We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. —Elie Wiesel
Learning our history IS resistance! Thanks for taking this journey with me. Now go write your story!
Today in LGBT History – June 26 June is LGBT Pride month!
1892 – Newspapers across the US report on the murder of 17-year-old Freda Ward by her lover, 19-year-old Alice Mitchell ( February 23, 1892- March 31, 1898). Both members of upper-class Memphis society, the two women had vowed never to separate. When Ward’s family refused to allow Mitchell to have contact with her, Mitchell waylaid Ward on a train and slashed her throat. Besides being one of the first times lesbianism is discussed in the nation’s media, the Mitchell-Ward case becomes a frequently cited example of the dangerous “pathology” of same-sex love. Mitchell is later found insane and committed to an asylum. The case was headlined as “A Very Unnatural Crime” across the country.The case influenced the popular literature of the era which began to depict lesbians as “murderous” and “masculine”. One identity that came to be through lesbians was the “mannish lesbian” creating dialogue of gender expression.
1964 – Life Magazine runs a twelve-page feature of gay men’s culture in an article called “Homosexuality in America.”
1969 – A group of New York drag queens organize a memorial for the next night for Judy Garland who died several days earlier. Little did they know the wake would turn into a riot and give birth to the gay liberation movement.
1977 – Gay Pride Celebrations across the country, including the original Stonewall-inspired New York City march, are held today, attract record numbers of participants. The heavy turnout is a response to the backlash against gay and lesbian rights inspired by Anita Bryant’s campaign.
1988 – Art Agnos is the first San Francisco mayor to ride in a Gay Pride celebration parade.
2003 – The U.S. Supreme Court overturns Bowers v. Hardwick, the 1986 case that upheld sodomy laws. The Supreme Court strikes down a Texas anti-sodomy law, reversing an earlier decision made in another case 17 years earlier that Justice Anthony Kennedy said “demeans the lives of homosexual persons.” Gays are ”entitled to respect for their private lives,” Kennedy said for the court, according to The New York Times. ”The state cannot demean their existence or control their destiny by making their private sexual conduct a crime.”
2005, Greece – The first LGBT Pride parade is held in Athens.
2006 – Longtime gay activist and author Eric Rofes (August 31, 1954 – June 26, 2006) dies of a heart attack in Provincetown, Massachusetts. A former executive director of the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Community Services Center, Rofes also wrote 12 books on the HIV/AIDS epidemic and the gay community. He was an associate professor of education at Humboldt State University in Arcata, California and a major contributor to the NGLTF annual Creating Change conference. Humboldt State established the Eric Rofes Center after his death as a new program in honor of his legacy and to continue his work in queer-feminist activism. The Eric Rofes Multicultural Queer Resource center is a student-run, student-funded initiative that provides programming and resources for Humboldt State University’s LGBTQIA community.
2013 – The Supreme Court heard a challenge to DOMA on March 27, 2013. President Bill Clinton, who signed the legislation, came out against the lawand asked the Supreme Court to repeal it. On June 26, SCOTUS declares the law unconstitutional and also held that defenders of California’s same-sex marriage ban did not have the right to appeal lower court rulings striking down the ban.
2015 – The US Supreme Court rules 5 to 4in Obergefell et al v. Hodges that the Constitution requires that same-sex couples be allowed to marry no matter where they live in the United States. With this ruling, the United States becomes the 17th country to legalize same-sex marriages entirely.
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 email@example.com. Thanks!)