From the NYU Stories archive—a collection of videos and articles to revisit for Pride Month. Tweet us at @nyuniversity to let us know what else you're reading, watching, and talking about!
As recently as 2001, trans students arguing for a “Restroom Revolution” at UMass Amherst were coolly dismissed—by the university vice chancellor and the campus press alike—as attention-seekers looking for a problem where there was none.
Only 15 years later, their cause is anything but a fringe issue: Even the President of the United States is now playing an active role in a heated national battle over which restrooms transgender citizens may use—one that gets to the heart of how we as a society think about gender. [Read more]
A semi-autobiographical story inspired by the author’s own experiences living as a bachelor in the bohemian Greenwich Village, the plot follows the urban adventures of Robert Byng, who, unemployed and unattached after travels abroad, takes up residence at “Chrysalis College”—“an ineffectual high-low school” that “stands big, battlemented, buttressed, marble, with windows like crenelles” on the northeast corner of “Ailanthus” (really Washington) Square. [Read more]
Mood lighting and dance music transformed Kimmel’s Eisner and Lubin auditorium into a plausible approximation of a nightclub as a crowd of more than 400 settled in to watch NY(Drag)U, the LGBTQ Student Center’s fifth annual drag queen and king competition—emceed this year by none other than Jujubee of RuPaul’s Drag Race fame. [Read More]
June in Greenwich Village is the sticky sense of an impending thunderstorm, mingled with the rich perfume of ripe flowers and trash. It is also a time when New Yorkers—and people the world over—celebrate that heated moment in the early hours of June 28, 1969 when the gay community took a stand against police harassment at the Village’s Stonewall Inn.
Stonewall didn’t happen in a vacuum, of course: the ’60s were a decade of mass uprising against oppression of all kinds, including movements promoting civil rights, women’s liberation, and an end to the war in Vietnam. This transformative period is the specialty of NYU history professor, labor archivist, and activist Kevyne Baar, who journeyed to teach it as part of a Fulbright exchange at Hacetepe University in Ankara, Turkey. [Read More]
Chuck Walters quickly made himself indispensable to MGM by demonstrating a knack for accommodating the idiosyncrasies—and overcoming the insecurities—of the day’s A-list personalities, from Joan Crawford and Esther Williams to Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby. Walters was particularly adept at making non-dancers feel comfortable with choreography, and cultivated a close personal and professional relationship with Judy Garland, whose movement he directed in Meet Me in St. Louis, including that film’s famous trolley scene. The fact that he was gay and relatively open about it, for the time—sharing a home with his longtime partner John Darrow, a prominent Hollywood agent—didn’t seem to hinder his success. [Read more]
Many of the 15 gay men whose stories make up Perry Halkitis’ new book, The AIDS Generation: Stories of Survival and Resilience, didn’t expect to live past the age of 30. When they learned they were HIV-positive, during the height of the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s and 90s, most lived by the “myth of two,” believing they could expect to last another two years, tops. Friends and partners suffered and died. Some turned to drugs, sex, and alcohol to dull the pain.
Decades later, they’re still here, thanks in part effective antiretroviral therapies—first introduced in 1996—that dramatically improved the prognosis for those living with the virus. Now confronting the physical and psychological realities of middle age, the men who eluded death in their twenties and thirties are now looking toward the end of their natural lives—and attempting to make sense of what their legacies will be. [Read more]
To anyone who’s been paying attention, it should be obvious that our country has undergone rapid, sweeping cultural change over the past 4 or 8 or 12 years regarding how we think about gay rights. Gallup poll data shows that 58% of Americans believe that gay and lesbian relations are morally acceptable, up from 38% in 2002, and 54% now believe that same-sex marriages should be recognized by the law, with same rights as traditional marriages, up from 37% in 2005. And a whopping 90% of Americans support protections from discrimination for gay and lesbian employees.
But what’s driving the trend? And will it last? [Read more]
NYU archivist Brent Phillips noticed something intriguing while helping scholars research the AIDS epidemic at Bobst’s Fales Library & Special Collections. Not only did the Fales Downtown Collection, which chronicles the arts scene in lower Manhattan from the 1970s through the early ’90s, have copious material on AIDS due to its location as the epicenter of the disease roughly 35 years ago, but its contents offered a revealing perspective on the diverse, complex, and often conflicting responses to New York City’s biggest public health crisis in recent memory. [Read more]