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 25
1844 – One of the greatest American painters of the 19th century, Thomas Eakins (July 25, 1844 – June 25, 1916), is born on this date. He was an American realist painter, photographer,sculptor, and fine arts educator. He is widely acknowledged to be one of the most important artists in American art history. No less important in Eakins’ life was his work as a teacher. As an instructor he was a highly influential presence in American art. The difficulties which beset him as an artist seeking to paint the portrait and figure realistically were paralleled and even amplified in his career as an educator, where behavioral and sexual scandals truncated his success and damaged his reputation. The nature of Eakins sexuality and its impact on his art is a matter of intense scholarly debate. Strong circumstantial evidence points to Eakins having been accused of homosexuality during his lifetime, and there is little doubt that he was attracted to men,as evidenced in his photography, and three major paintings where male buttocks are a focal point: The Gross Clinic, William Rush, and The Swimming Hole. The latter, in which Eakins appears, is increasingly seen as sensuous and autobiographical. Two years earlier Eakins’ sister Margaret, who had acted as his secretary and personal servant, had died of typhoid. It has been suggested that Eakins married Susan Hannah Macdowellto replace her.In the latter years of his life, Eakins’ constant companion was the handsome sculptor Samuel Murray, who shared his interest in boxing and bicycling.
1865, UK – James Miranda Steuart Barry (1789-July 25, 1865) dies in Kensal Green, England. It was only on his death that it was discovered Barry was a woman. For 40 years he was an officer and surgeon in the British Army in Canada and South Africa. Although Barry’s entire adult life was lived as a man, Barry was born Margaret Ann Bulkleyand was known as female in childhood. Barry lived as a man in both public and private life, at least in part in order to be accepted as a university student and pursue a career as a surgeon, with Barry’s birth sex only becoming known to the public and to military colleagues after death.Barry held strict and unusually modern views about nutrition, being completely vegetarian and teetotal, and, while keeping most personal relationships distant, was very fond of pets, particularly a beloved poodle named Psyche.Playwright Jean Binnie’s radio play Doctor Barry (BBC, 1982) identified John Joseph Danson as the black servant Barry first employed in South Africa and who remained with Barry until the doctor’s death. The play was re-broadcast as recently as 2018.Barry was buried in Kensal Green Cemetery under the name James Barry and full military rank
1936 – Preacher-playwright-composer Alvin Allison “Al” Carmines, Jr. (July 25, 1936 – August 9, 2005) is born on this date. He was a key figure in the expansion of Off-Off-Broadway theatre in the 1960s. Carmines was hired by Howard Moody as an assistant minister at Judson Memorial Churchon Washington Square Park, New York, to found a theater in the sanctuary of the Greenwich Village church in conjunction with playwright Robert Nichols. He began composing in 1962 and acted as well. His Bible study group grew into the Rauschenbusch Memorial United Church of Christ, with Carmines as pastor. Carmines taught at Union Theological Seminary and received the Vernon Rice Award for his performance and the Drama Desk Award for Lyrics and Music and was awarded the Obie award for Life Time Achievements. His 1973 musical The Faggotwas a succès d’estime which transferred from the Judson Memorial Church to the Truck and Warehouse Theatre and ran for 203 performances. Carmines appeared in the show as Oscar Wilde.
1943 – Birth date of Cheryl Christina Crane (born July 25, 1943), lesbian daughter of Lana Turner. Cheryl is Turner’s child from her marriage to actor-restaurateur Stephen Crane, Turner’s second husband who murdered her mother’s boyfriend, Johnny Stompanato in 1958. In 1988, Crane published a memoir titled Detour: A Hollywood Story (1988), in which she discussed the Stompanato killing publicly for the first time and admitted to the stabbing. She further alleged that she was subject to a series of sexual assaults at the hands of her stepfather and her mother’s fourth husband, actor Lex Barker.The book went on to become a New York Times Best Seller. In it, Crane also publicly revealed how at age thirteen she had come out as a lesbian to her parents. In November 2014, Crane married model Joyce LeRoy, her longtime partner, after having been together for over four decades.
1970 – The Vatican issues a statement reminding the faithful that the Roman Catholic Church considers homosexuality a moral aberration. The Vatican confirms its condemnation of homosexuality stating that it is a “moral aberration that cannot be approved by human conscience.”
1975 – A Chorus Linepremiers on Broadway. It is directed and choreographed by Michael Bennet (1943–1987), and won nine of twelve Tony nominations in addition to the 1975 Pulitzer for drama.
1979 – Hundreds of demonstrators show up on Manhattan’s Lower East Side to protest location shooting for William Friedkin’s new film, Cruising, which deals with a series of grisly mutilation murders within the city’s gay leather community.
1985, Paris – a spokesperson for Rock Hudson (November 17, 1925 – October 2, 1985) acknowledges that the actor is suffering from AIDS. Later, media reports openly discuss his homosexuality for the first time. The publicity given his illness marks a turning point in building public awareness of the threat of AIDS and in galvanizing support for efforts to fight the disease.
1985, Paris – The French Parliament amends the penal code to prohibit discrimination based on “moral habits,” one of which is homosexuality. France is the first country to legislate gay and lesbian rights.
1989 – Studio 54 creator Steve Rubell (December 2, 1943 – July 25, 1989) dies of complications from AIDS.
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!)