Over the centuries, many brave and exceptional individuals, often at significant personal risk, went against the odds and refused to let inequalities and prejudices stop them from changing the rules, laws and opinions relating to the LGBTQIA+ community across the globe.
We all must remember and celebrate all those exceptional individuals. Those people that are now and in the past who have fought hard for equal treatment for the LGBTQIA+ community
Each year we create LGBTQIA+ dollars and feature important and key individuals related to the LGBTQIA+ community. Though some of the individuals featured may not have publicly identified as LGBTQIA+, they are exceptional people who have advanced the community or world in some way
Westerfeld, Hanover, Germany
b. 1825 – d. 1895
Karl, a once forgotten pioneer, was an exceptional individual in the conservative 1800s. Karl was not only an openly gay man but also fought to reform the laws to improve conditions for the repressed LGBTQIA+ individuals living within Germany at that time. To provide context, in 1860, Abraham Lincoln was nominated the president of the United States of America, and 1861 saw the beginning of the American civil war.
With world affairs as they were, Karl became a pioneer after being dismissed from his legal role for the district court in Hildesheim for being gay. In 1862, Karl came out to his friends and family, which was not commonplace for that period and highlighted anti-homosexual laws through campaigning and writing many books and articles.
Karl, through circumstances, the future could have been very different; instead of hiding away, he decided to speak up and highlight the injustices that were going on. He was an exceptional individual and is now finally credited as an early pioneer of the modern gay rights movement.
Thank you, Mr Ulrichs, may you never be forgotten
TAKING IN PRIDE IN YOU
Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, USA
b. 1932 – d. 2007
The daughter of a United States (U.S) diplomate, Barbara was born in Vienna, Austria and was a notable activist and literary figure within the U.S LGBTQIA+ community. At Northwestern University, Barbara was studying drama at the time when she had an encounter with a fellow female student, which caused Barbara to explore her sexuality. Barbara, who at the time was confused, met with a psychiatrist, who helped Barbara understand that she was a lesbian. The psychiatrist, who at the time believed homosexuality was a mental illness, went on to offer to help cure her of her infliction. However, her father thankfully refused to pay for further sessions.
Barbara began researching what it meant to be a homosexual. At that time, all of the publications depicted same-sex activities as perverted. Her research took a lot of her time, resulting in her falling behind in her studies. Ultimately, it was attributed to her dropping out of college.
Barbara’s curiosity and intellect helped her become a publicly known lesbian activist. Barbara worked to improve LGBTQIA+ rights and worked tirelessly to improve the literary representation of the community. To ensure that information relating to same-sex individuals became more readily available in libraries.
Barbara received many awards throughout her life, including a lifetime membership in the American Library Association and the annual Barbara Gittings Award, awarded each year for the best gay or lesbian novel. Barbara was an exceptional individual that dedicated her life to improving LGBTQIA+ information in literacy.
Thank you, Ms Gittings, may you never be forgotten
San Francisco, California, USA
b. 1930 – d. 1978
Harvey was an American politician, former United States Navy veteran and the first openly gay official in the state of California. Harvey was originally from New York City and moved to the Castro district of San Francisco in 1972. Harvey unsuccessfully ran for office three times and was finally elected to the seat of city supervisor in 1977.
Eleven months into his term, Harvey sponsored a bill banning discrimination based on an individual’s sexual orientation in accommodation, housing and employment. The bill had amassed tremendous support from city officials. It was finally passed with eleven votes in favour of and one against the bill.
Sadly, on the 27 November 1978, Dan White, a former colleague from the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, visited the mayor. Dan had previously resigned from his role due to a dispute over his salary. He regretted his decision and approached the mayor, asking to be reinstated. Many of the other supervisors on the board felt that someone else should be appointed, reflecting the local community’s ever-changing and diverse inhabitants. Disgruntled, an armed Dan White entered the city offices, killed the mayor, and went on to kill Harvey. Harvey was just 48 years old at the time of his death.
Even though his death was not long ago, many LGBTQIA+ individuals consider Harvey an icon and a martyr. Harvey helped introduce anti-discrimination laws in San Francisco in the 1970s. Harvey will remain a leading pioneer of the LGBTQIA+ movement in the USA.
Thank you, Mr Milk, may you never be forgotten
EXCEPTIONAL AND DIVERSE LGBTQIA+ COMMUNITY
Kolberg, Pomerania, Former German Confederation
b. 1868 – d. 1935
A gay man himself, it was not until he lived in Chicago that he began to draw similarities between the homosexual communities. Similarities between Chicago to that of Berlin, where he had previously lived. This discovery started his theory of the universality of homosexuality across the world.
Through his research, Magnus found that most homosexual men he had met had scars of failed suicide attempts and spent a lot of his time trying to help and give them reasons to live. In the late 1800s, the Irish poet and playwright Oscar Wilde was being trialled in the United Kingdom for gross indecency with men. The trial received a lot of media attention, and Magnus was greatly affected by the trial.
Magnus studied sexuality and became an advocate on behalf of sexual minorities. Magnus believed that sexual orientation was innate, meaning something you were born with and not a deliberate choice. In understanding that Magnus wanted to advocate tolerance and acceptance of sexual minorities.
Magnus supported the concept that homosexuals constituted a third sex. He is best known for his theories relating to sexual intermediaries naturally occurring, such as hermaphroditism, homosexuality, and transvestism.
In 1919, Magnus opened the first sexology institute globally, the Institute for Sexual Science in Berlin. Sadly the institute and many publications within the library were destroyed during the second world war. With the growing populism of the Nazi movement and being a Jewish gay man, Magnus left Germany. Magnus went to France and sadly died of a heart attack in 1935.
Magnus introduced the world to the concept that many of us today know to be true. We do not make a choice or a decision to be straight, gay or transgender; we are all born that way. If it was not for Magnus, we might not live in an ever-changing and hopefully more tolerant world.
Thank you, Dr Hirschfeld, may you never be forgotten
DISCOVER HOW WELL THE COMMUNITY ARE TREATED..
Harlem, New York, USA
b. 1934 – d. 1992
Audre was born in New York City to Caribbean immigrants. When Audre was young, she struggled to communicate. Audre found refuge in poetry, often memorising and quoting poetry to express her feelings.
In 1954, while studying, Audre spent a year in Mexico. While in Mexico, she awoke both her true identity and where Audre began to hone her skills as a poet. Throughout the 1960s, Audre worked as a librarian in several public schools in New York. Audre was married to Edward Rollins, who she later divorced in 1970.
After her divorce, Audre began to live her true self as a lesbian. As a black lesbian, Audre was no stranger to racism and prejudices. Her poetry helped her connect with readers and gave her an outlet to express her technical mastery and emotional expression relating to her feelings of anger and outrage at civil and social injustices.
Audre went on to publish many books and poetry relating to black feminism. In the late 1980s, Audre and a fellow writer founded the Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press, dedicated to promoting and furthering the publications of black feminist writers. During the apartheid years in South Africa, Audre became concerned about how black women were being treated and decided to create the Sisterhood in Support of Sisters in South Africa (SISA). The SISA became an organisation she continued to play an active role in until Audre died in 1992. Sadly, apartheid ended two years after her death, so she never got to see her black sisters in the newly democratic South Africa.
An intelligent and gifted woman, Audre’s works are not only powerful but also inspiring. A feminist, a lesbian, and a person of colour, Audre is the voice, the form of expression for many women, lesbians and black women worldwide even today.
Thank you, Ms Lorde, may you never be forgotten
LGBTQIA+ COUNTRY & REGION GUIDES
The LGBTQIA+, Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender communities have been around for thousands of years and referenced in many texts, scriptures and paintings from as early as 2400 BC. The diverse community includes many famous and notable people, from emperors, kings, poets, and politicians. Many of which have played key and important roles throughout history.
Over the centuries, the treatment of the community and its members’ rights has changed, from individuals being tolerated and often on the fringe of society to becoming active targets and facing brutal persecution. It was only until the end of the 18th Century that things improved. Large scale global change only began to occur in the 20th Century, typically from the 1970s to the present day.
The New York Stonewall Riots in 1969 became a catalyst for the global gay liberation movement. However, many brave individuals have stood up and championed the community throughout history, often at significant risk to themselves. It is often hard to imagine what life must have been like even as recent as 40 years ago, left alone 200 years. With conservative and religious beliefs dominating society, many individuals were required to suppress and hide their true selves for fear of persecution.
It took a group of brave and fearless individuals to stand up and have their voices heard. To show the world that the rules, laws and opinions had to change. The change resulted in the freedoms and rights many of us now enjoy. Increase acceptance and protection within the law directly given the work and effort of these exceptional individuals. Though there have been significant developments relating to the equality status for many members of the LGBTQIA+ community, they are not so fortunate. Many people still live in countries and under regimes; even today, they are actively targeted and in constant fear for their lives. In those countries right now, activists are fighting to change the rights and laws. As individuals and all the risks, and for their bravery and desire to see change, we are truly grateful for all they are going for the global community. We know many of those activists will become pioneers in the future.
Gayther feels it is crucial to highlight and focus on these exceptional pioneers as a community and their contributions to fairer and more tolerant societies worldwide. To showcase all that they have accomplished and to ensure that they are never forgotten, so we would like to take this opportunity to introduce you to Gayther’s annual pioneer collection.
ADVOCATES | PIONEER COLLECTIONS: 2022 | 2021 | 2020 | 2019
IS THERE SOMEONE YOU BELIEVE SHOULD BE FEATURED IN THE 2023 COLLECTION?
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