Gay and Lesbian Humanist

Autumn 1998

Warren Allen Smith

Gossip from Across the Pond

by Warren Allen Smith

This year’s Stonewall Parade was again led by members of the Stonewall Veterans’ Association. Although hundreds claim to have been on hand in 1969 during the five days of riots, only five of us marched the entire distance from 52nd Street past St. Patrick’s to Christopher Street in Greenwich Village: Stephen van Cline, Jeremiah Newton, Danny Garvin, Sylvia Rey Rivera, and Warren Allen Smith. As the parade of thousands passed the cathedral, many marchers pointed and yelled “Shame!” Sylvia, who marches every year, wrenched her back and had to be carried the last five blocks. All the while she kept yelling to bystanders, “We are your history!” And they lustily cheered back, block after block.

HUMANIST LESBIAN HAS BABY! That could have been, but wasn’t, the headline when Oscar-winner actor Jodie Foster, 35, gave birth to a 7½-pound boy she has named Charles. When she starred in Contact, the movie inspired by humanist Carl Sagan’s 1985 novel, Foster told the press that she had never believed in God nor practiced a religion. In addition to coming out as a freethinker in 1997, she also came out as a lesbian. Because Foster refuses to name the father, wags are betting whether or not the baby – born an atheist, of course – will have two mommies.

Journalists flitted crazily as Hillary and Bill Clinton flew this past summer to nearby Long Island, where Steven Spielberg was their host. Well over $1 million was collected for the Democratic Party at three bashes attended by notables from all over. One bash was hosted by Jonathan Sheffer, founder of the Eos orchestra. Although his $1.6-million converted barn house was featured in all the news stories, no one seemed to notice it is co-owned with Sheffer’s companion, Dr Christopher Barley. Now that O. J. Simpson is passé, newspapers are increasing their circulation with stories about the President’s involvement in a sex scandal (wags say the gal was outfitted with White House knee pads). Readers, however, failed to notice that reporters at the bash wrote that the President was treated to puffer fish rather than to the delicacy’s actual name: blowfish.

Actor-singer Bruce Willis, who is married to Demi Moore, recently went on record as saying: “Organized religions in general, in my opinion, are dying forms. They were all very important when we didn’t know why the sun moved, why weather changed, why hurricanes occurred, or volcanoes happened. Modern religion is the end trail of modern mythology. But there are people who interpret the Bible literally. Literally! I choose not to believe that’s the way.”

Stephen Sondheim, who may be Jewish although others say he is a secularist, has finally acknowledged his homosexuality. Meryle Secrest’s Stephen Sondheim: A Life (1998) describes his working relationship with Leonard Bernstein (who once accepted an American Humanist Association award) and tells of his dating women while having relations with men. In 1991, he said he fell in love for the first time in his life, to Peter Jones, a young writer. The book includes a showbiz tale about Larry Kert, who was so tired during a 1972 London opening of Company that he strode to the front of the stage and said, “Who do I have to screw to get out of this show?” After a moment of silence, Sondheim’s voice was heard from the back: “Same person you screwed to get in”.

An old story still going the rounds in Manhattan: Sean Connery on the Dame Edna Everidge Show is asked, “Well, Sean, what James Bond film was it where your nude body was exposed and on which one saw a crawling spider?” “A spider! On me? Never! That was a stunt man”, exclaimed Connery. The guest seated to Connery’s left, however, chimed in, “Well, really now, it looked like a spider to me!”.

“Queer”, which has been used disparagingly since the 1920s, is increasingly being adopted as a preferred term by radical homosexuals, particularly in the American academic community. Or so the forthcoming Random House Webster’s Dictionary will state. Mainstreamers, however, continue to use gay and lesbian as the terms of choice.

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Created : Sunday, 1999-02-28 / Last updated : Wednesday, 2007-12-12
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