Getty Images | 17158gh
After a 20 year project, a temple devoted to Oscar Wilde crammed with devotional-style religious art has been opened in the basement of a New York church.
Conceived by artists David McDermott and Peter McGough at The Church of the Village, the space will be open to members of the public five days a week and available for private ceremonies, including weddings.
Mr McDermott said the temple was a place “free of religious doctrine, honouring a watershed historical figure who pioneered the long struggle for equal rights for gays, lesbians, bisexual and transgender peoples”.
The Oscar Wilde Temple transforms a basement chapel back to 1882-83, the time of Wilde’s lecture tour to the US. A 1.2m wood statue of Wilde which looks like marble is displayed with his prisoner number from Reading jail. On the walls are seven oil and gold leaf canvases on linen based on newspaper coverage of his trial and imprisonment.
Derek Kendall/The Historic England Archive | 16407ga
The homes of Oscar Wilde (pictured), Benjamin Britten and Anne Lister are being relisted as part of a gay history project undertaken by Historic England, Pride of Place.
Duncan Wilson, chief executive of Historic England, said buildings and places were witnesses to events that shaped society, but lesbian and gay stories had often been neglected. “Too often, the influence of men and women who helped build our nation has been ignored, underestimated or is simply unknown, because they belonged to minority groups. Our Pride of Place project is one step on the road to better understanding just what a diverse nation we are, and have been for many centuries. At a time when historic LGBTQ venues are under particular threat, this is an important step.”
“Peggy and Buck. Peggy said to be intersex.” Photographer: Ben Wittick | 1880-1890 | Palace of the Governors Photo Archives, New Mexico History Museum | 15010
Writing in Fusion, Jorge Rivas notes:
The Navajos have a rich, documented history of accepting and even honoring people that identified with different genders and sexual preferences. … “We were recognizing same-sex unions between a man and a man and a woman and a woman long before white people came on to this land,” Alray Nelson, lead organizer at the Coalition for Navajo Equality, a local community group working to end the ban on gay marriage, told Fusion.
There are drawings, photographs, oral histories, and even language that may be evidence LGBT Navajo tribe members were once accepted. The Navajo language has at least one term for tribe members that don’t fit traditional heterosexual roles: nádleehí.
“Historically our society was more accepting of a person who was nádleehí,” said Dr. Jennifer Denetdale, a University of New Mexico associate professor and a member of the Navajo Humans Rights Commission.
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Location, date and photographer not known | Political Affairs | 14159
In looking back on the history of what we today call the struggle for Gay Rights or Gay Liberation, the Communist and Socialist contributions to that struggle are deserving of both recognition and analysis, <a href=”“>writes Norman Markowitz in Political Affairs.
Gays have been involved in the struggles for the emancipation of the working class as revolutionary agitators, labor organizers, and partisans of socialist, communist and anarchist movements since the days of the Paris Commune and the First International, when for many those three categories were interchangeable. Appeals were made to both Marx and Engels to bring the oppression of homosexuals into the larger struggle for the emancipation of the working class. (Marx refused and Engels was hostile to the idea.)
Gays involved in organizing trade unions and other activities for the socialist movement in Germany and other countries found themselves targeted by the police and abandoned by their unions and parties. The socialist movement, struggling to achieve elemental political democracy in a world where the working class did not even have the right to vote outside of a few countries, found itself divided on many questions, including how to respond to colonialism, the question of women’s rights, and the rights of oppressed national minorities.
The first significant support that gay civil rights received in world history came at the end of the 1890s from the flagship Marxist socialist party of the Second International, the German Social Democratic Party.