Sure does feel like we’re at a new juncture with Trump feeling increasingly irreverent and taking actions unilaterally. If he doesn’t like his cheeseburger for dinner, who knows if Rosenstein will still have a job tomorrow. That’s where we are – one man in charge, GOP silent. —Amy Siskind
Learning our history is resistance! Thanks for taking this journey with me. Now go write your story!
Today in LGBT History – March 19
1872, Russia – Sergei Diaghilev (19 March 1872 – 19 August 1929) was born in Novgorod, Russia. He was a Russian art critic, patron, ballet impresario and founder of the Ballets Russes, from which many famous dancers and choreographers would arise. It is impossible to underestimate the influence of his Ballets Russes on the development of 20th century art, yet the fact that he was gay is often overlooked. Had he not been gay, had he not been attracted to the great artists of his day, the century might have taken a different turn. Diaghilev’s emotional life and the Ballets Russes were inextricably entwined. His most famous lover was Nijinsky. However, according to Serge Lifar, of all Diaghilev’s lovers, only Léonide Massine, who replaced Nijinsky, provided him with “so many moments of happiness or anguish.” Diaghilev’s other lovers included Anton Dolin (27 July 1904 – 25 November 1983), Serge Lifar (2 April1905 – 15 December 1986) and his secretary and librettist Boris Kochno (3 January 1904 – 8 December 1990) . Ironically, his last lover, composer and conductor Igor Markevitch (July 27, 1912 – March 7, 1983) later married the daughter of Nijinsky.
1894 – Loretta Mary Aiken (March 19, 1894 – May 23, 1975), known by her stage name Jackie “Moms” Mabley, was an American standup comedian. A veteran of the Chitlin’ Circuit of African-American vaudeville, she later appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show and The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour. She came out as a lesbian at the age of twenty-seven, becoming one of the first openly gay comedians. During the 1920s and 1930s she appeared in androgynous clothing (as she did in the film version of The Emperor Jones with Paul Robeson) and recorded several of her early “lesbian stand-up” routines. Despite Mabley’s popularity, wages for black women in show business were meager. Nonetheless, she persisted for more than sixty years. At the height of her career, she was earning $10,000 a week at Harlem‘s Apollo Theater.
1953 – The Diana Foundation was founded in Houston, TX by a small group of friends. The Diana Foundation is a nonprofit organization and recognized as the oldest continuously active gay organization in the United States and hosts two annual fundraising events including its Diana Awards. On Thursday, March 19, 1953, the annual Academy Awards were to be broadcast on television for the first time. David Moncrief, a gay man in Houston, who loved to entertain, was so excited about the upcoming broadcast that he purchased a new television set. He invited ten friends to watch the first televised Oscar broadcast. However, the broadcast signal failed. Undaunted by the 1953 failure, on Thursday, March 25, 1954, Moncrief organized a second party to watch the Academy Awards television broadcast. A man with a spirited sense of humor, David Moncrief, had bought a gag award for one of his guests. The award was seemingly insignificant at the time, but it struck a human chord that would lead to the founding of Houston’s Diana Foundation. A nearly life size plaster model of Diana, the Roman goddess of the hunt, stood in one corner of his living room. Guests noticed the same statue of the goddess Diana that they had seen the year before. Moncrief would festively decorate the statue with leis around her neck. It was a funny, campy sight and guests thought Diana appeared to be partying right along with the rest of the group during their gatherings. The Diana Foundation was born (March 19, 1953); The first Diana Award was presented (March 25, 1954); Nonprofit 501(c)3 status was given (February 9, 1976); The legendary organization of friends continues today.
1981, Canada – A Provincial election in Ontario sees the return of the Conservatives to power. The NDP suffers losses, attributed in some parts of province to backtracking on the gay issue. Conservative Susan Fish wins in Toronto riding of St George, defeating gay protest candidate George Hislop (June 3, 1927 – October 8, 2005). Conservatives had been Ontario’s governing party continuously since 1943.
1982 – Victor Victoria opens nationwide to generally rave reviews. Blake Edward’s farce, based on a 1933 German film, Viktor und Viktoria, features Robert Preston as perhaps the most relaxed and affable homosexual ever scripted into a major Hollywood motion picture. The movie becomes a box office hit and accomplishes what many years of gay liberation have not – an impression on the general public’s consciousness of homosexual as compassionate and likable people
1987 – The FDA approves AZT for the treatment of HIV /AIDS. It is the first drug for the treatment of HIVAIDS approved by the US Food and Drug Administration.
2004, Canada – In Quebec, the Court of Appeal upholds a superior court ruling that same-sex marriages are legal under Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The Canadian provinces of Ontario and British Columbia already permitted same-sex marriage
2012 – The US Supreme Court declines to hear John Lotter’s case. In 1993, he killed transgender man Brandon Teena (December 12, 1972 – December 31, 1993) and was sentenced to the death penalty.
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(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!)