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February 14, 2003

 

Hundreds turn out for Covington ordinance

Covington, Ky.--The five-member city commission heard public testimony on a plan to add sexual orientation and gender identity to its human rights ordinance at a February 11 meeting.

More than 200 people filled the Madison banquet facility across the street from City Hall, where the proceedings were moved to accommodate the crowd.

According to City Manager Greg Jarvis, 38 spoke in favor and only three people spoke against to the bill proposed by the city�s Human Rights Commission.

None of the opponents identified themselves as part of Citizens for Community Values, which had spearheaded opposition to the measure. The group is from Sharonville, a suburb of Cincinnati, just across the Ohio River.

After the meeting, Mayor Irvin �Butch� Callery announced that since people called him to tell him they could not attend the first meeting but wanted to speak on the issue, he would schedule another public hearing sometime in March.

The commission can vote on the measure when public hearings are complete.

Rev. Don Smith, who chairs the Human Rights Commission, presented the bill to the City Commission January 21 by saying that the current laws do not go far enough.

�People are left out, and it does not offer equal protection under the law to all of Covington�s citizens,� said Smith.

Opposition from some of the city�s religious community has been muted since City Solicitor Jay Fossett stated publicly in January that the proposed ordinance exempts churches and other religious organizations.

Prior to the meeting, there was concern that CCV would be bringing non-Covington residents to the hearing to testify. Anti-gay Topeka, Kansas minister Fred Phelps and his family also said they would picket the hearing.

Because of this, Callery had announced guidelines he would use to conduct the hearing. He banned signs from inside the room, required speakers to register beforehand, gave speaking priority to Covington residents, limited individual speakers to three minutes and representatives of groups to five minutes, and said the hearing would end by 8:30 pm.

Phelps and his family, who were also scheduled to picket Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati earlier that day, did not appear.

A 2002 poll conducted by an independent research firm showed that 53 percent of Covington residents favor expanding the law to cover GLBT people.

The Kentucky Post reported that their polls showed three-to-one support for the ordinance in September 2001 and two-to-one support last month.

Conversations with 500 residents held by the GLBT Northern Kentucky Fairness Alliance over the summer indicated 60 percent supported the ordinance.

Covington�s current measure bans discrimination based on race, religion, disability, color, national origin, family status and ancestry, but only in housing.

The proposed ordinance adds sexual orientation, gender identity, age, marital status, and parental status. It also expands protection into the areas of employment and public accomodations such as restaurants.

At the hearing, Smith told the commission, �You might hear people say they are for equal rights, not special rights. The Covington Human Rights Commission could not agree more. It is absolutely not the intent of the proposal to give anybody special rights, unless one considers fairness and justice in housing, employment and public accommodations for all our citizens to be special rights.�

�You should pass the ordinance because it is the right thing to do,� said Covington resident Daniel Burr. �Sometimes doing the right thing takes courage. Those are the leaders we remember--the ones that have the courage to reject intolerance, hatred, and fear and choose the higher path. I ask you to choose the higher path. I ask you to be just that kind of leader.�

Callery closed the proceedings by stating a fact that had escaped media attention during the debate. He reminded the crowd that the commission has made amendments to similar ordinances in the recent past, in order to show that expansion of such laws was not a radical concept.

Last October, Covington added clauses to its city worker equal employment policy to prohibits harassment and basing hiring and firing on sexual orientation, disability, and marital status.

Kentucky Fairness Alliance member Wes Wright said the mayor�s comment drew a huge round of applause and ended the meeting on a positive note for those backing the new measure.


 

Second Ohio lawmaker proposes civil rights bill

Cleveland--A second Ohio legislator has stepped forward with a civil rights bill to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Ohioans.

State Rep. Dale Miller told the Cleveland Stonewall Democrats on February 10 that he is preparing to introduce a bill to add sexual orientation and gender identity to Ohio�s civil rights laws.

Miller, who is the minority whip, told the group that his bill was inspired by New York�s law, passed in December. He will introduce the measure into the Ohio House next month.

He was unaware of a similar measure being prepared by fellow Democrat Sen. Dan Brady for the Ohio Senate.

The bills will be the first of their kind in the Ohio legislature, according to the Ohio Supreme Court�s Historical Law Library.

�New York�s bill was signed into law by Republican Governor George Pataki,� said Miller. �Hardly a far-out liberal.�

Miller said that his bill would add sexual orientation and possibly gender identity to all areas of the civil rights law, which currently prohibits discrimination by race, religion, national origin and color in employment, housing and public accommodations.

Miller represents District 14 on Cleveland�s west side, which is part of Brady�s Senate District 23. Brady said his bill will also be ready for introduction in March.

In order for a bill to become law, identical versions must pass both houses of the legislature.

Neither Miller nor Brady expect their bills to pass during the current two-year session, but both said that they will bring them back next session.

�This legislature has poor understanding of GLBT concerns,� said Miller, �particularly on the issue that being gay is more of a discovery than a choice.�

Miller said that he hears colleagues around the Statehouse dismiss GLBT concerns by saying, �People can change their orientation and should be encouraged to do it.�

Miller told the 19 people at the Stonewall meeting that the budget cuts proposed by Gov. Bob Taft put funding for AIDS medication at risk.

�I expect that DOMA [the Defense of Marriage Act] will be back, too,� said Miller. �I have heard a few minor rumblings about a sodomy bill, but nothing substantial.�

Miller was asked his opinion of Republican House Speaker Larry Householder, specifically on his friendliness to the GLBT community.

�The election of Householder as speaker set you back a whole bunch,� said Miller, �because he engineered the election of representatives opposed to your concerns.�

�Householder wanted to be speaker,� said Miller, �so he recruited a bunch of very conservative candidates and helped elect them in exchange for their support of him becoming speaker.�

Miller said Householder is the most partisan House speaker the state has ever seen. �Though he is less conservative and more pragmatic than his [GOP] caucus--that he can�t manage.�

Miller said Householder and the Republican caucus reminded him of the Frankenstein story: a monster has been created.

With New York, 13 states and the District of Columbia include sexual orientation in their civil rights laws. Two also include gender identity. Eleven Ohio cities have similar ordinances, covering a sixth of the state�s population.���������


Same-sex couples apply to marry in 3 Ohio counties

Columbus--While Wednesday, February 12 marked National Freedom to Marry Day, couples across Ohio are opting to wait until Valentine�s Day, February 14, making their statement all the more symbolic.

As reported last week, Thomas and John Meinecke in Toledo are heading to the Lucas County courthouse to try for their marriage licenses.

In Columbus, 53-year old Byron Yaple and his partner Stephen Watson, 48, will be at the Franklin County Courthouse to indicate their desire to marry and their opposition to current law, which restricts marriage to a man and a woman.

Yaple, Watson and the Meineckes are following the request of Rev. Troy Perry, the founder of the predominantly gay Metropolitan Community Church.

�One month ago, I announced plans that Phillip, my wonderful partner of 18 years, and I had made for Valentine�s Day,� Perry said in a letter to MCC members across the country. �Phillip and I decided that on Valentine�s Day, February 14--a day devoted to expressions of love--he and I would do something we have never done before: We are going to the marriage bureau in Los Angeles and we�re applying for a marriage license.�

In Xenia, Daria Schaffnit and Jeannene Page, founders of the local LGBT family organization Rainbow Families, will head to the Greene County Courthouse at 11 am to file for their applications.

This year marks the fifth annual National Freedom to Marry Day. Events are loosely coordinated through various organizations, including the Freedom to Marry Collaborative, http://geocities.com/freedomtomarry, and Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, www.lambdalegal.org.

Ohio Freedom to Marry, a Columbus organization co-founded by Karen and Dorrie Andermills, the first Ohio couple on record to get a civil union in Vermont, also suggests contacting state senators and representatives to express opposition to renewed �defense of marriage� legislation and support for the rights of same-sex couples. To find a state legislator, call 614-4668842, 800-2820253, or log onto www.legislature.state.oh.us.

 


Small companies shut out of domestic partner benefits

Insurers often tell small employers that they won�t provide the coverage, although state law permits it

Ohio employers who have decided to give health benefits to their workers� domestic partners may discover that the coverage is hard to find. Small companies, especially, may have trouble getting the coverage.

Insurance companies often use the definitions of �spouse� and �dependent� in the Ohio Revised Code to deny partner health coverage to small employers.

But the Ohio Department of Insurance says companies could write the policies if they wanted to.

�Carriers are not precluded by any state law� from providing the benefits, said department spokesperson Todd Boyer.

The Human Rights Campaign�s Work Net Project lists 51 Ohio employers that offer domestic partner health benefits. All have at least 50 employees or have been able to join insurance groups that have more than 50 members.

When smaller employers such as the Akron Art Museum or the alternative Cincinnati newspaper City Beat approached their insurance brokers, they were told it is not available.

�We were told we can only offer benefits to legally married couples last year,� said City Beat administrative director Geri Boyle. Their broker told them this was because of state law.

Akron Art Museum human resources director Gail Wilde said when the museum inquired about domestic partner benefits a few weeks ago, they were told that their carrier, SummaCare, could not write the policy. The museum has 18 employees.

Summa spokesperson Tracie Babarick said her company won�t write such policies because, �There�s no law dictating that you have to cover these people.�

Babarick said Summa strictly follows the regulations in Ohio law.

�It�s solely the insurance company�s choice,� said Babarick, �and we don�t recognize domestic partners.�

Babarick added that due to lack of demand for domestic benefits coverage, her company�s not offering it �doesn�t affect business that much right now.�

�If it was an issue of every day losing clients or not being able to bid on contracts, then yes, we might consider it,� said Babarick, �But right now, this is not the case.�

Insurance broker John Harter, who represents the 50 employees of City Beat and an affiliated company, said domestic partner insurance just doesn�t exist in small, �fully underwritten� policies. He cited lack of demand and Ohio�s 1991 repeal of common law marriages.

Large employers can be more flexible

Employers with more than 50 employees are treated differently by Ohio insurance laws. They have more flexibility and may assume larger risks. In some cases, they can insure themselves. Generally, the larger the employer, the more coverage can be tailored to meet the needs of their employees.

Small employers must purchase policies that are fully underwritten. Those policies are more heavily regulated, and dictate the minimum level of coverage that can be purchased.

Some plans allow small employers to add options like coverage for diabetic supplies, oral contraceptives, or cosmetic surgery through riders. But few are willing to use a rider to add domestic partner coverage, even though it is possible.

�There�s some room in the code for that to happen,� said Jack Towarnicky, a benefits planning officer for Nationwide Insurance in Columbus.

Nationwide is a small health insurance provider limited to central Ohio, as well as a major national property and casualty insurer.

The company covers the domestic partners of all of its own 30,000 employees throughout the country through a unique plan covering all dependants who are members of its employees� households.

The city of Columbus is currently considering similar �household benefits� for its employees.

Towarnicky said that there are only about 200-300 Nationwide employees around the country taking advantage of their household benefits plan, and most of them are covering adult children who are no longer students.

Industry is unclear on benefits

According to Towarnicky, the insurance industry has not studied domestic partner benefits enough to know how to price them for small employers. He added that in order for Nationwide to offer its plan, parent company Nationwide Mutual had to take on all the risk associated with doing it.

Towarnicky said that he didn�t see any legal reason why small employers couldn�t buy similar coverage through his company, but they probably couldn�t afford to assume the risk.

�Another problem,� said Towarnicky, �is that most employers of less than 1,000 have no staff to pursue these things, so they generally accept the standard care and standard provisions.�

Towarnicky explained that insurers don�t consider the added volume and premiums that would be generated by covering domestic partners as beneficial because costs, risks and profit are calculated by how �typical� a group is, not the number of people in it.

Towarnicky added that this is the reason why small groups are more difficult to insure, and therefore less likely to expand coverage to groups that include more unknown factors.

�In a big enough group,� said Towarnicky, �we can predict the number of people who will get cancer, for example, and what their costs of care will be, but errors are larger [in terms of cost] in small groups.�

�When [domestic partner coverage] becomes commonplace or mandated by the state,� said Towarnicky, �carriers will have to deal with it in terms of how to price it.�

Insurers don�t see demand

But currently, most insurers don�t allow small employers to explore domestic partner coverage or find a creative solution to provide it. Most small employers do not pursue the matter once they are told the coverage is not available.

Kelly McGivern, a spokesperson for the Ohio Association of Health Plans, conceded that the lack of requests by small employers could be a factor in the industry�s belief that there is little demand for such coverage. But she insists that state law is a bigger factor.

McGivern points to the section of the Ohio Revised Code stating that coverage is to be extended to spouses and dependent children of an employee.

�Since Ohio doesn�t recognize a domestic partner as a spouse, it isn�t offered,� McGivern said.

According to a study done in 2000 for the Gay Financial Network, insurance discrimination ranks third behind employment and taxes as the most common type of discrimination experienced by same-sex couples.

State laws also help create disparity between the types of property and automobile policies offered to domestic partners versus their legally married counterparts.

Partner benefits are taxed

Unlike health benefits for married partners, domestic partner benefits are also taxed as income in most cases--which would require an act of the U.S. Congress to remedy.

The Internal Revenue Code contains sections defining �dependent� as being �related to the taxpayer in one of several specified relationships,� which except in rare cases, excludes domestic partners.

Recent IRS rulings have also held that the federal Defense of Marriage Act passed in 1996, which defines marriage as between one man and one woman also requires domestic partner benefits to be taxed as additional household income.

 



A royal ball

Jade and Nini Richards take the stage at Queen of Hearts, Kent State University�s first African-American drag show. Jade is a student and member of the school�s Delta Lambda Phi gay, bisexual, and progressive men�s fraternity.

The February 11 event was organized by Pride! Kent and Black United. Eight black female impersonators worked the runway in the Student Center Ballroom to a crowd of nearly 400. Miss U.S. of A. At Large Samantha Styles hosted the show.

�I feel like this brings us one step closer to establishing unity on this campus,� said programming director Lawrence Faulk.

This event marks the beginning of Pride! Kent�s spring semester of programs. The group�s upcoming events include Dan Renzi of MTV�s The Real World on March 18 and a Queer Prom on May 1. Both events are free and open to the public. More information is available on the Pride Kent web site at www.pridekent.tk.��Photo: Steven Harbaugh


HIV infections increase for the first time in ten
years

Boston--Both promising and dark news is emerging from the Tenth Annual Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections, held February 10 to 14. While HIV infections are up for the first time in ten years, a large number of HIV drugs will soon become available.

According to Dr. Ron Valdiserri, deputy director of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention�s National Center for HIV, STD and TB Prevention, new diagnoses of the disease increased by eight percent from 1999 to 2001, after remaining stable since 1994. The figures are from 25 states, not including the high-prevalence states of California and New York.

Valdiserri noted that in studies of syphilis outbreaks among gay men in large cities, a large majority knew they were HIV positive, indicating that they had engaged in unprotected sex while aware of the risk of infecting their partner with the virus.

Among men who have sex with men, a 14% increase in new diagnoses was reported, compared to a 10% increase among heterosexuals.

Two-thirds of HIV positive people are sexually active, according to CDC figures, but 14-48% of those who did not know their partner�s status did not use condoms in their last sexual encounter.

Valdisseri said the data indicates that care providers need to do more to educate their patients on safer sex, a recommendation released by the CDC last year.

�Medical care providers must play an active role in HIV prevention efforts if we are to achieve a reduction in the incidence of new HIV infections in the United States,� he said.

Other news coming out of the conference pointed to a connection between finding sexual partners on the internet and HIV transmission.

Dr. Sabina Hirschfield and colleagues from the Medical and Health Research Association of New York surveyed almost 3,000 men online, solicited through a banner ad on Gay.com.

Half of the men were between 18 and 30, four-fifths said that they exclusively had sex with men, and most were white and had at least some college education.

Eighty-four percent of the men responded that they met partners online, and 64% reported having unprotected anal sex, compared with 58% of the men who did not meet partners online.

Over a quarter of the men indicated that they had engaged in sexual activity with more than 100 men in their lifetime, and 6% reported having 10 or more partners in the past month.

Not all the news was as dire at the conference, however, with reports of several new HIV medications on the way.

�The pipeline of new drugs has an impressive number of candidates in it,� said Dr. John Mellors of the University of Pittsburgh. �This is something we haven�t seen in past years,� he continued, calling it a �bumper crop.�

Most of the 16 drugs currently approved by the Food and Drug Administration target two proteins the virus uses to bond to cells and replicate itself, protease and reverse transcriptase. Drugs currently being developed target eight different points in the virus� lifespan, however.

The next new drug expected to win approval is T-20, a fusion inhibitor that blocks HIV from sticking to blood cells. Tests are already positive for T-1249, the follow-up to T-20, planned for use when the virus mutates enough to become resistant to T-20.

Among the other drugs being tested is TNX-355, an antibody that would attach to blood cells, blocking the spot where HIV attaches the cell.

Initial testing of TNX-355 found that an injection every one to three weeks significantly lowered viral loads in test subjects.


News Briefs

Compiled from wire reports by Brian DeWitt, Anthony Glassman and Patti Harris.

Bill would remove lesbians and gays from civil rights law

St. Paul, Minn.--A bill repealing the ten-year-old sexual orientation provision of the human rights law was introduced February 6 in the Minnesota House.

The bill drew a harsh response from the Senate's only openly gay member, Scott Dibble, DFL-Minneapolis.

Dibble said he immediately brought the threat of repeal up for discussion at a Senate Democrat-Farmer-Labor caucus meeting and hopes to persuade all DFL senators to stand against it.

Dibble said he found it particularly offensive that the bill would remove sexual orientation as a classification in the human-rights law's definition of Holocaust survivors and victims.

A crucial factor in how far the repeal measure advances may be how GOP Gov. Tim Pawlenty handles it.

Pawlenty, then a freshman legislator, voted in 1993 to include sexual orientation in the human rights law. But he told a group of Republican lawmakers during his gubernatorial campaign last year that he regretted the vote.

A spokesman for Pawlenty said on February 7 that the governor opposed repealing the law.

Besides sexual orientation, the human rights law includes gender identity, race, ethnicity, religion and disability.

A dozen states have bills of interest

Legislation to expand couples� rights, hate crime laws, or include sexual orientation or gender identity in civil rights laws will be heard by lawmakers in at least a dozen states this year.

Six gay and lesbian civil rights bills are in legislatures or are near introduction. They are in Ohio (see page 1), New Mexico, Nebraska, Iowa, Texas and Illinois.

The Texas and New Mexico bills include gender identity. A California measure would add gender identity to housing and employment laws that already include sexual orientation.

Gay-inclusive hate crime measures have been introduced in New Mexico, Mississippi and Wyoming, but Wyoming�s bill was defeated in committee on February 3.

Three states have measures to give same-sex couples nearly all the rights and duties of marriage. California�s would expand the state�s domestic partner registry to do that, while Connecticut and Massachusetts have bills to create civil unions. A Colorado civil union bill died in committee on February 7.

Both Connecticut and Massachusetts are also considering measures to allow full same-sex marriage. Connecticut and Texas also have so-called �defense of marriage� bills that would deny any rights to same-sex couples.

A Nebraska bill would allow gay men and lesbians to make funeral and organ donation decisions for their partners.

Additional bills may be filed in other states in coming weeks as many legislatures, like Ohio�s, stay in session all year.

Bills that become law would join 13 other state civil rights laws that include sexual orientation, two that include gender identity, 26 gay-inclusive hate crime laws and one civil union law already in place.

New oil company restores job rule

Houston--The merger last August of Conoco and Phillips Petroleum eliminated Conoco�s gay-inclusive job bias policy. It was only the second time such a policy had been rescinded, according to the Human Rights Campaign.

But after a week of bad press when the deletion came to light in early February, ConocoPhillips reinstated protections for gay and lesbian employees. HRC was told of the addition on February 11.

According to HRC�s Worknet program, 307 of the Fortune 500 companies cover gay and lesbian workers in their job bias rules, including ConocoPhillips.

Prior to the merger, which made ConocoPhillips the nation�s third largest oil company, Conoco had protections in place for its gay and lesbian employees. But the new company kept the Phillips policy, which was based on federal law. Sexual orientation is not included in federal civil rights laws.

The only other company known to have dropped job bias protections for gay men and lesbians is ExxonMobil. Mobil had a policy in place before its 1999 merger with Exxon, and shareholder resolutions have been put forward repeatedly to reinstate the protections. The merger also closed Mobil�s domestic partner benefits to future enrollment.

Leona Helmsley loses gay bias case

New York City--A jury awarded more than $11 million to a former hotel manager after concluding he was fired by real estate maven Leona Helmsley because he is gay.

The judgment is the largest in an anti-gay job discrimination suit, and many experts believe that it will strengthen existing gay-inclusive civil rights laws.

The jury found February 4 that Charles Bell had endured a �hostile and abusive work environment� while running Helmsley�s Park Lane Hotel. He was awarded $10 million in punitive damages and $1.2 million in compensatory damages.

State Supreme Court Justice Walter Tolub had told the jurors to take into account the defendant�s financial condition and said Helmsley�s net worth is estimated at $3.2 billion to $4 billion.

Bell, 48, had sued Helmsley, 82, for $40 million, saying that once she found out he was gay she subjected him to almost daily verbal abuse until she fired him in March 2001.

Bell testified that about a month before Helmsley fired him, �She started to yell at me. She said, �You look like a fag. You dress like a fag. You are a fag�.�

Two other gay former employees of Helmsley�s have lawsuits pending against her.

Canada begins marriage hearings

Ottawa--Members of the House of Commons Justice Committee are drawing criticism from citizens who testified on the subject of same-sex marriage.

Liberal chairman Andy Scott argued that the witnesses were there to provide information to the panel, not the other way around. His statements came in response to badgering and harassing comments that some committee members made towards gay men and lesbians who testified.

Gay activists also charge that committee members have made up their minds against same-sex marriage and are just going through the motions.

The committee was formed to explore Parliament�s possible response to a likely Supreme Court of Canada ruling on the issue. The options include allowing same-sex marriage, creating civil unions for both gay and straight couples, doing nothing, and eliminating government involvement, leaving marriage to religious institutions.

Courts in Ontario and Quebec have ruled that denying marriage to gays and lesbians violates the country�s Charter of Rights and Freedoms, similar to the U.S. Bill of Rights.

A third court in British Columbia has upheld the ban on same-sex marriage. An appeals court began a three-day hearing on that ruling February 10.

All three cases are ultimately headed to the high court.

Texas gay-bashing killer executed

Huntsville, Texas--An apologetic Henry Dunn Jr. was executed for participating in the fatal shooting of a man who was abducted and targeted for robbery because he was gay.

Strapped to a gurney Feb. 6, he expressed love for his family and asked for forgiveness from his victim�s relatives.

�I hope you can find it in your heart to find forgiveness and strength, to move on and find peace,� Dunn said, looking at Nicolas West�s sister, brother and brother-in-law.

Dunn was pronounced dead at 6:15 p.m., six minutes after the injection began.

The 28-year old former fast-food restaurant worker acknowledged being present when the 23-year-old West was gunned down more than nine years ago. But he said a companion, also sent to death row, was primarily to blame for the hate crime.

West, a medical clerk, was abducted from a Tyler park known as a cruising spot on Nov. 30, 1993. Taken to a remote area of Smith County, he was stripped, ordered to his knees and shot as many as 15 times.

��I don�t hate homosexuals,� Dunn said two weeks ago. �That�s their right to be that way if they want to.�

Donald Aldrich, 38, also is on death row for the slaying. A third man, David Ray McMillan, who was 17 when the crime occurred, received a life prison term.

 


 

A fine line between art and fun

Images can tickle the funny bone, or aim lower

Curbside Boys
The New York Ye
ars
by Robert Kirby
Cleis/$10.95/paper

Out/Lines
Underground Gay Graphics
from Before Stonewall
by Thomas Waugh
Arsenal Pulp Press/$19.95/Paper

A picture is worth a thousand words, according to the old axiom. In that case, these two recent books are worth an entire newspaper--but all they get is one article.

Robert Kirby�s Curbside Boys: The New York Years is a collection of roughly five years of storyline from his comic strip Curbside, which runs in gay papers across the country (see page 16).

Dealing with the interwoven lives of Drew, an overeducated temp who produces his own �zine, his roommate Kevin and their new lodger Nathan, the book begins with Nathan�s entrance into their lives and end with Drew packing his bags and heading to California.

Along the way, Kirby covers a lot of ground: the beginning (and ending) of a romance between Drew and Nathan, Kevin�s friendship with ex-boyfriend Rain, Drew finding a new boyfriend, Nathan looking for love before finding Drew and doing everything he can to sabotage his relationship once he and Drew hook up.

Kirby�s style is warm and always fun; his characters are distinct, without descending into the bizarre. Most interesting, though, is his ability to focus on the different characters as though each one were the star of the strip. One would have to guess Drew is the central character, although that line is sometimes blurred. There are story arcs that deal in depth with Nathan or Kevin in which Drew is completely absent, and in which he would have no place.

For those who have read Curbside, this is a wonderful chance to have the New York years in one place; for those who haven�t, it�s a great introduction to the work of this talented artist.

 

Thomas Waugh, author of The Fruit Machine: Twenty Years of Writing on Queer Cinema, is back with an even more visual exploration of queer culture.

Out/Lines pulls together 200 pictures from a plethora of sources to demonstrate the recent history of gay male erotic drawings, from illustrations from collections of poetry to gay scenes in �Tijuana bibles,� cheaply made pamphlets with thin, humorous storylines and lots of sex.

The pictures run the gamut from Aubrey Beardsley-esque drawings of stylized, fey bellhops to the hyper-masculine works of Tom of Finland, and illustrate the progression from the 1800s through the dawn of the modern gay liberation movement, all with commentary by Waugh. He also gives biographies of a number of the more well-known or identifiable artists. It�s a nice touch, considering that some of that information would probably fall through the cracks and be lost were it not collected somewhere.

Waugh also gives an appropriate caveat on the status of women in the pictures: There aren�t a lot, and most of those are cast in an unfavorable light. A few serve as props for the setting, and a couple of others are a proper, and pleasing, part of the action.

The collection is an oversized paperback. It is a coffee-table book for most readers, although for students of queer history and art it should be an valuable and treasured, resource. It�s a gorgeous volume, and more like it would be welcome from Arsenal Pulp Press, a Canadian company who are really making a name for themselves in LGBT publishing.

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