Thursday, April 10, 2014
simperingcreatures:

John Barry. The Militant Homosexual. 1967. Book.
It is no longer a secret that homosexuality, both male and female, is on the rise in today’s society. In the past, members of the Third Sex led their deviate lives in furtive, secret shame.
Now they are in the open, on the militant march to claim what they consider their rightful place in the modern world, even to the point of picketing the White House.
They insist that archaic laws and moral judgements be changed; that they be given a legal right to live their own lives without legal harassment or social condemnation.
Here is a frank and sometimes shocking compendium of the new philosophy and program of the militant homosexuals written without bias. (from back cover)

simperingcreatures:

John Barry. The Militant Homosexual. 1967. Book.

It is no longer a secret that homosexuality, both male and female, is on the rise in today’s society. In the past, members of the Third Sex led their deviate lives in furtive, secret shame.

Now they are in the open, on the militant march to claim what they consider their rightful place in the modern world, even to the point of picketing the White House.

They insist that archaic laws and moral judgements be changed; that they be given a legal right to live their own lives without legal harassment or social condemnation.

Here is a frank and sometimes shocking compendium of the new philosophy and program of the militant homosexuals written without bias. (from back cover)

Wednesday, April 9, 2014
secrethistoriesproject:
SHP Reblogs: earlier posts from the vault! New posts coming late May 2014.

Content note: Please be aware that today’s Secret History contains a graphic account of torture and death.
8. Pierre Seel
In 1939, Pierre Seel was the handsome youngest son of a rich Catholic family in the town of Mulhouse, Alsace. He was also member of the ‘zazou' subculture, a group of stylishly-dressed and generally wealthy young people who enjoyed clubbing, 'decadent' jazz music and shocking their elders. At the time, Mulhouse had a small but reasonably active gay scene — and by the age of 16, Seel was already visiting its bars and cruising grounds. At around this time, he also developed a steady relationship with a young man identified as 'Jo' in his autobiography. 
What teenage Pierre Seel didn’t realise was that the German officers occupying the city, and the French police who were collaborating with them, had already taken his name as a suspected homosexual — possibly after he reported the theft of his watch while attending a known gay venue in 1939. In 1941, Seel was seized by the Gestapo. He was tortured and raped, then taken to the Schirmeck-Vorbrück concentration camp, outside Strasbourg. While his prison uniform was tagged with a blue bar, meaning ‘Catholic’, Seel later discovered that at this particular camp, the symbol was also used to identify homosexual prisoners. Here’s how he describes the events in his autobiography (from http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/pwh/seel.asp)
"Stripped of our torn filthy clothing, we were handed camp uniforms: ill-fitting shirts and trousers made of hard linen. I noticed a small, enigmatic blue bar on my shirt and on my cap. It was part of an indecipherable prison code that was known only to our jailers. According to documents I eventually checked ‘blue’ meant ‘Catholic’ or ‘asocial’. In this camp blue also meant homosexuals."
While in the camp, something happened that would haunt Seel for the rest of his life:
"One day the loudspeakers order us to report immediately to the roll-call. Shouts and yells urged us to get there without delay. Surrounded by SS men, we had to form a square and stand at attention, as we did for the morning roll call. The commandant appeared with his entire general staff. I assumed he was going to bludgeon us once again with his blind faith in the Reich, together with a list of orders, insults and threats - emulating the infamous outpourings of his master, Adolf Hitler. But the actual ordeal was worse: an execution. Two SS men brought a young man to the centre of our square. Horrified, I recognized Jo, my loving friend, who was only eighteen years old. I hadn’t previously spotted him in the camp. Had he arrived before or after me? We hadn’t seen each other during the days before I was summoned by the Gestapo.
(I’m going to quibble slightly with the translation here — the original French gives ‘Horrifié, je reconnus Jo, mon tendre ami de dix-huit ans...’, but I think the sense here should really be something closer to ‘boyfriend’ rather than ‘loving friend’.) 
"Now I froze in terror. I had prayed that he would escape their lists, their roundups, their humiliations. And there he was before my powerless eyes, which filled with tears. Unlike me, he had not carried dangerous letters, torn down posters, or signed any statements. And yet he had been caught and was about to die. What had happened? What had the monsters accused him of? Because of my anguish I have completely forgotten the wording of the death sentence. 
"The the loudspeakers broadcast some noisy classical music while the SS stripped him naked and shoved a tin pail over his head. Next they sicced their ferocious German Shepherds on him: the guard dogs first bit into his groin and thighs, then devoured him right in front of us. His shrieks of pain were distorted and amplified by the pail in which his head was trapped. My rigid body reeled, my eyes gaped at so much horror, tears poured down my cheeks, I fervently prayed that he would black out quickly. 
"Since then I sometimes wake up howling in the middle of the night. For fifty years now that scene has kept ceaselessly passing and re-passing through my mind. I will never forget the barbaric murder of my love - before my very eyes, before our eyes, for there were hundreds of witnesses. Why are they still silent today? Have they all died? It’s true that we were among the youngest in the camp and that a lot of time has gone by. But I suspect that some people prefer to remain silent forever, afraid to stir up memories, like that one among so many others.”
Later that year, in November 1941, Seel was summoned before the commandant of the camp. He expected to be sent to a fate similar to that to which Jo had been condemned — but instead, he was given release papers and drafted into the German army. He was eighteen years old. Seel spent the remainder of the war fighting half-heartedly for the German army, and was on a train from Poland to France when the end of the war was announced in 1945.
Understandably traumatised by his experiences, Seel returned to Mulhouse, where no-one in his family knew the real reason that he had been captured and deported in 1941. He spoke of his experiences in the war to nobody besides his mother (shortly before her death in 1949), and refused to claim the pension to which he was entitled, in case the reason for his deportation was revealed. He married a woman, and the couple moved to Paris and later Tolouse. In the late 1970s, Seel suffered from alcoholism and severe depression. His marriage broke up in 1978, and he spent time in a psychiatric institution.
Before World War II, French law had been remarkably liberal on the issue of homosexuality – it had been decriminalised during the French Revolution (c.1787-99), and France had provided a haven for many queer men from the UK during the nineteenth century. However, this had changed markedly during the Occupation and afterwards. In 1981 the Bishop of Strasbourg, Léon-Arthur Elchinger, made a number of public anti-gay remarks, suggesting that homosexuality should be regarded as a ‘sickness’.
Seel, recovering from his period of illness, decided that it was time to speak out. First he wrote an anonymous open letter to the Bishop, then he began to appear publicly, writing newspaper articles and giving TV appearances to speak about his experiences. He became an active supporter of the Mémorial de la Déportation Homosexuelle, an organisation founded to preserve the memory of the LGBT+ victims of the Nazis, and in 1994 he published his autobiography, Moi, Pierre Seel, déporté homosexuel (I, Pierre Seel, Deported Homosexual). In the early 90s, he also began a relationship with Eric Feliu, who would remain his partner for the final twelve years of his life.
Persecution wasn’t necessarily over for Seel, though – he received death threats and hateful letters after appearing on television. However, by the time of his death in 2005, Seel’s decision to speak out, together with the actions of other survivors and supporters, had changed the way that people in France and beyond thought about the LGBTQ+ victims of the Holocaust. He is now honoured by a street named after him in Toulouse, the Rue Pierre Seel, and in 2010 a partially-fictionalised version of his story was filmed as for L’Arbre et la Forêt (‘Family Tree’ in English).
Pierre Seel had every reason in the world to stay silent about who he was and what he suffered. His decision to speak out instead played a massively important role in changing things for those who came after him, and in helping to make a world where what happened in 1941 will – I hope with every part of me – never be allowed to happen again.
In his own words:
"When I am overcome with rage, I take my hat and coat and defiantly walk the streets. I picture myself strolling through cemeteries that do not exist, the resting places of all the dead who barely ruffle the consciences of the living. And I feel like screaming. When will I succeed in having the overall Nazi deportation of homosexuals recognized? In my apartment house and throughout my neighborhood, many people greet me, politely listen to my news, and inquire about the progress of my case. I’m grateful to them and appreciate their support. But what can I say to them?
"When I have finish wandering, I go home. Then I light the candle that burns permanently in my kitchen when I am alone. That frail flame is my memory of Jo."
More:
Seel’s obituary in the Independent newspaper: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/obituaries/pierre-seel-518692.html
Profile and short video at LGBT History Month website: http://www.lgbthistorymonth.com/pierre-seel?tab=biography
Extracts from Moi, Pierre Seel at the Fordham University History Sourcebook: http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/pwh/seel.asp
Amazon link for English-language version of I, Pierre Seel: http://www.amazon.co.uk/I-Pierre-Seel-Deported-Homosexual/dp/0465018483/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1352717082&sr=8-1
IMDB page for L’Arbre et la Forêt: http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt1345444/plotsummary
Trailer for for L’Arbre et la Forêt:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GcmqltJ7Gj0
Book review of Moi, Pierre Seel: http://artwednesday.com/2010/12/02/moi-pierre-seel-deporte-homosexuel/
Official blog of the Mémorial de la Déportation Homosexuelle (in French) http://deportation-homosexuelle.blogspot.co.uk/
Wikipedia article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pierre_Seel
French Wikipedia article: http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pierre_Seel

secrethistoriesproject:

SHP Reblogs: earlier posts from the vault! New posts coming late May 2014.

Content note: Please be aware that today’s Secret History contains a graphic account of torture and death.

8. Pierre Seel

In 1939, Pierre Seel was the handsome youngest son of a rich Catholic family in the town of Mulhouse, Alsace. He was also member of the ‘zazou' subculture, a group of stylishly-dressed and generally wealthy young people who enjoyed clubbing, 'decadent' jazz music and shocking their elders. At the time, Mulhouse had a small but reasonably active gay scene — and by the age of 16, Seel was already visiting its bars and cruising grounds. At around this time, he also developed a steady relationship with a young man identified as 'Jo' in his autobiography. 

What teenage Pierre Seel didn’t realise was that the German officers occupying the city, and the French police who were collaborating with them, had already taken his name as a suspected homosexual — possibly after he reported the theft of his watch while attending a known gay venue in 1939. In 1941, Seel was seized by the Gestapo. He was tortured and raped, then taken to the Schirmeck-Vorbrück concentration camp, outside Strasbourg. While his prison uniform was tagged with a blue bar, meaning ‘Catholic’, Seel later discovered that at this particular camp, the symbol was also used to identify homosexual prisoners. Here’s how he describes the events in his autobiography (from http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/pwh/seel.asp)

"Stripped of our torn filthy clothing, we were handed camp uniforms: ill-fitting shirts and trousers made of hard linen. I noticed a small, enigmatic blue bar on my shirt and on my cap. It was part of an indecipherable prison code that was known only to our jailers. According to documents I eventually checked ‘blue’ meant ‘Catholic’ or ‘asocial’. In this camp blue also meant homosexuals."

While in the camp, something happened that would haunt Seel for the rest of his life:

"One day the loudspeakers order us to report immediately to the roll-call. Shouts and yells urged us to get there without delay. Surrounded by SS men, we had to form a square and stand at attention, as we did for the morning roll call. The commandant appeared with his entire general staff. I assumed he was going to bludgeon us once again with his blind faith in the Reich, together with a list of orders, insults and threats - emulating the infamous outpourings of his master, Adolf Hitler. But the actual ordeal was worse: an execution. Two SS men brought a young man to the centre of our square. Horrified, I recognized Jo, my loving friend, who was only eighteen years old. I hadn’t previously spotted him in the camp. Had he arrived before or after me? We hadn’t seen each other during the days before I was summoned by the Gestapo.

(I’m going to quibble slightly with the translation here — the original French gives ‘Horrifié, je reconnus Jo, mon tendre ami de dix-huit ans...’, but I think the sense here should really be something closer to ‘boyfriend’ rather than ‘loving friend’.) 

"Now I froze in terror. I had prayed that he would escape their lists, their roundups, their humiliations. And there he was before my powerless eyes, which filled with tears. Unlike me, he had not carried dangerous letters, torn down posters, or signed any statements. And yet he had been caught and was about to die. What had happened? What had the monsters accused him of? Because of my anguish I have completely forgotten the wording of the death sentence. 

"The the loudspeakers broadcast some noisy classical music while the SS stripped him naked and shoved a tin pail over his head. Next they sicced their ferocious German Shepherds on him: the guard dogs first bit into his groin and thighs, then devoured him right in front of us. His shrieks of pain were distorted and amplified by the pail in which his head was trapped. My rigid body reeled, my eyes gaped at so much horror, tears poured down my cheeks, I fervently prayed that he would black out quickly. 

"Since then I sometimes wake up howling in the middle of the night. For fifty years now that scene has kept ceaselessly passing and re-passing through my mind. I will never forget the barbaric murder of my love - before my very eyes, before our eyes, for there were hundreds of witnesses. Why are they still silent today? Have they all died? It’s true that we were among the youngest in the camp and that a lot of time has gone by. But I suspect that some people prefer to remain silent forever, afraid to stir up memories, like that one among so many others.”

Later that year, in November 1941, Seel was summoned before the commandant of the camp. He expected to be sent to a fate similar to that to which Jo had been condemned — but instead, he was given release papers and drafted into the German army. He was eighteen years old. Seel spent the remainder of the war fighting half-heartedly for the German army, and was on a train from Poland to France when the end of the war was announced in 1945.

Understandably traumatised by his experiences, Seel returned to Mulhouse, where no-one in his family knew the real reason that he had been captured and deported in 1941. He spoke of his experiences in the war to nobody besides his mother (shortly before her death in 1949), and refused to claim the pension to which he was entitled, in case the reason for his deportation was revealed. He married a woman, and the couple moved to Paris and later Tolouse. In the late 1970s, Seel suffered from alcoholism and severe depression. His marriage broke up in 1978, and he spent time in a psychiatric institution.

Before World War II, French law had been remarkably liberal on the issue of homosexuality – it had been decriminalised during the French Revolution (c.1787-99), and France had provided a haven for many queer men from the UK during the nineteenth century. However, this had changed markedly during the Occupation and afterwards. In 1981 the Bishop of Strasbourg, Léon-Arthur Elchinger, made a number of public anti-gay remarks, suggesting that homosexuality should be regarded as a ‘sickness’.

Seel, recovering from his period of illness, decided that it was time to speak out. First he wrote an anonymous open letter to the Bishop, then he began to appear publicly, writing newspaper articles and giving TV appearances to speak about his experiences. He became an active supporter of the Mémorial de la Déportation Homosexuelle, an organisation founded to preserve the memory of the LGBT+ victims of the Nazis, and in 1994 he published his autobiography, Moi, Pierre Seel, déporté homosexuel (I, Pierre Seel, Deported Homosexual). In the early 90s, he also began a relationship with Eric Feliu, who would remain his partner for the final twelve years of his life.

Persecution wasn’t necessarily over for Seel, though – he received death threats and hateful letters after appearing on television. However, by the time of his death in 2005, Seel’s decision to speak out, together with the actions of other survivors and supporters, had changed the way that people in France and beyond thought about the LGBTQ+ victims of the Holocaust. He is now honoured by a street named after him in Toulouse, the Rue Pierre Seel, and in 2010 a partially-fictionalised version of his story was filmed as for L’Arbre et la Forêt (‘Family Tree’ in English).

Pierre Seel had every reason in the world to stay silent about who he was and what he suffered. His decision to speak out instead played a massively important role in changing things for those who came after him, and in helping to make a world where what happened in 1941 will – I hope with every part of me – never be allowed to happen again.

In his own words:

"When I am overcome with rage, I take my hat and coat and defiantly walk the streets. I picture myself strolling through cemeteries that do not exist, the resting places of all the dead who barely ruffle the consciences of the living. And I feel like screaming. When will I succeed in having the overall Nazi deportation of homosexuals recognized? In my apartment house and throughout my neighborhood, many people greet me, politely listen to my news, and inquire about the progress of my case. I’m grateful to them and appreciate their support. But what can I say to them?

"When I have finish wandering, I go home. Then I light the candle that burns permanently in my kitchen when I am alone. That frail flame is my memory of Jo."

More:

Seel’s obituary in the Independent newspaper: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/obituaries/pierre-seel-518692.html

Profile and short video at LGBT History Month website: http://www.lgbthistorymonth.com/pierre-seel?tab=biography

Extracts from Moi, Pierre Seel at the Fordham University History Sourcebook: http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/pwh/seel.asp

Amazon link for English-language version of I, Pierre Seel: http://www.amazon.co.uk/I-Pierre-Seel-Deported-Homosexual/dp/0465018483/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1352717082&sr=8-1

IMDB page for L’Arbre et la Forêt: http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt1345444/plotsummary

Trailer for for L’Arbre et la Forêt:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GcmqltJ7Gj0

Book review of Moi, Pierre Seel: http://artwednesday.com/2010/12/02/moi-pierre-seel-deporte-homosexuel/

Official blog of the Mémorial de la Déportation Homosexuelle (in French) http://deportation-homosexuelle.blogspot.co.uk/

Wikipedia article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pierre_Seel

French Wikipedia article: http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pierre_Seel

Tuesday, April 8, 2014
beautone:

 
Colonizability of Africa (1899)
A map by cartographer John George Bartholomew (1860-1920)



I’m going to take the time to type this out, because, you know, holy shit.

The pink: Healthy colonizable Africa, where European races may be expected to become in time the prevailing type, where essentially European states may be formed.
The yellow: Fairly healthy Africa: but where unfavorable conditions of soil or water supply, or the prior establishment of warlike or enlightened native races or other causes, may effectually prevent European colonization.
The gray: Unhealthy but exploitable Africa: impossible for European colonization but for the most part of the great commercial value and inhabited by fairly docile, governable races; the Africa of the trader and planter and of despotic European control
The brown: Extremely unhealthy Africa

I have no words to describe any of this, except to note that this was a genocide that these bastards planned, and carried out, in many many parts.
Next time someone tells you to “just get over it”, it being the European colonization of the world…. show them this. Some things…. you just don’t ever get over. 

It makes me SICK to think we’re supposed to pick up pieces of ourselves and somehow be not-broken, just because there isn’t *visible* presence of the colonizers anymore.

Enlighten yourselves, we are the change it can only come from us.

via fyeahblackhistory, jaded16india, hidingincanada, spatiotemporalcookies

beautone:

Colonizability of Africa (1899)

A map by cartographer John George Bartholomew (1860-1920)

I’m going to take the time to type this out, because, you know, holy shit.

The pink: Healthy colonizable Africa, where European races may be expected to become in time the prevailing type, where essentially European states may be formed.

The yellow: Fairly healthy Africa: but where unfavorable conditions of soil or water supply, or the prior establishment of warlike or enlightened native races or other causes, may effectually prevent European colonization.

The gray: Unhealthy but exploitable Africa: impossible for European colonization but for the most part of the great commercial value and inhabited by fairly docile, governable races; the Africa of the trader and planter and of despotic European control

The brown: Extremely unhealthy Africa

I have no words to describe any of this, except to note that this was a genocide that these bastards planned, and carried out, in many many parts.

Next time someone tells you to “just get over it”, it being the European colonization of the world…. show them this. Some things…. you just don’t ever get over. 

It makes me SICK to think we’re supposed to pick up pieces of ourselves and somehow be not-broken, just because there isn’t *visible* presence of the colonizers anymore.

Enlighten yourselves, we are the change it can only come from us.

via fyeahblackhistoryjaded16indiahidingincanadaspatiotemporalcookies

Monday, March 31, 2014
everythingsbetterwithbisexuals:

lucymontero:

lexkixass:

mooglemisbehaving:

gogogadgetgoatkins:

Mary Bowser, former slave of the Van Lew family, infiltrated the Confederacy by working as a servant in the household of Jefferson Davis. Bowser was assumed to be illiterate, and as a black woman was below suspicion. Practically invisible, she was able to listen to conversations between Confederate officials and read sensitive documents, gathering information that she handed over to the Union.
(From National Woman’s History Museum Facebook Page)

This needs to be a movie. Like, now.

I’d watch this movie.

How is this not a movie?


*throws money at Hollywood*

everythingsbetterwithbisexuals:

lucymontero:

lexkixass:

mooglemisbehaving:

gogogadgetgoatkins:

Mary Bowser, former slave of the Van Lew family, infiltrated the Confederacy by working as a servant in the household of Jefferson Davis. Bowser was assumed to be illiterate, and as a black woman was below suspicion. Practically invisible, she was able to listen to conversations between Confederate officials and read sensitive documents, gathering information that she handed over to the Union.

(From National Woman’s History Museum Facebook Page)

This needs to be a movie. Like, now.

I’d watch this movie.

How is this not a movie?

*throws money at Hollywood*

Sunday, March 30, 2014
The lessons of my father were not unique to him, nor will this be the last we hear of his words, which are echoed from pulpits as close as other churches in Topeka, Kansas, where WBC headquarters remain, and as far away as Uganda. Let’s end the support of hateful and divisive teachings describing the LGBT community as “less than,” “sinful,” or “abnormal.” Embrace the LGBT community as our equals, our true brothers and sisters, by promoting equal rights for everyone, without exception. My father was a man of action, and I implore us all to embrace that small portion of his faulty legacy by doing the same. Nate Phelps, estranged son of Westboro Baptist Church founder Fred Phelps, in a public statement on his father’s death. Well said, sir. (via Friendly Atheist)  (via gaywrites)

6. Margaret Clap

SHP Reblogs: earlier posts from the vault! New posts coming late May 2014.

secrethistoriesproject:

image

OK, OK, I know perfectly well that Margaret Clap looked nothing like Helen Atkinson-Wood playing the character of ‘Mrs Miggins’ in Blackadder III – she lived about eighty years too early, for starters! Nevertheless, there are no surviving images of her and I’m apparently physically incapable of thinking about Margaret Clap without picturing Mrs Miggins, so that’s where today’s image comes from.

From 1724 until 1726, Clap – ‘Mother Clap’ to you, if you were exceptionally lucky – ran a coffee house in Holborn, London. This coffee shop was in fact a ‘molly house’, and a major focal point for the city’s underground queer community – a fact that only became public knowledge when it was raided and around 40 people arrested in 1726.

This is, of course, one of the most upsetting things about trying to do queer history – the fact that often the clearest and most easily-interpreted records we have about LGBTQ people and their behaviour are the records of their arrests and punishments. On the other hand, the tiny glimpses that the trial records give us into the secret lives of ‘mollies’* in early eighteenth-century London are fascinating. Historian Rictor Norton hosts a number of the transcripts at his website: here’s a short extract from a report by an undercover constable:

I found between 40 and 50 Men making Love to one another, as they call’d it. Sometimes they would sit on one another’s Laps, kissing in a lewd Manner, and using their Hands indecently. Then they would get up, Dance and make Curtsies, and mimick the voices of Women. O, Fie, Sir! – Pray, Sir. – Dear Sir. Lord, how can you serve me so? – I swear I’ll cry out. – You’re a wicked Devil. – And you’re a bold Face. – Eh ye little dear Toad! Come, buss! – Then they’d hug, and play, and toy, and go out by Couples into another Room on the same Floor, to be marry’d, as they call’d it.

* For those who were in charge of writing the records (ie not the ‘mollies’ themselves!), the identity of ‘molly’ seems to have been just as much about gendered behaviour markers (see the quotation above re: speech patterns, curtsies, dances) as it is about sexuality (kissing, sex, ‘lewdness’). If the people who hung out at Mother Clap’s could be magically zapped to the 21st century, I don’t know if they would identify themselves as gay, bi, trans*, genderqueer or all of the above – but I do suspect they’d probably be ecstatically happy at being given the choice.  

Norton suggests that it seems likely that Clap ran her business partly for her own pleasure and because she enjoyed the company – the place wasn’t run as a brothel: rather she rented rooms out to individual tenants, provided cooked meals and brought in drink to serve from a nearby tavern, probably garnering an additional profit on this. One man, Thomas Wright, rented a room from her for two solid years. There is something really appealing about the image of her hanging out and having fun with her customers, and about the idea that there was a friendly place for queer people to  meet up with each other all those years ago.

Clap’s certainly wasn’t the first ‘Molly house’ in London, either. The sensationalist journalist Ned Ward visited one in 1709, and wrote up a lurid version of his experiences. This account (also from Rictor’s sourcebook) includes his observations of a particularly interesting ceremony in which one of the members of the group ‘gave birth’:

Not long since, upon one of their Festival Nights, they had cusheon’d up the Belly of one of their Sodomitical Brethren, or rather Sisters, as they commonly call’d themselves, disguising him in a Womans Night-Gown, Sarsnet-Hood, and Nightrale, who, when the Company were met, was to mimick the wry Faces of a groaning Woman, to be deliver’d of a joynted Babie they had provided for that Purpose, and to undergo all the Formalities of a Lying in. The Wooden Off-spring to be afterwards Christen’d, and the holy Sacrament of Baptism to be impudently Prophan’d, for the Diversion of the Profligates, who, when their infamous Society were assembl’d in a Body, put their wicked Contrivance accordingly into practice.

Although it’s likely that Ward is exaggerating somewhat for sensational effect, this account is corroborated by later arrests in the 1810s where ‘mollies’ were caught carrying out similar activities. I genuinely have no idea what to make of this record in terms of modern gender and identity – was this a folk ritual? A drag show? A comic parody? The acting-out of an unfulfilled desire? I really don’t know, and I’m not sure anybody else does either.

After the raid in 1726, Clap herself was charged with running a house of ill-repute, and sentenced to pay a heavy fine, to stand in the pillories at Smithfield market to be pelted with stray objects and rotting food by passers-by, and then to be imprisoned for two years. The records show that she fainted twice while being pilloried: we don’t know whether she survived the prison term, as she was never heard from again. Meanwhile, three of her customers were hanged at Tyburn for sodomy – Gabriel Lawrence, William Griffin, and her long-term tenant, Thomas Wright. Let’s remember them, and the woman who made a safe space for them for as long as she could.

It would be a long time before London’s queer scene would be as safe and friendly as it is in 2012. However, there’s quite a large part of me that’s very pleased to know that nearly three hundred years ago, it was every bit as colourful as it is today… and apparently, every bit as weird.

More!

Resources from Rictor Norton’s Homosexuality in Eighteenth Century England sourcebook: Rictor Norton (Ed.), Homosexuality in Eighteenth-Century England: A Sourcebook. Updated 24 June 2012 <http://rictornorton.co.uk/eighteen/>.

The Raid on Mother Clap’s Molly House: http://rictornorton.co.uk/eighteen/mother.htm

Ned Ward’s account of ‘The Mollies House’: http://rictornorton.co.uk/eighteen/nedward.htm

The Trial of Margaret Clap: http://rictornorton.co.uk/eighteen/clap.htm

The Trial of Thomas Wright: http://rictornorton.co.uk/eighteen/1726wrig.htm

The Trial of Gabriel Lawrence: http://rictornorton.co.uk/eighteen/1726lawr.htm

Article at GLBTQ.com:  http://www.glbtq.com/social-sciences/clap_m.html

Blurb for Norton’s book – buy it if you can, it’s amazing! http://rictornorton.co.uk/molly.htm

Tuesday, March 25, 2014
simperingcreatures:

"Toronto Bus Terminal Still Male Sex Mart!" Flash. 10 March 1956. Newspaper excerpt.

simperingcreatures:

"Toronto Bus Terminal Still Male Sex Mart!" Flash. 10 March 1956. Newspaper excerpt.

Sunday, March 23, 2014
SHP Reblogs: earlier posts from the vault! New posts coming late May 2014.
secrethistoriesproject:

20. Ten Interesting Facts About Alfred Kinsey
OK, so you’ve probably heard of Alfred Kinsey: zoologist and social scientist, 1894-1956 (there he is on the cover of TIME magazine, August 1953 with humorously positioned birds and bees)… but have you met Alfred Kinsey: bi poly man, author of a secondary-school science textbook and enthusiastic collector of gall wasps?
If nothing else, many people will probably have heard of the Kinsey Scale — that much-misused metric that has now generated its own minor tat industry. But did you know that: 
Despite the fact that his father was an academic, Kinsey survived some reasonably serious poverty in his childhood — this led to him contracting rickets, rheumatic fever and an inadequately-treated case of typhoid. This in turn caused him to have health problems for the rest of his life. I don’t know whether he identified as a person with a disability, but he was deemed unacceptable for service in WWI as a result of damage to his spine during his childhood illnesses. 
He was a well-respected zoologist before beginning his work on human sexuality — in 1937, he was listed as a ‘starred scientist’ by American Men of Science.
In fact, the American Museum of Natural History in New York still owns about 7.5 million specimens of gall wasps collected by him in the 1910s…
As a young scientist, he also wrote a secondary-school textbook, An Introduction to Biology, which was one of the first texts to present the natural world as a landscape to explore, rather than a set of resources to be exploited — he stated that it was ’a mistake to test the importance of knowledge by its known, dollars-and-cents application’. However, the textbook also dealt somewhat problematically with the issue of eugenics. You can read more about it at the amazing Textbook History blog here.
Kinsey was bi and poly. He married Clara McMillen in 1921, but the couple had an open relationship (I love the fact that Kinsey’s Wikipedia page says 'He allowed his wife to sleep with other men…' — understanding how open relationships work: yr doin it wrong). Kinsey’s male partners included Clyde Martin, one of his graduate students, who appears at some points to have had a triad-style relationship with both Kinsey and McMillen.
In the 1930s, Kinsey became interested in doing academic work on human sexuality — including teaching a class on ‘Married Sexuality’ in which only students who were married or engaged were permitted to enrol! He interviewed thousands of subjects to gather data, and in 1948 and 1953 he published his findings as Sexual Behaviour in the Human Male and Sexual Behaviour in the Human Female. You can read more about his findings here and here: many of the statistics in the ‘Kinsey Reports’ are still being thrown around today (the infamous '10% of the population' figure, ,  for example, is based on Kinsey data, even though Kinsey didn’t believe that most people actually were ‘exclusively homosexual’ or ‘exclusively heterosexual’).
That in response to allegations that his samples had been biased (for example, some of his original research subjects were drawn from prison populations, and the original studies severely under-represented people of colour), in 1979 Kinsey’s facts and data were re-checked by his successor Paul Gebhard… who found that they in fact mostly held up: where Kinsey had found 37% of men had had at least one ‘homosexual experience’, Gebhard found 36.4%. 
That in the 1980s and 1990s, questions were raised about the possibility that Kinsey and the Kinsey Institute had encouraged child abuse among Kinsey’s research subjects. Some of these allegations went to civil court, and were eventually dismissed in 1994. 
That the Kinsey scale also has a classification of ‘X’ for ‘asexual’, which was later added by Kinsey’s research associates — as far as I know there has yet to be an 'I'm A Kinsey X' button printed, but I think it would be a great addition to the collection!
And finally, that Kinsey’s work is carried on at the University of Indiana today by the Kinsey Institute! You can watch a short documentary video about it here. There’s even a sex-ed arm of the Institute, found at http://kinseyconfidential.org/, which provides free information for the general public.
I particularly like reading about Alfred Kinsey because I think it’s so common nowadays to have a mental image of the 1940s and 1950s as a time when sex was incredibly tightly repressed, and when any kind of non-normative behaviour was somehow less possible than it is today, even behind closed doors (interestingly, that’s certainly the image perpetuated by the trailer for the 2004 biographical film Kinsey (link is to video). However, Kinsey’s own life indicates that this really wasn’t the case — he started doing serious research and publicising people’s sexual behaviour, but he certainly didn’t invent it! One of the links below is to an exhibition of vintage sex toys that demonstrates exactly how filthy underground culture in the first half of the twentieth century could be — stereotypes very much to the contrary. As Kinsey himself said:
The history of medicine proves that in so far as man seeks to know himself and face his whole nature, he has become free from bewildered fear, despondent shame, or arrant hypocrisy. As long as sex is dealt with in the current confusion of ignorance and sophistication, denial and indulgence, suppression and stimulation, punishment and exploitation, secrecy and display, it will be associated with a duplicity and indecency that lead neither to intellectual honesty nor human dignity. (from Sexual Behaviour in the Human Male, 1948). 
To the extent that we are able to talk about sex with ‘intellectual honesty’ and ‘human dignity’ today, I think we owe a lot to Kinsey and his work. 
More: 
Biographical materials at the Kinsey Institute: http://www.kinseyinstitute.org/about/kinseybio.html
Collection of vintage sex toys from an exhibit held by the Kinsey Institute: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2SMoPplInb4
Discussion of Kinsey’s Introduction to Biology at the Textbook History blog: http://www.textbookhistory.com/?p=21#more-21
The ‘Kinsey Confidential’ sex ed site: http://kinseyconfidential.org/
Trailer for the 2004 film Kinsey: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ppZwSABxeYE
Wikipedia bio: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfred_Kinsey
Wikipedia articles on ‘The Kinsey Reports’: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sexual_Behavior_in_the_Human_Female
Google Books link: Sexual Behaviour in the Human Male: http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=pfMKrY3VvigC&amp;printsec=frontcover&amp;dq=sexual+behaviour+in+the+human+male&amp;hl=en&amp;sa=X&amp;ei=i0nXUK6pH43M0AWNuIHABw&amp;ved=0CDYQ6AEwAA
Google Books link: Sexual Behaviour in the Human Female: http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=9GpBB61LV14C&amp;printsec=frontcover&amp;dq=sexual+behaviour+in+the+human+male&amp;hl=en&amp;sa=X&amp;ei=i0nXUK6pH43M0AWNuIHABw&amp;ved=0CD4Q6AEwAQ
Google Books link: David Leys’ Insatiable Wives contains a chapter on Kinsey, McMillen and Martin: http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=tctxQzAKdJgC&amp;lpg=PA59&amp;dq=ley%20kinsey&amp;pg=PA59#v=onepage&amp;q=ley%20kinsey&amp;f=false

SHP Reblogs: earlier posts from the vault! New posts coming late May 2014.

secrethistoriesproject:

20. Ten Interesting Facts About Alfred Kinsey


OK, so you’ve probably heard of Alfred Kinsey: zoologist and social scientist, 1894-1956 (there he is on the cover of TIME magazine, August 1953 with humorously positioned birds and bees)… but have you met Alfred Kinsey: bi poly man, author of a secondary-school science textbook and enthusiastic collector of gall wasps?

If nothing else, many people will probably have heard of the Kinsey Scale — that much-misused metric that has now generated its own minor tat industry. But did you know that: 

  1. Despite the fact that his father was an academic, Kinsey survived some reasonably serious poverty in his childhood — this led to him contracting rickets, rheumatic fever and an inadequately-treated case of typhoid. This in turn caused him to have health problems for the rest of his life. I don’t know whether he identified as a person with a disability, but he was deemed unacceptable for service in WWI as a result of damage to his spine during his childhood illnesses. 
  2. He was a well-respected zoologist before beginning his work on human sexuality — in 1937, he was listed as a ‘starred scientist’ by American Men of Science.
  3. In fact, the American Museum of Natural History in New York still owns about 7.5 million specimens of gall wasps collected by him in the 1910s…
  4. As a young scientist, he also wrote a secondary-school textbook, An Introduction to Biology, which was one of the first texts to present the natural world as a landscape to explore, rather than a set of resources to be exploited — he stated that it was ’a mistake to test the importance of knowledge by its known, dollars-and-cents application’. However, the textbook also dealt somewhat problematically with the issue of eugenics. You can read more about it at the amazing Textbook History blog here.
  5. Kinsey was bi and poly. He married Clara McMillen in 1921, but the couple had an open relationship (I love the fact that Kinsey’s Wikipedia page says 'He allowed his wife to sleep with other men…' — understanding how open relationships work: yr doin it wrong). Kinsey’s male partners included Clyde Martin, one of his graduate students, who appears at some points to have had a triad-style relationship with both Kinsey and McMillen.
  6. In the 1930s, Kinsey became interested in doing academic work on human sexuality — including teaching a class on ‘Married Sexuality’ in which only students who were married or engaged were permitted to enrol! He interviewed thousands of subjects to gather data, and in 1948 and 1953 he published his findings as Sexual Behaviour in the Human Male and Sexual Behaviour in the Human Female. You can read more about his findings here and here: many of the statistics in the ‘Kinsey Reports’ are still being thrown around today (the infamous '10% of the population' figure,  for example, is based on Kinsey data, even though Kinsey didn’t believe that most people actually were ‘exclusively homosexual’ or ‘exclusively heterosexual’).
  7. That in response to allegations that his samples had been biased (for example, some of his original research subjects were drawn from prison populations, and the original studies severely under-represented people of colour), in 1979 Kinsey’s facts and data were re-checked by his successor Paul Gebhard… who found that they in fact mostly held up: where Kinsey had found 37% of men had had at least one ‘homosexual experience’, Gebhard found 36.4%. 
  8. That in the 1980s and 1990s, questions were raised about the possibility that Kinsey and the Kinsey Institute had encouraged child abuse among Kinsey’s research subjects. Some of these allegations went to civil court, and were eventually dismissed in 1994. 
  9. That the Kinsey scale also has a classification of ‘X’ for ‘asexual’, which was later added by Kinsey’s research associates — as far as I know there has yet to be an 'I'm A Kinsey X' button printed, but I think it would be a great addition to the collection!
  10. And finally, that Kinsey’s work is carried on at the University of Indiana today by the Kinsey Institute! You can watch a short documentary video about it here. There’s even a sex-ed arm of the Institute, found at http://kinseyconfidential.org/, which provides free information for the general public.

I particularly like reading about Alfred Kinsey because I think it’s so common nowadays to have a mental image of the 1940s and 1950s as a time when sex was incredibly tightly repressed, and when any kind of non-normative behaviour was somehow less possible than it is today, even behind closed doors (interestingly, that’s certainly the image perpetuated by the trailer for the 2004 biographical film Kinsey (link is to video). However, Kinsey’s own life indicates that this really wasn’t the case — he started doing serious research and publicising people’s sexual behaviour, but he certainly didn’t invent it! One of the links below is to an exhibition of vintage sex toys that demonstrates exactly how filthy underground culture in the first half of the twentieth century could be — stereotypes very much to the contrary. As Kinsey himself said:

The history of medicine proves that in so far as man seeks to know himself and face his whole nature, he has become free from bewildered fear, despondent shame, or arrant hypocrisy. As long as sex is dealt with in the current confusion of ignorance and sophistication, denial and indulgence, suppression and stimulation, punishment and exploitation, secrecy and display, it will be associated with a duplicity and indecency that lead neither to intellectual honesty nor human dignity. (from Sexual Behaviour in the Human Male, 1948). 

To the extent that we are able to talk about sex with ‘intellectual honesty’ and ‘human dignity’ today, I think we owe a lot to Kinsey and his work. 

More: 

Biographical materials at the Kinsey Institute: http://www.kinseyinstitute.org/about/kinseybio.html

Collection of vintage sex toys from an exhibit held by the Kinsey Institute: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2SMoPplInb4

Discussion of Kinsey’s Introduction to Biology at the Textbook History blog: http://www.textbookhistory.com/?p=21#more-21

The ‘Kinsey Confidential’ sex ed site: http://kinseyconfidential.org/

Trailer for the 2004 film Kinseyhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ppZwSABxeYE

Wikipedia bio: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfred_Kinsey

Wikipedia articles on ‘The Kinsey Reports’: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sexual_Behavior_in_the_Human_Female

Google Books link: Sexual Behaviour in the Human Malehttp://books.google.co.uk/books?id=pfMKrY3VvigC&printsec=frontcover&dq=sexual+behaviour+in+the+human+male&hl=en&sa=X&ei=i0nXUK6pH43M0AWNuIHABw&ved=0CDYQ6AEwAA

Google Books link: Sexual Behaviour in the Human Femalehttp://books.google.co.uk/books?id=9GpBB61LV14C&printsec=frontcover&dq=sexual+behaviour+in+the+human+male&hl=en&sa=X&ei=i0nXUK6pH43M0AWNuIHABw&ved=0CD4Q6AEwAQ

Google Books link: David Leys’ Insatiable Wives contains a chapter on Kinsey, McMillen and Martin: http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=tctxQzAKdJgC&lpg=PA59&dq=ley%20kinsey&pg=PA59#v=onepage&q=ley%20kinsey&f=false

Saturday, March 22, 2014
My parents were born in the late 1920’s — once, when I was talking to my mom about my experience of being queer in this society, and telling her how important it was to me when they could (and did) speak openly and easily about me being queer, her eyes widened for a moment with realization: “Oh! You know — I always knew people who were like you — but when I was growing up, if you wanted to help them, the thing you did was not talk about them. I see how that’s different now.”

From ‘He Knows Not What He Did’, PortlyDyke’s essay at Shakesville about the way in which Fred Phelps’s hateful speeches and actions actually helped to confirm her parents in their support for her.

In particular, I’m struck by the statement “I always knew people who were like you” — underscoring the idea that whether talked about or not, LGBTQ+ people have always been part of the community.

Go and read the whole essay, it’s terrific! 

Friday, March 21, 2014
todaysdocument:


"Negro sailors of the USS MASON commissioned at Boston Navy Yard 20 March 1944 proudly look over their ship which is first to have predominantly Negro crew."
From the series: General Photographic File of the Department of Navy, 1943 - 1958

The USS Mason was one of only two ships during World War II with predominately African American crews.  The experiences of the USS Mason’s crew would later be dramatized in the film Proud (2004).
More images of the USS Mason and her crew at the U.S. Navy’s History and Heritage site.  

todaysdocument:

"Negro sailors of the USS MASON commissioned at Boston Navy Yard 20 March 1944 proudly look over their ship which is first to have predominantly Negro crew."

From the series: General Photographic File of the Department of Navy, 1943 - 1958

The USS Mason was one of only two ships during World War II with predominately African American crews.  The experiences of the USS Mason’s crew would later be dramatized in the film Proud (2004).

More images of the USS Mason and her crew at the U.S. Navy’s History and Heritage site.  

Thursday, March 20, 2014
SHP Reblogs: earlier posts from the vault! New posts coming late May 2014.
secrethistoriesproject:

23. Dr May Edward Chinn
May Chinn’s father, William Lafayette Chinn, was born into slavery and escaped at the age of eleven. Her mother, Lula Ann Evans, was born on the Chickahominy Indian Reservation near Norfolk, Virgina to a family that included people who were Native American, Black and white. Their daughter would become a medical doctor and one of the foremost cancer specialists in New York City.
And she was kind of amazing. 
After a childhood in which her mother (who worked as a housekeeper to some very well-off white people) made huge sacrifices to obtain a good education for her, Chinn first trained as a musician: she started at Columbia University Teachers’ College in 1917 as a music major. She began to play the piano as a professional accompanist before graduating, and even accompanied the amazing opera singer Paul Robeson (go read about him too, he’s worth it!) on more than one occasion. However, one of her professors persuaded her to change her major to science — for somewhat disturbing reasons: in her unpublished autobiography (now held in the New York Public Library), Chinn wrote that she was told that ”because I was of African descent… unless I could afford to go to Europe for final ‘polishing’ in my music, I would probably end up singing in a cabaret in America. If I chose science, my chances were better for a good future.” On that note, it’s difficult to know whether to talk about Chinn as Black or Black/Native American/white — given that in the quotation above she seems to have identified as Black and been treated as a Black woman by the world around her, that’s what I’ve gone with here for brevity’s sake, but I think that both sides of her ancestry need recognition.
Chinn applied to Bellevue Medical School, and was admitted. She gained her MD in 1926, and became the first Black woman to intern at Harlem Hospital (now Harlem Hospital Center). However, after finishing her internship in 1928 she was unable to get admitting privileges (ie. a job) at the hospital at which she’d interned. This certainly wasn’t because she hadn’t done a good job: she was an excellent medical practitioner, and the prestigious Rockefeller Institution offered her a research fellowship — then withdrew it when they discovered that their assumption that she was Chinese was incorrect (James, p.119). Horrible, but true.
Through interviews conducted while she was alive and through the above-mentioned autobiography, we’re lucky enough to have quite a lot of Chinn’s own words about her progress through medical school and work as a doctor. Here’s some of what she says: 
We doctors in Harlem had many problems… Chief among them was that Negro doctors were denied any hospital connection whatever. There was not a City Hospital in New York City where we could attend an Out-patient Clinic or a Ward Service for [the] study and observation of the newer diseases and the effects of the newer drugs… Even if a hospital was around the ‘bend of the road’ it was useless to us who were denied any privilege whatsoever of its faculties. We managed the best we could.
In 1928, Chinn joined a collective of other Black doctors who worked together out of the Edgecombe Sanitarium, which functioned as an alternative to the largely-segregated New York hospital system (Warren, p.27). Later (much later - around 1940) she was finally given admitting privileges at Harlem Hospital, where she worked at the Strang Clinic. As her practice grew, she became more and more interested in cancer, and its diagnosis and treatment. In 1933 she embarked on a Masters at Columbia, where she worked closely with Dr Georgios Papanikolaou, inventor of the Pap smear — when he later moved to Cornell, she continued to work with him, and there’s some evidence that her research helped with his discoveries. Chinn continued to work on methods of early-detection for cancer, and in 1957 received an honourable citation from the American Cancer Society for her work. 
Throughout her entire life, Chinn was also deeply devoted to helping others. She was active in the campaign for women’s votes and marched in at least one suffrage parade in 1919 (see image here), and her work at the Edgecombe Sanitarium was strongly oriented towards helping the Harlem community. In 1975, she helped to found the Susan Smith McKinney Steward Medical Society, an organisation to help Black women in medical school and document the achievements of Black female doctors. She also worked with the Phelps-Stokes Fund, an educational foundation designed to help students from Africa and other parts of the world to study medicine in the United States.  
Chinn didn’t retire from medical practice until she was eighty-one years old. In December 1980, she collapsed and died at the age of eighty-four — at a reception at Columbia which had been organised to honour her. I hope that by then she knew exactly how much she’d done to make the world a better place.  
More: 
Biography at the National Library of Medicine: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/changingthefaceofmedicine/physicians/biography_61.html
Biography from the San Diego ‘Women in Science’ series: http://www.sdsc.edu/ScienceWomen/chinn.html
Wikipedia bio: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/May_Edward_Chinn
Google Books link: Wini Warren, Black Women Scientists in the United States : http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=75bnncOVqEIC&amp;lpg=PA28&amp;ots=xKGbC9K7rT&amp;dq=may%20edward%20chinn&amp;pg=PA26#v=onepage&amp;q=may%20edward%20chinn&amp;f=false
Google Books link: Edward James et al, Notable American Women: A Biographical Dictionary: http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=WSaMu4F06AQC&amp;lpg=PA119&amp;dq=may%20edward%20chinn%20notable%20american%20women&amp;pg=PA119#v=onepage&amp;q=may%20edward%20chinn%20notable%20american%20women&amp;f=false

SHP Reblogs: earlier posts from the vault! New posts coming late May 2014.

secrethistoriesproject:

23. Dr May Edward Chinn

May Chinn’s father, William Lafayette Chinn, was born into slavery and escaped at the age of eleven. Her mother, Lula Ann Evans, was born on the Chickahominy Indian Reservation near Norfolk, Virgina to a family that included people who were Native American, Black and white. Their daughter would become a medical doctor and one of the foremost cancer specialists in New York City.

And she was kind of amazing. 

After a childhood in which her mother (who worked as a housekeeper to some very well-off white people) made huge sacrifices to obtain a good education for her, Chinn first trained as a musician: she started at Columbia University Teachers’ College in 1917 as a music major. She began to play the piano as a professional accompanist before graduating, and even accompanied the amazing opera singer Paul Robeson (go read about him too, he’s worth it!) on more than one occasion. However, one of her professors persuaded her to change her major to science — for somewhat disturbing reasons: in her unpublished autobiography (now held in the New York Public Library), Chinn wrote that she was told that because I was of African descent… unless I could afford to go to Europe for final ‘polishing’ in my music, I would probably end up singing in a cabaret in America. If I chose science, my chances were better for a good future.” On that note, it’s difficult to know whether to talk about Chinn as Black or Black/Native American/white — given that in the quotation above she seems to have identified as Black and been treated as a Black woman by the world around her, that’s what I’ve gone with here for brevity’s sake, but I think that both sides of her ancestry need recognition.

Chinn applied to Bellevue Medical School, and was admitted. She gained her MD in 1926, and became the first Black woman to intern at Harlem Hospital (now Harlem Hospital Center). However, after finishing her internship in 1928 she was unable to get admitting privileges (ie. a job) at the hospital at which she’d interned. This certainly wasn’t because she hadn’t done a good job: she was an excellent medical practitioner, and the prestigious Rockefeller Institution offered her a research fellowship — then withdrew it when they discovered that their assumption that she was Chinese was incorrect (James, p.119). Horrible, but true.

Through interviews conducted while she was alive and through the above-mentioned autobiography, we’re lucky enough to have quite a lot of Chinn’s own words about her progress through medical school and work as a doctor. Here’s some of what she says: 

We doctors in Harlem had many problems… Chief among them was that Negro doctors were denied any hospital connection whatever. There was not a City Hospital in New York City where we could attend an Out-patient Clinic or a Ward Service for [the] study and observation of the newer diseases and the effects of the newer drugs… Even if a hospital was around the ‘bend of the road’ it was useless to us who were denied any privilege whatsoever of its faculties. We managed the best we could.

In 1928, Chinn joined a collective of other Black doctors who worked together out of the Edgecombe Sanitarium, which functioned as an alternative to the largely-segregated New York hospital system (Warren, p.27). Later (much later - around 1940) she was finally given admitting privileges at Harlem Hospital, where she worked at the Strang Clinic. As her practice grew, she became more and more interested in cancer, and its diagnosis and treatment. In 1933 she embarked on a Masters at Columbia, where she worked closely with Dr Georgios Papanikolaou, inventor of the Pap smear — when he later moved to Cornell, she continued to work with him, and there’s some evidence that her research helped with his discoveries. Chinn continued to work on methods of early-detection for cancer, and in 1957 received an honourable citation from the American Cancer Society for her work

Throughout her entire life, Chinn was also deeply devoted to helping others. She was active in the campaign for women’s votes and marched in at least one suffrage parade in 1919 (see image here), and her work at the Edgecombe Sanitarium was strongly oriented towards helping the Harlem community. In 1975, she helped to found the Susan Smith McKinney Steward Medical Society, an organisation to help Black women in medical school and document the achievements of Black female doctors. She also worked with the Phelps-Stokes Fund, an educational foundation designed to help students from Africa and other parts of the world to study medicine in the United States.  

Chinn didn’t retire from medical practice until she was eighty-one years old. In December 1980, she collapsed and died at the age of eighty-four — at a reception at Columbia which had been organised to honour her. I hope that by then she knew exactly how much she’d done to make the world a better place.  

More: 

Biography at the National Library of Medicine: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/changingthefaceofmedicine/physicians/biography_61.html

Biography from the San Diego ‘Women in Science’ series: http://www.sdsc.edu/ScienceWomen/chinn.html

Wikipedia bio: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/May_Edward_Chinn

Google Books link: Wini Warren, Black Women Scientists in the United States : http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=75bnncOVqEIC&lpg=PA28&ots=xKGbC9K7rT&dq=may%20edward%20chinn&pg=PA26#v=onepage&q=may%20edward%20chinn&f=false

Google Books link: Edward James et al, Notable American Women: A Biographical Dictionaryhttp://books.google.co.uk/books?id=WSaMu4F06AQC&lpg=PA119&dq=may%20edward%20chinn%20notable%20american%20women&pg=PA119#v=onepage&q=may%20edward%20chinn%20notable%20american%20women&f=false

Monday, March 17, 2014
SHP Reblogs: earlier posts from the vault! New posts coming late May 2014.
secrethistoriesproject:

19. Giovanni Bordoni / Catterina Vizzani
This Secret History is a bit on the late side, for which I apologise again — but I think it was worth waiting for!
The person known as both ‘Giovanni Bordoni’ and ‘Catterina Vizzani’ was born to a lower-middle-class family of carpenters in Rome at some point between 1717 and 1719 (Vizzani/Bordoni, who was assigned female at birth, is another difficult pronoun case — again, I’ve gone for following the gender presentation that we know he chose for himself, with both names used where necessary). We know about his life from an account written in 1744 by a university professor, Giovanni Bianchi of Sienna, who had performed an autopsy on his body as a way of trying to figure out his gender and sexuality. Here’s a 1751 English translation of Bianchi’s account of him as a teenager (pronouns are his):
'When she came to her fourteenth Year, the Age of Love in our forward Climate, she was reserved and shy towards young Men, but would be continually romping with her own Sex, and some she caressed with all the Eagerness and Transports of a Male Lover’ (quoted in Jennings, p.28)
According to Bianchi’s account, Giovanni fell in love with a girl named Margaret, and ‘adopted the practice of dressing in boys’ clothes in order to spend the night beneath Margaret’s window' (Jennings, p.28). Awww, sort of like an eighteenth-century queer Romeo and Juliet — hence this post’s image. When they were discovered by Margaret’s father, Giovanni ran away to the town of Viterbo, changed his name and began living as male (sadly, that appears to have been the end of the romance with Margaret, too). He went to work as a servant to a canon… and quickly developed a reputation for being quite the ladies man! This is how John Cleland, the English translator of Bianchi’s account, puts it (again, pronouns are his):
[Giovanni was] … incessantly following the Wenches, and being so barefaced and insatiable in her Amours. She had Recourse to several delusive Impudicities, not only to establish the Certainty, but raise the Reputation of her Manhood. (The Doctor [his Italian source] enters into a nauseous Detail of her Impostures, which is the more inexcusable, they not being essential to the main Scope of the Narrative.)
What Cleland is trying (not) to say there with the 'nauseous Detail of Impostures' stuff there is… strap-ons, folks!
After more X-rated adventures which I won’t go into here, in 1743 Giovanni fell in love with a girl named Maria and eloped with her to Sienna. Unfortunately, Maria’s family gave chase (it’s a long story involving a *very* annoying younger sibling: you can read more here) and they were caught on the road by her uncle’s soldiers. Historian Rebecca Jennings suggests that ‘[a]fter an initial stand-off, Giovanni surrendered, in the hope that when her sex was discovered, the elopement would be written off as a simple frolic between girls’ (Jennings 28, again, pronouns are Jennings’s). However, there was to be no such luck — there was an altercation with the soldiers: Giovanni was shot through the leg, and he later died of injuries and infection in Sienna. 
Bianchi’s account finishes a little dispiritingly - we end the story with full details of the dissection of Giovanni’s body, and the doctor arriving at the conclusion that he could not find any physical cause for his transition or sexual behaviour (not that that would stop the medical profession trying to find a physical location for queerness for… ooh, at least the next two hundred and seventy years...). Nevertheless, it also tells us of the ‘Multitudes, which flocked, from all Parts of the City’ to Bordoni’s funeral — the text implies that this is because they wanted to get a look at his body out of curiousity, but I prefer to imagine that the crowd was actually made up of grieving ex-girlfriends.
If you’re looking for a a swashbuckling plot for an original stage musical or a fantastically bodice-ripping romance hero… to this very day, I’m not sure you could do better than Giovanni. 
More:
Full copy of Cleland’s translation of Bianchi’s account at Rictor Norton’s ‘Homosexuality in Eighteenth-Century England’ sourcebook: http://rictornorton.co.uk/eighteen/vizzani.htm Rictor Norton (Ed.), “The Case of Catherine Vizzani, 1755”, Homosexuality in Eighteenth-Century England: A Sourcebook, 1 December 2005 &lt;http://rictornorton.co.uk/eighteen/vizzani.htm&gt;.
Image and bio by Ria Brodell: http://www.riabrodell.com/_/Current_Work/Entries/2012/5/31_Catterina_Vizzani_aka_Giovanni_Bordoni.html
Google Books link: Rebecca Jennings, A Lesbian History of Britain: http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=Tz2GAAAAIAAJ&amp;q=catherine+vizzani+jennings&amp;dq=catherine+vizzani+jennings&amp;hl=en&amp;sa=X&amp;ei=vIzUUOOHFueM0wWxsoHQBg&amp;ved=0CDkQ6AEwAQ

SHP Reblogs: earlier posts from the vault! New posts coming late May 2014.

secrethistoriesproject:

19. Giovanni Bordoni / Catterina Vizzani

This Secret History is a bit on the late side, for which I apologise again — but I think it was worth waiting for!

The person known as both ‘Giovanni Bordoni’ and ‘Catterina Vizzani’ was born to a lower-middle-class family of carpenters in Rome at some point between 1717 and 1719 (Vizzani/Bordoni, who was assigned female at birth, is another difficult pronoun case — again, I’ve gone for following the gender presentation that we know he chose for himself, with both names used where necessary). We know about his life from an account written in 1744 by a university professor, Giovanni Bianchi of Sienna, who had performed an autopsy on his body as a way of trying to figure out his gender and sexuality. Here’s a 1751 English translation of Bianchi’s account of him as a teenager (pronouns are his):

'When she came to her fourteenth Year, the Age of Love in our forward Climate, she was reserved and shy towards young Men, but would be continually romping with her own Sex, and some she caressed with all the Eagerness and Transports of a Male Lover (quoted in Jennings, p.28)

According to Bianchi’s account, Giovanni fell in love with a girl named Margaret, and ‘adopted the practice of dressing in boys’ clothes in order to spend the night beneath Margaret’s window' (Jennings, p.28). Awww, sort of like an eighteenth-century queer Romeo and Juliet — hence this post’s image. When they were discovered by Margaret’s father, Giovanni ran away to the town of Viterbo, changed his name and began living as male (sadly, that appears to have been the end of the romance with Margaret, too). He went to work as a servant to a canon… and quickly developed a reputation for being quite the ladies man! This is how John Cleland, the English translator of Bianchi’s account, puts it (again, pronouns are his):

[Giovanni was] … incessantly following the Wenches, and being so barefaced and insatiable in her Amours. She had Recourse to several delusive Impudicities, not only to establish the Certainty, but raise the Reputation of her Manhood. (The Doctor [his Italian source] enters into a nauseous Detail of her Impostures, which is the more inexcusable, they not being essential to the main Scope of the Narrative.)

What Cleland is trying (not) to say there with the 'nauseous Detail of Impostures' stuff there is… strap-ons, folks!

After more X-rated adventures which I won’t go into here, in 1743 Giovanni fell in love with a girl named Maria and eloped with her to Sienna. Unfortunately, Maria’s family gave chase (it’s a long story involving a *very* annoying younger sibling: you can read more here) and they were caught on the road by her uncle’s soldiers. Historian Rebecca Jennings suggests that ‘[a]fter an initial stand-off, Giovanni surrendered, in the hope that when her sex was discovered, the elopement would be written off as a simple frolic between girls’ (Jennings 28, again, pronouns are Jennings’s). However, there was to be no such luck — there was an altercation with the soldiers: Giovanni was shot through the leg, and he later died of injuries and infection in Sienna. 

Bianchi’s account finishes a little dispiritingly - we end the story with full details of the dissection of Giovanni’s body, and the doctor arriving at the conclusion that he could not find any physical cause for his transition or sexual behaviour (not that that would stop the medical profession trying to find a physical location for queerness for… ooh, at least the next two hundred and seventy years...). Nevertheless, it also tells us of the ‘Multitudes, which flocked, from all Parts of the City’ to Bordoni’s funeral — the text implies that this is because they wanted to get a look at his body out of curiousity, but I prefer to imagine that the crowd was actually made up of grieving ex-girlfriends.

If you’re looking for a a swashbuckling plot for an original stage musical or a fantastically bodice-ripping romance hero… to this very day, I’m not sure you could do better than Giovanni. 

More:

Full copy of Cleland’s translation of Bianchi’s account at Rictor Norton’s ‘Homosexuality in Eighteenth-Century England’ sourcebook: http://rictornorton.co.uk/eighteen/vizzani.htm Rictor Norton (Ed.), “The Case of Catherine Vizzani, 1755”, Homosexuality in Eighteenth-Century England: A Sourcebook, 1 December 2005 <http://rictornorton.co.uk/eighteen/vizzani.htm>.

Image and bio by Ria Brodell: http://www.riabrodell.com/_/Current_Work/Entries/2012/5/31_Catterina_Vizzani_aka_Giovanni_Bordoni.html

Google Books link: Rebecca Jennings, A Lesbian History of Britain: http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=Tz2GAAAAIAAJ&q=catherine+vizzani+jennings&dq=catherine+vizzani+jennings&hl=en&sa=X&ei=vIzUUOOHFueM0wWxsoHQBg&ved=0CDkQ6AEwAQ

Sunday, March 16, 2014
You may forget but
let me tell you
this: someone in
some future time
will think of us.

Sappho (c. 600 BCE)

People may also be interested to know that this translation was made by Mary Barnard in the 1950s— read more about her here!

(Source: homosexualityandcivilization)

Saturday, March 15, 2014

SHP Reblogs: earlier posts from the vault! New posts coming late May 2014.

secrethistoriesproject:

26. Agustina de Aragon

What would you do if Napoleon and his army were coming to invade your town?

It’s the 2nd of June, 1808 in Zaragoza, a city in northern Spain. The invading French army have been bombarding the walls for more than two days, and the siege itself has dragged on for the past two weeks. Many of the defending troops are dead, the earthworks protecting one of the town’s main cannons at the Portillo Gate have been destroyed, and the French troops are about to start storming the city walls. 22-year-old Agustina, a young married woman, is up on the walls because she’s bringing food and water to the surviving soldiers. She sees what’s going on and steps forward. Grabbing the cannon-fuse out of the hands of a dead soldier, she fires it into the faces of the invading troops! The sight of a woman firing a cannon both encourages the Zaragozan defenders and horrifies the French troops — according to the legends that have grown up around Agustina, this one moment was enough to turn the direction of the battle, and the town was saved. When the French troops returned in 1809, Agustina again joined the defence on the city walls — however, the city fell, and Agustina relocated to Madrid. She later worked as a vivandiere with the Spanish guerilla fighters, and I’ve turned up some suggestions that she served with Wellington at the Battle of Vitoria. She eventually received a military rank, pension and even a few medals for her efforts! After her death at the age of 71, she was buried with honour in a prestigious church in Zaragoza.

Agustina is sometimes referred to as ‘the Spanish Joan of Arc’, and seems to play a similar role in terms of defining both female heroism and national identity — Franciso de Goya incorporated her into his series of etchings The Disasters of War, and Byron wrote a short (and heavily fictionalised) section about her in the poem Child Harold. There are lots of idealised representations of her — the sketch above, by the artist Juan Galvez, is unusual in that it was made from life. Agustina also seems to have been used as a source of inspiration in later periods — for example,  there was a very popular Spanish-language film made about her in 1950.

However, there are a couple of interesting differences from the Joan of Arc legend. One of these is that Agustina was married with kids — her first husband, Joan Roca Vila-Seca, was also a soldier in the Peninsular War (she later remarried after his death). They had at least one child — there’s some evidence to suggest that Agustina was already pregnant when she was first married at 16. This doesn’t sit particularly well with the image that we tend to have of ‘warrior maidens’ as single and unattached, and ‘mums’ as gentle and nurturing people who don’t generally fire cannons at marauding French soldiers. Byron, for one, imagines Agustina’s husband out of existence, preferring to write about her as motivated by a lover who has died during the siege. (He also writes rubbish like ‘Her fairy form, with more than female grace' and 'Yet are Spain’s maids no race of Amazons, /  But formed for all the witching arts of love’, so personally I think he can STFU). 

There’s also no evidence of her concealing her gender at any point — and while the situation in Zaragoza in 1808 was serious enough that I don’t think anybody minded who was lighting the cannon fuse at that particular moment, her later involvement in the war effort, and the recognition that she got for it, suggests that on some level it was considered acceptable for her to continue serving the national defence while openly female. Historian John Lawrence Tone suggests that while open ‘Amazon-style’ fighting was relatively rare in the Peninsular War, women’s resistance — through taking part in public demonstrations and revolts, stealing goods and weapons to supply the Spanish troops, and providing channels of communication and information to the guerilla groups — played a vital role in the Spanish defeat of Napoleon. And as we so often forget, these are the roles in warfare that, although vitally important for all sorts of reasons, tend to get forgotten about. For every Agustina standing on the barricades, how many other women were quietly providing vital medical care, feeding and clothing the guerilla fighters and nicking gunpowder and bayonets from the French while their backs were turned? (Seriously, they were doing just that — Tone’s article has a fantastic story about Spanish women breaking into the Governor’s mansion in El Ferrol and making off with the entire city’s supply of muskets, which they then handed out to the Spanish men). 

I think Agustina, and the stories that have grown up around her, occupy a really interesting position at the intersection of femininity, soldierliness and patriotism — but I still wouldn’t want to be on the wrong side of a cannon from her!

More:

Google Books link: Bernard Cook, Women in War, a Historical Encyclopedia: http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=lyZYS_GxglIC&pg=PA4&dq=agustina+de+aragon+women+and+war&hl=en&sa=X&ei=_FwGUaOyOs6A0AWumYCgDQ&ved=0CDEQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=agustina%20de%20aragon%20women%20and%20war&f=false

Google Books link: John Lawrence Tone, ‘Spanish Women in the Resistance to Napoleon’ in Constructing Spanish Womanhood: Female Identity in Modern Spain: http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=QTjCtl-9XlAC&pg=PA264&dq=john+lawrence+tone+agustina&hl=en&sa=X&ei=TmQGUcygDPGr0AWC2oGIDQ&ved=0CDcQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=john%20lawrence%20tone%20agustina&f=false

Short Heritage History bio with timeline: http://www.heritage-history.com/www/heritage.php?Dir=characters&FileName=agustina.php

Read Byron’s Child Harold for yourself: http://www.gutenberg.org/files/5131/5131-h/5131-h.htm

Wikipedia bio: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agustina_de_Arag%C3%B3n

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Dear Mr. Roddenberry,

…1) Undoubtedly you will want to improve the image of women on the Enterprise and in Federation society as well. One of the worst examples of how women were portrayed was in “Who Mourns for Adonais.” In this episode Lt. Carolyn Palamas, who is supposed to be a competent archaeologist and anthropologist, promptly forgets all her training when she first catches sight of the handsome alien, Apollo.

Only a lecture from the good captain keeps her from losing all touch with reality. Worse still is the way this affects Mr. Scott (who was in love with her at the time), who is prompted to acts of blind fury, thus endangering himself as the others. It has been said that a chain is only as good as its weakest link. Therefore if Star Fleet was staffed with many Lt. Palamases it would surely fall apart without any help from the Romulans and the Klingons. Same for society.

Subpoint 1. One thing you might not have thought of that could do a great deal to improve the status of women in Star Fleet and the believability factor is to change the women’s uniforms to pant uniforms like the men’s…on the socio-political side: the present mini-skirt uniforms make it clear to the women officers, (even Lt. Uhura) who really “wears the pants” on this starship.

Subpoint 2. Another element that would improve the image of women and Capt. Kirk as well is the idea of Kirk as a “cosmic womanizer.”…In practically every other episode some attractive (what other kind were there) female invariably tumbles into Kirk’s arms.

The cumulative effect is that a) all women are helpless little things and need to be protected, and b) this Capt. Kirk is very superficial in his relationships with women and does not regard them seriously. Also, the effect is that he is not a mature human being…

…3) If you really enjoy challenges you might want to try to have some homosexually oriented crewmembers. Because if we can understand and tolerate other life forms and cultures, we can do the same for our own people who choose a different lifestyle…

- excerpts from a letter by Amy Foller (San Carlos, CA) printed in Susan Sackett’s 1977 book Letters to Star Trek.

While obviously I’d take issue with her depiction of homosexuality as a choice, her overall analysis and pleas to Roddenberry to improve women’s costumes, tone down the gender stereotypes, and include gay characters are so awesome!

It also shows that people at the time or very soon after TOS aired who expressed similar concerns to the ones expressed by me and other female, feminist and allied Trek fans. As far as I’m concerned, that reinforces the argument that we shouldn’t just let the aspects that bother us go unmentioned on the excuse that “it’s a product of it’s time”. 

This letter shows we’re part of a long tradition of women who love Star Trek wanting more for the women characters and trying to push the show into better representing our capabilities and diversity.

(via trekkiefeminist)