ON THIS QUEER DAY – JULY 2022

by Adriaan van den Berg

 

LGBTG History Calendar for July 2022

July 1stIf we speak about “fighting” as LGBTG people, this July and as we seemingly have to on an ongoing basis, remember Willem Arondeus again (b. August 22, 1894 – d. July 1, 1943), whom we have previously commemorated in this column… He said: “Let it be known that homosexuals are not cowards” – something that I can profess from personal experience that it also counts for lesbians and transgender people too. Arondeus was caught and executed by the Nazis on this day in July 1943, after he and a group had infiltrated and bombed the Amsterdam public records office and had thus sabotaged the Nazi’s ability to identify Dutch Jews, and to single out anyone else for persecution. His last wish was to be given a pink shirt. 

July 2ndSame-sex acts were decriminalized in India on this day in 2009, after the Delhi High Court ruled that the existing 148-year-old law which punished so-called homosexual acts with a minimum ten-year prison sentence violated fundamental rights to personal liberty.

July 3rdAbout 300 lesbians and homosexual men marched in Argentina’s first-ever Pride Celebration on the 3rd of July 1992. The 1990s were an era of significant developments for LGBTG rights in Argentina where, despite same-sex activities in private being legal since 1987, there were still no civil rights laws to protect LGBTG people who were also looked down upon by many Argentinians. And so, they marched on this day in 1992 in protest and to raise awareness of their needs.

July 4thTwo years ago, on this day in July 2020, the US Embassy in Moscow defied US President Donald Trump by hanging a rainbow flag in its window despite Trump having ordered all US embassies to refrain from doing so. Last month we had deliberately focused on Russia’s poor record in LGBTG rights and treatment – and so that poor record was only continued and confirmed when the flag in the Moscow US Embassy’s window was mocked by Russian President Vladimir Putin who suggested it revealed the orientation of the diplomats working at the embassy. Ha-ha-ha, Vladimir. This is the Putin who had once claimed Russia did not discriminate against LGBTG people but who then signed a constitutional amendment blocking a vote on same-sex unions, and who had signed a law which prohibited dissemination of LGBTG information to children, a law which has since been used to ban pride events and to jail LGBTG activists. It isn’t a fact recognized often enough, but if a government disrespects or suppresses its LGBTG people, it usually is indicative and a precursor of other problems and of more to come… and so, Putin may be a patriot and many Russians may be touched by his love for Mother Russia, but he’s not good for her or them anymore which LGBTG people were first to know.

July 5thSerbian parliament approved a law on this day in 2011 banning discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, but things were also developing and advancing in Canada on this day first in 1978, when a Montreal Catholic Schools Commission’s refusal to rent facilities to a gay group was overturned by the Quebec Human Rights Commission, and again in 1980, when on this day the Liberal Party of Canada adopted a resolution to include sexual orientation in the Canadian Human Rights Act. 

July 6thA terrible execution of two men who had been caught having sex occurred on this day in France in 1750. Bruno Lenoir (18) and Jean Diot (20) were strangled and then burned at the Place de Greve upon seven wagons of brushwood, two hundred faggots (stick bundles) and straw. It was, however, the last such execution for consensual sodomy in France and in October 2014, Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo unveiled a plaque dedicated to their memory.

July 7thSweden today, and on this day in 2010 the first openly bisexual person was elected to the Swedish Government. He was to be the Minister of Migration Affairs and leader of the Moderate Party, Tobias Billstrom (b. 27 Dec. 1973). Billstrom was to be a controversial figure due to his statements regarding immigrants.

July 8thIn 1978 on this day, a group of men decided to attack homosexuals in Central Park, New York. At the end of the day several homosexual men had been severely injured including former Olympic and world champion ice skater Dick Button (b. July 18, 1929).   

July 9th1550, Italy and Jacopo Bonfadio (c. 1508 – 9 July 1550), a humanist and a historian, was beheaded on this day that year for sodomy, but it seems more likely to have been covert revenge for him publishing gossipy accounts about wealthy families in Genoa. Other humanists were also tried on the same charges and a few were then also executed. 

July 10thAustria’s Parliament decriminalized homosexual acts between consenting adults on this day in 1970. And on this day in 1985, an editorial in the Texas Daily News stated regarding an upcoming Klu Klux Klan anti-gay rally: “Given a choice between sharing a park with homosexuals and a bunch of white-sheeted, racist, hate peddling losers, we think we would prefer the homosexuals.” So, thank you to the Texas Daily News for preferring us to homophobic white supremacists… We’re just still not certain if you meant by that statement that you’re totally cool with us, so we’re going to ask that in a forthcoming edition that you state that you wouldn’t mind whether you shared a park with a bunch of us homosexuals or any bunch of ordinary heterosexuals too. And come down to the park with us in future to picket and protest Klan rallies.  

July 11thItaly again, only in 1998 and it was the Vatican who offended: It condemned Pisa’s municipal authorities on this day of that year for deciding to recognize a lesbian marriage of two women who had been together for eleven years.   

July 12thFrance moved on this day in 1982 to remove homosexuality from its official list of mental diseases. Poland, however, used this day in 1998 to ban the country’s first Pride Parade when city authorities denied organizers permits for the event.  

July 13thLet’s remember today that Italy has also given us some of the most illustrious figures in LGBTG history, especially from classical times, and the country itself should remember that it did: It includes great artists and scholars but also statesmen like the emperor Hadrian (lover of Antinious) and now add Caius Julius Caesar born on this day in 100BC (d. 15 March, 44BC). Yes, Caesar had a male lover (or more), his affair with Nicomedes IV of Bithynia was noted by historians and some politicians tried to humiliate him by calling him the Queen of Bithynia (Hadrian’s beloved Antinious also came from Bithynia). Catullus later wrote two poems suggesting Caesar and his engineer Mamurra were lovers, but recanted. And Mark Antony alleged Octavian obtained his adoption by Caesar (rulers adopted their heirs in Rome, as adults too) by sexual favors, but the wise Suetonius described it as mere slander.

  And I just have to add this for today: An advice columnist who had been asked by a reader if homosexuality was a disease had replied in her Dear Abbey column on this day in 1970 with the answer: “No! It is the ability to love at all which I consider an emotional illness.” And that would have made this a perfect LGBTG day if the Vatican hadn’t spoiled it and sullied Italy’s reputation again by ordering a catholic priest to stop his ministry to gays in Maryland USA on this day in 1999. Perhaps the Vatican should note that on this same day in 2003, gay activists took over the general assembly of the Church of England demanding equality for gays. Make today your day for criticizing religious bigotry!

July 14thNo particular reason for singling out Italy this month, I just decided to point out a few unfortunate occurrences in LGBTG history from that country as well as to also highlight some of its contributions… And I have already mentioned noted scholars from the ranks of Italy’s LGBTG people, and today in July 1454, it was the birthday of one such eminence: Angelo Poliziano (d. 24 Sept. 1494), considered the successor to the great Ovid, who wrote under the name Politian and who was tutor to Lorenzo de Medici’s children. Young men from all over Europe sought him out to educate and enlighten them. And he did, dying of a heart attack in bed with one of his students.    

July 15thWe noted Argentina’s long suffering LGBTG people languishing without rights in our entry for the 3rd of July (1992), but today we can report that on the 15th of July in 2010, that country’s Senate approved same-sex marriages. Sadly though, on this same day of the 15th of July in 2015, the famous gay black disco and bar Jewel’s Catch One in Los Angeles closed its doors. It had been a hangout and a hub for performers like Whitney Houston, Donna Summer, Luther Vandross, Janet Jackson, Whoopi Goldberg, Sylvester, Rick James and Madonna.  

July 16thRemember Cuban LGBTG people and their history on this day, remember Reinaldo Arenas, the homosexual Cuban poet, playwright and novelist (who wrote Singing from the Well). Born on this day in 1943, he was at first sympathetic to Castro and the 1959 revolution, but as Castro’s regime began persecuting homosexuals, Arenas became critical of it and fled to the USA in 1980 where he contracted Aids. He finally became too sick to write, Arenas committed suicide on the 7th of December 1990.

July 17thQueen Elizabeth’s personal bodyguard, Commander Michael Trestrail (b. 1931), was forced to resign on this day in 1982 after he was outed by British newspapers. Then reports began surfacing that their Conservative Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, had wanted to raise the issue of gays in the palace and in service to the royals but that the Queen had summoned Thatcher and had told her to mind her own business. Since LGBTG people have serviced the British royals, it would be good to see the royals dedicate some of their charitable work to LGBTG causes.       

July 18thThe first transgender rights protests in the USA, at Compton’s Cafeteria in San Francisco which preceded even the Stonewall riots in New York, began on this day in July 1966 when people first picketed the Cafeteria in protest at it using Pinkerton agents and police to harass LGBTG customers.  

July 19thA case that has long haunted me had its tragic end on this day in July 2005 in Iran when two gay Iranian youths, Mahmoud Asgari (16) and Ayaz Marhoni (18) were publicly hanged in the town square of Mashhad in northeastern Iran. They had allegedly raped a 13-year-old boy, but the accusation and their trial were dubious and suspect that their case and sentence were subsequently followed by persecutions of LGBTG people all over Iran. The two boys are known as the “Iranian Saints” after the Temple of Antinious the Gay God declared them Saints some years ago (see the Temple’s Saints Lists at its website at www.antinopolis.org).  

July 20thThis was the birthday of Alexander the Great in July 356BC. The great conqueror’s homosexual friendship with Hephaistion is a recognized fact, though Alexander also allegedly had a relationship with a beautiful Persian eunuch called Bagoas who followed Alexander even on his campaigns through deserts.  

July 21stIn 1730 in Holland, on this day of July, an edict was issued justifying arrest and capital punishment of homosexuals. 

July 22ndA sixteen-year-old youth called Dwayne Jones attended a party in Montego Bay, Jamaica on this day in 2013 dressed as a woman and danced with various men. However, a mob formed who had identified him as male. Jones was seized and brutally killed. This case garnered international attention and an outcry rose worldwide about anti-LGBTG violence in Jamaica. Two years earlier, elsewhere in Norway, a lesbian couple used their boat to spirit forty people to safety, away from an island where on this day in July 2011 a rightwing fanatic was busy gunning down 69 other people. 

July 23rdIn 2001 the battle to legalize same-sex marriages was heating up everywhere across the world and in Canada on this day of July that year, eight couples took the fight in Canada to British Columbia’s Supreme Court where they argued that the federal definition of marriage which barred same-sex couples from marriage was unconstitutional. 

July 24thAs Montenegro’s first LGBTG Pride March proceeded on this day in July 2013, violent protestors attempted to interfere as they shouted “Kill the gays!”

Today is important not for Montenegro’s homophobes’ viciousness though, but for all of you who have been reading On This Queer Day, all those who have been using this calendar and who care and have an interest in LGBTG history, because on this day of July 2013, Sarah Prager created the Quist LGBTG history app! Thank you to Sarah and Ronni Sanlo, whose indispensable work on LGBTG history this column has drawn upon.

July 25thFrance’s Parliament amended the penal code to prohibit discrimination based on “moral habits” which included homosexuality on this day in July 1985. It was one of the earliest, most progressive European countries to reform its legislation so as to end discrimination against homosexuality. 

July 26thThe pioneer Nigerian LGBTG activist, lawyer, writer, editor and founder of Nigeria’s first LGBTG publication, A Nasty Boy magazine, Richard Akuson, was born on this day in July 1993. He was nominated for The Future Awards (“Africa’s new media innovation award”) in 2017, was an Abryanz Style & Fashion Award’s nominee for best fashion writer that same year and he was named one of the 40 Most Powerful Nigerians following A Nasty Boy’s launch also in 2017. Happy birthday, Richard! – from us here at Exit.   

July 27thItaly and Argentina came up more than once in entries for this July. The first entry for Argentina was on the 3rd 1992 and reported that LGBTG people were still struggling and had a first Pride March, but on the 27th of July 2011, Osvaldo Ramon Lopez (b. 4 Sept. 1971), Argentina’s first openly gay congressperson, took office. 

July 28thOpponents of LGBTG rights, haters of LGBTG people, have longed claimed opportunistically that any advances we make in securing our rights legally and constitutionally will promote homosexuality, lesbianism and bisexuality, or favor transgender people at the cost of others. This was indeed again the case; they made that same old hollow and unfounded allegation when Fiji’s government approved a constitution which protected its gay and lesbian citizens. 

July 29thUS aerospace and weapons manufacturer Raytheon supposedly belong to a very conservative sector of industries, but it added transgender to its anti-discrimination policy on this day in July 2005.   

July 30thIn July 2015 on this day a homophobic ultra-Orthodox Jewish man returned to the LGBTG Pride Parade in Israel to commit the same crime he committed in 2005 of attacking marchers. People died. Now, just days ago this June as I write this column, violent and armed homophobes belonging to an organized group were apprehended also on their way to attack a Pride Parade in the USA. I personally see no reason why going unarmed to Pride Parades should be seen as heroic and as the only and appropriate way to go for us. There is a culture of martyrdom amongst us and we don’t ever address the violence directly which makes martyrs amongst us in the first place. Check your province’s laws about carrying concealed weapons if you intend to go armed. 

July 31stThose despicable executions of two gay teenagers in Iran which was followed by persecutions and executions of other LGBTG people reported in the entry for the 19th of July (2005)… On this day of July also in 2005, the Netherlands halted extradition of gays back to Iran after the persecutions and executions of LGBTG people by that country came to light. Sounds noble of the Netherlands, does it? Sorry, that was not enough! In every country where LGBTG people enjoy rights and have a voice, if any other country launches a campaign of executing LGBTG people, let there be a demand from us in the free country where we have rights and a voice and let us use it to make that demand that all diplomatic relations be broken with the country executing our people. Saudi and Iran, they’re enemies… which is funny because those two should be targeted together to also together become the first countries to be utterly isolated internationally for crimes against us. 

   That was the LGBTG History Calendar of Upon This Queer Day for July 2022. Let’s fight on and forge ahead from this month on. Aluta Continua!

 

Interfaith Calendar for July 2022

July 6th Tisha B’Av: Judaism – Commemoration of the destruction of the Jewish temple in Jerusalem in 586BC and in 70CE. 

July 7th Hajj: Islam – Beginning of the pilgrimage to Mecca incumbent on all. Muslims.  

July 8th – 10th – Ascension, Consecration and Apotheosis of Hadrian: Antinoan – Acquisition of divinity by the emperor Hadrian, lover of the Gay God Antinious.  

July 9th Eid- al-Adha: Islam – Muslim holiday that marks the end of the Hajj pilgrimage. 

July 10th Martyrdom of the Bab: Baha’i Faith – Commemoration of the execution of the co-founder of the faith.  

July 11th St. Benedict Day: Catholic – In memory of the Saint.    

July 23rd Birthday of Haile Selassie: Rastafarian – The Lion of Juda, Emperor Haile Selassie’s birthday. 

July 24th Pioneer Day: Mormon – Remembrance and celebration of the settlement of the Great Salt Lake area by Mormon pioneers.  

July 25th Inundation in the Nile: Antinoan – Commemoration of the first great miracle by the Gay God Antinious after his mortal death and deification in 130CE which saved the Roman Empire from starvation.

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On This Queer Day (LGBTG History Calendar and Interfaith Calendar) compiled by Adriaan van den Berg. You can contact him with queries, corrections and criticism at adriaanvandenberg2@gmail.com 

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