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The tragic untold story of the ‘Dog Day Afternoon’ trans icon | Culture

On October 1, 1987, the Los Angeles Times published an obituary that read: “Elizabeth Eden; Basis of Dog Day Afternoon.” Although Eden was much more than the real story behind one of the most popular films of the seventies, the title represents a posthumous victory for those who fought for decades for the world to see the woman in her. Eden died at the age of 41 in a hospital in the city of Rochester, New York, where she fled to start a new life away from John Wojtowicz. Her charismatic longtime partner turned bank robber was immortalized by Al Pacino on the big screen. It was Wojtowicz who revealed to the press that Eden had not died due to cancer and pneumonia, as she wanted to be known, but as a result of AIDS-related pneumonia. More than 25 years after her death, there are several voices that try to vindicate what is, with her lights and shadows, one of the most important figures of the trans movement in the United States and which the Dog Day Afternoon failed to portray in its maximum splendor. “Her political impact runs far deeper than a botched bank robbery,” Tribune magazine says.

There is hardly any information about Elizabeth Debbie Eden’s childhood beyond the fact that she was born into a Jewish family in Queens (New York) and given the name Ernest Aron. She became one of the best-known young women on the New York scene in the early seventies due to her height, her beauty, her talent for dancing, and her scandalous character. She used to play records at parties with a portable record player that she carried with her, and turned to prostitution to survive. The 1960s were a time when any non-normative sexual orientation was still persecuted and criminalized, and homophobic beatings by groups of straight people or the police were the order of the day. But something had begun to change in the Greenwich Village neighborhood following the Stonewall riots in 1969, which multiplied the community’s demonstrations and gave birth to the gay liberation movement. One of the members of the Gay Activists Alliance, a nonviolent militant political organization, went by the name of John Wojtowicz.

This Vietnam War veteran was quite a character. A few years earlier he had left his wife, Carmen Bifulco, and his two children, and had decided to embrace what he himself defined as “sexual perversion.” “I don’t smoke or drink, I don’t take drugs or gamble. I’m a little angel, but I have horns. And when you have horns you can only do one thing: fuck,” he says in the TCM documentary The Dog. It was in the army when he had his first homosexual experience and stopped defining himself as a “Republican, conservative and warmonger” to join LGBTQ+ activism as an excuse to satisfy his chronic promiscuity. He met Liz in the summer of 1971. “When I first saw him, I knew. He had to be mine,” said Wojtowicz, who died in 2006 from cancer and always referred to Eden in the masculine. Such was the passion of their romance that they ended up celebrating one of the first — unofficial — gay weddings in New York, and even the general press reported on the union between the soldier, adorned with his numerous war decorations, and Eden, who was wearing a very expensive white dress.

Elizabeth Eden (1946-1987) in New York.
Elizabeth Eden (1946-1987) in New York.Newsday LLC (Newsday via Getty Images)

The joy did not last long. The woman longed to undergo a sex change operation, but she did not have the money or John’s support to do so. She fell into drugs and tried to end her life on several occasions. “A lot of people had had surgery by then, and Liz couldn’t stop talking about it and how wonderful it would be to be a woman. She was not happy. Once she showed me her wrists and she had scars,” says one of Eden’s close friends in The Dog. In August 1972, she attempted suicide again by taking an overdose of medication and ended up being admitted to a psychiatric center. The episode was the trigger that made Wojtowicz — a textbook egomaniac prone to ravings — plan a bank robbery to pay for the long-awaited surgery.

On the 22nd of that month, the ex-military man, accompanied by his accomplices Bobby Westenberg — who fled before the police even arrived — and Sal Naturile, entered the Chase Manhattan bank in Brooklyn. The robbery became a circus with thousands of curious onlookers who encouraged every act in this modern-day Robin Hood story and millions of spectators nationwide who were empathetic with the robbers for their altruistic and passionate cause. “It was a shock. Did you want gay liberation? Well, there you have it,” said journalist Randy Wicker. Both Liz Eden and Carmen Bifulco became media stars during the 14 hours that the robbery lasted and which ended with the death of Naturile — who was shot by an FBI agent — the release of all the hostages, and the arrest and subsequent criminal conviction of Wojtowicz.

The police mugshot shown in the TCM documentary 'The Dog.'
The police mugshot shown in the TCM documentary ‘The Dog.’

The would-be robber did not receive any support from his Alliance colleagues, since the consensus among the members of the group is that Wojtowicz was mentally ill. But thanks to the premiere of Sidney Lumet’s celebrated film, his popularity skyrocketed to the point of being able to live on the profits from that failed robbery. He received hundreds of letters from fans, he signed autographs, he posed in front of the bank branch and in front of the tabloid press. He did whatever it took to squeeze every last dollar out of his feat.

Liz’s life changed too. With the money they received from Warner Bros for the rights to the story, Eden underwent her long-desired sex change operation. The film was a critical and public success. Her alter ego in fiction, the cis actor Chris Sarandon, was nominated for the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. Nevertheless, the fact that they rejected the trans actress Elizabeth Coffey Williams to play Eden “for being too attractive to play a trans woman” is an example of Hollywood’s historical transphobia.

As if it were the American sister of Spanish Cristina Ortiz, better known as La Veneno, Liz was also paraded like an exotic-festive object on television sets and the covers of erotic magazines showing off her new attributes. After the operation, she wanted to leave any relationship with John behind and start a new life. They ended up having bitter confrontations in front of the cameras, as she argued that the altruistic and already mythological endeavor thanks to Wojtowicz’s cinematic portrayal was not such. Eden claimed that the robbery was not intended to pay for her reassignment surgery, but rather to settle the debts he had with the mafia, and that, years later, John had become obsessed with her and threatened to kill her.

Liz Eden did not want to participate with John in what could have been a seminal story of the LGBTQ+ community in New York. These days, trans historians like Julian Gill-Peterson try to do her justice: “Liz may not have been a redeeming heroine in history, but she was not simply a passive bystander either.” Her close friends maintain that she was never happy, not even after her operation, and the press made her a broken toy after her short-lived fame. She moved to Rochester, on the Canadian border, and disappeared from the media spotlight for ten years while John tried to defend the romanticism behind his crime. They say that she returned to prostitution and that it was a transfusion of HIV-infected blood after a car accident that caused her to contract the virus. She died in 1987 and the Los Angeles Times published an obituary about her using female pronouns.

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Assessing Property Size: What Square Footage Can You Get With The Average UK House Price In Your Area?

Assessing Property Size In The UK

In the United Kingdom, there is a prevailing tendency to gauge the size of residences based on the number of bedrooms rather than square footage. In fact, research indicates that three out of five individuals are unaware of the square footage of their property.

However, a comprehensive analysis conducted by Savills reveals significant variations in property sizes throughout the country. For instance, with the average property price standing at £340,837, this amount would typically afford a studio flat spanning 551 square feet in London, according to the prominent estate agency.

Conversely, in the North East region, the same sum would secure a spacious five-bedroom house measuring 1,955 square feet, nearly four times the size of a comparable property in London.

Best value: Heading to the North East of England is where buyers will get the most from their money

In Scotland, the median house price equates to a sizable investment capable of procuring a generous four-bedroom residence spanning 1,743 square feet. Conversely, in Wales, Yorkshire & The Humber, and the North West, this sum affords a slightly smaller four-bedroom dwelling of approximately 1,500 square feet, while in the East and West Midlands, it accommodates a 1,300 square foot home. In stark contrast, within the South West, £340,837 secures a modest 1,000 square foot property, and in the East, an even more confined 928 square feet.

London presents the most challenging market, where this budget offers the least purchasing power. Following closely, the South East allows for 825 square feet of space or a medium-sized two-bedroom dwelling. Lucian Cook, head of residential research at Savills, emphasizes the profound disparity in purchasing potential across Britain, ranging from compact studio flats in London to spacious four or five-bedroom residences in parts of North East England.

While square footage serves as a critical metric, with a significant portion of Britons unfamiliar with their property’s dimensions, the number of bedrooms remains a traditional indicator of size. Personal preferences, such as a preference for larger kitchens, may influence property selection. For those prioritizing ample space, Easington, County Durham, offers a substantial 2,858 square foot, five-bedroom home, while Rhondda, Wales, and Na h-Eileanan an Iar, Scotland, provide 2,625 and 2,551 square feet, respectively. Conversely, in St Albans, Hertfordshire, £340,837 secures a mere 547 square feet, equivalent to a one-bedroom flat.

The disparity continues in central London, where purchasing power diminishes considerably. In Kensington, the budget accommodates a mere 220 square feet, contrasting with the slightly more spacious 236 square feet in Westminster. Conversely, in Dagenham, the same investment translates to 770 square feet. Three properties currently listed on Rightmove exemplify the diversity within this price range across the UK market.

South of the river: This semi-detached house is located near to three different train stations

South of the river: This semi-detached house is located near to three different train stations

2. Lewisham: One-bed house, £345,000

This one-bedroom property in Lewisham, South London, is on the market for £345,000.

The semi-detached house is set over two floors, and has a private patio.

The property is located near to bus links and amenities, as well as Catford train station.

Edinburgh fringe: This three-bed property is located on the edge of the city, near to the town of Musselburgh

Edinburgh fringe: This three-bed property is located on the edge of the city, near to the town of Musselburgh

3. Edinburgh: Three-bed house, £350,000

This three-bedroom detached house in Edinburgh could be yours for £350,000.

The house, which has a two-car driveway, boasts a large kitchen diner, and is within easy reach of Newcriaghall train station.


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Top 10 Florida Cities Dominate The Business Startup Landscape In The U.S.

Top 10 Florida Cities And Business Startup Landscape In The U.S.

The Voice Of EU | Florida emerges as a hub for entrepreneurial endeavors, with its vibrant business landscape and conducive environment for startups. Renowned for its low corporate tax rates and a high concentration of investors, the Sunshine State beckons aspiring entrepreneurs seeking fertile grounds to launch and grow their businesses.

In a recent report by WalletHub, Florida cities dominate the list of the top 10 best destinations for business startups, showcasing their resilience and economic vitality amidst challenging times.

From Orlando’s thriving market to Miami’s dynamic ecosystem, each city offers unique advantages and opportunities for entrepreneurial success. Let’s delve into the chronologically listed cities that exemplify Florida’s prominence in the business startup arena.

1. Orlando Leads the Way: Orlando emerges as the most attractive market in the U.S. for business startups, with a remarkable surge in small business establishments. WalletHub’s latest report highlights Orlando’s robust ecosystem, fostering the survival and growth of startups, buoyed by a high concentration of investors per capita.

2. Tampa Takes Second Place: Securing the second spot among large cities for business startups, Tampa boasts a favorable business environment attributed to its low corporate tax rates. The city’s ample investor presence further fortifies startups, providing essential resources for navigating the initial years of business operations.

3. Charlotte’s Diverse Industries: Claiming the third position, Charlotte stands out for its diverse industrial landscape and exceptionally low corporate taxes, enticing companies to reinvest capital. This conducive environment propels entrepreneurial endeavors, contributing to sustained economic growth.

4. Jacksonville’s Rising Profile: Jacksonville emerges as a promising destination for startups, bolstered by its favorable business climate. The city’s strategic positioning fosters entrepreneurial ventures, attracting aspiring business owners seeking growth opportunities.

5. Miami’s Entrepreneurial Hub: Miami solidifies its position as a thriving entrepreneurial hub, attracting businesses with its dynamic ecosystem and strategic location. The city’s vibrant startup culture and supportive infrastructure make it an appealing destination for ventures of all sizes.

6. Atlanta’s Economic Momentum: Atlanta’s ascent in the business startup landscape underscores its economic momentum and favorable business conditions. The city’s strategic advantages and conducive policies provide a fertile ground for entrepreneurial ventures to flourish.

7. Fort Worth’s Business-Friendly Environment: Fort Worth emerges as a prime destination for startups, offering a business-friendly environment characterized by low corporate taxes. The city’s supportive ecosystem and strategic initiatives facilitate the growth and success of new ventures.

8. Austin’s Innovation Hub: Austin cements its status as an innovation hub, attracting startups with its vibrant entrepreneurial community and progressive policies. The city’s robust infrastructure and access to capital foster a conducive environment for business growth and innovation.

9. Durham’s Emerging Entrepreneurship Scene: Durham’s burgeoning entrepreneurship scene positions it as a promising destination for startups, fueled by its supportive ecosystem and strategic initiatives. The city’s collaborative culture and access to resources contribute to the success of new ventures.

10. St. Petersburg’s Thriving Business Community: St. Petersburg rounds off the top 10 with its thriving business community and supportive ecosystem for startups. The city’s strategic advantages and favorable business climate make it an attractive destination for entrepreneurial endeavors.

Despite unprecedented challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Great Resignation, and high inflation, these top Florida cities remain resilient and well-equipped to overcome obstacles, offering promising opportunities for business owners and entrepreneurs alike.


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European Startup Ecosystems Awash With Gulf Investment – Here Are Some Of The Top Investors

European Startup Ecosystem Getting Flooded With Gulf Investments

The Voice Of EU | In recent years, European entrepreneurs seeking capital infusion have widened their horizons beyond the traditional American investors, increasingly turning their gaze towards the lucrative investment landscape of the Gulf region. With substantial capital reservoirs nestled within sovereign wealth funds and corporate venture capital entities, Gulf nations have emerged as compelling investors for European startups and scaleups.

According to comprehensive data from Dealroom, the influx of investment from Gulf countries into European startups soared to a staggering $3 billion in 2023, marking a remarkable 5x surge from the $627 million recorded in 2018.

This substantial injection of capital, accounting for approximately 5% of the total funding raised in the region, underscores the growing prominence of Gulf investors in European markets.

Particularly noteworthy is the significant support extended to growth-stage companies, with over two-thirds of Gulf investments in 2023 being directed towards funding rounds exceeding $100 million. This influx of capital provides a welcome boost to European companies grappling with the challenge of securing well-capitalized investors locally.

Delving deeper into the landscape, Sifted has identified the most active Gulf investors in European startups over the past two years.

Leading the pack is Aramco Ventures, headquartered in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. Bolstered by a substantial commitment, Aramco Ventures boasts a $1.5 billion sustainability fund, alongside an additional $4 billion allocated to its venture capital arm, positioning it as a formidable player with a total investment capacity of $7 billion by 2027. With a notable presence in 17 funding rounds, Aramco Ventures has strategically invested in ventures such as Carbon Clean Solutions and ANYbotics, aligning with its focus on businesses that offer strategic value.

Following closely is Mubadala Capital, headquartered in Abu Dhabi, UAE, with an impressive tally of 13 investments in European startups over the past two years. Backed by the sovereign wealth fund Mubadala Investment Company, Mubadala Capital’s diverse investment portfolio spans private equity, venture capital, and alternative solutions. Notable investments include Klarna, TIER, and Juni, reflecting its global investment strategy across various sectors.

Ventura Capital, based in Dubai, UAE, secured its position as a key player with nine investments in European startups. With a presence in Dubai, London, and Tokyo, Ventura Capital boasts an international network of limited partners and a sector-agnostic investment approach, contributing to its noteworthy investments in companies such as Coursera and Spotify.

Qatar Investment Authority, headquartered in Doha, Qatar, has made significant inroads into the European startup ecosystem with six notable investments. As the sovereign wealth fund of Qatar, QIA’s diversified portfolio spans private and public equity, infrastructure, and real estate, with strategic investments in tech startups across healthcare, consumer, and industrial sectors.

MetaVision Dubai, a newcomer to the scene, has swiftly garnered attention with six investments in European startups. Focusing on seed to Series A startups in the metaverse and Web3 space, MetaVision raised an undisclosed fund in 2022, affirming its commitment to emerging technologies and innovative ventures.

Investcorp, headquartered in Manama, Bahrain, has solidified its presence with six investments in European startups. With a focus on mid-sized B2B businesses, Investcorp’s diverse investment strategies encompass private equity, real estate, infrastructure, and credit management, contributing to its notable investments in companies such as Terra Quantum and TruKKer.

Chimera Capital, based in Abu Dhabi, UAE, rounds off the list with four strategic investments in European startups. As part of a prominent business conglomerate, Chimera Capital leverages its global reach and sector-agnostic approach to drive investments in ventures such as CMR Surgical and Neat Burger.

In conclusion, the burgeoning influx of capital from Gulf investors into European startups underscores the region’s growing appeal as a vibrant hub for innovation and entrepreneurship. With key players such as Aramco Ventures, Mubadala Capital, and Ventura Capital leading the charge, European startups are poised to benefit from the strategic investments and partnerships forged with Gulf investors, propelling them towards sustained growth and success in the global market landscape.


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— By Darren Wilson, Team VoiceOfEU.com

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