LGBTQ Women in History: Barbara Gittings

In honor of March being Women’s History Month, today we will honor Gay Rights activist Barbara Gittings.

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Image from: Barbara Gittings: Lesbian Rights Activist.

 

Born in February 1932, Barbara Gittings became a prominent figure in the early gay rights movement. Gittings was apart of the New York chapter of Daughters of Bilitis, a lesbian social organization founded by Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon in San Francisco in 1955. In 1963, Gittings became editor of The Ladder, a magazine published by the Daughters of Bilitis.

Gittings also helped organize gay rights demonstrations in both Washington D.C. and Philadelphia, protesting federal employment discrimination. In addition to her protests, she was also instrumental in getting homosexuality removed from the list of mental disorders in 1973. She also helped to make gay and lesbian oriented reading material more available to the public, and in 2001 GLADD created the Barbara Gittings award in her honor. The award is “given to an individual, group, or community media outlet that has made a significant contribution to the development of LGBT media.”

Gittings met Kay Lahausen in 1961; they were partners for 46 years. Gittings died of breast cancer at the age of 75 in February 2007.

References: “Barbara Gittings: Lesbian Rights Activist”

Black LGBTQ History: Janet Mock

Today, we honor someone who is currently making black history as an LGBTQ individual, writer and activist Janet Mock.

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Image from Wikipedia.org

Janet Mock, born in Honolulu, HI in 1983, is the author of the autobiography Redefining Realness, a New York Times Bestseller. She is also the founder of the hashtag “GirlsLikeUs”, which is a social media movement dedicated to empowering trans women. She also hosts a MSNBC weekly series called So POPular and was an editor for five years at People.com.

At the age of 16, Mock became a sex worker. At 18, during her first year of college, she went to Thailand where she underwent gender reassignment surgery.

Mock came out as trans in a 2011 issue of Marie Claire and has since become one of the most influential trans women of the decade. She has received praise from many critics for the success and honesty of her memoir, as well as for her dedication to speaking out about transgender women’s rights.

References: janetmock.com; Wikipedia

Black LGBTQ History: Simon Nkoli

Today for Black History Month, we are honoring activist, Simon Nkoli.

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Image from wikipedia

 

Born in South Africa in 1957, Nkoli grew up to become an anti-apartheid, gay rights, and AIDS activist. He founded the first black gay organization in Africa called Saturday Group.

In 1984, Nkoli was arrested for treason as part of the Delmas 22. He came out in prison. He was later acquitted and formed GLOW (Gay and Lesbian Organization of Witwatersrand) in 1988. GLOW was responsible for the first Gay Pride parade in South Africa in 1990.

Nkoli lived HIV positive for 12 years, and was one of the first African gay men to be public about it. Before his death, Nkoli was given the Stonewall Award for his efforts. He died of AIDS in 1998. There is a street named after him in Amsterdam and a day honoring him in San Francisco.

Reference: Wikipedia

Black LGBTQ History: Bruce Nugent

In honor of February being Black History Month, we will be celebrating the individuals in black history who identified as LGBTQ+. Today we celebrate Bruce Nugent.

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Image from Wikipedia.org

 

Born in Washington, DC in 1906, Nugent became a prominent figure of the Harlem Renaissance. He is credited as being the first out black writer/artist, as well as the first writer to depict homosexuality in his work.

Nugent’s works include Smoke, Lilies, and Jade which was featured in Wallace Thurman’s Publication “Fire!!!” along with some of his illustrations, and his own publication “Beyond Where the Stars Stood Still.”

In 1964, Nugent was invited to speak at the Community Planning Conference at Columbia University where the Harlem Cultural Council was formed. Nugent was Co-Chair of the council.

Nugent is known as the “Gay Rebel of the Harlem Renaissance.”

Reference: Huffington Post; Wikipedia.