LGBT Religious Archives Network News

Newsletter #101: March 1, 2013

This month's news:

  1. Timothy Jones Receives LGBT Religious History Award
  2. Seeking Info on 1973 New Orleans Fire
  3. New Profiles on Web Site
  4. Be an LGBT-RAN Host This Month

1.  Timothy Jones Receives LGBT Religious History Award

The LGBT Religious Archives Network (LGBT-RAN) honors Dr. Timothy Willem Jones with the 2012-13 LGBT Religious History Award. Jones' paper, "The Stained Glass Closet: Celibacy and Homosexuality in the Church of England to 1955," was selected by the review jury to receive the award.

Jones is lecturer in History and co-director of the Centre for Gender Studies in Wales at the University of Glamorgan, and  Australian Research Council DECRA fellow in History and the Australian Research Center in Sex, Health and Society at La Trobe University. He received his Ph.D. in History from Melbourne University in 2007.  His paper--published in the Journal of the History of Sexuality January 2011--reflects his scholarly interest in elucidating the interconnection between religious and secular paradigms of sexual knowledge in the twentieth century.  Jones demonstrates that the Church’s negotiation of new understandings of sexual identity in the first half of the twentieth century led to a remarkable level of institutional accommodation and acceptance of homosexuality in the 1950s. Click here to read the press release on Jones' award.

Jones is currently working on a biography of the Rev. Dr. D. Sherwin Bailey, a priest, historian and theologian, who was the first scholar to revise understandings of sodomy as a sexual sin to a sin of hospitality. He is also working on a history of the influence of the New Christian Right on Australian sexual politics and is co-investigator on a project on the history of the treatment of sexually offending priests in Australia since 1880.

Jones' paper was selected by the jury from among fifteen papers submitted in this seventh year of the LGBT Religious History Award. Click here for information about past honorees and guidelines for submissions for the 2013-14 Award.

2.  Seeking Info on 1973 New Orleans Fire

On Sunday evening , June 24, 1973, a fire was lighted in the stairway of the Upstairs Lounge, a gay bar in the French Quarter of New Orleans. The local Metropolitan Community Church (MCC) congregation was gathered for worship on the second floor. The fire spread quickly; bars on the windows limited exit routes; and 32 persons tragically died.  The official response to investigate the Upstairs Lounge fire and to identify and memorialize the victims was tepid--indicative of the marginal value of LGBT persons in that time and place. This was one of several suspicious fires and other threats to MCC congregations in this era.

MCC San Francisco historian Lynn Jordan is developing an exhibition for the 40th annversary of this tragic event--as a memorial to those who died and to honor the faithful response of a number of MCC and local leaders. LGBT-RAN is collaborating with Jordan to make this exhibition widely accessible online.

You can assist with this anniversary tribute by passing on any artifacts--articles, stories, photos, correspondence--related to the Upstairs Lounge fire, as well as information about those who died or survived. You are also invited to write or record your recollections of the response to the tragic fire. Contact Mark Bowman with any information for this exhibition.

3.  New Profiles on Web Site

These new biographical statements have been added to the Profiles Gallery over the past month:

You can help preserve our voices and stories by submitting new Profiles as well as writing your Remembrance of any of the 350+ leaders of LGBT religious movements already in the Profiles Gallery.

4.  Be an LGBT-RAN Host This Month

LGBT-RAN's plan for its financial viability that continues your free access to its ever-growing treasure of online information on LGBT religious history is simple--secure a host ($50 gift) of the web site for all 365 days of the year. Currently hosts have claimed 13 days in this month of March.  That leaves 18 days for which a host is needed.

Will you help secure LGBT-RAN's future by sending a gift of $50 or more to host the web site for one day this month? As a donor you can name a person to honor or memorialize on the web site on your hosting day. Find details on how to easily give here. With your assistance we can ensure that our voices and stories are preserved for future generations.

The LGBT Religious Archives Network News is an occasional email newsletter for persons interested in supporting the preservation of the history of LGBT religious movements. Subscribe now.