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 – MAY 30
1431 – Joan of Arc (Jan. 6,1412—May 30, 1431) is burned at the stake for heresy, dying at nineteen years of age. She is considered a heroine of France for her role during the Lancastrian phase of the Hundred Years’ War and was canonized as a Roman Catholic saint. Over the years it has been suggested that her “crimes” included cross-dressing and inappropriate relationships with women. Around the age of 12 or 13, she began hearing voices and experiencing visions which she interpreted as signs from God. During her trial, she testified that angels and saints first told her merely to attend church and live piously; later, they began instructing her to deliver France from the invading English and establish Charles VII, the uncrowned heir to the French throne, as the country’s rightful king. Joan’s trial was described as so “unfair” that the trial transcripts were later used as evidence for canonizing her in the 20th century.
1593, UK – English poet and playwright Christopher Marlowe, (February 26, 1564 – May 30, 1593) is killed in a fight. Like William Shakespeare, Marlowe is occasionally claimed to have been gay. Others argue that the question of whether an Elizabethan was gay or homosexual in a modern sense is anachronistic. For the Elizabethans, what is often today termed homosexual or bisexual was more likely to be recognized as a sexual act rather than an exclusive sexual orientation and identity.
1926 – Christine Jorgensen (May 30, 1926 – May 3, 1989) isborn George William Jorgensen, Jr., the first American to undergo sexual reassignment surgery, in 1952, and becomes a champion for the rights and the dignity of transgender people. Shortly after graduating from high school in 1945, she was drafted into the U.S. Army for World War II. After her service she attended several schools, worked, and around this time heard about sex reassignment surgery. She traveled to Europe and in Copenhagen, Denmark, obtained special permission to undergo a series of operations starting in 1951. She returned to the United States in the early 1950s. Her transition was the subject of a New York Daily News front-page story. She became an instant celebrity, using the platform to advocate for transgender people and became known for her directness and polished wit. She also worked as an actress and nightclub entertainer and recorded several songs. Jorgensen said in 1989, the year of her death, that she had given the sexual revolution a “good swift kick in the pants”. She died of bladder and lung cancer four weeks short of her 63rd birthday. Her ashes were scattered off Dana Point, California.
1950, France – Bertrand Delanoë (born 30 May 1950) is a retired French politician who was Mayor of Paris from March 25, 2001 to April 5, 2014. He is a member of the Socialist Party. Delanoë was one of the first major French politicians to announce that he was gay, during a 1998 television interview before being elected mayor.
1968 –. On Memorial Day of 1968, men and women gathered at the Griffith Park Merry-Go-Round for a “gay-in” to hear Mike Hannon, a policeman turned lawyer and Civil Rights activist, speak to the challenges of being gay in a homophobic society. Hannon, who was straight, expressed support for civil rights despite the given the leadership of the police department at the time. He showed that there was broad support to protect the rights of those who demonstrate in the streets. Hannon died at the age of 77 in 2014.
1977 – In an essay inNewsweek, applauding the efforts of Anita Bryant in Florida, columnist George Will condemns gay rights ordinances as “part of the moral disarmament of society,” and predicts that if the current trend continues, homosexual marriages will soon flourish across the United States and gay people will be allowed to adopt children.
1980 – After winning a landmark lawsuit suit against his high school, Aaron Fricke (born January 25, 1962) takes Paul Guilbert to his senior prom. The suit brought by Aaron Fricke against his school is considered a major milestone in the history of gay rights. Each year cases of young same-sex couples being discriminated against by their schools happen around the world, and when these cases are brought to court, the suit first brought by Aaron Fricke and Paul Guilbert is invariably cited by the plaintiff’s counsel.Aaron later wrote of his experience in a book, Reflections of a Rock Lobster: A Story about Growing Up Gay. He later collaborated with his father, Walter Fricke, on a book about their relationship and of the elder Fricke’s coming to terms with his son’s homosexuality. That book, Sudden Strangers: The Story of a Gay Son and His Father, was published shortly after Walter Fricke’s death from cancer in 1989.
1980 – Alaska state-wide human rights conference on sexual orientation is held, sponsored by the Alaska Women’s Resource Center. It lasts for three days and features a keynote by Miriam Ben-Shalom, (born May 3, 1948). Ben Shalom is an American educator, activist and former Staff Sergeant in the United States Army. After being discharged from the military for homosexualityin 1976, she successfully challenged her discharge in court and returned to military service in 1987, the first openly gay or lesbian person to be reinstated after being discharged under the military’s policy excluding homosexuals from military service. She served until 1990 when the Army succeeded in terminating her service after prolonged judicial proceedings.
1984 – The U.S. Supreme Court strikes down a New York state law that prohibits loitering in a public place for the purposes of soliciting for or engaging in “gay sex.
1986 – American fashion designerPerry Ellis (March 3, 1940 – May 30, 1986) dies of AIDS related diseases at the age of forty-six. In 1981, Ellis began a relationship with attorney Laughlin Barker (1948-Jan. 2, 1986). Later that year, Ellis appointed Barker as president of the licensing division of Perry Ellis International. They remained together until Barker’s death in January of 1986. Barker died of AIDS related diseases as the age of 37. Ellis’ influence on the fashion industry has been called “a huge turning point” because he introduced new patterns and proportions to a market which was dominated by more traditional men’s clothing.
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 email@example.com. Thanks!)