Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation

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Posted by r2d2 04/30/2009 @ 04:09

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News headlines
Gay/Lesbian Group Honors Levi's, Wells Fargo -
The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) is launching an Advertising Media Program as part of its national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) media advocacy and anti-defamation work, and that it will also honor Levi's and Wells...
Why Aren't Gay Americans Supporting Miss California? - FOXNews
Joining us now from Los Angeles, Meghan Daum, a columnist for the LA Times and self-described feminist, and from Washington, Cathy Renna, former spokesperson for the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. Ms. Renna, we begin with you....
Gay Media Awards Light Up San Francisco - On Top Magazine
By On Top Magazine Staff The third – and final – installment of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation's (GLAAD) 20 th annual Media Awards recognized gay personalities and outstanding television. Celebrities gathered Saturday at the Hilton San...
People of faith urged to join the struggle for equality and human ... - Ekklesia
... Evangelical Fellowship for Lesbian & Gay Christians, Gay Police Association, Gay & Lesbian Humanist Association, GLADD [Gay and Lesbian Alliance against Defamation], IDAHO,{International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia], Interfaith Alliance...
Gay Advocacy Group to Monitor Web Ad Creative - ClickZ News
The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation has deemed brands like Snickers as defamatory in the past, and aims to work directly with ad agencies to help promote its cause. "We're letting corporations and advertisers and businesses in this space know...
In personal letter, Obama says he wants to overturn 'Don't Ask ... - BP News
"Sandy -- Thanks for the wonderful and thoughtful letter," Obama's letter, posted on the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation's blog, reads. "It is because of outstanding Americans like you that I committed to changing our current policy....
Newspaper not objective in 'gay marriage' reporting - Kennebec Journal
Next, there is nothing in the article that explains that the gay marriage movement in Maine is really funded and organized by GLAAD (Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation), a Massachusetts group intent on spreading its agenda....
10 years later, and media still can't get it right on hate crimes - Media Matters for America
In 2004 the long-running network newsmagazine aired a special on the Wyoming hate crime that, as the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) put it at the time, attempted to "undermine the notion that anti-gay bias contributed to" the murder....
Where are all the gay characters on Canadian television? -
American lobby group GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) will be releasing their 14th annual "Where We Are On TV" report this fall. "Viewers can be both entertained and educated by stories on television that reflect the diversity of...


Performing "Dark Lady" in The Cher Show in 1974.

Cher (IPA: /ʃɛɹ/ born Cherilyn Sarkisian on May 20, 1946) is an American pop singer-songwriter, actor, director and record producer. She has won an Academy Award, a Grammy Award, an Emmy Award, three Golden Globe Awards and a People's Choice Award for her work in film, music and television.

Cher began her career at the age of seventeen and came to prominence as one half of the pop rock duo Sonny & Cher when their song "I Got You Babe" became an overnight hit in 1965. She subsequently established herself as a solo recording artist, and became a television star in the 1970s with the variety show The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour, for which she won a Golden Globe Award. A well received performance in the film Silkwood earned her a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in 1984. In the following years, Cher starred in a string of hit films including Mask, The Witches of Eastwick, and Moonstruck, for which she won the Academy Award for Best Actress in 1988.

Cher is the only female solo artist to reach the Top Ten of the Billboard Hot 100 in each of the previous four decades. Her hit dance single "Believe" is her biggest-selling recording and was the best-selling single of 1999., having sold over 10 million copies worldwide. She holds the record for the longest hit-making career span, with 33 years between the release of her first and most recent #1 singles, in 1965 and 1998. Cher ended her 3-year-long "Farewell Tour" in 2005 as the most successful tour by a female solo artist to that time.

With a career lasting over 40 years, Cher is an enduring pop culture icon and one of the most popular and biggest-selling artists in the the history of contemporary music, having sold over 100 million records worldwide. After a three-year hiatus and retirement from touring city to city, Cher returned to the stage in 2008 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas where she is currently performing her show Cher at the Colosseum.

Cher was born in El Centro, California, on May 20, 1946, at 7:25 a.m. Her father, John Sarkisian, was an Armenian refugee who worked as a truck driver. Her mother, Georgia Holt (born Jackie Jean Crouch), born in Sharp County, Arkansas, June 20, 1927, an aspiring actress and occasional model, is of Cherokee, English and French descent. Cher's half sister is actress Georganne LaPiere. Cher's parents divorced when she was young and she was raised primarily by her mother, who at one time was married to Gilbert LaPierre, a banker who adopted Cher. Due to financial problems, Cher's mother placed her in foster care for a time as a child. Later, her mother provided money for acting lessons to help further her career. Due to severe, undiagnosed dyslexia, she left Fresno High School at the age of 16. In those years Cher had a brief relationship with Warren Beatty.

The older Sonny (11 years her senior) was working for record producer Phil Spector at Gold Star Studios in Hollywood. Sonny and Cher became fast friends, eventual lovers, and later married. Through Sonny, Cher started as a session singer, and sang backup on several of Spector’s classic recordings, including The Righteous Brothers' "You've Lost That Loving Feeling", Darlene Love's "A Fine, Fine Boy," The Crystals' "Da Doo Ron Ron" and The Ronettes’ "Be My Baby". In the composition by Darlene Love, the listener can clearly hear Cher and Sonny close to the mic (along with Love, who recorded her own backing vocals).

Her first solo recording was the unsuccessful single "Ringo, I Love You", released under the pseudonym of Bonnie Jo Mason and produced by Phil Spector. Her second attempt was "Dream Baby," released under the name "Cherilyn" and written and produced by Sonny Bono. Both were released in 1964.

With Sonny continuing to write, arrange and produce the songs, Sonny and Cher’s first incarnation was as the duo "Caesar and Cleo." They received little attention, despite releasing the single "The Letter" in late 1964 which featured the B-side "Baby Don't Go".

Prior to being known as Sonny and Cher, the duo released an album under the name of "Caesar and Cleo". The first "Sonny and Cher" album, Look At Us, was released in the summer of 1965. This album contained the overnight smash single "I Got You Babe" which reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 in August 1965. Cher was 19 years old, Sonny 30. A re-released "Baby Don't Go", peaked at number eight.

Several more mid-level hits followed, notably "Just You", "But You're Mine", "What Now My Love" and "Little Man", before "The Beat Goes On" returned the duo to the Top 10. Sonny and Cher charted a total of eleven Billboard Top 40 hits between 1965 and 1972, including six Top 10 hits.

The duo became a sensation, traveling and performing around the world. Following an appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show in the fall of 1965 in which Mr. Sullivan had infamously pronounced her name 'Chur' during their introduction, the singer began spelling her name with a (misleading) acute accent: Chér. The couple soon appeared on other hit television shows of the era including American Bandstand, Top of the Pops, Hollywood A Go-Go, Podunk, Hollywood Palace, Hullabaloo, Beat Club, Ready Steady Go! and Shindig!.

While initially perceived as the slightly awkward and less important half of the popular singing duo, Cher disguised her stage fright and nervousness with quick-witted barbs directed at her partner. She soon rose to prominence as the more outspoken, daring and provocative half of the team. With her dark, exotic looks, she became a fashion trendsetter, helping to popularize fashions such as bellbottoms, eccentric gowns, incorporated "hippie" attire and elaborate costumes into live shows.

Later in 1965 Cher released her debut solo album, titled All I Really Want to Do which reached number 16 on the Billboard 200 album chart. The album contained a cover of the Bob Dylan song "All I Really Want to Do" which peaked at number 15 on the Billboard Hot 100.

In 1966 Cher released her second solo album on the Imperial Records label, The Sonny Side of Cher. It peaked at number 26 in the U.S. charts, and number 11 in the UK chart. It contained the singles "Where Do You Go (#25 on the Billboard Hot 100), as well as "Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)"(#2 on the Billboard Hot 100). Both hits were written and produced by Sonny Bono. In the United States, the latter was Cher's biggest solo hit of the 1960s. Other artists to record versions of the song include Frank Sinatra, Nancy Sinatra, Cliff Richard, Petula Clark, and Terry Reid. Also in 1966, she released another album, Cher; The album itself was not as successful as its two predecessors. However, it did manage to provide the European top ten hit "Sunny".

In an attempt to capitalize on the duo’s initial success, Sonny speedily arranged a film project for the duo to star in. But the 1967 feature, Good Times, was a major bomb, despite the efforts of fledgling director William Friedkin and co-star George Sanders. Cher continued to establish herself as a solo artist and released the album Backstage. The album was a flop.

By the end of 1967, Sonny and Cher had sold 40 million records worldwide and had become the newest, freshest faces of rock music. Sonny and Cher's career had stalled by 1968 as album sales dried up. Their gentle, easy-listening rock folk sound and drug-free life had become "unhip" in an era becoming increasingly consumed with psychedelic rock, and the overall evolutionary change in the American pop culture landscape during the late 1960s.

Sonny and Cher's only child together, Chastity Bono, was born on March 4, 1969. The duo made another unsuccessful foray into film later in 1969 with Bono writing and producing the film Chastity, intended as a dramatic debut for Cher as an actress. That film (directed by first and only-time director Alessio De Paulo) was also a commercial failure.

Sonny decided to forge ahead, carving a new career for the duo in Las Vegas resorts, where they sharpened their public persona with Cher as the wise-cracking singer, and Sonny as the good-natured recipient of her insults. In reality, Sonny controlled every aspect of their act, from the musical arrangements to the joke-writing. While success was slow to come, their luck improved when network TV talent scouts attended a show, noting their potential appeal for a variety series.

In 1971 Sonny and Cher starred in their first television special, The Sonny and Cher Nitty Gritty Hour. A mixture of slapstick comedy, skits and live music, the appearance was a critical success, which led to numerous guest spots on other television shows.

Sonny and Cher caught the eye of CBS head of programming Fred Silverman while guest-hosting The Merv Griffin Show, and Silverman offered the duo their own variety show. The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour debuted in 1971 as a summer replacement series. The show returned to prime time later that year and was an immediate hit, quickly reaching the Top 10. The show received 15 Emmy Award nominations during its run, winning one for direction.

Among the many guests who appeared on The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour were Chuck Berry, Carol Burnett, George Burns, Glen Campbell, Dick Clark, Tony Curtis, Bobby Darin, Phyllis Diller, Farrah Fawcett, Merv Griffin, The Jackson Five, Jerry Lee Lewis, Liberace, Steve Martin, Ronald Reagan, Burt Reynolds, Lynn Anderson, The Righteous Brothers, Neil Sedaka, Dinah Shore, Sally Struthers, The Supremes, and Raquel Welch.

The duo revived its recording career, releasing four more albums for Kapp Records and MCA Records that included two more Top 10 hits: "All I Ever Need Is You", in 1971 and "A Cowboy's Work Is Never Done", in 1972.

Now 25, Cher continued to establish herself as a solo recording artist, enlisting the help of hit producer Snuff Garrett. Her first solo number-one hit was "Gypsys, Tramps & Thieves". Released in September 1971, the album of the same name peaked at number 16 on the Billboard 200, and remained on the chart for 45 weeks. Another single from the album, "The Way of Love" peaked at #7 in March 1972.

Cher scored her second number one with "Half-Breed" in 1973 which became a signature song from the gold-certified album Half-Breed. In 1974 Cher had her third #1 solo hit with "Dark Lady", also from the album of the same name.

By the third season of the Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour, the marriage of Sonny and Cher was falling apart; the duo separated later that year. The show imploded, while still in the top 10 of the ratings. What followed was a nasty, very public divorce (finalized on June 27, 1975). Cher won a Golden Globe Award for Best Performance By an Actress in a Television Series - Musical or Comedy for The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour in 1974.

Bono launched his own show, The Sonny Comedy Revue, in the fall of 1974 while Cher also announced plans to host and star in a new variety TV series of her own. Bono’s show was abruptly canceled, however, after only six weeks. The couple would eventually reunite for two more seasons of their show.

The Cher Show debuted as an elaborate, all-star television special on February 16, 1975 featuring Flip Wilson, Bette Midler and special guest Elton John. Cloris Leachman and Jack Albertson both won Emmy Awards for their appearances as guest stars a few weeks later, and the series received four additional Emmy nominations that year. Other guests included Pat Boone, David Bowie, Ray Charles, Dion, Patti Labelle, Cheryl Ladd, Wayne Newton, Linda Ronstadt, Lily Tomlin and Frankie Valli. The variety series' debut season ranked 22nd in the year-end Nielsen ratings.

A good deal of press was generated throughout 1975 regarding Cher's exposed navel, and the daring ensembles created by famed designer Bob Mackie. Her show featured numerous outlandish costume changes, even more than typical variety shows. The Cher show ran for two half-seasons, before a pregnant Cher pulled the plug herself, deciding instead to reunite with her ex-husband for a revamped version of The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour.

Three days after finalizing her divorce from Sonny, Cher married rock musician Gregg Allman, a founding member of the Allman Brothers Band, on June 30, 1975. They had one son, Elijah, in July 1976. Together, they released the album, Two the Hard Way, under the rubric Allman and Woman, which featured a cover of the Smokey Robinson hit "You've Really Got a Hold on Me". This project was not considered a critical or commercial success. They were divorced after two years of marriage.

From 1975 to 1978 Cher released a series of unsuccessful albums: Stars, I'd Rather Believe in You and Cherished.

On February 2, 1976, The Sonny and Cher Show debuted with a Top 10 rating and high expectations. Some of the guests who appeared on The Sonny and Cher Show included Frankie Avalon, Muhammed Ali, Raymond Burr, Ruth Buzzi, Charo, Barbara Eden, Farrah Fawcett, Terri Garr, Bob Hope, Don Knotts, Jerry Lewis, Tony Orlando, The Osmonds, Debbie Reynolds, The Smothers Brothers, Tina Turner, Twiggy, and Betty White. However, ratings soon fell, and the show was cancelled after its second season. In 1976, Mego Toys released a line of toys and dolls, in the likeness of Sonny & Cher. The release of these fashion dolls coincided with the popularity of The Sonny & Cher Show. Their overall television success, though brief, was unique because variety programming in general was no longer attracting viewers, other than The Carol Burnett Show.

She made a brief return to prime time starring in the television specials Cher... Special, in 1978 (for which guest star Dolly Parton was nominated for an Emmy Award) and Cher … and Other Fantasies in 1979. One highlight for her fans was a song and dance number based on the classic musical West Side Story in which Cher portrayed each of the main characters.

In 1979 she legally changed her name to Cher, with no surname or middle name. Sonny and Cher performed together for the last time on The Mike Douglas Show in the spring of 1979 (until their much-discussed 1987 Letterman appearance), singing a medley of "United We Stand" and "Without You".

Later in 1979, Cher would capitalize on the disco craze, signing with Casablanca Records, and racking up another Top-10 single with "Take Me Home". Sales of the album Take Me Home may have been boosted by the image of a scantily-clad Cher in a Viking outfit on the album’s cover. The album was RIAA-certified Gold. For her second Casablanca release, Prisoner, Cher appeared on the album's cover virtually naked and wrapped in chains, spurring controversy among some women's rights groups for her perceived "sex slave" image. This album produced the minor hit single "Hell on Wheels" and the tune was also featured in the film Roller Boogie.

In 1980, Cher penned her last disco song for the film Foxes, called "Bad Love." Later in the same year, Cher formed the rock band Black Rose with her then-partner, guitarist Les Dudek, and released the album Black Rose. The album failed to sell, despite an appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, and the band broke up the following year.

In 1981 Cher released her first Top 5 hit in UK in ten years: "Dead Ringer for Love", a duet with Meat Loaf for his album Dead Ringer. In 1982 Cher released I Paralyze, promoting it on American Bandstand and The Tonight Show, but critics panned the album and sales were disappointing.

With album sales and hit singles again at a standstill, Cher decided to expand her career into serious film acting. Her earliest entertainment ambitions had always lain in film, as opposed to music. Her earlier films, like Good Times and Chastity, had been poorly received. She soon found herself in an uphill battle trying to land credible roles for a woman now in her mid-30s with little acting experience. At the time, she was quoted as saying that she didn’t really care if she ever made another record.

In 1982, Cher landed her first major role in a Broadway production of Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean and later in the same year was cast in the film version, which was directed by Robert Altman and earned her a Golden Globe nomination. She was next cast as alongside Meryl Streep and Kurt Russell in the drama Silkwood (1983) in which she played a Streep’s blue-collar lesbian roommate. She received her first Academy Award nomination, as Best Supporting Actress. She also won the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress - Motion Picture for her performance.

Cher's next film was a starring role in Mask in 1985, directed by Peter Bogdanovich. The film also starred Eric Stoltz, Laura Dern, Estelle Getty and Sam Elliott. It open at #3 at the box office and was considered her first critical and commercial success as a leading actress. For her role as a mother of a severely disfigured boy, Cher won the Best Actress prize at the Cannes Film Festival and received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress in a Motion Picture Drama.

In 1985, Cher was honored with Harvard University's Hasty Pudding Woman of the Year Award.

On May 22, 1986 Cher made her first appearance on Late Night with David Letterman. In her pre-interview with the show's producers, Cher had referred to host David Letterman with a derogatory term when asked why she had previously declined to appear on his program. He later confronted her about this on air during their interview, asking why she had refused so many earlier invitations. As she thought of an appropriate answer, he pushed her further saying, "Because you thought..." to which she replied "You were an asshole. She received a mixture of boos and laughter from the audience for the remark; however, Letterman quickly played off the incident as just fun. This was not the only time a chat show clash like this occurred. In 2001 Cher was interviewed by British talk show host and television presenter Clive Anderson. Anderson asked her, "Wow, Cher, you look like a million dollars... is that how much it cost?".

Cher returned to Late Night With David Letterman in an appearance on November 13, 1987, this time with ex-husband Sonny Bono, reuniting to sing "I Got You, Babe" for what would be the last time. She has since made multiple appearances on Letterman's CBS show.

In 1987 Cher starred in three films. She was cast as Alexandra, the female lead in the dark comedy/fantasy film The Witches of Eastwick with Jack Nicholson, Susan Sarandon and Michelle Pfeiffer. She played a lawyer in the thriller Suspect opposite Dennis Quaid, and starred in the romantic comedy Moonstruck, which co-starred Nicolas Cage and Olympia Dukakis and was directed by Norman Jewison. For her performance as a frumpy bookkeeper in Moonstruck, she won the 1987 Academy Award for Best Actress. She also won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Musical/Comedy, and the People's Choice Award for Favorite Female Star.

1987 was also noteworthy for the resurgence in Cher's recording career. After signing with friend David Geffen's label, Geffen Records, Cher released a self-titled album late that year which spawned her first major hit since 1979's "Take Me Home". "I Found Someone" returned her to the Top 10 of Billboard's Hot 100. The follow-up single "We All Sleep Alone" reached the position 14.

In 1987 Cher revived her recording career after a five-year hiatus, under the coordination of rock producer and A&R man John Kalodner. Now with Geffen Records, Cher released the first of three highly successful rock albums, produced by Kalodner and featuring songwriting contributions from the likes of Diane Warren, Jon Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora, Desmond Child, Mark Mangold and Michael Bolton. Darlene Love and Bonnie Tylerprovided guest vocals. Cher was released in 1987, and featured the comeback single "I Found Someone" written by Michael Bolton and Mark Mangold (previously a minor hit for Laura Branigan), as well as "We All Sleep Alone" (#14, 1988). The album was Cher's biggest yet, being certified platinum in the U.S. (1 million) and selling seven million copies worldwide.

In 1989 Cher released the album Heart of Stone. As on her previous album, Michael Bolton, Jon Bon Jovi, Diane Warren and Desmond Child handled songwriting and/or producing duties. The album was originally released with cover artwork featuring Cher sitting in front of a heart made of stone, creating the illusion of a skull. Heart of Stone became her most successful album to date, selling 6 million copies worldwide, and certified 3x Platinum by the RIAA.

The album's biggest hit came with the rock hymn "If I Could Turn Back Time", which topped the charts in Australia for 7 non-consecutive weeks, peaked at #3 in the U.S., reached #6 in the UK and charted in various other countries around the globe. Further hits from the album were "Just Like Jesse James" (U.S. Top 10, Top 20 in Australia) and "Heart of Stone" (U.S. Top 20), and it also contained the hit duet with Peter Cetera, "After All" (U.S. #6).

The video for "If I Could Turn Back Time" caused controversy, because in it Cher wore a very thin, see-through net outfit, which revealed a very visible "butterfly" tattoo on her buttocks (detailed below). Many networks on television, including MTV, initially refused to air the video because of the partial nudity. MTV network eventually played the video, but only after 9 p.m. Cher also launched the Heart of Stone Tour, which played throughout 1989 and 1990 in various parts of the world. She also starred in the television special Cher - Live at the Mirage, which was filmed during a live concert in Las Vegas.

In 1987 she also released her first fragrance, Uninhibited.

In the late 1980s, Cher was considered for the role of the Grand High Witch in a movie adaptation of Roald Dahl's novel The Witches, but the role was eventually given to Anjelica Huston instead.

In 1990 Cher starred in the modest box office success Mermaids with Bob Hoskins, Winona Ryder, and Christina Ricci. The film received many positive reviews from critics. Cher contributed two songs to its soundtrack. "Baby I'm Yours" and the album's second single, "The Shoop Shoop Song (It's in His Kiss)", charted low on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 (at #33), but became a smash hit elsewhere, reaching #1 in the UK, #3 in Germany and France, and #5 in Australia. Around the globe, it became her most successful single to date, selling more than six million copies worldwide.

In 1991 Cher completed her Geffen recording contract by releasing the album Love Hurts. This album had a big impact in Europe and in the rest of the world, particularly in the UK where it debuted at #1 and stayed there for 6 consecutive weeks. Unlike her previous two records, Love Hurts received less attention in the United States where it was certified gold; in European countries, the album was certified multi-platinum. The European cover of the album was different from the American release, featuring Cher lying on a white background wearing a red wig.

The European release also included the worldwide hit "The Shoop Shoop Song (It's in His Kiss)". The album also sparked another hit single, "Love and Understanding", a number 3 hit in UK as well as the album's only major hit in her native U.S., entering the Top 20. The follow-ups "Save Up All Your Tears", "Love Hurts", and "Could've Been You" were minor hits in Europe. The album Love Hurts has sold more than 10 million copies worldwide becoming one of the biggest-selling albums of her career.

In Germany, Cher received the prestigious ECHO award for the most successful female singer of the year. Cher embarked on the Love Hurts Tour throughout 1992. In the same period Cher released two VHS fitness programs, Cherfitness: A New Attitude and Cherfitness: A Body Confidence.

In 1992 the European compilation Greatest Hits: 1965-1992 became a huge success, again peaking at #1 in the United Kingdom for seven non-consecutive weeks, and charting in the Top 10 in several other countries. The album, which contained three newly-recorded tracks ("Oh No Not My Baby", "Many Rivers to Cross" and "Whenever You're Near") was available in the United States only as an import.

In 1992 Cher took some time off, following what was widely reported as a case of Epstein-Barr virus or chronic fatigue syndrome. She made few public appearances during this period with the exception of appearing in a series of infomercials launching hair-care products for her friend Lori Davis, and for the sweetener Equal.

Cher made cameo appearances in the Robert Altman films The Player (1992) and Pret-a-Porter (1994). In 1994 she collaborated with MTV's cartoons Beavis and Butt-head for a rock version of Sonny & Cher's "I Got You Babe". The next year she and Chrissie Hynde, Neneh Cherry and Eric Clapton topped the UK Singles Chart for one week with the charity single "Love Can Build a Bridge".

In 1995, she recorded an album, mainly of covers, titled It's a Man's World. The album was released in Europe at the end of 1995 and in North America in the summer of 1996. The album sparked two European hits: "Walking in Memphis" and "One by One". It's a Man's World was a moderate success, with more than three million copies worldwide; however, sales in the United States were limited.

Cher starred in Faithful (1996) with Ryan O'Neal and Chazz Palminteri, and scored a minor comeback when she co-executive-produced and appeared in the highly anticipated, controversial HBO abortion drama If These Walls Could Talk, with Demi Moore, Sissy Spacek and Anne Heche. Nancy Savoca co-wrote all three segments and directed the first two sections starring Moore and Spacek, but Cher directed and co-starred in the third segment, earning a Golden Globe Nomination as Best Supporting Actress in a made-for-television movie.

Cher was in London in January 1998 when a call from daughter Chastity brought news of Sonny Bono's death in a skiing accident. He was 62. At the time of his death, Bono, by then a popular California Congressman, was married to his fourth wife, Mary Bono. Although they had been divorced for nearly 23 years and Sonny was remarried with two more children, Cher accepted an invitation to deliver the eulogy. The funeral, unbeknownst to Cher, was broadcast live on CNN. In front of millions, she tearfully and effusively praised Bono, calling him "the most unforgettable character I've ever met." Cher paid tribute to Bono in the CBS special Sonny and Me: Cher Remembers (1998), calling her grief "something I never plan to get over." In 1998, Sonny & Cher received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Television. Cher appeared at the event with Mary Bono, who accepted the award on behalf of her late husband.

Cher's 23rd studio album, 1998's Grammy Award-winning Believe marked an extreme departure for Cher, as the record was a sparkling collection of up-tempo dance tracks. The album was a critical and commercial success, reaching the top spot in nearly every country where it was released, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Australia and France. Believe has been certified 4x Platinum in the United States and has sold 20 million copies worldwide. The Grammy Award-winning first single and title track was a worldwide smash, easily becoming the biggest hit of Cher's entire career. By March 1999, the song reached #1 in 23 countries around the world including the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Australia. It was the best-selling recording of the year.

Cher published her first memoir in late 1998, titled The First Time. Rather than a tell-all, the book was an intriguing collection of Cher's most significant "first-time" memories from her childhood, life and Hollywood career. In January 1999 Cher performed "The Star-Spangled Banner" in front of the Super Bowl XXXIII television audience. Cher also performed on the highly rated television special VH1 Divas Live 2, performing alongside contemporaries Tina Turner, Elton John, Chaka Khan, Faith Hill, Mary J. Blige, LeeAnn Rimes, Diana Ross, Brandy and Whitney Houston. Later in 1999, Cher co-starred in the well-received Franco Zeffirelli film Tea With Mussolini (1999) with Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Joan Plowright and Lily Tomlin. Her successful worldwide Do You Believe? Tour travelled throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe, with the Emmy-nominated television special Cher: Live at the MGM Grand In Las Vegas airing by year's end.

On November 30, 1999, she released a compilation album The Greatest Hits that continued to build upon her huge popularity in Europe. The album entered the German Charts at #1 (her second consecutive German No. 1 album) and peaked at number 7 on the official UK Albums Chart. This compilation was released only outside the United States, due to the release of the North American only compilation, If I Could Turn Back Time: Cher's Greatest Hits which was released that same year. In Germany she became again best selling female artist of the year and was receiving her second ECHO Award (she and Madonna are the only female artists to do so).

The Do You Believe? Tour continued throughout 2000 and became her most successful tour to that time.

In May 2000, Cher was presented with the Lifelong Contribution to the Music Industry Award, at the World Music Awards.

She released an independent alternative-rock album titled (pronounced "not-dot-com-mercial"). This album was written mostly by Cher after attending a songwriting retreat in France in 1994. The album was quickly rejected by record labels for being "not commercial." Cher chose instead to sell the recording exclusively through her website. This marked the first time that Cher had written a majority of the material for one of her albums. In an online review, Rolling Stone described "Fit To Fly", a Cher-penned track from the album, as "the best Cher song ever." The tune was Cher's tribute to American veterans of war.

In February 2002, still in a dance mode, Cher released the highly anticipated follow-up to Believe: Living Proof, which entered the Billboard 200 at number nine, making it her highest-charting album debut and extending her album-chart span to an excess of 37 years. It did not repeat the success of Believe, showing no longevity in the charts. Outside the United States, things were little better: in the United Kingdom, France and Australia, Living Proof failed to reach the Top 40, while charting best in Germany by entering at #13. The album included several re-mixed songs that found their way onto the Hot Dance, Maxi-Single Sales, Club Play and Adult Contemporary charts. The album was eventually certified gold in the United States and Germany, and earned her two Grammy nominations.

That year, Cher won the Dance/Club Play Artist of the Year and was presented with a special Artist Achievement Award at the Billboard Music Awards.

In May 2002 Cher performed on the VH1 television special VH1 Divas Las Vegas, with Shakira, Celine Dion, The Dixie Chicks, Anastacia, Cyndi Lauper and Mary J. Blige. In June, she announced plans for Living Proof: The Farewell Tour, which she claimed would be the final live concert tour of her career, though she vowed to continue recording and releasing music.

The show itself was a tribute to her near-40-years in show business. It featured vintage performance and video clips from the 1960s onwards, highlighting her successes in music, television, and film, all set amongst an elaborate backdrop and stage set-up, complete with backing band, singers and dancers, including aerial acrobatics. Dates were added, and the tour was extended several times, covering virtually all of the U.S. and Canada (plus 3 shows in Mexico City), several cities in Europe, as well as the major cities of Australia and New Zealand. Going well past its original cut-off date, it was eventually redubbed the "Never Can Say Goodbye Tour". In April 2003 The Very Best of Cher, a CD collection of all of her greatest hits spanning her entire career, was released. The album peaked at number four on the Billboard 200 album chart, extending her album chart span to over 38 years. The compilation has been certified double platinum and has sold 3.5 million copies worldwide.

She found success on television once again in the spring of 2003 with Cher: The Farewell Tour Live, an NBC special taped on 7 and November 8, 2002 at Miami's American Airlines Arena and aired in April 2003, attracting 17.3 million viewers. It earned Cher her first Emmy Award as Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Special. She released the album Live: The Farewell Tour later in 2003, a collection of live tracks taken from the tour. She was also seen, as herself, in the Farrelly Brothers comedy Stuck on You (2003) with Matt Damon and Greg Kinnear. In the film, she spoofed her own image, appearing in bed with a high-school boyfriend (Frankie Muniz). Also in 2003, Cher recorded a duet of "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered" for Rod Stewart's As Time Goes By... The Great American Songbook Volume II album.

In February 2004, she received another Grammy Award nomination for Best Dance Recording for her song "Love One Another". During 2004, a Sonny & Cher DVD was released with nine Sonny & Cher shows from the famous Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour and The Sonny and Cher Show, featuring some of the best shows during the 1970s.

In 2004, Cher released the album Gold, a 2-CD collection of all her greatest hits, spanning from her days as one-half of Sonny & Cher to her Living Proof era. It was only a year following the release of her multi-platinum The Very Best of Cher album, though Allmusic nevertheless gave it four and a half out of five stars.

Cher closed the farewell tour in April 2005 at the Hollywood Bowl. It was the most successful tour by a single female solo artist at that time.

During 2007, in the seventh volume of Chrome Hearts, Cher confirmed that she is working on her twenty-sixth studio album. Recordings have taken place but the release date is not yet determined. Recently, it has been confirmed that she will be recording an album of covers from the '60s. Cher is also working on a rock album. No release date for it has been announced.

On February 7, 2008 Cher, at 61, announced that she had reached a deal to perform 200 shows over three years live at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. Her new show, titled Cher at the Colosseum, debuted on May 6, 2008. She is being paid $60 million for her return.

The elaborate show includes eighteen dancers, four aerialists and multiple costumes designed by Bob Mackie. Choreography is directed by Doriana Sanchez who also worked with Cher on her past three major tours.

On February 10, 2008 Cher made a brief appearance at the Grammy Awards, introducing a performance by Tina Turner and Beyonce Knowles.

Cher appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show in May 2008 to discuss her new show and performed her hit "Take Me Home". Cher also performed "Proud Mary" with Tina Turner, which they had previously performed on the Divas Live '99 2 concert in 1999.

On November 3, 2008, Cher appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. In the interview, Cher denied rumors that she will play Catwoman in the upcoming sequel to The Dark Knight but confirmed that she will star in a new movie titled "The Drop-out". Cher did not give any details about the film, except that production begins in the summer of 2009 and that her part is "a role of a lifetime." Recently was announced that her co-star of the film will be Johnny Knoxville.

Cher began performing again in February 2009. She had to delay the final of her 2008 shows owing to illness; she claimed to have "Vegas throat". Cher denied reports that she had cancer.

Cher had a relationship with actor Warren Beatty when she was a teenager.

Sonny Bono and Cher first met in 1962. Though they had claimed to be married as early as 1963, and had a wedding ceremony in Tijuana, Mexico on October 27, 1964, it is rumored that they weren’t legally married until an impromptu ceremony in 1968. Their only child is Chastity Bono, born on March 4, 1969. Sonny and Cher divorced on June 27, 1975 after 13 years together. The divorce resulted in the cancellation of The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour.

Later that year, Cher married her second husband, rock star Gregg Allman. Their son, Elijah Blue Allman of the band Deadsy, was born on July 10, 1976. They separated in 1977 and were officially divorced in January 1979. Between Bono and Allmann, Cher revealed that she had a fling with Elvis Presley while they were performing in Las Vegas, but rejected him when he asked her up to his room because she was too nervous of spending the night with him. In February 2008, Cher stated on Good Morning America that she deeply regrets turning him down. In the interview, she also claimed to being asked out by Marlon Brando on a plane ride. Cher was also involved with record executive David Geffen, KISS bassist Gene Simmons, and senior account manager Garreth Crawford.

In the 1980s, Cher dated several younger men that included actors Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer, and Rob Camilletti, the 22-year-old bagel baker and bartender whom she met on her 40th birthday and lived with for three years. It was widely speculated in the tabloid press that the couple were planning to marry, but this never occurred. Cher was involved with Bon Jovi guitarist Richie Sambora for two years in the early 1990s, and was also linked to musicians Eric Clapton and Mark Hudson. Rumors also circulated that Cher was romantically involved with a member of her band during her lengthy Farewell Tour.

Cher owns several pieces of real estate, including homes in Aspen, Colorado, USA, and London, UK, and maintains a home in Malibu, California, USA, which she listed for sale in 2008 at $45 million. In April 2006 it was reported that Cher had purchased a condominium in the Sierra Towers in West Hollywood, California, for $3.5 million.

In July 2006 it was announced that Cher, in conjunction with Sotheby's and Julien's Auctions, was planning to auction about 800 of her personal possessions from her Italian Renaissance-themed Malibu estate, including numerous antiques, art collectibles, paintings, career memorabilia, furniture (including her bed) as well as numerous pieces of jewelry, clothing, stage costumes, gowns, a 2003 Hummer H2 and her 2005 Bentley. The event, which took place October 3–5, 2006, in Beverly Hills, California, raised $3.3 million. Cher had said a large percentage of the proceeds will benefit the Cher Charitable Foundation. Cher reportedly received $180 million for mounting her comeback at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.

The reverence held for Cher by members of the gay community has been attributed to her accomplishments in her career, her sense of style and her longevity. Alec Mapa of The Advocate elaborates: "While the rest of us were sleeping, Cher's been out there for the last four decades living out every single one of our childhood fantasies...Cher embodies an unapologetic freedom and fearlessness that some of us can only aspire to." Cher has often been imitated by drag queens. Thomas Rogers of Salon magazine commented that "rag queens imitate women like Judy Garland, Dolly Parton and Cher because they overcame insult and hardship on their path to success, and because their narratives mirror the pain that many gay men suffer on their way out of the closet." Cher's performance as a lesbian in the film Silkwood as well as her transition to dance music and social activism in recent years has further contributed to her becoming a gay icon.

Her daughter Chastity Bono came out as a lesbian at the age of seventeen, which caused her feelings of "guilt, fear and pain". However, Cher eventually came accept her daughter's sexual orientation, and came to the conclusion that LGBT people "didn't have the same rights as everyone else, thought that was unfair". She became the keynote speaker for the 1997 national Parents, Families, & Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) convention. Cher has since become one of the gay community's most vocal advocates.

In 1998 Cher was honored with a GLAAD Media Award (Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) and in November 1999, The Advocate named Cher one of the '25 Coolest Women'. In October 2005 the Bravo program Great Things About Being... declared Cher "the number one greatest thing about being gay." William J. Mann, author of Gay Pride: A Celebration of All Things Gay and Lesbian, comments "e'll be dancing to a ninety-year-old Cher when we're sixty. Just watch".

The NBC sitcom Will & Grace acknowledged her status by making her the idol of gay character Jack McFarland. Cher guest-starred as herself twice on the sitcom, in 2000 and 2002. In 2000 Cher made a cameo on the show, in which Jack believed her to be a drag queen, and said he could "do" a better Cher himself. In 2002 she played God in Jack's imagined version of Heaven.

Unlike her late ex-husband Sonny Bono, Cher has always been a staunch Democrat. She has attended and performed at Democratic Party conventions and events. Today, she considers herself a Democrat by default, but more of an Independent because of what she perceives to be the recent moderate to conservative leanings of the current Democratic Party.

On October 27, 2003 Cher anonymously called a C-SPAN phone-in program. She recounted a visit she had made to maimed soldiers at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center and criticized the lack of media coverage and government attention given to injured servicemen. She also remarked that she watches C-SPAN every day. Though she simply identified herself as an unnamed entertainer with the USO, she was recognized by the C-SPAN host, who subsequently questioned her about her 1992 support for independent presidential candidate Ross Perot.

Back from her last tour in Europe, Cher declared that Europeans had a very bad image of Americans, mostly because of the Bush administration. " see us as the real terrorists since this stupid war in Iraq and because of all the innocent civilians that were killed within the first somehow they're right." She shared the stage with Muhammad Muhammad in N.Y.C, an American actor who used to tell stories about the changes in American Muslim's lives since 9/11.

On Memorial Day weekend in 2006 she called in again, endorsing Operation Helmet, an organization started by a doctor that provides helmet upgrade kits free of charge to troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as to those ordered to deploy in the near future. She identified herself as a caller from Malibu, California, and proceeded to complain about the current presidential administration. She read aloud a letter from a soldier on the ground in Iraq, praising Operation Helmet's efforts, and decrying the lack of protection afforded by the military's provisions for troops.

Cher appeared on The Ed Schultz Show in May 2006 to discuss her work in support of U.S. troops fighting abroad, as well as returning veterans. Schultz noted her involvement with both Operation Helmet and the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, which is constructing an advanced training skills facility at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas. The center will serve military personnel who have been catastrophically disabled in operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, and those severely injured in other operations, as well as in the normal performance of their duties, combat and non-combat related.

Cher supported Senator Hillary Clinton in her Presidential campaign, as she noted on Entertainment Tonight in February 2008. Clinton, in return, said she was thrilled to have Cher's support. After Barack Obama won the Democratic nomination, Cher supported his candidacy on radio and TV programs, including a November 3 appearance on The Ellen Degeneres Show.

Cher is still involved with Operation Helmet, and appeared with Dr. Bob Meaders (founder of Operation Helmet) on C-SPAN again on June 14, 2006. She then appeared with him on Capitol Hill on June 15, 2006. It has been reported that Cher has so far donated over US$130,000 to Operation Helmet.

Cher has been involved with many humanitarian groups and charity efforts over the years. After appearing in the movie Mask, she served as National Chairperson and Honorary Spokesperson of the Children’s Craniofacial Association. Over the years while touring, she frequently donated concert tickets to families and non-profit groups for children and youth with facial deformities. Such donations were alluded to in an episode of the TV series X-Files titled The Post Modern Prometheus.

In 1993 Cher participated in a humanitarian effort to Armenia (where her father was born), bringing much needed food and medical supplies. In 1998 she co-hosted the annual Amfar AIDS Benefit at the Cannes Film Festival with Elizabeth Taylor.

She is also the namesake of the Cher Charitable Foundation, which donates funds to various charities and causes close to her heart.

Cher became famous for her many tattoos, long before they were fashionable among women in Hollywood. Among them were a large butterfly and floral design on her buttocks, later imitated by androgynous Dead or Alive singer Pete Burns; a flowing necklace on her left upper arm with three charms hanging on it an Egyptian ankh, a cross and a heart, a kanji on her right shoulder (Chinese 'li'; Japanese 'chikara'; 力, meaning 'power'); a small cluster of Art Deco crystals on her inner right arm; a black orchid design just above the crease of her right thigh; and a chrysanthemum on her left ankle.

Media reports in recent years have indicated that Cher has since committed to having most of her tattoos removed, and the process has apparently been under way. Some pictures from her most recent concert tour have shown blank skin where some of the smaller tattoos once were. She no longer has a necklace on her left arm or the Japanese symbol on her right arm.

Cher has a very large and devoted fan base. Their devotion is evidenced through the biennial Cher Convention that began in Chicago in 2000 when her song "Believe" reached number one. The event was held in Las Vegas in 2002 and 2004, Los Angeles in 2006, and in 2008 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Las Vegas convention coincided with the beginning of Cher's second run at Caesars Colosseum. All convention proceeds went to the Children's Craniofacial Association, a 501(c)3, for which Cher is the National Spokesperson.

In her early career Cher was a fashion trend-setter, popularizing long straight hair, bell-bottoms and an exposed midriff. She is noted as being one of the first females to expose her bellybutton on television. She stepped that up a notch in 1989 when she boarded the U.S. Navy's USS Missouri ship in thong and fishnets for the "If I Could Turn Back Time" music video, becoming one of the first video by a mainstream pop artist to be banned by MTV (after the video was banned, it grew to mass popularity, forcing MTV to play the video after 9 p.m.). Through her 1970s television shows she became a sex symbol and pushed the censors with her revealing outfits and creative ensembles, frequently designed by Bob Mackie. She has also inspired many celebrities who have noted her as being a major influence on them, such as Britney Spears, Beyonce Knowles, Tracy Chapman, Oprah Winfrey, Cyndi Lauper, Gene Simmons, Meryl Streep, Anastacia, Rosie O'Donnell, Christina Aguilera, Jennifer Lopez, Elton John among others..

In July 1999 Cher ranked 43rd on VH1’s 100 Greatest Women of Rock & Roll poll and in September 2002 ranked 26th on VH1’s 100 Sexiest Artists. She has appeared on the cover of People magazine thirteen times . In a 2007 poll, A&E's Biography magazine ranked her as the third favorite actress of all time behind two of her Hollywood idols, Katharine Hepburn and Audrey Hepburn.

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Ann Bannon

Ann Bannon in 1983.jpg

Ann Bannon (pseudonym of Ann Weldy) (born September 15, 1932) is an American author who wrote six lesbian pulp fiction novels from 1957 to 1962 known as The Beebo Brinker Chronicles. The books' enduring popularity and impact on lesbian identity has earned her the title "Queen of Lesbian Pulp Fiction". Bannon was a young housewife trying to address her own issues of sexuality when she was inspired to write her first novel. Her subsequent books featured four characters who reappeared throughout the series, including her titular heroine, Beebo Brinker, who came to embody the archetype of a butch lesbian. The majority of her characters mirrored people she knew, but their stories reflected a life she did not feel she was able to live. Despite her traditional upbringing and role in married life, her novels defied conventions for romance stories and depictions of lesbians, by addressing complex homosexual relationships positively during the morally repressive era of the 1950s and 1960s.

Although her books shaped lesbian identity for lesbians and heterosexuals alike, Bannon was mostly unaware of their impact. She stopped writing in 1962 and later earned a doctorate in linguistics and became an academic. She endured a difficult marriage for 27 years and as she separated from her husband in the 1980s, her books were republished and she was stunned to learn of their influence on society. They were released again in 2001, and have been adapted as an award-winning Off-Broadway production. They are taught in Women's and LGBT studies courses, and Bannon has been given numerous awards for pioneering lesbian and gay literature. She has been described as "the premier fictional representation of US lesbian life in the fifties and sixties", and that her books, "rest on the bookshelf of nearly every even faintly literate Lesbian".

Ann Bannon was born Ann Weldy in Joliet, Illinois in 1932. She grew up in nearby Hinsdale with her mother and stepfather, and had the responsibility of taking care of four siblings due to the family's financial problems. A rich fantasy life came to be a comfort for her during this time and she found solace in writing. She grew up in a house filled with music, particularly jazz. Her family would host musicians giving small recitals for friends and neighbors, one of which became a character in her books: a perennial bachelor named Jack who slung jokes and witticisms at the audiences.

She attended the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana and belonged to Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority where she befriended a beautiful older sorority sister, "the prettiest I had ever seen", quite popular with men and with women, and witnessed a younger sorority sister's unabashed infatuation with the older sister. She recalls it was an awkward situation, even though the older sorority sister was "unfailingly gracious" to the younger one. In recognizing the younger woman's attractions, she began to suspect her own sexuality. She said, "I saw a lot of it happening and I didn't know what to make of it. I don't even know how to put it—I was absolutely consumed with it, it was an extraordinary thing." Another sorority sister was physically remarkable, very tall—almost 6 feet (1.8 m), with a husky voice and boyish nickname, that Bannon imagined was a blend of Johnny Weissmuller and Ingrid Bergman. She recalled entering the communal restroom and seeing the sister, "both of us in underwear, and experienc(ing) a sort of electric shock", and trying not to stare at her. In 1954, she graduated with a degree in French and soon married an engineer whose job made them relocate frequently.

Bannon was 22 years old when she began writing her first pulp novel. She was influenced by the only lesbian novels she had read, The Well of Loneliness by Radclyffe Hall from 1928 and Vin Packer's Spring Fire from 1952, albeit in two different ways: she was unable to relate to the dismal tones in Hall's novel, but as a sorority girl was more familiar with the plot and circumstances of Spring Fire. Bannon said, "Both books completely obsessed me for the better part of two years." Although recently married and on her way to having two children, she found the books struck a chord in her life and recognized emotions in herself that compelled her to write about them. In the beginning of her marriage she was left alone quite a lot and said, "I was kind of desperate to get some of the things that had been consuming me for a long time down on paper".

In 1950, Gold Medal Books published a fictionalized account of Tereska Torres' experience serving in the Free French Forces called Women's Barracks, in paperback form. The book described a lesbian relationship the author witnessed, ending in the suicide of one of the women. It sold 4.5 million copies, and Gold Medal Books' editors were "thrilled". Its success earned it a mention in the House Select Committee on Current Pornographic Materials in 1952. Gold Medal Books was a branch of Fawcett Publications that focused on paperback books. Paperbacks at the time were printed on very cheap paper, not designed to last for more than a year, sold for 25 cents in drug stores, train and bus stations, and newsstand kiosks all over the United States. The books made for cheap, easy reading that could be discarded at the end of a trip for very little cost to the customer. Because of the low quality of production, they earned the name pulp fiction.

Gold Medal Books quickly followed Women's Barracks with Spring Fire, eager to cash in on the unprecedented sales, and it sold almost 1.5 million copies in 1952. Vin Packer, whose real name is Marijane Meaker, and Gold Medal Books were overwhelmed with mail from women who identified with the lesbian characters.

The Beebo Brinker Chronicles were six books in all first published between 1957 and 1962. They featured four characters who appeared in at least three of the books in a chronological saga of coming to terms with their homosexuality and navigating their ways through gay and lesbian relationships. The first in the series, Odd Girl Out, was published by Gold Medal Books in 1957, and became their second best-selling title of the year. Based on Bannon's own experiences, the plot involved a lesbian relationship between two sorority sisters in a fictional sorority at a fictional midwestern university. As was custom with pulp fiction novels, neither the cover art nor the title was under the control of the author. Both were approved by the publisher in order to be as suggestive and lurid as possible. The main character is Laura Landon, who realizes that she's in love with Beth, her older, more experienced roommate, a leader in the sorority.

Lesbians depicted in literature were relatively rare in the 1950s. It was the publisher's policy in any novel involving lesbianism that the characters would never receive any satisfaction from the relationship. One or both usually ended up committing suicide, going insane, or leaving the relationship. Marijane Meaker discusses this in the 2004 foreword of Spring Fire: she was told by editor Dick Carroll that postal inspectors would send the books back to the publisher if homosexuality was depicted positively. The Postal Service relaxed their censorship after the obscenity trial of Allen Ginsberg's Howl in 1956, which gave Bannon a modicum of freedom in her plots. Although the ending to Odd Girl Out did not veer too far from the unsatisfactory resolution formula of Spring Fire, Women's Barracks, and The Well of Loneliness, it examined Laura's internal struggle in the realization that despite her femininity, she was deeply in love with another woman, and at the end she embraced it, which was rare in lesbian fiction.

I would sit there (in a gay bar) in the evenings thinking, 'What if (a police raid) happens tonight and I get hauled off to the slam with all these other women?' I had been extremely low profile, very proper, very Victorian wife. I know that sounds crazy in the 60s, but I was raised by my mother and grandmother, who really came out of that era, and talk about a rigid role-playing crowd! I couldn't imagine living through it. I just couldn't. I thought, 'Well, that would do it. I'd have to go jump off the Brooklyn Bridge.' As easy as it might be if you were a young woman in today's generation to think that was exaggerating, it wasn't. It was terrifying.

Bannon followed Odd Girl Out with I Am A Woman (In Love With A Woman Must Society Reject Me?) in 1959. I Am A Woman (the working and common title) featured Laura after her affair with Beth, as she finds herself in New York City's Greenwich Village, and meets a wisecracking gay man named Jack, and becomes his best friend. Laura has to choose between a straight woman with a wild and curious streak, and a fascinating new character that proved to be her most popular of the series, Beebo Brinker, who came to embody the description of a thoroughly butch lesbian. Beebo was smart, handsome, chivalrous, and virile. Once again based on what she knew, Beebo was nearly 6 feet (1.8 m) tall with a husky voice and a formidable physique. The personality however, Bannon says, was drawn out of her sheer need for Beebo to exist. After spending time in Greenwich Village and not finding anyone like her, Bannon instead created her. She remembered, "I put Beebo together just as I wanted her, in my heart and mind...She was just, quite literally, the butch of my dreams." The resolution to I Am A Woman completely flouted the trends of miserable lesbian fiction endings, which made Ann Bannon a hero to many lesbians.

Although her husband was aware of the books she was writing, he showed no interest in the subject. He was interested enough in the money she made from them, however, but had forbidden her to use her married surname, not wishing to see it on a book cover with art of questionable taste. She took the name "Bannon" from a list of his customers and liked it because it contained her own name in it. She continued to experience difficulty in her marriage, however, and in realizing that "not all lesbians were nice people," she took these frustrations out on her characters. "I couldn't stand some of what was happening to me–but Beebo could take it. Beebo really, in a way, had my nervous breakdown for me ... I think I was overwhelmed with grief and anger that I was not able to express," she recalled later. Women In The Shadows was also published in 1959 and proved very unpopular with Bannon's readers. The book examined interracial relationships, self-loathing in matters of sexuality and race, alcoholism, jealousy, violence, and as Laura marries Jack in a very atypical marriage for the 1950s, also explored the intricate details of what it was like to pass as heterosexual in an attempt to live some semblance of what was considered a normal life at the time.

Again drawing parallels between Bannon's own life and her plots, with her fourth book in the series, Journey To A Woman in 1960, Beth, of Laura's affair in Odd Girl Out, is living with her husband and children in Southern California. She tries to find Laura again nine years after college, and escapes a deranged woman who has a fixation on her, that reflected a relationship Bannon had with a beautiful, but "very bewildered and unstable person." Beth writes to an author of lesbian books in New York, and goes to meet her in hope of finding Laura. They have a brief relationship, after which Beth finds Laura married to Jack and with a child, then discovers Beebo as well. A fifth book, The Marriage, that was also published in 1960, again addressed issues of love outside the realm of socially acceptable relationships, although not primarily homosexuality. Jack and Laura are friends with a young married couple who discover they are brother and sister, and must decide if they will stay with each other or conform to societal standards.

Returning to the character she fantasized about the most, the last book in the series, Beebo Brinker in 1962, was Bannon's prequel to Odd Girl Out. It follows Beebo around Greenwich Village ten years prior to her meeting Laura in I Am A Woman, as Beebo literally gets off the bus from her rural hometown into New York City to find a waiting friend in Jack, and discover herself. She begins an affair with a famous and fading movie star, and follows her to California, only to return to be more honest about what she wants in her life.

After Beebo Brinker, Bannon said the energy to write about the characters left her, but she got so good at her "obsessive fantasies" that even after the books were written she continued to live internally, and suspected it affected her subsequent relationships. "I realize now that I was in a sort of 'holding pattern,' a way of keeping my sanity intact while waiting for my children to grow up and the freedom door to open," she recalled. Returning to school, Bannon completed her master’s degree at Sacramento State University and her doctorate in linguistics at Stanford University. She was an English professor at Sacramento State and later became the University’s associate dean of the School of Arts and Sciences and later the College of Arts and Letters.

Bannon's books were featured in the documentary Before Stonewall in 1984 about how gay men and lesbians lived prior to the 1969 Stonewall Riots, where one woman remembered her picking up one of Bannon's books for the first time: "I picked up this paperback and I opened it up...and it sent a shiver of excitement in my whole body that I had never felt before." She was featured in the Canadian documentary Forbidden Love: The Unashamed Stories of Lesbian Lives in 1992 recounting women's personal stories living as lesbians from the 1940s to 1960s. The books were selected for the Quality Paperback Book Club in 1995. Bannon also provided the foreword text for Strange Sisters: The Art of Lesbian Pulp Fiction 1949–1969 in 1999, discussing her reaction to the art on her own books and the other lesbian pulp fiction books she bought and read. Five of The Beebo Brinker Chronicles were reissued by Cleis Press again in 2001, excluding The Marriage, with autobiographical forewords that described Bannon's experiences of writing the books and her reaction to their popularity, causing another wave of interest.

Since so little information was available about lesbians and lesbianism at the time, Bannon's books, through their far-reaching distribution and popularity served to form a part of a lesbian identity for not only the heterosexual population at large, but lesbians themselves. Lesbian author and historian Joan Nestle called the books "survival literature", explaining: "In whatever towns or cities these books were read, they were spreading the information that meant a new hope for trapped and isolated women". One retrospective writer noted, "ntil the late 1960s, when the sexual revolution was emerging, the pulps provided a cultural space that helped to forge a queer identity".

Scholar Andrea Loewenstein published the first in-depth review of Bannon's books in 1980, and notes that they were "exceptionally good pulp" that caused unexpected strong feelings of sadness or anger among lesbians when they were read twenty years after being published. Bannon depicts strict roles of butch and femme, and gays and lesbians as self-destructive, closeted, paranoid, and alcoholic; Loewenstein remarks that readers in 1980 had a tendency to reject that kind of reality in Bannon's stories. "Since much of our past is so bitter,  ... pretend away our most recent history". Loewenstein suggests the struggles Bannon's characters endured were ones that Bannon must have faced herself. When Laura declares her joy in her love for Beth in Odd Girl Out while simultaneously questioning if it is right, Loewenstein states "one hears quite clearly the voice of Ann Bannon, questioning her own right to happiness". Similarly, remarking on Bannon's treatment of Beebo in Women in the Shadows by making her violent, alcoholic and self-destructive, Loewenstein notes, "she needs to humiliate Beebo so badly that she makes her disappear". Loewenstein remarks Bannon's characters are deeply conflicted by enjoying relationships they feel are morally wrong, and they are acting out cycles of self-hatred, though what remains at the end is "surprisingly ... passionate, tender, and erotic".

Bannon also addresses the issue of race in Women in the Shadows when Laura begins an affair with a woman representing herself as Eastern Indian, but who is actually a lighter skinned African American. The duality of their relationship is expressed not only in skin color but through their personalities. Laura, blond and passionate, contrasts with Tris, who is dark but emotionally detached. Race, in this instance, is a "metaphor for the opposition between inside and outside that govern Bannon's sense of what a lesbian is".

The concept of a lesbian identity is also explored throughout Journey to a Woman, as Beth leaves her husband and children to find Laura. Beth is followed by Vega, a deeply scarred woman—both emotionally and physically—with whom she had an affair, and who shoots herself at the end of the story. Scholar Christopher Nealon suggests that Vega's scars and emotional pain represent the anguish of self-hatred and the self-destructive phases Bannon imposed upon her characters in Women in the Shadows. Because Laura has grown from the complete adoration of Beth in Odd Girl Out and is unable to give Beth the same devotion when Beth finds her again, Nealon writes that Bannon makes the point that it is impossible to sustain "a lesbian identity that always returns to the moment of self-discovery". Beth, instead, finds Beebo, now older and much calmer, who gives her hope and the promise of love, which Nealon equates to a final identity for Bannon's characters.

All five books of The Beebo Brinker Chronicles depict characters trying to come to terms with their ostracism from heterosexual society. Christopher Nealon adds that the characters are also trying to "understand the relationship between their bodies and their desires"; the continuing appeal of the novels, Nealon states, is due to the characters being "beautifully misembodied".

Laura Landon's resistance in Odd Girl Out, to the idea that she may be homosexual, lies in her own concept of femininity. In I Am a Woman, the second book in the series, Beebo's butch appearance "seems to alternately terrify and attract Laura", leading to a very erotic physical relationship. However, when Laura lashes out a Beebo in a moment of self-pity, it is her masculinity that Laura attacks, invalidating Beebo's uniqueness and the core of her desirability violently. In the book that exhibits the most self-destruction in the series, Women in the Shadows, Laura expresses shame when accompanying Beebo outside of Greenwich Village, fearing Beebo will be arrested and jailed. Facing the end of their relationship, Beebo expresses the desire to be a man, if only to be able to marry Laura to give her a normal life.

Bannon's last book, Beebo Brinker, which takes place before the others, when Beebo is eighteen years old, focuses on Beebo's realization not only that she is gay, but that she is also a masculine woman. Nealon writes that Bannon's exploration of Beebo's masculinity is not to give excuses for her desires, but "to get at the source of specialness, the sources of her claim to be treated with dignity". By connecting her characters' bodies with their desires, Bannon allows further understanding of self as normal, and that homosexuality is acceptable.

Bannon's books, like most pulp fiction novels, were not reviewed by newspapers or magazines when they were originally published between 1957 and 1962. However, they have been the subject of analyses since their release, that offer differing opinions of Bannon's books as a reflection of the moral standards of the decade, a subtle defiance of those morals, or a combination of both. Andrea Loewenstein notes Bannon's use of cliché, suggesting that it reflected Bannon's own belief in the culturally repressive ideas of the 1950s. Conversely, writer Jeff Weinstein remarks that Bannon's pulp novels, which he terms "potboilers", are an expression of freedom because they address issues mainstream fiction did not in the 1950s. Instead of cliché, Weinstein writes that her characters become more realistic as she exploits the dramatic plots, because they "are influenced by the melodramatic conventions of the culture that excludes them".

Diane Hamer likens Bannon's work to the Mills and Boon of lesbian literature, but unlike conventional romance novels, her stories never really have neat and tidy conclusions. Hamer also takes note of Bannon's use of Freudian symbolism: in I Am a Woman, Jack frequently mentions that he is being psychoanalyzed, and his friends react with interest; Jack labels Laura "Mother" and continues to refer to this nickname instead of her real name throughout the series, as though Bannon—through Jack—is vaguely mocking Freud and the ideas that have framed the construction of sexuality in the 1950s. Scholar Michele Barale remarks that Bannon's literary devices in Beebo Brinker defy the expectations of the audience for whom the novel was specifically marketed: heterosexual males. Bannon chooses the first character, an "everyman" named, significantly, Jack Mann, with whom the male audience identifies, only to divulge that he is gay and has maternal instincts. His interest turns to Beebo, whom he finds "handsome" and lost, and he takes her home, gets her drunk, and becomes asexually intimate with her. Barale writes that Bannon manipulates male readers to become interested in the story, then turns them into voyeurs and imposes homosexual desires upon them, though eventually places them in a safe position to understand a gay story from a heterosexual point of view.

Author Katherine V. Forrest claimed Bannon and her books, "are in a class by themselves," and described purchasing and reading Odd Girl Out: "Overwhelming need led me to walk a gauntlet of fear up to the cash register. Fear so intense that I remember nothing more, only that I stumbled out of the store in possession of what I knew I must have, a book as necessary to me as air... I found it when I was eighteen years old. It opened the door to my soul and told me who I was." Forrest also credits Bannon, quite frankly, with saving her life.

In 2007, The Beebo Brinker Chronicles were adapted as a play by an off-off-Broadway cohort called The Hourglass Group in a production that ran for a month. The writers adapted material from I Am a Woman, Women in the Shadows and Journey to a Woman to predominantly positive reviews. It was successful enough to be moved Off Broadway for another ten-week run. The play's writers commented on the difficulty of lesbian-themed works finding financial success. They were tempted to make it more appealing by turning to camp for comedy. However, one of the writers said, "I just felt like, how can you turn these people into a joke? I mean, these people are real people! Why would I direct a play where I held the characters in some sort of contempt or felt that they were ridiculous? We are allowed to do something else besides camp." The stage adaptation of The Beebo Brinker Chronicles was produced by Lily Tomlin and Jane Wagner, and it won the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) Media Award for "fair, accurate, and inclusive" portrayals of gay and lesbian people in New York Theater. In April 2008, Bannon appeared with the Seattle Women's Chorus in a performance called "Vixen Fiction". Bannon read excerpts of her work and discussed the effects of her writing on her own life and the lives of her readers.

In 1997, Bannon's work was included in a collection of authors who had made the deepest impact on the lives and identities of gays and lesbians, titled Particular Voices: Portraits of Gay and Lesbian Writers. In 2000, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors awarded Bannon a Certificate of Honor "for breaking new ground with works like Odd Girl Out and Women in the Shadows" and for "voic(ing) lesbian experiences at a time when explicit lesbian subject matter was silenced by government and communities." In 2004, Bannon was elected into the Saints and Sinners Literary Festival Hall of Fame. Bannon received the Sacramento State Alumni Association’s Distinguished Faculty Award for 2005. Bannon received the Trailblazer Award from the Golden Crown Literary Society in 2005, and was honored by having an award named for her, the Ann Bannon GCLS Popular Choice Award. She was the recipient of the Alice B Award in 2008, that goes to authors whose careers have been distinguished by consistently well-written stories about lesbians. In May 2008, Bannon was given the Pioneer Award from the Lambda Literary Foundation. 1990s Queercore band Team Dresch recorded a tribute titled "Song for Ann Bannon." A UK band named Venus Bogardus takes its name from a character in the last book in the series, Beebo Brinker.

Ann Bannon retired from teaching in 1997, but tours the country visiting paperback-collecting conventions and speaking at colleges and universities about her writings and experiences. She has recently been a guest of National Public Radio’s Peabody Award-winning talk show “Fresh Air” with Terry Gross. She is also featured in Gross’ recent book, All I Did Was Ask, a collection of transcripts from the show. She also speaks at gay-themed events around the country and is working on her memoirs.

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Homer's Phobia

The Simpsons 4F11.png

In the episode, Homer dissociates himself from new family friend John after discovering that John is gay. Homer fears that John will have a negative influence on Bart. "Homer's Phobia" was the first episode to revolve entirely around lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) themes, with the title being a pun on the word homophobia. Originally, due to the controversial subject, the Fox censors found the episode unsuitable for broadcast, but this decision was reversed after a turnover in the Fox staff. It won four awards, including an Emmy for Outstanding Animated Program (For Programming One Hour or Less) and a GLAAD Media Award for "Outstanding TV – Individual Episode".

Needing money to pay for the gas repair bill, the Simpson family visits "Cockamamie's", an offbeat collectibles shop, hoping that it will purchase one of the family's heirlooms. Homer meets John, the antiques dealer, who explains that much of the merchandise is there because of its camp value. Bart and Lisa are impressed with John, and Homer invites him to the Simpsons' house to see the campy items that the family owns. The next morning, Homer tells Marge that he likes John and suggests they invite him and "his wife" over. Marge hints repeatedly to an oblivious Homer that John is gay, and when Homer finally understands, he is horrified. Homer's attitude towards John changes completely, and he turns against him, refusing to join his tour of Springfield. The rest of the family joins John and has a good time, but Homer is upset with the family upon their return. The rest of the Simpson family continue to enjoy John's company, especially Bart, who starts wearing Hawaiian shirts and dancing in a woman's wig. This makes Homer uneasy, and he begins to fear Bart is gay.

Homer endeavors to make Bart more masculine by forcing him to look at a cigarette billboard featuring scantily clad women in hopes Bart will be attracted to girls, but instead Bart gets the urge to smoke "anything slim." Homer then escorts him to see a steel mill’s muscle-bound workforce, only to find that the factory in question moonlights as The Anvil, a gay disco. A desperate Homer insists on taking Bart deer hunting with Moe and Barney. When they cannot find any deer, they decide instead to go to Santa's Village and shoot the reindeer in the corral. This backfires when the reindeer attack them. John, with the help of Lisa and Marge, uses a Japanese Santa Claus robot to scare off the reindeer and save the hunting party. Homer accepts John, more or less, and tells Bart, who is still unaware of his father's concerns, that any way he lives his life is fine with him. After Lisa informs Bart that Homer thinks he is gay, Bart is stunned. The episode ends with everyone driving off in John's car.

The original concept for the episode came from a few lines of show ideas written by George Meyer. One of them read "Bart the homo", and Ron Hauge was selected to write the episode, with the story stemming from that line. The idea of using John Waters as a guest star had been around for a while. Showrunners Bill Oakley and Josh Weinstein had planned to use him in an episode called "Lisa and Camp", which revolved around Lisa "discovering the joys of campy things". Their idea was combined with Meyer's and it became this episode. The episode was originally entitled "Bart Goes to Camp", but was renamed because the joke was too oblique.

John Waters accepted his invitation to be a guest star instantly, stating that if it was good enough for Elizabeth Taylor, who appeared in the season four episodes "Lisa's First Word" and "Krusty Gets Kancelled", it was good enough for him. He joked, however, about a negative reaction if his character would be made to look like Richard Simmons. As thanks for his performance, the show's staff sent Waters an animation cel from the episode which he now has hanging in his office.

According to commentary on the eighth season DVD, the Fox censor objected to "Homer's Phobia" being aired. The normal procedure is for an episode's script to be sent to the censor and then faxed back with a list of lines and words that should be substituted. However this episode came back with two pages of notes about almost every single line in the show. The censors stated that they did not like the use of the word "gay", or the discussion of homosexuality at all, and closed with a paragraph which stated that "the topic and substance of this episode are unacceptable for broadcast". Usually the censor notes are ignored as the offending lines and problems are dealt with after the episode has been animated. In this case the entire episode was deemed a problem, so it could not be solved in this way. The staff asked Waters if he thought the gay community would find the episode offensive. Homer's use of the word "fag" to insult John was his only problem, so the writers changed it to "queer". The censor problems ultimately came to nothing as when the episode came back from animation in South Korea, the then-Fox president had just been fired and replaced, with the censors being replaced as well. The new censors sent back merely one line: "acceptable for broadcast".

The "gay steel mill" scene was written by Steve Tompkins. He first pitched that they would be longshoremen, but it was too much work to animate the lading of ships, so a steel mill was used instead. Tompkins also wrote a different third act for the episode, which was not used in the final cut. Instead of Homer, Bart, Barney and Moe going deer hunting and ending up at "Santa's Village", they would go back to the steel mill. There, Homer would attempt to prove his heterosexuality by having a human tractor pulling contest with some of the steel mill workers. It was decided that it "didn't really service the story" and was dropped.

The episode features numerous cultural references. The song "Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)" by C+C Music Factory is played twice during the episode: first as the steel mill transforms into a disco, and second over the closing credits. Homer's record collection includes music by the New Christy Minstrels and The Wedding of Lynda Bird Johnson, the albums Loony Luau and Ballads of the Green Berets by Staff Sgt. Barry Sadler. The song that John picks out and he and Homer dance to is "I Love the Nightlife" by Alicia Bridges, and the song that Bart dances to is Cher's version of "The Shoop Shoop Song (It's in His Kiss)" by Betty Everett. When John is introduced there is a plastic pink flamingo lying in the background, a reference to John Waters's film Pink Flamingos.

The episode won the Emmy for Outstanding Animated Program (For Programming One Hour or Less) in 1997. Mike Anderson won the Annie Award for Best Individual Achievement: Directing in a TV Production, and the WAC Award for Best Director for Primetime Series at the 1998 World Animation Celebration. Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation called it "a shining example of how to bring intelligent, fair and funny representations of our community onto television"; and awarded it the GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding TV - Individual Episode.

In its original American broadcast, "Homer's Phobia" finished tied for 47th place in the weekly ratings for the week of February 10–16, 1997 with a Nielsen rating of 8.7. It was the fourth highest rated show on the Fox Network that week. Warren Martyn and Adrian Wood stated in their book I Can't Believe It's a Bigger and Better Updated Unofficial Simpsons Guide, that: "Only The Simpsons could do this so tongue-in-cheek that nobody could get in a tizzy about it. Very good indeed." John Alberti praised the episode's critiquing of "the most common misconception about homosexuality: namely that gayness is somehow contagious", as well as its other themes. In his review of The Simpsons - The Complete Eighth Season DVD, Todd Gilchrist said that "Homer's Phobia" "certainly qualifies as one of the all-time greatest episodes." When the episode aired, the production team received "very few" complaints about its content, with most of the response being positive. It was placed fifth on Entertainment Weekly's top 25 The Simpsons episode list. In 2003, USA Today published a top 10 chosen by the webmaster of The Simpsons Archive, which had this episode listed in tenth place. It was again placed tenth on's "Top 10: Simpsons Episodes" list, with The Screen Directory placing it fifth on their list. ranked John Waters's performance as the ninth best guest appearance in the show's history, with TV Guide naming him the third best film related guest star. In a 2008 article, Entertainment Weekly named Waters as one of the sixteen best Simpsons guest stars.

In 2002, Off the Telly writers Steve Williams and Ian Jones named "Homer's Phobia" one of the five worst episodes of The Simpsons, stating that it "leaves such a nasty taste in the mouth", as Homer is "quite simply a bastard" throughout the course of the episode. The pair concluded by saying "this is a side of the show we'd not seen before, nor particularly wanted to see." In June 2003, Igor Smykov sued the Russian television channel REN TV on claims that The Simpsons, along with Family Guy, were "morally degenerate and promoted drugs, violence and homosexuality." As evidence, "Homer's Phobia" was shown to the judge to prove that The Simpsons promoted homosexuality, and thus should not be aired again on the channel. The case was thrown out after one day.

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Neil Giuliano

Neil Giuliano

Neil G. Giuliano is an American gay rights activist. Giuliano was the former four-term Republican mayor (1994-2004) of Tempe, Arizona. He chaired the commission in charge of hosting the third debate of the 2004 United States presidential elections. He served as President of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) since September 2005, and announced his resignation from the organization in January 2009.

Giuliano graduated with a BA degree from what is now the Hugh Downs School of Communication at Arizona State University in 1979, and received a Master's Degree in Education there in 1983. While a student there, he served as Student Body President and also as the 1977-78 International President of Circle K International (CKI), the world's largest collegiate service organization. Giuliano had a 25 year career with ASU as a university administrator and faculty associate. His posts with ASU included directing student leadership development, alumni relations, federal government relations and community relations. As a Faculty Associate in ASU’s College of Liberal Arts and Science, Giuliano created and then taught a course in Personal Leadership Development for twenty years. He also served as lead organizer and co-chair for the final 2004 Presidential Debate held at ASU, which was viewed by over 57 million people nationwide and around the world.

He was an active member of the Kiwanis Club of Tempe, serving as advisor to the Arizona State University chapter of Circle K International and later as President of the club.

He served as the mayor of Tempe, Arizona from 1994-2004. Prior to that he served as a councilmember and vice mayor.

Giuliano serves as President of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), a large national LGBT organization dedicated to ensuring fair, accurate and inclusive representation of LGBT people and events in the media.

Giuliano has appeared on CNN, ABC World News Tonight, Showbiz Tonight, and Access Hollywood and has been quoted in Newsweek and USA Today and numerous state and regional media outlets discussing LGBT images in the media and issues.

Giuliano was named one of the Top 25 of 2005 by Instinct Magazine. In 2004, he received the Individual Achievement Award from the Arizona Human Rights Fund and for three years was recognized for Distinguished Service of the Year by readers of the largest LGBT publication serving Arizona.

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Terminology of homosexuality

A Dyke on a bike

The terminology of homosexuality has been a contentious issue since the emergence of homosexual social movements in the mid-19th century. As with racial terms within the United States – such as negro, black, colored, and African American – the choice of terms regarding sexual orientation may imply a certain political outlook, and different terms have been preferred at different times and in different places. In the English language, some terms in widespread use have been sodomite, pederast, Sapphic, Uranian, homophile, lesbian, gay, queer, LGBT, Two-Spirit, and same-sex attracted. Some of these words are specific to women, some to men, and some can be used of either; this too changes over time.

Not all of the terms that have been used to describe same-sex sexuality are synonyms for the modern term homosexuality. The word homosexual itself had different connotations for those who used it 100 years ago to what it does today; Anna Rüling, one of the first women to publicly defend gay rights, considered gay people a third gender, different from both men and women. Terms such as gynephilia and androphilia have tried to simplify the language of sexual orientation by making no claim about the individual's own gender identity.

In addition to the stigma of social disadvantage, the terminology of homosexuality has been influenced by taboos around sex in general, producing a number of euphemisms; someone may be described as "that way", "a bit funny", "on the bus", "batting for the other team", "a friend of Dorothy", or "wearing comfortable shoes" (for women), although such euphemisms are becoming less common as homosexuality becomes more visible. Within the LGBT (gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender) community, complex vocabularies for a range of topics have developed (see gay slang). The most established, sometimes known as cants, include Polari in Britain, Swardspeak in the Philippines, Bahasa gay in Indonesia and Kaliardá in Greece.

The term homosexual can be used as an adjective to describe the sexual attractions and behaviors of same-sex oriented persons. Some argue that the use of homosexual as a noun is offensive, arguing that homosexual people are people first, homosexual being merely an attribute of their humanity. The Associated Press updated its style book entries in 2006 "to reflect contemporary usage that's more fair, more accurate and more inclusive", stated Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation President Neil G. Giuliano. Also, some recommend that the terms homosexual and homosexuality be avoided altogether, lest their use cause confusion or arouse controversy. In particular the description of individuals as homosexual may be offensive, partially because of the negative clinical association of the word stemming from its use in describing same-sex attraction as a pathological state before homosexuality was removed from the American Psychiatric Association's list of mental disorders in 1973. Even as late as the 1990s, the "Read code" system, used by the National Health Service in Great Britain, classed male homosexuality and lesbianism under mental disorders, as conditions E2200 and E2201 respectively, although this system has since been replaced. The use of the word homosexual in describing individuals and same-sex relationships may also be inaccurate, as people involved in such relationships may identify as bisexual, pansexual, or another orientation.

The Guardian Style Guide, Newswatch Diversity Style Guide, The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, and the Committee on Lesbian and Gay Concern of the American Psychological Association's Avoiding Heterosexual Bias in Language agree that "gay" is the preferred term.

Likewise, the use of homosexuality to describe human sexual behaviors between people of the same sex may be inaccurate, although it is not perceived as being as offensive as homosexual.

People with a same-gender sexual orientation generally prefer the terms gay, lesbian and bisexual. Lesbian refers specifically to women; gay can apply to both men and women, although unqualified usage would more often be referring to men. Other terms include same-gender-loving and same-sex-oriented.

Among some sectors of black homosexual sub-culture, same-gender sexual behavior is sometimes viewed as solely for physical pleasure instead of romantic. Men on the down-low (or DL) may engage in regular (although often covert) sex acts with other men while pursuing sexual and romantic relationships with women.

Poststructuralist theorist Michel Foucault has argued that homosexual and heterosexual identities didn't emerge until the 19th century; before that time terms described practices and not identity. Foucault cites "Westphal's famous article of 1870 on 'contrary sexual sensations'" as the "date of birth" of the categorization of the homosexual (Foucault 1976).

In his Symposium. the ancient Greek philosopher Plato described (through the character of the profane comedian Aristophanes) three sexual orientations, and provided explanations for their existence using an invented creation myth. Aristophanes' fable is only one of many perspectives on love in the Symposium, and should not be considered identical with Plato's own ideas. Most of the Symposium's speeches are intended to be flawed in different ways, with the wise Socrates coming in at the end to correct their errors.

The tribas, lesbian, from Greek tribein, to rub (i.e. rubbing the pudenda together, or clitoris upon pubic bone, etc.), appears in Greek and Latin satires from the late first century. The tribade was the most common (vulgar) lesbian in European texts for many centuries. ‘Tribade’ occurs in English texts from at least as early as 1601 to at least as late as the mid-nineteenth century before it became self-consciously old-fashioned – it was in current use for nearly three centuries.

Fricatrice, a synonym for tribade that also refers to rubbing but has a Latin rather than a Greek root, appeared in English as early as 1605 (in Ben Jonson's Volpone). Its usage suggests that it was more colloquial and more pejorative than tribade. Variants include the Latinized confricatrice and English rubster.

Though sodomy has been used to refer to a range of homosexual and heterosexual "unnatural acts", the term sodomite usually refers to a homosexual male. The term is derived from the Biblical tale of Sodom and Gomorrah, and Christian churches have referred to the crimen sodomitae (crime of the Sodomites) for centuries; the modern association with homosexuality can be found as early as AD 96 in the writings of the Jewish historian Josephus. Jerome in the early 5th century uses the forms Sodoman, in Sodomis, Sodomorum, Sodomæ, Sodomitæ (Hallam 1993). The modern German word Sodomie and the Norwegian sodomi refer to bestiality.

Lesbian writer Emma Donoghue found that the term lesbian (with its modern meaning) was in use in the English language from at least the 17th century. A 1732 book by William King, The Toast, uses "lesbian loves" and "tribadism" interchangeably : "she loved Women in the same Manner as Men love them; she was a Tribad".

Named after the Greek poet Sappho who lived on Lesbos Island and wrote love poems to women, this term has been in use since at least the 18th century, with the connotation of lesbian. In 1773, a London magazine described sex between women as "Sapphic passion". The adjective form Sapphic is still commonly used in the English language.

In 18th century England, the term molly was used for male homosexuals; it implied effeminacy. Tommy, a slang term for a homosexual woman in use by 1781, may have been coined by analogy with molly.

Today, pederasty refers specifically to the sexual orientation of an adult male towards male youths, or the cultural institutions that support such relations, as in ancient Greece. However, in the 18th and 19th centuries, the term usually referred to male homosexuality in general. A pederast was also the active partner in anal sex, whether with a male or a female partner.

Very similar in meaning (though not derivation) to sodomy, the term buggery often implies anal sex, but has been used to describe a range of "unnatural sex acts", including bestiality. Derived from the French word Bougrerie, which in turn came from the medieval Latin term bulgarus, meaning "Bulgarian". The association was inferred by the Roman Catholic Church, who supposed the sex lives of the "heretical" Cathars of southern France were similar to the Bogomils in Bulgaria. Cognates include the Spanish bugarrón, the Italian buggerone, and the German puseran(t), a word which survives in Eastern Europe.

Karl Heinrich Ulrichs invented the term Urning in Germany in the 1860s for a male-bodied person with a female psyche, who is sexually attracted to men and not women. He expanded this system to cover a range of sexual appetites and gender variance in both males and females.

The word homosexual translates literally as "of the same sex", being a hybrid of the Greek prefix homo- meaning "same" (as distinguished from the Latin root homo meaning human) and the Latin root sex meaning "sex". In Sanskrit homosexual is called somo-kaami or sama-kaami. In Sanskrit, the prefix somo- means "same" and Kaami means "who desires the same sex".

The first known appearance of the term homosexual in print is found in a 1869 German pamphlet 143 des Preussischen Strafgesetzbuchs und seine Aufrechterhaltung als 152 des Entwurfs eines Strafgesetzbuchs für den Norddeutschen Bund ("Paragraph 143 of the Prussian Penal Code and Its Maintenance as Paragraph 152 of the Draft of a Penal Code for the North German Confederation"). The pamphlet was written by Karl-Maria Kertbeny, but published anonymously. The pamphlet advocated the repeal of Prussia's sodomy laws (Bullough et al. ed. (1996)). Kertbeny had previously used the word in a private letter written in 1868 to Karl Heinrich Ulrichs. Kertbeny used Homosexualität in place of Ulrichs's Urningtum; Homosexualisten instead of Urninge, and Homosexualistinnen instead of Urninden.

The first known use of homosexual in English is in Charles Gilbert Chaddock's 1895 translation of Richard von Krafft-Ebing's Psychopathia Sexualis, a study on sexual practices. The term was popularized by the 1906 Harden-Eulenburg Affair.

Although some early writers used the adjective homosexual to refer to any single-gender context (such as an all-girls' school), today the term implies a sexual aspect. The term homosocial is now used to describe single-sex contexts that are not specifically sexual.

Used by Edward Carpenter in Homogenic Love: and its Place in a Free Society, 1894.

These terms describe individuals for whom the sex of the psyche is the opposite of that of the genitals (as with Ulrich's Urnings). The female invert is therefore masculine and the male invert is feminine. Traits of inversion include homosexual erotic attraction, temperament, and behavior; sometimes inversion can affect career choice and even anatomic structure. Krafft-Ebing, drawing on the earlier writings of Karl Heinrich Ulrichs, described male inverts with varying degrees of effeminacy, from Effemination in which a man has a distinctly feminine demeanor, to Androgyny in which a man is so effeminate that he can even has feminine bodily characteristics like rounded hips.

Popular in the 1950s and 1960s (and still in occasional use today, particularly in writing by Anglican clergy), the term homophile was an attempt to avoid the clinical implications of sexual pathology found with the word homosexual, emphasizing love (-phile) instead.

In the late twentieth century, this word was coined by Christian groups opposed to homosexuality. In contrast to homophile, the word focuses solely on the sexual acts which some churches believe to be sinful, side-stepping the associated issues of romantic or family love, community, and personal identity. The term's use remains confined mostly to anti-gay religious groups, but it is occasionally seen in the writings of their opponents, such as DignityUSA.

From 1946 to 1966, homosexual activist Kurt Hiller published a number of poems and articles in Swiss journal Der Kreis ("The Circle"). In one of them he joined the ongoing debate on terminology by suggesting the terms Androtrop and Gynäkotropin for male and female homosexuals, respectively. Hiller coined these German terms from the Greek words tropos (turning ) combined with "andro-" (male) and "gynaiko-" (female), with the addition of the German feminine ending "in". Neither term was adopted, though the first briefly gained some favor.

Many of the following terms are considered acceptable in a casual register when used by members within LGBT communities and their allies like family and friends, but are considered pejorative or inappropriate when used in formal contexts or by outsiders. Many also imply masculinity in women (e.g. "bull dyke") or effeminacy in men (e.g. "fairy").

Most of the following words have a highly pejorative description. However, some may be used by Spanish-speaking gays as a sign of pride.

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Source : Wikipedia