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 – JULY 10
1871, France – Marcel Proust (July 10, 1871 – November 18, 1922) is born in Anteuil. The great French writer, perhaps the greatest of the first half of the 20th century, was rejected when he brought the manuscript for “Remembrance of Things Past” to a publisher. The rejection note reads “one has no idea what it’s all about.” His friend Andre Gide pointed out that Proust suffered a pronoun problem. Too many of his characters were women when they were intended to be men. Proust was homosexual, and his sexuality and relationships with men are often discussed by his biographers. His romantic relationship with composer Reynaldo Hahn(August 9, 1874 – January 28, 1947)and his infatuation with his chauffeur and secretary, Alfred Agostinelli, are well documented.
1909 – The book Road to Oz, the fifth in the Ozseries by L. Frank Baum (May 15, 1856 – May 6, 1919) is published. In gay slang, a “friend of Dorothy” is a term for a gayman. While the precise origin of the term is unknown, some believe it is derived from this book. The book introduces readers to Polychrome who, upon meeting Dorothy’s traveling companions, exclaims, “You have some queer friends, Dorothy,”and she replies, “The queerness doesn’t matter, so long as they’re friends.”More commonly, “friend of Dorothy” refers to the film “The Wizard of Oz” because Judy Garland, who starred as the main character Dorothy, is a gay icon. In the early 1980s, the Naval Investigative Service (NIS) was investigating homosexuality in Chicago. Having heard gay men refer to themselves as “friends of Dorothy,” the NIS went on a futile search for the elusive woman clearly at the center of a homosexual ring.
1931 – Jerry Herman (born July 10, 1931) is an American composer and lyricist, known for his work in Broadway musical theater. He composed the scores for the hit Broadway musicals Hello, Dolly!, Mame, and La Cage aux Folles. He has been nominated for the Tony Award five times, and won twice, for Hello, Dolly! and La Cage aux Folles. In 2009, Herman received the Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre. He is a recipient of the 2010 Kennedy Center Honors.Herman was diagnosed HIV-positive in 1985. As noted in the “Words and Music” PBS documentary, “He is one of the fortunate ones who survived to see experimental drug therapies take hold and is still, as one of his lyrics proclaims, ‘alive and well and thriving’ over quarter of a century later. Herman resides in Miami Beach, Florida.
1932 – American actor Nick Adams (July 10, 1931 – February 7, 1968) is born on this day. The blonde actor usually played neurotics or comic sidekick roles such as Andy Griffith’s friend Ben in No Time For Sergeants. Before he got into acting, Adams was a well-known Hollywood hustler. He was the roommate of James Dean (February 8, 1931 – September 30, 1955). Adams tragically took his own life at age 36 in 1968. Adams’ highly publicized life and death at a young age, his friendships with cultural icons such as James Deanand Elvis Presley, and his reported drug consumption made his private life the subject of many reports and assertions by some writers who have claimed Adams may have been gay or bisexual.
1954 – “Pet Shop Boy” Neil Tennant (born 10 July 1954) is born. He is an English musician, singer, songwriter, music journalist and co-founder of the synthpop duo Pet Shop Boys, which he formed with Chris Lowe in 1981. He also was a journalist for Smash Hits,and was assistant editor for the magazine for a period in the mid-1980s. Tennant is openly gay, revealing his sexuality in a 1994 interview in Attitude magazine. He is also a patron of the Elton John AIDS Foundation.
1965 – Actor/comedian Alec Mapa (born July 10, 1965) is born. He is a Fillipino-American actor, comedian and writer. He got his first professional break when he was cast to replace B. D. Wong for the role of Song Liling in the Broadway production of M. Butterfly. He gained recognition for roles such as Adam Benet on Half & Half, Suzuki St. Pierre on Ugly Betty and Vern on Desperate Housewives. Mapa recurred as Renzo on Switched at Birth. Mapa co-hosted the Logo network reality dating game show Transamerican Love Story with Calpernia Addams in 2008. In 2013, he debuted in his own one-man show, Alec Mapa: Baby Daddy, which was made into a concert film and premiered on Showtime in 2015. Mapa is gay and lends his support to various projects supporting the gay, lesbian, and Asian American communities. In 2008, Mapa legally married Jamison “Jamie” Hebert, after dating since 2002. On the TV series The Gossip Queens, Mapa stated in the opening episode that he and his husband had adopted a 5-year-old boy.
1970 – The Austrian Parliament decriminalizes homosexual acts between consenting adults.
1970 – The national organization of Daughters of Bilitis is disbanded. Local chapters are free to continue as independent entities. The Daughters of Bilitiswas the firstlesbiancivil and political rightsorganization in the United States. The organization, founded in 1955 by Del Martin(May 5, 1921 – August 27, 2008)and Phyllis Lyon(born November 10, 1924)in San Francisco, was conceived as a social alternative to lesbian barswhich were subject to raids and police harassment. As the DOB gained members, their focus shifted to providing support to women who were afraid to come out. The DOB educated them about their rights and about gay history. The historian Lillian Faderman(born July 18, 1940)declared, “Its very establishment in the midst of witch-hunts and police harassment was an act of courage, since members always had to fear that they were under attack, not because of what they did, but merely because of who they were.”The Daughters of Bilitis endured for 14 years, becoming an educational resource for lesbians, gay men, researchers and mental health professionals.Bilitisis the name given to a fictional lesbian contemporary of Sapphoby the French poet Pierre Louÿsin his 1894 work The Songs of Bilitisin which Bilitis lives on the Isle of Lesbos alongside Sappho.
1972 – Jim Foster and Madeleine Davis are the first openly gay and lesbian people to address a major party presidential nominating convention, the Democratic National Convention, held in Miami Beach, Florida. They called upon the party to add a gay rights plank to the platform. The plank was defeated. Jim Foster (November 19, 1934 – October 31, 1990) was an American LGBT rights and Democratic activist. He became active in the early gay rights movement when he moved to San Francisco following his undesirable discharge from the Army in 1959 for being homosexual. Foster co-founded the Society for Individual Rights (SIR), an early homophile organization, in 1964. U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein credits SIR and the gay vote with generating her margin of victory in her election to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1969. Madeleine Davis (born 1940) is a noted gay rightsactivist. In 1970 she was a founding member of the Mattachine Society of the Niagara Frontier, the first gay rights organization in Western New York. In 1972, Davis taught the first course on lesbianism in the United States. She was also a founding member of HAG Theater, the first all-lesbian theater company in the US.
1972 – Ann Arbor, Michigan becomes the first U.S. city to pass a broad gay civil rights law. The city council passes the Human Rights Code making discrimination against gays and lesbians in housing, public accommodation, and employment illegal throughout the city.
1985 – “Given a choice between sharing a park with homosexuals or a bunch of white-sheeted, racist, hate-peddling losers, we think we would prefer homosexuals.” This quote is from an editorial in the Texas Daily Newsregarding an upcoming anti-gay rally by the Ku Klux Klan.
2009 – Michael Herrera, 26, brutally murders his transgender boyfriend, Cesar Torres, 39, in El Paso, Texas. Herrera is charged with murder and receives a 25-year prison sentence.
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!)