Gay History 101: August 5, 2015

Italian MP Ivan Scalfarotto went on a three week hunger strike to bring attention to Italy's lack of recognition or protections for same-sex couples.

JULY 25, 2015. Italian MP Ivan Scalfarotto ended a three-week hunger strike last Saturday. He agreed to start eating again because Prime Minister Matteo Renzi promised that he would introduce civil partnerships by the end of the year. Mr Renzi's pledge was prompted by the European Court of Human Rights, which on July 21st censured Italy for failing to offer any legal recognition or protection for same –sex couples. Italy is the only major Western European nation without such measures.

At Rome's Gay Center spokesman Fabrizio Marrazzo said that the slow progress on LGBT rights was in part, ironically, due to the fact that there are no anti-gay laws. In other countries homosexuality was criminalized. In Italy it was never illegal. Even under Mussolini. It's always been a case of turning a blind eye. Ivan Scalfarotto (born 16 August 1965) is an activist committed to LGBT rights. He was nominated to the national leadership of the center-left in the primary elections of The Union in 2005 and since 2009 is the vice president of the Democratic Party. He has been elected in the Chamber of Deputies after the 2013 general election. Among the ideas that inspire his campaign are the main attention to personal merit, public administration and politics, the fight against gerontocracy and support of secularism.

Dag Hammarskjöld (1905 –1961) was a Swedish diplomat, economist, and author. The second Secretary-General of the United Nations, he served from April 1953 until his death in a plane crash in September 1961. At the age of 47 Hammarskjöld was the youngest to have held the post. He is one of only three people to be awarded a posthumous Nobel Prize. Hammarskjöld is the only UN Secretary-General to die in office; his death occurred en route to a cease-fire negotiations. President John F. Kennedy called Hammarskjöld "the greatest statesman of our century. It is widely known that Hammarskjöld was a closeted homosexual.

Nickie J. Antonio (1955) is a politician from Lakewood, Ohio. A Democrat, she serves in the Ohio House of Representatives representing the 13th district, which is located entirely within Cuyahoga County and contains all of the city of Lakewood as well as parts of Cleveland. A former member of Lakewood City Council, she was elected to the legislature in 2010 and took office on January 3, 2011 and re-elected in the 2012 General election receiving 75 percent of the vote. In one of her first legislative priorities along with Ted Celeste, Antonio introduced legislation to eliminate the death penalty in the state of Ohio and has pointed to evidence that the penalty has been discriminatory toward minorities. Her partner is Jean Kosmac and the couple have two daughters. She is the first openly gay person to have served in the Ohio General Assembly.

Roberta Achtenberg (1950) is an American politician. She currently serves as a Commissioner on the United States Commission on Civil Rights. She served as Assistant Secretary of the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development, becoming the first openly lesbian or gay public official in the United States whose appointment to a federal position was confirmed by the United States Senate.

Sheldon Andelson (1931-1987) millionaire gay political leader, was also active in the Jewish community, an art patron, chairman of the West Hollywood-based Bank of Los Angeles, founder of Trumps Restaurant and a contributor to Democratic causes. He died of AIDS and at his funeral Sen. Ted Kennedy said that the former University of California regent, “understood the power of ideas, especially the power of justice.” At the time the senator pledged to use his own ''influence and power'' to fund AIDS research and fight prejudice against AIDS victims and homosexuals.

 


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