Gay History – September 16th: Maria Callas, NAMBLA, Wilheim Von Gloeden, GM and the “Little Faggot Truck”
1730: In Amsterdam, Lourens Hosponjon is executed for sodomy. Other than the record of his execution no other historical details are available.
1856: Wilheim Von Gloeden, German photographer of beautiful young men, is born in Wismar, Germany. . At the turn of the 20th century his picture postcards of naked youths from the Sicilian town of Taormina were “must haves”. Even though they passed for art they were among the first examples of modern gay porn. Today Von Gloeden is considered one of the most important gay visual artist of the pre–World War I era.
1977: Soprano Maria Callas dies at the age of 53. There may have been divas before Maria Callas, but there is no doubt that the modern idea of what is a diva owes a great deal to the legendary opera singer, who, without ever singing a note of popular music, was as famous during her lifetime as a movie star. “I am divine, I am oblivion, I am love.”
1979: The newly formed New York City Gay Men’s Chorus holds its first auditions.
1990: Thanks to The San Francisco Board of Supervisors who loudly complained to General Motors after learning that a video, made to be shown only to GM personnel only, referred to a Japanese-made vehicle as a ”little faggot truck”
The presentation, made from 90 hours of taped interviews with 500 Chevrolet owners, contains one from a farmer who says he prefers full-size pickups.
“There isn’t no foreign company that makes any decent working pickup. It’s either going to be big, or some “little faggot truck,” the farmer said.
GM publicly apologized and never showed the video again.
1992: Robert Sawyer of Brattleboro, Vermont pleads not guilty to charges that he murdered his ex-girlfriend, Judith Hart Fournier, after she left him for a woman. She had a restraining order, but Sawyer violated it repeatedly. The case sparked a demand for anti-stalking legislation.
1992: Fifty-eight year old Roy Downs files a complaint of brutality against the Ft. Worth Police Department. He was arrested during a series of raids on gay bars, and officers beat and verbally abused him.
1994: The International Lesbian Gay Association loses its non-governmental organization representative status at the United Nations after a campaign by US Senator Jesse Helms revealed that one of its member organizations was NAMBLA, (The North America Man Boy Love Association) which condoned sex with children. As a result, ILGA expelled NAMBLA from its membership.
1994: Richard Hongisto, a former San Francisco police chief, is convicted of civil rights violations for ordering the removal of an issue of Bay Times, a gay newspaper, from the stands. Hongisto began his career championing justice and equality for racial minorities and homosexuals, but his career was later marred by various controversies, ending with the Bay Times controversy.