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  WINDY CITY TIMES

Media Watch
by JIM EDMINSTER
2004-03-17

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The Chicago Tribune (3/9) in a reprint of a Washington Post story reports that theories about female homosexuality have one major problem: studies are '... derived almost exclusively from male subjects.' Further, '... female homosexuality may be grounded more in social interaction.' Many American high school girls who date girls and guys do not call themselves bisexual, rather they prefer 'gayish.' A study by Lisa Diamond, an assistant psych prof at the U of Utah, has been following a group of women, who were attracted to other woman since 1994. Diamond says two-thirds have changed labels: 'They've gone from unlabeled to bisexual, lesbian to bisexual, lesbian to heterosexual and getting married but may be attracted to women in the future.' Diamond also heard them describe themselves as 'heteroflexible.'

The N.Y. Times Book Review (3/7) has a major essay on, Strangers: Homosexual Love in the Nineteenth Century, by Graham Robb. The reviewer says the book is brilliant though Robb is 'neither gay nor an academic.' Robb's major thesis seems to be that the academic idea that before the term 'homosexuality' was invented in the late 19th century the condition itself did not exist is just plain wrong. Part of it comes down to teasing out gay vocabulary and references in 19th century literature. Mollies, ganymedes, inverts, androphiles, ghaseligs, Uranians and Little Jesuses were names for gays, not to mention 'Lavender' aunts and 'musical' young men. Robb found evidence high and low: In Howard Pyle's 1883 book for young people, The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood, here's Robin to a merry man: 'Pythee, tell me, sweet chuck, why wearest thou that dainty garb upon they pretty body?' There were indeed laws against homosexuality—but hardly any prosecutions. Most 19th century problems of gays were due, he says, to closeted shame.

The Education section of the Chicago Tribune (3/7) highlights gay studies. Some schools that have highly ranked programs include UIC, the U. of C., Yale, N.Y. University, San Francisco State, and the U. of California at Berkeley. George Chauncey, author of Gay New York who is head of the U. of C.'s Lesbian and Gay Studies Project notes about half of his students are straight which he attributes to the widespread interest gay topics have generated lately. Jonathan Katz, a visiting professor at Yale, says that people still believe he teaches people to be gay. He hopes '... that at some future point gay and lesbian studies departments will have out-lived their usefulness because insights and agendas will be generalized across academics as a whole.'

O'Donnell on 20/20

The other O'Donnell—Rosie O'Donnell's partner Kelli of R Family Vacations—was interviewed by Barbara Walters on ABC's 20/20 March 12. Kelli held her own with Babs—and we are quite glad Barbara didn't ask for a kiss!

Midler to Bush—Not

A great letter being sent around the internet is allegedly from Bette Midler to George Bush on gay marriage. 'In my circle of family, friends and acquaintances, the vast majority have married and divorced—some more than once. Still, I believe in marriage. ... I believe that we need more positive role models for successful marriage in this country—something to counteract the images we get bombarded with in popular culture. ... Don't speak to me about homosexuality, Mr. President. Don't tell me that the difference lies in the bedroom. I would never presume to ask you or your wife how it is you choose to physically express your love for one another, and I defy you to stand before Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon and ask them to do the same.' The problem: The Divine Miss M says she did not write the letter! Well, it sounds great anyway.

Paul Winfield Dies

Academy Award-nominated actor Paul Winfield, 62, died Sunday of a heart attack. Actor and author Jack Larson, a friend, told Advocate.com that Winfield, who was openly gay in his life if not in the media, had been

distraught over the past two years following the death of his longtime companion, Charles Gillan Jr., the Advocate reported: 'Larson produced the 1984 drama Mike's Murder, written and directed by gay filmmaker James Bridges, in which Winfield gave one of his finest performances as a gay man distraught over the death of his onetime lover.'

Winfield played the boyfriend of Diahann Carroll in TV's groundbreaking Julia in 1968. He won an Academy Award nomination for his role in Sounder. He was Emmy-nominated for best actor in the 1978 miniseries King.

Kitty Genovese Was Gay

Newsday March 9 had a truly fascinating account of 1964 murder victim Kitty Genovese. Her unanswered cries for help 'became a symbol of New Yorkers' frightened indifference.' Her partner Mary Ann Zielonko speaks about their relationship and Kitty's death. Newsday writes: 'To millions of Americans, the name Kitty Genovese represents anything but love. Her death was a story of apathy and selfishness ... . In the early morning of March 13, 1964, Genovese, a 28-year-old bar manager ... was walking toward her apartment ... . From behind, [a man] attacked, stabbing Genovese repeatedly until she was dead. The man, a 29-year-old blue-collar worker named Winston Moseley, also raped Genovese. No one came to her aid. ... The New York Times reported that while 38 neighbors had either heard or witnessed the attack, not one had taken action. The case became infamous, and four decades after her death, Kitty Genovese is remembered not so much as a human being as a cultural catchphrase for inexcusable indifference.'

QVC Host Search

QVC network is embarking on a national search for its next television host. QVC America's Host Search will visit Chicago March 22 to hold open call auditions to find the channel's next on-air talent. The audition

will be held at Millennium Knickerbocker. Call (800) 422-7805, www.QVChostsearch.com .


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