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Gay History – September 21: Edward II, Daughters of Bilitis, Will & Grace and MORE

1327 – Edward II is murdered in his prison cell supposedly after having a red hot iron thrust up his rectum (in reaction to his homosexuality of course).

1944:  Fannie Flagg (born September 21, 1944) is born. She is an American actress, comedian and author. She is best known as a semi-regular panelist on the 1973–82 versions of the game show Match Game and for the 1987 novel Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe, which was adapted into the 1991 motion picture Fried Green Tomatoes. In the late 1970s, Flagg had a relationship with American writer, Rita Mae Brown (born November 28, 1944). Flagg also lived for eight years with former The Bold and the Beautiful actress Susan Flannery (born July 31, 1939).

1955:  Daughters of Bilitis, the first lesbian organization, is formed by four lesbian couples, including Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin.

The Daughters of Bilitis was originally formed as a social alternative to lesbian bars, which were subject to raids and police harassment. As the DOB gained members, their focus shifted to providing support to women who were afraid to come out. The DOB educated them about their rights, and about gay history. Historian Lillian Faderman declared, “Its very establishment in the midst of witch-hunts and police harassment was an act of courage, since members always had to fear that they were under attack, not because of what they did, but merely because of who they were.” The Daughters of Bilitis endured for 14 years, becoming an educational resource for lesbians, gay men, researchers and mental health professionals.

1971: Thomas Craig “T. C.” Jones the great American female impersonator passes away. T. C.”was known for his impersonations of stars such as Tallulah Bankhead, Judy Garland, Katharine Hepburn and others. He has been described as “probably the best female impersonator since vaudeville’s late famed Julian Eltinge”.   Although Jones was straight he had a huge gay following. T. C. Jones also appeared in New Faces of 1956, directed by Paul Lynde.

Jones made a number of television appearances, including portraying a homicidal transvestite with a penchant for strangling nurses in “An Unlocked Window”, an Edgar Award-winning episode of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour in 1965 and another killer transvestite in “Night of the Running Death”, a 1967 episode of The Wild Wild West. Jones appeared in a male role opposite Jayne Mansfield and Mamie Van Doren in the film Three Nuts in Search of a Bolt (1964) and played dual male/female roles as Mr. and Mrs. Ace in The Monkees’ film Head (1968)

1993: Actress Amanda Bearse comes out while co-starring on the television series Married with Children. Bearse publicly announced her lesbianism in an interview in the September 21, 1993 issue of The Advocate, where she also encouraged other gay celebrities to use their fame and position to increase gay visibility.

In the interview, Bearse expressed relief at having been outed by the tabloids. “The outing really was quite a freeing experience. . . . That one thing, that one big secret is out. For a lot of people, it was just a confirmation of what they thought about me. I mean, I look like the girl next door, but I was always kind of off-center.”

1998: “Will & Grace,” the first prime-time program to feature openly gay lead characters, premiers. While a solid hit. many find the gay stereotyping offensive.

2010:  Dan Savage (born October 7, 1964) and husband Terry Miller upload their first It Gets Better video on YouTube, to help prevent suicide among LGBT youth. Dan is an American author, media pundit, journalist, and activist for the LGBT community.

In his writing and public appearances, Savage has clashed with both social conservatives and the LGBT establishment. He has opposed Rick Santorum’s views on homosexuality and advocated for gay marriage and other LGBT causes. He has made several controversial public statements in various media, often lambasting people with whom he disagrees.

 

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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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