From writing coach Sheila Bender: 2017 has been a tumultuous year in our country and in the world. Although unrest, instability, and tragedy have diverted our focus, it has also made it clear that now is the time to tell our stories of love, of survival, sometimes, too, of loss, and always of the joys of connection to one another and to families and communities. Our stories are about the past and about our hopes for the future. Our stories are meant to clear away the cobwebs of secrets and to help us find our authentic selves and encourage others to do that, too.
I invite you to go to Kelly’s and my Facebook page cleverly called Resist with Kelly and Ronni. Also, use Resistbot on your phones to text your legislators. Just text to 50409 and type resist. They’ll guide you through the rest.
Today in LGBT History – November 24
1933, Germany – A law was passes in Germany to allow surgical castrations as a crime prevention measure and a therapeutic treatment for homosexuality.
1955 – In the wake of the murder of a Sioux City, Iowa, boy earlier in the year, 29 men suspected of homosexuality are committed to mental asylums as a preventive measure authorized by the state’s “sexual psychopath” laws.
1959, UK – The first broadcast of a gay drama called South starring gay actor Peter Wyngarde (born 23 August 1933) is aired. Wyngarde shared a flat in Earls Terrace, Kensington, with the actor Alan Bates (17 February 1934 – 27 December 2003) for some years in the 1960s. Bates, (17 February 1934 – 27 December 2003) was a gay English actor known for his performance with Anthony Quinn in Zorba the Greek, as well as his roles in King of Hearts, Georgy Girl, Far From the Madding Crowd and The Fixer, in which he received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor. South, adapted by Gerald Savory from an original play by Julien Green is considered “a milestone” in gay cultural history.
1974 – The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force protests an episode of NBC’s Police Woman “Flowers of Evil” (aired on November 8) that featured lesbian murderers in a home for aged women. The network agrees not to rerun the episode, but MCA-TV producer David Gerber keeps it in syndication release.
1984, UK – England’s first national conference on AIDS began, organized by the Terrence Higgins Trust. Terrence “Terry” Higgins (10 June 1945 – 4 July 1982) was among the first people known to die of an AIDS-related illness in the United Kingdom. In his memory, Martyn Butler and Higgins’ partner Rupert Whitaker (born 1963) initiated the formation of the Terry Higgins Trust, later renamed the Terrence Higgins Trust, in 1982 with a group of concerned community-members and Terry’s friends, including Tony Calvert. It was dedicated to preventing the spread of HIV, promoting awareness of AIDS, and providing supportive services to people with the disease.
1985 – At an AIDS candlelight vigil in San Francisco, activist Cleve Jones (born October 11, 1954) conceives The Names Project. Cleve is an American AIDS and LGBT rights activist. He conceived the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt which has become, at 54 tons, the world’s largest piece of community folk art as of 2016. In 1983, at the onset of the AIDS pandemic Jones co-founded the San Francisco AIDS Foundation which has grown into one of the largest and most influential People with AIDS advocacy organizations in the United States.
1991 – Freddie Mercury (5 September 1946 – 24 November 1991), lead singer for Queen, dies of complications from AIDS. It was only the day before that he acknowledged that he had the disease. He left most of his estate to a former girlfriend, Mary Austen, who cared for him during his final months. The official cause of death is bronchial pneumonia resulting from AIDS. He was 45. In 1992, Mercury was posthumously awarded the Brit Award for Outstanding Contribution to British Music, and a tribute concert was held at Wembley Stadium, London. As a member of Queen, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001, the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2003, and the Fame in 2004. In 2002, he was placed number 58 in the BBC’s 2002 poll of the 100 Greatest Britons. He is consistently voted one of the greatest singers in the history of popular music. While some commentators claimed Mercury hid his sexual orientation from the public, others claimed he was “openly gay“.
1997 – The Associated Press reports that Edgehill United Methodist Church in Nashville, Tennessee announced that no weddings would be performed until same-sex couples were given the right to be married there.
1998 – Nearly 100 people demonstrate to protest the firing of lesbian Alicia Pedreira from Kentucky Baptist Homes for Children in Louisville. According to her termination notice, she was fired because her “admitted homosexual lifestyle is contrary to Kentucky Baptist Homes for Children core values.” Five other employees resigned in protest. The case name is PEDREIRA v. KENTUCKY BAPTIST HOMES FOR CHILDREN
2008 – A lower court in Florida declares that the state’s ban on adoption by gay couples is unconstitutional.
2014, Ecuador – The Ecuador LGBT Film Festival Jury names Letter to Anita as Best Documentary. The film, directed by Andrea Meyerson, tells the story of Anita Bryant’s anti-gay campaign and its effect not only on the life of lesbian Ronni Sanlo and her family but also on the budding LGBT civil rights movement.
2015, Viet Nam – The Vietnamese National Assembly passes a law that allows those who have undergone sex reassignment surgery to register under their preferred sex.. However, sex reassignment surgery is illegal in Vietnam. The law comes into effect in 2017.
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!)