social sciences
special features
about glbtq

Advertising Opportunities
Press Kit
Research Guide
Terms of Service
Privacy Policy
site guide
search tips
research guide
editors & contributors
contact us
send feedback
write the editor
Subscribe to our free e-mail newsletter to receive a spotlight on glbtq culture every month.
e-mail address:
Popular Topics in Literature
García Lorca, Federico García Lorca, Federico
The works of García Lorca, internationally recognized as Spain's most prominent lyric poet and dramatist of the twentieth century, are filled with thinly veiled homosexual motifs and themes.
Musical Theater
There has always been homosexual involvement in American musical theatre and a homosexual sensibility even in straight musicals, and recently the Broadway musical has welcomed openly homosexual themes and situations.
Michelangelo Buonarroti Michelangelo Buonarroti
Best known for his genius in art and architecture, Michelangelo was also an accomplished author of homoerotic poetry.
African-American Literature: Gay Male African-American Literature: Gay Male
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.
Camp Camp
Combining elements of incongruity, theatricality, and exaggeration, camp is a form of humor that helps homosexuals cope with a hostile environment.
Hughes, Langston Hughes, Langston
Langston Hughes, whose literary legacy is enormous and varied, was closeted, but homosexuality was an important influence on his literary imagination, and many of his poems may be read as gay texts.
Baldwin, James Arthur Baldwin, James Arthur
James Baldwin, a pioneering figure in twentieth-century literature, wrote sustained and articulate challenges to American racism and mandatory heterosexuality.
Wilde, Oscar Wilde, Oscar
Oscar Wilde is important both as an accomplished writer and as a symbolic figure who exemplified a way of being homosexual at a pivotal moment in the emergence of gay consciousness.
Congratulations to Tracy Thorne-Begland
Posted by: Claude J. Summers on 03/04/13
Last updated on: 03/04/13
Bookmark and Share

Judge Thorne-Beglund takes the oath of office.

With his partner and their twin boys watching, Tracy Thorne-Begland took the oath of office as Richmond Circuit Court judge inside the Richmond City Council chambers on March 1, 2013. More than 200 people, including Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones, Secretary of Public Safety Marla Graff Decker, and several state legislators, attended the ceremony.

As the Washington Blade reported, Thorne-Begland, a former prosecutor, traveled a long way to this triumphant moment.

In May 2012, Virginia's Republican-controlled House of Delegates overwhelmingly rejected his nomination to the Richmond General Court after intense lobbying from right-wing and anti-gay groups. He needed 51 votes in the House to be confirmed, but received only 33.

The rejection was a surprise since Thorne-Begland had strong bipartisan support, and was supported unanimously by the Richmond delegation. It was attributed to the allegation by homophobic Delegate Bob Marshall that the former fighter pilot had misrepresented himself when he failed to disclose his sexual orientation when he enlisted in the U.S. Navy in the late 1980s.

In the debate on the House floor, Thorne-Begland, an openly gay prosecutor who was discharged as a Naval officer in 1992, was subjected to outrageous abuse by legislators, who accused him of military insubordination and who mocked his marriage.

As a 25-year-old Annapolis graduate, Thorne-Begland had an exemplary record as a Navy Lieutenant and pilot when he spoke out against the ban on gay servicemembers. He was the first officer to voluntarily out himself as a protest against the discriminatory regulations.

The House of Delegates' rejection of the eminently qualified prosecutor created a firestorm in the national media because it was such an blatant instance of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Mike Herring, Commonwealth Attorney for Richmond, said of Thorne-Begland at the time, "He's an outstanding lawyer and he would have been just as good a judge, and I can't imagine any reason for his rejection other than his sexual orientation."

Rebuking the action of the legislature, the Richmond General Court in June appointed Thorne-Begland on a temporary basis. In January, in response to public outrage over their actions in 2012, the House of Delegates reversed themselves and approved his judgeship in a 66-28 vote.

Thorne-Begland told a House of Delegates committee in January, "Since I left the military, I've worked with Equality Virginia and I advocated for such radical things as expanding the right to health care for someone to be able to get insurance for their partner."

He added, "I'm not going to lie and say that I don't one day want the opportunity to marry my partner. We married 15 years ago in an Episcopal church across the street from our house. I'd like that to happen, but that's not my role as a judge. I will well and dutifully follow the rules, the laws and the regulations. I know that when I put on a black robe and even when I take that robe off and go home that I am held to a different standard of an everyday citizen."

James Parrish, executive director of Equality Virginia, applauded Thorne-Begland after his swearing in ceremony.

"Upon the House of Delegates taking a second look at his nomination, we're glad the decision was made on his qualifications as a candidate and not on who he is or who he loves," he said. "That's what we hope for any LGBT Virginian. We congratulate him on this next step in his career."

State Senator Adam Ebbin said, "I've known Tracy Thorne-Begland for many years and I'm confident that his tenure will break down stereotypes and make it clear that a gay person can not only adequately perform at the highest levels and excel in those circumstances. It's an exciting day for Virginia."

In the video below, Richmond's WTVR reports on Thorne-Begland's investiture.

Related Encyclopedia Entries
browse:   arts   literature   social-sciences   discussion boards
learn more about glbtq       contact us       advertise on glbtq.com
Bookmark and Share

glbtq™ and its logo are trademarks of glbtq, Inc.
This site and its contents Copyright © 2002-2015, glbtq, Inc.

Your use of this site indicates that you accept its Terms of Service.