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Given the historic stigma around making, circulating, and possessing overtly homoerotic images, the visual arts have been especially important for providing a socially sanctioned arena for depicting the naked male body and suggesting homoerotic desire.
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An artistic movement that grew out of Dadaism and flourished in Europe shortly after World War I, Surrealism embraced the idea that art was an expression of the subconscious.
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Michael Turchin (left) and Lance Bass.
Congratulations to former *NSYNC star Lance Bass and his longtime boyfriend Michael "Turkey" Turchin, who have released a stunning new "Freedom to Marry" video directed to Southerners, and particularly to Mississippians, with the message, "It's Time for Marriage."
Bass, who gained fame as a member of the popular boy band *NSync, came out in 2006. Since then he has spoken on behalf of glbtq rights.
As a native Mississippian, Bass is a particularly good spokesperson for the Freedom to Marry movement in the South. He was born in Laurel and grew up in Clinton in what he called "a completely traditional Southern" family. Precisely because the family was so traditional, it was difficult for him to come out.
In his memoir, Out of Sync (2007), Bass described his childhood as "extremely happy." Nevertheless, he also stated that he recognized that he was "different" at around the age of five but that he knew his attraction to other males was considered wrong and even evil by his family, his church, and his community.
As Linda Rapp observes in her glbtq.com entry on Bass, "The fear of hurting his beloved parents and grandparents prevented him from coming out as a teenager. 'I understood in my heart it wasn't wrong to be gay,' he wrote. 'But I also knew instinctively that I had to play the game in order to live in the world I was born into . . . . As for dating guys, it never even entered my thinking that such a thing was possible. At least not in Mississippi.'"
When he finally did come out to his family, they found it difficult to accept, but their love for him finally trumped their religious reservations and misperceptions.
In September 2013, Bass announced his engagement to fellow Southerner Michael Turchin and revealed details of his proposal in a special edition of his SiriusXM radio show, Dirty Pop with Lance Bass.
On the broadcast, Bass explained why he decided to propose in New Orleans' Jackson Square. "New Orleans is my favorite city in the world," Bass said. "I've been coming here my whole life. I was born just across the border here [in Laurel, Mississippi]. . . and Turkey also has roots here." He added, "I got down on one knee and I proposed, right in front of Jackson Square, my favorite place."
The audio of the broadcast may be found below.
In the video, Bass and Turchin place their relationship in the context of Southern values of family and tradition. They stress their commitment to each other and to building a family together.
Bass emphasizes that there is a lot of support for same-sex marriage in the South, which is sometimes obscured by a generational divide. He urges the younger generation to lead the way to make it possible for everyone to have the freedom to marry the person they love.
The couple urges Southerners to become involved in the Freedom to Marry movement.