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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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One Step Forward, Two Steps Back: Trump’s Trans Military Ban

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The LGBTQ community has made significant progress in terms of equality. A person was not allowed to be openly gay in the US military until former president Obama repealed the “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy in September of 2011. Gay men and women are now allowed to be out, proud, and active members of the military. Unfortunately, this is not the case for transgender individuals. On Wednesday, July 26, 2017, president Donald Trump tweeted that transgender people are not allowed to serve in the armed forces “in any capacity.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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How alarming! This is a clear violation of human rights and extremely detrimental to the fight for equality for the LGBTQ community. (We also have to appreciate the irony of the tweets considering that on July 26, 1948, former president Truman desegregated the military).

What Trump is basically saying is that allowing transgender people in the military would be a financial detriment. I’m assuming that he is referring to the cost of hormones for transgender people. What he doesn’t realize that the cost of hormones is significantly less than what the military is paying for medications such as Viagra. According to the United Press International, the US military spends ten times more on erectile dysfunction medication than transgender care. 

So, what does this mean? Well, it may mean any number of things:

  1. Trump has no idea what he’s talking about
  2. He’s pandering to the conservative right
  3. He’s transphobic

Who really knows? Whatever the reason, it is definitely a step back for equality. However, hope is not lost as many people are taking a stand against Trump’s ban. Celebrities such as Lady Gaga had some things to say about this ban.

 

 

 

Images via goo.gl/JmdNo2

 

Lady Gaga is not the only person fighting against Trump’s un-American ban. The Human Rights Campaign, or HRC, is fighting for the rights of transgender people, saying that the ban is an “all-out assault on service members” and that the ban would affect approximately 15,000 currently serving troops. This will clearly have a negative impact on the US military as it consists of millions of brave men and women who fight for the freedom of the American citizens and losing even one soldier due to bigotry can cause the military to weaken.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The American Civil Liberties Union, or UCLA, is also fighting against Trump’s ban.

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Don’t give up hope! This ban is definitely a step in the wrong direction and it hopefully won’t spiral into something even more horrible which is why it is very important that we speak out against this hateful action. Voice your outrage anywhere where your voice can be heard and stand with the transgender community during this trying time, use the hashtag #protecttranstroops on Twitter, repeat the maxim “trans people are not a burden,” and fight for what is right. It may not be easy but as long as we fight, the rights of transgender individuals can and will be protected.

 

 

 

 

 

Originally posted 2017-07-28 21:19:21.


Also published on Medium.

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48 Hours In...

48 Hours in Mexico City

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Mexico City is a sprawling metropolis full of color and culture. You could easily spend a month there and still not get to see and experience everything the city has to offer. If you only have a weekend, you can get a taste of Mexico City’s delights, but be warned – you will probably be booking your next trip as soon as you arrive home.

With more museums than any other city in the world, amazing architecture, a scintillating LGBTQ scene, delicious street food and many other attractions, Mexico City is one of the most exciting cities on the planet.

Getting There

Juarez International Airport is located eight miles from Mexico City. If you arrive late at night, it is advisable to take an official taxi to the downtown area. During the day, the metro is a good alternative.

Getting Around

Mexico City’s metro system is extensive and one of the cheapest underground systems in the world. Having said that, it isn’t the most comfortable of transport options during rush hour. Taxis are cheap, but make sure you take one from the official sitio taxi stands or use Uber.

Day One

Start the day with Huevos Rancheros, a classic Mexican breakfast – tortillas, fried eggs, salsa and refried beans. Try Café El Popular (5 de Mayo esq Palmas, just off the Zocalo). It’s a popular spot for both locals and tourists and has a diner-style ambiance.

After a hearty breakfast, head to the charming neighbourhood of Coyoacan. The number one attraction here is La Casa Azul, Frida Kahlo’s house, which has now been turned into a museum. It provides a fascinating insight into the life of artist Frida and her husband Diego Rivera. www.museofridakahlo.org.mx

The garden in La Casa Azul

Afterwards, you could head around the corner to the house where the exiled Leon Trotsky lived the last year of his life. It was there that he was murdered by an assassin in his study. In contrast to Frida’s colorful abode, it is an austere house which has been changed little since Trotsky lived there, but is an intriguing slice of political history.

Coyoacan Plaza is a great place to sample some tasty street food. At weekends, it is particularly lively with food and handicraft stalls. There is often live music, adding to the festive atmosphere. It feels like small town Mexico in the heart of the big city.

Back in Centro Historico, take a stroll around the huge main plaza, the Zocalo, the second largest public square in the world after Russia’s Red Square. There are plenty of museums, shops and cool street art to explore in the surrounding areas.

La Catrina, the iconic skeleton lady

El Balcon del Zocalo is a perfect place for dinner. The restaurant has a rooftop terrace, bestowed with spectacular views of the cathedral and Zocalo. It has an international, Mexican and veggie friendly menu. www.balcondelzocalo.com

For a taste of Mexican style nightlife, head to Calle Amberes at Paseo de la Reforma in Zona Rosa. This area is the hub of the LGBTQ scene in Mexico City. Have a wander and take your pick of the many bars and clubs that line the street.

Day Two

Pasteleria Ideal (Calle 16 de Septiembre 18, Col. Centro) could be the largest and most heavenly bakery you have ever seen. The choice of baked goods, both sweet and savory, are a feast for the eyes and as the name suggests, is an ideal place to grab some pastries. With breakfast and coffee in hand, make tracks to Alameda Park and find a bench to sit to enjoy your first meal of the day and partake in a spot of people-watching. You can’t miss the opulent architecture of Palacio de Belles Artes, the grandest building in Mexico City.

Just across the road (Calle Revillagigedo 11, Cuauhtemoc), check out the Popular Art Museum. Housed in an ex-fire station, this contemporary museum is full of colorful Mexican folk art. It’s fun and quirky and the exhibits range from Day of the Dead skulls and skeletons to vibrant piñatas. www.map.cdmx.gob.mx

Museum of Popular Art – fun and quirky

La Ciudadela is an artisan market (Calle de Balderas, s/m Centro, 06040 Cuauhtemoc). It specializes in Mexican handicrafts from 0axacan fantasy animals to beautifully decorated skulls. Prices are reasonable and you are bound to find something that catches your eye.

Even if you have never considered attending a wrestling match before, lucha libre is a unique Mexican experience and not-to-be-missed. (Arena Mexico,189 Calle Dr. Lavista, Colonia Doctores).  Regular sessions are held on Tuesday and Friday evenings and Sunday afternoons. The atmosphere is electric and whole families attend shouting abuse at the bad guys and cheering for their heroes.  

Round off your time in Mexico City with some tequila shots and mariachi music at a bar on Plaza Garibaldi. The haunting sound of roving mariachi bands echo around the square, as you reflect on two action-packed days in this amazing city.

Tequila shots at the ready!

 

Originally posted 2017-07-29 11:22:36.

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Love It, Leave It: The Portland, OR Edition

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Back to the Pacific NW, a not-so-secret favorite destination of mine. It very well could be that I’m just all jazzed up off of increased oxygen levels (man, they have a lot of trees), but I swear that everything tastes better out there. I constantly imagine tiny gnomes in tweed hats and hemp-based sweaters pulling out the freshest, organic vegetables from the depths of the soil. Albeit slightly far-fetched, this fictional scene will hopefully help you imagine just how epic the Portland food landscape is. But, there are two things (that just so coincidentally happen to be my favorite) we should focus on for now: brews and doughnuts.

Love It: Breakside Brewery. Blue Star Donuts.

(Photo credit: Erin Oliveri)

Breakside Brewery: With two locations in this quirky town, Breakside is a hipster mecca churning out solid craft brews and hearty, standout dishes. The newest spot in Slabtown (what a weird, yet endearing Portland name) is a boisterous, bi-level warehouse, that was jam packed on a Sunday afternoon. While most were throwing back some pints (most likely IPAs, since the list is bursting with them), plenty came just for the food. The brewery sources organic seasonal produce and meats; and while menus at breweries are often there solely to help combat hours of drinking, this one is a solid partner, justly accompanying the top-notch beers. The Bavarian pretzel is one of epic proportions — a woman from the table over asked if she could come over just for a photo. And, the fried chicken biscuit sandwich was gone so fast from my plate…but also from the menu since it’s only served from “3 p.m. ‘til gone.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blue Star Donuts: A hotly debated topic in Portland just so happens to be one near and dear to my heart (and stomach): doughnuts. I was told by locals on my first visit that these are the “grown up” doughnuts. I agreed once I took a spin around the BSD website — wooing me with phrases like “brioche recipe,” “cage-free eggs” and “the dough takes 18 hours to make.” Well, I wanted all of that, immediately. And what a coincidence, there’s one just a few minutes away from Breakside Brewery. I’d advise snagging a maple bacon or blueberry bourbon basil — or any beautifully baked ring ‘cause they’re so delicious — and sample en route to your future beer tasting. Carbs are your friends.

Leave It: Rogue Distillery and Public House

It’s not without a sad face emoji that this Rogue outpost turned out to be a big miss for me. Back east, I’ve drunk everything from the classic Dead Guy Ale to offbeat collabs with Blue Star rival, Voodoo Doughnuts. The core of Rogue was present, with plenty of beers on tap to sample, but the ambiance was non-existent and the menu was stacked with uninspired bar food. My original excitement for the poutine shortly faded after just a few bland bites. I’d say if you’re looking for the true Rogue experience and you just so happen to be headed toward the Oregon Coast, the original Public House (originally the Bayfront Brewery) and a newer, bi-level brewpub are nestled in the quaint coastal town of Newport. These locales may serve for a more authentically ‘Rogue’ experience.

Originally posted 2017-07-26 18:18:16.

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