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 6
1750, France – Bruno Lenoir and Jean Diot, 18 and 20 years old, are caught having sex. They are strangled and burned in the Place de Greve by “seven wagons of brushwood, two hundred faggots (bundles of wood sticks), and straw.” This is the last execution in France for consensual sodomy. In October, 2014, a memorial plaque was unveiled the Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo to remember them.
1907 — Mexican painter Frida Kahlo (July 6, 1907 – July 13, 1954) is born. Inspired by Mexican popular culture, she employed a naïve folk-art style to explore questions of identity, post-colonialism, gender, class, and race in Mexican society. Kahlo was bisexual and a polio survivor. She married Diego Rivera twice, had an affair with Leon Trotsky, and had affairs with several women as well. La Casa Azul, her home in Coyoacán, was opened as a museum in 1958, and has become one of the most popular museums in Mexico City. In the United States, she became the first Hispanic woman to be honored with a U.S. postage stamp in 2001,and in 2012 was inducted into the Legacy Walk, an outdoor public display in Chicago that celebrates the LGBThistory and people.
1943 — Leonard P. Matlovich (July 6, 1943 – June 22, 1988) is born. During three tours of duty in Viet Nam, he would earn, among other honors, a Bronze Star, a Purple Heart, and an Air Force Commendation Medal. Sgt. Matlovich was discharged when he came out as gay. He died of AIDS in June, 1988, at the age of 45. Matlovich was the first gay service member to purposely out himself to the military to fight their ban on gays, and perhaps the best-known gay man in America in the 1970s next to Harvey Milk. His fight to stay in the United States Air Forceafter coming out of the closet became a cause célèbre around which the gay community rallied. His case resulted in articles in newspapers and magazines throughout the country, numerous television interviews, and a television movie on NBC. Matlovich was the first named openly gay person to appear on the cover of a U.S. newsmagazine – of the September 8, 1975, issue of Timemagazine, making him a symbol for thousands of gay and lesbian service members and gay people generally. According to author Randy Shilts(August 8, 1951 – February 17, 1994), “It marked the first time the young gay movement had made the cover of a major newsweekly. To a movement still struggling for legitimacy, the event was a major turning point.” His tombstone, meant to be a memorial to all gay veterans, does not bear his name. It reads, “When I was in the military, they gave me a medal for killing two men and a discharge for loving one.”
1966 – Glenn Christopher Scarpelli (born July 6, 1966) is an American former child actor and singer. He is best known for his role as Alex Handris from 1980 to 1983 on the sitcom One Day at a Time. Scarpelli came out as gay in adulthood. He resides in Arizona, where he and his then-partner Jude Belanger established the Sedona Now Network, a community television station, in 2003.Scarpelli and Belanger were married in California in 2008, but filed for divorce in 2012.
1979 – Billy S. Jones, Darlene Garner, and Delores P. Berry co-found the National Coalition of Black Lesbians and Gays in Washington, D.C. Bisexual and transgender people are included in bylaws, mission and outreach. The National Coalition of Black Lesbians and Gays (formerly The National Coalition of Black Gays) was the United States‘ first national organizationfor African American and Third World gay rights.While many Washington, D.C.-based gay rights organizations opposed the 1979 National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights, NCBG’s support for the march smoothed the way for the event. The organization was to provide a national advocacy forum for African American gay men and lesbians at a time when no other organization existed to express their views. The organizers, also including Louis Hughes, Gil Gerald, Rev. Renee McCoy, and John Gee, were motivated by a belief that existing gay and lesbian organizations did not represent the views and experiences of African Americans. In 1984, NCBG added Lesbian to its name to become the National Coalition of Black Lesbians and Gays. The organization’s headquarters moved to Detroit, Michigan briefly in the mid-1980s. By 1986, several key leaders left the organization, and eventually the group (without any official announcement) faded out of existence.By 1990, formal operations ended for the organization. As founding member A. Billy S. Jones described, “We just faded away. Some board members refused to acknowledge that it was time to say goodbye but folks just burned out and faded away.”
1992 – Some 50 activists in New York City attend the first public meeting of the Lesbian Avengers, a direct action group focused on issues vital to lesbian survival and visibility.” Dozens of other chapters quickly emerged worldwide, a few expanding their mission to include questions of gender, race, and class. The Lesbian Avengers was founded by Ana Maria Simo, Sarah Schulman, Maxine Wolfe, Anne-Christine D’Adesky, Marie Honan, and Anne Maguire, six longtime lesbian activists who were involved in a variety of LGBT groups from the Medusa’s Revenge lesbian theater to ACT-UP and ILGO (the Irish Lesbian and Gay Organization). Lesbian Avenger Ann Northrop underlined the point. “We’re not going to be invisible anymore … We are going to be prominent and have power and be part of all decision making.” Her assumptions were largely proved in interviews with Avengers in the 1993 documentary film, Lesbian Avengers Eat Fire, Tooedited by Su Friedrich and Janet Baus. Some members, though, joked they also joined to meet women.
2007, Hungary – Gábor Szetey (born January 6, 1968) is a Hungarian former politician and former Secretary of State for Human Resources in the Gyurcsány government, a role he held from July 2006 to April 2009. He was the first openly gay Hungarian government member. On this day, he publicly declares that he’s gay at the opening night of the Budapest LGBT film festival, making him the first out LGBT person in Hungarian government. He currently lives in Spain.
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!)