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Today In Gay History – June 5th: RFK, Andy Warhol, Federico Garcia Lorca and the Committee for Homosexual Freedom

 

June 5th……….

1883 – Birth date of John Maynard Keynes, economist and mathematician. Keyes an English economist, fundamentally changed the theory and practice of macroeconomics and the economic policies of governments. He built on and greatly refined earlier work on the causes of business cycles, and is widely considered to be one of the most influential economists of the 20th century and the founder of modern macroeconomics.  Time magazine included Keynes among its Most Important People of the Century in 1999, saying that “his radical idea that governments should spend money they don’t have may have saved capitalism.

Attitudes in the Bloomsbury Group, in which Keynes was avidly involved, were relaxed about homosexuality. Keynes, together with writer Lytton Strachey, had reshaped the Victorian attitudes of the Cambridge Apostles: “since [their] time, homosexual relations among the members were for a time common”, wrote Bertrand Russell. Artist Duncan Grant, was one of Keynes’s great loves. Keynes was also involved with Lytton Strachey though they were for the most part love rivals, not lovers. Keynes had won the affections of Arthur Hobhouse and as with Grant, fell out with a jealous Strachey for it. Strachey had previously found himself put off by Keynes, not least because of his manner of “treat[ing] his love affairs statistically”.

Political opponents have used Keynes’s sexuality to attack his academic work. One line of attack held that he was uninterested in the long term ramifications of his theories because he had no children.

1898 – Birth date of gay Spanish poet Federico Garcia Lorca.  García Lorca achieved international recognition as an emblematic member of the Generation of ’27. The Generation of ’27 was a group consisting of mostly poets who introduced the tenets of European movements (such as symbolism, futurism, and surrealism) into Spanish literature. He was executed by Nationalist forces at the beginning of the Spanish Civil War  His body has never been found. In 2008, a Spanish judge opened an investigation into Lorca’s death.

Significant controversy exists about the motives and details of Lorca’s murder. Personal, non-political motives have been suggested. García Lorca’s biographer, Stainton, states that his killers made remarks about his sexual orientation, suggesting that it played a role in his death

1968 – Artist Andy Warhol was shot by Valerie Solanis, founder and only member of SCUM (Society to Cut Up Men), whose screenplay he had recently rejected.

1968 – William Weisel of ABC News was shot in the stomach by Sirhan Sirhan during the assassination of Robert Kennedy in Los Angeles. During the 1970s Weisel owned a popular gay dance club in Washington, DC.

1969 – The “Committee for Homosexual Freedom” newsletter announced that after two weeks of picketing, Frank Dennaro, who was fired from his job at Tower Records because he was gay, was re-hired. Tower Records also instituted perhaps one of the first non-discrimination hiring policies which included gay men because of the picketing.  This was one month before the Stonewall Riots in New York City would happen.

1974 – Out actor and activist Chad Allen was born in Cerritos, California. First gaining attention as an autistic child in the T.V. drama St. Elsewhere, Allen appeared in nearly a dozen shows during the 1980s and 90s, including Our House, Webster, My Two Dads, and Dr. Quinn: Medicine Woman. Allen came out in an interview in The Advocate in 2001, after pictures of a same-sex kiss appeared in a tabloid in 1996. When Allen appeared in The End of the Spear, playing a conservative missionary who was murdered by natives in South America the role angered many KKK-ristians who viewed Allen’s activism as being against the principles of their faith.

1981 – On the night of  May 30th. fifty-four police officers smashed through the back door of Pisces in Edmonton, Canada. . Fifty-six men became found-ins. Mug shots with names were taken. Crown prosecutors issued court summons with charges under the Canadian Criminal Code. At 4am, all 56 were herded out the back door into police paddy wagons and carted to the downtown police headquarters and court rooms, the current site of the Winspear Centre.  Six men, owners and employees, were charged with being keepers of a common bawdy house. On June 5th all plead guilty in Provincial Court. The owners receive heavy fines.

1983 – Harvey Fierstein’s play “Torch Song Trilogy” won the Tony Award for Best Play of the 1982-83 season.

1989 – Congressional Republicans began circulating a memo that Democratic House Speaker Thomas Foley was a homosexual. The memo compared Foley’s voting record to openly gay Rep. Barney Frank. Those responsible for the memo apologized after Frank threatened to start outing Republican members of congress.

1997 – Colorado governor Roy Romer vetoed a state measure seeking to ban same-sex marriage for the second time. He instead appointed a commission to investigate the rights and responsibilities of same-sex relationships.

1997 – Former Georgia Attorney General Michael Bowers, who fought to have the US Supreme Court uphold Georgia’s sodomy law, admitted to having had an adulterous affair that lasted over a decade. Georgia’s sodomy law carries penalties for adultery.

1999 – “Time” magazine placed Harvey Milk alongside Mother Theresa and Rosa Parks as one of the Heroes of the Century.

2003 – A federal judge rejected a Christian hate group’s attempt to remove a no-fly zone around Disney World so it could fly planes trailing anti-gay banners over the resort during the annual Gay Days event.

2003 – California’s Assembly passed legislation giving gay and lesbian domestic partners many of the rights of marriage.

 

 

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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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