Rain! It rains so rarely in the desert and I cherish these moments. It’s a time when my outdoor activities come to a halt, when I can sit in my comfy sweats, have fun conversations with my wife, and create havoc on my computer. I can work on my next play, prepare my upcoming writing class at the LGBT Center of the Desert, and write my speech for the L-Fund awards Gala in two weeks. Writing prompt: what do you do on rainy days?
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 – JANUARY 15
1622, France – French writer Moliere (15 January 1622 – 17 February 1673)was born in Paris as Jean Baptiste Poquelin. He was a playwright and actor who is considered to be one of the greatest masters of comedy in Western literature.While it may be easy to dismiss some of the commentary about him as the ramblings of jealous rivals, it is known that Moliere fell in love with 15-year old Michel Baron (8 October 1653 – 22 December 1729)after taking him into his home and saving him from a troop of young actors of which he was the star. The romance ruined his marriage but Michel was with him until his death. Michel became aFrenchactorandplaywright.
1815, France – In the aftermath of the death of lesbian actress Françoise Marie Antoinette Saucerotte (3 March 1756 – 15 January 1815), known asMlle Raucourt, her mourners riot because clergy refuse to admit her body to St. Roch. She received considerable criticism for her relationships with women, the most famous of whom was opera singer Sophie Arnould (13 February 1740, Paris – 18 October 1802, Paris).
1893, UK – British musical comedy performer Ivor Novello (15 January 1893 – 6 March 1951)was born in Cardiff Wales. He was a Welsh composer and actor who became one of the most popular British entertainers of the first half of the 20th century.It seemed everyone – except the millions of women of swooned over the star – knew he was gay. Novello wrote the famous World War I song “Keep the Home Fires Burning,” but it is not clear which soldier he was keeping them burning for. Even Winston Churchill admitted to having a one-night stand with Novello.
1958 – The opera “Vanessa,”by American composer Samuel Barber (March 9, 1910 – January 23, 1981), is performed in New York for which Barber wins the Pulitzer. He was an Americancomposerof orchestral, opera, choral, and piano music and is one of the most celebrated composers of the 20th century. Barber’s life partner was Gian Carlo Menotti (July 7, 1911 – February 1, 2007), an Italian-American composer and librettist. Although he often referred to himself as an American composer, he kept his Italian citizenship. He wrote the classic Christmas opera Amahl and the Night Visitors, along with over two dozen other operas intended to appeal to popular taste.
1973 – At the Nurturing Place ranch outside of Tucson, straight women and lesbians come together to discuss and develop their feminist values. It becomes a haven for lesbian feminists.
1973 – The New York DMV bans “offensive” license plate combinations, including “DYK” and “F*G.” (Asterisk mine for FB.)
1973 – Lance Loud comes out on the PBS series An American Family. He’s the first person to come out on national television.
1974 – After Darkmagazine announces it will no longer allow the word “gay” to be included in any advertisements. Although popular with gay men for its art photographs of nude males at a time when there was no gay porn, the magazine never admitted it was targeting a gay market. It used the subtle phrase, “The Magazine You Can Leave on Your Coffee Table When Your Mother Visits” to get the point across.
1975, Italy – The Vatican releases its “Declaration on Certain Questions Concerning Sexual Ethics” which includes a definition of homosexuality as “a serious depravity.”
1978 – Anita Bryant speaks at the People’s Church in North York. Gays, lesbians and others protest outside.
1982 – On the syndicated “Helen Gurley Brown Show,” the host (and Cosmopolitaneditor) asks National Gay Task Force director Lucia Valeska, “Is it true that gay people are sexier than non-gay people?”
2008, Australia – Transgender rights advocate Zoe Belle dies. The Zoe Belle Gender Collective in Victoria is named in her memory.
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!)