By: Adriaan van den Berg
“In the light of the current pandemic, the LGBTG community is in a unique position to lend support in society at large since we have also experienced the Aids pandemic. This article looks back at the month of July 2022 in LGBTG history,giving considerable recognition to the Stonewall riots before noting other mostly foreign milestones. It then ends with the Saints and Martyrs of Antinous that are commemorated in July and the festivals of the Antinoan faith.
Since we last published, the world has changed. LGBTGQI Time Zone is a column concerned with LGBTGQI history and the times were are living in, so we thought it our task to consider the Covid 19 pandemic in a historical context and at first it seemed as if there has been no historical precedent for it whatsoever and certainly, in certain regards there indeed are none: Not as far as the scale or immensity of the pandemic, the suddenness with which it arrived and its far-reaching social impact and resulting restructuring of aspects of society and daily life all the way to the manner in which we currently associate and socialise are concerned… Sure, no precedent whatsoever in these senses. But Time Zonerealised and has to point out something else in this regard: That the LGBTGQI community and much of South African society had also known the Aids epidemic before. And that we are in a unique position to ensure others that we can endure, but that it will take changes to the way we live. Let’s not forget that there are lessons from the past and that the Southern African LGBTGQI community can speak up and provide enormous assurance to a society which at large is dealing with scenarios we LGBTGQI people had encountered before. Let’s make ourselves count here!
And with that said, we turn to our look at the month of July in the past, the people and events we should remember and commemorate in July and the religious significance of certain days and events during this month.
June 28 till July the 3rd, 1969: The Stonewall Riots – All LGBTGQI people should know about the events that took place over these couple of days in New York back in 1969: Namely that over those couple of days, LGBTGQI people didn’t just “protest” as some sources would like you to believe, they actually physically resisted police harassment and intimidation after a botched police raid on the Stonewall Inn, a LGBTGQI bar in the Greenwich Village area during the early morning hours of June the 28th of July, 1969. And they fought the cops to a standstill. We take note of the Stonewall Riots as significant events since it came to have astonishing sociocultural ramifications and to be of far reaching political significance for the LGBTGQI community at large in both the USA and indeed internationally: “The LGBTGQI community is willing to act in concert to resist, violently if need be, harassment and discriminatory treatment by anyone” is what the Stonewall riots meant and said. It led to formation, over the six months thereafter, of two gay activist organisations, to the defiant establishment of more inns and places everywhere where LGBTGQI people could socialise and to publication of no less than three new newspapers to agitate for gay rights in New York alone, but it was also followed by the first gay pride marches besides a year later in San Francisco in commemoration of those events that began at the Stonewall Inn. Even the fact that LGBTGQI Pride Month is celebrated in June in the United States is due to the beginning of the Stonewall riots at the end of June, 1969. And so, it became a stepping stone in the annals of LGBTGQI liberation. As we watch the Black Lives Matter movement, we can offer it solidarity and encouragement and say “Remember Stonewall!”
The July timeline in succeeding years from here on is largely a history of ups and downs in overcoming hurdles in getting LGBTGQI people acceptable for service in the US military, beginning in July 1993.
July 19th, 1993 – President ClintonJuly, 13th, 2015 – The Pentagon begins allowing transgender people in the US military. announces “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy for the US military which allows LGBTG individuals to serve in the US military without disclosing their sexual orientations ending efforts to weed out LGBTG people from the military.
July 1st, 2017 – The right to change gender for legal purposes is enshrined in law in Australia and Mexico (no surgery required).
July 6th, 2011 – The 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals orders the end of enforcing the “don’t ask don’t tell” policy in the US military.
July 8th, 2019 – Same-sex marriage becomes legal in Ecuador.
18th of July: Saint Caravaggio –MichaelangeloMersi da Caravaggio died under suspicious circumstances on this day in 1610. His homoerotic paintings of young men have earned him the respect of critics who called him the “first modern painter.” Saint Caravaggio is the Patron of Gifted Bad Boys – gay boys who are talented but too impatient to abide by the rules of society. Caravaggio was always in trouble and in one year was brought up on charges no less than eleven times. He fled Milan, Rome and Naples and was made a Knight of St. John on Rhodes but after a quarrel with a senior knight had to flee again and returned to Naples. Despite his fugitive and profligate life, he remained dedicated to his art and made a series of astonishing paintings which revealed him to be a pious man with serious religious convictions and one of prodigious talents as an artist. He died on this day in Porte Ercole on his way to Rome to seek forgiveness. His death was believed due to high fever but some insist that the relentlessly pursuing Knights of St. John had found and murdered Caravaggio in the end.
19th of July: The Sacred Gay Martyrs of Iran – On July the 19th, 2005 the Iranian government executed two homosexual boys in a public square in the city of Mashad. Mahmoud Asgari and AyazMarhoni where executed for the trumped up charges of raping a 13 year old boy and was subjected to a year of torture and imprisonment first before they were executed. Their executions resulted in a campaign to identify and weed out LGBTGQI individuals in Iran. Iran remains unfriendly towards its own LGBTGQI people.
21st of July: Saint Hart Crane – Crane (July 21st, 1899 – April 27, 1932), was an American poet whose work was easily understood and much loved by LGBTGQI people. His status as a gay man was integral to his work and mission as a poet, but he was always troubled by doubts and a sense of inferiority and of being an outcast. White Buildings (1926) is perhaps his best-remembered volume of lyrics and poetry. On the morning of April 26, 1932, while returning to New York by steamship, he was beaten up after making advances to a crewmember and just before noon he jumped overboard into the waters of the Gulf of Mexico. His body was never found.
July 26th, 2017 – President Donald Trump bans transgender people from serving in the military.
July 27, 2015 – The Boy Scouts of America announces it has lifted restrictions on openly gay leaders and employees in the organisations.
Saints and Martyrs of Antinous: Every month the Antinoan faith (of the Gay God Antinous) and the Order of Ecclesia Antinoi and the Temple of Antinous celebrate the lives of exceptional LGBTGQI people as “Saints of Antinous” and those LGBTGQI people who had suffered and paid the ultimate price as “Martyrs of Antinous.” In July the following Saints and Martyrs of Antinous are commemorated (see the www.antinopolis.org website for the complete Saints of Antinous database).
Finally, July is marked by the absence of serious religious observances and commemorations in most faiths although the Antinoan faith’s busy liturgical calendar doesn’t have a month without at least some sort of minor festival or observance and July is no different. Amongst the lesser festivals and other observances in July, the following are commemorated and celebrated or observed: The Disciplina (on the 1st), First Entry of Hadrian as Emperor into Urbis Romae (the 9th), the Death of Hadrian (the 10th), Antinoan Arbor Day / Hadrian’s Wall Day (the 16th), Birth of Alexander the Great (the 20th), the Neptunalia (the 23rd), Dies Caniculares / Rising of Sirius / AntinousKynegeticos and Hermanubis (the 25th) and the River Gods and Antinous (on the 31st). You can find out more about the Antinoans’ liturgical calendar and these and other festivals and observances in this faith at the Temple of Antinous’ website at www.antinopolis.org.