Bil Browning

Weekly Reader: The Trans Umbrella, Fatphobia, & the Best Community Possible

Filed By Bil Browning | June 03, 2011 7:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Weekly Reader
Tags: best of Bilerico, fat phobia, LGBT community, Weekly Reader

weeklyreaderblock.pngYou weren't able to read every post on Bilerico Project last week? Don't worry! Every Friday I round up the best Bilerico posts from the past seven days to help you stay up to date on the latest queer news and analysis.

Saturday

Take Action: Dan Choi Arrested in Moscow Filed by Dan O'Neill
Transvestic Disorder: The Overlooked Anti-Trans Diagnosis Filed by Kelley Winters

Sunday

State Dept Responds to Dan Choi Russian Incident Filed by Bil Browning
Model Andrej Pejic Bashed by FHM Men's Magazine Filed by Jake Weinraub

Tuesday

Ku Klux Klan Protests the Westboro Baptist Church Filed by Alex Blaze
An Extraordinary LGBT Community Possible Filed by Dr. Jillian T. Weiss

Wednesday

The Death of the 'Transgender' Umbrella Filed by Mercedes Allen
Barbers, Gender, & Why $5 Matters Filed by Rev. Emily C. Heath

Thursday

SF Giants Make History with First Pro Sports 'It Gets Better' Video Filed by Joe Mirabella
Refuting NOM's Talking Points Filed by Guest Bloggers Jeremy Hooper and Alvin McEwen

Friday

Dan Savage & Fatphobia: It Gets Worse Filed by Jessica Max Stein
AIDS at 30: President Reagan with KS Filed by Karen Ocamb

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"It was the third of June, another sleepy, dusty delta day
I was out choppin' cotton and my brother was balin' hay
And at dinnertime we stopped and walked back to the house to eat
And Mama hollered out the back door, "Y'all remember to wipe your feet!"
She said, "I got some new this morning from Choctaw Ridge.
Today Billie Joe McAllister jumped off the Tallahatchee bridge."

 
 
Bobbie Gentry's 1967 country hit is still something I think about every June 3. According to Gentry, there was a real Billie Joe who committed suicide on June 3, 1953, but she has no idea why he chose to end his own life.

The LGBT angle comes in when in 1976 Warner Brothers made the song into a movie, and took extensive poetic license. In the movie, Billie Joe jumps to his death, overcome by the angst he feels about having a homosexual encounter while he was drunk.

Believable? --- Or not? According to Wikipedia, "Billy Joe's story is analyzed in Professor John Howard's history of gay Mississippi entitled Men Like That: A Queer Southern History as an archetype of what Howard calls the 'gay suicide myth'."

The movie is only fiction, but reminds us of days past ... and present ... when tragedy might precipitate in the absence of anyone putting out the message, "Whether you are gay or not, you're OK just as you are."