Category: Harvey Fierstein

Johnny Weir Willing to Ignore Russia’s Stance on Gays

Johnny Weir Willing to Ignore Russia’s Stance on Gays

Russian President, Vladimir Putin, signed anti gay legislation and most of the global LGBT community is livid about it, including me. Playwright, Harvey Fierstein, wrote a piece in the NYT and mentioned a boycott on the 2014 Olympics in Russia. This is why:

“Just six months before Russia hosts the 2014 Winter Games, Mr. Putin signed a law allowing police officers to arrest tourists and foreign nationals they suspect of being homosexual, lesbian or ‘pro-gay’ and detain them for up to 14 days,” he wrote. “Contrary to what the International Olympic Committee says, the law could mean that any Olympic athlete, trainer, reporter, family member or fan who is gay — or suspected of being gay, or just accused of being gay — can go to jail.”

If in fact they are going to enforce these arrests in Russia, why any gay person in his or her right mind would even go there passes me by.

As a side note, up until 2009, the US would not allow anyone with HIV to enter the country. President Obama put an end to that ridiculous law in 2009 and I think it was one of his first official acts. Russia still places travel restrictions on people with HIV.

In a recent piece, Olympic athlete, and openly gay man, Johnny Weir, wrote about how hard athletes work to reach the point where they can participate in the Olympics and how much it means to them. He’s not in favor of a boycott, but I’m not sure exactly what his point is. He’d calling for gay athletes to participate, he’s saying what Russia is doing is wrong, and yet he’s not giving a valid argument as to why we should support him…other than that he deserves it and he’s entitled to our support. While I respect all the hard work he and every other athlete has done to reach that point, it’s hard to put anything else before the issues that are going on right now in Russia with LGBT people. Seriously. We’re not talking about money and winning awards. We’re not talking about ice skating and competition. We’re talking about the quality of life with maybe millions of human beings. And humans beings will always trump anything else for me.

Weir says this:

To have a boycott would not only negate the career of some athletes who have only one chance at competing at the Games, but also the over-time shifts an exhausted father takes to make ends meet, or the social acclimatization of a brother who can’t go on spring break because his brother needed another costume, or the mother who works part-time at a job far beneath her, just so she can afford to watch her first born perform for the world. The Olympics are not a political statement, they are a place to let the world shine in peace and let them marvel at their youthful talents.

Once again, this is bigger than someone’s dad’s sacrifice, or someone’s brother missing ridiculous spring break, dude. And how Weir can actually say these things without considering the bigger picture surprises me. He clearly comes from a place of both entitlement and privilege

There isn’t a police officer or a government that, should I qualify, could keep me from competing at the Olympics. I respect the LGBT community full heartedly, but I implore the world not to boycott the Olympic Games because of Russia’s stance on LGBT rights or lack thereof. I beg the gay athletes not to forget their missions and fight for a chance to dazzle the world.

I had to re-read that paragraph a few times just be certain I wasn’t missing something. I hope his ass doesn’t wind up in prison. Way to go, Johnny boy. It’s always best to put yourself first, be self-serving, and forget about the majority of innocent LGBT people suffering through the physical and mental injustices of Russia’s stance on LGBT rights…or lack thereof.

I don’t think I’ve read anything that self-serving before. And I read the entire piece, not just what I posted here.

You can read more here. And the comment thread is even more interesting.

One person said this, and at least I don’t feel as if I’m in the minority this time.

Wow. So having the privilege to dedicate one’s life to sports (and it IS a privilege) trumps torture and imprisonment.

I’m not saying that Olympians aren’t amazing people. But what about the average person? What about the average LGBT kid who can’t compete in the Olympics and is wondering whether or not he or she will survive the day?

Weir and other athletes desperately need some perspective.

Harvey Fierstein; "Smash;" Michele L. Montgomery "River of Tears"

I was once lucky enough to be in a book where Harvey Fierstein wrote a foreword. I posted about that here in 2009, and the title of the book was “Best Gay Love Stories 2010,” released through Alyson Publications. It was an ongoing anthology series about gay love and romance Alyson did for several years in a row. I think I was part of several but don’t recall the details right now.

In any event, It was a nice surprise to turn on the TV last night and see Harvey Fierstein in the new NBC TV show, “Smash.” I’m a huge fan and he’s going to be guest-starring all season. I started watching “Smash” by accident last year and wound up loving it. But like a lot of TV shows, I forgot all about it until I saw the title while I was flipping through channels last night. For those who don’t know, this is what “Smash” is all about, from Broadway World:

Smash” is a musical drama that celebrates the beauty and heartbreak of the Broadway theater as it follows a cross-section of dreamers and schemers who all have one common desire – to be a Broadway star.

I’ve posted before about how I’m not the biggest fan of Broadway, or show songs. However, I think this show is different because it doesn’t focus on tired old Broadway shows like West Side Story that have been redone so many times in the past fifty or sixty years. “Smash” is also different because it’s more contemporary and there’s a mixture of characters from gay to straight. The songs won’t make you gag.

And unlike “Glee,” a show I honestly can’t even watch anymore with the fast forward button, the only trendy politics you’ll find in “Smash” has more to do with insider theater industry politics than all those politically correct storylines you’ll find in “Glee.” In other words, it’s not self-indulgent and the characters are likable.

For those who don’t know anything about Harvey Fierstein, shame on you, and here’s a wiki link. I’ve always thought of him more as a gay icon because of all the positive things he’s achieved so far in his life…during a time when it wasn’t easy to achieve these things if you were gay. I’ve also always thought he was one of the artists who revolutionized gay films and plays with “Torch Song Trilogy,” and not that person who wrote the flawed quasi gay romance story about broken backs and mountains in some awful place up in the middle of nowhereland. If you’ve never seen Torch Song, you might want to rent it and check it out. It was the very first play I ever saw where I realized that gay men can have lasting monogamous marriages, and it left a huge impact on me as a young gay man. I also had a good friend in New York who had a chance to invest in it and he didn’t.

Harvey Forbes Fierstein (born June 6, 1954) is an American actor and playwright, noted for the distinction of winning Tony Awards for both writing and originating the lead role in his long-running play Torch Song Trilogy, about a gay drag-performer and his quest for true love and family, as well as writing the award-winning book to the musical La Cage aux Folles. He has since become a champion for gay civil rights.
Michele L. Montgomery’s New Release with Silver Stream Press:
I’ve read and reviewed Michele’s gay romantic fiction before on this blog, and the one thing I’ve always found in her books is the element of surprise. Seriously. I can never predict what’s going to happen from one page to the next, and it’s almost impossible to write a review because I don’t want to give spoilers.
And now she has a book out with SP Silver Publishing titled, “River of Tears.”  I will be reading it and writing more about it in the future. As a side note, though I’ve never worked with Silver Publishing, I have read many of their books and I’ve always enjoyed them. It’s the overall feel of a publisher I like sometimes, and I’ve always thought Silver did things a little differently than others. And, once again, I never found them to be too political or self-indulgent. It’s all about the fiction.
From Silver’s Blog:

Michele L. Montgomery is an American writer of GLBT fiction. Her available works include Lethal Obsession: Tony & Ryan, Lethal Obsession: Caged, Lies of Omission, DAMMIT!, and X Bar. She wrote River of Tears, a work of Contemporary fiction.

Michele runs a review site called Top 2 Bottom Reviews. She lives in Colorado surrounded by the beautiful wonders of the mountains, her family, and her pets. Abby is a Golden Retriever, and Skyler is a Chesapeake Bay retriever who should have been named Linus because he drags a blanket around with him wherever he goes.

Michele has a very serious on-going relationship with her coffee pot, which keeps her company from the time she gets up until the time she goes to bed, and to fill in the gaps, she is obsessed with KitKats, Twix, and Haribo Gummy Bears.

Here’s a description of “River of Tears:”

River of Tears is about a woman’s struggle as she searches for her missing husband, which leads to shocking revelations about him, his family, and the crime of adult kidnapping.

Abby meets Caiden when she is sixteen years old at nineteen they marry and after seven years of marriage it ends. She is left alone with her children and the bloody clothes Caiden was last seen in.

Knowing her husband isn’t dead, Abby begins a search that takes her from Arizona to Arkansas and lasts for a span of eight years.

More determined than ever to locate her husband, before he’s killed, Abby hires a private investigator who opens the doors to Caiden’s private world of hell.

The release date will be February 16, 2013, and you can order it here. From what I’m gathering Silver Publishing is launching a new imprint, “Silver Stream Press,” where they will focus on fiction in various genres. You can also read more about Silver Publishing and Sliver Stream Press here.

BEST GAY LOVE STORIES 2010 from Alyson Publications, with a foreward by Harvey Fierstein

I just received my copies of BEST GAY LOVE STORIES 2010. My story, “Poor Richard’s Bazaar,” is on page 177, and the book was edited by Brad Nichols. There’s also a very nice foreward by the well know Harvey Fierstein. From what I’ve seen and read so far, this book really is a great collection that celebrates love in the GLBT community.