On this day in the 1967 the British band The Beatles released their iconic album ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’. Their eighth album, Sgt. Pepper was an experimental piece as one of the world’s first concept albums, and represented a marked break from the Beatles’ earlier work. The concept of the album came from Paul McCartney and is that the album is being performed by a fictional band - the titular 'Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’. Each Beatle took on a new persona in the band, most prominently drummer Ringo Starr as Billy Shears. Having decided to stop touring in 1966, the band were freer to write songs that would be difficult to play live, including the famous 'A Day In The Life’. Other songs on the album have acquired equally legendary status, including 'With a Little Help from My Friends’, 'Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds’ and 'When I’m Sixty-Four’. The album cover was designed by artists Peter Blake and Jann Haworth based on a sketch by McCartney, and featured cut-outs of famous figures. The figures depicted include Bob Dylan, Edgar Allan Poe, Marilyn Monroe, Robert Peel, Stuart Sutcliffe, Laurel and Hardy, Karl Marx, Oscar Wilde and wax versions of the Beatles themselves; John Lennon was denied his request to feature Adolf Hitler and Jesus Christ. Sgt. Pepper was an instant success, spending 22 weeks at the top of the UK album chart and winning four Grammy Awards; it is still considered one of the band’s best albums and one of the greatest albums of all time.
As snobby as the fashion world may seem, as an industry, it’s widely embraced the LGBT community. Or as Tim Gunn puts it, “Men in the fashion industry, I assume that they’re gay until proven otherwise.”
This is perhaps why, after his troubled youth, Gunn has seemed to find solace in the style world, acting as America’s resident fashion mentor first through his role at Parsons The New School for Design and then via “Project Runway” and “Project Runway: Under The Gunn,” his new design competition series. He tells me that it was a long path to the enormous success he’s achieved – a path made only more complicated by him coming to terms with being gay.
“A large part of what I was struggling with as a teen was my sexuality,” he says. “I didn’t know who I was, but I certainly knew what I wasn’t. And I knew I wasn’t a heterosexual male. The whole idea of being gay absolutely terrified me.”
Gunn cites Uncle Arthur on “Bewitched” and the decorators in Doris Day films as the only gay role models around when he was growing up in the ‘50s and '60s. (“For a while I thought being gay meant that you’re hanging salmon-colored curtains in windows.”) Growing up in Washington, D.C., he was picked on and bounced around from school to school, all of which led to a suicide attempt at the age of 17, which he discussed publicly for the first time in his “It Gets Better” video in 2010.
After years of struggling, becoming a role model himself in both the fashion and LGBT worlds is an achievement Gunn is unabashedly grateful for. Through reality television, he’s opened up America to two communities that, unfortunately, aren’t necessarily accessible to everyone, since he’s both well-respected and adored. (Thoughhe never did come out to his family.) “I meet so many people who are total strangers to me,” he says. “They feel comfortable speaking to me, because they feel as if they know me, and, in a manner of speaking, they do.”
On the issue of transgender models, however, Gunn is at odds with himself, especially when it comes to androgynous models, like Andrej Pejic, modeling women’s clothing. “The fact that fashion designers would put basically adolescent-shaped boys or men in women’s clothes is head-scratching for me because, anatomically, women and men have different shapes,” he says. “So, to be looking at women’s fashion on a tall, skinny guy with no hips, there’s no way you can project yourself into those clothes.”
With all of the flak the fashion world receives for perpetuating body image issues for women, some might think that models like Pejic make the waif standard all the more unattainable by telling women they’re not supposed to have hips in the first place. “It underscores all of those body issues that we know women have,” Gunn says. “It’s the world telling us that there’s something wrong with us and that we’d look better in our clothes and the world would think us more beautiful if we looked like this. I think it’s horrible.”
But the use of trans models isn’t a black and white issue, even to Gunn. “I’m conflicted,” he says. “On one hand, I don’t want to say that because you were a man and now you’re a woman, you can’t be in a women’s fashion show. But I feel it’s a dicey issue. The fact of the matter is, when you are transgender – if you go, say, male to female – you’re not having your pelvis broken and having it expanded surgically. You still have the anatomical bone structure of a man.”
*Class size is an important determinant of student outcomes, and one that can be directly determined by policy. All else being equal, increasing class sizes will harm student outcomes.
* The evidence suggests that increasing class size will harm not only children’s test scores in the short run, but also their long-run human capital formation. Money saved today by increasing class sizes will result in more substantial social and educational costs in the future.
* The payoff from class-size reduction is greater for low-income and minority children, while any increases in class size will likely be most harmful to these populations.
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has officially signed into law a measure that makes some “homosexual acts” punishable by life in prison. While homosexuality is already illegal in Uganda, the new law toughens punishments for LGBT people and same-sex affection pretty much across the board.
At the public signing of the bill Monday, a defiant Museveni declared that he would not allow the West to impose its values on Uganda.
“We have been disappointed for a long time by the conduct of the West, the way you conduct yourselves there,” he told CNN’s Zain Verjee in Entebbe. “Our disappointment is now exacerbated because we are sorry to see that you live the way you live, but we keep quiet about it. Now you say ‘you must also live like us’ – that’s where we say no.”