Sunday, March 14, 2010

This week in LGBT history: March 14th-20th

"Do not follow where the path may lead.  Go, instead, where there is no path and leave a trail."  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

 I am grateful that the story of Constance McMillen, who is fighting for the right to go to her Senior Prom with her girlfriend, is receiving so much attention by mainstream media outlets outside the queer press and the queer blogophere.

However, the plight of the Itawamba County Agricultural High School student reminds us that, as much as things have changed over the past several decades, much progress is left to be made before true equality is enjoyed by all Americans.

Today there are thousands of young LGBT young people like Constance at hundreds of schools like Itawamba. As they struggle to make their own mark on LGBT history, what are we as a community doing to help them? Are you playing your part in the battle for equality? Am I? When future generations study our contribution to the struggle for civil rights, what will they think about how we used our time on earth?

Sunday, March 14th: On this day in 1848, Virginia lawmakers lowered the penalty for sodomy to 1-5 years, but kept the death penalty for slaves.

Monday, March 15th: On this day in 1948, Transgender Activist Kate Bornstein wass born. Among Bornstein's many influential publications is Gender Outlaw: On Men, Women, and the Rest of Us.

Tuedsay, March 16th: On this day in 1649, the colony of New Hampshire outlawed sex between men only and established a penalty of death

Wednesday, March 17th: On this day in 1910, African-American civil rights leader Bayard Rustin was born. Rustin's contributions to the civil rights movement have historically been obscured by embarrassment over his sexual orientation and ties to the Communist Party.

Thursday, March 18th: On this day in 1928, transgender writer and museum founder Charlotte von Mahlsdorf was born.

Friday, March 19th: On this day in 1973, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that sodomy laws could not be enforced against married couples.

Saturday, March 20th: On this day in 1979, a North Carolina appeals court held that the state's ban on sodomy applied to heterosexual couples.

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