Paris LGBT Archie Center
This is encouraging. You don’t see much about LGBT history anywhere other than the Internet.
Paris is planning to open an LGBT archive center in the city by 2020.
According to The Art Newspaper, it will document the country’s LGBT movement from the 1960s onward.
Jeffrey Tambor Denies 2nd Harassment Claim
There was another accusation for sexual harassment thrown at Transparent star, Jeffrey Tambor.
Amazon is investigating Tambor already, as his former assistant and trans actress Van Barnes accused him of behaving inappropriately around her.
Upcoming SCOTUS Discrimination/Wedding Cake Case
You won’t see a lot about this trending on social media these days, but it’s actually something we should all be paying attention to. The outcome could be critical to all minorities.
Next month, Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission arrives at the Supreme Court of the United States. It’s the most crucial case for LGBTQ rights since the legalization of marriage equality in 2015.
This is the one about the baker who wouldn’t make a wedding cake for a gay couple because he believed it was against his religion. It’s a short article and it goes into more detail, and talks about free speech and discrimination. You can check that out here.
FREE Gay Excerpt: Altered Parts by Ryan Field
Here’s another short excerpt from my newest release, Altered Parts. The book is set in a rural area of 1940s North Carolina.
It took a moment or two to start the old car, but once the motor turned over we cheered and he punched me in the arm. I knew it was his way of showing affection without actually being affectionate and I said nothing. I turned the wheel, headed down the dirt drive, and toward a road that would lead us up to the highest point on Buddy’s Mountain.
I hadn’t been up to the top of the mountain in about a year. We used to go up there all the time when I was younger and my aunts had more energy. Back when my grandfather had still been alive every single family holiday and summer event had been held up there. We’d gather in a gazebo my grandfather had built years earlier, for long picnics that often lasted well into the evening hours.
As we climbed to the top in the old car that day, I’d forgotten how intimidating the old dirt road could be. It wrapped around the edge of the mountain, without a fence or guardrail, and one wrong move on my part would have sent us both plunging thousands of feet to our deaths. I gripped the steering wheel tighter and leaned forward a little. And while I never took my eyes off the road for longer than a second, Clay stared out through the passenger window gaping at the view.
“I’ve never seen anything like this before,” he said. “It’s fantastic. Everything is so green.”
I smiled. I kept my eyes focused on the road and said, “The height doesn’t bother you at all?”
“Hell, no,” he said. “The higher the better. I love looking down. It gives me a thrill up my leg. Does it bother you?”
I gulped. “Let’s just say I’m always glad when we reach the top of the mountain and I’m on solid ground. I just don’t like being this close to the edge.”
“You’re doing just fine. Stop worrying so much. The road is wide enough for a huge truck, it’s very smooth, and you’re just thinking about it in an exaggerated way. Trust me, you’re okay.”
“That’s easy for you to say. You weren’t raised by two spinster aunts who wanted to prepare you for all the terrible, awful things that can happen in life. Trust me, they left nothing out.”
This time he looked away from the view and frowned. “At least you have them. You’re lucky. It’s a lot more than I had.”
After he said that, I wanted to find out more about his upbringing, but we had just reached the top of the mountain and he kept looking around with such wide eyes I figured I would save the deep conversation for a later date.
The moment I pulled up next to a large rock that wasn’t too far from the family gazebo, even before I turned off the motor, he jumped out of the car and ran to the edge of the cliff. I watched as he stood there with his hands on his hips and his long legs spread apart. I climbed out of the car and started toward him, noticing he looked as good from the back as he did from the front. His expression appeared so animated and thrilled with excitement I enjoyed watching his impressions of the mountain more than I enjoyed the mountain itself. I’d grown up there. I knew every inch of that mountain, including the views. It’s not that I didn’t love it, but seeing it all through Clay’s eyes made me feel as though I was seeing for the first time as well.
I walked up to where he was standing at the edge of the cliff and said, “I sometimes forget how beautiful it is up here.”
Without looking back, he said, “It’s the most fantastic view I’ve ever seen. It’s so green. Where I come from everything’s so different. It’s nice, and the sky is huge, but it’s not as interesting as all this. It feels so safe and comfortable, and I’m not sure where to look first.”
I smiled and tapped his shoulder. “Then follow me. I know a spot where the views are even better than this.”
He turned and said, “You lead the way.”
As we headed in the other direction, he asked about the large building in the distance. It resembled a log cabin, but massive in size. I told him my grandfather had built it there years earlier as his workshop. My grandfather’s hobby had always been furniture making and many referred to him as an artisan. His designs had always been classic with a modern edge. He’d designed and built the entire log structure himself over a period of four years, and barely had enough time to build any furniture in it before he died. He’d built most of his designs in the old workshop near the house. We had a few pieces of his work in the main house, and the rest were sold at auction to collectors. He didn’t have grand international fame as a furniture designer, but he did have a following among people who were familiar with the art of that region. My aunts devoted a section of the library in the house to articles written about him, and books that had mentioned him.
Clay followed me up a narrow trail to a huge old oak tree that had probably been growing there for generations. Years before I was born my grandfather and father used to go up to the mountain to hunt for food and they’d built a tree house up in that old oak tree where they could sit quietly and wait for deer to show up. My aunts never went up there and they’d never had any interest in hunting. I didn’t go up there often either because it wasn’t much fun alone.
I lead him around to the other side of the oak tree where a ladder had been built. I gestured to the ladder first and said, “After you.”
He climbed to the top and I followed, taking each step as quickly and unplanned as everything else we’d done that day. It amazed me how being with Clay changed everything so much. It felt as if all the things I’d known all my life suddenly took on new meanings and nothing felt mundane anymore. Even that old tree house in the oak tree felt newer and more vibrant.
After he paced the small platform a few times praising the view, we sat down on the old weathered wooden planks and settled our backs up against the tree trunk. He stretched his long legs, crossed his feet, and removed his cowboy hat. Before I even had a chance to get totally comfortable he started asking me about my past and my upbringing and I told him a quick version of how I’d lost my parents and how I’d been raised by my aunts. My story wasn’t all that interesting. My parents had been killed in a car accident and I’d been raised by my aunts. I was only an infant at the time of my parents’ death so I had no stories to tell about them at all. And most of the stories my aunts told were stories about themselves. They been competing to see who had the most interesting past since the day they been born and I wasn’t going to bore Clay with that time Aunt Ted lost her new purse at the church picnic.
When I finally finished talking, I turned and asked, “What about you? You haven’t said much about your past at all. All I know is that you’re from Wyoming, you’re heading to Florida on foot, and that you were raised on a ranch with cowboys.”
He sighed and rested his hands behind his neck. He uncrossed his feet and spread his legs wide. “There’s not much to tell. I had an older brother who died when he was eight years old. I never knew him. My parents had me a year after he died. When I was 10 years old, my mother died after a long illness. I only remember her being sick. I’ve never been sure what that illness was, but she suffered a lot. I remember her crying out in pain in the front parlor. They’d set up a bed for her in the front parlor to make it easier.”
“I’m sorry,” I said. “That must have been hard on you and your father.”
“Oh, don’t worry about my father,” Clay said. His voice took on a bitter tone. “He knew what he was doing. While my mom was dying, her sister…Aunt Mary…came to live with us so she could take care of my mom and us. Well Aunt Mary wound up taking better care of my dad than anyone else, if you get my drift. And the month after my mother died my father married Aunt Mary.”
“No they didn’t.”
“Oh yes they did,” he said. “I was very young, but I was old enough to understand and to resent Aunt Mary and my father for what had happened. I caught them kissing once in the kitchen while my mother was dying in the front parlor. They didn’t know I caught them and I never said anything, but I never gave them an ounce of love or respect again. I closed myself off completely. After my mother died, Aunt Mary moved right into her bedroom with my father and she took over. So I learned how to take care of myself. I spent most of my time on the ranch with the cowboys. I only had limited interaction with my aunt and father, and by the time I was 17 my father died suddenly. They said it was his heart.”
“What happened to your Aunt Mary?”
He shrugged. “She was his wife. She inherited everything and she had total control over me. My father left me with nothing. I finally reached a point where I couldn’t take it anymore so I left. I just picked up one day, started walking, and I never looked back. I had no reason to stay. I owned nothing, I despise Aunt Mary, and there was no other family. That’s why I’m heading toward Florida. I figure if I’m going to join the military I might as well do it in a place that looks like fun.”