Chon Noriega’s piece chronicles the depiction and reception of homosexuality in Hollywood using film reviews from major periodicals as source material. As the Production Code demanded that "Sex perversion or any inference of it is forbidden," the period of the 1930s and 1940s was characterized by films that had few if any allusions to the existence of homosexuality. Instead, as films were adapted from materials that featured homosexuality as a part of the narrative, the issue was substituted for other social problems. Noriega looks at the three such films in which homosexuality is recast, as the evils of gossip, alcoholism, and anti-semitism, respectively. Reviews at the time rarely mentioned the exchange, or if they did, praised the substitution as making the film better. From this “conspiracy of silence” came acknowledgment of homosexual themes and characters in the 1950s. As long as homosexual characters faced a character arc that was sufficiently tragic, and thus didactic, films were acceptable and homosexuality was no longer explicitly criticized in the reviews. Beginning in the mid-1950s and continuing to the 1960s the dominant perception of homosexuality was no longer that it was criminal, but that it was a psychiatric disease that individuals could be pitied for being afflicted with, but could be cured of.
Rebel Without a Cause (1955) is often cited as one of the first films to depict a homosexual teenager, Plato, played by Sal Mineo. However, the film initially had more daring content. Upon submission to Joseph Breen’s office, the film was found to have latent homosexual themes that had to be re-edited. The article illuminates the attitudes towards homosexuality at the time of Rebel’s release and the perceived necessity of the changes.
Kaplan, Donald M. “Homosexuality and American Theatre: A Psychoanalytic Comment.” The Tulane Drama Review, 9.3 (Spring, 1965): 25-55. The MIT Press. University of Pennsylvania Library, Philadelphia. 7 April 2008. <http://hdl.library.upenn.edu/1017/6965/2>.
In this article, Kaplan comments on the increased display of homosexuality in American theater, and tries to explain why this change had come about by 1965. It is important to note that, as taboo as homosexuality may be today, in the 1960’s dialogue regarding the subject was simply unmentionable. Not half as much research on the “true” factors for a homosexual being had been conducted, while the limitations on a homosexual’s “mentality and creative vision” were far more pervasive. Nevertheless, Kaplan opens his discussion with a quote straight from Elia Kazan (an artist who’s sexuality, he believes, is “questionable): “The whole concept is rather thrilling, the realization of a dream. In the few days that we have been working together I have had more fun than I have had in years.” This “realization,” Kaplan states, is the transformation of a homosexual’s dreams into reality—a reality that is becoming more and more popular in modern America, he believes. Unfortunately, Kaplan quickly seems to contradict this “modern” notion by defending homosexuals through the “verified” results of outdated ink-blot tests; nevertheless, he quickly goes on to discuss both scientific and social beliefs regarding the notion of sexuality.
Tennessee Williams was one of these homosexual artists whose dreams have been realized, and while the Streetcar film has toned down many of its intended homosexual undertones, the original version is almost blatant in its discussion of homosexuality. Kaplan criticizes the play for its “Me-Tarzan-You-Jane” sexuality when it comes to Stanley’s relationship with both Stella and Blanche, citing the unrefined terms “making out” and “getting those colored lights going on” as crude representations of heterosexual relationships. However, Blanche’s one true love happened to be gay. This “nervous, tender, uncertain boy” who wrote poetry is sympathetically portrayed, and is arguably a pivotal character in Streetcar’s synopsis. This fact proves Kaplan’s point that homosexual “rebellion against instinctual deprivation” is rapidly spreading in both American theater and cinema. It also sheds light on the changing face of what American authors were willing to write and what American audiences were willing to see.
Same sex and unmarried partner household data are collected for those households where the householder and his or her partner are not married, but are living in a close personal relationship. An unmarried partner can be of the same sex or opposite sex of the householder.
An unmarried partner, in an unmarried partner household, is an adult who is unrelated to the householder, but shares living quarters and has a close personal relationship with the householder. This relationship is based on the self-identification of respondents.
Here are some sources for your use:
- The American FactFinder contains two sources:
- American Community Survey Table B11009, shows "Unmarried Partner Households by Sex of Partner."
- Census 2000, Summary File (SF) 1 Table PCT14, "Unmarried Partner Households by Sex of Partner" is available for the nation, state, metropolitan statistical area, city/place, county, and various other geographies.
- Additionally, same-sex unmarried partner household data were collected in the 1990 Census. The Technical Note on Same-Sex Unmarried Partner Data From the 1990 and 2000 Censuses provides guidance on comparing these data.
- The Census 2000 special reports include:
- Population and Housing Table, PHC-T-19, Hispanic Origin and Race of Coupled Households provides race and gender for unmarried partner households for the U.S.
- The Census Bureau also collects data for same sex and unmarried partner households in ongoing survey programs, but does not regularly produce tabulations on this topic. For more information and special studies on the subjects of same gender couples and unmarried partner households based on the Census Bureau's survey programs, visit the Population Division Working Papers:
Barnes writes about the increase in films dealing with homosexuality. Philadelphia is an example of the upsurge in major gay and lesbian characters in film; meanwhile mainstream culture experiences a new acceptance of homosexuality as well as a sharp backlash against it. By L. Pardue
Ronald R. Butters’s article in Dictionaries: Journal of The Dictionary Society of America examines the origins of the relationship between the word “gay” and “homosexual.” Citing Cary Grant’s infamous utterance “I’ve just gone gay all of a sudden!” in Bringing Up Baby as a potential first link between the two words, Butters provides a thorough analysis of all possible connotations of the word and in turn, how audiences of the time would have interpreted the usage of the word in such a manner.
Butters uses Vitto Russo’s novel on homosexuality in American cinema as a framework for his argument, but then refutes Russo’s idea that Grant intended the phrase to denote homosexuality. Russo states that Grant’s line was actually an ad-lib and was not found anywhere in the script. Paired with a “hysterical” leap, Grant’s words, in Russo’s point of view, represents “a rare textual reference to the word gay and to the concrete possibility of homosexuality in Hawks’s work” (198). Butters argues, however, that upon watching the scene again, it appears as if Russo has exaggerated Grant’s actions. He is not a hysterical person with possible homosexual mannerisms, but rather, a frustrated and repressed man who has been forced to wear something extremely feminine after his clothes have been taken from him.
Although Butters disagrees that Grant’s choice of words had any homosexual connotations, he does state that ignoring the statement would also be an “act of lexicographical irresponsibility and perhaps even sociopolitical insensitivity” (199). Therefore, Butters attempts to examine the impact of Grant’s words on the filmmakers who were involved with production and also the reaction of the film’s audience members of the time. Butters claims that there is no evidence that the filmmakers drew the conclusions that gay meant homosexual in this context. What is interesting however, is his argument stating that even if anyone involved in the making of the film recognized this double entendre, they would be among an “in-crowd of Hollywood sophisticates who had strong ties to the repressed homosexual underworld” (199). Thus, it can be assumed that nearly all of the audience members who watched the film in 1938 also did not conclude that Grant’s statement had anything to do with homosexuality. Yet, the context of the word gay in this instance does not seem to fit the standard 1930s definition of happy, joyous, or carefree. Butters argues that Grant’s statement was probably a form of archaic slang that translated into: “I’ve just gone crazy all of a sudden!” (200), which would fit with the craziness of the rest of the movie and would therefore go unnoticed by audiences and more importantly, the Production Code Administration as well.
"Containing information on more than 3000 films, this encyclopedia will become a classic source of information on legitimate (i.e., nonpornographic) gay and lesbian film and video. Listing films from around the world throughout the medium's history, the book documents efforts by individuals who either openly or discreetly produced films with gay or lesbian themes or portrayed gay or lesbian characters, as well as gays and lesbians who portrayed straight characters. For each personality a brief biography is given, usually a photo, and a list of films associated with the individual. There are separate sections for directors, independent filmmakers, actors/actresses, gay icons, writers, artists, dancers, and composers. There are also listings and descriptions of films within the categories "queer" (of interest to gays, lesbians, and bisexuals), "lesbian," "gay," and "transgender" as well as a section on films with camp attraction or content. The film summaries and subject introductions are extremely well written, the book as a whole is well organized and indexed, and the wealth of information is accurate and up to date. For the film and video (all entries note whether the film has been released on video) collector (including AV librarians), this will be an important source of information; for the curious, it will be an eye-opener. Appropriate for all libraries and all readers." (Library Journal, 3/15/95, Vol. 120 Issue 5, p61)
"Includes straight people popular in gay culture. Murray's emphasis is on American and English films, although he does have selective coverage of European and Asian cinema. Films included in the book must be at least 60 minutes in length and have "a gay theme that is relatively evident." [...] Murray includes both Hollywood and underground films in his book." (Booklist, 3/1/94, Vol. 90 Issue 13, p1290)