February 3, 2020 by DAN ROBITZSKI (

Nightmare Scenario

Several models predicting the future of climate change have taken a drastic turn for the worse: multiple research teams are now forecasting that the planet will heat up more catastrophically than previously anticipated.

The changes are so dire that some researchers are doubting their own work, according to Bloomberg. But if the simulations hold up, they convey a clear message: in order to stave off the worst of climate change, world leaders will need to take strong action soon.

More Context

It’s possible that these models — which predict how much global temperatures will rise along with certain levels of greenhouse gas emissions — will be shown to be inaccurate.

The Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute’s senior researcher Klaus Wyser, for instance, told Bloomberg that the sudden jump may well be in error — but it’s too soon to know for sure.

“We hope it’s not the right answer,” he added.

Confounding Variable

Some of the discrepancy, Bloomberg reports, could come from the inherent difficulty of predicting how clouds impact weather. When one team turned off updated cloud simulations, their forecast returned to previous levels.

“What really scares me is that our model looked better for some really good physical reasons,” Andrew Gettelman of the National Center for Atmospheric Research told Bloomberg. “So we can’t throw them out yet.”

READ MORE: Climate Models Are Running Red Hot, and Scientists Don’t Know Why [Bloomberg]

More on climate change: Doomsday Report Author: Earth’s Leaders Have Failed

James Gilligan on violence

James Gilligan

“The attempt to achieve and maintain justice, or to undo or prevent injustice, is the one and only universal cause of violence.”

― James Gilligan, Violence: Reflections on a National Epidemic

James Gilligan is an American psychiatrist and author, husband of Carol Gilligan and best known for his series of books entitled Violence, where he draws on 25 years of work in the American prison system to describe the motivation and causes behind violent behavior. Wikipedia

Brad Pitt and the Beauty Trap

Credit…Justin Metz

Male stars face a double standard, too, and ever since he bared his chest in “Thelma & Louise,” his work has been undervalued. But look closer and he explores masculinity in complex ways.

By Manohla Dargis

  • Jan. 30, 2020 (

The meaning of Brad Pitt — as actor, star and supreme visual fetish — can be traced to the moment in the 1991 film “Thelma & Louise” when the camera pans up from his bare chest to his face like a caress. William Bradley Pitt was born in 1963, but Brad Pitt sprung forth in that 13-second ode to eroticized male beauty, initiating a closely watched career and life, dozens of movies, and libraries of delirious exaltations, drooling gossip and porny magazine layouts.

The delirium has resumed with Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood,” in which Pitt plays the Pitt-perfect role of Cliff Booth, a seasoned stunt man and coolest of cats. Everything about Cliff looks so good, so effortlessly smooth, whether he’s behind the wheel of a Coupe de Ville or strolling across a dusty wasteland. The novelist Walter Kirn once wrote that Robert Redford “stands for the [movie] industry itself, somehow, in all its California dreaminess.” In “Once Upon a Time,” Tarantino recasts that idea-ideal with Cliff, exploiting Pitt’s looks and charm to create another sun-kissed, golden and very white California dream.

So of course Tarantino being Tarantino has Cliff-Pitt doff his shirt, in a scene that both nods to the actor’s foundational “Thelma & Louise” display and offers another effusive paean to masculine beauty. It’s a hot day; Cliff is scarcely working. So he grabs his tools and a beer and scrambles on a roof to fix an antenna, wearing pretty much what Pitt first wears in “Thelma & Louise.” Then Cliff strips off his Hawaiian shirt and the Champion tee underneath it and once again, Brad Pitt stands bare-chested, soaring above both Hollywood and our gaze, the already porous line between actor and character blurring delectably further.

On Feb. 9, Oscar night, our gaze will again fix on Pitt, who has been nominated for best supporting actor for his role in “Once Upon a Time.” It’s nice that his peers bothered because they’ve been reluctant to honor him in the past. Despite his years of service and critically praised roles, Pitt has won just one Oscar: a best picture statuette for helping produce “12 Years a Slave.” As an actor, he has been nominated three previous times: once for supporting (“12 Monkeys”) and twice for lead (“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” and “Moneyball”). As a reminder, Rami Malek, Eddie Redmayne and Roberto Benigni have all won best actor.

The academy hasn’t been alone in undervaluing Pitt. Beauty can be a trap as much as a benediction, including for men. Some of his earlier choices didn’t help, like “Legends of the Fall,” a risible dud that turns him into a golden sex pony. And neither did hyperventilating journalists: “A body like a Bruce Weber pinup,” one cooed in 1991. Four years later, panting tongue presumably in cheek, People wrote that “you wanted to ride bareback down the slopes of his hair.” Pitt himself fed the slavering by posing for outlets that eagerly indulged their soft-core reveries, like his 1994 Rolling Stone cover for “Interview With the Vampire,” where he stares at the camera like a Fabio-ed Kurt Cobain.

Critics could be unkind (guilty), but as the bad movies gave way to good, the notices improved. Soon, it became a favorite cliché to write that he was a character actor trapped in the body of a star (guilty again). Some of this, I think, stems from a suspicion of beauty, that it can’t be trusted, is “merely” superficial and silly, which makes the beautiful one also superficial and maybe even worthy of contempt that can lurk under obsession. There’s nothing new about how we punish beauty. The history of movies is filled with the victims of this malignant love-to-love and love-to-hate dynamic, not all of them women.

Once established, though, the star persona can become a received idea, not just a mask, and tough to dislodge. Pitt’s early success was often framed as a fairy tale about a Missouri kid who “for no apparent reason,” as one writer put it, came to Hollywood and fast became the next big thing. (Cue the James Dean comparisons, of which there were many.) Pitt studied acting in Los Angeles, including with the well-regarded Roy London, but the labor of performing isn’t sexy. It also doesn’t fit with the canard that stars can’t act. But there’s more to acting than the Method, telegraphed anguish and dropping (or adding) pounds, and while Pitt can go big — he’s played Achilles and a serial killer — he has a gift for understatement.

Pitt should have been nominated this year for best actor for his delicate, deep work in James Gray’s “Ad Astra,” a meditation on the unbearable weight of masculinity set largely in outer space. The film was praised as was Pitt’s turn, but neither found awards momentum. The performance was too good and certainly too subtle and interiorized for the academy. It has a historic weakness for showboating — the more suffering the better — which is why Joaquin Phoenix (often otherwise worthy) and his jutting rib cage in “Joker” seem like a lock. But Pitt has time. It took seven nominations for Paul Newman to win best actor; Redford has been nominated only once for acting (he lost).

Pitt in “Ad Astra.”
Pitt in “Ad Astra.”Credit…20th Century Fox

Like Newman and Redford, Pitt has always seemed born to the screen, a natural. He has a palpable physical ease about him that seems inseparable from his looks, that silkiness that seems, at least in part, to come from waking up every day and going through life as a beautiful person. This isn’t to say that good-looking people don’t have the same issues, the neuroses and awkwardness that plague us mortals. But Pitt has always moved with the absolute surety you see in some beautiful people (and dancers), the casualness of movement that expresses more than mere confidence, but a sublime lack of self-consciousness and self-doubt about taking up space, something not everyone shares. This isn’t swagger; this is flow.

How actors walk, strut, slink and just stand signifies, though perhaps not as much as it once did, before filmmakers started focusing more on talking heads, which scale down better on the small screen. Sean Connery’s predatory prowl helped define James Bond. Sidney Poitier’s perfect posture, how he held his head and moved alongside white actors, announced a profound shift in the cinematic representation of race. Pitt spends a lot of time behind the wheel in “Once Upon a Time,” but he’s a great walker (even while wearing Cliff’s moccasins) and when Cliff realizes that it’s time to leave the dangerous Spahn ranch, the actor’s ramrod carriage, purposeful stride and tensed swing of his arms convey a man prepared for battle.

Over his three-decade career, Pitt has played a range of roles: soldiersailorrich manpoor manvampirethief. Among the most indelible is the phantasmagoric street fighter Tyler Durden — another great mover, with another of Pitt’s career-defining torsos — from David Fincher’s “Fight Club” (1999). The film turns on warring halves, a presumptive beta (Edward Norton) and his alpha twin (Pitt), who confront consumerism, postmodern anomie and that cult known as masculinity. Whether its critique lands has been much debated (that’s a no), but what remains beyond doubt is how Pitt, with his bloodied face and sculpted physique, became an emblem of contemporary masculinity and its contradictions.

In the years since “Fight Club,” the film has been embraced without irony and apparently without humor by men’s rights partisans. I wonder if they think Tyler is hot, and what exactly they see when they look at his body. Movies have always banked on the audience’s love of male violence. Throughout their history, they have exploited male beauty, tapping the passion it inspires. “Everybody wants to be Cary Grant. Even I want to be Cary Grant,” said, well, Cary Grant.

But the beautiful man can make us nervous, partly because he complicates gender norms. George Clooney is more than a pretty face, more than one writer has insisted. Yes, but he is also pretty. Some of this anxiety reeks of gay panic and misogyny.

Pitt has alternately rejected and embraced the dreamboat role, though he seems consistently game when asked to play that part in photo spreads; maybe because he knows it so well, he is also adept at sending it up. Part of what works in “Fight Club” is the aggressively performative quality that he brings to Tyler Durden, who from his strut to his red leather jacket and blood-colored sunglasses conveys both a swaggering masculine ideal and its absurd lad-magazine excesses. He’s a dreamboat for guys. Because while Tyler has a female lover-antagonist (Helena Bonham Carter), his main relationships are with other men, including his doppelgänger and the dudes who flock to the fight club, hysterical and shouting.

Pitt with Juliette Lewis in “Kalifornia.”
Pitt with Juliette Lewis in “Kalifornia.”Credit…Gramercy Pictures
And with Angelina Jolie in “By the Sea.” He’s the rare big male star whose persona is shaped in part by women.
And with Angelina Jolie in “By the Sea.” He’s the rare big male star whose persona is shaped in part by women.Credit…Universal Pictures

“Fight Club” demonstrated Pitt’s talents as a wingman, an ability to smoothly fall in step with a male co-star or trail in the other man’s shadow, which he does in “Once Upon a Time” as well as the three “Ocean’s” movies, playing Rosalind Russell to Clooney’s Cary Grant. Unlike some of his male peers, Pitt has always seemed equally comfortable sharing the screen with leading women, including former life partners, Juliette Lewis (in “Kalifornia”) and Angelina Jolie (“By the Sea”); he is also one of the few contemporary male stars whose persona has been, at least in part, constituted by the famous women in his life.

In an American cinema that has been dominated for decades by male characters who roam in packs or walk mean streets alone, it seems worth underscoring just how female-friendly Pitt reads onscreen and off. This goes back to his breakout role in “Thelma & Louise,” in which he plays a very intentional object of female desire called J.D. It was Geena Davis, who plays Thelma, who advocated that he be cast (over Clooney, among others), though the director, Ridley Scott, soon understood what Pitt was bringing to his brief yet pivotal role: For Thelma and J.D.’s sex scene, Scott, a visual perfectionist with an enduring love of glistening wet surfaces, sprayed Evian water on Pitt’s chest to give it sheen.

Pitt’s big scene takes place on a quiet night midway through the film. Coming in from the rain, J.D. knocks on Thelma’s motel door, brags about robbing stores and pleasures her in bed. (Later, he steals her and Louise’s bankroll.) The next morning, a still-disheveled Thelma tells Louise about her night with J.D., “I finally understand what all the fuss is about” — her face lit with a wild smile — “it’s just like a whole ’nother ballgame!” One of the things that the film’s detractors never grasped is that “Thelma & Louise” isn’t about female deviance or women ostensibly acting like men, but female pleasure and the liberation of body and soul. J.D. rips off Thelma and pushes her toward criminality. He also helps free her.

Soon before they have sex, J.D. (bare-chested, as he should be) takes out the portable hair dryer that he’s tucked into his waistband and waves it around like a gun, giving outlaw pointers to Thelma. The mixture of messages — the feminized dryer, the phallic gun — creates a seemingly dissonant pileup of signification that mixes male and female, desire and danger, laughter and heartache. This dissonance is crucial to the film and to the persona Pitt would develop, partly because it tempers beauty, making it approachable, funny, human. “That scene, right there,” Scott said later, “is the beginning of Brad Pitt! Bingo!” Scott was wrong; Pitt’s entire performance was the beginning — and the camera’s love, the jackpot.

Manohla Dargis has been the co-chief film critic since 2004. She started writing about movies professionally in 1987 while earning her M.A. in cinema studies at New York University, and her work has been anthologized in several books. @ManohlaDargis • Facebook

Diderot on Democracy and Religion

 “Man will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest.”

– Denis Diderot

Denis Diderot (October 5, 1713 – July 31, 1784) was a French philosopher, art critic, and writer, best known for serving as co-founder, chief editor, and contributor to the Encyclopédie along with Jean le Rond d’Alembert. He was a prominent figure during the Age of Enlightenment. Wikipedia

(Contributed by Michael Kelly, H.W.)

The Heartbreak of Hans Christian Andersen

By Maria Popova (


Harriet Hosmer — whose remarkable forgotten story I tell in Figuring (public library), from which this essay too is adapted — was not yet thirty when she became the world’s first successful female sculptor, claimed a place for American art in the European pantheon, and furnished queer culture with a bold new vocabulary of being. Her studio in Rome became a pilgrimage site for royalty and luminaries, drawing such esteemed admirers as Nathaniel HawthorneMaria Mitchell, the Prince of Wales, the Crown Princess of Germany, and the exiled queen of Naples (who would become Hosmer’s lover).

Among her famous visitors was Hans Christian Andersen (April 2, 1805–August 4, 1875) — a man of supreme storytelling genius and aching self-alienation, which Hosmer instantly intuited. In a letter home, she described Andersen as “a tall, gaunt figure of the Lincoln type with long, straight, black hair, shading a face striking because of its sweetness and sadness,” adding that “it was perhaps by reason of the very bitterness of his struggles, that he loved to dwell among the more kindly fairies in whose world he found no touch of hard humanity.”


Hans Christian Andersen (Portrait by Christian Albrecht Jensen, 1836)

Andersen’s struggles were ones of a heart unsettled, ambivalent, at war with itself. By all biographical evidence, he died a virgin. For years, he was infatuated with the Swedish opera diva Jenny Lind, but his great erotic love was reserved for Edvard Collin — a boyhood beloved who remained the single most intense emotional relationship throughout Andersen’s life. “The femininity of my nature and our friendship must remain a mystery,” he wrote to Edvard, who left in his memoir a forlorn record of the dual heartbreak that scars all such relationships between people who love each other deeply but differently: “I found myself unable to respond to this love, and this caused the author much suffering.” Andersen was unambiguous about both his feelings and his suffering, writing to Edvard with heart-rending plaintiveness:


I languish for you as for a pretty Calabrian wench… my sentiments for you are those of a woman.

Jenny Lind, on the other hand, was a woman of the highest caliber of femininity, and one of the most successful women artists of her time. Andersen sent her passionate, pouting letters, then wrote his classic story “The Nightingale” out of his frustrated reverence shortly before making an awkward marriage proposal in a letter handed to her on a train platform. The tale didn’t earn him Lind’s reciprocity, but it earned her the monicker “the Swedish Nightingale.”


Jenny Lind (Portrait by Eduard Magnus, 1862)

To make art out of heartache is, of course, the most beautiful thing one could do with one’s sorrow, as well as the most generous — no artist knows how the transfiguration of their pain into beauty will salve another heart, give another sorrower the language of their own truth, the vessel for navigating their own experience.

Across the Atlantic, Andersen’s heartbreak-fermented fairy tales furnished the language of understanding between two other deeply entwined hearts. Susan Gilbert — the love of Emily Dickinson’s life, to whom the poet had written those electrifying love letters — had married Emily’s brother to be near her. Having managed marital celibacy for an impressive five years, Susan eventually gave birth to her first child. That season, Dickinson sent to her editor a famed cryptic letter on the meaning of which biographers would speculate for centuries to come, telling him of some great unnamed and perhaps unnameable hurt:


I had a terror… I could tell to none, and so I sing, as the Boy does by the Burying Ground — because I am afraid.


Illustration for Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Nightingale” by Ukrainian artist Georgi Ivanovich Narbut, 1912.

Not a “fright,” not a “shock,” but a terror. Whether or not she was the cause, Susan knew of Emily’s suffering and suffered in consonance, for any two hearts bound by love are also bound to share in sorrow. Drawing on an image from Andersen’s fairy tale “The Nightingale and the Rose” — which in turn drew, as most of his fairy tales did, on the terrors of his own unmet heart — Susan captured the parallel heartbreak of their impossible love in a letter apologizing for turning away from Emily’s kiss:


If you have suffered this past Summer — I am sorry — I Emily bear a sorrow that I never uncover — If a nightingale sings with her breast against a thorn, why not we?


Emily Dickinson and Susan Gilbert

Complement this fragment of Figuring with Andersen’s arresting account of climbing Vesuvius during an eruption and the most beautiful illustrations from 150 years of his fairy tales, then revisit Herman Melville’s passionate and heartbreaking love letters to his friend and neighbor Nathaniel Hawthorne, penned in the same era and pained with the same sorrow.

Kahlil Gibran on the Courage to Weather the Uncertainties of Love

“Think not you can direct the course of love, for love, if it finds you worthy, directs your course.”

Brain Pickings|

  • Maria Popova

Kahlil Gibran, self-portrait.

“Love is the quality of attention we pay to things,” poet J.D. McClatchy wrote in his beautiful meditation on the contrast and complementarity of love and desire. And what we choose to attend to — our fear or our faith, our woundedness or our devotion to healing — determines the quality of our love. How we navigate our oscillation between these inescapable polarities is governed by the degree of courage, openness, and vulnerability with which we are willing to show up for and to our own hearts. “The alternations between love and its denial,” philosopher Martha Nussbaum observed in contemplating the difficulty of knowing ourselves“constitute the most essential and ubiquitous structural feature of the human heart.”

That is what the great Lebanese-American poet, painter, and philosopher Kahlil Gibran (January 6, 1883–April 10, 1931) explores in one of the most stirring passages from The Prophet (public library) — the 1923 classic that also gave us what may be the finest advice ever offered on the balance of intimacy and independence in healthy relationships.

Speaking to the paradoxical human impulse to cower before the largeness of love — to run from its vulnerable-making uncertainties and necessary frustrations at the cost of its deepest rewards — Gibran offers an incantation of courage:

When love beckons to you, follow him,
Though his ways are hard and steep.
And when his wings enfold you yield to him,
Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you.
And when he speaks to you believe in him,
Though his voice may shatter your dreams as the north wind lays waste the garden.

For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you.
Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning.
Even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun,
So shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth.
Like sheaves of corn he gathers you unto himself.
He threshes you to make you naked.
He sifts you to free you from your husks.
He grinds you to whiteness.
He kneads you until you are pliant;
And then he assigns you to his sacred fire, that you may become sacred bread for God’s sacred feast.

All these things shall love do unto you that you may know the secrets of your heart, and in that knowledge become a fragment of Life’s heart.

But if in your fear you would seek only love’s peace and love’s pleasure,
Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love’s threshing-floor,
Into the seasonless world where you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter, and weep, but not all of your tears.
Love gives naught but itself and takes naught but from itself.
Love possesses not nor would it be possessed;
For love is sufficient unto love.

Illustration from ‘An ABZ of Love,’ Kurt Vonnegut’s favorite vintage Danish guide to sexuality.

In a sentiment John Steinbeck would come to echo a generation later in his beautiful letter of advice on love to his teenage son, Gibran adds:

Think not you can direct the course of love, for love, if it finds you worthy, directs your course.
Love has no other desire but to fulfill itself.
But if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your desires:
To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night.
To know the pain of too much tenderness.
To be wounded by your own understanding of love;
And to bleed willingly and joyfully.
To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving;
To rest at the noon hour and meditate love’s ecstasy;
To return home at eventide with gratitude;
And then to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in your heart and a song of praise upon your lips.

The Prophet remains a timeless trove of wisdom and a mighty clarifying force for the turbidity of the heart. Complement it with Gibran on why we make art and his stunning love letters, then revisit Adrienne Rich on how honorable relationships refine our truths, Erich Fromm on the art of loving and what is keeping us from mastering it, Leo Tolstoy on love and its paradoxical demands, and this wondrous illustrated meditation on the many meanings and manifestations of love.

This article was originally published on July 13, 2018, by Brain Pickings, and is republished here with permission.

Holocaust Remembrance: We all wear the triangle

by Kittredge Cherry | Jan 27, 2020 (

March with pink triangles by Tony O'Connell - Cropped - 750 px

International Holocaust Remembrance Day (Jan. 27) honors the victims of the Nazi era, including the estimated 5,000 to 60,000 sent to concentration camps for homosexuality.

The United Nations set the date as the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi death camp, in 1945.

Established by the UN in 2005, International Holocaust Remembrance Day recalls the state-sponsored extermination of 6 million Jews and 11 million others deemed inferior by the Nazis, including LGBTQ people, Slavic peoples, Soviet prisoners of war, Gypsies and others not of the “Aryan race,” the mentally ill, the disabled, people, and religious dissidents such as Jehovah’s Witnesses and Catholics. Holocaust Remembrance Day aims to help prevent future genocides.

Approximately 100,000 men were arrested from 1933 and 1945 under Paragraph 175, the German law against homosexuality. They were imprisoned or sent to concentration camps. Only about 4,000 survived.  During the Nazi regime, some mobilized their “deviant” sexualities to counteract Nazi ideologies.

The defeat of the Nazis brought liberation for most prisoners in the concentration camps, but some of those accused of homosexuality were re-imprisoned in post-war Germany based on evidence found by the Nazis.

Artists who address LGBTQ deaths in the holocaust (or “homocaust”) include Tony O’Connell, Mary Button, William Hart McNichols, Richard Grune, John Bittinger Klomp, Keith Haring and those who designed the world’s dozens of memorials to LGBTQ Holocaust victims. Their art is featured here today.

Pink triangles turn shame to pride

Pink triangle buttons

Pride buttons on Etsy

Nazis used the pink triangle to identify male prisoners sent to concentration camps for homosexuality. Originally intended as a badge of shame, the pink triangle has become a symbol of pride for the LGBTQ rights movement. Pink triangles used to be the most common LGBTQ symbol.
They show clearly in the drawing at the top of this post. Queer British artist Tony O’Connell sketched it based on attending his first Pride march — the 1992 Pride march in London. “This page from my 1992 sketchbook was influenced by men I saw on my first Pride March mixed with various gay stereotypes and historical symbols. It could become a very old distant cousin for an image of queer saints marching,” O’Connell said.

Now pink triangles have mostly been replaced by rainbows, which emphasize diversity, but don’t connect with queer history in the same way that the pink triangle does. Pink triangles live on in replicas of vintage buttons and shirts from Pride marches and protests of the past.

Holocaust art and monuments with the pink triangle

The pink triangle appears in a variety of monuments that have been built around the world to commemorate LGBTQ victims of the Nazi regime.

The world’s first LGBTQ Holocaust memorial was the Homomonument, opened in 1987 in the Netherlands. O’Connell made a photo and video record of his prayers and offerings at the Homomonument in Amsterdam on Christmas Day 2014 as part of his contemporary performance art series of LGBTQ pilgrimages.

Holocaust Memorial Pilgrimage to Homomonument in Amsterdam by Tony O’Connell

O’Connell visits LGBTQ historical sites such as the Harvey Milk Metro station in San Francisco, New York City’s Stonewall Inn, and the Alan Turing Memorial Bench in Manchester. Democratizing the idea of sacredness and reclaiming the holiness in ordinary life, especially in LGBTQ experience, are major themes in O’Connell’s work. Based in Liverpool, O’Connell was raised in the Roman Catholic church, but has been a practicing Buddhist since 1995. For more info about O’Connell’s art, see my previous post Codebreaker Alan Turing honored in queer pilgrimage by artist Tony O’Connell.

Haring, Silence = Death

“Silence = Death” by Keith Haring (1988) is shown here at a 2016 exhibit in Munich, Germany. Photo courtesy of Steph Budwey.

Pink triangles are featured in the work of various artists, including Keith Haring (1958-1990), one of the most well-known gay artists of the 20th century. Works such as his 1988 “Silence = Death” draw a parallel between the Nazi holocaust and the oppression and invisibility of people with AIDS. He did multiple versions in different sizes.  They show a pink triangle overlaid with figures covering their eyes, ears and mouths.

Another painting on the theme is “Pink Triangle” by John Bittinger Klomp, a gay artist based in Florida.

“Pink Triangle” by John Bittinger Klomp, 2012

“The Pink Triangle was part of the system of triangles used by the Nazis during World War II to denote various peoples they deemed undesirable, and included Jews, Jehovah’s Witnesses and homosexuals,” Klomp said. The painting is part of his “Gay Dictionary Series” on words and symbols related to being gay.

Jesus in Love logo

The original logo for the Jesus in Love Blog also shows the face of Jesus in a pink triangle. He joins queer people in transforming suffering into power.

In January 2014 Israel’s first memorial for LGBT victims of the Holocaust was unveiled in Tel Aviv. Since 1984, more than 20 gay Holocaust memorials have been established in places ranging from San Francisco to Sydney, from Germany to Uruguay. Some are in the actual concentration camp sites, such as the plaque for gay victims in Dachau pictured below.

Plaque for gay victims at Dachau concentration camp by nilexuk

To see powerful photos of all the queer Holocaust memorials and read the stories behind them, visit:

Priest who wore the pink triangle

A gay priest who was killed in the Holocaust is honored in the icon “Holy Priest Anonymous One of Sachsenhausen.” It was painted by Father William Hart McNichols, a New Mexico artist and Catholic priest who was rebuked by church leaders for his LGBTQ-affirming icons of unapproved saints. The icon of the anonymous priest of Sachsenhausen icon appears in the book “The Bride: Images of the Church,” which McNichols co-authored with peace activist Daniel Berrigan.

Holy Priest Anonymous One of Sachsenhausen by William Hart McNichols

A gay priest killed in the Holocaust appears in “Holy Priest Anonymous One of Sachsenhausen” by William Hart McNichols

The anonymous 60-year-old gay priest, beaten to death because he refused to stop praying at the concentration camp in Sachsenhausen, Germany. Eyewitness Heinz Heger reported that the murder was so brutal that “I felt I was witnessing the crucifixion of Christ in modern guise.”

Here is the beginning of his tragic story, as told by Heger in his book The Men With the Pink Triangle.

Toward the end of February, 1940, a priest arrived in our block, a man some 60 years of age, tall and with distinguished features. We later discovered that he came from Sudetenland, from an aristocratic German family.

He found the torment of the arrival procedure especially trying, particularly the long wait naked and barefoot outside the block. When his tonsure was discovered after the shower, the SS corporal in charge took up a razor and said “I’ll go to work on this one myself, and extend his tonsure a bit.” And he saved the priest’s head with the razor, taking little trouble to avoid cutting the scalp. quite the contrary.

The priest returned to the day-room of our lock with his head cut open and blood streaming down. His face was ashen and his eyes stared uncomprehendingly into the distance. He sat down on a bench, folded his hands in his lap and said softly, more to himself than to anyone else: “And yet man is good, he is a creature of God!”

The book goes on to recount in heartbreaking detail how the Nazis tortured the priest, hurling anti-gay slurs and beating him to death. More excerpts are available at the Queering the Church Blog in a post titled The Priest With the Pink Triangle.

More artwork remembering LGBTQ people in the Holocaust

Persecution of LGBTQ people during the Holocaust is juxtaposed with the suffering of Jesus in two paintings from “Stations of the Cross: The Struggle For LGBT Equality” by Mary Button. In Station 3, Jesus falls the first time and Nazis ban homosexual groups. The painting features headshots of men who were arrested for homosexuality under Paragraph 175 of the German criminal code and sent to concentration camps between 1933 and 1945.

Station 3 from “Stations of the Cross: The Struggle For LGBT Equality” by Mary Button, courtesy of Believe Out Loud

In Station 4, Jesus meets his mother and LGBTQ prisoners are kept in Nazi concentration camps after Allied liberation. Nazis and Allies were enemies, but they agreed that homosexuals should be locked up. The Allies liberated everyone else, but kept those who wore the pink triangle in prison. Upon liberation of Nazi concentration camps, those interned for homosexuality were not freed, but required to serve out the full term of their sentences under Paragraph 175. The painting shows railroad tracks leading to the gas chambers at Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration and extermination camp, uniforms with pink triangles, and the Nazi chart of symbols used to classify prisoners.

Station 4 from “Stations of the Cross: The Struggle For LGBT Equality” by Mary Button, courtesy of Believe Out Loud

Using bold colors and collage, Button puts Jesus’ suffering into a queer context by matching scenes from his journey to Golgotha with milestones from the last 100 years of LGBTQ history. For an overview of all 15 paintings in the LGBT Stations series, see my article LGBT Stations of the Cross shows struggle for equality.

“The Life of Gad Beck: Gay. Jewish. Nazi Fighter.” by Dorian Alexander and Levi Hastings

A scene from “The Life of Gad Beck: Gay. Jewish. Nazi Fighter.” by Dorian Alexander and Levi Hastings (

Powerful images of gay Jewish resistance appear in “The Life of Gad Beck: Gay. Jewish. Nazi Fighter,” a non-fiction comic by Dorian Alexander and Levi Hastings. It was first posted online for Holocaust Remembrance Day 2019.

It open with the lines, “When we think of queer people and the Holocaust, it’s hard to think of anything but victimization. But that would be a mistake.” It goes on to show the inspiring story of how Beck resisted and survived the Nazis.

Beck also tells his own story in his 2000 autobiography titled An Underground Life: Memoirs of a Gay Jew in Nazi Berlin.

Richard Grune, a Bauhuas-trained German artist sent to Nazi concentration camps for homosexuality, also saw a connection between Christ’s Passion and the suffering of people in the camps. After being imprisoned in Sachsenhausen and Flossenbürg, he created “Passion of the 20th Century,” a set of lithographs depicting the nightmare of life in the camps. Published in 1947, it is considered one of the most important visual records of the camps to appear in the immediate postwar years.

“Solidarity.” Richard Grune lithograph from a limited edition series “Passion des XX Jahrhunderts” (Passion of the 20th Century). Grune was prosecuted under Paragraph 175 and from 1937 until liberation in 1945 was incarcerated in concentration camps. In 1947 he produced a series of etchings detailing what he witnessed in the camps. Grune died in 1983. (Credit: Courtesy Schwules Museum, Berlin) (US Holocaust Museum)

Willem Ardondeus

A gay Dutch artist who died in the Holocaust was Willem Arondeus (Aug. 22, 1894 – July 1, 1943). He participated in the anti-Nazi resistance movement with openly lesbian cellist Frieda Belinfante and others. Arondeus was openly gay before World War II began and proudly asserted his queer identity in his last message before his execution: “Let it be known that homosexuals are not cowards.”  His life and art are featured in a YouTube video.

Lesbians in the Holocaust

The Nazis also denounced and attacked lesbians, but usually less severely and less systematically than they persecuted male homosexuals. Their history is told online in the article Lesbians and the Third Reich at the US Holocaust Museum. Some lesbians claim the black triangle as their symbol. The Nazis imposed the black triangle on people who were sent to concentration camps for being “anti-social.”

Identification pictures of Henny Schermann, a shop assistant in Frankfurt am Main. In 1940 police arrested Henny, who was Jewish and a lesbian, and deported her to the Ravensbrueck concentration camp for women. She was killed in 1942. Ravensbrueck, Germany, 1941. (US Holocaust Memorial Museum Photo Archives)

Memoirs of gay Holocaust survivors

The last surviving man to wear the pink triangle in the concentration camps was Rudolf Brazda, who died in 2011 at age 98. His story is told in his obituary at the New York Times.

The award-winning 1979 play “Bent” by Martin Sherman helped increase awareness of Nazi persecution of gays, leading to more historical research and education. A film version of “Bent” was made in 1997 with an all-star British cast including Clive Owen, Mick Jagger and Jude Law. Its title comes from the European slang word “bent” used as a slur for homosexuals.

The 2000 documentary film “Paragraph 175” tells the stories of several gay men and one lesbian who were persecuted by the Nazis, including interviews with some of the last survivors.

In recent years new memoirs of gay Holocaust survivors have been published and queer theory has brought new understanding of the Gay Holocaust as not just atrocities, but also a system of social control. Valuable books include:

I, Pierre Seel, Deported Homosexual: A Memoir of Nazi Terror by Pierre Seel (2011)

Lost Intimacies: Rethinking Homosexuality under National Socialism by William J. Spurlin (2008)

The Hidden Holocaust?: Gay and Lesbian Persecution in Germany 1933-45” by Gunter Grau (1995)

The Pink Triangle: The Nazi War Against Homosexuals by Richard Plant (1988) — first comprehensive book on the subject

Homosexuality d Male Bonding in Pre-Nazi Germany: The Youth Movement, the Gay Movement, and Male Bonding Before Hitler’s Rise” by Hubert Kennedy (1992)

Josef Jaeger by Jere’ M Fishback (young adult novel based partly on the life of Jürgen Ohlsen, Nazi propaganda film star who turned out to be gay)

A Prayer for Holocaust Remembrance

International Holocaust Remembrance Day is a suitable time for LGBTQ Christians and their allies to remember and repent the role of churches in fostering the antisemitism that led to the Holocaust.  This day is devoted to the Nazi Holocaust, but it is important to remember that genocide and murder based on discrimination happened in many times and places. The list of queer martyrs executed for homosexuality is long.

Here International Holocaust Remembrance Day is observed here with the prayer “We All Wear the Triangle” by Steve Carson. It appears in the book “Equal Rites: Lesbian and Gay Worship, Ceremonies, and Celebrations.” Carson was ordained by Metropolitan Community Churches and served congregations in New York, Boston and San Francisco.
One: We are in many ways a culture without memory. The Holocaust, a series of events that occurred just over a generation ago, changed the world forever. Yet by some the Holocaust is forgotten, or seen as irrelevant, or even viewed as something that never happened.

All: As people of faith, we refuse to forget. We refuse to participate in the erasing of history. As a community of faith, we decide to remember, as we hear the historical record from Europe a generation ago and reflect upon events in our own time. We dare to listen to the voices of the past, even as they echo today.

One: In this moment, we are all Jews wearing the yellow Star of David.

All: We are all homosexuals wearing the pink triangle.

One: We are all political activists wearing the red triangle.

All: We are all criminals wearing the green triangle.

One: We are all antisocials wearing the black triangle.

All: We are all Jehovah’s Witnesses wearing the purple triangle.

One: We are all emigrants wearing the blue triangle.

All: We are all gypsies wearing the brown triangle.

One: We are all undesirable, all extendable by the state.

…Leader: To God of both memory and hope, we pledge ourselves to be a people of resistance to the powers of death wherever they may appear, to honor the living and the dead, and to make with them our promise: Never again!

Links related to Nazi persecution of Homosexuals

Nazi Persecution of Homosexuals 1933-45 (US Holocaust Museum)

Lesbians and the Third Reich (US Holocaust Museum)

Pink Triangle at the Legacy Walk

Persecution of Homosexuals in Nazi Germany and the Holocaust (Wikipedia)

Sachsenhausen (Counterlight’s Peculiars).

To read this article in Italian, go to:
Quando l’arte fa memoria dell’Olocausto dei triangoli rosa (

Top image credit:
“Sketchbook page 1992” by Tony O’Connell is inspired by the 1992 Pride March in London.

This post is part of the LGBTQ Calendar series by Kittredge Cherry. The series celebrates religious and spiritual holidays, events in LGBTQ history, holy days, feast days, festivals, anniversaries, liturgical seasons and other occasions of special interest to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people of faith and our allies.

Copyright © Kittredge Cherry. All rights reserved. presents the Jesus in Love Blog on LGBTQ spirituality.

Kittredge Cherry

Kittredge Cherry

Founder at Q SpiritKittredge Cherry is a lesbian Christian author who writes regularly about LGBTQ spirituality.She holds degrees in religion, journalism and art history.She was ordained by Metropolitan Community Churches and served as its national ecumenical officer, advocating for LGBTQ rights at the National Council of Churches and World Council of Churches.(Visited 210 times, 2 visits today)


Translators:  Mike Zonta, Melissa Goodnight, Richard Branam, Hanz Bolen

SENSE TESTIMONY:  Persons/memories deliberately lie, steal, abuse, and use violence due to greed and personal gain.

5th Step Conclusions:

1)  The property of Truth is all that can be remembered, all that can be intended, all that can be utilized: the perpetual motion of harmonious energy in the midst of infinite plenty.

2)  Infinite Consciousness Being, is always all there is, expressing perfectly the Whole Truth (and nothing but the Truth) of Cosmic Intention — this is utilizing every expression for utmost Righteousness, so only highest Good is served, and limitless Value is generated.

3)  Truth, the Theater of Attributed Personification, this Compelling, indwelling Faculty of commemorating Universal deliberate principle; Mindfulness, this level Headed comically Inspired equilibrium Being the Method of Procedure, Androgynous Ingeniousness.

4) The self evident universal powerful knowing presence of Truth is the only value, strength and health there is, individuated, related and soundly harmonious, instantaneously and everywhere.

All Translators are welcome to join this group.  See Weekly Groups page/tab.

Corona Virus Parody (Lyrics)

LTE Plus “Fight the Virus” is a parody of Simon & Garfunkel’s classic song ‘Sound of Silence’. This song shares information about the current Wuhan coronavirus that has spread across the world and how we can all work together to fight and beat this virus. Share the song! Fight the virus! Music Download Link:

FIGHT THE VIRUS – Alvin Oon: Hello virus from Wuhan Another problem’s here again Because you see the contagion creeping And the virus is indeed spreading And the memory of SARS planted in my brain Still remains We stand and fight the virus We hear of theories how it grew From snakes and bats became a flu Passing the sickness from man to man Now it’s growing, getting out of hand It’s a virus that has travelled near and far Corona We have to fight the virus And in the latest news I saw Ten thousand people maybe more People falling sick with much coughing People falling ill with much sneezing People worried for their health and their ones so dear Pneumonia We keep the fight the virus Keep your hand clean always know Hygiene will stop that virus grow When you sneeze cover with a tissue Even coughing just let me teach you Wear a mask if you’re sick so that others won’t get it too We count on you To help to fight the virus Together we must overcome To beat this virus fight as one For a life of health and harmony It’s in our hands it’s up to you and me For the health of our land of our friends and family Humanity We will win this fight the virus


By Heather Williams, H.W., M.

February 2, 2020

QUESTION: Are you consumed by “Fake News” OR are you CURIOUS? What the heck is going on in our world today? And why is curiosity important?

In my Sunday talk I gently explore the vital importance of CURIOSITY and I invite you to explore the idea that you have within you all that you need to deal with problems. Yes we all have “WORK” to do. Let’s explore what this means!

DATE: Sunday, February 9, 2020
TIME:  11:00 am Pacific Time; 12:00 pm Mtn. Time; 1:00 pm Central Time; 2:00 pm Eastern Time