This Pride Month Jessica Kellgren-Fozard is sharing the stories of LGBTQ+ people we should all know about.
Jessica Kellgren-Fozard started her video by sharing that she was “planning on making many many rainbow related videos” but injured her back and “wound up in hospital”. Because of this, she is starting a little late in the month but with the greatest way to kick things off.
First, Jessica acknowledges “that this pride month is really quite different to previous years. Coronavirus and police brutality have brought a really serious tone to our awareness.” She shares that it is important we “champion our POC siblings”. This sentiment is carried through the list as “this will not be one of those lists of nine cis gay men and one black trans women because there’s already enough of those on websites that don’t really care the rest of the year. Hmm. Yes. Shade.”
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10. Sophia Jex-Blake and Margaret Todd
The Victorian Science Wives. Sophia Jex-Blake campaigned for medical education for women as well as opening a clinic that served low-income women in 1877. This was the year she became a practicing doctor after many years of facing “great opposition including being barred from the gates and attacked by a mob” during her time in education and after this being “forbidden to practice medicine in Britain because of her gender”.
Margaret Todd studied at the Edinburgh School for Women in 1886. While studying, she also wrote a novel: Mona Maclean, Medical Student and “just casually invented the word isotope”. The two lived together and are “assumed to have been in a relationship”. Jessica uses the phrase “assumed to be” as a way to describe any two people “who are probably sexually involved and definitely share their entire lives together but aren’t married because… you know, it’s illegal”.
Always the educator, Jessica inserts a “Fun Fact: only 8% of the British population now think gay marriage should be banned. Only 8.”
9. Dolores Del Rio
Hollywood’s Latina Lady Lover. Dolores Del Rio was born in Mexico in 1904 and is “regarded as the first major female Latin American crossover star in Hollywood”. She was a member of The Sewing Circle, a group set up by Marlene Dietrich in the 30’s and 40’s for “her and her other non-heterosexual girlfriends” to meet up. The group “met at one another’s houses for lunch, conversation and possibilities… sex. I’m totally talking about sex,” Jessica shares. Some of these meetings would take place at the home of Dolores Del Rio.
8. Jonathan Van Ness
Queer Eye for the Non-Binary Style. “Internationally known as the grooming expert in the Netflix series, Queer Eye” as well as the host of web parody series, Gay of Thrones, and his podcast, Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness. Not to mention his “exceptionally shiny hair. Sometimes I just stare at it,” Jessica adds. “Openly gay throughout his life, Jonathan recently realised he is also gender non-conforming and non-binary.”
7. Alicia Garza
Queer Civil Rights Activist from Oakland, California. Alicia Garza is an editorial writer and civil rights activist “around the issues of anti-racism, health rights for domestic workers and in police brutality and violence against trans and gender non-conforming people of colour”. Currently she is the special project director for the National Domestic Workers Alliance. Alicia also co-founded, along with Opal Tometi and Patrisse Khan-Cullors, Black Lives Matter for which she is credited for inspiring the original slogan. “Alicia identifies as queer and her work the misconception that only cisgender black man encounter police and state violence.”
6. Magnus Hirschfeld
German Physician and Sexologist who advocated for homosexual and transgender Rights. In 1892 Magnus Hirschfeld earned his doctoral degree at a time which he “also discovered his own homosexuality”. After this he travelled to the US, where in Chicago he “became involved in the cities homosexual subculture and was struck by the similarities in the way gay people lived their lives in Chicago and Berlin”.
He began research into gay subcultures in various countries. Interest in the subject “came from not only his own sexuality but also because so many of his gay patients took their own life”. Here Jessica goes into more detail of his work with these patients which viewers are given a timestamp if they wish to skip these details.
Magnus “vowed to try and give his patients a reason to live” and he “developed a system that categorised 64 possible types of sexual intermediary”. This system worked on a spectrum that included the word transvestite which “he coined in 1910 to describe people who, in the 21st century, might be referred to as transgender”.
5. Marsha P. Johnson
Gender Non-Conforming Stonewall Starter. Marsha started wearing dresses at the age of 5 “but stopped temporarily due to harassment by boys who lived in the neighbourhood”. For many years she grew with the idea of being gay as “some sort of dream” rather than a possibility. After moving the New York at 17, she felt it was “finally possible to be gay”. “She became a fixture of Greenwich Village for almost 3 decades as an activist, sex worker and drag performer,” Jessica shares, she was also a “central figure in the gay liberation movement”. In 1970, along with Sylvia Rivera, Marsha founded Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (STAR) which advocated for young transgender people.
4. Stormé Delarverie
Lesbian Stonewall Starter. (Claudia pops in for some help on the pronunciation with this one. “I’m deaf, leave me alone,” Jessica laughs.) Born in 1920, Stormé faced bullying as a child for both her “skin colour and masculine presentation”. She realised she was gay at around the age of 18 and worked as an MC, singer, bouncer, bodyguard and volunteer. “Known as the guardian of lesbians in Greenwich Village” and described as “a typical New York City Butch”. Many believe “she was the catalyst for the Stonewall Riot” although she disliked it being called as such. In her words Stormé said, “It was a rebellion. It was an uprising. It was civil rights disobedience. It wasn’t no damn riot.” Stomé lived for 25 years with partner Diana until Diana’s death in the 1970’s.
3. Sylvia Rivera
Lesbian Stonewall Starter. “Rivera began living on the streets at the age of 11” where she was taken in by the local community of drag queens “who gave her the name Sylvia. After the Stonewall riots, during which “she was said to have thrown the first brick”, she started STAR, along with Marsha P. Johnson. STAR provided shelter for queer homeless youth. Some do “contest she wasn’t actually involved in the Stonewall Riot” after Marsha P. Johnson once responded to her comments on the event with “Sylvia, you know you weren’t there”.
2. Ruth Ellis
The Oldest Lesbian Ever! “Kind of… semantics,” Jessica adds. Ruth Ellis came out in 1915 although “claimed to never have to come out to her family as they were very accepting and open and knew she was different from the start”. In 1920 she “met the only woman she ever lived with, Ceciline Franklin”. Their house became a central location for gay and lesbian parties and also “served as refuge for queer African American teenagers who had been kicked out of home”. Ruth was an LGBT rights activist until the age of 101 when she died on October 5 2000.
1. Lauren Morelli and Samira Wiley
The Cutest Wives Ever. Loren Morelli is a screenwriter and director whose first professional writing position was on the 2013 Netflix series Orange is the New Black. Here she met Samira Wiley “and that changed her mind on a few things”. In speaking about her experiences, Lauren shared how writing for the show helped her accept her own sexuality, “In Piper and Alex, I’d found a mouthpiece for my own desires and a glimmer of what my future could look like.” Jessica read a quote for Lauren’s article While Writing for ‘Orange is the New Black’, I Realized I Am Gay.
Samira Wiley was raised “by parents who had been referred to as pillars of the LGBT community” as they were co-pastors of the only Baptist church in DC performing same sex unions in 2007. She is an award-winning actress and advocate for the LGBTQ+ community. The two “fell in love on the set of the show” and “they had a gorgeous wedding in 2017. It’s delightful.”
There you have it, Jessica Kellgren-Fozard’s 10 LGBTQ+ people you should know about. “I hope I brought some cool people to your attention. Hopefully one or two you may not have heard about before,” she says, closing the video with a wave. “See you in my next rainbow flavoured video.”