Today in LGBT History – February 18

Here’s the thing they don’t teach you when you’re going to school to be a teacher. There will be days where you have to think about how you are going to fit three adult-sized children into a glass cupboard and cover yourself with desks in order to protect the four of you. They don’t tell you that there’s going to be days where you are going to have a SWAT team member come in and put a gun in your face. They don’t tell you in 12 years time there will be more school shootings than you can remember or maybe even count. They don’t tell you that you are going to worry consistently about the day where it’s not going to be just a false alarm. They don’t tell you that you will eventually hate guns more than almost anything else. They don’t tell you that in equal measure, you will worry about how to protect kids at the expense of your own life, and worry about protecting kids from themselves.                   —Charlie Gaare, high school English teacher

 Learning our history is resistance! Thanks for taking this journey with me. Now go write your story!


Today in LGBT History – February 18

1840 – Henry David Thoreau (July 12, 1817 – May 6, 1862) He was an American essayist, poet, philosopherabolitionistnaturalisttax resisterdevelopment criticsurveyor, and historian. A leading transcendentalist Thoreau is best known for his book Walden, a reflection upon simple living in natural surroundings, and his essay “Civil Disobedience” (originally published as “Resistance to Civil Government”), an argument for disobedience to an unjust state. On this day, he writes about same-sex love in his journal. ”All romance is grounded on friendship” is one of his many references to love and friendship between men. Thoreau never married and was childless. He strove to portray himself as an ascetic puritan. However, his sexuality has long been the subject of speculation, including by his contemporaries. Critics have called him heterosexual, homosexual, or asexual. There is no evidence to suggest he had physical relations with anyone, man or woman. Some scholars have suggested that homoerotic sentiments run through his writings and concluded that he was homosexual.

1908 – Nancy Hamilton (July 27, 1908 – February 18, 1985) was an American actress, playwright, lyricist, director and producer. Hamilton was the lifelong partner of legendary actress Katharine Cornell (February 16, 1893 – June 9, 1974). Hamilton is perhaps best known as the lyricist for the popular song, “How High the Moon.

1934 – Audre Lorde (February 18, 1934 – November 17, 1992) is born. Lorde described herself as “a black feminist lesbian mother poet” and sometimes “warrior.” Her first poem was published while she was still in high school. Besides poetry, she wrote essays and novels. Eventually she became a professor and was given the great honor of being named Poet Laureate of New York State. She was known to describe herself as African-American, black, dyke, feminist, poet, mother, etc. In her novel Zami: A New Spelling of My Name Lorde focuses on how her many different identities shape her life and the different experiences she has because of them. She shows us that personal identity is found within the connections between seemingly different parts of life. Lorde died of liver cancer at age 58 on November 17, 1992, in St. Croix, where she had been living with Gloria I. Joseph.  In an African naming ceremony before her death, she took the name Gamba Adisa, which means “Warrior: She Who Makes Her Meaning Known”

1938 – The film “Bringing Up Baby” with Cary Grant premieres. It’s the first time the word “gay” is used in reference to homosexuality;

1966 – The first meeting of the coalition of 14 gay rights groups that will become the North American Conference of Homophile Organizations takes place in Kansas City, Missouri.

1974, Canada – Members of GATE, the Gay Alliance Toward Equality, picket the Ontario Human Rights Commission on University Avenue for inclusion of gays and lesbians in human rights protections.

2017 – Norma Leah McCorvey (September 22, 1947 – February 18, 2017), better known by the legal pseudonym “Jane Roe“, dies. She was the plaintiff in the landmark American lawsuit Roe v. Wade in 1973.  The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that individual state laws banning abortion are unconstitutional. Later, McCorvey’s views on abortion changed substantially; she became a Roman Catholic active in the pro-life movement. While working at a restaurant, Norma met Woody McCorvey (born 1940), and she married him at the age of 16. She later left him after he allegedly assaulted her. She moved in with her mother and gave birth to her first child, Melissa, in 1965. After Melissa’s birth, McCorvey developed a serious drinking problem. Soon after, she came out and began identifying as a lesbian. She went on a weekend trip to visit two friends, and left her baby with her mother. When she returned, her mother replaced Melissa with a baby doll and reported her to the police as having abandoned her baby, and called the police to take her out of the house. She would not tell her where Melissa was for weeks, and finally let her visit her child after three months. She let McCorvey move back in, and one day woke Norma up after a long day of work. She told her to sign insurance papers, and Norma did so without reading. However, she actually signed adoption papers, giving her mother custody of Melissa, and was then kicked out of the house.  The following year, McCorvey again became pregnant and gave birth to a baby, who was placed for adoption. In 1969, at the age of 21, McCorvey became pregnant a third time. She returned to Dallas. According to McCorvey, friends advised her that she should assert falsely that she had been raped and that she could thereby obtain a legal abortion under Texas’s law which prohibited abortion; sources differ over whether the Texas law had such rape exception. Due to lack of police evidence or documentation, the scheme was not successful and McCorvey would later admit the situation was a fabrication. She attempted to obtain an illegal abortion, but the respective clinics had been closed down by authorities. For many years, she had lived quietly in Dallas with her long-time partner, Connie Gonzales. “We’re not like other lesbians, going to bars,” she explained in a New York Times interview. Later in life, McCorvey stated that she was no longer a lesbian


Stand up, speak out, share your story!

Warmly,

Ronni

 

(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 ronnisanlo@gmail.com. Thanks!)

 

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