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 27
1899 – Author Henry James (15 April 1843 – 28 February 1916) wrote to Hendrik C. Andersen, “I’ve struck up a tremendous intimacy with Conte Alberto, and we literally can’t live without each other. He is the first object my eyes greet in the morning, and the last at night.” James was an American-born British writer. He is regarded as one of the key figures of 19th-century literary realism. He was the son of Henry James, Sr. and the brother of philosopher and psychologist William James and diarist Alice James. As more material became available to scholars, including the diaries of contemporaries and hundreds of affectionate and sometimes erotic letters written by James to younger men, the picture gave way to a portrait of a closeted homosexual. Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick’s Epistemology of the Closet made a landmark difference to Jamesian scholarship by arguing that he be read as a homosexual writer whose desire to keep his sexuality a secret shaped his layered style and dramatic artistry.
1928 – Radclyffe Hall’s (12 August 1880 – 7 October 1943) The Well of Lonelinessis published in the UK by Jonathan Cape. It’s one of the first to portray lesbianism as natural (except the end sucks). It follows the life of Stephen Gordon, an Englishwoman from an upper-class family whose “sexual inversion” (homosexuality) is apparent from an early age. She finds love with Mary Llewellyn, whom she meets while serving as an ambulance driver in World War I, but their happiness together is marred by social isolation and rejection, which Hall depicts as typically suffered by “inverts”, with predictably debilitating effects. The novel portrays “inversion” as a natural, God-given state and makes an explicit plea: “Give us also the right to our existence”.Although The Well of Loneliness is not sexually explicit, it was nevertheless the subject of an obscenity trial in the UK, which resulted in all copies of the novel being ordered destroyed. The United States allowed its publication only after a long court battle. It is currently published in the UK by Virago, and by Anchor Press in the United States. The Well of Loneliness was number seven on a list of the top 100 lesbian and gay novels compiled by The Publishing Triangle in 1999.
1940 – The Rev. Troy Perry (July 27, 1940), founder of the Metropolitan Community Church, is born. The Metropolitan Community Church, a Christian denomination with a special affirming ministry with the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities, is formed in Los Angeles on October 6, 1968. In March 2017, Perry became the first American citizen honored with Cuba’s CENESEX award. The 10th Cuban Gala Against Homophobia and Transphobia, held at the Karl Marx Theater in Havana, Cuba, was the setting where nearly 5,000 people gathered to honor Rev. Perry, including the US, French, Swiss ambassadors, as well as the Minister of Culture of Cuba. Mariela Castro Espín, daughter of Cuban President Raul Castro, and a member of the country’s National Assembly, and Director of CENESEX, presented the award. He was given the award for his long history of working for human rights and the rights of the LGBTQ community worldwide. He remains active in public speaking and writing. Perry lives in Los Angeles with his husband, Phillip Ray DeBlieck, whom he married under Canadian law at the Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto. They sued the State of California upon their return home after their Toronto wedding for recognition of their marriage and won. The state appealed. and the ruling was overturned by the State Supreme Court after five years in their favor.
1946 – Stephen Donaldson (July 27, 1946 – July 18, 1996), born Robert Anthony Martin, Jr. and also known by the pseudonym Donny the Punk, was an American bisexual political activist. He is best known for his pioneering activism in LGBT rights and prison reform, and for his writing about punk rock and subculture. In 1966, Donaldson fell in love with a woman, Judith “JD Rabbit” Jones (whom he later considered his “lifetime companion”)and began to identify as a bisexual. His “growing feeling of discomfort with biphobia in the homophile/gay liberation movement was a major factor” in his deciding to quit the movement and enlist in the Navy after graduating from Columbia in 1970.After a series of meetings, the Committee of Friends on Bisexuality was formed, with Donaldson (using the name Bob Martin) as its chair until he left the Quakers in 1977. Donaldson was involved in the New York bisexual movement in the mid-1970s, appearing in 1974 on a New York Gay Activists Alliance panel with Kate Millet. Donaldson propounded the belief that ultimately bisexuality would be perceived as much more threatening to the prevailing sexual order than homosexuality, because it potentially subverted everyone’s identity (the idea that everyone is potentially bisexual was widespread) and could not, unlike exclusive homosexuality, be confined to a segregated, stigmatized and therefore manageable ghetto. Donaldson died of AIDS in 1996 at the age of 49. After Donaldson’s death, the Columbia Queer Alliance renamed its student lounge in his honor.
1967, UK – Britain decriminalizes homosexuality between consenting adults in private, except for those in the military and police forces. The new law makes the age of consent 21 years old.
1969 – The Gay Liberation Front organizes a protest of police harassment, with an estimated 300-400 people participating. It was the one-month anniversary of the Stonewall riots.
1982 – The term AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome) is proposed at a meeting in Washingtonof gay-community leaders, federal bureaucrats and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to replace GRID (gay-related immune deficiency) as evidence showed it was not gay specific.
1987- Sports Illustratedpublished a five-page tribute to Dr. Tom Waddell (November 1, 1937 – July 11, 1987), Olympic decathlete and organizer of the Gay Games, who had recently died from complications of AIDS. Waddell was the first gay man to be featured with his lover in the “couples” section of Peoplemagazine. He was a U.S. Army paratrooper, a physician specializing in the treatment of infectious disease, a gymnastics champion at Springfield College in Massachusetts, and the personal physician to the brother of the King of Saudi Arabia.
2001 – The Houston, Texas City Council approves an ordinance outlawing discrimination against gay men and lesbians in hiring by city agencies.
2011, Argentina – Osvaldo Ramon Lopez (Sept. 4, 1971), the first openly gay congressperson, takes office in Argentina.
2015 – World champion power lifter Janae Marie Kroc (formerly Matt Kroczaleski) (born December 8, 1972) comes out as trans and genderfluid. Janae began entering powerlifting contests after joining the Marines in 1991. In 2017, after 18 months on estrogen, her performance was reduced to 210 pounds for 10 repsand deadlifted 605 pounds. Kroc is a world champion and a National Physique Committeebodybuilder.
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!)