ON THIS QUEER DAY – AUGUST 2022

Written by Adriaan van den Berg

 

The Month of August in LGBTGQ History Calendar 

August 1stWe begin on this first day of August with a question about that great story of the gigantic white whale which refused to be caught and turned into margarine, Moby Dick: Are there homosexual undertones in Moby Dick? Written by Herman Melville, scholars have begun speaking of and investigating the possibility. The author was born on this day in 1819 (and died on 28 September 1891). • Yves Saint Laurent, the iconic fashion designer was also born on this day in 1936 (and died on the 1st of June 2008). The first edition of Queer Reality, the UK magazine published by OutRage appeared on this day in 1991. The mag is still going strong online at www.outragemag.com. On this day in 2009, a masked gunman killed two and injured 15 at the gay youth center in Tel Aviv, Israel. There nevertheless perhaps is something to be learned from these horrible and heinous kinds of attacks on us, and that is that as LGBTG people, we have to make security a perpetual consideration wherever we congregate or identify ourselves as LGBTGQ people. 

August 2ndAfrican American gay author James Baldwin was born on this day in 1924 (and would die on December the first 1987). Baldwin was a highly regarded voice and figure in the quest for gay rights and in the civil rights struggle in the USA. His novel Giovanni’s Room was a challenge to gay stereotypes and Fire Next Time challenged racial stereotypes. 

August 3rdI love noting the birth of new LGBTGQ publications around the world in this calendar. And today in 1973 the first edition of Gay Tide was published by GATE in Canada. However, the Gay Alliance Toward Equality or GATE was dissolved in 1981 and with it, Gay Tide stopped appearing as well. When I read up on Gay Tide though, I found it was involved in the first gay rights case to reach the Supreme Court of Canada when it sued the Vancouver Sun for refusing to publish an advertisement for Gay Tide. GATE lost the case when the judges ruled 6-3 in favor of the Vancouver Sun. We salute Gay Tide and hope the Vancouver Sun (which I see is still being published) and the judges today regret that verdict. And on this day in 2003, the Episcopal Church appointed its first gay bishop in the United States.

August 4th On this day and date in 2007, we revisit Italy for it was when a “Gay Street” was declared in Rome where shops and bars were located where gay people could “feel at ease” after a row over male couples who had been arrested for kissing in public near the Colosseum. Predominantly Roman Catholic Italy was buzzing over the kissing incident and it led to the declaration of the 325-yard Gay Street. Though it perhaps passes as a minor victory, I don’t like this confinement of us to free zones when I believe that nowhere should be off-limits to LGBTGQ people, and that kissing by LGBTGQ couples should certainly be permitted anywhere and everywhere.  

August 5thOn this day and date in 1885, British Parliament voted to make homosexuality a criminal offence. Only in 1967 would homosexual acts between men of 21 or older be decriminalized – that is after everyone from Oscar Wilde to Alan Turing had paid the price (perhaps the highest).

August 6thIn 1637, on this day of August, the Plymouth Massachusetts court found John Alexander and Thomas Roberts guilty of “often spending their seed upon the other” (though not guilty of sodomy), for which the two men were severely whipped and Alexander was branded on the shoulder and banished from the colony. Ronni Sanlo, in her LGBTGQ history books says that the two men not only violated sexual morals at the time but also class distinctions since Alexander was a property-owning man and Roberts an indentured servant who was returned to his master. Alexander was stripped of his property by being banished and Roberts was denied any right to future land-ownership. 

August 7thPoland – where on this day and date in August 2020, three LGBTGQ activists were arrested and charged by police for desecrating monuments and “offending religious feelings” after hanging pride flags off statues of Christ, Copernicus and the Warsaw mermaid statue. Iran banned a leading newspaper for the second time for publishing an interview with an alleged lesbian activist on this day and date in 2007. 

August 8th –  Singapore had its first mass LGBTG event on this day in 2001. It was organized by the well-known Singaporean LGBTG website Fridae.com and was held at Sentosa’s Fantasy Island, a popular island resort with a 2km long sheltered beach, Fort Siloso, golf courses, fourteen hotels and the Resort World of Sentosa with the Universal Studios Singapore theme park. It was part of the upsurge in LGBTG consciousness and pride in Southeast Asia at the time.

August 9thWomen’s Day in South Africa. We salute all women today and will remember them throughout August. On this day and date in 1858, the Muslim dominated, Sultan-ruled Ottoman Empire decriminalized consensual homosexuality. Islamic history has a number of such precedents for toleration of homosexuality dating back to the Omayyad and Abbasid dynasties. The first person to be prosecuted for sodomy in California, a sailor from Malta named Raphael Galenti, was arrested also in 1858. He served a prison sentence and was released on this day five years later.   

August 10thIn 1986, on this day and date, New Zealand decriminalized consensual sex between homosexual men when the Homosexual Law Reform Act went into effect. The Czech Republic – and several thousand people marched through the city of Prague in the capital’s first gay pride festival on this day in 2011, a peaceful event that nevertheless drew 300 vocal opponents. 

August 11thThe Columbian government issued a protest on this day of August 1994 against a painting being displayed in London by Chilean artist Juan Davila which depicted South America’s 19th century independence hero Simon Bolivar as a transgender person. The largest protest ever until that time in the Arab world occurred on this day in 2012 in Lebanon, in response to 36 men being arrested at a porn cinema and who were then subjected to an examination of their anuses to establish whether they had engaged in anal intercourse and who were then made to pay for the tests. Shame on Lebanon! 

August 12thToday is International Youth Day. We salute all young people across the world today! The first Pride parade in Uganda was held on this day in 2012 with Maurice Tomlinson, a LGBTGQ activist from Jamaica as the Grand Marshall.  Police raided the event and arrested people who were later let go. In December 2011, Maurice Tomlinson was awarded the “David Kato Vision and Voice Award” in honor if the memory of the slain Ugandan LGBTGQ activist, David Kato (1964 b- 26 January 2011). David Kato was a Ugandan teacher considered the father of Uganda’s gay rights movement and the advocacy officer of Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG). He was murdered by a male sex worker shortly after winning a lawsuit against a magazine which had published his name and photograph identifying him as gay and calling for him to be executed.

August 13th• The president of Nicaragua signed into effect legislation which criminalized same-sex sodomy on this day of August in 1992 with sentences of up to eight years, but sentences could have been set as high as twenty years for those charged who had committed the offence while in a position of authority over children. Russia – the country on whose poor record of LGBTGQ rights we had recently focused on in a previous edition of On This Queer Day, and the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission reported on this day in 1993 that, despite Russia having legalized homosexual acts between consenting adults, lesbians and gay men were still being jailed in the country. Twenty-nine years on, and Russian LGBTGQ people still experience harassment while activists are even murdered. 

August 14thIn 1920 on this day of August in Germany, a publication of the Community of the Special titled Uranians of the World Unite! appeared urging formation of a world-wide organisation for homosexuals. (“Uranian” was the term used for homosexuals by certain German intellectuals). And on this day of August 1854 in the USA, police in Dade County, Florida raided eleven gay bars in Miami using the excuse that they were checking for venereal disease, taking in fifty-three men of whom they held nineteen pending a medical exam. This previous kind of harassment by the police continued for decades longer. On this same date in August 1961, police arrested one hundred and three patrons for “lewd behavior” at the Tay-Bush Inn in the largest raid on gay bars ever in San Francisco history. Amongst those arrested were a bank manager, actors, actresses, dancers, a state hospital psychologist, artists and an air force officer.

August 15thIn 1977, on this August day, something occurred in Canada. On that day, a Canadian LGBTGQ activist called Stefan Maysztowicz created the Gay Parallel Republic (GPR) in the St. Francis River valley in Quebec province in Canada: 308 square miles of land centered round the city of Sherbrooke and an entirely secular and politically and culturally autonomous territory or, in short, a gay micro-nation, a “gay homeland.” Would you like to live in such a LGBTGQ homeland? 

August 16thIn a very important step, New South Wales in Australia announced on this day in 1996 that the defense in murder trials by defendants called “homosexual panic” will be re-examined and reviewed to determine the effect it has on jury prejudice. “Homosexual panic” is usually offered as a supposed motivation for brutalizing and murdering homosexual men by male defendants – a claim of having acted violently and to have murdered in a kind of violent panicked self-defensive action in response to the deceased’s sexual advances. If “homosexual panic” becomes a commonly and judicially accepted explanation and justification for defendants’ not guilty pleas, it would mean both juries and judges will accept it. As a result, in cases where juries found the defendants guilty, judges will consider such claims a mitigating circumstance or a serious consideration that lessens personal culpability and responsibility of defendants which will result in judges imposing lenient sentences. 

August 17thSpace – A rainbow flag was launched to an altitude as high as 2.1 miles above the Earth’s surface using a high-altitude balloon with a GoPro camera attached on this day in 2016 – the flag and balloon remaining airborne for over three hours. The project was undertaken by U.S. charity Planting Peace as a symbolic act to “make space LGBTGQ friendly.”

August 18thIn august 1999, hackers on this day rerouted hate monger and homophobe supremo Fred Phelps’ anti-gay website godhatesfags.com to become godlovesfags.com.

August 19thOne of the essential facilities hosted by the Provincial LGBTGQ centers that I am proposing and calling for in an article in next month’s Exit, is a provincial LGBTGQ archive. It is a facility of a kind that certain states in the USA can claim to have and which exemplary of the facilities we need for every province in South Africa. Thus, on this day in 2011, the Arizona Queer Archives were founded by Jamie A. Lee with the support of Susan Stryker. Whereas I had ideally pleaded for independent centers hosting such archives, the help of large patron institutions should be accepted in realizing the ideal of establishing provincial archives if and where such provincial centers can’t be established independently – the Arizona Queer Archives is, for instance, hosted and located at the Institute for LGBT Studies at the University of Arizona. May all our universities rise to meet the need for founding and hosting provincial LGBTGQ archives.   

August 20thRemember Anita Bryant, the homophobic celeb responsible for the “Save Our Children Campaign” in the USA which was aimed at protecting the American youth against what Anita regarded as an insidious attempt to make American children homosexuals and lesbians? On this day in August 1977 the syndicated columnist Mike Royco put Anita Bryant on his list of the ten most obnoxious people in America. What a discerning eye you have, Mr. Royco, how astute your judgment! 

August 21stThis month has already had entries reporting raids on gay people congregating in the USA – the police raiding bars and clubs and dragging away gay patrons… Funny then to place the USA and Iran together, but in harassment and prosecution of gay men, the USA and Iran come together. However, whereas the raids and harassment have officially ended in America, in Iran it continues: In 1992, on this day of August, 90 gay men were arrested at a private party in Iran. The outcomes of the charges brought against them and of their trials are unknown, but bear in mind that with the testimonies of four men, an accused could be sentenced to death for homosexuality in Iran. 

August 22ndI love the American black consciousness leader and freedom fighter Huey Newton, co-founder of the Black Panthers ever since I heard him speak out on the congruence between the struggle for rights by black and gay people, and his support for the quest for gay rights. He declared his “solidarity” with the “Gay Power” movement on this day in 1970. This day of August 1894 was the birthday of another hero of mine, a great advocate for gay men and lesbians, Willem Arondeus (d. July 1943): He whom you might remember saying, “Let it be known that homosexuals are not cowards!” and whom the Nazis executed for firebombing a population registration center.   

August 23rdWith this column speaking about queer nationalism and hero-worshipping the likes of Huey Newton, we might incur the risk of being called and labelled militant, but I’d rather argue that the propensity for gaining and developing alternative non-mainstream socio-political perspectives that might seem “militant” is an inherent LGBTGQ potential stemming from a heightened social awareness  bred by our status as gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender as well as those of all the other minority sexual orientations and gender identities. On this day in 1971 Newsweek magazine picked up on it and published a feature article titled “The Militant Homosexual.”  

August 24thThe entry for the 15th of this month stated that a quest for a LGBTGQ homeland was partly motivated by the need for a place of refuge and safety for LGBTGQ people persecuted and in danger in their own countries. Without such a place yet, the best option many LGBTGQ people finding themselves victim of discrimination and hate currently have, is to apply for asylum in a friendly country. And though emigration policies in the USA have changed considerably and might have closed the door for such cases since (especially under and since Trump), a precedent was nevertheless set on this day of August 2000 when a US court of appeals ruled that a Mexican transgender woman had reason to fear persecution in Mexico and was entitled to asylum.   

August 25thOur entry for August the 21st reported persecution of gays in Iran… The foundation for the actions spoken of in those reported cases as well as for the beginning of those persecutions of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in that country as well as for that which had occurred since, were laid on this date, on the 25th of August in 1982 when all same-sex acts were proscribed with the introduction of Sharia law. Amongst the punishments prescribed were 100 lashes with a whip, stoning to death and beheading… 

August 26thIn August 2020 the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in the USA ruled in favour of a former student, Gavin Grimm in a four-year long conflict over restroom policies for transgender students. The ruling stated that segregation of transgender students from their peers in their use of facilities on campuses were unconstitutional and violated federal law prohibiting sex discrimination in education.   

August 27thThe search for a “cause” and “origin” of or for homosexuality has greatly troubled me. It isn’t difficult to see that if a biological cause or origin is identified and isolated, that it might be exploited by those arguing that homosexuality is a deviation, a handicap, a disease, a condition which should be cured. On this day in 1998 at the 16th Annual Gay and Lesbian Medical Association Symposium in Chicago, attorney Aaron Greenberg argued that if a gay gene is isolated, parents should have the right to abort a gay fetus or to have its genetic makeup altered. Geeze! Such a view can only be motivated by Greenberg’s deep-seated enmity and aversion towards us. My counter-argument is that even if homosexuality and lesbianism are proven to biological abnormalities (for instance if it is found that it is caused by an unusual or “abnormal” surge of hormones in the brain of a fetus at a certain time before birth), homosexual and lesbian people are exceptionally beneficial to humanity and it is a variation which has played an indispensable biological, socially and culturally evolutionary role in human development and history and that no such attempt to eradicate it should ever be attempted. Instead, Aaron Greenberg’s kind of views should be ruthlessly eradicated.

August 28thA law went into effect in Texas in the USA on this day in 1989 which required real estate agents to tell potential buyers of homes of the previous occupant had Aids.   

August 29thWe arrived at this subject and issue with yesterday’s entry, and for today it is hereby reported that on this day of August 1997 Jim McKnight discussed his research on the gay gene on a BBC programme. His research at the University of Western Sidney studying the families of homosexuals had discovered evidence that homosexuality is an inherited trait.

   Perhaps we should look first of all at the evolutionary role and contributions that mutations have played in human development, the different ways in which humans are the products of biological divergences and deviations and of the intervention of diseases and abnormal conditions, to what extend humans are products of biology gone wrong. Secondly, we should consider that the status of heterosexuality as “normal” is also relative, just a point of view, that “normality” itself is relative and a question and a matter of perception. Look at what “causes” heterosexuality – and consider that whatever it is found to be, it too can be considered abnormal since there are sexual orientations other than it and no matter that it represents the sexual orientation of a majority of humans. In certain regards the minority sexual orientations might be more desirable (consider, for instance, that almost every one of the biggest problems facing humanity can be related back to overpopulation and that heterosexuality thus arguably not only poses problems but also dangers for the human future while sexual minorities can also procreate yet are less likely to cause rampant population explosion).     

August 30thOutRage, the organization mentioned in the entry for the 1st of August, again appears for today’s entry. On this day in August 1991, OutRage protested the failure by Amnesty international to adopt lesbian and gay persons as prisoners of conscience.  

August 31stThe first film in which the word “homosexual” was used was first shown on this day and date in August in 1961 in Britain, and then the following February also in the USA. It was the British suspense film Victim directed by Basil Dearden, starring Dirk Bogarde and Sylvia Syms. It is African Traditional Medicine Day today. We at Exit and On This Queer Day recognize the contributions that African traditional medicine has made to the wellbeing of our people in the past. We know it is a field of medicine that has formerly often been denied recognition, and that it now stands to play a breakthrough role in contemporary healing practices and in overcoming some of the most vexing diseases and conditions of our time. 

   

Interfaith Calendar for August 2022

August 1st Lughnasadh: Pagan and Wiccan – Beginning of harvest season.  

August 15th • Feast of the Assumption: Christian – Commemoration of Mary being assumed, body and soul, into heaven.

  • Fast in Honor of Mary: Christian
  • Lammas: Christian – Loaf Mass Day. 

August 6th • Transfiguration of Lord Jesus: Orthodox Christian.

August 7th • Tish’a B’av: Judaism – Commemoration of disasters in Jewish history. 

August 11th • Ascension of Hadrian: Antinoan / Faith of the Gay God Antinous – Deification of Antinous’ lover and founder of the Antinoan faith, the Roman Emperor Hadrian. 

  • Raksha Bandhan: Hindu – Celebration of brotherhood and love.

August 15th • Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary: Catholic Christian.

  • Dormition of the Theotokos: Orthodox Christian – Falling asleep of Mary and her reawakening in heaven.

August 19th • Krishna Janmashtami: Hindu – Birth of Krishna, eighth avatar of Vishnu. 

  • Beheading of St. John, the Baptist: Christian.

August 20th • Commemoration of the Homosexual Army of the Sacred Band of Thebes: Antinoan / faith of the Gay God Antinous – The 300 homosexual warriors who fought together as 150 homosexually bonded couples, and who were undefeated for 40 years until they alone chose to fight and were defeated by the far more numerous armies of Phillip of Macedon, and his son Alexander who cried for the bravery of the Sacred Band even as his soldiers slaughtered them at the battle of Chaeronea.

August 21st • The Sacred Lion / Miracle of the Red Lotus: Antinoan / Faith of the Gay God Antinous – Commemorating the event when the Emperor Hadrian and his beloved Antinous hunted a man-eater lion in North Africa. Hadrian saved Antinous from the lion after Antinous had brashly rushed forward and had wounded the lion but had been stuck without weapons as the animal charged and attacked until Hadrian intervened and slayed the lion. The Mystery of the Red Lotus occurred when the blood of the lion was then brought to Hadrian and was found to have transformed into the petals of the red lotus flower.     

August 29th • Hijiri: Islamic – Islamic New Year, start of the Islamic lunar calendar. 

August – • Ganesh Charturhi: Hindu – Arrival of Lord Ganesh on Earth.

   Have a blessed August.

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On This Queer Day, the month in LGBTG history calendar and the interfaith calendar are written and composed by Adriaan van den Berg. You can contact him with corrections, criticism and contribution at adriaanvandenberg2@gmail.com 

He flies the rainbow flag with skull and crossbones. 

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