In the catalogue of “gay saints”, or pairs of supposedly “gay lovers” in Scripture, the coupling of John the Evangelist (the “beloved disciple”) and Jesus himself is surely the most controversial. Many people, including some of my friends from the LGBT Soho Masses, find the whole idea that this may have been a “gay”, sexually active relationship, highly offensive. Others argue the opposite case.
In an explosive book, “the man jesus loved, the reputable biblical scholar Theodore Jennings mounts an extended argument that Jesus himself was actually gay and that the beloved disciple of John’s Gospel was Jesus’ lover. To support this provocative conclusion, Jennings examines not only the texts that relate to the beloved disciple but also the story of the centurion’s servant boy and the texts that show Jesus’ rather negative attitude toward the traditional family: not mother and brothers, but those who do the will of God, are family to Jesus. Jennings suggests that Jesus relatives and disciples knew he was gay, and that, despite the efforts of the early Church to downplay this “dangerous memory” about Jesus, a lot of clues remains in the Gospels. Piecing the clues together, Jennings suggests not only that Jesus was very open to homosexuality, but that he himself was probably in an intimate, and probably sexual, relationship with the beloved disciple.
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b. May 5, 1921
d. August 27, 2008
b. November 10, 1924
“Two extraordinary people … that have spent the greater part of a half century … fighting for their right to live the way so many of us, frankly, take for granted.“
– San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom
Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon founded the first lesbian organization in the United States and have fought for more than 50 years for the rights of lesbians and gays. On June 16, 2008, Martin and Lyon became the first gay couple to be legally married in California.
Martin and Lyon both earned degrees in journalism. While working as journalists in Seattle, the two became romantically involved. The couple relocated to San Francisco and moved in together on Valentine’s Day 1953.
In 1955, finding it hard to develop a social network in San Francisco, Martin, Lyon and a small group of women founded the first lesbian organization, called the Daughters of Bilitis. The name was inspired by Pierre Louys’s “Songs of Bilitis,” a collection of poems celebrating lesbian sexuality.
Though it was intended to be a secret society, Martin and Lyon wanted to make the Daughters of Bilitis more visible. The group began publishing a monthly magazine, called The Ladder, which was the first-ever lesbian publication. As editors of the magazine, they capitalized the word “lesbian” every time it appeared.
In 1964, while fighting to change California sex laws criminalizing homosexuals, the couple joined religious and gay community leaders to form the Council on Religion and the Homosexual (CRH). This organization was at the forefront of the movement to gain religious support on gay rights issues. Both women served on the founding CRH board of directors.
In 2004, when gay marriage was offered in San Francisco, Martin and Lyon were the first to wed. A California appellate court ruling subsequently invalidated their marriage. Then in May 2008, a California Supreme Court decision provided same-sex couples the right to marry. On June 16, 2008, they were the first same-sex couple married in California. The wedding was officiated by San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom.
Martin and Lyon have published two books together, “Lesbian/Woman” (1972) and “Lesbian Love and Liberation” (1973). On their 50th anniversary, the documentary “No Secret Anymore: The Times of Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon” premiered. In 2005, the National Gay and Lesbian Journalists Association inducted Martin and Lyon into the LGBT Journalists Hall of Fame for their pioneering work on The Ladder. In 2007, they received the 2007 Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) Pioneer Award.
Streitmatter, Rodger. “Phyllis Lyon & Del Martin
.” National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association: LGBT Journalists Hall of Fame. June 5, 2008
Lesbian love and liberation (The Yes book of sex) (1973)
Battered Wives (1976)
From Matt & Andrej:
Unity Fellowship Church, Los Angeles (UFCLA) was founded in 1982 by Rev. Carl Bean for primarily openly Gay and Lesbian African Americans. The first meetings were held in the private residence of Rev. Bean, on Cochran Ave., in Los Angeles, California. In 1984, a reorganization took place in the last residence of the late Archbishop William Morris O’Neal, which is located on South Burnside Avenue in Los Angeles, which was also the ordination site of Rev. Carl Bean.
The Unity Fellowship Church Movement, now has congregations in Los Angeles, Detroit, New York, Washington, DC and Philadelphia. Bean is the Chief Executive Officer of Unity Fellowship Ministries, which includes the Minority AIDS Project.
“My ministry … will always be a continuum of dealing with the disenfranchised, providing for the poorest of the poor, the undocumented person, persons who can’t speak the language, persons in and out of the prison system, kids out of the gangs … to tough those who are considered the untouchables.”
Guest, Deryn, Mona West, Robert E. Goss, and Thomas Bohache, (eds). The Queer Bible Commentary . London: SCM.
Althaus – Reid, Marcella: The Queer God . London: Routledge.
GAY Catholic group Acceptance Sydney is celebrating their 40th anniversary with an exhibition of photographs, personal stories and historical material at the Surry Hills library.
Officially opened by former premier Kristina Keneally last week, the exhibition illustrates the support groups history, the challenges it has faced and the individual stories of its members.
“For 40 years, Acceptance has practised just that: accepting people for who they are and sharing their Christian faith journey in community,” said Keneally.
“The exhibit is a chance to celebrate that history.”
Exhibition coordinator Tim has spent hundreds of hours sorting through newspaper archives and personal collections to put the exhibition together: “It’s a powerful statement to say you can be gay and Catholic,” he said.
-full report at Sydney Central
(I live in the Surrey Hills, so my immediate response to the headline was that it’s extraordinarily close to home – but this report refers to “Surry”- without the “e”).
b. May 29, 1947
“It’s not so much a dream as a calling from God.”
In 2003, The Rt. Rev.V. Gene Robinson was elected bishop of the diocese of New Hampshire, making him the first openly gay Episcopal bishop. His ordination caused a global rift within the Episcopal Church and led to international debate about the inclusion of gay clergy in church hierarchy. In the weeks leading up to his consecration, Robinson received hate mail and death threats, triggering the FBI to place him under 24-hour protection.
Gene Robinson grew up outside Lexington, Kentucky. The son of poor tobacco sharecroppers, he was raised without running water or indoor plumbing. He recalls his childhood as rustic and religious, with Sunday school and services at a small Disciples of Christ congregation.
Robinson earned his bachelor’s degree in American studies from the University of the South and his Master of Divinity from the Episcopal General Theological Seminary in New York. He was ordained a priest in 1973.
Despite doubts about his sexual orientation, Robinson married in 1972. He and his wife moved to New Hampshire where they raised two daughters. Robinson worked as youth ministries coordinator for the seven dioceses of New England and cofounded the national Episcopal Youth Event. Robinson divorced his wife and came out in the mid-1980’s.
Robinson is the coauthor of three AIDS education curricula. In Uganda, he helped set up a national peer counseling program for AIDS educators working with religious institutions.
The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force honored Robinson with a Leadership Award in 2004. In 2007, he received the Flag Bearer Award from Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) for leadership and inclusion in faith communities.
In 2008, Bishop Robinson and Mark Andrew, partners for more than 19 years, exchanged vows in a civil union ceremony in New Hampshire.
Bibliography“Episcopalians Approve Gay Bishop.” CNN. August 6, 2003
http://www.cnn.com/2003/US/08/05/bishop“Gene Robinson Biography.” Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire. June 20, 2008
http://www.nhepiscopal.org/bishop/bishop.htmlMonroe, Rev. Irene. “Perspective: Gene Robinson.” Windy City Times. June 11, 2008
http://www.windycitymediagroup.com/gay/lesbian/news/ARTICLE.php?AID=18580Steele, Bruce C. “Robinson Redux.” The Advocate. July 17, 2007
http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1589/is_989/ai_n20525035ArticlesBurns, John F. “Cast Out, but at the Center of the Storm.” The New York Times. August 3, 2008
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/03/weekinreview/03burns.html?_r=1&oref=sloginCostello, Andrew. “Let God Love Gene Robinson.” GQ. June, 2008
http://men.style.com/gq/features/landing?id=content_6948Goodstein, Laurie. “Episcopalians are Reaching Point of Revolt.” The New York Times. December 17, 2006
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/17/us/17episcopal.htmlGoodstein, Laurie. “Gay Bishop Plans His Civil Union Rite.” The New York Times. April 25, 2008
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/25/us/25bishop.htmlKeizer, Garret. “Turning away from Jesus: Gay Rights and the War for the Episcopal Church.” Harper’s Magazine. June, 2008
http://harpers.org/archive/2008/06/0082061Lawton, Kim. “Interview: Bishop Gene Robinson.” PBS. May 2, 2008
http://www.pbs.org/wnet/religionandethics/week1135/interview.htmlMillard, Rosie. “Interview: The Rev. Gene Robinson.” The
Sunday Times. July 27, 2008
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/faith/article4405816.eceBooksIn the Eye of the Storm: Swept to the Center by God (2008)
http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_ss_b?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=In+the+Eye+of+the+Storm%3A+Swept+to+the+Center+by+God&x=7&y=16FilmsFor the Bible Tells Me So (2007)
http://www.amazon.com/Bible-Tells-Me-So/dp/B000YHQNCIOther ResourcesEpiscopal Diocese of New Hampshire Website
b. May 21, 1925
d. Oct 12, 2011
The momentum is there, and that’s not going to be stopped. It’s moved from hopes of a grass-roots movement, to the actuality of a grass-roots movement. And it’s taken 40 years to do it.
In 1957, the Army Map Service in Washington, D.C. dismissed astronomer Frank Kameny. Though a WWII veteran with an M.A. and Ph.D. in astronomy from Harvard University, Kameny was discharged because he was gay. Rather than accept a common practice of the times, Kameny fought for his rights. He successfully challenged anti-gay policies of the American Psychiatric Association (APA), the US Department of Defense and the US Civil Service Commission.
Kameny sued the Army Map Service and lost his case. On appeal he lost again, and after the Supreme Court denied his petition to direct the case to be reconsidered, Kameny realized his objectives would require a broader movement. In 1961, Kameny co-founded the Mattachine Society of Washington, D.C with Gay Pioneer Jack Nichols.
Kameny was the first to bring open activism to the gay rights movement. The D.C. Mattachine Society contacted public officials to attempt to change policy. They published a newsletter, The Gazette, and campaigned to overturn security clearance denials, employment restrictions and dismissals of gay men from the Federal workforce. In 1963, Kameny began a movement to repeal sodomy laws and challenge the APA‘s classification of homosexuality as a mental disorder.
On April 17, 1965, Kameny led the first public picket for gay rights at the White House. With support from the Daughters of Bilitis, the Mattachine Society extended its protest to the Pentagon and the Civil Service Commission. He helped launch the first organized gay and lesbian demonstrations for equality. These seminal demonstrations by activists from New York, Philadelphia and Washingon D.C. were held annually each July 4th at Independence Hall from 1965 to 1969 and were called annual reminders. They paved the way for t
he Stonewall Riots in 1969.
Inspired by Stokely Carmichael’s “Black is Beautiful,” Kameny dubbed the phrase “Gay is Good” as a slogan for the movement. He led the fight for gay rights into the 1970s and ran for Congress in 1971 on an equal rights platform. The APA removed homosexuality from its list of mental disorders in 1973 and the Civil Service Commission lifted its ban on homosexuality in 1975, an action President Bill Clinton formalized many years later.
In 2000, Equality Forum with WHYY/PBS produced the documentary film “Gay Pioneers” about Frank Kameny and other early activists. In 2006, the Library of Congress incorporated over 70,000 letters, documents and memorabilia from Frank Kameny into its permanent collection. The Washington, D.C. City Council honored Frank Kameny in 2007, hailing him as a “true freedom fighter.”