Musings of an Aging Lesbian
Today is National Coming Out Day. NCOD was founded in the United States in 1988. The initial idea was grounded inthe feminist and gay liberation spirit of the personal being political, with emphasis on the most basic form of activism: coming out to family, friends and colleagues, living life as an openly lesbian or gay person. Coming out is an act of courage and I honor every lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer person and our allies for taking that step. I also honor our LGBT sisters and brothers who are living within the confines of a closet: we’re here for you when you’re ready…
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…
Thanks for taking this journey with me. Now go write your story!
Today in LGBT History – OCTOBER 11: National Coming Out Day
1884 – Eleanor Roosevelt (October 11, 1884 – November 7, 1962) is born. Famed for her work as a human rights activist and for her outspokenness as first lady, Roosevelt was also bisexual. She had long-term relationships with her husband, Franklin, and her dear friend, Lorena Hickock (March 7, 1893 – May 1, 1968). Roosevelt cared deeply about humanity. She once wrote, of the need to save the Jewish people of Europe, “We will be the sufferers if we let great wrongs occur without exerting ourselves to correct them.” She worked to pass anti-lynching legislation. She wrote a column urging congress not to further abrogate the sovereignty of American Indians. She resigned from the DAR when they refused to let opera star Marian Anderson sing in their hall (because Anderson was African-American) and she arranged instead for her to sing at the Lincoln Memorial. She publicly opposed Apartheid long before world sentiment was united about it. She served as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. She was one of the most admired women in America in her day. Biographer Blanche Weisen has said that Roosevelt’s bisexuality and her relationship with Lorena Hickock were powerful influences on the human rights work she was so admired for.
1954 – Cleve Jones (born October 11, 1954) 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. Jones conceived the idea of the AIDS Memorial Quilt at a candlelight memorial for Harvey Milk in 1985 and in 1987 created the first quilt panel in honor of his friend Marvin Feldman.
1981 – In Los Angeles, then twenty-one year-old Prince (June 7, 1958 – April 21, 2016) opens for the Rolling Stones. He is booed off the stage with taunts of “Faggot!” and “F*cking queer!” Prince Rogers Nelson was an American singer, multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, and record producer.
1987 – The Second National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights takes place in Washington, DC. The march and rally draw nearly a million people. The NAMES project AIDS quilt was displayed with 1,920 panels. Rev Jesse Jackson addressed the crowd, calling for AIDS funding, civil rights protection, and an end to anti-gay violence. The March gives birth to the first National Coming Out Day a year later, and October was then declared LGBT history month. The first National March was in 1979.
1987 – Seventy-five bisexuals march in the 1987 March on Washington For Gay and Lesbian Rights, which was the first nationwide bisexual gathering. The article “The Bisexual Movement: Are We Visible Yet?” by Lani Ka’ahumanu (born October 5, 1943) appeared in the official Civil Disobedience Handbook for the March. It was the first article about bisexuals and the emerging bisexual movement to be published in a national lesbian or gay publication
1988 – The first National Coming Out Day is celebrated. Urging thousands of lesbians and gay men across the country to be open about their sexuality with friends, families, and coworkers, Robert H. Eichberg (1945-1995), a psychologist and activist, and Jean O’Leary (March 4, 1948 – June 4, 2005), executive director of National Gay Rights Advocates, launch the first National Coming Out Day.
1988 – More than 1,000 demonstrators in Maryland, led by ACT Up activists, invade the grounds of the Federal Food and Drug Administration to focus attention on the AIDS crisis and to protest the agency’s slow drug approval process. Nearly 150 demonstrators are arrested.
1993 – The US Supreme Court refuses to hear an appeal from a former CIA employee who was fired for acknowledging he was gay.
2009 – National Equality March takes place in Washington, DC
2009 – The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) headquarters in Washington DC is vandalized by a group called Queers Against Assimilation. They throw pink and black glitter and paint at the building, calling the attack an “act of glamdalvism.”
2011 – Pioneering gay activist Frank Kameny dies (May 21, 1925 – October 11, 2011). Kameny was one of the most significant and iconic figures in the American gay rights movement. In 1957, Kameny was dismissed from his position as an astronomer in the Army Map Service in Washington, D.C. because of his homosexuality, leading him to transform the gay rights movement of the early 1960s.
2013, Moldova – Moldova’s parliament overturns a newly passed Russian-inspired “Gay Propaganda Law.”
Stand up, speak out, share your story!
(Historical information obtained from a variety of sources including QUIST at facebook.com/quistapp, Back2Stonewall.com, #LavenderEffect, DataLounge.com, #ArronsGayInfo, #AllThingsQueer, #RSLevinson, #AmaraDasWilhelm, out.com, #SafeSchoolsCoalition, 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!)