LGBTQ* Documentaries You Should Know
Before Stonewall (1984)
full movie featured above
LGBTQ* Interviews and History You Should Know
(to learn more about Barbara Gittings, click HERE for a previous KNOWhomo post)
Illustration from Sidonie G. Colette’s Claudine a l’ ecole (1905?)
Following text from:
Jonathan Ned Katz. Copyright (c) 2008 Reedited by Katz from Gay American History (1976).
In an interview taped on July 19, 1974, Barbara Gittings spoke with the present author (Jonathan Katz) about her development as a Lesbian, and about the founding and early history of the New York Daughters of Bilitis.
J.K.: Was there no one you could talk to about the subject?
B.G.: No, I didn’t know anyone to talk to. So I went looking in the bars. I didn’t have much success talking to people in the bars, especially about the literature. These were women’s bars in New York City. I had great difficulty in finding women who had read the same books I had. It was important to me to meet other Lesbians as Lesbians, but I still needed more than that. I needed to find Lesbians who shared my interests. Once when I went to a bar in New York City I had with me Colette’s very first novel, from the Philadelphia Free Library, one of the Claudine series, Claudine a l’ ecole, and it happened to have illustrations. There was an illustration of Claudine’s two female schoolteachers who were having an affair-one sitting on the lap of the other, embracing very ardently. I was fascinated by the novel, and fascinated by the picture, a line drawing. It seemed to me very bold to have a picture like that in a book published early in the twentieth century for the general public. I was in this bar and trying to talk to somebody-and I showed her this book, and this drawing, trying to make her understand why this is such a remarkable illustration, and she says, “Oh, at home I’ve got a lot sexier pictures than that.” I didn’t understand what she meant; now I do!
There weren’t people I could talk to about the kind of literature I was interested in. A few people had read The Well of Loneliness. Fewer still read any of the others, novels like those of Gale Wilhelm which I found, and which, I recall, had happy endings-for a change. The literature was very important to me. The nonfiction literature gave me a bad picture of myself, a picture I had to work against. The fiction, despite stereotypes, despite unhappiness, despite bad characters, was much more positive.
LGBTQ People and Organizations You Should Know
(one of the founders of Daughters of Bilitis pickets Independence Hall -1965-)
Daughters of Bilitis —
* First Lesbian Rights Organization in the USA
* Founded in 1955 in San Fransisco
* Named after a Sapphic French Poet (Pierre Louys)
- Education of the variant…to enable her to understand herself and make her adjustment to society…this to be accomplished by establishing…a library…on the sex deviant theme; by sponsoring public discussions…to be conducted by leading members of the legal psychiatric, religious and other professions; by advocating a mode of behavior and dress acceptable to society.
- Education of the public…leading to an eventual breakdown of erroneous taboos and prejudices…
- Participation in research projects by duly authorized and responsible psychologists, sociologists, and other such experts directed towards further knowledge of the homosexual.
- Investigation of the penal code as it pertain to the homosexual, proposal of changes,…and promotion of these changes through the due process of law in the state legislatures.”
(for more information - check out the documentary BEFORE STONEWALL)
LGBTQ People You Should Know
Lorraine Hansberry (May 19, 1930 – January 12, 1965)
* African-American Playwright, Author and Speech Writer
* Most known work A RAISIN IN THE SUN
(From the play)
Mama: There is always something left to love. And if you ain’t learned that, you ain’t learned nothing.
* Received the New York Drama Critics Circle Award at 29
— One of FIVE women at that time and YOUNGEST playwright to do so
* Was married to Robert Nemiroff (later discovered she dated women during their marriage)
* Open, vocal and supportive of equality for all races and sexes
* Documentation of Hansberry’s support/placement in the roots of LGBT equality has been uncovered since her death
* Wrote into/for THE LADDER (the lesbian magazine started by the Daughters of Bilitis) signing everything with her initials
* Died after fighting pancreatic cancer at age 35
* Sexuality was not revealed until after her death
— Hansberry didn’t hide public support. Her orientation was masked by her marriage and little dialogue about her personal life.
** In 1961, Hansberry wrote to ONE (one of the FIRST gay magazines/newspapers):