Living with secrets can destroy your self-esteem and prevent you from being authentic. The best way to remove the power of secrets is to tell someone you trust. Today I’ll unburden my secret to someone so I can open the door to let greater freedom into my life.
–from Proud to Be by Amy E. Dean
Learning our history is resistance! Thanks for taking this journey with me. Now go write your story!
Today in LGBT History – January 13
1834 – Horatio Alger (January 13, 1832 – July 18, 1899) is born in Revere, Massachusetts. He was a prolific 19th-century American writer, best known for his many young adult novels about impoverished boys and their rise from humble backgrounds to lives of middle-class security and comfort through hard work, determination, courage, and honesty. His writings were characterized by the “rags-to-riches” narrative, which had a formative effect on America during the Gilded Age. As a Unitarian minister in Brewster, Mass. he often traveled to New York where he sought to improve the condition of street boys. His experiences became the fodder for over 100 books. But, back home in Brewster, a parish committee charged him with “gross immorality and a most heinous crime, a crime of no less magnitude than the abomination and revolting crime of unnatural familiarity with boys.” Alger denied nothing, admitted he had been imprudent, considered his association with the church dissolved, and left town. Alger sent Unitarian officials in Boston a letter of remorse, and his father assured them his son would never seek another post in the church. The officials were satisfied and decided no further action would be taken. Alger was known to have mentioned his homosexuality only once, in 1870.
1898, Germany – The Reichstag debates a petition urging the revocation of Paragraph 175. Promoted by Magnus Hirschfeld (14 May 1868 – 14 May 1935) and signed by dozens of prominent German opinion leaders, the motion is supported by only one political party in the Reichstag, the Social Democratic Party led by August Bebel. The Reichstag votes against reform. Hirschfeld was a German Jewish physician and sexologist educated primarily in Germany; he based his practice in Berlin-Charlottenburg. An outspoken advocate for sexual minorities, Hirschfeld founded the Scientific Humanitarian Committee. Historian Dustin Goltz characterized this group as having carried out “the first advocacy for homosexual and transgender rights“.
1958 – In the landmark case One, Inc. v. Olesen, the United States Supreme Court unanimously reverses three lower court rulings and rules in favor of the First Amendment rights of One: The Homosexual Magazine. The Court unanimously reverses three lower court rulings thereby protecting the right to publish material about homosexuality. This was the first Supreme Court ruling on a gay issue. The Court’s affirmation of free speech for gay and lesbian writing opens the way for more widely distributed publications.
1983 – A lesbian couple, Dr. Zandra Rolon and Deborah Johnson, are refused service when they try to sit in the romantic dining section of the posh Los Angeles restaurant Papa Choux. They are told that a city ordinance prohibits such seating, which is not true. They sue and win, but the restaurant removes the section rather than seat gay or lesbian couples, proclaiming “True romantic dining died on this date.”
1992 – Out Magazine begins publishing with a test issue. The first issue on the newsstands is dated Summer 1992.
2014, Nigeria – President Goodluck Johnathan signed the controversial Jail the Gays law that includes punishment for being LGBT of up to 14 years in jail. The law also bans and makes punishable by jail time a membership in any LGBT rights group.
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!)