I’ve been thinking about those 200+ young people for whom we performed Dear Anita Bryant last Saturday. What’s been sticking with me is that the cast – the youngest of whom is 55 – and these youth who ranged from 12-18 all share the same history. Regardless of generation, labeling and politics, we’re all in this together. Writing prompt: with whom do you have a shared history even though they may be very different from yourself?
Rudyard Kipling said: If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.The snippets of LGBTQ history here are the stories of our lives, the stories of the giants on whose shoulders we all stand. Learn about them then tell the stories…and remember, because knowing your history IS resistance!
Thanks for taking this journey with me. Now go write your story!
Today in LGBT History – MARCH 4
1948 – Jean O’Leary (March 4, 1948 – June 4, 2005) was an American LGBT rights activist. She was the founder of Lesbian Feminist Liberation, one of the first lesbian activist groups in the women’s movement, and was an early member and co-director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. She co-founded National Coming Out Day. Before becoming a lesbian and gay rights activist, she was a Roman Catholic Religious Sister. She would later write about her experience in the 1985 anthology, Lesbian Nuns: Breaking Silence. O’Leary died on Saturday, June 4, 2005, in San Clemente, California of lung cancer, aged 57. She is survived by her partner, Lisa Phelps, their daughter Victoria, their son David de Maria, his life partner James Springer, and David’s and James’ son, Aiden de Maria
1952 – Svend Robinson (born March 4, 1952) is a Canadian former politician. He was a member of Parliament in the Canadian House of Commons from 1979 to 2004, representing thesuburbanVancouver-area constituency of Burnaby for the New Democratic Party. When he chose not to run again in the June 2004 election, he was one of the longest-serving members in the House of Commons, having been elected and re-elected for seven consecutive terms. He is noted as the first member of Parliament in Canadian history to come out as gay while in office. In April 2004, shortly before 2004 election, Robinson admitted to the theft of an expensive ring from a public auction site. He turned himself in to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Robinson was charged and pleaded guilty. The Crown and defense agreed that he was undergoing major personal stress and mental health issues at the time; Robinson was given a discharge, meaning that he would have no criminal record, but he volunteered for some time at the Burnaby Wildlife Centre as part of a public service commitment. He terminated his candidacy and was replaced by his longtime constituency assistant Bill Siksay, who won the election. Robinson was subsequently diagnosed as suffering from cyclothymia, a form of bipolar disorder, and began to speak as an activist on mental health issues.
1966 – The word “Lesbian” is heard for the first time in the Hollywood movie The Group. The Group is a 1966 ensemble film directed by Sidney Lumet based on the novel of the same namebyMary McCarthy about the lives a group of eight female graduates from a Vassar-like college South Tower from 1933 to 1940. The cast of this social satire included Candice Bergen, Joan Hackett,Elizabeth Hartman, Shirley Knight, Jessica Walter, Kathleen Widdoes, and Joanna Pettet. The film also features small roles for Hal Holbrook, Carrie Nye, James Broderick, Larry Hagman and Richard Mulligan. For its time, the film touched on controversial topics, such as free love,contraception,abortion,lesbianism, and mental illness.
1971 – Village Voicecolumnist Jill Johnston (May 17, 1929 – September 18, 2010)comes out in her article Lois Lane is a Lesbian, sparking a controversy between feminism and lesbianism that results in various Johnston antics including simulating an orgy during a panel discussion moderated by Norman Mailer. Jill was an American feminist author and cultural critic who wroteLesbian Nation in 1973 and was a longtime writer for The Village Voice. She was also a leader of the lesbian separatist movement of the 1970s.
1972 – The California DMV reports that while the majority of the 65,000 vanity license plates have presented no censorship issues for the department, a few plates, including “HOMO”, “GAYLIB”, “EAT ME”, and “LOVE69″ have been banned.
1973 – Two weeks after the National Organization for Women passed a resolution establishing the fight for lesbian rights as a “top priority,” feminist Betty Friedan publicly accuses “man-hating” lesbians of trying to take over the organization.
1975, Canada – Eighteen gay men, the owner and customers of an Ottawa model agency and dating service, are arrested and charged with sexual offences in what became known as “Ottawa sex scandal.” Names are released by police and published by the press. Police allege “homosexual vice ring.”
2018 – Yance Ford and Joslyn Barnes are nominated for the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature for producing Strong Island, which Ford also directed. As such, Ford was the first openly transgender man to be nominated for any Academy Award, and the first openly transgender director to be nominated for any Academy Award. Strong Island is about the murder of his brother William Ford, which occurred in 1992. Yance Ford is an African-American transgender producer and director. Ford graduated from Hamilton College in 1994, and beginning in 2002 he worked as a series producer at PBS for ten years.In2011 he was named one of Filmmaker magazine’s 25 New Faces of Independent Film. He also received the 2011–2012 Fledgling Fund Fellowship at MacDowell. In 2017 he was #97 on The Root 100, an “annual list of the most influential African Americans, ages 25 to 45. Joslyn Barnes is a film producer and directorand co-founder of Louverture Films with Danny Glover. She is the author or co-author of numerous commissioned screenplays for feature films including the upcoming epic Toussaint.
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!)