I had a lovely discussion with a friend yesterday about how we all in the community don’t really know one another. We party together, attend events together, and even have coffee together occasionally, but we don’t rally know one another. My Hawaiian friends have a tradition called Talk Story in which they share many aspects of their lives with one another. We just don’t do that, and as a result, we have some thoughts about others that simply may not be accurate. My friend and I agreed that she and her wife and my wife and I will get together very soon to share a meal and learn more deeply about one another. I hope you’ll do that with your friends, too….soon.
Today in LGBT History – November 14
1810, Scotland – Young Jane Cummings makes an accusation of “inordinate affection” between two female teachers Marianne Woods, 27, and Jane Pirie, 26, in Edinburgh. This is the first of a series of events leading to a dramatic trial and later became the basis for the Broadway play and film “The Children’s Hour,” a 1934 American play by Lillian Hellman.
1908 – Joseph McCarthy (November 14, 1908 – May 2, 1957) , the U.S. Senator who presided over a Communist witch-hunt during the 1950s, was born in Appleton, Wisconsin. The red-baiting homophobe was actually a closeted gay man. In an article in the Las Vegas Sun on October 25, 1952, Hank Greenspun wrote that: “It is common talk among homosexuals in Milwaukee who rendezvous in the White Horse Inn that Senator Joe McCarthy has often engaged in homosexual activities.” The number of American lives destroyed in the 1950s by McCarthy’s “outing Communists” and witch-hunting homosexuals numbered in the tens of thousands in the U.S. McCarthy died of alcoholism at the age of 48. His right-hand man, lawyer (and closeted gay man and friend of Donald Trump) Roy Cohn (February 20, 1927 – August 2, 1986) died of AIDS in 1986.
1932, UK- Lillias Irma Valerie Arkell-Smith (1895–1960), going by the name of Sir Victor Barker, served in the Royal Air Force under the name Barker. Arkell-Smith marries Elfrida Hayward on this day but the marriage is annulled because Arkell-Smith is physically and legally female. In 1926, while living in London, Arkell-Smith accidentally received a letter which had been addressed to a different Colonel Barker inviting him to join the National Fascisti. Arkell-Smith replied to the misdirected letter with the missive “why not,” reasoning that membership of what was a macho group would help him better pose as a man. Arkell-Smith died in poverty and obscurity under the name Geoffrey Norton in 1960 and was buried in an unmarked grave in Kessingland churchyard near Lowestoft, Suffolk. The story of the many lives of Arkell-Smith/Barker is told in Colonel Barker’s Monstrous Regiment by Rose Collis, Virago 2001.
1942, Germany – The Nazi SS (storm troops) informs concentration camp commandants that they are free to sterilize any of the prisoners under their control. The directive gives official approval to the practice, already instituted in some camps, of castrating males suspected of sexual attraction to other men.
1969 – In New York City, the Gay Liberation Front launches the premiere issue of the first gay newspaper Come Out!, ” a publication by and for the Gay Community. It ran for three years.
1994, China – China determines that same-sex acts are no longer to be considered a “social order” offense.
2001, Egypt – Fifty-two men are arrested on May 11, 2001, on the Queen Boat, a floating gay nightclub on the Nile River. According to the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC), the men were subjected to beatings and forensic examinations to “prove their homosexuality.” The trials of the “Cairo 52” lasted five months and the defendants were vilified in the Egyptian media, which printed their real names and addresses, and branded them as agents against the State. On November 14, 2001, twenty-one of the men were convicted of the “habitual practice of debauchery,” one man of “contempt for religion,” and another, who was accused of being the “ringleader,” was convicted of both charges and received the heaviest sentence, five years’ hard labor. A fifty-third man, a teenager, was tried in juvenile court and sentenced to the maximum penalty of three years in prison, to be followed by three years of probation.
2008 – Transgender woman Lateisha Green is shot and killed outside a house party in Syracuse, NY. Her murderer is sentenced to 25 years for first degree manslaughter. This is the first transgender hate crimes conviction in New York and only the second in the US.
Knowing your history is an act of resistance. There is much work to do but you can actually do one small thing each day to make difference. Visit our Facebook page called Resist with Kelly and Ronni! at https://www.facebook.com/groups/944866725657285/ We offer an item a day that will inform you of what needs to be done and how to do it. Go there! Now! Resist! Our earth, our future, our children depend on the work we do today.
Speak out, share your story, keep LGBT history alive.
(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, 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!)