The Term “Lesbian.”
The word “lesbian” originally derived from the name of the Greek island of Lesbos. It is known to have been the home of the Greek poetess Sappho, thought to have expressed love and adoration towards other women in her poetry.
The “Lavender Scare.”
The Lavender Scare was a period of time in the 1950s that refers to the fear and persecution of homosexuals in the United States and the United Kingdom. Lesbians and gay men alike were considered communist sympathizers. The term “Lavender Scare” came from the title of “lavender lads,” which was used by Senator Everett Dirksen as a synonym for homosexuals in the early 50s.
The Animal Symbol Of The Lesbian Movement.
During the 1970s, the lavender colored rhinoceros was used as an activist symbol to increase awareness of the presence of lesbians in society. The rhino was chosen as the symbol, as by nature they are typically seen as peaceful animals until threatened. The heart on the rhino reflects the common humanity of all people, and the lavender color reflects the identity of the LGBT community.
The First Published Lesbian Poetry In The States.
Elsa Gidlow, a freelance journalist and philosopher, wrote On A Grey Thread (1923), which was considered the first volume of open lesbian love poetry published in the US. Years later, in 1986, her book Elsa, I Come With My Songs, became the first published lesbian autobiography.
The First US National Lesbian Political And Social Organization.
Started in San Francisco in 1955, the Daughters of Bilitis (DOB) was the first civil and political rights organization for lesbians in the United States. It was considered a social alternative the lesbian bars, which were frequently raided by police. DOB became a support system for women afraid to come out, and turned into an educational resource for lesbians and gay men alike.
The Symbol Of Lesbians During World War II.
Considered people of anti-social behavior during the World War II period, evidence suggests that lesbian prisoners of Nazi Germany were required to wear a black triangle. The triangle is now considered a symbol of pride and solidarity by lesbians and feminists everywhere.
The Birth Of The Modern Lesbian And Gay Civil Rights Movement.
In 1969, a gay club located in the Greenwich neighborhood of New York City was forcefully raided by police who arrested employees, drag queens, and patrons. Famously known as The Stonewall Inn, the venue sheltered the police that night from street retaliation for the arrests. However, even though reinforcements arrived to disperse the mob, the Stonewall Riot sparked a series of demonstrations from civil rights organizations that lasted for several days, and it is regarded as the first major protest in the name of equal rights for homosexuals.
The Year Homosexuality Was Declassified As A Mental Disorder.
In the 20th century, the American Psychiatric Association viewed homosexuality as a mental illness and/or a disease. This widely influenced how the lesbian and gay community was viewed culturally, paving a path of discrimination and attempts at therapy that made the lives of homosexuals very difficult. It wasn’t until 1973 that the APA finally removed homosexuality from it’s official diagnostic manual. Since then, all major professional mental health organizations have gone on record stating that homosexuality is not a mental disorder.
The First Lesbian/Feminist Bookstore In The US.
Opened in Minneapolis in 1970, the first lesbian/feminist bookstore was the Amazon Bookstore Cooperative. The owners, Rosina Richter Christy and Julie Morse Quist, lived in the store, but the books were only available from 3-6pm or by special arrangement. The owners announced the store closing 2008, and it was then bought by two women who had to change the name to True Colors amidst a legal battle with Amazon.com.
The First Openly LGBT Senator In American History.
Elected in 2012, Senator Tammy Baldwin beat out former Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson, and became the first openly gay member elected to the Senate. In Congress, she has been a strong advocate against bullying and suicide among LGBT youth, and helped to push legislation against hate crimes, fought for marriage equality, the repeal of DADT, and the implementation of the Employee Non Discrimination Act.
All in all, lesbians are great.