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From the late 1920s until his death in 1955, George Platt Lynes was one of the world’s most successful commercial and fine art photographers. His work was included in one of the first exhibitions to showcase photography at the Museum of Modern Art in 1932, and he showed at the extremely popular Julien Levy Gallery in New York City. His photographs for Vogue and Bazaar, his shots of dancers at the School of American Ballet and his portraits of some of the most important creative figures of his era were lauded for their innovative use of lighting, props and posing. But in his view, his most important works were his nude photographs of men. Yet during Lynes’ life, few even knew of their existence.
Phillip Joy, Dalhousie University and Matthew Numer, Dalhousie University
Gay men currently receive little research attention when it comes to health issues such as eating disorders and other body image concerns. Yet expectations are high for gay men, as the western ideal masculine body is muscular and fat free. Evidence also indicates that there are unique concerns for LGBTQ people relating to nutrition and obesity, and that tailored programs can improve overall health outcomes for gay men. Our research shows that social demands placed upon gay men to eat healthily and achieve a perfect body are linked to anxiety and depression and have serious mental health consequences. And that health researchers and practitioners need to challenge beauty standards among diverse groups of men through conversations, connections and support.
The social networking and microblogging site Tumblr announced on Monday that from December 17 it will no longer host adult content on its platform. The Washington Post reported that the policy “removes one of the last major refuges for pornography on social media”. But the move will affect more than just porn. Over time, Tumblr has become a haven for fanfiction writers, artists, sex workers, kinksters and independent porn producers who have built subcultural community networks by sharing and discussing their user-generated content. Tumblr’s definition of what constitutes permissible adult content fails to recognize the value of this kind of work.
By Adrienne Shaw, Temple University
The role of video games in queer communities is finally being recognized – but it’s almost too late. For 30 years, GLAAD, a leading advocate for LGBTQ visibility in the media, has honored TV shows that positively represent LGBTQ people – and along the way has expanded its attention to include other genres, such as English language film, journalism, theater and Spanish language media. The 2019 GLAAD Media Awards will, for the first time, recognize video games with LGBTQ characters. As someone who has studied LGBTQ issues in games since 2005, I see this move as an important historical shift, acknowledging that games are worthy of LGBTQ media activists’ attention. When I started my career, I had to convince people that there even were LGBTQ game content, players or creators to be studied.
Shanna K. Kattari, University of Michigan
Many people may experience anxiety when seeking medical treatment. They might worry about wait times, insurance coverage or how far they must travel to access care. Transgender and non-binary individuals have an added fear: gender-related discrimination. This can involve being outed due to a name or gender mismatch on an insurance card, being completely denied care or even being left to die. Most recently, the White House has begun to seriously weigh removing transgender and intersex individuals from definitions of gender completely.
Lara Schwartz, American University School of Public Affairs
On an October night in 1998, Matthew Shepard, a 21-year-old student at the University of Wyoming, was beaten, driven to a remote field, tied to a fence and left to die. The cyclist who found him reported that the unconscious young man’s face was covered with blood except where tears had washed the skin clean. People gathered for vigils nationwide. The press flocked to Laramie to cover the story. Matthew died six days later, on Oct.
Alun Withey, University of Exeter
Beard styles often reveal a moment in time. In 2015 the hipster beard is, despite repeated and insistent claims that the trend is over, still popular. This current trend has already outlasted many of its pogonophilic predecessors over the past 20 years or so. But perhaps the fact that an exhibition at Somerset House in London has just opened featuring 80 portraits by Brock Elbank of hirsute men indicates that the hipster beard will soon, finally, be ditched. Looking back through history, beard styles often follow particular eras.
Timothy R. Bussey, Kenyon College
Recently, there have been a number of historic firsts for transgender political candidates. In 2017, State Rep. Danica Roem of Virginia became the first openly transgender person to be elected to a state legislature, and just last month, gubernatorial candidate, Christine Hallquist of Vermont, became the first transgender person to win a major party nomination. While these accomplishments are a significant sign of change in American politics, transgender people still face challenges in the political arena. One of these challenges is access to ID cards, like a driver’s license or passport, with a correctly updated gender marker (i.e. “M,” “F,” and in some states, “X”), instead of the gender marker that was assigned at birth. A 2018 report from the Williams Institute of the UCLA School of Law examines the impact of strict voter ID laws in the upcoming midterm elections.
For two decades, I have taught U.S. women’s and gender history at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, a blue town in a blue state, marooned in an ocean of red. Bordered by Appalachia, the Mississippi Delta and the Ozarks, Southern Illinois is surrounded by the country’s poorest rural regions. Some of my students arrive from white farming communities and are the first in their families to attend college. They grow up on church, military, patriotism and traditional family, and they come from a world different from mine. I grew up in 1970s San Francisco, and my parents were leftists.