Children no longer have a safe space in America, a country saturated in violence as a spectacle, sport, and deadly acts of domestic terrorism. Any defense for the proliferation of guns, especially those designed for war, is criminal. This is the discourse of political corruption, a government in the hands of the gun lobbies, and a country that trades in violence at every turn in order to accrue profits at the expense of the lives of innocent children. —Professor Henry Giroux
Learning our history is resistance! Thanks for taking this journey with me. Now go write your story!
Today in LGBT History – February 23
1939 – Playwright Doric Wilson (February 24, 1939 – May 7, 2011) is born in Los Angeles. He was an American playwright, director, producer, critic and gay rights activist. Perhaps the greatest playwright of the “alternative” theatre, he was a pioneer in Off Broadway. He is best known for Forever After, A Perfect Relationship, and The West Side Gang. A veteran of the anti-war and civil rights demonstrations of the early 1960s-mid 1970s, Wilson was a participant in the Stonewall Riots (1969) and became active in the early days of the New York Gay Liberation movement as a member of GAA (Gay Activist Alliance). He supported his theatrical endeavors by becoming a “star” bartender and manager of the post-Stonewall gay bar scene, opening such landmark institutions as The Spike, TY’s and Brothers & Sisters Cabaret. In 2004, Wilson was named a Grand Marshal of the 35th Anniversary Pride Day Parade in New York City. He was featured in the documentary Stonewall Uprising (2010) by Kate Davis and David Heilbroner. Wilson died on May 7, 2011, aged 72, from natural causes at his home in Manhattan.
1954, UK – Winston Churchill’s cabinet discusses homosexuality asking, “Could we not limit publicity for homosexuality, as was done for divorce?” Secretary David Maxwell Fyfe says of the growing gay population in the UK, “…homosexuals make a nuisance of themselves. But I can’t account for the increase.”
1969 – The U.S. Supreme Court rules in favor of three public school students who wore an armband to school to protest the Viet Nam War. Writing for the majority in Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District, Justice Abe Fortas, declares, “First Amendment rights, applied in light of the special characteristics of the school environment, are available to teachers and students. It can hardly be argued that either students or teachers shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate. This has been the unmistakable holding of this Court for almost fifty years.” This was a landmark freedom of speech case for students. It involved two Des Moines, Iowa high school students, John Tinker, 15, and Christopher Eckhardt, 16, and John’s 13-year-old sister, Mary Beth Tinker, a Des Moines junior high school student.
1982 – Homophobe Jerry Falwell (August 11, 1933 – May 15, 2007) is hit in the face with two fruit pies by protester at the annual convention of the Bible Baptist Fellowship. He was an American Southern Baptist pastor, televangelist, and conservative activist. He was the founding pastor of the Thomas Road Baptist Church, a megachurch in Lynchburg, Virginia. He founded Lynchburg Christian Academy (now Liberty Christian Academy) in 1967 and Liberty University in 1971 and co-founded the Moral Majority in 1979.
1995 – Olympic-medal-winning diver Greg Louganis (born January 29, 1960) is an American Olympic diver, LGBT activist, and author who won gold medals at the 1984 and 1988 Summer Olympics, on both the springboard and platform. He is the only male and the second diver in Olympic history to sweep the diving events in consecutive Olympic Games. He has been called both “the greatest American diver” and “probably the greatest diver in history.” On this day, he announces that he’s HIV-positive.
2004 – President George W. Bush announces that he supports a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage.
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(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!)