December 12, 2011

Paul Varnell, Gay Journalist, Led A Fascinating And Full Life

There's an absolutely stunning obituary in the Windy City Times that I highly recommend. But Queerty highlighted a few passages of interest for us:

He tried to marry a fellow gay journalist, Rex Wockner, back in 1989. Wockner puts it like this:

“He and I, as a journalistic exercise, tried to get a marriage license in Cook County in 1989. And when rebuffed, we filed human-rights complaints with the city and the state. We lost. We claimed sex discrimination but they told us it was sexual-orientation discrimination and that that wasn’t illegal at that time in Illinois. The Sun-Times made a big story of our little effort. We turned down an invite to appear on Oprah. I suppose everyone is unique, but Paul was unlike anyone I’ve ever known. I think it was the degree of his independence and the degree of his self-sufficiency that stood out.”

He didn't think Transpeople deserved to be in the LGBT umbrella:

"In a column posted on, Pittsburgh’s Out newspaper, March 2010, he said: “I have no quarrel with various sorts of ‘trans’ people and I wish them well. But I cannot see any justifiable grounds for their inclusion in the gay movement or in the acronym LGBT. Transpeople have different issues from gays and it is important to keep those distinctions in mind.” He also objected to the use of the word “queer” by the gay movement.”"

Oh, and he was pretty much a Republican, and also a man who favored male sex work. What a man.

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