Annise Parker to dedicate marker at Gittings’ home in Philly

Houston Mayor Annise Parker

Former Houston Mayor Annise Parker

Former Houston Mayor Annise Parker, the first openly LGBT mayor of a major U.S. city, will be keynote speaker at a ceremony in Philadelphia later this month unveiling a historic marker at the home of the late Barbara Gittings, a leading LGBT rights activist from the early days of the movement until her death in 2007.

Gittings.Barbara

Barbara Gittings

The Barbara Gittings Residence Historic Marker Dedication ceremony is set for Tuesday, July 26, from 11-11:30 a.m. at the home Gittings shared with her partner, Kay Lahusen. The ceremony, taking place as part of the 2016 Equality Forum in Philadelphia, will also feature Equality Forum founder and Executive Director Malcolm Lazin and a special performance by the Anna Crusis Women’s Choir, the oldest existing feminist choir in the U.S.. Gittings was a member of the choir.

Lazin said that as the first openly LGBT mayor of a major U.S. city, Parker is “the right person to be dedicating this historic marker to the ‘mother of the LGBT civil rights movement.'”

Gittings, born in 1932, lived in Philadelphia with Lahusen. She was the editor of the first lesbian publication in the country, and with Frank Kameny, helped organize the “Annual Reminders” at Independence Hall and at the Liberty Bell, marches commemorating the 1965 march for gay rights at Independence Hall. The Annual Reminders happened before the Stonewall Rebellion in New York, in 1969.

Gittings also spearheaded the successful effort to have the American Library Association include gay and lesbian books in the nation’s card catalogs and libraries. And teaming again with Kameny, Gittings helped push the American Psychiatric Association to remove homosexuality from its list of mental illnesses.

The purpose of Equality Forum, according to its website is to “convene elected officials, newsmakers, activists, and opinion leaders to discuss the state and future of the LGBT movement during the Democratic National Convention.” For information check the website here.

—  Tammye Nash

Under the Covers of Gay History: A talk with journalists/authors/ activists Tracy Baim and Mark Segal

On Thursday, Nov. 5, Dallas Voice had the great privilege of partnering with Cathedral of Hope’s Sources bookstore and with The Dallas Way to host a book-signing and discussion with authors/journalists/activists Tracy Baim and Mark Segal.

Baim, co-founder, publisher and executive editor of Chicago’s LGBT newspaper Windy City News, has recently published  Barbara Gittings: Gay Pioneer, a biography — complete with more than 200 photos — of LGBT pioneer activist Barbara Gittings. Mark Segal, founder, owner and publisher of the Philadelphia Gay News, whose life as a gay rights activist started on June 29, 1969 at the Stonewall Inn. He has recently published his memoir, And Then I Danced: Traveling the Road to LGBT Equality.

Below is a video, courtesy of David Story and Two Hats Publishing, of the two pioneers of LGBT journalism discussing their books, their work and their lives. The discussion was moderated by Dallas Voice senior news writer David Taffet, with Managing Editor Tammye Nash.

—  Tammye Nash

Stonewall Archives to honor Joel Burns

Joel Burns

Officials with the Stonewall National Museum and Archives announced today that they will be presenting Fort Worth City Councilman Joel Burns with the Stonewall Spirit of Pride Award at the museum’s Our Stars event Nov. 11 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Burns is being honored for his efforts as part of the It Gets Better campaign to fight bullying and LGBT teen suicide, which began in October last year when he delivered a tearful speech during a council meeting about his own experiences as a bullied teen and the day he contemplated suicide.

Video of Burns’ speech went viral on YouTube, receiving more than 2.6 million views.

Burns will also be speaking Saturday at the annual award program for LEAGUE, the LGBT employee group at AT&T, and on Sunday, Sept. 18, he will be honorary grand marshal in the annual Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade — a fitting choice since the theme for this year’s parade is “It Only Gets Better.”

The Stonewall museum and archives will also be honoring pioneering lesbian politician Elaine Noble at the Our Stars event, presenting her with the Heritage of Pride Award. Noble made history in 1975 as the first openly gay person in the U.S. to be elected to a state legislature.

Previous winners of the Heritage of Pride Award include legendary LGBT activist Barbara Gittings and openly gay U.S. Rep. Barney Frank of Massachusetts. Burns is the first person to receive the Spirit of Pride Award.

—  admin