All posts by Terence

Terrence McNally (1939 – ) US Playwright / Screenwriter / Librettist.

b. 3rd November, 1939

American playwright who has received four Tony Awards, an Emmy, and numerous others awards.

 What the gay movement is really about is being yourself. You must be yourself, else you risk becoming invisible.

In the 1990’s, Terrence McNally emerged as the best-known, and possibly the greatest, American gay playwright since Tennessee Williams, largely on the back of a series of plays dealing with the AIDS epidemic – The Lisbon Traviata (1985, rev. 1989); Lips Together, Teeth Apart (1991); A Perfect Ganesh (1993); and Love! Valour! Compassion! (1994), as well as in the Emmy-award-winning Andre’s Mother (1988, televised 1990).

This success though was the culmination of a long career going back to 1964, when his first play, “Things that go bump in the night” met with a decidedly frosty critical reception, and played only 12 nights.  The intervening years were filled with hard graft, a steady stream of output, an ability to learn and improve his craft, and growing critical recognition.

McNally has spoken of the importance of honesty and coming out early in his personal life, and has never shirked from putting gay characters and gay life characters on stage, even long before it became commonly accepted to do so. (The Ritz was set in a gay bathhouse). Two major themes are the difficulties people find in making human connections between each other (and the importance of the search for those connections), and
the power of art (especially opera, and by implication, the theatre) to help us to make these connections, by breaking down the walls that divide us.

In 1997, McNally stirred up a storm of controversy with Corpus Christi, a modern day retelling of the story of Jesus’ birth, ministry, and death in which both he and his disciples are portrayed as homosexual. In fact, the play was initially canceled because of death threats from extremist religious groups against the board members of the Manhattan Theatre Club which was to produce the play. However, several other playwrights such as Tony Kushner threatened to withdraw their plays if Corpus Christi was not produced, and the board finally relented. When the play opened, the theatre was besieged by almost 2,000 protesters, furious at what they considered blasphemy.

In spite of the big themes he addresses in his plays, McNally insists that he does not set out to write plays about issues: his primary concern is to write characters – because that is what audiences pay to come and see.

In addition to his major work in the theatre, McNally has also written the books for musicals and screenplays, and in opera

Selected Plays:

Sweet Eros (1968)
Next (1969)
Where Has Tommy Flowers Gone? (1971)
Bad Habits (1974)
The Ritz (1975)
Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune (1982)
Andre’s Mother (1988)
The Lisbon Traviata (1989)
Lips Together, Teeth Apart (1991)
Love! Valour! Compassion! (1994)
By The Sea, By The Sea, By The Beautiful Sea (1995)
Master Class (1995)
Corpus Christi (1998)
Some Men (2006)
Deuce (2007)
The Golden Age (2010)

Catholic adoption agency loses five year legal battle over gay adoption

A Catholic adoption agency was told today it cannot turn away gay couples if its wants to keep its charitable status in a landmark court ruling.

Defeated: A Catholic adoption agency has been told it cannot turn away gay couples if its wants to keep its charitable status (file photo)

The case is particularly unique because it sets the tenets of the Roman Catholic Church against European law.

Catholic Care, a voluntary adoption agency based in Leeds, asked the Upper Tribunal to sanction its refusal to recognise same-sex couples as potential adopters and to restrict its services to ‘Nazarene families’ of father, mother and child.

‘Nazarene families’ refers to Jesus of Nazareth, who was fathered by a man, Joseph, and a woman, Mary.

But the Charity Commission fought the case every inch of the way, insisting that the charity’s stance is ‘divisive, capricious and arbitrary’ and ‘demeaning’ to the dignity of homosexual couples whose parenting abilities are ‘beyond question’.

Today the Commission won the debate when the tribunal ruled that Catholic Care had failed to come up with ‘weighty and convincing reasons’ why it should be allowed to discriminate against gay couples on grounds of their sexual orientation.

The long-established adoption agency said during the case that it would be forced to close if it lost the dispute.

Catholic Care argued its work in finding new homes for ‘hard to place’ children is of enormous social value and saves the public purse about £10 million-a-year by removing youngsters from the care system and placing them with adopters.

If banned from only recognising married heterosexual couple as potential adopters, it argued children would be the losers as its funding through Church collections and other voluntary donations would inevitably dry up and it would have to close.

However, Emma Dixon, for the Commission, told tribunal judge, Mr Justice Sales, that Catholic Care’s stance was in clear violation of Article 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which outlaws discrimination on sexual orientiation and other grounds.

-more at  Mail Online.

Related articles

 

Daniel in the Lion’s Den.

The story of Daniel is so well known to us, there is no need to repeat it here:  and that is exactly the problem  Like so many tales from long ago, we hear them as children with modern ears, and then never think to make the imaginative leap back into the historic conditions which completely change their significance.  So familiar are we with the sanitised “Children’s Bible Stories” version, and the familiar, often soppy pictures that accompany it, we lose sight of the fact that the real story probably had sexual overtones.

Read more »

University withdraws theologian’s invitation after pressure from financial contributors

The University of San Diego has canceled a visiting fellowship for a British theologian less than two weeks before her scheduled arrival at the university because of pressure from financial contributors, according to a letter from the university’s president.

Tina Beattie, a professor of Catholic studies at London’s private University of Roehampton known for her work in contemporary ethical issues and Catholic understandings of feminism, received notice of the cancellation Oct. 27. She was scheduled to take residence at the university on Tuesday.

Beattie — who also serves on the board of directors of the British Catholic weekly The Tablet and is a theological adviser to the Catholic Agency For Overseas Development, the Catholic aid agency for England and Wales — announced the withdrawal of the invitation in an email to friends and other theologians Thursday.

Beattie said in an interview with NCR that cancellation of her fellowship was “symptomatic of something very new and very worrying.”

“It’s unheard of, certainly in Britain, for a theologian in my position to feel threatened by this kind of action,” Beattie said. “It’s not about me; it’s about some change in the culture of the Catholic church that we should be very, very concerned about.”

Prominent theologians in the U.S. and the UK called the university’s treatment of Beattie “an insult” and “dispiriting” and worried that it might have a chilling effect in the academic world. Several said they had written directly to university president Mary Lyons about the matter.

National Catholic Reporter.

Lesbian answers bishop’s call for dialogue on gay marriage

What do you do when your spouse of 10 years — the person you’ve spent a decade sharing spiritual, intimate and intellectual moments with — is suddenly lying unconscious on her deathbed?

If you’re Catholic, you make sure her body is anointed with oil. You kiss her goodbye, even if you have to force the doctors to remove the breathing tube, and you slide the wedding ring gently off her finger and whisper a promise to take care of it forever.

That’s what Charlene Strong did on Dec. 14, 2006, after torrential rains flooded the Seattle home she shared with Kate Fleming, leaving her partner trapped and dying in her basement studio. But first, hospital administrators had to call a relative of Fleming’s to get permission for Strong to bid farewell the way the couple would have wanted.

‘’They were willing to take the word of someone on the phone, 300 miles away,” Strong said. “Who knew her allergies? I did. Her knew what her wishes were? I did.”

With the family’s blessing, Strong was able to see her partner one last time. But the battle continued, she said, when the funeral director refused to allow her to make final arrangements.

That’s when Strong decided that she would do whatever she could to make sure other same-sex couples would have equal rights in Washington state.

It is an emotionally powerful story, and one that brought tears to the eyes of many of the 200 or so students, faculty and community members at Gonzaga University Law School where Strong recounted it on Monday (Oct. 29).

more at  – The Washington Post.

 

Gay seminarian leaves Methodist denomination to be ordained

As soon as Michael Overman announced that he was gay, the Southern Baptist church that raised him, led him to attend an evangelical Christian college and inspired him to pursue ministry left him feeling abandoned.

Michael Overman, an ordination candidate at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, withdrew from the Methodist denomination last month because of its policy requiring gay clergy stay celibate.

He stayed estranged from Christianity for about six years before eventually finding his way to Holy Covenant United Methodist Church, a congregation in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood that welcomes gays and lesbians.

Reinvigorated by the church’s acceptance, he enrolled at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston and sought ordination in his new denomination.

But the United Methodist Church does not ordain gay clergy in committed relationships. That created a predicament for Overman, who joined his partner in a civil union last spring. He knew he could try keeping his relationship private as some partnered gay clergy opt to do. But that approach made him uncomfortable.

“If I’m going to be in ministry, I’m going to be in ministry as my whole self,” said Overman, 28, who lives in the city’s Uptown neighborhood. “When I look at Christian faith, it was always Christ’s mission to restore people in the community and restore people to wholeness. It didn’t make sense to me to go into ministry as a closeted person. That felt inauthentic.”

Following a number of gay and lesbian former Methodists who find themselves unable to serve in the church that cultivated their calling, Overman withdrew from the denomination last month to seek ordination instead in the Disciples of Christ Church, which accepts openly gay clergy in committed relationships. The departure of Overman and others spotlights the internal drama in one of the last mainline Protestant denominations that require gay clergy to stay celibate. Methodist teaching states that the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching.

more at– chicagotribune.com.

Let Us Remember, for Nov 1st:

All Saints – including, potentially, ALL of us!

from Queer Saints and Martyrs:

Nov Ist : All (Gay) Saints

Are there gay saints? Some sources say clearly yes, listing numerous examples. Others dispute the idea, saying either that the examples quoted are not officially recognised, or denying that they were gay because we do not know that they were sexually active. Before discussing specifically LGBT or queer saints, consider a more general question. Who are the “Saints”, and why do we recognise them?

All Saints Albrecht  Dürer

Baltimore pastor speaks his mind in homily on same-sex marriage

In Baltimore’s St. Vincent de Paul church, Fr. Richard T. Lawrence, read a nuanced letter from Baltimore Archbishop William E. Lori at all the weekend’s Masses. It concluded: “Each one of us — as Catholics and faithful citizens — must show up on election day and do our part by voting against Question 6,” the Civil Marriage Protection Act.

“The archbishop’s thoughts on this question are powerful, and will be persuasive in conscience to many” and should be read and prayed over by all, said Lawrence, who has been St. Vincent’s pastor for 39 years.

He then stated his own homiletic thoughts, beginning:

I cannot tell you how any of this will come out, but I will tell you that I stand in genuine awe of all those parents, native-born, naturalized, documented and undocumented, who strive with every fiber of their being to ensure that their children have more opportunities than they had.

And I will continue to stand in genuine awe of all those couples — straight, gay and lesbian — whose day-to-day, year-to-year, and decade-to-decade faithfulness to each other is to me a sacrament, a believable embodied sign, of the absolute faithfulness of God to us all.

-full report at   National Catholic Reporter.

 

David Morley, Twice Martyred Gay Barman?

Saint Sebastian is unique among the recognized saints of the church for having been martyred not once, but twice. In the modern context, perhaps we can say the same of David “Sinders” Morley. Working and well-known as a gay barman, there is no doubt at all that Morley was openly gay. Living openly, he was bearing witness to the possibility of living honestly and openly as a gay man in London. In 1999, it almost cost him his life – and may have done five years later, in 2004.

On 30th April, 1999, Morley was on duty at the Admiral Duncan pub in London’s Old Compton Street when it was hit by a nail bomb attack, which killed three people and wounded about 70 others. Morley was injured, not killed, and ignoring his own burns, he set about helping others who were more seriously wounded as best he could.

Five years later, he was killed in a late night assault, which may have been prompted by homophobia, by a group of teenagers outside Waterloo station.
Religious leaders who rant about the supposed “evils” of same-sex love need to know that this is irresponsible. Such talk promotes hatred, hatred breeds violence.
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Ramon Navarro ( 1899 – 1968), Victim of the Catholic Closet.

Ramon Navarro was once the leading Latin actor in movies after the death of Rudolph Valentino, starring in several major silent films and early talkies, in the late 1920’s and early 1930’s. He was killed on October 30th by two sex-workers he had hired from an agency,  in attempt to extort from him some of his perceived, but non-existent wealth. I see this tragic death as a sad symbol of the dangers of life in the closet, which had been forced on him by the twin pressures of his conflicts over sexuality and this Catholicism, and the constraints of the Hollywood publicists.
Those of us who are able to live out and proud in spite of the Vatican’s disordered sexual teaching, are able to form sound, healthy and adult relationships. Those who live in the closet are forced to live alone in solitude, or in sham marriages – such as the system of lavender marriages imposed by Hollywood on its sex-symbol gay and lesbian stars.
Some Catholics living alone will attempt to live a strictly celibate life in accordance with Catholic teaching – some may even succeed. Many others straddle an uneasy divide, between attempted celibacy, and sexual encounters in the closet. Especially for older men, sometimes the only feasible outlets are the seedier ones, in public toilets, or with commercial trade.  Both can be dangerous.
Ramon Navarro resisted the Hollywood pressure to enter a Hollywood marriage, and for a time was able to sustain a meaningful, but closeted relationship with his publicist, Herbert Howe, until the latter’s death in 1959.

Some years later, in October 1969, he hired two brothers, Paul and Tom Ferguson (aged 22 and 17, respectively), to come to his home for sex.  Mistakenly believing that there was a large sum of money in the house, the two then assaulted and tortured Navarro for some hours, hoping to force him to reveal the whereabouts of the cash. They eventually left with just $20. Navarro died of asphyxiation, having choked on his own blood.

It is probable that what most offends opponents of the “gay lifestyle” is its association in their minds with the kind of anonymous, impersonal sexual activities that take place in public toilets, backroom bars and in commercial transactions. What they fail to observe, is that these are less typical of gay men in open and publicly affirmed partnerships, than of those who remain closeted. 
 
The best way to reduce the seedier, and more dangerous, elements in gay lives, is to support marriage equality.




Raymond Navarro. Wikipedia
Film Actors, Gay Male, glbtq encyclopedia