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November 15, 2012
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"Love for one of the same sex is no less pure or noble than for one of the opposite. This orientation can be found in all levels of society, and among respected people. Those that say otherwise come only from ignorance and bigotry."
-from the film Anders als die Anderen (Different from the others), 1919.

ha ha, i'm a hopeless romantic... show of hands who else is?

Pictured from left to right:

Georg Plock, Dr Ernst Burchard, Dr Magnus Hirschfeld, and Baron von Teschenberg, board members of the Scientific Humanitarian Committee, an early GLBT rights advocacy group. Dr. Hirschfeld was the founder of the group in 1897, and later helped with the screenplay for the 1919 film Anders als die Andern (Different from all the others), considered the first depiction of homosexuals in film; it was a protest of the law Paragraph 175,a German law that outlawed homosexual sex.

Karl-Maria Kertbeny, an early gay rights pioneer, who while not gay himself, had a been profoundly affected by the death of a gay friend, who committed suicide after being blackmailed by an extortionist. He coined the terms heterosexual and homosexual, terms later borrowed by the sexologist Dr. Richard von Krafft Ebbing.

Radclyffe Hall, a British author whose frank handling of lesbianism in her 1928 novel Well of Loneliness was the subject of an obscenity trial, despite the tawdriest line in her book being "she kissed her full on the lips, like a lover". She intended her novel to bring attention to the treatment of homosexuals in society.

Dr. Richard von Krafft Ebbing, an Austrian psychologist who, after reading on homosexuality, came to the conclusion that it was not a mental illness. He even worked on a theory as to how one becomes homosexual, which he speculated happened during gestation. His views were not well accepted, unlike Sigmund Freud's whose ideas were more acceptable to a society that considered homosexuality a problem.

Karl Heinrich Ulrichs, a German gay rights pioneer, he wrote extensively on the subject. As a child he recalled preferring the company of females, desiring to wear dresses and wanting to be a girl. At fourteen he had a brief love affair with his riding instructor. He would be jailed many times in his life, though mostly for his words then his actions.

Emma Goldman, a Jewish Lithauanian born American anarchist, was one of the earliest Americans to speak out against homophobia in society. Dr. Hirschfeld described her as "the first and only woman, indeed the first and only American, to take up the defense of homosexual love before the general public." In a letter to Hirschfeld, she wrote,"It is a tragedy, I feel, that people of a different sexual type are caught in a world which shows so little understanding for homosexuals and is so crassly indifferent to the various gradations and variations of gender and their great significance in life."

Harvey Milk, the first openly gay man to hold public office in the United States of America in 1977. He is notable as a city Supervisor in San Francisco and for fighting the Briggs Initiative, which sought to take away the jobs of any teacher who was gay. He was assassinated in 1978 along with Mayor George Moscone, an ally of Milk's, by former Supervisor Dan White.

All these have come before us, to create understanding, knowledge and love where before there was only confusion, ignorance, cruelty and hate.

Justice through knowledge.
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