Her new memoir, “No Walls and the Recurring Dream” is part feminist and social-justice manifesto, part bracing road story. She tells us about the artists that influenced her — Seeger and Woody Guthrie, Thelonious Monk and Joan Armatrading, among them — and the experiences that shaped her (for starters, an unusual childhood).
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Richtel’s bedrock is his unabashed romance with the immune system, which he affectionately nicknames “an elegant defense,” for its complex ability to ward off any number of would-be invaders that could compromise our health. “It is an ever-vigilant, omnipresent peacekeeping force in the Festival of Life,” he says early on in the book. Like a kid spinning a superhero tale, Richtel employs delightfully effusive prose, particularly as he relates such intricacies as the science of inflammation and the roles of the immune system’s most advanced fighters, T cells and B cells, which Richtel notes are two of the most effective biological structures in the world.
“Once a T cell or B cell finds its evil mate, its infection doppelgänger, it can set in motion a powerful defense, following hard on the innate reaction, bringing in defenders trained specifically to bounce out this particular antigen. Explosions! Implosions! Toxic gas attacks! Good guys eating bad guys!”
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Mizrahi begins in his tight-knit childhood neighborhood, a place where reverence for traditional gender norms and ostentatious wealth, combined with what Mizrahi describes as a hypocritical dedication to the appearance of religiosity, made life difficult for him. “I stuck out like a chubby gay thumb,” he says.
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Long before most of us understood even the full meaning of the terms such as social justice and human dignity, Rabbi Sanders had begun to translate those ideas into action.
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While “Bad Advice” is a quick read, its goal is weighty: to defend science as a vital beacon in the public sphere. Offit lays a compelling — and sometimes disturbing — foundation for why we need to protect its honor, and he calls for scientists to “become an army of science advocates out to educate the country. Because science is losing its rightful status as a source of truth, now is the time.”
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Having periodically voiced the premonition that his life would be violently cut short, Milk was on a mission to improve the welfare of gay people, as well as all others who were disenfranchised or in the underclass. As Faderman points out, “He was very aware of himself as part of an ultraliberal Jewish tradition that fought for the oppressed of all stripes.” In taut, brisk prose that mirrors his sense of urgency, she relates how Milk’s relentless pursuit of his own version of tikkun olam involved three failed runs for office as an openly gay man in San Francisco during the tumultuous gay liberation movement of the 1970s.
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While the GOP celebrates its recent political victory of passing its massive tax code overhaul, the most vulnerable among us, especially LGBTQ youth of color living with HIV/AIDS, are at significant risk as a result of the new legislation—among other recent policies—according to advocates and researchers in the health care realm.
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Growing up in the 1950s and ‘60s in North Carolina, the novelist Armistead Maupin was a gentle, fanciful child who feared the mandatory dodge ball game at recess and convinced his parents to outfit his bedroom with a stained-glass window. His father, a lawyer who romanced racism and was prone to bouts of unexplained rage, assumed his son would grow out of his delicate constitution. Sensing early on that keeping up appearances was vital to survival, and longing unrequitedly for his father’s love across much of his life, Maupin initially tried to fit in: He embraced conservative politics, worked at a television station then managed by future U.S. senator and rabid social conservative Jesse Helms, and served in the Navy during the Vietnam War.
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As Senate Republicans are tying a bow on their health-care bill, the text of which they will reportedly release this week, advocates of people living with HIV and AIDS—among the country’s most reliant on access to affordable care—are ramping up efforts to resist what they fear will be damaging changes in the proposed legislation.
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Being “in between” was both a curse and blessing for Pauli Murray, born Anna Pauline Murray, in 1910. Growing up in a segregated North Carolina, Murray displayed at an early age an artistic mind and a preference for the boys’ section of the clothing store. Variously tormented and buoyed in her life by her status as a woman, being of mixed race, and as a self-professed “boy-girl” who believed in her bones that she was really a man, Murray endured to become a journalist, an activist, a professor, a priest, and a lawyer who made monumental contributions to civil rights and women’s rights.
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Cancer kept Angel Moses busy. Before even completing the five-year treatment for breast cancer after she was diagnosed in 2003, the disease recurred in the original breast and a new cancer developed in the other.
The Chicago resident first found she had the disease when she was just 38. Her age and the occurrence of her second cancer were factors that suggested Moses had hereditary breast cancer. She opted for testing and discovered that she did indeed carry a so-called Jewish gene mutation — BRCA2 — which dramatically increased her risk for both breast and ovarian cancer.
A furtive acknowledgement—a man’s nod, to be precise—ultimately landed Brian Samuel Epstein, the gay, eldest son of a prominent Jewish family in Liverpool, England, in jail. He was the victim of garden-variety police entrapment at a time and place when two men holding hands in public was enough for a cop to arrest them on suspicion and take them in for questioning. In his own written account of the incident, which occurred in 1957 and was included in Debbie Geller’s book of oral history, In My Life: The Brian Epstein Story, Epstein, then 23, enumerated the charge: “For persistently importuning various men for immoral purposes.”
March 8 marks the 20th anniversary of the U.S. release of The Birdcage, the iconic Mike Nichols remake of La Cage aux Folles starring Robin Williams and Nathan Lane about an openly, joyously gay couple from South Beach, Florida and the complicated marriage of their son to the daughter of a conservative politician.
What made this movie such a blockbuster in 1996? Was that because its light-in-the-loafers, limp-wristed protagonists were neutered enough to be non-threatening to the masses? It certainly didn’t hurt that the cast was packed with big-name actors who infused their roles with hilarity and warmth. Some say the movie reinforced tired stereotypes. Others suggest it offered positive images that ultimately helped move the needle on marriage equality. Twenty years later, one thing is certain: The Birdcage took gay representation to bold new places at a pivotal moment in the struggle for LGBTQ visibility and civil equality—and for that, it deserves to be celebrated.
Nestled alongside an idyllic lake, the Ravensbrück concentration camp, 50 miles north of Berlin, was constructed in 1939 specifically to house women.By the end of the war, 130,000 women from 20 European countries had been led through its entrance, often unaware of the danger inside.
Most of the camp’s inhabitants weren’t Jewish; rather, they were considered inferior because they were prostitutes, lesbians, political resisters, “work-shy” or “asocial.” Roma (Gypsies) and Jehovah’s Witnesses—the latter had only to renounce their faith to be freed—were also imprisoned there. All were considered “useless mouths” by the Nazis, worthy of brutal treatment. More than 30,000—some estimate as many as 90,000—women perished there from starvation, disease, gassings, hanging, torture, or execution by shooting.
“It cannot wait,” says the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in the civil rights movie Selma, which opened nationwide last Friday. King is pleading with President Lyndon B. Johnson to sign the Voting Rights Act. It’s a trenchant scene whose message is not lost on Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., who is also depicted in the film. Lewis, now 75, is still an idealistic agitator whose sense of urgency for dismantling discrimination has long extended to gay rights.