Posts Tagged ‘lgbt history month’

November, 11 — Mattachine Society founded

November 13, 2012 By Josh Steichmann
Cover of Mattachine flyer

Cover of Mattachine recruitment flyer, "Are you left handed?"

On November 11, 1950, five men met for the first meeting of the Mattachine Society, the most influential pre-Stonewall organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. They were Harry Hay, Rudi Gernreich, Dale Jennings, Chuck Rowland and Bob Hull, and James Gruber and his boyfriend Konrad Stevens joined within a year.

More history, including rarely-seen documents, after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »

Pink Triangle: From Discrimination to Defiance

October 25, 2012 By Guest Contributor

EQCA remembers the pink triangle symbolBy Meghann Crusinberry, EQCA Intern

The pink triangle shows up on posters and placards, forms the logo of many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender organizations, and is an instantly recognizable symbol of pride and solidarity. But it wasn’t always like that. Here’s how an emblem of discrimination became a symbol of defiance.

The pink triangle came from the Holocaust when between 5,000 and 15,000 LGBT people were put into Nazi Concentration camps, and although the pink triangle was specifically used for the male prisoners, it now symbolizes both gay and lesbian Holocaust victims. Most were sent to concentration camps where they were forced to do hard labor, but the unlucky few were sent to the death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau, or to Buchenwald, where they had to endure anti-gay medical experiments by Dr. Carl Vaernet, which included castration and attempts to inject testosterone capsules in hopes of finding a cure for homosexuality.

Within all camps there was a filing system on the prisoners clothing. For gay victims, it was a pink triangle that was larger than any of the other prisoners’ triangles so that fellow prisoners and guards alike would be able to identify gays even from a distance. This symbol meant that other prisoners shunned them due to the fear of the extra punishment for associating with gays. For the unlucky individuals who happened to also be Jewish, they were forced to wear both a yellow and pink triangle, which showed that they were the lowest of the low.

Although the pink triangle has a dark past, that past helped the pink triangle become a symbol for liberation. In 1972, “Heinz Heger” (pen name for Josef Kohout) wrote “The Men With the Pink Triangle,” about his experiences as a gay Holocause survivor. “The Men With The Pink Triangles” is credited by a lot of LGBT scholars as reintroducing the pink triangle to common knowledge, especially among LGBT folks. The memoir wasn’t just another survivor’s story — it was the first big survivor’s story that dealt with being gay during the Holocaust. Up until 1969, being gay was still illegal in Germany, and Heger’s memoir was instrumental in reclaiming the history of gay Holocaust victims.

Then, in 1987, AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power, or ACT UP, chose an inverted pink triangle as their logo — an explicit reference not just to the intolerance that surrounded them, but also to the effects of the AIDS crisis, which ACT UP founder Larry Kramer explicitly labeled a holocaust, in line with ACT UP’s slogan, “Silence = DEATH.”

Although LGBT victims were liberated from the camps, anti-sodomy laws in Europe kept most silent for years on their experiences, and the community still faces intolerance today. With the voices of the survivors of the Holocaust fading, it is up to the present and future generations to keep the meaning of the pink triangle alive, and to never forget.

Equality Roundup: Gender-Bending Lesbian Surrealist Writes & More

October 25, 2012 By Shaun Osburn

We got a new executive director this week. We’re excited to have John O’Connor join us officially on December 3.

It’s LGBT history month, and the New Yorker has a great story on Merle Miller coming out in the New York Times, crediting it with helping spawn Dan Savage’s “It Gets Better” campaign.

You’re all voting, right? Frying Pan News on why Prop 32 is bad for the LGBT community.

Orange Coast magazine on how small indignities mean progress is still too slow in Orange County.

Buzzfeed on eight families fighting for the freedom to marry.

One of the Wachowski sibs is a trans woman, and she talks about what it means to be visible and trans.

Is Adam Pally TV’s least stereotypical gay guy?

It’s Claude Cahun‘s birthday! Cahun was a gender-bending lesbian surrealist writer and photographer who fought against the Nazis. Her work dealt with fluid sexuality with playful verve and political punch, especially in images like “Don’t Kiss Me, I am in Training,” where she appropriates macho boxing myths for a cartoonish revision, presaging “identity artists” like Cindy Sherman.

Finally, philosopher and author John Corvino makes witty, smart videos about what marriage and other rights mean.