Friday, May 18, 2012

Know Your LGBT History - Josephine Baker

The legendary Ms. Josephine Baker is a perfect example of why I post a "Know Your LGBT segment" on my blog. I try to tell my lgbtq brothers and sisters, particularly the younger folks to not allow ignorant people to get them down, steal their glory, or mar their potential. We all have the potential for greatness and those of us who are lgbtqs can soar just as high, regardless of those who try to weigh us down with their ignorance.

Josephine Baker did in spite of racism and ignorance.

AND she was family, as one of her 12 children attested to:

Baker was bisexual. Her son Jean-Claude Baker and co-author Chris Chase state in Josephine: The Hungry Heart that she was involved in numerous lesbian affairs, both while she was single and married, and mention six of her female lovers by name. Clara Smith, Evelyn Sheppard, Bessie Allison, Ada "Bricktop" Smith, and Mildred Smallwood were all African-American women whom she met while touring on the black performing circuit early in her career. She was also reportedly involved intimately with French writer Colette. Not mentioned, but confirmed since, was her affair with Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. Jean-Claude Baker, who interviewed over 2,000 people while writing his book, wrote that affairs with women were not uncommon for his mother throughout her lifetime. He was quoted in one interview as saying:
"She was what today you would call bisexual, and I will tell you why. Forget that I am her son, I am also a historian. You have to put her back into the context of the time in which she lived. In those days, Chorus Girls were abused by the white or black producers and by the leading men if he liked girls. But they could not sleep together because there were not enough hotels to accommodate black people. So they would all stay together, and the girls would develop lady lover friendships, do you understand my English? But wait wait...If one of the girls by preference was gay, she'd be called a bull dyke by the whole cast. So you see, discrimination is everywhere."

Past Know Your LGBT History posts:

'Obama creating much needed discussion about gay issues in the black community' and other Friday midday news briefs

President Obama Is Ending Black America's 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' Policy - Good because it is so difficult to have a decent conversation about lgbtq issues in the black community.

 The Obama Effect: Growing Number Of African Americans Come Out For Marriage Equality - The religious right knows this and they are pissed.  

Breaking Down The '31 Out Of 31 States' Talking Point - The religious right is quick to claim that when given the chance to vote on marriage equality, 31 states voted against it. Equality Matters demonstrates why that talking point is simple crap. 

 Video: Lou Dobbs hosts negligent LGBT panel (w/ Ablow, Perkins, and no dissent) - PLEASE pay attention to this, folks. If you thought Chris Matthews was bad when he was lauding over Tony Perkins, then you will absolutely freak over this one. Imagine a network giving anti-gay talking heads the chance to tell their lies with no dissent whatsoever. It's happening on Fox News and it will most likely become worse.  

Obama Administration Implements LGBT-Inclusive Prison Sexual Assault Protections - Good move by the Obama Administration. 

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The true story of same-sex families and how they are raising children

Richie and John are a UK couple who have been together for 15 years. The video showcases them and their very adorable children, Justin and Jasmine.

The point is simple. We've heard people like Maggie Gallagher, Tony Perkins, and even Mitt Romney talk about how a "mother and father" dynamic is the best situation for children to be raised.

We know this isn't necessarily true. Sometimes the mother and father dynamic is a good place to raise a child. And sometimes it's not.

But that's not the point. Everyone seems to miss the point.

Families come into all shapes and sizes. It can encompass one parent or two, or father and mother figures who aren't necessarily biologically related to the child.

Why should there be a competition when it comes to families? We have no business creating a caste system in which we favor one family dynamic over another. All families which provide the basic needs for children, as well as love and support, should be celebrated and looked upon as equal.

Or better yet, look at this video and tell me just what is wrong with this family?

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