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Duncan Grant

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Gender: Do not display
Hometown: Northern California
Member since: 2003 before July 6th
Number of posts: 7,895

Journal Archives

Antique photography fans: rediscovered glass plate photographs of San Francisco

Mystery Glass Negatives from Land's End
May 10, 2012

Before there were digital image files and even before there was film, photographers captured images on glass plate negatives. In the collection of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco there are over seventy of these glass plate negatives depicting scenes of Land’s End and old San Francisco. Discovered in the basement of the old de Young, these century-old negatives were in desperate need of cleaning and re-housing. When the negatives came into the paper conservation lab at the Legion of Honor for proper care, the labor intensive project proved a perfect opportunity for pre-program conservation student Jennifer Martinez.

Jennifer began with some sleuthing on the photographers behind the lens. With the help of historians John Freeman and John Martini, she learned that the gelatin dry-plate glass negatives were shot predominantly by the photographers (and brothers) W.C.and J.R. Billington. The Billingtons owned several studios during this time, most notably the Sutro Heights Gallery at the Land’s End Parapet, where they sold specialty views of Seal Rocks, Land’s End and the Golden Gate.

Under the supervision of paper conservator Victoria Binder, Jennifer removed the plates from their envelopes and cleaned them with a bulb blower and soft brush to remove loose dust. Special care was taken on the delicate emulsion, which is the thin layer of image-containing gelatin attached to one side of the glass base.

More at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.

Male erotica in the LGBT group: Why now? What's changed?

Over the years, the tone of this group/forum has been similar to a 'salon'. We get together (Ls, Gs, Bs, Ts and our straight allies) and share current events, exchange ideas, learn from one another, and commiserate.

In recent months, male erotica threads are becoming more common. It seems to me there are millions of websites where one can view photos of men -- so, I'm wondering why these photos and threads are appearing here now? What's changed?

Personally, I think erotica in this forum/group diminishes its credibility. There's a time and a place for everything; I have nothing against the continuum of sexuality (far from it). I'd like to check in with the community of DU LGBT people and see if I'm alone.

Obviously, I can use the ignore/hide thread function but I thought I'd ask for a little discussion about this first. My request is that we discuss this thoughtfully -- no one is required to be "right" or "wrong".

Many thanks,

p.s. I won't be able to post regular responses (very busy over the next few days) but I will try to check in.

Thank you, President Obama.

Today, I witnessed a transformative presidency.

I have waited decades for a moment like this and I intend to savor it.

The most powerful institutions on the planet have aligned themselves against us and the president has crossed the line to stand with us. That fills me with emotion.

For me, this is a great day. It couldn't have come at a better time.

I'm reminded of this Elie Wiesel quote:

“The opposite of love is not hate, it's indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it's indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it's indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it's indifference.”

-- Elie Wiesel

Not to put words in your mouth but your hypothetical feels like "indifference" to me.

You asked, "What about if I actively promote 2 or 3 or 10 pro-gay policies; but am agnostic on the equal marriage cause/right, am I a bigot?"

I think if one is "agnostic" on equal marriage but "pro-gay" in many other ways, one doesn't really understand the contemporary struggle of gay people in this hostile culture. And indifference to gay people at this moment in our history is a form of bigotry. It's passive bigotry, but no less destructive (imho).
Posted by Duncan Grant | Tue May 8, 2012, 08:48 PM (5 replies)

Vatican Declares Gay Marriage Holy War, Forms Worldwide Religions Coalition

Pope Benedict XVI

A top Vatican representative and Roman Catholic Archbishop is reaching out to form a coalition with other religions and has called on them to join the Vatican in a worldwide holy war against same-sex marriage, claiming that proliferation of equality “is not a good thing for society,” and will lead to “confusion.”

“I wonder if we shouldn’t ask for and look for more support among other Christian confessions and indeed, persons of other faiths,” Archbishop Antonio Mennini, who represents Pope Benedict XVI and the Vatican in Great Britain, said in an address to Catholic bishops from England and Wales.

“It seems to me that, concerning the institution of marriage, and indeed the sanctity of human life, we have much in common with the position of the Jewish community, the Chief Rabbi and many of the more significant representatives of Islam,” Mennini added.


Pink News reports that in the UK, “Archbishop Peter Smith said that while there has been no ‘formal’ contact with Jewish groups to form what he called a united front on the subject of marriage,‘we will work with anyone who agrees with us that to redefine marriage is not a good thing for society and will lead to confusion’.”

A "holy war" against gays. Let that sink in for a minute. It makes me wonder: What's next? We all know this kind of rhetoric leads only to violence and brutality against gay people. World gone mad.

Read all about it: Vatican Declares Gay Marriage Holy War, Forms Worldwide Religions Coalition

Dan Savage: 4/27/12

This is amazing.


Gay Couples More Likely To Be Interracial Or Inter-Ethnic (2010 Census Analysis)

A new analysis of 2010 U.S. Census data has found that same-sex couples are more likely to be interracial or inter-ethnic compared to their heterosexual counterparts.

Analyzed by the UCLA School of Law's Williams Institute, "Same-Sex Couples In Census 2010: Race And Ethnicity" found that 20.6 percent, or more than one in five same-sex couples, were interracial or inter-ethnic, compared with 18.3 percent of straight unmarried couples, and 9.5 percent of straight married couples.

Among the study's other interesting findings: those same-sex couples which included a racial or ethnic minority were also more likely to be raising children, and the number of same-sex couple-led households increased at a faster rate between 2000 and 2010 compared to that of married or unmarried heterosexual households.

"This is our first 2010 glimpse of the racial and ethnic compositions of U.S. households headed by couples, including same-sex couples, Gary Gates, Williams Distinguished Scholar at UCLA School of Law’s Williams Institute, said in an email statement. "The new Census data help provide a fuller picture of the diversity within the LGBT community."

Link here.

Link to full report (.pdf) here.

Nuance in Black Churches’ Approaches (NYT Op-Ed: 4/17/12), by Josef Sorett

Posted below is an excerpt from one of today's five opinion pieces addressing this question from the NYT: Is Support for Gay Rights Still Controversial?

Dr. Josef Sorett is an assistant professor of Religious Studies and African-American Studies at Columbia University. He writes a brief assessment (link below) about what I'd call "creating context" for LGBT rights among black churches/Christianity. For example, terms like "civil rights" have a culturally specific meaning among black churches but "social justice" resonates a bit more clearly regarding LGBT equality. With the recent revelation (no pun intended) about NOM's efforts to drive a wedge between African-Americans and LGBT people (of every ethnicity, age group, class, gender, etc.) -- you might find this piece informative, too.

Black Christians are portrayed as an anti-gay bloc, but they are not static.

Given these conversations, a number of black Christians openly support the full and equal protection of all citizens, including gays and lesbians. It is not such a leap, when churches emphasize their commitment to social justice (explicit in the disputes over the term “civil rights”) and when activists focus on specific legal “privileges” like hospital visitation rights, inheritance, and nondiscrimination in employment and housing.

Second, in the realm of theology, we see an evolving understanding of the relationship between religious beliefs and politics. That problematic old distinction of race vs. sexuality obviously falls short of the notion that same-gender-loving persons might be created in the image of God, just as their heterosexual brothers and sisters are.

To be clear, there are black churches — a small minority, as is also the case across lines of race and ethnicity — that endorse this belief, based on a Gospel that affirms everyone unconditionally and unequivocally. But even among those Christians whose theology embraces gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people, there is an array of postures on issues like same-sex marriage. One on hand, some clergy now affirm marriage equality even while vociferously defending a Bible-informed view of homosexuality as sin. On the other hand, some religious leaders publicly insist that special efforts must be made to protect the most vulnerable in our society, through measures like anti-bullying campaigns and hate-crime legislation. The basic logic here is that churches, as they work out their theologies — say, a definition of “sin” adequate for the 21st century — should not have the final say in matters of citizenship and equal rights.

The growing momentum of marriage equality suggests that gender and sexuality norms are changing dramatically and opening space for new conversations. Perhaps these developments will force American society, including its churches, to mature in deliberations concerning sexual difference — a maturity we have not yet seen in discussions of race.

More at the NYT.

Four Former DNC Chairs Endorse Marriage Equality In Democratic Platform

Four Former DNC Chairs Endorse Marriage Equality In Democratic Platform

WASHINGTON -- Four former chairs of the Democratic National Committee called on the party on Wednesday to embrace marriage equality in the 2012 Democratic platform.

"We are proud that the Democratic Party fights for working families, economic justice, and equal opportunity for all," said Howard Dean, Donald Fowler, Steve Grossman and David Wilhelm in a joint statement. "Times change but our principles must always remain strong. That is why, as former chairs of the Democratic National Committee, we stand with Freedom to Marry, 22 Democratic senators, Leader Nancy Pelosi, and more than 35,000 Americans in urging the Party to include a freedom to marry plank in the platform that is ratified at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte this September."

Dean, the former governor of Vermont, served as DNC chair from 2005 to 2009. Massachusetts Treasurer Steve Grossman led the organization from 1997 to 1999. Fowler was South Carolina state party executive director and CEO of the DNC convention in Atlanta in 1988 and was DNC chair from 1995 to 1997. Wilhelm ran the day-to-day operations of the 1992 Clinton-Gore presidential campaign and was DNC chair from 1993 to 1994.

The current DNC chair, Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-Fla.), has not yet said she supports adding same-sex marriage to the platform.

Posted by Duncan Grant | Wed Apr 4, 2012, 02:02 PM (2 replies)

In Secret Documents, Anti-Gay Marriage Group (NOM) Looked To Divide Gays, Blacks

The leading opponents of same-sex marriage planned to defeat campaigns for gay marriage by "fanning the hostility" between black voters from gay voters and by casting President Obama as a radical foe of marriage, according to confidential documents made public in a Maine court today.

The documents, circulated by the gay rights group Human Rights Campaign, are marked "confidential" and detail the internal strategy of the National Organization for Marriage.

“The strategic goal of this project is to drive a wedge between gays and blacks—two key Democratic constituencies," says an internal report on 2008 and 2009 campaigns, in a section titled the "Not A Civil Right Project."

"Find, equip, energize and connect African American spokespeople for marriage, develop a media campaign around their objections to gay marriage as a civil right; provoke the gay marriage base into responding by denouncing these spokesmen and women as bigots," advises the document, which is a road map to the successful campaign against same-sex marriage in California.

Link to full article here.
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