Edie Windsor died yesterday at the age of 88. If you don’t know her name, learn it. Watch the documentary Edie and Thea. Edie stood up to the U.S. after her partner and wife of 56 years died. Edie not only did NOT receive Social Security death benefits but had to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to the IRS because of her inheritance from Thea. Edie won…and so did we. Our history is important, powerful, and required reading if we have any hope of a safe and free future.
What to do today to resist: Don’t let white nationalism and white supremacy be normalized, because that leads to normalization of racist policies
Today in LGBT History – September 13
Edie Windsor (June 20, 1929 – September 12, 2017) died yesterday. She was an LGBT rights activist and a former technology manager at IBM. She was the lead plaintiff in the Supreme Court case United States v. Windsor, which successfully overturned Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act and was considered a landmark legal victory for the same-sex marriage movement in the United States. Windsor met Thea Spyer, a psychologist, in 1963 at Portofino, a restaurant in Greenwich Village. In 1967, Spyer asked Windsor to marry, although it was not yet legal anywhere in the United States. In 1977, Spyer was diagnosed with progressive multiple sclerosis. The disease caused a gradual, but ever-increasing paralysis. Windsor used her early retirement to become a full-time caregiver for Spyer. Windsor and Spyer entered a domestic partnership in New York City in 1993. Registering on the first available day, they were issued certificate number eighty. Spyer suffered a heart attack in 2002 and was diagnosed with aortic stenosis. In 2007, her doctors told her she had less than a year to live. New York had not yet legalized same-sex marriage, so the couple married in Toronto, Canada on May 22, 2007, with Canada’s first openly gay judge, Justice Harvey Brownstone presiding. An announcement of their wedding was published in the New York Times. Spyer died from complications related to her heart condition on February 5, 2009. On September 26, 2016, Windsor married Judith Kasen at New York City Hall. At the time of the wedding, Windsor was age 87 and Kasen was age 51. Her courage granted same-sex married couples federal recognition of our marriages and removed remaining state barriers to marriage equality. Edie led her fight with dignity and grace and those of us who are beneficiaries of her fight are forever touched by her and left with a little hole in our hearts. United States v. Windsor, 570 U.S. ___ (2013) (Docket No. 12-307), is a landmark civil rights case in which the United States Supreme Court held that restricting U.S. federal interpretation of “marriage” and “spouse” to apply only to opposite-sex unions, by Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), is unconstitutional under the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment. In the majority opinion, Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote: “The federal statute is invalid, for no legitimate purpose overcomes the purpose and effect to disparage and to injure those whom the State, by its marriage laws, sought to protect in personhood and dignity.”
1931 – Lili Elbe (28 December 1882 – 13 September 1931), possible intersex and the recipient of the first sex-reassignment surgery, dies. She married Gerda Gottlieb in 1904 in Denmark, a marriage that the King of Denmark invalidated in 1930. in Germany. She dies of post-surgical complications as her body rejects her new uterus. The film The Danish Girl is based on her story. In 1932, Man Into Woman, the Story of Lili Elbe’s Life is published
1975, Canada – A Large gay rights march sponsored by Coalition for Gay Rights in Ontario calls for reinstatement of John Damien who had been fired as a judge for the Ontario Jockey Club because he was gay. Protestors call for the inclusion of sexual orientation in human rights code.
1977 – Soap premieres on ABC with then unknown Billy Crystal playing Jodie Dallas, one of TV’s first prominent and sympathetic gay characters
1995, Canada –The Celluloid Closet premieres at the Toronto International Film Festival. It is a 1995 American documentary film written and directed by Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman. The film is based on Vito Russo’s book of the same name first published in 1981 and on lecture and film clip presentations he gave in 1972–1982. Russo had researched the history of how motion pictures, especially Hollywood films, had portrayed gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender characters. The film was given a limited release in select US theatres, including the Castro Theatre in San Francisco, in April 1996, and then shown on HBO.
1996 – The U.S. Congress defeats bill that would ban employment discrimination against lesbians and gay men.
2001 – On Pat Robertson’s 700 Club, Jerry Falwell says feminists and gays and lesbians were responsible for the 9/11 attacks.
2004, Australia – The Gay and Lesbian Kingdom declare war on the Australian government for its failure to recognize same-sex marriages. They form a micro-nation and, under the Unjust Enrichment law, demand territorial compensation. While there was no military action, it did cement the Kingdom’s assertion that they exist as an independent country. The Gay and Lesbian Kingdom of the Coral Sea Islands(also known as The Gay Kingdom of the Coral Sea – for example on postage stamps) was established as a symbolic political protest by a group of gay rights activists based in Australia. Declared in 2004 in response to the Australian government’s refusal to recognize same-sex marriages, it was founded on Australia’s external overseas Territory of the Coral Sea Islands, a group of uninhabited islets east of the Great Barrier Reef. It is an expression of queer nationalism.
Let your voice speak out and change the world!
(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!)