Making History

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Another Boy in the Band

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Capturing Rainbows member Brian Hutchison can be seen in The Boys in the Band, currently on Broadway at the Booth Theatre in NYC, through August 11. We asked Brian to share a few words about being in the show. The Boys in the Band is an important part of our history. This latest production is truly stunning.  We strongly recommend anyone in the NYC area in the next month to see it, if you have the opportunity! – Mike and Tom

Charlie Carver Zachary Quinto, and Andrew Rannells during a break in rehearsal NYC.

Watching The Boys in The Band film in my early thirties was brutal—I’m not even sure I made it the whole way through. It felt so sad, so bleak, so unlike my life up to that point, and I wanted nothing to do with that sort of life. I wasn’t ready for it. I was only able to understand or relate to a couple of the characters: Hank, who had left his wife a few years earlier, and Alan, who was so clearly troubled and in denial about his own feelings, and so unable to move past this and toward a more fulfilling life. I wasn’t fully out at the time and seeing this movie confirmed my fears that this was what my life could become.

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Don’t Let The Parade Pass Me By

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This year’s NYC Pride Parade got me thinking. I’d heard rumblings from others about the new and shortened parade route. And that our more political and radical groups, which normally lead and anchor our parade, were taking a backseat to the mainstream corporate interests now supporting the LGBTQ community. Our acceptance by the mainstream is an amazing step forward for our civil rights and in our fight against discrimination. But, at what cost?
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Remember the Upstairs Lounge Fire

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This year’s NYC LGBTQ Pride Parade falls on the 45th anniversary of the fire at the Upstairs Lounge in New Orleans in 1973, which up until the Pulse massacre was the the deadliest attack of the LGBTQ community in modern history. ABC News has released a new documentary on this horrific event. 

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The Changing Face of Pride

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Go go boys on the Roxy Nightclub float in NYC’s Gay Pride parade on June 27, 1993.

When I first arrived in NYC in 1976, the LGBTQ Pride Parade was a half dozen years old. In those days, it was just called the gay march. It was all about gay liberation—the freedom to be different.

Same Sex Marriage, 1972

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Spring, 1972 – As a third-year American student at the University of Manitoba (UM) in Winnipeg, Canada in the early 1970s, I was eager to find other gay men and to participate in the energetic wave of gay rights activism that immediately followed Stonewall. At that time, Winnipeg was quite conservative, with only two “discreet” gay bars and a private, gay social club that did not have a liquor license. Neither the bars nor the private club appealed to me. The folks at both bars were pleasant but, except for those in drag, most guys seemed closeted and fearful of being outed. One of the bars even disallowed close dancing by same-sex couples because of Manitoba’s strict liquor laws. I wanted something more than forlornly staring into my beer behind blacked-out windows.

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The Closing of Chicago’s First Gay Bathhouse

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One of our members, Alex Kacala, has generously contributed the linked story below, which he’d recently written for online gay publication Hornet (where he’s editor).

Bathhouses, which historically have had a reputation as being places of debauchery and orgiastic pleasure, were for many years communal gathering places for gay men to just socialize and relax. Many had restaurants and bars and featured live entertainment. The most famous of these was the Continental Baths in NYC, where Bette Milder and her pianist, Barry Manilow, got their big break and why Bette will forever be in the hearts of so many men who saw her there or heard stories about her shows.

https://hornet.com/stories/mans-country-chicago-bathhouse-tour/

My David Kopay Story

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I was raised in the arch-conservative Florida panhandle near the Alabama border in the late 1950s and 1960s. In those days, and especially in that location, being gay was the same as being a sexual deviant. In fact, the word “gay” still was commonly used to mean happy-go-lucky. “Queer” was the popular derogatory term used and it implied pervert, deviant, pedophile, and a dozen other terms for depraved. To be queer was also to be an effeminate, cowering “fag.” Real men did not like other men “in that way.”

The Queen of Disco

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JUNE 1978 – The cracks in my closet appeared slowly. By 1978, I was out with my family and my college fraternity brothers, but I had no local gay friends. I was intimidated by NYC’s gay scene, ensconced in an intense training program at a conservative bank, and madly infatuated with my best friend and colleague there, a straight, former Princeton football captain and tight end.

World AIDS Day, 1994

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In 1994, I was wheatpasting posters around New York City late at night (when the police tended to be in doughnut shops, not on the streets) for ACT UP and started complaining about having turned 30 and feeling old. My partner-in-wheatpasting-crime — who was positive which, back in those pre-retroviral days, was a virtual death sentence — turned and said “you know, I was really grateful to make it to 30.”

Dear Ellen

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Setting: Ms. Matlock’s Seventh Grade English Class. My school is a private Christian middle school. It is 1997. I am 12 years old.

Ms. Matlock: This week we are going to learn how to write a well-structured letter.

Me (to myself): Cool

Ms. Matlock: Each of you is going to write a letter to Michael Eisner. He is the CEO of Disney.