Takei to Arizona lawmakers: we will boycott Arizona if it passes its anti-gay Jim Crow law


George Takei (Facebook)


Sergei sez, "George Takei has written an open letter to Arizona legislators regarding a bill that would allow businesses, based on a 'sincerely held religious belief' to bar LGBT patrons from entering their establishments."

Takei reminds Arizona of the estimated $500M it lost by not ratifying MLK Day, and threatens a supercharged version of the boycott, multiplied by the Internet, if the bill passes.

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Toronto Mayor Rob Ford demands removal of Pride flag from City Hall


Toronto Mayor Rob Ford -- who has steadfastly refused to attend the city's massive, economically vital and glorious Pride parade -- has pitched a tantrum over the decision to fly a rainbow flag from the auxiliary flagpole at City Hall. The flag was raised in solidarity with LGBT activists and athletes in a project led by Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam at the request of Pride House TO. Ford says he tried to get the flag removed, and has pasted Canadian flags over his office window and the doors of city hall.

Wong-Tam characterises this as evidence of Ford's long-suspected homophobia, which strikes me as extremely plausible. The article in the Globe and Mail points out that Ford recently told reporters that he would not attend Pride festivities even if he was not away with his family, this being Ford's usual excuse for missing it.

Wong-Tam hypothesizes that Ford has "let it all hang loose" and other councilors agree. I wonder if he thinks a dog-whistle for the city's bigots will win him votes come election day.

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Last Tales of the City book on sale today

As noted, today is the on-sale date for The Days of Anna Madrigal, the final installment in Tales of the City, Armistead Maupin's addictive long-running series about bohemian life in San Francisco.

New (and final) Tales of the City book to be published

What a thrill it is to learn that there is a new Tales of the City novel coming out -- and what a crushing disappointment to discover that it will be the last one.

The Days of Anna Madrigal, the ninth and final volume of Armistead Maupin's series (begun in 1978 as a newspaper serial), will be published on January 21. It tells the story of Anna Madrigal -- the transgendered, dope-growing, meddling, lovable landlady of 28 Barbary Lane -- visiting Burning Man for the first time, at 92 years of age.

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Queen Elizabeth pardons Turing (but not the 50,000 other gay men the law unjustly criminalised)


Alan Turing has received a pardon under the "Royal Prerogative of Mercy by the Queen," 61 years after he was "chemically castrated" by court order as punishment for homosexuality. Less than two years of forced hormone treatments drove him to suicide at the age of 41. The pardon came at the request of the government's justice secretary. It's a wonderful vindication of Turing.

But I agree with Turing's biographer Dr Andrew Hodges, who says that the idea of a pardon for Turing establishes the principal that "a sufficiently valuable individual should be above the law which applies to everyone else." In my view, the Queen should have pardoned every man and woman persecuted under the cruel and unjust law that ruined so many lives.

But I'll take Turing. For now. And if Stephen Fry gets his wish and we get Turing on a bank note, I'll frame one and hang it in my office.

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The Essential Dykes to Watch Out For: 20 years of op-ed/soap opera


I read Alison Bechdel's Dykes to Watch Out For in various alternative weeklies and online for about 15 years. I always found it enjoyable, sometimes very funny, sometimes a bit raunchy, always very political. Really my kind of thing. But I've just read The Essential Dykes to Watch Out For, a massive, nearly-400-page tome collecting nearly (see below) every single DTWOF strip from its 20+ year run that wound up in 2008, and I've come to realize just how flat-out brilliant the strip was, ranking with Bloom County and Doonesbury in blending incisive editorial with charm and humor.

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Amnesty petition to release Chelsea Manning

Alan sez, "Amnesty International have a petition up that asks for the release of Manning. The petition argues that both on humanitarian grounds and on account of the pre-trial treatment, Manning is deserving of a clemency release."

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Samuel R Delany named a science fiction Grand Master


The incredible, incomparable Samuel R Delany has been named a Grand Master by the Science Fiction Writers of America. It's hard to imagine a writer more deserving. You should really read his whole canon, but if I had to pick just one, it'd be Stars in My Pockets Like Grains of Sand, an extraordinary book even among his extraordinary body of work.

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Bisexual TV characters 'improving'

Casey Quinlan on the improving portrayal in TV drama of people who are neither straight nor gay: "The quantity isn’t there, to be sure. But the quality of bisexual television characters is, on the whole, improving." [The Atlantic]

Lesbian Feminist Haunted House: Kill Joy's Kastle


Toronto artist Allyson Mitchell has erected a "Lesbian Feminist Haunted House" called Kill Joy's Kastle. It's a response to the evangelical "Hell Houses," put up to scare people away from "sin" (especially teh gay).

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Stephen Fry standup at Mumbai queer open-mic night

MJ writes, "I'm part of a group called Gaysi Family. Every couple of months we host an open-mic event called Dirty Talk for the queer community in Mumbai (India). Funds raised from the event is donated to one or the two Queer support group in the city. This year in March we were contacted by BBC team, as they wanted to film one of our events. The clipping would then be featured in one of their queer documentaries hosted by none other than well-known gay celebrity Stephen Fry. "

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Writing the Other workshop, Chattanooga

Mary Robinette Kowal sez, "Many authors struggle to write beyond what they know and write the other. While conventions are tackling this material, there is frequently not enough time to delve into this tricky and nuanced skill. The Writing the Other Workshop and Retreat is designed to have lessons and conversations at a more advanced level. By pairing it with a retreat, we give the participants an opportunity to work on projects in a nurturing environment. This weeklong event gives you one on one time with the instructors David Anthony Durham, K. Tempest Bradford, Mary Robinette Kowal, Nisi Shawl, and Cynthia Ward."

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Kickstarting a lesbian sex-ed graphic novel

Allison Moon sez, "I'm Kickstarting my new book, a collaborative comic novella about queer lady sex. Think of it as 'en and the Art of Vulva Maintenance.'"

$25 gets you a paperback.

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'Oddly Normal,' by John Schwartz: A family's struggle to help their teen son come to terms with his sexuality

New York Times correspondent John Schwartz shares an excerpt from his book “Oddly Normal: One Family’s Struggle to Help Their Teenage Son Come to Terms with His Sexuality,” which was released in a new paperback edition this week. The book is about his son Joe, who is shown in the snapshot above, outside the NYC LGBT Center.

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Manning’s gender hell: Shades of gray in a black-and-white world

We asked writer, film director, Boing Boing contributor, and transgender educator and activist Andrea James what she thought about the media confusion following Private Manning‘s gender transition revelation. Below, Andrea’s thoughts.

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