Table of Contents
THIS DAY IN GAY HISTORY
based on: The White Crane Institute's 'Gay Wisdom', Gay Birthdays, Gay For Today, Famous GLBT, glbt-Gay Encylopedia, Today in Gay History, Wikipedia, and more …
Collected by Ted
Merry Christmas to All CanadianGay Members !
Sol Invictus ("the Unconquered Sun") or, more fully, Deus Sol Invictus ("the Unconquered Sun God") was the late Roman state sun god. The cult was created by the emperor Aurelian in 274 and continued until the abolition of paganism under Theodosius I. The Romans held a festival on December 25 called Dies Natalis Solis Invicti, "the birthday of the unconquered sun."
The use of the title Sol Invictus allowed several solar deities to be worshipped collectively, including Elah-Gabal, a Syrian sun god; Sol, the patron god of Emperor Aurelian (270-274); and Mithras. Oh, and a Jewish upstart named Jesus.
December 25th was also considered to be the date of the winter solstice, which the Romans called bruma. It was therefore the day the Sun proved itself to be "unconquered" despite the shortening of daylight hours. (When Julius Caesar introduced the Julian Calendar in 45 B.C.E., December 25th was approximately the date of the solstice. In modern times, the solstice falls on December 21st or 22nd.)
The Sol Invictus festival has a "strong claim on the responsibility" for the date of Christmas, according to the Catholic Encyclopedia. Solar symbolism was popular with early Christian writers as Jesus was considered to be the "sun of righteousness."
The date for Christmas may also bear a relation to the sun worship. According to the scholiast on the Syriac bishop Jacob Bar-Salibi, writing in the twelfth century:
"It was a custom of the Pagans to celebrate on the same 25 December the birthday of the Sun, at which they kindled lights in token of festivity. In these solemnities and revelries the Christians also took part. Accordingly when the doctors of the Church perceived that the Christians had a leaning to this festival, they took counsel and resolved that the true Nativity should be solemnized on that day." (cited in "Christianity and Paganism in the Fourth to Eighth Centuries", Ramsay MacMullen).
418 B.C. – Epaminondas, Greek warrior and general, born (d: 362 B.C.). Considered to have been one of the great military geniuses of the ancient world, he is included here, on Christmas Day, not because of his victories in battle, but because he was revered for his moral character. He was revered, too, since he had risen from an impoverished family because of his goodness, strength and character.
Epaminondas was well educated; his musical teachers were among the best in their disciplines, as was his dance instructor. Most notably, his philosophy instructor Lysis of Tarentum (who had come to live with Polymnis in his exile) was one of the last major Pythagorean philosophers. Epaminondas was devoted to Lysis and was noted for his excellence in philosophical studies.
Not merely an academic, Epaminondas was noted for his physical prowess, and in his youth he devoted much time to strengthening and preparing himself for combat. In 385 B.C., in a skirmish near the city of Mantinea, Epaminondas, at great risk to his own life, saved the life of his future partner Pelopidas, an act thought to have cemented the life-long friendship between the two.
He was, like most Greek warriors, homosexual - but with a difference. He never married and did not produce an heir. His delight in boys was complete in itself for him. His two favorite boys, Asopichus and Leuctra, both fell in battle, as did Epaminondas. Both, by his order, are buried in his tomb.
1497 – In Venice, Timeotoda Lucca of the Order of the Observants of St. Francis gave a speech at the Church on San Marco in which he blamed a plague terrorizing the city on sodomites.
1642 – Sir Isaac Newton (d.1726/27) was an English mathematician, astronomer, theologian and physicist (described in his own day as a "natural philosopher") who is widely recognised as one of the most influential scientists of all time and a key figure in the scientific revolution. His book Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica ("Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy"), first published in 1687, laid the foundations of classical mechanics. Newton also made pathbreaking contributions to optics, and he shares credit with Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz for developing the infinitesimal calculus.
Isaac Newton was born (according to the Julian calendar, in use in England at the time) on Christmas Day, 25 December 1642 (NS 4 January 1643) "an hour or two after midnight", at Woolsthorpe Manor in Woolsthorpe-by-Colsterworth, a hamlet in the county of Lincolnshire.
From the age of about twelve until he was seventeen, Newton was educated at The King's School, Grantham, which taught Latin and Greek and probably imparted a significant foundation of mathematics. He was removed from school, and by October 1659, he was to be found at Woolsthorpe-by-Colsterworth, where his mother, widowed for a second time, attempted to make a farmer of him. Newton hated farming. Henry Stokes, master at the King's School, persuaded his mother to send him back to school so that he might complete his education. Motivated partly by a desire for revenge against a schoolyard bully, he became the top-ranked student, distinguishing himself mainly by building sundials and models of windmills.
Newton's Principia formulated the laws of motion and universal gravitation that dominated scientists' view of the physical universe for the next three centuries. By deriving Kepler's laws of planetary motion from his mathematical description of gravity, and using the same principles to account for the trajectories of comets, the tides, the precession of the equinoxes, and other phenomena, Newton removed the last doubts about the validity of the heliocentric model of the Solar System and demonstrated that the motion of objects on Earth and of celestial bodies could be accounted for by the same principles. Newton's theoretical prediction that the Earth is shaped as an oblate spheroid was later vindicated by the geodetic measurements of others, thus convincing most Continental European scientists of the superiority of Newtonian mechanics over the earlier system of Descartes.
Newton also built the first practical reflecting telescope and developed a sophisticated theory of colour based on the observation that a prism decomposes white light into the colours of the visible spectrum. Newton's work on light was collected in his highly influential book Opticks, first published in 1704. He also formulated an empirical law of cooling, made the first theoretical calculation of the speed of sound, and introduced the notion of a Newtonian fluid.
Newton was a fellow of Trinity College and the second Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge. He was a devout but unorthodox Christian, who privately rejected the doctrine of the Trinity and who, unusually for a member of the Cambridge faculty of the day, refused to take holy orders in the Church of England.
Beyond his work on the mathematical sciences, Newton dedicated much of his time to the study of alchemy and biblical chronology, but most of his work in those areas remained unpublished until long after his death. Politically and personally tied to the Whig party, Newton served two brief terms as Member of Parliament for the University of Cambridge, in 1689–90 and 1701–02. He was knighted by Queen Anne in 1705 and he spent the last three decades of his life in London, serving as Warden (1696–1700) and Master (1700–1727) of the Royal Mint, as well as president of the Royal Society (1703–1727).Although it was claimed that he was once engaged, Newton never married. The French writer and philosopher Voltaire, who was in London at the time of Newton's funeral, said that he
"was never sensible to any passion, was not subject to the common frailties of mankind, nor had any commerce with women—a circumstance which was assured me by the physician and surgeon who attended him in his last moments".
The widespread belief that he died a virgin has been commented on by writers such as mathematician Charles Hutton, economist John Maynard Keynes, and physicist Carl Sagan.
Newton did have a close friendship with the Swiss mathematician Nicolas Fatio de Duillier, whom he met in London around 1689. Their intense relationship came to an abrupt and unexplained end in 1693, and at the same time Newton suffered a nervous breakdown. Some of their correspondence has survived.
In September of that year, Newton had a breakdown which included sending wild accusatory letters to his friends Samuel Pepys and John Locke. His note to the latter included the charge that Locke "endeavoured to embroil me with woemen". Items like these have led some historians to speculate that Newton was homosexual.
1908 – Quentin Crisp, the English author bon vivant, raconteur, was born on this date (d.1999). Born Denis Charles Pratt, Crisp was an English writer, artist's model, actor and raconteur known for his memorable and insightful witticisms. He became a gay icon in the 1970s after publication of his memoir, The Naked Civil Servant, brought to the attention of the general public his defiant exhibitionism and longstanding refusal to conceal his sexuality.
The successful screening of The Naked Civil Servant launched Crisp in another new direction: that of performer and lecturer. He devised a one-man show and began touring the country with it. The first half of the show was an entertaining monologue loosely based on his memoirs, the second half was a question and answer session with Crisp picking the audience's written questions out at random and answering them in an amusing manner. In 1978 Crisp sold out the Duke of York's Theatre in London, then took the show to New York, where he eventually decided to move. His first stay there, in the Hotel Chelsea, coincided with a fire, a robbery, and the death of Nancy Spungen. He set about making arrangements to move to New York permanently and in 1981 he arrived with few possessions and found a small apartment in Manhattan's Lower East Side.
He continued to perform his one-man show, published ground-breaking books on the importance of contemporary manners as a means of social inclusivity as opposed to etiquette, which socially excludes, and supported himself by accepting social invitations and writing movie reviews and columns for U.S. and U.K. magazines and newspapers. He said that provided one could exist on peanuts and champagne, one could quite easily live by going to every cocktail party, premiere and first night to which one was invited. As he had done in London, Crisp allowed his phone number to remain listed in the Manhattan telephone directory and saw it as his duty to converse with anyone who called him. For the first twenty or so years of owning his own telephone he habitually answered calls with the phrase "Yes, God?" ("Just in case," he once said.) Later on he changed it to "Oh yes?" in a querulous tone of voice.
In addition to his listed phone number, he accepted dinner invitations from almost anyone. While it was expected that the inviter would pay for dinner, Quentin Crisp did his best to "sing for his supper" by regaling his hosts with wonderful stories and yarns much as he did in his theatre performances. Dinner with him was said to be one of the best shows in New York.
In December 1998, he celebrated his ninetieth birthday performing the opening night of his one-man show, "An Evening with Quentin Crisp," at The Intar Theatre in New York City. In November 1999, Quentin Crisp died nearly one month before his ninety-first birthday in Choriton-cum-Hardy in Manchester, England, on the eve of a nationwide revival of his one-man show. His body was cremated with a minimum of ceremony as per his request, and his ashes flown back to New York and scattered over Manhattan.
"Artist and Model" - John Minton
1917 – John Minton (d.1957) was a painter of landscapes, town scenes, and figure subjects in oil and watercolor, as well as an acclaimed illustrator. Minton's homosexuality was an important influence on his work. One of his main themes was the young male figure in emotionally charged settings.
Like many middle class gay men of his generation, Minton was drawn to men who fulfilled a manly ideal, and this attraction manifested itself in much of his work, where he portrayed his handsome working class lovers and other ideals of masculinity such as Guardsmen and matadors.
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Minton's early work focused on the urban landscape he discovered during nocturnal jaunts around London, where he also discovered an active sexual underground. Visits to Spain in 1949 and Jamaica in 1950 offered Minton a fresh repertoire of subjects and enriched his palette of colors.
Although Minton was dedicated to painting, his reputation developed as a result of his skill as an illustrator for a wide range of books, as well as for magazines such as The Listener and The Radio Times.
Between 1950 and 1952 Minton lived openly with his lover Ricky Stride, a bodybuilding ex-sailor, often his model. Theirs was a volatile relationship and ended as a result of almost constant fighting, which often resulted in violence on Stride's part.
On January 12, 1950, The Listener published a letter Minton wrote in response to a review of a new biography of Oscar Wilde which discussed Wilde's sexuality and relationship with Lord Alfred Douglas in a denigrating fashion. Outraged, Minton pointed out the enormous contribution made to society by homosexuals and highlighted the fact that "the same vicious law which imprisoned Wilde still operates" and pleaded for a "saner and more comprehensive attitude towards the homosexual in society."
Minton's character revealed some great contradictionshis wild gaiety and love of wit and banter disguised and competed with an inner melancholy that verged on depression. Towards the end of his life, Minton began to express an obsession with death, and he was particularly moved by the death of film star and symbol of disaffected youth James Dean.
Minton's last painting, which remained unfinished, was initially based upon a car crash that he had witnessed in Spain; but it also, he told his friend Ruskin Spear, represented "James Dean and all that." As a result the painting was posthumously titled Composition: The Death of James Dean in September 1955.
On January 20, 1957 John Minton committed suicide by taking an overdose of Tuinal.
1919 – Paul Berry was a Brtish writer and biographer. He was distantly related to Winifred Holtby, and had become her literary executor after Brittain's death. He was then working as a lecturer in secretarial skills at Kingsway-Princeton College in London. He did his job conscientiously enough but was waiting for retirement to begin his real life's work, which was to write books, in particular a book about Vera Brittain a close friend of Holtby's and subsequently of Berry himself.
Vera Brittain was the author of the 1930s autobiographical classic of the lost generation of the first world war, Testament Of Youth. Paul had been her close friend from their first meeting in 1942 up until her death in 1970. She had hoped he would complete the final volume of her autobiography, to be called Testament of Faith.
When they met, he was working as a bomb disposal soldier in London, a compromise between his pacifism and his wish to be part of the war effort – his experiences as a young man before and during the war were to provide Brittain with much of the substance of her last novel, Born 1925.
Paul Berry came from a Midlands farming family, the eighth of 10 children. After school, he served in the Royal Engineers and Royal Ordnance Corps. Then the war changed the direction of his life. He never did finish Testament Of Faith. Instead, the material from it became part of Vera Brittain: A Life (1995), the biography he co-wrote with Mark Bostridge. That he took so long to write it – and then had to be helped to do so – represented perhaps the main disappointment of his life. He had a writer's ambitions and sensibility, but found writing difficult – and wrote less, and with less originality, than he had hoped.
Yet his literary achievement was significant, not least as custodian of Brittain's reputation, with the re-publication by Virago Press of Testament Of Youth in 1978 and the BBC-televised adaptation a year later.
This was followed by Testament Of A Generation: The Journalism Of Vera Brittain And Winifred Holtby, which he co-edited with Alan Bishop. Paul also co-authored Daughters Of Cain (1956), a study of the nine women executed in Britain since 1923, and By Royal Appointment (1970), a biography of Mary Ann Clarke, the 18th-century courtesan and mistress of the Duke of York. Perhaps because of his homosexuality – and certainly because of his compassionate nature – Paul had a particular sympathy with people at odds with society. This led him into a variety of occupations and activities – hospital work, prison visiting, and pacifist campaigns. Fiercely agnostic, he substituted a passionate social concern for religious belief. He was a man who had a special rapport with women, one whose loving memories of a strong, long-suffering mother had made into a feminist.
Paul was amusing, a sympathetic listener, an easy raconteur, and the owner – with the companion of his last 13 years, the artist Eric (Lea) Leazell - of a magical west Sussex garden on a river bank.
1936 – Ismael Merchant, Indian-born film producer was born on this date (d.2005); Indian-born film producer, best known for the results of his famously long collaboration with Merchant Ivory Productions which included director James Ivory and screenwriter Ruth Prawer Jhabvala. Their films won six Academy Awards. Ivory was Merchant's life partner.
In 1961, Merchant created the film production company, Merchant Ivory Productions, with James Ivory. Until Merchant's death in 2005, the company produced a number of award-winning films. Prawer Jhabvala was the screenwriter for most productions. They made close to 40 films together. Their partnership has a place in the Guinness Book of World Records for the longest partnership in independent cinema history.
An excellent cook as well, Merchant wrote several books on the art including Ismail Merchant's Indian Cuisine; Ismail Merchant's Florence; Ismail Merchant's Passionate Meals and Ismail Merchant's Paris: Filming and Feasting in France. He also wrote books on filmmaking, including a book about the making of the film The Deceivers in 1988 called Hullabaloo in Old Jeypur, and another about the making of The Proprietor called Once Upon a Time . . . The Proprietor. His most recent book was, My Passage From India: A Filmmaker's Journey from Bombay to Hollywood and Beyond.
In 2002, he was awarded the Padma Bhushan, an Indian civilian decoration established on January 2, 1954 by the President of India. It stands third in the hierarchy of civilian awards, after the Bharat Ratna and the Padma Vibhushan, but comes before the Padma Sri. It is awarded to recognize distinguished service of a high order to the nation, in any field.
1944 – Maurice James Christopher Cole, known professionally as Kenny Everett (d.1995), was a British comedian, radio DJ and television entertainer. Everett is best known for his career as a radio DJ and for The Kenny Everett Video Show.
Everett was born in Seaforth, Liverpool, Lancashire. Everett attended the local secondary modern school. He attended a junior seminary at Stillington, North Yorkshire near York with an Italian missionary order, the Verona Fathers, where he was a choirboy. After he left school, he worked in a bakery and in the Advertising Department of The Journal of Commerce and Shipping Telegraph.
While working at a pirate radio station Radio London he was advised to change his name to avoid legal problems. He adopted the name "Everett" from American film comic actor Edward Everett Horton, a childhood hero.
Everett married the singer and psychic Audrey Lee "Lady Lee" Middleton at Kensington Register Office on 2 June 1969. By September 1979, they had separated, and in the mid-1980s, he publicly acknowledged his homosexuality. One of his first boyfriends, a waiter called Jay Pitt, was found for Everett by his wife.
Freddie Mercury and Everett became close friends over the years they knew each other. First meeting in 1974, Everett had invited Freddie on to his breakfast show on Capital FM; the pair hit it off instantly. During the 1970s, their friendship became closer, with Everett becoming advisor and mentor to Mercury – and Mercury as Everett's confidante, helping Everett to accept his sexuality. Throughout the early-mid 80s, the pair continued to explore their homosexuality – in addition to drugs – and while the pair were never lovers, they did experience London night life on a regular basis together. During this time Everett and Mercury became involved with Nicolai Grishanovitch and a Spanish waiter named Pepe Flores.
In 1984, Everett found out Nicolai had contracted HIV; this added extra strain on his friendship with Mercury. By 1985, the pair had also fallen out over a disagreement on their using and sharing of drugs. During 1988, Audrey Lee "Lady Lee" Middleton completed her autobiography, with the foreword from Everett. Unusually, shortly after its publication and newspaper serialisation, Everett denounced the book for outing him. The fallout resulted in the pair only speaking via lawyer, with their friends – including Mercury – choosing to support Lee. Everett and Mercury started talking again in 1989, in their failing health. Their closeness was not on the same level as years previous, but they were able to reconcile their differences.
Everett was diagnosed as HIV positive in 1989, and he made his condition known to the public in 1993. He died from an AIDS-related illness, in the Kensington and Chelsea, London, on 4 April 1995, aged 50.
1950 – Time magazine ran its first article on homosexuality. It said that homosexuals should not work in government jobs because they are a security risk.
1950 – Yehuda Poliker is an Israeli singer, songwriter, musician, and painter. Poliker first became known in the 1980s as the lead vocalist for the band Benzene. In 1985, after the band was dismantled, he began a varied solo career that included motifs from rock, pop and traditional Greek music. He is openly gay.
Yehuda Poliker (birth name: Leonidas Polikaris) was born in Kiryat Haim, a suburb of Haifa, Israel. His parents were Greek Jews and Holocaust survivors who were deported to Auschwitz from Thessaloniki.
In 1981, Poliker began his career-long collaboration with writer and producer Yaakov Gilad. Poliker's band, Benzene, released two albums: 24 Sha'ot (24 Hours) and Mishmeret Layla (Night Watch), which included hit singles such as "Hofshi Ze Legamrei Levad" ("Free Is Totally Alone"), "Geshem" ("Rain") and "Yom Shishi" (Friday). After Benzene broke up, Poliker began a solo career. In 1985, he released his first solo album, Einaim Shely (These Eyes of Mine). All of the tracks on the album were well-known Greek songs literally translated into Hebrew. In 1986, Poliker released his second solo album, Kholem Behakitz (Daydreamer). His third album, Efer VeAvak (Dust and Ashes), released in 1988, dealt mostly with the children of Holocaust survivors. It sold more than 70,000 copies, and in 2005, was rated by Ynet as number one of the top 100 best albums ever recorded in Israel.
Poliker's father, Jacko, told the story of his escape from Auschwitz in the 1988 film Because of That War (Hebrew: B'Glal Hamilhamah Hahi), which featured music by his son. The film included interviews with Yehuda Poliker and Yaakov Gilad, whose parents, Polish Jews, also survived Auschwitz.
1960 – Tonie Walsh, born in Dublin, Ireland, is an LGBT rights activist, journalist, disc jockey and founder of Irish Queer Archive.
Walsh spent most of his childhood in Clonmel, County Tipperary. His twenties were spent mainly in the gay civil rights movement in Dublin, during which time he was one of the prime movers behind Dublin's LGBT community space, the Hirschfeld Centre.
Walsh was president of the National Lesbian and Gay Federation (NLGF) from 1984 to 1988. During this period Walsh worked as a staff reporter with Ireland's first commercial gay magazine, OUT, which folded in 1988. Walsh along with gay activist Catherine Glendon founded Gay Community News, an A3 newspaper which he also edited during its first two years. GCN is Ireland's longest running gay publication.
After ten years of activism, Walsh followed his boyfriend to London where he remained for a time, before returning to his native town and launching himself as a DJ and club promoter. Throughout the 1990s, Walsh played at well known club nights among them Horny Organ Tribe, Elevator, the fetish club GAG, Powderbubble, H.A.M., Cork's club Telefunkin and the HIV/AIDS fund-raising alternative beauty pageant Alternative Miss Ireland.
In 1997, he reorganised NLGF's archive holdings into what would later become the Irish Queer Archive (IQA). Drawing on materials from IQA's collection, Walsh curated both "Pride and Protest" at Belfast's Central Library (2005) and "Revolting Homosexuals" (Outhouse and GUBU, Dublin 2004). On the 16th June 2008, the Irish Queer Archive officially transferred its materials to the National Library of Ireland marking it as a significant and historical event.
Walsh retired in 2006 as a professional DJ and club promoter to concentrate on a number of research and writing projects.
Walsh is an older brother of Royseven lead singer Paul Walsh.
1966 – Stephen Twigg is a British Labour Party politician who has been the Labour Co-operative Member of Parliament (MP) for Liverpool West Derby since 2010. He previously served as the Member of Parliament for Enfield Southgate from 1997 to 2005, when he lost his seat. He came to national prominence in 1997 by winning the seat of then-Defence Secretary Michael Portillo.
Twigg was educated at Grange Park Primary School and Southgate Secondary School, a comprehensive school, and at Balliol College, Oxford, where he studied Philosophy, Politics, and Economics.
He became the youngest and first openly gay president of the National Union of Students in 1990 representing the National Organisation of Labour Students (NOLS). He was re-elected in 1991.
In the 1997 British elections he was elected to Parliament for Enfield Southgate, the constituency in which he had been born and raised, with a majority of 1,433. There had been a large 17.4% swing to him from his Conservative opponent, Michael Portillo, widely tipped to be the next Tory leader. In the Royal Festival Hall in London, the scene of the Labour party celebrations that evening, the result elicited a massive cheer, as Portillo was not only a cabinet minister and was widely tipped as a future leader of the Conservative Party, but he was widely loathed among Labour supporters. Twigg was forced to give up his role as general secretary of the Fabian Society following this unexpected victory in what had been regarded as a safe Conservative seat. Twigg was the first man to be openly gay at the time of his election to the House of Commons when he was elected at the 1997 general election: it was a close contest for this record, as just 21 minutes later Ben Bradshaw, also openly gay, was elected for Exeter.
1978 – Dylan Vox is an American actor and producer who has worked in television, film and theatre.
Vox was born in Marietta, Georgia, and was adopted one month after birth by Donna Blount. At an early age, he began riding horses and showed Western Pleasure placing in both regional and national competitions. After high school graduation, Vox received bachelor's degrees in Political Science and Journalism from the Georgia Southern University before moving to Denver, Colorado and training with Olympic Ice Dancer Carol Fox where he had some success on the national level with his partner Erin Bales. Vox retired from skating, and attended and graduated from law school.
Vox starred in the Los Angeles premiere of Debbie Does Dallas: The Musical and the world premiere of the hip-hopera "City Kid" earning a LA Stage Alliance Ovation Award nomination and a NAACP theatre award nomination.. He also was an original cast member of Hunky Dory, an original musical interpretation of the 1971 David Bowie album.
Vox appeared as himself on the reality television series Fight for Fame, Open Call, and the Spike detective series Murder. Vox has appeared in the here! cable station's gothic horror series Dante's Cove as Colin and as a series regular in here!'s vampire series The Lair also playing a character named Colin (although they are different characters).
Dylan Vox as Brad Benton
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Under the name Brad Benton, Vox performed in many hard and soft gay pornographic films, including Big Timber, Blades, BuckleRoos, Desperate Husbands, Devil Inside, and Longhorns. and was nominated for over 12 GayVN Awards and 15 Grabby Awards, winning Best Supporting Actor at the GayVN Awards in 2004 and 2005 and nine Grabby awards over all.
Vox has written for a number of LGBT-themed websites and writes a blog entitled "21st - Century Vox." He currently serves as the Sports Editor and as a featured columnist for GayWired.com.
1982 – Two married US Army men are found, fully clothed, in bed together and are accused of sex. They say they only fell on the bed while drunk, but accept honorable discharges rather than fight the charges and possibly receive dishonorable discharges.