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Posts by Jason Baumann

Eastern Conference of Homophile Organizations, 1964

Given the dramatic remapping of marriage equality this past week, it is useful to look back to a very different kind of map of LGBT rights drafted 50 years ago from the archives of a pioneering gay rights group whose records are held in the Library’s Manuscripts & Archives Division.Read More ›

Undetectable Flash Collective

In order to foster a community conversation about HIV and AIDS in dialogue with the Library’s major archives on the history of the AIDS crisis, The New York Public Library is hosting a project to create site-specific installations in four library branches—across the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island—that explore the ways that HIV and AIDS are currently affecting these local New York City communities.Read More ›

"Where Were You During the Christopher Street Riots?"

Founded in 1950, the Mattachines took their name from a French Renaissance-era group of masked peasants who performed skits during the Feast of Fools – often ones that poked fun at or protested their treatment at the hands of the local nobility. Along with the Daughters of Bilitis, a lesbian social and political group founded in San Francisco in 1955, they advocated a kind of radical normality in the face of the overwhelming consensus that homosexuals were deviant, pathological, and diseased. Looking at pictures of them now is like looking at gay activists by way of Leave It to Beaver. Yet Read More ›

Picturing Walt Whitman

The life and work of Walt Whitman (May 31, 1819 - March 26, 1892) are prodigiously documented in the Oscar Lion Collection, held in the New York Public Library's Rare Books Division. Read More ›

The True Delights of Penny Dreadfuls

What’s not to love about Showtime’s new gothic series Penny Dreadful? It features Doctor Frankenstein and his monster, Dracula’s Mina Harker, and Wilde’s Dorian Gray, along with séances, ancient Egyptian vampires, gunslingers, serial killers, and maybe even a werewolf, set against the mysterious backdrop of Victorian London. Read More ›

A Prophecy Before Our Time: The Gay Men’s Health Project Clinic Opens in 1972: Controversies and Legacies

Guest post Perry Brass.Read More ›

Do You Snore at Night? Are You HIV+? Am I Going to Jail?

The politics around disclosure are complicated and they are not getting any easier.Read More ›

WHY WE FIGHT: HIV and AIDS in New York City Neighborhoods - Call for Artists, Writers, and Activists

Opportunity to study and collaborate with artist, writer, and activist Avram Finkelstein.Read More ›

The Government Has Blood on Its Hands [One AIDS Death Every Half Hour]

Guest post by Avram Finkelstein.

While we prefer to think of art as a reflection of our culture that mirrors our higher selves—and it frequently is—art can also serve as a dividing line.

Without access to the education needed to pry open the class codes woven into the cannon of Western European art, it can be impenetrable. And without the economic mobility that allows us to visit the great galleries of the world, or the leisure time to go to a museum just a few train stops away, art can easily exceed our 

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A Prophecy Before Our Time: The Gay Men’s Health Project Clinic Opens in 1972, Part Two: A Wasted Opportunity

Guest post by Perry Brass.

Lenny Ebreo, Marc Rabinowitz, and I were thrilled about the forum that took place at Washington Square Methodist Church in 1972. Because of the forum, Lenny now had some connection with the New York City Department of Public Health, which after John Lindsey's administration had been re-organized around local community health centers. He began to fixate on the idea of community health. If we could get our community healthy, in mind and body, it would genuinely come together. He revealed a bombshell idea: we'd open our own gay health clinic in the 

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The Silence=Death Poster

Guest post by Avram Finkelstein.

As a founding member of the political collective that produced the image most closely associated with AIDS activism, Silence=Death, I'm frequently asked to speak about this poster. Over the decades people have thanked me for it, telling me the poster was the rallying cry that drew them to political activism.

I have a slightly different take on that. In essence and intention, the political poster is a public thing. It comes to life in the public sphere, and is academic outside of it. 

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A Prophecy Before Our Time: The Gay Men’s Health Project Clinic Opens in 1972

A guest post by Perry Brass.

Sometimes it's difficult to realize looking back at an activity how far ahead it was. But for the three founders—Leonard Ebreo, Marc Rabinowitz, and myself—of the Gay Men's Health Project Clinic, the first clinic for gay men on the East Coast, opening in 1972 in an unfinished concrete basement at 247 West Eleventh Street in Greenwich Village—this wasn't difficult. We just had no idea how far reaching the term "gay men's health" would become. But we knew the clinic was vitally 

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VD is No Camp

V.D. is no camp, Mattachine Society of New YorkOne of my favorite objects in the exhibition isn't about AIDS at all. It's a small brochure by the Mattachine Society of New York. Titled "VD is No Camp," the small brochure tries to speak in a funny direct way from one gay man to another about the risks of love and desire. I included it in the show because it points to something very 

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Jack Baker and James McConnell

Given yesterday's historic Supreme Court decision overturning the Defense of Marriage Act, it's good to take a moment to look back at the struggles for marriage equality.

In many current debates about the direction of LGBT political struggles, marriage equality has been portrayed as a conservative move after the radicalism of 1970s Gay Liberation and later Queer politics. However, a closer look reveals that LGBT activists have been deeply concerned over the right to marry since the start of modern gay 

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VITO: The Life of Gay Activist Vito Russo

Tonight at 9pm, HBO will premiere Jeffrey Schwarz's new documentary VITO: The Life of Gay Activist Vito Russo. Extensive research for the film was undertaken at the New York Public Library using Vito Russo's papers, as well as many other collections, such as the Gay Activists Alliance Records and ACT UP New York Records.

I was privileged to preview 

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Scenes from a Jamaican Childhood

Tomorrow, November 1st at 6pm, join Thomas Glave (English, General Literature, and Rhetoric, SUNY Binghamton) at the CUNY Graduate Center for this year's Audre Lorde/Essex Hemphill Memorial Lecture. Thomas Glave is the author of Whose Song? and Other Stories, The Torturer's Wife, and the essay collection Words to Our Now: Imagination and Dissent (winner of a 2005 Lambda Literary Award). He is editor of the anthology Our Caribbean: A Gathering of Lesbian and Gay Writing from the Antilles (winner of a 2008 Lambda Literary Award). The Audre Lorde/Essex Hemphill Memorial Lecture is 

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Remembering Frank Kameny

 "We all know that Gay is Good. It's up to us to get out there and make it better---much better!"... Read More ›

It Gets Better

  In case you need some inspiration this National Coming Out Day, check out It Gets Better: Coming Out, Overcoming Bullying, and Creating A Life Worth Living edited by Dan Savage and his partner Terry Miller. The book shares stories of coming out and thriving from LGBT notables from Gene Robinson to Suze Orman,  as well as everyday people. My favorite is Urvashi Vaid's essay "The only reason big changes happen is when people like you and me decide to fight for things to change, when we take action to make ... Read More ›

Navy Discharge Letter, 1914

 Given today's historic repeal of DADT, it important to remember just how long exclusion from military service has been affecting LGBT people in the U.S. It is often thought that exclusion of gays and lesbians from military service focussed in WWII. However, there is evidence that there were soldiers discharged for homosexuality as early as the American revolutionary war. Last year, the Library received a unique letter documenting a member of the U.S. navy who was discharged for homosexuality in 1914. The donor, David Jarrett kindly transcribed the letter with the donation. The letter is Read More ›

Celluloid activist : the life and times of Vito Russo

  If you haven’t already, make sure to check out Michael Schiavi’s new biography of Vito Russo: Celluloid Activist: The Life and Times of Vito Russo.  As Schiavi eloquently glosses—“Twenty years after Vito’s death, we remember him as the author of The Celluloid Closet, as one of Gay Liberation’s angriest agitators, and as one of the earliest, most eloquent voices raised on behalf of people with AIDS.”  The biography was researched using the Read More ›
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