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This article by Marshall Shore originally appeared in the September 2015 Issue.

New York. Los Angeles. Phoenix. Though this may sound like stops on a national concert or exhibition tour, but it’s actually the journey of a relatively obscure, but iconic gay artist who changed how we look at male and female beauty.

Despite the fact that his art was a precursor to Tom of Finland and Alberto Vargas, George Quaintance (1902-1957) remains a virtually unknown, unsung pioneer of the arts and queer communities – until now.

Ken Furtado and John Waybright (read Marshall Shore's author interview here), crossed paths on their individual quests for Quaintance information. Through their connection, they realized that there was very little authoritative information available on the man whose resume included dancing professionally, painting early pin-up girls, working as a celebrity hairdresser, directing art for several muscle magazines and, most notoriously, creating beefcake images of beautiful men with bulging Levi’s, six-pack abs and perfectly quaffed hair.

“Thunderhead” (left) and “After the Storm.” Quaintance’s most iconic images are from Arizona, most of which contain idealized young men and casual, but abundant, nudity, in a context that was rugged, masculine, romantic, sensuous and erotic.

This alone made the decision to collaborate on a definitive Quaintance biography an easy one for Furtado and Waybright, and the soon-to-be co-authors agreed that Waybright would write about the artist’s years on the East Coast and Furtado would depict the years Quaintance spent in Los Angeles and Phoenix.

“After 10 years and dozens of publishers’ rejections, the George Quaintance biography that John and I co-authored is available as an ebook,” Furtado share on via georgequaintance.com. “John passed away in 2013, and in 2014 I made a New Year’s resolution to create an ebook version by year’s end. I completely rewrote every chapter, adding about 12,000 words to the original manuscript in the form of new information that we learned since first completing the bio. That task was completed, and this morning, the book became available.”

Furtado stuck to his guns and, Quaintance: The Short Life of an American Art Pioneer is the only comprehensive look at the artist’s life available today. (Read more on Marshall Shore's visit to the Taschen Gallery's show titled “The Flamboyant Life and Forbidden Art of George Quaintance” here.)

George Quaintance loved to be photographed. This was his favorite photo of himself, wearing a blond wig and tailored cowboy duds.

The Original GQ

Born in rural Virginia, Quaintance showed an early aptitude for art, not farming. And, at the age of 18, he went to New York to study at the Art Students League.

Shortly thereafter Quaintance joined a Vaudeville troupe that was the opening act for Sophie Tucker’s farewell performance. He continued to study ballet and modern dance until an injury forced him to pursue other creative outlets.

From there, he when on to become one of America’s preeminent hair stylists, whose clients included such stage and screen stars as Marlene Dietrich, Helen Hayes, Jeanette MacDonald and Hedy Lamarr.

He also painted formal portraits of celebrities, diplomats, socialites and pinup girls for a variety of magazines in the ‘30s and ‘40s. This opened the door for him to become the art editor for men’s magazine Your Physique. This introduction to the sculpted male physiques of the body building community would influence his art in such a way that it would overshadow his prior artistic endeavors.

Stephen Barclay portrait, Mrs. Victor Moore portrait and “Herald.”

Quaintance’s career culminated with the work he produced from his Phoenix home and studio, dubbed Rancho Siesta, where lived, painted and loved from 1952 to 1957.

Through Quaintance: The Short Life of an American Art Pioneer Furtado and Waybright’s shared goal is to tell the complete story of this iconic gay artist’s life.

To purchase a copy of Quaintance: The Short Life of an American Art Pioneer, visit smashwords.com. For more information, visit georgequaintance.com.

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How to talk about transgender issues

So how do we talk about transgender issues (even if you're not transgender)? There are three main things to remember when discussing transgender issues today, so before getting into the meat and potatoes of it all, let's keep these things in mind:

  1. It is not a political discussion, it is a human rights discussion.
  2. There is a rich history rooted in transgender rights that must be considered when discussing these issues.
  3. Humanization should always be at the forefront of the conversation.

Before going into any conversation, no matter who it's with, try to keep these things in mind before you say something that may be inappropriate, misguided, or just plain wrong. Even those with the best intentions can mess up; remember that it is always ok to admit when you do not know something or when you are wrong. That being said, let's get into it.

sign with a 'friendly for all genders' image showing a person in a wheelchair, and a person with half a dress and pants on.

Transgender bathroom bills


So whether you choose to become a transgender activist or if you just want to be a better ally, this easy talking point will generally keep you in line and on the safe side of conversations while still putting forth the effort to encourage and better represent transgender rights.

Easy, all-around approach: This will work for almost all transgender issues and expand on the previous three rules; firstly, trans issues are not a debate. When discussing with someone, do not indulge in hypotheticals and always remember that transgender people are the exact same as anyone else, with the exact same feelings. Keeping this in mind, let's use the bathroom bill as an example. When discussing this issue, one should humanize, de-politicize, and normalize the conversation. How does one employ this, though? Here is an example of how the conversation may go.

Person 1: I don't want men in the women's restroom, they will rape my daughters.

So this statement is clearly based on reactionary conversation perpetuated by anti-transgender ideals. This means that the person probably has a misconception of the history and oppression of transgender people. They also show concern for their family, which is a step towards humanization, despite the misconception. Here would be an appropriate response that helps to humanize, de-politicize, and normalize the conversation.

Person 2: I don't want men in the women's restroom, either, which is why we need to make sure people who identify as women are using the women's restroom. There has never been a documented case where a transgender person has raped either a man or woman in a public restroom. And by forcing people to use a restroom that does not match their gender identity, it is promoting violence, as there is a strong history of physical violence against transgender people.

By only saying about three sentences, you are able to do the previous steps while discussing the issue in a civil manner without opening it up to debate. The key to this is to keep it short and sweet, stating both the truth and an ally's stance to support the transgender community. It's critical to make sure that what you say is backed with confidence, though, which is why this second approach is more encouraged as it gives the person speaking more confidence in their opinion.

gif of a man in a suit talking about number 1. Number 1 GIF by PragerU Giphy

The second approach: backed by facts and history, is the exact same as before, but this approach leaves the other person with more questions about their stance and gives them something to consider. Before going into this approach, however, it is important to keep in mind that you are not debating the existence of trans people, nor are you trying to change someone's mind. That is not the goal; the goal is simply to get your opinion across in a way that honors both the trans community and their ideas. Let's take the same example as before but add the new sentiments.

Person 1: I don't want men in the women's restrooms, they will rape my daughters.

Person 2: There has never been a documented case of a transgender person raping anyone in a public restroom, and the only published cases of such were proven to be false. Further, when people say things like this, they are perpetuating violence against transgender people, which has historically (and still does) oppressed and insight further physical violence against them. And honestly, the most common reason there is this stance is because the person typically does not know a trans person and may not even know a person who does know a trans person. But the truth is, they probably do. The probability is more likely that the transgender people around them are just not comfortable enough in the environment to come out and speak up about their gender identity. And yes, everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but it is quite sad that some people's opinion does not invite civil discussion but instead incites violence.

This approach is more confrontational, which requires more confidence when using it in a conversation, but it still holds true to all of the previous rules and sentiments. It adds truth based on history, which is an important aspect of trans rights as it reminds people of where we were/ where we are currently with human rights. These ideas can be transferred to most all trans issues and will honor the transgender movement and your allyship. The last thing to keep in mind is the person or reason you are standing up for/with trans rights. The passion -the compassion will shine through in conversation if you keep your reasoning close to heart. Whether it is because of a transgender friend, family member, or just because of your moral values, if you put your emotions into your reasoning, it will create more compelling statements, especially if the statement is well versed with the facts.

Tips to Remember When Discussing Transgender Issues

  1. Transgender issues are not political, they are human rights issues
  2. There is a rich history behind transgender issues
  3. Humanize transgender people through our words and ideas and don't forget to include:
    • 3(b). The facts
    • 3(c).The confidence
    • 3(d). The inspiration behind the support for transgender rights

10 LGBTQ+ Movies on Amazon Prime You Need to Watch

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Photo courtesy of Amazon Prime

LGBTQ+ Movies on Amazon Prime

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Transgender Sign in Pride Parade

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