Election day is tomorrow but it was on this day a year ago that trump was elected president of the U.S. Havoc has reigned for the last year in every area of our civil liberties, even in the National Football league. I explained to a friend recently that I haven’t said the Pledge of Allegiance nor stood for the national anthem in decades. When asked why, I said that both the pledge and the national anthem imply that all people in the U.S. are free: “liberty and justice for all,” and “land of the free.” I figured out (somehow) many years ago that as a Jewish person from immigrant grandparents, as a woman, and as a lesbian, that those ditties don’t include me.
In 1891, Francis Bellamy, a former pastor of Boston’s Bethany Baptist Church, was invited to create a patriotic thing for schools to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’s “arrival (killing natives with guns and syphilis for starters) in America.” The problem begins there! Bellamy was believed the U.S. was the “dumping ground” for Jews and other immigrants who he considered not fully white and thus virtually unable to assimilate. The pledge that he wrote, in part, served as a way to consolidate white Anglo-Saxon Protestant American values that the white mainstream perceived as under siege. The “under God” part didn’t appear until the early 1950s as a way (sort of) to stop “godless Communism.”
So, as a Jewish person from immigrant grandparents, I’m not included in the pledge. As a woman in a country which has yet to pass the Equal Rights Amendment, I’m not included in the pledge. As lesbian in a country who has yet to add sexual orientation in the federal civil rights laws, I’m not included in the pledge. It’s meaningless for me.
As for the national anthem (which REALLY should be America the Beautiful which happens to have been written by open lesbian Katharine Bates in 1895), it’s a racist song written by guy whose troops were defeated by an all-black unit of free or runaway slaves. The song is actually one of the most racist, pro-slavery, anti-black songs in the American lexicon. Go beyond the first stanza to easily see the hatred of black people who had the audacity to fight for their freedom. I cannot stand up for a song which is the antithesis of my love for my country. America the Beautiful is my choice.
With this corrupt, weak, dangerous president and administration, I’ll take the knee any day.
Today in LGBT History – November 6
1624 – In the Virginia Colony, Richard Cornish was hanged for sodomy. His execution was the first of its kind to be recorded in the American colonies.
1658, Mexico – One hundred men are indicted for sodomy in the Mexican Inquisition under the Duke of Albuquerque. Fourteen are burned to death. Another, because he was young, was lashed 200 times and sold to a bricklayer.
1939 – Arthur Bell (November 6, 1939 – June 2, 1984) is born. He was a journalist and activist, one of the founding members of the Gay Activists Alliance. Bell wrote his first piece for the Village Voice in 1969, an account of the riots at the Stonewall Inn that became a flashpoint of the Gay Liberation movement. Bell died June 2, 1984 at the age of 44 from complications related to diabetes.
1971 – An anti-Vietnam march in New York includes a gay contingent. The Student Mobilization Committee’s Gay Task Force joined the protest to draw attention to parallels between America’s oppression of gays and the racism of Vietnam.
1975, Canada – A Special Joint Committee on Canada’s Immigration Policy recommends that homosexuals no longer be prohibited from entering Canada under the revised Immigration Act.
1976 – Patrick Dennis (May 18, 1921 – November 6, 1976), author of “Auntie Mame,” dies at the age of 55 in New York City. His novel Auntie Mame: An Irreverent Escapade(1955) was one of the bestselling American books of the 20th century. On December 30, 1948, Dennis married Louise Stickney with whom he had two children. He led a double life as a conventional husband and father, and as a bisexual, in later life becoming a well-known participant in Greenwich Village’s gay scene.
1984 – Voters decide to turn a previously unincorporated portion of Los Angeles into the nation’s first “Gay City,” West Hollywood.
1990-San Francisco voters approve a domestic partners referendum and also elect two lesbians to the Board of Supervisors.
1990 – Deborah Glick (born December 24, 1950) becomes the first openly gay or lesbian individual elected to the legislature of New York. She has focused on areas relating to civil rights, reproductive freedom, lesbian and gay rights (LGBT rights), environmental improvement and preservation, and the arts.
1990 – By a margin of two to one, voters in Tacoma, Washington reject a ballot initiative which would have reinstated a gay civil rights law repealed by voters in November 1989
1990 – Voters in Seattle reject Initiative 35 which would have repealed an ordinance granting domestic partnership rights for medical leave and bereavement leave
2012 – Voters in Maine approve a constitutional amendment overturning a voter-approved 2009 ballot measure that banned same-sex marriage in the state.
2012 – Maryland voters also approve Question 6 in response to the enactment of the Civil Marriage Protection Act on March 1, 2012, thus allowing same-sex couples to obtain a civil marriage license after January 1, 2013 and also protecting clergy from having to perform any particular marriage ceremony in violation of their religious beliefs.
2012 – Minnesota voters reject Amendment 1 that would have constitutionally defined marriage as one man and one woman
2012 – Washington State voters approve Referendum 74 legalizing same-sex marriage
2012 – Spain’s highest court upholds same-sex marriage laws
2012 – Tammy Baldwin (born February 11, 1962) becomes the first openly gay or lesbian politician and the first Wisconsin woman, elected to the US Senate. She previously served as the Representative from Wisconsin’s 2nd congressional district from 1999 to 2013, as well as serving three terms in the Wisconsin Assembly representing the 78th district.
2016 – Donald Trump becomes the 45th president of the United States. Life in the U.S. will change.
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!)