As Amy Siskind said, “There are conflicts erupting all over the world, while we have 7 of 9 top positions at State unfilled, a White House in absolute disarray, and a leader beholden to Putin who doesn’t read his Daily Intelligence Briefings. What could go wrong.” Love the ones who love you back this Valentine’s Day, then love the others, too…
Learning our history is resistance! Thanks for taking this journey with me. Now go write your story!
Today in LGBT History – February 14
1953 – Del Martin (May 5, 1921 – August 27, 2008) and Phyllis Lyon (born November 10, 1924) meet in 1950, become partners in 1952. On this day in 1953 they moved in together. They founded Daughters of Bilitis and, decades later, were the first couple in the US to be legally married.
1953 – British-American writer, Christopher Isherwood 26 August 1904 – 4 January 1986), 48, meets portrait artist Don Bachardy (born May 18, 1934), 18, in California. They were partners until Isherwood’s death in 1986.
1972 – First meeting of the Alice B. Toklas Democratic Club, named for the partner of Gertrude Stein (February 3, 1874 – July 27, 1946) , takes place in San Francisco. It was founded by political activist Jim Foster, becoming the country’s first gay Democratic political club. Gertrude was an American novelist, poet, playwright, and art collector. Born in the Allegheny West neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and raised in Oakland, California, Stein moved to Paris in 1903, and made France her home for the remainder of her life. She hosted a Paris salon, where the leading figures of modernism in literature and art, such as Pablo Picasso, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Sinclair Lewis, Ezra Pound, and Henri Matisse, would meet. Alice Toklas (April 30, 1877 – March 7, 1967) was an American-born member of the Parisian avant-garde of the early 20th century, and the life partner of American writer Gertrude Stein.
1979, Canada – In Toronto Judge Sydney Harris finds Pink Triangle Press, publisher of The Body Politic, and three officers not guilty of publishing obscenity.
1984, Australia – Elton John (25 March 1947) marries German recording tech Renate Blauel in Sydney. They divorce in 1988 after he comes out as gay. John is an English singer, pianist, and composer. He has worked with lyricist Bernie Taupin as his songwriting partner since 1967; they have collaborated on more than 30 albums to date. In his five-decade career Elton John has sold more than 300 million records, making him one of the best-selling music artists in the world. In 1993, he began a relationship with David Furnish (born 25 October 1962), a former advertising executive and now filmmaker originally from Toronto, Ontario, Canada. On 21 December 2005 (the day the Civil Partnership Act became law), John and Furnish were among the first couples in the UK to form a civil partnership, which was held at the Windsor Guildhall. After marriage equality became legal in England in March 2014, John and Furnish married in Windsor, Berkshire, on December 21, 2014, the ninth anniversary of their civil partnership. They have two sons.
1988 – Three lesbian guests on The Oprah Winfrey Show are introduced as “women who hate men.” Oprah hosted Yolanda Retter Vargas (December 4, 1947 – August 18, 2007) and two other women who preached so-called “lesbian separatism,” an offshoot of a feminist movement that strikes against male patriarchy in all levels of society, including semiotics and semantics. Vargas, then Director of Women’s Programs at LA’s Lesbian Center, and her friends were introduced as “women who hate men,” a label that made it all the easier for bigots to hate them and for LGBT activists to compare the women to conservatives. It was not a high-point for lesbians, feminists or Oprah and was just one of the many sensationalized gay stories Oprah covered during this era. In addition to a comparatively progressive 1986 episode on homophobia, Ms. Winfrey aired “Women Who Turn to Lesbianism” (1988), “All The Family is Gay” (1991), “Straight Spouses and Gay Ex-Husbands” (1992) and “Lesbian and Gay Baby Boom” (1993). Oprah has since become a vocal supporter for equality and LGBT civil rights off-camera, too, and in 2013 suggested that same-sex couples can actually help strengthen the institution of marriage.
1991 – San Francisco becomes the first city to register same-sex domestic partners.
2012, Uganda – Police raid an LGBT Rights conference after the state minister orders the conference to be stopped.
Stand up, speak out, share your story!
(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, out.com, 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!)