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 19
1867, Germany – In Munich, Karl Heinrich Ulrichs (28 August 1825 – 14 July 1895) is jeered when he attempts to persuade jurists that same-sex love should be tolerated rather than persecuted. He is probably the first to come out publicly in defense of what he calls “Uranism” (homosexuality). Ulrichs coined various terms to describe different sexual orientations, including Urning for a man who desires men (English “Uranian“), and Dioning for one who desires women. These terms are in reference to a section of Plato‘s Symposium in which two kinds of love are discussed, symbolised by an Aphrodite who is born from a male (Uranos), and an Aphrodite who is born from a female (Dione). Ulrichs also coined words for the female counterparts (Urningin and Dioningin), and for bisexuals and intersexual persons. Ulrichs is likely the first true gay activist and is seen today as the pioneer of the modern gay rights movement. Published in 1870, Ulrich’s “Araxes: A Call to Free the Nature of the Urning from Penal Law” is remarkable for its similarity to the discourse of the modern gay rights movement. In it: The Urning, too, is a person. He, too, therefore, has inalienable rights. His sexual orientation is a right established by nature. Legislators have no right to veto nature; no right to persecute nature in the course of its work; no right to torture living creatures who are subject to those drives nature gave them. The Urning is also a citizen. He, too, has civil rights; and according to these rights, the state has certain duties to fulfill as well. The state does not have the right to act on whimsy or for the sheer love of persecution. The state is not authorized, as in the past, to treat Urnings as outside the pale of the law.
1890 – In response to a letter received from John Addington Symonds, American poet Walt Whitman (May 31, 1819 – March 26, 1892) denies that “Calamus” from Leaves of Grasswas homoerotic. Whitman’s work was very controversial in its time, particularly his poetry collection Leaves of Grasswhich was described as obscene for its overt sexuality. Though biographers continue to debate Whitman’s sexuality, he is usually described as either homosexual or bisexual in his feelings and attractions.
1984 – President Ronald Reagan issues a statement saying his administration would fight governmental endorsement of homosexuality.
1992 – The Ann Arbor, Michigan, city council votes 8-1 to extend health benefits to same sex partners of city employees.
1992, Germany – Over 250 gay and lesbian couples submit marriage applications in over fifty German cities as part of an attempted mass wedding. About 75% of the couples were male, and over 100 of the applications were submitted in Berlin. The demonstration, organized by the Schwulerverband in Deutschland (Gay League of Germany), receives widespread media attention. Lesben und Schwulenverband in Deutschland (LSVD), German for the Lesbian and Gay Federation in Germany, is the largest non-governmental LGBT rights organization in Germany. It was founded in 1990 and is part of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA). Manfred Bruns, Volker Beck, Eduard Stapel, Günter Dworek and Halina Bendkowski were prominent persons in the Board of Directors. People from the arts like comic-designer Ralf König, comedian Hella von Sinnen, director Rosa von Praunheim, from politics and from science like sexologist Rolf Gindorf and others are prominent individual members of the organization.
1996 – California’s state senate kills a bill banning same-sex marriage after Democrats attach a provision to establish a domestic partner registry.
1996 – In Spokane, Washington, the family of Curtis Babcock files a lawsuit against county coroner Dexter Amend. Babcock’s memorial service had to be delayed because Amend ordered an autopsy to link his AIDS-related death to sodomy.
1997 – The school board of Wayne-Westland, a suburb of Detroit, votes 6-1 to repeal sexual orientation protection for students and staff.
2005 – DC Comics orders the Kathleen Cullen Fine Arts Gallery in New York to remove an exhibit of watercolors showing Batman and Robin in a variety of romantic poses. DC threatened both artist and the Kathleen Cullen Fine Arts gallery with legal action if they did not cease selling the works and demanded all remaining art, as well as any profits derived from them. Homosexual interpretations have been part of the academic study of the Batman franchise at least since psychiatrist Fredric Wertham asserted in his 1954 book Seduction of the Innocent that “Batman stories are psychologically homosexual”. Wertham, as well as parodies, fans, and other independent parties, have described Batman and his sidekick Robin as homosexual, possibly in a relationship with each other. DC Comics has never indicated Batman or any of his male allies to be gay, but several characters in the Modern Age Batman comic books are expressly gay, lesbian, or bisexual.
2011 – The Arizona Queer Archives is founded by Jamie A. Lee with support from Susan Stryker. The Arizona Queer Archives is the state of Arizona’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex (LGBTQI) collecting archives of the Institute for LGBT Studies at the University of Arizona.
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!)