ON THIS QUEER DAY – JANUARY 2023

Intro and the LGBTQI History and Interfaith Calendars

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Introduction – Our Fight for Recognition of LGBTQI History

Without a recorded history, we LGBTQI people are “invisible.” As most museums, established archives, history departments, historians and researchers have largely ignored our predecessors throughout history and failed to investigate and record the lives, social positions, status, roles and experiences, trials, tribulations and triumphs, accomplishments and contributions of homosexuals, lesbians and bisexual as well as of transgender and intersex people throughout successive eras in the history of Southern Africa, a great deal of our history has already been lost. In the entire South Africa, there is only one institution permanently dedicated to LGBTQI history, the GALA Queer Archives (located at University Corner in Braamfontein, Johannesburg at the corners of Bertha and Jorissen Streets, tel. 011 717 4239, Instagram @gala_archive and linkin.bio/gala_archive. Please, check them out and visit them and Follow them online, they are doing superb work and they are all we have). But we might change that…

   We are possibly about to begin a long and potentially very difficult quest to establish a LGBTQI Archive and a LGBTQI Library at another South African university, namely at the University of the Free State. It is a university desperately struggling to get away from an unfortunate human rights history which included an event which made international headlines when white students from one of the University’s hostels abused black workers and gave them urine to drink. Way back during the apartheid era, when Doctor Aubrey Levine had just finished his stint in the SADF where he had committed awful human rights abuses against gay conscripts including subjecting them to electroconvulsive shock therapy, the University of the Free State employed him. We still don’t know if Levine worked with gay students and people while at UFS, but we know he was allegedly still seeing SADF soldiers at the time. This was the past though, the present and future look different…

    The University of the Free State has made a huge effort to break with this past and to become a progressive modern university which serves all the people and communities of the Free State and South African society at large. It’s Gender and Equity and Anti-Discrimination Office and its Unit for Institutional Change and Social Justice and others at the university are committed to human rights and transformation at UFS. A feisty and inspired LGBTQI students and campus organization called Kovsie Pride Society is unwavering in its dedication to LGBTQI rights and activism, its activists are committed, determined and concerned with activism on several fronts. These are some of the stakeholders and parties who will be approached and invited first to become involved with the Archive and Library project, Kovsies Pride Society first and above all.

   The Archive and Library will be groundbreaking and a huge step for the University of the Free State, the first institution on the campus with the words “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Queer, Transgender and Intersex” in its name. There may be resistance to the project; there possibly are a myriad ways in which it can be sunk, but those tentatively asked to become involved are hugely enthusiastic and are very dedicated people, just the kind needed to see something like this project through. We will still ask for inputs from various parties including GALA and might end up in a desperate search and quest for funding and resources. If we get offered a dingy little room with a table and chair however, we will take it and work and make a success of it. Things are yet to get started but are about to, we are in the development of a draft proposal phase and will start presenting it and start consulting soon. We can however in advance ask for your support, blessings and prayers and will keep you updated for it will be a resource for LGBTQI people everywhere and for the South African public at large as well as a tremendous step ahead for the University of the Free State. It will help the GALA Queer Archives give us a history and help end our historic invisibility as LGBTQI people.    

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The LGBTQI History Calendar for January 2023

  • A Correction: An entry for December the 15th 2022 (https://exit.co.za/2022/12/01/on-this-queer-day-december-2022/) had a mistake in it and its subject person, Kortney Ryan Ziegler has contacted me pointing it out. We are committed to doing right by the LGBTQI people and others that we report on and wish to correct this mistake. Kortney is the first person to receive the PhD of African American Studies from Northwestern University in 2011 and is an American filmmaker, visual artist, blogger, writer and scholar based in Oakland, California. Kortney let us know that he did not complete his PHD on Dec. 15th, 1980, he was born on that date. We profusely apologize for our mistake. It will be January 2023 when this edition of On This Queer Day is published, but it was 10 December 2022 when I was writing this and Kortney’s birthday was just five days away, so I want to wish him a happy birthday from all of us here at Exit.

January 1stThe first of January has been quite an eventful and significant date in recent LGBTQ history: In 1967 P.R.I.D.E. (Personal Rights in Defense and Education)’s use of the term “Pride” in association with LGBTQI rights on this day and date came to be the first instance of the use of the ter, and concept of “pride’ in association with LGBTQI people and their rights and it also fueled formation of gay rights groups across California in the USA. Then there are the ten American states which all on this day of January between 1971 and 1980 decriminalized private consensual adult homosexual acts. What a good day from LGBTQ history to start the new year with. Welcome to 2023 and a Happy LGBTQI NEW Year to all our Exit readers again!

January 2nd – Allen Turing, a gay man, virtually began the field of computer science (and was hounded and punished for being gay), but the contributions of LGBTQI people in the field has continued unabated ever since. And today, the 2nd of January is the birthday of American computer scientist, electrical engineer, inventor and transgender activist Lynn Ann Conway (b. 1938) who was responsible for such pioneering achievements such as the Mead-Conway revolution in VLSI design which incubated an emerging electronic design automation industry as well as the invention of generalized dynamic instruction handling which is a key advance used in out-of-order execution used by most modern computer processors to improve performance. 

January 3rdAt a Daughters of Bilitis meeting in New York on this day in 1971, Ti-Grace Atkinson (b. Nov. 9th, 1938) advocated political lesbianism which is a total and exclusive commitment to women that may or may not include sex. 

January 4thIn 1750 in France on this day and date, Bruno Lenoir and Jean Diot were caught having sex in public and were executed, shocking the French public at the severity of their punishment. Theirs came to be the last execution in France for consensual sodomy. 

January 5thPRIDE, the group mentioned in the entry for the 1st of this month, mobilized a crowd of several hundred protestors on Sunset Boulevard to protest police raids on gay bars in Los Angeles on this day and date in 1967.

January 6thWe have previously had entries on Canadian LGBTQI publications being established and sadly folding again, and on this day in 1977, the first issue of another titled Directions was published – it folded after a year. The point is that our publications are important LGBTQI community resources and our people should be made aware of it, that the closing of such publications due to a loss of public support is a sad and a serious setback for the LGBTQI community. Support our LGBTQI publications and media! 

January 7thOn this day in January 1985 Blaine Elswood wrote about experimental Aids drugs, the foundation for the eventual medicines and treatments which would deliver real advances in fighting the disease and which was the hope of everybody afflicted by the disease. But Elswood also founded the Guerilla Clinic in San Francisco which was an underground group for Aids activists who sold experimental drugs to those who wanted them.     

January 8thA teenage pupil of Michelangelo, Cecchino de Bracci died on this day in 1544, inspiring Michelangelo to write 48 funeral epigrams. Cecchino was also the nephew and lover of Luigi del Riccio.  

January 9thGay and lesbian British artists were divided at this time in 1988 about gay actor Ian McKellen accepting a knighthood from the Conservative government of Margret Thatcher. On this day in January that year some of the most prominent amongst them expressed their wish to “respectfully distance” themselves from Derek Jarman’s criticism of McKellen in a controversial statement of support for McKellen that they published in The Guardian newspaper. McKellen’s supporters included Simon Callow, Stephen Fry, Phillip Hedley and Anthony Sher amongst others. 

January 10thThe Israeli Supreme Court allowed each partner of a lesbian couple to adopt each other’s children on this day in January 2005. The couple’s children were all three conceived through donor insemination.  

January 11thIn 1984 on this day in January the Wall Street Journal gave staff writers permission to begin using the word “gay” as a synonym… Was it a mere question of all newish terminology sort of being subject to approval or disapproval by editors and management, or were all and only terminology pertaining to homosexuals subject to this kind of appraisal? Was the old rule of not using the word “gay” being dropped part and a reflection of a wider policy on what could be reported about homosexuals and gay people at the time? It anyway says something about a newspaper which had censored the terminology used regarding certain population groups as if trying to regulate perceptions and attitudes about that group too, even if it was the venerable Wall Street Journal. Hope that all vestiges of such a policy have been done away with.        

January 12thThe Advocate, that stalwart LGBTQI magazine in the USA, revealed on this day in 1976 that the CIA had been collecting information on some three hundred thousand people who had been arrested in the USA for committing homosexual acts. The extent of such persecution is shocking, may we not forget and recollect what was done as instructive of all we should forever avoid a return to.  

January 13thI earlier this month lamented a case in which lack of support led to a LGBTQI magazine folding and going under… that it was a loss to the entire LGBTQI community. Enough of that, let’s have a case of success and of how it should be done! And this day of January in 1992 offers just such a case: It was the first appearance of Out magazine of which the first editions on the stands were dated Summer 1992. It has been decades, and Out is still going strong! It is a premiere LGBTQI news, fashion, entertainment and lifestyle magazine in the USA which editorially presents itself as on par with Esquire and GQ. And it began with a test issue on this day thirty years ago.   

January 14thThis day in January 1925 was the birthday Yukio Mishima, a Japanese gay man who singularly stands out as perhaps one of the most exceptional and fascinating figures from LGBTQI history. Famous as a filmmaker, Mishima is best-known as the author of novels such as Confessions of a Mask, The Sound of Waves and Life for Sale (in which a 27-year-old man who sees the future promising nothing worthwhile puts his life up for sale in a Tokyo newspaper). Mishima was a suave, svelte man-about-town to whose dinner table everyone wanted an invitation (Mishima would design and have special cutlery made for eating the seafood to be served). He was obsessive about body-building and deeply admired Japan’s Samurai warrior caste whom he saw as the epitome of its ancient martial culture as well as the supreme embodiment of manhood and whom he emulated. He also venerated traditional Japanese weapons, particularly the sword which in Japan is a symbol of the soul and Mishima entertained a romantic fixation with heroic death at the hand of such weapons. But Japan was bound to disarmament after WW2 and even weapons like swords were once suppressed. In a tragic series of events, on November the 25th 1970, Mishima addressed officers at military headquarters in Tokyo and called for Japan to re-embrace its historical martial culture and to militarily arm itself again, but he was heckled by some in the audience. Disappointed, humiliated, affronted and distraught, Mishima then committed sephuku, but his lieutenant who attempted to strike a merciful blow to behead him botched it and then hacked at him till he succeeded. These macabre events would overshadow the story of Mishima’s life. He was denounced as a fanatic, a lunatic, as unhinged and out-of-touch… And he might have been all those things; it doesn’t detract from the fact he is regarded as one of the great authors of the 20th century. His homosexuality, and his views of manhood, manliness and masculinity deserve deeper scrutiny, and Mishima stands as the almost archetypical embodiment of the homosexual warrior-priest.                          

January 15thAfter lesbian actress Francoise Marie Antoinette Saucerotte died (b. 3 March 1756) on this day, the 15th of Jan. 1815, the clergy refused to admit her body for burial to St. Roche because of her sexual orientation and relationships with women amongst whom was the famous opera singer Sophie Arnould (13 Feb. 1740 – 18 Oct. 1802). Mourners at her funeral rioted in outrage at the churchmen’s attitudes, they stove in the church doors and were only restrained by arrival of an almoner sent hastily by Louis XVIII. She was buried with dignity in Pere Lachaise Cemetery in Paris.   

January 16thThe Louisiana Supreme Court ruled that Louisiana’s statutory ban on “unnatural carnal copulation” also applied to women who engage in oral sex with other women which effectively made lesbian sex illegal in the state on this day in January, 1967.  

January 17thOn this day in 1999 transgender Robert Eads died of ovarian cancer. Eads transitioned from female to male and when he developed ovarian cancer, more than two dozen doctors in Georgia refused to treat him claiming it would harm their practices – it was an expression and a case of social stigma faced by gender variant individuals. When he was finally accepted for treatment, it was too late. You can watch Eads’ story in the award-winning documentary Southern Comfort.

January 18thCanaan Sodindo Banana, Zimbabwe’s retired first president was convicted on 11 counts of sodomy on this day of January 1999. It was the time at which then serving president Robert Mugabe was blaming homosexuals for his country’s ills. Banana served only six months of a ten-year sentence before fleeing and seeking asylum in the UK.

January 19thThe Gay Women’s Collective held a Lesbian Conference at the Montreal Women’s Center on this day in 1974 and only a small group of women attended, but they agreed to hold a major conference for lesbians in North America the following year. Other lesbian events and groups would also be begun in later years by that small group of women who attended the original 1974 conference. 

January 20thThe only Muslim country in Europe, Albania, decriminalized same-sex acts in this day in 1995. 

January 21stIn 2013 on this day, President Barack Obama first made mention of gay rights in his presidency – namely in his inaugural address. It read as follows: “It is now our generation’s task to carry on what those pioneers began… Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law – for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.” 

January 22ndThe first edition of the lesbian magazine The Ladder on the cover of which a person appeared with their face visible was issued on this day in 1966. That person was the lesbian activist Lilli Vincenz (b. Sept. 26, 1937). Back in the 1960s, publishing photographs of a person whom is also clearly identified as gay or lesbian by the publication was simply something never done by the press and The Ladder was to break with this form of censorship.  

January 23rd Iran, 20008 and Hamzeh Chavi (18) and Loghman Hamzehpour (!9) were arrested on this day of that year for homosexuality. Apparently, they then confessed to a court that they were in love and were subsequently charged with “waging war against god’ and sodomy. Their exact punishment and fates are unknown, but despite an online petition of 20 000 signatures, they are thought to have been executed. Iran is currently struck by rioting, protests and unrest after the religious and moral police arrested a young woman for not wearing a scarf and she subsequently died in their custody. It is possible that reform of laws and official attitudes towards LGBTQI people just might also result from these events.  

January 24thThe founder of the ancient cult of Antinous which has become an international LGBTQI religion and a modern spiritual tradition revolving around the Queer God Antinous was born on this day in Spain in the year 76CE. Many LGBTQI people have a need for religious and spiritual sustenance but feel unwelcome in the major mass faiths of the world. They along with many former LGBTQI atheists have found a spiritual home in the Antinoan faith. More on the faith of the queer God Antinous can be learned at the Temple of Antinous website at www.antinopolis.org, from the Companions of Antinous group on Facebook and by visiting and Following the page of Priest of Antinous, Priest Herenestus, on Instagram at @antinousgaygod. 

January 25thThe USA’s first colonial territory, the Commonwealth of Virginia, reduced the penalty for buggery committed by free people to one to ten years on this day in 1800, but it did not remove the death penalty which could still be imposed under certain circumstances. 

January 26thWe noted that the practice and form of censorship existed in the USA whereby no photographs were published in the press of people in the photographs who were also being identified as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or intersex in the entry for the 22nd of January. On the 26th of January 1971, Look Magazine also defied this convention by depicting and identifying a gay couple from Minnesota, Jack Baker and Mike McConnell on its cover page for an article on “The American Family.” Baker and McConnell were also the first same-sex couple to be granted a marriage license in the USA.

January 27thThe United Nations National Assembly established the International Holocaust Remembrance Day on this day in January 2006: It calls for memorialization and commemoration of the victims of Nazism during the Holocaust and it includes the homosexuals and other people representing sexual and gender variants persecuted by Nazis.  

January 28thIn 1976 on this day in January, the LGBTQI magazine the Advocate reported the founding of Gay American Indians (GAI), the first Native gay and lesbian organization in the USA which also contributed towards the rise of the Two Spirits movement. Doctor Ronni Sanlo in her books on LGBTQI history, This Day in LGBTQ History (obtainable through her website or by contacting Doctor Sanlo on Instagram or Facebook), reported that by the end of the twentieth century, GAI had over 600 member and had given rise to other gay American Indian groups in the USA and Canada. Doctor Sanlo also reported that GAI had documented berdache roles in over 130 Native American tribes.” It has some bearing on the subject of the Introduction to this month’s On This Queer Day: LGBTQI history in South Africa – the role of people who could be classified as resembling LGBTQI people in indigenous South African nations and amongst their people and the provision for the roles of such people in their cultures are subjects which urgently require attention by local historians and researchers. We ask for your support in the quest to create a LGBTQI History Archive and LGBTQI Library at the University of the Free State with efforts beginning in this year ahead.   

January 29thAfter going to Canada in 2006 and getting married there, same-sex couple Binyamin and Avi Rose returned to Israel whereupon the Israeli High Court ruled on this day in 2007 that couples married outside of Israel should be recognized by the state. 

January 30thSome LGBTQI groups see and use Mahatma Gandhi as a figurehead and inspiration for non-violent campaigning, such as Soul-Force in the USA who uses Gandhi’s non-violent practices in demonstrations against churches which discriminate against LGBTQI people. There is a conflict however between LGBTQI people who ascribe absolutely to non-violent principles under all circumstances and LGBTQI people who arm themselves and who advocate armed self-defense and violent resistance especially to violent attacks and homophobic assaults upon LGBTQI people and who cite the numbers of LGBTQI people who have been harmed and killed for being LGBTQI as motivation. Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated on this day in January 1948 by a religious fanatic.   

January 31stOn this day in 1975, the American Association for the Advancement of Science approved a resolution denouncing discrimination against lesbians and gays. To have bodies such this allied to our causes is of great importance and even though this particular case dates back to 1975, we still invite the support and actions such as this by groups representing scientists in various disciplines.

   And this brings the first month of 2023 to a close – we hope that LGBTQI history has been a source of inspiration and support for you in your life and in advocating for us. And may it have become a reason for joining us in advocating for LGBTQI causes if you have not been involved in activism before. And if still not, may you join us in the month ahead and may you return here for February’s edition of Upon This Queer Day. Aluta Continua!  

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Interfaith Calendar

January 1st Feast of the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of Jesus and Feast Day of St. Basil: Catholic

Shogatsu/Gantan-sai: Shinto – New Years  

January 5th Birth of Guru Gobind Singh: Sikh – Birthday of the Guru, the 10th and final Sikh master. 

January 6th Epiphany: Protestant and Roman Catholic  

January 7th Feast of the Nativity: Orthodox Christian

January 8th Feast of the Holy Family: Roman Catholic 

January 12th Antinous Navigator: Antinoan Faith of the Queer God Antinous – Celebration of Antinous in His role and incarnation as the Great Navigator for all His Followers.

January 13th Birth of Aelius Caesar: Antinoan Faith of the Queer God Antinous – Birth of the successor to the emperor Hadrian.

Maghi: Sikh

January 15th – 18th Pongal: Hinduism – Four-day harvest festival for Tamil people dedicated to the Sun God Surya.

January 19th Feast of the Epiphany: Orthodox Christian  

January 22nd Chinese New Year: Buddhist

January 24th Birth of the Roman Emperor Hadrian, Founder of the Antinoan religion of the Queer God Antinous

January 30th Mahayana New Year: Buddhism 

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On This Queer Day, the introductory article or column, the LGBTQI History Calendar and the Interfaith Calendar are all composed by Adriaan van den Berg. You can contact him with corrections, criticism and contributions at adriaanvandenberg2@gmail.com. He flies the Rainbow Flag with a Skull and Crossbones

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