They whispered to her, “You cannot withstand the storm.” She whispered back, “I AM the storm.” —a tee-shirt slogan
Learning our history IS resistance! Thanks for taking this journey with me. Now go write your story!
Today in LGBT History – August 2
1924 – African-American author James Baldwin (August 2, 1924 – December 1, 1987) is born in Harlem. He was a best-selling author and a respected voice in both the Civil Rights movement and, as an openly gay man, the movement for gay rights as well. Baldwin challenged both the racial (Fire Next Time, 1963) and sexual (Giovanni’s Room, 1956) stereotypes of his day. He argued against mandatory heterosexuality in society. By the time of his death, Baldwin had written over twenty books including essays, fiction, drama, and poetry.
1983 – Conservative Republican ex-Congressman Robert Bauman (born April 4, 1937) comes out, and urged the American Bar Association to support gay rights legislation. Three years earlier he had been arrested for soliciting a 16-year-old male prostitute and lost his bid for re-election as a result. He wrote an autobiography, The Gentleman from Maryland: The Conscience of a Gay Conservative which was published in 1986
1984 – Barbara Deming (July 23, 1917 – August 2, 1984) dies on this day. She was an American feminist and advocate of nonviolent social change. At sixteen, she had fallen in love with a woman her mother’s age, thereafter she was openly lesbian. She was the romantic partner of writer and artist Mary Meigs (April 27, 1917 – November 15, 2002)from 1954 to 1972. Their relationship eventually floundered, partially due to Meigs’s timid attitude and Deming’s unrelenting political activism. In 1976, Deming moved to Florida with her partner artist Jane Verlaine. Verlaine painted, did figure drawings and illustrated several books written by Deming. Verlaine was a tireless advocate for abused women. Deming openly believed that it was often those whom we loved that oppressed us, and that it was necessary to re-invent non-violent struggle every day. It is said that she created a body of non-violent theory, based on action and personal experience, that centered on the potential of non-violent struggle in its application to the women’s movement. In 1975, Deming founded The Money for Women Fund to support the work of feminist artists. Deming helped administer the Fund, with support from Mary Meigs. After Deming’s death in 1984, the organization was renamed as The Barbara Deming Memorial Fund. Today the foundation is the “oldest ongoing feminist granting agency” which “gives encouragement and grants to individual feminists in the arts (writers, and visual artists).”
1986 – Attorney Roy Cohn (February 20, 1927 – August 2, 1986), one of history’s best known gay Jews who was both homophobic and anti-Semitic, dies of complications from AIDS in Bethesda, Maryland. He had assisted Senator Joseph McCarthy during the House UnAmerican Activities hearings. Earlier in 1986, Cohn had been disbarred by the State of New York for unethical and unprofessional conduct. At one point, Barbara Walters served as his beard. He was also known for being a U.S. Department of Justiceprosecutor at the espionage trial of Julius and Ethel Rosenbergand later for representing Donald Trump during his early business career.
1987 – Arizona governor Evan Meecham announces during a radio call in show that students at Arizona State University do not have the right to organize a gay and lesbian student organization. He said the existence of such organizations is a cause of homosexuality.
1988 – The Madison, Wisconsin Common Council approves a bill to provide sick time and bereavement benefits to city employees who designate a family partner, and rejects a proposal forbidding discrimination against non-traditional families in public accommodations.
1988 – The Ft. Collins, Colorado City Council votes to allow voters to decide if sexual orientation should be added to the city’s anti-discrimination code. It fails. It was opposed by hate-monger Rev. Pete Peters who advocated capital punishment for homosexuals.
1988 – Ronald Balin dies of complications from AIDS at age 53. He had been the founder of the Washington DC chapter of The Mattachine Society and was among the first group to picket in front of the White House in 1965.
1995 – U.S. President Bill Clinton signs Executive Order 12968 which bans discrimination based on “sexual orientation” establishing uniform policies for allowing government employees access to classified information. It was the first time a U.S. president signed an executive order that contained the words “sexual orientation.”
1999 – The Gill Foundation announces that activist Donna Red Wing (1951 – April 16, 2018), who had been a field director for The Human Rights Campaign and a senior consultant for The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, would be joining its staff as director of the OutGiving Project. In the early 1990s she headed up Oregon’s Lesbian Community Project, where she led efforts to defeat the states’ Measure 9, a ballot initiative that would have amended the Oregon constitution to ban gay-inclusive civil rights laws. Red Wing was executive director of One Iowa from 2012 to 2016, after having worked for numerous national organizations. She had served as national field director at both GLAAD and the Human Rights Campaign, and policy director at the Gill Foundation. She was cochair of the Obama for America 2008 LGBT Leadership Council and Howard Dean’s outreach liaison to the LGBT community when he ran for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2004. It was during the Dean campaign that the Christian Coalition called her “the most dangerous woman in America,” a description she reportedly wore with pride.Red Wing was “fearless, passionate and no-nonsense,” and “a true activist by heart,” Hoffman-Zinnel told the Register. Another Iowa activist, Sharon Malheiro, told the paper Red Wing was “a force for civil rights and human rights in all areas.”Red Wing, a native of Massachusetts, is survived by her wife and partner for more than 30 years, Sumitra
2001 – The Minuteman Council, comprised of 330 Scout troops and 18,000 Boy Scouts in Greater Boston, one of largest Boy Scout councils in Massachusetts, agrees to allow gay scoutmasters under a new “don’t ask-don’t tell” policy despite the national organization’s ban on homosexuals.
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!)