married couples.
"Her legislative advocacy, grass-roots organizing and coalition building became the bedrock for the modern LGBT justice movement in California," Jim Carroll, interim executive director of Equality California, said in a statement this week.
Harris left the organization in 2003 to campaign for Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean. She later worked for former state Assembly Speakers Herb Wesson and Fabian Nuñez and former state Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata.
Born in 1944, Harris grew up in Long Beach. She majored in history at Cal State Long Beach before enrolling in post-graduate courses at San Francisco State.
She worked her way through college climbing telephone poles for GTE, eventually rising into the management ranks. In 1971 she entered politics as a field organizer for Sen. George McGovern's presidential campaign. In later years she served as chair of the California Democratic Party's Lesbian/Gay Caucus and president of San Francisco's Harvey Milk Lesbian/Gay Democratic Club.
Once described as "the lesbian Al Sharpton" for her colorful personality and confrontational style, Harris was unabashed about her sexuality and political goals.
"She could be a pain," said John Burton, the former state legislator who chairs the California Democratic Party. "She'd push and sometimes people got upset with her, but she cared enough to not be nice in order to achieve the community's goals."
Harris favored men's clothing, telling authors Karen V. Hansen and Anita Ilta Garey that she wore ties "because I want every man who sees me to know … I'm after their power. … They know right up front, I'm a dyke, I'm tough, I'm here, I want to know exactly what's going on, and if you've got the power, I'm gonna try and take it from you."
In addition to Penn, her partner of 10 years, Harris is survived by her mother, a brother, a sister, four children and a granddaughter.
.Jean Harris dies at 66; forceful gay-rights organizer
The longtime Democratic Party... more
School board member to resign over anti-gay post
Arkansas school board member to resign over anti-gay post
By the CNN Wire Staff
October 28, 2010 11:00 p.m. EDT
Clint McCance, vice president of the Midland School District in Arkansas, says he will resign.
(CNN) -- A school board district member in Arkansas who came under fire for an anti-gay post on a social networking site regrets the comments and will resign his seat, he told CNN's Anderson Cooper on Thursday.
"I'm sorry I've hurt people with my comments," Clint McCance, vice-president of the Midland School District in Pleasant Plains, Arkansas said. "I'm sorry I made those ignorant comments and hurt people on a broad spectrum."
McCance wrote on his personal Facebook page that he wanted gay people to commit suicide, according to The Advocate, a newspaper focusing on gay news.
McCance used the terms "queer" and "fag" repeatedly, promised to disown his own children if they are gay and stated that he enjoys "the fact that [gay people] give each other AIDS and die."
"I would never support suicide for any kids," he said. "I don't support bullying of any kids."
"I'd like to extend apologies to those families that have lost children, for all those children who feel that suicide is the only way out, especially for the five families who have already lost children," he said, referring to a rash of recent suicides by gay teens. "I brought more hurt on them... they didn't deserve that and I do feel genuinely bad for them."
Though he disapproves of homosexuality, McCance said that "I give everyone a chance and try to love everyone."
McCance said that he has received an outpouring of criticism over his comments, including "thousands of phone calls, hate mails, people threatening to kill my family and me."
He said he has sent his wife and two kids out of the state because of fears for their safety and that he is installing a security system at his home.
"I'm reaping what I've sown," he told CNN. "I've had a lot of hate speech thrown at me and my family on every level."
He said he would resign from the school board to spare the district the bad press and distractions of dealing with the fallout from his comments. "If they decide after five or ten years to vote me back in, then I'll run again," he said.
McCance's comments had drawn criticism from education officials in his district and at the state level.
"I strongly condemn the statements that appeared on Mr. Clint McCance's Facebook page," Tom Kimbrell, Arkansas commissioner of education, said in a statement Wednesday. "... The statements attributed to Mr. McCance constitute a significant departure from statements we expect from our school leaders. The divisiveness and disruption of these comments cause me to seriously question the ability of Mr. McCance to remain as an effective member of the Midland School Board."
The Midland School District had also denounced the posting. "The district strives to foster an environment that discourages all forms of bullying," it said in a statement this week, "and an environment that encourages a safe and productive educational climate [for] all of our students. The district is very diligent in pursuing and addressing bullying of any variety on our campuses."
The state Department of Education had said it was "dismayed to see that a school board official would post something of this insensitive nature on a public forum like Facebook."
Because McCance's Facebook page is not accessible publicly, the Advocate said it learned about the posts after being provided with a screen shot.
The posts were made, according to The Advocate, in response to a bullying awareness campaign sponsored by GLAAD, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. The "Spirit Day" campaign aimed to foster recognition of bullying directed at gays and the effects it can have on young people through a series of events held on October 20.
One aspect of the campaign encouraged people to wear purple to honor those who had committed suicide after experiencing anti-gay bullying, and to show solidarity with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered youth who face the same pressures.
According to the screen grab obtained by The Advocate, McCance wrote the following about the event: "Seriously they want me to wear purple because five queers committed suicide. The only way im wearin it for them is if they all commit suicide. I cant believe the people of this world have gotten this stupid. We are honoring the fact that they sinned and killed therselves because of their sin." (sic)
The post spurred a Facebook page encouraging the Midland School District to fire McCance. More than 60,000 people had "liked" the page as of Thursday evening.
However, not everyone disagreed with McCance's comments, which he had defended on his page by citing his religious beliefs.
Gays and lesbians are "thinking they're all right, and [God is] going to let them think that and go to hell for believing what they're doing is right," pastor Harry Craig, of Pleasant Plains Full Gospel Church, told CNN Little Rock affiliate KARK.
On Tuesday, the federal government warned that bullying and harassment in schools often includes violations of federally protected civil rights. Officials warned that school administrators who fail to properly deal with harassment risk being cited for civil rights violations. In extreme cases, such violations could lead to cuts in federal funding.
A group of protesters had traveled Thursday to Pleasant Plains, where they held a demonstration to call for McCance's resignation.School board member to resign over anti-gay post
Arkansas school board member to... more
What is it like to grow up gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender in America's heartland, the Midwest? In a region fiercely loyal to traditional values, growing up "other" can be a battle for basic civil rights and resources. Watch Jac Stringer, the young, passionate advocate and director of the Gender Queer Coalition, as he fights to make a safe space for those of us whose sexual preferences and identities weren't made with a cookie-cutter.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wiQuFu36cxQWhat is it like to grow up gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender in America's... more
The radical gay rights group OutRage! has backed the Conservative Mayor of London's decision to scrap a short-lived Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Advisory Panel, reports Pink News.
The panel (formed by Ken Livingstone) only held one meeting before the hand-over to prize buffoon Boris Johnson took place in May, and OutRage! have welcomed its abolition:
"It was elitist, unelected, unaccountable and anti-democratic," says Brett Lock.
But will Conservative Boris - who has a history of making homophobic comments - replace the body with some other kind of group to represent the rights and points of views of LGBT Londoners? Or will LGBT issues be swept under the carpet completely? What would you tell buffoon Boris about LGBT life if you had the chance?
The radical gay rights group OutRage! has backed the Conservative Mayor of... more
On Wednesday, 26th June 2008, Janice Langbehn sued the Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami for denying her the right to have access to her dying partner, Lisa Pond. The two women, who had been together for 18 years and had three children together, were about to embark on a family cruise when Pond collapsed and was rushed to hospital. Except for a 5-minute visit, Langbehn was not able to spend time with her partner as she lay dying, because the hospital did not recognise the two women as a family. In addition, after her partner's death, Langbehn was not allowed to access the death certificate, which in turn made it impossible for her to claim life insurance and Social Security benefits for their children. Langbehn is represented by Lambda Legal, the largest organisation fighting for civil rights of lesbian and gay citizens in the US. On Wednesday, 26th June 2008, Janice Langbehn sued the Jackson Memorial Hospital in... more
As the Mariners played the Boston Red Sox on May 26, Sirbrina Guerrero and her date were approached in the third inning by an usher who told them their kissing was inappropriate, Guerrero said.
The usher, Guerrero said, told them he had received a complaint from a woman nearby who said that there were kids in the crowd of nearly 36,000 and that parents would have to explain why two women were kissing.
"I was really just shocked," Guerrero said. "Seattle is so gay-friendly. There was a couple like seven rows ahead making out. We were just showing affection."
As the Mariners played the Boston Red Sox on May 26, Sirbrina Guerrero and her date... more
A lesbian attending a Seattle Mariners game at Safeco Field was asked by an usher to stop kissing her date because another fan complained that it made him/her uncomfortable.A lesbian attending a Seattle Mariners game at Safeco Field was asked by an usher to... more
4 years ago