Thursday, September 15, 2011

NYT, Advocate De-Gay
Arthur Evans' Survivors

(Arthur Evans, as he appears in the new documentary "Vito". Credit: Jeffrey Schwarz.)

If he were miraculously still alive and able to read the New York Times and Advocate obituaries on him, Arthur Evans might say, "This is why I penned my obit. To get the facts about key elements of my life right and not leave it to obit writers to fully understand my life and relationships."

This is what he wrote regarding his survivors:

He is survived by his brother Joe Evans of Durand, Michigan, his best friend Hal Offen, and a host of long-time friends and admirers who are grateful to him for his pioneering vision and leadership, wit, delightful companionship and loving nature.

The mention of Hal as best friend should be treated on an equal footing with longtime companion, surviving spouse, domestic partner and biological family members, IMO. I wrote the other day about gays creating families and having deep feelings that I was a nephew to Arthur and his Gay Activists Alliance colleague Marty Robinson, and believe Arthur's inclusion of Hal signified special status upon him, a status to respect. 

The New York Times and the Advocate disagree with me. In the case of the latter it's probably space limitations for the daily print edition, and the Gray Lady's style book, that explain Hal's omission from this sentence:

Mr. Evans is survived by his brother, Joe.

The Times early in the obit cites Hal, as a friend of the deceased, by name providing the detail about cause of death. Still, I wanted to see the Times write that best friend Hal has survived Arthur, in addition to his biological brother.

And what excuse can the Advocate web site say is the reason why Hal's name was left out entirely and in the sentence about survivors?

Evans, a native of Pennsylvania, is survived by a brother.

The Advocate has a monthly print edition, and who knows if an obit of substantive length will appear in the next issue. Does the Advocate usually omit best friends and self-created family members from obits? Did their web site not have enough space for Hal and his importance to Arthur, as a survivor?

Hey Mr. Gay Crankypants, even in death you're showing another one of thousands of ways in which our lives and loving partnerships that don't involve sex or marriage can be diminished. I better learn an important lesson from Arthur, and write my own damn obit too.

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