In a far-ranging analysis, Eric Patterson explains why Ensan Case's Wingmen is both the best American war novel about love between men and also an astute exploration of masculinity. Although published in 1979, and set in World War II, the novel remains relevant because of its artistry and its social and psychological insights.
In a letter prompted by Eric Patterson's essay on his novel Wingmen, Ensan Case reveals the genesis and publication history of a cult classic.
|The Harlem Renaissance|
|The Harlem Renaissance was an African-American literary and cultural movement that began after World War I and ended during the years of the Great Depression of the 1930s. The movement was influenced by the many black glbtq writers and artists who contributed to it.|
|African Americans who engage in same-sex sexual practices and/or who lead cross-gendered lives have always been a part of black and glbtq communities. Several were leading cultural figures during the Harlem Renaissance.|
|The African-American Gay Male Literary Tradition consists of a substantial body of texts and includes some of the most gifted writers of the twentieth century.|
|Most African-American Lesbian Literature is as concerned with racism as it is with sexuality, causing many writers to construct Afrocentric sexual identities that affirm the power of black women.|
|James Richmond Barthé (1901-1989), a popular African-American sculptor associated with the Harlem Renaissance, used his art as a means of working out internal conflicts related to race and sexuality.|
|Blues Music as it flourished in the 1920s was women's music. Although it grew out of African-American spirituals and a tradition of itinerant male singers in the rural South, female performers defined and popularized the genre. Prominent performers during the period included Gladys Bentley, Alberta Hunter, Ma Rainey, Bessie Smith, and Ethel Waters.|
|Countee Cullen (1903-1946) was heralded as the poet laureate of the Harlem Renaissance. Though he wanted to be recognized as "a poet, not a Negro poet," he spent his life proving that a black poet could sing in a black voice.|
|Beauford Delaney (1901-1979) is a renowned American painter who arrived in New York at the end of the Harlem Renaissance. The pressures of being black and gay in a racist and homophobic society may have ultimately robbed him of his sanity.|
|Angelina Weld Grimké (1880-1958) published plays and poems during the Harlem Renaissance, but stopped writing and fell into obscurity after the 1920s. Glbtq scholars who have recently rediscovered Grimké's work have found that her inability to act on her sexual desires inspired her writing--and contributed to her ultimately abandoning it.|
|Langston Hughes (1902-1967) left a long and varied literary legacy. Though he was closeted, his homosexuality was such an important influence on his literary imagination that many of his poems may be read as gay texts.|
|In the 1920s, Harlem was a flourishing enclave of Jazz and gay life. The Harlem Renaissance included, in addition to literary figures, musical performers at jazz clubs who incorporated homosexual slang and sexually explicit lyrics.|
|Nella Larsen (1891-1964) was the first African American to receive a Guggenheim Fellowship. Constrained by the social conventions of her day, her novels address lesbianism covertly.|
|As midwife to the Harlem Renaissance, Alain Locke (1885-1954) played a crucial role in the development of African-American literature; his homosexuality informed his plea for respect of sexual and cultural diversity.|
|By the 1920s new centers of gay life had developed in New York City: Greenwich Village, where sexual unconventionality mixed with artistic and bohemian styles, and Harlem, where blues singers, jazz musicians, and black writers and intellectuals accepted lesbianism, homosexuality, and other kinds of unconventional sexual behavior.|
|Carl Van Vechten (1880-1964) was a novelist, critic, and photographer who earned a reputation as Harlem's "most enthusiastic and ubiquitous Nordic." His articles in Vanity Fair and The New York Times introduced the New Negro Movement and Harlem Renaissance writers to many whites.|
|A'Lelia Walker (1885-1931), the "joy goddess" of the Harlem Renaissance, was a hostess who especially valued the company of black glbtq artists and writers, which gave her gatherings a distinctly gay ambience.|
ONE OF THE MOST ORIGINAL ARTISTS OF THE ITALIAN RENAISSANCE, 1494
OPENLY GAY WRITER, DIRECTOR, AND PRODUCER OF TELEVISION SHOWS, 1972
SHAKESPEAREAN ACTOR AND THE FIRST BRITISH SUBJECT TO BE KNIGHTED AFTER COMING OUT, 1939
FIRST AMERICAN WOMAN IN SPACE, 1951
AWARD-WINNING AUTHOR OF ELEGANT AND ASTUTE NOVELS ABOUT GAY LIFE, 1954
MARINE BIOLOGIST WHO HELPED FOUND THE ENVIRONMENTAL MOVEMENT, 1907
BISEXUAL AMERICAN WRITER FAMOUS FOR HIS NOVELS AND SHORT STORIES, 1912
AUSTRALIAN NOBEL LAUREATE WHO WROTE EXPLICITLY OF HOMOSEXUALITY IN A NOVEL AND IN HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY, 1912
ONE OF AMERICA'S MOST INVENTIVE AND INCISIVE POETS, 1913
NOVELIST, MEMOIRIST, AND SEX WRITER WHOSE WORKS DOCUMENT THE AGE OF AIDS, 1956
PLAYWRIGHT, ACTIVIST, AND SUPPORTER OF THE AMERICAN LESBIAN LIBERATION MOVEMENT, 1930
POET, JOURNALIST, PLAYWRIGHT, DIRECTOR, AND ACTIVIST, 1934
OPENLY GAY BISHOP OF THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH, 1947
AFRICAN-AMERICAN POET WHO GAVE A POWERFUL VOICE TO THE GAY, BLACK EXPERIENCE, 1950
ACTOR WHO HAS BEEN NOTABLY OPEN ABOUT HIS HOMOSEXUALITY, 1959
AWARD-WINNING SINGER, SONGWRITER, ACTIVIST, AND LESBIAN ICON, 1961
A FORGOTTEN, BUT ONCE RENOWNED COMIC TALENT AND CHARACTER ACTRESS, 1901
AFRICAN-AMERICAN POET HERALDED AS THE "POET LAUREATE" OF THE HARLEM RENAISSANCE, 1903
CLOSETED PLAYWRIGHT AND NOVELIST WHOSE WORK ACKNOWLEDGED GAY DESIRE, 1913
TRANSSEXUAL ACTRESS, SINGER, AND WRITER, 1926
This feature lists people about whom glbtq.com has both entries and complete birth dates. Each person listed has made a significant contribution to or had a significant impact on glbtq culture or history. Most are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender, though some are either heterosexual or cannot be adequately characterized using any of these labels.
As we celebrate Memorial Day 2015, we remember the sacrifices made by those who have served in our military, including glbtq servicemembers, both those who served in silence and those who are now able to serve openly. We need especially to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Fittingly, on this Memorial Day, May 25, 2015, the first federally approved monument honoring glbtq veterans will be dedicated at the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery in Elwood, Illinois.
As we rejoice in Ireland's landslide vote in favor of marriage equality on May 22, 2015, it is well to remember the tragic deaths of Charles Self and Declan Flynn, whose murders in 1982 gave impetus to the nascent Irish gay liberation movement and illustrated the danger in which gay people lived in Ireland until quite recently.
On May 22, 2015, Irish voters overwhelmingly voted to amend the Republic's constitution to permit marriage equality. As the returns began to be counted, it quickly became evident that the Yes side had scored a landslide victory, winning not only in the urban areas of the country but also in the more conservative rural areas. When the tally was complete, all but one of Ireland's 43 constituencies had voted in favor of equal marriage, and in the lone constituency that voted No, the margin was very close.
May 22 is officially "Harvey Milk Day" in California, but the birthday of the American gay liberation movement's most visible martyr is observed throughout the country.
In a highly personal speech delivered on May 18, 2015, former Irish president Mary McAleese strongly endorsed same-sex marriage ahead of Ireland's referendum on marriage equality. The mother of a gay son, she urged all families to vote yes in the referendum, saying that the future for gay children, including those yet born, is at stake.
Congratulations to Xavier Bettel, Prime Minister of Luxembourg, and his long-time partner, architect Gauthier Destinay, who were married on May 15, 2015 in a private ceremony at Luxembourg City Hall. Some 500 family members and friends were invited to the ceremony, but the couple requested that no press photographers be allowed since they wanted to say their vows away from the glare of publicity.
Congratulations to the honorees at the 26th annual GLAAD Media Awards on May 9, 2015. Held in New York City at the Waldorf Astoria, recipients of awards included MSNBC News anchor Thomas Roberts (Vito Russo Award, presented by Lynda Carter); talk show host Kelly Ripa (Excellence in Media Award, presented by Anderson Cooper); Sports Illustrated (Outstanding Magazine Coverage, presented by actors Titus Burgess and Jonathan Groff and accepted by athletes Michael Sam and Jason Collins); MSNBC Live anchor Craig Melvin and Latta, S.C. Crystal Moore (Outstanding Television News Segment, presented by Judith Light and Jeffrey Tambor); and Ugandan transgender advocate Pepe Julian Onziema (Outstanding Talk Show Episode for his appearance on HBO's Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, presented by Jussie Smollett).
On May 4, 2015, the New York Times announced a new series called "Transgender Today" in an editorial titled "The Quest for Transgender Equality. On May 10, the first installment in the new series was published. Fittingly on Mother's Day, the installment focuses on families sharing stories of raising transgender kids.
On May 7, 2015, on a vote of 21-3, Oregon's Senate passed a bill barring state-licensed professionals from conducting reparative therapy on minors. In March, the state House of Representatives passed the bill on a 41-18 vote. Openly bisexual Governor Kate Brown, who supports the bill, is expected to sign it into law soon.
On April 28, 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States heard oral arguments in four cases combined as Obergefell v. Hodges that pose questions as to whether the Fourteenth Amendment requires that states issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples and whether it requires that states recognize valid same-sex marriages performed in other states. The Court is obviously deeply divided, but it is likely that it will rule in favor of marriage equality.