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 – AUGUST 1
1819 – American author and novelist Herman Melville (August 1, 1819 – September 28, 1891) is born in New York City. He was an American novelist, short story writer, and poet of the American Renaissance period. His best known works include Typee (1846), a romantic account of his experiences in Polynesian life, and his whaling novel Moby-Dick (1851). His novella Billy Budd, left unfinished at his death, was published in 1924. Despite his marriage and children, recently scholars have begun to examine the homosexual undertones of Melville’s work and question the sexuality of the author.
1863 – Walt Whitman (May 31, 1819 – March 26, 1892) wrote to Lewis K. Brown, “Your letters and your love for me are very precious to me, and I give you the like in return.” Whitman was an American poet, essayist, and journalist. A humanist, he was a part of the transition between transcendentalism and realism, incorporating both views in his works. Whitman is among the most influential poets in the American canon, often called the father of free verse.His work was very controversial in its time, particularly his poetry collection Leaves of Grass, which was described as obscene for its overt sexuality.
1936, Algeria – Fashion icon Yves Saint-Laurent (1 August 1936 – 1 June 2008)is born in Oran, Algeria. After working under Christian Dior, Laurent assumed control of Dior’s house of fashion in 1957 upon Dior’s death. While his homosexuality was something that was widely known in the fashion world, it was not until 1991 that Laurent spoke publicly about it.
1939 – Frances Rummell (a.k.a Diana Frederics) (1907-1969) published an autobiographycalled Diana: A Strange Autobiography. It was the first explicitly lesbian autobiography in which two women end up happy together. Frances V. Rummell was an educator and a teacher of French at Stephens College. This autobiography was published with a note saying, “The publishers wish it expressly understood that this is a true story, the first of its kind ever offered to the general reading public”.
1961 – Sixteen men attend the first meeting of the Mattachine Society in Washington D.C. at the Haywood-Adams Hotel. The FBI learned of the meeting and began tracking the group.
1966 –Three years before Stonewall, gay and transgender customers rioted at Compton’sCafeteria in San Franciscoin response to continued police harassment. It was one of the first recorded LGBT-related riots in United States history, preceding the more famous 1969 Stonewall Riots in New York City. It marked the beginning of transgender activism in San Francisco. The 1960s was a critical time period for sexual, gender, and ethnic minorities—social movements which honed in on civil rights and sexual liberation came into fruition, and even churches, like the Glide Memorial Methodist Church in San Francisco, began reaching out to the transgender community. Still, many police officers resisted this change and continued to abuse and ostracize transgender people. This simultaneous rise in support for transgender rights on one side, and the unwillingness to accept these new ideas on the other, created the strain that would fuel the riot at Compton’s Cafeteria in the summer of 1966 in which a transgender woman resisted arrest by throwing coffee at a police officer. Drag queens poured into the streets, fighting back with their high heels and heavy bags.
1976 – UCLA releases a study that finds that lesbian mothers’ sexual orientations do not influence the sexual orientations of their children.
1981, Canada – Vancouver Mayor Mike Harcourt, fulfilling an election promise, proclaims Gay Unity Week.
1983 – The U.S. House of Representatives holds hearings on the government’s response to AIDS. They conclude that the Reagan administration has been negligent and that funding has been inadequate.
1988 – New York governor Mario Cuomo blasts the Republican-controlled state senate during a news conference for excluding sexual orientation from a hate-crimes bill. “Gays make a stronger case than anybody in terms of need for this legislation, based on episodes – ugly, cruel, violent, dangerous episodes.”
1988 – The Library Board of Trustees votes to allow the book Annie on My Mindby Nancy Garden to remain on the shelves of the Rockingham County, N.C. libraries. The book is about a lesbian relationship between two seventeen-year-olds.
1991, UK – The first issue of Queer Reality,a magazine produced by the UK organization OutRage, is published.
1992 – UCLA researchers Dr. Laura Allen and Dr. Robert Gorski publish their findings in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciencesthat the anterior commissure, a group of nerve cells in the brain, is larger in gay men than in women or heterosexual men.
1995, Zimbabwe – After refusing to allow the Gay and Lesbian Association of Zimbabwe to exhibit at a human rights book fair, President Robert Mugabe opens the fair with an attack on lesbians and gay men, saying they are alien to African traditions and that he doesn’t believe “they have any rights at all.”
1996 – Representative Jim Kolbe (born June 28, 1942) of Arizona becomes the fourth congressman and second Republican to come out after an e-mail campaign launched by San Francisco activist Michael Petrelis and others who protest his support of the Defense of Marriage Act. He divorces his wife in 1992.In 2013, he marries his partner Hector Alfonso. In 2013, Kolbe was a signatory to an amicus curiae brief submitted to the Supreme Court in support of same-sex marriage during the Hollingsworth v. Perry case.
2001, Germany – Angelika and Gudrun Pannier, dressed in black tuxedos and white bow ties, exchanged rings and sealed Germany’s first legal homosexual union with a kiss. The new Partnership Law allows inheritance and health insurance rights but does not give gay partnerships the same tax privileges as heterosexual marriages.
2005 – The California Supreme Court rules that country clubs must offer gay members who register as domestic partners the same discounts given to married ones, a decision that could apply to other businesses such as insurance companies and mortgage lenders.
2006 – The American Academy of Pediatrics journalpublishes “Consensus Statement on Management of Intersex Disorders,” recommending new approaches, emphasizing caution with using surgeries. Intersex people are individuals born with any of several variations in sex characteristics including chromosomes, gonads, sex hormones, or genitals that, according to the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, “do not fit the typical definitions for male or female bodies” Such variations may involve genital ambiguity and combinations of chromosomal genotype and sexual phenotype other than XY-male and XX-female.
2008 – Carla Barbano and Joy Spring, of Middletown, NY, were among the first out-of-staters married in Provincetown, Massachusetts. A state study estimated that more than 30,000 out-of-state gay couples, most from New York, wed in Massachusetts over the next three years, boosting the state’s economy by $111 million.
2009, Israel – A masked gunman kills two and injures 15 at the gay youth center in Tel Aviv. The next day 20,000 people hold a spontaneous rally against homophobia in Tel Aviv. President Shimon Peres was one of the speakers. The killer was indicted in 2013.
2011 – The Suquamish tribe of Washington legalizes same-sex marriage following a unanimous vote by the Suquamish Tribal Council. At least one member of a same-sex couple has to be an enrolled member of the tribe to be able to marry in the jurisdiction. The Suquamish are a Lushootseed-speaking Native American people, located in present-day Washingtonin the United States. They are a southern Coast Salish people. Today, most Suquamish people are enrolled in the federally recognized Suquamish Tribe,a signatory to the 1855 Treaty of Point Elliott. Chief Seattle, the famous leader of the Suquamish and Duwamish Tribes for which the City of Seattle is named, signed the Point Elliot Treaty on behalf of both Tribes. The Suquamish Tribe owns the Port Madison Indian Reservation.
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!)