7. PARKS WAS THE FIRST WOMAN TO LIE IN STATE AT THE U.S. CAPITOL.
After Park died on October 24, 2005 at the age of 92, she became the first woman to lie in state, a tribute usually reserved for statesmen and military leaders. More than 30,000 filed by her casket to pay their respects.
Formin was 18. She was sitting on a plastic stool in a bamboo shelter at a refugee camp in Bangladesh. Like the hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees around her, she and her family had fled a campaign of mass murder, rapes and arson in Myanmar the previous year.
But Formin wanted to talk about Keller, the deaf and blind American author she considered an inspiration. She wanted to talk about Pakistani activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai, another hero. She wanted to talk about her books ravaged in the burning of her house amid deadly violence in Myanmar’s northern Rakhine state. She spoke of her dream of becoming a lawyer, and of inspiring other Rohingya girls deprived of education.
The important take-away here is not that LGBT people hate straight/cis folks. It’s not even about the presence of straight/cis folks at Pride in general. It’s about when straight/cis folks behave in inappropriate and culturally insensitive ways that threaten or dampen the experiences of LGBT people at events that are made for us in the first place. Straight/cis folks can go to any party and feel comfortable dancing, holding hands, and making out with their significant other (or hottie of the night) without feeling like they could be in danger because of their identity. LGBT people do not always have that luxury. If you choose to go to Pride, be a supportive observer and participate in activities, but don’t try to be the focus of the event.
On 28 May 1961, Peter Benenson published his Observer article launching a campaign for the release of ‘Forgotten Prisoners’.
ON BOTH SIDES of the Iron Curtain, thousands of men and women are bing held in gaol without trial because their political or religious views differ from those of their Governments. Peter Benenson, a London lawyer, conceived the idea of a world campaign, APPEAL FOR AMNESTY, 1961, to urge Governments to release these people or at least give them a fair trial. The campaign opens to-day, and The Observer is glad to offer it a platform.
The success of the 1961 Amnesty Campaign depends on how sharply and powerfully it is possible to rally public opinion. It depends, too, upon the campaign being all-embracing in its composition, international in character and politically impartial in direction. Any group is welcome to take part which is prepared to condemn persecution regardless of where it occurs,who is responsible or what are the ideas suppressed. How much can be achieved when men and women of good will unite was shown during World Refugee Year. Inevitably most of the action called for by Appeal for Amnesty, 1961, can only be taken by governments. By experience shows that in matters such as these governments are prepared to follow only where public opinion leads. Pressure of opinion a hundred years ago brought about the emancipation of the slaves. It is now for man to insist upon the same freedom for his mind as he has won for his body.
To work impartially for the release of those imprisoned for their opinions.
To seek for them a fair and public trial.
To enlarge the Right of Asylum and help political refugees to find work.
To urge effective international machinery to guarantee freedom of opinion.
To these ends, an office has been set up in London to collect and publish information about Prisoners of Conscience all over the world. The first Press Conference of the campaign will beheld tomorrow, where speakers will include three M.P.s, John Foster, Q.C. (Con.), F. Elwyn Jones, Q.C. (Lab.), and Jeremy Thorpe (Lib.).
H: Thinking about where the world’s at today, do you feel a responsibility as an actor to represent a new form of masculinity on screen? The concept of masculinity has changed so much since we were growing up…
T: You know what’s really funny, I was going to ask you a version of that question but I worried it would be giving myself too much credit to think I could make a change like that. But, if you are giving me that license then I would say absolutely. It’s one of the reasons I’m so happy to get on the phone with you because growing up we did have some people to look up to, but it wasn’t as obvious. People like Lil B – I hope people won’t roll their eyes reading this – was really impactful for me because he really blurred those lines as a musician. I would be so thrilled to know that the roles I’m playing are instigating change in some way. How do I phrase this? I think there’s something to be written about this by someone way smarter than I am… I want to say you can be whatever you want to be. There isn’t a specific notion, or jean size, or muscle shirt, or affectation, or eyebrow raise, or dissolution, or drug use that you have to take part in to be masculine. It’s exciting. It’s a brave new world. Maybe it’s because of social media, maybe it’s because of who the fuck knows what, but there’s a real excitement from our generation about doing things in a new way… I would be really curious to see what you have to say about it?
H: I didn’t grow up in a man’s man world. I grew up with my mum and my sister. But I definitely think in the last two years, I’ve become a lot more content with who I am. I think there’s so much masculinity in being vulnerable and allowing yourself to be feminine, and I’m very comfortable with that. Growing up you don’t even know what those things mean. You have this idea of what being masculine is and as you grow up and experience more of the world, you become more comfortable with who you are. Today it’s easier to embrace masculinity in so many different things. I definitely find – through music, writing, talking with friends and being open – that some of the times when I feel most confident is when I’m allowing myself to be vulnerable. It’s something that I definitely try and do.
T: That’s really beautiful and inspiring, and certainly it goes back to feeling comfortable in chaos and creating in madness. It’s almost a high to be vulnerable. I really get that. I think it can be achieved in art, but also in intimacy. It’s the craziest feeling to achieve that vulnerability. If us having this conversation, in any infinitesimal way, can help anyone, a guy, a girl, realise that being vulnerable is not a weakness, not a social barrier. It doesn’t mean you’re crazy or hyper emotional, you’re just human, which I think is something your music gets at and hopefully my movies do too. Humans are complex; we need to feel a lot of things. We are not homogeneous.