RAZZ Pride Icons: Queen Christina of Sweden

When her father King Gustav II Adolph died in battle, a six year old Christina was elected queen. She took the throne in 1632 when she was 18, after receiving the typical education of a prince. She wore androgynous dress and opposed marriage and motherhood, instead drowning herself in education and politics. She even started Sweden’s first newspaper in 1650 and established peace for her nation in the 30 Years War (1618-1648), known as one of the most destructive conflicts in European history. Continue reading RAZZ Pride Icons: Queen Christina of Sweden

RAZZ Pride Icons: Barbara Gittings and Frank Kameny

Affectionately known by many as the mother and father of the Gay Rights Movement in America, Barbara Gittings and Frank Kameny worked tirelessly, both independently and together, for gay rights. Gittings, in the late 1950s, followed on from Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon (see profile) and started the New York chapter of the Daughters of Bilitis (DOB) and, in 1963, went on to take over as editor of The Ladder, their national gay women’s magazine. Kameny, however, never intended to become an activist until, in the midst of the ‘Lavender Scare,’ he was fired from the Army Map Service (the precursor to NASA) for refusing to answer questions about his sexuality. With a derailed career as a budding astronaut, Kameny appealed to the Supreme Court about his firing and, though it declined to consider his case, it became the first civil rights case based on sexual orientation filed in a U.S. court. Continue reading RAZZ Pride Icons: Barbara Gittings and Frank Kameny

RAZZ Pride Icons: Liza Cowan and Penny House

Liza Cowan and Penny House had been best friends since they were four, and in their mid-twenties in 1975 decided to launch DYKE magazine – a quarterly of lesbian culture and analysis. Living in 1970s New York at the time, the pair were in the midst of explorative conversations around lesbian culture, with their magazine following the lesbian separatist ideology. Lesbian separatism mainly followed the ideal of living without men entirely in patriarchy-free, women-only communities. The magazine said “We want to publish a magazine that fulfils our need for analysis, communication and news of Lesbian culture. We believe that “Lesbian culture” presumes a separatist analysis. If Lesbian culture is intermixed with straight culture, it is no longer Lesbian; it is heterosexual or heterosocial because energy and time are going to men”. Continue reading RAZZ Pride Icons: Liza Cowan and Penny House

RAZZ Pride Icons: Stormé DeLarverie

Born in 1920 New Orleans, Stormé DeLarverie was a biracial lesbian without a birth certificate (because interracial marriage was illegal) who went on to become a brilliant drag king and a queer legend. She was racially abused a lot in her youth and when she realised she was also gay, she moved, fearing that she’d be murdered if she stayed in the South. Continue reading RAZZ Pride Icons: Stormé DeLarverie

RAZZ Pride Icons: Mabel Hampton

Mabel Hampton was born in 1902 in North Carolina, later moving to Harlem. She met Lillian Foster in 1932 and the two were together for 45 years. Foster said in 1976: “Forty-four years ago I met Mabel. We was a wonderful pair. I’ll never forget it. But she’s a little tough. I met her in 1932, September twenty-second. And we haven’t been separated since in our whole life. Death will separate us. Other than that I don’t want it to end.” Foster died two years later in 1978. Continue reading RAZZ Pride Icons: Mabel Hampton

RAZZ Pride Icons: Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera

Born in 1945, Marsha P. Johnson was an African-American trans rights/gay rights/AIDS activist, sex worker, and drag queen. Whenever someone asked her what the “P” in her name stood for, she would reply: “Pay it No Mind.” Sylvia Rivera was born in New York City in 1951 of Venezuelan and Puerto Rican descent, and worked as a trans rights/gay rights activist and drag queen as well. Continue reading RAZZ Pride Icons: Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera

RAZZ Pride Icons: Virginia Prince

Virginia Prince was born Arnold Lowman in Los Angeles in 1912 and began using her mother’s clothes to cross dress at the age of 12. She later married a woman, which ended in divorce and the proceedings publicly exposed Prince’s cross dressing. Prince began living as a woman by the early 1960s and was a pioneer of transgender activism, working primarily through the written word. Continue reading RAZZ Pride Icons: Virginia Prince

Pussy Grabbers & Right-Wing Populism: The Justification for Homophobia

By now you’ve probably seen the photograph of Dr Melania Geymonat and her girlfriend Chris (who has chosen to keep her identity largely anonymous), bloodied on a London bus in the early hours of 30 May after refusing to kiss on demand for a group of young men. After going viral, this photograph has spurred mass international outrage towards the attack, with people questioning how such a disgusting act of homophobia could still take place in the UK in 2019. Continue reading Pussy Grabbers & Right-Wing Populism: The Justification for Homophobia

RAZZ Pride Icons: Jane Heap and Margaret Anderson

Jane Heap and Margaret Anderson were co-editors of The Little Review, founded in 1914, and instrumental in introducing modernism to America. The co-editors were also lovers, living in New York’s Greenwich Village and participating in local lesbian circles. The Little Review featured lesbian writers such as Amy Lowell and Djuna Barnes, as well as regular contributions from Sherwood Anderson, Ezra Pound, T.S. Eliot, and William Carlos Williams. Continue reading RAZZ Pride Icons: Jane Heap and Margaret Anderson

RAZZ Pride Icons: Barbara Smith

“Because I came out in the context of black liberation, women’s liberation and – most significantly – the newly emerging black feminist movement that I was helping to build, I worked from the assumption that all of the ‘isms’ were connected.” (Smith)

Barbara Smith is a Black, lesbian, feminist, and socialist who radically transformed how we think today. Born in 1946, she gained both a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree before becoming heavily involved in the Women’s and Gay liberation Movements. That these were not attentive to the concerns of women of colour was glaringly obvious to her, and in 1974 Smith co-founded the Combahee River Collective, which explicitly attended to the concerns of black lesbians in black feminist politics and organising. This way of viewing black feminism as a movement through which the interconnected oppressions of race, gender, sexuality, and class could be addressed was their priority and they termed this “identity politics.” Continue reading RAZZ Pride Icons: Barbara Smith