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Saturday, 1 February 2014

February 1st in Queer History

Events this day in Queer History

2004 – Cape Verde  legalises homosexuality; Marshall Islands legalise homosexuality
2004 – Same-sex marriage licences issued in San Francisco, California (later annulled)
2005 – Civil Marriage Act introduced in Canada sanctioning same-sex marriage (the 4th country to do so)
2005 – LGBT History Month launched in the UK
2008 – HOD (LGBT organisation for Orthodox Jews) founded in Israel
2009 – Johanna Sigurdardottir elected Prime Minister of Iceland, the world's first openly LGBT head of government.
2009 – NoH8 campaign created by Jeff Parshley in the USA

Born this day

Langston Hughes (1902 – 1967) US
Poet, writer, and editor. Together with gay African American poet and novelist Countee Cullen, he was an important figure in the Harlem literary Renaissance of the 1920s. He is known for the use of jazz and black folk rhythms in his poetry.

Hugues never had a significant lover-relationship, though his poem "F.S." (1921) suggests otherwise, and his autobiographical writings briefly mention sex with men. Hugues wrote and published in all genres until his death but he never addressed homosexuality openly. His poems invite gay readings but his biographers disagree about his sexuality. He often said of his life,

There are some things I don't tell nobody, not even God. He might know about them, but it certainly ain't because I told him.

Hildegarde (1906 – 2005) US
Cabaret singer, best known for the song "Darling, Je Vous Aime Beaucoup."

Ton Jansen (1944 – ) Dutch
Local politician. When he was elected Mayor of Neerijnen in 1988, he became the first openly gay mayor in the Netherlands. When others followed later, he was involved with an informal association of gay mayors.

Lucy Jane Bledsoe (1957 – ) US
Novelist and science writer,who writes both fiction and non-fiction books for children and adults. She focuses on LGBT literature and has received several awards for her fictional and non-fictional writings, establishing herself as a Stonewall Book Award winner and four-time Lambda Literary Award finalist.

Saint's Day: St Brigid of Ireland

St. Brigid and her soulmate St. Darlughdach were sixth-century Irish nuns who brought art, education and spirituality to early medieval Ireland. Brigid (c.451-525) shares her name and feast day (Feb. 1) with a Celtic goddess -- and she may have been the last high priestess of the goddess Brigid.

Raised by Druids, Brigid seems to have made a smooth transition from being a pagan priestess to a Christian abbess. Today she is Ireland’s most famous female saint.

Died this day

William Desmond Taylor (1872 - 1922) US 
Irish-born American actor, successful film director of silent movies and a popular figure in the growing Hollywood film colony of the 1910s and early 1920s. His murder on February 1, 1922 led to a frenzy of sensationalistic and often fabricated newspaper reports.Some of this speculation included suggestions that he lead a clandestine gay life, but Normand.Taylor's murder remains officially unsolved

Howard Junior Brown (1924 - 1975) US 
A founder of the National Gay Task Force and a former New York City Health Services Administrator, who helped change the image of gay men and lesbians in the United States by coming out publicly in 1973.

Richard Wattis (1912 - 1975) UK 
English character actor,best known for his appearances in British comedies of the 1950s and 1960s, typically as the "Man from the Ministry" or similar character, with trademark thick-rimmed round spectacles. He was an openly gay man in an era when this was a taboo subject.

June Miller (1902 – 1979) US 
Second wife of the novelist Henry Miller. June was bisexual,and briefly left Miller to live with the artist Jean Kronski in Paris. After returning to her marriage with Miller, she became involved in a flirtatious, and possibly sexual, relationship with the writer Anais Nin. Both writers (Miller and Nin)used June as the basis for some of their writing.

Gian Carlo Menotti (1911 - 2007 ) Italian / US

Italian-American composer and librettist, best known for his classic Christmas opera, Amahl and the Night Visitors, originally written for television and broadcast in 1951. One of the leading classical composers of the twentieth century, Gian Carlo Menotti not only had a distinguished career, but also achieved acclaim at a time when his uncloseted homosexuality could have been a major barrier.

For thirty years, his life partner was the composer Samuel Barber, whom he had met while still at college, and for whom he wrote the libretto for the opera "Vanessa". Later he also had a long personal and professional relationship with the conductor Thomas Schippers.

Sodomy in history, February 1st

1816 — Four English sailors aboard the Africaine are hanged for sodomy following a major scandal. Two others are flogged—one with 200 lashes and the other is sentenced to 300, but receives only 170 when the attending physician warns that any more would endanger his life.

1916 — A California appellate court upholds the "lewd and lascivious act" conviction of a man for having been found on a bed "in contact" with his partner.

1920 — Los Angeles poolice “Purity Squad” raids private party

1955 — A California appellate court upholds an oral copulation conviction after the jury saw graffiti referring to the defendant as "queer."

1964 — The committee reviewing the New York criminal code recommends repeal of the consensual sodomy law.


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