The sexual revolution of post-World War II America changed sexual and gender roles profoundly.
With reports from hundreds of sub-Saharan African locales of male-male sexual relations and from about fifty of female-female sexual relations, it is clear that same-sex sexual relations existed in traditional African societies, though varying in forms and in the degree of public acceptance
In British law, Section 28 of the Local Government Act, enforced from 1988 until 2003, prohibited the promotion of homosexuality and teaching the acceptability of homosexuality as a "pretended family relationship".
The Hijras--men who dress and act like women--have been a presence in India for generations, maintaining a third-gender role that has become institutionalized through tradition.
The dominant ideology among politicized lesbians during the 1970s and 1980s, Lesbian Feminism was based on the premise that lesbianism and feminism were inextricably linked.
Harvey Milk, among the first openly gay man to be elected to public office in the United States, was assassinated in San Francisco's City Hall, making him the American gay liberation movement's most visible martyr.
By the early twentieth-century, YMCAs had become popular havens for men who sought sex with other men.
Compulsory heterosexuality is the assumption that women and men are innately attracted to each other emotionally and sexually and that heterosexuality is universal, a view that leads to an institutional inequality of power that privileges heterosexual males and denigrates women, especially lesbians.
Still from a video of the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus performing "Testimony."
The stories of Easter and Passover are stories of triumphing over adversity, of overcoming hatred and contempt. As such, they speak in powerful ways to glbtq people, whether they are religious or not. In observance of these holidays, we want to call attention to a powerful composition by Stephen Schwartz inspired by the "It Gets Better" project and performed by the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus, under the direction of Dr. Timothy Seelig. It might be seen as an antidote to the BYU It Gets Better video discussed here.
Like the BYU video, Schwartz's composition also features the voices of individuals in pain, but unlike it his work envisions triumph over pain as suffering individuals come to find solace in communion with others. It fully acknowledges the heartbreaking anguish many gay people feel in a homophobic society, but it also joyfully celebrates the rewards of self-acceptance and the happiness that can be found by living life honestly. If you just "hang in" and "hang on" and accept yourself, the song advises, you can experience "the joy of living with authenticity."
Unlike the BYU video, which attempts to highjack the "It Gets Better" project for suspect purposes, Schwartz's beautiful song honestly captures the spirit of Dan Savage's vision.
Schwartz, who has written such hit musicals as Godspell (1971), Pippin (1972), and Wicked (2003), collaborated with Savage as he set to music the heartfelt testimony of contributors to the "It Gets Better" project. The result is an extraordinarily moving work that is beautifully performed by the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus.
Videographer Sean Chapin has assembled a brief documentary about the making of the "Testimony" video. He presents the testimonies of members of the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus about their own journeys and about the experience of performing "Testimony" and how the song speaks to them.
The stories of triumph over adversity in "Testimony" and in the testimonies of the contributors to the "It Gets Better" project and of the members of the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus remind us that it does get better when one escapes oppression. The message is especially appropriate for Easter and Passover.