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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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Tell It Like A Lesbian

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My mother refuses to refer to my partner as anything other than a friend. We’ve been dating for three years and my mother still won’t acknowledge our relationship. Am I crazy for being angry about this and wanting to confront her? I feel insulted and it really upsets my partner. –Clarke

Dear Clarke, You’re not crazy for being upset at your mother. It sounds like you have every right to be angry, especially if after three years your mother can’t even acknowledge your relationship. If talking to her gently about it hasn’t worked after all this time, it may indeed be time to confront her more forcefully, as your partner’s feelings are also being hurt by this behavior. If you decide to confront her and her attitude remains unchanged, it may be time to cut ties. After all, your happiness is what matters most in this situation, regardless of whatever is causing such denial from your mother. You must put the health of you and your partner’s relationship first, and eventually, your mother may come to realize what she is losing because of her denial.

__________

Dear Tell It, Do you have any suggestions for handling depression? I’ve been really struggling with loneliness and I have no energy for anything, even stuff I usually enjoy. I feel like I have no one to turn to. –Otto

Dear Otto, Depression often causes the loneliness and sense of isolation that you are feeling. It’s important that you recognize this as a symptom of your depression and do your best not to isolate yourself as a result. Because depression can take a lot of energy, remember that your brain and body need time to recover. And remember that focusing on self-care is not selfish. Depression is an illness just like the flu and other diseases and should be treated with the same care.

On bad days, make a warm drink that you enjoy, read your favorite book or watch a show or movie you love. Spend some time by yourself to recharge, and then contact a friend or family member to let them know what you’ve been feeling. Make a plan to spend time with them, even if it’s only for an hour or two, preferably away from your house. Getting outside and into a new environment is an excellent way of resetting your brain. While I wish I could tell you otherwise, depression doesn’t just go away. You will likely go through phases of good and bad, and it’s important to learn the symptoms that are specific to you. If you have suicidal thoughts, don’t hesitate to ask for help. The suicide hotline number is 1-800-273-8255. Hang in there, and remember that there are people who care.

__________

Have questions for Tell It Like A Lesbian? Let me answer them! Submit your questions below (you don’t have to use your real name unless you want to), and see your question answered on our website!

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Originally posted 2017-10-26 14:10:06.


Also published on Medium.

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In December, This Round-The-World Cruise Visits 35 Countries

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Imagine being able to visit 66 ports in 35 countries over 141 days.  Such a trip has never been offered in the past, but now Viking Cruises, based in Los Angeles, is planning one.  

The Viking Sun will set sail on 15 December 2017. Furthermore, Cruise Critic has named Viking Cruises as one of the top 10 cruise lines for gay and lesbian travelers because it frequently partners with LGBT travel agencies and past travelers have reported good experiences.  In fact, the 2017 CRUIZIE Awards for LGBT Cruise Travel awarded Viking River Cruises the ‘Best River Cruise Line for LGBTQ Passengers.’  

So what is this journey going to look like?  Let’s have a look:  

Day 1: Depart From Miami

Miami

On 15 December 2017, the Viking Sun will leave Miami, the international city in Florida.  If you are embarking on this trip and are here in Miami, appreciate the barrier islands and Miami beach.  Here, find colorful buildings, surfside hotels and white sand.  If this sounds good, then spend a few days here, before making your way to the Viking Sun. 

Days 2 to 20: The Caribbean, Central America and Los Angeles

The Caribbean

On day 2, cruise the Caribbean Sea,  which covers an area of approximately 1,063,000 square miles. The deepest area in this sea is the Cayman Trench between Cuba and Jamaica.  Between day 3 and day 5, explore the city of Cienfuegos in Cuba, where a walking tour is offered.  This traveler explored gorgeous flamingoes, boat houses and more attractions.  

Between days 6 to 17, visit other countries lying in the Caribbean and South and Central America: Jamaica, Costa Rica, Panama, Nicaragua, and Guatemala. Then briefly visit  Mexico and Los Angeles, before cruising the Pacific Ocean.   

Days 30 to 43: French Polynesia, Cook Islands, Tonga and Fiji

Nuka Hiva, the largest of the Marquesas Islands in French Polynesia

French Polynesia, an overseas French possession, consists of more than 100 stunning islands, stretching across more than 2,000 kilometers. Start cruising the South Pacific and visit Taiohae, the main town of Nuka Hiva (pictured above) in French Polynesia.  You will also visit Tahiti and Bora Bora, known for its scuba diving.  

The 15 gorgeous islands that make up the Cook Islands could provide a hint of paradise.  Warm tropical waters, crystal clear waters and aquatic life are just a few of the treasures that can be found here. Then in Tonga, discover white beaches, coral reefs and tropical rainforest.  Continue this tropical holiday in Fiji, which also has beaches and coral reefs.  

Days 44 to 113: New Zealand, Australia and Asia

New Zealand

In New Zealand, go on an extensive tour that includes the Bay of Islands, an enclave of more than 140 islands with beaches and water activities. Find an abundance of wildlife, including penguins, dolphins, marlin, whales, and gannets.  There’s even a camping ground here.

Go on to cruise the Tasman Sea, and discover several attractions in Australia. The Great Barrier Reef, located in northeastern Australia, consists of golden beaches, thousands of reefs, and hundreds of Islands with dolphins, sharks, and colorful fish.     

Then cruise the Timor Sea and start exploring the culture and beauty of Asia. See Indonesia, and then go on to visit Brunei, Malaysia, Philippines, China, Hong Kong , Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, Singapore and India.  During this journey explore Ha Long Bay in Vietnam, which has beautiful islands topped with rainforests.  

Days 114 to 131: The Middle East, North Africa and the Central Mediterranean

Malta in the Central Mediterranean

Cruise across the Arabian Sea, and tour several countries in the Middle East and North Africa: Oman, Jordan, Egypt, and Tunisia. There is also a stop at Malta, located in the Central Mediterranean.  See wildflowers, plants, prehistoric sites, and walk to discover Malta’s natural beauty.  

Days 132 to 141: Europe

Murcia (Cartagena), Spain

See Portugal, England, and explore the beaches and hiking trails of Sardinia, the Italian island in the Mediterranean Sea. In Spain, Murcia is a university city with beaches, water sports, wine, and historical sites.    

Want to explore these countries, and Interested in this cruise? Call Viking at 888-850-6260 or find out more here.

Originally posted 2017-10-26 14:08:07.

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Same-Sex Marriage in the US: A Decade of Change

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On June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court announced the decision to make same-sex marriage a right in all 50 states. People all over the country celebrated, pride flags were flown, and for the first time, the White House was lit with rainbow lights. The decision was a landmark victory for the gay-rights movement, but behind it all was decades of litigation, activism, and advocacy.

In 1996, a law called the Defense of Marriage Act was signed into law by President Bill Clinton. It defined marriage as “the union of one man and one woman” in the United States constitution. Individual states were able to recognize same-sex unions, but on a federal level, the words wife, husband, and spouse, were reserved specifically for heterosexual couples. Same-sex couples were also denied social security survivor’s benefits and were unable to jointly file taxes. For almost a decade, the DOMA remained.

After 40 years of being together, Edith Windsor and Thea Spyer traveled to Toronto to get legally married in 2007. A year later, their union was officially recognized by their home state of New York . In 2009, Spyer passed away at the age of 77. She left her entire estate to her wife, Windsor. Because of DOMA, the federal government did not recognize their union as a marriage and Windsor was required to pay over $300,000 in taxes on her inheritance. Windsor decided to challenge this because she was legally married and should have therefore qualified for an unlimited tax deduction on the inherited estate. After approaching several gay-rights advocacy groups, she was repeatedly denied and was unable to find representation.

Finally, Roberta Kaplan of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP agreed to take on the case. In 2010, her case was filed and made its way through the circuits and in 2013 it had reached the United States Supreme Court. In a 5-4 decision, the court ruled in favor of Windsor and announced that DOMA had been unconstitutional. By the same margin, the Supreme Court would legalize same-sex marriage three years later.

In September of 2017, Windsor passed away at the age of 88. She left behind a legacy of activism and change, and hope. At her funeral, Hillary Rodham read a eulogy. “Because of her, people came out, marched in their first pride parade, married the love of their life. Thank you, Edie,” reported the New York Daily News.“Thank you for being a beacon of hope, for proving that love is more powerful than hate.”

Edith Windsor has helped to change the lives of thousands of LGBTQ couples and her legacy will continue to live on. Do you have a story of how legalizing same-sex marriage changed your life? Tell us in the comments!

Originally posted 2017-10-25 13:58:13.

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