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This Week In Gay History April 7 -13: The Earl of Rochester, The APA, and the Tragic Death of Ryan White

April 7, 1907 – The ultimate “fag hag” Violette Leduc was born in Arras Pas de Calais, France. She hated being a woman and continually went after gay men. One of them, Maurice Sachs told her to write just to get rid of her. She did. Her book Le Batarde, was the story of her upbringing as an illegitimate child which blamed on the sexuality of her mother. She once told a friend she wanted to wear a tight body stocking to hold in her breasts and then attach a “strap on” dildo in order to bed gay writer Jean Genet.

April 8, 1974 – The American Psychiatric Association remove its “sickness” definition of homosexuality and outrages homophobic bigots across America.  You can read the anti-gay group NARTH’s (The National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality) take on the removal by clicking this link.

April 8, 1990 – Ryan White at age 18 dies of AIDS after a five-year battle with the disease.  Ryan became the national poster child for HIV/AIDS in the United States, after being expelled from middle school in Kokomo Indiana because of his infection. As a hemophiliac, he became infected with HIV from a contaminated blood treatment and, when diagnosed in December 1984, was given six months to live. Doctors said he posed no risk to other students, but AIDS was poorly understood at the time, and when White tried to return to school, many parents and teachers in Kokomo rallied against his attendance. A lengthy legal battle with the school system ensued, and media coverage of the case made White into a national celebrity and spokesman for AIDS research and public education. Surprising his doctors, Ryan lived five years longer than predicted but died in April 1990, one month before his high school graduation.the discrimination it brought upon him and his family. – Watch the new coverage of Ryan’s passing below.

April 9, 1821Charles Baudelaire is born in Paris to a bourgeois family. The author of Les Fleurs du Mal is alternately described as a Catholic, a Satanist; brilliant, mundane. No one knows much about his sexual exploits, although Marcel Proust and Andre Gide tell us he was certainly gay.

April 10, 1644 – Bi-sexual British poet John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester is born at Ditchley Manor In Oxfordshire. Little read today, Wilmot’s poems are bawdy and beautifully simple. …

“If by chance then I wake, hot-headed and drunk, What a coyle do I make for the loss of my Punck? I storm and I roar, and I fall in a rage, And, missing my whore I bugger my Page.

“Nor shall our love-fits, Chloris, be forgot,
When each the well-looked
linkboy strove t’enjoy,
And the best kiss was the deciding lot
Whether the
boy fucked you, or I the boy”

FYI – A linkboy is a lamp wick lighter.  Who obviously enjoyed lighting the Earl of Rochester’s wick.

April 11, 1901 Glenway Wescott is born in Kewaskum, Wisconsin. One of America’s clearest and lyrical writers, he is best known for “The Grandmothers” published in 1927. Throughout his life he kept journals about everything. Perhaps when they are published we will learn all about his reputed affair with photographer George Platt Lynes and museum curator Monroe Wheeler.

April 12, 1526 Marc-Antoine Muret is born near Limoges France. The 16th century humanist was accused by the church of being a sodomist and a Protestant. He was of course only one of them.  Care to guess which one?

April 13th ***** – Nothing much happened this day in LGBT history.  Perhaps its time to OUT Senator Lindsey Graham or Arron Schrock publicly and add an entry for 2013.  I’ll think about it.

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Will Kohler

Will Kohler is a noted LGBT historian, journalist and owner of Back2Stonewall.com. A longtime gay activist, Will fought on the front lines of the AIDS epidemic with ACT-UP and continues fighting today for LGBT acceptance and full equality. Will’s work has been referenced in notable media venues as MSNBC and BBC News, The Washington Post, The Daily Beast, Hollywood Reporter, and Raw Story,

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