Saturday, June 18, 2016
As to be expected, the massacre at a gay club in Orlando dominates the most recent Time Magazine
cover -- and does so in a very touching and sombre way: the names of all the victims in a list, grey-scaled, pouring over like a lamentation on a jet-black background. It is a memorial in the guise of a magazine cover, and it reminds me of similar designs such as the Maya Lin's Vietnam War Memorial
in Washington, D.C., a dark-grey slab that becomes a massive centerpiece of emotion with the seemingly-endless sea of names listed and wrapped around it.
The cover story can be found here
, and the article title itself is a plea: "Why did they die?"
In retrospect, the magazine has gone over considerable ground in covering LGBTQ issues quite a few times in its history, some good, some bad...
... and almost always in stories that detail a cultural war involving tolerance (in the army, among the conservative class, among teenagers...), sometimes a coverage of disease ravaging a community, and sometimes notes of triumph in the fight for equality. Gay men and women, many of them, have graced the cover of Time
, of course -- they are not included here -- but the cover stories almost always center around their achievements, and never about their sexuality -- unless you're Ellen DeGeneres.
All of these have come a long way from the very first Time
cover that focused on gayness. In 1966, the magazine broke new ground with a cover story titled "The Homosexual in America." It was an ugly coverage. In trying to define homosexuality, the article runs lines like: "Beset by inner conflicts, the homosexual is unsure of his position in society, ambivalent about his attitudes and identity—but he gains a certain amount of security through the fact that society is equally ambivalent about him." That's the cover below.
The Stonewall Riots -- the iconic turning point in the history of the gay rights movement -- never made it to the cover of Time
when it exploded in the summer of 1969. Four months later, in 31 October 1969, an article in Time
did run, and it read: "The life of a homosexual is a pathetic little second-rate substitute for reality, a pitiable flight from life. As such it deserves fairness, compassion, understanding and, when possible, treatment. But it deserves no encouragement, no glamorization, no rationalization, no fake status as minority martyrdom, no sophistry about simple differences in taste -- and, above all, no pretense that it is anything but a pernicious sickness."
Oh dear God
Times -- and the tone in Time
-- have certainly changed.
Labels: issues, magazines, queer
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