A look at Gladys Bentley, American blues singer
Before we get started as we normally do at the start of a person's life I'm going to jump in when gladys was forty five years old in the year nineteen, fifty, two revolutionnaire. Arcada. Their time travel is upset. Yes. Heavens the reason why jumping in he is because nine fifty two is the at that one amount main sources was written and I want to talk about that. Source. Pot, Abou- review before we actually. Talk about that. So in the nineteen forties and nineteen fifties in the USA politicians like Senator Joe McCarthy was spearheading moral and political panicked about queer people in the understanding that we who are not only immoral but also susceptible to blackmail and therefore more likely to become communist spies. Goddess Bentley had built her career on being an openly queer and gender non conforming blues performer in nineteen, Fifty, two in. The African American magazine Ebony, she write an article titled. I'm a woman again in which she talks very late at queasiness before renouncing it and championing heterosexuality and Hetero normativity. In this article, she says, I became a woman again when I discovered unaccepted the one glorious thing which for so many years I had bitterly fought with all my heart mind and body the law of antennas, the devotion of a man. I thought it was kind of Jesus. Is, the man Jesus, the matters not Jesus She did definitely become more involved with her church later in her life, but she doesn't necessarily link that to her. Queens. So like Jesus here but only incidentally. Background character. Incidental Jesus is my Christian rock band. Do you come across. Do. Christian covers rock songs. Both I anyway. What happened YOU CLAP We'll talk a lot more about the background to this article and what was happening in life at that time. When we get to that I, think the sort of political background McCarthyism is. Hardly the main you need to know that, and the reason that I wanted to bring this up and mentioned at the start is because this article is the only information we have about Gladys inhering voice. Well, that's quite a pickle. It is quite a pickle that we are. And it's also the only source of information we have about her childhood before she was about twenty one. Okay. So that's that most by graphical information comes from what can be gleaned from newspaper is nobody's ever written a biography. All Gladys on the work of like interviewing people who knew anything like that is that is something that could still be done. Do you think she was born in nineteen ninety seven so like a lot of people anyone who knew her in her early life is GonNa be dead. Yeah. But from headlight alive that would probably still be some still alive could talk about her bought definitely have to be done pretty soon. I'm not aware of anyone working on unfortunately, but hopefully, someone is yeah. So I just wanted to raise that heavy keep in mind that that's the source of wealth with before we start talking about glass at life. So I got us was born in Philadelphia on the twelfth of August nine, hundred seven to George and Mary Bentley. She was the oldest of four siblings in a black working class family according to Gladys's article in Ebony Mary had wanted a son and she was very disappointed when she had a door refusing much as tasha child on Nessa Child. Gladys. Intern says she always felt repulsed by men including her father brothers and uncles and she says. I suppose the reason was that they will admire while I was scorned from ninety nine or ten. She began to steal her brothers choirs at first to feel she was getting even with them but then I began feel more comfortable in boys quarries than dresses have parents teachers objected to gladys as masculine dress. The gladys was obstinate and she and her parents eventually reached a compromise by gladys wear what's called a meaty blouse. So that's what you'd pictures like kind attritional Salas like a navy ship and she went out with a skirt during elementary school gladdest about to crush on a female teachers she tells us in Class I sat the hours watching her and. Wondering, why I was so attracted to at night I dreamed I didn't understand the meaning of those dreams until later. I. WanNA mention this because it's got his first experience of being attracted to a woman that we know about and also just think it gives you a bit of an idea of how in her article the Ebony she does talk openly about like being que- and being attracted to women and wanting to present in a masculine way and these kinds of things like she doesn't deny that this is an aspect then renounces it and decides that Hetero. normativity is better suicide angle on this that she used to feel this way but she has stopped. Or the she feels this way but has decided that that's not any good. I tell you. It's more than she used to feel this way but has stopped. Okay. Yeah. Yeah. It's hard to say because she does sort of talk about talk about there are other people who have the same who had the same experiences in she refers to those groups like she uses like way if she's talking about painting society and she's still kind of identifies with those groups. But at the same time, she says as things like I've become a woman again now I love man I'm able to Vin into this female role Besse so I'm interested to hear how gender and sexuality. Interacting glasses life. Easier we go through what I was saying I've become a woman again. that. Yeah. I really interested to hear your thoughts on that. I, don't really nine because we have so little in gladys invoice except this. Has a lot of a lot about the stuff going on and influence why she write this article. It's hard to say how gladys feels about gender, but we will talk about Nemo. As. Gladys grew older cy when she was a teenager, her mother thought taking doctors. She doesn't explicitly tell us in Ebony article the reason for this but it's apparent that it was connected to fairly to perform femininity in the way that was expected of him. Gladys tells us she believes parents meant well botched quite what my family did not know was that. I didn't need a doctor, but love's affection and healthy interests to supplant the malignant growth festering inside of me, and she seems to argue at this point in the article that it was the original rejection by her mother that fest push towards her gender non conforming behavior and that her parents subsequent relations attempting to force her to conform to femininity. Ireland. Encourage to.