The Minstrel

Definitions: Radical Faerie
April 23, 2008, 1:37 pm
Filed under: LGBTQ

During the Army-McCarthy hearings of 1954, chief counsel to McCarthy’s subcommittee on investigations, Roy Cohn, denied being a homosexual. Joseph Welch, the Army’s attorney in the hearings, asked a witness if a photo entered as evidence “came from a pixie,” defining “pixie” for McCarthy as “a close relative of a fairy.” Hearing attendees laughed; Roy Cohn called the remark “malicious,” “wicked,” and “indecent.” In 1984, Cohn was diagnosed with AIDS, but he insisted that the disease was liver cancer.

Meanwhile, on November 11, 1950, Harry Hay and a small group of friends met and organized as the Mattachine Society. The group incorporated in 1954. The name Mattachine derived from the French Société Mattachine, a French medieval and renaissance masque group; Hay explained:

The 1950s Gays were also a masked people, unknown and anonymous, who might become engaged in morale building and helping ourselves and others, through struggle, to move toward total redress and change.

Hay also founded the Radical Faeries in 1979. Hay spoke of the ills of conformity:

We pulled ugly green frog skin of heterosexual conformity over us, and that’s how we got through school with a full set of teeth. . . .  We know how to live through their eyes. We can always play their games, but are we denying ourselves by doing this? If you’re going to carry the skin of conformity over you, you are going to suppress the beautiful prince or princess within you.

As May Day approaches, and sap rises in the woodlands rendering vibrant browns and fertile greens, Faeries prepare to gather. Perhaps, these woodland creatures are the sort to disappear at the first glimmer of the rising sun, or upon scholarly quest for definition. To beseech is to startle these wild creatures away — whitetail flag. To understand, perhaps, one must not analytically define, but dance in firelight to bongos as the Beltane moon rises above the misty mountain tops. Pure magic by nature resists definition.


February 26, 2008, 12:27 pm
Filed under: LGBTQ

“There is no doubt whatever that I was a lackadaisical young spoony; but there was a purity of heart in all this, that prevents my having quite a contemptuous recollection of it, let me laugh as I may.”

“Close your door, Faggot!”
February 25, 2008, 10:12 am
Filed under: LGBTQ

I traveled “home” last weekend to Knoxville, TN, to visit my Uncle Joe in “Queen Acres,” and something terrible happened. Here’s the story:

I walked out of Joe’s rustic, ivy covered house to my shiny, recently-fixed, silver car, parked on Joe’s residential street, directly in front of the front door. I carried a cup of coffee in my hand. Joe brewed a fresh pot for my trip back to North Carolina, because I had entered into that common afternoon state of mind–the post-lunch lull, better suited for taking naps than driving cars. Of course–clumsy me–I spilled the coffee almost as soon as I sat down in the driver’s seat. “Shit,” I proclaimed, and Joe, who had been waving cheerfully from the front door, came out with paper towels to help clean up my mess.

My door was wide open, protruding slightly into the street. Meanwhile, a beat-up pickup truck revved toward my car from one end of Joe’s neighborhood. The driver, I believe, sped up when he saw my car, with the door protruding into the street. He flew past us, almost hitting us, then slammed on his breaks, coming to a screeching halt. Smells of burned rubber, oil and gasoline filled the air, and the driver opened up the door of his truck and stomped toward us.

“Don’t you know how to close your Goddamn door, Faggot,” he said to me. I answered, “Don’t call people faggots.” He replied, “Close your Goddamn door, Faggot.” Then, speaking to the passenger in his truck, the driver said, “He is a Goddamn faggot. Just look at him.” Then, he started walking toward me and Joe. I said, “If you come one more step, I will call the police.” He replied, “That’s right Faggot. Can’t stand up for yourself. Call the fucking police.” I dialed 911 on my phone, preparing for the worst. I did not press send.

Then, undergoing an interesting change of tone, the boy said to Joe, “Well, I’ll apologize to you; just make sure you close your door next time.” At this point, I was a bit too fired up, and perhaps, said too much; I said, “No, an apology starts with ‘I’m sorry.'”

The boy edged closer, again called me a faggot, and backed away to the truck. He then climbed into the driver’s seat and attempted to start the piece of junk. In vain–it wouldn’t start. Then, he and the passenger pushed the truck down the street until the engine sputtered into action. As they rolled away, I noticed the truck didn’t have a license tag. Of course it didn’t.

I suppose this is just another day in the life of an American gay man. This, however, drives to point home that hate crimes actually happen to people. Even, if I’m not careful, to me.

Equality NC, Conference & Gala! Folks, get excited!
October 19, 2007, 12:44 pm
Filed under: LGBTQ, Uncategorized

On November 3rd, 2007, Equality NC will bring together individuals and community organizations from across the state for a conference to help chart the course for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) equality through keynotes and breakout sessions on policy issues. Among the featured guests are Duke Law’s Constitutional Superhero, Professor Chemerinsky, North Carolina Representative Rick Glazier, GLAAD’s Neil Giuliano, and Alabama Representative Patricia Todd.

Read all about it here. Or even better, register to come.


October 16, 2007, 12:00 pm
Filed under: LGBTQ

I made a mistake on the previous post. It should say Johnson City, Washington County–not Johnson County. Strange that I, of all people, would make that mistake. I grew up in the Appalachian mountains near Johnson City. Alas, I have been away for many, many a year.

The comments in the last section are worth a glance. Thanks, mysterious reader, for your thoughts . I’m glad you gave me the correction, and I’m glad you took the time to give us a different perspective.

Johnson City “Sex Sting” = Wake Up Call to Closeted Gays and Authorities!
October 3, 2007, 10:29 am
Filed under: LGBTQ

If you’re a closeted gay man, get thee out of the closet! I beg you! And out of the city parks! The airport restrooms. And all the other forlorn places you go, for that matter! I read a story this morning–so, so sad it brought tears to my eyes:

Less than 24 hours after Johnson City police announced charges against dozens of men allegedly involved in sex acts at city parks, one of those accused is believed to have killed himself.

Jerry McCloud, a 55-year-old man, died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound this morning. He was scheduled to appear in Washington County Sessions Court this morning to answer to charges of indecent exposure and disorderly conduct.

Read the articles for yourself, here and here. I don’t know what else to say. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, playing the same sad song, I’ll muster it one more time: my friends, IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE THIS WAY!

September 10, 2007, 8:54 am
Filed under: LGBTQ

New Judge Quietly Makes History.