“The Miami Dade School Board on Wednesday night struck down a proposal that would have recognized October as “LGBTQ history month” out of concern that it would violate the state’s Parental Rights in Education law, known by opponents as “Don’t Say Gay.” Miami school board members passed a similar resolution acknowledging LGBTQ history month in 2021 by a 7-1 vote but found themselves in a different situation this fall under the Parental Rights in Education law. Although the board’s own attorney said the recognition was on a solid legal footing, board members voted 1-8 against the idea after dozens of parents and community members raised their opposition at a marathon meeting. “I do believe this is in direct violation of our parental rights bill,” said board member Christi Fraga, who voted against the measure.”
Miami-Dade School Board rejects motion to recognize October as LGBTQ History Month and teaching 12th graders about two Supreme Court cases (recognizing same sex marriage & finding employers can't fire someone for being gay).https://t.co/VZ7LOCjuaQ by @smbrugal
1920: Actor Montgomery Clift is born in Omaha Nebraska. Clift often played outsiders and “victim-heroes” examples include the social climber in George Stevens’s A Place in the Sun, the anguished Catholic priest in Hitchcock’s I Confess, the doomed regular soldier Robert E. Lee Prewitt in Fred Zinnemann’s From Here to Eternity, and the Jewish GI bullied by antisemites in Edward Dmytryk’s The Young Lions.
Clift’s performance in 1951’s A Place in the Sun is regarded as one of his signature method acting performances. He worked extensively on his character and was again nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor. For his character’s scenes in jail, Clift spent a night in a real state prison. He also refused to go along with director George Stevens’ suggestion that he do “something amazing” on his character’s walk to the electric chair. Instead, he walked to his death with a natural, depressed facial expression.
Clift was notoriously picky with his projects. According to Elizabeth Taylor “Monty could’ve been the biggest star in the world if he did more movies.” Clift reportedly turned down the starring role in East of Eden just as he had for Sunset Boulevard.
On the evening of May 12, 1956, while filming Raintree County, Clift was involved in a serious auto accident when he apparently fell asleep while driving and smashed his car into a telephone pole minutes after leaving a dinner party at the Beverly Hills home of his close friend and co-star, Elizabeth Taylor, and her second husband, Michael Wilding. Alerted by friend Kevin McCarthy, who witnessed the accident, Taylor raced to Clift’s side, manually pulling a tooth out of his tongue as he had begun to choke on it. He suffered a broken jaw and nose, a fractured sinus, and several facial lacerations which required Wisconsin plastic surgeon
In 1961, with the scars still visible and the left side of his face immobilized from the car crash, Clift gave a stunning portrayal of Rudolph Peterson, an emotionally unstable and physically tortured concentration camp victim in the Stanley Kramer film Judgment at Nuremberg,” earning Clift a nomination for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.
Clift became addicted to alcohol and prescription drug abuse, and became erratic. Nevertheless, he continued his acting career, playing such parts as “the reckless, alcoholic, mother-fixated rodeo performer” in John Huston’s The Misfits, the title role in Huston’s Freud.
Montgomery Clift died of a heart attack brought on by “occlusive coronary artery disease” at the age of 46.
During his life Montgomery Clift’s homosexuality was carefully guarded from fans but there were few on the business side of Hollywood who did not know about it.
Following a 15-minute ceremony at St. James’ Church attended by 150 guests, including Lauren Bacall, Frank Sinatra and Nancy Walker.
Montgomery Clift was buried in the Friends [Quaker] Cemetery ,Prospect Park, Brooklyn, New York City. Elizabeth Taylor, who was in Paris and was a close friend of Monty’s sent flowers, as did Roddy McDowall, Myrna Loy and Lew Wasserman.
Rest in Peace Monty.
1980: The first Black Lesbian Conference took place in San Francisco, California. A development stemming from the first National Third World Lesbian and Gay Conference held in Washington, D.C., the previous year, over 200 women were in attendance. One of the conference goals was reportedly to address the wide spectrum of needs for black lesbians and “to provide the courage and strength necessary to make those needs felt in places where it becomes necessary.” Angela Davis gave the conference’s keynote address.
1995:The Advocate published a ground-breaking interview with Barney Frank, Steve Gunderson and Gerry Studds — the three openly gay members of congress at that time. Barney Frank has consistently remained one of the most outspoken and influential gay politicians to this date. That was when of course the Advocate was a legitimate and serious source of news .
1998: The National Gay and Lesbian Law Association appointed Melinda Whiteway as co-chair of the organization, making her the first openly transgender person to hold the position. This is reportedly the only queer law association to be affiliated with the American Bar Association.
2010: The Liberace Museum in Las Vegas closed after 31 years.
The Liberace Museum closed “indefinitely, but not forever” according to Liberace Foundation Board of Directors Chairman Jeffrey Koep. The closure was announced due to economic downturn and a decline in the number of visitors. The museum’s board of directors is continuing to seek a new home for the museum on Las Vegas strip, but the efforts have thus far been unsuccessful.
On the day of the closing, Las Vegas Review-Journal reporter Doug Elfman noted that several overly enthusiastic fans attempted to remove some of the small mirrors decorating Liberace’s Rolls-Royce, and another tried to steal a hood ornament from a car on display.
1915: Albert D. J. Cashier (born Jennie Irene Hodgers, was an Irish-born immigrant who served as a male soldier in the Union Army during the American Civil War.
Cashier returned to Belvidere, Illinois for a time where he lived as a man, vote in elections and later claimed a veteran’s pension. On May 5, 1911, Cashier was moved to the Soldier and Sailors home in Quincy, Illinois. He lived there as a man until his mind deteriorated and was moved to the Watertown State Hospital for the Insane in March 1913. Attendants at the Watertown State Hospital discovered that he was female-bodied when giving him a bath, at which point he was forced to wear a dress.
Albert Cashier died on October 10, 1915. He was buried in the uniform he had kept intact all those years and his tombstone was inscribed “Albert D. J. Cashier,
1949: The periodical Newsweek published a story titled “Queer People” calling out “gay perverts” and comparing them to exhibitionists and sexual sadists. It challenged the idea that homosexuals hurt no one but themselves and are in truth EVIL!
“The sex pervert, whether a homosexual, an exhibitionist, or even a dangerous sadist, is too often regarded merely as a ‘queer’ person who never hurts anyone but himself. Then the mangled form of one of his victims focuses public attention to the degenerate’s work. And newspaper headlines flare for days over accounts and feature articles packed with sensational details of the most dastardly and horrifying crimes.”
The editorial reviewed The Sexual Criminal, a book by J. Paul DeRiver who headed the Los Angeles Police Department’s Sex Offenses Bureau. Newsweek lauded the “factual scientific book” with 43 case histories, including “lots of very queer people” including “the sadistic pedophile,” “zoophiles, psychopaths who performed sadistic acts on animals, and the necrophiles, who …commit acts of moral degeneracy upon or in the presence of dead bodies.” Eugene D. Williams, a California “special assistant attorney general,” wrote the introduction to the book, in which he warned that “the semi-hysterical, foolishly sympathetic, and wholly unscientific attitude of any individual engaged in social work and criminology to regard sex perverts as poor unfortunates who are suffering from disease and cannot help themselves, has a tendency to feed their ego.” To which Newsweek added:
A sterner attitude is required, if the degenerate is to be properly treated and cured. Williams suggests that the sex pervert be treated, not as a coddled patient, but as a particularly virulent type of criminal. “To punish him,” he concludes, “he should be placed in an institution where the proper kind of rehabilitory work can be done so that, of capable of being brought to the realization of the error of his ways, he may be brought back to society prepared to live as a normal, law-abiding individual, rather than turned out as he now is from the penitentiary, confirmed in his perversion.
1964: The East Coast Homophile Organizations (ECHO) Hosts First Conference Calling for Direct Action:
The Daughters of Bilities, the Janus Society of Philadelphia, and the Mattachine Societies of New York and Washington, D.C., met in the nation’s capital for the second conference of the East Coast Homophile Organizations (ECHO), a loose confederation formed in 1962. Attendance was light: only about a hundred people showed up at the Sheraton Park Hotel, thanks to ECHO’s difficulty in getting the word out about where the event would take place. The Mattachine Society of Washington (MSW), which was hosting the conference, saw three other hotels cancel their bookings and three newspapers refusing to run ads for the conference. Those who showed up were charged up and impatient with the old ways of doing things. The DoB’s newsletter, The Ladder, set the scene:
“I’m an activist,” said a handsome young man present at the ECHO conference for 1964. “I’ve read nearly 75 books in the New York Mattachine Society library, and I’m fed up with reading on the subject of homosexuality.” His statement seemed to typify the attitude pervading this serious conference.
Any disappointment over the small attendance (less than 100 persons) could be offset by the fact that this was a down-to-business meeting attended primarily by those dedicated to immediate action. It was a gathering of men and women impatient to remedy the discriminations against the homosexual citizen in our society.
We talked with a long-time friend of one of the sponsoring organizations, and his remarks confirmed our view. “A few years ago,” he said, “ours was a sweeter, clubbier, less insistent organization. Now there seems to be a militancy about the new groups and new leaders. There’s a different mood.”
Signs of that different mood were everywhere, beginning with MSW’s Robert King’s prescient keynote address , which described that growing new mood. He said that gay people were asking for “the rights, and all the rights, afforded the heterosexual. We are still in the asking stage. We will soon reach the demanding stage. (… A) dormant army is beginning to stir.” J.C. Hodges, president of the Mattachine Society of New York, challenged the prevailing timidity of previous homophile leaders to get involved with politics, declaring that “politics is everybody’s business.” He urged attendees to throw themselves into established political organizations. “Involve yourself if you are to have any voice on your own behalf.”
1987: As a sign of protest over two thousand gay and lesbian couples are “married” in a mass mock wedding in front of Washington, DC’s Internal Revenue Service building as part of the Second National March on Washington.
1990: Members of the London-based LGBT rights group OutRage held a kiss-in at Brief Encounter, a gay pub that previously banned same-sex kissing. A month prior to the kiss-in, the organization delivered a formal letter of complaint to the pub in an effort to lift the ban.
1995:Romer v. Evans went to trial and the U.S. Supreme Court began hearing oral arguments. A landmark legal battle, it was the first Supreme Court case to address issues of LGBT rights since Romer vs. Evans laid the foundation for the historic Lawrence v. Texascase years later.
1997: The Metropolitan Community Church (MCC) took part in the National March on Washington for Gay and Lesbian Rights, involving around twenty congregations. Within this same time period, MCC founder Reverend Elder Perry oversaw a massive commitment ceremony in conjunction with this event for over 2,000 gay and lesbian couples.
1998: Prominent British actor, broadcaster and lesbian activist Jackie Forster passed away. Following her coming out in 1969, she joined the Campaign for Homosexual Equality and later became a founding member of London’s Gay Liberation Front. She was immortalized by the LGBT rights group Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence as “Saint Jackie of the Eternal Mission to Lay Sisters” in 1994.
2008:In Kerrigan v. Commissioner of Public Health, the Connecticut Supreme Court ruled in a 4-3 vote that the state’s constitution protects the right to same-sex marriage. The decision made Connecticut the third state, after Massachusetts and California, to have its state supreme court declare a constitutional right to same-sex marriage.
1957: 22-year-old Johnny Mathis sings Chances Are on American Bandstand. To this date the openly gay Mathis has sold over 350 Million records worldwide.
1993: Following his retirement in 1993, Episcopal Bishop E. Otis Charles became the first Christian bishop to come out of the closet at the age of 67. He served as a bishop of Utah from 1971-1986. He went on to marry Dr. Felipe Sanchez-Paris and become a prominent gay rights activist.
1993: Rev. Billy Graham apologizes for calling the AIDS epidemic an act of divine judgement by God during a sermon in Columbus, Ohio.
His remarks on AIDS were made in a sermon in Columbus, Ohio during a crusade in late September. A record-breaking crowd of 44,300 in Cooper Stadium heard Graham warn people about falling into disfavor with God because of their sins. He cited sins such as drunkenness and sexual immorality, among others.
‘Is AIDS a judgment of God?’ Graham asked. ‘I could not say for sure, but I think so.’
Graham said later in a telephone interview about his AIDS remark, ‘I don’t believe that and I don’t know why I said it. I do believe God stands in judgment of all sins … but AIDS is a disease that affects people and is not part of that judgment. To say God has judged people with AIDS would be very wrong and very cruel. I would like to say that I am very sorry for what I said.’
He reportedly recanted the statements by saying, “I don’t believe that, and I don’t know why I said it.”
1998: South Africa officially repealed its sodomy law, residual legislation from former Colonial British rule. Originally ruled unconstitutional in May of that year, South Africa’s highest court confirmed the ruling on this date. South Africa is the continents only gay friendly destination and was the fifth country in the world, to legalize same-sex marriage.
1998: The Netherlands sanctions adoption by same-sex couples as long as they meet the same criteria required of heterosexual couples.
1998: South Africa Strikes Down Sodomy Law: South Africa’s penal code defined sodomy as a Schedule 1 offense, like murder or rape, and was punishable by life imprisonment. The ruling, written by Judge Lori Ackerman with a concurring ruling by Judge Albie Sachs, held that the current law violated South Africa’s new post-Apartheid 1996 constitution and made South Africa one of the first countries in the world to outlaw discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation
1999: Lesbian politician Ulrike Lunacek becomes the first openly gay member of Austrian Parliament, serving with the Austrian Green party. She now serves as a co-President of the Intergroup on LGBT Rights, an organization that works for the rights of LGBT people within the European Parliament..
2002: Lesbian serial killer Aileen Wournos (7 murders in one year) is executed in Florida. During her trail The Lesbian Avengers “a direct action group focused on “issues vital to lesbian survival and visibility” in NYC runs a “Free Aileen Wournos” campaign out of NYC’s GLBT Community Center not because Wournos is innocent, but just because she is a woman and a lesbian.
The Lesbian Avengers never recover fully from their loss of credibility over this action.
1904:Anna Ruhling became one of the first feminists to publicly speak out in favor of rights for same-sex attracted women. At a meeting of the Scientific Humanitarian Committee, one of the earliest organizations to take an active role in the gay rights movement, Ruhling attempted to link the women’s movement with rights for lesbians, criticizing her colleagues for not taking an active role in fighting oppression against same-sex attracted women.
1974: On an episode of “Marcus Welby, M.D.,” titled “The Outrage,” The show depicted a junior high school boy named Ted who was forcibly raped by a male science teacher. The storyline was unusually graphic for its time, describing Ted’s intestinal damage and hemorrhaging. Ted refuses to talk about what happened, fearing that being raped meant that he was gay. While Ted is in surgery, police arrest the teacher for trying to molest another boy. Ted awakes from surgery ready to testify, and the investigating officer congratulates him for handling the situation like a “real man.” ABC defended the episode by saying it was about pedophilia, not homosexuality. But the storyline played much too closely to the old stereotype of gay men forcibly preying on children.
The National Gay Task Force and the Gay Activist Alliance organized a massive national campaign aimed not only at the show but at the network itself. Gay activists across the country staged noisy protests outside of stations in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Denver, and Washington, D.C., along with several smaller market stations in Ohio, Iowa, Mississippi, Texas and Idaho. The first station to announce it was dropping the episode was Philadelphia’s WPVI, which was under intense pressure from the city’s very active gay community.
Seventeen ABC affiliates ended up dropping the episode, and nearly a dozen sponsors had pulled out, including Bayer, Gallo Wine, Listerine, Ralston Purina, Colgate-Palmolive, Shell Oil, Lipton, American Home Products, Breck, Sterling Drug and Gillette. (Ralston Purina even wrote the NGTF sending “best regards” and added, “We do not wish to sponsor a program not welcome in everyone’s home.”)
Welby had also been the target once before of gay protests. In 1973, the series featured an episode called “The Other Martin Loring“.
Loring, a middle-aged man, suffered from high blood pressure, diabetes, and alcoholism as a result of repressing his homosexuality. Dr. Welby is most concerned about the last and advises Loring that if he battles his sexual impulses he will not only enjoy improved health but will earn his son’s respect. In response to this portrayal of homosexuality as an illness, the Gay Activists Alliance (GAA) organized a zap of ABC, with 30–40 members invading ABC’s New York City headquarters and occupying the offices of ABC president Elton Rule and board chairman Leonard Goldenson. ABC made a few minor edits in response
1975 – The movie Mahogany opens in theaters, starring Diana Ross in the title role. It features the song Mahogany’s Theme (Do You Know Where You’re Going To?), which was nominated for an Oscar but lost to I’m Easy from Nashville.
1985: A group of Latina lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) activists form the Austin Latina Latino Lesbian and Gay Organization (ALLGO). It acted as an LGBT rights organization that “evision[ed] a just and equitable society that celebrates and nurtures vibrant people of color queer cultures.”
1997: An episode of Ellen DeGeneres’ sitcom titled “Roommates” received an adult content warning because it contained a kiss between Ellen and another woman. The censorship reportedly infuriated Ellen, with her telling reporters: “I never wanted to be an activist, but now they’re turning me into one.”
2003: Marco, a character on “Degrassi: The Next Generation” played by Adamo Ruggiero came out of the closet in conjunction with a two-part episode titled “Pride.”
2009:Marcus Hernandez, long time leather columnist for the Bay Area Reporter passes away in Pacifica, CA. Hernandez was known to his legions of readers by his pen name “Mister Marcus” and dubbed the “Dean of leather columnists.” His weekly columns of contest goings-on and gossip was a must-read for leather community for 38 years.
1726 – Diplomat, spy and solider Chevalier d’Eon who lived his first 49 years as, and her last 33 years as a women is born in born in Tonnerre Brugandy, France. From 1777, d’Éon claimed to be anatomically a woman, and dressed as such. It was not until doctors examined the body after d’Éon’s death discovered that he was anatomically male.
1840 – John Addington Symonds, one of the earliest scholars of gay and lesbian issues is born. Symonds assisted Havelock Ellis in the writing of “Sexual Inversion”. Although he married and had a family, Symonds was an early advocate of “male love”and referred to it as l’amour de l’impossible(love of the impossible).
1961 – The movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s written by Truman Capote and adapted for the screen by George Axelrod opens in theaters.
Capote’s unorthodox views on sex and gender, modern critics have excavated the original novella and movies subtle references to the alternative sexual identities and practices of the text’s male characters, suggesting that Capote intended Breakfast at Tiffany’s as an exploration of the powerful and loving relationships that often exist between straight women and gay men.
1967 – Ethel Merman makes a guest appearance as “Lola Lasagne” on Batman. One of the worst villains ever to appear in the television series.
1969 – Peggy Lee’s camp classic Is That All There Is? enters the top-40 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart and gay men have been singing it ever since.
1969 – The Washington Blade publishes its first issue. At that time it was called The Gay Blade and actually wrote articles that contained hard hitting journalism and gay activism unlike today.
1987 – The city commission of Traverse City, Michigan voted unanimously to repeal a law banning the sale of condoms in city limits.
1990 – Dennis Barrie, director of the Cincinnati Contemporary Arts Center, was acquitted of obscenity charges after displaying a Robert Mapplethorpe exhibit.
This was the first criminal trial of an art museum arising from the contents of an exhibition. The group Citizens for Community Values an affiliate of the anti-gay hate group the American Family Associated who also has ties to the Family Research Council organized the protest against Mapplethorpe’s exhibit. The CCV is still active in the Cincinnati area today and boasts itself as being a proud affiliate of the the Family Research Council and the American Family Association.
Hamilton County Sheriff Simon Leis who arrested Barrie declared the photos to be “smut.” “This was beyond pornography,” Leis told the Enquirer in March 2015. “When you put a fist up a person’s rectum, what do you call that? That is not art.
Oh yes. Yes it is.
1998 – The US Congress killed an amendment by Rep Frank Riggs (R-CA) which would have barred San Francisco from spending federal housing money to implement its domestic partner ordinance.
1913 – E.M. Forster finished writing his novel “Maurice” which is about a young man coming to terms with his homosexuality. It would not be published until 1971, after Forster’s death, at the request of the author.
Forster who was gay (openly to his close friends, but not to the public) and a lifelong bachelor developed a long-term, loving relationship with Bob Buckingham, a married policeman
1974: John Waters’ follow-up to Pink Flamingos, Female Trouble, starring the late, great Divine opens in theaters. The film is dedicated to Manson Family member Charles “Tex” Watson. Waters’ prison visits to Watson inspired the “crime is beauty” theme of the film and in the film’s opening credits, Waters includes a wooden toy helicopter that Watson made for him.
Movie critic and HUGE flaming queen Rex Reed wrote of the movie: “Where do these people come from? Where do they go when the sun goes down? Isn’t there a law or something?”
Rexie you catty bitch. Go suck an egg.
1983: In a landmark move, the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) voted to support gay rights legislation. An excerpt from the resolution reads, “We in the labor movement don’t believe that civil rights is a special interest. It’s all our interest. It’s the interest of all of us to ensure that equality and freedom is extended to all the citizens of our country.”
1983: Twenty-seven-year-old Morgan MacDonald had been treated at Shands Hospital in Gainesville, Florida, since July for various infections because of AIDS. When his state Medicaid benefits ran out, the private teaching hospital affiliated with the University of Florida tried to find a nursing home to send him to, but none in the area would take him. So the hospital declared MacDonald “well enough to walk,” stuffed $300 into his pocket, loaded him onto a Lear Jet with a doctor and a nurse, and shipped him off to San Francisco and dumped him at the offices of the city’s AIDS Foundation. The nurse and doctor walked out and left the volunteer staff to figure out what to do with him. He’s condition was so bad, he was unable to lift his head. Foundation volunteers took MacDonald to San Francisco General Hospital which immediately admitted him.
A Shands Hospital spokeswoman claimed that MacDonald didn’t need hospital treatment, but outpatient treatment instead and said that shipping him off to San Francisco — even though he came to them from Vero Beach, Florida was the ” real humanitarian thing to do.”
1985: Herbert Rusche, a German politician and LGBT activist, became the first openly gay individual to be voted onto the German Parliament. A member of the Green Party, he would go on to serve for two years in the position. He also co-founded Homo Heidelbergensis in 1972, the first openly gay organization in the city.
1989: Graham Chapman, co-founder of Monty Python’s Flying Circus, died of throat cancer at the age of 48. Chapman came out in his book “A Liar’s Autobiography.” He was survived by his lover of 23 years, David Sherlock, and John Tomiczek, who the couple adopted as a teenager in 1971.
While everyday here atBack2Stonewall is about gay history. October is “officially” known in the United States as Gay History Month. (Later referred to as LGBT History Month, LGBTQ Hisrory Month, etc. as to give the focus of inclusion to all.)
The LGBT community’s history is the only community worldwide that is not taught in public schools (except California) or in religious institutions. So Gay History Month provides a venue for stories of events and role models which helps build the community and make a civil rights statement about our extraordinary national and international contributions.
So lets learn a little gay history about Gay/LGBT History Month and how and why it came to be in October and not June when we celebrate PRIDE and the anniversary of the Stonewall riots.
In 1994 Rodney Wilson, a gay Missouri high school teacher, believed that a month should be set aside and dedicated to the celebration and teaching of gay and lesbian history.
Wilson chose the month of October for two reasons.
2. October 11 also commemorated the march on Washington in 1979.
Wilson’s students at Mehlville High School in Missouri became real-life lesson participants in the civil rights fight when in 1994 during a showing of a film about Nazi Germany called The Holocaust, Wilson held up a poster showing emblems used to identify people in concentration camps. Wilson said to them: “If I had been in Europe during World War II, they would have put this pink triangle on me and gassed me to death, because I am gay.”
And thus Gay History Month was born.
Among the early supporters and members of the first coordinating committee were Kevin Jennings, then of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN); Kevin Boyer of Gerber/Hart Gay and Lesbian Library and Archives in Chicago; Paul Varnell, writer for the Windy City Times; Torey Wilson, Chicago area teacher; Johnda Boyce, women’s studies major at Columbus State University and Jessea Greenman of UC-Berkeley. Many gay and lesbian organizations supported the concept early on as did Governors William Weld of Massachusetts and Lowell Weicker of Connecticut and Mayors such as Thomas Menino of Boston and Wellington Webb of Denver, who recognized the inaugural month with official proclamations.
In 1995, the National Education Association indicated support of Gay/LGBT History Month as well as other history months by resolution at its General Assembly
Gay and LBT histories are fragile since many events were never officially documented by legitimate news sources and many stories are carried down through generations. Some truthfully and some embellished. But nevertheless our history is important. Because learning from our past is the only way to move forward in the future.
A pair of 16-year-old high school students ifromMaple Valley, Washington were suspended from school last week for wearing Confederate flags to school in protest of LGBT History Month.
The suspended teens claim their decision to wear the “stars and bars” to school was a response to a classmate who wore a rainbow flag to school.
“If he can wear his flag in support of what he believes, we figured we could do that as well,” said one of the suspended students, who only gave the name “Grady” in an interview with KOMO News further stating “We put ours around our necks and kind of walked around with them, [..] It’s just a way of showing our southern pride, nothing racist at all.”
Tahoma School District spokesman, Kevin Patterson said that school officials had warned the boys not to wear their Confederate flags, yet “they chose to bring them anyway, labeling the teens’ behavior “disruptive” and unfair to the other students. “They have a right to be there and not have their classes interrupted by this kind of event,” Patterson said.
On this day in 1985, actor Rock Hudson became the first major U.S. celebrity to die of complications from AIDS at the age of 59. Hudson’s death raised public awareness of the epidemic, which until that time had been ignored by many in the mainstream media and by Ronald Reagan and was known as a “gay plague.”
In 1984, while working on the TV show Dynasty, Hudson was diagnosed with AIDS. On July 25, 1985, he publicly acknowledged he had the disease at a hospital in Paris, where he had gone to seek treatment. The news that Hudson, an international icon, had AIDS focused worldwide attention on the disease and helped change public perceptions of it.
Hudson was a friend of Reagan’s and his death was said to have changed the president’s view of the disease. However, Reagan ignored and did not address the issue of AIDS in a major public speech until 1987; by that time, more than 20,000 Americans had already died of the disease and it had spread to over 100 countries. By 2006, the AIDS virus had killed 25 million people worldwide and infected 40 million others.