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 26
1944, UK – Mick Jagger (born 26 July 1943) is born in Dartford, England. Androgynous, gender defiant, and ambisexual, Jagger has come to symbolize rock from the 60s and 70s. Look-alike ex-wife Bianca once claimed he married her because “he wanted to achieve the ultimate by making love to himself.”
1959 – Kevin Spacey Fowler (born July 26, 1959) is an American actor, director, producer, screenwriter, and singer. He began his career as a stage actor during the 1980s before obtaining supporting roles in film and television. He gained critical acclaim in the early 1990s that culminated in his first Academy Award for Best Supporting Actorfor the neo-noir crime thriller The Usual Suspects (1995), and an Academy Award for Best Actor for the midlife crisis-themed drama American Beauty (1999). In October 2017, actor Anthony Rapp accused Spacey of making a sexual advance toward him when Rapp was 14. In the wake of Rapp’s accusation, numerous other men alleged that Spacey had sexually harassed or assaulted them. As a result, Netflix cut all ties with him, shelved his film Gore and removed him from the cast of the last season of House of Cards.
1979 – The Advocatemagazine first mentions “bears” in print. Bears are “usually hunky chunky types reminiscent of railroad engineers and former football greats. Bears are one of many LGBT communities with events, codes, and a culture-specific identity. However, in San Francisco in the 1970s, any hairy man of whatever shape was referred to as a ‘bear’ until the term was appropriated by larger men as well. The term bear was popularized by Richard Bulger, who, along with his then partner Chris Nelson (1960–2006) founded Bear Magazine in 1987. There is some contention surrounding whether Bulger originated the term and the subculture’s conventions. George Mazzei wrote an article for The Advocate in 1979 called “Who’s Who in the Zoo?”,that characterized gay men as seven types of animals, including bears. The International Bear Brotherhood Flag is the pride flag of the bear community, created by Craig Byrnes in 1995.
1981 – Dr. Jeanette Howard Foster (November 3, 1895 – July 26, 1981), author of Variant Women in Literature, dies on this date in Arkansas. Dr. Foster was an American librarian, professor, poet, and researcher in the field of lesbian literature. She pioneered the study of popular fiction and ephemera in order to excavate both overt and covert lesbian themes. Her years of pioneering data collection culminated in her 1956 study Sex Variant Women in Literature, which has become a seminal resource in LGBT studies. Initially self-published by Foster via Vantage Press, it was photoduplicated and reissued in 1975 by Diana Press and reissued in 1985 by Naiad Press with updating additions and commentary by Barbara Grier.
1985 – U.S. Senators Pete Wilson (R-CA) and Alfonse D’Amato (R-NY) attempt to hold a briefing on AIDS for Republican senators. Not a single Senator shows up for it.
2011 –RuthBerman (born July 19, 1936)was a health and physical education teacher at a Brooklyn high school. She and her partner ConnieKurtz (March 30, 1934– May 27, 2018) sued the New York City Board of Education for domestic partner benefits in 1988, eventually winning for all New York City employeesin 1994. The couple came out of the closet onThe Phil Donahue Show.Berman and Kurtz started branches of Parents, Friends and Family of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) in Florida and New York, and in 2000, they began serving as co-chairs of the New York State NOW Lesbian Rights Task Force. They also founded The Answer is Loving Counseling Center (both certified counselors) and worked there for over twenty years. They were married on July 26, 2011, in New York.RabbiSharon Kleinbaum officiated.They retired to Palm Beach County, Florida, where they were active in Democratic, LGBT, feminist, and #BlackLivesMatter politics. The Ruthie and Connie LGBT Elder Americans Act has been slowly making its way through Congress. In 2002, a documentary titled Ruthie and Connie: Every Room in the House was made about their lives; it was directed by Deborah Dickson.The film premiered at the Berlin Film Festival in February 2002, and won six best documentary awards within a year. The Ruth Berman and Connie Kurtz Papers are held in the Sophia Smith Collection at Smith College.
1989 – In a response to political outcries over a Robert Mapplethorpe (November 4, 1946 – March 9, 1989) exhibit, Jesse Helms leads a fight in the U.S. Senate to curtail National Endowment for the Arts funding for “obscene or indecent art,” including artworks that depict “sadomasochism, homoeroticism, the exploitation of children, or individuals engaged in sex acts.” The measure was overwhelmingly adopted.
1990 – President George H. W. Bush signs the Americans with Disabilities Act which prohibits discrimination against various groups of people including those living with AIDS.
2007 – Fox News host/homophobe Bill O’Reilly apologizes on the air for errors in a widely criticized June 21 segment that reported a “nationwide epidemic” of violent lesbian gangs terrorizing neighborhoods and schools. O’Reilly was fired in 2017 for sexual harassment.
2018 – Land O’Lakes named Beth Ford its first female CEO, making her the first openly gay woman CEO to run a Fortune 500 company.
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!)