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, because knowing your history IS resistance!
Thanks for taking this journey with me. Now go write your story!
Today in LGBT History – APRIL 25
1284, UK – King Edward II (25 April 1284 – 21 September 1327) is born in Caernavon, Wales. He was King of England from 1307 until he was deposed in January 1327.Ancient Christianity had tolerated homosexuality but by the mid 13th century life was harder on gays and Edward was made an example. His first lover, Piers Gaveston (c. 1284 – 19 June 1312),was murdered by courtiers. His second affair, with Hugh le Despenser (c. 1286 – 24 November 1326), ended with the Baron’s arrest and imprisonment. Le Despenser had his genitals cut off and burned in front of him and then was beheaded. Edward was murdered by having a red-hot poker inserted in his anus.
1918, South Africa – Graham Payn (25 April 1918 – 4 November 2005) is born. He was a South AfricanEnglish actor and singer, also known for being the life partner of the playwright Noël Coward(16 December 1899 – 26 March 1973). Beginning as a boy soprano, Payn later made a career as a singer and actor in the works of Coward and others. After Coward’s death, Payn ran the Coward estate for 22 years.
1964 – Andrew Ivan Bell (born 25 April 1964) is the lead singer of the English synth-popduo Erasure. His solo career includes the albums Non-Stop, Electric Blue, and iPop. Bell is openly gay, and had a longtime partner in Paul M. Hickey. Bell told Melody Maker in 1986, “I don’t want to go out of my way to talk about it but I’m not going to pretend I’m not [gay]. I won’t portray a heterosexual in videos and we’re consciously doing lyrics that could apply to either sex”.
1965 – An estimated 150 people participated in a sit-in when the manager of Dewey’s Restaurant in Philadelphia refused service to several people he thought looked gay. Four people were arrested, including homophile rights leader Clark Polak(15 October 1937–18 September 1980)of Philadelphia’s Janus Society. All four were convicted of disorderly conduct. Members of the society also leafleted outside the restaurant the following week and negotiated with the owners to bring an end to the denial of service.
1978 – St. Paul, Minnesota votes to repeal its four-year old gay-rights ordinance by a margin of 2-1, another Anita Bryant fallout.
1979 – Jury selection begins in the trial of Dan White for the murder of San Francisco Mayor George Moscone and gay activist Supervisor Harvey Milk (May 22, 1930 – November 27, 1978). In a controversial verdict that led to the coining of the legal slang “Twinkie defense,” White was convicted of manslaughter rather than murder in the deaths of Milk and Moscone. White served five years of a seven-year prison sentence. Less than two years after his release, he returned to San Francisco and committed suicide.
1987, Ireland – David Norris (born 31 July 1944)is the first openly gay person elected to public office. He is an Irish scholar, independent Senator and civil rights activist. Internationally, Norris is credited with having “managed, almost single-handedly, to overthrow the anti-homosexuality law which brought about the downfall of Oscar Wilde“, a feat he achieved in 1988 after a fourteen-year campaign.
1995 – Lawrence, Kansas passes an ordinance prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation. The law, the culmination of a 7-year struggle, is the only one of its type in the state of Kansas.
2014, Pakistan – Pakistani Supreme Court rules in favor of a third gender.
2018 – Soni Wolf (1949-April 25th, 2018)of the Dykes on Bikes dies at the age of 69 from complications due to pneumonia and pulmonary disease. Soniwas a native of Rhode Island. She served as a medic in the U.S. Air Force during the Vietnam War, treating veterans in a Texas hospital. After she was discharged, she moved to the San Francisco Bay area in the 1970s. She lived in the Castro district and worked managing copy centers for brokerages and law firms. Wolf came to the fore when she first rode with a group of lesbians during the 1976 San Francisco’s Pride Parade. To avoid overheating their bikes, they rode in front of the parade. During the parade, someone coined the term ‘dykes on bikes’ and it stuck when The San Francisco Chronicle used it. Wolf said of the name, “It rhymes. Just kind of rolls off the tongue.” One of San Francisco’s greatest queer legends, Soni Wolf not only founded Dykes on Bikes, but also took on the U.S. Supreme Court twice in a battle over the right to trademark the group’s name. Wolf is survived by Dykes on Bikes around the world.
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!)