Fight for truth, light and American values. It’s We the People who must save our country. —Any Siskind
Learning our 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 relationship, with Piers Gaveston (c. 1284 – 19 June 1312), ended in Gaveston’s murder by courtiers. His second affair, with Hugh le Despenser (c. 1286 – 24 November 1326), ended with his arrest and imprisonment. Le Despenser had his genitals cut off 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 African English 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.
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.
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!)