Musings of an Aging Lesbian
Connie Berman of Ruthie and Connie fame called me last night. We met a year ago an d have become friends. She, like many of us, are worried about lesbians. For example, at the Human Rights Campaign presidential debates two weeks ago, the word lesbian rarely was heard: it was mostly gay and trans. HRC could have monitored that better but, alas, they didn’t…and=, frankly, no one was surprised. The word lesbian and indeed all of us old lesbians are being written out of history. Bonne Morris’ book The Disappearing L nails it. With all the new terminology that young lesbians are using, none of which is “lesbian,” our word, our spaces, our lives are indeed disappearing. Let’s do something about this, old lesbians and young allies. Let’s make sure none of us disappear. Starting right now, I’m on a mission. Hang on!!! And join me! We can start be writing our stories and self-publishing like crazy. I can help you do that…,Let’s GO!
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 23
1766 – Christoffel Bosch van Leeuwarden, a 70 year old porter in the Netherlands, was convicted of seduction to sodomy and sentenced to three years of prison labor.
1893 – Jean Acker (October 23, 1893 – August 16, 1978) was an American film actress with a career dating from the silent film era through the 1950s. She was perhaps best known as the estranged wife of silent film star Rudolph Valentino (May 6, 1895 – August 23, 1926). Acker had an affair with the actress Alla Nazimova (June 3, 1879 – July 13, 1945). Nazimova included Acker in what was dubbed the “Sewing circles“, a group of actresses who were forced to conceal the fact that they were lesbian or bisexual, thus living secret lives. Another of her female lovers was actress Grace Darmond (November 20, 1893 – October 8, 1963) with whom she was involved during her relationship with Valentino.
1906, France – Alberto Santos-Dumot (20 July 1873 – 23 July 1932) makes the first public European flight of an airplane in Europe. His plane, the Olseau de prole, (bird of prey)is considered the first to take off, fly, and land without the use of other assistance. Later that year he flew his fixed-wing aircraft, the 14B, to win the Deutsch-Achdeacon Prize. Three years before the Wright brothers, the gay Brazilian aviation pioneer becomes the first person to fly more than 80 feet under official observation. Seriously ill and said to be depressed over his multiple sclerosis and the use of aircraft in warfare, he hanged himself on July 23, 1932.
1907, Germany – The Molte v. Harden trial begins in Germany. Journalist Maximillian Harden accused General Kuno Count von Moltke (1847–1923) of being in a homosexual relationship. Moltke filed a civil suit, and though Harden was acquitted, the verdict was later overturned and he was found guilty. Moltke was an adjutant to Kaiser Wilhelm II and military commander of Berlin. The homosexual scandal known as the Harden-Eulenburg Affair rocked the Kaiser’s entourage. Moltke was forced to leave the military service.
1937 – Mattachine Society founder Harry Hay’s (April 7, 1912 – October 24, 2002) former lover Stanley Haggart wrote to him after marrying a woman in an attempt to change his sexuality. “To think it had to take a marriage with its wedding night experiences to show me where my real affinity lies. Every cell in me screamed out in protest at my desecration of my body. At that time I knew that I belonged to you and you to me.” The two men were eventually reunited in 1938, but Harry had become increasingly active in meetings of the Communist Party and the two men were politically incompatible. Hay “abandoned” Stanley, whose homely domestic ideals he regarded as unrealistic, and Stanley in due course made a new life-match.
1965 –Thirty-five members of the East Coast Homophile Organizations hold a second demonstration at the White House. However, demonstrators felt, with this event, that picketing the White House had lost its effectiveness as a tactic in support of gay rights.
1977, Canada – More than 2,000 people demonstrate in downtown Montreal to protest the October 22nd bar raids. Police attack the demonstrators with motorcycles and billy clubs and make many arrests.
1978 – Gloria Gaynor’s disco anthem I Will Survive is released. The song is about getting through a broken relationship and was quickly adopted by the gay community
1993 – In Helena, Montana, the state supreme court ruled that “transvestitism” is not a sufficient reason to deny a father joint custody of his 3-year old child.
1994 – Andrew D. Kopkind (1935 – Oct. 23, 1994), a political journalist whose work appeared in The New Republic, The New York Review of Books and The Nation, died at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in Manhattan. He was 59 and had homes in Manhattan and Guilford, Vt. With John Scagliotti, he was the host of “Lavender Hour,” a gay radio program on WBCN in Boston. He is survived by Mr. Scagliotti, an Emmy Award-winning American film director and producer, his companion of 24 years.
1998 – The Los Angeles City council condemns the “Making Sense of Homosexuality” conference, organized by the anti-gay National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality, known as NARTH, saying that claims of “curing” homosexuals creates an atmosphere that can lead to anti-gay violence.”
1999 – Religious right leader Rev. Jerry Falwell and evangelical Christian supporters met with Rev. Mel White (born July 26, 1940) and other gay Christians for an anti-violence forum.
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!)