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Nice kitty. While I’m quite fascinated by cats, I’m a little leery of the kind that lurk about in the wild. But the Florida panther is a panther/puma/cougar species (or sub-species) found only in Florida, so we needn’t worry about them way up here in Wisconsin.
Oops, we have our own panthers — and they’re bigger. Well, nevermind. You’ll be safe if you stay indoors — or if you have your mask on — or stay six feet away from them.
The author is a journalist for the Tampa Bay Times and has won lots of awards, mostly writing about his home state. He spins a good yarn that combines natural history, a detective story, and lots of drama. This is a cat’s tale of a nearly extinct species that’s staging a comeback of sorts, perhaps cashing in on one or more of its nine lives to defy the odds of quickly shrinking habitat, too many people, and too many cars.
If you’d like to learn more about the super sleek Florida Panthers, they rate for their own page on the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service web site.
Cat Tale: The Wild, Weird Battle to Save the Florida Panther by Craig Pittman New Arrivals, 2nd Floor QL737.C23 P58 2020
I am a huge Stephen King fan! I constantly marvel at King’s unique sensibility, saturated with a morbid, mortifying hysteria. When I was 14, I started reading Stephen King because I always loved mystery stories – and the scarier the better. I later learned when I was a reading teacher that at the age of 14, I had the reading ability to comprehend some of what I was reading, but did not have the conceptual level. I later reread several of these novels so that I could get a better understanding through a more mature conceptual level.
If you have not done a repeated reading of a book that you read when you were younger, then I encourage you to do so. As your conceptual levels are enhanced, you find that a repeated reading will give you a more nuanced perspective. Listed below is the catalog of Stephen King’s extensive work. The books in bold print are those that I have read or reread. Note that my voracity for King waned over the years and I missed some of his later novels.
I do, however, love short stories or novellas. Stephen King has written two previous compilations of his short stories. If It Bleeds is King’s third volume of short stories. I read the first set of short stories, Night Shift, when I was in 11th grade. Several of the stories listed below in the book Night Shift have become featured films.
Night Shift -1978 – The book was published on the heels of The Shining (1977 Doubleday) and was King’s fifth published book (including Rage, which was published under the pseudonym of Richard Bachman). Nine of the twenty short stories in the book had first appeared in various issues of Cavalier Magazine from 1970–1975; others were originally published in Penthouse, Cosmopolitan, Gallery, Ubris, and Maine Magazine. The stories “Jerusalem’s Lot,” “Quitters Inc.,” “The Last Rung on the Ladder,” and “The Woman in the Room” appeared for the first time in this collection (Wikipedia, 2020).
Different Seasons (1982) – This is a collection of four Stephen King novellas with a more dramatic bent, rather than the horror fiction for which King is famous. The four novellas are tied together via subtitles that relate to each of the four seasons.
At the ending of the book, there is also a brief afterword, which King wrote on January 4, 1982. In it, he explains why he had not previously submitted the novellas (each written at a different time) for publication. Early in his career, his agents and editors expressed concern that he would be “written off” as someone who only wrote horror. However, his horror novels turned out to be quite popular and made him much in demand as a novelist. Conversely, the novellas, which did not deal (primarily) with the supernatural, were very difficult to publish as there was not a mass market for “straight” fiction stories in the 25,000- to 35,000-word format. Thus, King and his editor conceived the idea of publishing the novellas together as “something different,” hence the title of the book. Note that this volume contains two classic movies, Stand by Me and The Shawshank Redemption.
If It Bleeds is a collection of four previously unpublished novellas by Stephen King. The stories in the collection are titled “If It Bleeds,” “Mr. Harrigan’s Phone,” “The Life of Chuck,” and “Rat.” It was released on April 28, 2020. Some say that this is King’s best work in recent years, showcasing his talent once again when it comes to the novella. In each of these novellas, King reflects upon death in some way, and he handles death with depth, courage, and inevitability – people die and others survive to die another day. Why read such a treatise in the middle of pandemic? Sometimes by concentrating on the fantastical, I can better absorb the real.
“If It Bleeds” – The premise of the title story is based on a journalism adage that if it bleeds, it leads! This means that stories that witness the gruesome death of others are often the lead stories on the nightly news in which the viewers “eat the pain of survivors and bereaved the deaths.” The protagonist of the title story, Holly Gibney, is by King’s own admission one of his most beloved characters, a “quirky walk-on” who quickly found herself at the center of some very unpleasant adventures in End of Watch, Mr. Mercedes, and The Outsider. Holly seems to always stumble upon those where the dead are not really dead, but somehow becomes something else. In this particular case, the something else a shape-shifting TV journalist that follows the leads to the “bleeds.” An on-the-ground reporters who turn up at very ugly disasters. Holly has a sort of a shining for the paranormal. “Only a coincidence, Holly thinks, but a chill shivers through her just the same and once again she thinks of how there may be forces in this world moving people as they will, like men (and women) on a chessboard.” This title story kept my sensibilities gasping as viscerally felt exposed to Holly’s every move. I was afraid for her and terrified of what might happen to her in the end.
“Rat” – What if you could have what you want, but you have to sacrifice something in return? This something in return was going to happen anyway so what difference would it make. You get yours, the something happens and all is good, but is it. This is the premise of the short story “Rat.” An author abandons his family and goes to a remote cabin to write his novel. He tried writing a novel before, but lost his way and almost his sanity. But this time, he is cooking with gas and the novel is coming together word-by-word and page-by-page until he lost his edge after a life-threatening winter storm. So how does he get back on track? Of course, he makes a deal with a rat. In the careful-what-you-wish-for department, there are the usual hallucinatory doings, a destiny-altering proposal, and of course a writer protagonist who makes a deal for success that he thinks will outsmart the fates.
“Mr. Harrigan’s Phone” – A teenager finds that a dead friend’s cell phone that was buried with the body still communicates from beyond the grave. Craig gets a job working for the retired Mr. Harrigan when he’s just nine years old, watering plants and reading to the old man, who has retired to the small town of Harlow, Maine, after a successful business career. As the years go on, Craig buys an iPhone for him as a thank you gift after a scratch-off lotto ticket that Harrigan had gifted the boy pays off. The old man is reluctant to accept the phone at first, but comes to enjoy it. When Mr. Harrigan dies, Craig places the phone in his pocket to be buried with him. One night, missing his friend, he leaves a voice message. To his shock, he gets a text in return. Craig will learn that not everything dead is gone.
“The Life of Chuck” – As the world around him crumbles into oblivion, a man realizes that he contains multitudes. A story told in reverse, starting with the end of Chuck Krantz’s life, and moving back in time to show how he’d lived that life. “The Life of Chuck” started a bit strange, with Act III to be precise. At first I thought it might be something futuristic. But then you’ll learn who Chuck Krantz really was. The whole story is a kind of chronology of death foretold. The Life of Chuck is the story of a man’s life told in reverse and it works so beautifully. This is the type of King story I love most of all because he just sucker punches when you least expect with a story-within-a-story that tugs at your heart and emotions. I was so caught up in the dance sequence, the drumming, and the colliding stories, that I actually shed a tear.
Stephen King’s Chronology
1. Carrie (1974)
2. ‘Salem’s Lot (1975)
3. The Shining (1977)
4. Rage (1977)
5. The Stand (1978)
6. The Long Walk (1979)
7. The Dead Zone (1979)
8. Firestarter (1980)
9. Roadwork (1981)
10. Cujo (1981)
11. The Running Man (1982)
12. The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger (1982)
13. Christine (1983)
14. Pet Sematary (1983)
15. Cycle of the Werewolf (1983)
16. The Talisman (1984)
17. Thinner (1984)
18. It (1986)
19. The Eyes of the Dragon (1987)
20. The Dark Tower II: The Drawing of the Three (1987)
21. Misery (1987)
22. The Tommyknockers (1987)
23. The Dark Half (1989)
24. The Dark Tower III: The Waste Lands (1991)
25. Needful Things (1991)
26. Gerald’s Game (1992)
27. Dolores Claiborne (1992)
28. Insomnia (1994)
29. Rose Madder (1995)
30. The Green Mile (1996)
31. Desperation (1996)
32. The Regulators (1996)
33. The Dark Tower IV: Wizard and Glass (1997)
34. Bag of Bones (1998)
35. The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon (1999)
36. Dreamcatcher (2001)
37. Black House (2001)
38. From a Buick 8 (2002)
39. The Dark Tower V: Wolves of the Calla (2003)
40. The Dark Tower VI: Song of Susannah (2004)
41. The Dark Tower VII: The Dark Tower (2004)
42. The Colorado Kid (2005)
43. Cell (2006)
44. Lisey’s Story (2006)
45. Blaze (2007)
46. Duma Key (2008)
47. Under the Dome (2009)
48. 11/22/63 (2011)
49. The Dark Tower: The Wind Through the Keyhole (2012)
I was surprised to see this book the other day, because I’d just had a conversation with my brother about a woman in Baltimore who trademarked the word “hon.” I simply didn’t believe that it was possible to trademark a term I’ve heard people utter hundreds of times, so had to look into it. According to UpCounsel.com*, the law allows trademarking of goods and services, but not trademarking “generic terms, phrases, or the like.” Hon would seem to fit that and yet the woman was able to trademark it. In my world, the term comes mostly, but not exclusively, from the mouths of southerners and people in service industries. I always thought it was just a nicety, little did I know hearing the word hon is the next best thing to being in Baltimore.
Baltimoreans/Baltimoreons (take your pick) have a long standing reputation for including “hon” in their greetings. Although it has been in use much longer, over the last 30 years or so the “hon” in local Baltimore dialect has been the focal point of a local controversy. There have been protests and boycotts over the word and even legislative action. The to-do encompases Denise Whiting’s trademark of the term in 1992, through citywide efforts to construct local tradition, and on to the future. Here you will find the story of local Baltimore culture, but also see how it reflects on local culture around the United States.
Lest you think “hon” is innocuous, it symbolizes divisions of race, class, gender, and belonging, all of which are discussed in this book. According to this NPR 4-minute listen, “the Hon” is also a person, “that beehived, cat’s-eye-glasses-wearing, working-class woman of the late 1950s and early ’60s.” You can probably just imagine, but if not, check out this image from Honfest 2018.
Tradition, Urban Identity, and the Baltimore “Hon:” The Folk in the City
by David J. Puglia
New Arrivals, 2nd Floor F189.B15 P84 2018
Welcome (back) to UW-Whitewater and Andersen Library!
Andersen Library is open Monday-Tuesday, August 31-September 1 from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Fall Semester hours start on Wednesday, September 2:
Mon.-Thurs.: 7:30 a.m.-midnight
Fri.: 7:30 a.m.-6 p.m.
Sat.: 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
Sun.: 1 p.m.-midnight
Exception: Labor Day, Monday Sept. 7: Closed
Please note that measures are in place to help us all be as safe as possible. These measures include the wearing of face masks by everyone in the library; cleaning supply stations on each floor (please use wipes for keyboards and mice); shields at service desks; and spacing of tables, seating and computers to maintain social distancing, including reduced capacity in study rooms. Please use the signs on tables and computers to indicate that you have used them, because this alerts staff that they need sanitizing. There will be regular cleaning of these spaces by staff, but you may use materials from cleaning stations to clean a space for yourself. We also urge you to wash your hands thoroughly or use hand sanitizer. There is additional information on the Library’s COVID-19 Updates page and the campus Warhawks Return page.
We are looking forward to helping you succeed this year!
Please ask a librarian (email, chat, phone 262.472.1032, or visit the Reference Desk) for assistance.
August 26, 2020, is Women’s Equality Day. This year is the centennial of the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which guaranteed women the constitutional right to vote. People are encouraged to celebrate at noon on Wed., Aug. 26, with the ringing of bells, blowing of whistles, and honking of horns, as was done in 1920 (reported in the Madison Capital Times on August 27, 1920).
It is important to remember that the path to equality for all women was uneven. Despite a historical connection between abolition and suffrage, discrimination within the suffragist movement forced the creation of separate organizations. And even after the 1920 victory, African American women continued to face barriers to exercising their right to vote such as literacy tests. You can read more about it and see a timeline of key events for Black suffragists online.
It is shocking sometimes how little we know about our own history! To test your knowledge about suffrage, and to learn more, you can visit the Women’s Vote Centennial Initiative website and take the quizzes there!
For assistance with finding additional resources, such as articles or books, please ask a librarian (visit or contact staff at the Reference Desk, email, chat, or make an appointment).
Andersen Library is a federal depository library with federal government documents on a variety of current and relevant issues available to you in various formats (print, DVD/CD-ROM, online). Check out your government at Andersen Library!
Due to the racial and social unrest that took place in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd, my mind and heart was in a shamble. The unrest was multiplied by the fact that I was marinating in the self-isolation of COVID-19 and my spirit was aching for invigoration, inspiration, and connectivity. I have been fascinated with the Obamas and had the book Becoming sitting on my coffee table as a conversation piece. I had not taken the time to read it, but I made a pact with my sister who lives in Oklahoma that we would read and discuss it together as a way to navigate the boredom of COVID-19 and the disdain over the death of George Floyd. As we were reading the book, another seminal event took place which was the death of John Lewis. John Lewis was one of the leading figures of the 1960’s WOKE Culture. He led the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, walked with Dr. Martin Luther King across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama and became a lifelong freedom fighter in Congress. He was a dear friend and inspiration to Barack and Michelle Obama. Without John Lewis and his rousing call for freedom, there would not be a Barak Obama, a Michelle Obama, or a Dwight Watson as the first Black Chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.
As reported in the August 10, 2020, TimeMagazine tribute issue to John Lewis, he was known as the conscience of Congress, and his beginning of the dream started with the March on Washington in 1963. “The march on Washington was a triumph. But after everybody agreed on that, the question was why: Why? Hardly in terms of immediate results, since there were none. The battle cry of the march was “Now!” Seas of placards demanded Negro equality – Now! Speakers demanded action – Now! Cried John Lewis…We want freedom and we want it NOW! But Now remained a long way off. It would not come today, tomorrow, next month, or next year. (Reprinted from Time Magazine, September 6, 1963: Full text – UWW access)
As an inspiration, I started the book Becoming, but I finished the book as a tribute to John Lewis who inspired many including the First Lady of the United State. Michelle Obama’s triumphs are indeed a testament to the March on Washington which was the beginning of the dream and her becoming is a dream fulfilled. She spoke of her becoming as a beholding. She said, “I carried history with me, and it was not that of presidents or First Ladies. I never related to the story of John Quincy Adams the way I did to Sojourner Truth, or been moved by Woodrow Wilson the way I was by Harriet Tubman, The struggles of Rosa Parks and Coretta Scott King was more familiar to me than those of Eleanor Roosevelt or Mamie Eisenhower. I carried their histories, along with my mother and grandmothers. None of these women could ever imagine the life like the one I now had, but they had trusted that their perseverance would yield someone like me. I wanted to show up in the world in a way that honored who they were (pp. 364-365).”
Michelle Obama’s book is filled with many amazing insights into what it was like to grow up on the South Side of Chicago as she shares the joys of her childhood as well as some of the tough things. She was a feisty child, driven to do well in school. Her story begins: “I spent much of my childhood listening to the sound of striving.” She speaks lovingly of her roots in this working class family – her parents and her brother and grandparents and how their values shaped the adult she would become.
The book is divide into three sections – Becoming Me in which Michelle discusses her origin story, Becoming Us which is an account of her first encounter with Barak until he was elected President of the United States, and Becoming More which depicts her life and adventures of becoming the first Black First Lady of the United States. Michelle shares her love for her husband and daughters. She speaks about the discrimination against the men in her family, about being Black at Princeton, about the attacks on her husband’s citizenship. We discover who she is in the times she is undergoing a self-discovery, as she questions her aspirations, as she juggles work and motherhood as Barack’s involvement and aspirations in politics grow. The book is an intimate portrait of the personal struggles that she faced.
What I enjoyed most about the book was its candor. Michelle Obama was speaking to me as intimate friend and I understood her struggles and her triumphs as she wove her life story. This story was full of many self-doubts in which she asked herself, “Am I good enough?” Coming from meager means and becoming the First Lady was no mere incidental happenstance. This happened because of Barack Obama’s ability to cause a swerve in Michelle’s dogged persistence of making lists, checking off accomplishments, and striving to the next level which was to attend Princeton, then Harvard Law School, then attain a job in a major law firm, then to make partner. Barack’s first campaign was to win the hand of Michelle Robinson and the rest became a history of firsts.
“As the only African American First Lady to set foot in the White House, I was “other” almost by default. If there was a presumed grace assigned to my White predecessors, I knew it was unlikely to be the same for me. I’d learned through the stumbles that I had to be better, faster, smarter, and stronger than ever. My grace would need to be earned. I worried that many Americans wouldn’t see themselves reflected in me, settling in my new role slowly without being judged. And when it came to judgment, I was as vulnerable as ever to the unfounded fears and racial stereotypes that lay just beneath the surface of the public consciousness, ready to be stirred up by rumor and innuendo (p. 284).”
As a former First Lady, Obama states that she has encountered hypocritical and shallow people but many wonderful others, such as military spouses and teachers with outstanding spirits and fortitude. She recalls meeting children across the globe who filled her with joy and enabled her to forget her title, at least for a brief time. Throughout the book, the theme of becoming was evident –Becoming Me, Becoming Us, Becoming More. In the end, Michelle Obama recognized that confidence needed to be called from within as she asked and answered her continuous refrain. “Am I good enough? Yes, I am.”
I started this book at the beginning of the George Floyd revolution as a way to calm my person and to re-engineer my heart, my mind and my soul. Through the reading of the book, I reflected on my own becoming as the first African American Chancellor at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater as I celebrated my first year at the helm during turbulent times. I ended the book with the death of John Lewis and Reverend C.T. Vivian (they both died on the same day, July 17, 2020), two pioneers in the fight for freedom and justice. This review has come to an end with the plaintive words of John Lewis, a beloved friend of Michelle and Barak Obama.
“While my time here has now come to an end, I want you to know that in the last days and hours of my life you inspired me. You filled me with hope about the next chapter of the great American story when you used your power to make a difference in our society. Millions of people motivated simply by human compassion laid down the burdens of division. Around the country and the world you set aside race, class, age, language and nationality to demand respect for human dignity.
That is why I had to visit Black Lives Matter Plaza in Washington, though I was admitted to the hospital the following day. I just had to see and feel it for myself that, after many years of silent witness, the truth is still marching on.
Emmett Till was my George Floyd. He was my Rayshard Brooks, Sandra Bland and Breonna Taylor. He was 14 when he was killed, and I was only 15 years old at the time. I will never ever forget the moment when it became so clear that he could easily have been me. In those days, fear constrained us like an imaginary prison, and troubling thoughts of potential brutality committed for no understandable reason were the bars.
Though I was surrounded by two loving parents, plenty of brothers, sisters and cousins, their love could not protect me from the unholy oppression waiting just outside that family circle. Unchecked, unrestrained violence and government-sanctioned terror had the power to turn a simple stroll to the store for some Skittles or an innocent morning jog down a lonesome country road into a nightmare. If we are to survive as one unified nation, we must discover what so readily takes root in our hearts that could rob Mother Emanuel Church in South Carolina of her brightest and best, shoot unwitting concertgoers in Las Vegas and choke to death the hopes and dreams of a gifted violinist like Elijah McClain.” (July 30, 2020. New York Times. Note: Mr. Lewis, the civil rights leader who died on July 17, wrote this essay shortly before his death, to be published upon the day of his funeral.)
I hope the readers of this blog find wisdom in the words of Congressman Lewis. To pay tribute to John Lewis, Reverend C.T. Vivian, Black Lives Matter, and the need for restorative perseverance during these turbulent times, read Becoming by Michelle Obama to experience the confluence (the grand intersections) and the influence (the glorious inspiration).
The Library provides access to Reverend C. T. Vivian New York Times obituary, works such as Black Power and the American Myth, and archival materials such as Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee papers. Listen to C. T. Vivian’s responses during panel discussions with the 1961 Freedom Riders, and a 2007 interview, and see him frequently featured throughout PBS’s acclaimed documentary “Eyes On The Prize” [1987 & 2006]. Visit the C. T. Vivian Leadership Institute online to witness his legacy.
Are you my type? Did you ever watch the TV show, The Middle? The super-quirky, but adorable Brick started the Font Club at his school. So I immediately thought of him when I saw this book, though it’s hard to say if it would actually resonate with him as it’s a bit flamboyant for his tastes.
Nevertheless, the book is a fun, flashy splash of design, color, and unusual typefaces. Marshall McLuhan’s famous line, “the medium is the message” might well be said to be the theme of this book. Type and color can convey as much meaning as the text itself.
The author is a graphic designer in the Netherlands and according to the publisher’s web site, his favorite color is full color. It shows!
Type and Color: How to Design and Use Multicolored Typefaces
by Mark van Wageningen
New Arrivals, 2nd Floor Z250.7 .W3413 2020
I’ll come clean, this is not a new book. However, it is one that will serve you immensely for the rest of your life.
We have the original edition (2002) online and the 2nd edition (2012) in print. I’ve read the 2nd edition and it has deeply influenced me. Whether you’re talking issues of discrimination, harassment, finances, religion, vacation destinations, or almost any other topic where there is heartfelt disagreement, this book will serve you well. It is filled with interpersonal communication strategies for improving discussions and relations with others, so that everyone can leave feeling like they’ve been heard and understood. The book flows through parts of conversations and gives you tips for dealing with different situations that might arise. To summarize the chapter titles, in a conversation you should focus on what you really want; identify when safety is at risk; make it a safe space; stay in dialogue when you’re angry, scared, or hurt; speak persuasively, not abrasively; listen carefully, and finally move to action and results. It sounds like a lot, but Patterson packs it all in there in an easily accessible format. The book includes links to useful videos (2nd edition only, first hand accounts, and case studies. I wholeheartedly recommend that you read it.
Before I get to the book, I want to celebrate Gay Pride Month with one of my heroes who recently died. Larry Kramer was a personal hero of mine. He was an outspoken playwright and AIDS activist. He sought to shock the country into dealing with AIDS as a public-health emergency and foresaw that it could kill millions regardless of sexual orientation. He started the group ACT-Up and their mantra was “We’re Queer, We’re Here, Get Used to It.” At the age of 84, he was still agitating and advocating for gay rights. Recently, all of the issues that Larry fought for such as marriage rights, workers’ rights, and health care for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered individuals have been realized. Mr. Kramer’s landmark play, The Normal Heart, captured the intersection of the rights for gay folk through the lens of the AIDS crisis 1. This play captured my heart back in 1985 and when I read the book Spoiler Alert: The Hero Dies, I remembered this play, Larry Kramer, and all that has been accomplished since 1985. With the death of Larry Kramer, indeed the hero has died.
One of my best friends sent me Spoiler Alert: The Hero Dies as a holiday present in December of 2019 and I waited to read it because I like reading LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, queer/questioning plus other self-proclaimed depictions of one’s affectional orientation and gender expression) literature during the celebration of June’s Gay Pride Month. As I opened my gift, he had a note in the book telling me to read the last chapter first which was entitled “Flash-Forward.” Nowhere in my research of the book or the author’s preface was such a request noted. I encourage those who decide to read this book to do the same.
With a title like Spoiler Alert: the Hero Diesyou know what the outcome is so you might not be prone to read a book about death and dying. I encourage you to reject that notion so that you can enjoy the rich nuances of this poignant and hilarious account of loving life together. This is a memoir of Michael and Kit written by Michael that captures the love, marriage, and death of Kit due to cancer. As stated on the cover of the book, this is a memoir of love, loss, and four-letter words.
In this heartbreaking and darkly hilarious memoir, Michael tells the story of his harrowing and challenging last year with Kit while revisiting the thirteen years that preceded it. Michael speaks his truth and gives the messy details that makes you want to turn away in order to respect and honor the dead. But you have to swallow the pill regardless of how jagged it might be, because if Michael can write and live through it, and Kit died because of it, then out of respect the reader must endure and not look away from the pain. The memoir captures this undeniably powerful bond between Michael and Kit which enabled Michael to share this unforgettable, inspiring, and beautiful testament to the resilience and strength of true love.
Although the book is a chronicle of Kit’s fight with cancer and how he and Michael faced down the disease and setbacks together, this book is more than just a sad account of a life nearing its end. This is also a story of a relationship, a love affair from start to finish with the funny and sweet moments, the challenges and the anxieties, and all of the emotion and beauty of two people who truly gave each other their whole hearts.
Growing up through the AIDS crisis in the 80’s, I had my share of death. I am so thankful that I made it through. I often reflect about the loved ones I have lost and try to remain positive in the hope that the poetry of living outlasts the pain of remembrance. To honor Michael and Kit’s relationship, the activist Larry Kramer, and Gay Pride Month, I celebrate these successes by capturing the chronology below.
As we celebrate Gay Pride, I wanted to share some of the many accomplishments that have taken place ending with the most recent announcement on June 15, 2020. The chronology captured is instrumental to the events in the Spoiler Alert: The Hero Dies. Kit and Michael had the protection of marriage when dealing with the death of a love one. This was so very different from The Normal Heart 1985 depiction of a same sex couple struggling with the death of a partner during the AIDS crisis. I attribute many of these current-day accomplishments to Larry Kramer and his activism that helped sparked a revolution.
This linked article from CNN provides an LGBTQ+ Rights chronology from 1924 to 2020. The following information is specifically from the Marriage Acts to June, 2020:
October 6, 2014 – The United States Supreme Court denies review in five different marriage cases, allowing lower court rulings to stand, and therefore allowing same-sex couples to marry in Utah, Oklahoma, Virginia, Indiana and Wisconsin. The decision opens the door for the right to marry in Colorado, Kansas, North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia and Wyoming.
June 9, 2015 – Secretary of Defense Ash Carter announces that the Military Equal Opportunity policy has been adjusted to include gay and lesbian military members.
April 28, 2015 – The US Supreme Court hears oral arguments on the question of the freedom to marry in Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio and Michigan. On June 26 the Supreme Court rules that states cannot ban same-sex marriage. The 5-4 ruling had Justice Anthony Kennedy writing for the majority. Each of the four conservative justices writes their own dissent.
July 27, 2015 – Boy Scouts of America President Robert Gates announces, “the national executive board ratified a resolution removing the national restriction on openly gay leaders and employees.”
May 17, 2016 – The Senate confirms Eric Fanning to be secretary of the Army, making him the first openly gay secretary of a US military branch. Fanning previously served as Defense Secretary Carter’s chief of staff, and also served as undersecretary of the Air Force and deputy undersecretary of the Navy.
June 24, 2016 – Obama announces the designation of the first national monument to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBTQ) rights. The Stonewall National Monument will encompass Christopher Park, the Stonewall Inn and the surrounding streets and sidewalks that were the sites of the 1969 Stonewall uprising.
June 30, 2016 – Secretary of Defense Carter announces that the Pentagon is lifting the ban on transgender people serving openly in the US military.
August 5-21, 2016 – A record number of “out” athletes compete in the summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. The Human Rights Campaign estimates that there are at least 41 openly lesbian, gay and bisexual Olympians — up from 23 that participated in London 2012.
November 9, 2016 – Kate Brown is sworn in as governor of Oregon, a day after she was officially elected to the office. Brown becomes the highest-ranking LGBTQ person elected to office in the United States. Brown took over the governorship in February 2016 (without an election), after Democrat John Kitzhaber resigned amidst a criminal investigation.
April 4, 2017 – The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals rules that the Civil Rights Act prohibits workplace discrimination against LGBTQ employees, after Kimberly Hively sues Ivy Tech Community College for violating Title VII of the act by denying her employment.
June 27, 2017 – District of Columbia residents can now choose a gender-neutral option of their driver’s license. DC residents become the first people in the United States to be able to choose X as their gender marker instead of male or female on driver’s licenses and identification cards. Similar policies exist in Canada, India, Bangladesh, Australia, New Zealand and Nepal.
November 7, 2017 – Virginia voters elect the state’s first openly transgender candidate to the Virginia House of Delegates. Danica Roem unseats incumbent delegate Bob Marshall, who had been elected thirteen times over 26 years. Roem becomes the first openly transgender candidate elected to a state legislature in American history.
February 26, 2018 – The Pentagon confirms that the first transgender person has signed a contract to join the US military.
March 4, 2018 – Daniela Vega, the star of Oscar-winning foreign film “A Fantastic Woman,” becomes the first openly transgender presenter in Academy Awards history when she introduces a performance by Sufjan Stevens, whose song “Mystery of Love” from the “Call Me By Your Name” soundtrack, is nominated for best original song.
November 6, 2018 – Democratic US Representative Jared Polis wins the Colorado governor’s race, becoming the nation’s first openly gay man to be elected governor.
June 30, 2019 – New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signs a law banning the use of the so-called gay and trangendered panic legal defense strategy. The tactic asks a jury to find that a victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity is to blame for a defendant’s violent reaction. New York follows California, Rhode Island, Illinois, Nevada and Connecticut as the sixth state to pass such a law.
September 22, 2019 – Billy Porter becomes the first openly gay black man to win the Emmy for best lead actor in a drama series.
February 10, 2020 – The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upholds a ruling that the state of Idaho must provide gender confirmation surgery for Adree Edmo, an inmate in the custody of the Idaho Department of Correction. The ruling marks the first time a federal appeals court has ruled that a state must provide gender assignment surgery to an incarcerated person. According to the court opinion, “the gender confirmation surgery (“GCS”) was medically necessary for Edmo, and ordered the State to provide the surgery.” Idaho Governor Brad Little said in a written statement, “We will vigorously litigate the Ninth Circuit’s unprecedented ruling at the Supreme Court because the taxpayers of Idaho should not have to pay for a procedure that is not medically necessary.”
June 15, 2020 – The Supreme Court rules that federal law protects LGBTQ workers from discrimination. The landmark ruling extends protections to millions of workers nationwide and is a defeat for the Trump administration, which argued that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act that bars discrimination based on sex did not extend to claims of gender identity and sexual orientation.