Musings of an Aging Lesbian
Kelly and I are back in Palm Springs now. We went from a high in Sequim of 49 to 93 in PS. Big difference though the warmth feels good. I really do like Palm Springs though I wish it were on the water with a fabulous marina. In my dreams…
Gratitude Day 7
Janet Reno, the first female Attorney General of the United States, died on this day at age 78. I knew Janet in the early and mid-1980’s, and had been to Janet’s home in Miami several times. In 1986, I was fired from a job because my straight married-to-a-man female supervisor (a regional vice-president of the company) made sexual advances which I declined. I was fired the next day for insubordination which allowed the company to not pay unemployment. Janet, who was the State Attorney for Miami-Dade County back then, worked her magic and rescued my unemployment compensation. Janet saved me, as did other strong women in those early years of my activism. Some still do today. I’m deeply grateful for Janet and the others who showed me the way, sometimes when I didn’t even know I was lost. Rest in peace, Janet Reno.
I invite you to add that for which you are grateful today.
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 – NOVEMBER 7
1921 – Vice Versa, the first North American lesbian publication, is written and self-published by Edythe D. Eyde (November 7, 1921 – December 22, 2015), better known by her pen name Lisa Ben. She was an American editor, author, and songwriter. Ben produced the magazine for a year and distributed it locally in Los Angeles, California in the late 1940s. She was also active in lesbian bars as a musician in the years following her involvement with Vice Versa. Eyde has been recognized as a pioneer in the LGBT movement.
1956 – Roy Franklin Simmons (November 8, 1956 – February 20, 2014) is born. He was the second former NFL player to come out as gay and the first to disclose that he was HIV-positive.
1961 – San Francisco drag queen Jose Sarria (December 13, 1922 – August 19, 2013), also known as The Grand Mere, Absolute Empress I de San Francisco, is the first openly gay candidate to run for a political office. He shocks political observers by garnering nearly 6,000 votes in his bid for a seat on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. This feat marked the beginning of the notion that gays could represent a powerful voting bloc. Sarria helped found the Society for Individual Rights (SIR) in 1963.
1978 – California votes to defeat the Briggs initiative (Prop 6) which would have barred lesbians and gay men from teaching in public schools.
1978 – Battling a Prop 6 type of initiative, Seattle voters soundly reject Initiative 13, an anti-Anita Bryant move, and vote to keep their city’s gay rights ordinance.
1989 – Voters in Concord, California, repeal a city ordinance banning discrimination against people with AIDS.
1989 – ABC lost $1.5 million in pulled ads when the television show “Thirty Something” showed two men in bed together.
1990 – Vito Russo (July 11, 1946 – November 7, 1990) dies of complications from AIDS at the age of forty-four. He was an American LGBT activist, film historian and author who is best remembered as the author of the book The Celluloid Closet (1981, revised edition 1987). In 1983, Russo wrote, produced, and co-hosted a series focusing on the gay community called Our Time for WNYC-TV public television. He co-found the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), a watchdog group that monitors LGBT representation in the mainstream media and presents the annual GLAAD Media Awards. Russo was diagnosed with HIV in 1985, and died of AIDS-related complications in 1990. His work was posthumously brought to television in the 1996 HBO documentary film The Celluloid Closet, co-executive produced and narrated by Lily Tomlin. Russo’s papers are held by the New York Public Library.
1995 – Maine voters reject the “Act to Limit Protected Classes,” which would have outlawed anti-discrimination ordinances for lesbians and gay men and nullified Portland’s 1992 gay and lesbian rights ordinance.
1995, Australia – The Australian Christian Coalition announces that it will fight gay and environmental activists in the next election.
1996, Singapore – People Like Us LGBTQ group applies for registration as a society.
1998, UK – British Member of Parliament Nick Brown (born 13 June 1950) comes out after he learned that a previous lover had offered to sell his story. He is a British Labour Party politician who has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Newcastle upon Tyne East since 1983. He has served as Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Minister of State for Work and Pensions and Deputy Chief Whip. He has also served three separate terms as the Labour Party’s Chief Whip, from 1997 to 1998, 2008 to 2010, and from 2016 to the present. His terms as chief whip have spanned periods in both government and opposition.
2000 – The people of Oregon reject Measure 9, a proposal that would have outlawed any affirming discussion of gay or lesbian people in schools. Rejecting homophobia, they become one of the first states in which the voters themselves support the provision of accurate, unbiased education about sexual orientation.
2006 – Arizona becomes the first state to reject a ballot measure banning same-sex marriage.
2014, Malaysia – The court rules unanimously that a local law against cross-dressing is in violation of the state constitution.
2016 – Janet Reno (July 21, 1938 – November 7, 2016) dies from Parkinson’s disease. Janet served as the Attorney General of the United States from 1993 until 2001, the first woman to serve as Attorney General and the second-longest serving Attorney General in U.S. history, after William Wirt. In her home state of Florida, she was elected to the office of State Attorney five times. Janet was a longtime friend of mine.
2017 – Lisa Middleton is the first open transgender person to be elected to any city council position in California. Her win in Palm Springs was decisive.
2017 – Transgender Danica Roem was elected to the Virginia state legislature. And she is the first transgender person to be elected…in 2019!
2017- Andrea Jenkins, a black transgender woman, is the first black openly transgender woman elected to political office in the the United States.
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!)