Tag Archives: Gay Hero

Gay History – September 22, 1975: The Tragic Story of Oliver Sipple, The Gay Man Who Saved President Ford’s Life

On September 22, 1975 President Gerald Ford was in San Francisco to deliver a luncheon speech to a foreign affairs group at the St. Francis Hotel. Outside, Oliver Sipple, a former Marine and Vietnam veteran, was in the crowd waiting for Ford to exit the building. Standing next to Sipple was Sara Jane Moore. Earlier that day, Moore called federal authorities threatening to “test” Ford’s security. The day before, San Francisco police picked her up on a misdemeanor charge of carrying a concealed weapon, but they released her after federal authorities stepped in and said they would handle the matter. The Secret Service interviewed her that night, but let her go.

That day as President Ford left the hotel, Sara Jane Moore pulled a .38 Smith & Wesson revolver from her purse, pointed it at the President, and fired a shot. As she fired, Sipple reached out and grabbed her arm. Moore’s shot missed Ford by just five feet.

Sipple had been a fixture in San Francisco’s gay community for several years had saved President Gerald Ford’s life.

“All I did was react,” he said. “I’m glad I was there. If it’s true I saved the President’s life, then I’m damn happy about it. But I honestly feel that if I hadn’t reached out for that arm, somebody else would have.”

Sipple had worked on Milk’s first unsuccessful attempt at winning a seat on the city’s Board of Supervisors. He was out to his friends, but closeted to his family in Detroit. . When reporters asked about his sexuality, Sipple replied with a standard non-answer: “I don’t think I have to answer that question. If I were homosexual or not, it doesn’t make me less of a man than I am.”

But Sipple was well known in the gay community and it was an open secret.

Sipple was never contacted directly by President Ford the man whose life he saved, and Harvey Milk was convinced that it was because Sipple was gay. (The White House mailed a letter of appreciation four days after the assassination attempt.) But Sipple told friends that he wasn’t interested in the attention he “just wanted a little peace and quiet.”  But that was not to be.   The San Francisco Chronicle’s Herb Caen broke the story of Sipple being “gay” and it was soon picked up by wire services. Sipple’s Baptist mother publicly disowned him, and he soon found himself besieged by reporters. Sipple sued The Chronicle, Caen, and several other newspapers for invasion of privacy, but lost. The courts ruled that he had become a public figure on the day of the assassination attempt, and that his sexual orientation was part of the story.

Sipple, who was on psychological disability because of wounds suffered in Vietnam, declined physically in the years following the assassination attempt. He drank heavily, and told all who would listen that he wished he never grabbed Moore’s gun.

Oliver Sipple died, alone, of pneumonia in his Tenderloin District apartment in San Francisco in 1989.

President Ford and his wife sent a letter of sympathy to his family and friends.

Oliver Sipple was buried in Golden Gate National Cemetery south of San Francisco.

San Francisco International Airport Set To Name Terminal In Honor of Harvey Milk

San Francisco International Airport Set To Name Terminal In Honor of Harvey Milk

San Francisco is preparing to rename a terminal at the San Francisco International Airport after slain gay civil rights icon Harvey Milk

The name change was originally introduced in 2013 and was intended to re-name the entire airport after Milk, the first openly gay elected official in a major city, but the proposal met with opposition.

Instead, an airport naming committee was established, which recently recommended naming SFO’s Terminal 1 after Milk, who was elected to the Board of Supervisors in 1977. He served in the post until he was gunned down at City Hall in 1978 along with Mayor George Moscone by former Supervisor Dan White

Today legislation introduced by Supervisor Hillary Ronen and co-sponsored by Supervisor Jeff Sheehy for the airport to make the change. The legislation requires the director of the airport to report to the Board of Supervisors and the Mayor by Dec. 1 “describing the steps the Airport has taken and plans to take” to name the terminal after Milk and publicize it.

“In order to honor one of the nation’s great gay leaders, raise awareness of the history of the LGBT movement, and give hope to young LGBT people in cities everywhere, the Board of Supervisors finds it fitting that a terminal at the San Francisco International Airport be named in honor of Harvey Milk,” the legislation says.

“It’s a long time coming. It’s the gateway to San Francisco, and so recognizing Harvey and making that connection to our community is appropriate. Its beautiful,” said Sheehy during an editorial meeting with the San Francisco Examiner on Monday.

Ronen said given the rise in murders of LGBT people in the country and the current political climate with President Donald Trump, the gesture is more than just symbolic. She said it will help combat hate and bring “material change in people’s lives” when they may arrive and see “there’s a place where they belong.

Ronen said she also plans to amend the legislation to require the director to submit to the Arts Commission a plan for placement of artwork memorializing Milk in the terminal by September or October.

Behind The Man: George Micheal Gave Millions To Bullied And Abused Children Causes And HIV/AIDS Charities

Behind The Man:  George Micheal Gave Millions To Bullied And Abused Children Causes And HIV/AIDS Charities

 

The Irish Times reports:

Behind the headlines and huge on-stage persona, George Michael was a generous man who kept quiet about his considerable charitable donations, it has emerged.  The star donated all the royalties from his 1996 number one single Jesus To A Child to charity, and is said to have given a gameshow contestant thousands of pounds to fund her IVF treatment.

Michael has helped countless children as a result of his donations to Childline, the charity’s founder and president Dame Esther Rantzen said. “For years now he has been the most extraordinarily generous philanthropist, giving money to Childline, but he was determined not to make his generosity public so no-one outside the charity knew how much he gave to the nation’s most vulnerable children,” she told the Press Association.

“Over the years he gave us millions and we were planning next year, as part of our 30th anniversary celebrations to create, we hoped, a big concert in tribute to him — to his artistry, to his wonderful musicality but also to thank him for the 100s of 1,000s of children he helped through supporting Childline.”

Childline provides help with issues with include child abuse, bullying, mental illness, parental separation or divorce, pregnancy and substance misuse.

The same year that he came out as gay in 1991 , George Michael began his public activism by helping with a documentary about six young people affected by the HIV virus to coincide with World Aids Day.

As part of his philanthropy — much of it under the radar — he was also a major supporter of the Terrence Higgins Trust, a British HIV charity.

“His donations contributed to a vision of a world where people living with HIV live healthy lives free from prejudice and discrimination.

George Michael was a true gay icon and LGBT hero.  He will be greatly missed.

Elton John, Andrew Ridgeley, Madonna, Brian May, Sam Smith, Kylie Minogue, Johnny Marr and countless other artists and fans have paid tribute to the 53-year-old star.

 

Private First Class Bradley Manning Nominated for 2013 Nobel Peace Prize

Bradlee Manning Nominated for Nobel Peace Prize

The gay solider who human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell described as a “gay hero” and a “human rights defender” and the United States Government considers a traitor Pfc. Bradley Manning has been nominated for a 2013 Noble Peace Prize.

Last week Manning pleaded guilty to 10 of the 22 charges brought against him related to the misuse of federal documents by releasing  thousands of pages of classified and confidential information  to the website Wikileaks.

On nominating Manning, the entire parliamentary group of The Movement in the Icelandic Parliament, the Pirates of the EU; representatives from the Swedish Pirate Party, the former Secretary of State in Tunisia for Sport & Youth released a statement.

It read: “These revelations have fueled democratic uprisings around the world, including a democratic revolution in Tunisia. According to journalists, his alleged actions helped motivate the democratic Arab Spring movements, shed light on secret corporate influence on the foreign and domestic policies of European nations, and most recently contributed to the Obama Administration agreeing to withdraw all US troops from the occupation in Iraq.”

Source: Pink News UK

Last Known Gay Jewish Survivor of the Holocaust, Gad Beck Passes Away in Berlin

Gad Beck, a WWII Nazi resistance fighter and the last known gay Jewish survivor of the Holocaust, passed away on Sunday in a in a senior citizens’ home Berlin, Germany.

Beck was a pioneering gay activist and educator in a severely anti-homosexual, repressive post-World War II Germany

During a wartime effort Beck entered a Nazi deportation center to donning a Hitler Youth uniform to free his Jewish lover Manfred Lewin, who had declined to separate himself from his family. The Nazis would later deport the entire Lewin family to Auschwitz, where they were all murdered.

Beck was featured in the film The Life of Gad Beck and the documentary Paragraph 175. (The notorious Paragraph 175 of the German Penal Code outlawed homosexuality before Adolf Hitler became chancellor in 1933, and the Nazi party radically intensified the enforcement of the anti-gay law, including deportations to extermination camps.

Speaking about his life as a gay Jew, Beck invoked a line frequently cited about homosexuality: “God doesn’t punish for a life of love.”

Gad Beck was a true gay hero in every sense of the word and may he never be forgotten.

I truly hope and pray Gad is reunited with his lover  Manfred, forever.

CLICK HERE to read Gad Beck’s entry from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum by

Source: The Jerusalem Post