My loved ones, friends, colleagues, comrades, and buddies are aging. At 70, so am I! I was 31 when I came out as a lesbian in early 1979, and I remember thinking, “What will it be like when I’ve been out for a year? For 5 years? For 10 years?” Now, after having been out for nearly 40 years, there was simply no way I could have predicted how my life has unfurled. From the deep emotional pain of those first few years to the unspeakable sadness of the AIDS years, to the success of my profession in higher education, to the love for and from my children and grandchildren, to the pure joy of retirement with my beloved wife… for these – and yes, for even the bad times which brought me to the place – I am deeply grateful. During this month of Pride, I reflect on the challenges and the excitement, the loss and the loves. I remember and call out the names of those now gone and give thanks for those with whom I still journey. Yes, I’m proud to be a lesbian – an old lesbian – a woman-identified woman who has the privilege of moving through the world with my head held high and my heart open for change… What about you?
Today in LGBT History – June 10
356 BC, Babylon near Al-Ḥillah, Iraq – Alexander III of Macedon (July 21, 356 BC-June 13, 323 BC), commonly known as Alexander the Great, 36, dies in the palace of Nebuchadnezzar II, in Babylon. He overthrew the Persian empire, carried Macedonian arms to India, and laid the foundations for the Hellenistic world of territorial kingdoms. Already in his lifetime the subject of fabulous stories, he later became the hero of a full-scale legend bearing only the sketchiest resemblance to his historical career. Alexander became legendary as a classical hero in the mold of Achilles, and he features prominently in the history and mythic traditions of both Greek and non-Greek cultures. He became the measure against which military leaders compared themselves, and military academies throughout the world still teach his tactics.[c] He is often ranked among the most influential people in human history. Alexander earned the epithet “the Great” due to his unparalleled success as a military commander. He never lost a battle, despite typically being outnumbered. Alexander’s sexuality has been the subject of speculation and controversy. However, there is some evidence that Alexander may have been bisexual, which in his time was not controversial.
1566, Switzerland – Bartholome Tecia (1550-June 10, 1566), 15, is convicted of sodomy and drowned in the Rhone River. On 10 June 2013, at the initiative of Network, a Swiss non-governmental organization, a commemorative plaque was unveiled on the banks of the Rhone at the site of Bartholome’s murder. It reads: “In 1566, as Bartholomé was led to his death, no one stood, as we stand today, to decry the State-sanctioned killing of a child on suspicion of homosexuality,” said Marcia V.J. Kran of the UN Human Rights Office. “No one was prepared, as we are today, to challenge homophobic prejudice, to insist on the equal worth and equal rights of every person, irrespective of their sexual orientation and gender identity. It would be beautiful to think that out of this one sad, lonely death in the Rhone, more than four centuries ago, might come some good; that passers-by who see this plaque will pause and reflect on the folly of homophobia; and that we can all draw from Bartholomé’s story the strength to continue our modern day struggle to achieve equality for LGBT people everywhere.”
1956 – The Mattachine Society of New York holds its first public meeting. About 30 people attend the meeting, which takes place at the Diplomat Hotel.
1976 – West Virginia is the 16th state to repeal its sodomy laws.
1979, Spain – A policeman shoots and kills a gay man in a bar in Renteria near the Basque city of San Sebastian. Basque nationalist groups join forces with EHGAM, a Basque Gay Liberation organization, and stage a series of protest rallies and a general strike, culminating in a demonstration in which 2,000 lesbian and gay EHGAM supporters march through San Sebastian.
1986 – Edward Sagarin (September 18, 1913 – June 10, 1986) dies. Sagarin is known by his pen name Donald Webster Cory. He was an American professor of sociology and criminology at the City University of New York, and a writer. His book The Homosexual in America: A Subjective Approach, published in 1951, was considered “one of the most influential works in the history of the gay rights movement,” and inspired compassion in others by highlighting the difficulties faced by homosexuals.
2003, Canada – The Ontario Court of Appeals strikes down Canada’s ban on same-sex marriage.
Let your voice speak out and change the world!
(Historical information obtained from a variety of sources including QUIST at facebook.com/quistapp, Back2Stonewall.com, Lavender Effect, Arron’s Gay Info, All Things Queer, RS Levinson, and/or Wikipedia. If you wish to edit an item or add an item, please send an email to me at email@example.com. Thanks!)