Thursday, February 18, 2010

what an autograph is worth

In a profile in The New Yorker by John Lahr, the actor Ian McKellan proudly recalls helping found the UK gay rights group, Stonewall, after his public coming out in 1988. (Hey, that’s the same year I spent a semester in London.) The struggle of the time (besides AIDS, of course) was against “legislation that aimed to prohibit local authorities from publishing material condoning homosexuality or from referring to it in state schools as an acceptable lifestyle.” The proposed law was dubbed Clause 28.

Lobbying against Clause 28, McKellen used his connections to buttonhole politicians, including one of Britain’s most fervid anti-gay spokesmen, Michael Howard, who was later to become the Conservative Party leader. After a fruitless meeting, Howard requested an autograph for his children. McKellen obliged. “Fuck off! I’m gay,” he wrote.

source: The New Yorker, August 27, 2007

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