The following facts are courtesy of GLBT EXPO 2014. I found many of these interesting and wanted to share a few. Enjoy!
Interesting Facts About LGBT
1. The planet Mercury is a symbol used by the transgendered community. The sign for Mercury is a crescent shape and a cross, which represents the male and female principles in harmony in an individual. Additionally, the god Mercury fathered Hermaphroditus, who had both male and female sex organs.
2. The labrys, a double-edged hatchet or axe, is a symbol of strength and unity for the lesbian community. Demeter, the Goddess of Earth, is said to have used a labrys as her scepter, especially in religious ceremonies.
3. Records of same-sex relationships have been found in nearly every culture throughout history with varying degrees of acceptance.
5. Historians note that in some cultures, homosexual behavior was not viewed as effeminate but as evidence of a man’s masculinity. Examples include the Celtic and Greek cultures.
7. An estimated 1% of the population in America is confirmed as transsexuals.
8. Approximately one in three gay men prefer to not engage in anal sex.
9. In some American Indian cultures, having a same-sex attraction was called being Two-Spirited. The tribe honored such people as having special gifts and being especially blessed.
12. Homosexuality has been recorded in China since ancient times and has often been referred to as “the cut sleeve” and “pleasures of the bitten peach.”
16. If one identical twin is gay, the other has about a 20-50% chance of being gay. Because it is not 100%, scientists speculate that homosexuality is a result of the interplay of environmental factors (e.g., surge of hormones in the womb, a virus, etc.) and genetics.
17. One of the earliest recorded accounts of bisexuality in America was by Spanish explorer Álvar Nuñez Cabeza de Vaca who, in the early sixteenth century, mentions “effeminate” Indians in Florida who “go about dressed as women and do women’s tasks.”
18. In 1860, Walt Whitman published the homoerotic Leaves of Grass, which later inspired numerous gay poets.
19. The Drag, written and produced by Mae West, is the first play with gay male content to be produced in the United States.
20. In 1930, Hollywood studios enacted the Motion Picture Production Code, prohibiting all references to homosexuality or “sexual perversion” in the movies. It was strengthened in 1934 under pressure from the Catholic-led Legion for Decency. It remained in effect until the 1960s.
22. In 1948, the Kinsey Institute published its groundbreaking study of sexual behavior in American men.
23. In 1952, the Unites States Congress enacted a law banning lesbians and gay foreigners from entering the country. The law was on the books until it was repealed in 1990.
24. The Oscar Wilde Memorial Bookshop was founded in 1967 in New York City and was the first gay bookstore in the world.
25. In 1968, Dr. John Money performed the first complete male-to-female sex-change operation in the United States at Johns Hopkins University.
26. The 1969, Time magazine’s “The Homosexual in America” was the first cover story on gay rights in a national magazine.
27. In 1972, William Johnson became the first openly gay man to be ordained as a minister by a major religious denomination, the United Church of Christ, in California.
28. In 1973, the American Psychiatric Association decided that homosexuality should no longer be classified as a mental disorder. Also the same year, the American Bar Association passed a resolution recommending the repeal of all state sodomy laws.
29. In 1974, Elaine Noble became the first openly gay elected official in the United States when she was elected to the Massachusetts state legislature.
30. Gilbert Baker, also known as the “Gay Betsy Ross,” designed the rainbow flag, or Pride Flag, in San Francisco in 1978. The flag is the most prominent symbol of lesbian and gay pride. The colors, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet represent sexuality, life, healing, the Sun, nature, art, harmony, and the spirit, respectively.
31. A lavender rhinoceros has been often used to signify the lesbian community. A rhinoceros was chosen because it is generally docile, but when it is provoked, it can become ferocious. Lavender is often used to represent the GLBT community, because it is a mixture of red and blue, which represents the female and male principles, respectively.
32. In 1984, Berkeley, California, became the first city in the United States to extend domestic partnership benefits to lesbian and gay city employees.
33. In 1995, British actor Nigel Hawthorne, star of the film The Madness of King George, became the first openly gay Best Actor nominee in the history of the Academy Awards.
34. The term LGBT or GLBT or LGBTQ was adopted in the 1990s and refers to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (and queer or questioning) people. However, the term is not without contention with some groups, such as those who are intersex, who want to be included, and others who don’t want to be included.
35. The pink triangle was the symbol gay men were required to wear in Nazi concentration camps during WWII. Lesbians were sometimes required to wear a black triangle.
36. Pride Day or Pride March refers to celebrations that typically take place in June that commemorate the Stonewall Inn riots of June 28, 1969. These riots are considered the birth of the modern gay civil rights movement.
[NOTE: Bisexual activist Brenda Howard is considered the “Mother of Pride,” organizing the first Pride March in 1969.]
37. In the 1960s, the term “AC/DC” referred to a person who had sex with either men or women. The term came from the abbreviations for two types of electrical currents, an alternating current and a direct current.
38. A “beard” is someone of the opposite sex who knowingly dates a closeted lesbian or gay man to provide that person with a heterosexual “disguise,” usually for family or career purposes.
39. The term “closet” refers to the confining state of being secretive about one’s homosexuality. The word cannot be found in lesbian and gay literature before the 1960s and was probably not used before then.
40. A recent study in the Drosophila (the fruit fly) shows that a mis-expression of a gene called the “near white gene” causes male flies to mate with other male flies. However, researchers are careful to note that it is highly unlikely that just one gene causes homosexuality in humans.
41. German psychologist Karoly Maria Benkert is thought to have been the first to coin the word “homosexuality” in the late nineteenth century. He argued that the Prussian sodomy laws violated the “rights of man” and that homosexuality was inborn and unchangeable.
42. The entire species of the dwarf chimpanzee is bisexual. Lions have also exhibited homosexual [and bisexual] behavior. Homosexual [and bisexual] behavior has been observed in 1,500 animal species and is most widespread among animals with a complex herd life.
45. Same-sex intercourse is generally believed to be against Islamic law; however, there are differing methods of punishment. For example, in some fundamentalist Muslim regions, such as in Nigeria and Iran, homosexual behavior is still punishable by death.
47. Hitler first curtailed, then prevented, and finally destroyed all German sex research and a flourishing sex reform movement. This was the first step in the systematic persecution of German homosexuals between 1933 and 1945.
What do you think about the above facts? Do you agree with them all? Do any stand out as particularly interesting? Feel free to share in the comments below!