January 18, 2013

Queer Issue: Moving and Moving On

For the record, the next couple of weeks may see a slight decrease in the number of posts here. I'll give you all a hint:

That's right, I'm going to be moving. I'm going back to school to major in Criminology at Wilkes University where my current partner is currently teaching.

Of course this means that I'm now getting out all the stuff shoved away in closets, sorting it out and packing it in the boxes for the move.

This also includes all of my memorabilia from when I was a member of the Boy Scouts of America. Thanks to the Boy Scout's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, the end of my tenure with the BSA was not a happy one. To put it bluntly, it was a long misery infused descent into hell.

It's a difficult thing to put the situation I now face into words. The list of items that I accumulated over my 13 year involvement with the scouting movement is quite extensive.

There are the merit badges, various memorabilia from the National Jamboree I went to in 1997, my uniform, neckerchiefs, patches, and so on. Each one comes infused with memories, such as the neckerchief slide an adult leader carved for me when I went an entire week of scout camp undefeated at checkers.

However because of how things ended with the Boy Scouts, I've been tempted to just burn all of it.

I first started with the BSA when I was in 1st grade as a Cub Scout.
I can recall a baking contest, where my dad and I made a cake, constructed it into the shape of a truck, which won best in show. And by in the shape of a truck, I don't mean we baked a sheet cake and cut out a truck shape from that. That would have been too straightforward. I mean we actually used pieces of cake to sculpt a 3 dimensional a cake truck.

I have other memories of Cub Scouts of course. Of Pine-Wood Derbies, earning belt-loops, bug juice, and making arts and crafts at scout camp. I think my mom still has the ceramic pot holder I made one year.

A pine-wood derby is a competition where you race wooden cars on downward tracks. One way to make your car faster was by drilling a hole in the car and filling it with some kind of metal. This was legal as I recall as there was a total weight you couldn't go over. In any case, I definitely recall my mom not being too pleased when in a bout of enthusiasm while working on my Pine-Wood derby car, I managed to use an old-fashioned hand powered drill to put a hole an inch deep into the floor I was working in.

I can recall my first "real" camping trip as a Boy Scout, when true to the rules of the universe, it rained and rained heavily. As the night progressed, water crept gradually into the tent. Eventually, to stay warm, the three of us that were in the tent all ended up in the same sleeping bag. When we went to tear down the tent, I could push on the corner of one sleeping bag and watch the water ripples spread out across all three. I think in all my years with the BSA, there was only one or two camp outs that was not accompanied with copious amounts of H2O falling from the sky.

As a Boy Scout I was inducted into the Order of the Arrow (Boy Scouts Honor Society), went to the National Jamboree, served as Troop Scribe, Assistant Senior Patrol Leader, and eventually Senior Patrol Leader. I managed to earn the rank of Life Scout, the rank just below that of Eagle. Scoutings highest rank eluded me by only a handful of merit badges that I failed to earn, thanks in part to the mental decline I experienced before turning 18.

However, as time advanced and I started to struggle with my sexuality, I also started to hear more and more about the BSA's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. But much like the frog in a pot of water that was slowly heating up, I was in too deep and too ingrained to simply want out.

Of course, as I advanced from Weblo's to Boy Scouts this meant I had to keep my budding sexual orientation a secret. It was tempting to bail, and part of me wanted to, but I was too ambitious for my own good. I wanted so very desperately to be an Eagle Scout. So I stayed in the closet.

I am not someone who quits or gives up easily. My middle name is Lawrence, a name choosen because of the fact that my family is descended from the brother of Captain James Lawrence, who created the famous saying "Never give up the ship". It's a statement I have found a great deal of inspiration from. Once I had set my sites on becoming and Eagle Scout, I was not going to be deterred.

Naturally, this set me up for a deep and complicated internal conflict. I wanted to be an Eagle Scout and I could not do anything to jeopardize that. This meant I could not breath a word of what I was to anyone. No matter how hard things got, coming out simply was not an option.

But internalizing this conflict only caused to fester and to take on it's own life. While working on my Eagle Scout project, I attempted to commit suicide. In the months that followed I had what could be labeled a nervous break down. I was diagnosed with depression. One of the medications I took had side effects which included "fatigue" and "increased saliva production".

Basically this meant I spent much of my class time my senior year falling asleep and waking up when the bell rang with my face in a humongous puddle of drool. Teachers would sometimes wake me up sooner if I started snoring.

Things got so bad that I actually considered dropping out of high-school.

It did not have to be like that. I entered my senior year as a member of honor society, a 1340 SAT score, and while I was not a top member of my class, my GPA was respectable. I was taking one course which had the possibility of college credit (Science in Modern Society) and otherwise sailing high. I had spent the summer before visiting campuses and pouring over college catalogs trying to decide where I wanted to go after I graduated. I was accepted at Clarkson University but decided against attending due to my health issues. Instead, I decided to go to SUNY Oneonta and in the Fall of 2002, I started taking classes as a non-matriculated student.

Which brings me back to what started me on this topic, what the hell do I do with all the stuff that I accumulated over the years that I was a scout? Do I burn it? Throw it away? What exactly does one do with something that carries with it the memories of so many painful experiences?

But throwing away all of my BSA memorabilia would mean throwing away stuff that carries with it memories from a great deal of my formative years. Destroying this material would come very close to destroying a part of my life.

Yes, there was pain in the end, but there were a lot of good memories as well. I cannot forget the suffering I went through my senior year, any more than I can forget the more pleasant times spent playing card games around a camp fire.

Merit Badges I earned: Pottery, First Aid, Pioneering, Reading, Citizenship in Nation, Swimming, Skiing, Family Life, Leatherwork, Woodworking, Indian Lore, Sailing, Camping, Canoeing, Communication, Citizenship in World, Citizenship in community.
Neckerchiefs and Neckerchief slides. I made the wolfs head for the carving merit badge. The other one was for being undefeated in checkers at one week of scout camp. The bolo tie and the slide above it I bought for National Jamboree.

Shoulder patches I got by trading at the National Jamboree.  The white sashes were for the Order of the Arrow. The bar on the second one indicates the rank of brotherhood.  Note the orange R2 D2 shoulder patch.

More shoulder patches from the National Jamboree. I wonder what the Jersey Shore Council thinks of the show. The bottom two patches were part of some sort of Council commemoration event, of which there were four that were designed to look cool when you put them all together.

January 7, 2013

Of the Day (1/7/13)

The Amazing Sassy
The Amazing Sassy - Fetching 2

Taking Up Too Much Space - Interesting blog I came across that unfortunately, is no longer being updated, but most the articles have a lot really provocative things to say on trans/gender identity topics.
My "Top 25 Things That Owe Their Existence to the LGBTQ Community over on the Bilerico Project

January 5, 2013

Setting the Record Queer: Top 25 Things That Owe Their Existence To The LGBTQ Community

Thanks to the feedback and critique that I received regarding The Top 20 Things That Owe Their Existence to Queers (or at least a hearty thanks) after I posted it to The Bilerico Project, plus additional research I've done since then, I was able to expand it into a new list:

The Top 25 Things that Owe Their Existence to the LGBTQ Community (or at least a hearty thanks):

25 - World Organization of the Scout Movement
Queer to thank: Robert Baden-Powell, 1st Baron Baden-Powell

Lord Baden-Powell founded the Scout Movement in the early part of the 20th Century, which grew to become the global phenomenon most people are familiar with today. Ironically, given the current positions of the Boy Scouts of America, several biographers, most notably Tim Jeal in The Boy-Man: The Life of Lord Baden Powell, have concluded that Powell was gay.

24 - Baseball
Queers to Thank: Glen Burke, Nate Silver, Christina Kahrl

Glenn Burke was the first gay man who played professional baseball and whom come out while playing in the Major Leagues. He left a lasting impression on the sport after he popularized the ritual of high-fiving following a home run.

Nate Silver and Christina Kahrl are both promoters of sabermetrics or the advanced use of statistical data to analyze Baseball players, which has helped revolutionize the sport. Nate Silver (who is openly gay) famously used the same sabermetric models he created for baseball to correctly predict the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections. Christina Kahrl was the first openly trans-woman to be accepted to the Baseball Writers Association of America, the organization that votes on which individuals will be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

23 - Hull House, The Settlement Movement
Queer to Thank: Jane Adams

Jane Adams was the first woman to be awarded the Noble Prize, which was given to her in part for her work on the Hull House, the first settlement house, which was established in 1989.

The Settlement Movement was the first major anti-poverty program and was designed to work by having the rich and poor living in close quarters.

22 - Copernicus's Model of the Solar System
Queer to thank: Georg Joachim Rheticus

Nicolaus Copernicus developed the heliocentric model of the solar system which still happens to be viewed as true today, despite the best efforts of the Flat Earth Society. In any case, Copernicicus's work could have been lost, if it had not been for the efforts of George Joachim Rheticus. Copernican scholar Edward Rosen posited, "Is it going to far to claim that without Rheticus, no Copernicus, without Copernicus, no moving Earth; and without geodynamic astonomy, no modern science?" In 1551, Rheticus was accused of trying to seduce a 17 year old male, which resulted in Rheticus being exiled from Leipzig for 101 years.

21 - Sexuality of the Human Male, Sexuality of the Human Female, Coming of Age in Samoa, Sex and Temperament in Three Primitive Societies
Queers to thank: Alfred Kinsey, Margaret Mead

Combined the above works led directly to what is referred to as the Sexual Revolution, a cultural phenomenon whose fallouts are still being felt today. It probably should not come as much of a shock that both of these individuals were bisexual. Kinsey expiremented with sexual relationships with both sexes. Mead herself was married 3 times and letters published after Mead's death revealed that she had an intimate relationship with Rhoda Metraux.

20 - The British Broadcasting Corporation
Queer to thank: John Reith, 1st Baron Reith

John Reith played a critical role in the formation of the BBC, so much so that the term Reithian became a word, describing his particular management style. The BBC model that Reith pionered - based around his summary of what the BBC's mission should be, Inform, Educate, Entertain - also influenced other broadcast organizations such as PBS.

Reith himself was intimately involved with a man named Charlie Bowser, the depth and intimacy of the relationship which was revealed in Reith's diaries when they were analysed by Ian McIntyre.

19 - Modern Architecture
Queer to Thank: Ralph Adams Cram

Ralph Adams Cram was among the most influential architects at the beginning of the 20th century. A proponent of the gothic style, he made the cover of Time Magazine in December of 1936 and is honored by the Episcopal Church on December 16th with a Feast Day.

While he married Elizabeth Carrington Read in 1900, he was also part of the Boston Bohemians, an early social group for gays and lesbians.

18 - Keynesian Economics
Queer to Thank: John Maynard Keynes

Keynesian Economics, first presented in the 1936 book The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money by John Maynard Keynes, has profoundly influenced economic theory ever since. Keynesian Economics was the reason for the controversial stimulus plans backed by President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama.

Keynes was always open about his sexuality and the numerous affairs he had with men.

17 - Peanuts, Soybeans, Pecans, Sweet Potatoes
Queer to thank: George Washington Carver

Here is an exercise for anybody reading this list. Go to your fridge or any cabinet in your house. Pick an item at random. Chances are, the item you are now holding would not exist in it's current form if it were not for the work of George Washington Carver, a black man born in 1864 Missouri. Carver is credited with developing hundreds of uses for peanuts, soybeans, pecans, and sweet potatoes. He also developed or popularized uses for such products as diverse as shaving cream, bleach, buttermilk, chili sauce, instant coffee, linoleum, mayonaise, meat tenderizer, shoe polish, talcum powder, cosmetics, and synthetic rubber.

By promoting peanuts, soybeans, pecan trees, and sweet potatoes as alternative crops, Carver helped save agriculture in the south, as these products restored soil nutrients lost thanks to cotton farming, with monopolized farmland at the time.

Carver is thought to have been intimate with Austin W. Curtis, Jr.

16 - Eradication of Tuberculosis
Queer to thank: Alan L. Hart

In the early Twentieth Century, tuberculosis was the number one killer in the Unites States. Today, less then 10 percent of the U.S. population typically test positive for the disease and for those that are found to be infected, the chances of survival are dramatically better than they were 100 years ago. This can be attributed in part to the efforts of Alan L. Hart, who innovated numerous ways of detecting and treating the disease. Early detection methods pionered by Hart, such as using x-ray screenings, also helped prevent the disease from infecting more patients since doctors could quarantine those individuals found to have tuberculosis. His efforts are credited with helping to contain TB and therefore saving thousands of lives.

Born Alberta Lucille Hart, Alan L. Hart was among the first female to male transsexuals in the U.S. to have a hysterectomy and gonadectomy performed on himself.

15 - Abolition of Slavery (United States)
Queer to thank: Abraham Lincoln
Honorable Mentions: Susan B. Anthony, Alexander Hamilton

Although slavery would not be abolished entirely in the Unites States until the passage of the 13th Amendment, it was Abraham Lincoln who first wrote the Emancipation Proclamation that freed slaves on a large scale. Without the Emancipation Proclamation or Lincoln's leadership during the Amercan Civil War, the North could have lost and slavery would probably have continued in the Confederacy.

Lincoln wrote one of the earliest explicit gay themed poems in American Literature and shared a bed with Captain David V. Derickson, who was the head of his guards.

Other notable queers involved in the abolishment were suffragette Susan B. Anthony and Alexander Hamilton. Hamilton even used Britain's support for slavery as one reason for the colonies seceding from Great Britain.

14 - Woman's Suffrage
Queer to Thank: Susan B. Anthony
Honorable Mentions, Anna Elizabeth Dickinson, Nancy Cook, Jane Addams, Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, Charley Parkhurst, Eva Gore-Booth

Susan B. Anthony founded the National Woman Suffrage Association, one of the earliest organizations dedicated to woman's rights in the United States. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton originally wrote the original draft of what would eventually become the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which reads as follows:
The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.
Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation

Other notable members of the suffrage movement include Anthony's lover, Anna Elizabeth Dickinson as well as Nancy Cook, who became the intimate of Eleanore Roosevelt.

Trivia: It is thought that Charley Parkhurst was possibly the first female to vote in the United States. Parkhurst was stagecoach driver in California and after his death in 1879, it was discovered that Parkurst was not biologically male.

13 - The Napoleonic Code
Queer to thank: Jean Jacques Régis de Cambacérès
Honorable Mention: Napoleon Bonaparte

The Napoleonic Code was written by Jean-Jacques-Régis de Cambacérès, who was open about his sexuality and preference for men. The Napoleonic Code is one of the most influential documents of the modern era. Napoleon biographer Robert Holtman declared in his The Napoleonic Revolution that The Napoleonic Code was among the few documents to have changed the entire world.

The code was originally enacted in the European territories that Napoleon had conquered. Specifically, the Napoleonic Code forbade special privileges based upon birthright, secret or unpublished laws, special laws that applied to specific incidents, and ex post facto laws (laws written and applied to events that have already occurred). Just as importantly, The Napoleonic Code reformed judicial procedures and the treatment of criminals.

As for the Emperor himself, he was rumored to have had many male lovers among his aides, guards, and fellow soldiers. According to biographer Evangiline Bruce, Napoleon once wrote a note declaring that whenever he met a good looking man, Napoleons feelings were felt "first in the loins and in another place I will leave unnamed."

12 - Helicopters, Modern Aviation
Queers to thank: Leonardo da Vinci, Howard Hughes

Leonardo da Vinci was the legendary Renaissance artist who was arrested twice following accusations that he had engaged in same sex activity. Gian Giacomo Caprotti da Oreno, who inherited the Mona Lisa, had an unusually close and suggestive relationship with the da Vinci. However, one possibility regarding who the real life subject of the Mona Lisa was provides a scintillating clue here. This proposal put forth by Susan Dorothea White, has that the Mona Lisa was actually a self portrait of Leonardo da Vinci in drag. Also, Keith Stern claims that an article published in the April 1995 edition of Scientific America described a computer scan that came to that conclusion as well.

As for helicopters, Leonardo da Vinci designed many fantastical mechanical devices, but unfortunately the materials necessary for those devices to actually work were not created until many years after his death. One such device was a primitive helicopter, with Leonardo's design used as the inspiration for the modern flying contraption.

Howard Hughes was the producer and director for The Outlaw a movie filled with homoerotic subtexts (and Jane Russell's bosoms). In her autobiography, Greta Keller claimed that Hughes engaged in a sexual relationship with her husband, David Bacon. Bette Davis who had a sexual relationship with Hughes, claimed that Hughes frequently liked to fantasize that she was a man.

Howard Hughes is credited with many aviation innovations and set several world records flying air-planes that he had commissioned. Hughes was awarded multiple aviation awards, in addition to the Congressional Gold Medal in 1939 for his contributions to the industry.

11 - Libraries
Queer to thank: Ashurbanipal
Honorable Mentions: Alexander the Great

Ashurbanipal was one of the last king of Syria and created a vast, well organized library of cuneiform writings. The works within were grouped by subject matter, a unique innovation for the time period. This library was so expansive that it inspired Alexander the Great to create his own, and thus eventually leading to the creation of the great Library of Alexandria by Ptolemy following Alexander's death.

Ashurbanipal is documented to have enjoyed dressing in woman's clothing.

10 - The computer you are reading this list on
Queer to thank: Alan Turring
Honorable Mentions: Lynn Conway, Mary Ann Horton, Sophie Wilson, Audrey Tang, Kate Craig-Wood

Alan Turing was an early pioneer in the field of computer science and artificial intelligence. His work included developing the Turing Test, which is intended to test if a computer has achieved human level sentience. He also helped design the ACE (Automatic Computing Engine) which was the first computer built in Great Britain. Turing's numerous accomplishments have lead many to declare him the father of the fields of computer science and artificial intelligence.

Tragically, Alan Turing was convicted for committing "homosexual acts" and sentenced to probation as well as chemical castration. This punishment is thought to have led to him committing suicide in 1954 at the age of 41.

Lynn Conway is a computer engineer who first worked at IBM, but was fired in 1968 when she under went transitional surgery. She is credited with having developed numerous computer science innovations, whose names make no sense to me, such as generalised dynamic instruction handling and Mead & Conway revolution in VLSI design.

Mary Ann Horton is a computer scientist and trans activist whose innovations aided the developement of Usenet and later the Internet itself.

Sophie Wilson is a trans woman who designed the Acorn Micro Computer.

Audrey Tang, who transitioned from a man to a woman in 2005, is a Taiwanese free software programmer, who taught herself Perl at age 12 and is considered to be one of the "ten greats of Taiwanese computing."

Kate Craig-Wood is a British innovater, co-founder and managing director of Memset, the first British carbon neutral ISP. She is a proponent of greater energy efficiency in electronic technology. Kate Craig-Wood transitioned in 2005.

9 - Christianity
Queer to thank: Alexander the Great
Honorable Mentions: Desideririus Erasmus, Théodore de Bèze, King James I

The exploits of Alexander the Great, who was lovers with Hephaestion, are legendary. Most people know that he conquered "The Known World" spreading Greek Culture as he went. What many people, outside of historians, are not so aware of is that the Hellenization (as Alexander's spread of Greek Culture is referred to) later helped ease the subsequent growth and spread of Christianity.

Desideririus Erasmus was the controversial writer/editor behind several influential editions of both the Old and New Testaments. Erasmus's writings also included many letters to his fellow monk, Servatius Roger, that were highly suggestive and included phrases like, "you are half my soul... I have wooed you both unhappily and relentlessly." Roger's responses were usually more along the lines of, "what is wrong with you?"

Théodore de Bèze was a follower of John Calvin and played an important role in the Protostant Reformation. After the death of John Calvin, Bèze succeded Calvin as the leader of the reformation. Bèze was also criticized for a relationship he had with a young man, Audebert, whom Bèze wrote numerous love poems.

King James I, the man responsible for the King James Bible, had a secret passage that linked his royal bedchambers with those of George Villiers, with whom it was thought that King James I was intimate with. King James I was also rumored/thought to have been intimate with others, including male courtiers, Robert Carr, and Esmé Stewart.

8 - The Great March on Washington, The Civil Rights Movement
Queers to thank: Bayard Rustin
Honorable Mentions: Alain LeRoy Locke, Langston Hughes, Angela Davis, James Baldwin, Alice Walker

Bayard Rustin was the chief organizer behind the 1963 March on Washington where Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech. Rustin was also a highly influential advisor to King and was the individual responsible for convincing King to adopt non-violence as a key strategy. Rustin was open about his sexuality and in 1986 gave a speech entitled "The New Niggers Are Gays".

Other important contributions to the Civil Rights Movement came from Alain LeRoy Locke, Langston Hughes, Angela Davis, James Baldwin, and Alice Walker.

7 - The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, United Nations
Queer to thank: Eleanore Roosevelt

Eleanore Roosevelt chaired the committee that drafted The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which has proven enormously influential on international law and U.N. policy since it was first adopted. Roosevelt also campaigned heavily for the formation of the United Nations and founded the UN Association of the United States for that purpose.

Roosevelt is thought to have been intimate with suffragette Nancy Cook.

6 - [Insert title of any major, significant, or popular work of art here]
Very short list of queers to thank: William Shakespeare, Sapho, Virginia Woolf, Oscar Wilde, Graham Chapin, Cole Porter, James Ivory, Roland Emmerich, Elton John, Langston Hughes, Dee Palmer, Leonardo Da Vinci, Donatello, Michelangelo, Rupaul, Lady Gaga, Gertrude "Ma" Rainey, Lorraine Hansberry, Countee Cullen, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Octavia E. Butler, Billie Holiday, Jacqueline Woodson, Wanda Sykes, Bill T. Jones, Zora Neale Hurston, E. Lynn Harris, Alvin Ailey, Pedro Almodóvar, Charlie Anders, Molly Cutpurse, Candy Darling, Harisu, Dana International, Jeffrey Catherine Jones, Terre Thaemlitz, Pieter-Dirk Uys, Jin Xing, Antonia San Juan, Witi Ihimaera, Bessie Smith, Sylvester James, Walt Whitman

Within early every artistic form, genre, and work, from the highbrow films of James Ivory to the lowbrow sci-fi action pornos of Roland Emmerich, to the pop songs of Lady Gaga, there is probably not a single work of art that does not owe some debt to some LGBTQ individual, somewhere. If a work of art was not created with our direct input, then it was probably somehow inspired by some other work that was.

5 - U.S. Constitution
Queer to thank: Alexander Hamilton
Honorable Mention: Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben

Although the Federalist Papers were written anonymously, historians generally attribute their primary authorship to Alexander Hamilton. The purpose of the Federalist Papers was to argue that the U.S. Constitution should be ratified by the states. Alexander Hamilton was possibly an intimate of John Laurens, to whom Hamilton wrote, "I wish, Dear Laurens, it might be in my power, by action rather than words, to convince you that I love you."

Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben was an important military leader in the Revolutionary War, who helped General Washington install discipline into the entire Continental Army. A hero of the American Revolution, Steuben came to America and the aid of General Washington after he was accused of "improper relations" in his homeland of Prussia. Steuben was thought to have been the intimate of John H. Mulligan, William North, and Ben Walker.

4 - Philosophy
Queers to thank: Socrates, Plato
Honorable Mentions: Marsilo Ficino, Francis Bacon, Francesco Algaratti, Goerge Santayana, Gerald Heard, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Roland Barthes, Michel Foucault, Ram Dass, Kwame Anthony Appiah, Hazel Barnes, Marquis de Sade, Simone de Beauvoir, Allan Bloom, Judith Butler, Alain LeRoy Locke, Peter Gomes, Saint Anselm, Audre Lorde, Jane Addams, Didier Eribon, Raewyn Connell, Deirdre McCloskey

Thales may be credited as being the "first" western Philosopher, but it was Socrates, along with his student Plato, took it to the next level. So radical and offensive were the notions of Socrates to the ancient Athenians, that he was pretty much the Marilyn Manson of their society. After Socrates was put to death following accusations of corrupting the Athenian youth and questioning the existence of the Gods, Plato fled Athens in disgust, before returning to found the original Academia.

Socrates and Plato are also thought to have been lovers, in addition to their relationship of teacher and student. Plato argues in the Symposium that same sex love is the highest form of love of all.

3 - Calculus, Various Mathematical Theories
Queer to thank: Isaac Newton
Honorable Mentions: Andrey Nikolaevich Kolmogorov, Sofia Kovalevskaya, Alan Turing

Granted, Isaac Newton and Gottfried Leibniz developed Calculus at the same time, so maybe Calculus does not owe it's existence to Newton per se. However, Leibniz's and Newton's versions of Calculus differed on several points, so Calculus can be said to at least owe a debt and a hearty thanks to both. Isaac Newton also developed an early way of calculating the roots of a function and made many other independent and significant contributions to the field of Mathematics.

Isaac Newton is believed to have been intimate with Fatio de Duillier and Newton became depressed when Duillier moved out/broke up with him in 1693.

Other important mathematical theories were developed by Andrey Nicolaevich Kolmogorov and Alan Turring.

Anyone who thinks that woman cannot compete with men on the same level with regards to mathematics should read the story of Sofia Kovalevskaya. What makes her notable was that Sofia Kovalevskaya was forbidden from studying mathematics in Russia, due to her gender. Outside of Russia, Sofia Kovalevskaya was forced to obtain alternative means to obtain advanced degrees, as the university where she was studying would not even allow her to audit classes. Her contributions to the field of mathematics include the discover of the Kovalevsky Top and the Cauchy-Kovalevski theorem.

2 - Modern Science
Queers to thank: Isaac Newton
Honorable Mentions: Alexander von Humboldt, Count Justus von Liebig, Alan Turing, Georg Joachim Rheticus

Isaac Newton did not develop calculus on a whim, he did it to help with his work creating the 3 Laws of Physics that bear his name. Newton's theories held until Einstein came along and made everything relative. Physicists and Engineers still rely on Newton's equations in situations involving the macro universe and speed not approaching the speed of light. Furthermore, Einstein could not have developed his theories without the previous work of Newton.

Count Justus von Liebig developed the modern chemistry lab set up that is still used today which will be familiar to anyone who took chemistry in high-school.

1 - Democracy
Queer to thank: Solon of Athens
Honorable Mention: Alexander the Great

Solon of Athens is credited with instituting legal reforms that helped pave the way for the development of democracy in Ancient Athens. Solon was also known to have composed poems expressing his love for boys.

The Hellenization brought about Alexander the Great also helped with the spread of Democracy.

Keith Stern's "Queers in History, The Comprehnsive Encyclopedia of Historical Gays, Lesbians, Bisexuals, and Transgenders"

List of transgender people
List of gay, lesbian, or bisexual people

George Washington Carver was gay. . . and other bits of lgbt black history you probably didn't know by Alvin McEwen.

January 4, 2013

Of the Day (1/4/13)

The Amazing Sassy
The Amazing Sassy - Thinking inside the box

Please note that I have also created a deviantART account where I will be uploading select prints so they can be purchased there. This one being my favorite, is the first available for that service. Clicky Clicky!

The Lesbian Blog That Shut Down the City of Pittsburgh

Historical Queer Poetry
Ghazal from Diwanby by Hafez

OH Cup-bearer, set my glass afire
With the light of wine! oh minstrel, sing:
The world fulfilleth my heart's desire!
Reflected within the goblet's ring
I see the glow of my Love's red cheek,
And scant of wit, ye who fail to seek
The pleasures that wine alone can bring!
Let not the blandishments be checked
That slender beauties lavish on me,
Until in the grace of the cypress decked,
Love shall come like a ruddy pine-tree
He cannot perish whose heart doth hold
The life love breathes - though my days are told,
In the Book of the World lives my constancy.

But when the Day of Reckoning is here,
I fancy little will be the gain
That accrues to the Sheikh for his lawful cheer,
Or to me for the drought forbidden I drain.
The drunken eyes of my comrades shine,
And I too, stretching my hand to the wine,
On the neck of drunkenness loosen the rein.

Oh wind, if thou passest the garden close
Of my heart's dear master, carry for me
The message I send to him, wind that blows!
"Why hast thou thrust from thy memory
My hapless name?" breathe low in his ear;
"Knowest thou not that the day is near
When nor thou nor any shall think on me?"

If with tears, oh Hafiz, thine eyes are wet,
Scatter them round thee like grain, and snare
The Bird of joy when it comes to thy net.
As the tulip shrinks from the cold night air,
So shrank my heart and quailed in the shade;
Oh Song-bird Fortune, the toils are laid,
When shall thy bright wings lie pinioned there?

The heavens' green sea and the bark therein,
The slender bark of the crescent moon,
Are lost in thy bounty's radiant noon,
Vizir and pilgrim, Kawameddin!

Queer Review: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)

Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
Director: Peter Jackson
Writers: Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, and Peter Jackson. Based upon the novel by J.R.R. Tolkien.
Cast: Elijah Wood, Sean Astin, Viggo Mortensen, Ian McKellen, Andy Serkis, Orlando Bloom, Billy Boyd, Dominic Monaghan, Bernard Hill, John Noble, Miranda Otto, John Rhys-Davies, Hugo Weaving, David Wenham, Brad Dourif, Christopher Lee, Bruce Spence, Cate Blanchett, Sean Bean, Ian Holm, Liv Tyler, Karl Urban,

Note: The following review applies to the Extended Edition, as that is what I watched.

The Return of the King concludes the Lord of the Rings trilogy in a fashion befitting an epic of epic epicness.

Led by the treacherous Gollum (Andy Serkis), Frodo (Elijah Wood) and his trusty servant Samwise (Sean Astin) continue their quest to destroy the one Ring, which will takes them into Mordor where a giant spider called Shelob will be the least of their worries. Meanwhile, Sauron is launching an attack against Gondor, aided by the fact that the city's steward, Denothor (John Noble), has fallen into madness. Thus the task of defending the city falls to the Wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellen) and the currently exiled king Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen).

The Queering
As I did with the previous reviews, I'll just jump into the subtexts. The idea that the one ring is a metaphor for the development of nuclear weaponry during World War II is once again in effect. Given how the whole quest is about the necessity of destroying the one ring, it would appear that Tolkien was trying to warn against the nuclear arms race that would take place during the Cold War. In fact, the idea of limiting power as a necessity for evil to be defeated is omnipresent in The Return of the King, particularly during the scene were Aragorn releases the Dead Army from his service. The Orwellian claim of "power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely" can be heard in this scene and whenever the one ring attempts to seduce any of the characters.

As for the queer subtexts, I'll start with Pippin (Billy Boyd) as everybody loves Pippin this time around. Merry is understandably devastated when he is forced to part company with Pippin and there are plenty of other scenes that play into the two being a couple. Denethor treats Pippin like a new boy toy after Pippin swears loyalty to him, going so far as to treat Pippin with greater affection than he does his own son Faramir (David Wenham). Of course, the whole battle for Minas Tirith is launched by Sauron because he is mistakenly led to believe that the little hobbit has the ring.

Of course there is also Eowyn who dresses up as a man so she can fight in the battle of Minas Tirith. In doing so, she is partaking in a long tradition of women dressing as men in order to fight in battle. During the Civil War for example, it is estimated that around 400 woman did exactly that. This allows her one of the greatest scenes in the whole trilogy where she teaches Sauron a lesson as to why sexism is not a good element to include in one's defense strategy.

Then there is the relationship between Samwise and Frodo, which ends up enduring in spite of Gollum's attempts to break up the two. Sam not only ends up going mano to mano with the gargantuan spider named Shelob in order to protect Frodo, but ends up being the primary motivator during the trek across Mordor to Mount Doom as well. The scene where the two hobbits cuddle together while Mount Doom erupts around them emphasizes the depth of their relationship, even while Samwise blathers on about his beloved Rosie.

It would be worth traveling all the way to Mount Doom to see this movie, even if one was not going to be rescued by dues ex machina eagles at the end.

The Rating
**** out of ****


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January 2, 2013

Of the Day (1/2/13)

The Amazing Sassy
The Amazing Sassy - Reading Einstein

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it"
-George Santayana

Historical Queer Poem
To a Young Fisherman by Jacob Israël de Haan
Your naked feet more tender than a tulip,
A rose less handsome than your ruddy cheeks,
In no other's eyes did I read more replete
Such a boundless hankering for friendship.

Behind us the eternity of the sea,
Above paled grey the everlasting sky,
Drifting on the lonely beach just we
Alone, no other than the sea to pry.

I went to my City, our last day ended.
You sail and fish content, I drift and brood
and find no city refuge nor stiller field.
I am so tired, yet much I have loved,
Forgive me much, ask not what I withstood
And pray I never to your beauty yield.

January 1, 2013

Of the Day (1/1/13)

The Amazing Sassy
The Amazing Sassy - Bathtime

Bible Beefcake by Jeffery Dennis
Re-Thinking How We View & Discuss STIs by Winter Tashlin

Historical Queer Poem

My Lady by Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz

My lady, I must implore
forgiveness for keeping still,
if what I meant as tribute
ran contrary to your will.

Please do not reproach me
if the course I have maintained
in the eagerness of my love
left my silence unexplained.

I love you with so much passion,
neither rudeness nor neglect
can explain why I tied my tongue,
yet left my heart unchecked.

The matter to me was simple:
love for you was so strong,
I could see you in my soul
and talk to you all day long.

With this idea in mind,
I lived in utter delight,
pretending my subterfuge
found favor in your sight.

In this strange, ingenious fashion,
I allowed the hope to be mine
that I still might see as human
what I really conceived as divine.

Oh, how mad I became
in my blissful love of you,
for even though feigned, your favor
made all my madness seem true!

How unwisely my ardent love,
which your glorious sun inflamed,
sought to feed upon your brightness,
though the risk of your fire was plain!

Forgive me if, thus emboldened,
I made bold with that sacred fire:
there's no sanctuary secure
when thought's transgressions conspire.

Thus it was I kept indulging
these foolhardy hopes of mine,
enjoying within myself
a happiness sublime.

But now, at your solemn bidding,
this silence I herewith suspend,
for your summons unlocks in me
a respect no time can end.

And, although loving your beauty
is a crime beyond repair,
rather the crime be chastised
than my fervor cease to dare.

With this confession in hand,
I pray, be less stern with me.
Do not condemn to distress
one who fancied bliss so free.

If you blame me for disrespect,
remember, you gave me leave;
thus, if obedience was wrong,
your commanding must be my reprieve.

Let my love be ever doomed
if guilty in its intent,
for loving you is a crime
of which I will never repent.

This much I descry in my feelings--
and more that I cannot explain;
but you, from what I've not said,
may infer what words won't contain.