Rudyard Kipling said: If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.The snippets of LGBTQ history here are the stories of our lives, the stories of the giants on whose shoulders we all stand. Learn about them then tell the stories…and remember, because knowing your history IS resistance!
Thanks for taking this journey with me. Now go write your story!
Today in LGBT History – FEBRUARY 27
6th Century BC – Sappho (c. 630 – c. 570 BC)is born in Mytilene on the Isle of Lesbos. Most of Sappho’s poetry is now lost, and what is extant has survived only in fragmentary form, except for one complete poem – the “Ode to Aphrodite“. She has been called the greatest lyric poet of early Greece. Some historians believe she loved women romantically or erotically but, of course, interpreting fragments of poetry from other times in history across cultural and linguistic divides is more an art than a science. Plato called her the “Tenth Muse.” An aristocrat she was completely self-contained in her love for other women.
1880 – African-American lesbian poet, essayist and playwright Angelina Weld Grimké (February 27, 1880 – June 10, 1958)is born. She was an American journalist, teacher, playwright and poet who came to prominence during the Harlem Renaissance. She was one of the first women of color to have a play publicly performed. Analysis of her work by modern literary critics has provided strong evidence that Grimke was lesbian or bisexual. Scholars found more evidence after her death when studying her diaries and more explicit unpublished works. The Dictionary of Literary Biography: African-American Writers Before the Harlem Renaissance states: “In several poems and in her diaries Grimké expressed the frustration that her lesbianism created; thwarted longing is a theme in several poems.” Some of her unpublished poems are more explicitly lesbian, implying that she lived a life of suppression, both personal and creative.
1952 – Tam Elizabeth O’Shaughnessy (born January 27, 1952) is an American children’s science writer, former professional tennisplayer and co-founder of the science education company Sally Ride Science. O’Shaughnessy was the life partner of astronaut Sally Ride(May 26, 1951 – July 23, 2012), the first American woman in space, from 1985 until Ride’s death in 2012.
1953 – Libby Davies(born February 27, 1953) is a Canadian politician from British Columbia. She was the Member of Parliament for Vancouver East from 1997 to 2015, House Leader for the New Democratic Party (NDP) from 2003 to 2011, and the Deputy Leader of the party from 2007 until 2015 (alongside Thomas Mulcairunder the leadership of Jack Layton and alongside Megan Leslie, and David Christopherson since Mulcair became leader in 2012).She was the first female Canadian Member of Parliament to come out as a member of the LGBT community. Prior to entering federal politics, Davies helped found the Downtown Eastside Residents Association and served as a Vancouver City Councillor from 1982 to 1993.
1957 – Sherry Harris (born February 27,1957) was elected to the Seattle city council in 1991, making her the first openly lesbian African-American elected official. She was the first candidate endorsed by the then newly-founded Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, a national organization supporting LGBTQ (Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgendered Queer) persons in politics. By a 70% majority, Harris defeated the 24-year incumbent, Sam Smith, who had been the first African American elected to the Seattle City Council. She served as an at-large City Council member from 1992 to 1995. Sherry Harris lost her re-election bid in 1995. She attempted a political comeback two years later but did not win the general election. Since then Harris has focused on a holistic vision of persons, politics, and society. In 2010, Harris published her book, Changing the World from the Inside Out: Politics for the New Millennium. She founded her own company in Seattle: Spirit Mind Body Educational Resources. She lectures and conducts workshops locally, nationally, and internationally.
1989, Russia – The U.S.S.R. reports the case of twenty-nine infants and six mothers all of whom contracted AIDS. They were in the same hospital and contracted the disease through a single unsterile syringe that was used over and over again.
1997 – The Centers for Disease Control reports a major decline in AIDS-related deaths for the first time.
2001 – Two female characters on Buffy the Vampire Sayer, Willow and Tara, kiss. Though there had been other lesbian kisses on television, this was the first realistic lesbian relationship on screen.
2004 – New Palz, NY, Mayor Jason West begins issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, following San Francisco. The licenses were later nullified.
2017 –When We Rise, an ABC mini-series, premiers on this day. It was a docudramaminiseriesabout LGBT rights, created by Dustin Lance Black(born June 10, 1974). The 45-year saga tells the evolving history of the modern gay rights movement, starting just after the Stonewall riots in 1969. Black is an American screenwriter, director, film and television producer, and LGBT rights activist. He has won a Writers Guild of America Award and an Academy Award for the 2008 film Milk.
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!)