Today in LGBT History – July 25

I’m flying to Florida today to visit my dear friend Helen in The Villages. I wrote a readers’ play based on Helen’s book Sing, Meadowlark, Sing. Rehearsal is later this week and the performance is next Monday. I’m very excited!

But I sure miss Kelly already!

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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. 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 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.

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 Church on 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 Faggot was 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.

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 Line premiers 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.

1998 – Actress Kathy Najimy thanks the participants in San Diego gay pride for “being here because your being here gives me the chance to help my daughter love whoever the fuck she wants.”

2005, Germany – An ancient phallus is discovered in the Hohle Fels cave, dating back about 28,000 years.
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Let your voice speak out and change the world! 

Warmly,
Ronni

(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 ronnisanlo@gmail.com. Thanks!)

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