History helps us see that we have a rich past as LGBT people. We’ve been rendered invisible in the history books but our existence is as long and colorful as humankind. The purpose of this bog, therefore, is to share the good, the bad, and ugly, and the fabulousness of being lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender. At times I may include Jewish and other histories as well since the Holocaust and other significant events of must be remembered as well. Remembering and sharing our history is an act of resistance.
We’re here, we’re queer, and we’ve been around a heck of a long time! Enjoy!
Keep LGBT history alive! Write the stories of your life and share with others.
Today in LGBT History – October 29
630 B.C., Lesbos – Sappho is born c. (630 – 570 BC) . The poet wrote beautiful poetry to the women she loved. It is because Sappho and her followers lived on the Isle of Lesbos that women who love women call themselves “lesbian” to this day. Sappho is known for her lyric poetry, written to be sung and accompanied by a lyre, and which is usually about the love and passion of women. Most of Sappho’s poetry is now lost, and what is extant has survived only in fragmentary form, except for one complete poem – the “Ode to Aphrodite”. As well as lyric poetry, ancient commentators claimed that Sappho wrote elegiac and iambic poetry. Lesbian author Willa Cather (December 7, 1873 – April 24, 1947) wrote “Sappho wrote only of one theme, sang it, laughed it, sighed it, wept it, sobbed it. Save for her knowledge of human love she was unlearned, save for her perception of beauty she was blind, save for the fullness of her passions she was empty-handed.”
1885, Uganda – Mwanga II, King of Buganda (Uganda), resists Christianity coming to Uganda in part because he wishes to keep sodomy legal and to maintain his harem of young boys. Therefore, he has James Hannington, the first bishop of Africa killed when he comes to Uganda.
1951 – LDS Church First Presidency Counselor Stephen L Richards instructs a mission president not to excommunicate a missionary elder for the “superficial charge” of fondling the genitals of three young men, ages twelve to thirteen. Richards said the missionary was only “guilty of a great indiscretion.”
1979 – Gay activists hold a “mince-in” at the Ontario legislature in Toronto to draw attention to inaction on human rights protections for gays and lesbians.
1980 – Anti-gay graffiti is found on the Memorial Steps at Tufts University in Boston with the words “FAGS MUST DIE.” The campus and local community at large were outraged both at the graffiti and its longevity on the steps. The graffiti was not removed until after a huge outcry.
1995 – In Iran, a 31 year old man is convicted of “ugly and improper conduct” and sentenced to twenty lashes for cross-dressing.
1997 – Representatives from the National Black Lesbian and Gay Leadership Forum, the Human Rights Campaign, the National Latino/a Lesbian and Gay Organization, and the Gay Lesbian and Straight Educators Network met with House Democratic leader Richard Gephardt to discuss the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and funding for AIDS care and research. Gephardt met with them to discuss ways in which the party could assist gay and lesbian candidates through the coming election cycle.
1997 – Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) (born March 31, 1940) introduces a bill calling for the extension of health insurance coverage to the domestic partners of US federal employees through the federal employee health program. Frank, a resident of Newton, Massachusetts, is considered the most prominent gay politician in the United States.
1997 – Maryland’s Court of Special Appeals unanimously overturns Circuit Court Judge Lawrence H. Rushworth’s decision prohibiting a divorced gay man from seeing his children in the presence of his partner.
1999, Austria – Lesbian Ulrike Lunacek (born 26 May 1957) is the first openly gay member of Parliament of the National Council of Austria. She is a member of the Austrian Green Party, part of the European Green Party. In 2017, she was the top candidate for the national elections in Austria in 2017. She is co-president of the Intergroup on LGBTI Rights and Member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and Substitute in the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affair.
2002 – former NFL linebacker Esera Tuaolo (born July 11, 1968) comes out. He is a former American professional football player who was a defensive tackle in the National Football League (NFL) for nine years. He played college football at Oregon State University and was a member of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity. He won the Morris Trophy in 1989, which is given to the best defensive lineman in the Pac-10. He was named Pac-10 Conference First Team twice and as a senior he was a finalist for the Lombardi Award and Outland Trophy
In 2002, having retired from sports, Tuaolo announced to the public that he is gay, coming out on HBO’s Real Sports. This made him the third former NFL player to come out, after David Kopay (born June 28, 1942) and Roy Simmons (November 8, 1956 – February 20, 2014). Tuaolo, the child of Samoan banana farmers, lives in Minnesota with his life-partner, Mitchell Wherley, and their twins, Mitchell Jr. and Michelle.
2011, Denmark – Axel Axgil (3 April 1915 – 29 October 2011), 96, whose struggle for gay rights helped make Denmark the first country to legalize same-sex partnerships, dies in Copenhagen. He and Eigil Axgil (24 April 1922 – 22 September 1995) were Danish gay activists and a longtime couple. They were the first gay couple to enter into a registered partnership anywhere in the world following Denmark’s legalization of same-sex partnership registration in 1989, a landmark legislation which they were instrumental in bringing about. They adopted the shared surname, Axgil, a combination of their given names, as an expression of their commitment.
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!)