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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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How To Complete NaNoWriMo Without Losing Your Sanity

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When most think of November, they conjure up images of turkey, cozy sweaters, and the seemingly endless preparations for the Holiday Season. However, if you’re in the writing community, November brings up images of frantic typing and the fear of a looming deadline.

That’s right folks, NaNoWriMo is here, and it’s getting cray.

  What’s NaNoWriMo you ask? It’s a fancy acronym for National Novel Writing Month. This month-long creative “holiday” was created by freelance writer Chris Baty in July of 1999 with 21 participants in the San Francisco Bay area. The next year, it was moved from July to November to “to more fully take advantage of the miserable weather.

The objective? Write a rough draft of a novel (about 50,000 words or more) in 30 days. Anyone else screaming yet?

This is a free event that anyone can do, just join their website and start writing in any format. Just as long as you get 50,000 words before the end of the month. Participants can submit their novel to be automatically verified for length and receive a printable certificate, an icon they can display on the web, and inclusion on the list of winners. Also, bragging rights.

 Hey there,  I’m Ellen, a Features Writer here at TravelPride and a writer by occupation. I have a BFA in Creative Writing and have written a novel already. I’ve always wanted to do NaNoWriMo and I thought this would be the perfect time to do it. Plus I want to take a break from writing my current memoir and do the fun interconnected short story collection I’ve been dying to write for years. I thought this was going to be so easy. I mean my senior thesis was 50,000 words. My novel manuscript is 96,000 words. 50,000 words will be a piece of cake.

Me, Writer and actual Fool.

I was wrong. It’s hard ya’ll.

       To complete NaNoWriMo on time you need to write 1,667 words per day, which is roughly 6 pages, double-spaced. That may not seem like a lot, but with everything you have to do in a day, plus find the creativity and energy to write 6 pages seems overwhelming.

   Then there’s something I call the “NaNo slump” which happens around the second or third week of November. The first week of NaNoWriMo you’re all excited and ready to write, cranking out 2,000+ words a day. Then you get busy, writer’s block or just plain fall behind and then quit because you think you can ever catch up.

   Well, stop write there (get it?). I’ve got some great tips for how to complete NaNoWriMo without losing your inspiration, hope, and sanity.

 

Write Everyday

The most important part of writing for NaNoWriMo or just being a writer is creating a writing schedule. One of the genius things about NaNoWriMo is that it allows you to become a better and more successful writer after this is over since it takes 30 days to create a habit. By writing every day in the month of November, you’re setting yourself up for writing all year long.

Carve a period of time out of your day and set it aside just for writing. It can be early in the morning, late at night, an hour, two, whatever you can and use that time to just write and only write. If your life is a little crazy and can’t form a schedule, write when you’re on the go. Carry your tablet with you, use the Notes app on your phone, or do the old-fashioned pen and paper and write whenever you get a free moment. Waiting for your flight? Write. Commuting to home or work? Write. On your lunch break? Write! You’ll be surprised how all those little moments of writing really add up. It’s just important to write every day. Just write it!

Prompts

   Oh, Writer’s block, the sworn enemy of a writer. That blank page causes so much anxiety and could lead you to giving up on your project because you’re “stuck.” A writing prompt could help you. NaNoWriMo’s website is awesome because they have a feature called “word sprints” which is a timed writing challenge. You set a timer, open up your draft, and race against the clock to add words to your novel. They have a cool “dare me” button that gives you little writing prompts such as “Write a scene that takes place in a house of mirrors.” or “Have one character have a sudden personality switch with another”. It’s a fun little way to get the juices going. You can also just google “writing prompts” to find some good ones. Have fun with it!

Buddy System

   Teamwork makes the dream work! NaNoWriMo has a cool feature where you can have a writing buddy with friends who are also doing NaNoWriMo, which is a fun way to help encourage each other or be a shoulder to cry on. One of my dear friends, Cassie, who’s also a writer has been doing NaNoWriMo for years and she’s been a great resource (she also made a book cover for me, because she’s the real MVP). My friend Kelsey is doing NaNoWriMo for the first time too. It’s just nice to not feel alone in my frustrations and have someone who is also going through this. NaNoWriMo also has forums where writers can talk to one another because, despite popular belief, writers are not solitary creatures, but communities.

Let Go and Have Fun

   I personally put so much pressure on myself, not only during NaNoWriMo but in my everyday professional life. When something I write isn’t perfect on the first try, or I don’t meet my word count, I beat myself up over it. You have to remember that NaNoWriMo is all about having fun. No one is reading your novel right now, no one is judging you but yourself. You have 30 days to write 50,000 words, it’s okay if you take a break or write something crappy. You can always write more words and it’s better to write something crappy and edit it later than to never write at all.

   For some more words of advice let’s talk to TravelPride’s own Editor and Weekly Columnist, Summer Kurtz. Summer has actually completed NaNoWriMo in the past. Here’s how she completed the writing challenge:

“I had to set a schedule/goal and really stick to it as closely as I could. I think I tried to do a certain number of words daily and if I didn’t quite hit that I had a weekly goal to try and meet or even exceed if possible. It really helped me to become a more disciplined writer but also learn not to beat myself up over not reaching every single goal. On days I got stuck I would write a couple hundred words on any other topic I felt like until my motivation returned.”

   Fantastic advice. How are doing in NaNoWriMo? Let me know in the comments and follow my own NaNoWriMo journey here. Remember: we’re all in this together!

Happy Writing!

 

Originally posted 2017-11-15 18:30:10.

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Thanksgiving Alternatives for Everyone

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Halloween is (unfortunately) over, and if you live in the United States that means it’s time to start thinking about Thanksgiving plans. By now, we’ve all come to realize that contrary to what Norman Rockwell’s Freedom From Want wants us to believe, this holiday isn’t perfect for a variety of reasons. Maybe you recognize that Thanksgiving celebrates nothing but the near-destruction of a culture and has been heavily white-washed over the years. Maybe your family is transphobic or homophobic. Or maybe you don’t have a family to visit, or they’re too far away. Whatever the reason, for many, Thanksgiving is an altogether unpleasant and/or unsafe holiday. But don’t worry, you have options. So whether you’d rather avoid your family or just can’t make it home this year, here are some ideas to consider so you don’t wind up eating dinner alone on Thanksgiving.

Friendsgiving

As adults, we have more freedom to decide how we spend our holidays. This usually involves deciding who hosts and who to invite, but this doesn’t have to only extend to family. If you’d love to host Thanksgiving dinner at your place, invite a bunch of friends over and make a potluck out of it! Have everyone bring a dish, and enjoy the family you’ve built along the way. This provides a safe space for those who don’t feel safe at home, and you’re more likely to enjoy your holidays. I’ve done this in the past with my other LGBTQ friends, and it was a blast. I felt so at home with no one to judge me (and no awkward political arguments breaking out).

Reach Out

If your close friends would rather spend Thanksgiving with family and you have nowhere to go, remember that there are always others who probably don’t have plans either. Reach out to coworkers and neighbors if you have them, and see if they have somewhere to go. If not, the potluck idea works here too and is a great way to get to know people better. And sometimes you might get lucky and a coworker or neighbor has an extra spot at their family’s table. Maybe you don’t like spending time with your family, but there are good ones out there that are more accepting.

Give Back

Thanksgiving is a time to be thankful and to give back to those around you. If you’d prefer to skip the holiday meal altogether, consider volunteering. Soup kitchens and shelters can always use an extra volunteer and give you a chance to make someone else’s holiday a little brighter. Volunteer Match lets you locate volunteer opportunities in your area so you can start giving back sooner.

 

Remember, many people can’t go home for the holidays or aren’t comfortable around family, so pay attention to those around you. Ask people about their plans and consider including them in yours if they have nowhere to go. The holidays are all about caring about each other, and this is just one of the many ways we can spread the love.

Originally posted 2017-11-15 14:55:13.

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Ten Literary Landmarks For Any Traveling Booklover

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Books are magical. They can take you to far-off places without even moving your feet. But what if you want to see the places of people you’ve read about in real life? Luckily, organizations such as the American Library Association, global historical society, and die-hard bookworms, have preserved and created literary landmarks that anyone can enjoy all across the world. From childhood homes, museums, and even statues. Here’s a list of 10 places to add to your literary bucket list.

 

 

 

Edith Wharton(1862-1937) broke gender boundaries and society’s exceptions to become one of America’s greatest writers. She was the first woman awarded the Pulitzer Prize for fiction for her novel Age of Innocence. Most of her novels have themes of declining morals and wealth in the late nineteenth century. The Mount is not your typical author home tour. Not only does it offer guided tours and exhibits, it also has ghost tours, mimosas on the terrace, a cafe, a women’s writer-in resistance program, and a pet cemetery. Heck, you can even have your wedding at the Mount, but honestly, you had me at ghost tours.

  1.  The windmill at the Stony Brook Southampton campus, Southampton, NY

  

 Okay, so I’m down for anything that has to deal with windmills but the story behind the Windmill at the Stony Brook Southampton Campus is both interesting and sad. In 1957. the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Tennessee Williams lived in the campus windmill after the death of his friend and Abstract Expressionist painter, Jackson Pollock, and wrote the play “The Day on Which a Man Dies” based on Pollock. Sad, but the fact that he lived in a windmill is pretty cool.

  1. Charles Dickens Museum, London , England

Making a trek to London during the holiday season?  Make sure you plan to visit 48 Doughty Street, the London Home of Charles Dickens. This is the home where the famed writer wrote the classic novel Oliver Twist and The Pickwick Papers. The Charles Dickens Museum holds over 100,000 items including manuscripts, personal items and more. There are exhibits, a garden cafe, as well as a lot of activities for children such as the Costumed Christmas walks, performances of “A Christmas Carol” and “A Very Dickensian Christmas Eve.”

  1. Sleepy Hollow, New York

Washington Irving’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow has become a classic Halloween spooky story still read today. However, many don’t know that Sleepy Hollow is a real place, one which has fully embraced its celebrity status. There’s the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery Tour, The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze, The Sleepy Hollow Lighthouse Tours, Haunted Hayrides and so much more. They even take on some other classic works such as a circus-theater adaptation of Edgar Allen Poe’s The Raven and a one-man show of A Christmas Carol.

  1. Walden Pond, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Get lost like Thoreau by visiting Walden Pond! Perfect for nature lovers, you can take a lovely nature walk/hike, spend the day at the beach, go kayaking or canoeing on the water or fish; you can even cross-country ski or snowshoe in the winter. You can visit Thoreau’s original cabin and the reproduction. Since the land has been left unchanged it’s almost like you’re walking through the Walden that Thoreau knew.

  1. Shakespeare’s Globe, London, England.

Shakespeare and book lovers go together like pretzels and Nutella. Even if you haven’t read any of the original Shakespearean text, you’ve probably been exposed to some adaptions (10 Things I Hate about You anyone?). The Globe is still standing after many rebuilds, and still holds performances as well as exhibitions and tours. They still put on Shakespeare’s plays; last season they put on King Lear, Much Ado About Nothing, Twelfth Night and Romeo and Juliet, some with a modern twist.

  1. Platform 9 ¾, King’s Cross Station, London

Every Harry Potter fan dreams of one day going to Platform 9 3/4 and getting on the Hogwarts Express. While you might not be able to hop on the Hogwarts Express, you can now find the actual Platform 9 3/4 and have your picture taken holding the handle of a trolley, making it look like you’re running from one world to the next. Don’t forget your wand and house scarf!

  1. James Joyce’s Dublin, Ireland.

Author James Joyce made his beloved Ireland famous with his epic novel Ulysses and other novels that also take place in the city of Dublin. It’s so popular that there is even a holiday known as “Bloomsday” in honor of the character. You can take a walking tour of James Joyce’s Dublin, a 3.5-mile route broken up into two days for the full experience. Some of the stops on the tour include the James Joyce Center, The Writer’s Museum, Merrion Square where you’ll find a statue of laid-back Oscar Wilde, and lots of bars.

  1. Jane Austen’s House and Museum, Hampshire, England

As a Jane Austen fan, I’m all about the Jane Austen House and Museum. Especially since this year is the 200th anniversary of Jane’s death. There’s a lot of bicentennial events going on including exhibits, film screenings, talks, walks, and even picnics. You may even find your match!

  1. Edgar Allan Poe Museum, Richmond, VA

As a huge Poe fan, I would be remiss to leave him off the list. The Poe house, while not in some haunted mansion or catacomb, is still pretty cool. They have an enchanted garden (with a Pumpkin Patch), a shrine to Poe where people like Gertrude Stein and H.P. Lovecraft have visited, as well as a large collection of Poe’s artifacts. The museum also has two living black cats: Edgar and Pluto, that live in the museum. There are also a lot of parties going on at the museum, such as a Halloween Bash, an “Unhappy” Hour of live music, and Poe’s Birthday Bash on January 20th. They host weddings at the Enchanted Garden, which is the only way I’ll ever have a wedding.

 

Have you visited these literary landmarks or have more destinations to add that will make any book lover put down their book? Let me know in the comments.

Happy Travels!

Originally posted 2017-11-14 20:32:01.

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