Yesterday was Kelly’s and my nine-month anniversary of our wedding. We celebrate months because, well, we’re older and every day is a celebration. The sun was shining and we went kayaking in Sequim Bay with some friends. As I sat in the middle of the bay, listening to the water slap my kayak, feeling the sunshine on my face, I marveled at the majesty of the mountains and the sea that surrounded me. For a couple of hours, the craziness of the world disappeared and I was in a state of gratefulness for my life, for my wife, and for the people I love. I hope your day was as gentle…
Today in LGBT History – June 22
431, Rome – Paulinus of Nola (354 – June 22, ad 431) or Pontius Meropius Anicius Paulinus dies 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 Benjamin Britten. 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.
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 Anita Bryant of conducting a hate campaign against homosexuals. Hillsborough’s parents claimed and rightfully so that Miss 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 Miss Bryant lives in Florida.
1978 – Jai Rodriguez (22, 1979) is born. He is an American TV personality and best known as the culture guide on the Emmy-winning TV show “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.”
1982 – John (Johnny) Royce Mathis (September 30, 1935) comes out in an interview with Us magazine 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, according to Guinness Book of British Hit Singles writer and charts music historian Paul Gambaccini and other sources.
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) dies on this day of complications from HIV/AIDS. He was a Vietnam War veteran, race relations instructor, and recipient of the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star. He was one of the earliest service members to challenge the US military’s exclusion of homosexuals. 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 the Cemetery in Washington, D.C. is in the same row as that of FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover.
1990 – In honor of Gay Pride Week, the Empire State Building in New York lights up with lavender lights.
1998 – 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 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 Scagliotti entitled Dangerous Living: Coming Out in the Developing World. The documentary focusses on the Cairo 52 case and features 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. As well as an activist and former politician who was the first openly gay federal level legislator in Asia, Pant creates the Blue Diamond Society, a shelter for battered LGBT people from surrounding countries.
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, 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!)