As the 2020 campaign enters the home stretch, Judge Amy Coney Barrett is facing the Senate Judiciary Committee for the third of four days of Supreme Court confirmation hearings. Asked about her attitudes toward LGBTQ rights, Barrett said that she would never discriminate “on the basis of sexual preference.” But as Mark Joseph Stern wrote in Slate, we should take no comfort from that: The phrase plays “into the anti-gay canard that sexual minorities are not a discrete and insular minority deserving of constitutional protections but rather deviants who should not be rewarded for their aberrant sexuality.” Barrett’s connections with the SPLC-designated anti-LGBTQ hate group “Alliance Defending Freedom” have already been reported.
Meanwhile the Trump administration continued its hostility toward the queer community, as education secretary Betsy De Vos appointed an “anti-LGBTQ extremist” to head the department’s Diversity and Inclusion Council. So far, however, the administration’s bigoted policies have not fared as well in court. In a decision reminiscent of two earlier cases—Kiviti v. Pompeo and Mize-Gregg v. Pompeo—a three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the State Department may not deny citizenship to one of two twins born to an Israeli-American gay couple.
This conspicuous hate seems rather self-defeating: More than 500 LGBTQ candidates will appear on ballots this November. Gallup has found that 67% of Americans support same-sex marriage, and 93% support equal employment rights. And another recent poll of voters in battleground states found that even among Republicans, more people support equal LGBTQ rights than oppose them.
While the theatrical release of Timothée Chalamet’s new Dune has been postponed until October 2021, fans of queer cinema will have no shortage of things to watch this month: the 32nd annual New York LGBTQ+ film festival NewFest will run from October 16th through the 27th; as a result of the pandemic, viewers all over will be able to stream the films online. RuPaul learned about his ancestors in a recent episode of Henry Louis Gates Jr.’s genealogical program, Finding Your Roots. And if country music is your thing, Hunter Kelly is hosting a new gay-themed country music show on Apple Music, “Proud Radio,” Sunday evenings at 7 ET.
In art news, a trove of more than 400 homoerotic drawings by Duncan Grant (1885–1978), long thought lost, has surfaced and been donated to the Charleston Trust. The full collection will no doubt take some time to be published, but a few tantalizing examples have been released here, here, and here. A new exhibition of paintings by Andrew LaMar Hopkins, a New Orleans artist and drag performer, “reimagines the Antebellum history of Southern port cities” with a particular focus on the “complexity of Creole identities.” And a show of works by Andy Warhol photographer Christopher Makos is on at Daniel Cooney Fine Art in New York through November 7; Poz interviewed the artist about “mak[ing] dirty art in a pandemic.”
“Give me a gay section [in the book store], not gentrified shelves,” pleads Arielle Moscati in Book Riot. We hear you and we’ll try, although as always with a focus on the gay male experience: Architecture & Mortality explores the prints of Donald Tarantino, a gay artist who died of AIDS in 1988. In The Man Who Ate Too Much, John Birdsall chronicles the life of master chef James Beard—who “from a young age…knew he liked boys, not girls,” in the words of reviewer Ligaya Mishan. And in To the End of the World, Rupert Everett tells of the making of The Happy Prince, his 2018 retelling of the tragic last days of Oscar Wilde.
Finally, Oreo is releasing 10,000 packages of limited-edition rainbow Oreos as part of a publicity stunt partnership with PFLAG. They aren’t being sold in stores, though, so if you want a one you’ll have to tweet for it.
Illustration based on Honoré Daumier, “Caricature of the European Superpowers at the Conference of London,” 1832 (Rijksmuseum)