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GayTies News for February 18, 2019


Jersey Trans Pioneer Babs Siperstein Dies at 76

Bronx City Councilmember Ruben Diaz, Sr., is targeting a pair of his LGBTQ colleagues and finding new ways to blame them for what he says is gay political power, marking yet another twist in the homophobe’s seemingly unen... Show more

“Front Runner” Author Patricia Nell Warren Dies at 82

Barbra Siperstein, a groundbreaking activist for transgender rights and trans visibility in Democratic politics — in New Jersey and nationwide — died on February 3. A native of Jersey City known as Babs, she was 76. ... Show more

Ritchie Torres Considering a Run for Congress

Patricia Nell Warren, a journalist, poet, and author best known for her 1974 New York Times bestselling book “The Front Runner,” passed away on Saturday at the age of 82. Born in Helena, Montana, in 1936, Warren moved on... Show more

Palm Beach Conversion Therapy Bans Win Round One

Out gay Bronx City Councilmember Ritchie Torres is mulling a potential run for Congress, he confirmed to Gay City News on Thursday. The second-term lawmaker is eyeing a campaign to unseat longtime Bronx Congressmember Jo... Show more

Gendered Holdouts Nixed in NYS Marriage Equality Amendment

On February 13, a federal district judge denied a motion by two Palm Beach County psychologists to block enforcement of the county’s ordinance forbidding licensed health care practitioners from providing “sexual or... Show more

Arizona’s License Plate Program Funds Anti-Gay Group

Roughly eight years after the passage of marriage equality in New York, the newly progressive State Senate finally overcame Republican obstruction to fix some lingering flaws in that law. The updated law, which unanimou... Show more


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Article of the Week

nude man with a royal crown British palaces to give tours revealing the royals' secret queer history

Thanks to the roaring popularity of The Favorite, British palaces have announced they will be hosting special LGBT tours.

Historic Royal Palaces’ guides will highlight the scandals and sexual drama of the British royal family throughout history in Kensington Palace, Hampton Court Palace and the Tower of London. The tours will cover all the details, from lesbian love affairs to bisexual nobility.

Oscar-nominated film The Favorite has already thrown the spotlight on Queen Anne. The film dramatized the speculated love affair between the Queen (portrayed by Olivia Coleman) the Duchess of Marlborough and rival Abigail Masham.

The way we conceptualize sexuality now is a lot different to how it was perceived in the past. Also, in order to avoid scandal, a lot of the proof has been destroyed.

Yet much of it still remains. In one letter, the queen writes to the duchess, “‘I would rather live in a cottage with you than reign as empress of the world without you.”

Curator of the Historic Royal Palaces, Matthew Storey, has been researching the royal LGBT stories for the tours. He told GayTies.com that same-sex relationships between women were tolerated in court. “What we forget is that people of this class would not have conducted love marriages. All marriages are political. So there is a lot of tolerance for extramarital relationships, especially between women as there is no danger of affecting the line of succession.”

Same-sex relationships between men were illegal but were not between women. Thus, you have stories of Charles II’s mistress sleeping with both him and his illegitimate daughter Anne, Countess of Sussex. Storey says that the King was likely amused by his mistresses’ affair, rather than angry.

But it’s not all about the women, Edward II, who ruled from 1307-1327, is one of England’s less fondly remembered kings. His reign consisted of feuds with his barons, a failed invasion of Scotland in 1314, a famine, more feuding with his barons, and an invasion by a political rival that led to him being replaced by his son, Edward III. And many of the most controversial aspects of his rule — and fury from his barons — stemmed from his relationships with two men: Piers Gaveston and, later, Hugh Despenser.

Gaveston and Edward met when Edward was about 16 years old, when Gaveston joined the royal household. “It’s very obvious from Edward’s behavior that he was quite obsessed with Gaveston,” said Kathryn Warner, author of “Edward II: The Unconventional King.” Once king, Edward II made the relatively lowborn Gaveston the Earl of Cornwall, a title usually reserved for members of the royal family, “just piling him with lands and titles and money,” Warner said. He feuded with his barons over Gaveston, who they believed received far too much attention and favor.

Gaveston was exiled numerous times over his relationship with Edward II, though the king always conspired to bring him back. Eventually, Gaveston was assassinated. After his death, Edward “constantly had prayers said for Gaveston’s soul; he spent a lot of money on Gaveston’s tomb,” Warner said.

Several years after Gaveston’s death, Edward formed a close relationship with another favorite and aide, Hugh Despenser. How close? Walker pointed to the annalist of Newenham Abbey in Devon in 1326, who called Edward and Despenser “the king and his husband,” while another chronicler noted that Despenser “bewitched Edward’s heart.”

The speculation that Edward II’s relationships with these men went beyond friendship was fueled by Christopher Marlowe’s 16th-century play “Edward II”, which is often noted for its homoerotic portrayal of Edward II and Gaveston.

James VI and I, who reigned over Scotland and later England and Ireland until his death in 1625, attracted similar scrutiny for his male favorites, a term used for companions and advisers who had special preference with monarchs. Though James married Anne of Denmark and had children with her, it has long been believed that James had romantic relationships with three men: Esmé Stewart; Robert Carr; and George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham.

Correspondence between James and his male favorites survives, and as David M. Bergeron theorizes in his book “King James and Letters of Homoerotic Desire”: “The inscription that moves across the letters spell desire.”

James was merely 13 when he met 37-year-old Stewart, and their relationship was met with concern. “The King altogether is persuaded and led by him . . . and is in such love with him as in the open sight of the people often he will clasp him about the neck with his arms and kiss him,” wrote one royal informant of their relationship. James promoted Stewart up the ranks, eventually making him Duke of Lennox. James was eventually forced to banish him, causing Stewart great distress. “I desire to die rather than to live, fearing that that has been the occasion of your no longer loving me,” Stewart wrote to James.

But James’s most famous favorite was Villiers. James met him in his late 40s and several years later promoted him to Duke of Buckingham — an astounding rise for someone of his rank. Bergeron records the deeply affectionate letters between the two; in a 1623 letter, James refers bluntly to “marriage” and calls Buckingham his “wife.”

Dates for the tours are yet to be announced.(Pub. 2/17)

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