“What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.” — Nelson Mandela
Learning our history is resistance! Thanks for taking this journey with me. Now go write your story!
Today in LGBT History – March 26
1859, UK – A. E. Houseman (26 March 1859 – 30 April 1936) was born in Worcestershire, England. He was an English classical scholar and poet, best known to the general public for his cycle of poems A Shropshire Lad. Lyrical and almost epigrammatic in form, the poems wistfully evoke the dooms and disappointments of youth in the English countryside. Their beauty, simplicity and distinctive imagery appealed strongly to late Victorian and Edwardian taste, and to many early 20th-century English composers both before and after the First World War. Through their song-settings, the poems became closely associated with that era, and with Shropshire itself. Housman was one of the foremost classicists of his age and has been ranked as one of the greatest scholars who ever lived. His homosexuality and his love for Moses Jackson often appeared in his poetry.
1911 – Thomas Lanier “Tennessee” Williams III (March 26, 1911 – February 25, 1983) was an American playwright. Along with Eugene O’Neill and Arthur Miller he is considered among the three foremost playwrights in 20th-century American drama. After some early attempts at relationships with women, by the late 1930s Williams had finally accepted his homosexuality. In New York City he joined a gay social circle which included fellow writer and close friend Donald Windham (1920–2010) and his then partner Fred Melton. In the summer of 1940 Williams initiated an affair with Kip Kiernan (1918–1944), a young Canadian dancer he met in Provincetown, Massachusetts. When Kiernan left him to marry a woman he was distraught, and Kiernan’s death four years later at 26 delivered another heavy blow. On February 25, 1983, Williams was found dead in his suite at the Hotel Elyséein New York at age 71
1969 – San Francisco: Society for Individual Rights president Leo Laurence and his lover are featured in a photo-illustrated article in the Berkeley, Barb. Calling for “the Homosexual Revolution of 1969,” Laurence exhorts gay men and lesbians to join the Black Panthers and other left-wing groups and to “come out” en masse.
1973 – Gay playwright, Noel Coward (16 December 1899 – 26 March 1973) dies in Jamaica at the age of 73. He was an English playwright, composer, director, actor and singer, known for his wit, flamboyance, and what Time magazine called “a sense of personal style, a combination of cheek and chic, pose and poise”. In 1914, when Coward was fourteen, he became the protégé and probably the lover of Philip Streatfeild, a society painter. Coward was homosexual but, following the convention of his times, this was never publicly mentioned. Coward’s most important relationship, which began in the mid-1940s and lasted until his death, was with the South African stage and film actor Graham Payn (25 April 1918 – 4 November 2005).
1973 – The first formal meeting of PFLAG – Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (later broadened to Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) – took place on 26 March 1973 at the Metropolitan-Duane Methodist Church in Greenwich Village (now the Church of the Village). Approximately 20 people attended, including founder Jeanne Manford, her husband Jules, son Morty (1951-1992), Dick and Amy Ashworth, Metropolitan Community Church founder Reverend Troy Perry (born July 27, 1940), and more.
1975 – After the local district attorney’s office rules that there are no county laws preventing two people of the same-sex from getting married, Boulder, Colorado county clerk Clela Rorex issues a marriage license to two gay men, Dave McCord and Dave Zamora. It is the first same-sex marriage license issued in the United States. She says in a statement, “I don’t profess to be knowledgeable about homosexuality or even understand it, but it’s not my business why people get married. No minority should be discriminated against.”
1977 – First time openly lesbian and gay people are welcomed into the White House and the first official discussion of lesbian and gay rights takes place. The leaders include Charlotte Bunch (born October 13, 1944), Frank Kameny (May 21, 1925 – October 11, 2011), Elaine Noble (born January 22, 1944), Troy Perry (born July 27, 1940), Betty Powell, George Raya, Myra Riddell, Charlotte Spitzer and Bruce Voeller ( 1935-1994).
1985 – A 4-4 tie vote in the U.S. Supreme Court effectively overturns an Oklahoma law that would have banned homosexuals, or those defending or “promoting” the homosexual “lifestyle”, from teaching in the state’s public schools
1990 – Common Threads: Stories from the Quilt wins the Academy Award for Best Feature-Length Documentary. It is the second Oscar for gay filmmaker Rob Epstein (born April 6, 1955) who received the first one six years earlier for The Times of Harvey Milk
1990 – Fashion designer Halston (Roy Halston Frowick) (April 23, 1932 – March 26, 1990) dies of AIDS at age fifty-seven. He was an American fashion designer who rose to international fame in the 1970s. His minimalist, clean designs, often made of cashmere or ultrasuede, were popular fashion wear in mid-1970s discotheques and redefined American fashion. An American designer, Halston was well known for creating a style for “American Women”. From his point of view, the “American Woman” was about having a relaxed urban lifestyle. He created a new phenomenon in the 1970s. Halston believed that women can wear the same clothing for the entire day on any occasion. Halston became a well recognized fixture of the 1970s club scene in Manhattan. He was frequently photographed at Studio 54with his close friends Liza Minnelli, Bianca Jagger and artist Andy Warhol. Halston’s on again off again lover was Venezuelan-born artist Victor Hugo (1942 – 1993). The two met while Hugo was working as a make up artist in 1972. The two began a relationship and Hugo lived on and off in Halston’s home. Halston soon hired Hugo to work as his window dresser.
1997 – The first official meeting of people brought together to discuss gay and lesbian rights is held at the White House. Bill Clinton is president.
2000 — Hilary Swank Wins Oscar for the film Boys Don’t Cry. She thanks Brandon Teena (December 12, 1972 – December 31, 1993) during her acceptance speech. Teena’s mother takes offense at Swank’s use of the male name and reference to Teena as male: “That set me off. She should not stand up there and thank my child. I get tired of people taking credit for what they don’t know.”
2007 – Jewish Theological Seminary of America begins accepting openly lesbian, gay, and bisexual students.
2009, Serbia – Serbian Parliament approves anti-discrimination law which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in every area.
2013 – The Gay pride flag is flown by Alan Lowenthal (D) in Washington DC., the first member of Congress to do so.
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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!)