There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest. —Elie Wiesel
Learning our history IS resistance! Thanks for taking this journey with me. Now go write your story!
Today in LGBT History – June 28 June is LGBT Pride month!
1934, Germany – Approximately 300 Nazi Party members are arrested and murdered in a purge ordered by Adolf Hitler that comes to be known as the Night of the Long Knives. The most prominent victim of the purge is SA (Brown Shirts) chief Ernst Rohm, a gay man whom Hitler accused of having formed a subversive “homosexual clique.”
1934, Germany – The Nazi government expands Paragraph 175 of the German Penal Code to read: “A male who commits a sex offence with another male or allows himself to be used by another male for a sex offence shall be punished with imprisonment. Where a party was not yet twenty-one years of age at the time of the act, the court may in especially minor cases refrain from punishment.” The law did not include so-called “Aryan” women who loved women since the Nazis asserted that Aryan lesbians could still produce Aryan children for the “New Germany.” Paragraph 175a was also instituted: “Penal servitude up to ten years or, where there are mitigating circumstances, imprisonment of not less than three months shall apply to…a male over twenty-one years of age who seduces a male person under twenty-one years to commit a sex offence with him or to allow himself to be abused for a sex offence….” Arrests skyrocket from under 1000 in 1932 to over 8500 by 1938.
1959 – In New York City, Ardouin Antonio, a 49-year-old Jamaican–Americanshipping clerk dies of Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia, a disease closely associated with AIDS. Dr. Gordon Hennigar, who performed the postmortem examination of the man’s body, found “the first reported instance of unassociated Pneumocystis carinii disease in an adult” to be so unusual that he preserved Ardouin’s lungs for later study. The case was published in two medical journals at the time, and Hennigar has been quoted in numerous publications saying that he believes Ardouin probably had AIDS.
1969 – A St. Louis teenager, identified as Robert Rayford, dies of an illness that baffles his doctors. Eighteen years later, molecular biologists at Tulane University in New Orleans test samples of his remains and find evidence of HIV.
1969 – Late night and into the early morning hours the next day, patrons of the Stonewall Inn at 53 Christopher Street in New York’s Greenwich Village fight back during a police raid, sparking three days of riots and the modern gay pride movement. Police raid the bar on the charge of selling alcohol without a license. Stormé DeLarverie (December 24, 1920 – May 24, 2014), a butch lesbian, is said to have been responsible for starting the riot at 1:20 am. A brave woman of color, she was hit with a billy club and handcuffed. She was bleeding from the head when she brazenly turned to the crowd and hollered, “WHY DON’T YOU DO SOMETHING!?” Patrons, and the crowd gathered outside, fight back. The American Gay liberation movement begins. Clientele fling bottles, rocks, bricks, and trash cans at the police and use parking meters as battering rams on this day and for the next five days and nights. Transgender Sylvia Rivera (1951-2002) and Marsha P. Johnson are also ringleaders of the Stonewall Riot. Rivera is a founding member of both the Gay Liberation Front and Gay Activists Alliance, but the role of Rivera and her Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (STAR) in helping to initiate the modern gay rights movement is quickly forgotten as gay activists seek to enter the mainstream.
1970 – Christopher Street Liberation Day marks the first anniversary of the Stonewall riots in New York City with the first Gay Rights Parade in U.S. History. Simultaneous marches take place in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago. Community members in New York City march through the local streets to recognize the one-year anniversary of the Stonewall riots. Named the Christopher Street Liberation Day, it is now considered the first gay pride parade. About 15,000 people participate.
1970 – Los Angeles celebrates the Stonewall anniversary with a march down Hollywood Boulevard that draws about 1,000 people. Smaller marches take place in Chicago and San Francisco. The anniversary is also marked by special celebrations at gay bars around the world, including clubs in Buenos Aires, Argentina; Lima, Peru; and Managua, Nicaragua.
1975 – The first reports of wasting and other symptoms, later determined to be AIDS, are reported in residents of Africa. The daughter of Norwegian sailor Arvid Noe dies in January 1975. It is later determined that Noe contracted HIV/AIDS in Africa during the early 1960s. Margrethe P. Rask (1930 – 12 December 1977), better known as Grethe Rask, was a Danish physicianand surgeonin Zaïre(now the Democratic Republic of the Congo). She returned to Denmark in 1977 after developing symptoms of an unknown disease which was later discovered to be AIDS. Rask is one of the first non-Africans to die of AIDS
1978, Canada – The Sixth National Gay Conference is hosted by the Gay Alliance for Equality in Halifax. At this meeting the National Gay Rights Coalition changed its names to the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Rights Coalition.
1982, Columbia – The first Pride parade takes place. Thirty-two marchers and 100 police officers attended.
2000 – The U.S. Supreme Court rules that the Boy Scouts of America can discriminate against gays and bisexuals saying it is a private organization and not bound by local human rights laws. Boy Scouts of America et al. v. Dale, 530 U.S. 640 (2000) was a case of the Supreme Court of the United States decided on June 28, 2000, that held that the constitutional right to freedom of association allows a private organization like the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) to exclude a person from membership when “the presence of that person affects in a significant way the group’s ability to advocate public or private viewpoints”. In a five to four decision, the Supreme Court ruled that opposition to homosexuality is part of BSA’s “expressive message” and that allowing homosexuals as adult leaders would interfere with that message. It reversed a decision of the New Jersey Supreme Court that had determined that New Jersey’s public accommodations law required the BSA to readmit assistant Scoutmaster James Dale(born August 2, 1970) who had made his homosexuality public and whom the BSA had expelled from the organization.
2005 – Brenda Howard (December 24, 1946 – June 28, 2005) dies. She was an American bisexualrights activist, sex-positive feminist, polyamorist and BDSM practitioner. Howard was an important figure in the modern LGBT rights movement. In 1987 Howard helped found the New York Area Bisexual Network to help co-ordinate services to the region’s growing Bisexual community. She was also an active member of the early bisexual political activist group BiPAC, a regional organizer for BiNet USA, a co-facilitator of the Bisexual S/M Discussion Group, and a founder of the nation’s first Alcoholics Anonymous chapter for bisexuals. Brenda Howard is known as the “Mother of Pride” for her work in coordinating the first LGBT Pride march, and she also originated the idea for a week-long series of events around Pride Day which became the genesis of the annual LGBT Pride celebrations that are now held around the world every June. Additionally, Howard, along with fellow LGBT rights activists Robert A. Martin (aka Donny the Punk) and L. Craig Schoonmaker, are credited with popularizing the word “Pride” to describe these festivities. As LGBT rights activist Tom Limoncelli(born December 2, 1968)put it, “The next time someone asks you why LGBT Pride marches exist or why [LGBT] Pride Month is June tell them ‘A bisexual woman named Brenda Howard thought it should be.
2010 – The U.S. Supreme Court rules in Christian Legal Society v. Martinezthat public universities may refuse to recognize student organizations with discriminatory membership policies. Christian Legal Society v. Martinez, 561 U.S. 661 (2011) is a United States Supreme Court case in which the Court upheld, against a First Amendment challenge, the policy of the University of California, Hastings College of the Law governing official recognition of student groups, which required the groups to accept all students regardless of their status or beliefs in order to obtain recognition.
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!)