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  • This Weekend In Gay History FRIDAY, OCTOBER 26 « MasterAdrian’s Weblog
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    This Weekend In Gay History FRIDAY, OCTOBER 26
    October 26, 2012
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    Gay Wisdom for Daily Living…

    from White Crane Institute
    Exploring Gay Wisdom
    & Culture for over 20 Years!

    www.gaywisdom.org

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    This Weekend In Gay History
    FRIDAY, OCTOBER 26, 2012

    1900 - on this date the Swedish writer, translator and poet, KARIN BOYE was born in Gothenburg. She studied at Uppsala University from 1921 to 1926 and debuted in 1922 with a collection of poems, “Clouds” (Sw. “Moln“). During her time in Uppsala and until 1930, Boye was a member of the socialist group Clarto. Boye is perhaps most famous for her poems, of which the most well-known ought to be “Yes, of course it hurts” and “In Motion” from her collections of poems “The Hearths“, 1927, and “For the Sake of the Tree“, 1935. She was also a member of the Swedish literary institution Samfundet De Nio (“Chair Number 6″) from 1931 until her death in 1941.

    In 1931 Boye, together with Erik Mesterton and Josef Riwkin, founded the poetry magazine Spektrum, introducing T. S. Eliot and the Surrealists to Swedish readers. Together with the critic Erik Mesterton, she translated Eliot’s “The Waste Land”. She was largely responsible for translating the work of T. S. Eliot into Swedish.

    Between 1929 and 1932 Boye was married to Leif Bjrck. The marriage was apparently a friendship union. In 1932, after separating from her husband, she had a Lesbian relationship with Gunnel Bergstram, who left her husband, poet Gunnar Ekelöf, for Boye. During a stay in Berlin 1932-1933 she met Margot Hanel, whom she lived with for the rest of her life, and referred to as “her wife.”

    Boye was given two very different epitaphs. The best-known is the poem “Dead Amazon” by the poet Hjalmar Gullberg, in which she is depicted as “Very dark and with large eyes”. Another poem was written by her close friend Ebbe Linde and is entitled “Dead Friend”. Here, she is depicted not as a heroic amazon but as an ordinary human, small and grey in death, released from battles and pain.

    In 2004, one of the branches of the Uppsala University Library was named the Karin Boye Library (Karin Boye-biblioteket) in her honor. The literary association Karin Boye-sällskapet (the Karin Boye Society) was founded in 1983 and is dedicated to contributing to keeping Karin Boye’s work alive spreading it among new readers.

    1946 - today’s the birthday of Puerto-Rican Transgender actress and former Warhol superstar HOLLY WOODLAWN. Born Haroldo Santiago Franceschi Rodriguez Danhakl in San Juan, Puerto Rico, she appeared in Warhol’s movies Trash(1970) and Women in Revolt (1972). Her transformation was summarized by Lou Reed in his iconic song “Walk on the Wild Side”:
    “Holly came from Miami FLA, / hitch-hiked her way across the USA, / plucked her eyebrows on the way, / shaved her legs, and then he was a she…”

    Woodlawn adopted the name Holly as an homage to the heroine of Breakfast at Tiffany’s and in 1969 added the surname from a sign she saw on an episode of I Love Lucy. After changing her name she began to tell people she was the Heiress to the Woodlawn Cemetery. After Warhol’s death, she was a frequently requested commentator on his life and influence. She currently resides in West Hollywood. Woodlawn began performing in cabaret shows in sold-out New York and Los Angeles performances in the early 2000s. She continues to travel with her cabaret show, most recently appearing in Krakow and London in 2008.

    1953 - today’s the birthday of B-52′s multi-instrumentalist and songwriter KEITH STRICKLAND. Born in Athens, Georgia he was one of the founding members of the The B-52′s. He was originally the band’s drummer, but moved to guitar after the death of guitarist Ricky Wilson in 1985. Strickland also plays keyboards on many of The B-52′s recordings, and has occasionally provided backing vocals.

    1971 - today’s the birthday of American actor, writer and singer ANTHONY RAPP. Born in Joliet, Illinois, as Anthony Dean Rapp, his brother is the playwright Adam Rapp. He’s best known for originating the role of Mark Cohen in the Broadway production of Rent in 1996 and later for reprising the role in the film version and The Broadway Tour of Rent in 2009. He also performed the role of Charlie Brown in the 1999 Broadway revival of You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown. Rapp is currently touring the U.S.A. with Rent and will also be in Japan and South Korea.
    Rapp, a self-identified “queer,” is an advocate in show business for LGBT rights, having first come out as Bisexual at the age of 18 to his mother over the phone. In 2006, Rapp released a memoir about his days in RENT, as well as his mother’s struggle with cancer and his experiences growing up, entitled Without You: A Memoir of Love, Loss, and the Musical Rent. The memoir was made into a stage production


    2001 - on this date the American writer, cartoonist and illustrator, KRIS KOVICK died of breast cancer. Her books include What I Love about Lesbian Politics is Arguing with People I Agree With, How Would You Feel if Your Dad was Gay?, and Glibquips: Funny Words by funny Women.

    Kovick was born in Fresno, California and attended California State University in the early 1970s, moved to Seattle for five years, and then settled in San Francisco in 1980. In San Francisco, she lived in the Bernal Heights neighborhood, where she became known as “The Mayor of Norwich Street”, a take-off on assassinated San Francisco gay activist Harvey Milk’s nickname “The Mayor of Castro Street.” She was the first woman to become a member of the printing trade union in the Pacific Northwest.

    Kovick was well known as a cartoonist in Lesbian and feminist publications. Her book of essays and cartoons, “What I Love About Lesbian Politics Is Arguing With People I Agree With“, was published in 1991 by Alyson Books. Her writings and cartoons were also published in such anthologies as “Glibquips: Funny Words by Funny Women,” and in LGBT publications such as theSan Francisco Bay Times and Gay Comics. Kovick was friends with other writers and cartoonists such as sex columnist Susie Bright, and cartoonist Alison Bechdel, the artist behind the popular “Dykes to Watch Out For” series who memorialized Kovick in cartoon form in 2008.

    Kovick was also known as a writer and performer. She is credited with launching the Lesbian spoken-word scene in San Francisco. She toured nationally with Sister Spit, a group of women writers that also included such well-regarded authors as Michelle Tea, Eileen Myles, and Lynn Breedlove. In 2000, she founded a reading series at the Jon Sims Center for the Performing Arts, called “San Francisco in Exile.” Selected performances from the San Francisco in Exile series are archived on the internet.


    SATURDAY, OCTOBER 27, 2012

    1848 - the English author and poet KATHERINE HARRIS BRADFORD, (and the other half of Edith Emma Cooper) was born on this date. Bradford wrote poetry and plays under the joint pseudonym “Michael Field.” Katharine called Edith “Henry” and Edith called Katherine “Michael” and for the rest of their lives they were known to each other and to their friends by these names. Where the name “Field” came from is anybody’s guess. Among their closest friends were Royal Academy painter, Charles Ricketts and Charles Shannon, who lived together near them in a relationship comparable to their own. The poems of “Michael Field” are rich in love lyrics to women, and they were well received until it was discovered that the “male” poet was in fact two women. From that time on their work was treated by ever-increasing coldness by the literary world.

    Of course, many people knew the identity of “Michael Field” from the beginning, including Robert Browning, who was a friend. But even Browning asked for an explanation when Long Ago, based on fragments from Sappho, appeared in 1889. Their friendship with Browning is telling. The Brownings wrote their poetry separately. The two women, on the other hand, wrote theirs jointly, believing themselves to be “two bodies joined as one.” The contrast was not lost on “Michael Field.: “These two poets, man and wife, wrote alone; each wrote, but did not bless and quicken one another at their work; we are closer married.”

    1903 - on this date in an article in the German publication Die Zeit, Sigmund Freud was quoted as saying homosexuals are not sick and should not be treated as sick.

    1911 - on this date the photographer MARCEY JACOBSON was born (d. 2009). She spent decades in the southern Mexican highlands documenting the lives of the indigenous Indian peoples. Ms. Jacobson was eking out a living in New York City doing mechanical drafting when she first visited San Cristobal in 1956, intending only a short stay. Instead she found a place she called “the solution to everything,” and, with her companion, Janet Marren, a painter, settled there for the rest of her life.

    She took up photography with a borrowed Rolleiflex camera. Patiently exploring the colorful city, the central marketplace for the Mayan-speaking Indian villages of the region, she won the trust of the often camera-shy locals and taught herself the craft of making black-and-white pictures from what she saw in its cobblestone streets and muddy byways, in its dramatic landscapes and weather events, and perhaps most of all, in the faces of the inhabitants. Her portraits were haunting. The results, about 14,000 negatives produced mostly from the 1960s to the 1980s, describe the local daily life, its mercantile, religious and familial rites, in sensitive detail. The images are housed in the Na Bolom Museum in San Cristobal.

    Most of Ms. Jacobson’s work preceded the Zapatista revolution of 1994, when San Cristobal was one of the cities briefly seized by leftist forces demanding better treatment for Mexico’s indigenous people. But what the photos frequently reveal are the tensions inherent in an ingrained caste system and the changes in a city and a society undergoing modernization.

    In 2001, when she was 90, her work was at last widely recognized; 75 of her photos were collected in a book, “The Burden of Time”/”El Cargo del Tiempo,” printed in a bilingual edition by Stanford University Press.

    “I love being locked up all alone in a darkroom, where nobody can get at me,” Ms. Jacobson said in a 1990 interview published in 2006 in Bridges, a Jewish feminist journal. “You take a negative, you put it in the enlarger, you expose a piece of lined paper, you put it in the developer. It’s absolutely blank. But then it develops, and you watch it, the image floats up to you. And then — you re-experience what you experienced when you took the photograph.”

    In 2009 she died in San Cristobal de las Casas, Mexico, in the state of Chiapas. She was 97.

    1950 - today’s the birthday of American author and humorist FRAN LEBOWITZ. Born Frances Ann Lebowitz in Morristown, New Jersey, Lebowitz is best known for her sardonic social commentary on American life as filtered through her New York sensibilities. Some reviewers have called her a modern day Dorothy Parker.

    After being expelled from high school and receiving a GED, Lebowitz worked many odd jobs before being hired by Andy Warhol as a columnist for Interview. This was followed by a stint at Mademoiselle. Her first book was a collection of essays titled Metropolitan Life, released in 1978, followed by Social Studies in 1981, both of which are collected (with a new introductory essay) in The Fran Lebowitz Reader.

    For more than twenty years she has been famous in part for not writing Exterior Signs of Wealth, a long-overdue novel purportedly about rich people who want to be artists, and artists who want to be rich. She also made several appearances on Late Night With David Letterman during the early part of its run. Â Lebowitz also made recurring appearances as “Judge Janice Goldberg” on the television drama Law & Order.

    In September 2007, Lebowitz was named one of the year’s most stylish women in Vanity Fair‘s 68th Annual International Best-Dressed List, and is known to sport tailored suits by the Savile Row tailor Anderson & Sheppard. On November 17, 2010 Fran made a return appearance on Late Night With David Letterman after a 16-year absence. She discussed her years-long writer’s block, which she jokingly referred to as “writer’s blockade.” On November 22, 2010, HBO debuted a documentary about her entitled Public Speaking, directed by Martin Scorsese, that consisted of interviews and clips from speaking engagements. Â You should look for it — it’s a hilarious documentary about a very witty intellect.

    1951 - on this date the French postal service issued postage stamps with Gay lovers Paul Verlaine and Arthur Rimbaud.

    1970 - on this date forty members of the Gay Activist Alliance invaded the New York offices of Harper‘s magazine to protest an article which presented homosexuality as a mental illness. GAA president Arthur Evans verbally attacked editor Midge Decter for publishing an article which would add to the suffering of homosexuals. The protest led to a three part television news series on Gay liberation.

    1971 - on this date the film “Some of My Best Friends Are…” was released with the description: “It’s Christmas Eve 1971 in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village and the regulars of the local gay bar “The Blue Jay” are celebrating. Not much has changed since Stonewall and its not all “Peace on Earth. Good Will to Men” but the times are a changin.” Â An American International production, the film was written and directed by Mervyn Nelson and starred Fannie Flagg, future Golden Girl Rue McClanahan, and Candy Darling in a rare dramatic role. Â Gary Sandy (of later “WKRP in Cincinnati” fame) portrays a drugged out, self-loathing closet case who attacks Darling’s character and is kicked out of the club by the angered patrons. Â The film is now regularly shown at Gay film festivals as “the film you love to hate” but at the time it was thought of us a rare portrayal of life in gay bars of the era. Â You can watch a few clips of it on youtube here:
    http://www.youtube.com/playlist?p=PLB9EB785E9BDCCCC7

    1977 - on this date in a meeting between the Quebec Human Rights Commission and representatives of Gay group ADGQ resulted in public recommendation that government amend Human Rights Charter to include sexual orientation.

    1990 - on this date the U.S. CONGRESS repealed a law barring homosexuals from being admitted to the United States on grounds of mental illness.

    1992 - on this date the Federal Court of Canada ordered the military to lift the ban on Gay and Lesbian service personnel. The Defense Department declined to appeal the decision.

    Allen schindler.jpg
    1992 - On this date US Navy radioman Allen R. Schindler, Jr. is brutally murdered by shipmates for being Gay, precipitating first military, then national debate about Gays in the military that resulted in the United States “Don’t ask, don’t tell” military policy. Schindler was from a Navy family in Chicago Heights, Illinois and was serving as a radioman on the amphibious assault ship USS Belleau Wood in Sasebo, Japan. According to friends of his, Schindler had complained repeatedly of anti-Gay harassment to his chain of command in March and April 1992, citing incidents such as the gluing-shut of his locker and frequent comments from shipmates like “There’s a faggot on this ship and he should die.”

    While on transport from San Diego to Sasebo, Japan, The Belleu Wood made a brief stop in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Afterwards en route to Japan, Schindler made a personal prank announcement “2-Q-T-2-B-S-T-R-8″ on secured lines reaching much of the Pacific Fleet. When he was brought before the disciplinary “captain’s mast” for the unauthorized radio message. Schindler requested the hearing be closed. It was open, with two to three hundred people in attendance. Schindler was put on restrictive leave, unable to leave the ship until a few months after arriving to Sasebo and four days before his death.

    The captain had been visited by Schindler, who had many times requested to be transferred to another location because he was being threatened by other shipmates for being Gay. The captain denied Schindler’s request and kept the man’s sexual orientation and his death a secret for months. It was not reported until a special team composed of a psychologist, two lawyers, a counselor, and a corpsman from Yokosuka incidentally met at a bar in Sasebo.

    Airman Apprentice Terry M. Helvey who was a member of the Ship’s weather department stomped Schindler to death in a toilet in a park in Sasebo, Nagasaki. Schindler had “at least four fatal injuries to the head, chest, and abdomen,” his head was crushed, ribs broken, and his penis cut, and he had “sneaker-tread marks stamped on his forehead and chest” destroying “every organ in his body” leaving behind a “nearly-unrecognizable corpse.” Schindler was left lying on the bathroom floor until the Shore Patrol and the key witness to the incident (Jonathan W.) carried out Schindler’s body to the nearby Albuquerque Bridge. Jonathan W. witnessed the murder while using the restroom. He noticed Helvey jumping on Schindler’s body while singing, and blood gushing from Schindler’s mouth while he attempted to breathe. The key witness was requested to explain in detail to the military court what the crime scene looked like, but would not because Schindler’s mother and sister were present in the courtroom.

    After the trial, Helvey was convicted of murder and the captain who kept the incident quiet was demoted and transferred to Florida. Helvey is now serving a life sentence in the military prison at the United States Disciplinary Barracks, although by statute, he is granted a clemency hearing every year. Helvey’s accomplice, Charles Vins, was allowed to plea bargain as guilty to three lesser offenses, including failure to report a serious crime, and to testify truthfully against Terry Helvey and served a 78-day sentence before receiving a general discharge from the Navy.


    1997 - on this date the cable television network BET-TV succumbed to homophobic pressure and withdrew an invitation to Gay African-American activist (and former Clinton administration staffer) KEITH BOYKIN to appear on a show with homophobic fundamentalist gospel singers Angie and Debbie Winans. The Winans objected to his presence on the show, which featured their anti-Gay song “It’s Not Natural.” Thus proving their cowardice in refusing to be challenged on their hateful rhetoric.

    1999 - on this date in the provincial government in the Canadian province of Ontario changed 67 statutes to give same-sex couples equal treatment to heterosexual couples.

    1999 - also on this date during the primaries, the two Democratic presidential candidates Al Gore and Bill Bradley promised that if elected they would do everything in their power to ensure equal rights for Gay and Lesbian Americans. The promise was an unprecedented declaration by a candidate for a party’s nomination. George W. Bush would win the presidential election promising the absolute opposite position on equal rights for Gay and Lesbian Americans and became the first president to publicly call for a constitutional amendment to explicitly take away rights from a class of people. Those people being Gay people. Proving once again that elections do matter.

    2007 - on this date two 16 year-old boyfriends in Davis, California were elected Homecoming “Princes” after a successful write-in campaign at Davis Senior High School. With each boasting a white sash declaring his title as “Prince,” the two 16-year-olds rode through the city of Davis in the school’s annual homecoming parade.

    2009 - on this date the students of the College of William and Mary in Virginia, elected their first ever Transgender homecoming queen. Jessee Vasold, who identified as “genderqueer” took the field at halftime of the school’s football game against James Madison.


    SUNDAY, OCTOBER 28, 2012

    1903 - British poet and novelist EVELYN WAUGH was born on this date. The English writer is best known for such satirical and darkly humorous novels as Decline and Fall, Vile Bodies, Scoop, A Handful of Dust and The Loved One, as well as for broader and more personal works, such as Brideshead Revisited and the Sword of Honor trilogy, that are influenced by his own experiences and his conservative and Catholic viewpoints. Many of Waugh’s novels depict British aristocracy and high society, which he satirizes but to which, paradoxically, he was also strongly attracted. In addition, he wrote short stories, three biographies, and the first volume of an unfinished autobiography. His travel writings and his extensive diaries and correspondence have also been published.

    In 1944, American literary critic Edmund Wilson pronounced Waugh “the only first-rate comic genius that has appeared in English since Bernard Shaw,” while Time magazine declared that he had “developed a wickedly hilarious yet fundamentally religious assault on a century that, in his opinion, had ripped up the nourishing taproot of tradition and let wither all the dear things of the world.” Waugh’s works were very successful with the reading public and he was widely admired by critics as a humorist and prose stylist. In his notes for an unpublished review of Brideshead Revisited, George Orwell declared that Waugh was “about as good a novelist as one can be while holding untenable opinions.” The American conservative commentator William F. Buckley, Jr. found in Waugh “the greatest English novelist of the century,” while his liberal counterpart Gore Vidal called him “our time’s first satirist.”

    After gallantly protecting T. S. Eliot from “the specious assumption that he was homosexual,” T.S. Matthews in Great Tom, suddenly became viciously ungallant: “It is peppery, glaring little men like Evelyn Waugh who are sexually suspect – as his diaries bear witness.” Aside from the psychologically interesting opposition of “great” Tom and “little” Evelyn, it’s perfectly clear that the former editor of Time magazine had no particularly liking for either homosexuality or Evelyn Waugh. The very word “suspect” is suspect. Many people disliked Waugh personally. He could be unkind, ungenerous and ornery. But he was one of the greatest prose stylists of the 20th century, if not the greatest, and the idea of using the word “little” on a giant such as he is at best, odd.

    Indeed, his diaries do clearly reveal him as a Gay man. But then so do his novels, particularly Brideshead Revisited, in which the friendship of Charles and Sebastian, despite the limitations of what he was allowed to write in the early 1940s, is magnificently drawn.


    1909 - the Anglo-Irish born painter FRANCIS BACON was born on this date (d. 1992). He was a collateral descendant of the Elizabethan philosopher Francis Bacon. His artwork is well known for its bold, austere, and often grotesque or nightmarish imagery. Bacon discovered that he attracted a certain type of rich man, an attraction he was quick to take advantage of, having developed a taste for good food and wine. One of the men was an ex-army friend of his father, another breeder of race-horses, named Harcourt-Smith. Bacon later claimed that his father had asked this friend to take him ‘in-hand’ and ‘make a man of him’. Francis had a difficult relationship with his father, once admitting to being sexually attracted to him. Doubtless, Eddy Bacon was aware of his friend’s reputation for virility, but not of his penchant for young men.
    In the early Spring of 1927 Bacon was taken by Harcourt-Smith to the opulent, decadent, “wide open” Berlin of the Weimar Republic, staying together at the Hotel Adlon. It is likely that Bacon saw Fritz Lang’s Metropolis at this time.

    His visit to a 1927 exhibition of 106 drawings by Picasso at the Galerie Paul Rosenberg, Paris, aroused his artistic interest, and he often took the train into Paris five or more times a week to see shows and art exhibitions. Bacon saw Abel Gance’s epic silent film Napoléon at the Paris Opéra when it premiered in April 1927. From the autumn of 1927, Bacon stayed at the Paris Hôtel Delambre in Montparnasse. In 1929 he met Eric Hall at the Bath Club, Dover Street, London, where Bacon was working at the telephone exchange. Hall (who was general manager of Peter Jones) was to be both patron and lover to Bacon, in an often torturous relationship.

    In 1964, Bacon began a relationship with 39-year-old Eastender George Dyer, whom he met, he claimed, while the latter was burgling his apartment. A petty criminal with a history of juvenile detention and prison, Dyer was a somewhat tortured individual, insecure, alcoholic, appearance obsessed and never really fitting in within the bohemian set surrounding Francis. The relationship was stormy and in 1971, on the eve of Bacon’s major retrospective at the Paris Grand Palais, Dyer committed suicide in the hotel room they were sharing, overdosing on barbiturates. The event was recorded in Bacon’s 1973 masterpiece Triptych, May-June 1973.
    In 1974, Bacon met John Edwards, a young, illiterate, handsome Eastender with whom he formed one of his most enduring friendships, eventually bequeathing his £11m fortune to Edwards after his death.

    Bacon died of a sudden heart attack on April 28, 1992, in Madrid, Spain. Bacon bequeathed his entire estate (then valued at eleven million pounds) to John Edwards after his death. Edwards, in turn, donated the contents of Francis Bacon’s chaotic studio at 7 Reece Mews, South Kensington, to the Hugh Lane gallery in Dublin. Bacon’s studio contents were moved and the studio carefully reconstructed in the gallery. Additionally draft materials, perhaps intended for destruction, were according to Canadian Barry Joule bequeathed to Joule who later forwarded most of the materials to create the Barry Joule Archive in Dublin with other parts of the collection given later to the Tate museum.

    Bacon’s Soho life was portrayed by John Maybury, with Derek Jacobi as Bacon and Daniel Craig as George Dyer (with some lovely frontal nudity on Craig’s part) and with Tilda Swinton as Muriel Belcher, in the film Love is the Devil (1998), based on Daniel Farson’s 1993 biography The Gilded Gutter Life of Francis Bacon. Bacon is also cited in interviews with contemporary British artist Damien Hirst as being one of the latter’s principal influences.

    1970 - the author KATE MILLET publicly came out on this date. She would later speak at the first Gay and Lesbian March on Washington in 1979.


    1987 - the HUMAN RIGHTS CAMPAIGN FUND began running ads on this date in response to an amendment introduced in the Senate by the virulent homophobe Sen. Jesse Helms (R-NC) and passed by the house and senate to restrict funding to AIDS organizations which distributed Gay-related prevention literature.

    1987- At the University of Vermont in Burlington nineteen people were arrested in a demonstration protesting the CIA’s exclusion of Gays and Lesbians on this date.

    1990 - on this date during a campaign speech, US Congressman Jesse Helms [twice in one day? apologies] referred to Gays and Lesbians as “people marching in the streets demanding all sorts of things, including the right to marry each other.” Imagine that?

    1990 - on this date PLACIDO DOMINGO and ANDRE WATTS raised $1.5 million at a fundraiser for the Gay Men’s Health Crisis.

    1992 - on this date Episcopal bishop A. THEODORE EASTMAN issued an order to clergy in Maryland not to bless same-sex unions.

    1992 - on this date copies of the Lesbian comic book “HOTHEAD PAISAN #7´´ was seized from the Toronto Women’s Bookstore. Officials sited “sexual degradation” as the reason for the seizure, though it contained no sex. The prohibition would be lifted seven months later.

    1997 - on this date the NATIONAL BLACK LESBIAN AND GAY LEADERSHIP FORUM condemned homophobic gospel singers Angie and Debbie Winans for their anti-Gay song “It’s Not Natural” and BET-TV for providing them with a one-sided forum to promote their homophobic views. Earlier in the year, BET-TV refused to air MeSHELL NDEGEOCELLO’s video “Leviticus Faggot,” about a black Gay teenager’s struggle to come to terms with his sexuality.

    1998 - on this date Welsh secretary RON DAVIES resigned from Tony Blair’s Labour Party government after British tabloids reported he was robbed at knife-point in a London park while looking for a male sexual companion. Although he subsequently came out as Bisexual, Davies referred to the incident as his “moment of madness.”

    In 1999 Davies was successfully elected on 6 May 1999 as Member of the Welsh Assembly in the Caerphilly Constituency, and chaired the Economic Development Committee after Alun Michael refused to appoint him to his Cabinet. Shortly before the 2003 assembly elections, “The Sun” revealed that Davies had been visiting a well-known cruising spot near a motorway lay-by (rest stop). When challenged as to what Ohe had been doing there, Davies initially denied being there, then told reporters that he had been going for a short walk, adding: “I have actually been there when I have been watching badgers.” Davies was forced to stand down as Labour candidate in the election.

    2008 - on this date Gus Van Zant‘s Harvey Milk biopic premiered to a star-studded audience at San Francisco’s Castro Theater. MILK would go on to win various Oscars at the 2009 Academy Awards.

    2010 - on this date President Barack Obama signed the The Matthew Shepard Act (officially the “Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act”) into law. The Act expanded the 1969 United States federal hate-crime law to include crimes motivated by a victim’s actual or perceived gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability. It was finally passed after almost two decades of attempts to pass it through Congress and over stiff opposition by members of the Republican party. During debate in the House of Representatives, Republican Representative Virginia Foxx of North Carolina called the “hate crime” labeling of Shepard’s murder a “hoax.” Proving once again that elections do matter.

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