THIS DAY IN LGBT HISTORY – DECEMBER 29

Musings of an Aging Lesbian

It’s early morning and I just finished prepping a lentil soup and a fruit thing to take to a dinner this evening. I’m not a good cook. My claim to fame is a great bowl of oatmeal. But lately, since Kelly and I started on Weight Watchers (I know…we look thin to you but not to ourselves), I’ve been cooking up a storm! I love their cookbook. The recipes are not at all complicated and the food is delicious! Basically, we’ve cut sugar from our diet – for the most part – and it works! One of my New Year’s resolutions is to stay close to the WW plan and feel terrific about myself as I’m taking care of my body and my health.

Sarah Hurwitz shared eight Jewish social justice values to celebrate each night of Chanukah which was published by the American Jewish World Service. I will share one a day for the eight days of Chanukah. Today at Sunday begins Day 8: CARING FOR THE STRANGERLike tikkun olam, we take for granted that “loving the stranger” is a core Jewish value—but its origins are quite radical. In the Torah, God repeatedly tells the Israelites to care for the stranger “for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.” But God seems to be getting way ahead of Godself, addressing a problem the Israelites did not face. The Israelites were a powerless group of former slaves under constant attack from rival peoples—they were the strangers of the ancient world. But the Torah seems to anticipate a time when the Israelites would be well-established enough to have a say in how the strangers among them would be treated. And again and again, it tells us: No matter how powerful or secure you may one day become, your fundamental moral orientation must always be in the direction of the outsider, for in some essential and eternal way, the plight of the stranger was, and always will be, your own.

Rudyard Kipling said: If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten. The snippets of LGBTQ history here are the stories of our lives, the stories of the giants on whose shoulders we all stand. Learn about them then tell the stories and remember…

Thanks for taking this journey with me. Now go write your story!


THIS DAY IN LGBT HISTORY – DECEMBER 29

1898, UK  – Elfie Gidlow (29 December 1898 – 8 June 1986)  was a British-born Canadian-American poet, freelance journalist, and philosopher. In 1918 she published Les Mouches Fantastiques with journalist Roswell George Mills. It was the first known LGB periodical in Canadian and North American history. Five issues of the magazine were published; it was discontinued in 1920. She is best known for writing On A Grey Thread (1923), possibly the first volume of openly lesbian love poetry published in North America. In the 1950s, Gidlow helped found Druid Heights, a bohemian community in Marin County, California. She was the author of thirteen books and appeared as herself in the documentary film, Word Is Out: Stories of Some of Our Lives (1977). Completed just before her death, her autobiography, Elsa, I Come with My Songs (1986), recounts her life story. Towards the last years of her life, Gidlow experienced several strokes. She chose not to seek medical care in a hospital and died at home in Druid Heights at the age of 87. Gidlow’s estate donated her extensive personal papers to the GLBT Historical Society in San Francisco in 1991. One is in the archives of theUniversity of South Florida. The University of Iowa library has an original of all five issues, and the Quebec Gay Archives has a reprint of the final issue.

1971 – Wakefield Poole’s (born 1936) trend-setting Boys in the Sand premieres, prompting Variety to remark, “There are no more closets.” Shot on Fire Island, Poole’s slickly produced film marks a dramatic departure from the low-budget pornography previously available. Boys in the Sand had its theatrical debut on December 29, 1971, at the 55th Street Playhouse in New York City. It was the first gay porn film to include credits, to achieve crossover success, to be reviewed by Variety, and one of the earliest porn films, after 1969’s Blue Movie by Andy Warhol (August 6, 1928 – February 22, 1987), to gain mainstream credibility, preceding 1972’s Deep Throat by nearly a year. It was promoted with an advertising campaign unprecedented for a pornographic feature, and was an immediate critical and commercial success. The film’s title is a parodic reference to the Mart Crowley (born August 21, 1935) play and film The Boys in the Band.

1972 – As a result of the dismissal of a gay man from his job with the Seattle Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, an action was filed seeking to change the Civil Service Rules which allowed the dismissal of homosexuals from Federal employment on the basis of sexual orientation alone. A year later a federal judge nullified the policy.



1990 – Richard Dunne (1944 – December 29, 1990), director of the Gay Men’s Health Crisis from 1985-1989, dies of complications from AIDS at age 46. During his time as director the annual budget increased from $800,000 to $11 million and the staff increased from 17 to 120.



1995 – John Gilbert, general manager of KOAA-TV in Colorado Springs Colorado, pulls tv shows Jenny Jones and Carnie because their shows included homosexuals.



1999 – Senator John McCain meets with Arizona state legislator Steve May (born c. 1972), a gay Republican, who was in the process of being discharged from the Army reserves. McCain said he stands by the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, but would look into his case to be sure he was being treated fairly.

2012 – Same-sex marriage takes effect in Maine with a voter approval of 53%-47%. Maryland and Washington State are the other states to win marriage equality by popular vote.


Stand up, speak out, share your story!

Warmly,

Ronni

(Historical information obtained from a variety of sources including QUIST at facebook.com/quistapp, Back2Stonewall.com, #LavenderEffect, DataLounge.com, #ArronsGayInfo, #AllThingsQueer, #RSLevinson, #AmaraDasWilhelm, out.com, #SafeSchoolsCoalition, and/or Wikipedia. If you wish to edit an item or add an item, please send an email to me at ronnisanlo@gmail.com. Thanks!)

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