Have you ever written a play? I wrote my first one two years ago and actually had it produced several times, in The Villages in Florida, in Discovery Bay Resort in Sequim, WA, and in Palm, Springs. It was called Sing, Meadowlark. It was based on the book by my dear friend Helen Ruth Schwartz called Sing Meadowlark Sing. My second play called Dear Anita Bryant: The Play follows the story of LGBT history from the 1950s through the present. Its world premiere will be in Feb. 15thin Palm Springs. My third play based on my book The Soldier, The Avatar, and the Holocaust, is almost ready for table reads. Who knew this would be the genre of my retirment years??? I am truly grateful that this genre found me…
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 2
1801 – Alexander Henry and David Thompson make an entry in their journal titled Exploration and Adventure among the Indians on the Red, Saskatchewan, Missouri, and Colombia Riversdescribe a Native American known as Berdache, son of Sucrie, who is a “curious compound between a man and a woman.”
1857 – Martha Carey Thomas (January 2, 1857 – December 2, 1935)is born in Baltimore, Maryland. She was an American educator and suffragist, later becomes the dean and then president of Bryn Mawr University. She is also credited as the founder of the Johns Hopkins Medical School. Thomas lives for many years in a relationship with Mamie Gwinn (February 2, 1860 – Nov. 11, 1940). After Gwinn left Thomas in 1904 to marry (a love triangle fictionalized in Gertrude Stein’s “Fernhurst”), Thomas starts another relationship with Mary Garrett (March 5, 1854 – April 3, 1915). They share the campus presidential home, living together until Garrett’s death. Miss Garrett, who had been prominent in suffrage work and a benefactor of Bryn Mawr, left Martha $15,000,000 to be disposed of as she saw fit.
1900 – Actor Billy Haines (January 2, 1900 – December 26, 1973) is born. He was the first celebrity to come out as openly gay, in 1933. He was an American film actor and interior designer. Haines was discovered by a talent scout and signed with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer(MGM) in 1922. His career gained momentum when he was lent to Columbia Pictures, where he received favorable reviews for his role in The Midnight Express. Haines returned to MGM and was cast in the 1926 film Brown of Harvard. The role solidified his screen persona as a wisecracking, arrogant leading man. By the end of the 1920s, Haines had appeared in a string of successful films and was a popular box-office draw. His career was cut short by the 1930s due to his refusal to deny his homosexuality. Haines quit acting in 1935 and started a successful interior design business with his life partnerJimmie Shields, and was supported by friends in Hollywood. Haines died of lung cancer in December, 1973, at the age of 73.
1929 – Charles Beaumont (January 2, 1929 – February 21, 1967) is born Charles Leroy Nutt. He was an American author of speculative fiction, including short stories in the horror and science fiction subgenres. In 1954, Playboy magazine selected his story “Black Country.” Playboy has been loved by straight men for decades but it was this gay short story that built its reputation. Hugh Hefner was the only one to accept a science fiction story about heterosexuals being the minority against homosexuals. When letters poured in, he said: ‘If it was wrong to persecute heterosexuals in a homosexual society, then the reverse was wrong too.’
1938 – Lynn Ann Conway (born January 2, 1938) is an American computer scientist, electrical engineer, inventor, and transgender activist. Conway is notable for a number of pioneering achievements, including the Mead & Conway revolution in VLSI design, which incubated an emerging electronic design automation industry. She worked at IBM in the 1960s and is credited with the invention of generalized dynamic instruction handling, a key advance used in out-of-order execution, used by most modern computer processors to improve performance.
2005 – Bonnie Bleskachek became the first openly lesbian fire chief of a major city, Minneapolis. She was demoted two years later amid claims of harassment and discrimination, but return to the department as a staff captain. She co-founded the Minnesota Women Fire Fighters Association.
2009 – Christopher Conwell is arrested for killing Taysia Elzy (1975-2009) and Michael Hunt in their apartment because Taysia, though male, presents as female.
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 email@example.com. Thanks!)