Bullies may land a punch. They might leave a mark. But they have never, not once, in the history of our United States, managed to match the strength and spirit of a people united in defense of their future. — Rep. Joe Kennedy III, D-Mass, in response to the 2018 State of the Union address last night.
Learning our history is resistance! Thanks for taking this journey with me. Now go write your story!
Today in LGBT History – January 31
1902 – American actress Tallulah Bankhead (January 31, 1902 – December 12, 1968) was born in Huntsville, Alabama. She was an American actress of the stage and screen. Bankhead was known for her husky voice, outrageous personality, and devastating wit. Originating some of the 20th century theater’s preeminent roles in comedy and melodrama, she gained acclaim as an actress on both sides of the Atlantic. Bankhead became an icon of the tempestuous, flamboyant actress, and her unique voice and mannerisms are often subject to imitation and parody. In her personal life, Bankhead struggled with alcoholism and drug addiction, and was infamous for her uninhibited sex life. Rumors about Bankhead’s sex life have lingered for years, and she was linked romantically with many notable female personalities of the day, including Greta Garbo, Marlene Dietrich, Katherine Cornell, Eva Le Gallienne, Hope Williams, Beatrice Lillie, and Alla Nazimova, as well as writer Mercedes de Acosta and singer Billie Holiday. Actress Patsy Kelly confirmed she had a sexual relationship with Bankhead when she worked for her as a personal assistant. Bankhead never publicly described herself as being bisexual. She did, however, describe herself as “ambisextrous”.
1975 – The American Association for the Advancement of Science approves a resolution denouncing discrimination against lesbians and gay men.
1989 – In San Francisco, AIDS activists stage a protest on the Golden Gate Bridge, bringing morning rush-hour traffic to a standstill. Twenty-nine demonstrators are arrested.
2006 — Washington State Governor Chris Gregoire signs into law a bill prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation. In a slightly convoluted way, state law defines “sexual orientation” as including “gender identity.” Thus, according to the Washington State Human Rights Commission, RCW 49.60 “makes discrimination unlawful on the basis of race, color, national origin, creed, sex, sexual orientation, disability, familial status, marital status, and age. Discrimination based on sexual orientation, including gender identity, will be illegal in employment, housing, public accommodations [including schools], credit and lending, and insurance. All employers with eight or more employees, except tribes and religious non-profit institutions, are covered by the law.” It is still perfectly legal in 36 states to discriminate in employment or at school against someone you perceive to be transgender. In thirty of those states it is still legal to discriminate against someone you think is gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender.
2011 – Zach Wahls (born July 15, 1991), the son of lesbian moms, addresses the Iowa House Judiciary Committee. His testimony brings national attention to the proposed constitutional ban on same sex marriage in Iowa and launches his role as a national activist. Zach is an American activist on behalf of LGBT equality and a candidate in the 2018 Iowa General Assembly election.
2017, UK – Thousands of gay and bisexual men who were convicted of now-abolished sexual offenses in Britain have been posthumously pardoned under a new policing law, the Justice Ministry announces. The law, which received Royal Assent on this day, is named after British WWII codebreaker Alan Turing (23 June 1912 – 7 June 1954), who committed suicide following his conviction for gross indecency and was posthumously pardoned by Her Majesty the Queen in 2013. It also makes it possible for living convicted gay men to seek pardons for offenses no longer on the statute book.
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!)