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Popular Topics in Social Sciences
Stonewall Riots Stonewall Riots
The confrontations between police and demonstrators at the Stonewall Inn in New York City the weekend of June 27-29, 1969 mark the beginning of the modern glbtq movement for equal rights.
Gay Liberation Front
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The Sexual Revolution, 1960-1980 The Sexual Revolution, 1960-1980
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Leather Culture
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Anthony, Susan B. Anthony, Susan B.
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Africa: Sub-Saharan, Pre-Independence
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
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In Memoriam
In Memoriam: Emile Griffith (1938-2013)
Posted by: Claude J. Summers on 07/24/13
Last updated on: 07/24/13
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Emile Griffith.

Bisexual boxing champion Emile Griffith died on July 23, 2013 in Hempstead, New York, the result of kidney failure and complications of dementia. During the period from the late 1950s through the mid-1970s, Griffith was a leading boxer. He held the world welterweight championship three times, the middleweight title twice, and the newly created junior middleweight title once. But he was best known for the fatal beating he administered to rival Benny Paret in 1962 to regain his welterweight championship and for the rumors of homosexuality that dogged him throughout his career.

As Richard Goldstein recounts in his New York Times obituary of Griffith, the third fight between Griffith and Paret for the welterwight championship was touted as a grudge match because during the weigh-in Paret had referred to Griffith as gay, using the Spanish epithet "maricón." The insult seemed to goad Griffith to a fury that resulted in his decisive victory in the match, a victory that, unfortunately, led to Paret's death ten days later.

Griffith was born in St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands, but was reared in New York. He became a national Golden Gloves champion as a teen-ager and turned professional in 1958. He won his first championship in 1961. In 1977, after losing a career-unprecedented three straight bouts, he retired.

In boxing circles Griffith was widely rumored to be gay. After his retirement, he acknowledged his attraction to men, but said that he was bisexual.

In 1992, Griffith was the victim of a gay bashing. He was severely beaten after leaving a gay bar in New York's Times Square, his kidneys damaged so badly that he was near death. The assailants were never caught.

In 2005, he told Sports Illustrated, "I will dance with anybody. I've chased men and women. I like men and women both."

That same year, he told New York Times columnist Bob Herbert that he had struggled his entire life with his sexuality, and agonized over what he could say about it. He said he knew it was impossible in the early 1960s for an athlete in an ultramacho sport like boxing to say, "Oh, yeah, I'm gay."

Herbert concluded that "after all these years, he wanted to tell the truth. . . . He no longer wanted to hide."

Griffith is survived by three brothers, four sisters, and his longtime companion, caretaker, and adopted son Luis Griffith.

The story of Griffith and Paret is detailed in the touching video below.

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