Tag Archives: LGBT activist

Nashville, Tennessee Dedicates State’s 1st LGBT Historical Marker


On Saturday Nashville, Tennessee unveiled the states first LGBT historical marker honoring local LGBT activist Penny Campbell.

The marker was placed in front of her former home.

Represented by Nashville attorney Rubenfeld, Penny Campbell was the lead plaintiff in the successful Constitutional challenge in Tennessee that ultimately decriminalized gay sex  in 1996. 

“Penny was one of those people who were willing to say to Nashville that she was a lesbian and she was willing to be named and identified as such, and she was proud of it. That’s what changed minds and brought us to where we are today,” said Dr. Pippa Holloway, Professor of History at Middle Tennessee State University.

Nashville Mayor Megan Barry spoke at the event. “[Penny] was one of the most influential and effective LGBT activists that Nashville has ever seen,” she told the attendees gathered for the ceremony. “She said, ‘it shouldn’t matter who you love and you shouldn’t have to hide that love,’ and she took that all the way to the Tennessee Supreme Court.

Penny Campbell passed away in 2014.

Her marker is placed on the 1600 block of McEwen Avenue .

UNSUNG LGBT HEROES: Longtime DC LGBT Activist and Founder of Federal GLOBE Leonard Hirch Passes Away

Len Hirsch


There are many LGBT activist who’s work goes unsung in the LGBT community and one person who should be remembered for his hard work to our cause is Leonard Hirch who passed away at the age 60 last night in Washington, D.C. after a battling cancer.

When Len Hirsch started at the Smithsonian in 1988  he was fine being out but soon realized that although the agency was one of the more welcoming in the federal government, there were still many dealing with issues of discrimination and harassment of LGBT employees.  So in response Len founded the group Federal GLOBE: Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Employees of the Federal Government (fedglobe.org),

Federal GLOBE’s chartered purpose is to eliminate prejudice and discrimination in the federal government based on sexual orientation by (1) developing and providing educational programs, materials and assistance mechanisms which address the distinctive concerns and problems of lesbians, gay men, and bisexuals in the federal government and (2) educating the general public, policy makers, and federal employees about issues of concern to lesbians, gay men, and bisexuals.

Hirsch, originally a New York City native, spent time in California, Illinois and Florida before settling in Washington in 1985.  Lenonard Hirsch’s  husband  of 33 years Dr. Kristian Fauchald, a marine biologist, suffered a heart attack and passed away only a few weeks ago.

Thanks to Leonard Hirsch and GLOBE together they educated and  helped countless numbers of LGBT Federal employees who faced harassment and discrimination in the Government workplace.

Len Hirsch was and is a true LGBT American hero.


Phil Attey Len Hirsch



Terminally Ill LGBT Activist To Marry Her Partner Before Law Goes Into Effect In Illinois

Vernita Gray

An Illinois judge has ruled that terminally ill Chicago LGBT rights activist Vernita Gray may marry her partner before the same-sex marriage law goes into effect next summer.

County Clerk David Orr said he will comply with the court’s order, handed down Monday by Judge Thomas Durkin. A lawsuit was filed Friday by Lambda Legal and the ACLU of Illinois seeking immediate action for Vernita Gray and Patricia Ewert. Gray has bone and brain cancer and is not expected to live until Illinois’ gay marriage law goes into effect June 1. Camilla Taylor of the gay rights group Lambda Legal says Gray wishes to marry the woman she loves before she dies. Orr says his office will expedite a marriage license to Gray and Taylor, adding it’s a service already granted to heterosexual couples in similar situations.

I was stunned, and I’m still stunned,” said Vernita Gray, who suffers from bone and brain cancer. “It’s like Christmas, my birthday, the tooth fairy all rolled into one.”

Congratulations and best of luck and love Vernita.


Smart & Incredibly Sexy Zachary Quinto Interview


The incredibly endearing socially conscious Zachary Quinto gave an interview for OUT magazine that discusses his life, his career, politics, and what he envisions for the future. The Heroes and Star Trek actor first expresses why he came out last year in such a nonchalant manner:

“I needed it to happen. Otherwise, I couldn’t move forward authentically. Ultimately, I think the only thing that really drives me in life, continually, is a pursuit of authenticity of experience — of myself.”

“One of the defining conversations that I had with myself was that absolutely no good can come from me staying quiet about [my sexuality],” he says. “Literally, no good can come from it. But if I take the step to make the acknowledgment and be honest, so much good could potentially come from it.”

Over the past few months, Quinto has been a strong suporter of President Obama and even using twitter to campaign for the upcoming elections in November. Quinto to say the least is dismayed by the public discrimation towards the president as well as the religious right’s view on LGBT rights:

“It boggles my mind that there are so many extreme, Christian organizations that are adopting a stance against homosexuality with such vitriol and hatred and targeted aggression that goes against the tenets of the Christian faith, The hatred that people are leading with in this discussion is really, for me, the biggest symptom of how sick we are. It’s the thing that makes me look at our culture and think, We are so far afield of any sort of connectivity or truth in relationship to one another. I don’t want this to be too soapboxy,”

Quinto also discusses his past in love, saying how it may have been because of his father’s death may have influenced how he dated in the past. And even though Quinto is very private about his personal life, he admitted his relationship with actor Jonathan Groff. Maybe the strong relationship is what has him talking about expanding his family in the future? Maybe:

“I found myself in a pattern of being attracted to people who were somehow unavailable, and what I realized was that I was protecting myself because I equated the idea of connection and love with trauma and death, I had to do a lot of work on the couch to really get to a place where I was able to show up to a relationship with someone who was actually capable of being in one — and that took a lot of trial and error. And I’m still working on all that stuff — that will never stop. But I definitely want kids… I want to share.”

I love this interview so much! Highly recommend fellow Star Trek fans check out the rest of his interview and what he says about his friendship with Leonard Nimoy!!!

Murdered Nova Scotia Gay Activist Raymond Taavel Mourned, New Evidence Points To A Hate Crime

Beloved Nova Scotia gay activist Raymond Taavel was brutally beaten and murdered by a schizophrenic on a unescorted one-hour leave from a psychiatric hospital  earlier this week was honored yesterday hundreds of people turned out for a vigil in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Media outlets who originally reported Raymonds murder as a random crime committed by a psychiatric patient, now report that the murderer Andre Noel Denny used anti-gay slurs during the attack, and authorities are determining the murder’s status might be a  hate crime.

The National Post reports:

According to court documents, Mr. Denny was found not criminally responsible for a “variety of offences” on Sept. 1 and 2, 2009, including uttering threats, causing unnecessary injury to a dog, possession of stolen property (the dog) and breach of probation. Court documents also indicate he has “a long history of schizophrenia, paranoid subtype, coupled with a substance abuse problem.” Police could not confirm reports the suspect yelled gay slurs at Mr. Taavel, but say they are “considering all possibilities” with respect to a motive.

To the man who worked beside Mr. Taavel for 13 years, the activist was a passionate “activist without anger.”

“He had a lovely, joyous presence,” said Barry Boyce, a senior editor who worked with Mr. Taavel at Shambhala Sun magazine in Halifax. “You couldn’t stay mad at him for more than 35 seconds” he told the National Post, his voice shaking. “He was a real sweet guy.”

Rest In Peace Raymond Taavel and thank you for all you did.

Longtime Gay Activist Cleve Jones: Corporate Money Is Destroying LGBT Organizations

In an interview with Edge Boston  longtime gay activist Cleve Jones, a close friend of Harvey Milk,  claimed that he fears the LGBT movement may be losing its way and that corporate money has too strong an influence.

The HRC,  GLAAD, and the National Lesbian and Gay Task Force  is “either remarkably tone deaf, and incredibly cynical or it was maybe bought and paid for.” Jones said as  pointed to the brouhaha over the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation’s initial endorsement of AT&T’s decision to merge with cell phone service provider T-Mobile and HRC’s appointment of Goldman Sachs (the corporation which started the current economic countdown) CEO Lloyd Blankfeild as a spokesperson for its national marriage equality campaign.  Jones fears that corporations that pour large amounts of money into the Human Rights Campaign, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and other national LGBT organizations have turned the groups into nothing more than “corporations”

Asked if he though President Barack Obama will endorse marriage equality before the November election, Jones said “I kind of doubt it. But I will vote from him, I will campaign for him.  With all of his problems, he is infinitely better than what the other party has to offer.”

Russian Activist Arrested In Red Square Protesting New Anti-Gay Law – мужество!

Russian activist Nikolai Alekseev, Vladimir Ivanov, and another activist were arrested in Russia’s Red Square last night as they stood up and bravely protested  the “new” Russian law that prohibits the passing of  “propaganda (information, etc) of sodomy (homosexuality), lesbianism, bisexualism, transgenderism, and pedophilia to minors’.   In which the Russian goverment has lumped the LGBT Community into one law with sexual crimes against minors by pedophiles, members of the Russian Legislative Assembly are attempting no to demonize LGBT community more within the realm of Russia’s public opinion and also severely limit human rights in St. Petersburg.

Nicolai Alekseev wrote on his Facebook page that it was the “First ever public event of Russian LGBT community at Red Square in Moscow.”

LGBT Asylum News writes:

Their protest, signaled on social media to happen in another Moscow location, in fact occurred in front of the most famous location in all of Russia. Within seconds they were swarmed by police.

The dolls – Piggy, Stepashka, Fili and Karkushi – at the Red Square protest were from popular children’s TV shows and the banners said “Good night, kids!”

These are amazing and and extremely brave people.  Back2Stonewall.com salutes them.