LGBT Month

LGBT Month - 2021

LGBT Heroes

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February is Pride Month, so consider hoisting a flag and standing with society’s most welcoming community. The LGBT community has come unbelievably far in the last few decades. There have been many torchbearers that guided millions through the dimly lit corridors of injustice, to a brighter passage of equality. We will be recognising those torchbearers in the following article and their triumphs against a ‘conservative’ society. 

We stand by our mission of demystifying sexual taboos because being shamed or ashamed of your sexual orientation is wrong. You should feel comfortable and confident in your skin, it is people like Harvey Milk, Marsha P.Johnson, Karl Heinrich Ulrichs that challenged the stigma of being different.

February is Pride Month, so consider hoisting a flag and standing with society’s most welcoming community. The LGBT community has come unbelievably far in the last few decades. There have been many torchbearers that guided millions through the dimly lit corridors of injustice, to a brighter passage of equality. We will be recognising those torchbearers in the following article and their triumphs against a ‘conservative’ society.

We stand by our mission of demystifying sexual taboos and promoting sexual wellness because being shamed or ashamed of your sexual orientation is wrong. You should feel comfortable and confident in your skin, it is people like Harvey Milk, Marsha P.Johnson, Karl Heinrich Ulrichs that challenged the stigma of being different.

If I didn’t define myself, I would be crunched into other people’s fantasies for me and eaten alive,

Prelude:

Prelude:

From 1860 – 1890 (late Victorian era) attitudes towards homosexuality became more hostile. Most notably Oscar Wilde was prosecuted under the new and more aggressive law and spent a large proportion of his life in jail for committing homosexual acts, he then eloped to France and never returned to the UK. A German gay rights activist named Karl Heinrich Ulrichs campaigned for sexual reform and spoke out to the Congress of German Jurists in Munich to repeal discriminatory laws against homosexuals, he too eloped and spent the rest of his days in Italy. 

Then from the 1890s to the 1960s, there were many ‘early’ movements of LGBT equal rights activism. In countries such as Britain, France, Germany, the Netherlands, and the United States, groups formed and gained political popularity and establish the LGBT agenda. Once large enough, they had enough voting power to sway those in control to abolish and weaken discriminatory laws.

In the 1960s and 70s social acceptance and gay rights changed drastically, with the most notable LGBT movement ‘Gay Liberation Movement’. Society’s image of the LGBT community was no longer of biblical heathen’s but of a bright, colourful and loving community. Icons such as Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera helped bridge the confusion with understanding. 

Today, 122 countries and 2 independent states allow homosexual acts between consenting adults. 26 countries allow same-sex couples to adopt. 22 countries allow same-sex marriage.  

From 1860 – 1890 (late Victorian era) attitudes towards homosexuality became more hostile. Most notably Oscar Wilde was prosecuted under the new and more aggressive law and spent a large proportion of his life in jail for committing homosexual acts, he then eloped to France and never returned to the UK. A German gay rights activist named Karl Heinrich Ulrichs campaigned for sexual reform and spoke out to the Congress of German Jurists in Munich to repeal discriminatory laws against homosexuals, he too eloped and spent the rest of his days in Italy. 

Then from the 1890s to the 1960s, there were many ‘early’ movements of LGBT equal rights activism. In countries such as Britain, France, Germany, the Netherlands, and the United States, groups formed and gained political popularity and establish the LGBT agenda. Once large enough, they had enough voting power to sway those in control to abolish and weaken discriminatory laws.

In the 1960s and 70s social acceptance and gay rights changed drastically, with the most notable LGBT movement ‘Gay Liberation Movement’. Society’s image of the LGBT community was no longer of biblical heathen’s but of a bright, colourful and loving community. Icons such as Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera helped bridge the confusion with understanding. 

Today, 124 countries/independent states allow homosexual acts between consenting adults. 26 countries allow same-sex couples to adopt. 22 countries allow same-sex marriage. 

 

Until my dying day I will look back with pride that I found the courage to come face to face in battle against the spectre which for time immemorial has been injecting poison into me and into men of my nature. Many have been driven to suicide because all their happiness in life was tainted. Indeed, I am proud that I found the courage to deal the initial blow to the hydra of public contempt.

Harvey Milk

Harvey Milk

Harvey Milk (1930 – 1978) was a hero because of his short but influential career in US politics. He was the first openly gay elected official in California and has since become a martyr, after being assassinated in city hall because of his policy and sexual orientation. He strongly advocated gay rights, during the 11 months in office he sponsored a bill banning discrimination in public accommodations, housing, and employment on the basis of sexual orientation. He was awarded posthumously the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Harvey Milk

Harvey Milk

Harvey Milk (1930 – 1978) was a hero because of his short but influential career in US politics. He was the first openly gay elected official in California and has since become a martyr after being assassinated in city hall because of his policy and sexual orientation. He strongly advocated gay rights, during the 11 months in office he sponsored a bill banning discrimination in public accommodations, housing, and employment on the basis of sexual orientation. He was awarded posthumously the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Marsha P.Johnson

Marsha P. Johnson

Marsha P.Johnson (1945 – 1992) was a hero because of a lifetime spent as a gay activist, drag queen, transvestite activist and AIDS activist. Marsha fought for the rights of the people that didn’t have the strength themselves. Marsha P.Johnson born ‘Malcolm Michaels Jr’ was also a prominent figure in the Stonewall uprising in 1969. Marsha was always a flamboyant figure radiating warmth. Marsha died in 1992, police pulled the body from the Hudson river and determined cause of death as a suicide. In 2012 the case was reopened and determined as a possible homicide.

Marsha P.Johnson

Marsha P. Johnson

Marsha P.Johnson (1945 – 1992) was a hero because of a lifetime spent as a gay activist, drag queen, transvestite activist and AIDS activist. Marsha fought for the rights of the people that didn’t have the strength themselves. Marsha P.Johnson born ‘Malcolm Michaels Jr’ was also a prominent figure in the Stonewall uprising in 1969. Marsha was always a flamboyant figure radiating warmth. Marsha died in 1992, police pulled the body from the Hudson river and determined cause of death as a suicide. In 2012 the case was reopened and determined as a possible homicide.

Sylvia Rivera

Sylvia Rivera

Sylvia Rivera (1951 – 2002) was a hero because she spent her life as a transgender rights activist, gay rights activist, civil rights activist. Much of her work was for people of colour and low-income LGBT members. She was of Puerto Rican and Venezuelan descent, she was born male but expressed herself as gender fluid. Sylvia was a close friend of Marsha and they together founded the Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries.

Sylvia Rivera

Sylvia Rivera

Sylvia Rivera (1951 – 2002) was a hero because she spent her life as a transgender rights activist, gay rights activist, civil rights activist. Much of her work was for people of colour and low-income LGBT members. She was of Puerto Rican and Venezuelan descent, she was born male but expressed herself as gender fluid. Sylvia was a close friend of Marsha and they together founded the Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (STAR).

Karl Heinrich Ulrichs

Karl Ulrichs

Karl Heinrich Ulrichs (1825 – 1895) was a hero because of his efforts campaigning for sexual reform. Karl came out to his family and close friends in 1862, he then began writing about the Riddle of Male-Male Love. Professionally he was a German lawyer, jurist, journalist, and writer, arguing that “love is in any instance no real crime”… ”It is not even shameful, decadent or wicked, simply because it is the fulfilment of a law of nature.”. He was the first homosexual to speak publicly in defence of homosexuality and was criticized for it and later was exiled when Hannover was annexed by Prussia. Karl is considered a pioneer of the gay rights movement.

Karl Heinrich Ulrichs

Karl Ulrichs

Karl Heinrich Ulrichs (1825 – 1895) was a hero because of his efforts campaigning for sexual reform. Karl came out to his family and close friends in 1862, he then began writing about the Riddle of Male-Male Love. Professionally he was a German lawyer, jurist, journalist, and writer, arguing that “love is in any instance no real crime”… ”It is not even shameful, decadent or wicked, simply because it is the fulfilment of a law of nature.”. He was the first homosexual to speak publicly in defence of homosexuality and was criticized for it and later was exiled when Hannover was annexed by Prussia. Karl is considered a pioneer of the gay rights movement.

Bayard Rustin

Bayard Rustin

Bayard Rustin (1912 – 1987) was a hero because he was not only an openly gay activist but a close advisor to Martin Luther King Jr. It was not until his later years did Bayard pursue gay rights activism, his hesitation to pursue gender rights earlier was his belief that sexual orientation was a private matter. He was a key organiser of the 1963 March on Washington, which is the event Martin Luther King Jr delivered his acclaimed speech ‘I have a dream’. During Bayards last year he gave a speech titled “The New Niggers Are Gays”, he delivered this powerful quote “The new “niggers” are gays”…” The question of social change should be framed with the most vulnerable group in mind: gay people.”.

Bayard Rustin

Bayard Rustin

Bayard Rustin (1912 – 1987) was a hero because he was not only an openly gay activist but a close advisor to Martin Luther King Jr. It was not until his later years did Bayard pursue gay rights activism, his hesitation to pursue gender rights earlier was his belief that sexual orientation was a private matter. He was a key organiser of the 1963 March on Washington, which is the event Martin Luther King Jr delivered his acclaimed speech ‘I have a dream’. During Bayards last year he gave a speech titled “The New Niggers Are Gays”, he delivered this powerful quote “The new “niggers” are gays”…” The question of social change should be framed with the most vulnerable group in mind: gay people.”.

Christine Jorgensen

Christine Jorgensen

Christine Jorgensen (1926 – 1989) was a hero, because she was the first transgender woman to become widely publicized in the states for sex reassignment surgery. Christine underwent gender reassignment surgery in Denmark, upon her return to the United States she instantly rose to fame. Her sophisticated and feminine demeanour brought a lot of attention and triggered a nationwide discussion surrounding gender identity. She used this new-found attention to advocate transgender rights.

Christine Jorgensen

Christine Jorgensen

Christine Jorgensen (1926 – 1989) was a hero, because she was the first transgender woman to become widely publicized in the states for sex reassignment surgery. Christine underwent gender reassignment surgery in Denmark, upon her return to the United States she instantly rose to fame. Her sophisticated and feminine demeanour brought a lot of attention and triggered a nationwide discussion surrounding gender identity. She used this new-found attention to advocate transgender rights.

Audre Lorde

Audre Lorde

Audre Lorde (1934 – 1992) was a hero, because she spent her life combating and addressing sexism, classism, homophobia and heterosexism. Audre was inspirational because her story like so many was of a Citizen of the world without the rights of a Citizen of the world. Her poems expressed the depth of emotion that encapsulated the injustice in her world.

Audre Lorde

Audre Lorde

Audre Lorde (1934 – 1992) was a hero, because she spent her life combating and addressing sexism, classism, homophobia and heterosexism. Audre was inspirational because her story like so many was of a Citizen of the world without the rights of a Citizen of the world. Her poems expressed the depth of emotion that encapsulated the injustice in her world.

Larry Kramer

Larry Kramer

Larry Kramer (1935 – 2020) was a hero, because of his efforts against the AIDS pandemic. He co-founded Gay Men’s Health Crisis then founded AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power. As a playwright, author and film producer Larry advocated the LGBT community through his work, his most prominent publication was ‘Faggots’ which depicted the reality of being a gay man in America. It was brutally honest and therefore received mixed reviews from the Gay Community, nevertheless, it went on to become the best-selling gay novel of all time.

Larry Kramer

Larry Kramer

Larry Kramer (1935 – 2020) was a hero, because of his efforts against the AIDS pandemic. He co-founded Gay Men’s Health Crisis then founded AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power. As a playwright, author and film producer Larry was an advocate of the LGBT community through his work, his most prominent publication was ‘Faggots’ which depicted the reality of being a gay man in America. It was brutally honest and therefore received mixed reviews from the Gay Community, nevertheless, it went on to become the best-selling gay novel of all time.

Elton John

Elton John

Elton John (1947 – ) was a hero, because of his charitable donations and activism during the AIDS pandemic and throughout his career. Elton being an openly gay man was known for glamour and extravagance.

Elton John

Elton John

Elton John (Born 1947) was a hero, because of his charitable donations and activism during the AIDS pandemic and throughout his career. Elton being an openly gay man was known for glamour and extravagance.

Simon Nkoli

Simon Nkoli

Simon Nkoli (1957 – 1998) was a hero, because of his advocacy of gay rights and AIDS awareness in South Africa. He founded the Gay and Lesbian Organisation of the Witwatersrand and organized the first pride parade in South Africa in 1990. During his final months, South Africa repealed the sodomy law, which he had spent many years campaigning for. Simon was the first widely publisized HIV-positive African gay man, he died 12 years after contracting AIDS.

Simon Nkoli

Simon Nkoli

Simon Nkoli (1957 – 1998) was a hero, because of his advocacy of gay rights and AIDS awareness in South Africa. He founded the Gay and Lesbian Organisation of the Witwatersrand and organized the first pride parade in South Africa in 1990. During his final months, South Africa repealed the sodomy law, which he had spent many years campaigning for. Simon was the first widely publisized HIV-positive African gay man, he died 12 years after contracting AIDS.

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