My dear friend Dr. Warren Blumenfeld wrote a beautiful piece entitled “Pride” Is More Than a Month.” Here are some excerpts from that essay:
The histories of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, and intersex (LGBTQI) people are replete with incredible pain and immense pride, of overwhelming repression and victorious rejoicing, of stifling invisibility and dazzling illumination. Throughout the ages, dominant groups have labeled LGBTQI people using many terms: from “sinners,” “sick,” and “criminal,” to having a “preference, “orientation,” “identity,” and even being given “a gift from God…As we enter the momentous month of June, a time set aside in countries throughout the world to commemorate and celebrate our annual LGBTQI Pride events, we can take stock and reflect back on our victories great and small as well as the setbacks over the decades within the personal, interpersonal, institutional, social, political, and religious realms… As the truism advises, ‘Think globally, and act locally, my hope is that we can join together to create the world as a place where everyone will celebrate their Pride safely and with integrity in ways that express their truest joys while showing their full humanity, freedom, and liberty. During this Pride season and throughout the year, let us join to make this a reality.”
And so it is…
Today in LGBT History – June 18
1779 – On this date Thomas Jefferson prepares a draft of Virginia’s criminal statute, envisioning that the punishment for sodomy should be castration.
1903 – French author Raymond Radiguet (18 June 1903 – 12 December 1923) is born. Jean Cocteau was his lover and mentor. Hemingway wrote that Radiguet employed his sexuality to advance his career, being a writer “who knew how to make his career not only with his pen but with his pencil.” He wrote his first French masterpiece “The Devil in the Flesh” at the age of fifteen, his second novel “Count d’Orgel’s Ball” at nineteen and died from typhoid at twenty.
1967 – Big Brother & The Holding Company plays the Monterey Pop Festival introducing Janis Joplin (January 19, 1943 – October 4, 1970) to the world. Janis Lyn Joplin was an American rock singer and songwriter. She was one of the biggest female rock stars of her era. After releasing three albums, she died of an accidental heroin overdose at age 27. A fourth album, Pearl, was released in January 1971, three months after her death and reached number one on the charts. Time magazine called Joplin “probably the most powerful singer to emerge from the white rock movement.” Janis was bisexual, having an ongoing romantic relationship with Peggy Caserta, who, like Janis, was an intravenous addict. Joplin’s death in October 1970 at age 27 stunned her fans and shocked the music world, especially when coupled with the death just 16 days earlier of another rock icon, Jimi Hendrix, also at age 27.
1970 – Jane Rule’s second novel “This is Not For You” is published (Doubleday Canada). Jane Vance Rule (March 28, 1931 – November 27, 2007) was a Canadian writer of lesbian-themed novels and non-fiction. Rule died at the age of 76 on November 28, 2007 at her home on Galiano Island due to complications from liver cancer, refusing any treatment that would take her from the island, opting instead for the care and support that could be provided by her niece, her partner, her many Galiano friends and neighbors. The ashes of Jane Vance Rule were interred in the Galiano Island Cemetery next to those of her beloved Helen Hubbard Wolfe Sonthoff.
1977 — Anti-Discrimination Law is passed by Miami-Dade County. The ordinance that would make it illegal to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation passes by a vote of 5-3. Anita Bryant leads the successful effort to repeal.
1981 – The McDonald Amendment passes the U.S. House of Representatives. The amendment would bar the Legal Service Corporation from assisting in any case which seeks to “promote, defend or protect” homosexuality.
1982 – “Exposure to some substance (rather than an infectious agent) may eventually lead to immunodeficiency among a subset of the homosexual male population that shares a particular style of life.” For example, Marmor et al. recently reported that exposure to amyl nitrite was associated with an increased risk of Kaposi’s Sarcoma (KS) in New York City. Exposure to inhalant sexual stimulants, central-nervous-system stimulants, and a variety of other “street” drugs was common among males belonging to the cluster of cases of KS and PCP (Pneumocystis) in Los Angeles and Orange counties.”
1982 – Lesbian author Djuna Barnes (June 12, 1892 – June 18, 1982) dies at age 90 in New York. She was an American writer and artist best known for her novel Nightwood(1936), a cult classic of lesbian fiction and an important work of modernist literature. Barnes has been cited as an influence by writers as diverse as Truman Capote, William Goyen, Karen Blixen, John Hawkes, Bertha Harris, Dylan Thomas, David Foster Wallace, and Anaïs Nin. Writer Bertha Harris described her work as “practically the only available expression of lesbian culture we have in the modern western world” since Sappho.
1983 – Lesbian Sally Ride becomes the first American woman in space on the space shuttle Challenger. When she died in 2012, she came out as a lesbian in her obituary. Sally Kristen Ride (May 26, 1951 – July 23, 2012) was an American physicist and astronaut. Born in Los Angeles, she joined NASA in 1978 and became the first American woman in space in 1983. Ride was the third woman in space overall, after USSR cosmonauts Valentina Tereshkova(1963) and Svetlana Savitskaya (1982). Ride remains the youngest American astronaut to have traveled to space, having done so at the age of 32. After flying twice on the Orbiter Challenger, she left NASA in 1987. She worked for two years at Stanford University‘s Center for International Security and Arms Control, then at the University of California, San Diego as a professor of physics, primarily researching nonlinear optics and Thomson scattering. She served on the committees that investigated the Challenger and Columbia space shuttle disasters, the only person to participate in both. Ride died of pancreatic cancer on July 23, 2012. Her partner of 27 years was Tam O’Shaughnessy, a professor emerita of school psychology at San Diego State University and childhood friend, who met her when both were aspiring tennis players.
1992 – The soap opera “One Life to Live” airs the first openly gay teen character. Billy Douglas, a high school student, tells his best friend, Joey Buchanan, that he is gay. Newcomer actor Ryan Phillippe played the role from April 1992 until May 1993. The character is the first openly gay teenager featured in a television series, and Phillippe’s breakthrough role is considered groundbreaking in daytime television.
1994 – The exhibition “Becoming Visible: The Legacy of Stonewall” opens at the New York Public Library. It is a history of New York’s lesbian and gay life. It is history told through unorthodox artifacts, beginning with a blue neon “Stonewall” sign and banks of public telephones at which visitors can hear oral recollections of the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar on Christopher Street, and of the nights in June 1969 when patrons battled the police rather than acquiesce to another raid.
2006 – Mary Cheney (born March 14, 1969), lesbian daughter of (at the time) Vice President Dick Cheney, released her memoir “My Turn” in which she attempts to make sense of her inaction and silence during the Bush/Cheney administration and its anti-gay record. The book’s sales were miserable, prompting author Andrew Sullivan to write: “There are flops, almighty flops and then there are books by Mary Cheney.” Mary Cheney has been with her partner, Heather Poe, since 1992. Cheney is openly lesbian, has voiced support for same-sex marriage, and has been credited with encouraging her father’s approval of same-sex marriage, which he has publicly supported since leaving the vice presidency
Let your PRIDE change the world!
(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, 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!)