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Five LGBTQ People Who Have Changed the World

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Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs. I’m sure you’ve heard of these people and what they’ve done. However, there are many people within the LGBTQ spectrum that have made major differences in the world and how we view it. Most of the time, however, they are swept under the rug. This article serves as a way to show how much the members of the LGBTQ community can accomplish and make a difference in the world.

Alan Turing 

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Without this man, TravelPride, and all websites for that matter, would not exist. Alan Turing was born in June of 1912. As a young boy, Alan displayed high intelligence. During his teenage years, he became particularly interested in math and science. Fast forward to 1936 when Turing wrote a paper titled “On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem” in which he presented the idea of a machine capable of computing anything that is computable. The modern computer was based on Turing’s paper. In addition to being the father of the modern computer, he was also skilled in code-breaking. During World War II, Turing decoded many German ciphers. He played a pivotal role in deciphering intercepted code messages that enabled the Allied forces to defeat the Nazis multiple times. Turing moved to London in the mid-1940s. During this time, Turing designed the Automatic Computing Engine which eventually led to the invention of the modern computer. Unfortunately, Turing’s life did not end happily. Homosexuality was illegal in the UK in the early 1950s, so when Turing admitted to police to having a sexual relationship with Arnold Murray, he was arrested and charged with gross indecency. After his arrest, Turing had to choose between probation and hormone treatment to reduce his libido or imprisonment. He chose the former and was chemically castrated by a synthetic estrogen hormone.  In addition to this, Turing was also prohibited from continuing his work with cryptography. Because of this, Turing committed suicide by asphyxiation by cyanide poisoning.

Barbara Gittings

Barbara Gittings was a bright child and during her high school years and was a candidate for the National Honors Society. However, she was denied entry because her teacher believed that Barbara had “homosexual inclinations.” While at Northwestern University, she developed a very close friendship with a female classmate which led people to believe that Barbara was a lesbian. This made her question her sexuality and went to a therapist who attempted to cure her of her homosexuality. However, she did not have the necessary funds to continue seeing her therapist. Still curious about her sexual orientation, she read as much as she could on the topic but most of what was written was that homosexuals were “deviants” and “perverts.” Still curious to learn about homosexuality, she took a night course in psychology in which she had a brief affair with another woman. At the age of 18, Barbara moved to Philadelphia by herself. She traveled to New York City occasionally and dressed as a man and visited gay bars because she wanted to immerse herself in the gay community.

At the age of 24, Barbara traveled to California to visit ONE, Inc., a gay rights organization. While in California, Barbara was inspired by ONE, Inc. and decided to form the lesbian rights organization, Daughters of Bilitis, or DOB, alongside Dorothy Taliaferro and Phyllis Lyon. DOB was the first lesbian civil and political organization in the United States. The organization educated homosexual women about coming out, their rights, and about gay history. Daughters of Bilitis eventually became an educational resource for homosexuals and mental health researchers.

Sally Ride

Sally Ride was the first female American astronaut to go into space at the age of 32. Sally Ride graduated from Stanford University with bachelor’s degrees in English (which is what I’m studying) and physics. In 1978, she earned a Ph.D. in physics. Her specific areas of study were free electron lasers and astrophysics. She eventually came to work for NASA where she helped develop the space shuttle’s Shuttle Remote Manipulator System, which is a series of robotic arms that is designed to deploy and capture payloads. Before going into space, the media was concerned about her exploring space because of her gender. People would ask questions like “Will the flight affect your reproductive organs?” and “Do you weep when things go wrong on the job?” Despite this sexist language, Ride went into space twice and eventually founded NASA’s Office of Exploration.

So, why is Sally Ride included in this list? While she was married to a fellow astronaut, Steve Hawley, for five years, it was revealed after her death that she was in a 27-year-long relationship with Tam O’Shaughnessy, a childhood friend and retired professor of school psychology at San Diego State University. This relationship makes Sally Ride the first LGBT astronaut to go to space.

Lucy Hicks Anderson

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Born Tobias Lawson in Waddy Kentucky, Lucy Hicks Anderson lived as a woman from 1920 to 1945. The term did not exist at the time but Anderson could have been described as a transgender person. When she started attending school, she wore dresses and began calling herself Lucy. She married and divorced Clarence Hicks in New Mexico and then moved to California where she married Reuben Anderson. However, it was discovered that she was biologically male and she was charged with committing perjury when she signed the application for a marriage license. Anderson said to physicians “I defy any doctor in the world to prove that I am not a woman” and during the perjury trials, she said, “I have lived, dressed, acted just what I am, a woman.” She also said, publicly, that a person can be one gender but belong to another. While transgender people existed when Anderson was alive, they did not get much publicity as there was no term for transgender people. However, Lucy Hicks Anderson can definitely be considered a pioneer for transgender rights, as she was relentless in her belief that transgender people existed as they are and that they are just like everyone else.

Mark Bingham

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Mark Bingham, born to Alice Hoagland and Gerald Bingham, aspired to be a filmmaker and carried around a camera with which he used to record a personal video diary. He attended UC Berkeley and while in college, he played on two national-championship-winning rugby teams in the 1990a. After graduating at the age of 21, he came out as gay to his friends and family.

Mark Bingham is different from the other entries in that he did not pioneer rights for people, create something, or start an organization. Mark Bingham is different in that he, along with Tom Burnett, Todd Beamer, and Jeremy Glick, formed the plan to retake Flight 93 from the Al-Qaeda hijackers during the September 11th terrorist attacks. He led the effort to retake the plane which resulted in the plane crashing in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, which prevented the hijackers from crashing the plane into a building in Washington D.C., which was most likely the U.S. Capitol Building or the White House. This act of heroism saved hundreds of lives and prevented mass destruction and further international conflict. After his death, he was honored for having proven that gay men do not always adhere to their stereotypes and that they can achieve great and heroic things.

There you have it, five LGBTQ people who have made an impact on the world. It goes to show that sexual orientation and gender identity do not matter as they are only a small part of who a person is. If you have any person that you think should have been mentioned, tell me about them in the comments so that they can be recognized alongside the five people mentioned above.

Originally posted 2017-08-22 02:30:47.


Also published on Medium.

Writer, editor, actor, musician. Steve was born in northern New Jersey in 1994. Being raised by accepting parents, he was comfortable enough with his sexuality to come out at twelve. Steven writes about the struggles and accomplishments of the LGBTQ community and his goal through writing is to educate people on the plights and achievements of the LGBTQ people.

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The Life and Legacy of Edith Windsor

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As many of you may know, Edith Windsor, the pioneer for marriage equality in the United States tragically passed away on Tuesday, September 12th. Because many are upset about her passing (I know I am), it is important to look back and remember all that she had accomplished in her 88 years of life.

Edith Windsor, born Edith Schlain on June 20th, 1929 in Philadelphia to James and Celia Schlain, was a Russian Jewish immigrant and, because of the time in which she was born, her family suffered from the Great Depression. However, Windsor persevered and earned a master’s in mathematics from NYU and eventually joined IBM, where she worked for sixteen years. While in college, Edith met Saul Windsor. Their relationship ended once when Saul discovered that Edith had fallen in love with a female classmate. Edith, however, said that she did not wish to be a lesbian and proceeded to marry Saul. This marriage did not last very long as after a year of her tying the knot, Edith told him that she longed to be with women and they divorced. She then moved from Philadelphia to New York City.  

While in New York, Edith met Thea Spyer. Both in relationships of their own, they had to keep their relationship a secret. While Windsor was working for IBM, she received multiple phone calls from Thea Spyer. In order to conceal her sexual orientation, she told her colleagues that she was speaking to Thea’s brother, a fictitious person named Willy who, comically, was the name of Windsor’s childhood doll.  

“Like countless other same-sex couples, we engaged in a constant struggle to balance our love for one another and our desire to live openly and with dignity, on the one hand, with our fear of disapproval and discrimination from others on the other.”

In 1967, Spyer asked Windsor to marry her. Windsor was again afraid that her sexuality would be discovered, so Spyer proposed to her with a diamond brooch. Unfortunately, Spyer was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1977. Fearing that she would not be alive to see same-sex marriage legalized, they got legally married in Canada in 2007.

Tragically, Thea Spyer passed away in 2009, which left Edith with a large tax bill that heterosexual couples would not have after the death of a spouse because the legal definition of marriage in the US did not include same-sex couples. Sensing the inequality, Edith decided to sue the federal government. In 2013, the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples were entitled to the same benefits as heterosexual couples. This milestone of equality was one of the catalysts that led to the Obergefell vs. Hodges case in 2015 that deemed the ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional.

In addition to her pivotal role in achieving marriage equality, Windsor also volunteered with the Gay and Lesbian and Defenders (GLAD), the East End Gay Organization, the LGBT Community Center, and more. Edith Windsor is considered a pioneer for marriage equality and she certainly deserves the title. Thanks to Windsor, same-sex couples across the US can now marry the person they love with the full benefits that heterosexual couples enjoy today. It is my hope that Windsor can inspire others to fight for the rights of the LGBTQ community and help fight bigotry around the world. Edith Windsor is unfortunately gone but she will never be forgotten. She will continue to inspire the LGBTQ community to be proud and to fight for the rights they justly deserve.

Originally posted 2017-09-18 18:03:58.


Also published on Medium.

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LGBTQ Fashion Revolutionaries: Steal Their Looks, Steal Their IDGAF Attitudes

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Hearing that a member of the fashion world is also a member of the LGBTQ+ community comes as no surprise – after all, the point of fashion is to bend the rules, be anything but normal, and to accept the extraordinary. It is fashion’s job to shake things up, so it’s no wonder that queer people are the movers and shakers at the helm of this industry.

We’re showcasing the best of the best in queer fashion – those who have broken the mold, stepped outside their comfort zones, and dominated the mainstream.

Alexander McQueen

Known as the “beloved bad boy of fashion,” Alexander McQueen was openly gay, extremely extra, and didn’t care to follow the rules – in fact, one might say he lived to break them. Coming from London ’s East End Givenchy house and moving on to his own label, McQueen was essentially the Mick Jagger of fashion. Known for shaking up the conservative label, McQueen sparked outrage when he moved to the French couture house, following John Galliano as Chief Designer. Once he had his own label, McQueen continued to push boundaries – even liberal ones. His shows were often controversial, and he was famous for creating “bumster” trousers, which essentially displayed a model’s butt cleavage, for lack of a better term. The bumsters were supposed to be a parody of construction workers, an interesting attitude toward class structure. McQueen often drew inspiration from tragedies, obscene events, and people who you would not see at any of his fashion shows.

One of the most memorable traits of McQueen was his I-don’t-give-a-f*ck attitude. Karl Lagerfeld of Chanel said of the late McQueen, “he was always interesting, never banal” – high compliments from another gay fashion rebel whose cat has its own Wikipedia page.

Andrej Pejić

An Australian trans model who has referred to herself as “living between genders,” Andreja Pejić is known as the “first completely androgynous trans model.” Starting her career as a male model photographed for Paris Vogue in womenswear, an idea brought forth by yet another fashion phenom, Carine Roitfeld, Pejić is not only taking the modeling world by storm, she’s also venturing into film and walking in the Prabal Gurung show at New York Fashion Week this year.

Pejić has noted that gender dysphoria is not easy to live with, and is an outspoken role model for trans youth around the world.

Tim Gunn

Honestly, do we even need to elaborate on Tim Gunn? Okay, we will, because he’s worth it – the Project Runway mentor is really everyone’s mentor, isn’t he? He’s like the impeccably dressed, kind-hearted, gay dad you never had but always knew you wanted.

Gunn had his beginnings, as many of us now know, as a high school teacher. He taught a design course at Corcoran School of Art in Washington D.C. and from there, went on to eventually teaching at Parsons and becoming an associate dean. Even before Gunn became a teacher, he had to overcome a debilitating stutter and admits that there were quite a few points in his life where he didn’t feel like he could “make it work” – but he did regardless. Gunn is a true inspiration.

Cara Delevingne

Cara Delevingne is one of the hottest models – and now-actresses – in Hollywood now. A stint as Enchantress in Suicide Squad and as Margo in Paper Towns has turned her into a bona fide movie star. Her career is on fire, but don’t ask her about her sexuality, unless you want to get a clap back. The blunt star has said, in regards to her bisexuality: “My sexuality is not a phase…I am who I am. I think that being in love with my girlfriend is a big part of why I’m feeling so happy with who I am these days.” We’re happy for her, and can’t wait to see what she does next.

Alexander Wang

Alexander Wang is an openly gay designer with a following- the likes of Rihanna, Chloe Sevigny, Azealia Banks, Gisele Bundchen, Nicki Minaj, and Lady Gaga, to name but a few. While recently making headlines as being oblivious to fans and viewers at his New York Fashion Week 2017 show, Wang is nonetheless an incredible fashion force to be reckoned with. The former Creative Director of Balenciaga, Wang has since gone on to start his own line and collaborate with H&M.

While some of the aforementioned icons are just beginning their careers, some are right in the middle, and some have tragically had their lives cut short, none seem to be without controversy (except for maybe our angel baby Tim Gunn). Whether good or bad, these revolutionaries have changed the fashion industry; time will tell what their ultimate thumbprint on the runway will be.

Originally posted 2017-09-18 16:54:51.

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These Are the Gays of Our Lives: Life Advice from a Big Ol’ Mo: Coming Out, Fitting In, Quote of the Week

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Welcome to ‘These Are the Gays of Our Lives: Life Advice from a Big Ol’ Mo!’ where we’ll talk about life issues, answer some of your questions, and work through some of the challenges facing the gay community. So, feel free to ask anything you’d like using the form below. Let’s jump right in with the first two questions!

Dear Gays of Our Lives,

I’m unhappy. I’m unhappy with my relationship, I’m unhappy with my job, I’m unhappy with my family. I know it all stems from not being comfortable enough with myself and my sexuality to come out of the closet, but there are a lot of issues surrounding me coming out. My family would have problems with it, my colleagues would, and I don’t think I’m really ready to make that kind of leap for my boyfriend. He’s not pressuring me to come out or anything, but it certainly puts a strain on our relationship. What should I do?

Sincerely, 

It’s Dark in this Closet…

My Dear Dark In This Closet,

I understand your pains. I, too, felt that I could not come out to my friends and family. My dad was always so manly, my mom was always worried about what others would think, and I worked in a religious environment. But I found peace with deciding to tell my friends and family, but that’s something that can only be done on your own time. There’s no gay timeline that says you have to come out by a certain age, or for anyone. Coming out is a big decision, and you can’t be forced into it. Take your time. If your boyfriend loves you and isn’t pressuring you, then don’t worry about it. Sure, it’ll make things easier if you come out, but that’s on you to decide when the timing is right. Until then, hug your man extra tight and thank him for not pressuring you and for loving you just the way you are. 

Wishing you the very best, 

The Big Ol’ Mo

Dear Big Ol’ Mo,

I’m having trouble finding a place where I “fit in” and a group of friends with whom I feel comfortable. What should I do?

Best, 

New Here

Dear New Here,

I wish I could tell you that feeling goes away with age, but we all feel a little out of place, or like we don’t fit in from time to time, especially in the gay community. With all the different labels we put on ourselves, like Twink, Otter, Bear, Chaser, Chub, Kink, Boy, Sir, etc it can be difficult to figure out where you belong. My advice, try to find people of like-minded interests. Meetup.com is especially great for this. There are Meet-Ups for every gay sub-culture and every activity under the sun. Twink who likes to play volleyball? There’s one of those. Bear who likes to play video games? Yep. That, too. There’s something for everyone! 

Also, don’t be afraid to get out there and try new bars and clubs. Most of them have different themes and crowds, so experiment a little bit. Try talking to people, making friends, etc. Even if it’s just for the night, it’s better than sitting at home alone! 

I wish you the best of luck at finding your place. You’ve got this!

Sincerely, 

The Big Ol’ Mo

QUOTE OF THE WEEK:

“I never felt I had anything to hide. I never felt being gay was anything to be ashamed of, so I never felt apologetic. I didn’t have issues with it, didn’t grow up with any religion, so I didn’t have any religious, you know, issues to deal with as far as homosexuality is concerned. So, I accepted it very easily. For me, it wasn’t that big a deal.” -Martina Navratilova

Do you have a question for the Big Ol’ Mo? Fill out the form below!

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Originally posted 2017-09-16 12:21:48.

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