Saturday, October 31, 2009

LGBT History Month: This Is Us

I remember reading this Letter to The Editor in the Sacramento Bee when I lived in California, and it always stuck with me. The writer was writing in response to another Letter in which homosexuality was called a 'soul-deadening' perversion.

This is that writer's response:

Is homosexuality a ‘soul-deadening’ perversion? Let’s try an experiment:
I’m going to rip out the Sistine Chapel’s ceiling; burn Handel’s Messiah; slash the Mona Lisa; bury Walt Whitman’s ‘Leaves of Grass’; incinerate every Tchaikovsky score; torch every Greta Garbo film; ban every Bessie Smith song; and grind every Marlene Dietrich performance to dust.
Then we can evaluate what kind of ‘soul-deadening’ world we would live in without gay people.

So, here we are, the last day of LGBT History Month and I thought I'd put up a snapshot or two of who we are as a community. And when you hear or read that being gay is an awful thing, that we are all going to hell because of who we love, when we don't deserve the same rights and privileges as every other American, remember where we came from, who we were, who we are, and who will will be.....

This is us:

Larry Kramer, Suze Orman, Jared Polis, George Takei; Ian McKellan, Cole Porter, Alan Turing, Dan Solmonese; Paul Monette, Andy Warhol, Peter Paige, Alice B. Toklas; Tracy Chapman, Matthew Shepard, Esera Tuaolo, Neil Patrick Harris; Marc Shaiman, Wanda Sykes, Rudy Galindo, Dave Koz; Martina Navritilova, Bob Paris, Rosie O'Donnell, Greg Louganis; T.R. Knight, James Whale, Dale Peck, Gregory Maguire; Dan Matthews, Rufus Wainwright, Bishop Gene Robinson, David Hyde Pierce; Margaret Mead, RuPaul, Randy Shilts, David Sedaris; Ethan Morrden, Mark Pocan, Vito Russo, Ned Rorem; Charles Perez, Gertrude Stein, Gore Vidal, Jimmy Somerville; Bill T. Jones, Christopher Isherwood, Andrew Holleran, Rock Hudson; Chaz Bono, Thomas Mann, Barney Frank, Cleve Jones; Kelly McGillia, Stephen McCauley, Bruce Vilanch, Tab Hunter; James Dale, Thom Gunn, David Cicciline, Walt Whitman; Judy Gold, Tom Ford, Frida Kahlo, Ellen DeGeneres; Alberta Hunter, Lily Tomlin, Noel Coward, Sam Harris; Nathan Lane, Janis Joplin, Bessie Smith, George Michael; Alan Cumming, Harvey Fierstein, Sara Gilbert, Ma Rainey; Harry Hay, Anthony Perkins, George Nader, Sheila Kuehl; Dan Choi, Oscar Wilde, David Hockney, Candace Gingrich; Lea DeLaria, Armistead Maupin, Joe Orton, B.D. Wong; William Haines, k.d. lang, Ramon Navarro, Pedro Zamora; Quentin Crisp, Caesar Romero, Felice Picano, Cherry Jones; Tom Ammiano, John Barrowman, Bryan Batt, Kate Clinton; Mario Cantone, Michael Callan, Robert Gant, Willa Cather; Harvey Milk, Tallulah Bankhead, Edward Albee, Angela Davis; Rudolph Nureyev, Cynthia Nixon, Edmund White, Liberace; Montgomery Clift, Ian Roberts, Stephen Fry, Jodie Foster.....

........and the march goes on....

On This Day In LGBT History

October 31, 1968 – Silent film star Ramon Novarro was found murdered. A bathroom mirror had the words “US GIRLS ARE BETTER THAN FAGGITS” smeared with blood. Hustler Paul Ferguson and his brother Tom Ferguson were convicted of the murder and both received life sentences. During the trial, Novarro’s sexual orientation was called into question with more vigor than the guilt or innocence of the defendants.
October 31, 1969 – Time magazine ran a cover story on “The Homosexual in America” that included a report on the Stonewall Riots. It was protested by the Gay Liberation Front because the writer said homosexuals are mentally ill and immoral.
October 31, 1977 – Halloween brings thousands of queer-bashers to Toronto’s Yonge Street looking for the annual drag parade. Gay representatives meet with police beforehand to try to prevent crowd from gathering. Operation Jack-o’-Lantern, a gay street patrol is organized to monitor situation but police do little to control crowd.
October 31, 1980 – For the first time, Toronto police do not allow queer-bashers and spectators to congregate outside St Charles Tavern to wait for drag queens. Traffic and pedestrians are kept moving with help of large numbers of police officers. Not a single egg thrown.
October 31, 1987 – The Associated Press reported that several nursing homes in King County Washington were under investigation for refusing to accept AIDS patients or those suspected of being likely to have been exposed to HIV.
October 31, 1992 – The coalition for Lesbian and Gay Rights held a march in London.