Today in Gay History – December 1st: World AIDS Day, Alvin Ailey, Puritan Sex Panic and Pat Robertson Goes Crazy Again.
1642 – The General Court of Connecticut adopted a list of 12 capital crimes, including “man lying with man.” The law was based on the Massachusetts Bay Colony’s Body of Liberties of 1641 the first legal code established by European colonists in New England
1901 – El Universal, a Mexican newspaper, reported that police raided a party attended by single women. The article implied that the women were lesbians.
1975 – Feminist writer Jill Johnston wrote an essay “Are Lesbians Gay?” in which she explained why she believed it was absurd for lesbians to align themselves with the gay movement. And thus began the fracturing and compartmentalizing of our community.
1976 – In Florida, Willard Allen was released from a mental hospital 26 years after he was ordered by a judge to be held there for having sex with another man. His doctors had been recommending his release for almost 20 years.
1980 – The American Journal of Psychiatry published an article recommending religion as a cure for homosexuality.
1981 – The Worldwide Church of God (now Grace Communion International) published “The Plain Truth,” which speculated that the illnesses being diagnosed in gay men were God’s penalty for promiscuity.
1982 – The US House of Representatives voted to provide $2.6 million in funding to the Centers for Disease Control to fight AIDS. The amount of money that was mere peanuts considering the severity of the disease.
1986 – After being convicted of sodomy, a Georgia man was fined $1,000, sentenced to 10 years probation, and ordered to perform 200 hours of community service.
1988 – The first World AIDS Day was sponsored by the World Health Organization. World AIDS Day is dedicated to raising awareness of the AIDS pandemic caused by the spread of HIV infection. Between 1981 and 2007 alone AIDS had killed more than 25 million people and an estimated 33.2 million people worldwide were living with HIV making it one of the most destructive epidemics in recorded history.
World AIDS Day was first conceived in August 1987 by James W. Bunn and Thomas Netter, two public information officers for the Global Programme on AIDS at the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland. Bunn and Netter took their idea to Dr. Jonathan Mann, Director of the Global Programme on AIDS (now known as UNAIDS). Dr. Mann liked the concept, approved it, and agreed with the recommendation that the first observance of World AIDS Day should be December 1st.
Get tested and play safe or take PReP. AIDS is not over yet. The responsibility is your own.
1989 – African-American dancer and choreographer Alvin Ailey died of complications from AIDS. Ailey, an African-American choreographer and activist founded the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in New York City. and is credited with popularizing modern dance and revolutionizing African-American participation in 20th century concert dance. His company gained the nickname “Cultural Ambassador to the World” because of its extensive international touring. Alvin Ailey’s choreographic masterpiece Revelations is believed to be the best known and most often seen modern dance performance.
1997 The National Black Lesbian Gay Leadership Forum participated in a meeting with President Clinton to encourage greater inclusion of African American gays and lesbians in the President’s Initiative on Race.
1998 – Officials in Miami Florida voted 7-6 to pass a law prohibiting discrimination against gays and lesbians in employment and housing. Anita Bryant was not happy.
1999 – On the 700 Club, televangelist Pat Robertson denounced Canada’s leaders because a commercial printer who refused to print stationary for the Canadian Gay and Lesbian Archives lost a suit charging that he violated Canadian law. He urged Canadian viewers to “throw out those crazies who are now running the country.” He implied that a pastor who said that incest and child molestation are wrong could be imprisoned for holding such beliefs. .
2004 – Project Runway debuts on Bravo and introduces viewers to avuncular judge Tim Gunn and his catchphrase, “Make it work!” The popular reality series includes many openly lesbian and gay contestestants and judges and most recently on this seasons Project Runway All Stars its first transsexual contestant
2012 – West Point’s military chapel hosts its first same-sex wedding.