Saturday, July 04, 2015

Jemima Wilkinson: Queer preacher reborn in 1776 as “Publick Universal Friend”

Jemima Wilkinson / Publick Universal Friend (Wikimedia Commons)

Jemima Wilkinson (1752-1819) was a queer American preacher who woke from a near-death experience in 1776 believing she was neither male nor female. She changed her name to “the Publick Universal Friend,” fought for gender equality and founded an important religious community.

It’s appropriate to consider the Publick Universal Friend on July 4 for Independence Day. In 1776, the same year that America issued the Declaration of Independence, Wilkinson declared her own independence from gender. This fascinating person died almost 200 years ago today on July 1, 1819.

Wilkinson is recognized as the first American-born woman to found a religious group, but is also called a “transgender evangelist.” The breakaway Quaker preacher spoke against slavery and gave medical care to both sides in the Revolutionary War.

Wilkinson was 24 when she had a severe fever leading to a near-death experience. Upon waking she confidently announced to her surprised family that Jemima Wilkinson had died and her body was now inhabited by a genderless “Spirit of Life from God” sent to preach to the world. She insisted on being called the Publick Universal Friend or simply “the Friend.” From then on, the Friend refused to respond to her birth name or use gendered pronouns.

Seal of the Universal Friend
(Wikimedia Commons)
The preacher and prophet known as “the Friend” defies categorization. The Friend has been labeled a “spiritual transvestite” and is on lists of “famous asexuals” and “a gender-variance Who’s Who.” As a gender nonconformist whose life was devoted to God, the Friend fits the definition of a queer saint. The androgynous Friend was many things to many people.

Jemima Wilkinson was born to a Quaker family in Rhode Island on Nov. 29, 1752. She showed a strong interest in religion while growing up. On Oct. 13, 1776, the Sunday after being reborn, the Friend gave a public sermon for the first time. Quaker officials rejected the Friend as a heretic, but s/he went on to preach throughout Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania.

The Friend blended traditional Christian warnings about sin and redemption with Quaker pacifism, abolitionism, plain dress and peaceful relations with Native American Indians. Women had no legal rights in the United States, but the Friend advocated equality of the sexes. The Friend was a firm believer in sexual abstinence.

People were drawn not only to this progressive message, but also to the Friend’s forceful personality and genderbending appearance. S/he rejected standard women’s attire and hairdos for a unique blend of male and female. The Friend commonly wore a flowing black male clergy gown with female petticoats peeking out at the hem. The Friend’s long hair hung loose to the shoulder. The rest of the Friend’s outfit often included a man’s broad-brimmed hat and women’s colorful scarves.

The first recruits were family members, but the Friend soon attracted a diverse group of followers, including intellectual and economic elites as well as the poor and oppressed. Known as the Universal Friends, they upset some people by proclaiming that the Friend was “the Messiah Returned” or “Christ in Female Form.” The Friend did not make such claims directly.

The Friend founded the Society of Universal Friends in 1783. Members pooled their money and started a utopian communal settlement in the wilderness near Seneca Lake in upstate New York in 1788. As the first settlers in the region, they cleared the land and became the first white people to meet and trade with the Native Americans there. By 1790 the community had grown to a population of 260.

Hostile observers put the Friend on trial for blasphemy in 1800, but the court ruled that American courts could not try blasphemy cases due to the separation of church and state in the U.S. constitution. Thus the Friend was a pioneer in establishing freedom of speech and freedom of religion in American law.

Like other isolated utopian communities based on celibacy, the Society of Universal Friends dwindled. The Friend “left time,” as the Universal Friends put it, on July 1, 1819 at age 61. The organization disintegrated within a few years of the founder’s death.

The Publick Universal Friend continues to fascinate people today. One of the most authoritative biographies of this mysterious person is Pioneer Prophetess: Jemima Wilkinson, the Publick Universal Friend by Herbert A. Wisbey Jr. In recent years the life and work of the Friend has been examined by feminists and LGBTQ scholars, including gay historian Michael Bronski in his new Lambda Literary Award-winning book, A Queer History of the United States.
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Related links:
Chapter on Jemima Wilkinson from “Saints, Sinners and Reformers” by John H. Martin(Crooked Lake Review)

The Assumption of Jemima Wilkinson by Sharon V. Betcher (Journal of Millennial Studies)

Scherer Carriage House (permanent museum exhibit on Jemima Wilkinson)

The Publick Universal Friend – Penn Yan, NY (Exploring the Burned-Over District: Sacred sites in upstate New York)

Leavesofgrass.org

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This post is part of the GLBT Saints series by Kittredge Cherry at the Jesus in Love Blog. Saints, martyrs, mystics, prophets, witnesses, heroes, holy people, deities and religious figures of special interest to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) and queer people and our allies are covered on appropriate dates throughout the year.

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Thursday, July 02, 2015

Gay tours of Vatican art reveal hidden history


Gay history hidden in Vatican religious art can now be seen firsthand through new LGBT-friendly tours never offered before.

In a sign of the Vatican’s increasing acceptance of queer people, Italian travel company Quiiky has begun leading two gay-oriented day tours based on the lives, loves and masterpieces of Renaissance artists Michelangelo and Leonardo Da Vinci.

Same-sex kisses in the Sistine Chapel and Michelangelo’s love for a young male poet are the focus of Quiiky's queer tour of Rome. Moving north to Milan, the LGBT Da Vinci tour reveals how the artist’s own beloved male disciple Salai was probably the model for Christ’s apostle John in the Last Supper.

The most popular part of the tour comes in the Sistine Chapel when guides point to the top right corner of “Last Judgment,” just behind Saint Peter. Michelangelo painted three pairs of male figures kissing and embracing to celebrate their ascent to heaven.
Detail from “Last Judgement” by Michelangelo

“Our customers like the Sistine Chapel painting of a kiss between two men going to Paradise, not in Hell,” Quiiky CEO Alessio Virgili told the Jesus in Love Blog.

Using slang and simple language, Quiiky guides point out details that other guides ignore -- details related to the homosexuality of the artists. The tours were conceived especially, but not exclusively, for an LGBT audience.

“This gay tour gives finally the right importance homosexuality had in the Renaissance period and in the Italian art itself, a role that has been hidden until now because of the bigotry of certain environments,” the Quiiky.com website states.

Plans are underway to add two more gay excursions: a Caravaggio tour of Baroque Rome and a tour of Tivoli highlighting ancient Roman emperor Hadrian and his male lover Antinous.

“There is an untold history that some gays know, but I think it is time for everybody to find out,” Virgili said in an interview with Jesus in Love. “When I traveled abroad I always used to meet LGBT people who told me that they liked visiting Italy to look for history, especially places and art made by gay men and lesbians.” So he launched the gay tours.

The Quiiky Vatican Museum tour begins with ancient statues, such as Hadrian and his beloved Antinous, and concludes with a visit to the Gallery of Tapestries and St. Peter’s Basilica. But the highlight is the Sistine Chapel.

Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel paintings were controversial even in his own time because they include many sensous male nudes who are modeled on manual laborers. The models were probably men whom Michelangelo saw at gay bathhouses and brothels, according to historian Elena Lazzarini of Pisa University. Michelangelo's homoerotic interests are evident not only in his paintings, but also in the hundreds of love poems that he wrote during his lifetime.

"John the Baptist" by Da Vinci
The Da Vinci tour visits different sites in Milan linked to the artistic genius, including the Biblioteca Ambrosiana library where his work is preserved and the Sforza Castle where he painted on commission for a noble family.

The centerpiece of the tour is viewing “The Last Supper” in the convent refectory at Santa Maria delle Grazie. Next to Christ is his beloved disciple John, who resembles Da Vinci’s apprentice Gian Giacomo Caprotti. Nicknamed Salai (“little devil”), he was also Da Vinci’s frequent model and most likely lover.  Salai is also presumed to be the model for a painting of an almost coquettish John the Baptist by Da Vinci.

Historical documents show that Da Vinci was accused of sodomy as a young man. The charges were dismissed for lack of evidence, but speculation has continued for centuries as viewers perceived proof in his artwork.

Quiiky’s gay tours have been popular since their inception in November 2014. Every day about 15 people take the gay tours, which are designed for an intimate, small-group experience. About 70 percent of customers come from the United States, followed by England and Spain.

Vatican officials are aware of the gay tours, but have done nothing to stop them. “It is not a secret that Quiiky is a LGBT tour operator open to everybody, and we have access to Vatican Museum with official guides. This is, I think, because Vatican wants to open its doors to everybody, with no difference,” Virgili explained.

Pope Francis set a new tone in 2013 when he told reporters that his attitude about LGBT people is: “Who am I to judge?”

Virgili said that nonjudgmental attitude extends to the gay tours that he offers: “And so the Vatican doesn’t judge if you are looking for your personal identity and history in a place created to embrace the whole human being.”

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Related links:
Vatican Art in a Gay Light (New York Times)

“The Last Judgement” and the Homoerotic Spirituality of Michelangelo (Queer Spirituality)

Michelangelo's 'The Last Judgement' was 'inspired by visiting gay saunas' (Daily Mail)

The Passions of Michelangelo by Rictor Norton

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Special thanks to Marco Wooster for the news tip.
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This post is part of the Artists series by Kittredge Cherry at the Jesus in Love Blog. The series profiles artists who use lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) and queer spiritual and religious imagery. It also highlights great queer artists from history, with an emphasis on their spiritual lives.

Copyright © Kittredge Cherry. All rights reserved.
http://www.jesusinlove.blogspot.com/
Jesus in Love Blog on LGBT spirituality and the arts


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New LGBTQ Christian books: July 2015


Two new books about AIDS and LGBTQ Christianity are announced this month.


Religion, Flesh, and Blood: The Convergence of HIV/AIDS, Black Sexual Expression, and Therapeutic Religion” by Pamela Leong.

Successful AIDS ministry by one black LGBT congregation in Unity Fellowship is the focus of a rich case study by a sociology professor. She describes how they blend African-American Christianity with the therapeutic ethic of American pop culture. The author focuses on the Los Angeles congregation through field work, interviews and analysis of sermons. Unity Fellowship founder Carl Bean is discussed in depth. Leong is assistant professor of sociology at Salem State University in Massachusetts.




After the Wrath of God: AIDS, Sexuality, and American Religion” by Anthony M. Petro.

The entire religious history of AIDS in America is examined by a Boston University religion professor. He goes way beyond the usual discussion of the Religious Right to cover a wide range of mainline Protestant, evangelical, and Catholic groups as well as AIDS activist organizations. The author reveals how the AIDS crisis prompted American Christians to start discussing homosexuality, fostering a moral discourse whose legacy includes abstinence education and same-sex marriage. This detailed and discerning history was published by the prestigious Oxford University Press. The section on Metropolitan Community Churches includes the ministry of long-time AIDS survivor Stephen Pieters.


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Related links:

New LGBTQ Christian books: June 2015

New LGBTQ Christian books: May 2015

New LGBTQ Christian books: March 2015

New LGBTQ Christian books: Feb 2015

Top 25 LGBTQ Christian books of 2014 named (Jesus in Love)

Top 20 Gay Jesus books (from Jesus in Love)

Queer Theology book list (from Patrick Cheng)

Queering the Church book list

Jesus in Love Bookstore (includes LGBT Christian classics)


Copyright © Kittredge Cherry. All rights reserved.
http://www.jesusinlove.blogspot.com/
Jesus in Love Blog on LGBT spirituality and the arts

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Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Pauli Murray: Queer saint who stood for racial and gender equality

Pauli Murray by Laurel Green

Human rights champion and queer saint Pauli Murray is a renowned civil rights pioneer, feminist, author, lawyer and the first black woman ordained as an Episcopal priest. Her feast day is today (July 1).

Murray was arrested and jailed for refusing to sit in the back of a segregated bus in Virginia in 1938 -- 15 years before Rosa Parks became a national symbol for resisting bus segregation. In 1941 she organized restaurant sit-downs in the nation’s capital -- 20 years before the famous Greensboro sit-ins.

She was approved for trial inclusion in the Episcopal Church’s book of saints, “Holy Women, Holy Men” in a 2012 vote. Usually the Episcopalians wait until 50 years after a person has died before making granting sainthood, but for Murray the church set aside the rule and approved “trial use” of materials commemorating her now.

Murray was attracted to women and her longest relationships were with women, so she is justifiably considered a lesbian. But she also described herself as a man trapped in a woman’s body and took hormone treatments in her 20s and 30s, so she might even be called transgender man today.

Others have written extensively about her many accomplishments, but material on Murray’s sexuality is hard to find. She did not speak publicly about her sexual orientation or gender identity issues, but she left ample evidence of these struggles in her letters and personal writings.

Pauli Murray (Wikipedia)

Anna Pauline (Pauli) Murray (November 20, 1910 – July 1, 1985) was born in Baltimore, Maryland and raised in Durham, North Carolina. She became aware of her queer sexuality early in life. In Pauli Murray and Caroline Ware: Forty Years of Letters in Black and White, historian Anne Firor Scott explains:

“In adolescence Murray began to worry about her sexual nature. She later said that she was probably meant to be a man, but had by accident turned up in a woman’s body. She began to keep clippings about various experiments with hormones as a way of changing sexual identity…. In 1937, at the initiative of a friend, she had been admitted to Bellevue Hospital in New York, and during her stay there she examined her worries about her sexual nature in writing, and said that she hoped to move toward her masculine side... . She continued for years to discuss the developing medical literature about hormones, thinking they might help her. She discussed the possibility of homosexuality with doctors; she knew that she was attracted to very feminine, often white, women, and she knew as well that… she was not physically attracted to men. This conflict would continue for the rest of her life.”

Murray’s queer side is discussed in many books, including American Eugenics: Race, Queer Anatomy, and the Science of Nationalism by Nancy Ordover and To Believe in Women: What Lesbians Have Done For America by Lillian Faderman, and in the play “To Buy the Sun: The Challenge of Pauli Murray” by Lynden Harris.

A graduate of New York’s Hunter College, Murray was rejected from the University of North Carolina UNC Chapel Hill’s graduate school in 1938 because of her race. She became a civil rights activist. In the late 1930s Murray was also seeking psychological help and testosterone implants from doctors in an effort to “treat” her homosexuality by becoming more male.

Eager to become a civil rights lawyer, Murray was the only woman in her law school class at Howard University in Washington, DC. She graduated first in her class in 1944, but was rejected by Harvard because of her gender -- even though President Franklin Roosevelt wrote a letter of support for her after Murray contacted First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt. Instead Murray studied law at the University of California in Berkeley. She wrote numerous influential publications, and NAACP used her arguments in the landmark 1954 Brown v. Board of Education case that ended racial segregation in U.S. public schools.

In the early 1960s President John Kennedy appointed Murray to the Commission on the Status of Women Committee. She worked with Martin Luther King Jr. and Bayard Rustin on civil rights -- and criticized the 1963 March on Washington at the time for excluding women from leadership. In 1965 she became the first African American to receive a law doctorate from Yale. A year later she co-founded the National Organization for Women.

Instead of retiring, Murray launched a new career at age 62. She entered New York’s General Theological Seminary in 1973, before the Episcopal Church allowed women priests. She was ordained in 1977. She celebrated her first Holy Eucharist at the Chapel of the Cross in Chapel Hill, NC -- the same church where her grandmother, a slave, was baptized.

After a lifetime as a human rights activist, she drew on her own experience to preach a powerful vision of God’s justice. In a 1977 sermon recorded in Pauli Murray: Selected Sermons and Writings, she said:

It was my destiny to be the descendant of slave owners as well as slaves, to be of mixed ancestry, to be biologically and psychologically integrated in a world where the separation of the races was upheld by the Supreme Court of the United States as the fundamental law of our Southland. My entire life’s quest has been for spiritual integration, and this quest has led me ultimately to Christ, in whom there is no East or West, no North or South, no Black or White, no Red or Yellow, no Jew or Gentile, no Islam or Buddhist, no Baptist, Methodist, Episcopalian, or Roman Catholic, no Male or Female. There is no Black Christ, no White Christ, no Red Christ – although these images may have transitory cultural value. There is only Christ, the Spirit of Love.

Murray died of cancer on July 1, 1985 at age 74. Her best known book is Proud Shoes: The Story of an American Family (1956), her memoir of growing up as a mixed-race person in the segregated South.

The image of Pauli Murray at the top of this post is part of the “In the Spirit of Those Who Led the Way” series by North Carolina artist Laurel Green. She creates digital artworks in conversation with more traditional media.

“Pauli Murray” by Angela Yarber

A new icon of Pauli Murray was painted for the "Holy Women Icons" series by Angela Yarber, an artist, scholar, dancer, minister and LGBT-rights activist based in North Carolina. for her series "Holy Women Icons." It is one of nearly 50 color images of her folk feminist icons included in her 2014 book "Holy Women Icons." Her colorful icon shows Murray with a closed eyes and large heart inscribed with the words:

“When her throat grew weary,
Her heart pulsed a song of hope,
Of justice, of equality,
Unconstrained by the binaries
That bind.
Authentically free.”

For more info on Yarber, see my previous post "Artist paints holy lesbians and other women."

The trial use commemorations of the Episcopal Church include this new prayer:

Liberating God, we thank you most heartily for the steadfast courage of your servant Pauli Murray, who fought long and well: Unshackle us from bonds of prejudice and fear so that we show forth your reconciling love and true freedom, which you revealed through your Son and Our Savior Jesus Christ.

Pauli Murray image from Holy Women, Holy Men on Facebook celebrating saints in the Episcopal Church, produced by the Paradoxy Center at St. Nicholas Church.

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Related links:

Pauli Murray profile at LGBTHistoryMonth.com

www.paulimurrayproject.org

Pauli Murray Named to Episcopal Sainthood (duke.edu)

Paul Murray bio (Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina)

Queering Iconography, Painting Pauli Murray” by Angela Yarber (Feminism and Religion Blog)

Holy Women, Holy Men: Celebrating the Saints: Additional Commemorations” (Episcopal resource including Pauli Murray)

Convention OKs continued trial use of ‘Holy Women, Holy Men’ (Episcopal News Service)

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This post is part of the GLBT Saints series by Kittredge Cherry at the Jesus in Love Blog. Saints, martyrs, mystics, prophets, witnesses, heroes, holy people, deities and religious figures of special interest to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) and queer people and our allies are covered on appropriate dates throughout the year.

Copyright © Kittredge Cherry. All rights reserved.
http://www.jesusinlove.blogspot.com/
Jesus in Love Blog on LGBT spirituality and the arts

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Sunday, June 28, 2015

Saints of Stonewall inspire LGBT justice -- and artists

“It was Beautiful” by Douglas Blanchard shows the Stonewall Rebellion
Oil on canvas, 24" x 36," 1999.

Queer people fought back against police harassment at New York City’s Stonewall Inn in June 1969, launching the modern LGBT liberation movement. The Stonewall uprising began 46 years ago today (June 28, 1969).

Their bold rebellion against government persecution of homosexuality is commemorated around the world during June as LGBT Pride Month. The Stonewall Uprising continues to inspire a variety of art that is featured here today.

The LGBT people who resisted police at the Stonewall Rebellion (also known as the Stonewall Riots) are not saints in the traditional sense. But they are honored here as “saints of Stonewall” because they dared to battle an unjust system. They do not represent religious faith -- they stand for faith in ourselves as LGBT people. They performed the miracle of transforming self-hatred into pride. These “saints” began a process in which self-hating individuals were galvanized into a cohesive community. Their saintly courage inspired a justice movement that is still growing stronger after four decades.

Before Stonewall, police regularly raided gay bars, where customers submitted willingly to arrest. A couple of dozen acts of resistance pre-dated and paved the way for Stonewall, such as the 1967 demonstration at the Black Cat Tavern in Los Angeles.

Despite the progress made, police raids of gay bars have continued in recent years, such as the notorious 2009 Rainbow Lounge raid in Forth Worth, Texas. June 28 is also the anniversary of the 2009 raid on the Rainbow Lounge, a newly opened gay bar in Fort Worth, Texas. Five customers were zip-tied and taken to jail, multiple others were arrested or detained, and one got a severe brain injury while in custody. The raid sparked an unprecedented public outcry that led to historic change.

The Stonewall Inn catered to the poorest and most marginalized queer people: drag queens, transgender folk, hustlers and homeless youth. Witnesses disagree about who was the first to defy the police raid in the early morning hours of June 28, 1969. It was either a drag queen or a butch lesbian. Soon the crowd was pelting the officers with coins, bottles, bricks and the like. The police, caught by surprise, used nightsticks to beat some people before taking refuge in the bar itself. News of the uprising spread quickly. Hundreds gathered on the street and a riot-control police unit arrived. Violence continued as some chanted, “Gay power!”

Drag queens started spontaneous kick lines facing the police with clubs and helmets. That dramatic moment is captured in the painting “It was Beautiful” by Douglas Blanchard. The drag queens met violence with defiant humor by singing,

We are the Stonewall girls
We wear our hair in curls
We wear no underwear
We show our pubic hair
We wear our dungarees
Above our nelly knees!

That night 13 people were arrested and some hospitalized. The streets were mostly cleared by 4 a.m., but a major confrontation with police happened again the next night, and protests continued on a smaller scale for a week.

A month later the Gay Liberation Front was formed, one of many LGBT rights organizations sparked by the saints of Stonewall. LGBT religious groups are indebted to the saints of Stonewall for our very existence.

“Gay Liberation” by George Segal commemorates the Stonewall rebellion (Photo by Wally Gobetz)

One of the most significant Stonewall artworks is also the world’s first piece of public art honoring the struggle for LGBTQ equality. “Gay Liberation” was created in 1979 by famed pop sculptor George Segal. It consists of four statues, a gay couple and a lesbian couple, cast in bronze and painted white in Segal’s typical style. The figures are arranged realistically in casual poses, evoking the power of love with their ghostly presence.

The idea for a public sculpture honoring the 10th anniversary of Stonewall came from LGBT activist Bruce Voeller. His vision inspired the Mildred Andrews Fund of Cleveland to commission Segal to create the sculpture. After much controversy, vandalism and alternate locations, the sculpture was installed permanently across the street from the Stonewall Inn at Christopher Park, which also holds two monuments to Civil War heroes.

Artists usually choose between two approaches when addressing the Stonewall Uprising. Some focus on the action in the past while others highlight the present-day Stonewall Inn, which is still in operation as a bar for the LGBT community.

Artists who recreate the past include Doug Blanchard, a gay New York artist who teaches art at City University of New York and is active in the Episcopal Church. “It was Beautiful” and other Stonewall paintings by Blanchard were shown at the Lesbian and Gay Community Services Center of New York in 1999. His series “The Passion of Christ: A Gay Vision” has been featured here at the Jesus in Love Blog and in a 2014 book with text by Kittredge Cherry.

“The Battle of Stonewall - 1969” by Sandow Birk

California artist Sandow Birk put Stonewall history into heroic context in a big way. The oil paintings in his Stonewall series measure up to 10 feet wide. The crown jewel of the series is “The Battle of Stonewall - 1969.” It updates the classic painting “The Battle of Mons-en-Pévèle - 1304” by 19th-century French artist Charles Philippe Lariviere. In both cases, the physically superior side attacked those who were considered weaker, but the underdogs won and gained their freedom. Birk replaces swords with police batons and turns national flags into “Gay Power” banners. The knight in shining armor is replaced by a drag queen in mascara and high heels. For more about Birk’s Stonewall series, see my previous post: Sandow Birk: Stonewall's LGBT history painted.

The actual Stonewall riots weren’t as white as Birk's paintings make it appear: “On the first night of the Stonewall riots, African Americans and Latinos likely were the largest percentage of the protestors, because we heavily frequented the bar,” scholar-activist Irene Monroe writes in  Dis-membering Stonewall, her chapter in the book Love, Christopher Street. “For homeless black and Latino LGBTQ youth and young adults who slept in nearby Christopher Park, the Stonewall Inn was their stable domicile.”

“Stonewall Inn” by Trudie Barreras (Collection of Kittredge Cherry)

The location where history happened is emphasized in the colorful painting of the Stonewall Inn by Trudie Barreras, a long-time member of Metropolitan Community Churches. Her art and writing on queer religious themes have appeared frequently here at the Jesus in Love Blog. She also does personalized pet portraits as “donation incentives” for Jesus in Love.

“Prostrations at the Holy Places and Veneration to Our Martyrs (Stonewall Pilgrimage)” by Tony O’Connell

British artist Tony O’Connell paid homage to the power of Stonewall by photographing his own personal pilgrimage to the historic bar in New York City in 2013. He prayed with incense at the Stonewall Inn as part of his series on LGBT pilgrimages, which he does as performances recorded in photos. He travels to places of importance in LGBT history, treating the trip as a pilgrimage to the shrine of a saint. For more about O’Connell’s pilgrimages and other art, see my previous post Tony O’Connell reclaims sainthood: Gay artist finds holiness in LGBT people and places.

Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem and the Stonewall Riots happen in Station 8 from “Stations of the Cross: The Struggle For LGBT Equality” by Mary Button

Tennessee artist Mary Button weaves together the LGBT uprising at Stonewall with Christ’s journey to Calvary in Station 8 of her LGBT Stations of the Cross. She shows that a chain of oppression that stretches from the crucifixion of Christ to police harassment of LGBT people today, offering hope for resurrection. For more about Button’s Stations, see my previous post LGBT Stations of the Cross shows struggle for equality.

The history of the Rainbow Lounge raid and reaction is told in the 2012 film “Raid of the Rainbow Lounge,” directed by Robert Camina. He says it has “haunting parallels” to Stonewall. Emmy-nominated actress Meredith Baxter narrates the documentary. A video trailer is posted online.



May the saints of Stonewall continue to inspire all who seek justice and equality!

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Related links:

2015 book for teens: “Stonewall: Breaking Out in the Fight for Gay Rights” by Ann Bausum

Book: “Stonewall: The Riots That Sparked the Gay Revolution” by David Carter

Book: “Stonewall” by Martin Bauml Duberman

Video: “American Experience: Stonewall Uprising

Stonewall (Qualia Encyclopedia of Gay Folklife)

Stonewall Inn and Christopher Park (Qualia Encyclopedia of Gay Folklife)

George Segal’s "Gay Liberation" (glbtq.com)

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This post is part of the GLBT Saints series by Kittredge Cherry at the Jesus in Love Blog. Saints, martyrs, mystics, heroes and holy people of special interest to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) people and our allies are covered on appropriate dates throughout the year.

Copyright © Kittredge Cherry. All rights reserved.
http://www.jesusinlove.blogspot.com/
Jesus in Love Blog on LGBT spirituality and the arts

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