When I use my strength in the service of my vision it makes no difference whether or not I am afraid. —Audre Lorde
Learning our history is resistance! Thanks for taking this journey with me. Now go write your story!
Today in LGBT History – April 30
1877 – Alice B. Toklas (April 30, 1877 – March 7, 1967) is born in San Francisco. Toklas and Gertrude Stein (February 3, 1874 – July 27, 1946) are gay history’s most legendary lesbian couple. After moving to Paris, Stein met Alice B. Toklas in 1907. Alice called her “Pussy” and Gertrude was “Lovey” to Alice. Their apartment on the Rue de Fleurus which became a famous meeting place for artists and writers. During the period Toklas and Stein were together, they frequently exchanged love letters. Alice was an early riser, and Gertrude, who wrote late into the night, left her tender, passionate notes to cheer up her mornings. “Baby precious Hubby worked and / loved his wifey, sweet sleepy wifey, / dear dainty wifey, baby precious sleep,” Stein once rhymed. Toklas gained wide attention with the publication of The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas (1933), which is actually Gertrude Stein’s memoirs. It records Toklas’s first-person observations of Stein’s life and her friends, among them Ernest Hemingway, Sherwood Anderson, Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, and Georges Braque. The Alice B. Toklas Cookbook came out when Toklas was 77. It contained 300 recipes and became famous because of one special dish, Toklas’s Haschich Fudge (“which anyone could whip up on a rainy day,” as she wrote).
1921, France – Marcel Proust (10 July 1871 – 18 November 1922) publishes the first part of Sodome et Gomorrhe (Cities of the Plain), part of his 16-volume opus A la Recherche du Temps Perdu (Remembrance of Things Past). The themes of male and female same-sex passion interwoven into the previous volumes now come to the fore in an extended essay on the homosexual.
1973, Canada – In Toronto, Newsweb Enterprises, a printing company controlled by newspaper The Toronto Star, refuses to print Issue 8 of the gay paper The Body Politic following a battle over classified ads which the printer said were “obscene.”.
1980, Canada – Two Winnipeg chain bookstores, Coles and Classics, remove copies of Joy of Gay Sex and Joy of Lesbian Sex from shelves following threats from police of obscenity charges.
1988, UK – Some 30,000 demonstrators, including rock stars and other celebrities, march in London to protest the passage of Clause 28, affecting England, Wales and Scotland. This is the largest lesbian and gay rally in the history of the UK. Clause 28 stated that a local authority “shall not intentionally promote homosexuality or publish material with the intention of promoting homosexuality” or “promote the teaching in any maintained school of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship”. It was repealed on 21 June 2000 in Scotland by the Ethical Standards in Public Life etc. (Scotland) Act 2000, one of the first pieces of legislation enacted by the new Scottish Parliament, and on 18 November 2003 in the rest of the United Kingdom.
1989 – In Austin, Texas, more than 20,000 people march on the state capital in the largest gay and lesbian rights demonstration in the state’s history.
1997 – ‘Yep, I’m gay’ — Ellen DeGeneres (born January 26, 1958) comes out on her television show, “Ellen,” in The Puppy Episode that drew in 42 million viewers. Her ratings plunged, which she said was due to a lack of promotion, and the show was pulled the next season, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Her “coming out” heralded an era of other gay celebrities following suit.
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!)