I remember when Versace was killed in 1997. It wasn’t that I was into fashion at all, but I grew up in the same area of Miami Beach where he was murdered. I remember so many times when I retreated to that part of the beach, to get away from family and friends, to be alone with my thoughts and feelings as I soaked in the sun and the water of the Atlantic. I knew I was a lesbian back then, in the 1950s and 60s, but I could never tell anyone nor act on it. I just stayed to myself, with myself, on the beach until it was time to go home. Versace was murdered on “my” beach where I spent my youth wondering why I was so different from everyone in my life, why I was the “only one.” Today, young folks have the internet, videos, films, television, all of which help with their understanding that there are other LGBT people like themselves. They may still have a sense of isolation in the towns in which they live but at least they have opportunities to know they aren’t the “only one.” And soon they will escape into the arms of communities where they are welcomed and loved.
Today in LGBT History – December 2
1899 — American Samoa is obtained by the United States. It has no law against sodomy, making it the only “free” jurisdiction of the United States.
1909 — The Montana Supreme Court upholds the right of the state to prosecute attempts to commit sodomy under the general attempts statute.
1946, Italy – Gianni Versace (2 December 1946 – 15 July 1997), fashion designer is born. He was an Italian fashion designer and founder of Versace, an international fashion house, which produces accessories, fragrances, make-up, and home furnishings as well as clothes. He also designed costumes for the theatre and films. As a friend of Eric Clapton, Diana, Princess of Wales, Naomi Campbell, Duran Duran, Madonna, Elton John, Cher, Sting, and many other celebrities, he was one of the first designers to link fashion to the music world. Openly gay, Versace and his partner model and fashion designer Antonio D’Amico (born 20 January 1959) were regulars on the international party scene. Versace was murdered outside his Miami Beach home at the age of 50 by spree killer Andrew Cunanan, who used the same gun to commit suicide on a houseboat eight days later.
1963 — Earl Kade, a prisoner at the Ohio Penitentiary is killed by another prisoner because he had solicited him. The grand jury refuses to indict the killer for murder, stating that the willful killing of a non-violent person from behind bars was justifiable if the person had solicited.
1964 – Four gay men and lesbians picket a New York City lecture by a psychoanalyst espousing the model of homosexuality as a mental illness. The demonstrators are given ten minutes to make a rebuttal.
1994 – Transgender Terrie Ladwig (April 13, 1966 – December 2, 1994), born in the Philippine, is killed. She was married to Steven Ladwig in July 1994. Steven considered his wife, who was born Larry Earl Thompson Jr., female. She was preparing to have gender-reassignment surgery. Her murder remains unsolved.
1997 – David Cantania (born January 16, 1968) becomes the first openly gay person to be elected to the Washington DC city council. He is an American independent politician and lawyer from Washington, D.C. He was formerly an at-large member of the Council of the District of Columbia, which he gave up to pursue an unsuccessful run in the 2014 mayoral election. Catania was the first openly gay member of the D.C. Council and one of a small number of openly gay Republican office-holders. This led to a conflict within his party when President George W. Bush spoke in favor of an amendment to the United States Constitution to ban same-sex marriage. Catania opposed the amendment and became a vocal opponent of Bush’s 2004 re-election. In response, the District of Columbia Republican Committee decertified him as a delegate to the 2004 Republican National Convention. Catania announced his endorsement of the Democratic presidential candidate, John Kerry, one week prior to the convention. In September 2004, Catania left the party and became an independent, citing his displeasure with its direction on urban and social issues. He was re-elected in 2006 and 2010 as an independent. He now works as a lawyer at the international law firm Greenberg Traurig, where he focuses his practice on healthcare, government law and strategy, and public policy. Catania married floral designer Bill Enright on August 5, 2017. They live in the Dupont Circle neighborhood.
1998, India – Over 200 right-wing activists, called Shiv Sainiks, storm two theaters and force managers to suspend the screening of Toronto director Deepa Mehta’s internationally acclaimed film Fire, the first Indian film to focus on a lesbian relationship. Fire is a 1996 Indian-Canadian romantic drama written and directed by Deepa Mehta, and starring Shabana Azmi and Nandita Das. It is the first installment of Mehta’s Elements trilogy; it is succeeded by Earth (1998) and Water (2005). The film is loosely based on Ismat Chughtai‘s 1942 story, Lihaaf (The Quilt). It was one of the first mainstream Bollywood films to explicitly show homosexual relations. After its 1998 release in India, certain groups staged several protests, setting off a flurry of public dialogue around issues such as homosexuality and freedom of speech. On December 2nd, more than 200 Shiv Sanaiks stormed a Cinemax theatre in suburban Goregaon in Mumbai, smashing glass panes, burning posters and shouting slogans. They compelled managers to refund tickets to moviegoers. On December 3rd, a Regal theatre in Delhi was similarly stormed. When attackers attempted to shut down a screening in Calcutta, however, ushers and audience fought back and the movie stayed open. Twenty-nine people were arrested in Mumbai in connection with these incidents.
2013 – This is the first official day that LGBTQ couples in Hawaii, both residents as well as tourists, may marry in the Aloha State
Speak out, share your story, keep LGBT history alive.
(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, 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!)