Debra Chasnoff (1957) an American filmmaker, she is the first lesbian to acknowledge her partner in her acceptance speech at the 1992 Academy Awards ceremony. She won for her documentary short film “Deadly Deception: General electric, Nuclear Weapons and Our Environment.” Besides thanking her lover of twelve years, Kim Klausner, on national TV, she also urged the audience to boycott GE.
Earnest O. Reaugh (1923-1991) born in Iowa. He was a bomber pilot in World War II. In 1970 he gained public attention when as an employee of the New York State Department of Commerce he testified at a hearing on a gay-rights bill. He prefaced his remarks by saying that he feared he would lose his job because of declaring his sexuality. He was hired by State Senate Minority Leader Manfred Ohrenstein in 1975 and worked for him for sixteen years as legislative liaison to the LGBT community. He is considered to be the first person to be appointed to such a position by any public official in the U.S . He was also a recovering alcoholic who helped organize 12-step groups for LGBT persons.
William Dale Jennings (1917 –2000) was an American LGBT rights activist, playwright and author. In the spring of 1952 Jennings was arrested for allegedly soliciting a police officer in a toilet in Westlake Park, now known as MacArthur Park. The trial that took place drew national attention to the Mattachine Society due to their decision of the to help contest the charges brought against Jennings. Jennings called fellow Mattachine founder Harry Hay, and they enlisted the help of attorney George Sibley, a member of the Citizens' Council to Outlaw Entrapment. Jennings was one of the first homosexual men to contest charges such as this one. Most homosexuals at the time pled guilty so as not to be publicly scrutinized. His decision to fight back was a pivotal point in the movement. The organization raised funds and promoted Jennings’ case nationally. The trial began June 23, 1952 and lasted ten days. Jennings confessed to being a homosexual but denied any wrongdoing. While there were different accounts of what exactly occurred that day, by the end of the trial the jury voted 11–1 for acquittal on the basis of police intimidation, harassment, and entrapment of homosexuals, and the case was dismissed. While only Dale Jennings and the police officer know the exact details of that day in the park, the trial brought a lot of attention to the Mattachine Society, increasing awareness of the Gay Rights Movement as a whole as well as increasing the organization's membership.
The Sacred Band of Thebes (formed in 371 B.C.) is considered to be the first gay military unit. This small army, made up of 150 couples, was premised on the belief that lovers fighting alongside each other would die together rather than shame each other. The band perished to the last man at Chaeronea in 338 B.C., in a battle against the huge army of Philip of Macedon.
1961: the first film to use the word homosexual on screen is the movie Victim. Dirk Bogarde starred as a gay lawyer who confront a gang of blackmailers.
LETTER RECEIVED: Last week one of our readers wrote me a note pointing out that
The Stonewall Library is not in Wilton Manors but at 1300 E. Sunrise Blvd in FTL.
While the reader is correct about the site of the Main Library, she might not be aware that Stonewall Library has a very vibrant and active presence at its other location: 2157 Wilton Drive.