October is LGBT History Month in the U.S. and Canada — a celebration now in its 24th year. Before the month ends, here’s a small-but-hearty collection of stories worth your time (now, and in weeks to come).
Claire, the blogger behind The Golden Girls Fashion Corner, usually focuses on the TV quartet’s memorable sartorial choices. In a special post for National Coming Out Day earlier this month, she zooms in on another area where the show was a bold, creative beacon in a sea of ’80s intolerance: their sensitive and inclusive representation of queer characters, topics, storylines.
History is made up of a massive accumulation of events, struggles, and inflection points. But very often, it’s personal stories that help us make sense of its movement. At Let’s Queer Things Up, Sam Dylan Finch often writes on gender, identity, and mental health. His recent post is a powerful, heartbreaking tribute to a transgender friend he’d lost to suicide.
You were the scientist who loved astrology. You were the poet who could seamlessly reference Grey’s Anatomy without missing a beat. You toiled in a lab with mice by day and wore eight-inch heels and glitter on a stage at night.
You moved between worlds, always chasing something — the secrets you found studying zebrafish, the catharsis in lip-synching pop songs in gay bars — and I fear that neither one was enough.
You could find the wisdom in a Kelly Clarkson song and in the DNA of a jellyfish. I remember thinking, I’ll follow this queen to the ends of the earth.
If only you had let me.
We too often think of the past as a dark, murky soup out of which we barely managed to climb out. That’s why it’s so important to learn about people and communities who have found ways to resist oppression and discrimination even during periods that seem hopelessly unenlightened. In this Longreads excerpt from Peter Ackroyd’s Queer City: Gay London from the Romans to the Present Day, we catch a glimpse of queer women in early-modern England, and of the networks and communities they created in a harshly puritan culture.
The love of woman for woman was veiled behind the acceptance of close friendships between women; the general communication of warmth and affection was considered to be normal, and many queer women were able to mask their more fervent desires. For single women to live together was accepted and acceptable in every period. Women kissing and embracing was no occasion for comment.
If queer women did not challenge the conventional social order, they easily accommodated themselves to its rules. Only in the unlikely event that they threatened the reproductive cycle of marriage would they ever be punished.
Have you read any other memorable posts on LGBTQ history this past month? Feel free to share your recommendations in the comments.
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