News: New York creates first gay museum, May 29, 2012

In 1969, the same year as the Stonewall riots, Charles Leslie and his late partner Fritz Lohman organized their first exhibition of gay art. Theirs was an act of daring during turbulent times and the initial step toward creating what now stands as the only completely gay-and lesbian-focused museum in the world, the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art.

The museum, which houses a permanent collection of over 6,000 objects from over three centuries of gay and lesbian art, received a Museum Accreditation from the State of New York last month and announced roughly eight major exhibitions a year, as well as plays, poetry readings, artist and curator talks, panel discussions and film screenings, a membership program and a research/archive function. The museum will also publish a quarterly newsletter, “The Archive,” focused on everything gay and lesbian in the art world.

Lesbian Boy Scout troop leader supporters to present petition
Zach Wahls, the former Eagle Scout and gay rights activist who gained notoriety when his YouTube video about his own gay mothers went viral last year, will be attending the Boy Scouts’ national annual meeting on Wednesday to present the organization with a petition calling for the reinstatement of the Ohio mother who says she was removed as her son’s Boy Scouts den leader because she is a lesbian. More than 283,000 people signed the petition on asking the Boys Scouts of America (BSA) to allow Jennifer Tyrrell to return as leader of her son’s Tiger Cub den.

Tyrrell said she was removed from the volunteer post after nearly a year of service. “Throughout the year, my cubs performed volunteer service at a local soup kitchen, collected canned goods for area churches to distribute in food baskets, participated in bell-ringing for the Salvation Army, and, at the time of my removal, were working on a conservation project for a state park,” she said.

Tyrell will not be present at the presentation in Orlando, but claims that her membership was revoked shortly after she was elected treasurer of the pack and found some inconsistencies in the group’s finances.

“Within a week of reporting these findings to the council, I received notice that my membership had been revoked, based on my sexual orientation, citing that because I’m gay, I did ‘not meet the high standards of membership that the BSA seeks,’” Tyrell said.

Guess who’s coming to dinner
It’s been 45 years since Katharine Houghten, portraying a young white woman, brought Sidney Poitier, playing a young, idealistic African American physician, home to meet her supposedly liberal parents in 1967’s “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner,” but today we learned there may be an equally awkward dinner party in the works as conservative Christian leader Tony Perkins announced his willingness to dine at the home of a married lesbian couple who extended the invitation in hopes of “opening up his heart.”

The Family Research Council head received the dinner invitation from Jennifer Chrisler, executive director of the Family Equality Council, a gay rights group, after Perkins shared during a CNN appearance that he had never been to a married same-sex couple’s home. Chrisler and her wife have twin 10-year-old sons and another child on the way.

“Even if nothing comes of the experience, at least you can say you spent time with our families and knew us and still deny us our equality,” Chrisler’s invitation stated. “But I know you will find that our families have much in common and share the same hopes and dreams for our children.”

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