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Five Famous LGBTQ+ Individuals Throughout History – Media Team report

Category: Media Team, News, Students write

To celebrate LGBT History Month, our media team has written a very interesting report about some famous LGBTQ+ people:

Queen Ana Nzinga of Ndongo (1583 – 1663)

The gender-nonconforming ruler of Ndongo and Matamba in modern-day Angola, Nzinga fought off Portuguese colonialists, alternately through diplomacy, trade and guerrilla warfare.

She welcomed runaway slaves and European-trained African soldiers, and adopted kilombo, a military strategy in which male youths were taken from their families and raised communally in militias. In a 1670 book, her Dutch bodyguard, Captain Fuller, described 60-year-old Nzinga as wearing “men’s apparel” during ritual sacrifice, “hanging about her the skins of beasts … with a sword about her neck, an axe at her girdle, and a bow and arrows in her hand.”

Fuller also described a cadre of young men whom Nzinga kept dressed in women’s clothing.

“The thing about Nzinga is her title was Ngola, and Ngola means king,” the Nigerian American photographer Mikael Owunna told NPR in 2017. “Nzinga ruled dressed in full male clothing as a king, and she had a harem of young men dressed as women who were her wives. So in the 1600s, you basically had a butch queen with a bunch of drag queens for wives leading a fight against European colonization.”

Bayard Rustin: A Gay Man in the Civil Rights Movement

Although most people associate the March on Washington with Martin Luther King, Jr., Bayard Rustin is the person who actually organized the massive event. In fact, Rustin is the one who taught Dr. King about Gandhi’s belief in non-violence and civil disobedience.

Rustin was also an openly gay man, so he often spoke about the importance of fighting for LGBTQ rights however had been arrested for a homosexual act in 1953. Homosexuality was criminalized in parts of the United States until 2003. Rustin’s sexuality, or at least his embarrassingly public criminal charge, was criticized by some fellow pacifists and civil-rights leaders. Rustin was attacked as a “pervert” or “immoral influence” by political opponents from segregationists to Black power militants, and from the 1950s through the 1970s. In addition, his pre-1941 Communist

Party affiliation when he was a young man was controversial. To avoid such attacks, Rustin served only rarely as a public spokesperson. He usually acted as an influential adviser to civil-rights leaders. In the 1970s, he became a public advocate on behalf of gay and lesbian causes.

Billie Jean King – American Former World No.1 Tennis Player

Building on her tennis stardom to create social change, Billie Jean King has elevated the self-esteem of girls and women through her lifelong struggle for equality in the sports world. She also raised large sums to fight AIDS, contributed funds to combat homophobia in schools, and supported efforts to stem gay and lesbian teenage suicide rates. Her accomplishments in the world of tennis are many and well known. They include her capture of 71 singles titles, 20 Wimbledon titles, and 12 Grand Slam singles titles. But in 1981, King was outed as a lesbian, and her publicists told her to deny the claim. Instead, she confirmed that she was a lesbian and became the first openly gay athlete.

Jim Parsons – American Actor and Producer

A year after wrapping CBS’ The Big Bang Theory, Parsons has leaned into telling LGBTQ stories. On camera, Parsons has appeared in The Boys in the Band and Hollywood. As a producer, his That’s Wonderful banner — which he runs with husband Todd Spiewak — was behind the Emmy-winning Netflix short form dramedy Special. Jim Parsons opened up about his journey of discovering his sexuality and revealed how it has helped him in several stages of his life in a British interview. During his interview with Attitude, Jim stated that he didn’t expect the happiness and strength that he gained after coming out in 2012.

Princess Isabella of Bourbon-Parma, 1741-1763

Unhappily married to Archduke Joseph of Austria, she was reportedly in love with her sister-in-law, Archduchess Maria Christina, with the two sharing over 200 letters expressing their devotion to each other. In one, Isabella wrote: ‘I am told that the day begins with God. I, however, begin the day by thinking of the object of my love, for I think of her incessantly’. She spent all her time with the Archduchess at her court in Vienna, eschewing her husband’s company. The romance caused much distress to the Princess, who considered it the great love of her life, while her sister-in-law’s feelings were less strong and consistent.

Written by Roth R, Y11

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