• AP

    On the Run

    Cairo’s Anti-Gay Crackdown

    President Sisi, already infamous for his crackdowns on dissidents and the press, is now going after the LGBT community.

    CAIRO, Egypt — The party at a villa in a western suburb of Cairo was in full swing when three armored police trucks quietly pulled up to the main gate. More than 300 men and women from the gay community had gathered in Kerdassa on the same day, November 4, that former President Mohamed Morsi of the puritanical Muslim Brotherhood first appeared in court. They wanted to party hard and forget the escalating violence that had left hundreds dead and was ripping the country apart.

    Without any warning, dozens of black-clad riot police armed with rifles and metal sticks stormed the garden. Terrified people scattered and tried to hide, remembers Ahmed, a gay Cairene in his twenties who is now a fugitive: “They had so many weapons, they had clearly been some serious preparation. They hit everyone they could.”

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  • Who knew dykes were superheroes!? (Design by Carrie Moyer)

    Dyke Power

    All Hail the Lesbian Avengers

    In the early 1990s, the Lesbian Avengers took gay politics into the sound and fury of street activism. In a new book, former member Kelly Cogswell remembers the good times and bad.

    The death of arch-homophobe and foamer-at-the-mouth Fred Phelps has led to polarized feelings: do you dance on his grave, simply say “good riddance to bad rubbish,” or just think of him with pity? His Westboro Baptist Church picketed funerals with his ridiculous and vile “God Hates Fags” signs: how can we outdo that for his own? Or do we just turn away from his end-of-life spectacle, and in so doing repudiate the extreme homophobia and prejudice he represented?

    These thoughts occur while reading Kelly Cogswell’s Eating Fire: My Life As a Lesbian Avenger because when the direct action group of the book’s title was hot in the early to mid 1990s, that kind of explicit, vicious homophobia was the norm. It’s why the Avengers was set up. This was a time, Cogswell reminds us, of advances and setbacks: greater visibility in the media, yes, but still anti-gay ordinances being set up in cities and states, still a depressing litany of queer-bashings and anti-gay murders.

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  • Courtesy of Jane Anderson

    GETTING TO KNOW YOU

    Artist Lost and Found

    Screenwriter Jane Anderson on how she put Hollywood aside to bring justice to a forgotten female painter.

    I’ve been living with a profoundly gifted soul for the past 50 years. Even though she died when I was only 3, I got to know her through her paintings, which were hung on the walls of my childhood home. They now hang in my house in the Hollywood Hills, nearly 3,000 miles away from where she first set up her easel on the East Coast almost 100 years ago.

    You’ve never heard of Edith Lake Wilkinson. She disappeared in the prime of her artistic life in 1924, at the age of 57 when she was checked into the Sheppard Pratt asylum outside of Baltimore—a lovely, spa-like place that was also Zelda Fitzgerald’s preferred rest stop for mental recuperation. The reason? Edith’s admittance card contained a one-word diagnosis: paranoia. At the time, Edith was still living with her companion, Fannie, on the Upper West Side. They’d been together for more than 20 years, but Fannie was listed on the back of the card as simply “friend.” After Edith was admitted, Fannie passed away.

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  • Katherine Pradt

    Equality For All

    My Family Had To Pay $3K To Be Gay

    Even though gay marriage is legal in New York, it's far from equal, says Jen Abrams.

    This month, my wife Katherine and I spent $3,000 to adopt the child we gave birth to. Even though we are legally married in the State of New York, Katherine's parenthood will not be fully recognized without this adoption.

    Did you think marriage equality in New York State meant, you know, equality? Nope!

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  • AFP/Getty Images

    Power Couple

    Iceland’s Gay P.M. Tours China With Wife

    LGBT activists in the Middle Kingdom hope visit will soften China’s stance on gay rights.

    It seems America isn’t the only country strengthening its alliance with China. Iceland, the first European nation to recognize China’s full market economic status, is actively looking to improve its bilateral trade relations with the Middle Kingdom. The country’s first openly gay prime minister, Johanna Sigurdardottir, is visiting China with her wife on a five-day tour that began this past Saturday. During the visit, she plans to sign a historic free-trade agreement in a meeting with Premier Li Keqiang, which promises to enrich both China’s and Iceland’s economic futures. Another stop on the agenda might be coffee with a grassroots, Guangzhou-based organization devoted to advancing the rights of the LGBT community. Representatives there have confirmed reaching out to Sigurdardottir and her wife, and hope the invitation will reach the couple. Although homosexuality was removed from the official list of mental disorders in China in 2001, a worker at PFLAG (Parents, Families & Friends of Lesbians and Gays) tells the website Shanghaiist’s Shannon Najmabadi that tensions surrounding the topic are still high. He hopes that the prime minister’s visit “will be a real-life lesson in equal rights taught to our state leaders.” With a gay population in China now estimated at approximately 50 million, Sigurdardottir’s visit resonates on more levels than just economic.

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