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 24
1 BCE, China – Emperor Ai of Han dies. He ascended the throne when he was 20, having been made heir by his uncle Emperor Cheng, who was childless. He reigned from 7 to 1 BC. He’s one of ten emperors of the Western Han dynasty who are considered to be homosexual or bisexual by today’s terms, and was famous for being the most effusive of the Han Dynasty. Traditional historians characterized the relationship between Emperor Ai and Dong Xian as one between homosexual lovers and referred to their relationship as “the passion of the cut sleeve.” Dong was noted for his relative simplicity contrasted with the highly ornamented court, and was given progressively higher and higher posts as part of the relationship, eventually becoming the supreme commander of the armed forces by the time of Emperor Ai’s death. Dong was afterward forced to commit suicide.
1897 — Aviator Amelia Earhart (July 24, 1897 – disappeared July 2, 1937) is born in Atchison, Kansas. A tomboy, preferring riding pants to dresses, and having a marriage that allowed for infidelity, we will never know if she was bisexual. Many lesbian historians claim her as one of their own. She certainly outrageously transgressed the gender expression boundaries of her time when women were not only not pilots, they certainly weren’t explorers, except, like the Shoshone heroine Sacajewea, in the service of or in partnership with men who got the credit.
1951 – Birth date of British Labour Party politician Christopher Robert “Chris” Smith, Baron Smith of Finsbury (July 24, 1951). He is a British politician and a peer; a former Member of Parliament (MP) and Cabinet Minister; and former chairman of the Environment Agency. For the majority of his career he was a Labour Party member. He was the first openly gay British MP, coming out in 1984, and in 2005, the first MP to acknowledge that he is HIV positive
1952 – Gus Van Sant, Jr. (born July 24, 1952) is an American film director, screenwriter, painter, photographer, musician and author who has earned acclaim as both an independent and more mainstream filmmaker. His films typically deal with themes of marginalized subcultures, in particular homosexuality; as such, Van Sant is considered one of the most prominent auteurs of the New Queer Cinema movement.He is openly gay and currently lives in Portland, Oregon.
1969 – The Gay Liberation Front, a radical leftist group addressing not only gay rights but other left-wing causes, is formed in New York City. Over the next few years dozens of local GLF chapters would form across the country.
2001 – Ronald E. Gay, a drifter, who told Roanoke, Va. police that jokes about his last name had angered him, was sentenced to four life terms for a shooting rampage in a gay bar that killed one man and wounded five other men and a woman. Gay, 55, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and six charges of malicious wounding in the shooting at the Backstreet Cafe in Roanoke. In court and in interviews with police, he said he was on a mission to kill homosexuals.
2004 – German Free Democratic Party leader Guido Westerwellen (December 27, 1961 – March 18, 2016) comes out in an interview with the country’s leading news magazine. He served as Foreign Minister in the second cabinet of Chancellor Angela Merkel and as Vice Chancellor of Germany from 2009 to 2011, being the first openly gay person to hold any of these positions. He was also the chairman of the Free Democratic Party of Germany(FDP) from May 2001 until he stepped down in 2011. He died of leukemia at the age of 54.
2011 – The first legal same-sex marriages are performed in New York. New York City records 659 marriages, a one-day record.
2013, Montenegro – The First LGBT Pride march in Montenegro is held with violent protestors shouting “kill the gays.”
2013 – The Quist LGBT history app is created by Sarah Prager. Sarah is dedicated to raising awareness of LGBTQ history through writing, speaking, and her app, Quist. She lives with her wife, Liz, and their daughter, Eleanor, in Connecticut. (I, for one, thank you, Sarah!)
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!)