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
Michelangelo Buonarroti Michelangelo Buonarroti
Best known for his genius in art and architecture, Michelangelo was also an accomplished author of homoerotic poetry.
Byron, George Gordon, Lord Byron, George Gordon, Lord
The bisexual Lord Byron treated many of his homosexual love affairs in his poetry, encoding them by the use of classical references or by purporting that they were affairs with women.
Modern Drama Modern Drama
Before Stonewall, censorship of the theater caused authors to encode homosexual content in publicly-presented plays.
Camp Camp
Combining elements of incongruity, theatricality, and exaggeration, camp is a form of humor that helps homosexuals cope with a hostile environment.
Selvadurai, Shyam
Sri Lankan-Canadian writer Shyam Selvadurai has emerged as a significant figure in post-colonial and gay writing by virtue of the style, wit, and perspicacity of his three novels.
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.
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.
Philippine Literature
A vigorous gay and lesbian literature emerged in the Philippines in the last two decades of the twentieth century.
In Memoriam
In Memoriam: Paul Varnell (1942-2011)
Posted by: Claude J. Summers on 12/12/11
Last updated on: 12/13/11
Bookmark and Share

Paul Varnell. Photograph by Rex Wockner, courtesy rexwockner.com.

Chicago activist and journalist Paul Varnell died on December 9, 2011 of complications from pneumonia and a stroke. A columnist for Outlines, Windy City Times, and Chicago Free Press, he also served in a variety of capacities as a member of the Illinois Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the Chicago AIDS Task Force. His work appeared in Reason, the Advocate, Lambda Book Report, the Chicago Reader, and some anthologies. In addition, he was a founder of the Independent Gay Forum.

Varnell was born April 16, 1942 in St. Louis. He graduated from Cornell University and attended graduate school in English at Indiana University. He taught for several years at Northern Illinois University, but because he never completed his dissertation, he never received tenure and eventually lost his position there.

Varnell moved to Chicago in the early 1980s, and threw himself into gay and AIDS activism. In the 1990s, he began writing for the Chicago gay press.

Varnell was a friend of fellow journalist Rex Wockner, who were fellow columnists for the now-defunct Outlines. Wockner described Varnell as "one of the most independent persons I ever have known. It wasn't easy to get close to him, and I figure I got as far as anyone did. He was a journalist, he was an opinion columnist, he was a thinker, he was a libertarian and, I think, a Libertarian, he was an intellectual. He liked classical music, he was a voracious reader. His columns raised the intelligence quotient of all the gay papers he appeared in."

Varnell was a founder of the Independent Gay Forum, which was intended to give voice to a gay conservative point of view, and for several years edited their website.

Fellow contributor to the Independent Gay Forum, Jonathan Rauch described Varnell as "exceptionally thoughtful and decent. It seemed as if there was nothing that didn't interest him, nothing he didn't know something about. . . . in his quiet way he was a pioneer and leader among those who made the world safe to be non-leftist and gay . . . partly through the power of his logic, partly through the gentleness of his touch."

Varnell is survived by his father and stepmother and his friends Ted Sigwald and Greg Nigosian, among other relatives and friends.

For more information about Varnell and his activism in Chicago, see Tracy Baim's story about him in Windy City Times: Paul Varnell.

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 © 2002-2014, glbtq, Inc.

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