A banana cream pie was a part of one of the most iconic moments in the gay liberation movement.
Anita Bryant, a chart-topping songstress who used her fame to fight “homosexual militants,” was speaking at a press conference in Des Moines, Iowa in 1977 when an activist, Tom Higgins, threw the pie in her face.
“Well, at least it’s a fruit pie,” she scoffed.
Her husband, Bob Green, then encouraged his wife to pray for Higgins. She prayed for him and his “deviant” lifestyle as she wiped away cream from her face, crying.
Lee Lawson, an Iowa native who was in Des Moines protesting Bryant’s visit that day, didn’t witness the incident in person, but word spread quickly.
“Some of us were excited and some of us were embarrassed,” he said of the bold move, one some felt was too bold. “One of the things you had to be aware of is there was a large anti-war movement and we were trying to keep ourselves separate from that. They were a lot bigger and a lot more active than we were. We were trying to do our own thing.”
No matter the reason, Bryant was a huge roadblock in the fight for LGBT rights.
Jamaica — it’s an island paradise, splashed across television ads, billboards and brochures, promising a vacation that one will never forget.
However, many are trying to get away from the white sand beaches, rum, and reggae tunes: LGBT people.
In May, two men were shot and killed at a home they were staying at and rumors circulated that the two were gay. In 2015, a video was released of a young gay man tied up as a crowd stoned him to death, all the while yelling homophobic slurs. In 2015, a 16-year-old transgender girl was stabbed, shot, and run over by a car after she attended a party in a dress. She was buried in a suit and tie.
Because of these horror stories, many Jamaicans make their way to the U.S. in hopes of seeking asylum. When they arrive, many of them meet Grace Gomez, a Miami immigration attorney.
“Jamaica is definitely the worst in the western hemisphere,” she said about the country’s treatment of LGBT people.
In the wee hours of June 12, a gunman entered Pulse nightclub in Orlando and opened fire, killing 49 people and injuring dozens of others. The world immediately went into action, sending prayers, condolences, social media shout outs, blood donations — and cash.
Equality Florida set up a GoFundMe account the very same day and so far has raised more than $7.5 million to support the victims of the shooting, as well as their families and survivors. Since then, the nonprofit has teamed up with other organizations to combine funds. With so many nonprofits (and some scams) and the city of Orlando helping, it can get confusing with where to donate.
Driving through Salt Lake City, Utah, visitors and residents alike will now see 20 blocks of road named after LGBT icon and activist, Harvey Milk.
The initiative was spearheaded by Equality Utah and the street was renamed in May.
“We were looking at the landscape of our city,” said Troy Williams, executive director of Equality Utah. “We had Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard, we had Cesar Chavez and Rosa Parks, and we thought Harvey needs to be here as well. He needs to take his place alongside these civil rights icons.”
interACT youth advocates marching in the 2015 NYC Pride parade
On the spectrum of sex and gender, one group is finding its voice.
One in 2,000 people are intersex — people whose bodies don’t fit the traditional definition of male and female — and they’re fighting for doctors to leave their healthy bodies alone and to be rid of a history of stigma.
“There are over 30 different intersex variations; there’s a lot of ways somebody can be intersex,” said Emily Quinn, the youth coordinator at interACT, an intersex advocacy group.
This can include extra sex chromosomes, underdeveloped genitalia, signs of two sets of genitalia, and more. At interACT, youth are taught that their bodies are not something to be ashamed of.
When Quinn was born, doctors had no reason to suspect that she was intersex because outwardly, she appeared to have a typical female body. However, when she was 10 years old, she had chromosome tests and an MRI done and her doctor discovered that she had undescended testes.
They called him Top Hat Eddie.
Eddie Sotomayor was witty, sarcastic, loyal to a fault, and he loved his top hat. On Saturday night, he posted a video to Facebook of a friend who had stolen his signature accessory while partying at the nightclub, Pulse.
“He said, ‘He’s trying to steal my top hat!’ And I just lay in bed and I laughed because he was so happy and he was so funny,” said Ryan Macauley, 27, who was scrolling through his Facebook feed before turning in for the night.
The next morning, Macauley’s phone woke him up when breaking news alerts went off — a mass shooting at Pulse. He jumped with shock and fell out of bed. He called Sotomayor a dozen times, but each call went to voicemail. No one else knew what had happened to him.
A nonprofit of the Jehovah’s Witnesses released a video for children discussing the church’s stance against same-sex marriage and families, and encourages youngsters to talk to their friends about why it is wrong.
The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society released the video on the church’s website under the children’s section earlier this month.
The animated two-minute short starts with a little girl looking at her teacher and her classmates drawings of their families, when she notices one picture of a family with two mothers. When she returns home and tells her mom that her teacher said, “All that matters is that people love each other and that they’re happy,” her mother corrects her.
It was serendipity that Kylar Broadus was born on the same day as Martin Luther King, Jr.’s march on Washington, D.C.
A transgender activist, Broadus grew up in a small rural town in Missouri, the grandchild of slaves. For years, he searched for a way to describe why he didn’t feel right in his skin — in his adult years, he would discover the word “transgender.”
After transitioning, the attorney and college professor has been fighting for the rights for transgender people of color, including testifying before the Senate and creating the Trans People of Color Coalition.
What are your memories of growing up trans?
I don’t think I ever told anyone else because I knew it wasn’t something safe, that I was different, that I felt different from other people, other kids. I just remember my first memory of knowing the difference between he and she and somebody referring to me as she and thinking, who are they talking to? I would try to read and find and see if there was anything, trying to find people like me. There was no Internet, so you’re out reading and reading and trying to figure it out… I felt like I was dropped into the wrong life that’s not mine.
Patrisse Cullors, one of the founders of Black Lives Matter.
After the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting and death of Trayvon Martin, Alicia Garza wrote a short, but history-making statement in social media — seeing it, her friend Patrisse Cullors turned it into a hashtag, which went viral.
Since then, the movement has spread across the country, bringing together activists of all ages and races. Garza, Cullors, and their friend Opal Tometi are credited as the founders of the Black Lives Matter movement.
“I thought, wow, we’re onto something and obviously this wasn’t just something that myself, Alicia, and Opal felt,” Cullors said.
Children of same-sex parents no longer able to be baptized
Earlier this month, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints caused controversy within and outside the church when elders changed the handbook’s policies regarding homosexual relationships.
Also known as the Mormon Church, the handbook was edited to regard those in same-sex relationships as apostates and removed the right to baptism from their children until they are adults.
“There was a need for a distinction to be made between what may be legal and what may be the law of the Church and the law of the Lord and how we respond to that,” said Elder D. Todd Christofferson in an interview posted on the church’s website.