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 – JUNE 22
LGBTQ PRIDE: 50 Years since Stonewall
431, Rome – Paulinus of Nola (354 – June 22, 431 AD) or Pontius Meropius Anicius Paulinus died on this date. He was a Roman Senator who converted to a severe monasticism in 394. Paulinus was from a notable senatorial family with possessions in Aquitaine, northern Spain, and southern Italy. He was educated in Bordeaux, where his teacher, the poet Ausonius, also became his very special friend. Letters from Paulinus to Ausonius have led to speculation that they had a homosexual relationship. He was a patron of the arts and eventually became Bishop of Nola. He helped to resolve the disputed election of Pope Boniface I, and was canonized as a saint.
1910, UK – Peter Pears (June 22, 1910 – April 3 1986) is born. He was a classical singer and devoted partner of composer and conductor Benjamin Britten (22 November 1913 – 4 December 1976). Pears died in Aldeburgh at the age of 75. He was buried beside Britten in the churchyard of the parish church of St Peter and St Paul, Aldeburgh.
1958 – Transgender Jennifer Finney Boylan (born June 22, 1958) is an American author and political activist. In 2014, she joined the faculty of Barnard College, Columbia University, having previously been professor of English at Colby College in Maine. Her autobiography, She’s Not There: A Life in Two Genders, was the first book by an openly transgender American to become a bestseller.
1961, Scotland – Jimmy Somerville (June 22, 1961) is born on this day. He is the lead singer of Bronski Beat. The group’s biggest hit, “Small town Boy,” was considered groundbreaking because of its lyrical content regarding homophobia. Somerville played the song’s titular character in the music video, leaving his hostile hometown for the city.
1969 – Gay icon Judy Garland (born Frances Ethel Gumm June 10, 1922 – June 22, 1969) dies of an overdose of barbiturates barely two weeks after her 47th birthday. Garland began performing in vaudeville with her two older sisters and was signed to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer as a teenager. She made more than two dozen films with MGM, including nine with Mickey Rooney. Garland’s most famous role was as Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz (1939). Her other roles at MGM included Meet Me in St. Louis (1944), The Harvey Girls (1946) and Easter Parade (1948). Some sources say that the mourning of her death may be partly what led to the Stonewall Riots a week later.
1977 – In San Francisco, Robert Hillsborough (March 10, 1944-June 22, 1977), 33, and his friend Jerry Taylor, 27, left a disco and stopped for a burger on the way home. In the parking lot, they were attacked by four young men. Taylor managed to escape to phone 911 but Hillsborough was stabbed 15 times by 19 year-old John Cordova who yelled “Faggot! Faggot!” Witnesses also reported that Cordova yelled, “This one’s for Anita!” Cordova was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to ten years in prison. Three other young men were also held – Thomas J. Spooner (21), Michael Chavez (20) and a 16-year-old boy whose name was not released by officials. Both Mayor Mascone and Hillsborough’s mother blamed Anita Bryant and Sen. John Briggs for Hillsborough’s death. The parents of Robert Hillsborough filed a $5 million lawsuit accusing Bryant for conducting a hate campaign against homosexuals. Hillsborough’s parents claimed – and rightfully so – that Bryant’s public comments constituted “a campaign of hate, bigotry, ignorance, fear, intimidation and prejudice” against their son and other homosexuals. This, they said, amounted to a conspiracy to deprive Hillsborough of his civil rights. U.S. District Judge Stanley A. Weigel dismissed the case saying that he lacked jurisdiction because Bryant lives in Florida.
1978 – Jai Rodriguez (June 22, 1979) is born. He is anAmerican TV personality and best known as the culture guide on the Emmy-winning TV show “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.”
1982 – Singer Johnny Mathis (September 30, 1935) comes out in an interview with Usmagazine on this day. He is an American singer of popular music and jazz. Starting his career with singles of standard music, he became highly popular as an album artist, with several dozen of his albums achieving gold or platinum status and 73 making the Billboard charts to date. Mathis has sold well over 100 million records worldwide.
1985, New Zealand – Heterosexuals Unafraid of Gays (HUG) was founded on this date in Wellington.
1988 – Technical Sergeant Leonard P. Matlovich (July 6, 1943 – June 22, 1988)died on this day. He was a Vietnam War veteran, race relations instructor, and recipient of the Purple Heartand the Bronze Star. He was one of the earliest service members to challenge the U.S. military’s exclusion of homosexuals. On June 22, 1988, less than a month before his 45th birthday, Matlovich died in Los Angeles of complications from HIV/AIDSbeneath a large photo of Martin Luther King, Jr. 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.” Matlovich’s tombstone at Cemetery in Washington, D.C. is in the same row as that of (not-so-closeted) FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover(January 1, 1895 – May 2, 1972).
1998, Canada – British Columbia passes legislation granting same-sex couples access to pension benefit rights equal to those to which straight married couples are entitled.
2005 – Homophobe Jerry Falwell adds his voice to an anti-gay movement to punish Kraft Foods for its sponsorship of the 2006 Gay Games in Chicago. Kraft contributed $25,000 to Gay Games VII.
2007, Jerusalem – Participants in the Jerusalem Pride Parade encounter hundreds of Haredi, Israel’s Ultra-Orthodox sect, who arrived with eggs and bags of human excrement to hurl. Just prior to the parade, police arrested a 32-year old man carrying a bomb which he said he’d planned to detonate near the parade. Two hundred hate-mongering Haredi were arrested by the 7000 police officers brought in from all over Israel to protect the marchers, who numbered only 1000.
2008, Egypt – The first Egyptian film to portray gay life premiers, called “All My Life” by Maher Sabry. Sabry (April 11, 1967) is an Egyptian theater director, playwright, film director, producer and screenwriter, poet, writer and cartoonist. A gay activist, he was the first director to portray gay and lesbian love in lyrical and sympathetic manner on the Egyptian stage. As a gay activist, Maher Sabry pioneered with others gay forums for Egyptian LGBT on the internet, using the pseudonym “Horus”. In 2003, he appeared in a documentary by John Scagliottientitled Dangerous Living: Coming Out in the Developing World. The documentary focusses on the Cairo 52 case and features a Maher Sabry interview in addition to various insights from activists from Brazil, Honduras, Namibia, Uganda, Malaysia, Pakistan, India, Vietnam, Fiji and the Philippines.
2011, Nepal – Sunil Babu Pant (born 1972) is Nepal’s only openly gay member of Parliament. He is an activist and former politician who was the first openly gayfederal level legislator in Asia. He created the Blue Diamond Society, a shelter for battered LGBT people from surrounding countries.
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!)