Musings of an Aging Lesbian
The end of the year and the end of my daily LGBT history has come. I’ve been writing this blog daily for at least 8 years and I feel finished. I’ll write something about our history occasionally, and my plays are all about LGBT historical happenings, so I’m not shutting down, just changing direction. And the good news is that these daily history blurbs are all on my blog archives, easily located for your continuing curiosity about who we are and from where we’ve come. I urge you to write YOUR stories. Your lives are our lives and you are a legacy for those coming up behind us. Write!
So as this day moves forward and closes into a new decade, I wish everyone peace and love and health and joy. A grand adventure is about to begin!
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 31
1901 – Beauford Delaney (December 30, 1901 – March 26, 1979) is born. He was a gay African American modernistpainter. He is remembered for his work with the Harlem Renaissance in the 1930s and 1940s, as well as his later works in abstract expressionism following his move to Paris in the 1950s. Beauford’s younger brother, Joseph, was also a noted painter. In Greenwich Village, where his studio was, Delaney became part of a gay bohemian circle of mainly white friends; but he was furtive and rarely comfortable with his sexuality. The pressures of being “black and gay in a racist and homophobic society” would have been difficult enough, but Delaney’s own Christian upbringing and “disapproval” of homosexuality, the presence of a family member (his artist brother Joseph) in the New York art scene and the “macho abstract expressionists emerging in lower Manhattan’s art scene” added to this pressure. So he “remained rather isolated as an artist even as he worked in a center of major artistic ferment… A deeply introverted and private person, Delaney formed no lasting romantic relationships.
1964 – The Council on Religion and the Homosexual holds a costume party at California Hall on Polk Street in San Francisco to raise money for the new organization. When the ministers informed the San Francisco Police Department of the event, the SFPD attempted to force the rented hall’s owners to cancel it. At the event itself, some of the ministers and ticket takers were arrested, creating a brief riot. Police attempt to intimidate some 600 guests by photographing each guest as they arrive. Three lawyers and Nancy May, a straight volunteer, are arrested. Though charges were dropped, the Council published a brief detailing how police oppressed and abused homosexuals.
1966, Canada – In Vancouver, the Association for Social Knowledge, Canada’s earliest homophile organization, opens the first community center to serve the homosexual community in Canada.
1967 – During a raid on The Black Cat bar in San Francisco, a gay man was beaten so severely by police that his spleen was ruptured. The police department filed assault charges against the victim but he was acquitted.
1969 – Drag queen acting troupe The Cockettes premiers their act in San Francisco. They are one of the first gender-bending performing groups. The Cockettes were an avant garde psychedelic hippie theater group founded by Hibiscus – George Edgerly Harris II (September 6, 1949 – May 6, 1982) – in the fall of 1969. The troupe was formed out of a group of hippie artists, men and women, who were living in Kaliflower, one of the many communes in Haight-Ashbury, a neighborhood of San Francisco, California. Hibiscus came to live with them because of their preference for dressing outrageously and proposed the idea of putting their lifestyle on the stage. Hibiscus died of Kaposi’s sarcoma due to complications from AIDS on May 6, 1982 at St. Vincent’s Hospital in New York City. He was a very early AIDS casualty: at the time of his death the new illness was still referred to as GRID
1971 – Life Magazine publishes an 11-page spread called Homosexuals in Revolt which discusses the post-Stonewall movement in a generally positive light for the first time.
1988, Guinea – Article 325 is added to Guinea’s penal code to make same-sex sexual activity illegal.
1990 – Ian McKellen (born 25 May 1939) is knighted by the Queen of England. He is the first openly gay man to be knighted. He is an English actor. He is the recipient of six Laurence Olivier Awards, a Tony Award, a Golden Globe Award, a Screen Actors Guild Award, a BIF Award, two Saturn Awards, four Drama Desk Awards, and two Critics’ Choice Awards. He has also received two Oscar nominations, four BAFTA nominations and five Emmy Awardnominations. While McKellen had made his sexual orientation known to fellow actors early on in his stage career, it was not until 1988 that he came out to the general public, in a programme on BBC Radio. McKellen is a co-founder of Stonewall, an LGBT rights lobby group in the United Kingdom and also patron of LGBT History Month, Pride London, Oxford Pride, GAY-GLOS, The Lesbian & Gay Foundation, and FFLAG where he appears in their video “Parents Talking”.
1993 – Transman Brandon Teena (December 12, 1972 – December 31, 1993) is murdered by the same young men who raped him a week earlier after discovering he’d been born female. His story is captured in the film Boys Don’t Cry. The headstone on his grave is inscribed with his birth name and uses female descriptors. Teena’s murder, along with that of Matthew Shepard (December 1, 1976 – October 12, 1998), led to increased lobbying for hate crime laws in the United States.
2014 – Musab Mohammed Masmari sets fire to the Seattle gay nightclub Neighbours in a stairwell. The fire was extinguished quickly. Masmari reportedly said homosexual people “should be exterminated” after expressing a “distaste” for members of the LGBT community to a friend.
2014, Russia – The Russian large gay club called Central Station was forced to close after countless attacks of sprays of bullets and being gassed. It later reopened with the use of bulletproof glass and a longer walk from the metro station.
Stand up, speak out, share your story!
(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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!)