Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light. ― Brené Brown
Learning our history is resistance! Thanks for taking this journey with me. Now go write your story!
Today in LGBT History – February 10
1893 – William “Big Bill” Tilden (February 10, 1893 – June 5, 1953) is born in Philadelphia. Almost as popular as Babe Ruth, Tilden was America’s tennis hero. He is often considered one of the greatest tennis players of all time. Tilden was the World No. 1 player for six years from 1920 through 1925. During his lifetime, however, he was a flamboyant character who was never out of the public eye, acting in both movies and plays, as well as playing tennis. He also had two arrests for sexual misconduct with teenage boys in the late 1940s; these led to incarcerations in the Los Angeles area. After his convictions he was shunned in public. He was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1959.
1911, Germany – The German League for the Protection of Mothers and Sexual Reform’ (‘Deutscher Bund für Mutterschutz und Sexualreform’) condemns anti-gay Paragraph 175 and voices its rejection of attempts to extend the law to cover women as well as men.
1916 – Mansel Vardaman Boyle (1877-1945), the “Gay Deceiver,” appears in a burlesque show. He was a famous and successful female impersonator of the day and was living with gay silent film star J. Warren Kerrigan (July 25, 1879 – June 9, 1947) in Los Angeles from at least 1936 to 1938, though Kerrigan’s long-time lover was actor James Carroll Vincent (November 9, 1897 – May 15, 1948).
1976 – Garry Trudeau’s “Doonesbury” introduces a gay character, Andy Lippincott who had first appeared a month earlier. Five newspapers refuse to carry the story arc of Andy’s coming out to Joanie Caucus. Lippincott appears on and off in the daily strip for years. In 1989, he returned to the strip when he is diagnosed with AIDS. Over the course of the next year, Lippincott’s battles with the disease, and eventual death from it, helped bring the AIDS crisis into popular culture;
1981 – The Moral Majority (which was neither) announces it will spend 3 million dollars in anti-gay advertising.
1982 – President Reagan nominates an evangelist and noted homophobe, Sam Hart, to fill a vacancy on the U.S. Civil Rights Commission. Hart withdraws as protests mount, blaming the homosexuals for “sabotaging” his nomination.
1983 – A spokesman for the San Francisco Giants tells a banquet audience that the Giants are planning to set up a special seating section for their gay fans. Instead of the grandstand, he ‘jokes’ by saying, “We’re going to call it the ‘fruit stand.”
1990 – Bill Sherwood (June 14, 1952 – February 10, 1990), director of Parting Glances, dies of AIDS at age thirty-seven. He was an American musician, screenwriter and film director.
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, 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!)