People tweeted that (Marjory Stoneman Douglas student) Emma Gonzalez should run for president. The 18-year-old noted that she already is president — of her school’s Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA). She then told the Washington Post that she identifies as bisexual, and suddenly her fierce badassery just made that much more sense for a whole lot of people, particularly fellow LGBTQ folks and queer activists for whom self-identity and a willingness to stand up for justice has long been inextricably linked. —Reporter Beth Garfield
Learning our history is resistance! Thanks for taking this journey with me. Now go write your story!
Today in LGBT History – March 25
1947, UK – Multiple Grammy-winning singer/songwriter Sir Elton John (25 March 1947) is born (named Reginald Kenneth Dwight) in Pinner Middlesex. He is an English singer, pianist, and composer. He has worked with lyricist Bernie Taupin as his songwriting partner since 1967; they have collaborated on more than 30 albums to date. In his five-decade career Elton John has sold more than 300 million records, making him one of the best-selling music artists in the world. He has more than fifty Top 40 hits, including seven consecutive No. 1 US albums, 58 Billboard Top 40 singles, 27 Top 10, four No. 2 and nine No. 1. For 31 consecutive years (1970–2000) he had at least one song in the Billboard Hot 100. His tribute single “Candle in the Wind 1997“, re-penned in dedication to the late Princess Diana, sold over 33 million copies worldwide and is the best-selling single in the history of the U.K. and U.S. singles charts. He came out in Rolling Stone Magazine in 1978. In 1993, he began a relationship with David Furnish (born 25 October 1962), a former advertising executive and now filmmaker originally from Toronto, Ontario, Canada. On 21 December 2005 (the day the Civil Partnership Act came into force), John and Furnish were amongst the first couples in the UK to form a civil partnership, which was held at the Windsor Guildhall. After gay marriage became legal in England in March 2014, John and Furnish married in Windsor, Berkshire, on 21 December 2014, the ninth anniversary of their civil partnership.
1955 – Gene Walsh, founder of FireFlag, was born in Brooklyn, NY. Walsh was the first New York City Firefighter to risk his career by publicly coming out “on the job” in the traditionally homophobic Fire Department of New York, and later did so at the national level appearing on syndicated television’s Joan River’s Show. With the support of other closeted gay Firefighters and members of Gay Officers Action League-NY, Walsh founded FireFlag, an organization that serves to raise awareness, provide official representation, education and peer support for LGBT fire services personnel. The organization was later renamed FireFlag/EMS to include Emergency Service personnel. Walsh secured the organizations formal incorporation on February 28, 1992, and thereafter achieved FireFlag/EMS’ equal and official fraternal organization status within the City of New York and FDNY .
1958 – Susannah “Susie” Bright, also known as Susie Sexpert (born March 25, 1958), is an American feminist, author, journalist, critic, editor, publisher, producer, and performer, often on the subject of sexual politics and sexuality. She is one of the first writers/activists referred to as a sex-positive feminist. Her papers are part of the Human Sexuality Collection at Cornell University Library along with the archives of On Our Backs. She has lived with her partner Jon Bailiff since 1993, and previously lived with her partner Honey Lee Cottrell in the 1980s. She has written extensively about her sexuality and family relationships in her memoirs, creative nonfiction, and blog, Susie Bright’s Journal, including topics of bisexuality, non-monogamy, lesbian life, homeschooling, and extended families and lovers.
1963 – Danton R. Remoto (born March 25, 1963) is a Filipino writer, essayist, reporter, editor, columnist, and professor. Remoto was a first prize recipient at the ASEAN Letter-Writing Contest for Young People. The award made Remoto a scholar at the Ateneo de Manila University in the Philippines. As a professor, Remoto teaches English and Journalism at the Ateneo de Manila University. Remoto is the chair emeritus of Ang Ladlad, a lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) political party in the Philippines.
1971 – WNBA star Sheryl Denise Swoopes (born March 25, 1971) is a retired American professional basketball player. She was the first player to be signed in the WNBA, is a three-time WNBA MVP, and was named one of the league’s Top 15 Players of All Time at the 2011 WNBA All-Star Game. Swoopes has won three Olympic gold medals. She was elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2016. In 2017, she was inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame. In October 2005, she announced she was gay, becoming one of the highest-profile athletes in a team sport to do so publicly. Swoopes said, “it doesn’t change who I am. I can’t help who I fall in love with. No one can. … Discovering I’m gay just sort of happened much later in life. Being intimate with [Alisa] or any other woman never entered my mind. At the same time, I’m a firm believer that when you fall in love with somebody, you can’t control that.” She and her partner, former basketball player and Houston Comets assistant coach Alisa Scott, together raised Swoopes’ son. The couple broke up in 2011. Swoopes later that year got engaged to Chris Unclesho, a longtime male friend.
1985 – This was a pivotal year for the Oscars: Vanessa Redgrave is the first woman to be nominated for Best Actress playing a lesbian role (The Bostonians); The Times of Harvey Milk wins Best Documentary, the first documentary on a gay subject to do so, and nearly a billion viewers hear director, Richard Schmeichen (July 10, 1947 – April 7, 1993), express his thanks to his partner in life, John Wright.
1988 – Robert Joffrey (December 24, 1930 – March 25, 1988), founder and artistic director of the Joffrey Ballet, dies in New York City at the age of fifty-seven of AIDS related illness. Originally named Abdulla Jaffa Anver Bey Khan, Joffrey was a dancer, teacher, producer, and choreographer, known for his highly imaginative modern ballets. As the founder and artistic director of the Joffrey Ballet—a company renowned for its wide-ranging repertory and exuberant young performers—Joffrey was an advocate for gender balance in the dance world. His lover was Gerald Arpino (January 14, 1923 – October 29, 2008), an American dancer and choreographer. Arpino was co-founder of the Joffrey Ballet and succeeded Robert Joffrey as its artistic director in 1988. In 2014, Arpino was inducted into the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame.
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!)