30 LGBT publications challenge historians to get LGBT history ‘straight’

QNotes participates in nationwide LGBT History Month series

In what is hailed as the largest gay history project of its kind in the nation, 30 U.S. publications serving lesbians, gay men, bisexuals and transgender people will celebrate October as Gay History Month by presenting the series, “We are America: How members of the LGBT community helped create the U.S.A.”

This groundbreaking month-long series — available at qnotes throughout the month in print and online  at goqnotes.com/to/arts-entertainment/history/ — will provide compelling evidence that our founding fathers not only welcomed LGBT people to helped create this country, but without the contributions made by LGBT people, American history might have turned out quite differently.

“Throughout our nation’s 235-year history, historians have kept LGBT people and issues in the closet,” Project Coordinator and Philadelphia Gay News Publisher Mark Segal asserts. “We intend to break that closet door down forever.”

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Among the upcoming news features, are these captivating findings:

  • Benjamin Franklin was the first U.S. military recruiter to enlist a gay man into America’s revolutionary ranks.
  • George Washington, in all probability, was the first American leader to offer domestic partner support for a same-sex couple. During the winter hardships at Valley Forge, General Washington made sure that a same-sex couple had access to housing when it was at its greatest premium. And when faced with a potential homosexual scandal at Valley Forge, he chose a more merciful course at that vulnerable time and embarrassed the officer accused of sodomy rather than imposing the death sentence as Thomas Jefferson demanded.
  • An African-American gay man, George Middleton, led a troop of black men in the American Revolution.
  • Several women dressed as men to enlist in America’s fledgling revolutionary army. After the war, when they could have returned to living again as women, some instead chose to live out their lives as men.
  • A lesbian, Katharine Lee Bates, wrote one of America’s most beloved patriotic songs, “America the Beautiful.”
  • The director of Wheatland, the home and presidential library of the unmarried President James Buchanan, discloses for the first time that it is impossible to refute that Buchanan might have been gay. In an effort to spur historians to expand their research on this unanswered question, the Wheatland library also has taken down the portrait of Ann Coleman, the one woman Buchanan was ever known to romance.
  • Following the historic repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” it might surprise many Americans that the individual often considered the father of the United States military was a gay man: Baron Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben. He wrote the “Revolutionary War Drill Manual” and introduced drills, tactics and discipline to the rag-tag militia, which culminated in our independence and victory over the British.
  • Readers will also be enthralled by the ongoing historical inquiry whether President Lincoln preferred men over women. Many will be surprised to learn, for example that as a young man, Abraham Lincoln might have been one of the first well-known Americans to write a boy-marries-boy poem in 1829.

The combined print run for this innovative historic coverage will be over 650,000 copies. The 30 newspapers and magazines are found in every major city in America and, with our web traffic, the reach will be in the millions.

Among those participating are leading LGBT publications in: Atlanta (GAY VOICE), Baltimore (OUT LOUD), Charlotte (Q NOTES), Chicago (WINDY CITY TIMES), Cleveland (GAY PEOPLE’S CHOICE), Dallas (DALLAS VOICE), Denver (OUT FRONT), Detroit BETWEEN LINES), Harrisburg (CENTRAL VOICE), Houston (MONTROSE STAR), Las Vegas (Q VEGAS), Los Angeles (FRONTIERS IN LA), Miami/Ft. Lauderdale (SOUTH FLORIDA GAY NEWS), Milwaukee (WISCONSIN GAZETTE), Minneapolis/St. Paul (LAVENDER MAGAZINE), Nashville (OUT & ABOUT), New Orleans (AMBUSH), Philadelphia (PHILADELPHIA GAY NEWS), Phoenix (ECHO MAGAZINE), Pittsburgh (PITTSBURGH’S OUT), Orlando (WATERMARK), Portland (JUST OUT), Sacramento (OUTWORD), Salt Lake City (Q SALT LAKE), San Diego (GAY SAN DIEGO), San Francisco (BAY AREA REPORTER), Seattle (SEATTLE GAY NEWS), Tampa (WATERMARK), Washington D.C. (WASHINGTON BLADE) and Boston (BAY WINDOWS). We’re also happy to announce that our web partner this year is the award-winning BILERICO PROJECT.

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5 Replies to “30 LGBT publications challenge historians to get LGBT history ‘straight’”

  1. ““Throughout our nation’s 235-year history, historians have kept LGBT people and issues in the closet,””
    “Several women dressed as men to enlist in America’s fledgling revolutionary army. After the war, when they could have returned to living again as women, some instead chose to live out their lives as men.”

    Ironic that this is one of the examples listed. Throughout the modern LGBT movement, radical feminists have kept trans men invisible. Those “women” who dressed as men chose to live out their lives as men because they were men. Trans men. To not acknowledge that fact during this push for equality is a shame, and disrespectful to their memory and place in history.

  2. Willie D. Pilkington October 9, 2011 at 1:19 pm

    Now if we as a total GLBT Community here in Raleigh and North Carolina and the USA can just start truthfully and properly recording and publically reporting our local community history, without exception. My experience over the years here in Raleigh, North Carolina the facts about our community history has not been truthfully reported. People have been omitted or not properly given factual credit for the service they have given to the GLBT Community. QNotes and other North Carolina GLBT organizations have hailed GLBT History and at the same time not been willing to correct the historical information being reported to our communities … we truly need local and Statewide GLBT history projects and we need to be factually included in our individual communities history information for all to know about, but first we need to make sure that when we are telling our GLBT information that we tell the facts and all the truth in a responsible way.

  3. Willie… Thank you for your comment. You’re right: It is important for history to be recorded well and accurately. We’re curious, though: Where do you feel QNotes has not reported LGBT history accurately? You mention this, but don’t cite any specific examples — that makes it hard for us to understand exactly the nature of your concern. We want to make sure we haven’t overlooked anything. Feel free to call us or email us to discuss further. We welcome the comments and suggestions.


    Matt Comer, editor
    704-531-9988, x202

  4. The general storyline for LGBT history is one of particular exception and protection for so-called “deviants” who had valuable skills or who were connected to wealth and power. Amendment One in 21st-century North Carolina will protect contractural personal arrangements made by elite businessmen just as Alexander the Great’s sword protected his boyfriends in ancient times. The past has been horrific for 99.9% of LGBT people. The present is good for maybe 5% – so much work yet to be done!

  5. Aww… you forgot about Queerty.com, which is running great in-depth pieces on forgotten moments in LGBT History, such as the Cooper Donut Riot and the Upstairs Lounge fire.

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