The It Gets Better project is a series of video postcards from happy, well-adjusted GBLTG adults to isolated queer teens who think that they're they only "different" people in the world. No matter what your sexuality, these are damned heartwarming -- and "it gets better" is a great message for kids everywhere, queer, straight, or undecided.
...including several that the subtitle of the book omits: pioneering sex researcher, collector of celebrity conquests, drug addict, masochist, Catholic (briefly), Navy enlistee (even more briefly), conquistador of vast provinces of America's pre-Stonewall homosexual subculture. Most fortuitously, he was apparently a graphomaniac who documented his long, dark, exuberant, sad, dangerous life in journals, an unpublished memoir, reams of letters, poems, erotica, semifictionalized short stories and even a 746-entry card catalog of his sexual history, scrupulously maintained over five decades and in some cases ornamented -- perhaps for future biographers? -- with what Spring decorously calls "DNA-verifiable" evidence of his liaisons.
That, from the New York Times review (which ran with a terrific title).
All told, Steward is reported to have had sex with 807 different people, a total of 4,647 times, including Rock Hudson and Rudolph Valentino. Regarding those impressive numbers, Adam at Butt Magazine opines,
However, the true value of his promiscuity lies not in the number of loads blown, but in what those loads can teach us. (...)
At times he was Samuel Steward, drunken professor, obscure literary figure and pen pal to the stars. He was also an author, first of serious fiction - Angels on the Bough - and later acclaimed memoirs - Dear Sammy: Letters From Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas. George Platt Lynes, Alfred Kinsey and Tom of Finland all counted him as a friend. As a tattoo artist he went by Phil Sparrow. He mentored Ed Hardy and inked the Hells Angels. He even engraved 'LUCIFER' on Kenneth Anger's chest. In his dirty work he was the ripped Greek hustler Phil Andros. This particular alter ego dealt in filthy stories, pumping out titles like Shuttlecock and $tud, and attracting the attention of literary heavyweights like Christopher Isherwood.He was all of these things and more. Mr. Steward was also a sex researcher and self-proclaimed whore. Perhaps his most important occupation, however, was that of historian. For in the cache of his remaining belongings exists an individual history unparalleled in its meticulousness.
Video trailer for the book follows (contains sexual content.)
The light that burns twice as bright burns half as long. And you have burned so very very brightly, Bearforce 1. Though they disbanded in 2009, this Dutch boy band for hairy older gays will have to hold us over until the Jonas Brothers get to their age. ::rimshot::
Inspired by the movie Milk, 81-year-old skeptic and nerd hero James Randi has come out, with a heartfelt
and moving article on spending 70+ years keeping his sexuality a secret.
From some seventy years of personal experience, I can tell you that there's not much "gay" about being homosexual. For the first twenty years of my life, I had to live in the shadows, in a culture that was -- at least outwardly -- totally hostile to any hint of that variation of life-style. At no time did I choose to adopt any protective coloration, though; my cultivation of an abundant beard was not at all a deception, but part of my costume as a conjuror.
Gradually, the general attitude that I'd perceived around me began to change, and presently I find that there has emerged a distinctly healthy acceptance of different social styles of living -- except, of course, in cultures that live in constant and abject fear of divine retribution for infractions found in the various Holy Books... In another two decades, I'm confident that young people will find themselves in a vastly improved atmosphere of acceptance.