The most powerful teaching moments are the ones where you screw up. —Brene Brown
Learning our history is resistance! Thanks for taking this journey with me. Now go write your story!
Today in LGBT History – March 7
1855, France – Robert Comte de Montesquiou-Fezensac (7 March 1855, Paris – 11 December 1921, Menton) is born in Paris. He was a French aesthete, Symbolist poet, art collector and dandy. He is reputed to have been the inspiration both for Jean des Esseintes in Joris-Karl Huysmans‘ À rebours (1884) and, most famously, for the Baron de Charlus in Proust‘s À la recherche du temps perdu (1913–1927). His portrait Arrangement in Black and Gold: Comte Robert de Montesquiou-Fezensac was painted by his close friend, and model for many of his eccentric mannerisms, James Abbott McNeill Whistler in 1891-1892. He had aristocratic women friends, but much preferred the company of bright and attractive young men. In 1885, he began a close long-term relationship with Gabriel Yturri (March 12, 1860 – July 6, 1905), a handsome South American immigrant, from Tucuman, Argentina who became his secretary, companion, and lover. After Yturri died of diabetes, Henri Pinard replaced him as secretary in 1908 and eventually inherited Montesquiou’s much reduced fortune. Montesquiou and Yturri are buried alongside each other at Cimetière des Gonards, Versailles, Île-de-France, France.
1934, Russia – Article 121 makes sodomy between men illegal in all the republics of the USSR. Maxim Gorky, a popular writer and the leading Soviet intellectual of the period, praises the “proletarian humanism” of the law which punishes sex between consenting male adults with up to five years’ “deprivation of freedom.
1967 – CBS airs “The Homosexuals“, an episode of CBS Reports. This first-ever national television broadcast on the subject of homosexuality has been described as “the single most destructive hour of antigay propaganda in our nation’s history.” Host Mike Wallace concluded: “The dilemma of the homosexual: told by the medical profession he is sick; by the law that he’s a criminal; shunned by employers; rejected by heterosexual society. Incapable of a fulfilling a relationship with a woman, or for that matter with a man. At the center of his life he remains anonymous. A displaced person. An outsider.”
1972 – In East Lansing, Michigan, the city council approves by a vote of 4-to-1 an act declaring the city must seek to “employ the best applicant for each vacancy on the basis of his [sic] qualifications for the job and without regard to race, color, creed, national origin, sex or homosexuality.”
1986 – “Desert Hearts,” considered the first positive lesbian film, is released. It is an American romantic drama film directed by Donna Deitch (born June 8, 1945). The screenplay written by Natalie Cooper is an adaptation of the 1964 lesbian-themed novel Desert of the Heart by Jane Rule (28 March 1931 – 27 November 2007). Set in Reno, Nevada in 1959, it tells the story of a university professor awaiting a divorce who finds her true self when she meets a free-spirited younger woman confident in her romantic and sexual attraction. The film stars Helen Shaver and Patricia Charbonneau with a supporting performance by Audra Lindley. Desert Hearts was released theatrically in the United States on March 7, 1986. It was released in the United Kingdom on June 6, 1986. It is regarded as the first film to present a positive portrayal of lesbian sexuality.
1988 – Shortly after the release of his first big mainstream hit “Hairspray,” its star, Divine, dies on this day of heart disease in Los Angeles at the age of 42. Harris Glenn Milstead, better known by his stage name Divine (October 19, 1945 – March 7, 1988), was an American actor, singer and drag queen. Closely associated with the independent filmmaker John Waters (born April 22, 1946), Divine was a character actor, usually performing female roles in cinematic and theatrical appearances, and adopted a female drag persona for his music career. Divine considered himself to be male, and was not transgender. He was gay, and during the 1980s had an extended relationship with a married man named Lee, who accompanied him almost everywhere that he went. They later separated, and Divine went on to have a brief affair with gay porn star Leo Ford(July 5, 1957 – July 17, 1991), which was widely reported upon by the gay press. Divine initially avoided informing the media about his sexuality, even when questioned by interviewers, and would sometimes hint that he was bisexual, but in the latter part of the 1980s changed this attitude and began being open about his homosexuality. Nonetheless, he avoided discussing gay rights, partially at the advice of his manager, realizing that it would have had a negative effect on his career.
1996 – The Birdcage opened in theaters nationwide. The Birdcage is a 1996 American comedy film directed by Mike Nichols, written by Elaine May, and starring Robin Williams, Gene Hackman, Nathan Lane (February 3, 1956), and Dianne Wiest. Dan Futterman, Calista Flockhart, Hank Azaria, and Christine Baranski appear in supporting roles. It is a remake of the 1978 Franco-Italian film La Cage aux Folles by Édouard Molinaro starring Michel Serrault and Ugo Tognazzi.
2014, Jamaica – Police once again attempted to evict homeless LGBT youth from the sewers of New Kingston. A judge ruled that since sewers were pubic place, and the youth had nowhere else to go, they could stay there. Youth who were arrested were charged with swearing and had to oay a fine. Dwayne’s House paid the fine.
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!)