Tuesday, November 29, 2011
The NOH8 campaign recognizes transgender/sexual orientation equality and stands up against its bullies.
In support and conjunction with this, I thought it time we bring back into the spotlight an author of another time who was known for his ahead-of-his-time-brilliance, aesthetic flair and who also knew first hand what it was like to be persecuted -- and PROSECUTED-literally! -- for his sexual orientation:
OSCAR WILDE, noted and respected author of 'The Ideal Husband', 'The Importance of Being Earnest' and 'The Picture Of Dorian Gray' (which translated into one of my favorite classic films).
Good ol' Oscar (who was quite handsome and dashing!) has a special place in this slightly bit 'o Irish heart of mine, having been born in Dublin, Ireland in 1854.
While Oscar was indeed married and fathered two sons with his wife, Constance, he was also not-so-secretly gay, having love affairs with several men in his lifetime.
During his imprisonment for "gross indecency" he wrote in De Profundis to Lord Alfred Douglas (one of his lovers): "To regret one's own experiences is to arrest one's own development. To deny one's own experiences is to put a lie into the lips of one's own life. It is no less than a denial of the soul."
It was indeed Lord Alfred Douglas' own Father, Marquee of Queensberry, who led to the imprisonment of Oscar Wilde by taunting him and leaving him his calling card with the written word: "Sodomite".
Oscar sued the Marquee for criminal libel, but soon charges were dismissed and the attention turned to Oscar himself, who was then put on trial for Sodomy, which was then a crime, and found guilty. He was sentenced -- and served -- two years of hard labor.
He was released in May of 1897 at the age of 42 and, once again, took up with Lord Alfred Douglas. By then, Constance had already banished her husband from his sons, although she did continue to help support him financially.
Oscar and Alfred's reunion was short-lived due to finances, family constraints and objections.
At the age of 46, Oscar died in poverty in a dingy Paris hotel in 1900 of Cerebral Menengitis, having converted to Catholicism on his death bed.
Just today, it was announced that his resting place is getting a 'makeover' due to the lipstick-kisses (yes, you read that correctly) that many fans over the decades have placed on his tomb, Ala Jim Morrison (who, ironically, is interred in the same Paris cemetary), which caused erosion and its decaying state. Now he will be imprisoned once again as his monument will now be untouchable and shrouded in glass.
I think Oscar himself would be very proud of the NOH8 movement and I find his own words ironic and befitting: "I wanted to eat of the fruit of all the trees in the garden of the world... And so, indeed, I went out, and so I lived..."
The NOH8 movement came over 100 years too late for Oscar -- it's not, however, too late for us.
Love is love.
Stop the violence. Stop the bigotry. Stop the hate.
Peace, love and NOH8,