Today In LGBT History – June 12: HRC Drops the T, Loving vs. Virginia, and the Murder of Philip Walsted
June 12th ………
1892 – American Feminist writer and illustrator Djuna Barnes was born. Her writings are believed to be the first English language poems with lesbian content.
Barnes played an important part in the development of 20th century English language modernist writing and was one of the key figures in 1920s and 30s bohemian Paris after filling a similar role in the Greenwich Village of the teens. Her novel “Nightwood” became a cult work of modern fiction, helped by an introduction by T. S. Eliot. It stands out today for its portrayal of lesbian themes and its distinctive writing style. Since Barnes’s death, interest in her work has grown and many of her books are back in print.
1950 – Birth date of Nick Brown, British Member of Parliament. He was forced by the “News of the World” newspaper in 1998 to announce that he is gay. This he did with characteristic good humour, telling an audience of farmers: “It’s a lovely day. The sun is out – and so am I.”
1959 – Birth date of Scott Thompson, openly gay actor 1967
1959 – The US Supreme Court issued its ruling in Loving v. Virginia. The case was brought by an interracial couple who challenged the constitutionality of laws banning interracial marriage. The court ruled in favor of the couple, and ruled marriage to be a civil right.
1970 – Neva Joy Heckman and Judith Ann Belew attempted to become legally married. The ceremony was held at Metropolitan Community Church in Los Angeles and performed by Rev Troy Perry, the founder of the denomination. Under California law, a couple who has lived together at least two years can be legally joined without a license by having a church ceremony and being issued a church certificate.
1975 – The Austin Lesbian Organization was given airtime on the Texas public interest interview program “For Your Information.”
1981 – A Provincial Court judge in Toronto found two employees guilty and three owners not guilty of keeping a common bawdyhouse. Charges related to the Barracks steambath, raided by police December 9, 1978.
1983 – “The Color Purple” by Alice Walker made its appearance on the New York Times bestseller list.
1989 – A rally was held outside the state house in Boston to demand approval of a gay rights bill. 300 people attended.
1995 – The Employment Non-Discrimination Act was re-introduced in Congress. Transgender individuals were purposely excluded from the official bill presented to Congress because it was thought to be too risky in getting the bill to pass. Congressman Barney Frank and the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) were behind the exclusion as they saw this reframing as a way to make the bill more marketable. However, 350 national queer organizations opposed the exclusion of gender identity from the bill in an act of solidarity with trans communities. To this day HRC is resented by many for this cowardly act and helped create a rift between the Trans and LGB community that still has not been repaired to this day.
1997 – San Francisco Human Rights Commissioners voted five-to-one to retain laws regulating sex clubs and bathouses, including the banning of private rooms. Because we all know a banning a private room stops AIDS not education and condoms.
1997 – A New York appeals court revoked all legal rights as a parent from a lesbian who had been granted limited visitation with a child born to her ex-lover.
2002 – Philip Walsted, 24, was beaten with a baseball bat and robbed on a downtown Tucson street.
Walsted was walking home on June 12, 2002, when he was attacked and beaten with a baseball bat by 22-year-old David A. Higdon in the course of a robbery. Walsted was struck in the head with the bat up to 20 times, and received more than 50 wounds as a result of the attack. He died later that day at University Medical Center. A self-styled White Supremacist was sentenced to life in prison for the killing.
His murderer David A. Higdo, an avowed neo-Nazi was sentenced to life without parole
2003 – Philadelphia’s Boy Scout council, which defied the national BSA organization in May 2003 by promising not to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation, ousted a Scout, Gregory Lattera, 18, for publicly announcing he is gay. The same council, the nation’s third largest, voted May 28 to add sexual orientation to its nondiscrimination policy.
2006 – Australia’s Attorney General, Phillip Ruddock, overturned a same-sex marriage law in the Australian Capital Territory.
2011 – On this date, Episcopal clergy in the diocese of San Joaquin, California, officially recognized gay and lesbian partnerships as “sacred unions.”