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Here are the Top LGBTQ News Stories of 2023

Story Corps: LGBTQ
Coming Out Is a Journey: LGBTQ People Share Their Stories
Info: Unsung Heroes and Quiet Champions

Most Uplifting Moments for LGBTQ People in 2023

LGBTQ Nation: Good News

Info: LGBTQ Historical Perspectives

 

 

LGBTQ News, Culture, Entertainment, Style, Community

Queerest Moments of 2023

Politico: LGBTQ Community Stories

BuzzFeed: LGBTQ Stories

Reedsy: LGBTQ Short Stories to Read

Info: LGBTQ Biographies
Story Telling for Social Change

 

 

Dianne Feinstein: LGBTQ Ally


Cleve Jones relates this story about Senator Dianne Feinstein on the occasion of her passing in Sept 2023:

This image of Dianne Feinstein is from November 27, 1979 on the first anniversary of the murders of Harvey Milk and George Moscone. Just six months earlier, on May 21, a violent riot pitched SFPD against LGBTQ people angered by the lenient manslaughter verdict received by the murderer Dan White. Over a dozen police cars were torched that night, City Hall was damaged, hundreds were injured and the Elephant Walk bar on Castro Street was trashed by vengeful police officers. Six months later Mayor Feinstein joined our march and walked with us from Castro Street to City Hall. She declined, however, to participate in the Pride Parade that year and, as far as I know, never rode or walked in any Pride Parade. The banner behind her -- "GAY LOVE IS GAY POWER / HARVEY MILK LIVES" -- was painted by me on the floor of the apartment I shared with Eric Garber at 593A Castro Street.

 

Advocate: Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Trailblazing LGBTQ Rights Advocate, Dies at 90

NBC News: Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Trailblazer in US Politics, Longest-Serving Woman in Senate, Dies at 90

CNN: Sen. Dianne Feinstein dies at 90
AP News: Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, Trailblazer, Champion of Liberal Priorities, Dies at Age 90
ABC News: Dianne Feinstein, Trailblazing California Senator, Dies at 90

 

 

Grandpa and Grandma Walton Were Gay
 

The actors who played Grandma and Grandpa on The Waltons TV series (1972-1981) were both actually gay in real life.


Ellen Corby and Will Geer brought veteran acting skills as Grandma and Grandpa Walton. Indeed, The Waltons never even considered recasting the elderly couple when each fell on hard times with their health. They became an inseparable unit on screen. However, in their private lives, each was actually gay and in same-sex relationships.

As a married couple on TV, Grandma and Grandpa Walton represented the base of the Walton family tree, armed with wisdom and traditions. Ellen Corby as herself, however, swore like a sailor. Additionally, the actress behind god-fearing Esther Walton smoked like a chimney, even after Grandma insisted, “If the good Lord had intended us to smoke He would have put a chimney in our heads.” And fell in love with women. Specifically, she became close to Stella Luchetta.

While Grandma Walton’s extramarital relationships slid under the radar as a quiet, well-known secret, Grandpa Walton was keeping no secrets. Geer’s path to notoriety began around 1934 when he met Harry Hay. As lovers, the two inspired and influenced one another into gay rights activism. His fate, to end up on the blacklist, was practically sealed by his additional involvement in union strikes, including the San Francisco General Strike. Today, Harry Hay is celebrated as a sort of founding father in gay rights activism. But Hay himself credits Will Geer for getting him started.

 

Grandpa and Grandma Walton Actually Gay

Secret Lives of Grandpa and Grandma Walton

The Waltons: Tribute to Ellen Corby and  Will Geer

 

 

Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence

 

In June 2023, and the weeks leading up to LGBTQ Pride Month, the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence were the subject of high-profile media attention after intense backlash from anti-LGBTQ extremists and others who object to the Los Angeles chapter of the non-profit organization receiving a Community Hero Award from the Los Angeles Dodgers during its annual Pride Night.

A month earlier, the Los Angeles Dodgers rescinded an invitation to honor them. The LA LGBTQ Center, Equality California, the American Civil Liberties Union, and other civil rights organizations and nonprofits quickly publicly denounced the move.

Shortly after, the Dodgers reversed their decision, stating “After much thoughtful feedback from our diverse communities, honest conversations within the Los Angeles Dodgers organization and generous discussions with the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, the Los Angeles Dodgers would like to offer our sincerest apologies to the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, members of the LGBTQ community and their friends and families.” The Los Angeles chapter of the Sisters re-accepted the honor and joined the Dodgers’ Pride Night celebration.

The Dodgers should be applauded for their reconsideration and their thoughtfulness in doing the right thing. But it’s clear that there is much-needed education still to be done to showcase the contributions of the Sisters .

 



The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence came into formation in 1979 in San Francisco and have been active for 44 years, while the LA chapter began in 1995 and has been active for 27 years. Their advocacy and service-oriented mission was originally driven by the early days of the AIDS epidemic when there was a high level of religious condemnation of gay men and a lack of compassion and support from other institutions. The sisters believe laughter is therapeutic; and they use irreverent humor as a strategy to alleviate feelings of shame and guilt perpetuated by homophobia, transphobia and xenophobia.

Since then, the sisters have expanded their chapters (known as houses) to nearly every state in the US, across Canada, Australia, throughout Europe and South America where, as part of their mission, the sisters raise funds for local direct service organizations. The sisters continue to celebrate LGBTQ joy, in all its forms, as an antidote to the daily discrimination, historic condemnation and continued civil rights violations faced by LGBTQ people.

In their own words, the mission of the Los Angeles House of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence reads: “We believe in freedom of expression, teamwork, effort, and diversity. We are a family, committed to social activism, social service and spiritual development. The Order strives to strengthen its community through drag activism, by raising much-needed funds for community charities, and by bringing about a better understanding of gay spirituality.”

“We feed the hungry, we work with people who are unhoused, we support LGBTQ and trans youth, we support queer art,” a member who goes by the drag name Sister Roma stated. “The reason that we really manifest is to shed light on the hypocrisy of all organized religion, and the way that people interpret the teachings, the word, and use it as a weapon to justify their own homophobia, their own transphobia, their own hate.”

The LA House has raised funds for many organizations including Alliance for Housing and Healing, Friends of Long Beach Animals, Los Angeles Youth Network, American Veterans for Equal Rights, and the St. Mary Medical Center Foundation.
 

Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence: Website

Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence: Decades of Dedication to Community Service
 

 

Sara: TV Series Included Openly Gay Character

 

In 1985, "Sara," the television series, premiered. It was a one-season wonder. It was an American sitcom that aired on NBC from January to May. Starring Geena Davis in the title role, the series features early performances from several actors who went on to greater acclaim, including Alfre Woodard, Bronson Pinchot, and Bill Maher (plus a one-time appearance from Phil Hartman).

 

"Sara" was set in a San Francisco Legal Aid office.  Sara McKenna (Geena Davis) is fresh out of law school and decides to share a practice with three other lawyers, including best friend Rozalyn (played by Alfre Woodard).

 

Also in the cast: Mark Hudson (Goldie Hawn's ex-husband and father of Kate Hudson) was previously a member of the Hudson Brothers music trio back in the 70s. And Ronnie Claire Edwards, who went on to be a part of The Waltons cast.

 

Most notable, the TV show featured one of the earliest regular gay characters on an American television series. The character was Dennis Kemper and he was played by Bronson Pinchot.  He is presented as an openly gay man who is a fully integrated and accepted member of the law firm and who speaks candidly to his co-workers about his personal life.

 

Because the show was scheduled opposite "Dynasty," which was then the most popular series on the air, "Sara" failed to attract an audience and was cancelled after 13 episodes.

 

Sara: About the 1985 TV Series
Sara: Watch Episode One

 

 

Stormé DeLarverie: Stonewall Champ

 

"It was a rebellion, it was an uprising, it was a civil rights disobedience. It wasn't no damn riot."

-Stormé DeLarverie

 

Stormé DeLarverie (1920–2014) is an American woman known as the butch lesbian whose scuffle with police was, according to DeLarverie and many eyewitnesses, the spark that ignited the Stonewall uprising, spurring the crowd to action. She was born in New Orleans, to an African-American mother and a white father. She is remembered as a drag king and as a gay civil rights icon and entertainer, who performed and hosted at the Apollo Theater and Radio City Music Hall. She worked for much of her life as an MC, singer, bouncer, bodyguard, and volunteer street patrol worker, the "guardian of lesbians in the Village." She is known as "the Rosa Parks of the gay community."


At the Stonewall rebellion, a scuffle broke out when a woman in handcuffs, who may have been DeLarverie, was roughly escorted from the door of the bar to the waiting police wagon. She was brought through the crowd by police several times, as she escaped repeatedly. She fought with at least four of the police, swearing and shouting, for about ten minutes. Described by a witness as "a typical New York City butch" and "a dyke-stone butch," she had been hit on the head by an officer with a baton for, as one witness stated, announcing that her handcuffs were too tight. She was bleeding from a head wound as she fought back.

 

Brief History of Stormé DeLarverie: Stonewall Icon

Stormé DeLarverie: Butch Lesbian and Male Impersonator
Stormé DeLarverie: Biographical Notes
 

 

Lord Ivar Mountbatten: Royal Gay

 

"I'm out of that generation where you just buried your sexuality and you didn't act on it and got on with life."

-Lord Ivar Mountbatten

 

Lord Ivar Mountbatten is gay.  He is King Charles III's second cousin. And he is the great-great-great grandson of Queen Victoria
 

Before coming to terms with his sexual identity, Lord Mountbatten, was married to Penny from 1994 to 2011. During the course of their 17-year marriage, Ivar and Penny had three daughters – Ella, Alexandra and Louise.  Ivar and Penny decided to separate in 2010.

 

He came out publicly and became the first member of the British monarch’s extended family to be openly in a same-sex relationship. His subsequent marriage to James Coyle in 2018 made also made him first to wed a same-sex partner.  Coyle, an airline services director, met Ivar while at a ski resort in Verbier.

King’s Gay Cousin Lord Ivar Mountbatten

 

 

Nicole Conen: Lesbian Lumberjack and Videographer

Nicole Coenen is from London, Ontario, Canada.  She is a freelance videographer, video journalist, content creator, writer, actor, producer, and marketer. Her work is featured on YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok.  She studied advanced film making at Fanshawe College. After years of a variety of media  projects, her latest adventure is her video journal of moving from the city to a farm in the country. Her video blogs include stories of rouging it, reflections on nature and the seasons, and lighthearted insights into her relationship with her partner Jen.

 

Nicole Coenen: YouTube

Lesbian Lumberjack: Nicole Coenan
Adjusting to Winter: Nicole Coenan
Nicole Coenan: Instagram
Surrending to Summer: Nicole Coenan
Little Getaway: Nicole Coenan

 

 

Jennifer Lopez and Emme

 

Jennifer Lopez and her child Emme Maribel Muñiz, 14, are being praised for a recent duet, but not because of the music.

The pair - who last made headlines for performing together when Lopez co-headlined the Super Bowl LIV Pepsi halftime show in 2020 - took to the stage recently at the LA Dodgers Blue Diamond Gala. Lopez introduced Emme using the gender neutral pronouns they and them.
 

"The last time we performed together was in a big stadium like this," Lopez said. "And I ask them to sing with me all the time and they won't."

"So this is a very special occasion. They are very, very busy. Booked. And pricey," Lopez went on to say. "They cost me when they come out. But they're worth every single penny because they're my favorite duet partner of all time."  Emme then appeared on stage, carrying a rainbow microphone to sing Christina Perri's hit, "A Thousand Years."
 

Lopez shares Emme and twin brother Max with her ex husband, singer and actor Marc Anthony.

 

Jennifer Lopez Introduces Her Child Onstage Using They/Them Pronouns
Jennifer Lopez Introduces One of Her Twins with Gender Neutral Pronouns
Jennifer Lopez Introduces Her Child Using Gender-Neutral Pronouns
Jennifer Lopez Introduces Her Child with Neutral Pronouns on Stage For Duet

 

 

Aaron Fricke Goes to Prom

 

Aaron Fricke, born in Pawtucket, Rhode Island in 1962, is a gay rights activist and author. He came to prominence in 1980 as the first student to sue his school for the right to bring his boyfriend to the high school prom. the court ruled in his favor and the case set a precedent that has been used ever since to establish a legal right throughout the US for students to bring same-sex partners to school proms and other school social events.

 

Missouri High School Crowns its First Male Homecoming Queen

Pennsylvania High School Elects Female Couple as Prom Royalty

Lesbian Couple Crowned Prom Queens

Trans Teen Voted Homecoming Queen

Rural HS Athlete Going to Prom with Former Teammate

Prom Night: Closeted Prom Queen

Gay Teen in Memphis Crowned Homecoming Royalty

Meet a Transgender Homecoming Queen

 

 

Larry Grayson: Camp British Comedian

In Britain "Shut That Door" was the catchphrase of the great camp gay comedian Larry Grayson. One of the top line up of stars on the BBC through the 1970s and 1980s. Another of his catchphrases was "What a gay day".


It seems strange that at a time when the country was still very homophobic flamboyant gay entertainers were the top most loved TV and stage stars in Britain. Larry Grayson was one at the very top. His shows on TV drew a regular audience of a massive 18 million viewers.


His early stage acts he did in drag as female character in the first half and in a suit and tie as a male character in the second half both parts were said to be hilarious and drew in massive crowds.


Today we hear about people wanting more gay representation on TV and in film especially in the US. In Britain they never had oppressive homophobic rules like the US Hays Code so they had representation with openly and obvious gay characters and men in drag all the way through from the start of TV and radio and most of them were the most loved British entertainers.

 

Larry Grayson (1923-1995): Comedian and Entertainer
Larry Grayson Tribute
Biographical Notes: Larry Grayson
Life of Larry Grayson

Larry Grayson: This Is Your Life (1972)
 

 

Trans Handy Ma'am

 

Meet the Trans Handy Ma'am who has amazing videos on social media that show you how to handle handy tasks on your own, with sparkle! Now she's partnering with Lowe's Home Improvement.

Wisconsin resident Mercury Stardust began posting videos on TikTok to promote her weekly burlesque show, but it wasn’t until she began sharing home improvement and maintenance tips that her account really took off. “That took me from like 100 followers to 25,000 followers in less than 24 hours," she said.

Stardust, a transgender woman, has since been dubbed the “Trans Handy Ma’am” and has seen her TikTok account skyrocket to 1.5 million followers.

While Stardust, 34, has more than a decade of experience as a maintenance technician, she never thought those skills would have been what shot her to TikTok stardom. “I’ve performed all around the country. I’ve been to 126 different cities. I’ve performed in 22 different states — and what I’m known for is telling people the difference between what a cup plunger is and what a regular beehive plunger is,” she said.

Stardust’s TikTok account includes hundreds of maintenance and home improvement videos, from how to unclog a drain to how to patch a hole in the wall and how to install a new shower head.

The Ambassador of Cheese and Tease, Mercury is a burlesque performer, emcee, instructor, producer, property manager, and now famous home improvement advisor. "I am thrilled and so overwhelmed that I have now entered a long term contract and partnership with Lowe's Home Improvement.  Its been a very long road to get to where I am today but I am finally ready to take my content and career to the next level," she said.

Mercury Stardust Website
Mercury Stardust on Facebook

Mercury Stardust is Trans Handy Ma’am: Home Repair TikToker

Mercury Stardust on TikTok
Mercury Stardust on NBC News
Mercury Stardust: How to Check Tire Pressure
 

 

Lesbian Farmer Taylor Blake and Emmanuel the Emu

The out and proud lesbian farmer in South Florida started creating content for Knuckle Bump in January 2022, but it wasn’t until Emmanuel took the screen that the TikTok page blew up. Now, Knuckle Bump Farms is seemingly an Emmanuel fan page.

The dynamic duo stars in a variety of videos that show off their best-friend bond. They hold hands, tell each other jokes, and even cuddle in the afternoon sun, making one thing clear: An emu really is a gal’s best friend.


Blake shared her love for the nearly six-foot-tall bird in an Emmanuel appreciation post on Instagram. She wrote: "All I’ve ever wanted was to spread joy like wildfire, I feel like all my dreams are coming true. I can’t wait to tell my future children all about how an emu changed my life.”
 

Knuckle Bump Farms primarily focuses on miniature cattle. But it also features two obnoxious emus: Emmanuel and Ellen. Don’t get any wild ideas, folks. Blake says that the two are not an item. “Ellen and Emmanuel hate each other,” Blake shared in a TikTok comment section. She also shared the Emmanuel "hasn’t fully come out yet" but she's “pretty sure he’s gay.”

 

Born in Texas, Blake is 29 years old. She currently lives in South Florida with her girlfriend Kristian Haggerty.
 

Taylor Blake and Emmanuel the Emu
Internet Fans Have Fallen in Love with Emmanuel the Emu
Taylor and Her Emu Find Fame
Don't Do It Emmanuel
Emmanuel the Emu and Lesbian Farmer Taylor Blake Drop by The Tonight Show

 

The Tea on Marie Antoinette

Although royal families are supposed to represent strict decorum and traditional mores, some rumors of Marie Antoinette's life while she was Queen of France suggest she may have been a lesbian. While Antoinette was able to keep parts of her sexuality hidden, she unwittingly became associated with coded female homoeroticism and and proto-lesbianism.

Antoinette was born in Austria, but began to represent France after she was wed to Louis XVI, the Prince of France, at age fourteen in order to forge a political alliance between the two empires. The new marriage and political agreements forced Antoinette to disregard all Austrian titles and accomplishments, which left her isolated in her new home with a husband that she didn’t love.

 



Antoinette's reputation soon began to build due to her lavish lifestyle. Her dresses and coiffure were grandiose. Her home and gardens were opulent. And she partied and gambled excessively during the period in which France was in a major financial crisis.

Antoinette’s relationship with King Louis XVI was entirely non-romantic.  Both Marie and Louis were young, immature, and inexperienced.  Louis, in particular, displayed little interest in sex. In fact, the couple didn’t consummate their marriage until seven years after their official wedding, which was a big deal at the time and lead to public humiliation.

The public wasn’t thrilled about Antoinette in general, and pornographic pamphlets were circulated accusing the queen of adultery, pedophilia, and lesbianism. Thousands of images showed Antoinette having relations with other woman and performing indecent acts with them. The accusations of lesbianism, especially, continued to linger.

 

 

As public dissatisfaction with the queen increased and Antoinette became more isolated, it was rumored that she sought out comfort and intimacy from her ladies in waiting. Among these female court members, Antoinette engaged in mild flirtations, which turned into romantic embraces and kissing, which evolved into sexual encounters. Antoinette became increasingly close to Princess de Lamballe, a young widow. The queen became so infatuated with Lamballe that she began showing favoritism toward her, granting her easy tasks and special treatment. In the letters between the two, they addressed one another as “my dearest” and “my dear heart” and signed the letters “with a heart entirely yours.”

Antoinette and Lamballe became so close that when the two were separated for the first time, the queen became so depressed by her absence that she gazed longingly for hours at paintings and figurines of the princess. She also mailed Lamballe a ring engraved with the phrase “bleached by sorrow” and a lock of her own hair, to which Lamballe replied with by sending a watch with a message that said, “to remind you of the hours we passed together.” In that same letter, she told Antoinette that she wished to “live or die” near her.

Although her affections were focused on Lamballe, Antoinette also had a fairly lengthy affair with Yolande Polignac, paying off her debts, moving her into a lavish apartment, and crowning her as a duchess. The queen also had an affair with Mary Robinson, an English actress and author, who wrote about the flirtations that occurred between them and the intimate acts in which the two partook.

 



The monarch’s famous death by guillotine in 1793 took place when she was thirty-seven years old. She was charged with treason, theft, incest and (wait for it) sapphic cultism. Most of her trial's focus was on her disengagement during the Revolution. She was found guilty and beheaded. And her head was publicly displayed on a stake.

Antoinette eventually emerged as a symbol of feminist action and lesbianism in the years after her death. Women referenced her memory and reputation as a way of secretly disclosing that they loved other women. Women would ask, “Have you heard the rumors of Marie Antoinette?” as a covert way to discover whether or not other women had same-sex attractions.

 

In 2006, Sofia Coppola produced a film about Marie Antoinette, starring Kirsten Dunst. And in 2023, the BBC launched a television series about Marie Antoinette, starring Emilia Schule.

 

BBC Presents Marie Antoinette as Sapphic Queen in New Period Drama
Marie Antoinette Shares Lesbian Kiss in New BBC Period Drama
Trailer for BBC Series: Marie Antoinette
Marie Antoinette Movie Trailer (2006)
Marie Antoinette Explained
 

 

Dana Zzyym: Intersex Activist

 

Dana Zzyym was born in 1958 with sex characteristics that are not typically male or female, but was raised a boy by their parents. As a result, Dana was forced to undergo several irreversible, painful, and medically unnecessary surgeries to conform to binary sex stereotypes. The surgeries failed immediately and traumatized Dana with permanent scarring and damage.


Later into their adult life, Dana learned they were born with intersex traits and had been forced into an incorrect binary sex/gender category. As an Intersex and nonbinary person who advocated for human rights, Dana was invited to attend an International Intersex Forum in Mexico City, at which time they applied for a US passport. Dana’s application was denied by the US State Department because they could not truthfully select “M” or “F” in the sex field and their request to select another option such as “X” was rejected.


Denying Dana a passport would be depriving them access to any and all means of lawfully exiting the United States, so Dana fought back. They sued the US State Department for denying them a passport that accurately reflected their identity and made history by becoming the first US citizen to receive an official US passport with an “X” gender marker.

 

Dana Zzyym: Biographical Notes

Lambda Legal: Dana Zzyym Receives First 'X' on US Passport
Dana Zzyym Receives First US Passport With 'X' Gender Marker

 

Cleve Jones: Reluctant Activist

 

This boy. A few months before this photograph was taken, this boy had planned to take his own life. He, like so many children then and now, saw no hope for a future worth living. He was frightened and lonely and believed he was the only one in the world. He thought his life was a lie and that there was no place for him on this earth. He thought his life was over before it had even begun.


Then this boy read in a magazine about a place called San Francisco and a new movement that shouted through the silence and celebrated his existence and told him and millions more that they were loved and that they belonged, and that the movement they were building was part of a larger, global movement for peace and justice and freedom.


This boy learned that his place was in a long line that stretched back over generations, over centuries, over millennia. He learned that people like him had always existed, in every era, in every culture, in every color of skin, in every human circumstance.


Gradually, this boy even came to believe that he could love and be loved. So he flushed away the pills he had hoarded to end his life, left the desert city where he had lived, and made his way to San Francisco on a foggy afternoon in August.
 

And then his life began. That was fifty years ago. I was 17 years old.
 

Cleve Jones Website
Cleve Jones and the National AIDS Memorial
Cleve Jones: NPR Interview

 

 

 

Cari and Kim Plus Khaya

 

Cari Searcy and Kim McKeand legally married in 2008. Cari Searcy's partner, Kim McKeand, had given birth to a baby boy, Khaya Searcy, in December 2005, with the aid of a donor. Searcy then sought to become the adoptive parent of the child, who bears her last name. Adoption would give Searcy rights to make medical decisions for the child as well as securing the sense of family in their home.

 

In July 2015, Baldwin County (Alabama) Circuit Court Judge James Reid granted the adoption for Cari Searcy in Mobile County Probate Court. His approval of the measure ended a winding and politically fraught legal battle for Searcy and her wife Kim McKeand, Khaya's biological mother.

 

Their four-year-long quest to adopt the child led to a federal judge overturning the state's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.

 

"It was such a surreal feeling to hear the judge say that it is in the best interest of this boy to have two legal parents," Searcy said. "For me, that's when I broke down. It's very emotional and a day we've been waiting for a long, long time."

 

Searcy first filed paperwork in Mobile County Probate Court in 2011 to legally adopt the boy, whom she has raised since birth. After a brief hearing, Mobile County Probate Judge Don Davis rejected the petition in April 2012, citing the state's ban on same-sex marriage. The Alabama Court of Civil Appeals later upheld that decision.

 

In February 2015, a federal judge ruled that Searcy could not be denied her desire to adopt Khaya, clearing the way for same-sex marriage in Alabama.

 

But hours before the law legalizing same-sex marriage was to begin, Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore ordered the state's probate judges to withhold same-sex marriage licenses pending the US Supreme Court decision on the matter.

 

Searcy filed a second lawsuit after Davis indicated he would not give final approval of the adoption until after US Supreme Court case resolved the same-sex marriage issue. The US Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage nationwide in June 2015, striking down any remaining barriers to Searcy's adoption.

 

At the courthouse, Khaya, 9, was dressed for the occasion, wearing a gray suitcoat, a blue button up shirt, dress pants, and a plaid clip-on tie. Clutching a brown teddy bear, he said, "It's good that I finally have two legal parents."

 

Lesbian Couple That Brought Down Alabama’s Gay Marriage Ban Sues State Over Second-Parent Adoption

Here's How Two Women Changed The Lives Of LGBTQ Families In Alabama Forever

 

 

 

Edwardian Lesbian Couple

In 1907 Edwardian Britain, lesbian couple, Lily Elsie and Adrienne Augarde were very famous acting and singing stars of the period.

 

Lily Elsie was an English actress and singer best known for her starring role in the London premiere of Franz Lehár's operetta The Merry Widow. She became one the most photographed woman of Edwardian times.

 

Adrienne Augarde was English actress and singer popular for her roles in Edwardian musical comedy. Her career included performances in pantomime, drama, vaudeville, and opera. She gained wide popularity playing leading roles in the popular musicals produced by George Edwardes. She also starred in a number of long-running productions in London and New York from 1903 to 1912.
 

The two actress appeared together in the play production The New Aladdin. Notable was the fact that Lily dressed in manly attire.

 

Biographical Notes on Lily Elsie

Biographical Notes on Adrienne Augarde

 

 

Maybelle Blair: League of Her Own

Baseball icon and A League of Their Own inspiration Maybelle Blair comes out as gay at the age of 95.

Between 1943 and 1954, baseball fans immersed themselves in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGBL).

Maybelle Blair and other women baseball players in the late 1940s were the model for the central characters in Penny Marshall’s 1992 comedy A League of Their Own. The 95-year-old announced she was gay at the Tribeca Festival premiere of Amazon’s new series based on the film.

Speaking about the new, more inclusive version of the story of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, Blair said, “I think it’s a great opportunity for these young girl ball players to come realize that they’re not alone, and you don’t have to hide.”

Blair, who earned the nickname “All the Way Mae” during her time with the Peoria Redwings in the late 1940s, recalled realizing she was attracted to women as a teenager.
 

Maybelle Blair, Who Helped Inspire 'A League Of Their Own,' Comes Out At 95
Player Who Helped Inspire 'A League of Their Own' Comes Out at Age 95
Biographical Notes on Maybelle Blair
Baseball Player Who Inspired A League of Their Own Comes Out at 95

 

 

Violet Trefusis: Breathtaking Love Letters

Violet Trefusis today, if she is remembered at all, is known for a slim volume of her published love letters. These letters are wild and lyrical in which she declares to her female lover: “I love you Vita because I’ve seen your soul.”

What is less commonly known is that Trefusis was also a writer and a remarkable lesbian pioneer who explored themes of androgyny. She was steadfast in her belief that there was nothing inherently ‘wrong’ with lesbianism.

She opposed the assertion made by lesbian Radcylffe Hall in her book, The Well of Loneliness that lesbianism was caused by a “genetic imperfection.” She did not see it as either better or worse than the heterosexual ‘norm’ but rather simply as a different form of sexuality, which was a radical view for the time.

Trefusis was born Violet Keppel on June 6, 1894. She was an English socialite. She did not live openly as a lesbian, nor did she hide her sexuality in life or in print. Her works are both subtle and vicious studies of repressed desire. Sadly, today her works are out of print, and she exists only in the words of others.

Violet Trefusis: Remarkable Lesbian Pioneer

Biographical Notes: Violet Trefusis
Breathtaking Love Letters from Violet to Vita
 

 

Ruth Coker Burks: Cemetery Angel

In 1984, when Ruth Coker Burks was 25 and a young mother living in Arkansas, she would often visit a hospital to care for a friend who had cancer. During one visit, she noticed the nurses would draw straws, afraid to go into one room, its door sealed by a big red bag. She asked why and the nurses told her the patient had Gay-Related Immune Deficiency (GRID), later known as AIDS.

 

On a repeat visit, and seeing the big red bag on the door, Burks decided to disregard the warnings and sneaked into the room. In the bed was a skeletal young man, who told her he wanted to see his mother before he died. She left the room and told the nurses, who said, "Honey, his mother’s not coming. He’s been here six weeks. Nobody’s coming”. Burks called his mother anyway, who refused to come visit her son, who she described as a "sinner" and already dead to her, and that she wouldn't even claim his body when he died.

 

“I went back in his room," she recalled, "and when I walked in, he said, Oh, momma. I knew you’d come, and then he lifted his hand. And what was I going to do? So I took his hand. I said, I’m here, honey, I’m here. She pulled a chair to his bedside, talked to him, and held his hand until he died 13 hours later. After finally finding a funeral home that would his body, and paying for the cremation out of her own savings, Burks buried his ashes on her family's large plot in Files Cemetery.


After this first encounter, Burks cared for other patients who needed her help. She would take them to appointments, obtain medications, apply for assistance, and even kept supplies of AIDS medications on hand, as some pharmacies would not carry them. Burks work soon became well known in the city and she received financial assistance from gay bars. "They would twirl up a drag show on Saturday night", she explained. "And the drag shows were how we raised money, that's how we'd buy medicine, that's how we'd pay rent. If it hadn't been for the drag queens, I don't know what we would have done."


Over the next 30 years (with assistance from her daughter) Burks cared for over 1,000 people and buried more than 40 on her family's plot (most of whom were gay men whose families would not claim their ashes). For this, she has been nicknamed the "Cemetery Angel."


“Someday, I’d love to get a monument that says: This is what happened. In 1984, it started. They just kept coming and coming. And they knew they would be remembered, loved, and taken care of, and that someone would say a kind word over them when they died."

 

Ruth Coker Burks: Biographical Notes
AIDS Angel: Ruth Coker Burks
Ruth Coker Burks: Home Page
Natl AIDS Memorial: Ruth Coker Burks
 

 

Blue Max Motorcycle Club

Fernando, seated , and his husband, both members of Los Angeles’ Blue Max Motorcycle Club, get pulled over as they leave their wedding ceremony, December 1969 . In the mid-twentieth century, the Blue Max Motorcycle Club, along with many other gay motorcycle clubs, provided an alternative to gay bars, which were constantly at risk of police raids and harassment.


The classic “metal look” that Heavy Metal Rock came to be associated with (leather, studs, tight fitting clothes) was introduced by Rob Halford of Judas Priest, an openly gay man who says he was simply wearing the look from the gay leather subculture on stage, and people started imitating him.


So the two “iconically hetero” fixtures of masculinity - biker gangs and heavy metal music - are both actually just gay culture that heteros unknowingly adopted.

 

Stories From LA’s Pioneering Gay Motorcycle Clubs
Archive: Blue Max Motorcycle Club Notes and Records
USC Archive Sheds Light On LA's Gay Motorcycle Clubs
 

 

Courageous Trans Kid Testifies
 

10 year old Kai Shappley didn’t feel scared when she sat before the Texas Senate committee in April 2021. Wearing a flowing yellow blouse, floral skirt and cowboy boots, the then-4th grader calmly introduced herself.  “I love ballet, math, science and geology. I spend my free time with my cats, chickens, FaceTiming my friends and dreaming of when I finally get to meet Dolly Parton,” she testified. “I do not like spending my free time asking adults to make good choices.”

Shappley urged lawmakers to vote against Senate bills 1311 and 1646, which banned doctors from providing gender-affirming treatment to transgender kids like herself. One of the bills even went as far as to define the treatment as “child abuse.” (Both bills ultimately failed.)

“It makes me sad that some politicians use trans kids like me to get votes from people who hate me just because I exist,” she continued. “God made me. God loves me for who I am. And God does not make mistakes.”

Video of Shappley’s testimony quickly went viral. It wasn’t the first time she’s garnered attention. The now-5th grader has been publicly telling her story and calling for trans equality for years. She’s traveled the country with her mother, speaking at rallies for LGBTQ rights. She’s worked with the ACLU on pro-trans projects. She’s met with national lawmakers to urge them to pass the Equality Act, which would outlaw discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. But April was the first time she’d ever testified on her own. Her reasoning was simple. “I wanted to show them that all these lies people have been spreading about trans kids are not true,” she says.

Shappley is a force of nature. At only 11 years old, the trans rights activist has built a following online; children and adults have written to her saying she’s inspired them to come out. “It makes me want to keep on going, knowing that there are so many people who rely on me,” Shappley says. And amid an unprecedented rise of bills in US state legislatures targeting trans kids—including over 130 anti-trans bills in 2021 alone, per the advocacy group Human Rights Campaign—she has no plans on stopping. “Activism matters to me because it is a way to show that we belong,” Shappley says. “It’s a way to show that we will fight for what is right. We won’t sit silent."


Kai Shappley Takes on Lawmakers in Her Fight for Trans Rights
Trans Kid Kai Shappley Testifies
10-Year-Old Activist Kai Shappley on Fighting for Trans Kids in the Texas
 

 

Trans Hairdresser in Birmingham

Meet Jody Suzanne Ford, an out transgender woman and business owner in Alabama. She owned Ms. Sid's Coiffures in Birmingham's Five Points South Neighborhood in 1975.

Born Sidney Ford III, she was a college basketball star (6'4") at David Lipscomb College and a semi-professional football player in Miami before she moved to Birmingham, transitioned, and opened her beauty shop.  She earned a good reputation and became very well-known for her skill as a hairstylist.

In 1977, when she was 41, she was killed by a short-range shotgun blast to the chest by the 26-year old owner of a Travelodge Motel. He argued he was acting in self-defense and was acquitted.

 

Jody Suzanne Ford: Trans Birmingham Hairdresser Shot to Death in 1977
Trans Lives Matter: Jody Suzanne Ford

 

 

Flight Attendant Loves His Job
 

Hank Rouse, an airline passenger, shared the following experience:

 

My flight was being served by an obviously gay flight attendant, who seemed to put everyone in a good mood as he served us food and drinks.
 

As the plane prepared to descend, he came swishing down the aisle and told us that "Captain Marvey has asked me to announce that he'll be landing the big scary plane shortly, so lovely people, if you could just put your trays up, that would be super."


On his trip back up the aisle, he noticed this well-dressed Arabic-looking woman hadn't moved a muscle. "Perhaps you didn't hear me over those big brute engines but I asked you to raise your trazy-poo so the main man can pitty-pat us on the ground."


She calmly turned her head and said, "In my country, I am called a Princess and I take orders from no one."


To which (I swear) the flight attendant replied, without missing a beat, "Well, sweet-cheeks, in my country I'm called a Queen, so I outrank you. Tray-up, Bitch."

 

Flight Attendant Comedy Routine
Flight Attendant Performs Funniest Safety Routine
Funny Flight Attendant

 

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