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Story Telling for Social Change



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



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



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



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



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




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