Tag Archives: sodomy

Gay History – January 18: The Gay King of America, Anita Bryant Wants to “Save The Children” and An American Family

Today in Gay History – January 18th.

1726, Germany – The man who might have been the first gay king of America was born in Berlin. Prince Heinrich of Prussia (pictured right above) was the brother of Frederick the Great who tried have him made King of America. The fledgling US even considered it during the period ruing the Article of Confederation, but, by the time the fickle prince agreed, the equally fickle American public had opted for the Constitution and a republic.

While it might seem far-fetched that a Prussian man would be accepted by the American people as their leader, it must be recalled that without the military leadership of the Prussian Baron von Steuben, our continental army would likely not have prevailed against the British. 

Three of Prince Heinrich’s affairs with younger men are documented: the 17-year-old French émigré Count of Roche-Aymon, Major Christian Ludwig von Kaphengst (1743-1800) and an actor known as Blainville.  

1928 – Betty Berzon (January 18, 1928 – January 24, 2006) is born. She was an American author and psychotherapist known for her work with the gay and lesbian communities. She was among the first psychotherapists to assist gay clients. After coming out as lesbian in 1968, she began providing therapy to gays and lesbians. In 1971, during a UCLA conference called “The Homosexual in America,” Berzon became the first psychotherapist in the country to come out as gay to the public. Also in 1971, she organized the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Community Services Center as well as an organization of gays and lesbians within the American Psychiatric Association (the Gay Psychological Association, now known as the Society for the Psychological Study of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Issues); the APA declassified homosexuality as a mental illness two years later. She is survived by Teresa DeCrescenzo, the president of Gay and Lesbian Adolescent Social Services, whom Berzon met in 1973 and married during a mass wedding ceremony at the 1993 March on Washington.

In 2007, Ventura Place in Studio City was renamed Dr. Betty Berzon Place in her honor, making it the first street ever officially dedicated to a known lesbian in California. Also in 2007, the LGBT magazine The Advocate named Berzon one of 40 “heroes.” The Betty Berzon Papers (1928-2006) are at the ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives.

1936 – Rev. James Lewis Stoll (January 18, 1936 – December 8, 1994) is born. In 1969, he becomes the first ordained minister of an established denomination to come out as gay. He led the effort that convinced the Unitarian Universalist Association to pass their first gay rights resolution.

1958 – Marci Lee Bowers (born January 18, 1958) is a US gynecologist and surgeon who specializes in gender confirmation surgeries. Dr. Bowers’ practice is at the San Mateo Surgery Center in Burlingame, California. From 2003 to 2010, she practiced in the town of Trinidad, Colorado, where she had studied under Stanley Biber before his retirement. Bowers married eleven years prior to her surgery, and remains married to her female spouse.

1973 – Viewers of An American Family 12-part television documentary shown on PBS about the lives of an “average” American family, the Louds, discover that son Lance (June 26, 1951 – December 22, 2001) is living as an openly gay man in New York City. Lance was an American television personality, magazine columnist and new wave rock-n-roll performer.

Lance Loud died of liver failure as a result of hepatitis C and a co-infection with HIV in 2001. He was 50 years old.

1975, Canada – The founding conference of the Coalition for Gay Rights in Ontario (CGRO) opens at Don Vale Community Center in Toronto. 

1977 – In Miami, Florida: Anita Bryant, a former beauty queen, launches a nationwide crusade against gay and lesbian rights in response to Dade County’s new municipal rights ordinance forbidding housing and employment discrimination against lesbians and gay men. Accusing lesbians and gay men of corrupting the nation’s youth, Bryant dubs her crusade the “Save Our Children” campaign. Miami-Dade County commissioners passed the ordinance with a vote of 5-3. Anita Bryant vows to defeat the ordinance at the ballot box. On June 7, 1977, Bryant’s hateful promise is fulfilled. Nearly 70 percent of voters opt to repeal the ordinance.

1996 – The wedding of Ross’s ex-wife Carol and her girlfriend Susan airs on Friends. Candace Gingrich (born June 2, 1966) guest stars as the minister. Candace is an American LGBT rights activist at the Human Rights Campaign. She is the half-sister of former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, who is more than 20 years their senior.

1999, Zimbabwe – the first president of Zimbabwe, Canaan Sodindo Banana (5 March 1936 – 10 November 2003), already retired from the post, is convicted on 11 counts of sodomy. At the time, president Mugabe is scapegoating homosexuals as the reason for Zimbabwe’s ills. Banana serves six months of a 10-year sentence and moves to the UK for political asylum.

2004 – The L Word premieres on Showtime. The L Word is an American/Canadian co-production television drama series portraying the lives of a group of lesbians and their friends, connections, family, and lovers in the trendy Greater Los Angeles, California city of West Hollywood. The series originally ran on Showtime from January 18, 2004 to March 8, 2009, and subsequently in syndication on Logo and through on-demand services. 

Today in Gay History – January 1st: Hoover, Bryant, Haines, Milk, Orton, and Sodomy Laws Fall Over The Years.

 

 Hold on tight………..

January 1, 1801 – Ireland was added to Great Britain by an Act of Union thus creating the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. It also put Ireland, and today, Northern Ireland under British laws on morality and particularly homosexuality.

January 1, 1879 – E. M. Forster (1879 – 1970) is born in London. After his brilliant novel “A Passage to India” in 1924, he produced no new works. His gay novel “Maurice” was written in 1914, but not published until after his death. For 50 years his lover was a married London policeman named Bob Buckingham.

January 1, 1886 – English Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1885 takes effect. “Indecencies” between adult males in private become a crime punishable by up to two years imprisonment.

January 1, 1892 – Ellis Island in New York harbor opened. Over 20 million new arrivals to America were processed until its closing in 1954. It is unknown how many of the new immigrants were gays and lesbians. Some estimates are as high as 1 million (This is lower than 10% since most of those admitted to the US were families not that THAT really makes a difference.)

January 1, 1895 – J. Edgar Hoover is born in Washington. Hoover led a deeply repressed sexual life, living with his mother until he was 40, awkwardly rejecting the attention of women and pouring his emotional, and at times, physical attention on his handsome deputy at the FBI.  What exactly was his relationship with his ever constant companion and fellow FBI man Clyde Tolson? There has been a lot of speculation but no documentation. Still there are numerous stories of Hoover appearing in drag in New York. Usually in a red dress, and he liked to be called “Mary”.

January 1, 1900 – Silent movie star William Haines is born in Staunton, Virginia. His good looks and baby face made him a hit playing the wisecracking penniless young man in countless films. Blessed with a good voice, he was one of the few silent stars to make the transition to talkies.

In 1933, Haines was arrested in a YMCA with a sailor he had picked up in Los Angeles’ Pershing Square. Louis B. Mayer, the studio head at MGM, delivered an ultimatum to Haines: Choose between a sham marriage (also known as a “lavender marriage”) or his relationship with Shields. Haines chose Shields and they remained together for almost 50 years.  Mayer subsequently fired Haines and terminated his contract.  He made a few minor films at Poverty Row studios, then retired from acting. His final films were made with Mascot Pictures, Young and Beautiful and The Marines Are Coming in 1934.

Haines never returned to acting, but continued to receive offers for film roles. During production of Sunset Boulevard (1950), Haines was offered a cameo role in the film, which he declined. He later said, “It’s a rather pleasant feeling of being away from pictures and being part of them because all my friends are. I can see the nice side of them without seeing the ugly side of the studios.

Haines started a successful interior design business with his life partner Jimmie Shields, and was supported by friends in Hollywood most notably Joan Crawford.

Haines died of lung cancer in December 1973 at the age of 73.

January 1, 1901 – The Commonwealth of Australia was founded as six former British colonies became six states with Edmund Barton as the first prime minister, and Canberra as the capital. Today, Sydney, the biggest city in Australia, has one of the world’s largest gay communities. It’s annual Mardi Gras celebrations draw nearly a million a people from all over the globe.

January 1, 1933 – John Kingsley was born in Leicester, England. Writing under the name Joe Orton he became of Britain’s most popular comic playwrights (Entertaining Mr Sloane in 1964 and Loot in 1966). He was murdered by his lover Kenneth Halliwell who then committed suicide in the London flat they had occupied for 15 years. In 1967 he had written in his diary “I have high hopes of dying in my prime.”  (Orton documentary embedded below.)

January 1, 1959 – Fidel Castro seized power in Cuba after leading a revolution that drove out dictator Fulgencio Batista. Castro then established a Communist dictatorship. Although homosexuality was illegal under the Batista government the laws were largely ignored in fun loving Cuba. Since Castro, tens of thousands of gays have been rounded up and imprisoned.

January 1, 1965 – Gays and lesbians are arrested at the New Year’s Day Mardi Gras Ball in San Francisco. The ball was a fundraiser for Council on Religion and the Homosexual at California Hall. The event galvanizes the local gay and lesbian community.

January 1, 1971 – Colorado decriminalizes private consensual adult homosexual acts.

January 1, 1971 – Oregon decriminalizes private consensual adult homosexual acts.

January 1, 1972 – Science magazine publishes a report that suggests male homosexuality may be determined in the womb due to chemical and/or hormonal stress of the pregnant woman.

January 1, 1972 – Hawaii decriminalizes private consensual adult homosexual acts.

January 1, 1974 – Ohio repeals its sodomy laws and decriminalizes private consensual adult homosexual acts.

January 1, 1975 – New Mexico decriminalizes private consensual adult homosexual acts.

Continue reading Today in Gay History – January 1st: Hoover, Bryant, Haines, Milk, Orton, and Sodomy Laws Fall Over The Years.

Gay History - November 30, 1642: Capt. William Cornish Becomes the First Person Sentenced and Hanged for Sodomy in America

Gay History – November 30, 1642: Capt. Richard Cornish Becomes the First Person Sentenced and Hanged for Sodomy in America

Richard Cornish, also known as Richard Williams, an English ship captain is reported to have been one of the earliest people, if not the first person, to have been hanged for sodomy in what would eventually become the United States.

In 1624 Cornish was ship master of the Ambrose, which was harbored in the James River of the Virginia colony in August of that year. During this time indentured servant, William Couse worked on the Ambrose and was ordered to put clean sheets on Cornish’s bed, upon which point Couse alleged that his master had been drunk and made a sexual advance upon him. Despite Couse’s refusal, Cornish was then reported to have forcibly sodomized Couse. Crouse also claimed that Cornish later sexually fondled him on numerous occasions and also humiliated him in front of the rest of the crew.

Cornish was given a trial, during which one of his crew members reported overhearing a conversation between Couse and Cornish that corroborated part but not all of Couse’s claims. The trial ended with Cornish being found guilty and sentenced to hang, which happened on an unspecified date in early 1625.

William Couse’s Testimony

William Couse [or Cowse], aged 29 years or thereabouts, sworn and examined sayeth, that the 27th day of August last, past about one or 2 of the clock in the afternoon, being aboard the good ship called the Ambrose, then riding at anchor in James River, Richard Williams, also [known as] Cornish, master of the said ship called the Ambrose, being then in drink, called to this examinee to lay a clean pair of sheet into his bed, which this examinee did, and the said [Richard] Williams went into the bed, and would have this examinee come into the bed to him, which this examinee refusing to do, the said Richard Williams went out of the bed and did cut this examinee’s cod piece . . , and made this examinee unready [unsteady?], and made him go into the bed, and then the said Williams also Cornish went into the bed to him, and there lay upon him, and kissed him and hugged him, saying that he would love this examinee if he would now and then come and lay with him, and so by force he turned this examinee upon his belly, and so did put this examinee to pain in the fundament, and did wet him, and after did call for a napkin which this examinee did bring unto him, and [Cornish did] sayeth that there was but one man aboard the ship, which was Walter Mathew, the boatswain’s mate, being [passage missing]. And further sayeth that he was for 3 or 4 days after, and that after this, the next day after, in the morning, the said Williams also Cornish said to this examinee, “Though [I did] play the fool with you yesterday, make no wonder.” Further he sayeth that after this, many times, he [Cornish] would put his hands in this examinee’s cod piece and played [with him] and kissed him, saying to this examinee that he would have brought them [sic] to sea with him, if he had [passage missing] him, that would have played with him. And after this examinee being called and refusing to go he … [took?] him before the mast and forbade all the ship’s company to eat with him, and made this examinee cook for all the rest.

This conviction and execution was challenged by several people – most notably Edward Nevell and Thomas Hatch, both of whom were indentured servants. Both men felt that Cornish was innocent and that his death was wrongful on the part of Virginia’s governor, Nevell going so far as to tell Cornish’s brother of his beliefs. These remarks were seen as offensive as they put the blame for Cornish’s death on the Virginian governor Sir Francis Wyatt and both men were severely punished for their comments. Nevell had both of his ears cut off and was unable to become a free man in Virginia while Hatch only lost one ear, but was whipped and his service contract was extended for an additional seven years.

In 1993 the College William and Mary’s Gay and Lesbian Alumni created the Richard Cornish Endowment Fund for Gay and Lesbian Resources.

Gay History Month – October 20: ACT-UP Protests the UN, Dr. Evelyn Hooker, and the First Gay Wedding On TV May Surprise You.

October 20th.

1958:  Truman Capote’s novella Breakfast at Tiffany’s is published in the November issue of Esquire Magazine. Gay men everywhere begin to name their cat “Cat”.

1969: The National Institutes of Mental Health released a report based on a study led by psychologist Dr. Evelyn Hooker stating that sodomy laws should be repealed.

Evelyn Hooker who applied for a National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) grant to conduct research on “normal homosexuals.” presented the results of her research at the APA’s 1956 Annual Convention in Chicago.  After the NIMH’s report,  Dr. Hooker’s work on the homosexual subculture led to Hooker receiving an award in 1992 for Distinguished Contribution to Psychology in the Public Interest from APA.  In her response to this honor, she shared the award with the gay and lesbian community and expressed pleasure that her research and her “long advocacy of a scientific view of homosexuality” could make their lives and the lives of their families better. She closed her address by reading from a letter she had received from a gay man thanking her for her work and saying, “I think you did it because you knew what love was when you saw it, and you knew that gay love was like all other love.”

1987 : Over fifty ACT-UP members are arrested during an act of civil disobedience protesting President Reagan’s lack of action to the AIDS epidemic.  In another demonstration a few days earlier about 150 people protested across the street from the United Nations building during the UN General Assembly’s first debate on AIDS. The General Assembly resolved to mobilize the entire UN system in the worldwide struggle against AIDS, under the leadership of the World Health Organization. 

1987: The US House of Representatives voted 368-47 to approve an amendment to withhold federal funding from any AIDS education organization which encourages homosexual activity. The senate approved a similar amendment the previous week by a vote of 94-2. It was introduced by Sen. Jesse Helms. / The US House Judiciary Committee voted 21-13 to approve a bill requiring the justice department to collect statistics on hate crimes, including anti-gay violence.

1991:  The first prime-time same-sex wedding on U.S. television – network TV, at that – aired on the Fox sitcom Roc .

The Season One episode “Can’t Help Loving That Man,” focuses on Roc’s uncle (Shaft’s Richard Roundtree) revealing he’s gay and going to marry a man named Chris, and the family’s subsequent struggle to accept his lifestyle, ultimately culminating with Roc (Charles S. Dutton) hosting the ceremony (at that time not legal) in his home. 

1992: The San Diego Police Department announced that it was severing its ties with the Boy Scouts of America due to a local chapter’s dismissal of a gay police officer who was involved with the Explorer program.

1993: Roman Catholic priest Rev Andre Guindon dies of a heart attack at age 60. In his book “The Sexual Creators” he wrote that heterosexuals should look to same-sex couples to learn about tenderness and sharing.  After the release of his book the Vatican demanded that Guindon apologize and bring his teaching more in line with the Catholic Church.   Rev Andre Guindon  never apologized and never changed his progressive teachings.

Gay/LGBT History Month - October 20: ACT-UP, Dr. Evelyn Hooker, Jesse Helms and the First Gay Wedding On TV

GAY HISTORY – October 18: KKK Foiled In Gay Bar Bombing Plot, Georgia’s Sodomy Apology, and the US Navy’s Explosive Gay Frame-Up

October 18th.

1977:  Citizens United to Protect Our Children, an organization in Portland OR, announced they had failed to get enough signatures to get a recall election of Mayor Neil Goldschmidt after he declared Portland’s Gay Pride Day.

1990: Former Supreme Court justice Lewis Powell declared that he believed he made a mistake by voting to uphold Georgia’s sodomy laws in the 1986 Bowers v Hardwick case.

In 1986, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Bowers v. Hardwick to uphold Georgia’s sodomy law, and with it similar laws in twenty-five other states and the District of Columbia. It had been reported that Justice Powell had originally voted to strike down, but a few days later he changed his mind and became the deciding vote in the court’s 5-4 decision. His retirement the following year gave him plenty of time to think about what he had done. Four years after Bowers, Powell spoke before a group of law students at New York University where he was asked how he reconciled his vote in Bowers, which limited the right to privacy, with his vote in Roe v. Wade, which extended a woman’s right to privacy to include whether she wanted to have an abortion. “I think I probably made a mistake on that one,” Powell said of his Bowers decision.

Powell later explained to a law journal, “I do think I was inconsistent in a general way with Roe. When I had the opportunity to reread the opinions a few months later, I thought the dissent had the better of the arguments.” But Powell refused to consider his deciding vote all that important. “I thought it was a frivolous case. I still think it was a frivolous case.” He considered his decision as “one of little or no importance,” because, he said, no one had actually been prosecuted for homosexual conduct.

1990:  Three white supremacists: Robert John Winslow, Stephen Nelson,, and Procter Baker were convicted of conspiring to blow up Neighbours Disco a gay bar in Boise, Idaho.

Robert John Winslow, a twenty-nine year old former infantryman from Laclede, Idaho had it all figured out. He used a towel spread out on a table top to represent the area around Seattle’s Neighbours Disco, a popular nightclub in the Capital Hill gayborhood, as he explained to Rico Valentino how it would all go down. They’d plant four bombs in the alley adjacent to Neighbours’ rear entrance. They’d paint them black and hide them in the shadows, on opposite sides of the alley. They could even use propane to create a “fireball effect.” Then someone would phone the bar with a bomb threat and everyone would evacuate out into the alley. “Fag burgers!” Winslow laughed. Why? Winslow said that homosexuals in America were threatening “white Christianity.” They also talked about bombing the Anti-Defamation League, cars owned by Jews, and businesses owned by blacks and Chinese.

They began planning the operation on April 20, 1990, during an Aryan Nation’s celebration of Hitler’s birthday, and now they were ready to do it. Winslow, Stephen Nelson, 35, and Procter Baker, 58, who had served as master of ceremonies for the birthday observance, were members of the Church of Jesus Christ Christian (Aryan Nations) at Hayden Lake, Idaho. But Valentino, a former professional wrestler, was a paid informant who had been working undercover for three years for the FBI. He wore a wire as Winslow laid out the plans. He also collected evidence at the Aryan Nations compound in Idaho. On May 12, 1990, Winslow and Nelson were arrested after driving with Valentino to Seattle. FBI agents trailed the van and arrested them in a motel parking lot near Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. Agents found pipe-bomb components, a .38-caliber pistol, a 12-gage shotgun and white-supremacist literature. Baker was arrested at his home in Coeur d’Alene. A search of his cabin in Kendrick turned up a partially assembled pipe bomb.

On October 18, 1990, Nelson, Winslow, and Baker were convicted of conspiracy and manufacturing and possessing pipe bombs. Nelson and Winslow were also found guilty of using interstate commerce in a conspiracy and possessing firearms during a violent crime. Winslow was sentenced to nine years, Nelson eight, and Baker to two years. The sentence was considered light: they had faced 20 to 25 years. But U.S. District Judge Harold Ryan rejected prosecutors contention that their actions amounted to “domestic terrorism,” and he also declined the government’s request to add time to the sentenced based on the intended victims.

1991: Admiral Frank B Kelso, chief of naval operations, announced that the explosion of the USS Iowa which killed forty-seven men had been proven not to have been caused by a wrongful intentional act and apologized to the family of Clayton Hartwig. Hartwig had been accused of intentionally causing the blast as an act of suicide following the break up of a homosexual affair. (It was NEVER proven that Hartwig was a was homosexual.)

On April 19, 1989 in the Number Two 16-inch gun turret aboard the USS Iowa exploded, killing 47 crewmen who were inside the turret. Iowa crewmen were ordered to remov the bodies, throw damaged equipment overboard and repaint the damaged turret the next day — all without taking photos or gathering any evidence. Investigators immediately set out the theory that Second Class Gunner’s Mate Clayton Hartwig, was killed in the blast, had committed suicide by detonating the explosion after an alleged affair with another male soldier ended.  As far as the Navy was concerned, that explained everything and the case was closed.

But Congress and the general public weren’t satisfied. After mounting criticism, Navy Secretary J. Lawrence Garett III ordered the service to reopen the investigation and hand it over to independent investigators. During that investigation, a sample of gunpowder of the same type used on the USS Iowa exploded during a ram test, which simulated the process of raming bags of gunpowder into the gun during loading. With that, the original investigation, which was based on circumstantial evidence, also went up in smoke. The Navy was left with nothing to do but apologize. “For this, on behalf of the U.S. Navy, I extend my sincere regrets to the family,” said a statement from Adm. Frank Kekso, chief of naval operations. “The Navy will not imply that a deceased individual is to blame for his own death, or the death of others.” He also apologized to the other families of those who died because “such a long period has passed, and despite all efforts, no certain answers regarding the cause of this terrible tragedy can be found.”

 

Gay History – September 8, 1292: John de Wettre of Belgium Burned at the Stake for Sodomy

On this date in 1292 in the Belgium city of Ghent, 29 year old knife maker John de Wettre was found with another man committing and act “detested by God”.

He was burned alive as punishment.

Byrne Fone, in his book “Homophobia” (2000):

In many parts of Europe at the end of the thirteenth century, then, sodomites, heretics, and other social and sexual deviants were demarcated from the rest of the population. Those who once were only sinners now were criminal; their behavior was not only sinful but antisocial, and thus appropriately punished by loss of rights, property, and life. In 1292 John de Wettre, a knifemaker, was executed for sodomy in Ghent, burned alive for engaging with another man in an act “detested by God.” This is the earliest known execution for that act. We don’t know whether the other man was a lover or a passing stranger, whether the act was habitual or unique. All that we can know about John de Wettre is that John’s execution, if it was the first, would not be the last.

So the next time someone says to you that gay men have not been persecuted as others have, have not dealt with oppression, and not fought as long as other to be accepted and equal.  Remind them of John de Wettre.  

That is his legacy to us.

Gay History – August, 1673: Plymouth Colony Convicts Two Men Of “Spending their seed one upon another”

On August 6, 1673 Plymouth Colony convicted two men of “Lewd Behavior and Unclean Carriage”. 

While not directly labeled in the records as a case of sodomy, it is clearly an act of homosexual behavior.

From the official record:

John Allexander & Thomas Roberts were both examined and found guilty of lewd behavior and unclean carriage one with another, by often spending their seed one upon another, which was proved both by witness & their own confession; the said Allexander [was] found to have been formerly notoriously guilty that way, and seeking to allure others thereunto. The said John Allexander was therefore censured [sentenced] by the Court to be severely whipped, and burnt in the shoulder with a hot iron, and to be perpetually banished [from] the government [territory] of New Plymouth, and if he be at any time found within the same, to be whipped out again by the appointment [order] of the next justice, etc., and so as oft as he shall be found within this government. Which penalty was accordingly inflicted.

Thomas Roberts was censured to be severely whipped, and to return to his master, Mr. Atwood, and serve out his time with him, but to be disabled hereby to enjoy any lands within this government, except he manifest better desert.

Allexander and Roberts, were two men with a long history of sodomy in Plymouth and were spared capital punishment. Allexander, a property owning man, and Roberts, an indentured servant, not only violated sexual morals, but also transgressed class distinctions .

Their punishment, banishment for Allexander and the denial of future land ownership for Roberts, was approximately the same as was cast upon those who participated in illicit sexual acts between men and women.

Gay History – August 7, 1931: American Solider Found Guilty of Sodomy Sent To Alcatraz Prison

Clyde Findell Hicks was born in Oak Grove, Durham, North Carolina on September 5, 1910. On April 13, 1930 at the age of 20, he was listed as a soldier residing in Barracks #158 at Schofield Barracks in Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii.

On August 7, 1931 Hicks was sentenced to six years in prison for the crime of sodomy with an early parole date of August 7, 1935. After serving almost 3 years of his sentence on June 19, 1934 he was transferred to the infamous maximum security prison of Alcatraz of the coast of San Francisco becoming one of the first prisoners on the island.  Even though he wasn’t a hardened criminal as some of the other inmates were he was put into Solitary on December 3 and 4, 1934 for “for conveying a note from one prisoner to another”.  Two other prisoners were put in Solitary that day, and stayed in much longer, for causing a ruckus and planning an escape. The note may have contained information concern this plan.

Despite his solitary confinement, Clyde seems to have otherwise been on his best behavior, he was discharged on his minimum sentence date, August 7, 1935. 

Clyde Hicks who spent 4 years in prison for his desires for other men a year later married a girl named Mary Wolfe of Mt. Airy on December 19, 1936.

Clyde Hicks passed away in Durham, North Carolina on December 5, 1993.

There are those who claim his ghost returned to Alcatraz Island to haunt the prison for being  incarcerated there for the crime of loving another man.

Clyde Hicks

Gay History – July 9, 1550: Italian Humanist and Historian Jacopo Bonfadio Convicted of Sodomy and Beheaded

Jacopo Bonfadio was born in Garda, Italy  in 1508 and was educated at Verona and Padua.

Beginning in 1532, he worked as secretary for various members of the clergy in Rome and Naples. In 1540, he gained employment in Padua with the son of Cardinal-humanist Pietro Bembo. While working for Bembo’s son, he met and became friends with notable humanists of the time and was a contemporary of Annibal Caro

In 1541, Bonfadio among others, coined the term una terza natura, meaning ‘nature improved by art’, and subsequently, many designers utilized the concept. Large-scale views of the Medici villas, the grand vistas of Louis XIV, and the planning of 16th-century and later English country houses show how this idea was incorporated.

Bonfadio’s humanist views earned him some powerful enemies in Genoa. In 1550, after he had completed Annales Genuendis, ab anno 1528 recuperatae libertatis usque ad annum 1550 (his history of the Republic of Genoa from 1528 to 1550), his writings angered the powerful Genoese families the Dorias, the Adornos, the Spinolas, and the Fieschi, who sought revenge against him for daring to record and judge their actions. They proceeded to accuse him of sodomy, for which he was arrested, tried, and condemned to death.

Bonfadio was beheaded, and his body was burnt.

Unfortunately the minutes of his trial have been lost forever.

Gay men and lesbians have been persecuted beaten, tortured, institutionalized, jailed and murdered for many centuries both in the United States and abroad still are to this very day.

#NeverForget

Gay History - June 30: Cincinnati Police Ignore Anti-Gay Public Pool Riot, Bowers v. Hardwick, Jacob de Haan Assassinated, and MORE!

Gay History – June 30: Cincinnati Police Ignore Anti-Gay Public Pool Riot, Bowers v. Hardwick, Jacob de Haan Assassinated, and MORE!

June 30th…….

1924:  Jacob Israel de Haan, Dutch writer and journalist, is assassinated at age 42 for his contacts with Arab leaders. His killer claims never to have known about Haan’s homosexuality, and said further, “I neither heard nor knew about this,” adding “why is it someone’s business what he does at his home?” According to Gert Hekma, Zionists spread a rumor he had been killed by Arabs because of his sexual relations with Arab boys

1973:  The first lesbian conference in Canada is held at Toronto’s YWCA.

1974:  43,000 attended the 5th Annual Christopher Street Liberation Day Parade, more than double the number from the previous year.  The years parade included floats and themes for the first time./

1975:  Canada’s National Gay Rights Conference sees formation of National Gay Rights Coalition which is renamed the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Rights Coalition / Coalition Canadienne pour les droits des lesbiennes et des gais (CLGRC / CCDLG) in 1978. It folds two years later.

1979:  In London, England, 8,000 join the Gay Pride march from the Embankment to Hyde Park to hear Tom Robinson sing.

1979:  A group of 40 people in Cincinnati Ohio who had reserved a city park pool in the division of Clifton for a Gay Pride party are attacked by local residents who throw rocks and bottles at them. Police arrived, watched for a while and then drove away doing nothing. One man had to be rescued by a television news crew. Police refused to return, even after several calls reporting a riot.

1981:  Moncton, New Brunswick, city council passes a last-minute law to prevent a gay picnic from taking place in Centennial Park to celebrate Canada Day. Groups of gay people hold picnic anyway.

1981:  Governor Bob Graham of Florida signed the Trask Amendment into law which denied state funding to any university or college which allowed gay/lesbian/bisexual student organizations. It would later be struck down by the Florida Supreme Court as unconstitutional.

1984:  The Unitarian Church in the U.S. voted to approve ceremonies uniting same-sex couples.

1986:  The U.S. Supreme Court announced its decision in the case of Bowers v. Hardwick, a case challenging the constitutionality of the Georgia sodomy law.

Michael Hardwick was 29 and tending bar at a gay pub in Atlanta, Georgia, he threw a beer bottle into an outdoor trash can and got cited by the police for public drinking. The cop wrote down the wrong day on his summons. When Hardwick didn’t show up in court as a result, an arrest warrant was issued. An officer later showed up at his apartment to serve the warrant, and a guest who’d been sleeping on the living room couch said he wasn’t sure if Hardwick was home. The cop decided to take a look and found Hardwick in his bedroom, having oral sex with a man and they were both arrested for sodomy.

Hardwick’s case was dismissed without a trial by the district court, and then he actually won on appeal before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, where a panel of judges found that his fundamental right to privacy had been violated. . But when Hardwick’s case came to the Supreme Court, Justice Byron White didn’t frame it in terms of privacy or any other civil right. “The issue presented,” he wrote, “is whether the Federal Constitution confers a fundamental right upon homosexuals to engage in sodomy.” The answer was no. White got there by saying that proscriptions against homosexual conduct had “ancient roots,” stressing that at the time 24 states and the District of Columbia continued to outlaw sodomy

The court voted 5-4 to uphold the sodomy law.

White famously got the fifth vote that made his opinion speak for the majority from Justice Lewis Powell, a moderate, who said at the time that he didn’t know any gay people. (He meant openly gay people, since it turned out he had a gay clerk.).  Four years later, Powell famously told a group of law students that he regretted his decision. “I think I probably made a mistake in that one,” he said.

1986:  Dr. William Haseltine responds to a U.S. justice department memo which claimed that he said that HIV could be casually transmitted. He said his statements had been distorted and that casual contact posed no significant threat. Assistant Attorney General Charles Cooper later apologized to him.

1987:  After spending three years in jail for treason, South African AIDS activist Simon Nkoli was released on bail.

Nikoli founded the Gay and Lesbian Organization of the Witwatersrand in 1988. He traveled widely and was given several human rights awards in Europe and North America. He was a member of International Lesbian and Gay Association board, representing the African region. After becoming one of the first publicly HIV-positive African gay men, he initiated the Positive African Men group based in central Johannesburg.

Nikoli died of AIDS in 1998 in Johannesburg

1989:  Activists protest outside the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington DC because of the cancellation of an exhibit of photographs by Robert Mapplethorpe.

1990:  Gays in London, England, lay a wreath at the Cenotaph in memory of gays killed in Germany during the Holocaust.

1995:  British publication Capital Gay puts out its last issue.

1998:  Lawmakers in Catalonia Spain passed a bill which gives same sex couples the same inheritance and alimony rights as married couples, but stopped short of allowing the adoption of children. Catholic groups condemned the bill, saying it institutionalized immoral behavior.

2000:  David Copeland, 24, is convicted murder for planting a bomb in a London gay bar a year earlier.  Copeland a  Neo-Nazi militant  became known as the “London Nail Bomber” after a 13-day bombing campaign in April 1999 aimed at London’s black, Bangladeshi and gay communities.

2001:  Dozens are injured in Belgrade as roving bands of young thugs attack participants the first gay-rights march in Yugoslavia’s capital.

2005:  Spain becomes the fourth country in the world (after Belgium, the Netherlands and Canada) to legalize gay marriage as the Spanish parliament gives final approval to a bill authorizing same-sex weddings. To no one’s surprise the Catholic Church howled in protest, but the law passed anyway.

2009:  After a strenuous court battle, the Minnesota Supreme Court race was finally decided by a state Supreme Court ruling in favor of Al Franken. Franken is considered a great ally to have in the Senate, as he has spoken numerous times on his intent to vote in favor of expanding rights for gays, and because his vote makes a “filibuster proof” majority.

 

82-02-05  Bush-Trask amendment unconstitutional -