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
1307 – On this date - Friday, October 13, (a date sometimes linked with the origin of the Friday the 13th superstition) the French king Philip IV ordered all French Knights Templar to be arrested. The Templars were charged with numerous heresies and tortured to extract false confessions of blasphemy. The trials were based on these confessions, despite having been obtained under duress. After more bullying from Philip, Pope Clement then issued a Papal Bull on November 22, 1307, which instructed all Christian monarchs in Europe to arrest all Templars and seize their assets.
Brian Lacey, in his book Terrible Queer Creatures: Homosexuality In Irish History writes about how accusations of same sex male relations were used as a weapon in the purging of the Order of the Knights Templar.
The first known homosexual purge in Ireland concerned the Order of Knights Templar, which had been established in Ireland in the 1170s under the auspices of the English King Henry II. The respect for same-sex male relationships, characteristic of the pre-Christian era in Ireland and which carried over well into the Christian epoch, waned as the power of the Catholic Church grew.
The Irish purge was preceeded by the French purge, which had its origins in the desire of the impoverished 14th century French King Philip le Bel (the Fair) to get his hands on the Templars' wealth. Philip had engineered the election of the bishop of Bordeaux to become Pope Clement V on condition that he put an end to the Templars, and Clement duly set up an inquisition in which allegations of homosexuality against the knights were in the foreground. "They were said to have included homosexual acts in their private rituals and to have insisted on sexual intercourse with new recruits," Lacey wrote. "It is an indication of the negative feelings against homosexuality in that period that this could be made as one of the principal charges against such a powerful institution."
The homosexual English King Edward II was ordered by Pope Clement and pressured by the French monarch to seize the Templars' extensive holdings in Ireland, and the Irish Knights Templar were arrested en masse in February 1308. The inquisition opened its trial of the Irish Templars in January 1310 at St. Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin. While only a few of the Knights confessed to the charges of sodomy, the order was abolished and much of its property expropriated.
1917 – Reed Erickson (d.1992) was a transsexual man best known for his philanthropy. Reed Erickson was born as Rita Alma Erickson in El Paso, Texas, on October 13, 1917. When Erickson was still quite young the family moved to Philadelphia. Erickson was a good student who attended the Philadelphia High School for Girls, where he became involved with a circle of lesbian women and started using the nickname Eric when amongst them.
In 1940 the Erickson family moved to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where Erickson's father had transferred his lead smelting business. In Baton Rouge, Erickson worked in the family smelting business and attended Louisiana State University. In 1946, Erickson became the first biologically female graduate from LSU's school of mechanical engineering.
After Robert Erickson's death in 1962, Erickson inherited a major interest in the family enterprises, Schuylkill Products Co., Inc., and Schuylkill Lead Corp., and ran them successfully until selling them to Arrow Electronics in 1969 for approximately $5 million. Erickson continued to be financially successful, eventually amassing a personal fortune estimated at over $40 million, most of which came from canny investments in oil-rich real estate.
In 1963 Erickson became a patient of Dr. Harry Benjamin and began the process of transitioning and living as Reed Erickson. Erickson's official name change took place in 1963 with the sex change following in 1965, setting legal precedent in the state of Louisiana. Also in 1965, Reed Erickson married for the first time. Over the next 30 years, Erickson married again twice and became the father to two children.
Erickson Educational Foundation grants supported the work of New Age Movement, acupuncture, homeopathy, dream research, and dolphin communication studies. However, the main centre of Erickson's attention through the EEF was transsexualism. The EEF helped to support, both through direct financial contributions and through contributions of human and material resources, almost every aspect of work being done in the 1960s and 1970s in the field of transsexualism in the US and, to a lesser degree, in other countries.
Later in life, Erickson moved to southern California. By the time of his death in 1992 at the age of 74, he had become addicted to illegal drugs and died in Mexico as a fugitive from US drug indictments.
1926 – John Herbert (d.2001), best known as a playwright, the most prominent of his works being Fortune and Men's Eyes, was born John Herbert Brundage in Toronto and educated there until the age of seventeen.
Herbert was educated at York Memorial Collegiate and various art schools including the National Ballet School. By the age of 18 he was an accomplished drag queen who could pass as a female model at a fashion show but was also subjected to taunts and jeers when he appeared on the streets as his visibly gay male self.
In his 20s, he was mugged on a downtown street. But, when police arrived his attackers accused him of trying to hustle them. Herbert was charged with soliciting, convicted, and imprisoned in the Guelph Reformatory, in Guelph, Ontario. At Guelph he was beaten and raped by other inmates, but that hardly stopped him from exploring drag, wearing dresses and curling his hair in prison.
When he got out, he continued to do Toronto in drag. When one of the officers who charged him several years earlier recognized him one night in a laneway Herbert was hauled off again to jail. Dressing in drag was still a crime in postwar Canada. This time he was sentenced to the Mimico Reformatory outside Toronto.
In the 1950s he attended ballet school, but by the beginning of the next decade had set himself on a creer centered primarily in the theatre. In the early 1960s, he was artistic director of three Toronto companies in succession.
Fortune and Men's Eyes is the 1967 play and 1971 film by John Herbert about a young man's experience in prison, exploring themes of homosexuality and sexual slavery. The title comes from William Shakespeare's Sonnet 29 which begins with the line When in disgrace with fortune and men's eyes. It has been translated into forty languages and produced in over a hundred countries. It is the most published Canadian play, and won the Floyd S. Chalmers Canadian Play Award.
In 1969 the play was produced and directed by Sal Mineo at the Coronet Theatre in Los Angeles. A 1971 film version, directed by Harvey Hart, was filmed in Quebec.
Through the 1970s and early 1980s, Herbert taught in various writing and drama programmes in high schools, universities and other more specialized insitutions, though retaining his primary interest in directing small and alternative theatre companies. For years he helped a small troupe that worked out of the community centre that stands at the heart of Toronto's lesbian/gay "getto".
Over his career, he has been dancer, stage manager, director, designer, teacher, and of course playwright. he has written also Omphale and the Hero (1974), and four gay-themed short plays gathered together as Some Angry Summer Songs (1976). He has also written articles and essays. John died in Toronto in 2001.
1929 – Richard Howard's searching and witty poetry, in which homosexuality is not a problem but a solution, is a significant contribution to the gay and lesbian literary heritage.
He was born in Cleveland and educated at Columbia University and the Sorbonne. Currently University Professor of English at the University of Houston and poetry editor of The Paris Review, he is also a distinguished translator and critic. He has translated more than 150 books by French authorsincluding Charles Baudelaire, André Gide, Jean Cocteau, and Roland Barthesand he has written incisive accounts of contemporary American poets. But his own searching and witty poetry is his most significant contribution to the gay and lesbian literary heritage.
Apparently born to poor Jewish parents, Howard (whose last name at birth is unknown) was adopted as an infant by Emma Joseph and Harry Orwitz, a middle-class Cleveland couple, who were also Jewish; his mother changed their last names to "Howard" when he was an infant, after she divorced Orwitz. Howard never met his birth parents, nor his sister, who was adopted by another local family. Howard is gay, a fact that comes up frequently in his more recent work. He has been out to some degree since at least the 1960s, when he remarked to friend W. H. Auden that he was offended by a fellow poet's use of Jewish and gay epithets, "since [he was] both these things," to which Auden replied, "My dear, I never knew you were Jewish!"
Howard's first two books were Quantities (1962) and The Damages (1967), composed of original lyrics in several forms. In these poems, Howard is obsessed with personal loss and public malaise, themes that also recur in later works.Howard's third volume, the Pulitzer Prize-winning Untitled Subjects (1969), marks an important turning point in his career. A collection of fifteen dramatic monologues, letters, and journal entries whose subjects are nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century personages, actual and imaginary, famous and obscure, Untitled Subjects established Howard's reputation as an authentic successor to Robert Browning in his understanding of character and in his evocation of the past to illuminate the present. Fellow Feelings (1976) is a miscellaneous collection of lyrics, some in Howard's own voice and some in the personae of fellow feelers, poets and painters, many of whom are gay.
Howard's persistent themes are those of identity, existential loneliness, and the losses exacted by time. Homosexuality, which he defines as not a problem but a solution, is a significant and continuing thread that runs through all the books. Whether expressed in the more intimate early poems, such as "DO IT AGAIN: Didactic Stanzas" from The Damages, or in the historical dialogues such as "Wildflowers" from Two-Part Inventions, which stunningly recreates the meeting between Walt Whitman and Oscar Wilde in Camden in 1882, homosexuality is a recurrent motif. In "Decades," from Fellow Feelings, Howard locates himself within a tradition of homosexual poetry in America, clasping hands with Whitman and Hart Crane. In other poems, he pays tribute to Auden, who functioned for him as a poetic father and prior ego.
Other noteworthy poems with gay subject matter include "The Giant on Giant-Killing" from Fellow Feelings, which retells the David and Goliath story from the perspective of a love-smitten giant; the meditation "On Hearing Your Lover Is Going to the Baths Tonight" from Lining Up; and, from Like Most Revelations, "What Word Did the Greeks Have for It" and the extraordinary contrapuntal dialogue, "Man Who Beat Up Homosexuals Reported to Have AIDS Virus." Howard's identification of himself with fellow feelers, especially gay artists, enables him to affirm his own identity.
He lives in New York City and was a companion of novelist, Sanford Friedman.
1944 – Charlotte Bunch, the daughter of two progressives who were prevented from working in China by the outbreak of WWII, graduated magna cum laude from Duke in 1966, transformed by the rising civil rights movement.
She moved to DC to work for racial justice, married a man also devoted to social change, moved with him to Ohio, returned to DC alone, worked for women's liberation, divorced him, and came out as a lesbian.
Shocked to discover the women's movement was full of homophobia, Bunch and several other women including Ginny Berson, Joan Biren, Rita Mae Brown, and Sharon Deevey, formed The Furies, a collective to promote lesbian feminism. The twelve women lived in two houses and published their own newspaper.
After the collective disbanded a year later, Bunch and Nancy Myron moved to New Mexico then Africa. Upon returning to America, Bunch co-founded Quest: A Feminist Quarterly.
Continuing to seek effective strategies for change on a global scale, since 1980 Bunch has organized at least four UN conferences on women, gatherings held in Copenhagen, Nairobi, Vienna, and Beijing. A distinguished lecturer at Rutgers, Bunch has been director of the International Council on Human Rights Policy, and on advisory committees for Human Rights Watch Women's Rights, Women's Learning Partnership, Realizing Rights, and the Center for Women Policy Studies.
1948 – Alan Bray (d.2001) was a British historian and gay rights activist. He was a Roman Catholic and had a particular interest in Christianity's relationship to homosexuality.
Bray was born in Hunslet, Leeds, to a working-class family. His mother died when he was 12, an event that profoundly affected his relationships. He attended secondary school in Leeds, where he met his lifelong partner Graham Wilson. He attended Bangor University and spent a year at an Anglican seminary before beginning a career in civil service.
He became involved with the Gay Liberation Front in the 1970s and actively campaigned for gay rights. His interest in sexual politics influenced his work on history, which culminated in two books: Homosexuality in Renaissance England (1982) and The Friend (2002). The second book, The Friend, was published posthumously.
His book, Homosexuality In Renaissance England, first published in 1982 and still in print, is a classic of meticulous research and independent thinking on the origins of the modern gay identity. It shows how sodomy was regarded in Elizabethan cosmology as a sinful desire to which all men were potentially subject, but that homosexual activity was widely tolerated and had not then come to signify the deviant psychological type it later became.
His final project, The Friend, explores same sex kinship ceremonies and unions that permeated the culture of pre-modern societies. A particular focus is on joint tombs inscribed with declarations of love - the most illustrious being the grave of Cardinal Newman. It was while discovering these burial sites that Alan realised his research was also a personal act of remembrance and mourning for friends lost to Aids.
1964 – During oral argument in the U.S. Supreme Court, Chief Justice Earl Warren demands that Mississippi strike from its brief an allegation that civil rights defendant Aaron Henry had been arrested for sex with another man. Warren claims that Mississippi is "poisoning the mind of the Court and the nation."
1970 – Bob Mellors (1950-1996) and Aubrey Walter host the United Kingdom’s first Gay Liberation Front meeting at the London School of Economics. In 1970 Bob went to New York and became involved with the Gay Liberation Front ,becoming friends with Aubrey during demos outside the Women’s House of Correction in New York. Meeting up with the Black Panthers helped to crystallize their ideas on gay liberation and they decided to create a London version of the GLF. Bob Mellors was found stabbed to death at his home in Warsaw on March 24, 1996.
1981 – (Kelechukwu) Kele Okereke is an English musician, best known as the lead singer and rhythm guitarist of the indie rock band Bloc Party.
In March 2010 Okereke came out as gay in a Butt magazine article, and he then gave an interview and appeared on the front cover of the June 2010 issue of Attitude magazine. Previously he had been reluctant to discuss his sexuality, though he had compared himself to famous bisexuals Brian Molko and David Bowie, as well as Morrissey. He also discussed the homoerotic story behind the Bloc Party song "I Still Remember" and the semi-autobiographical nature of it. In June 2010 Okereke was named as the Sexiest Out Gay Male Artist by music website LP33 in its annual survey.
1982 – Ian Thorpe is an Australian swimmer who specialises in freestyle, but also competes in backstroke and the individual medley. He has won five Olympic gold medals, the most won by any Australian, and with three gold and two silver medals, was the most successful athlete at the 2000 Summer Olympics. At the 2001 World Aquatics Championships, he became the first person to win six gold medals in one World Championship. In total, Thorpe has won eleven World Championship golds, the third-highest number of any swimmer. Thorpe was the first person to have been named Swimming World Swimmer of the Year four times, and was the Australian swimmer of the year from 1999 to 2003. His athletic achievements made him one of Australia's most popular athletes, and he was recognised as the Young Australian of the Year in 2000.
Born in Sydney, Thorpe grew up in the suburb of Milperra and hailed from a sporting family. His father Ken was a promising cricketer at junior level. Thorpe's mother Margaret played A-grade netball.
Thorpe's success has often led to allegations that he had used banned performance-enhancing steroids. In 2000, prior to the Olympics, the head coach and captain of Germany's swimming team accused Thorpe of cheating. They asserted that his physical attributes were symptomatic of steroid use and that his ability to exceed prior records believed to be drug-fuelled made his feats worthy of suspicion. In 2007, the French sports newspaper L'Équipe claimed that Thorpe showed "abnormal levels" of two banned substances in a doping test. Thorpe denied the charges and the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) later confirmed that they had investigated Thorpe in the past, for abnormal levels of testosterone and luteinising hormone (LH), but had dismissed the result. FINA dropped its investigation and closed the case.
Thorpe has himself been prominent in the campaign against drug use. He has called for the introduction of blood testing, promised to surrender a frozen sample for retrospective testing and repeatedly criticised FINA for drug-testing procedures that he regards as inadequate.
After years of denial, whilst being interviewed by Michael Parkinson in 2014 Thorpe came out as being gay. In the interview, Thorpe stated “I’m comfortable saying I'm a gay man. And I don't want people to feel the same way I did. You can grow up, you can be comfortable and you can be gay." He added "I am telling the world that I am gay … and I hope this makes it easier for others now, and even if you've held it in for years, it feels easier to get it out."
1982 – The Maryland Court of Appeals overturns the disorderly conduct conviction of a man who said "Fuck You" to a police officer. The Court noted that the arrest was illegal unless the police officer would testify that he was sexually aroused at the thought of being fucked by another man.
1987 – In Washington, DC, 600 people were arrested in an act of civil disobedience at the US Supreme Court to protest the Bowers v. Hardwick decision which upheld the constitutionality of Georgia's sodomy law. It was the largest number to participate in an act of civil disobedience since the Vietnam War. (Federal law prohibits protesting on the steps of the US Supreme Court.)
1990 – South Africa: The first Pride parade on the African content takes place in Johannesburg. Eight hundred people attend. It is organized by the Gay and Lesbian Organization of the Witwatersrand (GLOW) which was launched by gay anti-apartheid activist Simon Nkoli in 1988. He said, "I cannot be free as a Black man if I cannot be free as a gay man." He died of AIDS in 1998 in Johannesburg.
1993 – The Lesbian Avengers protested during a speech by Senator Sam Nunn in New York City. Nunn fought to retain the military's ban on gay and lesbian servicepersons.
2006 – In New York City, Michael Sandy (1977 – 2006), the gay African American man from Brooklyn who was beaten and then chased into the path of a speeding car on the evening of Sunday, October 8th, dies on this day after his family instructed doctors to take him off life-support. Sandy, who turned 29 on Oct. 12th, had been in a coma, never to regain consciousness, and diagnosed brain dead since the attack. The three Brooklyn men who were charged with hate crimes in the attack on Sandy – John Fox, 19, Ilya Shurov, 20, and Gary Timmins, 16 – were charged with assault and robbery as hate crimes. On this day, NY police announced that the charges would be upgraded to include murder.
2009 – Uganda introduce Anti-Homosexuality Bill