Erasing LGBTQIA+ from History
Despots, cults and hateful mobs have long enjoyed the comfort of using LGBTQIA+ people as scapegoats and driving them into hiding.
Imagine an alternative history where Hitler, Mussolini, Mugabe, Putin, Lukashenko, Xi, Orbán, Bolsanaro, Trump, Franco, Castro, the Taliban, Al Qaeda, ISIS, Tucker Carlson, Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill, Franklin Graham and other evangelical dividers got their way.
Some are obvious, no Liberace or Elton John so no “Goodbye Yellow Brick road”, no “Your song” no “Candle in the Wind”
No Aaron Copeland’s Simple Gifts or Appalachian Spring, no Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture or Romeo & Juliet, No Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story. Probably no Handel, Schubert and possibly no Beethoven. There are too many LGBTQ+ contemporary musicians to count but only a handful are confident and open about this aspect of their lives. Even in 2022.
During the “Lavender Scare” Hollywood intentionally married off actors and actresses before it came out that they were gay. If they had disappeared them in another way no one would have ever heard of Rudolph Valentino, Rock Hudson, Lily Tomlin, Drew Barrymore, Ellen DeGeneres, Jodie Foster…
It’s hard to know where to begin with writers and poets. No Oscar Wilde so no picture of Dorian Grey, no Emily Dickinson, no Walt Whitman celebrating America in “Leaves of Grass”, no Truman Capote’s “In Cold Blood” and he would not have been there as Harper Lee’s childhood friend to inspire the character Dill in “To Kill a Mocking Bird.” No Tennessee Williams so no “Streetcar Named Desire”, “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” or “Glass Menagerie.” No Virginia Woolf, Federico García Lorca or James Baldwin.
Imagine the art world without Leonardo da Vinci, Frida Kaho, Andy Warhol possibly without Michelangelo. I’m sure I’ve forgotten many more and less famous who’ve contributed in ways we would only notice if they were gone.
LGBTQ soldiers served in the military secretly in disproportionately high numbers (often because they were shunned from their homes and communities.) Could we have won WWII without them and Alan Turing and Eleanor Roosevelt? Maybe but it would have taken longer and cost many more lives.
So to those who don’t want LGBTQ+ people and their allies to take pride in themselves and their contribution to our lives and who work to erase them, this is the world you’re striving for.