A blog about LGBTQ+ History, Art, Literature, Politics, Culture, and Whatever Else Comes to Mind. The Closet Professor is a fun (sometimes tongue-in-cheek, sometimes very serious) approach to LGBTQ+ Culture.
Thursday, April 30, 2020
You never know what's around the corner. It could be everything. Or it could be nothing. You keep putting one foot in front of the other, and then one day you look back and you've climbed a mountain.
- Tom Hiddleston
Wednesday, April 29, 2020
Performance, Protest and Politics
The GLBT Historical Society has unveiled an online version of its exhibition “Performance, Protest and Politics: The Art of Gilbert Baker,” which opened at the GLBT Historical Society Museum on November 1, 2019. The exhibition uses textiles, costumes, photographs and ephemera to paint a complex portrait of artist Gilbert Baker (1951–2017), who designed the iconic rainbow flag. The online exhibition opened on Monday, April 27 at glbthistory.org/gilbert-baker-exhibition.
First displayed at the 1978 San Francisco Gay Freedom Day Parade, the rainbow flag has transcended its humble, hand-sewn origins to become an internationally recognized symbol of the LGBTQ community. Yet the success of this design has in some ways overshadowed the larger story of its creator and his exceptional creative work. “Performance, Protest and Politics” examines how Baker blurred the lines between artist and activist, protester and performer, emphasizing his intuitive understanding of the ways art can serve as a powerful means to address political and social issues.
Over the course of four decades, Baker melded his artistic gifts with his devotion to justice, employing a range of media and approaches — including sewing, painting, design and performance — to advocate for positive social change. The exhibition has been co-curated by Jeremy Prince, who has curated and overseen numerous exhibitions at the GLBT Historical Society Museum; and Joanna Black, the archivist who oversaw the donation of the Gilbert Baker Collection to the GLBT Historical Society’s archives in 2017.
Referring to the many extravagant costumes on display, Prince notes that Baker employed drag “as a vehicle to critique injustice and express outrage. From Betsy Ross to Pink Jesus, from Lady Liberty to the uniform of a concentration-camp prisoner, Baker’s drag wardrobe and personas represent the intersection of patriotism, discrimination and social justice.” By exploring the less well known dimensions of Baker’s wide-ranging oeuvre, the exhibition places the rainbow flag back into the unexpected and evocative context of his exceptional life as an activist and artist. “We highlight some of the political flashpoints of Baker’s life and how his creative responses at those moments reveal a multilayered character — a man intent on being publicly seen and using his visibility as a declaration,” says Black. “Performance, Protest and Politics: The Art of Gilbert Baker” opened online Monday, April 27 and can be experienced at glbthistory.org/gilbert-baker-exhibition.
For more information, visit the GLBT Historical Society website at www.glbthistory.org.
|About the Curators|
Joanna Black is the archivist at the William E. Colby Memorial Library at the Sierra Club’s National Headquarters in Oakland, California. She was director of archives and special collections at the GLBT Historical Society from 2016 to 2018. Black holds a B.A. in creative writing from San Francisco State University and a master’s in library and information science from the University of California, Los Angeles.
Jeremy Prince is the Collections Specialist at the San Diego History Center in San Diego, California. He began volunteering at the newly opened GLBT Historical Society Museum in 2011. From 2014 to 2019, he served as the society’s director of exhibitions and museum operations. Prince holds an M.A. in early modern European history and museum studies from San Francisco State University.
|About the Museum|
Open since January 2011, the GLBT Historical Society Museum is the first stand-alone museum of its kind in the United States. Its Main Gallery features a long-term exhibition on San Francisco LGBTQ history, “Queer Past Becomes Present.” Its Front Gallery and Community Gallery host changing exhibitions. The institution also sponsors forums, author talks and other programs.
The museum is a project of the GLBT Historical Society, a public history center and archives that collects, preserves, exhibits and makes accessible to the public materials and knowledge to support and promote understanding of LGBTQ history, culture and arts in all their diversity. Founded in 1985, the society maintains one of the world's largest collections of LGBTQ historical materials.
For more information, visit the GLBT Historical Society website at www.glbthistory.org.
Tuesday, April 28, 2020
Pic of the Day
Who has not done this too many times during this pandemic?
A Dream Within a Dream
A Dream Within a Dream
By Edgar Allan Poe
Take this kiss upon the brow!
And, in parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow —
You are not wrong, who deem
That my days have been a dream;
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone?
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.
I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore,
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand —
How few! yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep — while I weep!
O God! Can I not grasp
Them with a tighter clasp?
O God! can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?
Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?
Monday, April 27, 2020
Quarantine Cooking II
Sunday, April 26, 2020
To Be Happy
Do you acknowledge your happiness? Often times, we don't recognize our happiness in the moment but instead look back years later saying it was the happiest time of our lives. Take joy in your current happiness, even if it is circumstantial. Let's do a better job of realizing our happiness and not be a person who walks around happy and not even knowing it. What makes you happy today?
Saturday, April 25, 2020
Friday, April 24, 2020
Pic of the Day
I don’t think the generation after mine realizes how lucky they are. I am in awe of the wealth of information and data at our fingertips these days.. When I was a teenager, the Internet was very new. I think I’ve mentioned before that I was in college the first time I had the chance to use the Internet. I took to it fairly quickly, though. I was able for the first time to better explore my attraction to guys (even if I didn’t understand what all that meant at the time). One thing many of us take for granted is the quick and easy access we now have to more…adult content. Our content was so innocent compared to what young gay men have today. At least it was for me.
For better or worse, gone are the days of magazine clippings, underwear catalogs, and dial-up internet connections that take 15 minutes to load a torso. That’s what it was like for me as a teenager and a young college student. The idea of going to the adult section of a movie store, or god forbid just using your imagination, is completely lost on the youth of today.
One interesting thing though is that generations prior to mine were much freer about male nudity, especially in locker rooms and such male only spaces, but my generation rarely got fully naked in from of one another. On rare occasions did I see guys get fully naked in the locker room at PE or when I played basketball in high school, but even those few times were very brief. Masturbation was a completely taboo topic, and you’d never dare admit that you did that. In some ways, the generations after me have been freer to discuss such things, and they are becoming less shy in the locker rooms again.
Earlier this week, Twitter came together to reminisce about these desperate times. The conversation was initiated by Chris Kelly, known for his work on Saturday Night Live. “What photo do YOU remember printing out on your family’s shared computer and masturbating to for weeks/months?” wrote Kelly, alongside a pixelated picture of a shirtless Jon Bon Jovi.
Gay Twitter sprung into action, all too eager to share the first additions to their own masturbatory fantasies. There were some of the usual suspects. Celebrities like Justin Timberlake, Heath Ledger, and Marky Mark. There were also clippings from fashion magazines and underwear advertisements. Does anybody remember International Male or the Undergear Catalogs?
Then there was even a smattering of some obscure ones. The kind of pictures you might resort to in a pinch (we’ve all been there). My most obscure (i.e. embarrassing) was probably the Nelson Twins. Good God, that hair! Those clothes! I remember I had a special edition magazine dedicated just to them. I actually did like, their music.
There were also the myriad of workout magazines. Those magazines, the catalogs, etc. were what I kept secretly under my bed. Then when I was in college, I discovered A&F Quarterly. OMG, they were so homoerotic, you could even excuse the fact that they sometimes showed girls. It just took a little bit of skin back then to turn me on. Tastes change though.
Now there’s PornHub, Snapchat, Twitter, and OnlyFans just to name a few of the massive amount of masturbatory material out there. Not to mention all the information you’d ever want about being gay. While things were beginning to change back in the late 90s and early 2000s, things were nowhere near as open as today. Kids are coming out younger and younger. Many do not have the fear and stigma of being gay that my generation had, and it was worse for the generation before mine. I said many because there are still very religiously conservative enclaves out there, such as my home state of Alabama or God forbid you’re a gay Mormon in Utah.
So my question of the day is: What was your favorite special material to get you off? Who was it? Where was the source of your entertainment? I honestly would like to know. You can always comment anonymously if you’re too embarrassed to sign your name to it. Let’s hear it.
Thursday, April 23, 2020
Too Much Hotness
Best 12 seconds this week I mean really 🥵🥵 pic.twitter.com/EQGdooyHk2— quaranteamwork (@AlexHamilton_88) April 17, 2020
Wednesday, April 22, 2020
Tuesday, April 21, 2020
by Effie Waller Smith
Love is a rainbow that appears
When heaven’s sunshine lights earth’s tears.
All varied colors of the light
Within its beauteous arch unite:
There Passion’s glowing crimson hue
Burns near Truth’s rich and deathless blue;
And Jealousy’s green lights unfold
‘Mid Pleasure’s tints of flame and gold.
O dark life’s stormy sky would seem,
If love’s clear rainbow did not gleam!
Effie Waller Smith, born January 6, 1879, is the author of Rosemary and Pansies (Gorham Press, 1909), Rhymes from the Cumberland (Broadway Publishing Company, 1904), and Songs of the Month (Broadway Publishing Company, 1904). She died on January 2, 1960.
Monday, April 20, 2020
When Did You Realize You Were Gay?
I grew up in the 1980s and 1990s. Depictions of gay people were not flattering. It seemed to me and from what my mother told me (She was a public health nurse.), all gay men had AIDS. The very few gay men I knew did die of AIDS, though it was rarely spoken about. Other depictions of gay men were flamboyant queens, sissy effeminate men, etc.
Early on, I had hints I was gay, but I ignored them. I remember being enthralled by Harry Hamlin in Clash of the Titans which came out in 1981; It was years later, though, when I first saw it on TV. When I started middle school, there was a new guy in my class. As usual, people were picking on me, and he told them to stop. He was the kind of guy who you knew immediately was going to be the leader of the pack. He was athletic, and my classmates didn’t question him. He was blond and had beautiful blue eyes. I had a crush, and I didn’t even know it. We were friends all through the rest of school; not close friends, but enough that when someone tried to bully me, he’d scare them away. Even the older kids didn’t mess with him. He was not a bully, but people respected him. He was just a nice guy. I had all sorts of fantasies about him. He was my masturbation material in my teenage years, yet, I did not realize I was gay.
When I was in college, I wanted to learn more about being gay, so I went to Barnes and Noble. Not only did I know this is where a lot of gay men hung out, but B&N also had books on the subject. I had to be discreet, though. The first “gay” book I bought was Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin. In hindsight, that was not the best choice. It’s a good book, but it has a tragic ending. Early gay fiction nearly always had tragic endings. This kept the realization I was gay at bay even longer.
Slowly, however, I was coming to the conclusion I was in fact gay. I got some gay videos through the mail, and I read Brad Gooch’s Finding the Boyfriend Within: A Practical Guide for Tapping into Your Own Source of Love, Happiness, and Respect. Apparently, I had to learn to love myself. In college, I had a girlfriend. When we broke up, I realized I didn’t want to date girls anymore. Yet, I still couldn’t admit to myself I was gay. One summer I was housesitting for the dentist my aunt worked for. My college roommate (We lived together all four years.) was taking summer classes and living in the dorm. Therefore, we were both in Montgomery. We decided to get together at the house I was staying at and have some beers. We were getting drunk and started playing truth or dare. During the game, I admitted I wanted to suck a guy’s dick. I knew I was basically asking if I could give him a blowjob, but he didn’t take the bait. Eventually, we both went to sleep; me in one of the bedrooms, him on the couch.
It was during this time of housesitting when I got to really play on the internet for the first time. It was dial-up so it was slow, but I was able to find lots of pictures of naked men. I printed out a few to keep. This got me into trouble because my mother found them and confronted me. It was an ugly scene; I denied I was gay. I said I was only curious. From then on, she suspected I was gay, and it made me go into the closet even further. I wasn’t about to admit I was gay at that point.
I don’t know which book I eventually read (I did a lot of reading on the subject of being gay, and I have always been a consummate researcher.), but I remember reading you had to come out to yourself before you could come out to others. You had to accept yourself for who you were first. This was a difficult thing for me to do. I just couldn’t be gay. I couldn’t be all the horrible things I had been called growing up: fag, faggot, queer, homo, sissy, etc. I didn’t want to be that.
But then things began to change when I went to graduate school. I was finally on my own and away from everyone I knew. For the first time, I was safe. The move was only from Alabama to Mississippi, but it was so different being on a liberal university campus. I felt free.
I think my first honest moment of realization came sometime during the year 2000. The British show Queer as Folk had come out. Plus, there was an American show about sex I had been watching. It may have been Real Sex on HBO; I can’t remember. But whatever the show, it was discussing this shocking scene from British TV in which a guy is rimmed. I’d never heard of rimming, at least not being called that. I remember hearing one of my female friends talking about a boyfriend of hers who would move from eating her pussy to eating her ass. This fascinated me, but I never knew what it was called. So…when this show featured the scene from the first episode of Queer as Folk where Aiden Gillen licks down Charlie Hunnam’s back and reaches his butt, and there is a look of total ecstasy on Hunnam’s face (Yes, I know it was acting.), I was so turned on. I knew I desperately wanted to have that done to me. That’s when the realization hit that I might be gay.
Sometime in 2001, I finally admitted to myself I was gay. I was reading a lot about gay people. There was a story on Nifty Archives, an online site for posting stories (Do any of you remember it?), called “Educating Alex.” I remember I read the whole thing in one night and then couldn’t wait for future installments to come out. I joined InsightOut Book Club, a gay book-of-the-month club. I read all I could get my hands on. I mostly read in the summer months, though, because I just didn’t have time to read anything non-school related during the academic year. Reading positive stories about gay people allowed me to realize I could be gay, and, I could be happy.
Lately, Twitter has had people posting when they realized they were gay. It’s usually pictures of TV or movie scenes. Most of it is somewhat lighthearted. If I were to answer that question, it would be with the picture above of Charlie Hunnam’s face when Aiden Gillen first teaches him what rimming is.
So that’s my story. When did you realize you were gay?
Sunday, April 19, 2020
What to Do with Disappointment
“… casting all your care on Him, because He cares about you” (1 Pet. 5:7).
One of the most difficult obstacles to overcome in this life is disappointment. You put your hope, your faith, and your emotions into something only to see it crumble. Everyone will experience disappointment on some scale; it is what you do with disappointment that has the power to shape your present and your future.
When you experience disappointment, the enemy will try to sow seeds of doubt and unbelief into the very root of how you see God, seeds that can produce a massive rift in your relationship with Him. What you believe about the nature of God has everything to do with how you respond to pain. You can either walk away from God in bitterness or you can turn to Him when you need Him most.
No matter what you face, if you stand on the truth that God is unchanging, you can go through any storm and not be overcome.
It is perfectly normal to experience all the emotions that come with disappointment; you should embrace this part of the process. But the real triumph comes in holding on to the belief that God fully loves you and is wholly good, despite what your circumstances look like.
The ability to walk through an array of difficulties and hold to the truth of God’s goodness and love comes from a place of experiential knowledge, which comes from an intimate relationship with the Creator.
Today, cling to the knowledge that God loves you through and through. Hand over your heavy burdens to Him and find rest.