Introductory Column, LGBTIQ History and Interfaith Calendars for December 2022
It is most apt that during this festive season and for Reconciliation Month, we focus on and speak a little about our families and LGBTIQ family members. Of all our allies, many LGBTIQ people perhaps have their own families most to thank as amongst our closest, dearest allies, as being amongst our first of allies then. This is not to disregard the many LGBTIQ people who have and have had difficulties coming out to their families, perhaps so much so that they never did come out to their families or to anybody at all so far… And not to forget those LGBTIQ people who would, due to the latter and other reasons, spend this festive season alone: WE THINK OF YOU AND REMEMBER YOU! For those who want to come out to and try reconcile with family members who discriminate against them, there are many LGBTIQ organisations as well as printed, video and professional guides to help those of you with such family problems and issues.
I can just say that if and only if and where and when possible, it is highly desirable to win your family’s support as yours and as our LGBTIQ allies… and you actually can make the fact known to them: Tell them LGBTIQ people need their support, that we ourselves ideally consider family amongst our most desirable, first of allies and that we would welcome them amongst us and into the ranks of our allies along with other LGBTIQ people’s families, we’ll be proud to have them! Though, we could never expect you to reconcile with anyone if there isn’t acceptance and respect for who and for what you are from them. However, let there be reconciliation with people and families prepared to love and respect their LGBTIQ family members, let those families be honored by all LGBTIQ people as amongst our closest, first of allies.
The LGBTQ History Calendar – The Month of December in LGBTIQ History with Dedicated Days
December 1st – This is Reconciliation Month in South Africa… and today is World Aids Day. In 2009, on this first day of December, the Treaty of Lisbon and Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union were amended to include protection of sexual orientation.
December 2nd – Hundreds of right-wing activists called Shiv Sainijs stormed two film theatres in India on this day of December in 1998 to suspend showing of the film Fire by Toronto director Deepa Mehtah, the first Indian film to focus on a lesbian relationship. Today, the 2nd of December, is International Day for Abolition of Slavery.
December 3rd – On this day in December 2012, Thai airlines began recruiting transgender flight attendants in an attempt to forge a unique identity for itself in what is a highly competitive market. It is International Day for People with Disabilities.
December 4th – A vigil was held on this day in December 1998 for a slain African American transgender woman called Rita Hester in Allston Massachusetts – the vigil went on to become the Transgender Day of Remembrance in the USA. Her life was respectfully covered by local newspapers and her death also inspired the Remember Our Dead web project.
December 5th – The bisexual pride flag was unveiled on this day in December 1998 – the flag was designed Michael Page who was inspired by his work with BiNet USA. It is International Volunteers Day today.
December 6th – The daring film about lesbian and gay Orthodox Jews trying to reconcile their sexualities with their faith, Trembling Before G*d, was released in Israel on this day in December 2001. Sandi Simcha DuBowski directed the film and also produced Parvez Sharma’s documentary about gay and lesbian Muslims, Jihad for Love.
December 7th – Journalist Ibrehim Eren was imprisoned in Turkey on this day in December 1989 for protesting police harassment of gay people. He would spend four months in jail in total. In 2017, he was appointed the 17th director general of the public broadcaster Turkish Radio and Television.
Netherlands’ Center for Culture and Leisure (COC), said to be the oldest surviving organisation for gay and lesbian rights, was founded on this day in 1946 with the aims of contributing to social emancipation for gays and lesbians as well as “providing culture and recreation” for them.
December 8th – In England, South Yorkshire police placed a recruitment ad in the Gay Times on this day in 1996. It was supposed to be a statement of support by the police for gay rights and recognition of gay rights.
December 9th – A government sponsored anti-gay March occurred on this day in 2014 from the National Assembly to the State House in Gambia. It is International Anti-Corruption Day today.
December 10th – Treatment Action Campaign, the NGO which was crucial in getting anti-retroviral treatment for people with HIV/Aids, was founded on this day in 1998 by Zackie Achmat, a film director and activist. Today is International Human Rights Day.
December 11th – Tyra Hunter was a pre-operative American transsexual who was in a road accident in which she sustained life-threatening injuries. Emergency medical personnel at the scene were abusive towards Hunter and withheld medical treatment while a doctor at the hospital failed to provide nationally accepted standard care for her and Hunter succumbed to her injuries. On this day of December 1998, Hunter’s mother was awarded $2.9 million in a wrongful death lawsuit against the city of Washington D.C.
December 12th – Trans man Brandon Teena whose murder made him a cause celebrity was born on this day of December in 1972. Teena would be played by Hillary Swank in the 1999 influential feature film Boys Don’t Cry about Tina’s murder.
December 13th – On this day in December 2002, Belgium became the second country to approve same-sex marriage.
December 14th – Tasso, one of the most widely read poets in Europe, admitted his love for Orazio Ariosto on this day of December in 1576. Torquato Tasso (b. 11 March 1544 to d. 25 Aprol 1595) was an Italian poet of 16th century who is best known for his poem Gerusalemme Liberate (Jerusalem Delivered (1581) which featured a highly imaginative version of the siege of Jerusalem during the First Crusade. Tasso suffered from mental illness and died a few days before Pope Clement VIII was due to crown him as the King of Poets.
December 15th – On this day in 1980, Kortney Ryan Ziegler became the first person to be awarded a PhD in African American studies from Northwestern University. Ziegler is an African American filmmaker, visual artist, blogger, writer and scholar based in Oakland, California.
December 16th – Today is Reconciliation Day in South Africa… let that also count between us and all others, beginning with our own families. Toronto, Canada and it is this day, the 16th of December in 1978 and about 400 people gathered to protest in the first ever protest over a police raid on a gay bathhouse in Canada. Gay history is littered with cases of raids on bathhouses. And though they may not have been the most ideally representative institutions for the gay community, bathhouses have historically been important meeting places for gay men in the absence of other public meeting places and have historically been unfairly singled out and unduly targeted for raids by authorities.
December 17th – In 1997 on this day in December that year, British Secretary of State Chris Smith wrote a letter of apology to the Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association for the removal of wreaths following a ceremony of remembrance. Apparently, the wreaths were removed immediately after the ceremony in disrespect or disregard for the gay and lesbian persons remembered whereas traditional practice dictates that wreaths be left for at least a couple of days.
December 18th – The Asian Games stripped runner Santhi Soundarajan of her medal because she was classifiable intersex on this day in 2006. The Indian Olympic Association banned her from sports. She was a field and track athlete and the winner of 12 international medals for India and of nearly fifty medals for her home state of Tamil Nadu. She was the first Tamil woman to win a medal at the Asian Games. It is International Migrants’ Day today.
December 19th – Today is the birthday of transgender and queer singer King Princess (b. 1999 as Mikaela Mullaney Strauss) who reached the top of the popular music charts in the USA and elsewhere in the world with her singles 1950 and Ralia. And on this day in 1922, Solem Asch’s play The God of Vengeance opened on stage featuring the first lesbian scenes and kiss for a Broadway play.
December 20th – Today is a day for commemorating a man well-worth remembering, though sadly he is deceased: he is Frank Kameny who was fired from his job as an astronomer in the U.S. Army’s Map Service in Washington D.C. for his homosexuality on this date in 1955. (He was also blacklisted barring him from any federal employment in the USA). Kameny, who was born on May 21st, 1925 and who died on the 11th of October, 2011, because of these experiences subsequently became one of the most noteworthy gay activists in the USA, or as someone else put it: he was “one of the most significant figures” in the American gay rights movement. He organised some of the first public protests by gays and lesbians with a picket line at the White House. In 1963, Kameny and the Mattachine Society launched a campaign to overturn Washington D.C. sodomy laws; Kameny personally drafted a bill that finally passed in 1993. Kameny died due to arteriosclerotic cardiovascular disease in his home in Washington in 2011. In front of his gravestone lies a marker that have the slogan “Gay is Good,” a slogan coined by Kameny. Today is International Human Solidarity Day.
December 21st – On this day in 1981, Time and Newsweek ran their first ever stories about HIV/Aids. It was a breakthrough for AIDS/ HIV activists.
December 22nd – President Obama signed the repeal of the notorious “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy that applied to Gays and Lesbians in the US Army in 2010. The San Francisco Free Press also printed Carl Whittman’s “The Gay Manifesto” on this day in December 1970 which became one of the books which are deemed the “Gay Bibles.”
December 23rd – The film Philadelphia starring Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington which was one of the first mainstream Hollywood films to acknowledge HIV/Aids and homophobia, premiered on this day in 1993.
December 24th – It is Christmas Eve. Over 500 Knights Templars (the order dedicated to protecting pilgrims on their way to the Holy Land) recanted their confessions of homosexual activities which they had admitted to under torture. King Phillip IV had fifty of them burned soon after including their Grand Master Jacques de Molay, whom he had burned on this day in 1305 on a scaffold he had constructed on a small island in the river Seine opposite Notre Damme de Paris. Molay subsequently became a figure of legend.
December 25th – On this day, Christmas Day in 1950, Time magazine ran its first ever article on homosexuality. It stated that homosexuals should not work in government jobs because they are a security risk. Don’t let this sour note spoil your Christmas Day though… it is also the birthday of the delightful Quentin Crisp (b. 1908 – d. 21 November 1999), who became a gay icon after publication of his memoir, The Naked Civil Servant in the 1970s.
December 26th – Today is Day of Goodwill in South Africa. And People magazine listed anti-gay crusader Anita Bryant as one of the twenty-five most intriguing people of 1977 on this day of December in that year. Actually, Anita is one of the people who can be said to have done most harm to gay people and the day cause in history.
December 27th – On this day in 1708, a Reverend Bray (a most suitable surname), leader of the Societies for Reformation of Manners, preached a sermon in which he referred to sodomy as “an evil force invading our land.” Preaching against homosexuality and homosexual acts has in the past led to pogroms in which homosexuals were persecuted and killed, though Reverend Bray’s type typically then washed any responsibility for the bloodshed from their hands.
December 28th – The Church of Nigeria issued a press release on this day in 2005 which warned people against Davis Mac-Lyalla “who claims to be a member of the Anglican Church.” The truth was that he had indeed worked for and has belonged to the Anglican Church for years. Mac-Lyalla had been arrested and tortured by the police earlier in the year. In 2008, he was given refugee asylum in the UK and received the Desmond Tutu Award for Human Rights and Social Justice. He established the Nigerian wing of the British Changing Attitude organisation, pressing for internal reform of the Anglican communion and for further inclusion of sexual minorities in the church.
December 29th – Wakefield Poole’s trend-setting erotic film Boys in the Sand premiered on this day in 1971 and would subsequently join Andy Warhole’s Blue Movie (1969) and 1972’s Deep Throat as porn films which would get mainstream attention. Though these were hardcore erotica, these films did attain a measure of exposure and thus helped to normalize views on gay sex. Today we have amateur gay porn and streaming of all sorts of porn has become the norm, while many LGBTIQ people also have an aversion to pornography and view it as demeaning.
December 30th – After reporting so many cases of harassment of gays and lesbians and transgender people by police month by month and of top newspapers and publications who had bad mouthed gays and lesbians and transgender people, I am glad to bring you a case and entry in which a top New York newspaper, the New York Post, on this day in 1965 ran an article about illegal tactics used by police to harass gays. Yet on a second entry for this day of December though for the year 1977, Toronto police took action against The Body Politic, Canada’s leading gay and lesbian newspaper, charging it with “using the mails to distribute immoral, indecent, and scurrilous material.” It would take six years before The Body Politic was acquitted.
December 31st – It is New Year’s Eve (for much of the world). And this is, of course, the last day of the year 2022 and tomorrow will be the first day of 2023… A happy gay and lesbian and transgender New Year to you! If we have to turn to LGBTIQ history for a final time, I can report that Life magazine published an 11-page spread titled “Homosexuals in Revolt” on this final day of 1971. According to Ronni Sanlo in her books on LGBTIQ history titled “This Day in LGBTQ History” it discussed the post-Stonewall movement in “a generally positive light for the first time.”
And that’s our final entry from LGBTIQ history for 2022. Thank you for faithfully reading and maybe also printing this calendar every month of the year. There will be such a calendar once again for each month of the coming year in 2023. See you again in 2023!
Interfaith Calendar for December 2022
December 6th – St. Nicholas Day: Christian – Remembrance of the Christian Saint, ST. Nicholas.
December 8th – Rohatsu / Bodhi Day: Buddhism – Commemorating the day Prince Gautama took up his place underneath the Bodhi Tree.
December 8th – Feast of the Immaculate Conception: Roman Catholic – Commemorating Mary’s conception without original sin.
December 18th till 26th – Hanukkah Festival of Lights: Judaism – Commemorating the victory of Jews over Syrian Greeks.
December 21st – Yule: Christian – Commemorating the light dawning in Jesus.
December 21st – Winter Solstice: Wiccan – Rebirth of the Sun.
December 22nd – Antinous Sol Invictus: Antinoan Faith of the Gay God Antinous – Celebrating the Solar aspect of the Gay God Antinous.
December 25th – Christmas / Feast of the Nativity: Christian – The birth of Jesus Christ.
December 26th – Boxing Day or Feast of St. Stephen: Christian – Commemorating the first Christian martyr who was known for his service to the poor.
December 26th – Zarathosht Diso: Zoroastrian – Commemorating the death of the Prophet Zarathustra.
December 28th – Holy Innocents: Christian – Remembering the murder of children by King Herod in an attempt to kill Jesus.
December 30th – Holy Family: Catholic Christian – Remembering the Holy family of Jesus.
December 31st – Watch Night: Christian – Thanking God for bringing people through another year.
December 31st – Apotheosis of Aelius Caesar: Antinoan Faith of the Gay God Antinous – Commemorating the rise to godliness of Aelius Caesar.
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.