Musings of an Aging Lesbian
Brene Brown wrote: Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. I had a wonderful conversation with my daughter yesterday, maybe the best we’ve ever had. She’s working on a research project about lesbian grandmas, specially me, for her Women’s Studies class. She asked questions that I’m sure challenged her sense of vulnerability; they certainly challenged mine. My family, up and down the generations, generally don’t get to the vulnerable places. We just don’t talk about what really matters. Yesterday, my daughter and I talked about hard things that matter to both of us and I have no doubt that it has changed our relationship for the better for the rest of our lives. I’m grateful to her and love her even more (if that’s possible) for having the intense courage to go to tender places and to do it with grace and truth.
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 16
961, Cordoba – Al-Hakam II (January 13, 915 – October 16, 976) dies. He was the Caliph of Cordoba and ruled in Al-Andalus as an open homosexual until his death in 976. He kept a male harem which was a problem since it was essential for the Caliph to produce an heir. A resolution was reached by having the female concubine, sultana Subh, dress in male clothing and use the masculine name of Jafar. They had a son, Hisham II, who succeeded Al-Hakam and who also kept a male harem.
1793, France – Marie Antoinette (2 November 1755 – 16 October 1793), accused of being a lesbian among many other crimes, is executed. She was the last Queen of France before the French Revolution. She was born an Archduchess of Austria and was the penultimate child and youngest daughter of Empress Maria Theresa and Francis I, Holy Roman Emperor. She became Dauphine of France in May 1770 at age 14 upon her marriage to Louis-Auguste, heir apparent to the French throne. On 10 May 1774, her husband ascended the throne as Louis XVI and she assumed the title Queen of France and Navarre, which she held until September 1791, when she became Queen of the French as the French Revolution proceeded, a title that she held until 21 September 1792.
1856, Ireland – Oscar Wilde (16 October 1854 – 30 November 1900) is born in Dublin. He was an openly gay writer who wrote plays, fiction, essays, and poetry. After writing in different forms throughout the 1880s, he became one of London’s most popular playwrights in the early 1890s. He is best remembered for his epigrams and plays, his novel The Picture of Dorian Gray, and the circumstances of his imprisonment and early death. At the height of his fame and success, while The Importance of Being Earnest (1895) was still being performed in London, Wilde had the Marquess of Queensberry prosecuted for criminal libel. The Marquess was the father of Wilde’s lover, Lord Alfred Douglas. The libel trial unearthed evidence that caused Wilde to drop his charges and led to his own arrest and trial for gross indecency with men. After two more trials he was convicted and sentenced to two years’ hard labour, the maximum penalty, and was jailed from 1895 to 1897. There he wrote his last work, The Ballad of Reading Gaol (1898), a long poem commemorating the harsh rhythms of prison life. He died destitute in Paris at the age of 46. In 2017, Wilde was among an estimated 50,000 men who were pardoned for homosexual acts that were no longer considered offences under the Policing and Crime Act 2017. The Act is known informally as the Alan Turing law.
1929, Germany – A Reichstag Committee votes to repeal the anti-gay law Paragraph 175. However, the Nazis’ rise to power prevents the implementation of the vote.
1943 , Rome – (not a gay history moment but an important one to me…RS) On this day the largest sequestration of Jews in the history of Italy occurred. On the Piazza roughly 1,000 Jews, mostly women and children, were rounded up and deported to Auschwitz where almost all perished. It was Italy’s one show of support to Hitler.
1975 – Deputy Mayor of Los Angles Maurice Weiner (August 18, 1930 – September 30, 2012) is arrested for groping an undercover police officer during a vice-squad raid on a gay porn theater in Hollywood, resulting is his resignation. He later served as Administrator for Tarzana Treatment Centers.
1980 – Sue Bird (born October 16, 1980) is an American-Israeli professional basketball player for the Seattle Storm of the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA). Bird was the first overall pick of the 2002 WNBA draft. She also played for multiple basketball teams outside the United States. Bird has won three WNBA championships (2004, 2010, 2018), four Olympic gold medals, (2004, 2008, 2012, 2016), and led the WNBA in assists three times (2005, 2009, 2016). She was selected to eleven WNBA All-Star teams and eight All-WNBA teams. Bird is one of nine women to win an Olympic Gold Medal, an NCAA Championship, and a WNBA Championship. In 2011, she was voted by fans as one of the WNBA’s Top 15 Players of All Time and was voted into the WNBA Top 20@20 as one of the league’s Top 20 Players of All Time. Bird came out openly as a lesbian on July 20, 2017, saying that she had been dating professional soccer player Megan Rapinoe (born July 5, 1985) for several months. In 2018, she and Rapinoe became the first same-sex couple on the cover of ESPN’s Body Issue.Rapinoe is an American professional soccer midfielder/winger who plays for Seattle Reign FC in the National Women’s Soccer League.
1987 – AIDS quilt organizer Cleve Jones (born October 11, 1954) was named “Person of the Year” by ABC anchorman Peter Jennings. Jones 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.
1995 – In Washington, D.C., the Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan’s Million Man March divides African-American gay men. Some, disturbed by Nation of Islam homophobia, decide to stay home. Others, viewing the march as an affirmation of the need for Black unity, attend. No openly gay speaker is permitted at the rally that follows the march.
1998 – Openly gay college student Matthew Shepard’s (December 1, 1976 – October 12, 1998) funeral takes place at the St. Mark Episcopal Church in Casper, Wyoming. Anti-gay protesters attend as a crowd of supporters line up shoulder to shoulder wearing white angel wings to keep the protesters from seeing the service. Matthew was beaten, tortured, and left to die near Laramie on the night of October 6, 1998. Six days later, he died from severe head injuries at Poudre Valley Hospital in Fort Collins, Colorado.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!)