Taking aim: The Lavender Tube on veterans, viewing and disco docs

  • by Victoria A. Brownworth
  • Tuesday May 28, 2024
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A CBS report on gay veterans
A CBS report on gay veterans

It was a solemn Memorial Day, in which we remembered all the LGBTQ people who have served in the U.S. military and those who, for generations, gave their lives while hiding their identities.

We also remembered those members of the military who have taken their own lives after returning home; 6,000 each year. This remains a dramatic problem for all our service members, but LGBTQ veterans are especially vulnerable. A reminder that preserving democracy is an awesome responsibility and it can scar anyone.

An NBC report on servicemembers kicked out of the military  

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has departments to help gay, lesbian and transitioning service members. LGBTQ veterans are more likely to experience depression, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and suicide ideation and attempt. Transgender veterans diagnosed with Gender Identity Disorder under the care of the VA face a 20 times greater risk of suicide than veteran patients in general. https://www.mentalhealth.va.gov/lgbtq-plus/index.asp

Pride Counts at the Veteran's Administration (V.A.): "VA is committed to creating a welcoming environment and improving health care for everyone, including Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ+) Veterans. VA staff play a critical role in ensuring that LGBTQ+ Veterans receive the care they need and have earned in service to our country. Hear VA staff talk about why Pride Counts at VA."

Learn more at: www.patientcare.va.gov/LGBT

For Pride 2020, the Intrepid Museum hosted a virtual discussion about LGBTQ experiences among veterans and active service members. A veteran once imprisoned for being gay spoke to CBS News. CBS News spoke with multiple veterans who were discharged from the U.S. military because of their sexuality. CBS News chief investigative correspondent Jim Axelrod reported.

LGBTQ veterans are still waiting for benefits and corrections to military records decades after serving. An NBC Bay Area investigation reveals tens of thousands of veterans were discharged from the U.S. military because of their sexual orientation and gender identity dating back to World War II. Bigad Shaban reports.

Margaret Brennan addressed the reality of suicide among service members on "Face the Nation" May 26 with two veterans who now serve in the House. Rep. Mike Waltz (R-FL) is a colonel and U.S. Army Green Beret and author of "Warrior Diplomat." Rep. Patrick Ryan (D-NY) served in the U. S. Army as a military intelligence officer from 2004 to 2009, including two tours in Iraq.

Waltz and Ryan spent Memorial Day cleaning the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D.C. They both talked with Brennan about how harsh it is to be in the U.S. forces now and how few Americans are serving and how that leads to mental health issues.

Brennan noted that a full third of those serving face food insecurity—again, many are LGBTQ. This is just a disgraceful statistic.

Brennan also featured Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, a veteran who served in Iraq. Buttigieg spoke at length about climate change—something Californians are dealing with perhaps more than any other state. The whole episode was well worth a look. (www.cbsnews.com)

Rosie O'Donnell in 'Outstanding: A Comedy Revolution'  

Comic relief
Memorial Day was very heavy, especially in this period of encroaching fascism which we wrote about in-depth last week. (www.epgn.com)

So we could use some upbeat Pride content, right? "Outstanding: A Comedy Revolution" drops from Netflix on June 18. Explore the history of LGBTQ stand-up comedy in this funny and heartfelt documentary featuring personal stories from an all-star roster of performers who are influential comedians, including Lily Tomlin, Wanda Sykes and Margaret Cho. An evening of gay laughter.

The best lesbian period film ever, "Carol," directed by Todd Haynes, is dropping mid-month on Netflix. It took decades to get this film made. The screenplay by Phyllis Nagy is based on the 1952 novel "The Price of Salt" by Patricia Highsmith (republished as "Carol" in 1990). The film stars Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara, Sarah Paulson, Jake Lacy and Kyle Chandler. Set in New York City during the early 1950s, Carol tells the story of a forbidden affair between an aspiring female photographer and an older woman going through a difficult divorce.

"Carol" was the best reviewed film of 2015. The film competed for the Palme d'Or at Cannes, where Mara tied with Emmanuelle Bercot for the Best Actress award. "Carol" received nominations for six Academy Awards, nine BAFTA Awards and five Golden Globe Awards. "Carol" was ranked by the British Film Institute as the best LGBT film of all time. It is must-see. Have lots of tissues nearby.

Did you miss "Tangerine" when it first came out and was hard to find? Netflix is bringing that indie film back for Pride Month. The story follows a trans sex worker who discovers her boyfriend and pimp has been cheating on her. The film was shot with three iPhone 5S smartphones. Directed by Sean Baker, with Kitana Kiki Rodriguez, Mya Taylor, Karren Karagulian and Mickey O'Hagan, it'll stream starting June 1.

Disco docs
Closer to home on Saturday, June 8, KQED is airing three films back-to-back which will have you singing and dancing on a journey back to the disco era when the bars were at their heyday and before AIDS hit hard.

At 8pm, the network debuts the new "Disco: Soundtrack of a Revolution #101: Rock the Boat" which KQED says, "explores the origin of a global music phenomenon born among gay and Black communities coming together in apartments and basement bars in 1970s New York, where dance floors became a platform in their battle for visibility and inclusion."

At 9:30pm, it's "Disco: Soundtrack of a Revolution #102: Ain't No Stoppin' Us Now": "Experience the pinnacle of disco culture during the 1970s, set against the backdrop of Black power and sexual liberation. As disco conquers the mainstream, Black women and gay men rise as superstars and icons." (www.weta.org)

At 10:30pm "Disco: Soundtrack of a Revolution #103: Stayin' Alive" follows the trajectory "from the basement bars of '70s New York to the peak of the global charts, discover the story of disco: its rise, fall, and legacy. Reveling in iconic tracks and remarkable footage, this is a powerful, revisionist history of the disco age."

Oh, my George
Who doesn't love George Takei with his hot takes on Twitter and his occasional ruminations on racism, homophobia and politics? On Tuesday, June 11, KQED is airing "To Be Takei" at 9pm. Over seven decades, George Takei boldly journeyed from a WWII internment camp to the helm of "Star Trek's" USS Enterprise and shares his playful and profound trek for life, liberty, and love with his husband Brad, engaging five million Facebook fans daily.

"RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars 9" is streaming on Paramount+. Eight fan-favorite queens compete for a donation of $200,000 from The Palette Fund, for a charity of their choosing. The Palette Fund is a private foundation dedicated to creating social change in marginalized communities. This is the first time the queens are competing for charity.

Flag & food
Can't decide on whether you should fly that inverted U.S. flag outside your house? John Oliver took on Justice Samuel Alito and his wife Martha to hilarious, and scary, lengths.
"Supreme Court Ethics: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver"

The latest "Star Wars" TV series, "The Acolyte," premieres on Disney+ on June 4. "The Acolyte'' examines a galaxy of secrets and dark-side powers, and all is not what it seems.

"Ciao House" is Food Network meets "Vanderpump Rules" via Tuscany. In Tuscany, the epicenter of Italian culture and cuisine, hosts and judges Alex Guarnaschelli and Gabe Bertaccini welcome 10 talented chefs to live in and compete in a stunning villa in Lecce, for a chance to win an immersive culinary education across Italy. And yes, it's a gay amuse bouche.

So for the solemn to the celebratory, you really must stay tuned.

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