Count Every Vote

Gay news and noteworthy articles for the week of November 5, 2020

As vote counting continued across the country, the outcome of the presidential election appeared likely to hinge on some combination of Georgia, Pennsylvania, Arizona, and Nevada. Mr. Trump has falsely cried fraud and falsely claimed victory, while his campaign revs up the legal machinery to challenge results and demand recounts. In the streets, Trump supporters, some of them armed, have gathered at vote-counting sites to demand more counting (Arizona) or less counting (Michigan), depending on his local fortunes.

Mr. Biden has urged patience while all the votes are counted. His supporters have staged scattered demonstrations, too; a few shop windows have been smashed, and small numbers of protestors have been arrested. But remember: No one has won anything yet. So grab a cup of coffee, put on some music, and let election officials do their jobs.

Exit polls found that 28% of LGBT voters cast their ballots for Mr. Trump, up from 14% in 2016; only 61% did so for Mr. Biden, compared to the 76% support he enjoyed in a GLAAD poll conducted in September. Given the Trump administration’s poor record on LGBTQ rights, the reasons for this surge of support are not clear. Perhaps these voters simply believed they were voting their wallets. Perhaps they just want to get back out on the dance floor, pandemic be damned. Or perhaps, as bisexual African-American columnist Charles M. Blow wrote in The New York Times, this “points to the power of the white patriarchy and the coattail it has of those who depend on it or aspire to it. It reaches across gender and sexual orientation and even race… Some people who have historically been oppressed will stand with the oppressors, and will aspire to power by proximity.”

There were, however, some clear victories for gay folks at the polls: In Nevada, voters approved a ballot resolution enshrining same-sex marriage in the state constitution, ensuring that it “will remain state law even if a future U.S. Supreme Court overturns its 2015 decision legalizing it throughout the country.” And the Bronx sent Ritchie Torres to the House of Representatives, making him “the first gay Afro-Latino person elected to Congress.” Check out the Victory Fund for reports on other LGBTQ candidates nationwide.

Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court held oral arguments in the case of Fulton v. Philadelphia, in which a Catholic foster care organization is suing the city for the right to discriminate against LGBTQ parents. The case has the potential to weaken several important gay rights decisions and erode civil rights protections for other marginalized groups as well. Gay journalist Glenn Greenwald spoke about gay former presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg, Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro, and the state of politics. One hundred thousand people celebrated pride in Taiwan, a gathering made newly possible by 200 “virus-free” days. The Pew Research Center found that 76% of U.S. Catholics believe society should accept homosexuality and 61% support same-sex marriage.

Javier de Isusi’s new graphic novel The Divine Comedy of Oscar Wilde focuses on the author’s Parisian exile; Smithsonian magazine samples a new collection of nineteenth-century photographs of male couples; volume II of William Feaver’s biography of Lucian Freud is out; and Laird Borrelli-Persson reflects on the gender-bending 1992 movie Orlando, based on the novel by Virginia Woolf. Lastly, Sean Connery has died at the age of 90; read The New York Times obituary if you must, but definitely check him out in all the crimson glory of briefs-and-bandoliers in Zardoz (1974).

Illustration: Albrecht Dürer, Knight, Death, and the Devil, 1513 (Cleveland Museum of Art)

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