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Today in LGBT History – October 2
1849, Benin – Explorer Frederick Forbes arrives in the Kingdom of Dahomey (1600-1894) where he saw thousands of Amazons. Amazon tribes have existed in multiple time periods and continents, characterized as female-bodied with traditionally male traits. The Dahomean state became widely known for its corps of female soldiers. Their origins are debated; they may have formed from a palace guard or from gbetos (female hunting teams).They were organized around 1729 to fill out the army and make it look larger in battle, armed only with banners. The women reportedly behaved so courageously they became a permanent corps. In the beginning, the soldiers were criminals pressed into service rather than being executed. Eventually, however, the corps became respected enough that King Ghezo ordered every family to send him their daughters, with the fittest being chosen as soldiers
1650 – The Plymouth colony court found Sara White Norman guilty of lewd behavior on a bed with Mary Vincent Hammon. She was given a warning and ordered to publicly acknowledge her unchaste behavior. Their trial documents are the only known record of sex between female English colonists in North America in the 17th century. Hammon was only admonished, perhaps because she was younger than sixteen,but in 1650 Norman was convicted and required to acknowledge publicly her “unchaste behavior” with Hammon, as well as warned against future offenses.This may be the only conviction for lesbianism in American history. Sarah White, of whom little is known, married Hugh Norman in 1639. That year, Mary Vincent, then about 15, married Benjamin Hammon, who had arrived from London in 1634. During the time of Sarah’s prosecution (1648-1650), her husband deserted her and returned to England,Mary and her husband later had a number of children and she was widowed in 1703.
1949 – Anna-Lou “Annie” Leibovitz (born October 2, 1949) is an Americanportrait photographer. She photographed John Lennon on the day he was assassinated, and her work has been used on numerous album covers and magazines. She became the first woman to hold an exhibition at Washington’s National Portrait Gallery in 1991. Leibovitz’s partner was writer and essayist Susan Sontag from 1989 until Sontag’s death in 2004.
1969 – A National Institute of Mental Health study, chaired by UCLA’s Dr. Evelyn Hooker, urges government bodies to decriminalize private sex acts between consenting adults.
1977 – Glenn Burke (November 16, 1952 – May 30, 1995), the first openly gay player in Major League Baseball, invents the high five following a home run by Dusty Baker. Burke was the first and only MLB player to come out as gay to teammates and team owners during his professional career and the first to publicly acknowledge it. He died from AIDS-related causes in 1995.
1985 – Actor Rock Hudson (November 17, 1925 – October 2, 1985) dies of complications from AIDS. His death resulted in greater attention to the AIDS epidemic. A movie star and matinée idol, Hudson, 59, dies in his home in Beverly Hills. His will includes a bequest that sets up the American Foundation for AIDS Research with his friend Elizabeth Taylor as the founding chair.
1990, UK – Metropolitan police met with members of the London direct action group OutRage to discuss their concerns after several actions are directed at UK law enforcement agencies.
1997 – Varietymagazine objected to the Motion Picture Association of America’s decision to give the movie Bentan NC-17 rating, pointing out that the sex scenes were far less graphic than heterosexual sex scenes in movies which receive R ratings.
1999-California governor Gray Davis signs three gay rights bills.
2014 – The first transgender bodybuilding competition in the U.S. is held during the FTM Fitness’ First Annual Conference in Atlanta. Shawn Stinson, a former Marine, is crowned the first winner.
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(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, out.com, 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!)