Today I’ll make certain that the messages I send out to the straight people I know continue to validate my sexuality. It’s not fair to either them or me to participate in a lie. — in Proud to Be by Amy E. Dean
Learning our history is resistance! Thanks for taking this journey with me. Now go write your story!
Today in LGBT History – April 19
1929 – In New York City, an appellate court rules that, contrary to a verdict reached earlier in the year by a lower court, the book The Well of Loneliness is not obscene. The decision clears the way for even wider distribution of the best-selling novel. The Well of Loneliness is a lesbian novel by British author Radclyffe Hall (12 August 1880 – 7 October 1943) that was first published in 1928 by Jonathan Cape. It follows the life of Stephen Gordon, an Englishwoman from an upper-class family whose “sexual inversion” (homosexuality) is apparent from an early age. She finds love with Mary Llewellyn, whom she meets while serving as an ambulance driver in World War I, but their happiness together is marred by social isolation and rejection, which Hall depicts as typically suffered by “inverts”, with predictably debilitating effects. The novel portrays “inversion” as a natural, God-given state and makes an explicit plea: “Give us also the right to our existence”
1967 – The Student Homophile League of Columbia University becomes the first gay college group to obtain a campus charter. The SHL had twelve members who fought with university administrators for a year before the group was officially recognized. Stephen Donaldson, a bisexual-identified LGBT rights activist is commemorated by a plaque in the Queer Lounge that bears his name in one of Columbia’s residence halls for spearheading the creation of the group. When the charter was ultimately granted in April 1967, it earned media attention with the New York Times printing a story on the front page. The Columbia Daily Spectator reported that some students believed that the creation of the group was an April Fool’s joke. The group is still in existence to this day and is now called the Columbia Queer Alliance
1982 – The Gay Officers Action League, Inc. is founded by NYPD Sergeant Charles Cochrane (August 5, 1943 – May 5, 2008) and retired Detective Sam Ciccone (1944-May 10, 2015) establishing the first official police fraternal society in the world to represent LGBT people within the criminal justice system. Sergeant Cochrane, a 14-year veteran of the NYPD, created shock waves by testifying before a NYC Council hearing in favor of a gay rights bill. Following the testimony of a Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association Vice President, who denounced the bill and declared, “I didn’t know of any homosexual police officers.” Cochrane stunned all present as well as NYC as a whole by his testimony: “I am very proud of being a New York City Police Officer, and I am equally proud of being gay.” In 1987, at the persistent urging of GOAL, NYPD began a concerted effort to actively enlist qualified gay candidates. In 2002, GOAL was admitted into COPS, the Committee of Police Societies, an organization consisting of all recognized NYPD religious, ethnic fraternal organizations. Since its inception, GOAL has evolved not only as a fraternal organization, but also as an activist organization that represents the interests of its LGBT members in all agencies and branches within the criminal justice system.
2012 – The Israeli Conservative movement joined the Reform movement in agreeing to admit LGBT students into rabbinical school.
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!)