LGBTQ* People In History (of Great Importance)
The “Einstein of Sex”: Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld
14 May 1868 – 14 May 1935
Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld was a scholar, physician, sexologist, and arguably the first outspoken gay and transgender activist in modern history.
Why he rocks?
1. Jewish gay* identified doctor, fought to end Paragraph 175 in Germany ( a law that made homosexuality punishable by law)
2. Founding member of Wissenschaftlich-humanitäres Komitee(WhK) ( English: The Scientific-Humanitarian Committee), which acted advocacy group to many underrepresented individuals (including the queer* population).
3. Led the FIRST congress for sexual reform
5. Created a way of cataloging identities, 64 of them, outside of “gay/lesbian,” including many ways to identify oneself outside of cisgender identification. Hirschfeld is one of the earliest scholars and advocates for the transgender community in Western culture.
6. Created the Institute for Sexual Research, which became a safe haven for queer* individuals in Berlin
7. Joined the Bund für Mutterschutz (League for the Protection of Mothers), fighting for women’s equality and the decriminalization of abortions
8. Lost his entire library and most of his life work to the Nazi party but was able to flee and save his life (and rumored to have saved a few others). Nazi soldiers burned the entire institution’s contents on May 6, 1933 (80 years ago this month).
Imagine what the world might be if we still had all of his notes and the stories of hundreds of queer* identified and trans* identified individuals.
LGBTQ* “Signs” from Our Past
“Vulva Hands” — A gesture of lesbian solidarity which was popular during the 1980s. It is believed that the gesture originated at the women’s peace camps at Greenham Common (England) and then spread to the USA. It is also the American Sign Language sign for “vagina.”
Photo Above: Two forefingers, touching downward, and two thumbs, joined at the top, form a triangle. *For the sign of lesbian identity, the hands are held over the head in the air.
Photo Source: WikiMedia
LGBTQ* History You Should Know
DID YOU KNOW?
The first recorded evidence of homosexuality is found in Mesopotamia circa 3000 B.C., where artifacts depict men having relations with other men.
Source: OUT IN ALL DIRECTIONS (1995) p. 162
Photo Source: Phantom Report
LGBTQ* Documentaries You Should Know
Before Stonewall (1984)
full movie featured above
nothing for world AIDS day?
Please excuse us for this. (I am speaking on behalf of all of the moderators. This is Rebecca.)
We have all fallen drastically behind this last week. Many of last week’s posts were queues (Ruth Elizabeth was a rock star and supplied many of them).
KNOWhomo does try to post information about HIV/AIDS and STIs throughout the year. (previous posts) Many of the moderators also took time to participate or reflect on those with and supporting those with HIV/AIDS.
We hope each member of the KNOWhomo family takes a moment after reading this post to research their nearest testing center (find one in the U.S. HERE), attend a lecture or discussion, volunteer, read any literature/watch films about HIV and AIDS, and continue to educated themselves throughout their lives.
We need to all be supportive. This is not exclusively a LGBTQ* history.
Though, it is important that you know some of the strongest voices of the community rose during the 80s during the SILENCE = DEATH (ActUP!) demonstrations and public outcry for government attention in the United States and all over the world. (I am currently working my way through The Pink and the Black, which focuses on France.)
The AIDS quilt has captured both LGBTQ*/heterosexual/ally histories for over two decades now. ZELDA RUBINSTEIN was the safe sex gay mother we all needed to hear from in the early 80s. KEITH HARING’s art remains one of the most recognizable voices of art activism. TONY KUSHNER’s Pulitzer and Tony Award winning play ANGELS IN AMERICA has challenged audience and theatre’s tech crews for nearly two decades. The Mermaid would have never regained her voice, the Beast never known his soul, and a Gutter Rat would have never found a Genie, Princess or had his final wish granted without the genius of HOWARD ASHMAN.
Our community may have never started collecting and sharing personal stories at such a concentrated level had it not been for this epidemic.
We are here.
We are all (no matter what sexual orientation or gender identity) in this together.
WE WILL -
Keep On, Keeping On!
LGBTQ* Poets In History You May Have Missed:
(For more information, check out Women of the Beat Generation: The Writers, Artists and Muses at the Heart of a Revolution edited by Brenda Knight)
“Elise Cowen, though dead more than a quarter century, is in many ways more tangible than many of the other Beat women. She is alive in the pages of Joyce Johnson’s Minor Characters and in the memories of many of the survivors of the Beat Generation whom she marked forever with her generous friendship. Janine Pommy Vega with whom Elise lived for a time, says, “I still think about her every day. She was the smartest person I knew.”’
Elise met Allen Ginsberg and discovered that they had each met the now infamous Carl Solomon (for whom “Howl” by Allen Ginsberg was dedicated) through separate stays in mental institutions, and she and Ginsberg dated briefly. When Allen moved on after meeting his eventual life partner Peter Orlovsky, Elise remained emotionally attached to Ginsberg. She became romantically linked to a woman who went by the pseudonym “Sheila,” and the two couples actually lived together in an apartment for more than a year.
by Elise Cowen
Sitting with you in the kitchen
Talking of anything
I love you
“The” is a beautiful, regal, perfect word
Oh I wish your body here
With or without bearded poems
LGBTQ* Deviant Artist You Should Know
creator of The Traveling Twinks! and (one panel of) Leaping Lesbians! - Your Illustrated Gay/Lesbian Homo Historians
LGBTQ* Hollywood and the Rest of the Story
László Ede Almásy’s Love Affair That Wasn’t
1996’s The English Patient:
(based on the novel by Sri Lankan-Canadian writer Michael Ondaatje)
A French-Canadian nurse cares for Count László Ede Almásy, a burn victim, while he recounts his illicit love affair with his friend’s wife, their torrid affair and her death before dying himself (thinking fondly of here).
The Real László Ede Almásy:
Well, first off, László Ede Almásy was gay.
He was in love with a German Army officer during the war. He wasn’t burned, nor did he die at the end of WWII. Almásy went on to become a Soviet spy.
LGBTQ* History and Youtube
For more LGBT(Q*) History, check out Equality Forum’s YouTube page daily.
Queer Avoidance, Vocabulary, Euphemisms, and the Language of Lesbians
9 Ways the Early Twentieth-Century Newspaper
Reviewed Broadway Plays & Avoided Saying the “L” Word
16 (Ninetieth/Twentieth Century) Euphemisms for Lesbian Relationships
Richards, Dell. Lesbian Lists: A Look at Lesbian Culture, History, and Personalities. Boston: Alyson Publications, 1990
Research Ready. Queues Being Uploaded. LGBT* History Month Posts!
Oh, October you do such good things to this heart.
See everyone soon,
LGBTQ* Musicians, Blues, and Music History You Should Know
Gertrude ‘Ma’ Rainey
Gertrude Malissa Nix Pridgett Rainey, better known as Ma Rainey (April 26, 1886 — December 22, 1939) was one of America’s earliest successful blues singers.
What’s Queer* about her music?
‘Ma’ was openly (in her circles) bisexual. She was once arrested in Chicago (1925) for hosting an ‘indecent party.’ The party was shut down due to the room being full of scantily clad women and the raucous being hosted by a female driven party.
‘Ma’ highlighted her love for women in her song ”Prove It On Me Blues.”
They say I do it, ain’t nobody caught me
Sure got to prove it on me;
Went out last night with a crowd of my friends,
They must’ve been women, ‘cause I don’t like no men.
It’s true I wear a collar and a tie,
Makes the wind blow all the while
Don’t you say I do it, ain’t nobody caught me
You sure got to prove it on me.
Say I do it, ain’t nobody caught me
Sure got to prove it on me.
I went out last night with a crowd of my friends,
It must’ve been women, ‘cause I don’t like no men.
Wear my clothes just like a fan
Talk to the gals just like any old man
Cause they say I do it, ain’t nobody caught me
Sure got to prove it on me.
LGBTQ* KNOWhomo History Posts You May Have Missed
Trans* Individuals in History
(all posts can be found under the #history hashtag on the right side — click name to link to past post)
LGBTQ* People You Should Know — Love Letters You Never Saw
(and a castle you should recognize)
Ludwig Friedrich Wilhelm II (pictured above) to Richard Wagner (Composer)
My one Friend, my ardently beloved!
This afternoon, at 3.30, I returned from a glorious tour in Switzerland! How this land delighted me! – There I found your dear letter; deepest warmest thanks for the same. With new and burning enthusiasm has it filled me; I see that the beloved marches boldly and confidently forward, towards our great and eternal goal.
All hindrances I will victoriously overcome like a hero. I am entirely at thy disposal; let me now dutifully prove it. – Yes, we must meet and speak together. I will banish all evil clouds; Love has strength for all. You are the star that shines upon my life, and the sight of you ever wonderfully strengthens me. – Ardently I long for you, O my presiding Saint, to whom I pray! I should be immensely pleased to see my friend here in about a week; oh, we have plenty to say! If only I could quite banish from me the curse of which you speak, and send it back to the deeps of night from whence it sprang! – How I love, how I love you, my one, my highest good! …
My enthusiasm and love for you are boundless. Once more I swear you faith till death!
Ever, ever your devoted
Note: Ludwig II was the King of Bavaria from 1864-1886. As a young man he discovered the works of Wagner and became one of the composers biggest fans. Many historians argue that Ludwig was gay but due to his Roman Catholic beliefs fought against his feelings. There are speculations of Ludwig’s involvement with military men and important men of the theatre, including a friendship of question with Josef Kainz. His engagement (to Duchess Sophie of Bavaria) never finished in a marriage; he called it off due stating that no love or reason is enough to marry.
Wagner never returned the attraction. His letters were less of admiration and more of political strategy.
During the time in Ludwig’s court, rumor circulated that Wagner may be homosexual. It has been argued/proven that Wagner was a womanizer and was using the young king for his money and advancements. After Ludwig’s court kicked Wagner out of the King’s castle(s) and royal engagements, Ludwig continued to think of the composer. Wagner had such an impression on Ludwig that many of his castles where designed in dedication to Wagner or themes within Wagner’s work, including Neuschwanstein.
Recognize it? Maybe you will recognize its famous illustrated/trademark form:
For more information:
King, Greg. The Mad King: The Life and Times of Ludwig II of Bavaria. (1996)
McIntosh, Christopher. The Swan King: Ludwig II of Bavaria. (1982)
Wrba, Ernst (photos) & Kühler, Michael (text). The Castles of King Ludwig II. (Verlagshaus Würzburg, 2008)
Till, Wolfgang: Ludwig II King of Bavaria: Myth and Truth (2010)
LGBTQ* History Infographic
Queer History (1200s-2005) —
Note: Focus heavy on the UK, many US laws/history not represented
To view graphic X4 larger, click on the KNOWhomo.tumblr page, click on the notes and then click graphic. It will open in a new window. Click graphic to change sizes.