For the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house. They may allow us to temporarily beat him at his own game, but they will never enable us to bring about genuine change. Racism and homophobia are real conditions of all our lives in this place and time. I urge each one of us here to reach down into that deep place of knowledge inside herself and touch that terror and loathing of any difference that lives here. See whose face it wears. Then the personal as the political can begin to illuminate all our choices. ― Audre Lorde
Learning our history is resistance! Thanks for taking this journey with me. Now go write your story!
Today in LGBT History – February 15
1952 – Bill T. Jones (born February 15, 1952) is an American artistic director, choreographer and dancer. Jones has received numerous awards for his work including the 2010 Tony Award for Best Choreography for his work in Fela! Jones and his lover of 17 years, Arnie Zane (September 26, 1948 – March 30, 1988) danced and choreographed together. As an openly gay interracial couple they pushed the envelope and challenged their audiences’ preconceived notions about gender, race and sexuality. In 1982, they cofounded the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company. In 1986, Zane was diagnosed with AIDS, which claimed his life two years later. Watching his life partner die gave Jones a new sense of passion and urgency. Jones continues to dance and choreograph for the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company.
1980 – William Friedkin’s Cruising opens nationwide and is blasted by critics (gay and straight) for its depiction of homosexuality, but also, as one critic puts it, “[its] narrative loopholes [and] unconvincing plot twists.”
1983 – Lesbian playwright Jane Chambers (27 March 1937 – February 15, 1983) (A Late Snow, Last Summer at Bluefish Cove) dies of a brain tumor at the age of 45. She was a “pioneer in writing theatrical works with openly lesbian characters”. Beth Allen was her lover, companion and manager.
1989 – A Los Angeles jury awards Rock Hudson’s (November 17, 1925 – October 2, 1985) ex-lover, Marc Christian (born on June 23, 1953) $21.75 million in damages for the emotional distress he claims to have suffered upon learning that Hudson had AIDS. The award is later reduced to $5.5 million.
1995, Canada –The Celluloid Closet premiers. The film is a 1995 American documentary film directed and written by Rob Epstein (born April 6, 1955) and Jeffrey Friedman (August 24, 1951). The film is based on Vito Russo‘s (July 11, 1946 – November 7, 1990) book of the same name first published in 1981 and on lecture and film clip presentations he gave in 1972–1982. Russo had researched the history of how motion pictures, especially Hollywood films, had portrayed gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender characters. The film was given a limited release in select theatres, including the Castro Theatre in San Francisco, in April 1996, and then shown on cable channel HBO.
2008 – Fifteen-year-old Lawrence King (January 13, 1993 – February 15, 2008) was shot on Feb. 12, 2008 and died two days later after a verbal exchange with 14-year-old Brandon McInerney in Oxnard, CA. King, an eighth-grader who identified as gay and occasionally wore makeup, high heels and other feminine attire to E. O. Green Junior High School, was shot in the head while in class at school. The story is captures in the documentary Valentine Road by director Marta Cunningham.
2009, Canada – Premier of RuPaul’s Drag Race American reality TV series. RuPaul Andre Charles (born November 17, 1960) is an American drag queen, actor, model, singer, songwriter, television personality, and author. Since 2009, he has produced and hosted the reality competition series RuPaul’s Drag Race, for which he received two Primetime Emmy Awards in 2016 and 2017. RuPaul is widely considered to be the most commercially successful drag queen of all time. In 2017, he was included in the annual Time 100 list of the most influential people in the world. RuPaul has been with his Australian partner, Georges LeBar, since 1994, when they met at the Limelight nightclub in New York City. They married in January 2017. LeBar is a painter and runs a 50-acre ranch in Wyoming.
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!)