This website is an interactive academic 
tool for CEA-UNH course: Gay Paris:

CEA GlobalCampus | Fall 2008
UNH Course Code: GEN230
Credits: 3 | Location: Paris, France

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Readings to focus on for the Final Exam

Spargo, Foucault and Queer Theory pp. 3-69

Le Bitoux, “The Construction of a Political and Media Presence: The Homosexual Liberation Groups in France Between 1975 and 1978” pp. 249-260

Gunther, “France: The Indifferent Ghetto” pp. 34-36

Provencher, Queer French
Ch. 2, pp. 53-78

Provencher, Queer French
Ch. 3, pp. 85-116

Provencher, Queer French
Coming Out in the French (Republican) Family
Ch. 4, pp. 117-148

Provencher, Queer French
Ch. 5, pp. 175-189

Martel, chap. 10, 11
“The Conflagration”
“AIDS: The History of a Social Movement

Martel, chap. 14
“ACT UP: The History of a Political Movement”
“The Second Homosexual Revolution”

Monday, December 8, 2008

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Prop 8- The Musical

See more Jack Black videos at Funny or Die

Monday, December 1, 2008

Microchip for AIDS patients?

I found an article about a proposed plan to implant Indonisian AIDS patients with microchips as a supposed method of curbing the spread of the disease.
Under the bylaw, which has caused uproar among human rights activists, patients who had shown "actively sexual behavior" could be implanted with a microchip to monitor their activity, lawmaker John Manangsang said...

If a patient with HIV/AIDS was found to have infected a healthy person, there would be a penalty, he said without elaborating

Samhita, a blogger at Feministing, analyzed the proposal in a great way:
What I don't see is how is this preventative (the only-ONLY-effective solution to stop the spread of HIV), if the purpose is merely to punish people after they have infected someone. Are they planning on monitoring these people at all times? That is enough resources surely to put into safe sex education, creating a healthier culture around sex, while having all types of support programs for "high-risk" populations.


June 13, 2004 Sunday
Late Edition - Final

With Gay Marriage, La Belle France Turns Conservative

Christopher Caldwell is a senior editor at The Weekly Standard and a columnist for The Financial Times.

SECTION: Section 4; Column 1; Week in Review; The World: A Sexual Divide; Pg. 14

ON June 5, Stephane Chapin and his longtime boyfriend, Bertrand Charpentier, emerged from the city hall of Begles, in southwestern France, with tears in their eyes and wedding bands on their fingers. They were the first gays to live out this scene in France.

The televised ceremony, complete with demonstrators pro- and anti-, had a familiar look to Americans who since last winter have watched similar ones in San Francisco and New Paltz, N.Y. Like the mayors of those American cities, the mayor of Begles, Noel Mamere, who was also the Green Party's candidate for president in 2002, had held the wed-ding in violation of the law. Like his American counterparts, Mr. Mamere was accused of having staged a publicity stunt. Newspapers revealed that the couple didn't even live in Begles, and had sold their story for 5,000 euros to the weekly magazine VSD.

But the spectacle quickly ceased to follow the American script, for it appeared that Mr. Mamere could be in real trouble. Interior Minister Dominique de Villepin, a member of President Jacques Chirac's conservative party, announced he would pursue sanctions against the mayor. Dominique Perben, the justice minister, declared the marriage null and void, and Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin said it ''would be weak not to act'' in the face of such ''illegal comportment.''

Gay marriage may be sweeping the Western world, but in France it has brought out a conservative impulse that will surprise those used to thinking of France as a progressive counterweight to a reactionary America. While there are exceptions to this script -- unlike President Bush, who promised to back a constitutional amendment to oppose gay marriage, Mr. Chirac has remained silent on the issue -- France has had difficulty digesting gay marriage.

This is partly because of France's republican tradition, which is absolutist on the question of equality before the law and insists that every citizen of France be treated exactly the same. Republicanism a la francaise forecloses any wide use of affirmative action in schools, just as it forecloses any special autonomy for provinces like Corsica, which has a troublesome independence movement. It is unthinkable that Mr. Mamere should confer rights in Begles that cannot be conferred in Paris (where the openly gay mayor, Bertrand Delano, has shown no zeal for same-sex marriage).

But many distrust this appeal to neutral principles. ''You'll find all kinds of people who invoke the traditions of the Republic,'' says Eric Fassin, a professor of sociology at the Ecole Normale Superieure, who has argued in public debates in favor of gay marriage. ''But often it's not an explanation -- it's a justification.''

Mr. Fassin said the gay marriage debate in France has been marked by a ''conservatism of the left'' that uses the left's rhetoric to traditionalist ends. The 1999 Civil Solidarity Pact, for example, resembles Vermont's civil-union law, permitting shared health benefits and simplifying inheritances. But rights of adoption -- a bureaucratic ordeal in France, even for heterosexuals -- were not granted to gays.

That has left France in a very different position from the United States. In retrospect, Americans effectively committed themselves to gay marriage when all states except Florida permitted gay adoption. Once children enter the equation, the state must protect them as best they can, and allowing their guardians to marry takes on a logic previously absent.

France still has its options open. Even with 43 percent of children born out of wedlock, according to the demo-graphic agency Ined, the link remains strong between marriage and a traditional idea of childbearing. Surrogate mothers, for instance, are almost unheard of in France. Medically assisted procreation is not a cultural norm. Nor is late-term abortion: In 2000, feminists won an arduous legislative struggle to raise the cutoff point for abortions from 10 to 12 weeks. (In the United States, by contrast, only the ban on what critics call partial-birth abortion, which is now blocked, restricts a woman's right to an abortion at any time in her pregnancy.) Sexual harassment is another area where the French believe American laws go too far.

The French political class, it often seems, likes to argue for the most conservative possible policies using the most liberal possible rhetoric and examples. Thus the novelist Benoit Duteurtre, writing in the left-leaning daily Liberation, objected to the Begles wedding on the grounds that it was disappointingly petit-bourgeois of gays to want marriage in the first place. And in the current controversy, many of the politicians working most arduously to block gay marriage are shoring up their progressive bona fides by sponsoring legislation to outlaw public expressions of homophobia.

Last winter's legislation banning the Islamic head scarf in schools was passed not on nationalist or religious grounds, but on feminist ones. While many women choose the veil freely, the argument went, those intimidated into wearing it by the men in their household or neighborhood must find a sanctuary in state institutions from such bullying.

One of the strangest outcomes of gay marriage in Begles is the way opinion in the Socialist Party -- the natural home of change when it comes to sex issues -- has split along gender lines. Mr. Mamere's initiative was backed almost unanimously by Socialist men, figures as diverse as the flamboyant former culture and education minister Jack Lang, the conservative former finance minister Dominique Strauss-Kahn and the present head of the party, Francois Hollande. The only prominent Socialist male who has opposed Mr. Mamere is former Prime Minister Lionel Jospin, the father of the Civil Solidarity Pact, who holds that marriage is ''the union of a man and a woman [that] reflects the duality of the sexes that characterizes our existence.'' It is Socialist women -- the regional leader Segolene Royal, former Justice Min-ister Elisabeth Guigou, and former Labor Minister Martine Aubry -- who led the opposition.

They may have been following the ''differentialism'' (an important strain of French feminism) associated with the philosopher Sylviane Agacinski, who happens to be Mr. Jospin's wife. Ms. Agacinski has argued that the human condition cannot be understood in any universal way without reference to both sexes . This argument has been a mighty tool for left-wing reforms. It provided the intellectual underpinnings for mandating sexual parity in French legislative elections. Today, it provides the intellectual underpinnings for arguing that a marriage that lacks either a man or a woman is no marriage at all.


LOAD-DATE: June 15, 2004


June 6, 2004 Sunday
Late Edition - Final

French Mayor, Defying Law, Performs Gay Marriage


SECTION: Section 1; Column 6; Foreign Desk; Pg. 20


France witnessed its first gay wedding on Saturday, despite warnings from the central government that the ceremony was illegal and the mayor who officiated could be punished.

Noel Mamere, a leader of the Green Party and mayor of the southwest town of Begles, presided at the town hall over the wedding of two men, Bertrand Charpentier, a 31-year-old shopworker, and Stephane Chapin, a 34-year-old nurse.

''I'm proud of this wedding,'' Mr. Mamere told the couple, adding, ''I don't consider myself an outlaw.''

In proceeding with the ceremony, Mr. Mamere ignored pressure from President Jacques Chirac's center-right government to cancel it.

Mr. Mamere could be suspended as mayor and fined as much as $1,800, but any punishment would have little political effect. Mr. Mamere, a savvy, outspoken journalist-turned-politician, could still remain a member of Parliament.

An hour after the ceremony, Interior Minister Dominique de Villepin announced that the French government had initiated a ''sanctions procedure'' against Mr. Mamere. ''I intend to make sure the law of the republic and the authority of the state are respected,'' Mr. de Villepin said.

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin warned: ''If such a ceremony takes place, it cannot be called a marriage. It would be an illegal ceremony, null and void under the law.'' He said that any elected official who did such a thing would ''be exposed to the sanctions provided for by law.'' Justice Minister Dominique Perben has also expressed his opposition, as has the Archbishop Jean-Pierre Ricard of Bordeaux, who is also president of the Conference of Bishops of France.

The Catholic Church opposes gay weddings ''because marriage also ensures the renewal of generations, the clarity of filial and parental ties and provides security to the adults and the children who are the fruit of that union, which is not the case of unions between people of the same sex,'' Archbishop Ricard wrote in a recent newspaper commentary.

He has called France a ''hypocritical country'' when it comes to marriage. He has argued that the relevant law -- ar-ticle 75 of the country's Civil Code, which dates back to Napoleon -- is vague and does not require that marriage bind a man and a woman. The article states that a couple entering marriage ''will receive a declaration from each party that they want to take each other for husband and wife.''

The government, however, wants to restrict gay partnerships to a civil contract known as the Civil Solidarity Pact, a legal mechanism introduced in 1999 that gives all adult couples -- regardless of their sex or sexual orientation -- many of the same financial and social rights as those who are formally wedded.

The matter has created fissures in the Socialist Party, which championed the Civil Solidarity Pact in the first place. While some Socialists, including the former prime minister and Socialist leader Lionel Jospin, oppose it, Francois Hollande, the current leader of the Socialist Party, has suggested that it might be advisable eventually to legalize gay marriage.

Mr. Charpentier and Mr. Chapin, both dressed in suits, were applauded by dozens of gay rights supporters as they arrived in a Rolls-Royce at the town hall in Begles, a suburb of Bordeaux. The police stopped some opponents from entering town hall.

A handful of mayors of other small French towns have said they will follow Mr. Mamere's lead and preside at gay marriages.


LOAD-DATE: June 6, 2004

World AIDS Day March _ ACT UP Paris

ACT UP Paris' march for World AIDS Day is this evening. We will meet at 6:15pm sharp on the steps of Opera Bastille. If you are late, it will be difficult to find the group in the crowd, so be on time or a bit early.

Sunday, November 30, 2008


by Hendrik Hertzberg
DECEMBER 1, 2008

Changes California Constitution to eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry. Provides that only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.
—Ballot summary, Proposition 8.

You might think that an organization that for most of the first of its not yet two centuries of existence was the world’s most notorious proponent of startlingly unconventional forms of wedded bliss would be a little reticent about issuing orders to the rest of humanity specifying exactly who should be legally entitled to marry whom. But no. The Mormon Church—as anyone can attest who has ever answered the doorbell to find a pair of polite, persistent, adolescent “elders” standing on the stoop, tracts in hand—does not count reticence among the cardinal virtues. Nor does its own history of matrimonial excess bring a blush to its cheek. The original Latter-day Saint, Joseph Smith, acquired at least twenty-eight and perhaps sixty wives, some of them in their early teens, before he was lynched, in 1844, at age thirty-eight. Brigham Young, Smith’s immediate successor, was a bridegroom twenty times over, and his successors, along with much of the male Mormon élite, kept up the mass marrying until the nineteen-thirties—decades after the Church had officially disavowed polygamy, the price of Utah’s admission to the Union, in 1896. As Richard and Joan Ostling write in “Mormon America: The Power and the Promise” (2007), “Smith and his successors in Utah managed American history’s only wide-scale experiment in multiple wives, boldly challenging the nation’s entrenched family structure and the morality of Western Judeo-Christian culture.”

“MORMONS TIPPED SCALE IN BAN ON GAY MARRIAGE,” the Times headlined the week after Election Day, reflecting the views of proponents and opponents alike. Six and a half million Californians voted for Proposition 8, and six million voted against it—a four-point margin, close enough for a single factor to make the difference. Almost all the early canvassers for the cause were Mormons, but the most important contributions were financial. The normal political pattern is for money to get raised in California and spent elsewhere. This time, Salt Lake City played the role of Hollywood, rural Utah was the new Silicon Valley, and California was cast as flyover country. Of the forty million dollars spent on behalf of Prop. 8, some twenty million came from members or organs of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Some conservative commentators, who didn’t have much else to gloat about, dwelt lingeringly on what they evidently regarded as the upside of the huge, Obama-sparked African-American turnout. “It was the black vote that voted down gay marriage,” Bill O’Reilly, of Fox News, insisted triumphantly—and, it turns out, wrongly. If exit polling is to be believed, seventy per cent of California’s African-American voters did indeed vote yes on Prop. 8, as did upward of eighty per cent of Republicans, conservatives, white evangelicals, and weekly churchgoers. But the initiative would have passed, barely, even if not a single African-American had shown up at the polls.

Still, this was a fight that should have been won, and after the initial shock—which tempted a few gay and lesbian voices to blame blacks for what O’Reilly credited them with—California’s gay activists and their straight allies, judging from their online postmortems, have begun to direct more criticism at themselves than at their opponents. They were complacent: early polls had shown Prop. 8 losing by double digits. Their television ads were timid and ineffective, focussing on worthy abstractions like equality and fairness, while the other side’s were powerfully emotional. (Also dishonest—they implied that gay marriage would threaten churches’ tax exemptions, force church-affiliated adoption agencies to place children with gay couples, and oblige children to attend gay weddings—but that sort of thing was to be expected.) Barack Obama, like Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, had come out against Prop. 8, yet the No-on-8 forces let Obama’s popularity be used against them: a mass mailing suggesting that the Democratic nominee was for it went essentially unanswered.

The defenders of equal access to marriage, in other words, think their problem was tactical—“messaging,” not substance. They are probably right. In the days after the election, tens of thousands of people, gay and straight, took to the streets of cities and towns throughout the country in spontaneously organized protest. But the mood at these gatherings, by all accounts, was seldom angry; it was cheerful, determined, and hopeful. From 1998 to 2006, bans on same-sex marriage were put on the ballot in one state or another thirty times, and twenty-nine times the people voted for them. This year, in addition to California, Florida passed a ban; Arizona, which in 2006 had been the one exception, reversed itself and did the same; more cruelly, Arkansas approved a ballot measure depriving gay men and lesbians of the right to adopt children. But all this has about it the feel of a last stand.

Four years ago, Howard Dean’s Presidential campaign worried that its undoing would be the fact that as governor of Vermont Dean had signed a bill allowing gays and lesbians to form civil unions; that turned out to be the least of his troubles. Now large majorities of Americans favor laws under which same-sex couples have all or most of the same rights as couples of opposite sexes, and five states, including California, have enacted them. Gay marriage itself is legal, and not terribly controversial, in Massachusetts and Connecticut. In 1993, most Americans thought that open homosexuals shouldn’t be permitted to serve in the military; now three-quarters think that they should. And the polls show that the younger you are the more likely you are to favor equal treatment of gays and straights in every area of public and private life. The Field Poll, one of California’s most respected, found last month that while the state’s over-sixty-fives oppose gay marriage by a thirty-point margin, the under-thirty-fives favor it by thirteen points—and it’s hard to think of a reason that getting older should change their minds.

Like a polluted swamp, anti-gay bigotry is likely to get thicker and more toxic as it dries up. Viciousness meets viscousness. “Look,” Newt Gingrich, the former House Speaker, said the other day (on the air, to Bill O’Reilly), “I think there is a gay and secular fascism in this country that wants to impose its will on the rest of us, is prepared to use violence. . . . I think that it is a very dangerous threat to anybody who believes in traditional religion. And I think if you believe in historic Christianity, you have to confront the fact.” For diversity’s sake, he added that “the historic version of Islam” and “the historic version of Judaism” are likewise menaced—which is natural, given that gay, secular, fascist values are “the opposite of what you’re taught in Sunday school.”

This sort of sludge may or may not prove to be of some slight utility in the 2012 Republican primaries, but it is, increasingly, history. A couple of days before the California vote, the San Francisco Chronicle’s John Wildermuth noticed a “No on Prop 8” sign on a front lawn. The lawn and the sign belonged to Steve Young, the football Hall of Famer and former 49er quarterback, and his wife, Barb. Steve Young is a graduate of Brigham Young University, which is named for his great-great-great-grandfather. The Youngs still belong to the Mormon Church. “We believe all families matter and we do not believe in discrimination,” Barb Young said. “Therefore, our family will vote against Prop 8.” It wasn’t enough this time. But the time is coming. ♦

The Faces of AIDS and HIV

In honor of World AIDS Day, The New York Times had created an interactive article titled, "Patient Voices: AIDS and HIV". Eight amazing men and women discuss their personal thoughts, strengths, weakness, and experiences. AIDS doesn't discriminate, the world shouldn't either.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Perspective from The National Review


November 24, 2008, 8:00 a.m.

Legislating Immorality
By the Editors

Last week in a Denver suburb, someone lit a Book of Mormon on fire and dropped it on the doorstep of a Mormon temple, presumably as a statement about the church’s support of Proposition 8 in California, an initiative that amended the state constitution to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman. In a move that may make gay-rights supporters’ heads spin, the incident is being investigated as a hate crime.

The outbreak of attacks on the Mormon church since the passage of Proposition 8 has been chilling: envelopes full of suspicious white powder were sent to church headquarters in Salt Lake City; protesters showed up en masse to intimidate Mormon small-business owners who supported the measure; a website was created to identify and shame members of the church who backed it; activists are targeting the relatives of prominent Mormons who gave money to pass it, as well as other Mormons who are only tangentially associated with the cause; some have even called for a boycott of the entire state of Utah.

The wisdom of hate-crimes legislation aside, there is no doubt that a lot of hate is being directed at Mormons as a group. But why single out Mormons? And why now?

Dozens of church bodies — including the Catholic Church, the Orthodox Christian bishops of California, and a wide variety of evangelicals — supported the proposition. It’s also worth considering that, while gay-rights advocates cannot discuss same-sex marriage for more than 30 seconds without making faulty analogies to Jim Crow-era anti-miscegenation laws, some 70 percent of blacks voted for Proposition 8. While there have been a few ugly racist statements by gay-rights supporters, such vile sentiment has been restricted. Not so the hatred directed at Mormons, who are convenient targets.

To date, 30 states have voted on initiatives addressing same-sex marriage, and in every state traditional marriage has come out on top. But somehow the fact that Mormons got involved during the latest statewide referendum constitutes a bridge too far? In truth, Mormons are a target of convenience in the opening salvo of what is sure to be a full-scale assault on much of America’s religious infrastructure, which gay activists perceive as a barrier to their aspirations. Among religious groups, Mormons are not the biggest obstacle to same-sex marriage — not by a long shot. But they are an easy target. Anti-Mormon bigotry is unfortunately common, and gay-rights activists are cynically exploiting that fact.

There are no websites dedicated to “outing” Catholics who supported Proposition 8, even though Catholic voters heavily outnumber Mormons. And the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is not remarkably strident in its beliefs on the subject. So far, no gay-rights activist has had the brass to burn a Qu’ran on the doorstep of a militant mosque where — forget marriage! — imams advocate the stoning of homosexuals.

Churches oppose same-sex marriage in part because it represents an implicit threat to freedom of conscience and belief. California already had one of the broadest civil-unions laws in the country. There was little in the way of government-sanctioned privileges that a state-issued marriage license would confer. But the drive for same-sex marriage is in practice about legislating moral conformity — demanding that everybody recognize homosexual relationships in the same way, regardless of their own beliefs. Freedom of conscience, or diversity of belief, is the last thing the homosexual lobby will tolerate: In New Mexico, a state civil-rights commission fined an evangelical wedding photographer $6,637 for politely declining to photograph a gay commitment ceremony. In California, the state Supreme Court ruled unanimously against two San Diego fertility doctors who refused to give in-vitro fertilization to a lesbian owing to their religious beliefs, even though they had referred her to another doctor. And just this week, evangelical dating site eHarmony, which hadn’t previously provided same-sex matchmaking services, announced it had been browbeaten into doing so by New Jersey’s Division on Civil Rights and the threat of litigation. The first 10,000 same-sex eHarmony registrants will receive a free six-month subscription. “That’s one of the things I asked for,” crowed Eric McKinley, who brought the charges against eHarmony.

Where do they go from here? Gay activists are already using the legal system to try to revoke the tax-exempt status of the Mormon church. If you believe that churches and synagogues, priests and rabbis won’t eventually be sued for their statements on sexuality, you’re kidding yourself. Chai Feldblum, a Georgetown University law professor and gay activist who helps draft federal legislation related to sexual orientation, says that, when religious liberty conflicts with gay rights, “I’m having a hard time coming up with any case in which religious liberty should win.” A National Public Radio report on the conflict noted that if previous cases are any guide, “the outlook is grim for religious groups.”

Given their cavalier disregard for the freedom of conscience, it’s little surprise that the gay lobby is equally disdainful of democracy: They began pursuing legal challenges to Proposition 8 practically before they were done tallying the votes. Lamentably, the state attorney general defending the will of the people will be former Jerry Brown, the liberal former governor who was an open opponent of the measure and tried to sabotage it. The legal challenges will be heard by the same state Supreme Court that overturned California’s previous law forbidding gay marriage back in May. There’s a real possibility the will of the people will be spurned a second time, democracy be damned. They’ve already burned the Book of Mormon. The First Amendment is next.

National Review Online

Times Article on Funding for Prop 8


November 26, 2008
Inquiry Set on Mormon Aid for California Marriage Vote

SAN FRANCISCO — California officials will investigate accusations that the Mormon Church neglected to report a battery of nonmonetary contributions — including phone banks, a Web site and commercials — on behalf of a ballot measure to ban same-sex marriage.

Roman Porter, the executive director of the Fair Political Practices Commission, which oversees California campaign finance laws, signed off on the investigation after reviewing a sworn complaint filed on Nov. 13.

The complaint, filed by Fred Karger, founder of the group Californians Against Hate, asserted that the church’s reported contributions — about $5,000, according to state election filings — vastly underestimated its actual efforts in passing Proposition 8, which amended the state’s Constitution to recognize only male-female marriage.

Broadly speaking, California state law requires disclosure of any money spent or services provided to influence the outcome of an election.

Mr. Porter said the announcement of the investigation was not “a determination on the validity of the claims or the culpability of the individuals,” but that the claims had been reviewed by a lawyer for the commission and its chief of enforcement and deemed worth pursuing.

Kim Farah, a spokeswoman for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, issued a statement Tuesday saying it had received the complaint and would cooperate with the investigation. Frank Schubert, campaign manager for the leading group behind Proposition 8, said the accusations were baseless and made by a “rogue group.”

Responding to a plea from Mormon Church leaders to “become involved in this important cause,” members contributed millions of dollars and volunteered for countless hours on behalf of Proposition 8. The ballot measure passed with 52 percent of the vote, leading to protests and boycotts of supporters of the proposition, including some Mormon temples and businesses.

Mr. Karger’s complaint paints a sweeping picture of the involvement by the church leadership, and raises questions about who paid for out-of-state phone banks and grass-roots rallies in California before the Nov. 4 vote.

“Who paid for the buses, travel costs, meals and other expenses of all the Mormon participants?” the complaint reads. “No contributions were reported.”

The complaint also touches on a five-state simulcast from church leaders to Mormon congregations, as well as a Web site,, that featured a series of videos advocating passage of the ballot measure and is labeled “an official Web site” of the Mormon Church.

Ms. Farah said the church had no comment on the particular accusations in the complaint.

If found in violation of election laws, the church could face fines of up to $5,000 per violation, Mr. Porter said. Bigger fines could also be levied by a civil court.

Mr. Karger said he respected the right of Mormons to vote in line with their religious beliefs, but added “if they’re going to play politics, then they need to play by the rules.”

The California Supreme Court agreed last week to review the constitutionality of the measure, with a ruling expected next year.

Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Le Centre LGBT Paris

Everyone is expected to visit the LGBT Centre in Paris this semester. Unfortunately, their opening times do not correspond with our class period, so we will all have to go outside of class time. We can discuss a time that would suit most people and those who cannot come can visit the center separately. There will be a reaction essay on the final exam regarding your visit to the center.

Le Centre LGBT | Paris• Ile-de-France
63, rue Beaubourg / 75003 PARIS
(Literally just around the corner from CEA)

Monday : 18h - 20h
Tuesday : 15h - 20h
Wednesday : 12h30 - 20h
Thursday : 15h - 20h
Friday : 12h30 - 20h
Saturday : 12h30 - 20h
Sunday : 16h - 19h, Café Lunettes Rouges

Upcoming Events:


My real life boyfriend, James Franco, playing Scott Smith in MILK.

Director Gus Van Sant uses the account of one of the country's first openly gay public officials, who was assassinated in 1978, to invest the gay rights movement with mythic grandeur, as a successor to all the heroic social protest movements in American history. Van Sant's point of view may be a matter of politics, outside the scope of a review, but his success in putting over his point of view is a question of art.

Harvey Bernard Milk (May 22, 1930 – November 27, 1978) was an American politician and the first openly gay man to be elected to public office in California, as a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. Milk was born and raised in New York where he acknowledged his homosexuality as an adolescent, but chose to pursue sexual relationships with secrecy and discretion well into his adult years. His experience in the counterculture of the 1960s caused him to shed many of his conservative views about individual freedom and the expression of sexuality.

Milk moved to San Francisco in 1972 and opened a camera store. Although he had been restless, holding an assortment of jobs and moving house frequently, he settled in the Castro District, a neighborhood that was experiencing a mass immigration of gay men and lesbians. He was compelled to run for city supervisor in 1973, though he encountered resistance from the existing gay political establishment. His campaign was compared to theater; he was brash, outspoken, animated, and outrageous, earning media attention and votes, although not enough to be elected. He campaigned again in the next two supervisor elections, dubbing himself the "Mayor of Castro Street". Voters responded enough to warrant his running for the California State Assembly as well. Taking advantage of his growing popularity, he led the gay political movement in fierce battles against anti-gay initiatives. Milk was elected city supervisor in 1977 after San Francisco reorganized its election procedures to choose representatives from neighborhoods rather than through city-wide ballots.

Milk served almost eleven months as city supervisor and was responsible for passing a stringent gay rights ordinance in San Francisco. On November 27, 1978, Milk and Mayor George Moscone were assassinated by Dan White, another city supervisor who had recently resigned and wanted his job back. Both Milk's election and the events following his assassination demonstrated the liberalization of the population and political conflicts between the city government and a conservative police force.

Milk has become an icon in San Francisco and "a martyr for gay rights", according to University of San Francisco professor Peter Novak.[1] While established political organizers in the city insisted gays work with liberal politicians and use restraint in reaching their objectives, Milk outspokenly encouraged gays to use their growing power in the city and support each other. His goal was to give hope to disenfranchised gays around the country. In 2002, he was called "the most famous and most significantly open LGBT official ever elected in the United States".[2] Writer John Cloud remarked on his influence, "After he defied the governing class of San Francisco in 1977 to become a member of its board of supervisors, many people—straight and gay—had to adjust to a new reality he embodied: that a gay person could live an honest life and succeed."[3]