Page 390 - Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999
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372      Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999

            published was, of course, not Robert in the characteristic personal leather
            he wore and was famed for photographing, but him in an experimental self-
            portrait wearing women’s makeup as a male-effacing masque. Having more
            or less embarrassed The Advocate into doing the right thing by the kind of
            artistic genius that gay culture is not likely to see again soon, I was hardly
            surprised that the magazine so patently begrudged putting a famously dead
            world-class gay leatherman on its coveted annual cover.
               Perhaps to save face, or to find the balance, in the gender war, The
            Advocate finally decided to divide the real estate of its cover in half so it could
            also picture the famously alive Indian-American lesbian, Urvashi Vaid, as
            yet a second “Person of the Year” in a kind of politically correct timeshare
            of two worthy persons titled “Woman and Man of the Year” with Vaid
            pictured on the left and Mapplethorpe on the right. It may very well be the
            only year that The Advocate’s “Person of the Year” ended in a tie, much like
            the 1969 Academy Awards when Katherine Hepburn and Barbra Streisand
            tied for Best Actress in The Lion in Winter and Funny Girl.
               Before I had contacted The Advocate nominating Mapplethorpe, I think
            the magazine may have already decided to name Vaid solo as its “Person
            of the Year.” She was freshly partnered with feminist comedienne and in-
            house Advocate columnist Kate Clinton; and, at that moment, Vaid’s media
            profile was beginning to rise because she had just been named executive
            director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force; and finally, because
            the persons on the Advocate phones seemed rather disconcerted that I was
            upsetting their in-house plans for the cover with this outsider intervention
            which eventually “shamed” them into doing the equitable thing even if,
            like the mother in Kings 3:16-28, they defied King Solomon’s wisdom
            and divided their baby in half. I apologized for my urgency with them,
            and I argued that 1990 would really, really, really be the last year that the
            recently deceased Mapplethorpe could reasonably be honored as a person
            of the year.
               • Manifest Reader 17 (1992), Embry’s post-Drummer magazine, head-
            lined by Dane/Mike/Rick Leathers, in the essay, “A New Mazeway for
            Homomasculine Men,” pages 33-39. The ascetic worshiper of bulls, Rick
            Leathers authored more than twenty-five homomasculine stories and arti-
            cles for Embry in Drummer, Mach, and Manifest Reader. See the useful
            bibliography in Manifest Reader 30 (1996), pages 62-63.
               •  The New Republic (June 13, 1994) published Bruce Bawer’s “The
            Stonewall Myth” in a special and important American Booksellers
            Association issue that addressed gay linguistics, politics, and masculinity.
            Another “myth” about Stonewall is that the riots were populated en masse

              ©Jack Fritscher, Ph.D., All Rights Reserved—posted 03-16-2017
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