The holiday is over and the Senate comes back from recess today with one goal: pass tax cuts for their billionaire donors and wealthy families like the Trumps. That means we have just one weekly to-do for you this week: defeat the #TrumpTaxScam. Call or go to your senators’ offices. They must vote against this bad bill! I invite you to go to Kelly’s and my Facebook page cleverly called Resist with Kelly and Ronni. Also, use Resistbot on your phones to text your legislators. Just text to 50409 and type resist. They’ll guide you through the rest.
Today in LGBT History – November 27
111, Italy – Antinous (76-138 CE)
1700 – A new law concerning sodomy passes in the Pennsylvania assembly. If committed by a white man, sodomy was punishable by life in prison and, at the discretion of the judge, a whipping every three months for the first year. If married, the man was castrated and his wife was granted a divorce. If committed by a black man, the punishment for sodomy was death.
1784, UK – The UK Morning Herald newspaper publishes the rumor that the famous novelist William Beckford (1 October 1760 – 2 May 1844) was sleeping with William “Kitty” Courtney (c. 1768 – 26 May 1835), the 9th Earl of Devon, calling the two men “the lowest class of brutes in the most preposterous rites,” and leading to Beckford’s ostracism. Beckford was an English novelist, a consummately knowledgeable art collector and patron of works of decorative art, a critic, travel writer and sometime politician, reputed at one stage in his life to be the richest commoner in England. Courtenay was in his time considered a notorious homosexual and attracted infamy for the affair with Beckford. As a youth, ‘Kitty’ Courtenay was sometimes named by contemporaries as the most beautiful boy in England.
1835, UK – John Smith (1795–1835) and James Pratt (1805–1835) are the last Englishmen to be executed for sodomy. Under the 1828 Offenses Against the Person Act which had replaced the 1533 Buggery Act. They are hanged at Newgate prison.
1931, Germany – The film “Madchen in Uniform” (Girls in Uniform) is released. It portrays a sensitive girl in an all-girls boarding school where she develops a romantic attachment to a female teacher. It’s one of the earliest narrative films to explicitly portray homosexuality. The German feature-length film was based on the play Gestern und heute (Yesterday and Today) by Christa Winsloe (23 December 1888 – 10 June 1944) and directed by Leontine Sagan with artistic direction from Carl Froelich who also funded the film. Winsloe also wrote the screenplay and was on the set during filming. The film remains an international cult classic. It was almost banned in the US, but Eleanor Roosevelt (October 11, 1884 – November 7, 1962) spoke highly of the film, resulting in the film getting a limited release in the US in 1932-33. Prints of the film survived the war, but it was heavily censored until the 1970s, and not shown again in Germany until 1977 when it was screened on television there. Winsloe was a member of the SPD (the German Social Democrats, then largely reform Marxist in orientation), and was open about her sexuality.
(October 12, 1942 – September 11, 2011) was an early gay rights advocate and author, most well-known for his book Witchcraft. He was a co-founder of Gay Activists Alliance. Robinson was an organizer for gay-rights causes for 27 years who was known for his provocative protests.
1970, UK – The London Gay Liberation Front mounts its first public demonstration, a torch-lit protest march on Highbury Fields.
Tens of thousands gather for a spontaneous vigil. White is convicted on the reduced charge of “voluntary manslaughter” and sentenced to six years in prison. He is released after serving 5 1⁄2 years and commits suicide soon after returning to his family.
1980 – “Bosom Buddies,” a sitcom about two young broke New York men who dress in drag to live in a low rent, all-girl hotel, premieres on ABC. It stars Tom Hanks and Peter Scolari.
(5 March 1936 – 10 November 2003) served as the first President of Zimbabwe from 18 April 1980 until 31 December 1987. A Methodist minister, he held the largely ceremonial office of the presidency while his eventual successor, Robert Mugabe, served as Prime Minister of Zimbabwe. During his lifetime, Banana brought together two of the country’s political parties, the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU) and the Zimbabwe African People’s Union (ZAPU), became a diplomat for the Organization of African Unity, and headed the religious department of the University of Zimbabwe. His later life was complicated by charges of sodomy—a crime in Zimbabwe—which he denied and for which he was later imprisoned. Banana was found guilty of eleven charges of sodomy, attempted sodomy and indecent assault in 1998. He denied all charges, saying that homosexuality is “deviant, abominable and wrong”, and the allegations made against him were “pathological lies” intended to destroy his political career. His wife Janet Banana later discussed her husband’s alleged homosexuality and confirmed it, even though she considered the charges against him to be politically motivated.
1999, New Zealand – Georgina Beyer (born November 1957) is the first transgender member of the New Zealand Parliament and also the first openly transgender mayor in the world. She is also among a very small number of former sex workers to hold political office.
Speak out, share your story, keep LGBT history alive.
(Historical information obtained from a variety of sources including QUIST at facebook.com/quistapp, Back2Stonewall.com, Lavender Effect, DataLounge.com, Arron’s Gay Info, All Things Queer, RS Levinson, Amara Das Wilhelm, Safe Schools Coalition, and/or Wikipedia. If you wish to edit an item or add an item, please send an email to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!)