And 2012, In Conclusion ...

By Charles Alexander

Parting Glances

This is the last PG column of 2012. Last because the year as years so quickly have a habit of doing has come to a conclusion. (The older one gets, the more rapidly they seemingly like to conclude.)

Fortunately the world, as predicted by the Mayan soothsayers, did not itself end in either a poetic whimper or a prosaic bang. Nor did Jesus return in the clouds of glory to rapture his flock heavenward. (Unfortunately for Pat Robertson, and for us left behinders.)

Like it or not, we're all stuck here for another round of 365, 24/7, 9 to 5. The cultural wars will no doubt continue, and gays will accordingly be blamed for Lady Gaga, Cher, Jim Parsons, and, to a somewhat slightly lesser extent, BTL's ever-smiling Chris Azzopardi.

For the 12 or 13 faithful readers of this column, two have ceased finding inspiration, either spiritual or carnal, in my comments and stopped speed reading me this PG column is number 675. That comes to 371,256 words, and heaven knows how many individual letters. But who's counting?

To my credit I've yet not to meet a deadline. I think this act of anal retentive behavior on my part is the least I can do for my handful of column regulars -- each of whom I'm sure is likewise intellectually, if not also physiologically, retentive in their readership loyalty.

I signed on as a BTL writer with co-publishers Jan & Susan (the ampersand says it all) from day one of their ownership. A year or so before they took over the paper from previous publisher Shannon Rhodes and founding publisher Mark "Fanzina" Winestein, I had interviewed Jan for Ten Percent, an early local L/G publication.

Jan liked that what I had to say about her in the interview was flattering, non-controversial, insightful, and had just the right touch of believable human and lesbian interest to underscore an honest 500-word, male opinion that she was emerging leadership material and special. (Susan later, I'm told, confirmed my sageous foresight.)

So began my column odyssey. (And, admittedly, at times it's been just that: odd.) As for being regular in my writing commitment to a weekly column, that happened in 1999, when for a modest 15 cents a word I wrote 125 words about LGBT history of the past 100 years. (Generously J&S paid me $20 per column, rather than the stipulated going rate of $18.75.)

Oh, yes! I had the bright idea to call my historical walk through (some would say it was a swish through) Parting Glances, after one of my all time favorite gay movies of the same name. What started out as history soon became opinion, satire, fantasy, joy, anger, and often for myself a touching remembering of what it was like to be a gay or lesbian some fifty-plus years ago. Times have changed!

Next year is a biggie for BTL. It's the twentieth anniversary of "our" paper. I say "our" because that indeed is what it's all about. The proud, persistent, determined, reliable voice of our collective LGBT struggles and successes. Yours and mine. Thank you Jan. Thank you Susan. Thank you Between The Lines!

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