On This Queer Day –Introduction, LGBTIQ History and Interfaith Calendars for November 2022:
Introduction: Grindr – A Peek Behind the Mask
Following a series of attacks linked to Grindr, I thought it prudent to touch upon certain issues related to Grindr here as an introduction to this month’s On This Queer Day. One of the first geosocial apps for gay men, Grindr was launched in March 2009 and became the largest, most successful mobile app of its kind with eleven million users. It allows members to create a personal profile and to use their GPS position to include them in a “cascade” of profiles in a gallery of users all of whom within a set proximity can see each other and make contact if desired. All one has to do is select someone with an attractive pic and profile, click on it and you have the options of chatting, sending pics or doing a video call. The free version displays 100 men nearby while the premium version displays 200.
Grindr was generally favourably received and garnered positive reviews and won awards including for Best Mobile Dating App over the following years. But in May 2011, Vanity Fair also dubbed Grindr the “World’s Biggest, Scariest Gay Bar.” The article asked “Could this crude little iPhone app be every single gay man’s dream?” The answer has seemingly been “Almost” – Grindr sure did give the LGBTIQ community what it had traditionally lacked: spaces where its members could safely meet, commune and interact, offering it in the guise of a virtual space. As such, it fulfils a definite social function within the LGBTIQ community
No matter what me and you ourselves may think of the app, Grindr have always for many users first meant hook-ups and easy scoring and recourse to casual sex, offering relative safety in connecting with others who are seeking the same. Yet, despite this fact and that its name already suggests hard sex and behind its deliciously sinister icon of a mask, Grindr has successfully connected scores of gay and bisexual men over the years and has facilitated formation of countless permanent friendships and relationships. Grindr is indeed also what many gay and transgender people consider “community” itself – and LGBTIQ people are deeply sympathetic and sentimental about Grindr, some of us having grown up with it.
So, if I can use this opportunity to raise certain issues and to say something about Grindr, I’d like to do so by posing these questions:
- Can it be said that Grindr has gone a long way in contributing to the reduction of LGBTQ people to their bodily needs since it has done so much to help establish the distinctions between “tops” and “bottoms” and those who are “diverse?”
- And is there a pathological obsession lurking behind such arbitrary labelling such as “bottom” or “top” or “diverse” and do these labels play into power relationships of dominance and submission and do they inhibit people from discovering their bodies’ full sexual potential?
- “Grindr encourages promiscuity,” is an old complaint, but in a community which arguably doesn’t have the same opportunities to socialize and meet as heterosexuals, this point carries little weight. Shouldn’t the issue and question rather be whether LGBTIQ people using Grindr and similar apps should perhaps be more mindful of not treating each other as “mere meat” but rather more respectfully, as people?
We have an obligation to ourselves and others when we use apps such as Grindr to stay safe, to think about what we do and about what its implications may be for us all. Do look for the article on the Grindr attacks elsewhere on Exit and speak amongst yourselves about these matters.
And with that said, he is the LGBTIQ History Calendar and Interfaith Calendar for November.
LGBTIQ History Calendar for November 2022
November is Disability Rights Awareness Month
November 1st – Canada’s first gay rights magazine, The Body Politic went on sale on this first day of November 1971. And in 2003, Taiwan’s first gay pride was also held on this day in 2003.
November 2nd – Senior Action in a Gay Environment was founded on this day in New York in 1977 with the aim of improving the lives of lesbian and gay seniors.
November 3rd – In 1998 on this day, Hawaii approved a constitutional amendment which banned same-sex marriages. This is not the first historical entry from Hawaii by Upon This Queer Day and some readers may recollect that the island had actually become a hotbed for contesting LGBTIQ rights in the USA.
November 4th – Essex Hemphill, an openly gay African American poet and activist known for his contributions to the Washington D.C. art scene during the 1980swas born on April 16, 1957 and died on this day in 1995. After his death from Aids-related complications, the organization Gay Men of African Decent along with others, announced a national day for remembrance of Essex Hemphill.
November 5th – The Fairfax (VA, USA) county board of education repealed a clause prohibiting anti-gay verbal abuse because of complaints that it encouraged homosexuality on this day in 1992.
November 6th – Under the Duke of Albuquerque, one hundred men were indicted for sodomy on this day in 1658 by the Mexican Inquisition – fourteen were burned to death. It is SADC Malaria Day today as well as International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed Conflict. .
November 7th – A Malaysian court ruled on this day in 2014 that a local law against crossdressing violated the state constitution. Hundreds of such little petty laws dot statute books still across the world.
November 8th – Today is Intersex Solidarity Day in the USA. And in Zimbabwe, Tribal Chief Norbert Mokoni addressed his country’s parliament on this day in 1995, saying gays and lesbians should be sentenced to be whipped.
November 9th – Ti-Grace Atkinson, a well-known American radical feminist was born on this day of November 1938
November 10th – And on this day in 2014, more than a 1000 Hijra or transgender women with a long history in South-Eastern Asia, held a Pride parade to celebrate the one-year-anniversary of the Bangladeshi government giving them recognition as a third gender.
November 11th – An Act for the Punishment of the Vice of Buggery was passed on this day in 1634 by the Irish House of Commons and it made anal intercourse punishable by hanging. Anglican Bishop John Atherton was a key driving force behind the act.
November 12th – In response to a front-page feature by Time Magazine titled “The Homosexual: Newly Visible, Newly Understood” of the 31st of October 1968, resulted in protests at the magazine’s headquarters in New York’s Time-Life Building on this day in November 1969.
November 13th – A group of LGBTIQ activists from around the world had bravely protested Zimbabwe’s slide into homophobia during the 1990s. On this day in 1995, some of them protested an appearance by President Robert Mugabe at a Commonwealth meeting of heads of state in Auckland, New Zealand.
November 14th – On this day in 2008, in the first hate crime conviction in the state of New York and the second in the USA, a man was sentenced to twenty-five years in prison for shooting and killing transgender woman Lateisha Green outside a house party in Syracuse,
November 15th – South African artist Patricia Marion Fogarty, well-known illustrator and photographer as well as lover of filmmaker Jane Parker, was born on this day in November 1940 (d. Feb. 17th 1990). Fogarty’s art appeared in magazines, newspapers, books and in advertising campaigns varying from billboards to ginger-beer labels.
November 16th – Sando Botticelli (c. 1445 – May 17, 1510) the well-known Italian painter from the Early Renaissance period was accused of sodomy on this day in 1502) but the charges were dropped. Botticelli’s reputation suffered util well into the late 19th century.
November 17th – Today is RuPaul’s birthday (he was born on the 17th of November, 1960). In last month’s On This Queer Day I had mentioned the research being conducted to find physio-biological causes for homosexuality – it has been conducted on an ongoing basis and on this day of November 1971, a group of sex researchers erroneous announced that their findings had revealed that heterosexuals had up to 40% testosterone than homosexuals.
November 18th – Police arrested 41 attendees of whom 29 were wearing women’s clothes, all from the highest classes in Mexican society. Punishment was to be conscripted into the army. The number 41 subsequently became code in Mexican popular culture and no segment of the army is allowed to use the designation of 41.
November 19th – The Transgender Pride flag was flown for the first time on this day in 2012 in Castro San Francisco. It was made by Monica Helms in 1999.
November 20th – Today is Transgender Day of Remembrance for many people across the world. Transgender advocate Gwendolyn Ann Smith instituted the Remembrance as a vigil in memory of Rita Hester, a transgender woman who was killed in 1998.
November 21st – The term “gender identity” was first used in a press release to publicize a new clinic for transsexuals at the John Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore Maryland on this day in November in 1966. From there it was adopted around the world.
November 22nd – Remember Mae West? The actress, singer, screenwriter, comedian and sex symbol whose career spanned 7 decades was born on August 17th 1893 and died on this day of November at the age of 88 and rumours that she was really a man were finally proven false.
November 23rd – The word “transgenderism” was first used on this day by Dr. John F. Oliven who intended it to mean “transsexualism.” Virginia Prince popularized a different meaning in the 1970s that meant people who live fulltime in their chosen gender without having had gender reassignment surgery.
November 24th – In 1931, a law was passed in Germany on this day of November allowing for surgical castration as a crime prevention measure and as a therapeutic treatment for homosexuality.
November 25th – A demonstration was held at the Johannesburg High Court in support of an application to decriminalize sex between men on this day in 1997. Today is the beginning of 16 Days off Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children in South Africa.
November 26th – In 1990, on this day, a civil rights commission in the USA ruled that Catholic officials violated anti-discrimination laws by evicting a Catholic LGBTIQ organization from a church-owned facility.
November 27th – Former Zimbabwean President Canaan Banana was convicted on eleven counts of sodomy and indecent assault on this day in 1998.
November 28th – On this day in 1862, Karel Heinrichs Ulrichs, a pioneer of the early LGBT civil rights movement wrote “Good God has given me love oriented towards men. Asking him to change that would be extremely anti-Christian.”
November 29th – Adolph Brand, a leader of the homophile movement wrote to other activists and academics in London on this day in 1933 that repeated Nazi raids had left him bankrupt and unable to continue his studies and activism. He would later die in an Allied bombing raid.
November 30th – And on this final day of November in 2006, South Africa became the first African country to legalize Same-sex marriage.
And that was the month of November from LGBTOQ history – may our history inspire and sustain you.
Interfaith Calendar for November 2022
October 28th – Death of Antinious: Antinoan.
October 29th Descent of Antinious into the Underworld
November 1st – Samhain: Pagan and Wiccan – End of harvest season.
All Saints Day/ Day of the Dead/ Di de los Muertos: Christian
November 2nd – Anniversary of the crowning of Hale Selassie: Rastafrian.
November 8th – Birthday of Guru Nanak Ji: Sikhism – Honouring the birth of the founder of Sikhism
November 24th – New Year: Jain – Holiday following Diwali
November 27th – Birthday of Antinious: Antinoan.
November 30th – Feast of Saint Andrews: Christian – Feastday of the patron saint of Scotland. Greece, Russia, Ukraine, Barbados and Romania.
On This Queer Day, the introductory article or column, the LGBTG History Calendar and the Interfaith Calendar are composed by Adriaan van den Berg. You can contact him with corrections, criticism and contribution at firstname.lastname@example.org.