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  WINDY CITY TIMES

Snyde & Sneak
by Tracy Baim
1997-09-10

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Remembering Diana

Elton John (with his new "Candle in the Wind"), Paul McCartney, the Rolling Stones and Sting are among 10 rockers who will perform on a tribute album to Princess Diana. John's "Candle" was a passionate part of the memorial service for his friend Princess Diana Saturday. The two had last been together at the funeral of slain fashion designer Gianni Versace, where Diana had comforted Elton. All proceeds from the album will go to Diana's favorite charities, including AIDS. ... The National AIDS Trust in England is collecting messages of tribute and affection to Diana, Princess of Wales, the Trust's Patron. Messages can be sent to NAT at New City Cloisters, 188-196 Old Street, London, EC1V 9FR,UK. Messages received will be put in a 'book of hope' - a collection of personal tributes to the life and work of Diana, Princess of Wales on AIDS.

News you can use

Disney studio workers gave anti-Disney demonstrators cookies and soda during their recent protest of Disney's "pro-homosexual" agenda.

We've been talking a lot about Cheryl Dunye's Watermelon Woman film, about a lesbian inter-racial romance and a Black lesbian who seeks knowledge from the past. Well, it's finally getting a regular screening in town - at the Music Box starting Nov. 14. It will also be part of the Gay & Lesbian Film Festival the previous week.

GLAAD is encouraging folks to thank Universal Press Syndicate for many years of commitment to Lynn Johnston's gay-inclusive For Better of For Worse cartoon. But now, after a bidding war, the strip is being carried by United Features Syndicate, 4900 Main St., 9th floor, Kansas City, MO 64112; Doug Loevy, Editor, United Features Syndicate, 200 Madison Ave., 4th floor, New York, 10017, fax: (212) 293-8760. At least three newspapers recently cancelled the strip because of the August series on gay issues, while 30 others used old toons instead of running anything gay.

Lesbiancomic Suzanne Westenhoefer comes to the Vic Theatre Oct. 11, hosted by Full Moon Productions, Girlbar and Howard Brown Health Center. The show benefits HBHC. Call (312) 559-1212, (773) 472-0449.

Beacon Street Gallery is featuring the works of openly gay Native American artist Eugene Pine through Oct. 23; (773) 769-4284.

The Gill Foundation, founded by gay millionaire Tim Gill (Quark Xpress), gave bucks to the flood victims in Fort Collins, Colo. "The biggest cash donation to the Red Cross came from the Gay and Lesbian Outgiving Fund, which is contributing $100,000 - $50,000 cash and $50,000" to match private contributions, Rocky Mountain News reported.

Tubular

Don't miss Ellen's shot at an Emmy this weekend. Her mom, Betty, is now the Human Rights Campaign's first hetero spokesperson, and she'll speak out for National Coming Out Day. She's also profiled in the Sept. 15 People.

The Voyager Visibility Project reports that sources at the offices of Star Trek: Voyager producers Jeri Taylor, Richard Berman and Michael Pillar have revealed the the new Borg character played by actress Jeri Ryan ("Dark Skies") will eventually be revealed as a lesbian, making her the first gay character to appear on the series. The Seven of Nine character is a human who was assimilated by the Borg at age 5 - she has spent 20 years of her life as a sexless Borg drone, controlled by the collective mind. She will experiment with discovering her own body and she will discover that her body and her mind respond overwhelmingly to other women. This will be a part of her humanity that she and no other member of the crew will consider unusual or subject to change. Website and a petition may be found at www.gaytrek.com .

Comedy Central's animated series South Park Sept. 3 showed the children learning a lesson about the acceptance of lesbians and gay men. GLAAD said the show is a surreal winter wonderland where Stan and his dog Sparky (played by guest bark of George Clooney) live. It is not particularly tolerant when they learn that Sparky is gay. Stan's friends tease him, saying "Hey, where's your homo dog? Buying leather pants?" The townspeople make so much fun of Sparky that Stan wants him to change, saying. "Sit. Shake. OK, Don't be gay!" Stan's football coach supports Sparky, saying "You can't teach a gay dog straight tricks," much to the consternation of Stan's homophobic (perhaps closeted) teacher. Meanwhile, Sparky runs away, and finds Big Gay Al's Big Gay Animal Retreat, where he's welcomed with open arms to join other animals who have been rejected. Big Gay Al is an effeminate man with a heart of gold, who has opened his home to these rejected beasts, both domestic and wild. When Stan finds Sparky is missing, he refuses to quarterback for the team, and instead sets out to find his beloved dog. He finds Big Gay Al, and learns about how there have been gay people throughout history. Stan takes Sparky back to South Park, takes over the game, and while not winning, beats the point spread. When the announcer asks him to make a speech, he says "Gay is OK!" stunning the audience. He takes them all to Big Gay Al's, where many find pets they thought they had lost forever. Big Gay Al leaves, knowing that his work is done. Contact: Doug Herzog, President and CEO, Comedy Central, 1775 Broadway, New York, 10019, fax (212) 767-8592, dherzog@comcentral.com .

The Museum of Television & Radio Showcase on Nick at Nite's TV Land will feature an episode of Judd for the Defense Sept. 21, "Weep the Hunter Home," which deals with sexual orientation, reports GLAAD. The drama, which ran on ABC from 1967-69, featured Carl Betz as a superstar defense attorney. "Weep" deals with accusations made by a father against his son (Richard Dreyfuss) and close friend of being "queer," a topic hardly spoken of pre-Stonewall. The episode presents sexual orientation as a negative outlet of the father's misunderstandings and concerns over his son. Contact: Richard Cronon, President, c/o Gennifer Birnbach, Nick at Nite, 1515 Broadway, 38th Floor, New York, 10036, fax: (212) 258-7666, mailtvl@nickatnitestvland.com .

I did my first TV "interview" show Saturday, Sept. 6 on Chicago Week in Review, on Channel 11. I discussed the Halsted Street Re-Development and the Oak Park Domestic Partners Registry.

Intersex activists were "shocked" by the Sept. 3 ABC Prime Time Live story which rendered them "invisible," permitting doctors to speak for them. "While we were pleased to see Prime Time take note of the controversy over medical treatment of intersexuals, it is surprising that a respected national news magazine would get the story so wrong, especially in light of the fair and accurate coverage that intersex people have received over the past year in such serious journalistic outlets as NBC's Dateline, Newsweek, and The New York Times," said Minnesota journalist and intersex activist Martha Coventry. Psychologist Dr. Howard Devore, who investigated intersexuality at Johns Hopkins, who treats intersexuals in his private practice, and who earlier this year addressed the American Psychiatric Association on the issue said, "It is unconscionable to present this as a problem of merely getting the sex right or wrong. Prime Time did all their viewers a disservice by not informing them of the worldwide network of intersex advocacy organizations and the availability of peer support for the option of a healthy intersex identity." Prime Time showed a man whose identity was disguised by an oversized hat, electronic blur, pseudonym, and altered voice. "By failing to use footage of openly intersex activists which they had already filmed, Prime Time cast the story in a sensational slant reminiscent of the 1967 CBS interview of a shame-filled homosexual hiding behind a potted plant which represented homosexuality as essentially shameful," said Intersex Society director Cheryl Chase. Prime Time viewers were told the surgery is "so new that here at Hopkins, there has been very little follow-up - to find out how these children fare when they grow up to be adults." Yet the surgery has been standard practice since the late 1950s, and intersex activist Kira Triea, who was treated at Hopkins, says, "They wouldn't listen, even when I returned as an adult and made it clear that I desperately needed help." Hopkins surgeon Gearhart was quoted in The New York Times last year dismissing intersex patient-advocates as "zealots." "Experts estimate that 2,000 surgeries are performed each year in the U.S.," says Dr. Alice Dreger of the Center for Ethics and Humanities in the Life Sciences at Michigan State University. By focusing only on an unusual case in which the patient rejected the sex assigned by surgeons, Prime Time ignored the real tragedy: Intersex advocates point out that many former patients are left emotionally traumatized and sexually dysfunctional, even if they do not change sex role. Contact: Intersex Society, www.isna.org . A transcript of the segment "Boy or Girl" at www.abcnews.com/onair/ptl/html_files/transcripts/ptl0903d.html .

Count us in

The August 4 issue of Advertising Age had a cover story by Michael Wilke on the explosion of gay and lesbian advertising by corporate America (many of the ads are quite subtle and could easily be seen as "straight" in a straight magazine). "Visibility of gays and lesbians has reached a critical mass in corporate America and mainstream media over the last several years, slowly easing reluctance by (some) marketers ... to court a demographic previously perceived as risky," he said. Contact: Scott Donaton, Executive Editor, Advertising Age, 220 E. 42nd Street, 9th Floor, New York, NY 10017, fax: (212) 210-0200, e-mail: sdonaton@crain.com .


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