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 18
64, Italy – Roman Emperor Nero (15 December 37 AD – 9 June 68 AD) took the role of a bride in a public wedding ceremony to Pythagoras. Nero also married other men and some women during his lifetime.
1865, UK – Playwright Laurence Housman (July 18, 1865 – February 20, 1959) is born in Fockbury, England. He and his sibling – the classicist A. E. Housman (26 March 1859 – 30 April 1936)and sister Clemence (23 November 1861 – 6 December 1955)who was a woodcut artist and an activist in the women’s suffrage movement– are all gay. There is no doubt he was helped in his career by Oscar Wilde (16 October 1854 – 30 November 1900). His greatest script was “Victoria Regina”.
1882 – A new edition of Walt Whitman’s (May 31, 1819 – March 26, 1892) Leaves of Grassis released by Rees Welsh & Company publisher. It was rejected by his former publishers on obscenity charges. The first printing of 1000 of the new edition sold out in one day even though it was boycotted by major retailers.
1892 – Alice Mitchell’s trial begins in Tennessee. Alice Mitchell (November 26, 1872-March 31, 1898) was an American woman charged who gained notoriety for the murder of her lover Freda Ward. On February 23, 1892, the 19-year-old Mitchell cut the throat of her lover, 17-year-old Freda Ward. Mitchell was subsequently found insane by means of a jury inquisition and placed in a psychiatric hospital until her death in 1898. The case, exploited by sensationalist press, and focused attention of the sexual attachments of women and drew out into the public discourse discussions of lesbianism. The case was headlined as “A Very Unnatural Crime” across the country. The case influenced the popular literature of the era which began to depict lesbians as “murderous” and “masculine”.One identity that came to be through lesbians was the “mannish lesbian” creating dialogue of gender expression.
1929 – Richard Totten “Dick” Button (July 18, 1929) is born. He is an American former figure skater and a well-known long-time skating television analyst. He is a twice Olympic Champion(1948, 1952) and five-time World Champion (1948–1952). Button is credited as having been the first skater to successfully land the double axel jump in competition in 1948, as well as the first triple jump of any kind – a triple loop – in 1952. He also invented the flying camel spinwhich was originally known as the “Button camel.” Button graduated from Harvard University in 1952 where he was a member of The Delphic Club. He received a JD degree from Harvard Law School in 1956. On July 5, 1978, Button and five other victims were attacked with baseball bats by a gang of teenagers in New York City’s Central Park. The gay-bashing left all six victims with skull fractures; Button also suffered serious nerve damage and permanent hearing loss in one ear. In 1996, Button was named to the 100 Golden Olympians, a USOC program to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the modern Olympic Games and honor America’s best Olympic athletes.
1940 – Lillian Faderman (born July 18, 1940) is an American historian whose books on lesbian history and LGBT history have earned critical praise and awards. The New York Times named three of her books on its “Notable Books of the Year” list. In addition, The Guardian named her book, Odd Girls and Twilight Lovers, one of the Top 10 Books of Radical History.Faderman studied first at the University of California, Berkeley and later at UCLA. She was a professor of English at California State University, Fresno and a visiting professor at UCLA. She retired in 2007. She lives with her wife Phyllis Irwin in San Diego.
1966 – Before Stonewall there was Compton’s Cafeteria. People picket Compton’s Cafeteria in San Francisco when management starts using Pinkerton agents and police to harass LGBT customers. This precedes the August 1966 riot at Compton’s that is considered one of the first transgender rights protests in the U.S.
1969 – Elizabeth M. Gilbert (born July 18, 1969) is an American author, essayist, short story writer, biographer, novelist, and memoirist. She is best known for her 2006 memoir, Eat, Pray, Love, which had spent 199 weeks on the New York Times Best Seller list, and which was also made into a film by the same name in 2010. On September 7, 2016, Gilbert published a Facebook post saying that she was in a relationship with her best friend, writer Rayya Elias(1960-January 4, 2018). On June 6, 2017, the two celebrated a commitment ceremony with close family and friends. Elias died of pancreatic cancer on January 4, 2018.
2006 – Alabama’s first openly gay public official, Patricia Todd (born July 25, 1955), wins the Democratic primary by 59 votes. She represented downtime Birmingham in the Alabama House of Representatives. She is the first ever openly gay elected official in the state of Alabama. Currently she is the Human Rights Campaign Alabama State Director. Formerly she was the associate director of AIDS Alabama. Her spouse was Jennifer Clarke. They were married in 2013 and divorced in 2014.
2014 – The White House announces that President Barack Obama will sign an executive order that prohibits federal contractors from discriminating against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender employees and job seekers without a religious exemption that would allow LGBT discrimination continue under the guise of so called “religious beliefs.”
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!)